Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Butterflies

Ryan's lunch: grilled nutritional yeast cheeze sandwich w/ soy cheese & nori Calvin; blueberries; baked tofu; steamed asparagus; stuffing.
This was my first attempt at chibi, or a cartoon/anime bento. I ran out of time in the morning with children & husband yelling that it was time to go, so I didn't have time to add the nori title. But many might recognize Calvin from the cartoon Calvin & Hobbes.

AJ's snack: stuffing;
asparagus; Veggie
Booty; baked tofu;
grilled cheeze

We already had leftovers
to add to lunches after
an early Thanksgiving
celebration at my sister-in-law's new inn.

Ryan's "family" lunch: yellow bell pepper; sesame tofu; rice ball "people"; asparagus; sliced black olives; broccoli.

AJ and his class made
vegetable-print vests
and clay necklaces for
their harvest feast at

After school Dada took
Ryan, AJ & Maia to visit
their aunt, cousins, grandma
& 97 year old great

Thanksgiving Day:
Our noontime dinner: garlic mashed potatoes/celeriac, stuffing, spicy baked tofu, broccoli, corn, roasted balsamic butternut squash pastina risotto (similar to this), cranberry cabbage (from a Russian cookbook of my mother's--she's Russian/Latvian), sauteed swiss chard, pickled beets, braised celery (veganized from Alton Brown's recipe here), crescent rolls, cranberry sauce, pickled asparagus, pumpkin pecan bread, pickles, cranberry apple cider.

We did a "dessert dinner"
of pumpkin creme pie,
baked apples, and vanilla
soy ice cream.

Many thanks to River
of Wing-It Vegan! She
tagged my blog for a
Butterfly Award!

Now it is up to me to
pass on the award to
10 more blogs of my
choosing. I liked River's
"veggie moms" theme.
I am going to deviate
from the expected food
blogs and choose 10 of my favourite parenting/parent-authored blogs, some food-related, most not. I am not concerned with whether or not these blogs have been awarded in the past--these are my picks. Enjoy!

These bloggers can post the Butterfly Award picture on their blog and give the award to 10 bloggers they think are the coolest!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Feels Like Winter

The weekend was busy with haircuts, donor milk drop-off, and sushi.

Maia is getting used to
hats & mittens as the
weather cools off. Within
3 days the weather was
70 degrees and sunny,
40 and rainy, or 18 degrees
at night with frost on the
ground come morning.


AJ's snack:

Ryan's lunch: mini pumpkin muffin; broccoli; meatless meatballs; fruit salad; baguette slices.

Ryan's lunch: Ian's Alphatots (letter potatoes); blueberries; Tofurky sandwich; mini banana walnut muffin; green beans; ketchup for dipping potatoes.

Nate's lunch:
potatoes N-A-T-E;
green beans;

AJ's snack:
green beans;

I brought a friend with a
new baby some food:
Chick Pea and Roast
Vegetable Salad from The
Essential Christmas Cookbook
and a fall pack of mini
pumpkin muffins (I made
two batches this week
with our remaining farm

I caught Maia and AJ
gazing at each other
on the floor. I don't do
"tummy time"; when
she's ready she can
get there and do it on
her own.

Ryan's lunch: carrots; cucumber; Tofurky deli slice "flower"; blueberries; roasted vegetable pizza slice; mini banana walnut muffin; peanut butter cookie w/dark chocolate topping.

I sent a Thanksgiving
gift swap off to a friend:
a mug filled with Lake
Champlain dark chocolates
on the bottom, peanut
butter cookies, mini pumpkin
muffins, and a pack of
homemade note cards.

Nate's lunch & AJ's snack.

a tiny
a grape;
1/3 Amy's

Ryan's lunch: vegetable crackers w/Tofutti cream cheese; baguette slices; blueberries; cucumber slices; a mini gel cup; a Thermos of chili!

Today was our first
winter farm share
pickup! Despite a high
of 34 degrees, the
greenhouses were busy
with people collecting
their produce.

Outside the collards greens were withered from frost, but inside the new mobile greenhouse remay covered rows of thriving greens. Out in the fields root vegetables were hunkered down awaiting harvesting during the next couple of months. Not bad for New England!

