Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

We had an INCREDIBLE Halloween.  When we woke up this morning, I made some special Halloween cinnamon rolls with chocolate icing.  Thank you Aldi!  They were delicious.  I'd post a picture but they were eaten so quickly that I didn't get a chance.  Instead, I'll just put a link here.

We made a Spooky lunch of Mummy Pizzas.  The kids ate these really quickly and asked for more right away.  

These Mummy Pizzas were really easy to make.  We took Thomas' English muffins, split them in half, then laid them on a cookie sheet.  We topped each half muffin with spaghetti sauce (we were out of pizza sauce) and then laid on some pulled apart string cheese.  We left a little room for the eyes when putting the cheese on.  Then, we added two slices of black olives for the eyes, baked at 425 for about 10 minutes and served.  YUM!

We all took a little nap to gear up for Trick or Treating and upon waking decided to sit and watch, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" on DVD.  All of the kids loved it, especially the baby.  It really got us in the spirit of Halloween.
My husband and the girls then carved the pumpkin.  SO CUTE!

Finally, we had to get dinner going before getting our costumes on.  Time for the Mummy Dogs! (note: none of us were mummies this year, it was just the food theme. ☺)

These are the full size version of the Mummy Dogs that we put in Molly's Lunchbox the other day.  We sliced a slit on the bottom half of the hot dog and added a small piece of American cheese.  Then, we wrapped the dog with pieces of refrigerated crescent rolls.  We had sliced the crescent rolls into strips earlier.  We then poked two holes in for eyes.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.  Let cool a bit.  Add mustard eyes and serve.  We served these with some potato chips and salad, plus some extra mustard for dipping.  

We then got on our costumes, did our make-up and braved the cold evening here in Pittsburgh.  

The kids came home with a TON of treats and had an absolute blast while walking the hills of the neighborhood.  We had about 200 Trick or Treaters here at our house.  A successful night all around.  Time to watch the game!  GO STEELERS!
(plastic pumpkin that I carved last year)

Hope everyone has a great week!  We have in-service days on Monday and Tuesday for parent/teacher conferences.  So, we'll see you Tuesday night for Wednesday's lunch.

Again, Happy Halloween, from our house to yours!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trick or Treat?

Molly is finally buying school lunch.  Tomorrow they are having a special Halloween themed lunch with prizes and a special Halloween dessert.  I was kind of bummed because I wanted to make another Halloween themed lunch for her, but then again, a change of pace is nice once in a while.
It is going to be such a great day tomorrow.  Molly will be participating in her school's party and parade.  We live in a small town and the elementary school does a parade around the main street here.  It is so neat to see everyone's costumes in the daylight since the only other times we see them is in the dark.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone and Happy Halloween!
Don't eat too much candy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Halloweenie!

I have found some great ideas for Halloween on the internet.  I found some incredible costume ideas and other ideas of how to use the things that I already have to embellish the costumes.  I also found some very unique snack and food ideas.  A few weeks ago, I posted about the fun snacks that I created for the PTA meeting in A little Spooky.  I've used a few more of these ideas for Molly's lunch tomorrow.
Our main entrée is mummy dogs.  We wrapped slices of refrigerated crescent roll dough around a mini beef hot dog and a few pieces of shredded cheddar.  We also poked holes for eyes and we would dot mustard on them at home but it won't last for lunch so we'll have to leave it up to Molly's imagination.

Our vegetable side is edamame.  We can pretend that its mummy brains to go along with our theme.

Our fruit side is a piece of apple with a little bit of peanut butter and a couple of mini marshmallows.  It kind of reminds us of the Muppet, Dr. Teeth.

