Vegan meals for non vegan children

Being Vegan in the home with our families is one thing. We don’t have to think too much about being different from others….until our children ask can their friends come to tea.

I dont know how or if this affects anyone else, but I used to get into a blind panic the moment I said yes!

All of a sudden I feel the food i have isn’t good enough and panic that the parents will judge.

My experience of play dates is that of children having very child like meals together before the adults eat. Where as on a normal day we as a family all eat together and rarely have child like dinners. So I save these types of food as a treat for when they have friends.

So I now have my list of fail safe meals for children who come to tea and always make sure i stock up the freezer so that when I am asked, I can calmly say “yes, no problem” and mean it at the same time!

1.Nuggets, chips and beans.

2. Sausage, mash and beans.

We use Frys nuggets and sausages. The problem is they do more than one version so here is a guide to which ones non-vegan kids think are yummy and which ones they think are yuck!

I find shops such as Asda and Morrisons don’t always sell the yummy versions so shop around at Tesco and Sainsburys too. We shop online and alternate which shops we buy from week to week to make sure we are always stocked up with a variety of vegan goodies.

The best bit about shopping around is that all these supermarkets do a good offer on your first order so look online for the voucher code. For the first few weeks of shopping you will get big chunks off your shopping bill for free from the First Order voucher codes.

3. Hot dogs.

Again we use Frys. I haven’t found anyone who can tell the difference between these and meat hotdogs yet! (Although lets face it, thats probably because meat hotdogs never did have any meat in them to begin with!)

We buy these from Ocado/Waitrose as not all supermarkets sell them.

4. Linda McCartney vegetarian sausage rolls.(That are actually vegan)

These are great either as a snack or with a gravy meal. Perfect to swap what ever substitute the adults are having to these for the kids. Again they taste as good as the real thing and are sold in most supermarkets.

5. Quorn Southern fried chicken style vegan burgers.

Taste just like many chicken burgers

6. Frys Meat Free Traditional Burgers and Toffuti creamy smooth slices, cheddar style. These are too meaty for me as I’m not a fan of anything that reminds me of actual meat so they are great for non vegan visitors.

It goes without saying that you can add as much or as little vegetables or salad to these meals.

7. For lunch time snacks besides the usual sandwiches and crisps I also find ryvita thins with caramelised onion humous go down well, along with carrot and cucumber sticks.

Please feel free to share your children friendly meals. I’d love to hear what you choose.

Marie x

Baking a cake with multiple children…

So baking a cake is easy some would say. If baking comes easy to you that is.

But what about baking a cake with the kids? Now multiply that to 5 kids!

Now there are two ways of doing this in my opinion.

1. Get 5 bowls, 5 whisks, 5 spoons…..you see where this is going.

Now this idea seems like the fairest way but what about you?

Can you really watch as 5 children do 5 things at the same time? Not to mention how you then turn this all into one cake..or are you planning on making 5!!?

2. The sharing method which your kids love to hate. Which comes with its own set of complications…”Can I go first?” “He’s already had a turn, can I go now?”

“She got to mix for longer than me, I wanted to do the egg!” You get the drift. (Although in my world there is no egg as we’re vegan)

So you get through all that and survive, the kids haven’t killed each other and the cake is sufficiently burned (sorry i mean cooked!)

Now it’s time to decorate it!

Decorating a cake with 5 children is most parents idea of hell. Until i came up with this life saving tip.

Divide the top of the cake into however many sections there are children. In this instance 5. Using either an icing pen or food colouring pen.

Share out equal amounts of the topings and icing to each child and mark their section with their name if you like.

All of a sudden you have 5 happy children all decorating the same cake at the same time with no fuss, no arguments and no issues!

Whats more is once they have finished they each know exactly how much is theirs. No arguments over which slice of the cake they get to eat either!

All that’s left to do now is relax with a cuppa….. whilst thinking Why didnt I divide it into 6 so I could have a piece!? 😄

And to tidy the kitchen of course…suddenly 5 little people are not so keen on hanging round.

Simple Vegan pudding ideas for kids

As a mother of 4 children who were once meat and dairy eaters, I find i’m constantly looking for ways to prove to them that vegan foods taste just as good as dairy.

So we have been making a few of the kids favourite puddings ourselves.

1. Yoghurt Fruit corners.

The kids weren’t overly keen on the lumps of fruit in the original shop bought fruit corners anyway so this has ended up being even better than the original and very simple to make!

