Tag Archives: lunch box

*Exclusive* Our BEST Vegan Baked Macaroni & Cheese Recipe, Secrets Shared!

20 Mar

This is THE most asked for dish in our home by family and friends.  Dairy-free.  Lactose-free.  Perfect for those with a dairy allergy and miss cheese!  The closest thing to the REAL THING and many believe, BETTER than the BEST Macaroni and Cheese they have had.  Seriously. 

I am revealing my secret family recipe… I’m taking a deep breath here, so give it a shot and give me your feedback!

This is completely, 100% my recipe and considered to be  VEGAN COMFORT FOOD.  If you are looking for a healthy low-fat alternative, stop reading now.  I wouldn’t recommend eating this every day if you are planning on losing some pounds however this is the BEST dish for everyone, regardless of their eating preferences.

*AWESOME for the kids to pop in a lunch box (heated thermos) for school lunch… this has nominated me to BEST MOM OF THE YEAR on several occasions 😉

I do not measure when I make this dish however I will give you my best estimates.

TryitVegan Mac and cheese pasta

Choose whatever pasta you like however we prefer this brand and shape for this particular dish.

Try it Vegan Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Bread Crumbs Ingredients

Try it Vegan Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Bread Crumbs Ingredients

Ingredients for 5-6 people:

1 lb. pasta

10-12 oz. almond milk (unsweetened)

Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Cheddar Cheese block

1 brick of Earth Balance

1-2 cups of bread crumbs or panko breadcrumbs (we like a lot)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Start water for pasta.

Cook pasta al dente

Cook pasta al dente

In a medium pot, add milk and entire block of Vegan Cheddar and stir until melted on medium heat.

Melt Vegan Cheddar in Almond Milk

Melt Vegan Cheddar in Almond Milk

Make sure that the pasta is cooked al dente so drain it a couple of minutes prior to their recommended cook time.  Grease your baking dish lightly with the Earth Balance vegan butter and melt the remaining 7 tbsp or so.  (This can be cut in half, the full stick of “butter” isn’t needed however I did say that we love bread crumbs, yes?)  In a medium bowl, mix bread crumbs with completely melted Earth Balance adding more crumbs if wanted/needed.

Mix bread crumbs with melted vegan butter

Mix bread crumbs with melted vegan butter

Once pasta is ready, drain and toss into baking dish.

Pour Vegan Cheese over drained pasta

Pour Vegan Cheese over drained pasta

Pour cheese directly on top and mix until evenly distributed.  spread bread crumb mixture on top.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes covered for the first 20 and uncovered for the last 10 for the bread crumbs to slightly brown.

Try it Vegan Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread crumbs

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Crazy Carrot Wednesday- 20 Carrot Recipes to Try!

27 Feb

A rainbow of carrotsIn my quest of having the family get in the habit of trying new foods, I bought some purple, orange and golden yellow carrots.  If anything, it was worth seeing the expression on their faces that made it all worth it!

I happen to need to eat with my eyes first so the more color on our plates, the happier I am that we are serving a nutritional plate of goodness for each of us.  If you can’t find purple and yellow carrots at the store, keep an eye out for one day that they may have them in the future.  In the meantime, if you haven’t eaten many carrots lately, I’m sure you will be successful in finding a recipe or three that you and whoever you are cooking for, will love!

Fun carrot facts:

  • Carrots were not originally orange.  Back in the day they were purple or red with thin roots
  • What’s up, Doc?  Maybe Bugs Bunny was on to something since the first carrots were grown for medicine
  • Research shows that colorful carrots may help prevent heart disease and cancer & reduce cholesterol
  • Eat/drink too many orange carrots and you WILL take on an orange/yellow pigment in your skin (called Carotenemia) because of beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A in the carrots

Question:  Are carrots better for you eaten raw or cooked?

No one loves a glass of fresh carrot juice better than I (although, I will admit, I will stick with drinking orange carrots since the purple carrots have a slight peppery taste and the yellow are a bit sweet and mild).  I happen to eat half of my meals raw each day because there are many nutrients that are lost when cooked one way or another.  However, there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to eating and being able to process certain foods.  (So the answer is both!)

colorcarrotstryitveganPicture bubble wrap for a moment:  when it comes to nutrition and eating certain foods, there are a ton of nutrients that are inside the item but you have to pop all the nutrients out.  This is one reason why it is SO important to chew your food well which most of us are very guilty of NOT doing.  50-100 chews per bite is what is recommended to ensure that you break down the food and make it accessible for your body to absorb the nutrients.  This is why juicing is a great thing from a nutritional perspective because it pops all the “bubbles” releasing the nutritional benefits (especially kale!)

  • Research has shown that when you eat a raw carrot, only 3% of the entire beta-carotene (Vitamin A) is released.
  • Falcarinol is a substance found in carrots that has been found to reduce the risk of cancer (cancer cells grow more slowly when exposed to it)
  • When boiling or steaming whole carrots, you lose 30% of falcarinol
  • When boiling or steaming pre-cut, small carrots the loss is higher at 60%.
  • Boiled/steamed carrots are easier to digest and preserved antioxidants (carotenoids) rather than frying.

Ok, now that you know more than you thought that you would ever want to know about this common (or not so common) root veggie, go on out and try some of these awesome ways to enjoy this nutritious wonder!

