Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Kabobs & Crazy Hair

Today is "Crazy Hair Day" at shmoo's school, so I found a funny picture and made a little "Happy Crazy Hair Day!" card for his lunch box (try getting a Hallmark card for that one!). This was an all-around fun lunch to make: a wholewheat bagel spread with organic peanut butter, sprinkled with sunflower seeds, and cut into bites; peas & carrots; fresh fruit kabobs on little wooden skewers (pointy tips cut off after they were filled, of course!) with "Orangey Sauce" on the side (mix 1 cup vanilla soy yogurt with 1 TB concentrated frozen orange juice and sprinkle with cinnamon -- veganized from the sadly honey-heavy and not vegan book 50 Ways to Take the Junk out of Junk Food).
Verdict: Yes, it all fit! I crammed a couple more bagel bites in, then snuggled those kabobs down and wrapped everything in plastic wrap. He accidentally spilled most of the yogurt dip (what a mess!), but the part that made it to his mouth was enjoyed. 4 stars.


Anonymous said...

Hooray! First comment!

Those fruit kebobs look amazing.

Anonymous said...

I'm just learning about veganism, and this might sound ignorant, but what's wrong with honey?

As a huge fan of the bee (all types) the honey industry has been crucial to their survival. Commercial farming methods (i.e. pesticides) have hit the wild bee populus incredibly hard. Most of these veggies are being pollinated by honeybees.

Beekeepers work hard to keep their bees healthy, disease and africanized free.

Please don't flame me, but I don't get it.

Stephanie said...

yumyumyumyum! You not only make the best lunches, you also put in the cutest little suprises. Great job, mama.

Anonymous said...

> what's wrong with honey

Although you probably harm more bugs driving your car to the grocery store than are harmed in the making of honey, honey is an animal product and therefore not strictly vegan. The choice is up to you. Many otherwise-vegan folks do use honey.

Anonymous said...

I hope this comes off as kindly as it is meant (I don't want to "flame" you, as you put it!). Vegans avoid all animal products, usually for purity's sake, and in addition, I have heard that some, not necessarily all, beekeepers mistreat their bees by taking ALL of the honey from the hives and replacing what is meant to be their food in the winter months (the honey) with less-nutritional sugar water mixtures, which can sometimes starve the bees. I have also read that many beekeepers are eager to cash in on the bee pollen and royal jelly fads, and that bee pollen collectors attached to the openings of beehives can actually rip off the bees' legs in addition to the pollen they're meant to collect. That said, I applaud Martha Stewart for a show she did on home beekeeping, in which she and the beekeeper advocated leaving half to one-thid of the honey in the hive for the bees to eat. Wow, that was a long response. . . but yeah, vegans avoid honey to be kind to bees and because it is another animal product.


Debbie said...

Cee, I've seen fruit kabobs on those little plastic straws people use to stir coffee -- probably school would allow those. (You might have to poke the hole initially with a skewer, though, depending on the fruit.)

dawniy. said...

you have inspired me - and i'm no where near vegan but would love to be.


Anonymous said...

This looks SO good!!!
Keli (anonymous 4:29 PM) Thanx for all that info on bees and honey! I consider myself a vegan even though I occasionally eat honey if it's a minor ingredient in something (like whole wheat bread at restaraunts). I didn't know what was involved in the production of honey so thanx for the heads up! I'm gonna look more into it!! =)

Anonymous said...

Your little Schmoo must feel so loved! I love your blog, I check it every day and have been inspired to try many recipes (we're vegetarian, not vegan, but we love trying vegan dishes).

Anonymous said...

these kabobs look EXCELLENT!

how is the weather there? it's finally spring for good here in TN. if it's warm there, then this is the perfect light warm weather lunch! i think i will make those kabobs for a picnic next month!

oh yea, i love the charlie brown napkin.

just wonderful!


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, those fruit kabobs look way yum.

As for the honey thing: .

I don't think it's fair to say that vegans do anything for purity's sake. We tend to be logical people; there's a good reason behind everything. :o)

Anonymous said...

