Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hot Foods Served Cold

Cold chicken. Cold pizza. Cold noodles. Cold meats.

Foods that are usually served hot can just as easily be served cold.

Using leftovers in your bento boxes saves money and time, and makes it easy to pack nutritious meals.

Here's what the girls are taking Monday:

Fancy: cooked pasta, pot roast cut into cubes, and cooked carrots, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar; apple slices covered with lemon wedges (rubbing the slices with lemon, and including the lemon in the lunch, do two things: add flavor and keep away browning due to oxidation). It's also fun for the kids to suck on the lemon wedges. ;) Also, some jello and whipped cream and a few small marshmallows. Ah, junk.

Bayberry (she has an appointment on Wednesday to discuss removing her problematic tonsils!): same cooked pasta and pot roast, sans carrots; same apples and lemons. Walnuts as well.

Have a good week, everyone!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sore Mouth Lunch

Bay's not feeling well this morning, but still has to go to school. The poor kid has a sore throat (she's being evaluated for tonsillectomy, as we've been battling sore throats for a long, long time now, and it's never strep, always swells up her tonsils, and makes her miserable and makes her miss school). On top of that, she just had her braces adjusted. Motrin, throat drops, and a soft, comforting lunch were in order.

I love our Thermos container. It keeps hot foods hot until lunchtime. The key is to preheat the Thermos, and to over-heat the entree. Preheat your Thermos by filling it with boiling water, loosely putting the cap on, and letting it sit there for five to ten minutes. Then, drain it, and fill it with the over-heated food. Cap immediately.

Here's her lunch:

In the Thermos: chicken stock, small bits of chicken, whole wheat egg noodles, and some olive oil (for extra nutrition). In the pink container: bacon biscuits (I'm not sure she will be able to handle them, but they're her favorite, they're softish, and they add some substance to her meal). In the small container: unsweetened applesauce, topped with a bit of honey (for her throat) and cinnamon. To drink: mocha flavored milk.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I got a lot done this morning!

It was raining this morning, so I knew I would be giving Fancy a ride to school. Plus, I agreed to give rides to two other children. Also, Fancy had morning practice for sport stacking and had to be at school fifteen minutes earlier. As if that weren't enough, we lost her spelling words last night, and I found them when I woke up, so I had to wake her up to get her homework done before school. And she had a project due today, which had to be carefully wrapped for protection from the rain and transported to school with her. By me. Early. In the rain.

Oh, did I mention that I forgot to pack lunches last night? And that it's a few days before grocery shopping day, so the cupboards, while far from barren, are...interesting?

So what's a mom to do? This mom decided, 45 minutes before departure time, to bake some cookies and make some egg salad. All from scratch.

Am I nuts, or what?

I had nothing sweetish and no real entree possibilities ready. So I embarked on morning madness.

It all worked out, and Fancy has a great lunch because of it. Here it is...

egg salad (made with half greek yogurt and half mayo, as I try to wean the family off of mayo) on a toasted English muffin (it won't be crunchy at lunchtime, but it won't be soggy, either); baby carrots (with Italian dressing in a small container on the side); two pineapple cookies with glaze; a blood orange wedge; juice to drink.

Somehow, I got all of the above done, on time, with little stress, and cooked Fancy a cheese omelet and English muffin with butter for breakfast. (English muffins and pita bread are the only two bread options in the house right now, so you'll be seeing more of them, most likely.)

Here's hoping I can continue that sort of productivity throughout my day. Oh, and if you're interested, here's the pineapple cookies recipe:

Glazed Pineapple Cookies
makes roughly 2 dozen cake-like cookies

What You Need:
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened (in the microwave if you're crazy enough to tackle cookies in the morning!)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (drained really well, juice reserved)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • reserved pineapple juice as needed
How it's Done:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and pineapple.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Your cookie dough will be very soft...a little thicker than cake, not quite as thick as most cookie dough.
  5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet about two inches apart.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to cooling rack.
  7. Prepare glaze: Combine melted butter, confectioner's sugar, and pineapple juice (a little at a time) until glaze reaches desired consistency. Drop a dollop on top of each cookie. Let it slide itself around.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Boring Lunch for Bayberry

Sometimes, it's all there's time for. Last night was such a night. It wasn't that there wasn't time for fancy lunches. It was just that I felt more like cuddling with the family, watching Nanny McPhee, than packing lunches.

I did sneak in some home-baked chocolate chip mini cookies. And the ham salad is home-made (in the food processor, I combined two cups of cut-up ham, a handful of baby carrots, some minced garlic, some fresh basil, and some olive oil and gave it a whirl).

So the lunch is wholesome...just not very exciting.

