Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finally Friday!

Goodbye September...Hello October!  This week seems to have dragged on, and I'm so happy that Friday is finally here.  Molly really enjoyed her lunch today and asked for a repeat performance tomorrow.  I am glad to oblige since its a pretty easy meal to prepare.  Also, its Friday and she has been really good this week, so we are going to have a Fun Friday treat.

Our main entrée is a Castle Wood thinly sliced honey ham and Castle Wood pepper jack cheese sandwich on whole wheat.  We added mustard because it is Molly's condiment of choice.  We used some fun cookie cutters again.  Molly especially likes the little sandwiches cut with the micro cookie cutters.

We're paying homage to Nana's traditions again by adding black olives and mini dill pickles.  All of our kids love pickles and olives.  A lot of kids frown at the sour taste but not ours, they would eat them with every meal if we allowed it.

The fruit selection is Trader Joe's no sugar added applesauce with cinnamon sprinkled on top.  We were going to use prune plums but when we looked at the few that we had, they had gone bad.  Its a shame because we only get fresh fruit for so long and then in the winter months it gets very expensive.  But since Molly enjoys applesauce so much, it will be a great alternative to something fresh.

Now for our Fun Friday treat!  Trader Joe's has some new cookies called Peanut Butter Goodies.  They are similar to a Girl Scout Tagalong cookie but there is more shortbread cookie inside of it.  Also, there are chopped peanuts on top.  Goodies describe them quite well.  They are absolutely delicious.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This lunch is a mix of Molly's favorites.  I took inspiration from my grandmother, Nana.  She was the one that got me interested in cookie cutters and because of her, I have quite a collection.  Nana has always been very particular about the way that she presents her food.  She had 8 kids and always made sure that they had beautiful meals every day.  Her traditions are something that I strive to emulate.  
Our main entrée is a Castle Wood Thinly Sliced Honey Ham and Castle Wood Pepper Jack Cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with a little mustard.  We cut this sandwich with a large heart cookie cutter and several micro cookie cutters, just for fun.  Molly raved about this ham and requested a ham sandwich.  We all agree, the ham is pretty darn yummy and has only 60 calories for 2 oz.  

The vegetable side is a pretty unconventional "vegetable" but they are both favorites of Molly's.  We have mini dill pickles and black olives.  Every time we go to my grandmother's house for lunch she serves pickles and olives on a relish tray to go with sandwiches.  So, we are taking Nana's lead and and serving them as a compliment to Molly's sandwich.  

We have Trader Joe's no sugar added applesauce for our fruit.  We topped it with a little dash of cinnamon, just like Nana does.  We find that it enhances the flavor of the applesauce, especially since there is no sugar added.

Finally we have a special dessert.  We made a Cinnamon Muffin Melt by Tastefully Simple.  This is like a cross between a cupcake, a doughnut and a muffin.  We HIGHLY recommend these because not only are they absolutely scrumptious, they are incredibly easy to make.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Half Way Wednesday

Half way through the week tomorrow!  We're planning some family time this weekend, and I can't wait.  Every year we drive up to a place called McConnell's Mill State Park, which is about 40 minutes north of where we live.  We pack up a big picnic lunch, a blanket or two to spread out, and we're on our way.  It is gorgeous in the fall.  The cool crisp weather lends itself nicely to running around the huge open grounds of the park and collecting the colorful leaves that have fallen from the thousands of trees.  It's a wonderful place full of many memories for our family and a tradition that we hope will be passed down to generations after us.

I went to the store today and purchased a few things for the picnic.  I've decided to use a some of them for Molly's lunches.  Although, part of me thinks that I may have to make another trip to the store because my husband got a taste of a few things, and he really liked them.
Our main entrée is a pinwheel sandwich.  We flavored some light cream cheese with sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil.  A little goes a long way with sun dried tomatoes because of the concentrated flavor, so be sure to taste as you go.  We spread the cream cheese mixture all over a whole grain tortilla from Trader Joe's.  Next, we added a couple of slices of Castle Wood Honey Ham and a some baby spinach before rolling our tortilla up like a sushi roll.  We sliced the roll into pieces, making sure to keep the roll in tact so that it won't fall apart when Molly eats it.

