It’s Tapiocalicious: Crock Pot Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

lunch on 22 Apr 2014: chocolate tapioca pudding with strawberry jam, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grape tomatoes and carrots
lunch on 22 Apr 2014: chocolate tapioca pudding with strawberry jam, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grape tomatoes and carrots
lunch on 22 Apr 2014: chocolate tapioca pudding with strawberry jam, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grape tomatoes and carrots

That crazy looking gelatinous mass in the round tin is actually a delicious serving of chocolate tapioca pudding with homemade strawberry chia jam on top. After making traditional tapioca last week, which involved separating eggs, whisking, stirring, stirring, more stirring, beating and folding, I decided to try making tapioca pudding in the crock pot. I made e a super simple vegan tapioca pudding, so I wouldn’t have to worry about eggs curdling and all that. I am happy to report that it’s SO EASY to make a big batch of delicious tapioca pudding in a slow cooker.

Crock Pot Chocolate Tapioca Pudding

  • 8 cups milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add all ingredients to the crock pot, except the vanilla extract. Cook on high for 2–3 hours. After about an hour, stir the pudding to make sure that the tapioca isn’t all lumping together. Then stir occasionally until the tapioca pearls turn translucent. The pudding will look a little runny at this point, but it will thicken up substantially as it cools. Once the pudding is cooled down to room temperature, stir in the vanilla extract and refrigerate. This makes a pretty big batch: tapioca pudding for a crowd!

 

 

Easter Leftovers = Ham and Hard-boiled Eggs for Days

lunch on 21 Apr 2014: Easter leftovers lunch
lunch on 21 Apr 2014: Easter leftovers lunch
lunch on 21 Apr 2014: Easter leftovers lunch

This is the first of what I’m sure will be many meals made from Easter leftovers. It’s all there: hard-boiled eggs, grilled glazed ham, hot cross buns, carrots and strawberries. Now I just need to come up with creative ways to use up more than a dozen hard-boiled eggs. We’ve already had pickled eggs and deviled eggs and hard-boiled eggs sliced on top of fried rice—I’m just warming up.

a tray of hot cross buns fresh out of the oven
a tray of hot cross buns fresh out of the oven
an eager bunny reaches for her chocolate bunny
an eager bunny reaches for her chocolate bunny

 

Egg Lover’s Lunch: Frittata and Homemade Tapioca Pudding

lunch on 17 Apr 2014: bacon, potato, spinach and cheddar frittata with tapioca pudding and fruit
lunch on 17 Apr 2014: bacon, potato, spinach and cheddar frittata with tapioca pudding and fruit

Last night for dinner I made a decadent frittata filled with crunchy bacon, potatoes (sautéed in bacon fat), spinach, leeks and loads of cheddar cheese. Because we’re fancy, the kids and I sprinkled some nasturtiums on top. The leftovers went right into the lunch boxes. I was thinking this would be a super fast lunch to make until Iain requested tapioca pudding. I grumbled a bit, but then went to work separating eggs and stirring, stirring, stirring. Tapioca pudding is quick to burn if you don’t keep stirring. Since this is the last lunch of the week, I didn’t mind making a little tapioca pudding for my sweeties.

An Inspired Lunch: Smoked Sardines on Buttered German Hippie Bread

smoked sardines on buttered vollkornbrot whole grain bread
smoked sardines on buttered vollkornbrot whole grain bread
smoked sardines on buttered vollkornbrot whole grain bread

Last night I was feeling tired and in a bit of a lunch rut, until: inspiration! Thinly sliced whole grain vollkornbort bread (German power food) + butter + lightly smoked sardines = most satisfying sandwich ever. I am crazy about smoked sardines and, believe it or not, the kiddos share my love of oily little fish. As I was making this sandwich, it looked so delicious that I decided to make a version for myself with sliced cucumbers and cracked pepper.

lunch on 16 Apr 2014: smoked sardine sandwich, almonds, pretzel thins, carrots, granola bar, apple slices and tangerines
lunch on 16 Apr 2014: smoked sardine sandwich, almonds, pretzel thins, carrots, granola bar, apple slices and tangerines

I just love this power lunch.

