If you could color Easter eggs in exactly the same way that you did as a child...AND not contribute to animal suffering by using real eggs, then wouldn't you? You can! Eggnots have arrived! Eggnots are ceramic eggs that look and feel the same as a real eggs. I hope all parents who care about animals will try these. Check out how beautiful the natural dyes came out... I think it's important that as vegan parents, we don't isolate our kids or limit their experiences and activities just because they're vegan. Vegan kids shouldn't have to miss out on anything-- there's a vegan version for almost everything out there. With a little effort and creativity, parents can find or make alternatives to common and holiday non-vegan activities. This includes coloring eggs on Easter. Of all the industries that use and abuse animals for food, the egg industry is arguably the worst in terms of animal treatment and suffering. Hundreds of millions of hens live in prison-like conditions-- stacked in wire cages on top of one another in filthy, windowless sheds where they're confined to a space the size of a piece of paper for their entire lives. Read more here.
Knowing the cruelty behind the egg industry, we could not in good conscience buy a carton of eggs and color them with our daughter. We had to find an alternative. The past few Easters, my daughter really enjoyed painting clay eggs, making paper mache eggs and doing other fun egg-type activities, but this year we were able to actually participate in a tradition that I remember doing as a child myself...dyeing "eggs" in mugs. We used the vegan-friendly Eggnots. They're so realistic that you'll think you're holding a real egg! I highly recommend them for vegan kids, as well as for kids who are allergic to eggs. I also recommend them for anyone who cares about animals-- it's one easy way to choose compassion over cruelty.
Eggnots are one of those products that give me hope and a glimpse into what the future can (and should) look like...a future that doesn't exploit animals for our needs and wants. Slowly, but surely, cruelty-free replicas are replacing non-vegan products. I think most people rely on animal products out of habit and comfort, but if you could have the same experience using a vegan version without harming an animal, then wouldn't you opt for that? Even Bill Gates gets this idea! He recently wrote a blog post on his website about how plant-based alternatives to animal food products are the key to a healthy, sustainable future! Instead of using artificial store-bought dyes that in addition to being non-vegan, are also toxic, we decided to make our own using natural fruits and vegetables. Using this post as a guide, we created:
BLUE: blueberries (boiled frozen blueberries in hot water, then strained blueberries leaving just the juice)
GREEN: chlorophyll (a few drops of liquid chlorophyll in mug)
RED: cherry juice
YELLOW: turmeric (boiled water with a few teaspoons of turmeric)
The colors came out beautiful and vibrant as you can see from the pictures. I was pleasantly surprised. We will definitely be doing this again next year, and adding more colors to our mugs!
From the Eggnots website:
- Realistic- they look and feel just like a real egg
- Inedible- no refrigeration needed, no mess and no smell
- Non-perishable and eco-friendly- EggNots ceramic will last forever!
- 100% safe for those with egg allergies
- Vegan-friendly- no animal products used!
- Convenient- No hassle of boiling and disposal!
- Made in the USA
If you could color Easter eggs in exactly the same way as you remember as a child...AND not contribute to animal suffering, then wouldn't you? You can. Use Eggnots!
HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!
Thank you to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for writing this important guest post. KC Theisen tells us why we should avoid live animal photo shoots, and why we shouldn't give baby animals as Easter presents. Please share this post far and wide.
Photo credit: Constance Avellino
Guest post by KC Theisen from the Humane Society of the United States
It’s almost Easter, and you may be thinking it’s time to shake off the winter with a photo shoot at your local studio. As grown-ups we can’t help but be attracted to pictures of kids cuddling tiny bunnies, chicks and ducklings. Or sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement of the season that we want our kids to know the thrill of a real, live baby animal in the basket on Easter morning. But it’s not so simple.
These tiny new lives will soon be adult rabbits, chickens and ducks, looking forward to a long and safe life. Do you expect that the photographer is going to keep the five bunnies and 25 ducklings they ordered online and assure them a good life? Is your son or daughter going to be thrilled to clean Easter Bunny’s litter pan in six months? Most Easter babies are cast off into the wild shortly after Easter, to die of exposure, starvation or predation. Lucky ones are surrendered to an animal sheltering organization, but they might spend months waiting to find their forever home.