The vegetable side is canned, no salt added, cut green beans.  This was a request of Molly's after she ate some left over green beans directly from refrigerator.  We never would have thought of giving this to her because she is a little picky with her vegetables.  We're delighted that she came up with it though.  We eat green beans very frequently and the left overs will make lunch packing much easier.

Our choice of fruit is a sugar pear.  Molly requested one of these as well after seeing them in the refrigerator.  She said that they are small, sweet and perfect for a lunch box meal.  

Molly's dessert is Ginger Cat cookies from Trader Joe's.  These cookies have such a great flavor.  They are a little bit spicy without causing your tongue to sting.  The kids like them a little more than the Trader Joe's Triple Ginger cookies which have a very strong ginger flavor that can kind of attack the palate.  The grown ups in the house really like the Triple Ginger cookies though.

ps - Picture day was a success.  From her perfectly purple outfit to the tamed ringlets in her hair, she was picture perfect, at least when she left my van.  ☺

Monday, September 27, 2010

Picture Day!

Tomorrow is picture day at Molly's school.  No, I have no clue what she will wear.  And you thought I had it all together, didn't you?  Not so much. ☺  These past few weeks have completely worn me out and instead of going through all of Molly's clothes during nap time today, I joined the two little ones and napped too.  I did manage to figure out what to make for Molly's lunch though!  I was trying to think of something that Molly would like and that would be easy for me to whip up after a faith formation meeting at church tonight.  So, it's breakfast for lunch!
Our main entrée is mini breakfast sandwiches.  We toasted mini Eggo waffles, let them cool and spread each waffle with light cream cheese flavored with Trader Joe's real maple syrup.  To make the sandwiches, we sliced apples very thinly and layered them between two of the waffles.

The dairy side is Dannon light and fit strawberry yogurt.  Its a great source of protein and calcium.

Our choice of fruit is mandarin oranges.  Sweet and juicy with lots of vitamin C.

We added a few whole almonds to the sandwich compartment for extra protein.

Hopefully Molly's outfit will be as easy to put together as her lunch.  I'm confident that Molly would look adorable in a burlap sack but I must go and find the perfect outfit for my fashion forward first grader.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tortellini Take Two

Well, Friday's lunch was SUCH a huge hit that Molly requested the cold tortellini salad again for Monday.  She said that it was her favorite lunch but would like a larger portion of the main entrée.  I never thought that she would ever complain about portion size.  I try to keep the portions smaller because I know that she has a limited time for her lunch.  I figured that with smaller portions, she would have enough time to eat a balanced meal with a nice variety of food.  Then, she could have a snack when she came home.  Molly was so funny about it.  "Mom, that tortellini was so awesome but I really could've used more of it.  I mean, I could've eaten a whole lunch box full of it."  I'm guessing that this dish earned her stamp of approval.  ☺
Today's main entrée is a larger portion of Trader Joe's multi colored cheese tortellini with light Italian dressing on it.  We hope that Molly has enough time to eat everything but we're confident that there will be little or none left.  This salad covers our protein, grain and calcium, plus it tastes REALLY good.

Our vegetables are sugar snap peas and shredded carrots.  They both have a crunchy texture that will nicely offset the soft and chewy texture of the tortellini salad.

The fruit choice of the day is a granny smith apple cut into thick slices.  We think that the sweet and tart flavor will be a good change of pace from the tangy Italian dressing.

Since there are only 3 compartments in today's lunch, we decided to give Molly a small dessert of an individually wrapped Pez candy.  Not our normal every day dessert but small enough that she will enjoy the yummy sweet flavors but won't get a sugar high and subsequent drop.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fantastic Friday!