Hi! Someone pointed me in this direction and now I check it every day. I am not vegan or even vegetarian but I love the pictures, recipes and ideas. Schmoo is certainly a lucky boy. My boys get peanut butter sandwiches and apple slices nearly every day. I don't have the imagination you do.


Taleia said...

How funny that you chose this today, as I was planning on making the same thing! =)

(btw... I've found that if you make an effort most days, a pb&j once in a while ends up being a treat. After all, it's "refined" food. =)

Anonymous said...

Those fruit Kabobs look super yummy. Have you ever tried tofu and vegetable (bell pepper, mushroom, tomato, onion and whatever other veggies you like) kabobs? My soccer team provided them for all the vegetarians at our team barbeque and I was pleasantly surprised by how good they were. I continue to greatly enjoy checking your blog daily- if only my mom understood my desire to live a vegan lifestyle.

High Power Rocketry said...

Sounds like a fun school :)

Anonymous said...

so this is what a vegan mom does in her free time...........absolutely mind altering, in a liberal activist kind of way.

ArlineA said...

Re: the kabobs -- way back when my daughter was in school we used drinking straws for kabobs. The only thing that was allowed.

Back to Jennifer's inquiry about using water-packed tofu "raw". Has anyone else found any documentation on it? I did a few searches but can't find much.


Anonymous said...

Ok, I am inspired! Although I homeschool, I think my hubby would love a fancy lunch like shmoo gets!
Thanks for all your hard work mama!


Anonymous said...

I am vegan and I do not have delusions of purity. I do not follow the diet for spiritual reasons, but for moral reasons. As someone else said, it is a logical consistency issue. Also, no one mentioned that the problem with bee-keeping is much more grave
1) bees (like chicks) are oftentimes transported like cargo, and many of them die in transit.
2) many bee keepers set their bees on fire during the winter
3) Queen been are known to have their wings/legs chopped off to keep them from leaving the colony
4) in the attempt to create "better" kinds of bees, queen bees are raped/inseminated.
So, unless you know where your honey comes from, it is an asty industry. Otherwise, I see nothing wrong with honey.

Copy Editor said...

I've only been a vegan for a few months, but I can honestly say I won't ever be able to give up honey. I can live without cheese (although I miss real gooey, hot pizza) but I just can't go without honey. I've always eaten honey as a health food and it makes me feel good. It soothes my throat when it's sore and makes my stomach feel good. One book I read referred to vegans who eat honey as "beegans." I've never heard that but I like the way the word sounds. :) I do make an effort to buy organic, locally produced honey from small farms, but that's the best I can do.

On another note -- those fruit kabobs look amazing.

Shelly said...

Huh, boy. The evil honey issue. Look...I'll say right off my mother was a beekepper. So maybe I'm biased. But those stories about keepers torching their hives or killing bees so they won't have to over winter them is bogus, for the most part. I know a ton of keepers who do no such thing and when it is suggested they get very angry. And the very idea of removing all of the bee's food and providing them with sugar water is crap...they wouldn't survive that way. Besides the fact that in the winter the bees are dormant and have kicked out the drones to die (that's a bee thing...don't blame the keeper)and would be living on their stores...they wouldn't touch the sugar water. They want their stored honey. A responsible keeper takes about half the honey and leaves the rest. You wouldn't need to take more than half. Half the honey in a hive would be ample. There were lots of years when we had ample honey and my mother didn't know what to do with the rest.

And have you seen what animals do to a a hive in the wild? They don't just harvest honey and move on. They destroy the hive, completely. They don't leave a nice nesting place for the bees.

And all of that lovely produce all of us veggies eat? If you want to keep eating it, you'll find a local beekeeper and buy his or her honey. Without the bees, we veggies starve. Bees pollinate far more effectively than any other animal or method, which is what produces fruits and veggies.

I welcome the bees in my yard...and I eat honey. For my sake as well as theirs.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Do you just use scissors?

Yep, just regular scissors. Although I love the idea mentioned above of using small straws instead, that's brilliant! :-)

>>what did little shmoo do?

He colored his hair blue!

Susan Voisin said...