(Common sense input:  if honey is called for, substitute with agave or other sweetener.  Butter, use earth balance.  Etc)

  1. Fresh squeezed carrot juice  (can be as addicting as cigarettes?)
  2. Roasted Carrot Soup
  3. Carrot salad
  4. Roasted carrots
  5. Carrot muffins (using earth balance as opposed to butter/margarine)
  6. Hummus and veggie wrap
  7. Vegetable sushi
  8. Potted carrots (great idea for the kids!!!  with a vegan ranch dip)
  9. Simple carrot fries
  10. Moroccan Carrot Dip
  11. Marsala glazed carrots with hazelnuts
  12. Carrot cake cupcakes
  13. Marmalade Candied Carrots 
  14. Roasted Vegetables with Pecan Gremolata
  15. Carrot cake oatmeal
  16. Carrot pancakes
  17. Lunch Box carrot slaw with apples and vegan yoghurt
  18. Carrot, Avocado and orange salad
  19. Marinated dill carrots
  20. Brown sugar sweet overload carrots

Enjoy 😉  TiV

Apple Match Stick Fries: Reducing the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes

7 Jan

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This morning I posted a link on Twitter that speaks of the great health benefits of apples (HERE)  Thanks to my mandoline, we have found some creative  ways to make snacking on an apple a bit more appealing to even those who insisted that they didn’t like apples.  
 
With much more focus on eating smaller meals with healthy snacks twice a day, apples are a great go-to for all ages.  With over 7000 different varieties around the world, there are at least a handful that will make your mouth water.  (For an apple directory, try HERE)
 
Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the two top killers in North America, choose apples for preventative measure considering they are loaded with phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that are known to reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes.  (http://www.nutritionj.com/content/3/1/5)
 
Give your palate a treat, pick some apples the next time you are out and make a point of including an apple once a day in your diet, however you choose to slice, dice or bite it 😉  Your body will thank you!
 
Try it!
-M

 

 
 
 
 

Back to school! Vegan kids Lunch Exposed

2 Jan

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“The more colorful it is, the better it is!” 

– Nico’s answer when asked what his favorite lunch looks like 🙂  1/2/13

Yes, my kids have a Vegan lunch nearly every day.  You are looking at the 11 year old’s lunch box and according to him, it’s a hit at school.  I found this particular box online and it has been worth the investment.

I’ve learned that we eat with our eyes first and this is one of my secrets as to HOW I get my kids to eat healthier.  (Sidenote:  A few years ago it was paper bag lunches with bologna and cheese, a bag of fritos, bar of some kind (all sugar) and juice.  I was not eating vegetables, (I swore I hated them… so how could I possible get MY kids to eat them?) and it’s amazing how much our health showed the results of our poor diet.)

If food is fun and colorful and ready to eat, you will be surprised how easy eating healthier can be!

Menu:

  • Organic English cucumbers (very tasty, few seeds and an awesome aroma) sliced with mandoline
  • Mini apples with Bee’s Knees cucumber sliced with mandoline (see previous post on the topic)
  • Mandarin orange peeled and ready to eat
  • Sandwich with, what we call, “sandwich slices”.  (Lightlife Bologna style faux meat slices, english cucumber slices, mayo (Veganaise with grapeseed) and bread
  • Enjoy life chocolate bar

ELF Boom Choco Boom Rice Milka        lightlife_smart_deli_bologna_box large-grapeseed vegenaise 16 oz

Yes, these are processed but eating healthy is a process and compared to where we were, I feel that it is a step in the right direction.  With the bombardment of “pink slime” and other questionable “food” served in schools and the constant media advertisements on pure JUNK, I learned that it MUST start at home.  Have fun with your food and make it as colorful as possible- after all, “the more colorful it is, the better it is!”

Try it!

M

 

 

Having your Kids Eat More Fruit 101: Have fun and PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

30 Dec

Apple Slices

We WILL get to vegetables next but in the meantime, this is definitely one solution to the question, “How do I get my children to eat more fruit?”

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

It goes against every principle that we were taught as little ones but the truth is, we eat with our eyes first.  This is a very simple and incredibly easy snack but one that is incredibly popular in our house.  Sometimes it’s how it’s sliced and the convenience.  Other times it is the sound a food makes when you bite into it that grabs the kids attention.

What you need:

mandolines-slicers

A mandoline slicer (Since purchasing one, I literally use it every day throughout the entire day. I bought this particular one online here)

Apple (Treat yourself to an organic apple reducing the pesticides and free radical damage in your body but also, TASTE!  TASTE!  TASTE!  Go crazy… eat the skin too which is LOADED with nutrients!)

beesknees

Peanut Butter is optional (We love Bee’s Knees by Peanut Butter & Co.)

There are different attachments but what we enjoy most is slicing up the apple and then putting it back together like a puzzle, wrap it and slip in in a lunch box.  When it comes time to eat, you just slide a slice off and the browning due to the oxidizing is at a bare minimum!  Enjoy!!

****BONUS****  This particular mandoline has an attachment where we also make apple “match sticks” that are tiny and fun enough for everyone to snack on and a huge hit when we are serving lunch at home (they brown too quickly to send to school for lunch)

WARNING:  If away at, let’s say, a soccer game or school, pack more than one because there WILL be others asking you for a piece!  It’s a fun way to eat an apple, convenient and as some kids tell me, “tastes better this way.”  (wink!)

Serious WARNING:  A mandoline slicer is NOT a toy and is incredibly sharp!!  To keep all of your digits, I highly recommend investing in a cut resistant kitchen glove.  This little glove has saved me a few times.

So go on out there, Try it!

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