This year, make a different choice. Consider giving a plush toy or a chocolate rabbit. Plush baby bunnies or chicks make fabulous gifts for your kids. They also make great photo props, don’t carry diseases and won’t suffer if your child outgrows them. A plush pet can go along with the kids on car rides, to school and become a lasting memento of springtime and Easter. If your family loves sweets, fill their baskets with delicious candy such as lollipops and jelly beans.
You can’t deny that kids and animals go together so don’t. Celebrate the season of renewal with a trip to an animal sanctuary or nature center, so your kids can see spring’s babies with their natural families. Or celebrate Easter at a local park, watching ducks on the pond and learning about our magnificent natural world. Visit or volunteer at your local animal shelter or humane society (find yours at http://theshelterpetproject.org) and let your kids get up close with the dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and even rabbits and ducks who were cast-off by impulse buyers last year.
And if you’ve thought it through carefully and are ready for a lifetime commitment, spring is
the perfect time to open your home to a new addition. Adopt a pet who will remind your family for years to come that Easter is about celebrating life and sharing compassion with all living creatures.
Take a pass on the Easter babies as gifts or photography props this year.
Make a different choice; a compassionate choice.
Looking for animal-friendly Easter books for kids? Check out the list at Vegbooks.
All photos by Constance Avellino
Guest post written by KC Theisen, director of Pet Care Issues at The Humane Society of the United States.
Kids are the future of the vegan movement, so it's crucial that we involve them at events, conferences and festivals. Thank you to the NYC Veg Festival for offering a dedicated space just for families-- a place for parents to stop by and pick up information about raising vegan kids, and where kids could participate in vegan-friendly activities that promote kindness and compassion towards animals. The kids and their parents were inspired and empowered to make a difference for animals, the environment, and their own health. With the help of my husband, I set up the children's area literature table with coloring books, wristbands, bookmarks, tattoos, comic books, stickers, and other materials for kids and their parents. We also had fun, giveaway prizes. Thank you to all the wonderful organizations for participating including Teachkind, Vegbooks, Mitch Spinach, Today I Ate a Rainbow, Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp, Kids Gone Raw, Grey2K USA, and the individuals who participated including NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Families Meetup members, Lottie Hanson and Christina Burke, HEART Humane Educator, Kim Korona, Institute for Humane Education graduate student, Kate Skwire, Vegbooks Outreach Coordinator, Jennifer Gannett, Super Sprowtz founder, Radha Agrawal, Certified Holistic Health Coach, Ellie Aaron Chef Maddie Sobel from PCRM (Physicians for Responsible Medicine), Fiona Walsh from the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, nutrition and wellness consultant, Jennifer Medley, and Vegan Chef and Yoga Teacher, April Dechagas.
We also had a table for kids to play the animal-friendly board game, Fur & Feathers, as well as table filled with printouts to color, including this fun Vegan Plate page. Another table was set up for the activities, including making healthy vegan snacks such as rice/kale balls and rice cakes with hummus/apple butter/apple sauce spreads, seeds and grapes used for making faces. There was a mat for kids to sit on and read from our kid's vegan library with books provided by Vegbooks. There was also a table set up for puppetmaking.Also, congratulations to Danette Suarez who guessed how many fruits and veggies were in this jar (below). She guessed the exact number- 401!! The prize.... a Rainbow Kit donated by Kia Robertson from Today I Ate a Rainbow! Danette is a second grade teacher so she is looking forward to using it in her classroom!
Guess how many fruits and veggies?
Here are photos from the children's area...
Such a wonderful, jam-packed weekend full of activities to inspire and empower kids to be kind to animals...and eat healthy! Thank you to all who participated and made the children's area special for all of the kids and parents who stopped by.
My Talk on Raising Vegan Kids
I shared personal experiences as well as ideas, tips and resources I've gained from researching and talking with other vegan/vegetarian parents.
