Friday, February 17, 2006

Tempeh

I bet you were wondering when I was going to get around to tempeh, weren't you? Well, here it is! I used the Tempeh Bacon recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance. Of course, it would make a fantastic "BLT" on wholegrain bread with Vegenaise, lettuce, and tomato, but shmoo wanted just the tempeh. I also made my own vegan fruit jell using Bryanna's recipe posted in the comments last Friday. It worked like a dream! I used cran-raspberry 100% juice and floated frozen organic raspberries in the jel. In the veggies department today we have steamed diced kohlrabi and peas.
Verdict: I always know I have a winner when shmoo begs to eat his lunch for breakfast! The tempeh was a big hit; we all loved the smoky flavor. Shmoo also liked the veggies, but thought the jell was tart. I agree, but we all liked it once we had gotten over our super-sweet jello expectations. Next time I'll probably add some sweetener or use a sweeter fruit. 4 stars.

131 comments:

Karen Anne said...

Laying on floor, overcome with greed, trying to figure out how to get Jennifer to pack my lunches...

Dreena said...

I love the idea of the homemade fruit jel. Will have to try it sometime. This lunch is as colorful as a rainbow! :) Lovely!

Kimson said...

If college could serve food that good...ooh!

Might I suggest canned lychees for a fruit gel? If you dilute the syrup it comes in, and cube the agar, it makes for a nice refreshing drink when ice cold.

Anonymous said...

i love tempeh!

Anonymous said...

I've tried tempeh once, in a "rebuen" and I just couldn't stomach it. I gagged down a few bites before getting rid of it.

I really wanted to like it too, since I'm trying to become a vegetarian full time. I'll have to give it a whirl again sometime - afterall it might just have been the sandwiche.

Laura said...

As a starving vegan college student, your lunchbox ideas are perfect! My boyfriend took me to Millenium, a very nice vegan restaurant in San Francisco, for my birthday last week. I loved it so much that I bought the cookbook. When I get around to making some of the recipes, I can't wait to share my thoughts with you and the world at large.

Laura

Kristina said...

Jennifer, try adding some fruit juice concentrate to the juice to sweeten the fruit jell. A really good combination is Welches grape juice, grape juice concentrate and frozen organic blueberries.It would probably make it much closer to your family's expectations.

Lawson Copywrite & Co. said...

Vegan great. hopefully organic and local too. But i have to ask... Why so much PLASTIC? For all vegans do ethically and environmentally (hopefully), why plastic, one of the most leaching and toxic of containers possible? Sure, I don't see Zip-locks, and thats great, but still.... Plastics are quite nasty things from extraction to decomposition and every step between. I know they make great and useful medical supplies, and thats great, but for everyday uses like containing a sandwich, perhaps a simple paper wrap, or for fruit, useable and recyclable glass or better yet, stainless steel. Just my initial thoughs on seeing such good food wrapped in such brightly lit containers...

Andrea said...

I just found your blog, and I love it! I'm getting married next year to a die-hard carnivore (who is slowly accepting vegetarian meals) and I would love to pack him something like this instead of eating all that greasy cafeteria food.

Jennifershmoo said...

Really, if you think this amount of plastic looks bad, you haven't seen a typical student's lunch lately -- two or three disposable plastic cups of jello, pudding, and fruit, a disposable juice box, and multiple ziplock bags and plastic utensils, or "lunchables" box with plastic tray covered in plastic, all of which get thrown away every day. A reusable plastic box starts to look a whole lot more attractive! I also wash out and reuse the occasional ziplock bag he packs.

Regarding using other alternatives, a "simple paper wrap" might work for a few dry sandwiches or muffins, but other things need containers. Glass containers would never be allowed in school. I admire the stainless steel containers I've seen, but they were all too large or difficult for shmoo to manage by himself. Also, stainless steel is expensive, dents, and has sharp edges that I didn't feel comfortable with (my son is, after all, only seven!). So for us, this has been the best answer to how to pack a safe, insulated, kid-friendly lunch.

Here is a statement off the Laptop Lunches website: "Most parents currently pack lunches in plastic wrap, plastic bags, and single-serve plastic packages, including PET water bottles, which are considered far less stable than their reusable counterparts. Plastic may not be the perfect solution, but it does offer a stylish, affordable, non-breakable alternative for families wishing to move from a disposable to a reusable system."

Anonymous said...

you go girl

SRsom said...

hey the recipe goes like this. I usually use one 1lb of onions, it doesn't really matter what kind. you peel the onions, and put them in the food processor. You want to get very fine, but not as fine as baby food. And it shouldn't be big junks either. So after you have done that u put it in a pot with out nothing and let it cook and carmalize. That should take atleast 30 min, you want to make sure all the water gets out of it and the onions take on a carmel colour. After that add as much as you feel necessary. let that fry, then add chile powder salt vege stock. let it cook on low heat like stew. try it and tell me how it went. I will be here to help you improve the recipe if you have problems. enjoy

SRsom said...

*After that add as much oil as you feel necessary.

Quinn Anderson said...

I'm tired of all you vegans and vegitarians thinking you can jus go around and kill all the vegitables you want. Tomatoes and carrots have feelings too. Havent you ever heard a tomato cry in pain when you savagely slice into it. The slaughter must end!

Avery said...

To Quinn: Haven't you ever heard of spell check?

I just recently made the tempeh bacon from VwaV for the first time last week and I was pleased with it. The leftovers made excellent pita stuffers with red pepper hummus and bean sprouts. I also found the bread that you posted about last week [was it called Ruth's Organic?] and it is delicious! Thanks for the suggestion!