Finally, we have a skeleton for dessert.  We made regular Rice Krispie treats and put orange food coloring in it.  We spread the "batter" on a wax paper lined cookie sheet so that it would be a thinner treat.  After the Rice Krispie treats cooled, we used a gingerbread boy cookie cutter to cut the bodies out.  Then, we melted some white chocolate and created the bones.

ps - we REALLY like Halloween at our house.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reluctant Lunch

It was a rough day today.  We went to pick Molly up at school and when she hopped into the van I knew that she wasn't in a good mood.  She proceeded to lecture me on the importance of looking at her folder every night because, somehow we missed a paper last night.  She was mortified because it was something that had to be signed by a parent.  Then she told me that her stomach was hurting at lunch, so she didn't eat much.  Well, when we got home, I looked at the paper and it wasn't due until tomorrow so that was no big deal.  The teacher didn't even say anything to Molly but Molly noticed it.  Then I looked at her lunch and she took one bite of an apple wedge and ate one of the small roll-ups.  That's all.  I was so ticked because of the time, effort and love that I put into that lunch.  She uses the tummy ache any time that she doesn't want to do something.  My theory is that she was probably too busy talking to one of her friends and didn't have time to eat because she was ravenous when she got home.  I reluctantly packed this lunch and hopefully it will be eaten.
Our main entrée is 2 chicken strips.  Not the most nutritious but something that we're hopeful will be eaten.  These are all white meat, which make us feel a little bit better about sending something fried in her lunch.

Our vegetable side is just a few green beans.  These were steamed and cooled.  Molly usually likes these so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Our fruit side is Trader Joe's No Sugar Added Applesauce.  This is always a hit at our house with all three of the kids.

Finally we put two cookies in that we baked this evening.  Aldi has some fun and delicious refrigerated cookie doughs that are great for a special treat.  Plus, these have some cute Halloween decorations on them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Post Parade Lunch

The Halloween Parade was so much fun tonight.  Molly was a kitchen fairy.  We painted some wooden spoons and sewed them on to fairy wings.  We had her wear an apron and put a big fluffy tutu on top of it.  Finally we glitzed out a whisk with some ribbons for her wand and then adorned a chef's hat with a tiara to add some sparkle.  She looked adorable and loved being part of the annual parade.  After cleaning up and a snack, we put the kids to bed and now its time to make tomorrow's lunch.
Our main entrée is a Castlewood Honey Ham roll up.  We spread some whipped cream cheese on a soft flour tortilla, layered some ham and spinach on top, rolled it up and sliced it.  It's not your ordinary sandwich and has some great flavors.

Our vegetable side is steamed green beans.  These fresh green beans are still crunchy after being steamed and are loaded with great vitamins and minerals.

Our fruit side is a few apple chunks.  This Granny Smith apple is sweet and tart with a great firm and crunchy texture.

Our dessert is Tastefully Simple Twisty Grahams.  Sweet, crunchy and a great finish to our meal.

Mickey Lunch

Mom and Dad just got back from Disney, without the kids.  Yes, sometimes parents need a weekend away by themselves and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival was just the place for us this year.  We had an incredible time but we did miss the kids a lot.  We made sure that we purchased a few tokens for our kids and of course we needed some things to accentuate Molly's lunch box.
Our main entrée is a plain old peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat.  We purchased a pancake mold and used it as a cookie cutter to make this sandwich into a Mickey sandwich.  The cookie cutter that was available was way too big for a sandwich so we decided to go with the pancake mold.  You actually may see Mickey shaped pancakes in the future.

Our vegetable side is edamame.  Although there is no Disney reference to this side, we just found them to be a nice and nutritious side that is pleasing to the palate as well as the eye.

Our fruit side is raisins.  These dried grapes are a great chewy contrast to the sandwich and edamame.  Their sweetness is a delicious compliment to the rest of the meal.

Our dairy side is a pepper jack cheese stick.  Its important for kids to get enough protein and calcium in their daily diet and this side is a yummy way to get both of these.

Our dessert consists of several different Disney character cookies.  These vanilla and chocolate cookies are shaped like a variety of the the beloved Disney originals including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.  We know that Molly will LOVE these.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's Friday!

And another Friday rolls around.  FINALLY!  I am so happy that we made it through the week.  It's a big week for us next week with all of the Halloween festivities so I'm very glad that the calm before the storm is here to gear us up for another awesome week.  Happy Friday Everyone!
Our main entrée is a Castlewood Honey Ham and Castlewood Pepper Jack Cheese sandwich.  We used a ballerina cookie cutter for this because Molly has ballet after school.  She will be so excited because we've never used this cookie cutter before.

The vegetable of the day is carrot sticks.  Molly enjoyed the crinkle cut carrots but is also a fan of the sticks, so we decided to mix it up a little bit since she's already had carrots this week.

