Friday, 30 March 2012

Potato stacks & Potato chips

I made these with sweet potato and vegan cheese.

You can really make it with any kind of potato.

I sliced them thin, and then put then stacked them in a muffin pan. I let them back on high for about 30 min and the put the cheese on tip and cooked for 10 more min. 

* If you cook your base foods on the weekend (rice/potato) these would take 10 min.

I also made potato chips...

I just cut them thinly and baked them on a sheet. It took 20 min to make since they were cut so thinly.


Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Are these bugs?

I cooked Quinoa in the rice cooker and then baked them on a baking pan to make them crispy. My plan was to add it to salads etc.

My daughter walks up to the pan and asks if they are bugs. She learnt in school that there are people in other countries who eat bugs and wondered if we were going to give it a try.

You know that your children are aware that you experiment with food when they wonder if tonight Mommy is baking bugs. I couldn't help it, but laugh.

Oh, and the baked Quinoa is great!


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

How to cook for kids with food intolerance's. Crazy!

Yesterday was another interesting dinner night at the Block house.

This is what I need to juggle:

Husband- Vegetarian - and picky when it comes to his tastes. He knows what he likes and it's not variety

Daughter- cannot digest dairy
Son - cannot digest dairy, wheat, and soy.

Myself- vegan with a wheat intolerance.

So, let the games begin! This is how the meal went.

My children had leftover spaghetti in their thermos at school and my husband has leftover spaghetti for lunch, but I didn't. So for dinner I had the rest of the leftover spaghetti.

I put some vegan cheese on it, and fresh parsley. These noodles are also rice noodles. So this meal is gluten free and vegan. (I put canned navy beans in the spaghetti sauce for my protein. Just rinse and drain the beans. Much faster than cooking beef)

I should also mention that at the start of my cooking, I put some asparagus in the oven to roast. A super easy way to make veggies that you don't need to pay attention to.

My daughter loved these. When my son was little we would tell him that he was a dinosaur and these were the trees. Then we'd sing the "I am a hungry hungry herbivore" song from the show called The Dinosaur Train on PBS. It worked.

Also at the start of the meal I put rice in the rice cooker.

So I have got asparagus and rice cooking, which require little to no attention. I have already dished out my meal on a plate and is waiting to go in the microwave.

Now onto the other 3.

I had already defrosted some leftover taco veggie meat, and wheat wraps from the freezer. They were sitting on the counter waiting for my attention. So my husband and my daughter had veggie tacco's with wheat wraps, soy cheese, and lettuce. With the rice and asparagus too.

My son cannot digest wheat, dairy or soy. So for this little guy I made him his favorite. Shrimp and mushrooms to put over the rice.

However, here comes the problem.

Having a leftover night when you clean up the fridge or freezer is great. You save money, you aren't wasting food, and part of your cooking is already done for you.

However......I have a little boy who is now looking at his Daddy and sister eating something that he can't.

I thought by cooking him shrimp, which he hasn't eaten in months, he would be content. But it wasn't enough of a distraction. He started crying saying he wanted some too. So I pulled out some leftover spaghetti meat sauce for 2 nights ago and put some in a bowl. He ate 2 mouth fulls and then went back to inhaling his shrimp. I can't even count how many mouthfuls he ate. I made extra wanting leftover for him for lunch and to freeze, but all I have left are leftovers for his lunch tomorrow. He didn't want to eat the beef, he just wanted to eat the same thing that everyone else is eating.

Myself being vegan the kids are used to seeing me eat something different. And it's not uncommon on a leftover night that we are all eating different things anyways. But now that he understands he CAN'T eat something, it sometimes becomes the very thing that he wants.

He gets frustrated with not being able to eat certain things.

I do my best to make sure he has a gluten free option for everything that is served on the table, but some nights it doesn't happen. And the reality is that he will need to adjust to always seeing people eat things that he can't. It will be a part of his life. It's impossible for me to run 10 steps ahead of all of his life experiences and modify them so that he feels "normal" with his eating. 

