Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hello December!

Tomorrow is December 1st.  Where did November go?  Weren't we just putting on our Halloween costumes and trick or treating?  Our family is going to do our best to slow down a little and enjoy the splendor of the Christmas season.  Yes, we have a lot of things planned but we are making sure that we don't forget why we celebrate.  Simple things like lighting the Advent wreath candles and reading the bible verses every night or playing with our Fisher Price Nativity keep our minds and hearts focused on the miracle that is Jesus Christ.

There won't be quite as many lunches to pack in this month so we are going to try to make them as fun and tasty as possible.  Molly sure does deserve it.  She will definitely be on Santa's nice list.
Our main entrée is a fun pasta salad.  Molly has been asking for pasta salad for the past two days and we finally had time to make it tonight.  It's made with Trader Joe's Vegetable Radiatore Pasta, black olives, pepperoni, chunks of string cheese and light Italian dressing.

Our veggie side is a baby spinach salad with light Italian dressing.  We decided to forgo the regular balsamic dressing and match up the Italian dressing with the pasta salad.

Our fruit side is Southern Grove dried Fuji Apples from Aldi.  They are dried apples with a little bit of cinnamon sugar on them.  They are kind of like dessert and all of our kids really like them.

Our dessert is a few graham crackers.  Just a little something sweet but still healthy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Excited for Our Friends!

I have an early morning tomorrow.  I volunteered to drive a friend and her family to the airport so that they can go to Disney.  I am so excited for them.  The daughter is dancing in two different shows at Disney as part of the Christmas celebration.  I can't imagine what a thrill that will be for my friend and her daughter.  I am picking them up at 4am so that they can be on their way to "The Happiest Place On Earth!"  I wouldn't do this for just anyone, this is one of my besties and her daughter is one of Molly's BFFs so they fit in that special "I'd do anything for you" category.  Best of luck to you Brynna!  Have a blast.

Now on to lunch.
Our main entrée is peanut butter and jelly on a hot dog roll.  Yes, a hot dog roll.  We had some rolls left over so we figured that we'd mix it up a little bit and put pb&j in it.  My Mom used to do this when we ran out of bread and it was so cool to be eating something other than a hot dog or sausage in a hot dog roll.  We'll see how Molly reacts tomorrow.

Our veggie side is another baby spinach salad with Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinaigrette.  This was requested by Molly.  She certainly is her mother's daughter.  We go through so much spinach in our house that I think it may be something that we try to grow in the garden next summer.

Our fruit side is Aldi Tropical Fruit Salad.  Again, by request.  Molly says that the pineapple isn't too tangy because the other fruits mellow it out.  You never can tell how sophisticated a 6 year old's palate is, but hers is pretty top notch.

Finally our dessert is Milk Chocolate Covered Gingerbread Hearts from Aldi.  These little goodies have an apricot filling inside of them that compliments the gingerbread and chocolate so well.  A yummy treat to finish a yummy lunch.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Almost Forgot!

Short post tonight because I almost forgot to make Molly's lunch.  I'm no longer up for the Mother of the Year Award.  hahaha!  After an incredible and delicious Thanksgiving, black Friday shopping, trimming the tree, decorating the house and wrapping presents, Molly's lunch was the last thing on my mind.  I was kind of hoping that this holiday would continue through tomorrow.  Guess not, so on to lunch.
Our main entrée is cold pepperoni pizza.  We have a tradition to have pizza in one of the days following Thanksgiving because eventually, the turkey does run out.  This is left over from our dinner tonight.

Our veggie side is a baby spinach salad with Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinaigrette on the side.  Molly really likes these salads lately and we are happy to help her get her leafy greens in.

Our fruit side is a Gala apple that has been cut into large slices.  This apple isn't as sweet or tart as some of our other favorites but it's still a tasty and juicy fruit.

Finally, for dessert we have a chocolate chip granola bar.  This is not one of our usual staples but we wanted to make sure that Molly had a filling lunch and the granola bar is chock full of oats so it will solve that issue in a hurry.

