Aug 17, 2010

viva vegan! + venezuelan black beans and rice

First up from Viva Vegan! this week is Venezuelan-Style Black Beans and Yellow Rice with Garlic.

I needed to make Sofrito for the beans - which is almost exactly like Lecso in Hungarian cuisine, minus the tomatoes and paprika. Sofrito is slow cooked peppers and onions (or really any vegetables, but for Latin cuisine it is peppers and onions).

I also needed to make Annatto infused oil for the rice, but it seems my annatto seeds are a bit old as the orange-yellow color did not manifest quite as it has in the past when I've made this oil.The beans were a little sweet and that kind of threw the family for a loop, but I though the flavor quite ethnic and unique. I loved it!

This is having beans and rice in style!

Cost Breakdown:
beans, dry: $2
rice: $1
peppers, onions, garlic: $2
spices and herbs: $1
tomato: $1
Total to feed a family of 5:


  1. beautiful! it looks just like it does in the book!

  2. Looks yummy!!! I just got the annatto seeds and look forward to making that oil as well as the Chorizo Sausages... Your food looks insanely yummy as usual!

  3. I have loved finding your blog! I am a vegan, home-schooling mom of four married to a 1/4-Hungarian...even have a Hungarian last name. :) I have a question. At what age did your kids start preparing meals and how much assistance did you (do you) give? My kids are 10,8,6,3 so I'm not quite where you are yet.

  4. Hi Becky,

    I knew there was another homeschooling, vegan, semi-Hungarian family out there!

    My kids are 15, 13 and 10. My son (oldest) started helping in the kitchen when he was 2. Nothing fancy: peeling, cutting (I know...but the sooner they become safe with a knife and the more experience they have, the better off they are), stirring, mixing and dishes. They love to 'wash' dishes at that age. It changes as they get older.

    By 6 they can start measuring ingredients mostly by themselves. It is lots of fun at this age. If you're baking, keep an eye on things. One cup can become two very easily.

    By 8 they can decide what they want to cook and cook it with you standing by to help. My daughter (now 13) at 8 came up with her own version of vegan mac/cheese (it was her favorite as an omni) and has been cooking it ever since.

    By 10 (my youngest now) is responsible for choosing what she wants to cook once every week and makes it. This is with guidance as she is now choosing more difficult menu items. Of course, my son (15) still needs some assistance (Mom...where is the baking soda?), but mostly I just think he loves the company and the chance to chat without the others around.

    I made a long list of kid-friendly recipes and put them in a Book of Family Menus. I went through all of my cookbooks, noted the recipe, the book and the page it was on and what pre-made or bought items it needs. For example, cooked beans or tortillas or some other ingredient we may not have. I can email you a sample if you are interested. This makes it easier for them to see what there is, where it is and what unusual ingredient it has.

    My kids still choose to cook things over and over again. Cat will make tomato soup again and again. Mikel loves burritos so it manifests in many forms. Kate is still searching for her thing. It is important for them to prepare the same things many times so it can become easier to make. Practice makes precise. And lets them cook with no help. By the second or third time they make a particular dish, they don't need you any longer.

    I insist they cook mostly from scratch; they can get grumpy sometimes when I will allow a sandwich to count as a 'from scratch meal' but it then would have involved making something before hand - most of the time. I let them off here and there.

    There is also a meal a week when they make it themselves. This one does not involve cooking unless they are so inclined. Usually it is a McDougall soup, something frozen or a sandwich. I have this because a dear friend of mine with 5 kids, all under 11 at the time, never made lunch! I had to have some of that! The DIY lunch is a 'do not bug mom about it' meal. This can easily begin at age 6, but let oatmeal and cereal count as lunch, too.

    I hope this helps a little. Just ask if I haven't covered something.

  5. Oh my goodness! That was SUCH a helpful post!! I try to get my kids in the kitchen as much as possible. Finally realizing that I only wanted one at a time was huge. My oldest is definitely at a place where he could do a meal mostly by himself. I would love that Book of Family menus if you don't mind. How do I get you my email? Thanks so much!

  6. You are right! Having them in the kitchen one at a time is key. Sounds like you are well on your way to having some great cooks.


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  7. Wow I love hearing what you do with your kids!!! I don't have any yet and definitely plan on raising them vegan so your experiences are so awesome!!! I am definitely asking you for advice when I become a mom :) hope you don't mind...

  8. Not at all, Amy, I would be happy to share.

    The key to raising vegan kids is to let them know WHY you are vegan. Most of the country's children grow up with the false idea of Old McDonald and His Farm and all of the happy little animals on said farm just thrilled to become his food.

    Children have an instinctive need to know where their food comes from and have an innate desire to NOT eat animals. When their parents paint rosy-pictures of the burger on their plate they are not only lying to them but actually NEED to cover up the fact that they are eating beings akin to the dog that is happily snoozing on the couch. Deceptive and shameful.

    It is so much kinder to the kids and the animals to be honest and to be vegan. I can see how difficult implementing the truth is, but I cannot see why parents continually feel it is easier to spread falsehoods and then perpetually disguise what they eat.

    "Oh! They are only kids - too sensitive, you know."

    Sensitive it right, but that means that their ethical and moral compass is tuned into what IS right. Parents should learn from their kids; these are lessons they need to learn.

    Off my soap-box now :)

  9. Very well said... I definitely plan on teaching my children that there is no difference between the family pets and farm animals which is why we don't want to eat any animals... We wouldn't eat our dogs or cats or even each other would we? I plan on taking my kids to farm sanctuaries when they are growing up as well so they can see farm animals and love them the same as the pets they have at home... You honestly are an inspiration thanks for being so awesome :) I have already been buying vegan friendly children's books for when I do have some kiddies of my own.

  10. Thank you, Amy! You sound like you are well on your way to becoming a great parent.. no rush, though.. enjoy this part of your life first :)


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