We've decided on mandarin oranges for the fruit side.  Sweet, juicy and so delicious.  These oranges are almost dessert-like because they are so sweet.

Finally, we have our Fun Friday treat.  We purchased a few more Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights before the season is over and we've decided that it would be a great Fun Friday treat for our Molly.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Special Treat Lunch

This week seems to have dragged on a bit.  I think because we had a 4 day week last week, it makes this week seem so much longer.  I keep thinking that tomorrow should be Friday but it's only Thursday.  I think the kids feel the same way because Molly asked if she should put her library book in her bag for tomorrow but she doesn't have library until Friday.  Even though she doesn't have library she always has lunch, so on to the tasty vittles for tomorrow.
Our main entrée is banana bread with peanut butter sandwiches.  We made our healthy banana bread a few weeks ago and froze several of the small loaves.  We thawed one out and now we have the start to an awesome lunch.

The dairy side is cottage cheese.  It is a really good source of protein, calcium and vitamin D.  Molly really likes cottage cheese because she likes how creamy it is.

We've decided that edamame would be a yummy compliment to this lunch.  This veggie is a super food.  Its loaded with vitamins and omega-3s.

A fresh orchard apple will be the fruit of the day.  We've sliced it into pieces and kept the skin on since the skin holds a lot of nutritional value.

Finally, we've tossed in a small pack of Pez for dessert.  We've kind of left out dessert for the past few days so a little sweet treat is definitely in order.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wafflewich Wednesday

We are preparing for Halloween at our house.  Our town has a huge Halloween parade on Monday night.  The high school band plays and most of the town shows up for the celebration.  The kids get all dressed up and can even win prizes for their costumes.  Both of the girls have school dress up parties and parades on Thursday for Preschool and Friday for Elementary school.  Molly has a Halloween dress up ballet class on Friday.  Then the Main Event on Sunday night...Trick or Treat!  Needless to say, we've been busy getting our costumes together and our treats purchased.
Busy means an easy lunch for Mom to make so we've decided on Breakfast for Lunch.
Our main entrée is mini wafflewiches.  We spread peanut butter on one side and Nutella on the other and put them together.  We've also added a few slivered almonds on the side for some extra protein.

The fruit side is a Bosc pear.  We sliced this pear into large sections so that its easier for Molly to pick up and take bites from without chomping on any seeds.  These pears are more firm than the Sugar pears that we've served before, but they are just as sweet and juicy.

Our dairy/dessert side is blueberry yogurt.  This sweet and creamy yogurt is the perfect addition to any lunch. It adds protein and calcium without a lot of calories and fat, plus it tastes really good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Purses for Lunch

Molly is always willing to try something new.  She tried sleeping overnight at a friend's house for the first time this past weekend.  She is trying ballet classes this year.  She's always trying new ways of singing, dancing and making little crafty art projects.  And she is the first one to try something new to eat.  We are so lucky that Molly is open to new things.  She has found that her options are so much more broad because she has tried these things and actually likes them.  A perfect example is the purses that she will be enjoying for lunch.  I bought these several months ago and made them for dinner.  Both her father and I oohed and aahed over them but the kids were a little resistant at first.  Then, Molly decided to be brave and take a taste.  She loved them.  She encouraged her sister to try them and she ended up liking them too.  Thanks to her willingness to try new things, she gets a favorite for lunch tomorrow.
Our main entrée is Trader Joe's Perline Pasta and Prosciutto with a drizzle of light Italian dressing.  These little herbed pasta purses are filled with a yummy blend of prosciutto and cheese.  Incredibly delicious!  Plus, what girl doesn't love a purse?

Molly really enjoyed the carrots today so we've decided to cut up a few more with our crinkle knife for tomorrow's lunch.  If we just threw in some baby carrots, we'd probably have a few return home.  But with this "neat looking" cut, we have no left overs.

We've quartered an apple for our fruit side.  These apples are amazingly juicy and sweet.  Each bite is crunchy and fresh.