Laying the Foundation Early to Raise a Compassionate, Healthy Child
Pregnancy Research shows that what a woman eats during pregnancy may shape food preferences later in life. In the womb, the baby gulps down several ounces of amniotic fluid a day and this fluid is flavored by the foods and beverages the mother has eaten. So what you eat in pregnancy can result in preferences for certain foods for a lifetime. In other words, if you eat broccoli while you're pregnant, there's a much better chance your baby will like broccoli. So for the sake of your baby, eat a varied, healthy diet and skip the soda, chips and ice cream!
Research also shows that the foods our children eat in the first 15 years of their lives is critical and has more of an impact in determining later diseases and illnesses than the last 50yrs of your life.Here are a few tips to help develop HEALTHY eating patterns in children: Healthy eating is really 2 parts: It’s what we DON’T feed our kids (animal products), and its about what we DO and SHOULD feed our kids. Healthy eating is about adding nutrient-dense foods into your diet that fight cancer and other illnesses, and provide phytonutrients to keep us healthy. (Read: Disease Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right by Dr. Joel Fuhrman)
Be Consistent: it can take up to 15 times exposure to a food before a child accepts/likes a food. Don't give up!
Be a good role model: you can’t snack on oreos and potato chips and expect your child to eat carrots and celery. Let your child see you eating healthy foods. Eat together.
Cook and bake with your kids: kids are more apt to try something that they’ve helped make. My daughter helps me by mixing and pouring ingredients, mashing up tofu in her hands for tofu scramble, ripping kale, and adding fruits to the blender for green smoothies. An added bonus is that she often eats half of it before the recipe is even finished! Buy kid-friendly baking tools, and a fun apron. This also reinforces science/math/motor skills!Bring kids grocery shopping: let them pick out foods that they already like and also challenge them to find new foods that they want to try. Adults should do this too!
Grow vegetables in your backyard or windowsill if possible. Go to a farm to see vegetables growing in the ground. Also, pick-your-own fruits and veggies in season.
Remove the competition: just as you remove meat and dairy from your households, you should also remove the junk and processed foods. If kids are hungry and there isn't any junk food around, they'll be forced to grab something healthy to eat. Keep fruits and veggies visible out on the counter so when kids are hungry, that's the first thing they'll see/grab.
Redefine the word “snack” dessert” etc: snacks don’t have to be crackers, chips, ice cream, or sugary stuff, they can be what we typically view as breakfast, dinner, or side dishes. (Ex. pieces of roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, chunks of tofu). Dessert can be fruit, not ice cream. Try freezing 3 bananas and then blending them in a processor/vitamix, and you instantly have creamy banana ice cream using only one healthy ingredient (add peanut butter too)!
Be Creative: make art/faces out of fruits and veggies. Put food on a kabob. Use cookie cutters to make shapes. Tell a story about a bunny who loved carrots, or Mitch Spinach, etc. Kia Robertson from Today I Ate a Rainbow recommends making it fun!Doctors- Dr’s receive little to no nutrition education (20hrs average, but some don't receive any training) in med school. Their courses have a heavy emphasis on treatment and pharmaceuticals, rather than prevention. It’s likely in regards to nutrition that you know more than them. Dr's always want to fatten up thin kids to get them on par with the rest of the kids in this country (obesity epidemic!), but because veg kids often eat more fruit, veggies and other lower calorie but higher nutrient-dense foods instead of high-calorie, high fat foods such as doritos, ice cream and mac & cheese, then it's common sense that they will be thinner.
Don’t worry about being perfect: the typical standard American toddler eats the same few foods over and over (chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, ice cream, pizza) so by not feeding these foods, you’re already ahead of the game! It's not about purity, it's about the overall picture.
1) Protein- if you’re eating a sufficient caloric diet, then it’s almost impossible to be deficient in protein. The protein myth in this country was created by meat industry, and we typically get 400x more protein that we need. Animal protein is what’s killing us! According to Forks Over Knives...“We’ve never treated a single patient with protein deficiency, yet the majority of patients we see are suffering from heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases resulting from trying to get enough protein” 2) 25% toddlers between 1-2yrs old eat no fruits/veggies at all!
