Earlier this year I read a great article by Mark Bittman about ChopChop Magazine, whose mission is “to inspire and teach kids to cook real food with their families.” It inspired us to try a subscription to ChopChop. While it’s certainly not a vegan publication, most of their recipes either already are vegan or are easily veganized just by virtue of being simple and healthy. Our 5 year old enjoys looking through the magazine and picking out recipes to try. Unfortunately he wasn’t so keen on this one but we loved it and with him we’ll keep trying. Here’s the recipe from ChopChop. We didn’t have soba noodles so we used whole wheat spaghetti. Which I suppose is another lesson for the kid – you don’t necessarily have to follow a recipe exactly. Substitutions are allowed (and sometimes encouraged).
Why would you pay upwards of 5 bucks for a package of 4 wimpy veggie burgers in the frozen food section of your local mega-mart when it’s super easy to make your own? And you can make them as substantial as you want. Darlene has become the veggie burger master lately and I guess it started with this post on her blog. There are a couple of recipe variations there for you to try but really we hardly ever make exactly the same recipe twice. The basic gist is a couple of carrots, and a medium onion (from our CSA in this case) finely chopped in the food processor, then about 3 cups of cooked brown rice whirred up for a bit, then a cup or more of nuts finely ground. And all this stuff is then combined with a cup or so of wheat gluten and/or ground oats and formed into burgers. You can bake them or fry them. For this version I also threw some kale in with the carrots and onions.
We got a ton of potatoes this year from our CSA so we’ve done veggie burgers many times with fried or roasted potatoes on the side. This recipe makes about a dozen burgers and they freeze well so pulling some burgers out of the freezer can make for a quick weeknight meal.
Though we had these burgers on homemade bread, we do often find ourselves getting store-bought buns. We’d like to make our own buns more often and this recipe is one of my favorites.
I’ll leave you with one more veggie burger variation that we like and that’s Scott Jurek’s Lentil-Mushroom burgers.
I’ve heard of kids who will eat anything you put in front of them but our 5 year old is not one of those. He’ll definitely eat vegetables but sometimes getting healthy food into him is more of a challenge. One thing he loves though is waffles. So here’s a recipe that packs a lot of nutrition into a kid-friendly form. (This is highly adapted from/inspired by Isa’s Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch.)
1 1/4 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. spelt flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 c. soy milk
1 c. water
1/2 c. hemp seeds
1 c. frozen chopped spinach
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 c. canola oil
6 Tbs. blackstrap molasses
1 tsp. vanilla extract
What you do
Sift together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Add the remaining ingredients to a blender and blend well. Next, pour the wet into the dry and mix gently until just combined. (Note that my blender doesn’t quite have the capacity for all the liquid ingredients so I hold back the 1 cup of water and add it at the end – or rinse out the blender with it and then add it.) Now make this mixture into waffles according to your waffle maker’s directions. I get about a dozen waffles from this recipe. They freeze well and re-heat easily in a toaster.
Don’t have a waffle maker? No problem. Just add about a half cup more water or soy milk and make pancakes! Also note that if you don’t have spelt flour, equal parts white and whole wheat will work fine. I’ve made these with up to 2 cups whole wheat flour and they turn out fine. You can try white whole wheat also. Finally, here’s one more tip: measure the canola oil first then use the same quarter cup for measuring the molasses, this way it’ll slide right out of the cup. Six tablespoons is one quarter cup plus another half a quarter cup – just eyeball it and it’ll be fine.
Sound good? Here’s another waffle recipe in the same mold from Darlene’s blog.
This is a fairly common (and quick) meal around here: rice, vegetables (maybe some tofu too) and a sauce wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. In this case we fried tofu, onions and carrots together (salt and pepper is all you really need for seasoning but if you want something more add whatever you like). We also sauteed some kale, then wrapped all that up with rice and a lemon tahini dressing. Which reminds me. Never buy salad dressing in a bottle. Make it yourself. But that’s another post.
One thing that keeps us sane during the week is to cook as much as we can on the weekends. We’re not necessarily cooking full meals on the weekends but rather some staples around which we can base several weeknight meals. Yesterday we cooked a big pot of brown rice and a big batch of seitan. Once those two things were done then I just diced a couple of sweet potatoes from our CSA and fried them in a big skillet with some of the seitan and called it a hash. Since I sometimes like brown sugar on my sweet potatoes I made a mix of molasses and agave and drizzled that on the hash and we served it with some rice and called it dinner. Pretty simple but typical of what we’re doing these days. The rice also went into veggie burgers for tonight’s dinner but that’s another post.
Back at the dawn of the Enlightenment (you know, in 2005) when there were only a very small handful of vegan food blogs, we started our own little blog. Over four years and 600 posts later we had a baby and precious little time for blogging (or even cooking for that matter) and we decided to call it quits. Now another four years on and we’re jumping back in to the blogging world. Our baby is 5 years old and we have another baby now so our time is still limited but we’re ready to share our kitchen with the world again.
We posted about some pretty elaborate meals in the past and there will be less of that this time around. Most of our meals these days are simple and quick but we do cook from scratch and avoid processed food as much as possible. Our goal here is to show that a busy couple with two young kids can find the time to regularly cook real, healthy food for our family and not resort to pre-packaged convenience foods or eating out. Cooking from scratch can be more time consuming but it’s also healthier and less expensive. We hope we can inspire you to get better acquainted with your kitchen.