I made tofu bacon tonight and it was much simpler although not as hearty. My four year old loved it.

Carrie™ said...

This lunch looks really, really good. The jelly idea is fantastic. I bought some tempeh for the first time and am unsure of what to do with it. That sandwich is looking awfully tasty....hmmmm....

LadyRachelLynn said...

I don't think I've ever had tempah. How does it taste and since its fermented, is it salty, or sour or odd tasting?

Jennifershmoo said...

Kimsom, lychee fruit gel is a great idea! I was just trying to describe lychee fruit to shmoo the other day. I'll have to pick some up so he can give them a try.

Thanks, srsom! That sauce recipe sounds divine. Now I'm really hungry for a batch of that sauce with some injera bread...

Hi, Carrie! If you have Vegan With a Vengeance I would heartily recommend the bacon as a good first-time tempeh recipe. Tempeh is also good sauteed in oil with some soy sauce or hot sauce. I like to cook it simply like that and crumble it on salads.

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, LadyRachelLynn! I guess I would describe tempeh as tasting a bit nutty and a bit like mushroom, but not salty. It's definitely a stronger taste than tofu. I had to try it a couple times before I liked it. :-)

Kimson said...

You're welcome, but the thanks should really go to my mom. You could also use almond extract for something more subtle or,if you're feeling daring, minced jackfruit when available.

Christy_Ann said...

Your blog is fascinating! Congratulations on the great variety you manage to achieve... very inspiring. I have a baby boy and I am already wondering what kind of things I will put in his lunch box...!

Pattie said...

I got up early to do some work and ended up stuck on your blog for ages! What a gift. Thank you so much.

Wolfthinker said...

Hey came here to update my blogs and ended up with this one. Anyone likes it or not i am gonna try them. Thanks Jennifer and some part of the thanks to Srsom too. Hmm I am loving it (more than Mc Do)

drabhishek said...

very tasty blog.congrats !!!!!!!!

Naarayan said...

Yummmm..looks delicious..sounds delicious too..and moreover makes it more interesting cause its veggie..Keep it coming jenni

Cheers

Suzanne said...

Wow! I've been reading this for about a month and everything always looks fabulous! As a vegetarian slowly turning vegan, this is a big help. Thanks for the great ideas!

Anonymous said...

As a vegan activist, why do you like simulated meats? I don't understand that. Why not just stick with good old tofu and veggies and grains?

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Anonymous! Well, first of all, tempeh is not a "simulated meat", it's a traditional Asian food with a very long history. In this recipe it's cooked in a smoky marinade that to the Western palate might resemble the smokiness of bacon, but it's not meant to "fool" anyone. It's just good!

Anyway, a lot of other lunches *do* use fake meats, so your question is valid. Personally, I never used to eat faux meats -- "If I don't eat meat why do I want to eat something that tastes like meat?" I still respect that line of thinking and could be very happy and well-fed while never eating another fake meat again.

However, this is my son's lunch, not mine. For a young child going to school surrounded by meat-eaters, veggie meats have been a wonderful thing. He can have chik'n nuggets or a "turkey" sandwich just like everyone else! He wonders why all meat can't be veggie meat -- similar flavors, convenience, fun for kids to eat, but no death involved. He points this out very logically to his friends as a big selling point for veganism! So shmoo's attitude has really won me over to the benefits of fake meats.

I think if we're going to make veganism appear attractive to the majority of Westerners, these are important, fun foods. They can help people move away from meat while still reaching for something familiar at mealtime. It eases the transition. From there, as tastes broaden, it's easier to add more "good old tofu and veggies and grains", as you say. :-)

SDGvegan said...

I have never gotten why people get on vegans for liking faux meat products. It's not the real thing and in my opinion really doesn't taste like it. Even if it does taste "just like meat" to some, so what? Just because I didn't like the taste of meats as a child, doesn't mean that some people don't miss the taste and if they find some comfort in eating a substitute, good for them. They aren't eating turkey. Sorry for going off on this. It just gets me down sometimes when it feels like vegans (and non-vegans)are jumping on vegans for not being "vegan" enough.

brittany said...

I tried began a vegan, it lasted about 4 days. Haha, I think vegans have great motivation.

Karen Anne said...

I like fake meats like Morningstar because then I have the hambuger experience :-) I grew up with, without harming an animal. It's something to put onions, lettuce, etc. on on bread. I actually can't stand the Boca meat substitutes because they do taste like meat, blech.

Ali said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that most people who are vegans for ethical reasons do not object to the flavor or taste of meat but rather the fact that it comes from a dead animal.

Also, just wanted to say to Jennifer that the "Comments" section seems to be changing as traffic to the site has increased and I hope you do not feel attacked. It seems like such a simple thing to want to share your child's lunchbox with other people. Who knew there'd be so much criticism in such a harmless thing? I guess it just comes with the territory. Keep up the good work!

Tori said...

Yummy looking fruit gel... put's the pre-packed Dole stuff to shame! :)

Tom said...

I'm a Vegan student in London, I'm getting very lazy at the moment and am buying most of my food out. Its a bit expensive though so I might try some of these lunches. I had tempeh once at Angelica's Kitchen in New York, I liked the taste but was allergic to it. I suggest the soya based bacon instead, its great. The fruit jelly thing looks really nice, I might give that a go. (A lot of ready prepared jellys are vegan though so I may buy instead.)

R2K said...