Dessert is Annie's Homegrown Bunny Friends.  This variety of flavors is the best of all worlds.  You have the plain vanilla, chocolate and chocolate chip all in one snack.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Whatta Weekend

Molly had an INCREDIBLE weekend.  First, she had two birthday parties on Saturday.  The first was a bowling party for our awesome neighbor.  Molly is a great bowler...on the Wii.  The real sport is a different story.  I think that they told me her score was 13.  But, she had a ton of fun nonetheless.  The second party was a girlie makeover, movie and sleepover party with her BFFs.  This was the most amazing thing to Molly because she had never had a true sleepover before.  They stayed up way past their bed time, partied like crazy and had an absolute blast.

When we picked her up this morning, we were off to another fun day with Grammy and Papa.  We met them for brunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  We had a great meal and scrumptious Reece's Peanut Butter Cheesecake to share between the seven of us.  After we finished eating our grub, we went to our perennial favorite place for pumpkins, Soergel's Orchards.  We picked a pumpkin, took a hay ride and enjoyed the yummiest apple cider.

After a long weekend, Molly was in bed by 7:15 tonight so that she will be well rested for a new week at school. Hopefully a nice lunch will help a little too.

Our main entrée is a plain old peanut butter and strawberry jam on whole wheat sandwich.  We used a butterfly shaped cookie cutter for our large sandwich and a heart shaped micro cookie cutter for the mini sandwiches.

The vegetable side is a mix of sugar snap peas and crinkle cut carrots.  Both of these are nice and crunchy with a sweet and refreshing flavor.

For our fruit, we are serving a fresh apple straight from the orchard.  Molly helped to pick these apples.  They were in a bin as opposed to on a tree but she can still say that she picked them.  We think that she will definitely be happy with this selection.

Dessert is a small amount of Tastefully Simple Twisty Grahams.  These are a nice sweet little treat.  They taste like cinnamon graham crackers but a little bit more solid and crunchy like a bread stick.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Movie Day!

Tomorrow is Friday and Molly is SO excited to go to school.  Her teacher has a giant gum ball machine on her wall and if all of the students do well they get to put a gum ball in it.  When the machine is full, they get to have a movie day.  Well, tomorrow they get to watch a movie.  Each student can bring in a G rated movie and they all vote on the one that they want to watch.  Molly is bringing in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."  I'm so excited for her.  This is one of those fun school things that she will probably remember for the rest of her life.  I'm hoping that her lunch will be another highlight of her day.
Our main entrée is a slice of left over Little Caesars pepperoni pizza.  There is just something about cold pizza for lunch.  We know that this may not be the most nutritious lunch but it is Fun Friday and Molly really deserves a special lunch.

The vegetable side is edamame.  The nutritional value of edamame is awesome.  It also provides a little extra protein that will keep Molly going through the rest of the day and on through ballet.

We've chosen applesauce for our fruit.  We really like Trader Joe's No Sugar Added Applesauce, it has a great flavor and a perfect texture.  Not too runny, not too chunky, just yummy.

It's Fun Friday!  Molly has had a great week and really deserves a special treat.  We've added a Twizzler to her lunch box for a nice dessert/treat.  Molly has loved these since she was very little.  When she would ask for them, she would always add an extra "a" in the middle.  Twizz-a-ler.  Actually, she may still do that.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breakfast for Lunch Again!

I was talking with Molly today about her favorite parts of school.  She really enjoys her "specials" and math.  The "specials", I was not surprised about at all.  She loves art and is constantly singing, plus her librarian is really cool so I know that she looks forward to seeing her and picking out a new books.  I was pretty thrown when she said math.  I know that she likes counting and matching things or recognizing patterns, but I figured that she wouldn't be a numbers type of kid.  I'm pretty thrilled with this admission because from what I hear, the way that they teach math is WAY different than when I was a kid.  They don't even call it carrying the one anymore when adding something with a ten or higher answer.  I'm hoping that Molly becomes a wiz in math and can teach me this new way of doing it and then she and I can help her sister and brother if they need it.  Its amazing what these kids are learning these days.  I feel like they are at least a grade ahead of where I was when I went to school.  No wonder they are so tired when they get home.  Hopefully Molly's lunches keep her nourished and ready to tackle anything that the first grade has to offer.
Our main entrée is waffle sandwiches.  We added some pure maple syrup to whipped cream cheese for our sandwich spread.  Then, we sliced some Jonagold apples very thinly and layered them on the cream cheese mixture to create a waffle sandwich.  We also put a small handful of almonds in this container for added protein and crunch.

