Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tacos

Here's a lunch menu inspired by my brilliant friend Linda, who packs wonderful lunches like these for her lucky daughter. It's "Build A Taco" -- Taco Smart Ground and black beans stay warm in the thermos; at lunchtime you spoon the taco filling into the corn taco shells. Linda's daughter even sprinkles hers with shredded lettuce, but shmoo won't go there. The veggie and fruit of the day are jicama and honeydew, which are really fun to say together. For dessert, one fresh-baked gingerbread cookie for a little dose of iron-rich blackstrap molasses.
Verdict: First I was worried that the hard taco shells wouldn't fit in the lunch box, but they fit perfectly and didn't break! Then I was worried that Little shmoo would be unable to manage filling the taco shells without making a mess, but my goodness, he must have maneuvered that taco filling with the dexterity of a brain surgeon. Every bit was scooped out of the thermos and not a trace was left in the lunch box. Only a few slices of honeydew remained. 5 stars. Thanks, Linda!

63 comments:

deva said...

OMG that looks like heaven..

jicama and honeydew are amazing!!

Sweet Pea said...

Delish!

We love having tacos. We use the chili recipe from Vive le Vegan! The chili is so filling and great tasting. Our trick is to fill the corn taco shell and then wrap it with a tortilla. Yum! It makes it easier to eat and there's the soft-crunchy texture.

Julie said...

I haven't had tacos in forever...thanks for the inspiration!

Oh, and sweet pea--I think I will try the Chili recipe from Vive since you said it's yummy! :)

Amy A. said...

Looks yummy! What is in the pickle dillie package? Is it really pickles or some sort of lunch companion. Can't tell from the pics.
Thanks!

EatPeacePlease said...

Hi Jennifer. This is creative. I remember my mom making do it yourself tacos for dinner, but I always just had cheese and veggies. Now, just veggies, I also don't like/won't eat fake meat. Has Shmoo been on a kick for all this lately, or are you just experimenting? I hope to see more homemade items soon, and less of the packaged stuff, but I am also not complaining. It's nice to see variety and I could be pickier than Shmoo anyway. Nonetheless, it always looks great!

Ruthie said...

I send this same thing with my husband all the time, but with like a quart of beans and a bunch of corn tortillas. He's a bottomless pit. :-D

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Amy! The "Pickle Dillie" is a little joke card. I sometimes put a joke card or maze in his lunch box, just for fun. :-)

Re. fake meats, he really loves them! I'm not that crazy for them myself, but it is interesting to give them all a try and experiment.

Anonymous said...

You can always do a vegan taco with beans as filler, for anyone not liking fake meats! And for the "wrap the hard shell in a soft shell" concept, it works great if you spread a layer of (vegan, of course) refried beans in the soft shell and then wrap - makes it stick better, and the texture is fantastic!

Anonymous said...

what does jimaca taste like?


-jessica

Karen Anne said...

Do I miss jicama here in the northeast. One store manages to get a bit in sometimes, but the jicama are a wreck, nothing you'd actually want to eat. I thought about growing them, but apparently they're The Vine That Took Over The World in size.

Redpiper said...

This is a great blog! I wish you could make my lunch every day! I have a new respect for the vegan lifestyle.

Karen Anne said...

crud, I just discovered that if you can't guess the magic letters three times in a row, the blog throws away your message. q? was that a q? maybe it was a g? is that an n r, or an m?

Sonya said...

Mmmmmm, tacos. We are on a very strict budget right now, but I can think of lots of delicious and cheap things to fill tacos with: sweet and spicy black-eyed peas, Cuban black beans, TVP chili, etc. I've had that Taco Smart Ground-- a newly vegetarian friend of mine is really into the fake meats, so he made me try it. It was fine, nothing terribly special, but my complaint with those foods is that they are so high in sodium. That's smart to cut it with some plain black beans.

Nothing like fun food to make you realize that your kid's fine motor skills are up to snuff and then some!

Mind of the a Human Soul said...

Making an art out of what others may find as a chord is a very creative way to make life more interesting. Thank you for the inspiration to me and many others.

Now what is for dinner? :)

Shelly said...

We never get to see dinner, Mind. :( I just know we're missing out on some amazing stuff.