Your work is just great! I would love to try some of these dishes myself! While I am a serious omnivore, I enjoy the likes of tofu and other copycat foods which simulate meat. It is interesting!

R2K

R2K said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
An A-List Celebrity said...

Jennifer, I'm just another fan posting a comment to tell you how wonderful this blog is. I was veggie for 11 years and recently took a couple years off. After reading your site for a while, I realized how important being vegetarian was to me, and I'm off the meat train again, and trying to be as vegan as possible.

Regarding fake "meat", I would like to say that they are a GREAT solution for people like me. I LOVE the taste of meat, but eating it breaks my heart. veggie crumbles and Soysage have REALLY helped me to stay away from meat.

Anyway, thanks for being such an inspiration.

ejk said...

I know you've probably heard this a million times already....but your blog is great. i'm a current 'meatavarian', but am trying to find new, better ways to incorporate fruit n' veg. keep posting! I'm going out to buy Vegan with a Vengance as we speak!

Nabeel said...

awesome lunchboxes .. just great !!

Anonymous said...

one of my favorite ways to prepare temeph is to great it with a cheese greater (or some other way to "shred" it down small) then saute with garlic and onions to golden brownish, then add taco seasonings, some water and black beans, and it makes a super awsome taco filling. YUM!!

.:/\r0n:. said...

IM SO HUNGRY!

AnneJ said...

Hi, you have no idea how amazing it was for me to find your blog. I have been a Veggie since young and i do not regret keeping to my decision although Veganism and Vegetarianism isn't a big thing in Singapore. I am in High school right now and i bring my lunch on a daily basis. I can't wait to try out your recipes after my A levels. Gd luck and all the best with all future recipes and please continue with your blogs.

Stacey said...

Hi there! Your blog has a great theme to it. Hopefully it will be inspiring to everyone who happens across it. I am starting up a new blog that has a theme on vegetarianism. Please stop by often, as it is in the beginning stages. Share it with your friends.:) Thanks Stacey. http://yeastfree.blogspot.com

mayberry said...

i am not vegan, or really a vegitarian, but looking over all your pages, i was so surprised at how wonderfully delicious and healthy your lunches seem to be! i may be persuaded into converting!!! thank you for sharing.

Kevin said...

I have been a vegetarian for nearly 3 years now; I decided for a variety of reasons such as dissection. Anyway, what I find troubling is the transfering of ones ideals to their children... although this food looks delicious. I have nearly the opposite social, political and religious views than my parents; however that is due to my personal strive to keep informed on the issues rather than conforming. And moreover I'd be careful with the PETA links, I received one from a friend and it was a video of skinning a live racoon, I nearly puked after a few seconds of the gruesome video. your recipes are interesting and quite intricite, I may try a few although I'll stay away from the meat substitutes because I've never liked the taste of meat.

deva said...

the tempeh bacon on this sammich looks yummy..

i was raised on no bacon (kosher), and went veg at 15.. it's my five-year vegversary this month and my 1 year veganversary this past month..

i admire you for the time you put into little shmoo's lunch. your love for him shows through, definitely :)

Vinicio said...

You need to have a lot of time, money, and deiscipline to be a vegetarian. Kudoos for being one. On the other hand, I, as much as i try to be a vegetarian, it is extremely hard with a job and school. It makes life much more easier to cook rice, put some meat on it and some green and eat it. Rice and chicken on menu is much cheaper also. 3.25 at a chinese restaurant. If only i had money to select and spend.

Kate said...

vinicio: you need money to be a vegetarian? Not in my experience - as a veggie student, I saw my flatmates spending the biggest single chunk of their food money on meat. Vegetables aren't expensive. And, no, you don't need more time to make a salad sandwich than a bacon one. You can be a complex-food maker no matter what diet you follow.

jenniferschmoo - I love this blog! I'm the veggie (lacto-ovo, though becoming more vegan) mother of a one-year-old, and I'm just starting to send her to nursery with a lunchbox a couple of days a week. Inspiration like this is sorely needed! (Would it be useful if I posted baby-friendly adaptations if I come up with them?)

I'm not a fake meats fan either, mostly because I can't stand the taste of any of them, but I appreciate your reasoning. My daughter isn't at the peer-group stage yet, but I'm thinking ahead to falafel buggers and other ways round the "looks normal" issue.

Kate said...

Hee! By "buggers" I think I meant "burgers".

Karen Anne said...

Alex, if you knew anything about vegans, which is what jennifer is, you'd know they don't drink milk.

Aso, a vegan lifestyle is much cheaper than one based on eating meat.

Somehow your advocating suffering because "it is the norm", does not convince me. Nor does your courting aids by your personal behavior.

Organic farming actually provides a much better home for animals than your meat-raising agribusinesses spreading chemicals everywhere, destroying the topsoil, increasing global warming, and using up enormous amounts of land, many times the amount of land that is necessary for a vegan to survive on.

p.s. I find it hard to believe that someone trained as a "biologist" would spell vegetarians veggitarians, or vegetable vegitable, or fairytale fairytail, or apparently be unfamiliar with the correct use of apostrophes and commas. Why are you so fightened by decent ethics that you feel you have to masquerade as an educated person and attack them?

Loz said...

Hey Alex! If you have issues with a very ingenious woman managing to get a small boy to eat veggies maybe you should be reading a different blog?
I eat all the meat products vegans can't stomach, but I still adore reading this. It gives me ideas for lunch and for my struggle to get a 25 yr old man to eat vegetables, and I think it's great!
Stop with the preaching - I doubt you'll convert any vegans, and I much prefer reading the recipe related comments.
(PS. I've a doctorate in biology too, but I don't think it'll much of a difference to little Shmoo!)

