Feeling a bit frustrated – Ava food stuff

I’m very pleased that we’ve been eating vegetarian meals around here for the past week without a problem. I’ve found several new recipes to try and have been enjoying eating new, delicious foods. (Will post some recipes I’ve tried recently soon.)

The problem is, Ava is not as excited about all of mommy’s new recipes as mommy is. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t think being vegetarian is bothering her – the only meat she was fond of in the past anyway was fish. The problem is, I think, the dishes I am making are too “exotic,” for lack of a better word, for her.

Here I am all excited that I’m making these tasty and very nutritious meals, but she doesn’t want anything to do with them. (Although she does like hummus and that’s something.) So I’m banging my head on the wall.

I don’t want to become a short-order cook. I’d like her to eat what the rest of the family eats. However, I do realize some foods might just be too spicy for her (even though I don’t get too crazy with the spices because I’m a wimp myself when it comes to spicy foods).

So I guess I’m now on the lookout for vegetarian recipes that are more kid-friendly so that she can enjoy our meals too.

Part of this might be due to the fact that many toddlers get picky about their eating habits regardless of if they are carnivorous or not. It’s hard to say. Even before this began, she would have her days of not wanting to eat much of anything.

I have made some Morningstar Farmsร‚ยฎ Chik’n Nuggets for her and she liked those, but with drinking some soy milk (also rice milk) and having tofu and tempeh in meals, I start to worry about how much soy is too much. I’ve also made her organic mac and cheese with pumpkin mixed in. She does ok with that. Her favorite food – that she would eat any time of the day or night if granted permission – is cheese (string cheese, slices of cheese, whatever) but mama is trying to cut back a bit on that.

I got the book “Raising Vegetarian Children : A Guide to Good Health and Family Harmony” in the mail today and need to give it a look. I think there are supposed to be recipes in there and I’m sure there will be other information to calm me a bit.

I’m probably worrying unneccessarily. I’ve been known to do this in the past when she didn’t want to eat. It seems as soon as I vent about it somewhere, she gets back to normal, so here’s hoping that’s the case now as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks for listening. And if you have any links to kid-friendly veggie recipes, I’d love them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Vegetarian Chili Recipe

A new friend of mine made this veggie chili for a holiday potluck I attended in December. The chili was sooo good that I emailed her to get the recipe and try it out myself. Turns out she doesn’t really follow a recipe, but kind of makes it up as she goes. However she was happy to give me a list of the ingredients and approximate amounts. I made some slight adjustments when I made it for dinner last night, but I’m very happy with how it turned out. It was delicious.

Vegetarian Chili

One Chopped Red Bell Pepper
One Chopped Green Bell Pepper
One Chopped Yellow Bell Pepper
One Hot Pepper (Jalapeno)
One can black beans (drained)
One can pinto (great if you can find them already in chili sauce) –
drained
Tempeh (cut into cubes)
One large can of whole tomatoes (I used chopped tomatoes)
One small can of tomato paste – for thickness (I only added a few spoonfuls)
Chili Powder – (I used a teaspoon)
Cayenne Pepper – (I used a couple shakes)


You can throw this all into the crockpot and let it cook throughout the day. I didn’t have time for that since I didn’t start dinner til 5, so I put it into a large pot. I cooked it on the stovetop over medium-high heat for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the peppers softened.

I found the chili to be quite thick, so I added in a cup of water at the end to thin it out.

We garnished it with plain yogurt and shredded cheese, however this could easily be a vegan recipe without the garnishes. ๐Ÿ™‚

It makes about 6 or 7 servings.

Yummy!!

Letโ€™s talk about food

I’ve been inspired by many of my blogging friends to start creating some recipes of my own and posting them on my blog. Here is the first of what I hope will be many successful attempts at whipping up something new and tasty. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yammy Pasta
Sauce:
1/2 of a 40 oz. can of yams (drained)
6 oz. can of tomato paste
1 C cream (though you could substitute soy milk easily enough)
approx. 1/4 C frozen chopped onions
approx. 2 C frozen chopped spinach
a couple shakes of Pumpkin Pie spice (which is just cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)
a couple shakes of cayenne pepper
approx. 1 T brown sugar
Pasta:
Whole Wheat Pasta

Mash yams. Mix everything else in. Heat on stovetop until hot.
Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
Place yam mixture on top of pasta. Sprinkle parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (I would have if I had it) on top. Serve.