3) American kids eat less than 2% of their entire diet from fruits/veggies! They move into adulthood eating 90% of their calories from dairy products, white flour, sugar, and oil.
4) Heart Disease risk factors are being seen in kids as young as 10yrs old.
5) CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has predicted that this is the first generation of children that may NOT outlive their parents.
6) By the time American children are 15 months old, French fries have become their most commonly consumed vegetable.
Kids don't want to feel left out or different; they want to fit in with their peers. So it's our job as parents to help them with this. There are also ways for kids to gain a better understanding and appreciation for why their family is choosing a vegan diet. Here are a few suggestions: Visit a farm sanctuary- so kids can get up close and personal with rescued animals
. These sanctuaries are very successful in creating a powerful, long-lasting connection to animals. Kids are less likely to want to eat animals after meeting them. Since most vegans don’t visit zoos, this can be a good replacement for that. Make holidays and events extra special- you can come up with new family traditions, but try to also include some classic traditions that other kids will be doing- just do it with a vegan twist. Nowadays almost everything can be "veganized." For example, you can make a vegan gingerbread house, color wooden or paper mache eggs instead of dying real eggs, snack on vegan jelly beans
, and make vegan candy corn for Halloween.Read kids books that affirm vegan values- where animals are respected and shown in a positive light, rather than being used by humans in exploitative situations such as in zoos, circuses, and horse-drawn carriages. Skip the books that show kids eating hot dogs, drinking milk, eating ice cream, fishing, etc. Vegbooks is the best online resource for finding veg-friendly books. Also read books about brave people throughout history who were once viewed as being different and in the minority such as those who worked for the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights but were later viewed as heroes, who despite challenges, spoke up for what was right.
Find a vegetarian/vegan parenting group in your community, and if there isn’t one, start your own. It’s really important for kids to be around other veg kids, and it’s also a great resource for veg parents to get together with other like-minded parents to exchange advice, ideas/tips, recipes, etc. If you live in the NYC area, join the NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Families Meetup
. Show your kids the power of activism. If they feel strongly about a specific animal or issue, encourage them to join a protest, write a letter to a newspaper, have a vegan bake sale, hand out literature, or create an art project. They’ll most likely have fun doing this, and it will teach them to be a voice for the voiceless.
Remember there are opportunities for teaching kindness and empathy all around us- here in NYC every time I step outside I come across pigeons, squirrels, and bugs such as spiders, ants and flies. Teach kids to respect these not so cute and cuddly creatures as well. Encourage your kids to stop and watch their behaviors. Instill curiosity and reverence. Model kindness by teaching them to never intentionally step on creatures/animals, chase them, or hit them.
Take advantage of social media to create a virtual support community. Ask questions, get advice and share some of your own tips and ideas with other vegetarian/vegan parents. Follow on Twitter & Pinterest and LIKE on Facebook any and all pages related to vegan kids/vegan parenting. You will be exposed to wonderful articles, recipes, ideas, and inspiration.
I wrote a post for Girlie Girl Army that I wanted to re-share on my website. It’s a piece for parents who are raising vegan kids. I hope it will give you the courage and pride to raise a child according to principles of integrity and compassion. Here it is!
"Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar." -- Bradley Miller
ORIGINAL ON Girlie Girl Army:"When I tell people that I’m raising my child vegan, I sometimes feel as though I have to defend and explain my decision. My decision is passive, I'm just leaving out certain foods from her diet. But parents who are feeding their kids meat, dairy, and eggs are actively adding in foods. So shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t they have to defend their decision to purchase that hot dog that came from a pig who never stepped foot on grass or saw the sky (except from the slot in the truck on her way to the slaughterhouse) and whose mother was forced to live in a tiny metal crate amid her own urine and feces, where she was unable to even turn around or take a step forward or backward for weeks on end?
