What We Ate Wednesday: Saturday With Waits, Plus A Review Of “Plant-Powered Families” By Dreena Burton

July 21st, 2015 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles


I’m just going to start this post by saying: I’m a big fan of Dreena Burton. For starters, I’ve been buying her books and making her recipes for years. And, I had the opportunity to meet her, and to sit with her on both the parenting panel and the privacy panel, at VVCII. And also nowadays, I help to moderate her Plant-Powered Families Facebook group, which you should totally join! So yes, I adore Dreena, and that means that this will be a 100% biased review. Ha!

Luckily my bias is irrelevant, because this is a fantastic book! Truly, this is by far my favorite of Dreena’s books, with a wide array of amazing recipes, plus a great section of tips and troubleshooting for parents who are raising vegan kiddos. It’s a valuable book, and one that I think all vegan families should own.

Waits and I have been baking out of this book (<-- that's a Periscope video of "baker Waits Rebhal", by the way) for the past few weeks. We've made most of the muffin recipes, but hadn't ventured into savory territory . . . until this past Saturday. So, since it's been so very long since we've done one, I thought it would be fun to do a full WIAW along with this review.

So here's our Saturday: all of our our eats for this rambunctious vegan 5 1/4 year old, and his busy vegan mama.


This is basically what my mornings look like . . .

On this particular Saturday morning, I sat down with Waits first thing, to thumb through Plant-Powered Families and pick out a recipe to make for dinner.

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Oat milk all the way.

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Waits had “butter bread” for breakfast, which is whole-grain bread with Earth Balance and raspberry jam. It’s a favorite these days.

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I drank a mug of Earl Grey that’s roughly the size of my head.

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And we broke out an old set of Star Wars Monopoly I’d picked up at the second hand kid’s store a few months ago. Waits is juuuust now old enough and patient enough to venture into board game land, and I am SO EXCITED about it. Because I love board games. Love them.

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My breakfast: avocado toast with heirloom tomato and red onion, plus sea salt and lemon pepper. On my favorite gluten-free oat bread, which we buy in bulk in LA and keep stockpiled in our freezer. Huzzah!

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After breakfast we got dressed, and I loaded Waits up in the little red wagon. It was Farmer’s Market day, and I was excited to get out into the fresh air and surround myself with beautiful veggies, vibrant flowers, happy people, street performers, and the generally delightful vibe of the Saturday Farmer’s Market.

Pictured above, you can see Waits eating a fig that we Urban Foraged in an alley behind our house.

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Always gotta stop for an ounce of green goodness from my wheatgrass lady!

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With a shot of fresh pressed orange juice for the kiddo.

From the market we walked up to Still, to visit Jeremy and to drop off fresh flowers for the shop.

Then it was home for lunch. We just discovered that Bill Nye the Science Guy is on Netflix streaming, so Waits watched that (it was the episode on Magnetism, I think – so cool!) while I put together our lunches. For him:

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A platter of (starting in upper left) seaweed strips, wild rice with a homemade sauce (it was something I had improvised a few days earlier, similar to this but with raw carrots instead of squash), magic beans, and raw Farmer’s market veggies. With coconut water for sippin’.

And for me:

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A big salad with green leaf lettuce, tomato, shredded carrots, avocado, chickpeas, green onions, and fenugreek sprouts, served with one of my all-time favorite dressings, the Green Goddess Dressing from the Choosing Raw cookbook (recipe here).

This salad was sort of amazing.

After lunch we had some quiet time, and actually, Waits even conked out for a rare afternoon nap. I got to sit down and put my feet up and watch an episode of one of my shows (current obsession: Friday Night Lights) and boy howdy, was that a lovely and unexpected little interlude.

Once the kiddo woke up, we set out to run some errands.

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Oat milk for my sleepy-faced guy.

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And a tall, iced green tea for me. (also, Waits took this picture! Not bad right?)

On Saturdays I like to try and hit estate sales, since I run the vintage program at Still. I’ve become quite adept at sleuthing out old, rare bar/cocktail/glassware-related treasures, and I’m actually really good at it! Who knew? But it’s so fun, and as an avid lover of all things vintage, it’s a pretty cool way for me to be able to help Jeremy build his business.

Anyway, we didn’t find anything special for the store on this day, but we did find some awesome stuff for us! A certain board game I’ve been searching for, an amazing vintage 1000-piece puzzle of the USA, and a cool little science kit (not pictured because he was playing with it in the back).

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And as we were leaving the last sale, I realized that we were in the same neighborhood as my favorite local tea and spice shop.

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My mother used to take me to this shop when I was Waits’s age – it’s where she would buy her bulk tea and coffee. And she would always let me get a few of the bulk candies, as a special treat.

I have such vivid memories of that. So long ago.

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Bulk Earl Grey and Pu-Erh for me, and for the kid . . . Swedish Fish are vegan!

By then it was time to get back home so I could get to making dinner. We had decided on 2 recipes from Plant-Powered Families: the Sneaky Chickpea Burgers and the Home Fries.

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Home fries, featuring Farmer’s Market butter potatoes, and fresh rosemary straight from our garden.

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Oh man, these were both SO GOOD.

Waits can be pretty picky with his burgers, but he gobbled this recipe right up. Jeremy and I both loved them too, and the patties were great on a salad for lunch the next day. These burgers will definitely go into the rotation . . . well, at least after I’ve made and tried the other burgers from the book!

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All in all, a pretty perfect summer day, I’d say.