September is almost over and that means that life is starting to settle down a little bit.  We are getting into our routine and everyone is getting used to the daily grind.  All of the beginning of school hoopla is complete and the calendar has a few more open spots than before.  These past few weeks have been so busy that I'm glad for the break.  TGIF doesn't even begin to explain my love of Friday this week. ☺
Our main entrée is a cold cheese tortellini pasta salad with light Italian dressing.  Molly really likes pasta salad so we decided to switch it up a little bit and use tortellini.

We've chosen orange wedges as our fruit side.  There is just something about the smell of a fresh orange that helps to perk up just about anyone.

Sugar Snap Peas is our vegetable choice du jour.  As it has been so many times before.  What can I say?  We really like sugar snap peas.

For Fantastic Friday, our special treat is a Little Debbie Pumpkin Delight!  Yes, it is that time of year again and we couldn't be happier.  This is one of the little things that is only available once a year and it is one of our favorite parts of fall.  We've added a few whole almonds to this compartment for a little extra protein.

Happy Friday Everyone!  See you for the next installment on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Extra Love

Today was a rough day in little Molly's life.  She got a yellow dot on her behavior calendar.  She has NEVER gotten a yellow dot.  She has been on green since the first day of Kindergarten.  Here's the story.  Molly, being the ever helpful young girl that she is, was asked to help a fellow student walk to the nurse's office to get an ice pack for a bump near his eye.  Molly was instructed to come right back after dropping this student off.  Did she?  Nope.  She stayed until that student had his ice pack and was checked out by the nurse.  Why?  Because she didn't want this fellow classmate to fall down the stairs because he wouldn't be able to see with the ice pack covering his eye.  Yes, this sounds like a kind gesture on her part but Molly has a tendency to "mother" people with complete disregard to what else is going on around her.  Molly's teacher put a yellow dot, an oops dot, on the behavior calendar because Molly didn't listen to the specific instructions given.  I explained that it wasn't a huge deal to have a yellow dot but, we always have to learn from our mistakes.  I told Molly that if there had been a fire drill or even a real fire, her teacher would expect to find Molly on her way back to the classroom.  The teacher would be very worried if she couldn't find her.  Molly was still very sad about this yellow situation but agreed that she should have listened to the instructions given and followed them.  A few tears were shed but it was nothing that a few hugs and giggles didn't fix.  I figured that she might need a little extra love at lunch time tomorrow so that she knows that everything is okay.
Our main entrée is a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich on whole wheat bread.  We cut this into heart shapes to show Molly a little extra love.  Plus, the chocolate in the Nutella will surely put a smile on her face!

Sugar pears are the fruit side.  Molly really likes how small these are, perfect for young children.  We were asked if it was a fig.  It is not a fig, it's a pear BUT it is about the size of a fig and a similar shape so we can see how they could be confused for each other.

Molly really likes cottage cheese so we added this.  She and her sister ask for it just about every day but we haven't had it in a while so this will be a nice treat.  Cottage cheese is a great source of protein and calcium, plus it has the ever sought after Vitamin D that will hopefully help Molly to be in a good mood. ☺

Our vegetables are zucchini sticks and mini yellow peppers.  Molly can dip the veggies into the cottage cheese if she wants too.  The zucchini is cut into sticks just to mix it up a little.  It tastes good and makes a better dipping stick for the cottage cheese.

Finally, you may notice 2 little Hershey's Hugs on the right where the silverware is.  A hug from Dad and a hug from Mom will certainly brighten up her day.