Crazy Busy, But Lunch Goes On

lunch on 11 Apr 2014: watermelon, homemade granola bar, cheddar cheese, dried apricots, schoolbook cookies, and vollkornbrot with Nutella
lunch on 11 Apr 2014: watermelon, homemade granola bar, cheddar cheese, dried apricots, schoolbook cookies, and vollkornbrot with Nutella
lunch on 11 Apr 2014: watermelon, homemade granola bar, cheddar cheese, dried apricots, schoolbook cookies, and vollkornbrot with Nutella

This is shaping up to be another insanely busy quarter. Lots of late nights and working on the weekends, but no matter, lunch still goes on. Friday’s lunch contained all sorts of fun stuff: Nutella on German hippie bread (vollkornbrot), a little homemade granola bar (pulled out the freezer), dried apricots, cinnamon schoolbook cookies, a date, and chunks of watermelon.

lunch on 14 Apr 2014: mini tuna sandwich with celery, grape tomatoes, Goldfish, grapes and tangerines
lunch on 14 Apr 2014: mini tuna sandwich with celery, grape tomatoes, Goldfish, grapes and tangerines

Monday’s lunch featured a mini tuna sandwich on a King’s Hawaiian sweet roll (processed white bread: the opposite of vollkornbrot) with Goldfish, and colorful fruits and veggies.

lunch on 15 Apr 2014: smoked turkey and cheddar sandwich with chile limón cucumbers and grapes
lunch on 15 Apr 2014: smoked turkey and cheddar sandwich with chile limón cucumbers and grapes

Tuesday’s lunch contains a kid-favorite sandwich: smoked turkey and cheddar cheese on multigrain sourdough bread. The sides have a green theme: cucumbers and grapes.

Now, if I could just figure out what to make for tomorrow’s lunch.

Variation on a Theme: Two Sandwiches

lunch on 9 April 2014: sunflower seed butter, Nutella and banana sandwich with fun crunchies, strawberries and tangerines
lunch on 9 April 2014: sunflower seed butter, Nutella and banana sandwich with fun crunchies, strawberries and tangerines

This sandwich is a guaranteed kid-pleaser: sunflower seed butter, Nutella and thin slices of banana. Umm, yum. I made a little crunchy mix to go with the sandwich: cinnamon schoolbook cookies, Corn Chex, Rice Chex and Baby Goldfish. The fruit just screams “springtime in California”: strawberries and tangerines.

lunch on 10 Apr 2014: smoked turkey and cheddar mini sandwich with rice cakes, carrots, grape tomatoes, apple slices and tangerines
lunch on 10 Apr 2014: smoked turkey and cheddar mini sandwich with rice cakes, carrots, grape tomatoes, apple slices and tangerines

For today’s yummy lunch, I went with a very different, but equally kid-pleasing sandwich: smoked turkey and cheddar cheese on a buttery dinner roll. The sides are little rice cake pieces (every try to cut up a rice cake?), grape tomatoes, baby carrots, apple slices and little tangerine segments.

Naturally Sweetened Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

lunch on 8 Apr 2014: chocolate peanut butter chia pudding, apple cinnamon Fig Bar, dried apricots, fruit and veggies
lunch on 8 Apr 2014: chocolate peanut butter chia pudding, apple cinnamon Fig Bar, dried apricots, fruit and veggies
lunch on 8 Apr 2014: chocolate peanut butter chia pudding, apple cinnamon Fig Bar, dried apricots, apple slices, tangerine slices, tomatoes, carrot and goji berries

Yesterday, I made a yummilicious chocolate chia pudding for the kiddos’ lunches. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, and 100% delicious.

