Monday, June 28, 2010

Vegan Teens - Cheering them On!!

As most of my blog readers may know, while I am vegan, my 'Sprouts' are technically not. They willingly and happily eat the vegan meals I prepare here at home, but lacto-ovo vegetarian when out and about (at their Dad's, school, friends, etc...). I didn't go vegan until my oldest two were teenagers, so I'm happy and quite proud that they've met me half-way on this adventure.

They much prefer what I make at home anyway, but I also realize they're old enough to cook and buy their own food. And while I'm clear about my reasons and ethics, I have always let them make their own choices about what they eat. Yes, my kitchen does occasionally see a fried egg or dairy ice cream, but I'm OK with it; In the end, they love my cooking (and even share it with friends) - there are much bigger battles with teenagers anyway, choose them carefully!

Well, after that wordy preface, I actually have an exciting announcement: My Middle Sprout has decided to take a summer-long "Vegan Challenge" with two of her friends and co-workers! Granted, she has a tremendous advantage when it comes to familiarity and availability of vegan foods. But I'm excited about the opportunity for her AND her friends and wish them all kinds of success!!

Naturally, I'm secretly hoping it lasts longer than "just for the summer" but realize that anything at all, even "attempting", is cause for celebration and goes a long way towards helping animals, the planet AND their personal health. And much as I'd LOVE to jump in, planning, shopping and cooking for all of them each and every meal of the summer, I'm letting them find their own way. They're incredibly smart kids - I think they can do this!

That said, I have a request:
One of my daughter's soon-to-be-vegan friends, Tanner, is blogging about the whole experience and I'm hoping you, my blogger friends and followers, can "follow" his blog and offer (gentle, helpful, non-vegan-police-type) advice. I know he'd appreciate it, and he has amusing teen-age insights and perspective that are honest and often quite funny. Totally worth reading.
OK - his blog is here: O Butter Where Art Thou and you can "follow" with the link on the right hand side of his page.

I'll leave you with a re-posting of one of my Sprout's most requested dishes and one of my busy-night go-tos. Good stuff chilled like a salad, for a hot summer afternoon - which we're actually starting to see here - FINALLY!!

Quick and Easy Peanut Noodles
(original post here )

1/2 cup vegetable or veggie-chicken-style broth
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger root (substituting dry ground ginger will NOT work well here)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter (creamy, chunky, plain, natural style, whatever)
1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup or agave nectar (or corn syrup works in a pinch)
1 - 2 teaspoons hot chili paste (like Schiracha - from an Asian market or well-stocked supermarket) or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cloves garlic, pressed thru garlic press
1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice or red wine vinegar

8 ounces noodles of your choice: Udon noodles, Buckwheat Soba noodles, thin vermicelli noodles or rice sticks (like for Pad Thai), plain ol' unseasoned Ramen noodles or whole wheat spaghetti!!

-- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
-- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts or cashews
-- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

First cook the noodles according to package directions for whatever type of noodles you have.
Drain and set aside, covered, to keep warm.

Meanwhile, (or while noodles are cooking if you can do two things at once) combine broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, syrup, chili paste, lime juice and garlic in a small saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, stirring until peanut butter melts and is heated through. Add noodles, and toss to coat. Serve warm, or cold as a salad.

Garnish with toppings: green onions, cilantro and peanuts. It's these garnishes that REALLY make this dish special!

At this point you can add whatever optional ingredients sound good, depending on who is making the dish:
-- Lightly stir-fried veggies of your choice
-- coarsely chopped fresh spinach
-- fresh bean sprouts
-- fresh basil leaves
-- fresh cucumber or carrots
-- toasted sesame seeds or almonds
-- chick peas/garbanzos
-- crispy cubes of tofu - we get these ready-made at the Asian Market. Flash-fried an even brown using a whole lot less oil than when I try it.


Karyn said...

Ok, that challenge sounds like great fun. I will visit the blog often and offer any suggestions I can and I will play nice!

I always enjoy reading about your sprouts and their friends and all your adventures.

I also totally LOVE your recipes.

Good luck to everyone involved in the vegan challenge!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

How awesome the kids are doing this! Way to go!

Jenny said...

I think you have a very healthy, practical attitude to your kids finding their own way. That's sort of how I am, but my kids are still little (10, 5, and 3). I don't think any of them have ever had a desire to try meat, but we do let them occasionally have vegetarian foods when they want to, around other kids. I sort of gulp inwardly, but I just have to hope they come to their senses (just kidding, ha!) one day. :) Already my 5 year old has expressed disinterest in eating anything that contains eggs. I hope your daughter enjoys her challenge! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Helen said...

I try to eat vegan as much as I can and am always surprised at how much more variety I have when I am not eating animal products.

I try to write my blog so everyone realises they could happily eat vegan 60% of the time without feeling they were missing anything and the impact that will have on their health and the planet is immense.

Courtney said...

Good luck to your daughter and her friends! That is so wonderful to hear--she must be quite the influence on them :-)

Tanner's blog name is great! I will check it out for sure.


Nat said...

made this last night for dinner and it was great!! we had everything we needed in the house. i omitted the chili sauce bc i'm pregnant and even a little spice is too much for me; i put it on the side for my hubby. we both loved the dish!!