As, I’m sure, most of you already know I am on a mission to get the kids involved in cooking dinner. Because this is my 4th week devoting one night each week to encouraging my kids to cook with me and therefor my 4th blog post about it, I will skip my reasoning and how this all got started. If you haven’t been with me on my journey so far, WELCOME and you can get caught up by reading the posts from the previous weeks. I will link them at the end.
I will instead answer a question that I get asked so often: Why do I cook so many vegan meals if we are not vegan?
Most of my recipes are, in fact vegan. All of the recipes for my “cooking with the kids nights” are at least vegetarian but my goal is to make as many of them vegan as possible.
It really started with my discovery that my chronic intestinal suffering was due to a lactose allergy. When I stopped eating dairy my health immediately improved. It was a very easy decision to cut dairy out of my kitchen (specifically cow milk, I don’t react to goat milk so I will still use goat cheese on things like pizzas). With the realization (that really should have been common sense but wasn’t) that food was important to a persons overall health my husband and I started doing some reading. We discovered that we should be eating more vegetables!! Amazing, right! So we did.
So the answer to the question is: Because eat a plant based diet is the healthiest way to eat.
We eat meat occasionally and I still eat eggs. Our main diet is meat free and we are healthier because of it. We may decide at some point to eliminate meat from our diets completely but we are in no hurry to make that decision. The point for us, is to make all of our meals focused on plants and take the spotlight away from the meat.
I specifically only cook meat free meals with the kids simply because I don’t want them handling raw meat. Plus I want them to know that vegetables are fun and taste good. I want them to be exposed to as many vegetables and as many ways to cook them as possible.
This leads me to this week recipe:
Cauliflower Fried “Rice” and Stir Fried Vegetables
We had been at the park all day and I knew that my kids were exhausted so I was very hesitant to cook with them tonight. Generally my kids don’t handle any focus needed activity and end up fighting when they are tired, so something like this could have ended up very badly. I left the kids in the living room to play while I got everything together and cleaned the kitchen a bit and came back in to find this..
My son wasn’t asleep like my daughter was (he told me he needed a rest and a cuddle) so I asked him if he wanted to help me. He said yes and came into the kitchen. First he covered his sister up with his hoody and my heart melted a little.
This worked out so perfectly. Without my daughters tiny hands in everything I was able to let my son help cut the vegetables for the first time. He was so great! Face full of concentration. He felt like a really big helper. Then, just as we were done with the cutting my daughter woke up and was able to help with the sauce and that was perfect as well.
So here is what I used:
- 1 small head of couliflower
- 1 zuchinni
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 very small heads of brocoli
- 1 package of soy beans
- a handful of mushrooms
- and a few of the beans that were in the garden.
- about 1 tbsp of sesame oil
Picking the beans was my favorite part. My son got so excited when he “found”another one. It was like Christmas morning but with vegetables. This is why I have a garden!!!
Honestly use whatever you have or whatever you like. This is an amazing “clean out the fridge” dish. Anything will be amazing!
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of Chili sauce
- 1 tsp of Worstescheshire sauce
- 1 tsp of fish sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic, we used a garlic press
- about a tsp of fresh ginger (chapped as fine as you can manage)
- 1 half of a red onion, chopped
Here is how we made it:
My son and I chopped up the veggies (except the cauliflower) and I put them in a hot pan with the sesame oil. My son was in charge of “ricing”the cauliflower. Basically this means feeding bits of the cauliflower into the food processor with the grater blade on. He loved this so much!
and it really looks like rice, doesn’t it!!
This is about the time my daughter woke up.
Both kids helped make the sauce. We just put all the ingredients into a bowl and gave it a stir.
By the time the cauliflower and sauce was ready to go the other veggies were cooked perfectly. I like to add the cauliflower and sauce at the end and just cook it long enough to warm everything up. I like the little cauliflower pieces to retain a firm texture.
And Done!! Easy Peasy!
H pretty huge hit! My daughter ate tons, but she always does. My picky eating son ate more than I would have ever expected. He started out by picking out all the broccoli and asking for more. We did this 3 times until I had picked all of the broccoli out of the pan and given it to him. After that he proclaimed himself full and went off to play.
I call it a dinner win!! Sure he ate mainly broccoli but I’m sure some other goodies sneakied their way into his tummy.
Stay Tuned for next week!
Missed Something? Here are links for the previous weeks: