Monday, 30 September 2013

Vegan 'Beef' Noodle Bowl

It's been emotional. Rarely do I post this much, or start a month so organised with posts lined up and ready to go. Mofo is now over for another year.
With that in mind I've got my last Mofo 2013 recipe for you! It's easy to make and Small and I enjoy it together.


Ingredients

1 package soy beef curls (we buy ours from HERE)
250g Instant Rice Noodles
2 TBSP Coconut Oil
1/2 Can coconut milk
1/2 TSP Ground Pepper

For The Curry Paste

2 Chillis chopped with seeds removed
Handful of chopped shallots
2 Garlic Cloves
Handful of fresh corriander 
1/2 red pepper with seeds removed
1 TSP ground ginger
1 TBSP lime juice


The 'beef' we use requires soaking in hot water for around 10 minutes before use. I always do this first.
Place all curry paste ingredients in a food processor and combine well.
Drain the 'beef' and fry until slightly crispy in the coconut oil. Add your curry paste and coat everything. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Add your coconut milk and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes to reduce a little.
The noodles I use require covering in boiling water for 3 minutes so I do this at this point. 
Once noodles are ready drain a mix in pan with curry. Serve.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bistro 1847 Birmingham

I have a special affinity with Birmingham that I guess Mr B will never quite understand. It holds little allure for him to visit as there's not even much choice when it comes to food options. However for me the lack of vegan choice here always annoys me as I visit quite often to see family & friends - it's my hometown after all. It holds memories and has a familiarness (I know that's not a word, but it's very fitting here) that nowhere else has.
I know there are SOME vegan places; The Warehouse Cafe, The One Earth Shop - and places that will accommodate vegans like Woktastic, Wagamama and Pizza Express. There was also Veged Out but it recently closed down. I really WANT there to be more choice, so I was delighted when I heard Bistro 1847 would be opening a branch here.
We went along at lunchtime and we had the place to ourselves when we arrived. I was pleased to see they'd marked things as vegan or vegan option on their menu as the one I'd seen beforehand only said 'dairy free' which I thought could be a little confusing for people.



To start I had the 'Mushroom & Liqorice Pate, Wild Mushroom cappuccino, Confit fennel, Pickled enoki & Amaranth rice crispies'.


For my main I had 'Oh I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside - Local beer & Baltic battered mead marinated smoked tofu, hand cut chunky chips, mushy peas & lemon wedges'.


For pudding I had 'Good Old Fashioned Mr Lover Boy - Dark chocolate truffle, candied orange, grapefruit & whiskey jelly & cacao nibs'.


I was unsure what to think before visiting as I'd not really heard good things from people I know who have visited their Manchester branch - from the sound of the menu we'd seen beforehand I knew it could either be brilliant, or not work at all. I'm really pleased to say that I really enjoyed my meal - the main was the highlight. I've had vegan 'fish & chips' along the same lines at several other places that haven't been quite right, but this time I was left wishing I could have seconds. 
My cocktail was an 'English Garden' (on the left). It was nice, although I felt it could of benefitted from being a little less sweet.


We took up their meal offer of 3 courses for £20 and each had a cocktail. Small shared our meals and had her own pudding. The bill came to around £55. Clearly in price terms Bistro 1847 isn't a replacement for The Warehouse Cafe - a meal for the three of us there would cost half as much. It does however fit nicely into place alongside it - it's great to finally have something in Birmingham a little more upmarket for special occasions and taking non vegan relatives & friends. The setting inside the Great Western Arcade is great as it is central and the inside of the restaurant is fresh & modern.
I'll be sure to return - but it'd be nice to see a small kid friendly menu and a bigger coffee choice.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Time Together

Things that have characterised this week have been walking, eating at Pizza Express (more than once), Small saying 'oh dear' & 'good girl' (many many times), driving, beaches and custard doughnuts.


Small enjoyed her first ferry ride, ate dough balls and walked most of the way  around Blackgang Chine and everywhere else we visited by herself. I've really been aware of her growing independence recently. She expresses what she does and doesn't want, and confidently explores new places with the occasional glance backwards to check Mommy or Daddy is still there.