Beth Miriam said...

Bravo Loz!

I love your quote "a very ingenious woman managing to get a small boy to eat veggies".

mark said...

Hi Alex-

I don't understand your irate tone, especially in response to Jennifer's completely non-proselytizing lead-by-example blog. I do think you bring up some good questions however.

I don't believe that an inability to be perfect means one can't do anything worthwhile. You are right that there are so many problems in our world, and probably right that anyone who uses any resources at all can't escape contributing to some of them. However that doesn't create moral license to do just anything with a clear conscience. I was brought to vegetarianism by reading Peter Singer, whose utilitarian philosophy still appeals to me. He would say that if there is a choice between a human surviving or a chicken escaping suffering we should allow the human to eat the chicken. But this is very rarely the case. When we can survive perfectly well and cause less suffering this seems to be the right choice. No need for you to feel threatened by people who try to live this way. Furthermore, I believe that a very poor family who chooses to eat beans and rice one day a week as a replacement for a meal with meat is already contributing toward a lessening of suffering in the world.

I grew up eating vast quantities of meat and like the taste very much. But I don't consider that this enjoyment balances the suffering I now know goes into its production, so it was simple for me to stop eating it. I envy Shmoo for having this realization so early on!

Thanks, Alex, for keeping the questioning flowing. I think this is all to the good. I, myself, love reading this blog and find Jennifer inspiring and fun.

MommaSchell said...

Not all vegetarians are vegetarians to "save" animals. There are plenty who eat a vegetarian diet for health and environmental reasons, too. And there is a such thing as a vegetarian spectrum, from the "just curious" to raw foodists. There are no veg group on the spectrum more superior than another, and from eating one plant-based meal a week, a day, or eat solely plant-baesd at every meal, all are commended and that every meal that substitutes a plant-based food item for an animal-based item makes a positive impact.

Did you know that most of the world's population is vegetarian and out of this group, most live well below that we coin as "poverty level?" Rice and beans (or other legumes such as peanuts, peas and lentils) are the staples of the world's diet, in one way, shape or form. It is a very economical form of complex carbs and bioavailable protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. This combo is not to be knocked down... Oh, BTW...cultures that eat a meat-and-animal product-centered diet are usually the ones that are wealthiest, that meat (or the cuts of meat) is often a cultural icon for wealth. It takes much more resources to produce a pound of meat than a pound of beans, rice or tomatoes.

I have been vegan for over 20 years, and acceptance of vegetarianism has come a very long way! Jennifer's blog is very positive and inspirational, where she is leading by example and demonstrates that vegan food is no longer considered "weird," that children and adults positively thrive on a vegan diet, and that vegan foods are fun and delicious to eat.

Anonymous said...

wow...very impressed by the powerful comments above..i agree myself that if one decides to be an omnivore (i eat chicken and fish only)..but does buy organic/free-range products..this is important as we should support the industries that are trying to be environmentally-sound..for those who are vegan/vegetarian..i truly commend them..but i do think that this should be a blog to celebrate ideas and values instead of tearing down others

R2K said...

You should go to an organic farm some time. It is a scam, like the rest. It makes you feel better, at a greater cost. Organic food is still tainted with chemicals (even if they are not applied directly in the growing process) and the farms do damage to the environment. But if it makes us feel better right?

You wanna know why I often eat meals without meat? Because they taste good, and are healthy. No saving the world.

James Matthiessen said...

R2K

I would like to recomend a book to you called the China Study written by Dr. Campbell. Pretty interesting read that could make you rethink your diet, or at least the components that make up your protein intake. Its well researched with much scietific evidence. Cheers.

Mal said...

Alex, it seems like you have some issues with people you know in RL, and you're channeling and dealing those issues with (what seems like) an attempt to start a heated conversation/debate. This is my interpretation of your comments, please don't be offended. It's okay to disagree and voice your opinion (and you've done so in a mature manner when so many people haven't. It's appreciated by all, I'm sure), but I think the majority of people who frequent this blog will probably agree that this is not the best place to have this be discussed. This is a little boy's lunch blog who just so happens to be a vegan, not a message board focused on veganism. There are plenty of MB that have been set up exactly for the topic(s) you've brought up.

I don't know anything about your diet, but you probably are A LOT healthier than a lot of vegetarians, especially the ones I know. I'm a vegan for health reasons (Extreme dairy and egg allergies, in addition to severe digestion problems that cause me great pain if I consume any solid food with less than 3g of dietary fiber). I'm quite far from a fan of PETA, and I'm definitely not an animal person; I'm just trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

Do whatever it takes to keep you healthy and happy, I say. Kudos to you for having a healthy diet in a time when so many people don't!

Michelle said...

I agree. Alex,while I admire your strong convictions and your desire to debate this issue, please remember that this is a blog about a little boy's lunch, not a site for discussing lifestyle choices- There are plenty of other blogs/websites out there to debate issues. We just want to see what's for lunch each day without feeling like we have to be on the defensive. Please take heart and go somewhere else to debate your issues. Thanks!

R2K said...

I understand, and any future comments will not be about this topic. Please note however, that I was simply reacting to what one person said BEFORE me about how easy and cheap it is to stick to a diet like this. Sweeping comments like that from a wealthy american or european tend to inspire arguments in me.

Christine said...

