Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hot Dog Macaroni

Shmoo is quite the veggie dog lover, is he not? This time I took a cue from my lil' brother's childhood, and mixed sliced Yves Veggie Dogs in with macaroni and vegan "cheese" sauce. My brother went through a phase where he ate hot dogs mixed with boxed mac and cheese (the non-veg kind) every day for lunch until my mom thought it was going to come out his ears. On the side is an applesauce cup (I haven't been able to find applesauce tubes around here, but I'm still looking).

To complete this all-American kid meal, I made a pan of brownies. Oh, I've been craving brownies lately -- not the cakey kind that I usually make, but the fudgy, gooey, ultra-chocolatey kind. It was Dreena Burton to the rescue, with her incredible Fudgy Brownies recipe in Vive le Vegan!And to drink, a mixture of almond milk and vanilla soymilk, to go with that chocolatey brownie.

Verdict: Shmoo loved the hot dog macaroni; the "Amazing Mac 'N Cheez Sauce" I use for mac & cheese (from Ultimate Uncheese)is perhaps one of his favorite things to eat. And the brownies were perfection, just what I had been dreaming of! I can't imagine an omni ever guessing that these did not have eggs and dairy in them. 5 stars for sheer yumminess, but not too many for healthiness.

"Yes, where are the veggies?" I hear my critics complaining. Well, we do eat fruits and veggies every day, but I've noticed that my cooking tends to go back and forth between trying to be as super-healthy as possible, and trying to taste as delicious and comforting as possible (guess which style my husband and son prefer?).

Although I know it would be better if we always ate exclusively for our health, I don't think every vegan out there really cares about health first and foremost. Veganism for many is a path of compassion, rather than a "diet" or something they do for their bodies. And I'm glad of that, because everyone knows diets are meant to be broken! Thank goodness there are supremely decadent, ultra-rich vegan goodies -- like fudgy brownies! -- out there to enjoy, so we can continue to be kind to the animals, even when we're not being kind to our waistlines.

52 comments:

Melissa said...

Amen to that sister! I hate going to restaurants and finding that the only vegetarian options are what we politely call "healthy." That usually amounts to grilled veggies with some bland pasta! Especially when I am eating out, I want something yummy and naughty! I can eat healthy at home :)

veganmum said...

Oh, I could not have said that better myself! I still find myself feeling somewhat guilty when I feed my kids vegan "junk". But, when it comes right down to it, I think it's very healthy to pass on the concept of moderation to our kids - and that means being allowed to eat for sheer pleasure sometimes, too!

I think you've inspired me - hot dog macaroni for dinner tonight at my house. :) And that brownie looks/sounds amazing; I really must get that book!

Susan G said...

Can't imagine that you would have even one critic! Your schmoo has eaten more veggies in a day than my middle child has in months. She will basically only eat cereal and (vanilla soy) milk and maybe some fruit once in a while. So frustrating!

Thanks for your inspiration and all your hard work!

Kim said...

Funny, At my sons school, us parents must provide food from all the food groups. So this morning I gave my son a choice, broccoli, carrots, celery or corn, we went back and forth on this issue until he came up with a choice.

Just wanted you to know I made your coconut cream pie. The kids loved it and my husband ate one also. Im not sure if he heard my daughter tell him it had tofu in it.

Muse said...

I'm with you, Ms. Shmoo. While I would love to have been the perfect vegan, for me it was all ethical and animal- and planet-friendly. That was the biggest concern I had. Plus... when vegans eat this way ("delicious"), it just proves to the rest of the world that you don't have to have meat/eggs/dairy to eat delicious food ;)

Fastveggie said...

Phhhhht on the critics. You're sons lunches--even today's non vegetable includin' lunch--are a thousand times healthier than many children's packaged, chemical laden junk.

Rumbly in my Tumbly said...

This post reminded me of one time in college when my friend and I attempted to eat vegan for a week. We were kind of experimenting because we knew it was healthier than our current diets. Well, we stopped eating all the animal products, but didn't replace them with any new veggie foods! And back then we hardly ever ate a fruit or vegetable, and we didn't cook, either. So we basically lived off of cheeseless pizzas for the whole week. Not what you'd call the smart way to do it!

amanda said...

hello - my first comment to your blog! I've been enjoying reading for a few months now, but this post moved me to chime in! I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your vegan lunchbox adventures with the blog-reading world. I'm not vegan but you inspire me with everyday with your creativity and mindfulness. So, thank you!

cindylou said...

I love your site. I have a four-year-old and when I send him off to school I have a difficult time figuring out what to feed him so I end up sending the same thing every day. Peanut butter and agave syrup sandwich, apple sauce, juice and carrots or raisins. You give some of the most awesome ideas. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Emily said...