I love weeks like this where I also get some time just with Mr B. Small had a day trip on a steam train with her grandparents whilst Mr B and I had a day out. It's so hard when you have young children to spend time alone with your partner. I adore spending time with Small, but as she demands 24/7 attention at the moment with her co sleeping ways it's nice to have a few hours to be able to concentrate on each other.


We went upto The Needles armed with our National Trust cards and walked along a cliff (I didn't get too near in that picture as it was a long way down!) to see the Old Battery. 


It has been nice to squeeze in a trip away before Autumn well and truly sets in. We even got a few days of sun & Small went paddling in the sea.



 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Quay Arts Cafe, Isle Of Wight


I've visited this cafe before whilst I've been here for the I.O.W festival and always found something to eat here. It's a lovely little art gallery cafe next the the quay just outside Newport centre. If it's a sunny day they have a nice outdoor seating area.
We visited today and were sad to see today they only had a salad marked as vegan, however after asking the chef there was a few options (a soup, sandwich, pasta or walnut coffee slice). They were helpful in a way that left me confident they understood our requirements.
I had a mushroom & thyme pasta dish with the walnut coffee slice after. It was pretty nice, although the pasta was quite obviously lacking something (the cream it is normally served with ).


Overall it was a decent vegan meal in an area where that's not to easy to find. Well priced at around £20 for two people including a coffee & ginger beer.  

The Orrery, Isle of Wight


This place is a little cafe in Ryde, tucked away about halfway up the high street. It seems to be all vegetarian, although they don't really advertise it that way - at least not at the actual cafe. 


It's interior decor is really unusual - most of the globes in the pictures are Alice in Wonderland themed and actually for sale. The large planets suspended from the ceiling can be controlled by switches for £1 for 5 minutes.


The cafe also houses what can only be described as a 'naughty postcard' museum. The cafe itself has about eight tables. If you are planning on visiting the Isle of Wight it's the only all vegetarian place I could find at time of writing - check the website for opening times as they seem to vary quite a bit.


The menu isn't large and vegan options aren't marked on the menu (although they say soya milk is available). When we visited there was a choice of two things - a vegan curry on the specials board and the falafel pockets from the menu. We asked if the falafel was vegan and they didn't seem to know, so we asked to see all the packets and ingredients lists and they were indeed vegan. Slightly annoying having to do that though, I'd hoped staff members would be a little more clued up about what they were selling.


I enjoyed my meal, although the falafel was almost mashed into the houmous so I couldn't actually find any pieces for my daughter to easily pick up and eat herself. When we arrived our group of 5 adults and a toddler were the only customers, but the food still took ages to come. The staff member seemed to be turning away customers by telling them he had no strawberries or cream before they'd even had chance to sit down.
The menus were sticky, the tables looked like they needed a wipe and perhaps it would have been a better experience if the member of staff was a little more knowledgable. 
It was reasonably priced and great to find a vegan option for lunch on an island that seems to be seriously lacking in vegan choice. I rang around some of the suggestions on the I.O.W vegans & vegetarians website but was told they only do vegetarian food, or that they could make something but things are not kept seperate in their kitchens. The Quay Arts Cafe in Newport is the only place I know of that clearly marks vegan options on their menu, but again it's lunch type food.
I'd return, but it'd be nice to see some improvement!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Vegan Toddler Snacks


I'll say before I even start discussing this one - I prefer to make home made snacks for Small, but busy mum's will know that's not always possible. It can be really useful sometimes to be able to throw something in your bag, or grab something from the cupboard. 


I found that Ella's Kitchen & Organix in the UK have quite a few things which are suitable. Do please check the packets though as ingredients can change from time to time. Ella's Smoothie pouches, nibbly fingers and Puffits are ok at the time of writing. 

Something Small really enjoys are home made flapjacks. I make a sugar free toddler friendly mix which I cut into small fingers once baked or dehydrated and keep in a jar - I'll post the recipe before the end of vegan mofo.
What do your vegan kids like to snack on?


 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Things Not Going To Plan!!

I had planned to make an amazing toddler friendly curry for dinner tonight - but life got in the way. Small isn't very well..... For pretty much the first time ever. A trip to the Dr and some antibiotics later and I've had a duvet day with my precious little girl. 
Needless to say, she 's not really in the mood for eating much ...... She 's had plain mash potatoes with tofu and grated carrot hidden in there, oh and Nakd Crunch bars.
Normal service will resume soon... 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Quick Pasta for Toddlers

This isn't really a 'proper' recipe, but it's a great tasty & quick meal for when I have less time, and Small loves it.



This is my favourite pasta sauce to use - we buy this from Ocado and it's often on offer for £1 a jar. It's labelled vegan and contains spinach and carrots.

I add 25g of small pasta shapes and 25g red lentils to a pan and boil for 10 minutes.

Once the sauce has been heated stir in 25g ground almonds.

Serve with heated pasta sauce/ almond mix with a pinch of nutritional yeast on top.

I find this makes 2 portions according to Small's appetite, will keep in a sealed container in the fridge overnight.
 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Coconut Oil for Toddlers


Small has been having coconut oil in things for quite some time now. One of the challenges of a vegan diet for a toddler is making sure there's enough fat, as vegan diets are normally quite high in fibre. Toddlers don't eat as much as us grown ups do, so I constantly have to think about what she's eating to try and get the balance right. It's important not to go the other way either and include way too much fat!
She has several other sources of fat too: Flax Oil as it's Omega rich, Avocados, Ground Nuts/ Nut Butters and vegan margarine (as it is fortified) - to name a few, so by no means is it her only source. 
It's good because it contains Lauric Acid  - which has lots of brilliant properties such as being an immune system booster and it's also found in human breast milk. 
Here are some of the ways I use coconut oil in Small's Diet:

For cooking in place of vegetable or olive oil. It tastes great for frying tofu!

On toast or toasted sandwiches in place of margarine. If it sounds strange, give it a go - I promise you it tastes amazing!

A tablespoon mixed into porridge with cinnamon and soaked raisins.

In fruity puddings to taste - with the right combinations you can create a fabulous tropical taste. 

Note: I am not a professional and am in no way qualified to offer nutritional advice. This is purely just me sharing personal experience.
 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Pondering

So, this has nothing to do with my theme for Vegan Mofo - but don't worry, normal service will resume shortly. 
I've been thinking about being more healthy for a while, and some of you may have noticed I've tried a few things over the past few years - The Mcdougall Diet, Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Juice Reboot - just to name a few. I'll admit it, I didn't do very well on any of them. The important thing is that I've taken away the knowledge of WHY they didn't work for me. I've had a pretty rough time health wise over the last few years that started during pregnancy. I want to get healthy, and weight loss is a part of that - but not my main drive. "Get Healthy to loose weight, not loose weight to get healthy" - after all, even skinny people get diet related illnesses such as diabetes. I had  Hyperemesis, a Pulmonary Embolism and Gestational Diabetes whilst pregnant. On top of that I've had various digestive issues since having my Gallbladder removed 7 years ago. It was really miserable, but I'm determined to change for the better. I'm absolutely fed up of feeling terrible. I want to be a role model for my daughter, and able to keep up with her without feeling ill!
Most recently I tried the Juice Reboot after watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. The problem with this is that I felt ABSOLUTELY AWFUL whilst on it. I kept hearing promises it would pass, and then I'd feel great - however this just didn't happen for me. I think juicing can be a great part of a healthy diet and I intended to carry on including veggies juices, but the reboot approach didn't work for me.  
Weight Watchers I feel is really quite unhealthy, and the same goes for Slimming World. They don't teach you how to eat in a better way for life, why would they? If you keep going back they make money, and they are both businesses after all. 
The Mcdougall Diet is a different proposition. I think it's ideas are in the right place, but for me having no fat in my diet at all just didn't work. I lost a little weight for the first few weeks, but then it stalled and I had bad skin & hair too. 
All these plans and methods make weight loss seem so complicated, but really I guess it's simple - just not what most people want to hear. 

Eat Less Calories
Eat Enough Protein
Eat Less Sugar & Carbs
Eat More Veggies
Right Amount of HEALTHY fats
Exercise 

I'm at a stage in my life where I know it's better to change FOR LIFE and the benefits be more gradual than embark on crazy, unsustainable diets. 

A few books I've been reading lately:



These two books are well worth a read for different ideas about weight loss. My opinions about coconut oil are vastly different after reading that book - my metabolism has always sucked, but the right amount of coconut oil can boost it. 'The Kind Diet' is really eye opening and an all round lovely book. I feel more positive and well armed going forwards than I did before.