Hope everyone had a nice break.  Back to the daily grind and getting ready for the next holiday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving at Our House

This is one of our special editions of Molly's Lunch Box.  We are having Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year so I decided to share our menu and some recipes with all of you.

This has to be one of, if not the favorite meals of the year in our house.  Yes, this American tradition of stuffing ourselves with turkey and fixings until we are ready to burst, plus watching football and yelling at the television may be a bit odd, but it's a ton of fun.

We, at our house, don't forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving and the reason why we celebrate.  We are thankful for the pilgrims that came across the pond so many years ago and helped to found this great country.  We are also thankful for a plethora of things happening in our lives right now.  God is so good and for that, we are forever in his debt.

Now on to dinner.

We are cooking the traditional turkey.  Our bird is just barely under 20 pounds this year.  We are going to make a compound butter by softening a stick of butter and adding fresh chopped sage to it.  We will rub the whole bird with this butter just before baking.  The house is going to smell SO good!

This recipe is similar to what we do.
We will use the turkey drippings to make a yummy gravy that we will serve with our turkey.  We also serve canned cranberry sauce with our turkey.  Our kids alone could go through an entire can of it themselves.  It's not the most attractive condiment but it sure is scrumptious.

My husband is making his Mother's stuffing.  This is the most incredible stuffing, but it's a family secret so I cannot share. (sorry)  I can tell you that one of the secrets is using a little bit of the giblets and liver from the turkey, but that's all I can say.  It is amazing!  I used to be a Stove Top Stuffing girl, but now I look forward to this stuffing more than the turkey itself.

Now, Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without creamy, buttery, mouthwatering mashed potatoes.  We found an incredible recipe that is tried and true.  There is a woman named Ree Drummond and she is called The Pioneer Woman.  She has some of the most delicious recipes out there and this is one of them.
Our nephew loves corn so that will be one of our vegetable dishes.  We love brussels sprouts in our family.  We grow them in our garden.  If you've never seen a brussels sprout growing, it's pretty amazing.  They grow on a stem and it looks almost like a studded stick.  We found the most delicious recipe for them a few years ago.  Now, we usually just steam them but this recipe is our "special occasion" recipe.  Plus, bacon makes everything taste better.
As a tradition, we always serve salad because there has to be something healthy on the table.  My Mom is bringing a spinach salad with a bacon dressing.  Healthy?  Probably not, but tasty, definitely.  E for effort!

Every big meal needs to have bread and butter so my Mother-in-Law is bringing crescent rolls.  Definitely a holiday tradition.  These buttery little goodies are so yummy that there are never any left overs.

Now on to dessert.  The best part!  (In my opinion)

Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert and a must on the menu.  My Mom is bringing a pumpkin pie that she bought from the store.  I have to say, I'm right with her because it is much easier and usually much less expensive to buy the pie from the store.

The girls and I are making a Caramel Apple Pie.  This is a new recipe for us.  It looks so good.  I can't wait to taste it.  And yes, I bought some vanilla ice cream to go with it.
Now, the kids like pie...sometimes.  So, I found this recipe and I have to try it.  My kids may say no to pie, but they have never turned down a cookie. 
Finally, we'll have wine, beer (provided by my brother-in-law), milk, soda, juice and coffee available to drink.  

This is going to be a great holiday!

ps - Molly and her sister are making a whole bunch of decorations for our house.  We are very excited and incredibly thankful!