We're confident that Molly will have a green dot tomorrow and that she'll be in a much better mood when she gets home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wheeling Wednesday

Molly requested just a mustard sandwich for lunch tomorrow.  Just mustard, maybe some pepper jack cheese, but just plain yellow mustard.  The sophisticated palate of a 6 year old never ceases to amaze me.  ☺  I said that I would be happy to make a plain yellow mustard sandwich, maybe with some pepper jack cheese, but I also had another suggestion up my sleeve.  I let her know that I had purchased some whole grain tortillas at Trader Joe's today and that I'd be happy to make a pinwheel sandwich for her instead.  This suggestion was greeted by a giant smile and a small amount of jumping.  Hence, "pin"wheeling Wednesday.
Our main entrée is a delicious and colorful pinwheel sandwich.  We flavored some light cream cheese with the Dried Tomato and Garlic Pesto mix from Tastefully Simple.  We spread some of this cream cheese on a Trader Joe's whole grain flour tortilla with flax seeds, then added some baby spinach and thinly sliced turkey.  We rolled up the tortilla and then sliced it into small pinwheels.

The veggie side is sugar snap peas.  This is such a versatile vegetable.  It can be eaten raw or steamed.  There is a very different flavor depending on how it is prepared.  The raw preparation yields a very sweet, crunchy and juicy flavor.  The steamed version makes the sugar snap pea nice and soft with just a little bit of crunch.  It is still sweet but a much more mild flavor.

Molly requested just pineapple for her fruit.  We skewered some fresh pineapple on reusable plastic lollipop sticks so that Molly could have her other "just" request.  (Hey, its yellow like mustard and its "just" pineapple, so I think she'll be pretty happy.)

For dessert, we added a few Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies from Trader Joe's.  These cookies are not only cute, but very tasty.  We made sure to put the "M" right on top so that Molly could see her favorite letter.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is it Fall Yet?

Today, was a beautiful day in Pittsburgh.  We took a nice long walk home from school and enjoyed the crisp fall air.  It's just a great reminder that apple and pumpkin picking is just around the corner.  The leaves are starting to change color and there is an incredible smell in the air that fills your lungs and gives you this amazing feeling that no energy drink can rival.  Today's lunch helps us stay in the autumn mood.
Our main entrée is a home made pumpkin cream cheese sandwich on whole wheat with the crusts cut off because that is the way Molly likes it.  We added a few almonds for protein.

*Individual serving of Pumpkin Cream Cheese - soften about a tablespoon of cream cheese, add one teaspoon of real pumpkin puree, one teaspoon of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Mix and spread on your favorite bread.

Our fruit side is a ginger gold apple sliced very thinly and drizzled with apple juice to avoid browning the apples.  We added a few little leaf sprinkle decorations just for fun!

The vegetable is an assortment of fall colors in the form of mini peppers.  The bit of spice from the peppers will be very complimentary to the flavors in the pumpkin cream cheese.

Our dessert is plain yogurt sweetened with a small amount of real maple syrup.  We sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on it for an extra treat.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Marvelous Monday

After a very full weekend I barely have the strength to even think about making lunch.  But, I refuse to give Molly a lunch ticket to what a lot of my parent friends call "carb load Monday."  Every Monday, the school serves Papa John's pizza, tossed salad, "vegetable", chilled fruit and a soft pretzel that is the size of Molly's face.  934 calories!  No wonder there is such a high rate of childhood obesity.  I am going to muster up the strength to make something nutritionally sound so that my child will make it through the school day without a lump of dough in her stomach.

Our main entrée is a ham and American cheese sandwich on home made herbed bread.  We bought the Tastefully Simple Bountiful Beer Bread mix a few weeks ago and took one of their many suggestions on how to enhance it by adding their Spinach and Herb Dip Mix.  We highly recommend keeping a few packages of the Bountiful Beer Bread mix in your pantry.  You can order straight from the web site and they'll send it right to your house.  My good friend Shelley Schutzman is a wonderful consultant for Tastefully Simple, so if you are in need of some great products from a great person, look her up.

Our fruit side consists of some yummy prune plums.  Molly and her sister would eat these every day.  They are nice and small with a very sweet flesh.  *Note, these prune plums were lovingly purchased by Molly's Grammy. ☺

Our vegetables are thinly sliced cucumbers and sugar snap peas.  These are both very and crunchy and still juicy.

