07 March 2006

Vegan Lunch Box: Does Shmoo really eat brussels sprouts at snacktime?

Vegan Lunch BoxI am oddly obsessed with Vegan Lunch Box, the blog of an inventive woman named Jennifer. She spends a lot of time planning and preparing her child "Shmoo's" lunches. Today, it was a homemade vegie corn dog with a tiny container of ketchup, steamed Brussels sprouts, and pink grapefruit segments.

Okay, so I can barely get my kids to look at Brussels sprouts, let alone eat them. I love food, and I wish my children loved it as much as I do. I grew up eating spicy curries and Hunan food and stuffed zucchini and, yes, Brussels sprouts. My kids do me a favor when they eat pasta with the sauce on top.

So when I read about a kid who relishes most of the creative, crazy food his mom prepares for him, it's like reading porn.

I promise to follow this rather self-indulgent post with something practical about lunches. It's just that those brussels sprouts pushed me over the edge.

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Excellent resource! Coming up with a good lunch every day is hard enough; adding dietary restrictions on top can be a recipe for stress and bland reptition.

My kids may not eat everything either, but there's plenty of ideas there to borrow/modify.

"...it's like reading porn." hahahah!!

I feel the *same* way. I'd love my kids to eat brussel sprouts.


One strategy I have involves grocery shopping. The kids hate it. So, in exchange for getting out of most shopping trips, they have to go with me once a season and pick out new and nutritious foods. As they understand that they are favored with a lack of hassle, the occasional shopping trips are productive because they are willing to contribute in an insightful way.

Wow, that is food porn -- I'd take a lunch packed by Jennifer anyday, and I'm not even a vegetarian.

What is it about feeding our children that hits us in the heart? If you're like me, you have an unfortunate association between food and love (unfortunate for my weight, at least!), but I definitely can understand the joy Jennifer gets from packing these very carefully prepared vegan lunches for Schmoo. I take an inordinate amount of pride in the occasional pureed kiwi for the little girl, even if I couldn't/wouldn't take the time to pack such a careful lunch.

I'm nuts over brussel sprouts, they're my favorite. Steamed, with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and pepper. I could eat it everyday.

But still, the kids don't like it, and my husband even hates the smell of them cooking. I heart brussel sprouts.

My whole family (including our two-year-old) loves brussels sprouts. Naturally, I have strong opinions on how to prepare them, although they'll get me kicked out of the vegan lunch box.

First of all, frozen brussels sprouts are great--in my opinion, one of the top two frozen veggies, along with peas. Keep them on hand at all times. They're cheap and require no trimming.

Second, I think the best brussels sprouts are cooked halved or shredded, not whole. I usually buy the "petite" sprouts and cut them in half.

Finally, the two things brussels sprouts love most in the world are bacon and butter. Put some butter or bacon grease in the pan. Brown the sprouts for a couple of minutes over medium-high (throw in a little salt). Add a little chicken broth or water, reduce the heat, cover, and cook until the sprouts are tender to your liking, five or ten minutes.

Uncover and add pepper, additional salt if necessary, and crumbled bacon if you used bacon grease. I could make a whole meal of these--and my daughter has done just that.

Hmm...I have to say olive oil and balsamic sounds pretty great too.

I am salivating over all these recipes! Here's how I like Brussels sprouts: slowly braised in butter till tender, then served with a sprinkle of salt and sugar. This is a great way to cook baby turnips, too.

You know, today is my kid's birthday so I asked her what "special meal" she wanted. And she said, "pasta, plain."

That blog is completely porn for the picky eater's parent. And now I have to go back to the stove, peer into the plain pasta and feel the pain of the unfulfilled.

I'm a whole sprout guy, and a butter guy. Bacon had not crossed my mind, but that sounds awesome.

My new favorite spice to add to brussel sprouts (and salad dressings and other things) is dill. Progressive amounts of dill.

Just wanted to say (I know this was posted a loong time ago) that Jennifer McCann published the blog into a book with lots of great recipes. I'm a vegan and still in school and she has helped me soooo much when it comes to lunches.

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