I am just happy that he loves to cook and has such an interest in food.  I am sure he will be quite the cook when he is older. Watch out ladies. :)


Monday, 26 March 2012

Kids lunches

Seeing this makes me feel so happy.

This is one of my kids lunch thermos. When I take apart their lunch at the end of the day and I see that they have eaten everything, there is this feeling of satisfaction, and contentment. When I open it up and 3/4 of it is still full I panic. Where they hungry all day at school? Did something happen at lunch? Were they too anxious to eat? Didn't they like what I made them?

What craziness all over food. My kids eat and eat and eat. It's like they have holes in their legs. So when they don't eat....I wonder why.

My kids favorite foods for lunch are:

noodles/rice and meat/veggie meat

My kids like variety but they also like consistency with the things they do like. 

- Flavored rice with chicken/meatloaf balls
-Spaghetti and meat sauce - what they have today
- Noodles and cheese

Most of the time I can take our leftovers and turn it into lunch for them. Sometimes I am making lunch from scratch at 9pm at night.

All to obtain the coveted picture above.



Friday, 23 March 2012

New products

Here are some new products I found at Choices last night.

Vega has changed. They have added more greens in it, the protein content is less, and apparently it tastes a lot better.  I have tried the new one yet, as I am just finishing up my other one.

Almond yogurt. 

  Powdered coconut milk. 

I also tried PC's new veggie meat alternatives. This is one of their meat-less options. It's made with grains, wheat, and soy.

Can you tell it's not beef?


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Gluten free, nut free, dairy free cookies!

Who has time to always bake cookies? I do I do NOT!

I am not a baker, nor do I enjoy it. For those who do, please invite us over. :)

Here are some of the kids favorite store bought gluten free, dairy free, nut free cookies.

I bought these at London Drugs. They are also at The Real Canadian Superstore, and I am sure at other locations. They seem to be a popular brand.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Chickpeas and Spaghetti squash

Chickpeas with Spaghetti squash

This side dish was supper easy. It was made in 10 min.

* Kids tip - They may just like the chickpeas plain or in the tomato sauce

1) 1 can of chickpeas - drain and rinse
2) 3/4 cup of tomato sauce
3) 1 tsp garlic
4) leftover spaghetti squash
5) Cilantro
6) Aloo gobi spices - I have a pre-mixed jar from a local store. I found them at the Burnaby's Farmers Market

They are called Ace curries to go, are a family business, and located in North Vancouver. Very yummy.


Monday, 19 March 2012

Freezing food and Roasted Kale

So last night we unexpectedly came home late from a trip to Science World here in Vancouver. The kids had a great time.

So, I needed a super quick meal when we got home.

I choose veggie burgers with raw carrots, and rice pasta.

However....Tyler can't eat veggie burgers and I don't have time to defrost beef and start making patties out of it. idea.

Now what..

I scramble through my freezer looking for ideas so that we can all eat one thing and I wont have to cook 2 or 3 different meals.


I find already cooked meatloaf patties that I made in a muffin pan. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

Veggie burgers and his beef burger were made in a jiffy.

Life happens. Life cannot be so scheduled that everything happens according to plan. For that very reason, having stock of meals and cake/treats for any child with an allergy or intolerance is crucial.

Get a good food saver that you like, and stock up. It will make life so much easier!

The meal was made is such a hurry that I only took pictures of the roasted kale.

I didn't even bother to rip it up into small pieces, no time. I rubbed them with a bit of sesame seed oil, and sea salt and threw them into the oven on high - 425 for 20min. They roasted while I cooked the rest of the meal and when I was done cooking they were done too. Perfect timing. 

They were so crunchy and lovely. Yum. They were on sale at Choices too. Even better. :) $1.50 for a big bunch.