First winter farm share: 13 pounds of root vegetables including white potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, rutabagas; 4 winter squash (Ryan picked out the 2 biggest & the 2 smallest he could find, urf!); swiss chard; green & purple bok choy; leeks; scallions; lettuce; cabbage; spinach; mixed baby asian greens.
Ryan ran around checking out the condition of the children's garden and tasting chives from the herb garden that were still viable. I grabbed a few sage leaves that were still in perfect condition.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Review: Super Stop & Shop

Stop & Shop

We have a couple of weeks in between our last weekly farm share and our first monthly winter share pick-up. This year's weather yielded the worst harvest in a decade, I didn't have time to freeze or dehydrate much because of the new baby, and our boys' appetites are ever on the increase. So for the past 2 weeks, most of our food has come from the grocery store.

I shop at 2 stores weekly, another every few weeks, and a wholesale club every few months as necessary. But at least half of our groceries come from Stop & Shop. I'm writing this review because I am really impressed with recent changes at our local store.

* Reusable bags are really being pushed, for sale at every checkout. A discount is given for each bag used. Other stores have commented that the design of the bags from Stop & Shop are easiest to load.
* Stickers on almost every label in the produce department indicate where the food originated, so it's simple to avoid purchasing oranges from S. Africa versus Florida, or tomatoes shipped from Mexico versus hydroponically grown in nearby Quebec, Canada. And when a very local item appears in stock, a big sign goes up alerting customers, ie. corn, tomatoes & lettuce were good local buys this summer.
* An ever growing line of store-brand organics, from fresh produce to canned goods to vegan burgers are available at low prices.
* There are healthier
options at some check-out
lines, such as water, fruit
cups, raw veggies &
dip, etc. Not refrigerated
items include Luna bars,
Gerber veggie puffs,
Sun Chips & pretzels.
* The manager at our local
store on Old Connecticut
Path in Framingham is very
competent at answering
questions, helping customers, and reducing long lines at the check-outs. The only thing lacking is staff to help you get your groceries unloaded into your vehicle.

Stop & Shop also has a grocery delivery service. Unfortunately their online store doesn't stock as many natural and organic food items like their stores do.

Stop & Shops are located around New England and NY state. I give them a big thumbs up as a model for a mainstream supermarket. What are your favourite big-name stores doing to win you over?

Friday, November 14, 2008

November slowdown

Maia is 4 months
old already! She
loves when Dada
carries her. She
especially loves
the Bjorn right
now because she
can teethe on it.

Two more months
to go until the 6
month old mark!
AJ keeps talking
about when she'll
be able to try her
first food next

Ryan's lunch: mashed potatoes; stuffing; spinach; baked teriyaki tofu; the season's first cheap clementine; cucumber slices.

AJ's snack:
wheat flax crackers;
spinach; grapes.

No school tuesday -- Veteran's Day. We explained to Ryan about how Dada used to be in the Army, and how both his grandfathers served in the Army and Navy.

Ryan's lunch: sesame ginger udon noodles with a Chicorita (Pokemon); edamame; cucumber slices; grapes; broccoli; lime gel cup.

AJ's snack:
edamame; grapes;
broccoli; vegetable

My snack: grapes;
vegetable crackers;
cashew-tofu "cheese".


AJ's snack & Nate's lunch:
1/2 bagel sandwiches;
carrots; grapes; chips.

Ryan's lunch: yellow rice ball (to signify the full Beaver Moon tonight); dried apricot; whole wheat mini bagel sandwich with lettuce, tomato, Tofurky smoked deli slice, & Goddess dressing; baby carrots; yellow gel cup.

Ryan's lunch: blue & white tortilla chips; spinach; almonds; pomegranate seeds; a container of 6-layer black bean dip (to go with the chips).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Book Review: Vegetarian Sushi Made Easy

Vegetarian Sushi Made Easy, by Hiroko Fukuhara & Yasuko Takahata

Have you always wanted to make more than just your basic maki sushi, but not anything TOO complicated? Are you looking for some more ingredients in your vegetarian sushi besides cucumber and avocado? Want to make some easy eye-catching sushi for your next party?
Time to check out this cookbook.

Vegetarian Sushi Made Easy
is packed with full color photos
of healthy sushi. There are
many simple styles of sushi to
choose from: finger sushi, sushi
rolls, tossed sushi, sushi balls,
sushi pockets & pressed sushi.

A great ingredient glossary
introduces an array of healthy
Japanese foods that can be
incorporated into your sushi.

