Monday, October 31, 2005

Spiders & Goblin Fingers

Lunch box is back just in time for Halloween! Two photos today, one of the outside of the box all done up for the day...

And here's the spooky contents. Spider sandwiches -- made of homemade blackstrap carob graham crackers filled with peanut butter and pumpkin butter -- are creeping around on a bed of "mummy wrap", while "Goblin Fingers" wait to be dipped in some vegan Ranch. A crisp Asian pear from the final farmer's market of the year is on the side. Beverage: Witches' Brew, of course! (chocolate soy milk and cherries).
Verdict: A spooktacular success (bwaahaahaa), and a bit of nutrition on a day otherwise devoted to sugar. He gobbled down everything but two Goblin Fingers, which he ate when he got home. And yes! He brought home the candy he received so I could check it out before he ate it! Luckily, one piece was vegan. 5 blood-curdling screams.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Out to Lunch Again

Today was a "Diocesan Inservice" day. I have no idea what that means, except that it meant no school for Little shmoo. We spent the day thrift shopping for Halloween costumes (he's going to be a Bionicle).

And here's the really tragic news: next week is noon release every day for teacher conferences. No vegan lunch boxes!!

But looking on the bright side, I'll be spending the week double-testing recipes and writing for the cook book, so it's all good. And I'll post a new recipe, too!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Some of you have indicated which lunch is your favorite, and I have to say this one is mine (I've always been a huge sucker for anything en croƻte). Beef Wellington is a traditional English dish made from a fillet of beef that has been wrapped in pastry and baked. Here, I transformed our favorite nut and bean loaf into miniature vegan Wellingtons. On the side are peas, an organic pear, and three raspberry wafer cookies. Oh, and I found these cute little "Lunch Packers" at a chichi local boutique; you write a personal note on the back and inside is a corny joke, brain teaser, or funny trivia.
Verdict: I was in class to help today, so he and I got to sit outside in the sunshine while he ate (this was extremely cool -- he was king in the classroom when he returned, and gave all the guys high fives as he walked back to his desk! lol). He ate the cookies first, then the peas, the pear, then the whole wellington minus one bite of symbolic crust that I got to eat. 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Full Meal Muffins

I created these "Full Meal Muffins" with teenagers in mind: they're lightweight, portable, and easy to eat. They contain two vegetables, two fruits, flax seed for omega-3 fatty acids, calcium from fortified orange juice, brown rice protein powder, and whole grains. They are dense and hearty and sportsbarish, but tasty! Little shmoo shoved down three quick as a wink when they came out of the oven yesterday. Today I packed them with some mixed nuts, an organic apple, and a "Silk Alive" strawberry soy yogurt drink.
Verdict: At the last minute I worried that two muffins wouldn't be enough, so I moved the nuts up, took out the large yellow container, and lined up three muffins in the front. But two really were plenty, after all; one untouched muffin and some nuts were left over. I think the muffins would be even better with some heart-healthy dark chocolate chips, hee hee. 4 stars.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Massur Dal & Carrot Soup

An Indian-inspired lunch box today. Massur dal (aka red lentils) and carrot soup is in the thermos. The whole wheat dumplings are filled with turmeric potatoes and peas (aloo matar), and some mango slices and cucumber raita are on the side. A dark chocolate (the Halloween candy is starting to arrive!) is the treat.
Verdict: He loved the soup and the potato-stuffed dumplings, the cucumber raita not so much. As he does with anything breadlike, he decided one piece of the dumpling was the "crust", so he left that one piece. Too funny! We lucked out and scored some good, creamy mangoes this time. 3 stars.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Vegan Turkey Sandwich

Here is a lunch chosen, made, and photographed entirely by Little shmoo himself! He's been an enthusiastic kitchen helper lately (his favorite job is frying veggie burgers and delivering them to the table with much fanfare on a "waiter's tray" he made from the Lego bin lid). I wanted to encourage him while he's interested. He chose tater tots (which involved turning on the oven and wearing an oven mitt, very cool!), a tropical fruit cup, four little teddy grahams, and a vegan turkey sandwich on wheat with vegan mayo. Yes, that's a whole package of turkey slices there, minus one slice he ate while making the sandwich!
Verdict: He was proud of his lunch and ate everything but the crusts. I know it's not as pretty or interesting as some of the other lunches, but I like that he got a little lesson in how to take care of himself. 5 stars.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Polenta Fries

Crispy polenta fries with barbecue sauce for dipping, cauliflower trees and baby carrots, hickory- smoked toasted soy nuts, and two Golden "Uh Oh" Oreos (uh oh, there's an open package of Oreos in my house...). In the silverware space I tucked in a rolled-up maze game for a surprise. Beverage: soymilk, oj & apricot smoothie.
Verdict: These polenta fries and bbq were perfect. The maze was a hit, too; he was expressing regret the other day that his food doesn't come with cartoons and puzzles on it like the prepackaged stuff other kids get. He'll be finding more stickers and fun things in his lunch box now. 5 stars.

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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Chik'n Sandwich

A vegan chik'n patty on a wheat bun, oven roasted sweet potato fries, and some apple crisp for dessert. Beverage: almond amazake.
Verdict: Thank you to Amy and little my for suggesting sweet potato fries. I hadn't made them in quite a while, and they were very tasty. Little shmoo didn't touch them (oh well, more for me!), but he ate everything else. 4 stars.
P.S. Tomorrow is a noon release day -- sorry, no lunch box!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Play Pretzels

We rolled out little snakes of dough this morning and baked them into fun shapes. I packed them with a small container of peanut butter for dipping, kiwi and star fruit, baby carrots, and roasted chickpeas. Beverage: chocolate Silk.
Verdict: This was our first time trying star fruit; we agreed it was fun to look at but not too exciting to eat. Everything else was eaten and enjoyed. "I ate a lot!" he said. 4 stars.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Phyllo Triangles

My Big Fat Greek Lunch Box! Four phyllo triangle stuffed with tofu feta, a fennel cucumber salad with capers and olives, gigantes plakis (Greek "giant beans"), and paximadia (Greek anise-flavored "biscotti"). Beverage: organic concord grape juice.
Verdict: I invited my mom over for lunch to help us eat the rest. Twice she looked at the table and said, "Wait, you mean this is what he had for lunch? Wow." Little shmoo says he especially loved the crunchy triangles and the cookies. 5 Opas!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Broccoli Fennel Soup

Hot broccoli fennel soup today in a thermos, with black sesame rice crackers, tangerine slices, and fruit & nut bars. Beverage (not pictured): chocolate Silk.
He didn't miss the chocolate milk today! But he did run out of time for the tangerine. 3 stars.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bagel Face

"Bagel Face, you've got the cutest little Bagel Face..." (guess what's been running through my head all day?) A bagel with vegan cream cheese, grandma's organic strawberry jam, and cashews. Backing Mr. Bagel Face up are canned pineapple, carrot blossoms, and chocolate rice milk.
I'm laughing because the only thing he neglected to eat was the chocolate milk. He says he just didn't see it there! I don't send beverages very often, and he was too excited to make Mr. Bagel Face's acquaintance, I think. 4 stars.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Pita with Hummus

Half a whole wheat pita bread filled with hummus and cut in quarters. Alongside are a cute cucumber chain (I got this idea from the Laptop Lunch User's Guide that came with our lunch box), lemon soy yogurt, and organic red grapes. In the tiniest container are four little Sharkies for a surprise treat.
Verdict: This lunch was easy and a big success -- everything eaten but an edge of pita bread and a couple cucumber slices (the chain folded up nicely into the container after I took the picture, in case you were wondering). 5 stars.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Tennessee Corn Pone Muffin

A lunch inspired by my favorite cuisine: southern cooking! A savory cornmeal and black bean muffin with vegan ham cut-outs on the side, lite canned pears, creamy sweet potato, and two Golden Oreos.
Verdict: "I looove those beans!" says Little shmoo. He ate everything but most of the sweet potatoes. We're still working on sweet potatoes! 4 stars.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Pumpkin Muffins

In honor of the pumpkin harvest, here is my recipe for Pumpkin Carob Chip Muffins.

I'll be posting a new recipe every two weeks or so. The old ones will come down when I put a new one on, so I can do more testing and tweaking before putting them in my cookbook-in-progress. So get them while you can, and please email me with any recipe feedback.

Yesterday someone asked me if Little shmoo ever came home asking for something he saw in someone else's lunch box. No. Last year in kindergarten he did ask for flourescent yogurt-in-a-tube (how gross is that?), but this year he's excited by his own lunches. On Friday he came into the kitchen while I was washing out his lunch containers and asked me, "What's for lunch on Monday?"