Sunday, 18 March 2012

Vegan Nacho's

These are regular tortilla chips, that are naturally made of corn and are gluten free. But as always, read the ingredient list on your bag. Different brands may be different.

Below is vegan cheese that is also soy free. Perfect my little guy. My kids started to like vegan cheese by having nacho's. Then you can just add salsa. 

Nacho's are a yummy treat that I thought I would only be eating at home, but vegan restaurants have nacho options. For example, the vegan and gluten free restaurant Chomp in Port Moody. A great local eatery. Go check it out! (And, no I am not getting paid for this plug, I really do love Chomp and it's my own honest opinion). :)


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Vegan Gluten free Taco's

With Tyler being unable to digest wheat and soy there aren't many vegan meals he is willing to eat. This is one of them because he loves chickpeas. 

These are chickpeas cooked with sliced mushrooms in taco seasoning. This is faster to make than beef.

Below is the veggie meat from PC. (This does have wheat and soy in it)

Taco corn shells are gluten free. My son and I ate these. 

My daughter and husband likes the wheat wraps. 

Load them up with veggies and the chickpeas. 

Below is rice, salsa, lettuce, chopped tomatoes, vegan cheese, goat cheese, taco chickpeas. 


Friday, 16 March 2012

Vegan icing, dairy free, soy free, egg free icing

Anyone who has a child with a gluten/wheat allergy has had this experience.

My son's daycare: so, tomorrow we were thinking of making a cake for St. Patrick's day...

Result: In an already crazy day and anticipating a busy evening, I am now making dairy free, soy free, gluten free icing. Thank goodness I had gluten free cake already made in the freezer!

Vegan Icing - Soy free, Dairy free, egg free, Gluten free

1 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup of Earth Balance Margarine**SOY FREE
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Food colouring

My pre-made gluten free cake in the freezer. Essential for survival when you have kids. Things always pop up.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Pesto Pasta

Pesto Pasta with Rice Noodles, Tofu and Mixed Veggies

There is a few things to note with this meal

1) These are rice noodles
2) The pesto mix is from the health food isle from The Canadian Superstore and is dairy free
3) There are pine nuts in this meal that can be taken out
4) Tofu can be supplemented for another protein
5) You can put in any veggies you like
6) My kids loved this meal!!

This meal is pretty easy. I made it on a night when I didn't have much time.

1) I fried up some veggies, pine nuts, and tofu in vegetable stock and pesto mix while the pot was boiling and cooking the pasta.
2) I then joined the two parts together and added a bit more of the pesto mix and some olive oil
3) You can then add bacon bits and Parmesan cheese if you like

My kids ate leftover meat from the night before, due to the soy intolerance and daughter's dislike for cubed tofu.


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Wheat free and vegan apple pie. 

I am not a baker. In fact baking drives me crazy and I have little patience for it. My kids are dessert deprived. However, when my 4 yer old son asked me for pie I couldn't' say no.

I had rice pastry in the freezer. This pastry I found at Choices and it is rice pastry with no dairy and no eggs. I tried using it for another recipe and my meal completely flopped and got converted into something else, which was a success. Anyways, the point is that I had leftover rice pastry in the freezer. So I went to work.

I didn't follow a recipe I made this from memory watching my Mother make apple pie every time she came to visit us.

I was quite impressed with myself and wish you could all taste it and give me pat on the back. I hope you enjoy the photo because dessert photos are rare.

I followed the directions on the pre-made dough. I had to bake it before I put anything in it. From my first experience I found out why. :) 

1) I peeled and sliced up apples very thinly
2) I cooked them with maple syrup, Earth balance, and cinnamon. (I didn't measure I just poured and tasted)
* At this point the house smelt lovely!

Then I made the topping

This is gluten free granola with raisins warmed up with Earth balance margarine, and brown sugar.

I think just combined the three parts. Brought out the cooked dough from the oven.
Poured in the apple mixture
Topped with the topping and I was done.