If you're looking for a beautiful approach to vegan sushi, this is it. What a wonderful resource for veggie bento recipes! And if you want all the taste but don't have the time, a tossed sushi 'salad' is super quick. This book will inspire you to create gorgeous, healthy sushi no matter what your skill level.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Restaurant Review: Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut
Natick, MA

How did we end up at the Pizza Hut in Natick on a sunday morning at 11:30am? The public school gives out free pizza coupons to the kindergarteners who read the most books. While I do not approve of rewarding reading with food, what's done is done; Ryan came home with a Pizza Hut coupon and was very excited to have earned it.

I used to go to Pizza Hut every wednesday evening in high school. Back then I was lacto-ovo veg, not vegan. After hearing we'd just taken the kids to Pizza Hut, an acquaintance asked me, "What on Earth can a family of vegans eat at Pizza Hut?" LOL. The list is short, but satisfying...

Their thin & crispy (my fave), hand-tossed, and dessert crust dough are all vegan, so you just have to specify which kind when ordering. All the pasta is vegan. Some of their pasta/pizza sauce is vegan, some aren't, so again you have to specify. But even their dessert icing is vegan! And many have a salad bar.

We usually order the
Veggie Lover's thin &
crispy style without
the cheese. Often they'll
swap out the cheese
from a single-topping
pizza with an extra veggie
for the same cost (for
Ryan in this case).
And we just order water
since all the drinks are
junk in my opinion.

Their available veggie toppings are mediocre. But what has changed the most over the years is the value...or lack thereof. The Veggie Lover's pizza is not very impressive, except for the whopping pricetag. Still, for a family of our size, spending only $20 on lunch isn't bad I guess.

Service at our local Natick
franchise was slow but
friendly. It's a smaller
dining area, but this Pizza
Hut gets a lot of take-out
& delivery business.

Not someplace I'd choose
to eat often, but I'm
sure we'll be here again
with more reading reward
coupons. Sigh.

This Pizza Hut is located on the dreaded route 9, eastbound, in the Sherwood (Christmas Tree Shops) Plaza.
508-650-1100. 1274 Worcester Road, Natick.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sugar Meltdown

The weekend was spent
eating the treats from the
boys' pumpkin bags.
I left plates of healthy food
around for healthy snacks
& meals.

The 3 boys can wipe out
a platter of food like
this in under 5 minutes.
I can't imagine the
spread I'll have to
make when they're
in their teens.

Ryan's lunch: sunflower butter & jam sandwich; carrots; grapes; green beans; broccoli; a pickle.

I'm keeping food simple this week as we really have to use any free time to clean out our basement that flooded last week. I won't post the heartbreaking photos of soggy Hello Kitty puzzles I'd bought in Japan, lots of books, or my husband's first publishing venture that all went into the dumpster.
AJ's snack: green
beans; grapes;

Nate's lunch: rice ball; baby corn; a pickle; kiwi; sesame tofu; carrot; bell pepper strips; cherry tomatoes.

AJ's snack: rice
triangle; sesame
tofu; baby corn;
a pickle.

No public kindergarten
on Election Day.

Ryan's lunch: rice & miso chik'n donburi; a pickle; baby corn; steamed asparagus; whole wheat cabbage & shiitake dumpling; homemade raw cashew/tofu "cheese"; kiwi.

AJ's snack: 1/2
sandwich; tamari
flax crackers;
a carrot.

husband's lunch: miso
chik'n donburi & rice;
steamed asparagus;
dumpling; kiwi; a recycled
vegan donut holes
plastic package!


I woke up with a migraine & mastitis, any very few groceries left. It was also Ryan's parent-teacher conference in the afternoon; his teacher said she wishes she "had a room full of Ryans".
Ryan's lunch: sesame tofu; "basketball" rice ball; mini banana walnut muffin; orange slices; cashew "cheese"; chinese green beans & asparagus.

Nate's lunch: rice cube;
orange segments; green
beans & asparagus; a
fortune cookie; tamari
flax crackers; sesame

AJ's snack: Veggie
Booty; rice triangle;
green beans &
asparagus; sesame

Ryan's lunch: wheat flax crackers; smoked almond crackers; Veggie Booty; hummus; peas; 2 meatless meatballs; Annie's fruit snacks; applesauce.