Everyone deserves a treat now and then! Shmoo eats so much variety (way more than me) and fruits and veg he deserves a brownie!

zoracky! said...

it is very compassionate to feed ourselves some tasty treats every now and then. still loving your blog. i actually tried some brussel sprouts and now i get sad when the coop doesn't have any in stock!

if only i had someone to share the huge pile of vegan fudge i made last night with...

and about veggies...it is good to show people that we eat other stuff besides veggies! i swear, most people i know think i only eat tofu and salads becaues i'm vegan!

Bearette24 said...

i agree, there is definite conflict between eating healthily and eating comfortingly, and the men always gravitate toward comfort ;) i've noticed vegan desserts are often quite good, especially vegan chocolate chip and macadamia nut cookies. mmm.

Taleia said...

What most people don't realize is that vegan "junk" food is often healthier than regular "moderately healthy" food. And, better to enjoy a treat and eat well than be miserable and end up giving up healthy eating!

By the way, my family has become obsessed with your cococream pie recipe. The first one didn't turn out, but we added (shoot us) marshmallow fluff and have been going great guns ever since. Not only did we eat your coco cream, but we're making choco cream tonight and intend to try peach and raspberry cream this week!

OshinkoTickle said...

Your last two paragraphs really hit home!! But even the naughtiest vegan food is still made with quality ingredients and fresh ingredients with very little preservatives so it really could be worse! ;-)

I have a question: I finally got my tax return back and I am splurging on a few new cookbooks. I have uncheese, VwaV and all of the How it All books. What are your top three favorites that I should consider?

DDawnC said...

Wow- I don't see the necessity for that dichotomy. Mind you, I'm not criticizing any lack of veggies or anything like that. I just don't see the need to differentiate between healthy and comforting food. A healthy diet does not mean a "diet", it means eating a range of food that nourishes your body and soul. I find I am MOST comforted by foods that taste delicious and are "healthy", but a healthy diet can totally incorporate some "treats" that aren't exactly healthful.

OK, so maybe I went in a circle with that argument, but I hope the point is evident. :) It wasn't a criticism of Jennifer or schmoo's lunch, just my feelings on comfort versus health in our diets.

BTW, this lunch sounds yummy!

R2K said...

That sounds like a bit of a gross combo... but I know how kids are with that stuff.

Susan said...

I'm not a vegan, not even a vegetarian, but a mom to a food allergic child and I am eagerly awaiting your cookbook. AND I think I need to forward a copy of your latest post to a few friends who also grapple with the healthy vs. fun food issue! Thank you for creating this blog- thanks to your cupcake recipe, my daughter can have birthday party treats!

Jane M said...

I love the lunch...I'd be very comforted by it. I'd be comforted with one of those brownies alone probally! I'm sure little shmoo gets plenty of veggies and fruit and he will still be a healthy little boy after this lunch. (Not to mention a very happy little boy...and boy am I getting jealous...adopt me???)

Sheena said...

I agree with most of the other people. A treat (even an unhealthy meal!) every now and again never killed anybody! So I love this meal even though I never was a fan of real or veggie hotdogs!
But I did want to ask one thing Jennifer- Do you think one of these days you can post another day in the life of Schmoo? I loved the insight on all of his meals and would love another day full! Just a thought!
Anyways I love your blog, keep up the GREAT work!!!

Sue said...

I agree with you 100% about the junk/health variable. I'm still focusing on health with my kids since they're only 2 but I occasionaly *gasp* let them have bread or pasta that's not 100% whole wheat and I'm okay with that. No sugar yet though, waiting until they're a bit older.

sarchan said...

Yeah, those Vive le Vegan brownies are the best thing ever!

EatPeacePlease said...

Amen to the last part!

EatPeacePlease said...

And one more thing, Vegan junk is so much better than what some people call healthy omni food. I will sometimes forget that even my junkiest foods are usually still healthy, free of bad fats, cholesterol, animal products, chemicals, colorings, less calories, and 100% cruelty-free. Way to go for vegan "junk"!

VLyandra said...

At least vegan food is always cholesterol-free. =) I think it's great that you show people that one can be compassionate and still enjoy tons of yummy food. Those brownies look -awesome-.

raising_kahne said...

I love what you said about it being a way of compassion instead of a diet! And also love how you say the brutal truth: Diets really are made to be broken! I know if I was on a diet and saw your brownies, Id break mine right then and there! Awesome lunch as always!

raising_kahne said...

Oh, and amen to Leslie(eat peace please) about the Vegan Junk!!! So true!

Future Adopter said...
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Future Adopter said...
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Dreena said...

Glad to know the brownies satisfied your craving, Jennifer!

