It was only a matter of time until Jennifer McCann's legendary Vegan Lunch Box blog spawned an accompanying cookbook. Vegan Lunch Box (the book) is very clever. It has handy tips on a range of different topics on pages throughout the recipes as well as the front section that suggests menus for the kids. The Frugal Mom notes are especially helpful.
The book reminds me of Vegan With A Vengeance, in that the writing style is very lighthearted and fun, but at the same time carries a good message about health and vegan values. All that to say when my review copy arrived, I remembered why I used to read the blog regularly in its infancy.
The recipes, for the most part, are designed to be made in a short amount of time, with ingredients most vegans and vegetarians will already have in their pantries. When I reads the book from front to back, I had a little stack of post-it notes sitting next to me. That way, when reading through the menus, I could flip to the page for a recipe within a menu that piqued my interest, tag it, then return to the menus to find more.
One of the early recipes that caught my eye was the one for Play Pretzels. While I wish I could share the recipe with you here, I didn't get permission from the publisher (a very big surprise, and the only one yet that didn't actually encourage me to do so), so you'll just have to imagine it.
I made the pretzels according to the recipe, and they plumped up a bit more than I'd expected. If I made them larger, they probably would have made very tasty, soft, giant pretzels. However, I deliberately made them small, expecting them to be crunchy. They weren't as crunchy as I thought they should be. On the other hand, I really liked the flavor. I think next time I make these, I'll probably use barley malt instead of the agave nectar I used instead of sugar. And, I'll try making the big, soft version instead.
While I realize it takes a lot of effort to do this, if you're going to write a cookbook about health and healthy choices (especially for kids), you really should include the nutritional information (calorie count, fat, protein, serving sizes, etc.) for each recipe. It's increasingly more important given the rising numbers of obese kids and adults. I wish Ms. McCann had included this information in her recipes.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and trying a few recipes. The recipes, by the way, are well-written and easy-to-follow.
If you've tried recipes from the blog or the book, please let me know. I'd like to know how much you liked them as well.