Thursday, October 13, 2005


Little shmoo loves Ethiopian injera bread; he used to call it "silverware bread" because we eat Ethiopian food by scooping it up with injera -- no silverware! Now he likes to top it with this split pea alecha (stew) and call it "martian pizza". So, here's injera bread, split pea alecha, mixed vegetable wat (spicy stew), and honeydew melon. For dessert, four little chocolate Teddy Grahams are peeking out of the tiny container.
Verdict: If this looks like a lot of food, that's because it is! On Thursdays I volunteer in the classroom, and Little shmoo thinks it's so cool that his mom is there to share lunch with him (I'm enjoying it while I can!). Our Ethiopian feast traveled well and was easy to eat. I know Teddy Grahams aren't the most nutritious thing in the world, but they are vegan! He requested them when we were at the store together, and I think a little treat is important to kids. 4 stars.


Anonymous said...

Haha I could eat an entire BOX of teddy grahams, so by comparison, 4 little ones are very nutritious.

I love your site. I don't have kids, nor do I pack a lunch, nor am I vegan. I think I found you through the Post Punk Kitchen, though, and have been addicted ever since! You're such a great mom to pack such thoughtful meals, it's inspiring!

Anonymous said...

Mmm, I think I like this lunch best so far. Your injera bread looks like it's made from a whole wheat grain as opposed to teff - can you tell what the secret is? Did you make it? I would love to make my own injera bread.

Carrie™ said...

I don't have kids, but am a vegetarian and do pack a lunch. My lunches seem very boring compared to Little Shmoo's. I keep reading that you're coming out with a cookbook? Is this true? If so, I'll buy one! Hell, make it two!

Anonymous said...

What's in the thermos?

Anonymous said...

Hey. I love your site. I'm a college student and I wish you could pack my lunch. I think it's funny that your son doesn't like sweet potatoes. I hated them as a kid. With vegetables, my mom was always like, "you have to try something seven times before you can not like it." I guess it was some statistic, or something. But anyway, looking at your blog brings back a lot of great memories from my childhood.

Jennifershmoo said...

Thank you so much, anonymous! Ha ha, I've been resisting the urge to eat the whole box of teddy grahams while Little shmoo is at school!

Hi, C., thank you! I am working on a cookbook but can't say yet when it will be ready. I'll put you down for two. :-)

Hi, Miriam! I made the injera using part teff flour, part white flour. I've tried using all teff, but teff is gluten-free and didn't hold together. It's tricky, but I am almost to the point of having a successful recipe. I have two more things I want to try, to see if I can make it easier.

Oh, the split pea alecha is in the thermos.

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, blue_quiet! I'm so glad it brings back good memories for you -- I hope my son will look back at the fun we've had this year and have good memories, too. I believe in the seven times rule. One summer we put a bite of zucchini on Little shmoo's plate every evening and it went untouched. Then one night in early August he asked for *three big helpings* and ate them all. You just never know.

lonna said...

Boy is this making me miss Ethiopian food. I haven't had the heart to try making my own yet and the nearest restaurant is probably hundreds of miles away. Lucky Shmoo!

Anonymous said...

You remind me of the Japanese mothers who make elaborate lunch boxes for their children..
I think its really awesome you are doing this for your child.
here is a cool link of japanese obento boxes

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! I wish you showed lunches from non school days as well. :-)

One thing I really admire about the lunches is that you always include desserts in healthy portions (plenty of fruit, but very small amounts of other treats). I like that sweets are neither forbidden nor overeaten, and I hope your schmoo is able to keep that ideal his whole life.

Jennifershmoo said...

Miki, those obento are so adorable! I love it.

Thank you so much, becca. That kind of balance is exactly what I hope to teach him -- that a little sweet is fine as long as it doesn't fill you up so much you can't eat your healthy food, too.

R-C said...

I make zuchinni (dip in soymilk and batter in flour and fry on the stovetop) then we can dip them in marinara sauce. Always when we are making them she doesn't want them but after she tastes them she remembers - oh yeah I do like those. I hope the cookbook comes out soon!! lots of people are interested.

beanspot said...

