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Kid-friendly vegan fare...

This isn't strictly 'parenting', but related...

I have a precocious & wonderful 5-year-old niece, who I'm close to... I have no control of what she's exposed to, diet-wise, except when she's at my house. I'd like to at least make vegan food a known & positive thing, in at least a limited way, when she's with me... she LOVES to cook with me, but has a 5-year-old's tastes & wariness towards unfamiliar foods...

Also, I don't want to present it in a way that seems judgmental towards other adults in her life that she cares for, whose actions I have no control over... I'd like to at least put vegan eating 'on the table,' for her (so to speak), so that it will seem feasible/ normal/ desirable to her later in life, once she's old enough to make her own decisions about what is & isn't 'food'...

Any suggestions, as to recipes or explanations? She loves to participate in the kitchen stuff, so I'm especially interested in things that we can make together...

Thanks for all suggestions!

I know there are  a lot of cookbooks for kids, I'm sure some are veg.  Hope Quintess jumps in, I think her daughter is a bit older, but she is in the kitch a lot with her mom.  I would try lots of fun, "naturally veg" recipies that just don't contain meat or cheese, egg, etc.  Tofu might be scary at first, and hands on recipes are the best.

Stuff like rolling spring rolls, stuffing wontons, soups are good.  My kids love anything they can dip, hummus, baba ganoush, salsa, refried bean dip, home made nut butters, guac etc, and all foods cut into cool shapes.  Cut anything out with a cookie cutter and they eat it. 

Shakes and smoothies are super fun too, maybe just wait on the green ones.  My sons love "super monkey" smoothies, just frozen and super ripe fresh bananas, a spoonful or two of PB and a little soy milk, it is awesome.

I don't know where you live, here in WI we are into fall/winter, eek! But kids really enjoy the growing process, planting and caring for plants, picking what they grew and them cooking with it.  Even a container garden can be great fun for kids.

I like that you are not trying to be judgemental about how others eat, rather presenting vegan food as another style of fun, yummy, cool eats that helps out our selves, our animals and our planet.

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Do you like baking?  It can be fun to help mix bread dough, healthy muffins, etc...
Making your own pizzas could be something fun!!! Making the dough and then adding veggies and sauce, kiddos might like fake parmasean sprinkles, I'm sure there are recipes on here but the one I always use, that s in like every cookbook is seasme seeds/sunflower seeds/almonds/etc.... mixed with nutritional yeast and salt.  Fake cheeses like mozz. or cheddar may be a bit overwhelming on a child not used to vegan fare.

Also making things like a build your own taco bar, where she can put her own stuff on can include her, make it fun, and decrease the "ick whats in ther" factor.

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COOKIE CUTTERS! why didn't I think of that? boring old grownup that I am, I've just been using them for cookies, all this time... duh! I'm seeing some new possibilities here... great idea, thanks! & I can tell you that anything with 'monkey' in the title will go over great, so thanks for that too... also like the taco bar idea; I prob'ly need to just pony up for a 'kids in the kitchen' type book, & veganize as needed--  I wasn't on top of this with my own kid, 'cause I had to lose my mind for a while (single parents in grad school don't cook much from scratch!).... I sure am enjoyin' playing around in the kitchen with my gal, tho...

We did banana pancakes with cherry-maple syrup this morning; mixed up 'a different kind of cooking egg, that doesn't bother any chickens;' there's no better or more enthusiastic banana-masher than that niece o'mine, let me tell ya!

Yeah, so, after an hour or so of making the most fun & delightful mess in my little kitchen, when it was all ready, she took about 2 bites & said 'OK, now let's go to the park!' (She was probably happily full of cherries & bananas, since 'tasting' the ingredients is one of her favorite ways to help.)

;D

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tell me what kinds of things you can cut with a cookie cutter? breads I can see, but I can't think of anything else!

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You can use the cookie cutters for tofu. And make cute little nuggets and things.
Also pizza i'd imagine.

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pancakes, tortillas, sammies of all kinds, tofu or seitan. I have used metal cutters to shape zuchinni  and eggplant slices too.

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If you look online, you can find cutters made for veggies (yay bento box gear) or if you have metal cookie cutters that might work for veggies and fruit too. If you look at bento box books/websites they have tips and lists of gear that make food more kid friendly (apple rabbits http://lunchinabox.net/2007/12/13/how-to-make-apple-rabbits/, ocotpus shaped veggie dogs is always fun)

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Good thing I just searched my name--I've been slacking on inquiries!

I have a few videos on my YouTube channel that are kid-friendly (my daughter--6 yrs old--is even in them, helping!). She LOVES the kale chips & sushi.
http://www.youtube.com/tesschallis

:)

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Awesome ideas, guys... haven't watched those videos yet, Quintess, but definitely will: my computer has seizures when asked to consider playing video... must steal hubby's! Really appreciate the advice, everyone... thanks!

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I'm stealing this thread, momentarily. I have a picky eater at my house for the day, and her dad didn't pack lunch! Her mom usually does. She almost always eat something called sopita, which is pasta in a tomatoey broth, not sauce. Before I've tried spaghetti w/ o noodles(from this site), spaghetti and sauce, peanut noodles, all to no avail. Anyone have a foolproof idea? Hotdogs? English muffin pizzas?

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When I have kids over & some are super picky, I always get away with some noodles & earth balance w/ salt. Super boring, but it works.
Other "foolproof" (I use that term lightly when dealing w/ picky kids) ideas might be a pb & j, fried rice (w/ tofu & carrots), pancakes, and oatmeal.
Good luck!

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Actually, the noodles are a great idea! I think I'll try that. And I did have success with pancakes the last time. I wish I had some vegan parm, but she might find that too weird.
  Thanks, Quintess!

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