The first side is vanilla yogurt.  It is a nice compliment to the waffle sandwiches and goes along with our breakfast theme.  We've placed a little bit of Trader Joe's Pecan Praline Granola in a small container so that Molly can sprinkle it on her yogurt if she would like.  This granola has a tremendous amount of flavor and it will add a great taste and texture to the plain vanilla yogurt.

Finally, our fruit side is a mix of strawberries and mandarin oranges.  These are both sweet and very succulent.  They will add a great soft texture and juicy element to Molly's Lunch.  Plus, we're all fighting something in our house, so hopefully the Vitamin C in both of these fruits will help Molly get over her cold/allergy or whatever it is that she is fighting. ☺

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A little SPOOKY!

Tonight I had a PTA meeting and I was in charge of refreshments.  When I went to the first PTA meeting this year, Kelly, the head of hospitality, did an entire back to school themed snack.  She made a school bus shaped cake, pencils made of string cheese and Bugles for the tip, plus some other really adorable things.  I felt like I had to keep up with this stellar display of refreshments so, I made my theme Halloween and went a little nuts.  First, I had a veggie tray with hummus, real scary right?  BUT, I peeled carrots and made them look like fingers by notching out knuckles and putting a sliced almond on the tip to make it look like a finger nail.  I put these fingers in the hummus and it looked like a hand was coming out of it.  Next I mixed some Tastefully Simple Spinach and Herb Dip Mix with one brick of cream cheese and the Fiesta Dip Mix with another brick of cream cheese.  After letting them sit in the fridge for a while, I scooped out small portions and rolled them into small balls.  I put slices of olives on them and they looked like eyeballs!  These were served with crackers.  I made vampire apples by quartering some Jonagold apples and cutting out a mouth, then I pushed slivered almonds into the mouth to make the teeth.  Finally I made some brownies, frosted them with cream cheese frosting, and piped spiderwebs and spiders on top with milk chocolate.  I think everything was a hit because there were only a few veggies and a couple of apples for me to bring home.  You'll see a few of the left overs in Molly's lunch.
Our main entrée is a Castlewood Honey Ham and Castlewood Pepper Jack Cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with a little mustard for extra flavor.  We've cut this sandwich into a ghost and pumpkin to get us in the mood for Halloween.  Headless Horseman anyone?

The vegetable side is carrots and sugar snap peas.  The carrots were cut with a crinkle knife for texture and to make it easier to bite into.  The sugar snap peas are alway a favorite and go well with the carrots because they are both sweet.

For our fruit side, we are using some of the left over vampire apples.  We chose the Jonagold apples because of their bright red color, good for lips, and their firm yet sweet texture.  The slivered almonds do become a little soft and sometimes break but that's a great way to show your kids what happens when they eat too much candy.  ☺

Finally we have Annie's Homegrown Bunny Graham Friends for dessert.  This is a great blend of chocolate, vanilla and chocolate chip graham crackers.  It's just enough sweetness to get Molly through the second half of the day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back to it!

We had the day off today so that means a short week of school.  Yes, a four day week!  But the question is; is it really worth it?  Doesn't it seem like that the four days is crammed with all of the normal things plus whatever was missed on the day off?  It's like a constant game of catch up.  Then, isn't the rest of the week thrown off?  "It feels like Monday" will be heard by the majority of us tomorrow.  But, then again, it was SO nice to have today off.  I got a lot accomplished.  The kids' closets and dressers have been emptied and most of the clothes replaced with fall and winter clothes.  I left a few things in there for the possibility of an Indian Summer day, where it feels like summer in the middle of fall.  All of our Halloween decorations are up and my house is mostly clean by default because while putting up the decorations, I had to clean the places they where were going.  I'm glad that I had this day to get things done but it's back to the old grind tomorrow.
Our main entrée is cheese tortellini with light Italian dressing.  Molly requested this because she says that it is one of her favorite lunches.  We have to agree with her.  There is just something about a filling pasta salad that helps to get you through the day.

