A few years ago, I bought a Cooking with Kids cookbook. I thought it would be chock full of ideas for cute food for my girls. Instead it was full of recipes using store bought cookie dough and canned foods. Needless to say, I never use it and honestly don't know why I keep it...hmmm...maybe time to clean out the cookbooks??...ANYWAY...in it's entire life in my household, I've made one recipe from it. An inside out sandwich - pretzel rods wrapped with lunch meat. I thought it was a great idea. I was wrong. They were gross and dry and my kids did not like them. I really liked the idea, though, of an inside out sandwich. So, we gave it a try with bread instead of the pretzel and added our own touches, and voila!...the Flip-wich was born.

Peanut butter and apple ladybug (something we made when we were learning about ladybugs in preschool), Strawberry spinach salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, Whole grain Goldfish crackers, Turkey Flip-wich.


1 slice thick bread, cut into a strip (I used buttermilk sourdough)

1 slice lunch meat (I used turkey)

1 slice cheese (I used provolone)

mustard (you could use mayo or anything else that would make the pieces stick together)

Lettuce, tomato, whatever you like

Lay the turkey on cutting board and spread with a bit of mustard. Top with cheese slice and spread cheese with mustard. Place a piece of lettuce at one end of meat and cheese and top with bread slice. Roll up, slice and lay seam side down in tray.

A new week...

Before school began, my daughter and I discussed the cafeteria and the possibility that some of her friends would be buying lunch on a regular basis. I thought the appeal of going through a line and getting food might be more exciting, in the eyes of a Kindergartner, than taking her lunch, even though I knew she would not like the food as much. So, I decided to attack the problem before it became one! We discussed cafeteria food and how she feels when she eats healthy as opposed to eating "junk". And in the end, we agreed that she could buy lunch once a week, as long as she took her lunch the rest of the time. We sit down the weekend before and look at the lunch menu and she gets to decide which day sounds the best to her. That's her hot lunch day.

Last Friday, it was pizza. And although my foodie kid can claim tuna roll sushi and sesame crusted tofu among her favorite foods, no five year old can resist the draw of hot fresh pizza. I'm a 37 year old woman and I can't resist the draw of hot fresh pizza! So, last Friday she bought lunch and I had an extra day to think about things I might want to make. And I have to say that the ideas have really been flowing. I've got a lot of things in mind and can't wait to try out some of my ideas. So everyone keep posted cause who knows what I might think of next. Today's lunch was something I thought up while trying to decide what I could do with cherry tomatoes...and what kid doesn't love food on a stick??

Brown Cow vanilla yogurt with frozen blueberries, chocolate chip and pecan cookie, whole wheat mini bagel, fat-free ranch dressing, BLTK's
BLTK's (BLT Kabobs)

6 Cherry Tomatoes (or grape tomatoes)

2 slices Low Sodium Bacon, cooked

2 Romaine Lettuce leaves

3 toothpicks

Cut the very tip of the cherry tomato off and then cut an X in the top. Cut the bacon strips into 6 pieces total (three pieces per slice). Roll a piece of the bacon or break it, depending on how crisp it is, and stuff it into the x on the tomato. Repeat until all tomatoes are filled. For the lettuce, remove the center vein and tear the leafy portion into strips. Wrap around the tomatoes and secure with toothpick.

*For obvious reasons, the toothpicks would be a bad idea for the little ones, but my daughter is well versed in toothpick safety. She'll eat anything skewered or kabob-ed!
Everyone have a great week!

Flower Power - Day Four

My daughter loves spinach salad and has been asking when she would get a salad in her lunch. Today was the day. I was feeling inspired by these little garnish cookie cutters that I have, so I created this...

Spinach Salad with Turkey pinwheels, croutons and balsamic vinaigrette, sliced peach with sliced almonds.