Sunday, 11 March 2012

A kid friendly vegan meal

This is a vegan burger with boiled carrots. I offered to put Earth balance margarine on their carrots, but the kids just wanted to eat them plain.

The bun is a normal bun that you would buy in a store, it just doesn't have any milk or eggs in it.

You can also make some french fries.

To make super yummy fries...

Cut them up very thinly.

Bake them on a pan and rub them with oil. Leave them on the pan until they are easy to lift off. Don't try and lift them from the pan if they are stuck, or they will break in half. Especially thin ones. 

My daughter ate her whole vegan burger, carrots, and some fries.

This is one vegan meal that even meat eaters think is yummy.


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Baked tofu...for the vegetarians in the family

Baked tofu is super easy to make.

You can marinate it in any sauce you like and then bake them in your oven on high (400) to get crispy.

This is something you don't need to think about so for those of you who have some family members who are vegetarian/vegan and you are also cooking meat, this is an easy option...and very yummy.

Kids who don't even like tofu will eat tofu easier if it's cut up in tiny tiny pieces and are crispy. It's a good transition step. :) Adults too!


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Why meal planning makes your life easier

When you can make your leftovers work for you and not against you, cooking will be much easier.

Last night I made this:

Today I took the same leftover noodles and made them into crispy noodles.

(See my oodles of noodles post (Feb 7th) to see how rice noodles are cooked)

First I spread them out on a pan and rubbed just a bit of oil on them and broiled them for a few minutes.

When they were done they looked like...

To plan these from the beginning and cook the steps to get them there would be so much work. Thoughtful planning and you can use leftovers to make those extra special meals/side dishes.


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

For the adult eaters in the house: warming up food without cooking it

Sometimes you just want your ingredient to be warm but not cook it or it will turn to mush. Here are two examples of that. 

Above is a stir-fry with tofu, wild rice and broccoli in it.

Cooking tip:

I added the avocado in it at the end after I put it on the plate. The heat from the dish warmed up the avocado and made this dish divine.

This was vegan chili that I made in a large quantity and then froze in the freezer in smaller quantities. I added the peppers to it while it was heating up in a pot on the stove.

Cooking tip:

I cut up cabbage in small slices and poured it on top. The heat from the dish warmed up the cabbage but didn't cook it so it was still crunchy. A nice texture to go with the soft beans.

You can also do this with spinach leaves. I hate limp spinach leaves, but I do like them warm, so I do the same with spinach leaves. Really, any green leaf veggie would work.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

What to do with fresh herbs

So I bought some dill last night and I want to make a dip with it. However, I don't want to use all of it. That will be a bit much, so...

I tore off little pieces and I put it them in an ice cube tray.

 Filled it up with water
And froze them...
I then put them in a freezer bag and they are ready for me fresh when I want them.

You can also just hang dry them in your house.

I have a small..ok very small garden and I grow herbs in it. It's enough so that I have fresh herbs in the summer and go through a big drying rotation in the fall to use in the winter.

It will take a couple of days and when they are dry and being to flake off when touched then they are ready. You can keep them in a jar or bag.


Sunday, 4 March 2012

My kids ate celery!!

Even though my kids don't eat as many as veggies as I do, I still love that they see my plate loaded up with healthy plant food every time I eat.

Today out of the blue my kids decided to try something I was eating. I didn't offer it to them, they took the initiative themselves and I was so surprised by this that I just had to take pictures.

Make sure you are sitting for kids ate CELERY and they LIKED IT!

 They actually stopped eating their BBQ chicken and cheese noodles to eat a whole stick of celery in dip.
Here's the veggie dip they were dipping it in and liked.

1 cup Toffuti sour cream (dairy free)
1 cup Vegannaise (vegan mayo - egg free)
Knorr Vegetable soup

* Put in the fridge for 2 hours.

This was my lunch. Plus the celery and dip. It was leftovers from dinner last night.

Cornstarch noodles, soup, and vegan burger chopped up with green beans.