For Arline, about the tofu studies, here are a couple I was able to locate quickly. Nothing definitive, but reason enough to play it safe:

Link 1

Link 2

Eat Peace Please said...

This is a super-creative lunch, I love the ideas! I can only imagine the yogurt mess, but at least it was a 4/5 day anyway!!!

Great lunch, as always.

Julie said...

I love the idea of fruit kabobs! What a creative & fun way to get a child to eat his fruit!

K. H. said...

I can understand how people think that the hives are set on fire, but all in all it's smoke not fire. All the smoke does, to the best of my knowledge, is pacify the pacify the bees. And it's probably more for the bees' benefit than the keeper, since if they were agitated, and began stinging willy-nilly, a lot of them would die off.

Bees are also more commercially viable for their roles as pollinantors than honey right now, so having many of them die off in their transportion would be hurt the keepers. Beekeepers also must work doubly hard in their bees' wellbeing because of the introduction of invasive species, like the tracheal mite).

Luckily, if you choose not to eat honey, there's some substitutes like Golden syrup and some kinds of plant extracts my parents occasionaly use. I believe they were derived from a cactus.

I'm sorry if I come off as a ranting anti-vegan, but honey production isn't a raise'em then burn'em kind of process.

Koby said...

Mmmm, fruit kabobs! That yogurt sauce looks awesome. (And simple, too!) Do you just steam the peas and carrots, or did you do something special to them?

Anonymous said...

I have to say even end cut off skewers concern me around kids. I would be more inclined to put the stuff in there loose.

The problem with the type in the letters thing, and I do grok the spam issue, is that the letters blogger uses are ambiguous. Unless a set has both a q and g in it, I can't remember which is which. Similarly r next to n is impossible to tell from m. Other sites that seem to get their letter bunches elsewhere don't have that problem.

Anonymous said...

The thought of eating something an insect regurgitated is quite disgusting in my vegan point of view anyway. It's actually bee vomit.

High Power Rocketry said...

We all dream of world peas...


Anonymous said...

I'm a vegan who does not use honey, but I'm not sure what I feel about it morally. I think that honey is the least of our problems (as far as the animal industry go) and would probably eat something that was almost vegan but had honey in it.

The problem for me is that I can't STAND the taste of honey. It's disgusting to me. It's too sweet, too thick, too sticky... too... much like honey, I guess. The only time I can really tolerate it is in baklava for some reason, which is weird, because that stuff is saturted in honey.

So I never grappled with the "do they/don't they mistreat the bees?" issue with honey... because to me, honey is a vile contaminent that can be detected in anything, even in small amounts. :-) Maybe I got lucky.

I recently got that "just like honey" stuff based in rice syrup and it DID taste just like honey. So I used it to make baklava and called it a day. But I would never dream of putting that stuff in my oatmeal, bread, yogurt, or tea. It just tastes awful to me!

Anonymous said...

People who would be vegans if they didn't eat honey are apians. It's not a moral question for me. If it came out of an animal in any way then it's not going into my body. That's my personal choice.

Jeanne said...

I am new to the vegetarian world, reading up as much as I can, so I navigated to your link yesterday for Erik's Diner..............and I have one question, is this guy legit? I listened to his latest podcast, and was amazed at how uniformed and unenlightened he is. I am curious and can't figure out why you would put a link to him from your wonderful blog.

Molly said...

Woah, jeanne. You're treading on thin ice, there! A lot of us loooove Erik Maruchs. . . ;)

His book, Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating is awesome. I can't speak for his podcast, because I've never heard it.

re honey: I do not eat it. It is not a vegan product! It may be "less reprehensible" than other animal products, but for me, IMHVO (in my humble vegan opinion), it is still treating bees as units of production, rather as living beings with needs and wants other than providing us with food. That said, I would be less squicked out eating bread with honey in it, than bread with whey.

Great looking lunch, Jennifer!

Anonymous said...

Eric Marcus is well respected for his views on veganism. I saw him in person doing a lecture once and was truly in awe. I would suggest to anyone reading his book "Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating". I have a signed copy (Oh yeah!)

Anonymous said...