Naturally Sweetened Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding
  • 5–6 medjool dates
  • 1-1/2 cup almond milk
  • 3 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

If your dates didn’t just fall off a date tree, soak them in the almond milk for at least an hour. Blend all ingredients, except the chia seeds, until smooth. Pour into a glass container, stir in the chia seeds, cover and refrigerate overnight or until the pudding is thick.

photo courtesy of Iain

Yummy Sandwich Monday: Smoked Turkey and Cheddar with Spinach and Dill Pickle Relish on Cracked Wheat Sourdough

crazy good strawberries
lunch on 7 Apr 2013: smoked turkey and cheese sandwich with Baby Goldfish, strawberries and veggies
lunch on 7 Apr 2013: smoked turkey and cheese sandwich with Baby Goldfish, strawberries and veggies

The kiddos are big fans of smoked turkey sandwiches—especially smoked turkey with cheddar cheese and lots of dill pickle relish. As you can see from this lunch, the produce at the farmers market is starting to look truly spectacular.

crazy good strawberries
crazy good strawberries

 

baby carrots and sugar snap peas
baby carrots and sugar snap peas

dramatic photos courtesy of Iain

 

A Friday Lunch of Small Bites

lunch on 4 April 2014: cheese, ham, trail mix, crackers, veggies, and apples
lunch on 4 April 2014: cheese, ham, trail mix, crackers, veggies, and apples
lunch on 4 April 2014: cheese, ham, trail mix, crackers, veggies, and apples

I decided to go with a lunch of small bites for today’s fun Friday feast. There are all sorts of goodies in this lunch: fancy cheese, Canadian bacon, cereal trail mix, savory crackers, crisp veggies, and slices of tart Granny Smith apple.

assorted crackers and veggies
assorted crackers and veggies
homemade trail mix
homemade trail mix

The trail mix is a winning combination of Chex, almonds, date pieces, dried cranberries and peanut butter chips. Yum! The kiddos absolutely love a snacky lunch of small nibblies.

dramatic photos courtesy of Iain

 

 

Can’t Get Enough of that Yogurt Stuff

lunch on 3 April 2014: yogurt with bananas, strawberry chia seed jam and Nutella with a raspberry Fig Bar, schoolbook cookies, citrus fruit and celery
lunch on 3 April 2014: yogurt with bananas, strawberry chia seed jam and Nutella with a raspberry Fig Bar, schoolbook cookies, citrus fruit and celery

Lately, the kids and I have been eating tons of yogurt—yogurt parfaits for breakfast, yogurt with peanut butter, honey and graham crackers for a snack, and fruit-filled yogurt for lunch. Today’s yogurt is swirled with homemade strawberry chia jam, a little bit of Nutella (crazy decadence!), and lots of banana slices. Mmm: sweet, tart, and creamy yumminess. For sides I packed a whole wheat raspberry Fig Bar, some cinnamon schoolbook cookies, a dried apricot, sliced oranges, tangerines and celery sticks. And the little treat is a dark chocolate covered sea salt caramel.

Meatball and Spinach Sandwich with Colorful Fruit and Veggies

lunch on 2 April 2014: meatball and spinach sandwich with fruit and veggies
lunch on 2 April 2014: meatball and spinach sandwich with fruit and veggies

Last night’s dinner of spaghetti with turkey meatballs was immediately repurposed into today’s lunch: thinly sliced turkey meatballs, spinach and cheese with marinara sauce on cracked wheat sourdough bread. The kiddos are currently on a big sourdough kick, and cracked wheat sourdough has become the new bread of choice for toast and sandwiches. Yum—I love sourdough. And take a look at those strawberries. Now that April has arrived, the strawberries at the farmers market are starting to get incredibly sweet and delicious.

 

Kale Pesto Tortilla Pizza

lunch on 1 April 2014: kale pesto tortilla pizza with celery sticks, pear slices and schoolhouse cookies
lunch on 1 April 2014: kale pesto tortilla pizza with celery sticks, pear slices and schoolhouse cookies
lunch on 1 April 2014: kale pesto tortilla pizza with celery sticks, pear slices and schoolbook cookies

I love tortilla pizzas. Put some marinara sauce and mozzarella between two tortillas, top with more sauce and cheese, and pop it in the oven until everything looks crisp and golden. Yesterday, I made some kale and basil pesto, so I had that on hand to use as a pizza topping. Little Stuff loved the pizza, but Big Stuff rejected the kale pesto. Kids are so unpredictable. Next month, Big Stuff might decide he loves kale pesto. Who can get inside the crazy brain of an eight year old—not me.