(I'm really sorry if this appears three times... I tried to post my comment twice and the computer froze... So here goes once more): To those that are confused about what to do with tempeh... I love tempeh more than tofu! I don't remember how I came to start cooking with it, but it is far easier to manipulate and is more filling. You can make sooo many things with it: cut it up into your spaghetti sauce and let it simmer till hot, chop it into your chili, dice and mix with ingredients for tempeh burgers, marinade for kebabs and sandwiches, add to stews... the possibilities are endless! My favorite tempeh recipes come from, "366 Ways to Cook Tofu and other Soy Products" but I also recently picked up Vegan with a Vengence and La Dolce Vegan. I won't respond to those comments by others about vegetarianism/veganism because I get very heated(!) about the issue, but I do want to say thank you to Jennifer for posting such a great site. I am a teacher, and so I get great ideas for my own lunchbox! I am trying to go vegan (from 7 years of vegetariansim) and my meat-eating husband has enjoyed most of my recipes very much. Keep up the awesome work!

annoyed, but that was your goal, wasn't it said...

I never will understand people who go into a blog just to attack its philosophy. Someone once told me this was called "borderline personality disorder." Sure was nicer here before sick people like Alex started arriving. Do the world you care about, so you say, a favor and improve this area of it by leaving.

kristy said...

Hi jennifer, i wanted to ask you something completely off topic. Where do you use flax seed? I'm vegan and have been for a few years and i find your blog inspiring lunch wise and am looking for new ways to incorporate flax seed into my dialy meals.

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

I use food stamps to buy beans, rice and TOFU! Tofu is $2 a pound. Meat costs way more!

Rock on to all vegetarians and vegans living below the poverty line!

R2K said...

:)

shinyruby said...

thought i'd come right to the source - how do you cook bulghur? I've purchased some but have not cooked with it before. any advice/tips? x

Simon said...

Sign me up as another meat eater who absolutely loves this blog. Jennifershmoo doesn't preach to anyone, she just lives by example (very yummy examples!) so I don't understand why all of the political commentary. I just come here for the pictures of tasty and creative food. Keep up the good work.

Maple said...

Your blog is gorgeous. I'm not vegan, but I'm almost thinking I should be... you make it look like so much fun! I always thought it would be too hard for me to stop eating meat and such, but I know that it's pretty healthy for you. I might try some of your ideas!

flatlander said...

Those vegan lunches look great!

In Montreal, you can eat a vegan lunch five days a week at Concordia University's People's Potato.

They've been doing it for three years now; proof that such an operation is well within the realm of the possible.

Thanks for the great site!

R2K said...

Probably the best simulated meat I have ever tried was Tofu duck. As crazy as this might sound, the duck meat (of the same physical size as a cut of duck) was made up of three textures of tofu! The meat, clearly, but also a skin layer and even a layer of fat under the skin! It was incredible!

Sweet Pea said...

Shinyruby,
Here are the instructions to cook bulgar (there are so many ways to spell it):

1 cup bulgar to 2 cups of water. Rinse bulgar. Bring water to a boil, add bulgar. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until soft.

Ms. M said...

very interesting commentary on an absolutely fabulous blog!

i went veggie at age 15--- half my life! I eat fake meats and have no problem with them at all... many are low-fat, high-protein, nutrient-enriched and more nutritious than their "real flesh" counterparts, and help support the growing veggie-friendly foods industry.

also, after 15 years of eating no meat, soy analogues and fakie meats don't remind me of anything that was living... meat hasn't been a part of my diet for so long, even if the veggie substitute is "really realistic", it's just a new taste and texture to me. I am not sure if non-veggies get that.

Anonymous said...

Why all the messing around with good fresh fruit, grain. nuts and vegetables? They're good enough to live on plain and simple. Also all that plastic??? Ugh

R2K said...

So the kid should carry his food in his pockets? :)

R2K

Eli said...

Hey Jennifer! I believe it was Bob Dylan who once said, "If there's controversy, you're probably doing something right".

This is stirring up more publicity for your blog, and I think that's great.

Annie said...

I love cooking too! I am from Taiwan(Asia)and find your blog on net. Nice to view your webside! and looking for forward to hear more cooking information! Annie http://www.noni-life.blogspot.com

AnneJ said...

I just feel that jennifer is an amazing mum who loves to cook for her little boy. Trust me, the kid is lucky as he will enjoy his lunches unlike his mates and his mates will go crazy over his food once they try, coz all my classmates eagerly await for the moment when i offer them to try, but now they just ask me outright. Btw it was great reading the debate sparked of by Alex, hope we have a debate motion like that for our nationals...Any way Gd luck and all the best Jenniffer and Enjoy trying out new reci[pes, the joy of cooking is just undescribable.

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

Are u using the soy-based tempeh that's eaten by the Javanese people? I like tempeh too, especially when it's fried or cooked with sambal. Delicioso!!!

Harmonia said...

I'm the 86th comment! You are really getting a LARGE following! Congrats!

I've just gotten into Tempeh the last 2 or 3 years actually...still learning, but isn't that the fun part?

Erin said...

Don't let them get you down, Jennifer, I read you everyday and I absolutely love everything you do. You're not being preachy, I don't understand why other people have to be.

People who aren't vegan just don't know what they're missing! :)

You're a grand inspiration and I'm very happy your blog is around. Much love.

R2K said...
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Maverick said...

Great Blog. VEry useful.

Sonya said...

