Vegan Kids Lunches – 1

What do vegan kids eat for lunch?

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Tomorrow my kids will be taking left over vegan pizza (I love pizza night, lunches made easy!) and a bowl of strawberries and grapes. The bars are a blueberry fig bar and MADEGOOD chocolate chip granola bar. I love these because they have vegetables such as beats and carrots in them too, and my kids don’t seem to know the difference.

I try to pack foods that are similar to those that their friends eat because at the tender ages of six and eight, they have already complained about their lunch looking different than every one else. I’ve even noticed some resentment from my oldest, and so it’s about compromise and understanding that each child has their own life path no matter what we want for them. I keep it vegan, but sometimes my son will eat all of his lunch as fast as he can so that he can pick something from the bin at school, usually a non-vegan, dairy item like cheese strings. So as a parent, I can only do my best!

Every Wednesday at school kids can get pizza orders, so we have pizza night on Tuesday and always make a bit extra for Wednesday lunch. Vegan doesn’t have to be difficult or different. 🙂

Let’s Talk Kale Chips

Call me crazy, but I’ve never been into kale chips. The taste was something like that between fish food flakes and bitter greens, or so bland that I might as well just grab a fresh bunch of kale and start munching.

In my food haul post, you will have seen that I did buy some kale chips. A new brand of kale chips is being sold at our health food store and my official review is: Edible!

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Solar Raw Food Ultimate Kale Chips in the Red Peppercorn Ranch flavor is all they had. The packaging is bright and fun, and (bonus!) they’re made in Canada!
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While the cashews make these a little high in fat, these kale chips pack a nutritional punch. Vitamin A alone is at 70%.. most of the ingredients are “sustainably grown without herbicides or pesticides.” Everything is air dried below 118F (47C), preserving the nutrients with minimal loss. They definitely pack a ranch punch of flavor, and occasionally you get a rare treat of some whole cashews in the mix. The chips themselves are also very pretty!
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Overall, these are the best kale chips I have tried thus far. I would love to try some other flavors though, such as “Better than Cheddar,” “Spicy Curry Lime,” and especially “Hemp Cream and Chive.”

Large Food Haul

Note to self: do not make impulse purchases at the local health food store!!

Today I decided I would show you what a large grocery haul looks like for us. We’ve been short of money for a couple weeks and really had to limit what we were buying, but it’s pay week so it was time to stock up and go a little crazy! Keep in mind, this is for a family of four; one very fussy eight year old, a healthy food loving six year old, a snacky three year old, and my trying to get healthy self.

The first store is our cheaper grocery store, where they sometimes have discounted produce and are always out of the advertised sales. Yes, the three main things I went there to buy were sold out. That leaves me with three very limited rain checks. But, we did get a lot of other good stuff.

*Sorry about the picture quality, this is my first haul post and one of these days I’ll work up the courage to do a video haul!*

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Here we have two packages of romaine lettuce, two bags of chopped kale, about 8 tomatoes, one butternut squash (for soup!), one anise/fennel bulb, a big watermelon, about ten red bell peppers, 2lb bag of baby carrots, two bunches of celery, a container of strawberries, bag of grapes, a small eggplant, 3 onions.. cut out of the pic is a bag of four grapefruits and package of sliced mushrooms.. (cont’d)
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One bag of avocados, three limes and three lemons, three bunches of green onions, one cucumber, head of cauliflower, five bunches of bananas… (cont’d)
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Four cartons of organic vegetable broth (a lot of recipes that call for veggie broth), a box of Rice Krispies cereal, two boxes of Cap’N Crunch, and one box of Jordan’s Morning Crisp (chocolate curls), grape juice, organic apple juice, pasta sauce, two jars of olives, a jar of hot pepper rings, two loaves of bread.. (cont’d)

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Kettle salted popcorn, blue corn chips (organic), two packages of tortilla wraps, one package of small pita’s. The total for this store was $148.90.

Because they didn’t have our almond milk that was on sale, we had to make a trip to Wal-Mart. Here’s how that went:
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I knew that they had ataulfo mangoes on sale – the whole box of 20 mangoes cost under $10! These are my favorite mangoes. Also I was looking for original rice cakes for the kids and none of the stores I’ve been two these past few weeks had them! So naturally, I grabbed a bag here. Then I picked up some Kettle chips for our snack/movie night; sea salt, salt and vinegar and salt & pepper. And of course, two cartons of almond milk. The total here was 32.03.