♥ ♥ ♥

  • Rachel in Veganland

    I love your WIAW posts! This looks like a great Saturday! Also, Sayward thank you so much for the email. It was great to hear from you! Plant Powered Families looks like a great source of inspiration, even if your (semi) plant powered family consists of a cat… Can’t wait to see more of those burger recipes pop up in the mix! Speaking of which, what is the rotation these days? I’m always looking for more easy foods to add to my own collection of easy recipes.

  • yogadogwalker

    Those burgers look amazing! Waits is so adorable, a great example for vegan kids! I love that the tea/spice store is open, and you can have the tradition with your own son! It really was a perfect Saturday!

  • Sara MM

    I love Dreena and this newest book is my absolute favorite. I have made a lot of recipes and enjoyed them all but I have to say Dreena just has some kind of extra sparkly magical touch when it comes to baked goods. The crazy brownies are so incredible. I double batched them and double ate them the day I made ‘em. ha.

    I also love the ease of these recipes and the pictures of Dreena’s daughters sprinkled throughout have been a great opportunity for my 5 year old gal to see even more vegan kids and then connect that they are eating these recipes-which helps that little picky eater of mine try the recipes.

  • Rebecca Carnes

    We just got Plant Powered Families a few weeks ago – I love it!! All the prepping / meal tips are awesome, a definite must have for anyone raising vegan kiddos. The smokey Bean Chili is soooo yummy!! Oh…. and the chocolate orange muffins…. I think P had maybe 2 of them before I managed to finish them off… oops
    And really cool that you guys found some figs growing wildly!

  • Dreena Burton

    <3 thanks for your very kind words, Sayward. That photo of the candy jars brought back memories – the labels on them!! – and I used to love Swedish Fish too. :) Super cute pics of you and Waits, love the pic of the burger too – thanks for sharing!

  • Heather

    At what age would you recommend introducing nutritional yeast to a baby? I’m trying to raise an adventurous eater so she’s eaten all kinds of whole foods so far. She’s only 8 months old but magic beans look like a nice lunch when we move away from purées and mashes soon.

  • Chantel

    We love board games too and card games! I find it is a great family activity. Mostly we play connect 4 with our 5yo but our 8yo has become quite adept at an array of board games (Settlers of Catan is a favorite). He is very proud of himself when a game says for ages 10+ and he was/is only 7/8! LOL! I know you don’t get sick of hearing it, but that lil Waits is too darn cute! He and I have the same taste in coconut water! Love that brand with the pulp!

  • Candace

    Hey Sayward! This is totally off topic from this post (but thanks for the cookbook heads up! That will go to the top of my cookbook wish list for sure!)
    I wasn’t sure how to contact you. I recently found this article about Disneyland and Monsanto. http://m.naturalnews.com/news/035861_Disney_World_GMO_agriculture.html
    And being the frequent Disneyland patron I wondered what your thoughts are on this? I want to take my son there sometime soon, but do I really want to support a place that supports Monsanto?
    This who train of thought began when I saw some IG posts and it showed the control room for Monsanto and AT&T at Disneyland and I was curious to how connected they are. Would love to hear your thoughts on this! Thanks!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Hi Candace,

    Oh man, that’s a complicated question. But I think my feelings (never thought about Disneyland and Monsanto, specifically, so bear with me) go something like this:

    Disney is so, SO problematic. I mean, if I thought too hard about Disney and what it does, I would never be able to go to Disneyland.

    Disney movies present unattainable characterizations of what it means to be beautiful, what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a woman in a romantic relationship. It perpetuates the beauty standard that in my real life, I actively reject.

    Disney is straight up racist.

    Disney theme parks sell meat and other animal products which obviously, I am morally opposed to.

    Disney is so wasteful I don’t even think you could adequately quantify the environmental damage done by their theme park waste, plastic crap, toys and other paraphernalia — all cheaply made by slave labor in third world countries, of course.

    I could go on and on (and ON).

    The thing is, enjoying Disney movies and Disneyland means suspending all that, and allowing yourself to participate in a pop culture phenomenon that is part of the American landscape, and has been part of what it means t be an American child for almost 100 years.

    Personally, I choose to enjoy Disney and yes, even give them my money, because I believe in balance, and doing our best while cutting ourselves some slack, and of the importance of mental and emotional health and not just burning out trying to be perfect.

    So I’m okay with taking my kid to Disneyland once a year. And if I can overlook sexism, racism, global environmental destruction, and all that other stuff, well Monsanto isn’t really going to change things much for me.

    That’s sort of how I feel.

    For what it’s worth, going to Disneyland is always a great opportunity for conversation about all these problematic things. The first conversations that i ever had with Waits were borne out of watching Disney movies. So ya know, maybe you can go that route? Maybe take your son, but also use the trip to teach him about Monsanto and have a conversation about what it means for Disney to be involved in that?

    Just my thoughts. Hope that helps!

  • Candace

    Thank you for your thoughts and feelings about this. I agree with your approach to it. Cause I remember the days up until I went to Disneyland in first grade and how those were some of the most exciting days of my life! And I want my son to have that feeling too (or something close to it). But it’s also frustrating and somewhat heartbreaking when we find out the things we loved so much when we were young weren’t really the best things for us. Some days it’s hard living a natural and cruelty free life style in this world of ours. I still plan on taking my son to Disneyland one day, and I’m glad I’m not alone in my feelings about it. Thanks!

  • vegyogini

    I’ve had the immense fortune to recipe test for Dreena’s last 3 books and I absolutely adore both her and her recipes! I love that you and Waits choose and cook from this book together.

  • Jenni JT Tolan

    Ooh just ordered the book as I’m trying to convert my six and ten year old’s to vegan life.