For dessert, we have some Ginger Cat cookies from Trader Joe's.  Its the beginning of cold and flu season and ginger has almost a dozen antiviral compounds and has been proven to prevent, as well as, treat colds.  We might as well give Molly a leg up and try to prevent her from catching whatever little bug is flying around her school this week.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TGIF Lunch

This has been quite a hectic week in our house.  We have had something on the calendar for every night, sometimes even more than one thing.  Tomorrow is FRIDAY!  Even though Molly has ballet and a birthday party and I have my kickboxing class, those are the fun activities we've been looking forward to all week and they symbolize the start of the weekend.

Molly has been very good this week.  She did all of her homework, studied her spelling words and even read on her own without a complaint.  She's been very nice to her brother and sister and has helped out Mom and Dad on many occasions.  She is definitely deserving of a "Fun Friday" treat!

We start Fun Friday's lunch off with a unique sandwich.  It is whole wheat bread spread with light cream cheese.  We then spread on a thin layer of strawberry jam and topped it with very thinly sliced Granny Smith apples.  We used what looked like an apple shaped cookie cutter and a micro cookie cutter that looks a bit like a cross between a shamrock, Mickey Mouse and a water molecule to cut it out.  (I inherited most of these cookie cutters from my Grandmother.  She was a star at cookie making but now we get to make them for her.  I hope I do her justice!)

Our fruit is pineapple and strawberry kabobs.  Molly raved about the pineapple and how it tasted so refreshing.  She's also a big fan of strawberries and we need to eat them while they are still sort of in season.  These may be the last until next summer.

Sugar snap peas are the vegetable du jour.  If you've never tried them, they have a nice crispy texture that is similar to a potato chip.  They are sweet and have a very mild flavor.

Now the big fun for Fun Friday...dessert!  Molly has been so good that we're giving her 2 treats.  First are some York Peppermint Bites.  They look like M&Ms but have the peppermint and dark chocolate flavor and are a great sweet treat.  The second treat is a packet of Yogos bits by Kellogg's.  They are yogurt covered, fruit flavored snacks and a big favorite of Molly's.  She probably won't get two treats all that often but it is much deserved this week.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Daddy's Lunch

While talking to my husband tonight about what I was going to make for Molly's lunch he said, "can I get in on that?"  So, tonight we made some extras for Daddy to bring for his lunch tomorrow.

We are going for an Asian themed lunch because it is one of Molly's favorite kinds of food.  Our main entrée is a cold noodle salad, similar to those available in most Chinese restaurants, but with a little twist.  We made some whole wheat spaghetti and cooled it down.  Next, we mixed some warmed peanut butter with a little bit of olive oil, soy sauce and cilantro.  We added this to the noodles along with some left over turkey tenderloin, Ginger and Soy turkey tenderloin by Jennie-O, and thinly sliced sugar snap peas.

*cooks note: if using natural peanut butter you might need to add extra oil.  I would recommend using regular peanut butter for this particular dish.

Our vegetables, we have two to make up for the lack of vegetables today, are thinly sliced cucumbers with a splash of rice wine vinegar on them and edamame.  The cucumbers are an homage to the yummy cucumber salads that are available in Japanese restaurants.

Our fruit/dessert is a sweet pear, also known as a Seckel pear.  It has a more firm flesh and a very sweet taste, hence the nickname sweet pear.  I highly recommend them because they are small and very sweet which are usually two favorable things with most kids.  Not necessarily an Asian pear, but a pear nontheless.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Breakfast for Lunch

It was a LONG day for Mom today.  I think I had something scheduled for just about every minute today, but that made it absolutely fly by.  On my way home from the PTA meeting I was contemplating a nice easy lunch for me to pack and the first thought that popped into my mind was...Breakfast!  I could prepare this pretty quickly and still get some other things done in the process.  Plus, who doesn't like breakfast?
For our main entrée, we have mini waffle sandwiches with a spread of light cream cheese that has been flavored with real maple syrup and a little bit of cinnamon.  We layered in a few thinly sliced apples for crunch, since the "toast" on the waffle will more than likely wear off while sitting in the lunch box.  This is our take on waffles with syrup.