By the time we headed to third store I was getting really hungry! This was at our local health food store, and I repeat: Bad place for impulse purchases!!
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Tonight is pizza night, so we needed to pick up some things like cheese, and the kids love taking wraps and sandwiches in their lunches with tofurky slices and cheese slices! The clif bar was my snack for all the hard work it takes to go grocery shopping 😉 Hey, it’s exhausting stuff! The gum was for my daughter who is a little gum obsessed these days, and the tooth brush is for my son who tends to walk around the house with his brush and lose it behind his bed or other weird places. So here’s a break down of what you see here.. Kale chips, organic bamboo wipes, made good chocolate chip granola bars, daiya cheese slices, tofurky slices, coconut clif bar, toothpaste for the kids, two bags of daiya cheese (shredded), a tooth brush, a bag of gum and a small package for me.
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My fussy eater loves blueberry fig bars, so I got enough for each kid to have one each day in their lunches (which clearly, works out to three boxes). Two packages of garlic naan bread for pizza night, a smoothie for the little guy and a root beer for me, and the largest impulse purchases; two new nail polishes that came in at $10 each! Almost everything from this store was roughly $5 per item. The grand total? $112.34!

I know that adds up to a lot from all three stores. Some of the purchases won’t be used until next week, others next weekend, and some will last into the week beyond that. So while it is a lot, I consider this to be two weeks worth of groceries plus some unnecessary items.

If you like this post, please leave a comment below and I’ll do more food haul posts that are much more practical, along with money saving tips when it comes to vegan food! This is not what a typical week of groceries usually looks like for us, and I would love to share with you what we buy on a more regular basis. 

Recreating the Childhood Meal of My Dreams

I’m not a well traveled person, having never left Canada and only once my own province. However I will always remember my trip on the plane to British Columbia when I was twelve. While I have no memory of the flight itself or the views below, two things stand out; they were playing Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (much to the embarrassment of my parents) and the food. I had never had anything like it before. I felt pretty classy when a woman brought a dish of food and presented it in front of me as though I were in a fancy restaurant. I took a tentative bite and my mind was blown! I whispered to my Mom and asked her what was on this plate because it was delicious! She informed me that it was rice and chicken with cream of mushroom soup on top. It became one of my favorite dishes that day and my parents started making it for me at home.

Now of course I don’t eat chicken anymore or cream of anything, but tonight I was set on making a creamy sauce for noodles of some kind. I turned to the big wide web of recipes and no matter how many I found nothing seemed quite what I wanted. Then I came across a vegan cream of mushroom soup recipe and thought about the vegan “chicken breasts” I had in the freezer. It was time.

The recipe I used was this Best Ever Mushroom Soup only I did adapt it a little. We’re out of Braggs Soy Sauce so I used a scoop of miso and corn starch instead of tapioca flour.

My kids helped clean the mushrooms with a fresh dish towel while I did the chopping and as a team we made garlic seasoned rice, dreamy mushroom soup and I cooked one single “chicken breast” in the oven to be sliced for garnish and flavor.

I wasn’t sure if my kids would eat it, especially my boys who adamantly despise mushrooms but I was surprised when my boys loved it and my “eat all the raw mushrooms” girl wasn’t keen. I put it in sample sized bowls on the chance that they wouldn’t eat it.

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This recipe was a big hit with my most finicky eater and I went back for seconds!

Bake Sale Adventures (And Food Porn!)

I won’t say “Happy Valentines Day” because let’s face it, Valentines Day is based on consumerist hype and who wants to celebrate the real meaning of St Valentine anyway?!

But it was a wonderful day. Another vegan friend and I braved the snow drifts to support our local Farm Sanctuary in their bake sale. It was a lot of fun!

First, we got stuck:

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Then we went inside, to realize that (woops!) we were a little early, and the vegan bakers were a little late. But it was no problem, because it gave us an opportunity to sneak out to the barn and visit the residents. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any pictures. It was quite dark in the barn and most of the residents were snuggled up to keep warm, but we were happily greeted by Eric the goat, who is an attention whore if you ask me. He happily offered us his snout to caress and closed his eyes blissfully at the stroke of my hand across his course hairy cheek. We were also greeted quite loudly by a little lamb, who I first met as a tiny wee thing and has now developed a fluffy cloud of wool around her mid section. The ducks and chickens, geese and other flighty folks welcomed us with squawks and honks.

We headed back to the events barn to buy our sweets and were greatly rewarded! For a donation of $20 (CAD) I filled up a container!

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As you can see, it didn’t take long to dive in! While we were waiting for the tow truck to come and give us a pull, we were content to munch. Look at some of the beauties (but please refrain from drooling on your keyboard!).

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Are you jealous? Damn right you are. But that’s not all. Since the wait was over an hour long, I had plenty of free time to scour the pages of this fabulous book, also purchased at the fundraiser..

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I am thrilled to start preparing the recipes in this book! At a glance, the recipes are all made with natural whole foods, easy to prepare, and familiar enough that even my kids could get into them. I am truly excited. In the years that I have been vegan, and the many cookbooks that I have purchased, I would have to say that this one is my favorite. And not just because it’s all brand new and shiny! It can be a real struggle to find cookbooks that don’t rely on processed food or expensive specialty, imported type of ingredients.

And that was only the beginning to an amazing day.

– Peace and love.