I just buy big tubs of Alpro Simply Plain soya yoghurt and mixed packs of frozen fruit such as peaches, mango and strawberries. But you can use any.

I blend up my fruits of choice along with some fresh banana and watermelon. Mix in a bit of warm apple squash which helps the frozen fruit to melt and there you have it. A fruit puree. I thicken it up with a small spoon of Alpro cherry yoggurt which gives it another sweet flavour. The best bit is you can blend it as much or as little as you like depending on whether your children like lumps or not.

I pour some plain yoghurt in a small pudding bowl along with some puree on the other side and the kids love it. And again you have more freedom if the kids love the fruit you can do half and half opposed to a small amount of fruit.

Depending on where your conscience stands with honey (I know theres a mix of feelings in the vegan community) You can drizzle a little honey on top. But certainly isnt necessary.

2. Brown Sugar fruit yogurt.

This one is great to do with the kids and very simple.

You can do individual bowls or one large bowl to share out.

First put a layer of Alpro Simply plain yoghurt then a layer of melted brown sugar. (To melt, put a teaspoon of water in to a pan and and add brown sugar as required. Stir constantly until melted) Pour on top of your yoghurt and leave to set in the fridge for 10 minutes. Whilst cooling cut up some grapes. Just in half. Green or purple or even both.

These then get layed on top of the brown sugar.

Repeat these steps until your bowl is full. Each layer being roughly 1cm.

The outcome is one sweet and delicious pudding!!

3. Fun Happy Face ice cream

Choose your vegan ice cream flavour.

Our favourites are Swedish Glace vanilla and strawberry ice creams. The strawberry is full of taste.

Then put a scoop or two in a bowl and we like to put this on a tray for each child. Along with an aray of toppings such as strawberries, bananas, vegan mini marshmallows, dark chocolate drops and a cone.

Again we have very happy customers.

4. Chocolate Fondue!

This is great fun and a family favourite.

We use kebab sticks for the adults and forks for the kids if we dont have any fondue sticks to hand.

There are plenty of vegan chocolate options out there now and especially around Easter!

Tesco do dairy free milk chocolate and white chocolate easter eggs which can be melted down in the microwave. Be sure to break the chocolate down in to small peices before melting.

We cut up strawberries, bananas, apples and buy vegan marshmallows. Rich tea bicuits are fun for making biscuit sandwiches too.

5. Fruit turnovers.

These are my 7 year olds favourite pudding. He can do most of it with ease and often asks if he can make them for pudding.

We use ready rolled puff pastry and cut them in to as many squares as we like. Some times we make large turnovers and other times we cut them smaller and make party sized mini turnovers.

We put a dollop of jam in the middle o each square. We often choose lots of flavours including lemon and apple too. The house favourite is apple and raspberry mixed.

Fold the pastry in half, corner to corner and press down at the sides and cook in the oven on 180° for approximately 13minutes.

Once cooled mix up and drizzle icing sugar over the top before eating.

Yum!

I have plenty more easy to make vegan pudding plans so keep an eye out for more…. would love to hear feed back from anyone who tries our quick and simple puddings for their children.

Vegan meals for fussy eaters.

With four children aged between 3 and 13, I know only too well about fussy eaters.

Remembering which one dislikes what is the hardest part.

One loves marmite, the others hate it.

One refuses to eat baked beans, while another refuses spaghetti hoops.

One dislikes all veg and another wont eat any fruit…it goes on!

We sit down as a family of 6 every evening for dinner. One meal for everyone. I daren’t ask what anyone wants as none of them would want the same meal. We dont force the children to eat anything they dont like but there is no alternative.

Feeding 4 very differnt and fussy eaters is one thing. Feeding them on a vegan diet at first was another.

We’re 1 year into our vegan life style and I would never go back! They all eat far more fruit and veg than they used to and are far more willing to try new foods.

My advice is if they don’t like something the first time, dont stop putting it on their plate. The more they see it the more normal it becomes and slowly but surely they start to try new things.

My 3 yr old will eat all her veg and fruits and happily accepts why we dont eat meat. She has no real understanding about dairy yet and probably doesn’t know that the milk and yoghurt she has at home differs from the dairy versions. What she wont eat is mince which is a reoccurring visitor to our dinner table. We have chilli and rice, chill and tacos, spaghetti Bolognese, mince in gravy….always fuelled with plenty of mixed vegetables and pulses including blended kale and celery among other healthy alternatives to meat and dairy.