I'm not going to try and make every change I need to all at once. I've tried to do that before & failed. I've recently cut Gluten from my diet, but am going to be more strict about it - on my recent holiday I was left doubled over in pain after being lax and eating a bread roll. The first things I'm going to try and change are:

Drink at least 2.5L of water a day
Cut out processed sugar & aspartame 
Change/ pay attention to oils & fat
Exercise 
 

I'm going with my husband to look around a few gyms at the weekend. I've been a member a few years ago, but admit I used to swim for pleasure then instead of having any real goal. Yes, I'm nervous. I know I'll be a sweaty mess, but it's something I've got to do.
 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A Day In The Life

Small eats a wide and varied diet. Sure there are things I repeat because she really likes them, or because it's something we can all eat together.  I thought I'd show you what a day of food might look like for her. 
Note: I just wanted to point out that this is just a sample of dishes and that she doesn't eat this much soy in a day. She does have soy milk to drink each day, but her food intake is more mixed with a variety of lentils & pulses. Lentils are an important factor as they are not only for protein but other things such as Iron. I also use a soy free vegan margarine where needed, but prefer raw coconut oil to spread on toast etc. I am not recommending that this is a correct diet 'plan', my suggestions are just ideas from my own experience and is why I have also suggested other things for that meal that my daughter likes.


Breakfast

This is something she eats maybe once or twice a week. Wheat biscuits, Alpro Junior, soaked raisins, 1 TSP ground flaxseed, half fruit pouch. Smooth soya yoghurt if she's still hungry. 


Lunch

Tofu scramble is one of Small's favourites. It's a good chance to get some healthy vegetables and vitamins into her diet. It's a mix of crumbled silken tofu, spinach, tomatoes, coconut oil and nutritional yeast. I often serve this with toast fingers. I'll also give her fresh fruit and a couple of mini rice cakes with houmous if she's still hungry. 

 

Snack

I give Small different snacks all the time. They can be fresh/ dried fruit, flapjacks, soya formula, diluted fruit juice, oat bars, sneaky dad's pudding - or something more substantial like this. This French toast is made with 50/50 bread, tofu, Alpro Junior and cinnamon. 


Dinner

This is a baked tofu omelet with veggie, lentil & tomato filling. Other things I might make are; mac n 'cheese', tofu potato cakes, lentil patties with vegetables, lentil dhal, split pea soup. 


Pudding

This is a silken tofu & strawberry pudding sweetened with a little agave syrup.

 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Slow Cooker Sweetcorn Chowder

If you read my blog often, you'll know my favorite kind of meals are those that can be eaten by the whole family. It's much easier than having to cook different things for people. I also love slow cookers - there's just something wonderful about putting a load of ingredients in the pot and letting it do it's magic whilst you go about your day. 
Sadly I broke the trusted one I'd had for years a few months ago. With the arrival of Autumn I needed to get my fix, so the wonderful Mr B brought me a new one - even though I'm yet to convince him why they are so wonderful.



This is a really easy recipe to throw together in the morning and I always have most of the ingredients on hand in the freezer, although you can use fresh if you have it.

Ingredients

450g Sweetcorn (frozen or fresh)
450g Potato (peeled and chopped)
2 Cloves of Garlic (or 3 TSP frozen)
1/2 White Onion chopped
4 Cups Boiling Water
1 Low Salt Stock Cube (or specific baby brand)
2 TSP Thyme
2 TBSP Basil (fresh or dried)

400ml Soya Milk
50g Soya Cheese Grated
Tofu Sour Cream (1 Package Silken Tofu, 2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar, salt to taste - blended)
1 TSP Vegan Margarine
Salt & Pepper 

Spray the crock of your slow cooker with oil, then add your sweetcorn, potato, garlic, onion, water, stock and herbs. Give it a little stir, then cook on low for around 6 hours. Depending on your slow cooker this could be up to 8 hours.
Once everything is cooked, remove half of the soup and blend it with a hand blender then add back to the pot. Stir in the soya milk and cook on high for about an hour until everything is nice and hot.
Take out the child portion at this point and stir in margarine. Serve with a little grated soya cheese and sour cream on top.
Add the salt & pepper to taste for the adult portion and serve in the same way.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Gluten Free Rolls


