Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lunch Box, Canning, and Family

School has started. We have a lunch box to share with you today!

Organic Multi-grain bread with Bryanna's Vegan Chedda' Cheese, YVES Veggie Brats meatless zesty italian sliced into rounds and broiled until the top was set and somewhat cripsy (although it does't stay crispy it holds together well and you can eat it cleanly). I used Bryanna's vegan "cheddar" which calls for tahini and irish moss powder, but this recipe is from a subscriber only newsletter, so I will post a link to Bryanna's free archives for cheesy sauce that I have used for this purpose before. We do like the tahini recipe better. It does melt and when chilled it firms again, the flavor is awesome.

This is served with a side salad, Bryanna's vegan ranch dressing, and romaine/purple cabbage/ shredded carrot salad. I found some vegan carob chip cookies in the freezer so she also got a couple of those stuck in at the last minute (not pictured). We froze a container of Capri sun juice to serve the useful dual purpose of ice pack.


Makes 1 cup

1/2 c. vegan mayonnaise
1/2 T. lemon juice plus soymilk or nut milk to make 1/2 c.
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder or granules
1/8 tsp. onion powder
pinch dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Place in a covered container or jar and refrigerate for several hours before using.


I also canned last night. Using the tomatoes that are ripening in our garden I made spaghetti sauce and Sicilian Style Split Pea Soup. These require a pressure canner and 1 1/2 hours at 10 lb's of pressure. I have raved about my Presto 23 quart pressure canner in previous posts. I still love it and have no complaints.

For meals away Matthew took a package of instant noodles and a homecanned jar of "browned meety TVP strips for Brown and noodles - an easy fast supper. Good bread and mom canned lentil stew was another ready made, just toast and earth balance the bread. He will stop and get some lettuce and dressing from the store to have there also. This weekend we will have to plan ahead for his meals next week. It's really wonderful to have the soups and TVP strips canned ready for use because they can travel and sit without refrigeration (until they get opened).

Both recipes here were inspired by Bryanna Clark Brogan's cookbooks. I used Brian's Wine- Free Mushroom Tomato Sauce on page 44 of the Nonna's Italian Kitchen Coookbook. I did add 1 cup of TVP granules and 2 tsp Bill's Best Beffy flavored boullion powder to this. I reduced the cooking time since the TVP soaks up some of the extra liquid which does not need to evaporate during the long simmer process... I also only simmed for about 1 1/2 hours since I knew I would pressure can it and it would cook for another 1 1/2 hours there.

The Sicilian Style Split Pea Soup recipe came from Bryanna's Fiber For Life Cookbook, page 93. The recipe calls for 1 c split peas and macaroni, I use only split peas and use a whole 1 lb bag... all other ingredients stay the same. The soup was brought to a boil, cooked for 10 minutes and then placed in jars. I made 3 quart and 5 pint jars by doubling the recipe (I have a 23 quart pressure canner). The canning time would require 1 hour 15 minutes for the pint and 1 hour 30 minutes for the quart on both the split pea soup and the pasta sauce, so I did both of them together for the 1 hour and 30 minutes. At the end of the process time I was tired so I removed the canner from the heat and went to bed. This morning the canner had cooled, so I opened it, took the jars out , set then on a towel to rest for a few more hours (undisturbed), and cleaned up everything else ... all is well. A friend who has pressure canned for years said that she has done the "t tired to wait gotta get some sleep" time for years and has never had a problem, the food is the same. I did it previous with lentil stew and TVP strips, there was no difference.


Melissa is the school crossing guard (and I am her backup). She was pretty happy that she got a $2 an hour raise. It is an exceptional raise, considering that she works one hour a day. She now has a school license and can drive herself to the crosswalk and then to school. A boy named Victor has also been calling quite regularly. He seems to be respectful and she says they are just friends. I am glad this friend lives more than an hour away from us. Watching my babies grow up is exciting and wonderful as well as a little sad. She seems to have matured alot this summer as she was working at the church summer camp where she met alot of interesting and friendly people.

