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Deceptively Delicious: Delicious Results Remain To Be Seen.

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches, Meal Planning, Uncategorized

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Last time we met, I had (against my better judgment) created chocolate chip cookies mixed with whole chickpeas. The results seemed all right, but I remained skeptical. I mentioned the real test would be lunch the following day, would the kids eat both cookies? Shockingly, this is Max’s lunch container after school.

Max's lunch

Both Max’s cookies remain untouched while Madison, my more typically picky child, could not resist the cookie appearance and ate them. Given this I will probably make these again, baking them slightly longer (I always struggle with over baking cookies so I erred on the opposite side this time) and mashing up the garbanzo beans at least a little before mixing them into my dough. One can only accept so many whole beans in one’s mouth before one begins to curse Jessica Seinfeld’s cruel garbanzo trickery. Continuing on with our Deceptively Delicious trial I continued to experiment with a couple more of Seinfeld’s recipes over the weekend.
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The First Experiment: Chickpea Cookies.

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches

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Usually I focus on food and related angst on Tuesdays and something relating to organization/productivity on Thursdays. However this week (and potentially next week as well) I’m just sort of focusing on food. Mainly because I spent (literally) 4 hours yesterday steaming, baking and pureeing vegetables.

On Tuesday I mentioned how I’d pureed a few vegetables following the directions in and it wasn’t all that big a deal. On Wednesday I tackled a major batch of vegetables following the directions laid out in Deceptively Delicious. Somewhere in hour two I remembered why I never made my own baby food. It’s kind of annoying if you don’t like cooking and/or messes.


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An Impossible Task: Power Bar

Categories: Cooking, Lunches, Uncategorized

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The Shocking Results From The Banana Hot Dog Experiment:

Before going forward I should let you know I got this idea from another source, only I don’t remember where I saw it. I’ve browsed the Kid Eats Flickr Pool and haven’t seen it but I swear that’s where I first saw it. Going forward just note, this was not my original idea.

Max did not touch the Banana disguised as a hot dog, didn’t even unwrap from the plastic wrap coating. It, quote: “freaked me out”. My son is generally the less picky of my three children (I’m counting my spouse) so this was surprising. Likes seafood chowder, hates bananas in hot dog buns.

Madison loved the banana disguised as a hot dog. Which is surprising because she typically hates anything which is different than white bread with peanut butter sandwiched between another slice of white bread. Hates seafood chowder, likes bananas in hot dog buns.

I honestly question whether all my children will be happy with the same meal at the same time at any point in my life.
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Muffins For Everyone.

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches, Uncategorized

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I started out thinking I’d share a meal plan with you all and then, next week report back with the results of my family’s reaction and the ease of preparation. The ultimate goal being 3-5 more dishes I could add to my ‘Whip It Up’ quick dinner file. However, this morning I remembered my husband is in Los Angeles for the week and there’s nothing like cooking full meal for my kids and myself. Well there is something like it, something as irritating and pointless, like visiting the DMV.

Rather than torture myself, this week we’ll be eating a lot of plain pasta, cereal and other breakfast foods disguised as dinner.

I thought instead we could look at muffins! I’ve been having trouble packing lunches which are reasonably balanced and which the kids are able to consume in their limited lunch hours. The muffin could be the perfect food in this case because you can hide quite a bit of nutrition into just one.
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The best thing I put in my mouth all week.

Categories: Cooking, Food, Lunches

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A month ago my sister in law mentioned this certain brand of gelato she adores by saying it is the best thing she’s ever put in her mouth. Somehow both my brother and I have the same pea sized brain which created an innuendo out of the phrase. This week I put this tuna salad in my mouth and I suggest you put it in your mouth as well.

I made this recipe one afternoon for lunch and spent the entire meal saying out loud, “Wow, this is so good.” Just in case I wasn’t actually tasting it myself. This is one of the downfalls of working from home, no one to hear how delicious my tuna salad is. Except you I guess. Here it is all mixed up.

Tuna Salad

Here it is ready to get in my mouth.

Open face tuna salad sandwich

Shockingly, my 6 year old ate some of this on crackers making it possibly a kid friendly option. But then, I wouldn’t count on it since capers and onions make a lot of kids run screaming (my 8 year old included).

Since we’re back on lunches I wanted to point out a couple items sent to me after last week’s Simplified Bento post. Sheryl of This Mouse sent along the idea to use silicone cupcake liners in your lunch boxes. I picked some up this weekend and think they are far more effective than the coffee filter I was using before.

Also Mary pointed me to this Flickr group, Kid Eats. Some offerings are more involved than I’ll ever attempt but others are exactly the kind of lunch I can easily see myself packing and my kids actually eating.

I’m really surprised how packing these tiny containers is changing the way I feel about packing my kid’s lunches.

Simplified Bento: Perfect for picky eaters.

Categories: Lunches, Meal Planning, Uncategorized

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I’ve had one full week of making school lunches, so far the chart I made last week has helped my son to keep his lunches varied. I think we’ll be adding a thermos so we can send soup or maybe even a smoothie along with him in the near future.

My daughter has remained firm in her love of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Which makes putting together her lunch exceedingly simple but also exceedingly boring.

I’ve bought one Lunchable for my kids since becoming a mother and I like those numbers. I generally believe in moderation when it comes to less than healthy food for kids. I don’t have a problem with the kids eating the occasional fast food and I buy potato chips sometimes and I’m actually a little ashamed of the number of times I’ve bribed my kids with candy at the grocery store.

