children · Education · food · health · kids · modern life

School Lunches

 

Dr.Mazes FarmThis is just a short little anecdote that happened this morning. I make my kids’ lunches everyday but my older one is in middle school now where he can also get something there if he so desires~ a mango smoothie, Doritos, or whatever he feels is missing from his lunch that day. I’m not thrilled with his options which seem to include every chip that has ever graced a grocery store shelf, but I do not tell him things are off-limits because really, he could get whatever he wanted and I’d never know. I encourage him to try things while being aware of what is actually in his food. This morning he asked, “If they want us to eat healthy, why do they provide so much junk food?” A very good question indeed. They make the kids who buy a full lunch take raw veggies from the salad bar, as if that will balance out the meal, but of course kids just throw away what they don’t want. Salad bars are great in lunch rooms, but sometimes I think they give permission to make the rest of the food nutritionally void and allow vending machines full of junk in the cafeteria. My son has a very good point, why allow that stuff at all? Why not make foods with veggies naturally in them~ soups, lasagna, enchiladas, tacos, casseroles, chilies, stir fries, etc…? Actually, I heard about a school cafeteria that has a stir fry bar which I think is better than a salad bar by far. The kids pick out meat and veggies and have them stir fried with rice or noodles while trying different sauces and flavors and most likely trying different veggies as they compare lunches with their friends. It’s eating a meal with the vegetable in it and enjoying it, not plopping some raw veggies down next to their pizza and either eating them because of a sense of duty or just pitching them. Plus everyone knows it is easier to get the nutrition out of a cooked vegetable than a raw one. It seems the school cafeterias are set up to perpetuate the notion that kids only like junk food but will possibly eat some healthy stuff if they are made to do it in small amounts, on the side. That is not giving kids enough credit. They deserve more. 

Advertisements
dairy free · food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · gf bread · gluten free · gluten free bread · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten intolerant · kids · slow food · vegan · vegetarian

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup with Gluten-Free Breadsticks (Nut Free)

When I looked for recipes online for vegan cream of broccoli soup I found a lot of recipes with cashews. My oldest and I do not do nuts very well, or at least our stomachs don’t, so those recipes obviously wouldn’t do. I looked at regular cream of broccoli soup recipes but was reluctant to try a complicated recipe with so many substitutions required, so I was pleased when I finally found a recipe that used white beans for the ‘cream’ part. I tweaked the recipe a bit because it was a simple recipe and easy to add to it, but the bulk of it comes from Tasty Yummies, so thank you TY!

vegan cream of broccoli soup

It’s hard to make green soup look good, but trust me, it tastes like a dream. My oldest was so excited he ate it every day for three days straight and loved every drop. I served it with garlic bread sticks which I make almost every day anyway, by taking Trader Joe’s flat breads

Gluten Free Pizza Crust
Gluten Free Pizza Crust

or a gluten-free baguette if we happen to have one, (if we do it is Olivia’s Super Free or Wildflour brand).  Whether I use the flatbreads or baguettes, I preheat the oven to 425, spread about 1/2 t olive oil on a piece of bread, add crushed garlic and Tuscan Sea Salt which has Italian herbs added into it, then bake for 10 minutes, or less if the baguettes are room temperature. Truth be told, I make breadsticks so often I actually just have all the ingredients in a jar of olive oil so I can just scoop it out and rub it on the bread, no garlic crushing or salt sprinkling required. Anything to get dinner on the table faster, right?!

Vegan Cream of Broccoli Soup:

1 head of broccoli

1 chopped leek

1 chopped yellow onion

enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a soup pot

3-5 garlic cloves, crushed

1 15oz can of cannelloni beans

2.5 C veggie broth

Sea Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 t. Herbs d’Provence

First steam the chopped broccoli for about 3 minutes, until nice and bright green. Sauté the onion, garlic, and leek in a soup pot until translucent, sprinkle with the Herbs d’Provence, then add in the beans and broth. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat and add in the broccoli. Once cooled a bit, puree in a blender until smooth~ it doesn’t take long. Add salt and pepper to taste, then scoop out with a bread stick and eat your fill guilt-free since this is one ‘creamy’ soup that is low in fat and high in fiber as well as highly nutritious. For a blended soup, this was exceptionally quick and easy. Definitely will go into my week night meal rotation.

 

 

 

children · gardening · kids · organic · parenting · picky kids · slow food

Superfly

Did you know that flies actually live a lot longer than 24 hours? They can apparently live for about a month, which is closer to 720 hours. It must be true, I found this out on the internet. Sarcasm aside, it really must be a myth about the 24 hours because we’ve had the biggest, freakiest fly in our house for three days now, and it has made itself known all 72 hours it’s been visiting us. It’s so fat that my oldest can’t believe how fast it is, he thinks it should be like a Garfield Fly where it sleeps all the time and waits to be served lasagna. I told him maybe it is all muscle and some kind of super fly, a hero in the insect world. He said no, it just seems to want to be our pet. I have to agree, it follows us upstairs and downstairs, in and out of rooms, noisily adding a buzzing soundtrack to our home life and stealthily remaining just out of arms reach, or rolled up magazine reach to be more honest. We are trying to encourage it to go outside, I don’t want to kill it b/c it would make such a nasty mess I can’t even imagine, so we are leaving doors open and swatting it towards them, but that just never works and we end up feeling frustrated and foolish, Superfly laughing haughtily in the corner. Anyway, despite the new ever-present presence in the house, I did want to share a good news infographic from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, by way of the Edible Schoolyard Project. It shows improvement in kids’ lunches but I think the real news is that when kids actually have healthy choices they are more likely to eat healthy foods. It’s another myth that kids will always choose the pizza over the salad bar. Just like adults, kids want to make healthy choices, maybe not all the time, but if there is no healthy choice, then it will be none of the time. And that’s no myth.