Why don’t parents who are feeding their kids meat and other products taken from animals have to defend their decision? They’re giving their kids cow’s milk, which is exactly that … cow’s milk! Isn’t that a little strange? It’s meant to fatten up calves. Humans are the only species that drinks another species’ milk, and we’re the only species that drinks any milk past infancy. Casino mogul Steve Wynn said it best: “It’s liquid cholesterol!”
What exactly is it that people are concerned that my child will be missing out on … high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity? It surely can’t be protein, calcium, or iron because there are tons of healthy plant-based sources (spinach, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, beans, and fortified juices, cereals, pasta, etc.) that don’t have the added fat and cholesterol, not to mention the hormones and antibiotics.
The sad truth is, in this society, any behavior or child-rearing decision that goes against the norm is often seen as wrong or irresponsible. Even weird. And that’s a shame because it often prevents people (in this case, parents) from doing the right thing. Unfortunately, society’s backlash is a strong deterrent, and so is the desire to adhere to the status quo.
NYC Veggie Parade, 2012
Despite the many studies indicating that vegan diets are not only appropriate for children, but may in fact be healthier (for example, the American Dietetic Association—the nation’s largest group of nutrition professionals—stated, “Well-planned vegan diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes”), parents are still opting to add animal products to their children’s diet, mainly as a result of tradition and being constantly bombarded with messages from the dairy and meat industries. Years of slogans like “Milk does the body good” and “You need meat for protein” have been drilled into our heads by multi-billion dollar industries pushing their products. If milk does the body so “good” then why is it that the countries that consume the most milk are also the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis- and vice versa. And the more animal protein that a population consumes, the higher the prevalence of osteoporosis. There is a big protein myth out there, but the fact is Americans eat about 400% more protein than necessary, and even vegetarians eat more than they need.
It would be unethical for me to feed my child meat, dairy, or eggs based on what I know about how animals are raised for food. You can look the other way or deny that it’s as bad as they say, but the truth is, the majority of meat/dairy and eggs sold in this country (>95%) come from animals who have been raised in appalling conditions in overcrowded, filthy warehouses, where they are crammed into small cages and crates and denied basic necessities, including fresh air, sunshine, grass, and companionship. Simply put, I don’t believe that animals should be treated like this, so I’m choosing to leave cruel animal products out of my child’s diet. I’m teaching her that if she wants to help end animal suffering and also not knowingly contribute to major environmental problems including climate change, water and air pollution, deforestation, and soil erosion she has to be a part of the solution, and that means not supporting it (with dollars). This is what it really means to live according to your values.
Catskill Animal Sanctuary
People raise their children according to their own set of morals and values. Just like a Buddhist wouldn’t raise her child Catholic and an environmentalist wouldn’t raise his child to be wasteful, I wouldn’t serve my child chicken fingers or ice cream. Children are little extensions of ourselves (at least until they’re old enough to make their own decisions). In our society, we typically do not allow children to make the decision to participate in anything that is morally questionable until they are of age. Since I consider the way that animals are raised for food in this country to be morally abhorrent, I therefore would not impose animal products upon my child and would not allow her to make that decision until she is old enough to think critically and understand the consequences.
So instead of focusing on what a vegan child is not getting (fat-laden, cholesterol-filled slabs of meat as well as milk, cheese, and eggs from miserable animals who’ve been raised in terrible conditions), let’s focus on what they are getting (a healthy balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds). And my daughter is getting a whole lot more than that including a moral compass based on compassion, justice, courage, and integrity. So if you’re raising a vegan child like I am, stop being on the defensive, and start embracing it! Be proud that you are living with intention and consciously choosing compassion over cruelty!"
RaisingVegKids loves Ruby Roth! Ruby recently wrote a blog post for our site; if you haven’t read it yet, check it out: Armed and Prepared….Some Advice For Vegan Parents. In it, she shares some valuable tips on how to make sure you are prepared with information when it comes to raising your kids vegan, especially when the inevitable “expert” teachers, doctors, and other parents will come out of the woodwork with their opinions. You’ll hear the same matter-of-fact assertions: Kids need milk for calcium and growing bones, they need meat for protein, etc. This is outdated, and furthermore inaccurate (according to the American Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics "well-planned vegan and vegetarian diets can satisfy the nutritional needs and promote normal growth of infants and young children"). So Ruby urges veg parents to be ready!
