Monday, May 08, 2006

Baseball

Welcome to my son's newest passion! Shmoo started Coach Pitch Softball this season and the team's second Big Game is tonight. Hubby and I both observed that we would have wailed in misery if our parents had made us play baseball (we're more the library/chess club crowd), but shmoo says wistfully, "I wish we could have softball practice every single day!"

So take shmoo out to the ball game with an Yves Veggie Dog on a whole wheat bun and a small ketchup on the side. The baseball is a Zucchini-Raisin Muffin from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas -- a whole wheat muffin filled with zucchini, applesauce, walnuts, and flax. I frosted the muffin with a basic white icing and piped on baseball stitching using icing tinted with natural food coloring. And I couldn't resist throwing in some (yes, it's vegan!) Cracker Jack, complete with a Surprise Inside.

Speaking of baseball, are you looking for a vegan baseball glove? Target carries inexpensive vinyl baseball gloves for kids (in pink, even!). And if you're looking for a top-of-the-line finest-of-the-fine all-vegan glove, visit Carpenter Trade.

Verdict: This was a fun lunch, and shmoo loved the baseball muffin. He had never heard of Cracker Jack, so I had to sing him the song and explain what it was. 5 home runs.

P.S. Tomorrow is yet another noon release -- see you Wednesday!

54 comments:

College Vegan Athlete said...

This lunch is so cute (although I never was a fan of cracker Jacks). I absolutely love the fun muffin- it sounds so very healthy and I can't wait to try it out. I bet my little brother (11yrs.) would love this lunch. He eats, sleeps, plays and dreams baseball.

-Teresa
ps- why oh why does it have to be a noon release tomorrow?

Megan said...

I have so much fun reading your blog even though we aren't vegans. You have great ideas!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>why oh why does it have to be a noon release tomorrow?

Really, what is a "staff inservice day" anyway?

sarchan said...

That muffin sounds so good. I never really liked Cracker Jacks, but awhile ago my mom and I made a similar homemade caramel popcorn recipe (it was vegan as well) and I became addicted to the stuff! Must be something about it being fresh. . . It also had sunflower seeds and I think pecans mixed in it--really good.

Alexandra said...

Do you take the veggie dogs straight from fridge to lunchbox, or do you cook them first?

harlemgrrl said...

veggie dog, cracker jack and a baseball muffin?!?after months of silently reading your blog, and not at all a fan of baseball, i must say this may be my favorite shmoo lunch to date!

p.s. belated thanks for the vegan blueberry pie :::burp:::

DDawnC said...

Yes, and here's a belated thanks for the Honeybee No-Bakes. My only gripe was that the cocoa in the recipe made the bees brown, which rendered the idea of brown bee stipes mute. They ended up looking like little dung piles with almonds stuck in each side. lol Still kind of confused about that, but they sure tasted good!

t. said...

really nice! i was really happy to discover the availability of natural food colourings online. I have just recently learnt how to make some myself (I can do a very good green, blue and purple with my own vegetable) but these seems professionist tools!

Brooke said...

Oh, and look, the napkin has Charlie Brown playing baseball on it! You are too cute!!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>here's a belated thanks for the Honeybee No-Bakes. My only gripe...

Uh, you're welcome? The stripes were subtle but we thought they looked cute, especially in the photograph. You could use powdered sugar for white stripes, or powdered sugar mixed with powdered yellow food coloring for yellow stripes (or turmeric for an all-natural yellow, but I wouldn't like the taste of turmeric here).

Jane M said...

What a great lunch! I love it...thanks for the info about Cracker Jack being vegan too. I have always loved that stuff!

EatPeacePlease said...

Great lunch, and I love the theme. I'm not big into the fake meats, but this one's a winner (hopefully so is Shmoo tonight). I also think it's wonderful that he's never heard of Cracker Jacks until now... way to go with that one!

Addy N. said...

"What do you call a kid who can dive like that? You call that kid a cracker jack..."

Ah- I can't see those things without that old 70s jingle leaping into my head! Do you remember that, Jennifer?

Kim said...

Oh, Jenn, this one is at the top of the list! And as a former ps teacher, I can tell you that "teacher inservice" is a time when they sit around and look at useless data, wade through red tape, talk about stupid educational mumbo jumbo, and wish that someone would just let them have time to grade papers or plan more fun lessons.

KaiVegan said...

Looks like every kid's dream lunchbox!

DDawnC said...

I'm sorry Jennifer! I think my post came off sounding more like an insult rather than a thank you- my bad! I just thought I might have misunderstood the recipe or something. Your idea about using powdered sugar seems like a good possibility.