But...the lunches are divine as it is...I can survive without the dinner menu. I'll just drool over Shmoo's lunchbox.

R2K said...

Yes! I love any food that you build yourself. (Spring rolls, summer rolls, Mongolian BBQ, tacos, etc etc.) Looks great. Actually I have not found a bad dish yet here, but I assure you I am still critical of each!

R2K

R2K said...

I bet the last taco pieces were used Chip n Salsa style to scrape the container clean :)

R2K

R2K said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Avery said...

I usually don't use lettuce for taco night. I use spinach leaves and/or bean sprouts. I do either black or pinto beans and seared, marinated tofu.

I think I am gonna try your fishstick recipe soon! I am very excited! :-)

Breanna said...

as a new vegan, i'm THRILLED to have found your blog! especially since my hubby isn't quite as excited about our change as i am...i'm wanting to show him how satisfying and tasty vegan really is! keep it comin'!

MommaSchell said...

Your taco lunch looks too good! We just had a twist on "taco night" here -- I made a batch of russet potatoes and mashed them with green onions, crushed garlic, Earth Balance spread, shredded cheddar-style VeganRella and some almond milk. Then I stuffed the mashed potato mixture into semibaked Poblano peppers (deep forest green peppers with a bit of heat, known as Anchos in the dried state, used for Chimichangas) and smothered them in a homemade New Mexico style enchilada sauce made with Ancho and mild New Mexico red chile. I have made this potato mixture and made enchiladas out of this and it's super easy, inexpensive and delicious in a pinch!

I steamed a new frozen fajita veggie medley that I picked up yesterday at Whole Foods called "Texican Medley" with all of the fajita veggies, as well as black beans and corn, and seasoned it with chili powder and juice from a fresh picked lime in my backyard. I made some authentic white corn tortillas on the stove with a comal, and served it with all of the traditional taco fixins and Tofutti "sour cream." Dessert was a cup of homemade traditional Aztec/Oaxacan style hot chocolate with a couple of crushed Pequin chile in my and my husband's cup. It's definitely warming us up! MLS

Jennifershmoo said...

Wow, Schell, that sounds wonderful!!

Anonymous said...

The food you cook must be very delicious and nutricious as well.

Their pictures increased my appetite.

You could have a restaurant of your own, maybe.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Jicama and honeydew! That does rock to say together! Plus, I thoroughly enjoy them both : )

Fenrong said...

It must be wonderful to be able to cook and enjoy cooking.

Your family are so lucky to have such a great cook in the house.

The food here all looks very delicious. They must be nutricious as well. It indeed increased my appetite.

You could keep the recipees and write a book with them. Or you could have a restaurant of your own.

Good work!

Joy said...

This is a really great blog. I just discovered your site, I love all the ideas I've seen so far and can't wait to try some of them. I have been incorporating more vegetarian meals in our family diet and hope to eventually move to a vegan diet. The lunch ideas are awesome, really silly question though, please humor me.. where can I find a lunch box like the one you use with the little portion holders?

Catherine said...

Jane Doe,

There's a link above where the lunchbox came from. I have one too, and I LOVE it! I could talk about how much I love my lunchbox for days on end . . . but I won't. They are pricey, but worth it!

LadyRachelLynn said...

mmm Tacos. What a great idea for a kids lunch! It reminds me of when I worked at a day care some of the kids would bring Lunchables, and one girl's family couldn't afford them so she got her family to send nachos or cheese and crackers so she could eat like the other kids. I never thought of taco shells though! That's awesome. I bet Shmoo's friends were jealous!

Lisa said...

I just have a question & I'm not trying to be disrespectiful but I know a girl who is a Vegan & her skin is a slight shade of gray & she doesn't look very healthy. Her baby, who she is raising as a vegan, is also a shade of gray. He is a healthy size. I think your site is great & can't believe how many comments you get on a daily basis...Amazing. I don't have time to look at all the back post, lthough eventually I would like to. Some of these things I have never heard of. Could you post the benefits and downfalls of being a vegan if there are any?

Monica said...