Vegan is Love by Ruby Roth
Ruby has been under fire recently for her new book, Vegan Love, which hits shelves this week. This is Ruby’s second book for kids about veganism. Her first is That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals. Ruby has faced critics of her new book on shows including The Today Show and Fox News. Her critics have been less than impressive. For example, when some of them recently kicked the nutrition-babble into high-gear, with oddball claims such as asserting that a “flexitarian” diet can “advance your nutritional status (emphasis added),” that’s when I knew they were simply grasping at sraws. What the heck does “nutritional status” even mean and how is it relevant to a childrens book?
Only slightly less bizarre, but more worthy of discussion, are the criticism of opponents of the book who speculate that its themes are too scary and violent for kids (images of animals in labs, factory farms, etc). ….and Ruby responded back that if it was too scary and violent for kids to read, then it’s probably not something you’d want to eat (or support).
Click to see Ruby Roth debating a psychologist on FOX News
The irony in all of this is that when we look at some of the most famous kids books in the world, that’s where we'll find the truly scary, graphic, and even violent themes. We see Little Red Riding Hood’s Grandma eaten by a wolf, Hansel & Gretel caged by a witch in preparation to be baked in an oven, the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz literally lighting people on fire, Snow White being poisoned to death, and the list goes on and on. Scary? Violent? But these are timeless classics! Yet, what Ruby depicts in her book (which is actually non-fiction) is somehow deemed objectionable. If her book didn’t have to do with the hot-topic of food choices and animal treatment, I wonder if people would still find it objectionable?
It’s interesting that gratuitous violence in mainstream kids’ books, cartoons, and films is considered appropriate, but as soon a book with a positive message about being compassionate towards animals (including those we eat) comes out, suddenly there are national headlines and a fear that kids are going to be somehow psychologically damaged to hear that people can mistreat animals. It seems that, as long as the the moral of the story doesn’t involve something as “personal” as our food choices then these are just themes kids should hear as part of growing up and is not disturbing at all. Let’s face it, that’s just intellectual and moral laziness.
I don’t believe that parents, if they knew, would want to continue perpetuating the myth (aka lying) to their kids about how animals are treated in industries that use and kill animals. Every other book you pick up at the library or bookstore shows a happy animal dancing in a circus, frolicking in a zoo, or living peacefully on a sunny farm. Aren’t we as parents supposed to be
relaying accurate information to our kids to help them make kind choices, especially when it involves our deepest convictions, and ethics? Even (or especially) if the reality isn’t pretty? No doubt the issues Ruby covers in her book are not sugar-coated, including the nasty, cruel business of factory farming, however, from what I’ve seen so far, neither are they out of bounds, age inappropriate, or overly graphic. So we could either tell the truth to children, or ignore it and keep reading books about happy cows being milked and elephants having a jolly ol’ time performing in the circus. Through books, many parents teach their kids about serious issues including not talking to strangers, the harm in bullying, and inappropriate contact with others. These issues are not always happy, and in fact some are very scary, but they’re important nonetheless. There can be no “moral” of any story without a choice between good and bad, and that’s what makes Ruby’s book similar to so many of the best books we all fondly remember from childhood.
With age-appropriate honesty, popular kids books already cover once-controversial issues such as poverty, the environment, endangered species, civil rights, prejudice, and bullying. My hunch is that the controversy being stirred around a similar truthfulness regarding issues of animal treatment is much less about the children and more about parents feeling uncomfortable about having to square their own values with the reality of animal use and mistreatment. I’m sure that once we as parents do a little growing up, we can get back to one of our first responsibilities, teaching our children right from wrong (hopefully, without all of the convenient, and even bizarre, excuses we makeup mostly for ourselves).
For more veg-friendly kids books, check out Vegbooks.