We have strawberries for our fruit side.  These little beauties smell incredible.  Strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, so hopefully it will help Molly ward off whatever little cold is going around at her school.

For our vegetable, we've chosen black olives.  Since Molly won't get a ton of protein from her main entrée, she'll more than make up for it with the black olives.  Plus, it will make a nice accompaniment to the pasta because olives go so nicely with Italian Dressing.

Molly's dessert for today's lunch is Trader Joe's Schoolhouse Cookies.  Hopefully they will give her inspiration for her spelling test.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Columbus Day!

No school tomorrow because of Columbus Day.  I am truly thankful the Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 because his intuition is the reason that we are here today.  ☺  Thanks Chris!

Lunch at home tomorrow and no prep needed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sleep, Weekends and Oh Yeah, Lunch!

The countdown has been on all week.  Molly keeps saying, "we're getting closer to the weekend" or "is it the weekend yet?"  She keeps asking because she can't wait to sleep in on Saturday.  Mind you, I wake her up at 7:45 on school mornings and can barely drag her out of bed.  Then, Saturday morning comes around and she's up before 7:00.  I don't understand the logic of this.  If she is so tired during the week, then why doesn't she sleep in on the weekend?  Every morning, I go up to her room, reach over the top bunk and very quietly say, "Molly, honey, it's time to get up."  Then she proceeds to moan and groan like I am asking her to clean up every toy within a 5 mile radius.  So why, on Saturday morning when she has full advantage of sleeping until every last curl on her head has puffed out into whatever crazy shape the endless movement she does while sleeping causes it to do, does she wake up even earlier than the days when she's practically crying because it's too early?  But I must not complain because my incredible husband lets me sleep in on Saturdays so he is the one that has to deal with it.  Thanks Honey, you're the best!  Oh, more day of school until the weekend, so on to lunch.
Our main entrée is a Castle Wood Honey Ham with Castle Wood Pepper Jack Cheese sandwich.  We've cut these into two different leaf patterns because WE LOVE FALL!  We also added a little bit of mustard for extra flavor and because Molly is a big fan of mustard.

The fruit selection is a sugar pear.  We like how the colors on it vary.  The taste is so sweet and mild and the texture is a lot more smooth than most pears.  Plus, its very small so it makes a nice addition for a Friday lunch.

We grew lots of peppers in our garden this year and they keep on coming so we're serving slices of red pepper for our vegetable side.  We were amazed at the amount of vegetables that we are still getting and this beauty was perfectly ripe for the picking today.  The red color is amazing and it is so crisp and crunchy yet still has a subtle sweet flavor.

Fun Friday would not be complete without a special Friday treat.  We've placed some Junior Mints in a heart shaped silicone cupcake mold.  It's just our way of telling Molly how much we love her and what a great job she is doing in school and at home.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Requested Repeat Lunch

Molly came home and raved about her lunch and requested that we repeat it.  I love when kids really enjoy something different.  Most kids wouldn't even try peanut butter on banana bread.  You'd get the, "eeewww, MOM are you kidding me?  I'm not eating that.", reaction if you even mentioned it.  But now it is so popular at our house that not just one, but two kids requested it for tomorrow.  The third may want it as well but he doesn't quite have the verbal skills needed to express that yet.

Our main entrée is again homemade banana bread spread with Whole Foods honey roasted peanut butter and made into sandwiches.  If you are looking for this yummy and healthy (two words that are rarely put in the same sentence) recipe, check our post about yesterday's lunch.

The strawberries were a big hit too, so we are going to oblige Molly's request for them to again grace her lunch box.  We can't blame her, they are really delicious and the smell is very comforting.

We switched up the vegetable a little bit.  Our vegetable du jour is edamame.  Yes, those cute little soy beans that almost look like lima beans but taste a little different.  We had all three kids eating them at dinner tonight.  #2, Molly's sister, usually doesn't like them but tonight she ate them like they were going out of style.

We also added a Frigo Cheesehead String Cheese for some added protein and a little salty flavor.  We all are big fans of cheese in our house and this is one of our favorites.  The kids and adults really enjoy this easy and convenient snack.