Can you post any of your Ethiopian recipes (especially the split pea alecha)? They're hard to find that are any good and vegan. And restaurants are hard to find in Iowa.

Anonymous said...

Especially Ethiopian restaurants, tragically ... I'd like to know what spices are in the alecha, at least. I've been meaning to make some split pea soup and I've always wondered what Ethiopian food is like...

*mouth waters in anticipation*

Anonymous said...

Oh my god! This is such a cool site! I wish I had grown up vegan with such awesome school lunches! The other kids must be incredibly jeolous of Little Schmoo!

Keep it going!!


Amanda said...

How did you make your injera!? I've tried making it with recipes I found online (mainly teff flour and water) and nothing works. I would really appreciate even a couple of suggestions.

Your blog is great. I'm so glad that there are still parents out there that resist giving their kids processed junk for lunch! And that there are kids that eat such amazing food.

Rosalie said...

I've never had Ethiopian food but this looks delicious. One woman made injera for the last Is My Blog Burning event (the challenge was to make something vegan that could trick a non-vegan) and her recipe is online here

Anonymous said...

I didn't have any luck with injera either. Makes me wonder if the Ethiopians actually use teff. All the injera bread I've had at restaurants has been white, obviously not made from teff unless it's bleached somehow!

Anonymous said...

We need recipes! Especially for the split pea alecha.

Robbie said...

Wow! I used to live in an area with at least Ethiopian restaurant in every major part of the city and now I live in a place where I'm afraid to even sample the Thai food. If you do finalize your injera recipe please do post it. I've tried twice to make it and have failed miserably both times and have been craving Ethiopian for about a year and a half now with no where to turn for satiation.

Anonymous said...

wow! thank's so much for starting and keeping up this blog! i am a new vegan and i also like to cook, so meal ideas are so helpful. thanks for sharing. it's encouraging!


Harmonia said...

Teddy Grahams are VEGAN!? I'm posting that on my blog! YAY!

Jennifershmoo said...

My Ethiopian food is very tame compared to the traditional recipes, that sometimes call for a *tablespoon* of berbere, which is a spice blend that's hot like cayenne pepper. For my Little shmoo I make it very mild!

We've made injera the tradtional way with all teff flour, set out for days to ferment. My husband liked it and it really did hold together, but it was difficult to work with. You'll notice most of the recipes online use all white flour instead. I've used about half and half with good results.

Now I'm hungry for Ethiopian food all over again! :-)

Michelle said...

YUMMMMMMMMMYYYY! I loove ethiopian food best of all food. I did a quick read of your comments and saw that you use half and half for the flours, but since I've never made injera and I'm a little scared to, could you point me in the direction of good recipes for injera and vegan stews? I'd love love love you for it! Yet another day I would give anything to be your shmoo!

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, michelleknits,

We love Ethiopian food, too! I wish I could direct you to a good injera recipe on the web, but I don't know of any I would truly recommend, as I had terrible results with the one online recipe I tried. But if you do some searching perhaps you will find one that sounds good to you?

Anonymous said...

I had an ethiopian friend who made her injera with flour and beer.

labyris said...

There is more than one type of teff flour and I do know a restaurant that obviously uses it because there is no way white flour produced that rich flavor and color. See for more information.

I have a friend who has used white flour in a pinch and uses club soda for the bubble effect. But with teff I'd use the traditional method and let it sit until it naturally bubbles.

Some Ethiopian restaurants will sell Injera too.

rafutach said...

I found a great injera recipe that uses water, self-rising flour, and club soda. You blend 3 cups of warm water with 2 1/2 cups of the flour then stir in 3 tablespoons of club soda. Cook in a pan until the top bubbles. It's great, just like in the restaurant.

Unknown said...

If you are into the real injera thing, try this 100% teff injera recipe. It will give you that sour test & the aroma is just phenomenal. Just click on W W.

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I don't have kids, but am a vegetarian and do pack a lunch. My lunches seem very boring compared to Little Shmoo's. I keep reading that you're coming batteries out with a cookbook? Is this true? If so, I'll buy one! Hell, make it two!

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