Makes about 5 servings.

I also found that you can add some soy milk to the mixture (without the pasta) to water it down a bit and make it into a soup, which was how Ava liked to eat it. I should clarify. She ate it only after making sure she spread some in her belly button and all over her chest. Glad I took her clothes off for this meal. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, I thought it was pretty tasty and seemed like a good combo of veggies. I can only assume that Ava liked it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wish I could give you Jody’s take on it, but he hasn’t had any yet. He’s been out of town on business the past few days and gets home tonight. Yay! I’ll be sure and have him test out some of the leftovers.

Now let’s talk about Tings.
I’ve had a few people inquire as to what exactly Tings are, so here’s a pic to give ya an idea. (Don’t say I never did nothin’ for ya.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

They remind me of Cheetos, but don’t have any cheese in them. (They are actually a vegan food.) However they do have nutritional yeast, which has a cheese-like taste to it. I recently found a Yeast Meets West website listing all of the benefits of nutritional yeast and I have to say, I’m quite impressed.

Nutritional yeast contains 18 amino acids (forming the complete protein) and 15 minerals. Being rich in the B-complex vitamins, it is vital in many ways and particularly good for stress reduction. The B-complex vitamins help make nutritional yeast such a valuable supplement, especially to the vegetarian. It is one of the rare vegetarian sources of B12.
One element of yeast is the trace mineral chromium, also known as the Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF). This is necessary to regulate blood sugar and is important for diabetics and people with a tendency toward low blood sugar.

So not only are Tings a yummy snack, they are good for ya too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have to add that Ava LOVES them.

Working on healthy eating (and ? for the veggies out there)


As part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I included: “* Become more aware about the food and drinks I ingest and feed to my family. – to include researching vegetarianism and veganism and learning about the impact of current farming and food production in this country on the animals and environment so that I can make informed dietary decisions.”

I admit I haven’t done much research yet, but my gut is telling me that the best thing for us is to make a gradual switch to vegetarianism. However, I’m not sure I will cut fish completely out of our diets. I need to read up on that. But I am fine with no longer eating chicken or turkey and I haven’t had beef in nearly 8 years so that’s no skin off my nose. (By the way, I don’t mean to imply that we’d be vegetarians if we continue to eat fish.)

So far I haven’t had much problem cutting meat out of our diets (Ava hardly eats it anyway), although it will be a lot easier once the meat we do have in the house (think frozen chicken and ground turkey) is gone. I’m contemplating giving it away to friends if anyone wants it. That way I know it won’t get “wasted,” but I don’t have to be the one consuming it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tonight’s dinner was Country Lentil soup (courtesy of Fantastic) and Tribe Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with pita bread. It was very tasty and I loved hearing Ava say, “Moo-oore, hummeeess.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Question for all of the vegetarians or vegans who read my blog:

Do you have any books (or websites) on the topic (especially relating to kids) that you recommend? Specifically, I’m looking for a good book that discusses nutrition and the vegetarian child. I want to make sure Ava’s nutritional needs are being met and I’d like to be “armed” with this knowledge as soon as possible because we have her 18 month check-up next week. I’m not sure what my doc’s stance is on vegetarianism. She’s pretty open-minded and has been mostly supportive of my parenting decisions in the past, but she likes to know that I’ve done my research and made informed decisions so I want to go prepared.
(By the way, I have other questions about vegetarian/vegan eating, but I will save those for another day.)

For anyone who is looking to cut some meat out of their diet, even on a very small scale, I just came across this site – Meatless Monday – that looks like a great way to get started. “Meatless Monday is a national health campaign to help Americans prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer – four of the leading causes of death in America.” It includes recipes, cooking tips, ways to eat on the go, staples for your cupboard and more. It seems to be a very helpful resource.