My latest attempt in the bread saga. Seriously, who'd have thought it'd be such a challenge to create bread that 's both vegan AND gluten free? I've seen so many recipes which call for expensive or hard to find ingredients, but I'm determined to do it in an accessible way. They are approved by Small, she scoffed some down at lunch time and wanted more.
It's a good basic roll and works great with burgers and sausages :)

Ingredients

1 Cup Doves Farm Gluten FreeWhite Bread Flour

1/2 Cup Potato Flour

1/2 Cup Soya Flour

2 TBSP Coconut Flour

2 TSP Fast Dry Yeast

1 TSP Sugar

1 TSP Xanthan Gum

1/2 Cup Soya Milk

1/2 Cup Hot Water

I made the initial dough in my bread maker. Once the dough cycle was over, I turned it out onto a slightly floured surface and separated into four rolls.
I used my dehydrator to prove the dough for a final time. I find getting a good rise from the dough before baking helps gluten free things be slightly less dense. My Excalibur has a dough setting of 42C - I pop my tray of dough in with a shallow bowl of warm water to stop it drying out for about 50 - 60 minutes.
Once that step is complete pop into a pre heated oven at 180C for 20 minutes and enjoy.
 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Gluten Free Pizza Base


I've been playing around with flour mixes to try and make a good pizza crust for a while, but with this one I think I've done a pretty good job. It'll cook best on a pre warmed pizza stone - it avoids any soggy bits underneath that sometimes can be a problem.

Ingredients

1 cup Doves Farm Gluten Free White Bread Flour

1/2 Cup Soya Flour

1/2 Cup Potato Flour

1 TSP Xanthan Gum

1/2 TSP Flaxseed 

1 TSP Dry Quick Yeast

1/2 Cup Soya Milk

1/2 Cup Warm Water

I make this in my bread maker on the pizza dough setting. Once it starts to mix check it is forming into a dough ball and not sticking. You may need to add a sprinkle of the Doves Farm flour.
Once it's ready give it a quick kneed on a well floured surface and split into two. Roll out your pizza bases and transfer to a pizza stone.
Make then up however you like. They will take about 20 minutes in the oven at 200 C. 
You could make a toddler friendly mini pizza with the dough, and use salt & sugar free tomato sauce topped with lots of veggies.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

Every now and again everybody needs a little treat and going with the theme of making something all members of my family could eat it had to be something gluten free. I used to make a regular version of these before I went gluten free, so this is my attempt at still being able to eat them!

Ingredients

Dough

2 1/2 Cups Doves Farm Gluten Free White Bread Flour

1 Cup Soya Flour

1/2 Cup Potato Flour

1 TSP Salt

2 TSP Dry Quick Yeast

1 TSP Xanthan Gum

1 TSP Chia Seeds

1/4 Cup Brown Rice Syrup (or Agave)

2 Cups Soya Milk

1/4 Cup Hot Water

Topping

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

4 TBSP Vegan Margarine

4 TSP Cinnamon 

Icing Sugar to glaze

I make the dough in my bread maker. It's easy this way and I find it's better at getting gluten free ingredients to rise than I can myself. It might be different in your machine, but I add wet ingredients first then dry on top.
You may need to sprinkle in a touch more Doves Farm flour if it's not forming nicely into a dough ball once the machine starts mixing.
Cover a large chopping board with cling film and turn out your dough on to it. Roll out into a large rectangle about 1 1/2 cms thick. 
Spread your cinnamon, sugar and melted margarine mixture evenly across the dough.


Using the cling film roll up the dough so you have something that resembles an artic roll. 
Cut your dough sausage into about 12 even pieces and lay out on baking sheets lined with baking paper.
Leave to rise again covered lightly in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
Bake at 180 C for 20 minutes.


Once they are cooked and thoroughly cooked make up your icing and drizzle across the tops of the rolls. Once set - enjoy!!



Friday, 6 September 2013

Gluten Free Porridge

In my household we all have slightly differing needs when it comes to meals. Mr B eats pretty much any vegan food, I'm vegan minus gluten and Small needs low salt & sugar and good healthy fats. What all this translates to is either seperate meals for everybody, or 3 different versions. It's nice when I find something I can make for us all, or just Small & I when Mr B is at work. 
This porridge recipe is exactly that - something Small & I enjoy together.


My favorite gluten free oat product is Bob's Red Mill Oat Bran. It makes me sad that their products are not more readily available in the UK. I've tried out their bread & pancake mixes whilst in the US, but I find the Oat Bran in Waitrose. At time of writing Ocado also sell their flour and a couple of bread mixes, but they're £4.99 a bag which is too much for one loaf!!

Ingredients

80g Oat Bran
400ml Almond Milk (or any other dairy free milk you like)
1 TBSP Raisins
1 TSP Cinnamon 
2 TSP Ground Flaxseed

To Finish off: 1 TSP Brown Rice Syrup for the grown up portion and 1 TSP Smooth Nut Butter for the toddler portion.

For the sake of my sanity I cook this in the microwave. It takes around 5 minutes.
Add all the ingredients apart from the toppings to a large bowl and stir well. Cook & serve. Simple :)

 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Eating Out?!


Something I've found since Small came along is that just visiting a vegetarian restaurant doesn't mean that little vegans will be catered for. I've encountered all kinds of attitudes - from well thought out kids menus, those willing to make something to places who make it plain they don't like children being there!

At the beginning until as long as I felt I could get away with it I'd take her food with us. Most places don't mind this, especially if you are still in the 'baby food' weaning stage but now she's 15 months it's harder to get away with.


I guess our 'local' vegetarian place (it's still over 30 miles away!) The Warehouse Cafe in Birmingham do a pretty good job. We always take our own booster seat when we eat out as most places don 't have a highchair, but happily they now have one. They'll make smaller portions of adult meals for kids, but sadly they got rid of their kids menu a while ago and adult food isn't always suitable for toddlers so we really have to pick & choose what she eats there. They're pretty happy to try and help with any requests though and are generally a helpful lot.
I was really pleased to see a kid's menu with vegan options at both places in Lyme Regis we visited last week (Aroma Cafe and Tierra Kitchen). When you have kids eating out has to be a good experience for the whole family. It's little details such as child friendly plates and cutlery which would make the experience so much better.
Where do you eat out with your kids? I'd love to hear others experiences on this!
 
 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Breakfast Ideas for Toddlers


There are many 12+ months breakfast cereals available in UK supermarkets that are suitable for vegans. Ella's Kitchen and Organix make a few types (please check ingredients as could change) that can be served with Alpro Junior soya milk, but I don't give this very often as it really doesn't contain enough good stuff. When I do serve this, it's with a good teaspoon of ground flaxseed on top. 


Breakfast doesn't have to be complex - fingers of toast are a good quick fix. Small has things like mashed avocado, peanut butter or low salt yeast spread (with added B12). Porridge made with coconut oil, raisins and ground flaxseed (for fat & Iron) is also a firm favourite. I also make a breakfast version of Sneaky Dad's Pudding in a smoothie as I know it packs in lots of goodness for the day. I usually offer a drink of soya milk (Alpro or formula) and fruit fingers as well. 
If you have a bit more time then you could make all sorts of things - I sometimes make breakfast protein muffins (I'll post the recipe during #veganmofo) that Small and I eat together. We also enjoy pancakes, English breakfasts, smoothies, muffins.........
What do you give your vegan kids for breakfast?





 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Faux 'Meat' for Toddlers


I make this for Small in place of a Sunday dinner, but it's also a great snack served like a pâté with a few soldiers of toast. It's loosely based on my old and trusted roast recipe that I often make at Christmas for grown ups. 
It contains B12 enriched yeast spread, as well as plenty of ground almonds which are great for fat & calcium. 

4 slices 50/50 bread*
1tsp low salt yeast spread
150ml hot water
1/2 baby vegetable stock cube
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
1/2 white onion diced
Handful of mushrooms diced
65g ground fine almonds
60g ground fine walnuts 
2 cubes frozen parsley
1 Tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 Tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
Oil for cooking

Boil the water and add it to a large bowl. Mix in the yeast and stock cube and allow to dissolve. Place bread into the water and cover.
Fry the onion & garlic until cooked and brown. Add the nuts, nutritional yeast & herbs. Combine well.
Add the bread (which should be mushy) and Worcestershire sauce. Mix and allow to heat through. 

*If roasting this for older children 2 slices of bread can be substituted for 50g firm tofu. Drain, press and combine with mixture before pressing into a tin, spraying with oil & roasting. 


Monday, 2 September 2013

Toddler Savory Pancakes

Savory pancakes are a great meal or snack for toddlers, and they are pretty quick and easy to make. They're also really adaptable - if you've run out of something, experiment with different combinations!
I usually make these with half chickpea flour. It contains protein and creates a nice texture. This recipe makes quite a few as I usually make a large batch and freeze them. If you only want enough for 1 meal, use only 1/4 of the ingredients.



Recipe

100g Plain Flour
100g Chickpea Flour
1 Cup Alpro Junior Milk
1/2 Carton Silken Tofu (or 1/2 cup cooked red split lentils)
1 Tsp Ground Flax Seed (It's a good source of Omega 3, Iron & Calcium)
1 Grated Carrot
1 Cup of Leafy Greens (Spinach is ideal)
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Cumin (optional)

In a large mixing bowl combine the two flours, then slowly add the milk whilst mixing to create a batter.
I usually just crumble the tofu and mix it in well, but you could give it a whiz in a food processor before adding if you wanted to 'disguise' it.
Add the carrot, flax seed, greens, baking powder & cumin and combine well.
Warm a little oil in a large flat pan and cook batter for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. I make mine in small circles so they're easy for toddler hands, but you could also make them larger and cut them up.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

It's Vegan Mofo!

So, it's the 1st September - I don't really know where the time has gone this year. At the start, Small was still a small baby learning to sit up - now she's a walking, (almost) talking toddler. With that it stands to reason what she eats has changed a lot.


I'm taking part in Vegan Mofo (month of food) this year, and decided I'd do something different and focus on food for little vegans. When I decided to raise my daughter vegan I tried to find recipes and information everywhere I could, but didn't find much in the way of meal inspiration. Whilst I'm always saying I'm not in any way a nutritional expert, I've done a lot of research and I hope my recipes provide lots of ideas :)
I still recommend 'Feeding Your Vegan Infant With Confidence' published by the Vegan Society as one of the best books out there on the subject, although the Viva Mother & Baby Guide (which you can read online as a PDF at that link) contains information which is a little more up to date. Both of these contain lots of the basic information you need to know regarding dietary requirements and how to ensure your child is getting what they need. If you have older children or just want to know what's coming then the Kids Cook Veggie and Healthy Veggie Kids guides are also really helpful. Just to cover all bases - if you are pregnant and want to know more I wrote a blog post whilst pregnant about all the books I'd read and found useful.
There are certain products which I'm most likely going to be mentioning a lot in recipes over the coming month - so I thought I'd start off by explaining what they are and where you can buy them.

Alpro Junior +1 Milk  - I use this as a 'milk' in lots of recipes as it has a higher fat content than traditional soya milk. The package says it can be used in cooking from 6 months and as a main milk after 1. As Small has not been breastfed, I prefer to use this milk over formula now she is old enough as it is 100% vegan (soya formulas in the UK all contain vitamin D which is not vegan). It's available in most supermarkets in the UHT milk section.

Nutritonal Yeast with B12 - This is really useful for making 'cheesy' sauces, as a topping for vegetable bakes or even as a popcorn condiment for grown ups. It's available online, or may even be stocked in your local health food shop.

Meridian No Added Salt Yeast Spread - This is handy to have on standby in your cupboard. It's enriched with B12 and makes a nice addition to gravies & sauces. It's even nice on toast 'soldiers' as part of breakfast or for a snack. It's available online or in most Holland & Barrett stores.

Pure Margarine - This is a bit of a basic one, but for those new to veganism you might not know about it yet. Use it in place of margarine or butter, it comes in a couple of varieties and is available in most supermarkets.

Silken Tofu - This is really useful to have in your cupboard and it makes fantastic puddings for little ones. Tofu is full of calcium (if it has been set that way), protein and fat that vegan children need. Simple puddings can be made by blending it with fresh fruit & a little agave. Available in the oriental section of supermarkets or online. We bulk buy ours from a local Chinese supermarket for much less than in regular supermarkets.

Other Items

Most of my recipes/ meal suggestions also contain more commonly found ingredients. Here are some of them:

Dry & canned beans/ pulses, tahini, tofu sausages, firm tofu, fresh fruit & vegetables, soya yoghurt & baby sized rice cakes.

I hope you enjoy Vegan Mofo!