Lisa, I'd like to answer your question if you don't mind. Some omnivores are fairly healthy and some are not. Some vegans are healthy and some are not. The fact that the vegan you know has a grayish pallor doesn't mean the problem is with her diet! It may be her natural skin tone or she may be unhealthy in other ways. Most vegans I know glow with health--have you seen the pictures of Little Schmoo? The benefits for me are reduced cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, feeling good about my impact on other creatures and the environment, and I lost weight! The downfalls are that it's sometimes really hard to live vegan in an omni, highly processed world. Health-wise, I have found no downfalls as long as I eat a balance, varied diet.

Anonymous said...

Great idea.

(SR71)Atomica said...

Hi Jenn

I myself enjoy tacos, burritos, flautas, etc, and I have been making my own tortillas in recent months.
I have been using specially prepared tortilla flour, which is more and more commonly offered in international food aisles, including Mexican food aisles, to make tortillas for soft tacos and burritos, and have even gotten them to come out soft.
I have also used that flour to make flat bread for gyros, though I myself have often had to use ground beef instead of sliced steak, but you probably use specially seasoned soy or tofu for something like that, anyway, you might be able to make your own variant with wheat or even corn flour, the latter of which may be a little trickier, and getting the flour/water balance is the greatest challenge: You want the dough moist enough to be pliable but not enough to be sticky...

Anonymous said...

How does he carry everything on days he has both the lunchbox and the thermos?

Tom said...

That looks awesome. If you had a restaurant I'd so be there.

SDGvegan said...

Ahh, I think I will try this with my kids. Probably just with black beans and veggies. Great idea!

Muslim Unity said...

It is a very good thing to be vegan. You are spreading love and peace in the world. People of all religions like vegans. Since you do not offend any religion. I wish there were more people like you.
Bes of Luck to all the Vegans!

eli said...

Jennifer, YUM! Do you ever make TVP chilli? My favorite. I can make a vat of TVP chilli and live off of it for days and days.

Lisa, I'll help to answer your question too by saying that the benefits/downfalls Monica listed are the most common and predominate.

For me specifically, the benefits were loss of unnecessary weight, increased energy, increased mental clarity, and the total disappearance of several "conditions" I had been diagnosed with by a doctor. I had suffered from terrible IBS for years and it ceased to exist several months after I began a vegetarian lifestyle.

The downfall she listed is the only one I can think of. Any lifestyle different from the mainstream will take learning and trying, and if you can call this a downfall, it is the only one. When followed properly, there are absolutely no health disadvantages to a vegan diet. Vegans do have to take a B12 supplement since this vitamin is only found in animal products, but the rest, as you can see from the Lunch Box, is pretty easy. Balance, variety, and whole foods are all it takes to be a vibrantly healthy vegetarian. If the physical appearance of your friend and her child is a result of their diet, they are probably having trouble adjusting to being vegan or finding vegan options in this omni world. Too bad Jennifer can't come over and cook for them. :(

And thank you for being respectfully curious rather than hostile and judgmental. I hope I helped to answer your question in an equally respecful manner.

Kelly said...

Looks awesome just one question, what the heck is jicama ?

Mr JiPuo said...

I tried veganism and gave it up. Did't know how 2.
...Hilarious joke at
http://Jipuo.blogspot.com

Karen Anne said...

kelly, jicama is a great vegetable(?) It looks like a potato sort of, but you peel it and eat it raw. It tastes vaguely like an apple, but not so tart. Out in CA, supermarkets often sell it packaged in containers cut up into chunks. It has a high water content, somewhat less than watermelon, sort of crisp. Often served form the refrig, but fine at room temp also. Good for snacking or in salads.

TN Girl said...

I love your little thermos so much that I went out and bought one for myself last night.

Harmonia said...

Mexican, my favorite!

Anonymous said...

my favorite way to do a harty taco filling is with Bulgar Wheat and black beans mmmm. My mom generally makes it, but it's pretty simple, it just involves soakiing the bulgar with warm water and tomato paste or salsa. Then saute onion and garlic, then add the bulgar black beans, water, more salsa, and taco seasonings. Somewhere along those lines, and even before I stopped eating meat, I begged my mom to make this version as opposed to normal tacos...

the vegan vulcan said...

Wow, your tacos gave me a great idea. . .

Back in my omnivore days, I used to get some delicious but entirely bad-for-you fried fish burritos at a local taco stand. I've missed them since going vegan. . . but now, with your vegan fish sticks recipe, I can enjoy a much healther, cruelty-free fish burrito!

