Simple Sautéed Noodles The Kids Will Love

This dinner was created with the kids in mind. Lately, my kids have been more excited about green salads than they are about broccoli. And what kid doesn't LOVE noodles? Well, I guess some don't but you get the idea. 

chow mein style sauteed noodles that your kids will love! gluten-free vegan

This time, instead of the same old marinara pasta, I decided to make chow mien style noodles. I first boiled noodles, as usual, but this time I sautéed them up in a hot pan with other sweet, salty and spicy ingredients like garlic, [vegan] butter, chili paste and tamari. It was to-die-for!

Add these to-die-for sautéed noodles to your basic chopped red leaf lettuce and you've got a bomb ass healthy vegan dinner for the whole family! I made it twice just to be sure I wasn't crazy and that this was in fact so tasty. So you can trust me on this one. My kids devoured it and agreed they are to-die-for. 

sautéed noodles the kids will love!
sautéed noodles with salad | kids will love it | gluten-free vegan
simple sautéed noodles for the kids! vegan and gluten-free

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 bunches of gf Lotus foods millet rice noodles (you can get these at Costco as well - note: do not use regular spaghetti noodles - see below)
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp vegan mayo
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cups garbanzo beans (just rinsed, no cooking needed)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tsp butter or oil (I used Miyokos Butter
  • 5-6 cloves raw garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tsp Thai roasted chili paste (this stuff is amazing)
  • garnish: toasted sesame seeds and/or fresh chopped herbs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil the Lotus Foods noodles for 3-4 minutes according to package. 
  2. While it's boiling, chop the red leaf lettuce and set it in a bowl. Add the garbanzo beans, mayo and lemon. Mix well with your hands or utensils of choice. Set aside. 
  3. Warm the butter or oil in a pan with minced raw garlic and chopped onion for about 2 minutes until onion is translucent.
  4. Add the boiled noodles and toss. Cook for about 1 minute and then add the rest of the spices (agave, tamari, onion powder, chili flakes and chili paste). 
  5. Toss and cook for about 3-4 minutes until noodles are dry in texture and cooked well. (see photos). 
  6. Serve with the greens and topped with toasted sesame seeds or fresh herbs. 

NOTE: do not use regular spaghetti noodles. You must use the chow mien style noodle. Or pad thai style. They are totally different in texture and will yield much better results. 

Kid's Vegan Caramel Sauce (gluten-free)

My kids absolutely love caramel sauce and well, so do I. But if you've ever made it you know that it's basically just pure cooked (almost burnt) sugar. Usually there's a little butter in there as well as some flour possibly, too. 

Vegan Caramel Sauce Recipe Your Kids Will Love. #purelittles

I decided it was time to make a cleaner, healthier version of our favorite sauce. Meet the dairy-free, gluten-free, maple syrup sweetened caramel sauce. It's wonderful on top of brownies or drizzled over vanilla ice cream. Mmmmm! This is the vegan caramel recipe that your kids will devour and mom will love because it's not as bad as the commercial stuff. 

Not only is it delicious and healthier but it's really fun and easy to make. Have you ever made caramel before? Have you ever made it with your kids? It's so easy. And so messy (exactly what kids get excited about). Let them see what actually goes into making caramel sauce next time. It's almost like a science project. 

Vegan Caramel Sauce Recipe Your Kids Will Love. #purelittles #purekitchenblog #puremamas
Vegan Caramel Sauce Recipe Your Kids Will Love. #purelittles

I topped our chocolate tahini brownies with homemade vegan caramel sauce; it was to-die-for especially considering it tastes like dessert when in actuality it is more like plant-based superfood goodness packed with healthy protein. 