Thanks in advance to any book recommendations or websites you all have. ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate it!

New Yearโ€™s Resolutions

I can’t believe it’s already the end of 2005. Holy crap!! Where did the year go?? Seriously, it seems like it completely flew by and I expect time will fly by faster and faster the older I get. How does it work that way?!

Anyway, I hadn’t given much thought to New Year’s resolutions until stumbling upon the Milk Sucks site earlier today. It was then that I felt motivated to come up with a small list of resolutions.

Without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2006:
* Become more aware about the food and drinks I ingest and feed to my family. – to include researching vegetarianism and veganism (good site here) and learning about the impact of current farming and food production in this country on the animals and environment so that I can make informed dietary decisions
* Research voluntary simplicity
* Take a photography course and LEARN, LEARN, LEARN
* Continue portfolio building and practicing for my photography business
* Be mindful that all of my words and actions have consequences
* Focus on healing and acceptance (with regard to being an adult child of an alcoholic) – to include reading some of Claudia Black‘s books on the subject

Now that I’ve typed them out, I don’t know if they are resolutions so much as they are goals. That’s cool with me though. I needed to set some goals for myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

As for our plans for New Year’s Eve, we’re going to some friends’ house for a potluck and games with them and another couple. Since we all have little ones, we won’t be out ’til midnight, but it should be a good time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy New Year everybody! Hope you all have a safe and fun day and night! ๐Ÿ™‚

Pumpkin spice cookie recipe (aka the easiest cookies I ever made)

Halloweenlover asked for the recipe, so here it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

I got this recipe off AllRecipes. They truly are the easiest cookies I’ve ever made. The cookies are very cake-like. If you want them to be less moist, bake a few minutes longer and make sure they cool completely before you put them in a container.

Pumpkin Spice Cookie

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS:

* 1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
* 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin (or 2 cups pureed pumpkin)
* (optional – add in chocolate chips or nuts and to “healthify” it a bit, add ground flaxseed and wheat germ)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix and pumpkin until well blended. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

The last batch I made were with chocolate chips and they were dee-lish (and did I mention EASY??)! ๐Ÿ™‚

Baking fool

In between trying out my new camera, proofing pics and learning various things in Photoshop, I’ve been a baking fool the past couple days.

This weekend I baked and pureed three of the seven pie pumpkins we got at the farm a couple weekends ago.

Yesterday I made pumpkin cookies with a super easy (and low fat – I think!) recipe I found on All Recipes. I’ll post it below. The cookies are very moist and cake-like and perfect for a lil pumpkin I know who only has four teeth so far. (Is that cannibalism?) ๐Ÿ˜‰ (On a side note, I don’t think she will have just four teeth for long. She’s been having trouble napping the past couple days and tonight seemed to be in quite a bit of pain from her teeth/gums. She’s doing better after some Tylenol and Maggie – the dog – time.)

Then tonight I baked two pumpkin pies (using the recipe on the condensed milk can). That was a bit more challenging, especially since I sloshed a bunch of the pie filling out onto the cookie sheet they were going to bake on. Jody suggested using a turkey baster to fill them back up (so I didn’t have to move the full crusts/tins around) and that worked much better. I have to remember that trick for filling them the next time I bake them. Maybe I’ll try to get an artful pic of them before they are consumed. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and a couple days ago I baked the pumpkin seeds as well. A friend recommended putting cayenne pepper on them so I tried it out. It adds a nice kick and is something a little different than plain old salted seeds (though those are yummy too).

Now I have to figure out something to make with my other four pie pumpkins. I might try out some pumpkin bread or maybe some soup. Mmmmm. Those both sound like they’d be great frozen and reheated on a cold winter day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

1 (18.25 ounce) package spice cake mix
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin (I used 2 cups pureed pumpkin)

Directions
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease
cookie sheets.
2 In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix and pumpkin
until well blended. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the
prepared cookie sheet.
3 Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow
cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing
to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies