Friday, February 26, 2010

It's all Greek to me

So I think I figured out why Ryan's class is studying Greece--the Olympics? Because that's where they started. So today's bento is Greek...

Ryan's Greek lunch: Greek cucumber salad; σκορδαλιά (skorthalia); falafel; soy cheese flag of Greece; Thermos with φασολάδα (fassolatha).

The cucumber salad I got to try because it's raw, hooray! It was very good. The recipe is on VegWeb here. Except I omitted the water.

Skorthalia is a Greek garlic potato spread or dip. VERY garlicky, but it smelled REALLY good when finished. Ryan and my husband tried it and loved it.

My plan was to have the falafel dipped in the skorthalia. Skorthalia is often served with sliced pita bread. Falafel may not have originated in Greece, but it is definitely served there and in most Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. I'll admit I had my husband stop off at the Turkish restaurant Subs & More to pick up a side of falafel last night.

On the
side, I
a Ther-
mos of
dish of
It is a
to try.
He wrote
down all
the ingredients to all of the recipes to show his teachers. We used canned cannellini beans instead of dry beans.
I guess I'll consider this my first bento for River's Eating Around The World project!

On to my food from yesterday...

7am- bowl of sliced banana & blueberries.
9am- dehydrated flax crackers w/pineapple mango salsa.
1pm- more flax crackers; 8 dates; 6 dried apricots.
2pm- smoothie: 2 bananas, 2 T. almond butter, water.
6pm- salad: spinach, mixed baby greens, tomato, brine-cured olives, balsamic vinegar.

Let me just say that the
flax crackers are filling!
That's a great thing when
eating raw, because although
most people who eat a raw
diet long term eat A LOT
at one sitting, I do not want
to stretch my stomach like
that since I am only doing
this temporarily. So foods like raw crackers are great. They take a little time to make what with waiting for them to dehydrate, but they are worth it, and last for days. I use a recipe from Juliano's RAW for these, but I vary it by doubling the recipe, using half milled flax seeds instead of all whole flax seeds, a combo of cilantro & spinach and less of it instead of heaps of cilantro, considerably less jalapeno, and I actually skimp on the olive oil.
Basically they're flax seeds, sundried tomato, regular tomato, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno, salt, cilantro, spinach and olive oil. They dehydrate at 90-95 degrees F for 4-5 hours, then I cut them with a rotary pizza cutter, then dehydrate for another 5-6 hours. They are crunchy and a little chewy, great for spreading, dipping, or eating plain.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"R" you hungry?

"R" was relatively easy, reasonably so, regarding reliably creating a recognizable repast for Ryan's ridiculous rookie reader appetite. Um, yeah, well, you get the idea. I avoided the obvious, like rice... And Ryan requested his name appear in the lunch since it starts with the letter of the day...

Ryan's "R" lunch: ravioli
with red sauce; raisins;
black raspberries; romaine
lettuce; radiatore with red
beans, red bell pepper,
spinach & a red wine
vinegar dressing & Ryan
rice cheese letters; rice
milk on the side. And a
ed napkin and red spork too.

7am- soaked steel cut oats,
sliced almonds, raisins,
chopped dates with banana
milk (1/3 banana + water).
9am- romaine lettuce leaves
dipped in leftover sundried
tomato sauce.
11am- apple slices dipped in
almond butter.
1pm- portobello salad wraps: marinated portobello mushrooms (in shoyu & olive oil), bib lettuce, cucumber, tomato, scallion, avocado; 12 baby carrots.
3:30pm- smoothie: 1 cup pineapple, 1/2 banana, 1 T. shredded dehydrated coconut, water.
5:30pm- salad: spinach, mixed baby greens, tomato, onion, shoyu; small bowl of dates, raisins, & sliced almonds.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

avoid the lunch "Q", bring a bento!

Q was tricky indeed. I could not find quince at any of the local markets. And as it turned out, even my alphabet tater tots that I was going to cheat with didn't have a real "Q" because the holes in the middle of the letters are too small to accommodate the entire cross. Nevertheless, a P turned sideways looked very convincing...

Ryan's "Q" lunch: Q potatoes w/ketchup; tofu quiche; quinoa vegetable paella.

I keep trying to like quinoa. My friend Melissa of The Papaya Chronicles blogged about her new favourite quinoa recipe recently here, which is her version of this one from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. So I made it...and my husband taste-tested. He said it was okay, that he'd eat more later, but it wasn't fantastic.
FWIW I added some salt,
and cooked the onion &
garlic in olive oil instead
water, just to give it a
little more flavour. Ryan
thought it was so-so,
hence the small portion
in his bento. I froze a bunch to try after I'm done rawing. The recipe makes a TON.

I was worried that this
wouldn't be enough food
for him, but then I
realized that his snack
was pretty hearty today.
His class has been studying
Greece for the past few
weeks (not sure why),
and today they were going
to be trying a few Greek foods: yogurt w/honey, feta cheese, and olives. So I sent along a soy yogurt w/maple syrup, and some crumbled firm tofu. He came home full enough, speaking Greek to everyone and showing off pages of words he'd written all in Greek.

So in preparation for the Q lunch (I couldn't shake an image of Q from Star Trek: TNG making the lunch for me with the flick of a finger, then making it quack or something ridiculous), I made the tofu quiche for dinner the night before, along with lots of onigiri. In order to avoid supreme food jealousy on my part, I created some raw sushi...

Here it is: avocado nigiri; kappa maki; avocado maki; marinated portobello maki.

I created the rice alter-
native with the remaining
cauliflower I had on hand,
with vinegar to give it that
sushi rice tang.

Raw Sushi "Rice" #1

1 cup cauliflower
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 tsp. cider vinegar

Put all ingredients into a
food processor and blend
until granular.

And my raw food for the entire day:
7am- smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 a nectarine, a dozen frozen blueberries, liquid DHA, water.
9am- fruit salad: pineapple, peach, plum, orange, grape.
12pm- bowl of snap peas; 2 pickles; 1/2 an avocado.
1pm- small bowl of raisins, dates, & sliced almonds.
3:30pm- leftover fruit salad.
5pm- raw sushi: nori, cauliflower, cashews, cider vinegar, cucumber, avocado, marinated portobello mushrooms, scallion, shoyu; 1 orange.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"P"ita "P"izza

"P" is just too darned easy. In the kids book Eating The Alphabet, P is the only letter to earn two pages! I avoided my favourite P ingredient, pumpkin, and still had to cull my list...

Ryan's "P" lunch:
pepperoni pita pizza;
pineapple, peaches, &
plums; pea pods; a
pickle; peanuts; pretzels.

And of course served in
a Pokemon bento with
a Pokemon napkin!

Yesterday after school, Dada took all the boys for haircuts, and afterwards out for sushi, so the leftovers made for nice snacks...
Ryan's snack: cucumber & avocado sushi; baby carrots; oriental crackers.
AJ's snack: inari; baby carrots; oriental crackers.
Nate's snack: baby carrots; grapes; oriental crackers.

My food yesterday...
7am- soaked steel cut oats w/blueberries & cashew creme.
9am- 1 banana; 6 baby carrots.
11am- 1 banana; handful of almonds, raisins & date pieces.
1:30pm- 1 banana; handful of almonds, raisins & date pieces.
3:30pm- zucchini "pasta" w/sauce: sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, pine nuts, spinach, brine-cured olives, tomato, salt, olive oil.
5pm- blueberries w/cashew creme.

I knew since my husband
returned from a trip to
California the day before
that I'd head out for a long
hike, so I planned ahead
and soaked some steel cut
oats overnight--a hearty
breakfast to keep me going
for almost 6 miles.

When I returned I craved the usual heaping bowl of pasta. Instead I peeled 2 zucchini into ribbons and made a yummy salty sauce to coat it. Super yum.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"O"pen "O"bento!

Oh boy! It's "O" day! I'm more than half way through the alphabet! This letter turned out to be easier than I expected. I had planned to have some oshinko maki sushi in there, but when I looked in the fridge it turned out we were out of takuan! So instead I battered up half an onion to fill in the space I had left...

Ryan's "O" lunch: onion rings; onigiri; olives; oriental crackers; orzo salad w/olive oil; oranges.

Here's a pic of my dinner
from saturday evening.
I thought of it like a raw
pasta topping--without
the pasta--or a salad.
Kinda hard to decide!

It's easier to get backlogged
by one day so that I don't
have to wait until I'm done eating for the day to post. So here is what I ate yesterday...

7:30am- smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 a mango, 6 frozen cherries, liquid DHA, water.
9:30am- 1/2 an avocado; handful of raisins & date pieces.
12:30pm- a pickle; a salad: romaine lettuce, tomato, dressing of olive oil, lemon juice & garlic.
2:30pm- blueberries w/cashew "whipped cream".
5:30pm- 2 sliced bananas w/almond butter.

The "whipped cream" recipe
from Juliano's RAW turned
out well, though I added a
bit of agave nectar and a
lot of water to make it
smoother. It was very tasty!
Fresh orange juice and a few
drops of almond extract made
it a perfect compliment to a
bowl of berries.

After a hike yesterday I
could have eaten a lot
more, but I opted for
just a couple of bananas
topped with some filling
raw almond butter.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I almost forgot!

I was just reminded that I never posted the results of my Cans For Comments food drive! Ack! Where'd my brain go?! Anyhow, here is Maia sitting next to the food that we donated:

The final tally: 16
comments. And I
threw in an extra.
Lots of beans, some
potatoes, green beans,
tomatoes, lentil soup,
spinach, & carrots.

Hopefully these made for some easy chili fixins, soups, curries, casseroles or bean salads for those in need.

My raw meals for the day:
7am- bowl of cantaloupe & grapes.
9am- smoothie: 1 banana, 1/3 cup mango, 1 T. shredded dehydrated coconut, water.
11am- leftover miso soup; a pickle.
1pm- 6 dried apricots; carrot "chips"; guacamole (avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, lemon juice).
3pm- carrot raisin salad (grated carrot, raisins, raw "mayo").
5:30pm- dish of chopped tomato, yellow bell pepper, garlic, thinly sliced onion, and sprinkle of salt and raw sugar.

I made the "mayo #2" from Juliano's RAW which was supposed to taste more like real mayo than his "Mayo #1". Let's just say I do NOT want to try the first one now, because it was nothing like mayo, I thought it needed some salt, not to mention a little olive oil, and the vegetable and herb combo in it just did not work for me. But I ate it anyway, since I'd already made a salad with it. I ate the leftovers with a spoon. Luckily I had only made a 1/4 recipe! So I'll think I'll be inventing my own raw sandwich spread really soon.

How about some current Maia pictures to finish up the day...

She really loves her
crayons. The wall behind
her chair also sees a lot
of action, ugh.

I think she wanted to
join her brother at a
sleepover...except the
backpack with the
sleeping bag was almost as big as her! And the lightsaber even bigger! Watch out, it's Darth Strawberry!

Friday, February 19, 2010

new appreciation for cauliflower

a fan
of cauli-
I mean,
I liked
it in
or in
a hot
ed with
of oil
& salt.
no way.
Until today...

7am- smoothie: 1/2 banana, 2 nectarines, handful of spinach, 1 tsp. tahini, liquid DHA, water.
9:30am- 1 apple; 6 dried apricots; 6 baby carrots; 2 small pickles.
11am- smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 a nectarine, 1/4 cup cashews, water.
1:30pm- carrot "chips"; "mashed" dill cauliflower: cauliflower, cashews, lemon juice, garlic, salt, dill, thyme, water.
3:30pm- the leftover cauliflower mash; 1 banana.
5:30pm- cool miso soup: water, white miso, konbu, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, olive oil, lemon juice, sliced shiitake, sliced oyster mushrooms, scallion.

The cauliflower dip is my take on the "mashed potatoes" recipe in Juliano's RAW. The miso soup is my version of a recipe I found on Raw Freedom Community here.

Ryan and Nate liked the cauliflower dip so much they had to have their own plate. And after Maia got up from her nap she ate the leftovers with me by the spoonful.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I've done the raw thing from time to time in my life, but I'm doin' it again for 40 days with a friend.
So instead of the usual raw blogging featuring the best meal of the day, or unique smoothie recipes and such, I'm just gonna list what I eat for the entire day for anyone who's curious...and throw a pic in here or there...

7:30am- smoothie: 1 banana, 4 frozen cherries, 1/3 cup frozen mango, 2 T. sunflower seeds, liquid DHA, water.
9:30am- small bowl of cantaloupe chunks.
11:30am- 1 orange; 12 mini baby carrots; 6 celery sticks (2 stalks).
1:30pm- smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 a pear, handful of spinach, 1 tsp. tahini, pinch of mint, water.
4pm- 1 blood orange.
5:30pm- salad: romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, 1/2 a red bell pepper, a little chopped onion, balsamic vinegar.

Aside from my food, I did make a travel meal for my husband before he left this toothpicks 'cause ya know he might hijack the entire flight crew with a wooden toothpick. ;-)
Husband's lunch: Dr. Praeger's Tex Mex veggie burger on wheat bread w/mustard and onion; moro blood orange segments; pickle slices; baby carrots.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

a week off

Hope everyone enjoyed Valentine's's our littlest valentine:

I'm taking the week off,
since it's winter vacation
at school here. No lunches
to make...just a house to
clean, sleepovers to plan,
snow to shovel, winter
hikes to take, soup to
simmer, diapers to wash,
and crafts to create.

Be back Monday!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunshine & Hearts

The friday before
Valentine's Day! So
of course I had to
make cupcakes. Nate's
class was baking heart-
shaped cakes, so I used
my silicon baking cups
to do the rest for us.
Have I told you how
much I hate baking in silicon? Seriously, not worth it. I should stick to the paper liners and just pipe a heart on the top. They barely looked heart-shaped anyhow, and a bit of cake always sticks inside. Not to mention they're harder for kids to get off themselves.

I sent Nate off with his
little cake undecorated,
along with a container
of frosting and sprinkles.
It's so hard for people to
understand that ingredients
are not always straight-
forward. For example, at
first glance many products
might appear vegan...if you don't know where "confectioner's glaze", "shellac", "resinous glaze" or "lac-res" often come from. So I try to avoid the kids sharing embellishments that I haven't had a chance to research myself. Short rule: if it's sweet and shiny, it may not be vegan. (But that doesn't even account for all the items out there that contain gelatin, so better safe than yucky!)

Before I get to lunch, I
have to send a big thank
you to Ramona of the
blog Alone in Holy Land.
Her blog about the struggles
of being a single mom from
Romania living in Israel
often puts things in per-
spective for me. Or some
would say it's because we're both Libras, LOL. Anyhow, I love my award. Thank you!

And now on to lunch! I gave Ryan one of my nicer bentos today, as the colours seemed suitable for a Valentine's lunch...
of rice
aise; red
pepper hearts; sliced plum; Tofurky cupid hearts; baby carrots.
Here's my bento that
Ryan used. And of
course what did I pack
my snack in for a picnic
around a frozen reservoir
this afternoon?? A Miffy
bento. Go figure. LOL

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"N"ything goes

Honestly, I'd bought a whole bag of navel oranges for "N" day, but my husband ate them. He does that with oranges. I should have bought 3 bags. Hrumph.
Anyhow, I tossed in a non-N food, some fresh salsa I'd just made, since I couldn't leave lunch looking so bland again.
And then this afternoon I was making applesauce from a bunch of apples I'd gotten off the discount cart at the supermarket, along with a package of other random fruit...plums, pears, and wouldn't you know it, nectarines. I didn't even check. Dumb.
Alas, this lunch has some odds 'n Ns...
Ryan's "N" lunch: nuggets (w/a side of ketchup); nuts; pineapple mango salsa; nachos with chreez sauce.

Again, if you send your husband out for anything, you have to be specific. Nachos are supposed to be round in my opinion, but not in his. Doesn't really matter I guess.

"M"agine this lunch is more colourful

How did the letter M end up looking so morose??
Ryan's "M" lunch: mango
gel cup; mini muffin;
marinated mushrooms;
meatless meatballs;
macaroni & chreez.

All in a Mario bento.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lunch need not be "L"-aborate

It was the 100th day of the elementary school year today, so I had to add that in addition to the a"L"phabet theme...
Ryan's "L" lunch: thermos of lentil soup; lychee fruit gel cup; lasagna.

Here is the lasagna...
which disappeared
within 24 hours...just
simple tofu spinach
'ricotta' filling, one layer
of soy crumbles, and
a mix of Vegan Gourmet
and Veganrella cheeses.

I have to make snacks
each day too, though I
don't always bother to
show them because I
don't have time to make
them interesting too!

Monday, February 8, 2010

an o-"K" lunch

The letter "K" turned out to be easier than I expected. And Ryan was psyched about the sushi and the soup...
Ryan's "K" lunch: kalamata olives; kiwi; kidney bean salad; kanpyo maki sushi; kale potato soup.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

winter concert

Can't tell I've been busy, huh?! I couldn't even keep up with lunches last week. Friday was the elementary school winter concert. So I managed to stick some music food picks into Ryan's lunch, but that's about it...

Ryan's lunch: veggie burger; cucumber slices; honeydew melon; baby carrots; a pickle.

Maia enjoyed the first 2 songs sung by AJ and the 5 kindergarten classes. But by the middle of the first grade program she had had it, and I had to take her outside to run around.