But here it is.

ham salad on whole wheat bread, half a blood orange, and a few mini chocolate chip cookies. Juice to drink.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

happy birthday to me :)

Friday's my 32nd birthday! The kids were disappointed to learn that Mama didn't want a birthday cake this year (it's just not worth the points to me, unless it's this flourless chocolate cake, but I can't stop at one serving with that one so I'm not taking any chances!).

So, I made them some cake. A pineapple upside-down cake. And I cut it into little squares, and stuck a square in each of their lunchboxes. I saved slices for after school snacks. And the rest is individually packaged and in the freezer for future lunchbox treats.

Here's Fancy's lunch. Bayberry is also taking lunch, but I didn't photograph it.

Cracker sandwiches filled with cream cheese; a hard-boiled egg; baby carrots with Italian dressing to dip; piece of unbirthday cake. Limeade to drink.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lunch for Tuesday

First, thank you for your kind words and understanding last week. It made me feel much better about the whole situation. :)

On to lunch time. The kids had today off from school due to Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, so Tuesday is our first school day of the week.

I love these little containers. I found them at Dollar Tree, and they came eight or so to a package. They're perfect for holding in messy foods, like the ones I'm sending with the girls tomorrow.

Above, you see what Bayberry will see when she takes the lid off of her Easy LunchBox. Her foods are all separate and neat.

Below, I've taken the lids off so you can see the foods.

The girls have the same lunches for Tuesday: Tuna salad (with green onions for Bayberry but without for Fancy), crackers, sliced blood orange, string cheese, vanilla Greek yogurt, and chocolate delight granola (made by Back to Nature brand, and fabulous!). They'll be taking Dark Chocolate Pure Almond milk to drink.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lunch again, after two snow days

Actually, two ice days. We had a winter storm pass through Georgia on Monday that shut down the school system for two days. School was closed not due to snow, but rather due to ice on the roads. I can't believe it, but the state of Georgia has NO sand trucks or plows to deal with poor road conditions!

I know it doesn't snow that often, but it snows often enough to justify preparedness. I think so, anyway.

If "snow" days are tacked on to the back of the school year, we won't get out of school until June now. And we started August 6th.

Anyway, Fancy is bringing lunch today. Bayberry opted to use her own money to buy junky pizza from the cafeteria. She seems to be on a brought-lunch strike lately without coming out and saying it.

Oh, and by the way: Lately, a couple of rude comments have come across my blog, demanding that I post more frequently or else lose followers. I feel the need to respond to such comments (although they have been deleted from the blog, because negativity is not welcome here). This blog is a fun venture for me. It's not a business. It's not a job. I will only blog when I have something to blog about. Over winter vacation, I blogged only once, for my lunch. Obviously, the kids don't need school lunches when they're home. On snow days, again, there will be no postings.

Family will always come first.

I hope that my little blog gives you new ideas about your own lunches for your families, despite not being done 365 days a year. I do hope you'll stay, and read, and play with me. I write for you. But only when I have something to say.

With that said (and thanks for reading it), here's Fancy's lunch:

Top section: fresh pineapple chunks, clementine orange on a bed of baby spinach (yes, she loves spinach, raw and plain, believe it or not!), apple wedges (sprinkled with Fruit Fresh to preserve color).
Bottom section: sweet honey ham, corn bread, American cheese, and baby carrots.
To drink: blueberry, pomegranate & yogurt smoothie.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lots of Fruit

We love fruit around here. That's a wonderful thing, too, because Miss Fancy Pants is really a fussy little diner. Eating fruit helps ensure she's getting lots of healthy nutrients. I'm glad she loves fruit. She'll eat almost all fruits -- just no blueberries. Yeah, blueberries! I thought those were the most kid-friendly fruits available!

Anyway, this morning, she had a banana with breakfast, and she's taking kiwi, grapes, and starfruit for lunch.

I just bought five fresh pineapples (on sale for a dollar each!) so those will be sure to make an appearance at our meals for the next several days.

Here's Fancy's lunch:

Whole wheat tortilla with cheddar cheese and ham; baby carrots; granola is in the heart-shaped container; kiwi; grapes; starfruit

Monday, January 3, 2011

School's Back in Session!

After a lovely Christmas vacation, school begins again tomorrow. It took me a while to put together the girls' lunches, which goes to show that practice really helps streamline things.

I hope your holiday was pleasant, too, and that your back-to-school goes smoothly!

Here are the girls' lunches for Tuesday:

Crepes with cream cheese and raspberries; kiwi; ham & cheese rolled up together; a mini candy cane left over from Christmas; in the cute little heart-shaped bins: cheerios and chocolate. Juice to drink.