Baked Lemon Pasta

Yesterday, I came across a recipe that I had never seen before. I thought that I knew all of Pioneer Woman's recipes, but I was mistaken. I was trying to find a recipe that I could add a random 1/2 pound of sea scallops left in the freezer. Some sort of pasta seemed like a good option and I thought that Pioneer Woman had a scampi recipe. Well, it turns out that she didn't have a scampi recipe, but she did have a recipe for Baked Lemon Pasta. Lemon...scallops...pasta...sounded like a winner to me! I've gotten pretty fast at making homemade pasta so I made a batch of fettuccine to go with the sauce. Her recipe doesn't use scallops (or any other meat) but I thought it would be a good pairing. I seared the scallops and then quartered them but I didn't add them until I baked the pasta (I had a sneaking suspicion that the big chic would want to take it in her lunch and didn't want her to worry about having a stinky seafood lunch!) Although the recipe sounds a little weird (sour cream?), it was really good...kinda like a lemony fettuccine alfredo. It was so popular with the chics and the hubs that we only had about 1/2 cup leftover! Just enough for big chic's lunch...

Lemon pasta, Watermelon, Cookie, Caesar salad
We are currently overhauling the chics' playroom and went to Ikea this weekend to get some storage ideas. We always leave Ikea not with boxes of furniture, but with bags of food. These cookies are from our last visit. They're called Kakor Chokladflarn. They're like the Swedish version of a Peppridge Farm Brussels cookie. But better...much, MUCH better!
Big chic gets to buy her lunch for the rest of the week. Because I don't want to leave a balance in her lunch account over the summer, I figured out that she needs to buy lunch two times a week for the next three weeks to use up the balance on her lunch account. After looking at the lunch calendar, she chose Thursday and Friday of this week. So I'm off of lunch duty for the week! Everyone enjoy your weekend!

White Trash Strawberry Shortcake

I know there are a lot more things in tomorrow's lunch than this one little dessert, but I just love the name of it, so that's what I'm focusing on. I'm not even going to try to deny the fact that I bought not one Twinkie, but an entire box. I was at the store last week and when I passed them on the end cap, the 10 year old in me had to have them. Now that I've eaten a couple, my craving has been satisfied. So, what do I do with all the leftover Twinkies? White Trash Strawberry Shortcake, of course. Twinkies are "cream" filled sponge cake, after all. All the work is done for you!

Peanut butter and jelly silly face sandwich with fruit leather tongue, Cucumbers and carrots, White Trash Strawberry Shortcake, Watermelon

Greek Yogurt....mmm!

Greek yogurt is awesome! Even the hubs, who's normally not a lover of yogurt, likes Greek yogurt. (likes it - still doesn't love it, but we're working on him!) It's thicker, creamier, and a lot less tangy than your usual yogurts. I like to make my own yogurt but can never get it as thick (or even close) as Greek yogurt. I used to spend way too much money on it at a specialty store, until finally the wonderful and most awesome Costco started selling it in a huge container at a great price! LOVE that Costco! Big chic loves her Greek yogurt two ways - 1. with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar and walnuts 2. with strawberries and granola. Tomorrow she's getting variety #2.

Natural Peanut Butter with Celery Sticks, Bakerella's Congo Bar, Granola, Greek Yogurt with Strawberries.

Summer's getting closer!

This is the time of year when I love going grocery shopping! All the summer fruits and veggies are starting to show up in the stores and we start focusing on eating more salads and grilled proteins. (It also helps to know that we will be having to put swimsuits on at any moment!) You can pretty much buy any food any time of year now, but the quality is usually poor and the price is usually high. We are finally starting to see some of the "in season" fruits at "in season" prices. YAY!! Tomorrow's lunch is include the first of our REAL summer berries.

Bagel Thin with strawberry yogurt spread, strawberries and blackberries, Jicama and sliced cucumbers, Babybel cheese

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions on my Laptop Lunchbox carrier issue. A few hours after I posted my review, the wonderful people at Obentec contacted me and offered to replace my carrier. YAY! There are so many companies that don't stand behind their products once it's out of their hands and I'm glad to know that they AREN'T one of them! It's that kind of customer service that makes me stick with a company!