For dessert, we've decided on old fashioned vanilla wafers.  Yes, most of the time these little lovelies are found in banana pudding or as the base of a tiramisu when lady fingers aren't available, but they are a nice and sweet little treat all by themselves.  Plus, they aren't a heavy cookie that sits at the bottom of your stomach for the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Banana Bread

Mom is pretty tired tonight.  My trainer upped my cardio like crazy tonight.  I'm ready for bed.  But, alas, I am going to make Molly a great lunch because she deserves it.  Plus, I don't have to make anything too outrageous for her because she is pretty happy with whatever ends up in her lunch box.  This is another reason that I am dedicated to her lunches, she's a great kid and would appreciate a simple pb&j every day.
Our main entrée is homemade banana bread spread with Whole Food's honey roasted peanut butter and made into sandwiches.  Banana bread and peanut butter are a great combination.  Molly's Daddy made this very yummy and healthy bread.  The flavor is so delicious that it seems like its not the healthier version.  *See recipe below

We've decided that our fruit will be sliced strawberries.  We found some really nice looking strawberries at the store today so we decided to give them a try.  They aren't as sweet as the early summer variety but they are still delicious nonetheless.

The vegetable for today's lunch is sugar snap peas with a few shredded carrots added in for color.  We can't get enough of these little green goodies in our house.

Dessert is courtesy of Molly's little sister.  It's her turn to bring a snack in for preschool so Molly reaps the rewards of the extras.  We made orange and black cherry Jell-o Jigglers and cut them with leaf shaped cookie cutters for the preschoolers and used a micro cookie cutter to make the scraps look like little jewels for Molly.

Healthy Banana Bread
1/3 c. natural applesauce
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 c. water
1 2/3 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix applesauce and brown sugar.
Stir in eggs then bananas then water.
Stir in dry ingredients.
Pour mixture into a loaf plan and bake 55-60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.
Cool and enjoy!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Little Leftovers

This evening we had one of those dinners that was thrown together in a pot pretty quickly.  The good thing about these meals is that usually means that there are leftovers.  I am happy to report that this was the case tonight.  I asked Molly if she thought that she would eat these leftovers cold and she tasted her meal and said, "yeah, I think so."  Here's hoping that cold leftovers make for a fun and nutritious meal!
Our main entrée is Mrs. T's mini pierogies in cheddar and potato and four cheese with potato.  (Yes, we thought that we grabbed two boxes of the same flavor but the combination is pretty delicious.)  We sprayed these with a little I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray to keep them from sticking and also to give the pasta on the outside a little extra flavor.

We decided to do a vegetable combo for today's lunch.  These are both leftovers as well.  Using a silicone cupcake mold, we divided canned green beans and black olives into their own little spaces.  Cold green beans are Molly's new favorite.  We can understand, we like to eat them right out of the can.

The fruit selection for today's lunch is mandarin oranges.  We think that the sweetness of these oranges will be a nice contrast to the salty flavor of the pierogies and olives.  Plus, they are so juicy that they almost melt in your mouth.

Molly's dessert is Pepperidge Farm S'Mores Adventures Goldfish crackers.  Molly and her sister like these as an afternoon snack or a sweet little ending to a meal.  We think that they taste almost like cereal marshmallows with regular and chocolate graham crackers.  Pretty yummy!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Autumn Lunch

This whole weekend was awesome.  We had no other huge plans and declared it Family Fun Weekend!  (note: I had a meeting this afternoon but it was during nap time.)  We enjoyed the cool weather, the crisp autumn air and the gorgeous colors that the fall brings to Western Pennsylvania every year.  After an incredible autumn filled weekend, we're sticking with the theme for Molly's lunch.
Our main entrée is pumpkin pancakes.  These were made by using canned pumpkin in the place of eggs for a boxed pancake mix.  We also added some extra cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla for spice and a little bit of Agave Nectar to make them sweeter and easier to eat while cold.  We cut these pancakes with leaf and pumpkin cookie cutters so there aren't 3 huge pancakes to eat, plus they go with our theme.  They are served with a side of light cream cheese that is flavored with a generous amount of Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter.  Molly can spread this on her pancakes or just use it as a dip.

We have some Castle Wood Honey Ham as a protein side since the main entrée is carbohydrate based.  We cut the ham with a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter.  (Cook's note: It is very hard to make ham look appetizing by itself.  We tried skewering it, it looked like intestines and we're not going for a gory Halloween theme...yet.  Then we tried rolling it; very wormy looking.  So, we stuck with cookie cutters in the hopes that Molly will find it fun and delicious at the same time.)

Our fruit side is an Empire apple that is peeled and cut into slices.  We added a little bit of orange juice to help keep them from browning.  This was a request of Molly's.  She loves apples, especially crunchy ones.

The vegetable side for our Autumn Lunch is carrots because they represent one of the most gorgeous fall colors, orange.  We fancied them up a little bit to keep lunch interesting.

We've decided not to do a dessert.  This weekend included a trip to our favorite candy store on the planet, Baldinger's.  We feel that Molly has ingested enough sugar from her scrumptious selections that she can go without it in this Autumn Lunch.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Special Saturday Picnic Lunch

A few days ago I had mentioned that my family has a tradition of going to McConnell's Mill State Park every fall.  Well, today was the day!  We had an official "Family Fun Day" with a trip to McConnell's Mill, a picnic lunch, running in the field, a snack at Brown's Country Kitchen, a trip to Baldinger's Candy Store and a great car ride with the windows down, enjoying the incredible autumn air.  The trees are turning gorgeous colors and the weather has chilled to a perfect playing outside temperature.  We had one of our best days EVER!
Our main entrée was pinwheel sandwiches.  We spread Laughing Cow Light Mozzarella Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil cheese on a tortilla.  We then layered Castle Wood Honey Ham or Castle Wood Turkey Pastrami on top.  Next we put a layer of spinach on top of the meat and rolled the tortilla like a jelly roll.  We sliced the roll into pieces and they were ready to eat.  We didn't think that Molly's 1 year old brother would be too keen with this entrée so we made him a good old pb&j cut into quarters.  He loved the pb&j but also enjoyed the pinwheels.  Guess we don't have to make something different for him next time.

The vegetables of the day were mini sweet peppers, cut into strips, and sugar snap peas.  The kids really love the crunch of these vegetables.  Molly and her sister actually ate more veggies than chips.  It was pretty incredible.

An easy fruit for a picnic is apples.  Whole apples are great but when a few family members don't have all of their teeth yet, we opted to peel and cut our Empire Apples.  We added a little bit of orange juice to keep them from browning.

Since it was a picnic, potato chips were definitely in order.  We purchased some baked potato crisps from Giant Eagle, our local grocery chain.  We opted for the Cheddar and Sour Cream flavor and man, were they good!  Its products like this that make healthy eating a little easier.

Our outrageously awesome dessert was a cupcake tasting provided by Babee Cakes Bakery!  (Click to see the incredible menu.)  April sent a box of goodies to us that included 3 different flavors.  Since cupcakes are temperamental during shipping, April sent these incredible treats in individual containers which made them into cupcake parfaits, almost like a shot glass dessert.  YUM!  We received the Pucker Up, a Lemon and Ginger cupcake, the Little Punkin, enough said, and the Snow White, a white chocolate wonder with a lightly minted and the most delicious frosting that we've ever eaten.  April my dear, you have quite a gift!
Throw in a few bottles of water and some Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch for the kids and we were set!
As I mentioned, after running around and working up an appetite again, we headed to Brown's Country Kitchen in Portersville.  They have such great food but its the pie that brings us back every time.  This place is like an old fashioned diner meets Grandma's kitchen.  Its a little off of the beaten path but the locals know it well and visit it often.
After we sufficiently stuffed ourselves, we headed to Baldinger's Candy Store.  This place has been around forever.  Well, the old place was around forever.  But, they've opened a newer store and it is still wonderful.  There is a distinct candy smell when you open the door.  Everything is laid out so nicely on old tables with signs that read, "Every item on this table is 10 Cents" or "Penny Candy".  Yes, they still have candy for a penny.  It is a rite of passage for just about every kid who has ever lived in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh.

Our ride was so serene.  The leaves are all changing but they haven't really started to fall yet.  The trees were vibrant and full.  The colors are unmatched by any crayon I've ever seen.  Autumn is definitely my favorite season and this tradition makes it even better.