Next we have our tropical fruit kabobs on plastic re-usable lollipop sticks.  We found a very large and yummy looking papaya at the store this weekend and its perfectly ripe and ready for eating.  On this outing, we also found a pineapple for just over $1, so it was a no brainer.  We sprinkled a bit of shredded coconut on top to complete the tropical theme.

We are going to try bringing strawberry yogurt tomorrow.  I'm a little concerned about this because I fear the mess it will make.  Guess we'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings and whether we need to completely clean out every nook and cranny of Molly's lunch box.  (Laptop Lunch Box, don't fail me now!)  This is dotted with a few pieces of strawberry cut into heart shapes with a micro cookie cutter.

Finally, we have a hard boiled egg.  Molly really likes them so I'm hoping that this will give her a little extra protein to power through the day.  I cut it with a crinkle cut knife, just to make it cute.

Now, I know what you are going to say...where is the vegetable?  I have no good answer.  I couldn't find anything that would really go with the breakfast theme and taste good cold.  I pondered whipping up some potato pancakes with some zucchini and carrots grated into the mix but I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't taste too good cold.  Then I thought, maybe a cold carrot and raisin salad, but that is pretty acidic when I put the vinegar dressing on it, so that combined with pineapple might be a bit on the tangy side.  So, my question for you is...what kind of vegetable would you serve?  I decided to go for the extra protein instead and make grilled chicken and spinach salads for dinner tomorrow so that she gets her daily allotment of vegetables and all will be right with the universe again.  ☺

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Request Lunch

Tonight, I got a request for tomorrow's lunch.  Molly was in the mood for a good old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I can't say that I blame her.  There is something almost serendipitous about the old standby lunch.  Do you remember getting to lunch and seeing the pb&j that your Mom or Dad packed for you?  First, the smell when you opened the lunch box, the smell of stale bread and apple cores.  Then the visual, there was usually a little bit of the jelly escaping from one of the sides and a spot on the top, that can only be classified as a bruise, where the sandwich had been squished.  Sometimes the crust was cut, sometimes it wasn't.  There was usually a faint hint of banana on the bread because that was the fruit that always seemed to accompany a pb&j, at least at my house.  But, the taste was always awesome...always.  No matter what had happened that day or what was going to happen after lunch, there was an element of comfort in that sandwich that could get you through anything.  Spelling test be darned, I've got my peanut butter and jelly!

We start with the old standby Peanut Butter and Jelly.  Nothing fancy, plain old creamy peanut butter and some strawberry jam from the store all spread on whole wheat bread.  We did fancy it up a little bit with the shapes because the heart shape sandwich today was a big hit.  Also, Molly is not a fan of crust so this cookie cutter thing only takes a few seconds more than actually cutting the crust off.

Our veggies include the other half of the crazy red/orange/green pepper from our garden.  We used the crinkle cut knife on those to bring out a more playful aspect.  Our other selection is a seedless cucumber that was cut with the same knife.  We turned the cucumber a little after every cut to make a "waffle" look.

Orange wedges are the selection for our fruit.  This orange is very sweet and juicy, plus the citrus will cut the oils of the peanut butter.  Molly's favorite thing about orange wedges is to take a bite, leave the peel in her mouth and smile so that her teeth look funny.  She an her sister crack each other up every time they do it.  A timeless trick, indeed.

A "Wheat Krispie Treat" rounds out our meal as dessert.  Molly was so thrilled with it today that she requested that one to be included in tomorrow's lunch box.  No matter how little time she has for lunch, she always has time for dessert.  That's my girl!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Monday Love

The weekend was beautiful and its back to school tomorrow.  I think its important to start the week of on a positive note so that the sentiment carries on through the week.  It dawned on me though, that sometimes even the kids can get a "case of the Mondays" now and then, so I decided to celebrate Monday with a little love.

