SOOOOO, another field trip lunch Thursday and Student Council Pizza day on Friday means that I had to go crazy with the Halloween theme for tomorrow's lunch. It may be my last Halloween lunch this year!
I have to admit that I am hopelessly unmotivated by the plastic baggie lunch. It seems that the chic will have a lot of field trips this year so I would LOVE suggestions for more creative field trip lunches!!
Sand"witch" is sandwich topped with ham. She has a nori hat and eye, Cucumber hair, carrot mouth, and sugar snap pea mole on her chin.
I get asked all the time how I get the chic's lunches to stay in place. After all Kindergartners are not exactly gentle with their lunchboxes. The answer - Press N Seal. I LOVE this stuff! The Laptop Lunchbox's outer container does a great job keeping the food in it's container, but when I make something like the witch sandwich or the apple tree from last week, I have to do something extra to make sure everything stays where I placed it. Here's what I do:
Continue pressing the Press N Seal to the container until it's completely covered. Here's what it looks like when it's finished:
The method is the same when I do something like the Quinoa Garden. I just attach the Press N Seal to the sides of the container instead of the bottom while pressing in on the quinoa. Next time I do one of those, I'll take pics! I hope this makes sense and helps those of you wondering how to get the stuff to stay in place!
If you'd like a chuckle...here is the very first decorative lunch I made the big chic. I can't believe I actually found it! We've changed cameras and computers three times since then! I did get to look through lots of baby pics while searching for it though, which is always fun. This picture was taken after she had dropped the plate so some of the toppings are a bit messy. This was the summer of 2005.
Coleman hot dogs are all natural - no hormones, antibiotics, nitrates, fillers, msg, or any other freaky hot dog ingredients - just beef. So, as far as hot dogs go, you can't get much better. I did see some grass-fed beef hot dogs one day, but they were $7 for 6 hot dogs and I gotta draw the line somewhere! (Okay, so really, the hubs drew the line after I begged him to get them and described all sorts of horrible things that could happen to our children if we fed them "other" hot dogs. He was unmoved, holding firmly to his wallet. Fun Hater!)
Apple Tree, Cheese Flowers, Freeze dried Apples, "Apples" made from cherry tomatoes with cucumber stems, Pirate's Booty
For the apple tree:
Leaves - Mini cucumber cut into coins
Apples - Red bell pepper cut into dots
Grass - Cucumber peel
Trunk - Peanut butter and honey roll-up on a Sandwich Thin
Basket - Sandwich Thin
I found a new fruit snack option this weekend at Costco and wanted to share. We are always on the lookout for fruit snacks cause ya know the kids love them but it's hard to find ones that are made with only fruit (or with any fruit at all for that matter!). Stretch Island Fruit Co Fruit Leathers are our usual favorite, but it's hit or miss whether Costco will have them. I can get them at some of the stores around here, but they are much cheaper when I can get them at Costco. Anyway, we found these Fruit Source Mini Bites and decided to give them a try. They are made with ONLY fruit and are shaped like little square fruit snacks (see yesterday's lunch photo). The girls loved them and 14 pieces are equal to two servings of fruit! WOW! The fruit leathers are only equal to about half a serving. I haven't seen them anywhere else yet so I hope Costco keeps carrying them!
We've had a crazy weekend, and I have not been feeling great today (just a little cold) so the last thing I wanted to do was make the chic's lunch for tomorrow. BUT there's no rest for the weary, as they say, and especially for moms, so I used my afternoon burst of energy to whip out a lunch as fast as I could. Good thing I had been to the grocery store the day before so I had lots of options to facilitate speedy lunch packing. I was really glad that I had grabbed a rotisserie chicken. Personally, I love the availability of rotisserie chickens. They make it really easy to whip up things like chicken salad without spending so much time prepping the chicken. So, a whole lunch made and I didn't even bust out the food cutters. It may not be the prettiest lunch, but it'll do the job.
The chic's class is in the midst of a Fall unit and are sampling all sorts of pumpkin treats today. So, when the teacher asked for parents to send something, you know I was totally into it! Problem was, I couldn't decide what I wanted to make. I figured that pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie were too predictable. But I also didn't want to make something that was beyond your average Kindergartner's palate (like pumpkin mincemeat bars which I think are to die for!). Plus, the chic insisted that I make something "cute", AND I had the hubs saying, "You know this is your debut at the school. They all know you like to cook. They're gonna be waiting to see what you come up with." Good thing I work well under pressure! I decided that all Kindergarteners like pudding and they all like cake. So put it all together and what does that spell? TRIFLE!
Combine the pudding mix, milk, and pumpkin pie filling. Stir for a few minutes until it begins to get thick. Refrigerate until firm. Divide pumpkin bread cubes in half and place in the bottom of 20 small plastic cups. Top with half the pudding. Place remaining bread cubes on the pudding and layer the rest of the pudding on top. Just before serving, put a dollop of Cool Whip on each one and place a pumpkin candy in the center. (The candies will run a bit if you let them sit in the Cool Whip too long.)
For a thrown together little pumpkin treat, they turned out really good. I'm thinking of making a more adult version for Thanksgiving with a Bourbon whipped cream layer and candied pecans. I'll keep ya posted!