I am a vegan who eats honey. Not huge amounts, but I have absolutely no problem with it. If militant vegans object to this, I'll just call myself a strict vegetarian. In fact I prefer this, because I in no way want to be associated with self-rightreous, holier-than-thou activists who don't just alienate society at large, but fellow vegans as well.
I tried being vegan once when I was a teen and it only lasted one year. Then, at 23 I decided to have another go. This time, I had more education, more culinary know-how, more support, more dedication. And, most importantly, I allowed myself to have honey. Now, I've been mostly vegan for 3 years and counting.
I'd rather have the whole world be 90% vegan than what is the reality today: the vast majority of people are carnivores and 1% are "pure" vegans. It's about the process rather than purity and self-negation, right?

Anonymous said...

I just wrote the post above, and I just want to add, let's please PLEASE concentrate on millions of chickens, pigs, and cows getting slaughtered each day, and countless more being mistreated. Let's put semantics, attacking each other, splitting hairs, and righteousness behind us and remember the real issues here.

Also, it might not sound like it, but I'm not flaming or picking on anybody, just voicing my frustrations.

And, I love this blog so much!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I just LOVE this blog and check it out every day to get ideas for my own vegan 1st grader!

Hey... someone else mentioned the product, "Just Like Honey"... it's spectacular! It really does taste just like honey, and can also be used in place of honey in any recipe. It's rice nectar with no added sugars or sweeteners. I got mine from Vegan Essentials:

If you are missing honey, I highly recommend it!!!!!

Oh, and my son just had crazy hair day last Friday and he also chose blue hair!

Great blog, Jennifer! Such a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Please don't take comments made so personally. Each one of us has the choice to dismiss or learn more about the opinions of others. That's how we learn about alternative ways of thinking/living. This is a FUN blog. **smile**

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Do you just steam the peas and carrots, or did you do something special to them?

I peel & chop a fresh carrot (we prefer the texture of fresh vs. frozen carrots) and steam or boil until just tender, then throw in the frozen peas and cook for another minute or two. That's it! He likes them just like that, plain. I was raised with butter and salt on all my veggies, so it still amazes me that he happily wolfs down plain, unsalted, ungreased veggies and turns down offers of margarine or Bragg's.

>>We all dream of world peas...

Give peas a chance!

Anonymous said...

Jeanne, are you sure you were listening to the right podcast? Erik Marcus is amazing. I haven't listened to the newest podcast so I have no idea what you mean by uniformed and unenlightened but I can assure you he has played a vital role in veganism and animal rights activism/reform. I've had the opportunity to meet him as well and both times I have been reduced to tears during his talks. He really does make you want to get off your ass and do something for the animals. My heart goes out to him and the work he does.

Anonymous said...

"in the attempt to create "better" kinds of bees, queen bees are raped/inseminated."

That is unintentionally hysterical.

Anonymous said...

If you want to learn more about bee keeping read "Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey" by Holly Bishop. It's a history of the tight relationship between humans and bees and follows the author's own foray into bee keeping, as well as the life of a professional bee keeper in Florida. It's a pretty fascinating read - no matter how you feel about honey.
Hives cannot function in less than optimal conditions - commercial bee hives are not like factory farms. There are lots of small local bee keepers who treat their hives with nothing short of reverence (even in NYC where I live - there's actually a guy who keeps hives at the Bronx zoo, and other keepers all over the 5 boroughs!).
Also, if you are anti honey, you might want to keep in mind that virtually any almond or citrus product from the US was pollinated by commerically kept hives and eating them is no different than eating honey.
I respect the vegan stance towards animals and the environment - from both health and spiritual standpoints, but I personally see honey and bees as a way of reminding us that we are all connected to a vast and intricate natural world.

Molly said...

I hope I don't come across as a militant vegan (I'm not, I swear) but with honey: first, can't you keep bees and not eat the honey? I mean, if you're a bee hobbyist/enthusiast, and want to keep them, I think that's cool-- the same way with people who keep rescued farm animals but don't eat them or their products.