*All photos were borrowed from the recipe link sites.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lunch Before Break

Do you remember the school days leading up to a holiday break?  They seemed endless and pointless to me as a kid.  The clock would never go fast enough because I knew that there was so much fun to be had when I got home.  Plus, we never did much of anything educational, in my opinion.  Why did we even bother going to school?  The excitement of the upcoming time off wiped out any possibility of learning.  Molly is experiencing this right now.  She was bouncing when she got home and could barely stand to leave to go to her catechism class tonight.  She has grand plans about making place mats and name cards.  Molly is a great artist and loves to decorate so I'm sure that she has even bigger ideas for how she will decorate for Thanksgiving.
Well, this is the last lunch before her break.  Not much longer until vacation baby girl!
Our main entrée is a turkey sandwich!  Just kidding...mostly.  It's actually a peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat but it is cut with a turkey cookie cutter and a pumpkin cookie cutter.  We're getting excited for Thanksgiving at our house so we decided to get the ball rolling early with the turkey and pumpkin.

Our vegetable side is mixed vegetables that were frozen, then cooked and then chilled.  Molly really likes this combination and it tastes very good cold.

Our fruit side is Aldi canned Tropical Fruit Salad.  Pineapple, Mango and Papaya are just a few of the fruits in the lovely blend.  It's sweet and juicy with a delicious tropical flavor.

Molly requested some string cheese so we were happy to oblige.  We usually have this as a snack in our house but once in a while we'll add it to lunch for extra calcium and protein.

Finally we have Archer Farms Organic Strawberry Real Fruit Strips from Target for our dessert.  We used a heart shaped micro cookie cutter to make this normally long rectangular strip a little more special for Molly.  *These were called fruit leather when we were growing up.  Then we put it in a heart shaped silicone cupcake liner to make it fancy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Only Two Lunches This Week

Here it comes!  The week of Thanksgiving.  All of the preparations and traditions are being crossed off of the to-do lists and the anticipation of one of the best meals of the year is filling the air.  I LOVE this time of the year.  It almost seems like there is excitement running through everyone's veins from now until after the new year.

Molly has two full days and one half day of school this week.  This means only two lunches.  I'm kind of torn about how I feel about this.  Yes, a break is nice, but I have so much fun making the lunches that I think I'll miss it.  We may have to do some fun Thanksgiving left over lunches during the break.
Our main entrée is Trader Joe's Mini Cheese Ravioli pasta salad with light Italian dressing.  These are a dry pasta that are just as easy to cook up as mac and cheese, but much tastier.  

Our vegetable side is a butter lettuce salad with Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinaigrette on the side.  Molly has been on a salad kick lately so we are happy to oblige her request for more salad.

Our fruit side is a Honey Crisp apple cut into slices.  This is our go-to fruit.  It holds up for a long time and is alway sweet and crunchy.  Plus, you know what they say...And apple a day....

Our dairy side is Dannon Light and Fit vanilla yogurt.  We wanted to give Molly a little calcium and protein boost since her main entrée isn't protein heavy.

Finally we put in a few Frooties candies for dessert.  These are fruit flavor Tootsie Rolls and the kid just love them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Calm Before the Holiday Storm

We're here, the weekend before Thanksgiving.  The last weekend before all of the holiday chaos begins.  I can't wait.  We love Thanksgiving at our house.  There is something about the warmth and love that goes into one of the most incredible meals of the year.  It helps us all remember that the simple things in life are sometimes the things that we are most thankful for.  Enjoy the calm before the holiday storm this weekend!

On to tomorrow's lunch!
Our main entrée is a Laughing Cow Light Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil wedge with whole grain crackers.  Molly really enjoys being involved in making her lunch, so now she can make her own little cracker sandwiches.  We also added a string cheese in case the spreadable cheese isn't quite enough.

Our vegetable side is a baby spinach salad served with Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinaigrette.  This was such a big hit the other day that she requested it for today.

Our fruit side is mandarin oranges.  I think that each of my kids would eat a can of these a day.  They are often requested as a snack in our house.

