If you’re new to my blog and are wondering how I wandered into this great vegan life I posted my vegan story last year in this post very un-originally entitled My Vegan Story.
So, I love to cook, what I don’t enjoy is spending my mealtimes trying to get a 6 year old and a 2 year old to eat what I’ve made. I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes it’s just nice to sit and have a meal that they eat with no complaints or moaning and this is where pre-packaged vegan food comes into our lives. About once or twice a week we will have a kid friendly pre-packaged something served with organic vegetables (and usually potatoes as both my boys are carb fiends).
If you’re in the UK and wondering what you can feed yourself that’s quick and easy and/or vegan children here is my handy little pictorial guide to that kind of food.
I love Sainsburys labelling, it’s so easy to see if things are vegan and Jim and I were happy to see that these are. They’re basically potatoes and vegetables in a crumb coating which children can pick up and dunk in (organic) ketchup. Saying that, Piggle isn’t too keen on them, I think they’re a little crunchy for him at the moment as he still doesn’t have a full quota of teeth, but Jim enjoys them and I don’t think they’re too bad for this type of product.
Is it just me or does the Linda McCartney company change their packaging about every 18 months just to confuse us? The packaging used to say on the back if it was suitable for vegans and I searched all over this box reading and couldn’t see anything so I figured they’d taken it off. Read the ingredients and it looked ok so bought them. When I took this picture I noticed that it says very clearly on the front of the box ‘vegan friendly’, duh… My boys will knock me down for a sausage roll, Piggle stuffed so much in his mouth last time we ate them he almost choked. I sometimes will cook up a couple and put them in Jim’s lunchbox for a change. I am not a fan of Linda Mc sausages, I think they have a funny taste and they look awful, but I do enjoy one of their sausage rolls (I don’t feel like I can say ‘her sausage rolls’ as she’s dead, very confusing and I’ve just realised they’ve taken her picture off the front of the box and I’m wondering why).
My kids surprise me all the time with what they will and won’t eat (Jim discovered he liked mushroom pate yesterday, even he sounded surprised about that one!). I thought I’d try these and they’d hate them and I’d never buy them again but they both really enjoyed them and we now get them regularly. There are quite a few vegetables in them (we’re talking the usual carrots, peas and sweetcorn which I always forget about and serve them with sweetcorn so we get a double dose…) along with kidney beans and they’re nice and crunchy if you cook them long enough. They are spicy but not so bad that the heat remains in your mouth. You can see the labelling on the front of this box where it says vegan, so easy to see quickly if you can buy something or not and it’s on most of Sainsburys own products. Especially nice if you child is asking if they can have something and you can say ‘no, it’s not vegan’ right away without having to read a long list of ingredients while they try and move the shelving around the shop.
Who’d say no to a pie? They changed the recipe for the pie last time they changed the packaging and I didn’t like them as much. They added wine to it and more herbs and it made it taste funny. I think when they changed the package to this one they changed back to the old recipe as they are as I remembered and we all enjoy them. Packages of 4 are difficult in our house and I end up with this huge box with 1 pie left in it, with the burgers Jim and I have 1 1/2 each but you don’t really need 1 1/2 pies!
This is another product that my kids would knock you down for, and I would probably help them as if you cook it right it’s lovely. These fake chicken (as Jim calls them) pieces do dry out if you try and stir fry them without sauce but in a stew or a chicken pie they are amazing and the boys go through picking out all the pieces before they eat the rest of the meal. They’re not cheap (coming up on £3 a bag I think) so I don’t buy them all the time, but now and again I get a longing for them and bring some home. And I think I’ve written about these before and said that they’re not ‘New’ as the package says, they just went off the market for a while and are now back again and the company seems to think we’re dim and won’t remember (I believe that Realeat is now owned by the Linda McCartney company).
We have vegan cheese issues in this house. Piggle and I like Scheese best and Jim refuses to eat it and will only have Cheezly. We all like the Tofutti cheese slices though! On pizza it’s Cheezly Super Melting all the way as the Scheese version doesn’t melt at all. The other item in this photo is the Redwood slices which Piggle wolfs down for lunch!
And these are our vitamins. The boy’s are chewable ones and Piggle now has enough teeth to take these rather than the liquid vitamins I posted about a while back. Mine are just bog standard cheapo ones, I will spend a fortune on stuff for the boys but when it comes to spending money on vitamins for me I just won’t fork out the extra cash! With kids being so faddy (and even good eaters will be faddy at times) I like to know that they have had a good dose of vitamins each day as a starting point for me to build on with the meals I feed them. I especially want to make sure they’re getting their B12 and calcium, they won’t consistently eat their greens or tofu depending on how I prepare it and they’re growing all the time so calcium is a big thing in my mind.
Sorry, blurry shot… When I was reading about raw food I came across an article about supplements for children. I don’t believe you should get everything from pills and powders and I much prefer to get my kids to eat a bit of each of the vegetables I serve and Jim and I often have discussions about what vitamins he’s getting in his food using a wall chart in the kitchen. Something I did begin to worry about after the article was Omegas so I hunted down this product which I bought from the States (the only place selling it in the UK only has it in tablet form and is charging a shocking amount for it). I am actually the only one who hates taking this, I think whoever thought that mixing seaweed with apple juice was a good thing should be beaten with a celery stick, it tastes absolutely awful. The boys take it without complaint though and the bottle lasts a good while as they only have 15 drops each. Next time I order I will get myself the tablets and the liquid for them!
And this I just bought in a Chinese Supermarket because it was so very strange! It is vegetable protein that has been fried and then dried! I used some in a chinese dish I made a little while ago and it was actually pretty nice, however I won’t use too much at a time as it has MSG in it!
So there we go, packets, bottles and potions that you will find in my kitchen, useful of course only to those in the UK but you can’t please all the people all the time, especially when it comes to food!
See you tomorrow!