One thing that really tickles my fancy is that she takes lunch during school days and I am really looking forward to packing these come September when I will be eating at the school for 12 weeks. STAY TUNED... the Harvey family version of vegan lunchbox. :) Melissa is enrolled part-time for SpanishII, Algebra I, and Anatomy class. She continues on in piano, drum, and singing lessons as well as is practicing up on the ability to test for 1st degree TKD black belt sometime this year. Iowa's laws towards homeschooling / dual enrollment are friendly. Even in my rural area, although there are NO programs or helpful things like many bigger cities have, this option allows our family the best of both worlds and maximizes our freedom of choice.

Matt starts his first day today in a big city 1 1/2 hours away. He left today, will stay at grandpa's tonite, and will be back tommorrow for supper. I hope to have a special celebratory supper with movies and fun chatter. Although I am sitting here typing for my blog, I feel almost exhausted like I am coordinating some big event. I think it must be mom emotional baggage. Hugs to moms who are exercising faith as their babies venture out into the world this month.

I end with another Matthew cooking event ... here he is with his first attempt at making Vegan with A Vengance orange scones. We liked the scones idea, but the orange zest flavor was very bold, we didn't like that. Matthew took one bite and didn't eat anymore of these due to the orange zest flavor... the rest of us did with the frosting.


Urban Vegan said...

It must be wistful watching the kids grow up.

I am envious of your can-can abilities.

Too bad the scones weren't what you expected. Is Matt the Scone Ranger?

Spice Island Vegan said...


I haven't tried canning yet so I admire your ability.

I love that Orange scones from VAV. I made it and we ate them all. Yes, the orange flavor is bold and it is more like a tea cake. It's great with tea or coffee. Too bad Matt didn't like it.


KleoPatra said...

Dori, what a thoughtful and heart-felt post.

One of my sisters has 10 kids and they live in England and i don't hear from her much, but i always have had an idea about how she must struggle as her kids kind of fly from the nest, even if it's just their first day at school, first bus ride, first time in the big city, first boy or girlfriend, even not just "firsts" but continual changes and new adventures to see them through and sometimes live through with them, etc...

With each child going off to school, and the older ones going off to college, etc., the first one is getting married in October of this year... wow, the feelings that must raise in a mother's heart and soul... yeah, wow. I get the impression of melancholy through what you write. Thank you for giving me some insight into how she must feel as well..

That's a great photo of Matt with the scones. They are lookin' good but i'm sorry they were too zesty to really enjoy.

So the crossing guard got a raise, very nice. I laughed at your description of how it's an exceptional raise since she works one hour a day! FUNNY DORI!!! Hee hee. I was a crossing guard back in 6th grade in Illinois. I loved it in the winter when it was super cold (the kind of cold that the chill from being near Lake Michigan brings!) and we'd go in for hot cocoa before school started. Ah, memories.

As for Victor... sounds like a nice friend for her. I'm happy that she had a nice summer working at the church camp and got to know people and interact with so many others. That's such a cool experience. I was a (junior) camp counselor too for one summer, when i was 14! Ah, memories again... Anyway, this is a time her life that is exciting and new, and as well for you this will be interesting as she matures and becomes a "real adult" and all that...

Can't wait for the Dori's Vegan Lunchbox posts! YAY!

I am a BIG Bryanna Grogan fan, and it is so funny 'cause i was just thinkin' about her as i get ready to start reading the book "Marley & Me," written by a man named John Grogan. Probably no relation, but the book is right next to me at the computer! The Bryanna chedda cheez is something i am definitely gonna try. Look how great it appears in that photo on the brats! YUMMERS! Great stuff, Dori.

Great to know you're still lovin' and using your pressure canner. Such a great investment indeed!

Emmy said...

I enjoyed reading about your canning adventures. I only have limited experience with canning so far. I just got Nonna's Italtian Kitchen (picked it up at a rummage sale) and was eyeing that tomato sauce recipe. Glad to know it comes out well :)

JAM*tacular said...

We're clinging onto our last two weeks of summer over here... :(

Hang in there, Momma Dori!


Tanya Kristine said...

you're a good mom. you should be very PROUD of yourself.

those scones look good. i'd like to make some raspberry almond ones...i need to pull out my VwaV and get busy. i was looking for a zucchini muffin recipe but could only find bread : (

anyway, i hope you're doing well Dori...

Shananigans said...

You are such a caring and thoughtful momma. No wonder you have such great kids! Hope Matt’s first couple of days at school are great.