Finally, our Fun Friday dessert.  We still have a TON of Halloween candy left so we picked one of Molly's favorites as a sweet ending to her lunch.  Peanut M&M's and a fruit flavored Tootsie Roll because she deserves the extra treat for being so good this week.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Classic Request

Molly has loved the two days of different types of pizza. What kid wouldn't?  But, she has requested the classic standby lunch...peanut butter and jelly.  I think that she, like most kids, is a creature of habit and finds comfort in the classics.  Plus, I think that Molly really enjoys it when she has a say in what is packed in her lunch.  I kind of like it too because then I don't have to think of something to make. ☺
Our main entrée is a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat.  We've used our classic heart cookie cutter and micro heart cookie cutter to share some love with our girl.

Our veggie side is a frozen mixed vegetable blend.  We microwaved these, let them cool and put them in one of the little pink containers.

Our fruit side is canned tropical fruit salad.  It's very juicy and sweet.  Plus, it's loaded with Vitamin C, which we all can use this time of year.

Finally, we are repeating dessert with the Aldi Pfeffernusse Cookies.  Molly absolutely loved these cookies to the point that she requested that I buy several more bags the next time I got to the store.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cold Pizza

We had a great night at our house tonight.  We decided to order a pizza and some wings for a special mid-week surprise, since we usually reserve these treats for the weekend.  My Dad came for dinner while my Mom is at my brother's house awaiting the arrival of his daughter or son on Friday.  (Which we are Super excited about!)  We sat down, served our pizza and plugged in Toy Story 3.  About 20 minutes into it, Andy (the toys' owner) opens up a big black garbage bag to throw away some old toys.  At this, Molly's younger sister flips out and starts screaming and crying.  "I don't wanna throw away my toys...ever!  Mama, turn this movie off PLEASE!"  So, we ended up watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving instead.  It ended up being a fun night after all.  And we have leftovers for lunch!
Our main entrée is left over pepperoni pizza from Sir Pizza.  This pizza doesn't have the best sauce or the best crust but the pepperoni is incredible, plus "there is just something about the combined mediocrity that makes it spectacular."  So says Molly's Dad.  And it's even better cold!

Our veggie side is a baby spinach salad.  We've put some Trader Joe's Balsamic Vinaigrette in a small container so that Molly can add as much or as little as she would like.  

Our fruit side is a Honey Crisp apple cut into slices.  The crunch on these apples is incredible and the sweetness is awesome.

Our dessert is Pfeffernusse Cookies from Aldi.  These are a traditional German gingerbread cookie with a hard icing on top.  Very light and sweet and the perfect end to a great lunch.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Daddy's Going to School!

Shhhh!  Don't tell Molly but, Daddy's going to school tomorrow.  Last week, the student teacher sent out a note asking for parent volunteers to help with paper maché and Molly's Dad is jumping on that opportunity.  He had an extra vacation day that we usually save all year in case of emergency so he's going to use it tomorrow.  I know that Molly will be over the moon when she finds out.  I think it may just be her favorite school day ever!

To go along with this fun day, we've made a fun lunch!
Our main entrée is pizza!!!  We're channeling our Mummy Pizza and switching it up just a little bit without the olives.  We toasted a whole grain English Muffin (a little extra toasty since the sauce seems to make it a little soggy when cold.  But the extra toasting seems to do the trick), added some pizza sauce and then layered some pulled apart string cheese and toasted again.

Our veggie side is sugar snap peas.  Nice and crunchy plus a very refreshing flavor.

Our fruit side is mandarin oranges.  Very juicy and sweet, plus the added vitamin C that Molly will need now that the cold season is in full effect!

We tossed in a few flavored Frooties Tootsie Rolls for dessert.  Just a little extra something for our girl. ☺

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Monday

This weekend was pretty relaxed and fun.  I'm guessing it's the calm before the storm known as the holiday season.  I just feel like the next few weeks are going to absolutely fly by and before we know it, it's going to be Christmas.  This year, we are trying to prepare early, not sweat the little things and just enjoy each day watching the wonderment in our children's eyes.