Turkey Pinwheels

1 slice cheese (I used provolone)

1 slice turkey breast

4 capers

4 cheddar cheese slices cut into flower shape

4 pieces of celery, cut into thin sticks

cream cheese (probably less than 1 teaspoon)

Place a slice of provolone over a slice of turkey breast and roll it up tightly. Slice about 3/4 inch thick. Use toothpicks to temporarily hold the pinwheels closed, if needed. Push a caper down in the middle of each flower. Then I used a dab of cream cheese to affix the pinwheels to the cheddar cheese flowers. Add a dab of cream cheese to the back of the cheese flower and attach the celery stick.


*I took out both larger containers and put just enough spinach under the flowers so that when I closed the lid, it would press them into the spinach just a bit and hold them in place.

*I know capers are a bit odd, but my girls really like them. They think they taste like pickles. But, I have to admit, I probably would have used a red bell pepper piece if I'd had it just to give it more color.

Day Three

Here's day three's lunch:
Cucumber chain, raspberry fruit leather, cashews, brown rice chips, cottage cheese and diced peaches.

In the beginning...

In the beginning, there was a woman who loved to cook. Really loved it. She loved spending the day in the kitchen chopping and mixing and creating. And then she had children, and she began to think about the nutritional value of the food she loved to create. So, she learned to read the labels, worried about pesticides and hormones, and taught her children how to be "healthy eaters".

This should end, "and then her daughter started Kindergarten", but really, this is just the beginning; the beginning of my attempt to feed my daughter a nutritious lunch that is packable, portable, and appealing enough to keep her from longing after the sodium filled hot school lunch. And, let me tell you, this stressed me out. I started thinking about lunch WAY before I should have. Not because my daughter would be resistant. I have to say that if I've done one thing right with her (so far) it's been her eating habits. No, not because of her, but because there just seemed so few options for school lunches. A sandwich, chips, some carrot sticks...I mean, how much can you do with a plastic baggie? Let me say, before anyone runs off screaming about this freaky health nut mom, that I'm really not unreasonable about the nutrition. We've bought PopTarts before and I allow them to eat normal kid food on occasion. Just not all the time. I'm just trying to make healthy the norm.

So after doing a little research I came across Laptop Lunches http://www.laptoplunches.com/. My problem was solved! A versatile little lunchbox that allowed her to take things like salad (one of her faves) and dressing without having to take mom's containers. These lunchboxes are a little more expensive than your typical lunchbox, but I thought that, in the long run, I would save money cause I wouldn't be buying plastic baggies- not to mention the environmental impact of less plastic in the trashcans. So I ordered it. When we got it, my daughter was thrilled. It was her first item for school and she cherished it. She had a little trouble opening it up, but after a few tries, she was a pro. We even did a few test runs to make sure that she could handle all the compartments and lids and such.

And as all first Kindergarten moms do, I took pictures of her first time with her backpack, her first time opening her locker, AND her first lunch in her laptop lunch. I posted them for my friends and family to see and the response to the lunch was crazy. I got text messages, voice messages, e-mails, and Facebook comments all day about it. So I posted the picture from her lunch the next day to a few friends, and thought, "Ya know, I should figure out a way to post these lunches for anyone to see." So, here it is. My blog about my adventures making lunches. I'm not a nutritionist or anything...just a mom that is concerned about food.

So far we've been pretty successful. She loves her lunchbox and the lunches I've packed. And I've really enjoyed trying to be creative with it. The lunchbox really allows for so many different items and it has taken me much less time to make her lunch than I was anticipating. So this blog is for all my friends and family and anyone else that is interested in making lunches for your kids. Hope you enjoy it and maybe find a bit of inspiration...now I gotta go make a lunch!

First Day - Diced peaches and blueberries, pretzel sticks and fig newton cookies, ants on a log, turkey cream cheese and raspberry jam sandwiches on cranberry orange bread.

Second day - Crinkle cut carrots with blue cheese dressing, diced honeydew melon, double chocolate brownie, spinach ravioli tossed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.