I also forgot to say how nice schmoo's lunch looked today- hope he got a cool prize with his Jacks.

dizzymisslizzy said...

if that was my lunch, i would be too busy cooing over its insane cuteness to actually eat it.

as i think someone asked earlier, do you cook the veggie dogs first or just put them right into the lunchbox?

also, are those muffins essentially just whole-wheat flax muffins with the other stuff thrown in?

testingagain said...

Bear with me, I'm a little slow...I know we have to keep lunches either below 40 degrees or above 140 degrees and the stuff should be cold (or hot) when we put it in. But what about mixed meals. I'd guess the veggiedog would be best above 140 (below 40, not so good)but then the crackerjacks would melt and the catsup would be warm. I'm guessing the layered bean dip/cut watermelon/jicama lunchwould have all been below 40.
I guess kids would be more flexible about what temp things are. Also, how do you get stuff cold in the morning before you pack.

Calla said...

That is too cute! Shmoo's friends must have been jealous. I hope he won his game.

I also hope Shmoo will be going to a summer camp that requires daily lunches from home...

Jennifershmoo said...

>>do you cook the veggie dogs first or just put them right into the lunchbox?

Well, I think veggie dogs are completely cooked in the package, but I always boil them according to package directions. I just feel safer that way. Then I keep them covered in the fridge so shmoo can grab them for a snack if he wants to. So the hot dog is cold, but cooked.

>>also, are those muffins essentially just whole-wheat flax muffins with the other stuff thrown in?

Yes, a very nice basic vegan muffin recipe with extra goodies thrown in.

Veggiemouse, here's an FAQ that deals with the hot/cold issue a bit:

http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/2006/03/my-where-did-you-get-that-lovely-lunch.html

I'm not sure what you mean by how do I get things cold? I keep things like fruit, soy yogurt, etc. in the fridge until it's time to pack them.

>>I hope he won his game.

Yes, his team won! :-)

Milinda said...

I hate to be the one to say it but. . . the "cracker jack" jingle is much older than the 70s. Heck, the "take me out to the ball park" is from either the 20s or 30s. Cracker Jacks were on "Unwrapped" the other night.

I'm jazzed that my Lunchbox is in the mail and I should have it by the weekend.

Carole said...

That lunch is too cute and too creative for words! What a lucky little Schmoo!

testingagain said...

Ha--I have heard of refrigeration--I meant things that you make the same day, like pasta and such, things that are room temperature when you make them but need to be heated to 140 or cooled to 40. It's easy to quickly heat, not so easy to quickly cool. Also I'm starting to see that I'm just having a hard time imagining eating some things cold. Like the Veggie Dog. Like the Empanadas on the same day as cut up apples and jicama and black beans and red Spanish rice.(March 28) Obviously that must have all been cold, not all hot. I'm sure I could eat that empanada cold--it looks yummy! Just need to rethink the hot/cold thing. And I have seen you use a thermos to enable mixed hot/cold meals.

Emily said...

I love this! I'm a huge baseball fan (or rather, Red Sox fan) and my husband and I ushered in the start of the season with veggie dogs. I may have to borrow the idea for baseball cupcakes if we have a cookout this summer. Too cute!

Belladonna said...

I just discovered your blog and I have to say, I love it so much! Although I'm no longer a vegetarian, I absolutely
love vegan food and cooking, especially since it's usually kosher and incredibly healthy. I have so many recipies that I found here that I'm going to have to try over this summer!

raising_kahne said...

such a cute lunch! but, was the muffin really good???

Jennifershmoo said...

Veggiemouse -- Some things are made fresh and served at room temperature, like the empanada. I baked it, wrapped it in foil and packed it in the lunch box. It is only 3-4 hours until lunchtime, so by the time lunch comes around it is not piping hot but it is not freezing cold, either.

Re. eating things cold, I notice a lot of kids at school eating things like "pizza pockets" baked in the morning and wrapped in foil, or cold french toast sticks dipped in syrup. I think kids don't have such an issue with having to eat things piping hot. In fact, I spent the first few years of my son's life blowing on everything to cool it down!

>was the muffin really good???

Imagine zucchini bread with raisins and a touch of cinnamon -- yes, they are very tasty!

MommaSchell said...

Your lunch looks too good! I have played organized softball since age 6 and I am currently one of the online stats stringers (aka online play-by-play scorers) for Major League Baseball at Petco Park here in San Diego. I grab veggie dogs and veggie burgers at Petco all of the time!

vegineer said...