Nothing like a long weekend to have the comment board explode. :)

I just bought some agar agar at the local vegan co-op, and we're making the fruit jell today! I feel ridiculous comparing my 25-year old fiance to your seven-year old son, but he's often the same way with the foods he eats-- I make tofu bacon (tofu, nutritional yeast, Bragg's, hot sauce) for TLTs, but he just wanted the tofu and plain bread, no fixin's. I have really been getting some good ideas for him from your blog. Looks gorgeous, as usual.

cherios said...

Absolutely love the blog! I went lacto-vegetarian in December. I've never been a big meat eater, so it hasn't been very hard. Eating healthier than I ever have in my life, and I've already lost a dress size. I'm a huge fan of the fake meats, I don't get why there's a controversy about them. It just makes it easier for us to adapt familiar old recipes, and nobody gets hurt.

I find your shmooed blog very inspirational. I was such a picky kid, and I'm still battling with being a picky adult. Seeing your sons lovely lunches gives me the strength to try new things. 4 months ago, I would have laughed if anyone suggested I eat tofu. Now tofu stir frys are about my fav thing!

Thanks so much, and keep it up!

Jennifershmoo said...

Wow. I just logged on after taking a bit of a break this weekend. Now that I've read all the posts I'm exhausted!! Sorry I wasn't here to delete the obscene posts. I hope I got them all. I'm afraid I may have accidentally deleted a post I didn't mean to (sorry!).

Anyway, I think debate is fine if it stays respectful and doesn't involve threats of violence, sheer stupidity, or obscenity. But I do agree with some of the comments above that there are great discussion boards out there that may be more appropriate for a discussion of the larger issues of veganism. I really don't mean to be a forum for debate among meat-eaters and vegans.

Gee, and I was just hoping for a few comments on tempeh, vegan jell, and kohlrabi (a sadly underappreciated little vegetable, in my opinion...).

>So the kid should carry his food in his pockets? :)

LOL!

You're right, Alex, vegetarian duck is pretty amazing. In Chinese Buddhist cuisine the "mock meats" have been elevated to quite an art form!

>Are u using the soy-based tempeh that's eaten by the Javanese people? I like tempeh too, especially when it's fried or cooked with sambal. Delicioso!!!

Yes, the same! I would love to sample some traditional Javanese tempeh dishes someday. :-)

>Where do you use flax seed?

Hi, Kristy -- good question! First of all, I buy whole seeds and grind just what I need for the day in a coffee grinder I use just for flax, so it's always fresh. If you buy them already ground be sure to store them in the freezer.

Mostly I sprinkle ground flax on oatmeal or cream of wheat in the morning. I also put it in smoothies a lot, and into baked goods like muffins, waffles, and pancakes. 1 TB of ground flax mixed with 3 TB of water in a blender makes a good "egg replacer" in baking. Hope that helps!

Whew! Thank you for the folks who emailed me to tell me things were getting vulgar -- sorry! And thank you everyone else who left kind comments!

SDGvegan said...

I was going to post about the kohlrabi and I forgot. We love kohlrabi. I remember being a kid and my neighbor had this huge garden and my favorite treat out of it was the raw kohlrabi. He was always so nice about giving us a bunch.

the vegan vulcan said...

I love this blog, and it actually inspired me to take the plunge from ovo-lacto to vegan!

Keep up the good work, Miz Awesome Shmoo!

I hope that the odd inappropriate comment doesn't discourage you from posting the most amazing lunches on the web!

mary said...

i just stumbled upon your blog and want to say THANK YOU! this really is an inspiration to us vegans out there that would like to raise children with healthy and smart food choices. the number one question to me is "what can you eat since you are vegan?" sometimes people dont realize that its not about not liking food (another common comment) or not allowing yourself to eat "good" food. becoming vegan can expand your diet actually, and i love that your blog proves my points!
everything looks so yummy!!

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, your posts are so inpiring, please don't a very small minority make you feel bad. And everyone please remember that we are talking about a little kid's lunch and really not the place for all this agression. Maybe some forum somewhere would be more appropriate?
xiola_mills@yahoo.ca

Miss Smartee Pants said...

I am an omnivore and a chef to boot. I get paid to prepare meat for others to eat. I do make a huge effort to ensure that all of that meat is raised in as humane a manner as possible. I have misgivings about eating meat but don't see myself stopping anytime soon. Why? Because I really like it. Love it, in fact. I think we are faced daily with choices about hwo we want to live our lives and what kind of impact we want to make on society and our planet. I've made other choices that adhere closely to my belief system.

But really, I don't think this is the place to debate the pros and cons of a meat vs. plant based diet.

It is a BEAUTIFUL site and more about the caring love of a mother for her child than anything else. I am impressed, daily, by her dedication to do what's right by Little Schmoo. What a lucky little boy. Think how wonderful our society would be if every parent demonstrated such love and care towards there child . . . even serving real chicken nuggets. We'd all be living in a much better place.

Any other benefits are just icing on the cake.

Jennifershmoo said...

Thanks, sdgvegan! We grow kohlrabi in our garden, too. In fact, we even grow PURPLE kohlrabi. It's gorgeous to look at, but has the same flavor and color inside. Did you know the kohlrabi greens are also edible? You can cook them in the same way you cook collard greens, and they have the same flavor. They take a bit longer to cook.

liz said...

I'm an omni and I love this blog. I love to cook and the creativity and care put into these meals is inspiring. I don't think anyone should have to defend their choices one way or another in this space, there is enough great stuff to discuss and learn about with the variety of yummy looking food prepared.