From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
celiac disease · children · dairy free · food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gf foods · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten free lifestyle · gluten intolerance · gluten intolerant · kids · vegan · vegetarian

Broccoli and Tofu

You can’t really ever go wrong with tofu and broccoli, at least in my oldest son’s opinion. His favorite way to eat that healthy combination used to be wrapped in a spelt tortilla with garlic sauce. He even wrote an essay about that dish in third grade when asked about his favorite thing to eat, but sadly, he can’t eat spelt anymore and corn tortillas are just not the same. They are great for soft tacos, quesadillas, and ‘beandillas’, (a quesadilla made with refried beans instead of cheese) but corn tortillas just do not complement the broccoli and tofu like the spelt did. He missed that dish terribly, along with countless others, once his gluten intolerance was discovered, but now he’s found a new favorite way to enjoy broccoli and tofu. Here’s the recipe:

broccoli and tofu with pasta

Ingredients:

1 package brown rice fusilli

½ yellow onion

2 crushed cloves of garlic

3-4 cups broccoli, cut into bite size pieces

1 package extra firm tofu, drained and wrapped in paper towels to get out extra water

Approx. 2 T. olive oil (1 for the stir fry and 1 for the pot of pasta)

1 T. balsamic vinegar (or to taste)

1 T. gluten free Tamari

Dried basil and oregano to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

For this dish, I start the water boiling for the pasta as I begin the cutting up process. Pour in at least one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan, and then add the onions, cooking until translucent. Next the garlic should be added in, with the broccoli following. Pour the vinegar over the broccoli while stirring the veggies. Add the tofu then cover the tofu with the tamari. While cooking, stir in the herbs, salt, and pepper, and cook until the broccoli is bright green and the tofu is warm throughout with a bit of browning. Meanwhile, make the fusilli according to the package directions, and when all is done combine into approximately 4 bowls. This is one pasta dish that doesn’t require parmesan, but feel free to add it if you prefer, or if you like just drizzle on a bit more olive oil. For my son and I, we do not add anything but our forks.

dairy free · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · gf bread · gluten free · Gluten free eating · gluten free food · gluten free foods · gluten free lifestyle · gluten intolerant · picky kids

Fall Weather = Good Food

I’m officially out of my food-funk, thanks to the Fall weather which opens up the door to a whole new pantry of foods. Soups can be found stewing every Sunday once again, while old favorites like pumpkin scones bake in the oven. My oldest keeps bringing up food that summer had me out of the habit of making, like croutons, kale chips, and carrot cake muffins. Great ideas! My youngest is still enamored with garlic bread sticks made with Trader Joe’s flatbreads, and considering how often I go there and find nothing but a gaping hole, I can only assume he’s not the only one. In fact, each time I buy 7 or 8 packages (because I put them in the freezer too) the cashiers inevitably ask what I do with them, and then they always share what they do with them; one uses them for Panini’s, another toasts them, and they all love them. Here they are again:

Gluten Free Pizza Crust
Gluten Free Pizza Crust

Just be sure to leave 7 or 8 for me in the case, because I’ll be needing them again soon. In fact, they just might be my next crouton base. Back to the kitchen!

food · Food allergies · food allergy blogs · food sensitivities · gf foods · Gluten free eating · picky kids · vegan · vegetarian

Lentil Love Affair

I’ve written about lentil soup enough to signify I’m no casual lentil-liker, and I’ve seen several recipes for lentil salad this season which makes me think they might be having a popularity surge…I don’t know that for sure, but what I do know is that I’ve just been cooking up lentils like a mad woman lately and my husband and oldest have been eating them up just as fast (when I share that is.) Here’s how I’ve been cooking them: 1.5C French green lentils cooked in a pot with 4C veggie stock, 1 chopped leek, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot and a bay leaf, plus some olive oil poured in there too. Once the lentils are cooked through (about 20-30 minutes) I add some cracked pepper and Mediterranean salts to taste. They are good in a bowl, wrapped up in corn tortillas, spread on slices of gluten-free bread or crackers, or served over rice. Another thing I’ve found that has been making my life a little easier is a vegan cheese my youngest actually likes on pizza. Yay! I thought that was a lost cause because everyone seems to like daiya cheese best but he doesn’t like it one bit (I do though!). He likes follow your heart brand, so I guess I learned to try different brands when they refuse to eat something. He’s also loving Amy’s brand gluten and dairy free frozen pizza with spinach. That is the first time ever he has voluntarily eaten a green vegetable and liked it. I’d even say loved it!

children · gluten free

Broccoli and Tofu Wrap

Normally I’m annoyed when one of my sons tells me what he’s “going to have for dinner” before lunch time has even passed. Today though, I let it go because what my oldest ‘ordered’ happens to be my favorite thing to give him, a broccoli and tofu wrap. It’s easy, healthy, and the fact my son gets excited for it leaves me smiling no matter what kind of day it’s been. (And it actually hasn’t been a very pleasant day.) Here’s the basic recipe: lightly steam cut-up broccoli and cubed tofu with a bit of balsamic vinegar, (gluten-free) soy sauce, and a turn or two of cracked pepper. Pile that into a couple of warm tortillas, corn if gluten intolerant of course but my son’s favorite are spelt. Add some garlic sauce on top and enjoy. I usually steam more than I need of the broccoli and tofu and keep it in the fridge for warming up the next day~ it works well, plus the mixture can always end up on rice instead if that sounds better. Great weekday recipe.