>> I think kids don't have such an issue with having to eat things piping hot.


so true! when i was a kid, me and my friends would always put ice cubes in hot items like soup to cool them down. i don't think kids are sticklers like adults for hot food.

Mistrmind said...

Bleech. Ketchup on a hot dog?

What is wrong with you.

Mustard all the way!!!!

jen said...

i can't believe he never heard of cracker jacks! i'm glad you sang him the song.

love your muffin/baseball idea. looks yummy.

Nicole said...

Thanks for the great book recommendation, I just picked it up and am so excited to get some great veggie meals into my family. We are not vegitarians, but I have been appalled lately at our lack of veggie and fruit intakes. Your blog really helps me get motivated to make something "out of the norm" and super healthy. Thank you!

Anyways, I have been watching Jaime's School Lunch Project on TLC, and if you haven't peeked at it yet, do!! He is awesome at getting some veggies into random kid friendly things. And it is just awesome to see someone go up against the big guys (ie government and school systems) and show them what they are doing to kids, healthwise. Okay, I will stop babbling now. :O) Thanks again for being here.

Marian said...

On the hot/cold food deal:

I'm sure that the fact that all this food is meat free really helps with bacteria and such, yes? I can't imagine a cold soy hotdog having the same gross bacteria and diseases as a regular cold (or hot!) hotdog!

Although I am not vegetarian (I fall into the "thinking about it" category), your blog is inspiring. You must have the healthiest little shmoo around.

True said...

This is the most adorable lunch ever. What fun!

Not vegan, but loving your blog and all the great ideas. I bought Earth Balance margarine this weekend and love it. Thanks. :)

Colorsonmymind said...

I just found your blog and am blown away- so much so tears came to my eyes.

I grew up vegetarian and my mom made me loving lunches, but nothing this great.

Shmoo is lucky to have you!

YellowBellyHippy said...

Yummy stuff mama! Looks greatlike always! Im still waiting for you to invite me and my kids over for dinner ;-) haha
Hope you have a super week!

Class said...

this lunch is darling.
just wondering, though, after seeing the yves dog, what's your stance on genetically modified foods?

testingagain said...

I guess I should back up. My kids' school sent home info on school lunches. Bacteria teem between 40 and 140 degrees. Thus the entire lunch must be cooled below 40 and packed with a cool pack or heated above 140 and insulated. Except for safe at room temp foods like crackers or whole uncut, washed apples,nuts, seeds, unopened canned fruit etc. I personally take great liberties with these rules. Example--if I pack the lunch at 8 and they eat by 11, that's only 3 hours--just one more than is allowed so I don't worry.
I was curious what Jennifer did since I've seen a few "mixed" meals. Example-the warm empanada in a lunch box with cut up fruit and vegetables and rice and beans would result in a warm/cool temp until the lunch is eaten. The empanada warms the other foods while they cool the empanada. I thought she cooled it, but instead she does what many of us do--takes liberties with the "rules".
Add the 2nd part to the first part of this URL for the link they gave us:
http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/
files/filelibrary/2020/3472.pdf
I don't mean this as any criticism, I'm just trying to understand.
That's also the reason for my question about cooling the foods. The website recommends cooling sandwiches overnight, but I'd much rather make them in the morning. I guess that's how PB and J got so popular--safe at any temp.Even some soft non cutup fruit wouldn't stay well unless in a below 40 degree lunch box.

testingagain said...

Forgot to mention that most of the lunches on here follow the rules.Like the Veggie Dog was sent at refrigerator temp(with the cold pack) and the other items in this cute lunch could be eated cool. Or the rice salad, sogurt, chapati and fruit are fine because all were either cooled or OK at room temp. The sogurt even helped cool the other items. I would even guess that the seashells in the sand, veg. medley, cut strawberries and pecan tarts were all cooled and sent with the coolpack.

Laura said...

Mm! I adore your themed lunches! This one captures the spirit of softball perfectly!! (and a thank you for the tip on Cracker Jack!)

Vegetarian Cooker said...

Super ideas! Yammy!

Vegetarian Thai food

Kristi said...

Jennifer, I wanted to tell you thank you for this blog. I don’t even remember how I ran across it (link printed in a magazine maybe?) several months ago, but I’ve enjoyed reading it ever since. We’ve been vegetarian for almost 2 years now and I’ve really had the desire to become vegan for the last 6 months or so. We’ve made so many steps in the right direction but have some stuff to change still. My boys love your tofu “fish” sticks and I made the cupcakes yesterday and they were awesome. I purchased “The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook” a couple weeks ago because of your recommendation here and LOVE the White Bean Crock “Stuff”. It is so good! I also made the broccoli cheese soup last weekend and even dh loved it and he’s never been a big fan of the real broccoli cheese soup. Anyway, I’m rambling now but really wanted to tell you that the way you discuss veganism in such a polite way and by example is inspiring and to throw a cliché in here, you’ve changed my life (and that of dh and my boys). It’s also quite obvious that you’re an amazing mom and Shmoo is a lucky guy. Thanks for everything you do!