But, we still have a few more weeks of school which means that there are lunches to make.
Our main entrée is a good old pb&j on whole wheat.  This has been the requested entrée for the last several lunches and we completely understand.  It always tastes good and is filling enough to get us through the rest of the day.  We cut this sandwich out with a shooting star cookie cutter and a tiny star micro cookie cutter.  Molly's been doing really well in school and we think that she deserves a star!

Our vegetable side is canned green beans.  Molly is just like her Mother, we could eat canned green beans everyday and straight from the can.

Our fruit side is a honey crisp apple cut into slices.  This is served with some Tastefully Simple Creamy Caramel Sauce for dipping.

Finally, our dessert is a small square of Tastefully Simple Blue Ribbon Blueberry Bar.  So delicious.  It is one of the best oatmeal "cookies" that we have ever tasted!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fun Friday Plus a Reward Lunch

Despite it being a shortened school week, it seems to have dragged on.  I think that Daylight Savings time is really catching up to us.  See, having a 3 year old basically cancels out that extra hour of sleep.  We still put her to bed at the same time but she keeps waking an hour early.  This has caused said 3 year old to get quite grumpy and defiant today which makes us even more exhausted.  Here's hoping that everything gets caught up this weekend!  At least Molly is pretty much back on schedule.  I guess that's the difference between 3 year olds and 6 year olds.

Now on to Fun Friday!  Molly just loves Fun Friday.  We are actually giving her some money in her lunch box for the school store.  She's been working so hard on her reading and sight words and she deserves a reward.  The school PTA has a store in the cafeteria on Friday where the kids can buy fun little things like pencils, notebooks and stickers.  I think it's a great way to help the kids understand how money works and the importance of rewards.
Our main entrée is a peanut butter and jelly with extra jelly, by request.  We were informed that the last few sandwiches were a little peanut butter heavy and more jelly would make them taste better.  Kids!  So, we have fulfilled this request.

Our fruit side is a honey crisp apple.  These apples taste so much like apple cider.  There is an extra sweetness and you can almost taste a little cinnamon.  Very delicious.

Our veggie side is sugar snap peas.  We're not sure how much longer these will be available so we are taking advantage of them while we can.

Finally, we have a special Fun Friday dessert.  We picked up some Oreo Cakesters earlier this week and we've been saving them for this lunch.  These are the peanut butter creme filled Oreo Cakesters.  A very yummy Fun Friday treat indeed!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful for Veterans Day

As we approach Thanksgiving I am reminded of all of the wonderful things in this world that I am thankful for.  Tomorrow is Veteran's Day and I am extremely thankful for Veterans.  Without those who serve and protect our country, we wouldn't be able to live these privileged lives that we live.  My husband and I try to instill this gratitude in our children.  Every time we see a man or woman in uniform we thank them for serving our country.  This is just a small token of thanks for the daily sacrifice that they undergo. So, from my entire family, thank you to all former, current and future veterans.  We are forever in your debt.  And a special thank you to the families of these soldiers.  Your sacrifice is usually unsung but without your support, our troops would never be able to do the awesome job that they do, to thank you too.

On to lunch!
Our main entrée is a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich on whole wheat bread.  We've cut these out with some cookie cutters that represent a few of our other favorite things about November (other than Veteran's Day).  Turkey and Football!

Our vegetable side is some English Cucumbers that have been cut with a crinkle cut knife.  We just like to mix it up now and then. ☺

Our fruit side is some canned Tropical Fruit Salad.  Molly and her brother and sister really enjoy this combination.  It has some pineapple, papaya, mango and pears.  All nice and sweet and very juicy.

Finally, for dessert we have some New Pepperidge Farm Cocoa Adventures Goldfish Crackers.  These are chocolate flavored graham cracker goldfish with small marshmallows that are usually found in hot cocoa.  Its a really cute combination and the kids love them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do Over Lunch, Sort Of!