Also: I just think once we expand veganism to include honey, it's a slippery slope. Next, it's eggs from rescued hens or milk from cows whose calves have died. And then, the term "vegan" becomes meaningless and obsolete. I'm not "holier than thou" and I hope I'm not alienating anyone. . . but seriously, how many times do vegetarians get told "oh, we have fish, that's our vegetarian option." Okay. . . fish don't grow on trees, do they? ;) I just don't want the same thing to happen to veganism.

Like I said, I'm not going to hate on someone who eats honey. But bees are animals, too! Even if they're small and fuzzy, rather than big and fuzzy. ;)

Molly said...

>>any almond or citrus product from the US was pollinated by commerically kept hives and eating them is no different than eating honey.

I totally disagree, but that's fine! ;) I mean, I'm not eating a steak just because my organic tomatoes were fertilized with cow dung. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

"And have you seen what animals do to a a hive in the wild? They don't just harvest honey and move on. They destroy the hive, completely. They don't leave a nice nesting place for the bees."---

since when is a vegetarian only trying to be as good as any other animal out there? isn't the point that we can make choices that other animals can't, so we should be more responsible. i know as a vegan we can each individually only do so much, but not participating in the commodification of animals is one of them. any animals.

Anonymous said...

You're right - eating manure-fertilized veggies is not the same as eating a steak. But almond and citrus orchards, organic or otherwise, would not be commerically viable without bees, which are working for humans in this instance. If it's that relationship you object to, then almonds and citrus are as bad as honey. A huge percentage of honey in the US market is the byproduct of pollinating hives.
An important distinction to make is that you are not eating the bees themselves, nor changing their natural life-cycle, as with milk and eggs.
I'm not at all trying to diss on your beliefs, I've just been involved in a lot of farming and and local food movements and I think this is a really interesting line of discussion that bears lots of voices and examination. ;)

Anonymous said...

Regarding honey: it's not an issue of the exact care/handling of bees, but the mere fact that honey is from creatures that are used to produce something purely for human consumption. By definition vegans don't use animals. Vegans don't go to zoos, they don't take horse drawn carriage rides, they don't exploit animals for any purposes. Period.

If you choose to eat honey, that's fine -- but the definition of what a vegan does or doesn't do is not predicated on food choices alone. That's the definition of a vegetarian. A vegan incorporates a certain creed of ethics into their of which is, again, not to exploit animals.

Anonymous said...

If anyone cares to read it, there's an excellent article on Honey on the
website under Jo Stepaniak's (Ask Jo) archives. I don't know how to link to it or I would.

Molly said...

>>But almond and citrus orchards, organic or otherwise, would not be commerically viable without bees, which are working for humans in this instance.

Annaliese: Point taken, but I still respectfully disagree!

Almonds and oranges are plant foods: therefore, I see them as vegan. Honey is a direct product of animals themselves: therefore, I see it as not vegan.

I really don't know if people could raise bees without eating the honey, but if they can: problem solved. But burning the bee's hives/sugar water/taking more honey than the bees can stand: all changing the natural life cycle of bees, IMO. I know some have claimed this not to be true, but I have heard otherwise, from multiple sources.

That said, if it's between a person using honey to control his or her allergies vs. medication that was (1) tested on animals, and (2) uses lactose as a base, I say go with the honey!

Anonymous said...

According to Jo Stepaniak's article:

"To collect honey, beekeepers must temporarily remove a number of the bees from their home. During the course of bee management and honey collection, even the most careful beekeeper cannot avoid inadvertently injuring, squashing, or otherwise killing some of the bees."

She goes on to say that "there is no reason to take honey from bees other than to sell it." She said you could liken it to dairying.

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting article discussing honeybees, their effect on the environment, and their use as pollinators. The article points out that honeybees are not native to North America, that other varieties of bees actually make more efficient pollinators, and the use of honeybees has diminished natural feral populations of bees and resulted in a monopoly where farmers must pay to rent hives.

It's interesting reading, regardless of your own stance on honey consumption.

Anonymous said...

I used to have citrus in my late lamented backyard in CA with a lot of fruit each year. No neighborhood beekeepers that I know of.