My father who is diabetic was recently diagnosed with kidney disease (it happens to diabetics after a number of years, sometimes) and needs to watch his protein consumption. He is a meat and potatoes guy. I like sites like this where I can find great ideas on things to cook for him that will be yummy and aren't meat-centered. The amount of care put into these meals is inspiring and is teaching me alot about creativity and love in cooking, and he is loving the stews and sandwiches and things I am learning to make, and is not even missing meat! Thank you for being an inspiration to me, Jennifer. I am planning to order your cookbook when it is available and have already ordered Vegan With a Vengence from your link!

Tempeh absolutely rocks, I first tried it in Bali where I took a cooking class and we made two different dishes with it. It has such a hearty texture. We made little fried squares with some dipping sauces as a snack, and a stir fry. Sites like this do so much to educate on how to use new ingredients!

Yonmei said...

Hi Jennifer - this is a great blog, and I love your lunches!

I'm thinking about getting one of these lunch boxes, but one thing isn't clear to me from the photos - do all the containers come with lids? The photographs on this website and on the www.laptoplunches.com website consistently show most of the containers without lids. If most of them are unlidded, do you find this works to keep the food in?

Your lunches are beautiful and sound extremely tasty! Lucky little shmoo...

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Yonmei! That's right, most of the containers do not have lids, just one large one (in this picture it has the jell in it and the lid is next to it) and the tiniest one to hold dip or dressing. The others fit snugly into the larger lunchbox container and use the lunchbox as a lid. Yes, it keeps things in place, and there aren't a lot of lids to keep track of and wash.

Anonymous said...

Arrrggghhh! Jennifer,I certainly hope you don't get discouraged by the controversy on today's comments. I haven't posted a comment in the past, but I feel compelled to chime in with compliments today.

1. I love your blog...it's attractive, the writing is fun, and the photography is great.

2. I love it that you live your principles by feeding your little boy what you believe to be the best food, while being very sensitive about making sure he doesn't feel "deprived."

Please don't let this involuntary debate make you feel bad! This is a wonderful, positive website...healthy in more ways than one.

Sincerely,

Holly Ann

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

I suppose "involuntary" wasn't the best choice of words. I meant a debate that seems to have arisen spontaneously. I'm not trying to imply that the topic isn't worthwhile, merely that might not be the most appropriate forum.

Holly Ann

Shelly said...

Holy guacamole! Well, it is for certain that you have 'arrived' Jennifer, because you've gotten your first troll and your first big debate! Congrats!

:sniff: And I remember the good old days when there were only a dozen of us reading this...ahhh, time flys.

The sandwich looks scrummy, BTW. I love vegan bacon recipes. I have abuot six of them, and my cats adore the stuff!!

M.S. Wells said...

Hey, Jennifer,

I have a food blog, and it's totally not vegan (can't do it, but I admire it). You've inspired me to keep on typing and to try some vegan recipes.

Great job!

And for your frequent commenter, Alex- I like your arguments. I'm sure I'm not the only one. You're right about rich Westerners and their ideals. We can't all live in "Vegan Eden."

Did you try the vegan duck at Vegetarian Paradise II in the Village? Just wondering, 'cause that's where I had vegan duck. I'm not a fan, though.

Shag said...

Looking great as usual, Jennifer!

RE: Vegan with a vengenance: Are the recipes in it pretty simple? I'd like a book that didnt use a million ingredients, if you know what I mean.

snowdrops said...

i'm a vegetarian too and chancing upon your blog has given me more motivation to beautify vagan lunchboxes for my hopelessly carnivorous boyfren :) hurray to a fellow vegan! :)

R2K said...

Wells It was at a small place near my home: china town, manhattan. Its an all veggie chinese place, and is very good! But they dont always go light on the suace and tofu can soak up too much sometimes :)

Anonymous said...

Shelly, would you post a recipe your cats like? Thanks.

Lois Brady said...

what a wonderful blog. I so enjoyed reading your lunchbox suggestions. Your photos make everything look so appetising.
My blog, should you care to have a look, is www.curiouskitchen.com

Jamie said...

Shag, as a novice chef, I have found "May All Be Fed" by John Robbins to be a wonderful cookbook. It's out of print but still can sometimes be found on Amazon or other used book websites.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me if this has been said... but I got bored reading the lengthy anti-vegan comments and decided to just skip to the bottom and leave my own.

It fascinates me that people assume vegans have to spend more money than meat eaters. I love mock-meats because I love the taste of meat (just not what it is), but don't buy them often because they are expensive. But if you're not living on substitutes like that, being vegan is downright cheap.

India is a primarily vegetarian nation, and it's not exactly a rich country. I've been vegan for three years and vegetarian for about 10 before that (I just felt OLD!). The only things that I stopped buying that were reasonably priced when I turned vegan were eggs (you really can't beat $.99 for a dozen!) and low-quality cheeses. Even milk is pretty expensive--soy milk is actually cheaper!

I don't shop at natural food markets often because they're pricey. I shop at the bodega. I live in Brooklyn. I comparison shop and clip coupons and avoid pre-packaged convenience foods. When I do shop at natural food places, I skip the frozen aisles and go right to the bulk bin. (Bulk bins are a GODsend). Yes, I make a decent enough income, but I am in no way well-off. I'm just a young artist who prefers to eat vegan and finds a way to do it.

I have a friend who often eats vegan because it's cheaper. Brown rice and beans? Tofu? Lentils? All of these things--which are great vegan sources of protien--are cheap, probably cheaper than meat. And the veggies... well, hopefully you're eating them anyway!