 We start with a very yummy honey roasted peanut butter and Nutella sandwich on wheat bread that is cut into heart shapes.  This shows the little extra love from her family that Molly might be looking for on a Monday.  There are 2 large hearts that represent Mommy and Daddy and three little hearts that represent Molly, her sister and her brother.

Next we have crudités (or some fresh veggies cut up cutely but crudités sounds fancier!) served with roasted red pepper hummus.  There are cucumbers and baby carrots that are both cut with a crinkle cut knife, celery and a pepper from our garden that was half green and half red.  That's part of the fun of growing vegetables, you never know what they are going to look like until you pluck them off of the vine.

*side note - Not all kids are going to be jazzed about veggies and hummus but most kids that I know will at least try some vegetables if they are cut up in interesting shapes and/or served with a dip.  If you child doesn't like hummus, try ranch dressing or ranch dip made with sour cream and a dry ranch mix or even honey mustard.

For our fruit side, we cut up some strawberries (you have to take advantage of them before they are out of season) and added in a few red grapes that come from a batch that are particularly crunchy.  I like to mix textures to keep the food interesting.

Finally we have our dessert!  We made a healthier rice krispie treat.  We used puffed wheat cereal that we found in the inexpensive bagged cereal section of the grocery store.  We added the normal marshmallows but cut back on the butter just a little bit.  They taste similar to Sugar Smacks cereal only in bar form and the best part is, the nutritional value is MUCH better because you are using a whole grain durum wheat instead of a bleached rice.  ☺ Eating healthier doesn't mean sacrificing all of you favorites.  If there is a way to modify it to be healthier, then try it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fun Friday Lunch!

Tomorrow is "Fun Friday" in Molly's classroom because all of the kids did their work and no one got in trouble. I think I might use this concept to my advantage.  If she has been good all week, then on Friday she will have a special treat in her lunch.  I'm pleased to report that she has indeed been good this week and deserves a special goody for her efforts. ☺  

Fun Friday lunch starts with an Asian Chicken Salad.  Spinach and Romaine lettuce are blended for our bed.  Next we added some carrot matchsticks, red peppers, edamame and mandarin oranges.  We sautéed some bite size pieces of boneless/skinless chicken breasts and right before the end of the cooking we added some Trader Joe's Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette with Jalapeño & Fresh Cilantro.  After refrigerating it to cool (so as to not wilt the salad) we added it to the top of the salad.  This is served with a small side of the Asian vinaigrette.  YUM!  (Mom may be eating this for lunch too!)  We put this in the large bento buddies container available through Laptop Lunches.

Next we have a few 12 Grain Mini Snack Crackers, also from Trader Joe's.  I figured it would be a good carbohydrate to accompany the salad, plus they have sesame seeds in them and that goes nicely with our Asian theme.  

Finally...THE REWARD!  Molly loves any combination of chocolate and mint so I purchased some Junior Mints at the store today.  Maybe I was feeling nostalgic for a childhood favorite of my own but I still think that she will be thrilled with them.  I put them in the freezer when I got home so that they won't melt in her lunch box. To point out how special they were, I decided to "wrap" this little present.  I put them in a cute pink cupcake liner inside the container.  

TGIF!  Well, there we have it.  The first week of school is officially done and we have survived!  See you Sunday night when Monday's lunch is prepared.  I hope everyone has an awesome weekend.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Left Over Lunch

Another successful lunch in the bag, pun intended! ☺  I understand that most kids are more picky than Molly, but hopefully this will still generate some ideas.

I had to make a quick dinner tonight before my kickboxing class and to my delight it was a huge hit.  So much so that Molly requested the left overs for lunch tomorrow.

Tomorrow's lunch consists of left over home made chicken nuggets.  They are small pieces of chicken breast dipped in whole wheat flour and spices (plus about a teaspoon of sugar, that's the secret), dipped in egg and then coated with Japanese style Panko breadcrumbs and baked.  It is being served with sweet chili sauce from Trader Joe's for dipping.