Still I have a problem with Lunchables because it seems to me the people at Oscar Meyer are actually trying to make it not healthy. I like to picture their board room discussions,

“You know we’ve got this product and it’s pretty simple. Crackers, cheese and turkey a kid can put together for lunch. But turkey is generally pretty lean and cheese has so much calcium. How can we make this meal less good for kids? Anyone?”

“I know! Let’s load it up with added sugar, sodium and fat! Oh and put a funny character on it! With the money we save on sugar loaded processed turkey meat, let’s up our profit margin and pass the mark up onto parents.”

“Let’s roll with that! I love it!”

It frustrates me because really Lunchables are very simplified bento lunches. For more information on bento, check out Lunch In A Box and this FAQ at My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch.

For the last few days I’ve tried making incredibly simplified home grown Lunchables using butter crackers, raisins, strawberries, 2% fat mozzerella, salami, turkey and for my adventurous daughter, peanut butter.

peanut butter homemade lunchable

She has grapes, apples, raisins, peanut butter and crackers. I also put one small slice of mozzerella in, and shockingly it came back home untouched. She also came home with some leftover crackers, peanut butter and raisins and demonstrated how she made faces out of the raisins on her crackers and they were all sad because she hates school and hates me too. I’m sure that made all the new kids at lunch just frantic to play with my emo daughter.

salami turkey lunchable

Max’s version was a little more balanced offering some protein, fat and calcium along with his fruit. I spent a lot of stupid time trying to cut his salami and turkey into circles and in the future I will not be doing such a stupid waste of time thing.

This type of lunch works out well for my son because he likes lunch meat but doesn’t like bread, it doesn’t work as well for my daughter because she likes bread but doesn’t like lunch meat. She is also a slow eater and came home with almost all her crackers, peanut butter and raisins.

I’m once again looking at this bento box from Laptop Lunch, because this simplified version of the lovely more traditional bento is actually easy enough to plan and throw together each week and is also perfect for my kid’s simple taste buds.

But I won’t be putting together a masterpiece like this anytime soon and my bento will not be making an appearance on this flickr group where it would be shamed and laughed at.

School Lunches: Finally

Categories: Lunches, Meal Planning

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Every time my kids have gone off to school, I’ve salivated at the promise. The promise of hours of uninterrupted time to work or do other things I’ve been unable to do for the last 3 months without a constant shadow trailing me. The first time I sent my daughter off to preschool I was thrilled to have five hours with just one child each week. Today when I dropped the kids off at school I counted up the hours, 35, and died of a heart attack on my way back home.

I also realized on that walk back home I am now going to be packing about 340 lunches over the next school year. My daughter will gladly eat peanut butter sandwiches every day but my son is a more adventurous eater and I’d like to encourage his healthy appetite.

I’m loving the Kraft Lunch Box Builder, the recipes are still incredibly quick and simple but they jog your brain for something a little different and all the sides you can easily toss into the lunch bag. I’m not kidding myself this year into thinking I’ll be preparing gourmet lunchbox cuisine for my kids. I still want them to have reasonably healthy foods although I have promised my daughter at least one Lunchable, maybe I’ll make it the new improved one.

I also spent a few hours putting together this magnetic lunch chart for the kids from Martha Stewart. I made just one for now, since like I said, my daughter wants peanut butter and jelly every single day for the next 9 months of school.

Unlike some of Martha’s projects, this was exceedingly simple to put together.

Lunch Chart

But since my husband doesn’t want anything to clutter up the fridge, I outfitted a cupboard with a magnetic board.

Lunch Chart Cupboard

I also printed out a batch of these lunch labels on card stock to tuck into the kids lunch boxes. You can also print them on label stock but I prefer making them into notes for the kids.

My first day of freedom is nearly half over, I must run. Come back Thursday for another post.

Beyond granola bars: snacks and lunch

Categories: Food, Lunches

7 Comments

It’s mid-July, I don’t usually let my mind wander to the return to school until mid-August however at Target over the weekend they’ve already started replacing the summer gear aisle with back to school supplies. Target, you know the way to my heart.

My daughter’s upcoming week at day camp along with Target’s vast display of lunch boxes got me thinking about packing lunch and snacks for kids, and in the case of my daughter  snacks are generally lunch as well. Even if you’re not packing lunch, having kids home for the summer all day every day can present challenges of snack time.

My kids like to graze through out the day, which is fine but at some point you can’t call really claim Goldfish crackers are a “healthy” snack worthy of meal replacement. Of course I run into the issue Véronique at Little Elephants does, I walk through the grocery aisle without even seeing any new snack ideas. She asked for help here and got some nice suggestions. Nothing particularly complicated, however great inspiration and reminders of old favorites, like apples and cheese.

At Parent Hacks, Asha points out making healthy snacks easiest to grab is the best way to insure your kids eat these the most. Suggestions range from creating individual 100 calorie portions from healthy cereals and other carbs to having a fruit bowl on the counter with already washed offerings ready to grab.

Biggie at Lunch In A Box takes her experience with Japan and creates healthy complete lunches for her family often influenced by Japanese offerings. I’ll admit my kids won’t be noshing on Pork Buns anytime soon however, the top speed tips are must-read.

No snack and lunch post would be complete without Family Fun’s ideas on it. I like the idea of cookie cutter sandwiches, but only one week or so a month so kids are surprised when they come in the lunchbox. My daughter gets down right blase about presentation so fast. I also love the idea of a lunch chart which accomplishes two goals, it takes the “What am I going to send for lunch?” out of your routine and allows your kids to have a say in what they eat meaning ideally less of their lunch will end up in the trash.

No guarantees, your results may vary.

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