Anonymous said...

about that comment re: bees being raped.

i'm not trying to be patronizing here, but exactly how can a bee keeper make his bees rape the queen?? rape is about domination, forced submission, and sadism. and as far as i know, those are all problems that exist in human beings, not insects.

please don't make comments like that just for the sake of being dramatic. there are other ways to get your point across. thanks you.

Anonymous said...

I believe the reference was to queen bees being artificially inseminated as a breeding practice, ostensibly not their choice, which the author likend to rape.

Anonymous said...


I'm not sure if you knew about this already or not but just incase! I got my Animal Times from Peta today and there is a feature on Veg Kids. On page 4 there is blurb about your blog! It says:

Mealtime Muse: has photos of unique vegan lunches that one mom packs for her "groovy little shmoo".

- Kim

Katrina Gutleben said...

I'm not vegan and should probably keep my fingers quiet here but it's fascinating watching people argue over honey. A poster above said that vegans don't use animals in any way. Even not riding horses and stuff. Is that true? Is that a common stance? And if so how do you wigh this against keeping pets?

Just curious.


Anonymous said...

I never thought about bees much, other than running away when I saw one so I wouldn't get stung. What would vegans do if their house/apartment was infested with cockroaches, or ants, or termites? Would they just let them be or would it then be okay to call the exterminator? I know termites can make a house completely worthless, but what about roaches? They're dirty & gross but don't do any structural damage. You can't humanely trap them and let them free outside, like you can with rodents. Is it okay to kill roaches and not bees?

Taleia said...

Heh... good point. I wonder...

Also, in relation to keeping domestic animals: If an animal is a domestic, i.e. a pet, letting it "loose" or "free" will probably kill it. I'm NOT being dramatic. I raise rabbits for the love of the small furries - definitely not for fur, meat, show, etc, but for companionship. I've even rescued a few- and something that angers me to no end is people who don't want the animal anymore and turn it loose in the backyard. It dies, eaten by a fox, cat or possum because it has lost too much of its wildness to survive. Thus, I'm sure Jennifer would agree with me, keeping animals kindly is not an outrage - it is a kindness. They cannot and should not be "set loose"

Anonymous said...

Good for you for taking care of those rabbits! That's how I got my pet rabbit, Stew, a neighbor who let him loose into the neighborhood because they 'just didn't want to take care of him anymore'. Its just tragic that people are so shallow to believe that their convience is worth more than someone elses life. It makes me sick to think that these people also had small children.

Anonymous said...

Here's the Amazon link to the best book on vegan ethics I've ever read -- simple, straightforward and practical:

Even if you are just curious you could check out a copy from your local library if available, and if not just take a peek next time you are at your favorite book store.

Anonymous said...

I wonder who I would have to screw over at Obentec to get them to make a small lidded container. I'd rather not have to use plastic wrap at all, but I don't want to have to put yogurt in the larger container when it's more a side dish than an entree. I was happy to see that my peas didn't move around at all in the box, although any residual water from it made my vegetarian "chicken" nuggets moist. I'm getting so many ideas of lunches to pack in the laptop lunch from your site. thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Keeping an animal as a pet is "using" it for your comfort. Just saying.

Taleia said...

If I were a breeder, contributing to the problem of excess domesticated pets... I could see your point. But, like I think another Anonymous and I said, domesticated rabbits can't fend for themselves. So, I'm curious - what do YOU suggest we do with them?

Copy Editor said...

"People who would be vegans if they didn't eat honey are apians."

Hmm. I've never heard that term, but it's good to know, since I'm a honey-eater. When I'm talking to other vegans, I say "I'm almost a vegan, but I love honey" and when I'm talking to everyone else I just say I'm a vegan, because most people don't know that honey isn't vegan.

"Is it okay to kill roaches and not bees?"

I was still am omnivore the last time I had roaches, but I'm pretty sure I'd kill the roaches if I had them again.

"Keeping an animal as a pet is "using" it for your comfort. Just saying."

I found my cat was abandoned in some bushes when he was 4 weeks old. If I hadn't taken him in he would have died. The fact that he cuddles with me and purrs until I fall asleep may give me "comfort," but he clearly loves me, so I see nothing wrong with keeping him around.