Rosemary bacon quiche - Trail mix with Whole Grain Cheerios, dried cranberries, and pecans - Banana crumb muffin, grapefruit segments
The quiche is based on an awesome recipe that I spotted on Foodgawker. The recipe (here) has a hashbrown crust and used Swiss cheese. I didn't have any potatoes so I made a rosemary pie crust instead. I also used Havarti cheese instead of Swiss. The family loved it. We ate all but two pieces of it for dinner and the hubs and the oldest chic ate the other two pieces for breakfast. The face was made with carrot and sugar snap pea eyes, a red bell pepper mouth, and rosemary hair.
Lastly, if you have a Facebook account, I've created a Foodie Footsteps group. I've been posting links to my blog posts on my wall because some of my friends follow me through Facebook. I know, though, that not all of my Facebook friends want to see what my chic is eating for lunch, so I've always felt kinda bad about filling up their home screen with my lunches. Now, I can post my blog links on the Foodie Footsteps wall and only the group members will see them. I felt kinda silly creating my own group, but if you've spent any time on Facebook, you know that there have been far far more silly groups formed! Just click on the button in my sidebar to join!
Supposedly you can make them with any GIANT sized candy bars, so I'm thinking Carmello's are next! AFTER my diet!
Tofu is a staple in our house. We've never made a big deal about whether or not they eat it and it's always been served very nonchalantly. It's just another protein. They learned to like it before their friends and family could voice their own opinions about tofu. My father really hates it (although I'm not sure he's actually ever eaten it?) and he and the oldest chic go around and around about it. It's gotten to be a game to them. She says she loves it, he says, "Gross!" and she just keeps rubbing it in his face that she loves something that he thinks is gross. We even threatened to make him a tofu birthday cake last year, but I could never find a recipe. (Anyone got one?) Anyway, she saw the package of tofu in the fridge the other day and asked me when I could make it. So, here it is...
The sesame crusted tofu is ridiculously easy. Drain a package of firm tofu (tofu should really be on your "must buy organic" list if at all possible). Press the liquid out as gently as possible between paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Slice and press again. The drier the better! Brush each piece with teriyaki sauce, tamari, soy, whatever you like, and then roll in sesame seeds. Pan fry in a bit of oil until golden. (Maybe not as golden as mine are, but I was arguing with the chics about whose Twinkle Toes shoes are whose!) So, that's it. Yum!
Here's the soup that I make when the chics want "noodle soup". It's really just a base idea and can be adjusted to whatever veggies you have on hand. This is what I did today.
Place Udon noodles in a bowl. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes or until veggies are softened. Pour over noodles and stir until noodles separate. (I find that pouring the hot soup over the cold noodles helps cool the soup just enough for little mouths!)
And if you haven't visited Laptop Lunchbox's blog lately, you need to! Their last blog post was about Foodie Footsteps! I was thrilled and honored to actually be mentioned on the site that started me on this whole lunch journey. We LOVE our Laptop Lunchbox!!
Jack-o-Lantern napkin, carrot sticks inside cucumber rings, pb&j pumpkin sandwich, granola bar, honeycrisp apple.
I kinda feel like I'm letting her down without the usual pomp and circumstance associated with her normal lunch. Hopefully, she will have so much fun on her field trip tomorrow that her lunch will be unimportant. I gotta admit that I'm looking forward to getting back to her Laptop Lunchbox tomorrow!
Sesame cucumbers with rice wine vinaigrette, dried fruit strip, powerball, kiwi, much prettier meatloaf muffin
The chics always like it when we make food in a miniature version. Meatloaf is a great food to make in all sorts of shapes and sizes and by using turkey and adding a buncha veggies, you can make a pretty nutritious meal. Fortunately, the oldest chic has a microwave in the dining hall, so she's able to take meatloaf for lunch.
Any meatloaf recipe can become meatloaf muffins. For turkey, spray your tins, fill and bake at 400 for about 25 minutes. A 1.3 lb package of turkey makes about 12 muffins. I use The Joy of Cooking's Classic Meatloaf recipe and substitute turkey for the beef and add shredded carrots, red bell peppers, and mushrooms.
Powerballs are kinda like a no-bake cookie but a bit healthier. This is a great kitchen project to get the kids involved in! There are tons of versions of these little guys, but here's the one I use:
1 cup honey
1 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
Mix the honey and peanut butter together in a large bowl. Add oatmeal and flaxseeds and stir until well incorporated. Mix in remaining ingredients. With slightly damp hands, roll into a 1 1/2" balls. The mixture is very sticky. I also like to use a cookie scoop for this! Place balls in mini muffin tins and refrigerate overnight. I then freeze them in a large ziploc bag. Makes 48.
Sliced strawberries, sliced red bell peppers, boiled 'chick' egg, frog eye salad, turkey and asparagus wrap with whole wheat barnyard crackers.
Hermit Crab Eye Salad
1 cup Crushed Pineapple
1 cup Mandarin Oranges
1 cup Mini Marshmallows
1 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1 Apple, diced - tart apples taste best
2 cups Quinoa, cooked and cooled
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let sit in refrigerator several hours before serving.