Next we have some chopped up fresh veggies.  Zucchini sticks, red pepper and baby carrots that are sliced in quarters because sometimes they are hard to chomp down on.  Mom went a little nuts when chopping the veggies so I told Molly that she didn't have to finish all of them.

In the top right corner is quinoa, which has been pretty popular in the new nutritious food category.  Its like a cross between couscous and almost a grain version of caviar and has a little bit of a nutty flavor.  Plus its, as my husband calls it, the SUPER grain.  We put a little bit of chili dressing on it to keep it moist and we're calling it a "not so pasta" salad.

Finally we have a few slices of apple dipped in orange juice so that they don't brown.  This is accompanied by a few Ginger Cat Cookies from Trader Joe's, not to be confused with ThunderCats, the cartoon from years ago.  ThunderCats Ho!  Sorry for the tangent, just getting in touch with my inner child.  ☺  The cookies are in a heart shaped silicone cupcake liner.  They are great for keeping things separated and are also flexible so they will fit in just about any plastic container.

She'll have her normal cold bottle of water to go with it because it gets pretty warm in her school since they have no air conditioning.

On a side note, a lot of the products in this meal were purchased at Trader Joe's.  The panko breadcrumbs, the sweet chili sauce, the quinoa and the ginger cats all are Trader Joe's brand.   I highly recommend ANYTHING and EVERYTHING from there.  I ♥ Trader Joe's.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Helper's Lunch

The first day of school was a HUGE success!  Molly loved the sushi and said that everything tasted great!

She helped make her lunch for tomorrow and was very excited to be a part of it.

Tomorrow's lunch consists of...

A whole wheat pasta salad.  The dry pasta was purchased at ALDI very inexpensively.  We added some light Italian dressing, black olives, carrot matchsticks, edamame and red peppers.

Next we wrapped a pepper jack cheese stick with some thinly sliced ham, sliced it and skewered it on re-usable plastic lollipop sticks.  We added a few extra black olives to that container because they are a favorite of Molly's.

We washed up some sugar snap peas as a nice crunchy side dish.

Finally, for our fruit/dessert we washed up some grapes and dried them thoroughly and added a few Annie's Homegrown Bunny Graham Friends for variety.

Add in a re-usable bottle of water (part of the Laptop Lunch Box) kept in the refrigerator all night so its nice and cold.  Then a cloth napkin, loving made by my Aunt Sis.

No waste, good nutrition and a happy kid helping to do her part in making the environment a little better for her future.

1st Day of School!

As the first day of school was approaching, I did a lot of research on what to make for lunch for my 1st Grader. I wanted to make sure that it was something nutritious, delicious and filling enough that it would last her until she got home.

I found the vessel that would hold all of these incredible meals.  We purchased a laptop lunch box from  We realized that although it was a bit pricey, we wouldn't be using plastic bags or plastic utensils and we'd actually be saving money in the long run.  Plus, it is the perfect size for portioning and keeps things from being crushed or leaking all over.

Next, I had to think of foods that would taste good after being refrigerated over night and stuck in a backpack with an ice pack for a few hours at school.  I made a list of main entrees, veggie sides, fruit sides, grain sides, dairy sides and special treats.  This has already proven helpful.  While making the first of many lunches this year, I relied on my trusty list to help me figure out what sides to add.

Now, I am just waiting for the big smile on my daughter's face when she gets home from the first day of school.  I can't wait to see her reaction to the lunch that was made with a lot of love and a decent amount of planning.

Happy 1st day of school everyone, especially you, Molly!

Here is Molly's 1st lunch!  Veggie sushi with cream cheese, edamame (which does taste good cold), watermelon balls and grapes on plastic (re-usable) lollipop sticks, and de-constructed s'mores which includes a few graham crackers, 2 Hershey's hugs and a few mini marshmallows.