The Laptop Lunchbox - My almost end of the year review

There are only three weeks of school left. WOW! Really?? Where did this year go? It seems like such a short time ago I was preparing the big chic's first lunch for her first day. Now our schedule is full of all of the "end of_____" events - graduations, recitals, parties, etc... And while it seems to me that the time has gone so quickly, many of our school items are starting to show that they have indeed seen the inside of a school for the past 9 months. Chic's burgandy and navy uniforms are fading, white uniforms are stained beyond hope, the backpack is scuffed and dirty, and our Laptop Lunchbox carrier is on it's last legs. When I discovered the tear on the carrier, I remembered that when we bought the lunchbox, the hubs and I both wondered how durable it would be. I decided that I'd write a little "year in review" for anyone that is considering the purchase and wonders the same thing.

When we first bought the Laptop Lunchbox, our main concern was that the chic would lose it. I mean, let's be honest...they are not the cheapest lunchbox option out there. And the hubs is notoriously "thrifty" and was, therefore, very hesitant about spending that much money. But I stood firm that the chic would take care of it and that we would be saving money in the long run because we wouldn't be buying all those plastic baggies. I can be very convincing (or annoying depending on whose version of the story you hear) so we bought it.

Looking back over the year, I have been very pleased with our purchase. The containers have been dishwashered, microwaved, and refrigerated and the lids are still leak proof. The water bottle, which I had reservations about, has never leaked, and the container keeps everything amazingly cold even hours later.

There are a few unadvertised benefits of the Laptop Lunchbox as well. It really stands out. Big chic was the only one with that lunchbox in Kindergarten and the teachers were interested in it so naturally everyone is looking out for it and recognizes it as the chic's. And because it was so unique, she was really proud of it and took great care of it. She never lost it or forgot it in the dining hall and our only "incident" was a day when she forgot to put it in her backpack and left it in her locker. THAT I can live with. Now before you think my chic must be some unusually responsible kindergartner, let me assure you that she is just as forgetful as the rest. We've lost a uniform sweater and a fleece jacket this year as well as other assorted hair bows and headbands. But the Laptop Lunchbox? Never forgets it!

So this brings me to the only somewhat disappointing aspect of the lunchbox - the carrier. I have loved the carrier for it's thermal properties. With a thin ice pack in the pocket, the food stays very cool. The lunchbox is still cold when I open it up to clean it out after school. And it seemed very durable. I really expected to be replacing containers before the carrier, but when she came home last week, I discovered a tear in the seam of the bag.

Granted, she's carried the thing to school all year, but it's in her backpack until lunch. Then she carries it to the dining hall, eats lunch, and carries it back to her backpack. The thing is only out of her backpack or locker to actually eat lunch. I don't know...I just expected it to be a bit more durable. I mean, her $10 backpack has been thrown in the car, on the pavement, in her room, in a locker, in the gym, in a dance studio, and dragged on the ground while she complained that it was too heavy and other than a few scuffs and stains, it's still perfectly fine. A replacement carrier is $19 or so and we'll end up having to buy another before next year, but then I gotta justify the fact that we are again spending more than we normally would on a lunchbox. I'm hoping that our next carrier will last longer, that maybe this was just a fluke. We'll see. If not, I may end up having to find another way to carry her container. I'm just not sure how many years I can convince the hubs that we need to spend more money.

So, would I buy the Laptop Lunchbox again? Yes. Overall we have loved the Laptop Lunchbox. We've had an unending variety of food to send to lunch and she has really enjoyed her lunches this year. We'll be taking out lunches in the Laptop Lunchbox again next year. And her sister, who will be starting Pre-K has already requested one.

Here's her lunch from yesterday:

Tomatoes (to put on her wrap), Baby cucumber, BLT wrap, Strawberries, Fruit Leather

I didn't take a pic of today's lunch. She was supposed to have a field trip, but it was canceled, but she went ahead and took the field trip friendly lunch. Didn't take pics of it though cause it was just too boring!

Nothing special

Big chic has been buying lunch more lately. Honestly, the dining hall has had some pretty healthy meals. Last week, I stopped in to eat lunch with her and they had roast beef and broccoli. Not even pressed, prepacked roast beef. Like REAL roast beef slices. I was impressed. So, anyway, she IS taking lunch tomorrow and told me what she wanted. Nothing special, but here it is...

PB&J on homemade white whole wheat bread, Frozen blackberries, Granola bar, Frozen green beans

I made the white whole wheat bread from King Arthur's website in my awesome pullman pan. It came out a little disappointing, but it was still good. I have to admit, though, that I didn't have any potato flakes for the recipe, and I'm a little disturbed by the thought of potato flakes anyway. So I'll live with my bread the way it is!