Post by Robyn Moore
I'm excited to introduce this post, not just because it's a great recipe for kids to eat and make, but also because it's written by one of my very best friends from elementary school, Heidi Rogers! She shares a recipe for a delicious and healthy soup that's especially perfect for teachers to make with their students...so grab a baguette and get started!
Guest Post by Heidi Rogers
My 3 year old daughter Elizabeth honored me with an invitation to her nursery school’s Special Person’s Lunch. What would be on the menu? It was a valid question. It was, in fact, 3 year olds cooking! All I knew was that Elizabeth needed to bring a vegetable to school that day. I sent her with 3 potatoes!
Well, as all the “Special People” sat down for lunch, my question was answered. We were served Friendship Soup that her class had cooked. Each child contributed a vegetable and a soup was created; a vegan soup made with love. The children were so proud to be serving us their own cooking creation.
The following weekend, my daughter wanted to make Friendship Soup at home, for Robyn and her daughter, Charlotte. They were coming to visit for a few days. So here is our creation. I think it was a big hit because Robyn and Charlotte ate it for 3 meals during their stay! Please notice that the ingredients are very flexible. Use what you have in your fridge and cabinet, use what is in-season, and use what you were given in your CSA.
2 onions- chopped
4 cloves of garlic
(2) 32 oz boxes of vegetable stock*
6-8 carrots cut into small pieces
1 small eggplant cut into small pieces
2 large zucchini cut into small pieces
2-3 celery stalks cut into small pieces
29 oz can of tomato puree
28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
2 cans 15 oz cannellini beans - washed and drained
2 cans 15 oz red kidney beans- washed and drained
Package of baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Pasta of your choice: my daughter chose a box of pasta that looked like wheels!
Other options: mushrooms, different beans, French style green beans, quinoa, lentils, and/or basil.
In a large saucepan on medium begin to heat the olive oil. Cut onions and saute in the olive oil. When onions are just cooked (5-7 minutes) add garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add a splash of vegetable stock to slow the garlic’s cooking process. Add all the chopped vegetables and saute over medium heat. Continue to stir and add stock to help vegetables cook. When carrots begin to soften add the remainder of the stock (one or two boxes*), puree, tomatoes, beans, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Pile spinach on top of soup and cover for a few minutes until spinach is wilted and can be stirred easily into soup.
Reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for approximately 1 hour until the vegetables are tender. Check soup every once in a while, stir and adjust stock to your preference.
I cook the pasta separately and add it into soup bowls individually. This allows you to easily freeze any left over soup and make fresh pasta each time you want soup.
*The amount of stock added is up to you. Do you want soup? Or stew?
Have fun and let the kids help....
Washing the vegetables
Cutting the zucchini. Very serious!
The finished product....yum!
Enjoy the Friendship Soup!
Editor's Note: After (or even before) making this wonderful soup, you can read, Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert together. It's the perfect book! Read the review at Vegbooks. Also click here for lots of fun vegetable-related games and crafts, and printable coloring pages.
Heidi Rogers is a full-time mom to her two beautiful daughters in Mystic, CT. She has her master's degree in elementary education and is a former teacher. When she is not taking care of her kids, or working for her husband's dermatology office, she enjoys sewing, staying up to date on her favorite crafting blogs, gardening, healthy cooking, and enjoying the great outdoors with her family.
Looking for a turkey centerpiece minus the turkey? Here's an idea-- create a turkey made out of fruit! Kids will enjoy making it, and they'll love to see the final masterpiece displayed on the table. It's simple. Here's what you need:
* Bosc pear (head)
* Melon (body)
* Canteloupe or pineapple (beak & tail feathers)
* Red pepper (snood)
* Raisins (eyes)
* Grapes (tail feathers)
* Bamboo skewers
1) Use a round melon for the body. Cut off a slice from the bottom to create a flat surface, so the turkey is stable.
2) Use a piece of bamboo skewer to attach the pear head to the melon.
