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Archive for the 'vegetarian' Category

Summer harvest


Our first harvest of the season included eggplant, arugula, basil and cilantro.

The kids joined me in putting together an arugula salad, and we decided to add red grapes and pine nuts for color and crunch. For the dressing, we whisked together olive oil, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, paprika and a pinch of sugar. Delish!

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Sunday, July 19th, 2009 at 9:00 pm |

Feast your eyes!


Thanksgiving is just a week away, and I’m looking for inspiration to carve out a menu.

Loyal readers of my posts (yeah, the two of you) know that I run a vegetarian household, and will not be stuffing a turkey.

We’ve invited a couple over (who are also vegetarian and therefore will not be bummed by the missing traditional centerpiece) for Thanksgiving dinner.

Every year, I find myself cooking up new plans for a tasty centerpiece dish. We’ve tried Tofurkey (Tofu Turkey) before and found it not to be very appetizing. So this year, I’ve settled on Basil Pesto Lasagna.

Here’s what I’m planning (both appetizers and desserts will be store bought):

(And because this is a blog about kid nutrition, let me quickly add that my kids love every item on this menu!)

•Spincah puffs

•A thick harvest soup (made with onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, corn, pumpkin and V-8 juice).
•Basil pesto lasagna.
•Spicy roasted red potatoes with garlic.
•Roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese.
•Mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives.
•Basmati rice pulav with carrots, beans and corn, topped with cashews and raisins.
•A spicy coconut milk stew with potatoes, carrots and tomatoes.
•Raita–a bowl of yogurt into which I add diced cucumber and freshly chopped cilantro.

• Pumpkin pie
•Cranberry tart

Suggestions for future centerpiece dishes, anyone?

Photo Credit: Seth Harrison, The Journal News

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 12:11 pm |

Raising Vegetarian Kids


When we visit India, my kids love to go the local McDonald’s. And it’s not just for the toys.

My vegetarian kids love their McVeggie burger (a vegetarian patty made up of peas, carrots, green beans, red bell pepper, potatoes and onions) and the McAloo Tikki burger(a patty made out of potatoes, peas and spices).

“Why don’t they serve this in New York?” they ask.

We hardly ever take them to a McDonald’s here, except when we are on a road trip and there are no other options along the highway. And then, their choices are limited to orange juice, fries or hashbrowns.

Technically, they are lacto-ovo-vegetarians which includes eating both eggs and dairy products, but no meat or seafood.

My rationale for raising them as non-meat eaters is that I feel this way I am giving them a choice as opposed to making it a matter of habit. And if they should choose to become non-vegetarians some day, I will not question their decision.

But more importantly, I try to make sure their current diet is not lacking any nutrients.

Luckily, there is no shortage of nutritious and healthy vegetarian recipes or ideas for homecooked Indian meals, and most restaurants(except for fast-food chains) have tons of options.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Mickey Dees and all the other fast-food chains had healthy vegetarian options?

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, September 11th, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
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Dal à la Obama


“I wanna try the dal Obama makes,” said my 7-year-old daughter yesterday, when she heard about the presidential candidate’s dal making prowess and “desi” bona fides.

The San Fransciso Chronicle reported Sunday that while addressing a group of largely Indian and Pakistani supporters at a Frisco fundraiser, Obama declared, “Not only do I think I’m a desi, but I am a desi.”

The desi (one from our country, in Hindi) then went on to talk about his expertise in cooking dal (lentils), while admitting to not being an expert at making naan, the Indian bread.

“Somebody else made the naan.” he said, during the fundraiser that netted a record $7.8 million.

In India, where many families have been vegetarian for generations, dal- a good source of iron, folate and protein- figures prominently in most meals.

So when Obama talked about his affinity for dal, it obviously struck a chord with desis of all generations.

I am truly impressed that not only is The One down with our lingo and cuisine, but also has enough sense on where to draw the line. If he had said he was an expert naan maker, he would have been booed out of the auditorium. No desi worth his salt makes naan at home. It would be like making bagels at home.

Excuse me while I serve my family some arugula with my dal fry.

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, August 21st, 2008 at 11:23 am |
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Great idea for a veggie sneak


<P>Colleague and foodie extraordinaire Liz Johnson has a great reader-submitted recipe for zucchini pesto on her blog, Small Bites. It looks like a slam dunk for veggie-averse kids — go Montebello mom Daniela Sepulveda! </P><P>I’m going to try it this week and report back. And since we’ve been talking so much about eating cheaply and locally, this could be a hit on both fronts. My local farmer’s market is overflowing with zucchini right now. </P><P>(And I already know the baby will love it — she was the only one to appreciate the fried zucchini “cakes” I made a few weeks ago and devours anything with basil pesto. I guess one out of three isn’t bad!)</P> zucchini.jpg<P>(Poughkeepsie Journal file photo)<P>  

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Sunday, August 10th, 2008 at 10:10 am |
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American Academy of Pediatrics updates review of soy formula


Most moms I know have at least heard in passing the concerns over the safety of soy-based infant formulas, that phytoestrogens may cause thyroid issues or interfere with proper reproductive growth.

A new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics concludes there is no evidence of any harm, which should be of comfort to the many users of soy formula, now a full 20 percent of the American formula market, but moms might be surprised to know that the academy again reiterated that when it comes to formula, soy has no advantage over cow’s milk-based product, not even for colicky babies.

The only cases where they recommend soy over regular is for the “feeding of infants with galactosemia and hereditary lactase deficiency, which is rare, and in situations in which a vegetarian diet is preferred.”

For infants with a documented cow’s milk protein allergy, they recommend an extensively hydrolyzed protein formula since 10% to 14% of these infants will also have soy protein allergy.

What do you think? Moms who chose soy, why did you feel it was a better choice?

Posted by Katie Ryan O'Connor on Monday, May 12th, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
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Soy … oh boy!!!


Several years ago, when I was living in California, I was a vegetarian. I ate tons of vegetables, rice and pasta. I was probably 30 pounds heavier too. My reason for turning to starch and greens was mostly because I didn’t like the way I felt after I ate beef.tjndc5-5b1cgcnvrpw10ddslnpe_original-2-2.jpg

Living in California, amongst the granola and shots of wheat grass , also played in part in my decision making. My diet began to change when I put fish back in my diet. Chicken followed and now I’ll occasionally eat a hamburger or steak. But one thing that I grew fond of during those years was tofu and stuff like soy-based hot dogs and cheese and soy milk. I’m sure I’ve elicited several ewws, but I like the taste and it’s also low-cal.

Which leads me to the point of this post.

I had these soy patties that I gave to Zyla, my one-year-old, the other day and she loved them.

Of course, she loves chicken and pork chops too. But when you surf the Internet about giving soy products to babies, there are several warnings that it can cause reproductive or developmental harm. While there is conflicting research about the health risks of soy, I’m left wondering if I should just leave it out of her diet.

But my gut feeling is that how could tofu be unhealthy?

1998 soybean photo by Larry McCormack, via Gannett News Service

Posted by Marcela Rojas on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
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