Mmmmm, I'm thinking a burrito shell, your fish sticks, veggenaise tartar sauce, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Oh my god, it's only 10:20 and I'm drooling.

Tammy said...

Looks good! I'm not vegetarian in any way but I have in the recent months started to move away from processed foods and have started looking for more organically grown options. We have a small garden and we plan to expand and try to grow all that we need because buying vegetables from the grocery store (Wal-Mart) leaves a lot to be desired.

Xiquita said...

I love your bento box to go. I also recommend Zojirushi lunch jars - very cool if you don't have a fridge or microwave at work.
May I add your link to my cooking blog?? Most of my dishes are vegan, vegetarian, lactose free, or gluten free.

Michelle said...

Yum tacos! I love them! By the way I used Jennifer's fish stick recipe to make "fish" tacos! They were great. I used corn tortillas, fresh lime, cilantro and onions, salsa, and veganaise tartar sauce. Oooh, that's what we're having for dinner!
Another by the way, don't respond to Bernard. If we just ignore these kind of comments, they'll eventually get bored and move on. People like that just like to get a rise out of others for whatever reason...

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Vegan Vulcan & Michelle -- those tacos sound so good! I go to "Taco Del Mar" often to get their vegan burrito, and have always thought "fish tacos" sounded iffy. But I think I'd like them made with the tofu fish sticks!

Mallory said...

I'm surprised there's no vegan cheese or salsa to go on the taco! Does he really eat them plain?

If I were packing this lunch I would need TWO laptop lunchboxes for all the toppings I'd want on my taco... soy cheese, lettuce, tomato, salsa, cilantro, both beans AND the fake meat stuff, red AND green chile (or jalapeno if I had to)maybe even some soy sour cream... just anything so it wasn't just the fake meat in the shell.

...but maybe I'm just a topping fiend. I do the same thing with veggie burgers and pizza...

Anonymous said...

Lol! I know! Toppings are always the best part. But, Shmoo is a kid, and kids like things plain. My son eats everything plain...blech! :)

Sarah said...

Just wanted to say 'hi, i read your blog!' ... i'm not a vegan yet, but i'm veggie and trying to make my meals more nutritious and use less processed stuff, plus i hate cheese, all of which lead rather a lot to veganism :) I'm really in awe of how inventive your lunches are.. and i've already used several of your ideas for my lunches. Thank you!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Shmoo is a kid, and kids like things plain.

Exactly! I think that's a thing for a lot of kids. Two, three ingredients mixed together tops, and nothing touching on the plate! I would be like you, Mallory, lots of toppings -- beans, lettuce, steamed spinach, salsa, tomato, cilantro, black olives...mmm!

Augurs said...

Yum... tacos! :)
We just made veggie tacos last week! We cook up lentils instead of "taco meat." I just add some spicy seasoning while it's cooking, and the serve with homemade salsa, lettuce, etc. Sometimes we'll grate carrot in with the lentils, too.

Anonymous said...

Jicama is one of my favorite snacks; delicious with lemon juice, salt and powdered chile.

Anonymous said...

i just found this site. thanks a lot. i have to bring lunches with me each day and i am really getting bored with what i bring. i am vegetarian by the way. veganism was too difficult for me to pull off.

Anonymous said...

its funny that your kid is called schmoo, cause my last name is smouha and everyone calls me shmou

Anonymous said...

Yes, what is it with things not being allowed to touch on the plate.

Anonymous said...

My mother always told me that the rule with melon is "eat it alone or leave it alone"...it's bad for digestion to eat it along with other foods. Has anyone else heard that? Otherwise, the lunch looks great!

Anonymous said...

reading teh comments about toppings..i agree..i love toppings and i am also a condiment fiend..i know someone mentioned that they make tacos with lentil filling and that sounds really good..i might have to try that sometime..did you develop this on your own or find it in a cookbook? anyways another great lunch and so sad that the weekend is coming soon (only becuz that means two days of no new lunchboxes)

Cherry said...

he must have maneuvered that taco filling with the dexterity of a brain surgeon.

Nice description :) Your blog is great. Good ideas and an interesting read. I check every now and then to see what you've created and what little schmoo thought of it :)

Anonymous said...

You have got to be kidding.

I am speechless. Not in a good way.

red said...

thank you



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