3) Cute a triangle beak out of canteloupe (or pineapple). Cut a piece of red pepper for the snood. Attach both to the head with pieces of a toothpick.
4) Attach raisin eyes with toothpick pieces.
5) Cut feet out of red pepper.
My Mom made this one last year for the grandkids, and it turned out great!
You can also switch up the items...and try to think of other fruits or vegetables that could replace the ones above. Be creative, and have fun making a beautiful turkey!
HAPPY and compassionate Thanksgiving to all!
Welcome to my new website focused on raising vegetarian/vegan kids who care about the well-being of animals. This is my first blog post.
I created this website as a guide for parents who are interested in raising compassionate kids who care about animals, specifically those who are currently raising vegetarian/vegan kids or who are interested in raising vegetarian/vegan kids but need some more information. The website will have resources and tools to help parents, including sample meal plans for all age groups including pregnancy, book suggestions for parents and children, animal-friendly travel ideas, traditional holiday recipes made vegan, a slideshow of adorable veg babies and kids, and much more. I will also be writing a blog covering current topics, organizations, and products related to raising veg (and compassionate) kids.
This website will serve as a space for parents who are living by similar values and principles to exchange ideas and learn from each other. I hope this website will inspire and empower parents to make incremental changes in their everyday- lives through their purchases and the activities they choose- to help end the suffering of animals. The site is a work in progress, but my ultimate goal is to create a community for parents to read articles, testimonials, advice, and real life experiences about raising veg kids.
For vegans living in a non-vegan world, routine events can sometimes be challenging, especially for kids. So the site will provide helpful tips and suggestions for navigating certain social situations, such as holidays, birthday parties, field trips, play dates, school functions, and more. Kids don't want to feel left out or different in the negative sense; they want to fit in. That being said, if "fitting in" means dropping your morals off at the door and participating in cruel or unethical systems, then as parents, isn't it our job to encourage our children not to fit in? Being a vegan parent can sometimes feel like a balancing act: You're trying to do what is in the best interests of your child, but also what's in the best interests of the animals. At the end of the day, we should acknowledge our imperfections and just strive to make the best decisions we can under the circumstances. We should feel comfortable and proud of the intentional choices that we do make, as we vote with our dollars. As parents we need to embody the message we are trying to teach our children, and hopefully they will follow by example.
My inspiration for this site is my daughter, Charlotte. My husband and I are raising her vegan because we want to instill in her a sense of respect for animals, and also a sense of personal responsibility in her actions. We want to give her the strength and tools she needs to develop into someone who is compassionate, doesn't turn her back on injustices, and makes conscious
decisions based on how they affect animals (as well as other people and the environment). Our family believes that animals are not here for our use (and abuse, which is most often the case). We value animals and their right to exist separate from us, and we believe that they have their own interests, needs, and desires, which are often at odds (to say the least) with the situations that humans put them in. For example, cows and chickens don't want to live in factory farms
and be killed for our food, elephants don't want to do stupid tricks in a circus
, dolphins don't want to jump through hoops in a tiny concrete pool at an amusement park
, rabbits don't want to be electrocuted to give us the fur
off their backs, mice in labs
don't want to have toxic substances poured down their throats and into their eyes, lions don't want to live boring, lonely lives in artificial enclosures in zoos
, and chimpanzees don't want to be trained to be in commercials
. It's that simple. I want to teach my daughter (as well as raise awareness so that other parents will do the same) to recognize these as truths as she innately will and have the courage and confidence to stand up against these industries, even in the face of so much opposition and constant messages that steer us in the opposite direction. I hope that future generations of children will feel empowered and inspired to truly live according to their values
Stay tuned in the coming days for guest posts written exclusively for our site by PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk
, Jessica Almy
, the Founder of the Vegan Product Guide
, and the authors ofThe Secret Life of Mitch Spinach
and That's Why We Don't Eat Animals
, and many more.
If you are a vegetarian/vegan parent, teacher, or kid who is interested in writing a blog post, please contact me. I'd love to hear from you!
Thank you for visiting my site. Please check back often for updates and new blog posts.Compassion