Thursday, May 31, 2012

Food on the Go

Josie loves to help me grocery shop, especially when the shopping is at Common Ground Co-op. One Tuesday in April we hopped on the bus to Josie's soccer practice and then hopped another to Common Ground to pick up food for our Wednesday train ride to Chicago. She asked for A LOT of food from the deli since soccer made her so hungry. I couldn't say "no" when she begged for the Citrus Tofu Salad. She said she noticed someone eating this salad while we were shopping and it "just looked so good" she had to have one for herself.
A girl can't live on salad alone so she requested a bowl of vegan chili with whole wheat bread for dipping.
She saw these little peaches in the produce section and was so excited! She said they were juicy and delicious. She also ate a vegan yogurt. That girl was hungry.
Of course, Josie loves healthy foods, but once in a while it is fun to indulge. This huge molasses cookie was perfect for noshing on after lunch while we waited for another bus.
Once we put away all the groceries, Josie was ready for some park time so I quickly threw together Reuben Rolls with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing. Rob fried them up in the spring roll wrappers since he's better at frying and I was on park duty. Sorry the picture is horrible, but it was grab and go night so check out Spabettie's link above for beautiful pictures and the recipe. Parker gave them many thumbs up and asked for them in his lunch sometime soon. I made these with tempeh so Josie turned up her nose and opted for her leftover Citrus Tofu Salad (salad over fried food, couldn't really come up with an argument), but her park friends had a few bites and loved them.
Wednesday we set out for the train station - Chicago bound. (Dema turned eight recently and wanted a trip to Chicago as part of his present.) Parker stayed home with Rob and came up on Friday evening so it was just me and the littles.
 Josie and Dema asleep together on the train.
 Snack time on the train...
Spinach and Caramelized Onion Hummus from Common Ground, Pekara bread, baked tofu from home, along with apples and Veggie Booty (not pictured). All devoured in a matter of minutes.
Our friend Loretta and her daughter met us at Union Station in Chicago. I was sure the kids were full from the food on the train, but they said yes to eating at Native Foods. Secretly, I was very happy they weren't full since I hadn't eaten all day and Native Foods is so good. I was so busy eating I forgot to take pictures until we were almost done. Oh well, the weekend wasn't about food photos, but about relaxing with my family and our wonderful friends. Josie and Loretta's daughter, Teagan, both had a bowl of Freddie's Mac and Cheese. Dema loved his Native Chicken Nuggets so they were long gone before I could snap a pic.
I did get a couple pics of the kids eating dessert. My kids had the blueberry Cheesecake and Teagan had the chocolate Good Luck Cupcake. I wish I had a picture of Teagan eating her cupcake from the top without using her hands. It was too cute! Dema was so impressed with Native Foods, he asked for a repeat a couple days later.
We didn't just eat while we were staying in Evanston. The kids played. Dema built some Lego sets for Loretta's son - a big deal since Dema never builds the sets himself, that is what older brothers are for, but with Parker at home with Rob until Friday, Dema was able to enjoy being the eldest child for a while. Josie and Dema enjoyed playing with the light sabers and the neighborhood parks were their favorite destination.

We did take in a movie, Chimpanzee. I love the city with movie theaters that serve alcohol (too early for that though and we did have four children to look after) and coffee (never too early for coffee and they also have soy milk). Chimpanzee was a sweet story (a little too scary at parts for the kids, but I knew the ending so I could reassure them) and amazingly beautiful footage of the chimps and their surroundings...totally worth paying to view on a big screen. After the movie (and a little shopping) we met Loretta's sweet husband (he brought the wine) at Olive Mountain. I can not say enough about the nice staff (so friendly and happy to see four energetic children and two tired mamas) and the great tasting inexpensive food. We will visit again when we're in Evanston.
Parker and Rob came up Friday night so we all (Loretta's family and ours) went to the Museum of Science and Industry. Here the kids are watching the Rube Goldberg machine.
 Here Dema is waving to the crowd before he helps out with the carbon dioxide experiment.
 Dema is carefully taking balloons out of the container of dry ice.
 Cool! This was Dema's favorite part of the trip, second only to Native Foods.
When we go to Chicago we want to see all our friends, but it is rare we get them together at the same place. I organized a meal with Stef and Ollie (seen here), Loretta and her family (four in all), Todd and Katherine (with their two kids), and us. What vegan restaurant in the city could handle a big crowd (eight kids and seven adults) with ease? Native Foods was the answer (Lakeview location on Belmont). The staff was awesome!
 Native Chicken Wings with a spicy sauce or ranch like sauce.
 Ollie eating a Pizza Finger
 Saigon Rolls (oh my, I could eat these all day!)
 I think this is the Scorpion Burger. I just order whatever is on special that day and I always enjoy it. Oh if they would just open a Native Foods in C-U, I would be in heaven!
Josie playing with Tai and Parker enjoying his food. Sunday morning we were going to get on the road, but not before David made awesome character pancakes.
Josie with her butterfly. David mad dragons and more for the kids. Huge awesome points to David and the kids officially want to live with them.
You would think the kids would have been so full from the pancakes that they couldn't eat another bite, but we had promised vegan donuts to Dema for his birthday trip to Chicago so we stopped by Chicago Diner on the way out of town. The boys ordered vegan milkshakes (and shared with each other).
 Josie really enjoyed the donuts. We can't get vegan donuts in our town and I rarely make them.
 Rob went healthy with the Bi Bim Bap.
I went unhealthy with the Egg (Tofu)-Biscuit Sammy with both the optional cheeze and bacon, but the kids helped me eat it.
Parker loved his macaroni and cheeze. We had so much other lovely food on this trip, like the African Stew Loretta mad in the slow-cooker (I need that recipe!!!) and her homemade donuts. Samosas (the best I've eaten since we left DC) from JD Mills in Evanston. Great gin and tonics made by the lovely Loretta. So much fun and great food. It was a lovely visit, as always. It just took me over a month to blog about it. Dema was SO happy with his birthday trip to Chicago and we all can't wait to go back!

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