Well, despite a few tears this morning because she wanted to stay home, Molly made it.  I didn't get a phone call or an e-mail from a teacher or nurse telling me that Molly was having a rough day.  When I picked her up from school it seemed like she had one of the best days ever.  She got every single one of her sight words correct on her quiz this morning and she is getting more and more eager to read.  Whew!  This is one of those parenting moments when I feel like I'm actually doing something right.  Yes, we still have a long way to go, but this little baby step is a pretty big leap in the right direction.  Way To Go Molly!!!!

Now, on to lunch.  Molly made another request for her lunch.  She wanted the exact same thing as today, not that I blame her, but we've decided to make a few healthier modifications.
Our main entree is a peanut butter and "jelly" on whole wheat.  Again, instead of jelly, we have the Trader Joe's Cranberry Apple Butter.  We chose a butterfly cookie cutter to cut out Molly's sandwich because she loves butterflies and it kind of symbolizes how much she is spreading her wings and learning to fly.

Molly suggested strawberry yogurt as one of her sides.  So, we put some Dannon Light and Fit Strawberry yogurt in for her dairy side.

The request of potato chips was made for a side but we've chosen sugar snap peas instead.  This delicious veggie is not as salty or greasy, just much healthier; plus they are just as crunchy.

Our fruit/dessert is some sliced Honey Crisp apples with a side of Tastefully Simple's Creamy Caramel Sauce.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Little Love

We had a great weekend.  Molly got one on one time with both Mom and Dad.  We've been working on reading, sounding out words and memorizing sight words all weekend.  Plus, we've been reading for fun but pointing out the words so that Molly recognizes the different ways things are spelled and pronounced.  I have to hand it to her.  She's really working hard on this and not giving up.  You don't realize how difficult reading the English language is until you try to teach it to your child.  There are so many rules and just as many, if not more, exceptions to the rules.  For example said and laid; spelled very similarly but pronounced completely differently.  Then we have sail and sale, cent and scent and of course to, too and two.  No wonder these kids are overwhelmed a bit.

Molly said that she'd rather stay home with me tomorrow because she misses me when she is at school.  I know that she wants that one on one time with her teachers as well but with 20 students, it's next to impossible.  To show her a little love from home, I asked her what she wanted for lunch and I honored her request. (Plus, I made sure to blow extra kisses on everything that I'm serving her so that she might feel how much she is loved.)
Our main entrée is a good old pb&j on whole wheat.  We used Trader Joe's Cranberry Apple Butter instead of jelly again, but it was by request.  It really is a good tart and sweet flavor that compliments the peanut butter nicely.  We made sure to cut out as many hearts as we could to show Molly how much she is loved.

We have some vanilla yogurt because Molly said that it would taste good to her belly.  She had complained about some tummy issues tonight, but we are pretty confident that it is just some separation anxiety creeping up on her.  We agree that it will probably be nice and soothing on her stomach.  

Molly requested some pretzels to go with her sandwich.  She likes the crunch and salt, plus they are pretty nutritious.  

Finally, we have some home made chocolate chip cookies.  We made these classic favorites today.  Molly didn't have school and we always try to do something special on her days off.  Molly and her sister had a blast helping to measure out the ingredients and mix them up.  Plus, it is fun to watch them bake in the oven since we have a light in there.  

I know what you are thinking.  What about a fruit or vegetable?  You are carb-loading your kid!  Chocolate chip cookies, nutritious?  

Well, I think that it's fine to break from tradition every once in a while to honor a request lunch.  My friend Adam will be so pleased since he thinks that I only feed my kids twigs, wheat germ, veggies and trail mix. ☺

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fun Friday for Mom!