Melody said...

*hugs*... I got all teary eyed thinking about Matt.. amazing how fast time flies.

I love all of your canning.. It is awesome that you can send such wonderful food with him... and that he can be throw it together so well.

I see that you commented on Joyful Dreamer's blog.. she's my oldest and very best friend in this world. We've known eachother since we were babies. She's like a sister to me.

linda said...

Nice post, Dori!

Did the Split Pea soup come out like a concentrate? I imagine it got super thick with 1 lb of peas! That would be actually pretty cool, and give you a lot more soup.

I've only done the canning with a deep pot and otherwise makeshift canner, lol. It's fun and works, but I've always been afraid to try it with veggies. I would have to buy a pressure cooker or canner for that.

Dori said...

Linda -
This soup uses 3 -4 oz macaroni... almost a one for one substitution for the split peas. I think the macaroni would have absorbed a considerable amount of liquid that the split peas don't as much.

As of this afternoon the split pea soup is not a concentrate. It is thick but it moves in the jar like a thick soup, not a solid (like spilt pea soup does in a store purchased can). I think it is this way because the split peas were only cooked 10 minutes (still hard) before I put them into the jar. They cooked while in the pressure cooker inside the jar and also swelled to take in most of the rest of the liquid.

I stopped filling the jar with the peas and veggie stuff about 2/3 of the way from the top and then added the soup broth.

I learned that from my last time of canning beans they will take up more liquid so if you want beans (or lentils) to look like the bean or lentil you have to give it a little room and add enough liquid and also make sure that they are boiled only 5 - 10 minutes tops... otherwise I have found that they may get mushy.

Vivacious Vegan said...

Dori, I can't even imagine how bittersweet it must be to have your children growing up and moving on. You and your hubby, however, are fantastic parents and should be very proud of all the wonderful traits, morals, learning experiences, and talents you have given your children. My mom did an ok job (by your standards) meaning, I did know how to cook a little and do my own laundry without ruining my clothes. However, I went to school with a lot of kids who, after moving out, couldn't even figure out how to make spaghetti (and that's after reading the instructions on the back of the box). It's sad how some parents just don't have the time or care to help their children develop into their full potential before they leave the nest.

I am beaming with pride for Matt. Please let us know the details of his first experience in the big city.

Gaia said...

Well, everybody said pretty much was I am thinking and feeling after reading your post.
So I will only thank you for sharing and give you a nice big hug {{{{{{{Dori}}}}}}}

Vicki said...

I enjoy reading about what's going on in the Harvey Household, which is quite a LOT! Best of luck to Matt & too bad about the scones. Yeaah for Melissa, & can't wait to see what she takes in her lunch.
Dori, our family is going to the Fair tomorrow!

laura jesser said...

Lunchboxes! Yay!

I guess I'm right on the opposite end of the "flying from the nest" phenomenon... I'm sure it must be difficult. I just got off the phone with my mom after a two-hour conversation, and I think it was the best conversation we've ever had. So things do get better! I know I've become closer to her since I left home.

I'm sure you're a special mom to them and they'll always come back!

Ferocious Killer Kat said...

I enjoy reading about what's going on in the Harvey Household, which is quite a LOT!

totally agree with vicki on this one..

absolutely loved the post.. and yayyy!! for matt.. he knows wayyyy more cooking then I can even dream of!! like mom.. like son.. like family.. a well-fed-vegan -bunch :-)

Dori said...

Thanks for the hugs and interest in our family life ramblings readers. Vegan or not... I think this time of life is special for most parents and for sure I am also moving on as I adjust into a position to work with others (more than my own two children) :)

You people are very generous in compliments and comments. Really brightened my day. Just for that I'm going to take the time to post some more vegan lunchbox stuff. :)

Candi said...

Oh! I love seeing all those jars from your canning! :)

I can just imagine how hard it will be when Britty goes off to school. Look how close your family is though and how much they love when they come back to you! You are very lucky!

Kate said...

I love love love the shake and bake tofu idea. So much better than the orignial! I wish I had a canner, I would love to make a bunch of red sauce and soup to have when ever I felt in the mood for it. Thank you for your condolences on my brother going off to school. It means a lot.