KID'S VEGAN CARAMEL SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. Open the can of coconut milk. Inside you'll see thick white cream and some cloudy water. For this recipe, I like using all of the thick white cream and then a few Tbsp of the water. Discard the rest or use it in a smoothie. 
  2. Place the coconut cream and maple syrup into a medium sized pan over medium-high heat. 
  3. Stir ingredients well and bring caramel to the boil. Note: It will splatter a lot so keep an eye on it. 
  4. Continue cooking the caramel until it thickens and darkens, stirring occasionally. Remember the key to the caramel flavor is the almost burnt flavor of the sugars. 
  5. Once the caramel has thickened, about 5 or 6 minutes, remove from the heat. 
  6. Serve once it cools a bit or store in an air tight container. 
Vegan Caramel Sauce Recipe Your Kids Will Love. #purelittles

Wind, Heat & Back-To-School Exhaustion

For most of the country back to school is all sweaters and boots. Not so much here in SoCal! With record highs that linger well into September, the drought is real and serious hydration is a necessity!


If you’re like most families I know, you never really wind down your summer either- you “hit it harder” with last minute vacations, surfing, beaching, playing outside all day… First day of school comes around, kids are instantly in full swing with homework, after school activities, getting their hands on every germ in sight and boom, the back to school “summer-heat” or “wind-heat” cold sets in.

If you’re a parent, a teacher or someone around school-aged kids, you have seen or caught this virus before- sore throat, dry throat, potential sinus infection, can’t breathe well, maybe a bloody nose, runny nose, GI distress in some cases, headaches and fatigue… A situation that can lead to serious dehydration and unhappy kids!

For the most part you can prevent this now though if you get your family’s health-act in gear. If it does happen, the trick is not to let it linger, take it seriously this time of year during the higher temps and get your kids some integrative health TLC into their lifestyle!

Here’s how I guide my patients and family this time of year!

Hydration. Beyond the obvious water drinking, I love making homemade juices and fortified waters. Organic coconuts or raw coconut water are packed with immune building nutrients and a tasteful way to get kids drinking.

Juli’s honeydew melon juice pops are packed with bioavailable vitamin C. Watermelon, aka Xi Gua in Chinese medicine has been shown in studies to prevent and treat summer heat conditions. Cut into slices or blended into a juice, two 8 oz glasses of juice or about 15-30 grams of fruit per day can help soothe a lingering summer cold or dehydration-related situation.

When it comes to hydration, just say NO to Gatorade and Pedialyte… Corn syrup, jet fuel, synthetic nutrients… Enough said {feel free to look up the ingredient lists on Fooducate}.

Lubrication. Essential fatty acids are key for immunological health, help soothe sore throats, improve energy and immuno-modulate overall. Think of foods that are oily, but not sticky or cloying such as avocados, wild salmon, coconuts, flax and chia. Purified fish oil is a great way to go if your family isn’t into putting fish on the dinner table. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, hemp and coconut oil are my top omega-3, immune-supporting oils.

Probiotics. To prevent any type of immune illness, get some multi-strain probiotics in the fridge. Responsible for over 80 percent of gut immunology, probiotics can help prevent and treat immune illnesses of all types. Choose a multi-strain probiotic to populate both the small and large intestines. One of my favorites is Klaire Labs Therbiotic Complete Probiotic Powder. Boasting 100 billion viable cells, it’s ideal for the entire family and can easily be incorporated into your child’s diet.

Chinese herbs. Because they are formulated to mutually accentuate one another, the herbs contained in Chinese formulas address a pattern of symptoms with very few, if any side effects. Two of my favorite Chinese formulas for this type of virus are Yin Qiao San and Cang Er Zi San.

Note: yes you can pick these up over the counter or order online, but I always suggest deferring to your Chinese health care professional for the most personalized herbal prescription whenever possible.

Acupuncture. Yes, needles for the kiddos too! Acupuncture is one of the most effective, non-invasive modalities to prevent and treat this type of virus. With your personal constitution in mind coupled with the unique symptoms that present this time of year, acupuncture can reduce the duration of illness and pesky symptoms while strengthening your immune and endocrine systems. Bonus, your entire family will breathe and sleep easier.

Enjoy the end of summer and let us know how you keep your family healthy during back to school!

Christine is an integrative health & food therapy specialist, food writer & medical journalist. With an emphasis on endocrinology and immunology, she offers a personalized approach to epigenetic wellness. Connect with Christine’s latest on food & health over at Instagram.