Barbarian Queen said...

Hi, I just wanted to list some of things I have made from this list. Not much, but it was fun. I have made the yummy Fluffy Yellow Cupcakes, Sticks and Stones, HoneyBee No-Bake, and the Jicama. My kids only ate the Yellow Fluffy Cupcakes *sigh*. They are extremely picky, which makes them go hungry most days. :) I have also started dipping our apples in orange juice and my girls can't get enough of that. Very tasty!

I have a question. I have the book World Vegetarian by Jaffrey, but I can't find the dipping sauce you were talking about. Is that something you just put together using the mushroom broth, soy sauce and mirin?

Thanks for the help and for this blog. :)

testingagain said...

More school lunch stuff...the same initiative has been talking about choice in school lunches. Apparantly a lot of schools provide a regular lunch item and then some standing choices like burgers,pizza,pasta bar or even PB and J. Researchers are suggesting that with choices the kids are less likely to try new things.
That's why your lunches are so great Jennifer. Imagine if all our meals were like yours. A limited number of choices in relatively small quantities. One or two items we know we like and a few new things to try. We'd be a lot more likely to try new things in this setting rather than getting stuck in the rut of eating the same old thing everyday or getting into bad habits. Vegan, veggie, omni--or even raw or low fat or low carb....the common factor that everyone agrees on is that we should have a variety of fruits and vegetables. Bravo to you for encouraging and facilitating that for Scmoo and all of us!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I can't find the dipping sauce you were talking about.

Hi, barbarian queen -- it's part of the recipe for Cold Buckwheat Noodles (zaru soba), on page 330 in my book. Enjoy!

Barbarian Queen said...

duh, I wasn't looking under Cold Buckwheat Noodles. (lol) Thanks for directing me to the right place. :)

Carla said...

Regarding the temp of food for lunches...

I suspect (just an opinion) that it's overcautious paranoia with a small grain of truth to it.

Moreover, I strongly suspect that these food temp guidelines are based on meat/dairy foods, which tend to grow more harmful bacteria much faster than plant based foods.

Sure, plant based foods can grow bacteria (uh, moldy grapefruit, anyone?), but for some reason, all the summer warnings I hear about picnic food usually relate to meat/dairy items.

I can tell you one thing, if I have a choice between a baby carrot or a slice of ham--both of which have been sitting in the hot sun for 3 hours--I am definitely choosing the baby carrot.

Of course, I'm vegan, but that's not the only reason. ;)

Aspirant said...

Hi, can someone answer an incredibly stupid question from a passing aspiring vegan? As I move closer to veganism, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the shades of gray. Maple syrup, which I thought was vegan, may be treated with milk to reduce foaming in the production process ... wine may involve isinglass ... etc. Is there some sort of consensus about where to draw the line, which things are "in" and which are "out"? Or is it all up for debate within the vegan community? Are you not really a vegan if you eat maple syrup? Are the lines shifting and unclear, or is there a guide somewhere? Sorry to be so obtuse ... and thanks in advance!

Winter Moon said...

To aspirant:

check out this web site:
http://www.vegsource.com/jo/index.htm She is a great author and her book, "Being Vegan" addresses much of these sorts of ethical questions. Just speaking for myself -- I eat maple syrup, I drink wine and I eat white sugar (another "gray" area) My feeling is that animal products are not part of the ingredients and that makes a differenc to me. Others may not feel the same. Everyone needs to make their own decisions, there are no vegan police, lol. The bottom line here is intention.

testingagain said...

I think you are right about the over-cautious thing regarding school lunches but although they can't really control what we send in, teachers in this school will be looking at what we send in and suggesting "safer methods" Haha--lunchbox police! So I'm going to try to follow the guidelines. Probably by sticking with all cold rather than all hot since it's already May.
I also think the meats do seem like they'd be more of a problem, but I know that in potato salad it isn't the mayo that's the problem--it's acid actually protects the food.
My husband eats leftovers until the minute before mold forms and never gets sick so I'm not too worried!
I know organic veggies need special attention when washing as they're more likely to have e. coli than non-organic, but once washed they just seem safe at whatever temp.

Jennifer said...

you have to be the best mom in the world!

red said...

thank you



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