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I have finally convinced dh to try more veggies and less meat (a lot less meat). My hope is eventually to be totally vegetarian for me and the kids with just some meat for him. So I have a couple of questions.

What are some good kid friendly veggie recipes?
Are there certain foods that I need to "beware" of for kids? (ie like waiting for milk until 1yr..that sort of thing)
Are there vitamins, minerals, ect that vegetarians lack that I need to supplement? (thought I read something about a B vitamin???)
How much do you spend on groceries a month? (want to know what to expect
)

Anything else that you want to pass along please do. Also any websites that would be of help to me send my way!


TIA
 

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Kid friendly recipes: Try these two links
VegWeb
VegFamily

B-Vitamin: It's B12 you're thinking of and it is only an issue for vegans. Vegetarians can get some B12 from animal products. Vegans get their B12 from fortified foods or supplements.

Beware: Your kids will probalby get sick less often and have more energy. Beware.
No, but seriously, nothing scary involved.

Websites that might help you:
VegFamily - www.vegfamily.com
Vegetarian Baby and Child - www.veggiebaby.com

Good luck!
 

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If you are eating dairy and eggs, you don't need to pay too much attention to B vitamins. If I didn't get WIC, I would probably spend around $300-$350/month. I do buy mostly organic and spend $160/month on all organic produce. You don't have to spend that much. Bulk grains (if you have a store that sells bulk foods) are easy to find organic and not too expensive beans, rice, granola, oats, soup mix, pasta...

I always tell people to go ethnic. Look to different cuisines around the world and most of them have vegetarian options. If your kids like Mexican food, there's bean burritos, cheese enchiladas, roasted veggie fajitas. Maybe they'll like Middle Eastern food like falafels and baba ganoush and hummus. Or Italian food like lasagna, spaghetti w/vegetarian "meat"balls, eggplant parmesan, minestrone soup. My kids like Indian food and Thai food too. Coconut curry or coconut soup are big hits (sautee veggies with garlic and ginger and curry powd., add coconut milk and simmer). Kids like fried stuff and stuff you can dip. Mine love hummus and baba ganoush because we dip pita wedges and veggies in them. They also love pakoras (Indian batter fried veggies).

One thing that most people don't do but my kids love is homemade fresh cheese. It's kind of like fresh mozarella and a bit like tofu. But it tastes way better than tofu. 1 gal of milk, 1 quart of buttermilk. Heat milk until boiling point. As it rises in the pot, slowly pour the buttermilk in and pat down with a spoon. Gently stir and turn the heat to medium for 5 minutes. You can fish the curds out with a wire mesh strainer and use the whey for soup or pour the whole thing into a cheese cloth lined collander in the sink.
Curd is very versalite. It's what they call paneer in Indian cooking. You can eat it fresh with your favorite seasoning. Or let it hang in the wire mesh strainer or cheese cloth for 30-60 minutes to firm up. Once firm, it can be sliced and pan cooked or baked. You can also put it in a food processor or blender and pulse it a few times to smooth it out. Then you can season it and make it into patties for veggie burgers or little balls for pasta. You can pan fry, bake or deep fry it. I do a lot of curd stuff because I get ridiculous amounts of milk on WIC. We don't even drink milk straight. So I'm making puddings and creamy soups and curd and oatmeal cooked in milk a lot.
 

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Eating vegetarian is really cheap if you stick to whole foods. Whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits and veggies are really inexpensive compared to meat and processed foods.

Kid (and husband) friendly meals ideas:

Soups like:
Split pea
MInestrone
Chili
Tortilla Soup
Black Bean Soup
are naturally vegetarian so even your husband will probably not mind them meatless.

Here's a favorite recipe of ours that I make often for potlucks and visitors:

Tamale Pie

Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups cooked pinto, kidney, or black beans, drained
1 cup diced tomatoes with juice (canned is fine)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Crust:
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3 1/4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Topping:
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Oil an 8-inch square baking pan.
Heat oil in medium-size pan. Stir in onion and sauté about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Sauté 5 minutes more. Add beans, tomatoes, and corn. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Let mixture simmer uncovered while you prepare crust.
Whisk together cornmeal and water in medium-size pan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sea salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 10 minutes). Spread 2/3 of the mixture over bottom and up sides of the prepared baking pan. Pour bean mixture into crust. Top with remaining cornmeal mixture. (Don't worry if beans are not covered completely.) Sprinkle with shredded cheese if desired. Bake 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

Makes 6 servings

Shepherd's Pie
This is one of my family's very favorite dinners. Try it with other beans too.

Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups cabbage, broccoli, or kale, finely chopped
1/2 cup water, vegetable stock, or lentil cooking water
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Crust:
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 to 1/2 cup milk (dairy or nondairy)
1 tablespoon miso
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Paprika

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes until soft. Stir in garlic, carrots, and cabbage, broccoli, or kale. Add water and cover pan. Cook 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in remaining filling ingredients. Cook 5 minutes, or until filling is hot. Pour filling into 2-quart casserole dish.
While filling cooks, prepare mashed potato crust. Place potatoes in medium pan with water just up to top of potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes). Drain potatoes and return them to the pot. Add miso. Begin mashing while adding milk a little at a time until potatoes are smooth. Stir in minced parsley. Spread potatoes evenly over filling. Sprinkle evenly with paprika. Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes until potatoes and filling are hot and edges are slightly golden.

Makes 6 servings

Note: 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables can be substituted for vegetables in this recipe.

Variation: Add 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes instead of the liquid in the filling.

Potato-Kale Quiche
This is my husband's favorite quiche. It's hearty and filling, yet doesn't weigh you down. If you don't have kale, try spinach, chard or other dark green leafy vegetable.

1 recipe Basic Pie Crust (page xxx) or prepared (9- or 10-inch) deep-dish crust, partially prebaked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cups peeled, diced potatoes (about 3 medium)
2 packed cups chopped kale
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk (dairy or nondairy)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Prepare pie crust and place in 9- or 10-inch deep-dish pie pan. Partially prebake crust as directed on page xxx.
Prepare filling while crust is prebaking. Warm oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Sauté 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir in kale. Cover and cook another 5 minutes. Kale and potatoes should be tender but not overcooked.
Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, sea salt, pepper, and nutmeg until frothy. Place 1/2 of the cheese evenly over bottom of crust. Place potato-kale mixture over cheese. Cover with remaining cheese. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese to fill crust.
Bake at 375ºF for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

Makes 8 servings
 
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