But what to do when your 3yr old will only eat the rice, potato and pasta?

We initially started them off on basic processed meat substitutes such as nuggets, burgers and hot dogs. But as you can see, a year on in and these rarely appear on our dinner table (unless we have friends for tea. These substitutes are great for those meat eating fussy eating guests!)

Here’s a few of our vegan meals that the children love.

Vegan Hunters Chicken

For this we smother Quorn Vegan chunks in a bbq sauce of our choice.

Lay Vegan bacon strips on top. Preferably Moodleys Bad Ass Bacon which we shallow fry first to give that crispy edge.

Then melt vegan mature cheddar on top. Vegankind.com is a great source for all these alternatives.

Next we make a home made chunky coleslaw using a dairy free mayonnaise.

Then finish the plate off with the kids favourite chips whether it be curly fries, chunky chips or straight fries and their favourite vegetable on the side. In our house broccoli is always a safe bet.

This way there is something for everyone. Those who arent keen on coleslaw have broccoli to fall back on. All of our children like the substitite meats in this meal and they are all avid lovers of bbq sauce so its a safe bet in our house. But if that doesn’t appeal to your brood heres some more meals…..

Home made Pizza

I find the children are far more likely to eat if they have input in the making process first. This is a great meal to get all the children involved as they can all make their own individual pizzas.

First to decide on the base.

Making their own dough is probably the most fun but also the most messy. It doesn’t take very long and is a great learning experience. (My children are home educated so any excuse to turn something into a learning experience and ill do it. – Time permitting!)

The quick option is Pitta bread. Or Puff pastry ready rolled.

Pitta bread is great as they are the perfect ready made size for individual pizzas.

Puff pastry always goes down a treat but you have to make sure you check the ingredients as some have egg in.

With a ready rolled puff pastry we either cut them into smaller pieces for individual pizzas or make one large one. Depending on how many kids are helping.

The best bit about making your own pizzas is that everyone can have their own topping.

I like a tomato base with all the vegetables I can find to put on top.

The boys prefer bbq sauce and meat substitutes. We have our favourite meat substitutes but you may already have your own favourites.

Again thevegankind is a great place to bulk buy meat substitutes to freeze for these occassions.

Cheatin chorizo style bites are one of the boys favourites. The younger children like Quorn southern style vegan burgers chopped into strips. My husband likes Quorn hot and spicey vegan burgers chopped into strips and they all like chopped sausage on top. Vegusto farm house sausages are their favourite for pizza toppings.

To get vegetables on their pizza i encourage them to make a face which of course needs some colour.

If you really struggle then the best option is to blend up one or two vegetables and mix into the bbq sauce for the base. The strong flavour of the bbq sauce and dark colour means they can’t tell there is veg hidden inside. I tend to choose kale as this is a great source of calcium and is one of the few vegetables they wont eat otherwise.

There are plenty of mozzarella style cheeses to grate on top but some times the simple cheddar style cheese are just as good.

Some salad or carrot sticks on the side and meals a good’n.

Humous is a great side with this meal along with a caramelized onion Chutney which the kids love!

Spaghetti Bolognese

For those who will eat a vegan mince and vegetables then this is a fairly obvious meal.

For those who dont, there are some tricks.

Fisrtly my favourite and obvious choice is to blend as many vegetables and pulses as possible, including baked beans into a sauce. (Either home made or bought) In this instance I tend to leave out mince altogether. Cheatin meat balls are a good option which go down well and only take a few minutes to cook for more substance.

But those children who can’t be tricked into eating a sauce?

Baked beans! Spaghetti and baked beans with some chopped vegusto farm house sausage or chorizo style sausage chopped on top go down quite well.

A trick that works even better is to involve them in the cooking again.

Chop up the sausage and carefully peirce each infividual peice with 3 or 4 strands of uncooked spaghetti. Push the spaghetti through so that the sausage peices are in the middle of the spaghetti.

You can cook these together and come out joined together which add some extra fun to their plates!

We always cook up our veg fuelled sauce too and put a dollop on their plate. 2 out of 4 children will eat most foods without needing tricks thankfully….the other 2 are slowly following suit.

I could go on for ever with our vegan meal ideas for fussy eaters so please comment for more food blogs!