I've been so sick these past few days.  Being sick is not fun, especially when you are a parent.  Instead of being able to stay in bed all day with nothing but your own hunger causing you to get up, you have someone that is depending on you to do the normal everyday functions.  Well, this parent is wiped out and has decided to give myself a break and let Molly purchase her lunch at school tomorrow.  After looking at the school menu, I wasn't too upset with this decision.  A personal pan pizza, salad, fruit and milk are on the docket for tomorrow.  Sounds similar to what I might send since it has the main entrée, a fruit side and a vegetable side.  Also, it has one of the lowest caloric totals of any of the lunches offered.  
Now I'm off to bed and will hopefully be revitalized in the morning.  Fun Friday for Mom because it is one less thing that I have to worry about.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What happened to Fall?

Where in the world did fall go?  It was in the 80's for weeks in September and October.  Then we had about a week or two of some nice 60-70 degree days.  Now its in the 30's and they are threatening snow!  I'm not a happy camper.  I love the fall and I feel like we got ripped off because it was so brief.  Plus, everyone in my house has some sort of cold so we are going through tissues at a rapid pace.  Hopefully we will have a nice long spring this year.  These extreme temperature changes are NOT fun.  No matter what, there is still school, which means that there is still lunch.  So, without further ado, here's tomorrow's lunch.
Our main entrée is a Castle Wood Honey Ham and Castle Wood Pepper Jack Cheese sandwich on white with mustard.  We used a large heart shaped cookie cutter for the main sandwich and a star micro cookie cutter for the tiny sandwiches.  

Our vegetable side is mini dill pickles.  Molly just loves these crunchy, salty and vinegary goodies.  They are a great accompaniment to a ham sandwich.  My grandmother always had a big array of pickles and olives on her relish trays that were always set out with sandwiches.  We think that her traditions are awesome so we keep them going, even in a packed lunch.

Our fruit side is a small apple cut into slices.  We've added a little dessert element to today's fruit with some Tastefully Simple Creamy Caramel Sauce on the side as a dip.  We all really like this sauce.  It tastes great, even just on a spoon.

Finally we are serving a dairy side since we've hit dessert in our fruit side.  We have some Dannon Light and Fit Strawberry Yogurt as our dairy side.  Its a nice creamy sweet flavor to balance out the whole meal.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back at it!

After two days off, we are headed back to school tomorrow.  Molly can't wait to get back into the swing of things.  She is one of those kids who really likes school.  We didn't have school Monday or Tuesday because of parent/teacher conferences.  I went in today and I was so pleased with what I heard.  Molly has been struggling a little bit with reading but she really is giving it her all and it has been recognized by her teacher.  The teacher gave us some great tips on helping Molly at home and included web-sites and games to try.  We are so blessed that Molly has such an incredible First Grade teacher who really cares about her students.  Teachers don't usually get the recognition that they deserve so I just want to put it out there; thank you to all current, former and future teachers, you are so important to the future of our world and we very much appreciate you.
Our main entrée is not the average pb&j.  We've decided to mix it up a little and use Trader Joe's Cranberry Apple Butter instead of jelly.  This tart and sweet condiment is definitely a favorite at our house.  We use it on sandwiches with cream cheese, we use it on turkey and now on peanut butter.  Trader Joe's only sells it for a short time so if you have the opportunity, give it a try.  We used a cat shaped cookie cutter for the large sandwich and the heart micro cookie cutters for the little sandwiches.  Molly loves cats!

Our vegetable side is seedless cucumbers.  We peeled and cut the cucumbers into sticks.  Most cucumbers are cut in circles but the sticks seem to go over a little better with Molly.  We also figured that the cucumbers would be a good palate cleanser since we are serving peanut butter.

Our fruit side is strawberries.  We keep finding these little gems and they honestly taste great.  Molly says that strawberries are like dessert because they are so sweet and juicy, just like ice cream.  Plus, they remind us of summer.  Since it was in the 30's here in Pittsburgh this morning, we need all the reminding we can get. ☺

Finally, for dessert, we have Peanut M&M's fresh from the Trick or Treat bag.  We usually don't do candy unless it's Fun Friday but we've made an exception because of the plethora of candy at our house.  Plus, Molly has been very good and exceptionally helpful over this small break from school so she deserves a little reward.