Going vegan is huge trend now, but can kids in kindergarten also go vegan? An article in Wall Street Journal featured a Scandinavian school in Jersey City, where kids are in fact doing just that. The kids eat tofu, grow vegetables, make their own cashew milk and play barefoot. But just because someone is doing it, does it make it ok?
Many vegan parents, in reality, are very knowledgeable about healthy eating habits. They often cook more at home, have a very good knowledge about nutrition and eat a lot of wholegrain foods. And there are a whole lot of kids eating unhealthy food that are not vegan. So, going vegan is more than okay for kids. The health benefits of vegan diet have already become widely accepted by the medical community and having kids follow a vegan diet is no exception.
For kids growing up there are some things that have to be considered. Very important is to make sure the kids get enough calories in their diet. By eating meat and dairy products, the energy levels are easily reached. If they are removed, more calories need to be consumed. Usually though, the problem is not eating too little calories, but too many. If having too little calories in the diet is the issue, adding oil to the diet is advised. With very young kids, food has to be chopped up into small pieces, because their teeth are not developed enough.
As with vegan adults, vegan diet for kids has some limitations. For children growing up, it is not easy to get enough vitamin B12. Also, iron and calcium sometimes need to be added through eating supplements. Vitamin D is another supplement that is often needed, but it is often needed for non-vegans too. Many non-vegans worry about lack of protein. It is a common belief, that vegan diet is not rich in protein, but actually it is very easy to get enough protein from a vegan diet. Good sources of protein include beans, grains and seeds.
I have been cooking since a very young age and have been reading cookbooks since a very young age. They represent to me something familiar from my childhood and also experimentation. I used to experiment, and still do experiment, in the kitchen. Particularly in the sweet side of cooking. Desserts that is.
Cooking desserts was something that was not done in my family, except for special occasions, like birthdays, christmas, and the likes. My parents were much more into savory stuff. I on the other hand had a sweet tooth. So much so, that I began going through cookbooks looking for desserts to make. There are a few books out there that I have at least tried to make all the the dessert recipes out of. If I never attempted to make some recipe, it was because I did not have the ingredients.
I made tarts, cakes, buns, home made sweets, cinnamon rolls, you name it. And very often I was very successful with the recipes. That is because I learnt to read recipes carefully and to follow them. If I did not read and follow the carefully, I realized, the outcome would not be that awesome. I liked awesome. There was one time though, when things did not go as planned. It was the time I burnt down the kitchen.
Yes, I burnt down the kitchen. I was making this Finnish delicacy called kookospallot. It translates to coconut balls. I was home alone, with nothing to do. What would I do? What could I do? Should I go out and hang out there, maybe a friend of mine is out there? No, I know I will make a dessert that involves melting hot coconut fat. What could happen? I probably thought to myself. I do not remember anymore. Actually I do not think I thought of anything except getting some sweet things to eat.
So, onto the pan I measured coconut fat. Not the stuff you can find in health department these days, but the stuff you use for deep frying. Switch on the heat and then wait for it to melt. The thing is waiting is something I have never been that good at. I waited a while and then my thoughts drifted and went to watch some tv. Not the only mistake I made that day.
The second mistake, which is the one that lead to kitchen burning down came next. A friend of mine came to ring the doorbell, to ask me to come to his house to play. I said ofcourse. I did not even have to take a jacket with me, because he lived in the same building, one floor down. Did the kookospallot even cross my mind? The answer is no.
There I am playing in his room. Having a great time. The doorbell rings. I hear some noises in the hallway. My mother comes in the room, eyes wide open. She sees me and starts asking me what have I done? Why are you not at home? I am completely surprised. On the way upstairs, I remember the coconut balls. I can still feel the feeling in my stomach. Is this smoke coming from my house?
The pan had gotten very hot. So hot it had melted the rice cooker onto the stove. Plastic had caught fire and black smoke fill the kitchen. Me, frozen in my place, not being able to do anything. My mother had gotten home in time for not the whole building to burn down. She was not very happy. Let us just leave it at that.
After that experience, I am glad to say one thing. Even though I burnt down my kitchen. I still have a thing for cookbooks and my sweet tooth is alive and kicking. Except nowadays it has some fixed up cavities.
Here is the infamous recipe of the Coconut Balls that burnt down my Kitchen. Now that I read it, it not something I would go for these days, but exactly what I imagine me as a child going for. That is why I decided to update it a little bit. Instead of coconut fat, I chose coconut oil. The powdered sugar that was in the old recipe, was replaced by vegan sugar. The vanilla sugar, which is usually not real vanilla at all, was replaced by actual vanilla.
The Coconut Balls that Burnt down my Kitchen
100 g coconut oil
3 dl oat flakes
1 dl coconut flakes
1 dl vegan sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp water
There are so many recipes that can be made out of sweet potatoes, like soups, salads, baked sweet potatoes, etc., etc. I could go on and on. But sweet potato can also easily be called a super food. We made a list of our favorite things about it - besides the taste that is.
In no particular order, here they are:
We have been doing menu planning at our household for a while now. It seems to be working on many levels. We try out different recipes and save money. We save money by going to the bigger shop and buying more at a time than we used to.
This time on the list was a Thai Curry Soup from one of our favorite blogs budgetbytes.com. The original is not all vegan, so we had to change it up a little bit. It turned out really good! I'm already thinking of improvements for the next time. Next time we will be putting in some mushroom soy sauce to have some umami in there and adding those coriander leaves that were missing. They do bring a great flavor to Thai dishes.
Veganized Thai Curry Soup
Neutral cooking oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (we tried it with Indian too and it turned out good too)
1 sweet potato
Small Chinese cabbage
1 can of coconut milk
1 Tsp vegan sugar
A while a go I had an intense pickling phase. I pickled everything I could get my hands on. I bought radish pieces from work. They were leftovers, because the chefs only wanted cubes made out of the radishes and the rest were going to be thrown out. I thought, no that is pickle gold! I was learning to pickle from the book Fermented Vegetables - Creative recipes for fermenting 64 vegetables & herbs in.
More recently, my pickling phase has moved on a bit, but I still make my own kimchi and krauts following the recipes in the book. In fact, I have some kimchi on its way right now. So, the phase has not died, but there is a limit to how much pickled stuff you can eat, or how much you can give your friends, until you start getting labeled as that pickle guy.
The book Fermented Vegetables is the best resource about pickling I could find. When I want to buy a book online, I research a lot. Amazon ratings, forums, flickr pages, quora, etc, etc. It is a bit weird how much I research, but I don’t want to be left with a book I don’t use, but the cover is nice.
There are detailed instructions on the techniques used to make krauts, kimchi, brined pickles, chutneys, the works. Then the book goes on to show what can be done with different kinds of vegetables and herbs. In the end, there are recipes, like for example brine crackers and coleslaw.
Throughout the book there are stories about people that probably are called pickle guys, pickle gals, or pickle couples. They are people who have gotten heavily into pickling. I think they are there to make you feel okay about getting so excited about pickling.