Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Goodies!

I know it's not a lunch, but I wanted to share a picture of the vegan Christmas Goodies we're giving out as a gift to neighbors, family, and friends this year.

First, thank Isa's new bookfor telling us all about Kopper's Chocolate Lentils. That's right -- vegan "M&Ms"! (Can you believe it?? They really do exist!) I made up a batch of Back-to-School Chocolate Chip Cookies (page 24 in Vegan Lunch Box) and added some plain "chocolate lentils" for candy coated crunchy cookie goodness.

Next to the cookies is a little fudge star. Someone commented a few months ago that the chocolate icing I used for my Graduation Hats and Lamingtons turns into yummy fudge when refrigerated, so I decided to take that basic recipe and turn it into this recipe for Vegan Fudge.

Next to the fudge are two Berry Delights, a kind of jellied candy made with fruit and nuts and rolled in powdered sugar. And to add to all the sugary delight, there's a happy snowman bag filled with more chocolate lentils, this time mint flavored.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Limas

Happy Holidays! Shmoo's final lunchbox before winter vacation features some very merry Christmas Limas with Chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts. Christmas Lima Beans pair beautifully with the traditional mix of sweet chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts. The Brussels sprouts are finely shredded and almost disappear into the dish -- a nice way to get sneaky with those sprouts if your family doesn't take to them whole.

Below the Christmas Limas is a bit of wholewheat roll and a Peppermint Candy Tart (I veganized the recipe by substituting 3 tablespoons soft silken tofu for the egg, and Earth Balance and soymilk for the butter and milk).

Speaking of peppermints, I trimmed some radishes to look like peppermints and packed them with a bit of Vegenaise mixed with lemon and dill for dipping. Finally, sliced starfruit and fresh pomegranate seeds look very festive together.

The sweet lima beans were a big hit -- a great dish to bring to a holiday dinner or potluck. The tarts tasted like sugar cookies topped with peppermint frosting -- yum! The pomegranate seeds stained the starfruit a bit in the lunchbox, but what a lovely combination it made, all the same. 4 ho-ho-hos!

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Tiger Hiding in the Grass

The other day I showed my son a bit of plastic grass I had saved from a sushi restaurant.

"You could use that in my lunch!" he exclaimed. "My lunch could be...a tiger hiding in the grass! Could you do that?"

It shows how much I've learned about packing lunches in the past year and a half; I only had to think for a brief moment before responding with confidence. "Sure I can!"

I shaped a slice of firm tofu into a tiger's head, then fried it in a bit of oil until it turned golden brown. The tiger stripes are bits of nori seaweed cut with scissors; the face is more nori cut out with a "happy face" paper punch. The tiger sits on a bed of rice, and up above you can see a plastic squirting fish filled with soy sauce (from BentoTV).

Also above the tiger is a serving of Burokkori No Goma Ae -- Broccoli Salad with Sesame Dressing -- from Japanese Vegetarian Cooking. This cold salad is a nice way to pack broccoli in the lunch box. The little flowers are made from thin slices of daikon.

On the side are four vegan donut holes -- two chocolate and two white glazed -- and a peeled Clementine mandarin.

Verdict: Very obento today! Shmoo was thrilled with the tiger and the squirting fish. He liked the broccoli but wouldn't touch the daikon (they were cute, anyway!). Of course he loved the donut holes and the sweet, seedless mandarin. 5 stars.