Sweet Pea said...

No lunch for Monday was posted...

Anonymous said...

monday was a national holiday...

Anonymous said...

That's because it was a holiday. Jennifer doesn't usually post when Shmoo doesn't have school or has an early out day when he isn't at school long enough to eat lunch.

Sweet Pea said...

I forgot it was a holiday. It wasn't a holiday in Canada.

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion. To keep this
great blog from getting ugly, lets not respond to the mean-spirited and sarcastic comments.
Maybe they'll just give up and go
away? If we let them bother us,
they've won.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I have a suggestion. To keep this
great blog from getting ugly, lets not respond to the mean-spirited and sarcastic comments.
Maybe they'll just give up and go
away? If we let them bother us,
they've won.<<

I agree. Thank you, anonymous.

Hi, Shag! Yes, I think "Vegan With a Vengeance" has some good, simple recipes using easy-to-find ingredients. And I also agree with Jamie -- "May All Be Fed" is a great vegan cookbook, if you can find a copy.

Melanie said...

Awesome blog. Awesome! I can't wait to show my daughter, she's going to love this. :)

sp said...

Like so many others, I love this site! I've linked it on my own because diet can be more than nutrition, it can be artistic as well and you clearly have artistic inspiration when you are also inventing a wonderfully nutritious way to feed the ones you love.
Thank you for the inspiration. I can't wait to make the tempeh bacon.

Hillary said...

I just discovered this blog, and I think its awesome! I'm not a vegan or anything but all the food you make makes me think it wouldnt be bad at all. It all looks so good! But I can't believe your kid eats all of that stuff....I never would have at 7. Still amazing though...keep it up! :)
-Hillary

Nadine said...

Monday! Tuesday! Where are you?

Jennifershmoo said...

I'm here! Yesterday was the President's Day holiday, and right now I'm just waiting for shmoo to get home so I can write the "verdict" and post. :-)

Anonymous said...

Being Canadian, I'm out of the holiday loop. Looking forward to today's post!

Shmoo, when I grow up, I wanna be just like Yoooo! Your lunches totally inspire me to do more experimenting with ingredients that I've never played with before, and with a semi-veggie, milk-allergy sorta diet, I love all your fantastic ideas!

My mum used to grow Kolrabi in the garden, and it was just mixed up with all the other veggies when we had veggie dip!

Actually, my family's dairy allergy has had serious "tofu-haters" eating things they never would have, if they knew what the ingredients were -- my dad actually ate chocolate "mousse" made with soft tofu, and didn't know what he was eating, and veggie dips made with soy sour "cream" are virtually indistinguishable!

Keep up the good work - I'm looking forward to lunch today!

- Nicole

Becca said...

You have given this Momma inspiration! THanks!

FrauBucher said...

"May All Be Fed" is fairly common on the net, but not super cheap for a decent copy. Best bet is to search on www.bookfinder.com

Read the descriptions well!

Aleta said...

Hi, Jennifer,

I started reading your blog a few weeks ago and have been truly inspired! I'm in the process of converting to lacto-ovo vegetarian and may get to vegan...a slow process but one inspired by your lunches. I've also requested many vegan cookbooks from the library so that I can find what I like. I look forward to your book!

So far I've made recipes with tofu and seitan and shared them with meat-eating and meat-loving coworkers. Both asked for the recipes!

Thank you for sharing your efforts with us. And thanks to shmoo for sharing his thoughts as well.

click here to read how Adam & Eve were Vegan said...

Do you take vitamins too to make up for B12 and stuff?

Shelly said...

Anon (above) asked for the vegan bacon recipe that my cats like to eat. It's really easy. :)

Slice a drained and pressed block of firm tofu into thin slices lengthwise. Marinate them in a shallow pan of low sodium soy sauce and three tablespoons of liquid smoke for several hours. Fry them in a thin layer of canola oil until crisp, then turn and fry the other side until crisp. This can take a while; I usually give it about twenty minutes on each side (medium heat.). I blot them on paper twoels and let dry before chopping into little squares. Because of the sodium. I only let them have a couple of the baco bits each day. Hope your kitties like it as much as mine do! The bits will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week or so.

Trin said...

I almost feel bad commenting since this section is so long already, but HAD to suggest my family's fave cookbook: Simply Vegan by Debra Wasserman and Reed Mangels.

Di (Spot-On) said...

Darnit I forgot about presidents day!

Di - lurker, love your blog btw :)

The Insomniac said...

This woman makes me so hungry. I wish I had her energy to go to such delightful lengths. That is one lucky schmoo.

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Shelly -- Someone else was asking if three tablespoons was the right amount? It seems like a lot of liquid smoke!

Shelly said...

Oh, duh! Yes, it does seem like a lot, but I also blot the strips before I fry them, so a lot of it is lost. Also, that's 3 tbsp. for the whole block of tofu, and the marinade has to cover the slices. I forgot to put in the bit abuot blotting the strips before frying. Sorry!

If you skip the blotting before frying step, I would only use half the amount of liquid smoke. :)

red jane said...

I'm exahusted reading through all the comments! I too, LOVE this blog. Thank you for all the wonderful, creative and compassionate work you share with everyone- I've been vegan for 2 years and I can't imagine a life without great vegan food and food sharing- I'm completely inspired by your stuff! Yay!!!!!!!Umm, any chance you'd adopt others to make lunch boxes for? I know I'm a grown woman, but if I could have lunch like shmoo, ho-ly! Lunch times would be a dream!