As for your "critics", perhaps they could show us how many veggies they eat every day??!! I doubt they'll take me up on that suggestion.

Some days I am in awe of how much veg Shmoo eats in his lunchbox! Some of your visitors are just looking for reasons to nitpick with you. Tsk, tsk. You do a smashing job every day.

Kirsten said...

I absolutely agree with your last paragraph and you put it well.

Vicki said...

i totally agree & our family is the same way! food is more than nourishment.

Sugar Blossom Boutique said...

Man! I miss this childhood favorite of mine! Sounds so yummy and looks even better!

DDawnC said...

Dreena said, "As for your "critics", perhaps they could show us how many veggies they eat every day??!! I doubt they'll take me up on that suggestion."

Uh, WHAT critics? lol It's all love all the time now on the vegan lunchbox.

But just in case you're referring to me, since I begged to differ with the group on one point, I eat 5 or more servings of fruits and veggies (as defined by the USDA) almost every day. :)

the vegan vulcan said...

This looks great! I know what you mean about wanting to find a balance between comfort food and healthy food. Usually, when I make mac n' "cheese" or want something plain like baked couscous and tofu, I throw in some frozen (thawed and cooked, obviously!) peas. That way I can compromise w/warm, comforting, plain food, and at least a smidge of green vegetable!

I think, however, that as healthy as you and your family eat, you hardly need to worry about one veggie-free meal!

Katie said...

Wait, aren't brownies a veggie? You're breaking my heart!

Courtney said...

I am so with you on the health/vs comfort thing. I eat lots of fruits and veggies every day, but I occasionally find myself on a comfort food jag. My thoughts on this: as long as you are eating healthy on a regular basis, veggie dogs or brownies occasionally don't hurt a bit! It all evens out in the end.

Courtney said...
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CarlyQ.Blue said...

Can you tell me where in the Tri-cities I can find nutritional yeast flakes?

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

I am totally craving mac and cheese. I'll have to see if the library has the Uncheese Cookbook and try some things out. Once again, thanks for the ideas!

-Crystal

NotHoney said...

I buy nutritional yeast flakes in bulk at Whole Foods. Is there one in your area?

s.

DDawnC said...

No Whole Foods here, but maybe try the health food store next to the Richland Safeway, Carly?

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Can you tell me where in the Tri-cities I can find nutritional yeast flakes?

The health food store (in Kennewick and Richland) has stopped carrying it. When I tried to order some they insisted that their own packaged brewer's yeast is the same -- it is not!!

So, currently the only source for nutritional yeast flakes that I know of is the enormous 6lb. bucket in my basement that I ordered from Vegan Essentials.

You could try special ordering them through the health food store -- maybe they'll listen to you! If you do find a source please let me know. Good luck!!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Uh, WHAT critics?

Oh my, I have a lot of them! I don't think anyone was referring to anyone in particular. Things have gotten SO much better since I turned off anonymous posting.

Still, I do get emails from people who either think I'm abusing my child by feeding him vegan food, or that I'm abusing my child by feeding him sugar, or he's going to grow breasts because I feed him soy, or that I'm plain crazy, etc. etc. But the good messages really outweigh the bad, and I enjoy most of the messages I get. :-)

Future Adopter said...
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Future Adopter said...
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Future Adopter said...
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SuzAnne said...

Hello Jennifer and all:

I love your loaf idea all my recipes are done that way at my blog ( http://createyourownrecipes.blogspot.com/ ) Many are vegan/vegetarian or easily adaptable.

SuzAnne

Dreena said...

ddawnc, a quick note... I wasn't referring to your comment... in fact I very much agree with what you are saying about our bodies being nourished by healthy foods that are also comfort foods, and yes, we can all have our treats when our diets are otherwise very healthy - absolutely!

I was addressing all the comments that Jennifer has received in the past... getting picked and poked at just about everything!! There is a great deal of work behind this blog and all the meals she puts together for her shmoo, and yet it seems some people are just looking for an opportunity to criticize. I know most of the comments are very favorable and supportive, but still...

DDawnC said...

Dreena- I understand, and I'm glad I'm not all alone out here on my limb. :)

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Future Adopter! Yes, thanks for the link -- I really like their site! The packaging on those applesauce tubes looks so familiar to me, I'm sure now that I've seen them around here somewhere. I love the idea of using them instead of sugary ice pops this summer!

Robyn the Slug said...

Don't forget, eating comforting foods is certainly part of maintaining good mental health! And our mental health, of course, affects our physical health.
most everything in moderation =)

maria_bodoh said...

Jennifer, whoever your "critics" are have probably never tasted Dreena's fudgy brownies. OMG They should be their own food group, complete with a RDA as part of a healthy diet.