Holiday Baking, Gift Giving and Merriment

a tin of cookies for some special friends
holiday cookie bags
holiday cookie bags

I am feeling good about my holiday productivity this year. Last Sunday, I hosted a cookie baking party and it was great. I had three friends bring over dough that was ready to roll, slice, form into balls, etc. We made cookies, decorated cookies and drank sangria all afternoon. Everyone got to bring home two big trays of cookies to make gift baggies for teachers, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone deserving of a little holiday cheer.

gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies
gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies

Even after the incredible output of the cookie party, mid-week I discovered I needed to make more cookies. So I did another round of gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies, which I decorated with the kids yesterday.

Star Wars holiday sugar cookies: Storm Trooper, Boba Fett, Darth Vader and Yoda
Star Wars holiday sugar cookies: Storm Trooper, Boba Fett, Darth Vader and Yoda

I made extra Star Wars sugar cookies, because nothing says Christmas cheer like a Jedi master and a Sith lord. I especially like how the Yoda cookies turned out.

a tin of cookies for some special friends
a tin of cookies for some special friends

Now most of our remaining cookies are packed up and ready to bring up to family and friends in San Francisco, where we’ll be spending a few days before returning home on Christmas Eve to await the arrival of Santa.

I hope you have a wonderful and happy holiday!

Turkey Quesadilla and Mom’s Favorite Lunch

open-faced eggadilla with salsa on top
lunch on 18 Dec 2014: turkey quesadilla with veggie straws and apple slices
lunch on 18 Dec 2014: turkey quesadilla with veggie straws and apple slices

The kiddos were very happy with their lunch today of turkey quesadillas with veggie straws and apples. I didn’t have to go to campus today, so I got to make my favorite lunch at home: anything fried with an egg and tortilla.

It’s quite simple. You start with some chopped up veggies, which you throw into a hot cast iron pan in a little oil. I used cauliflower leaves and spinach, because that’s what I had wilting in the fridge.

sauteed greens with a scrambled egg and pepper sauce
sauteed greens with a scrambled egg and pepper sauce

Once the veggies start to get soft, crack an egg right into the pan and scramble it around with a fork. Now is a good time to add some shakes of hot sauce and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.

grated cheese on top the egg and veggies
grated cheese on top the egg and veggies

As the egg starts to set, throw in some fresh grated fancy cheese. Or, just use cheapo pre-shredded grocery story cheese (oh, the shame!) like I did.

tortilla on top of the cheesy mix
tortilla on top of the cheesy mix

Now smush a tortilla onto the whole cheesy mess and press it down with a spatula. After about a minute, with confidence and zest for life, flip that baby over and crisp up the tortilla for a few seconds. If all goes well, most of the egg mixture will stick to the bottom of the tortilla as you flip it over.

open-faced eggadilla with salsa on top
open-faced eggadilla with salsa on top

Slide the tortilla onto a plate and serve with salsa on top. This open-faced eggadilla is the best meal for one ever. It takes less than 10 minutes, start to finish and it feels like a real treat: part frittata, part quesadilla, all good.

Sweet and Healthy: Banana Chocolate Chia Pudding

lunch on 17 Dec 2014: banana chocolate chia pudding with carrots, sugar snap peas, apples and a sweet rice roll
lunch on 17 Dec 2014: banana chocolate chia pudding with carrots, sugar snap peas, apples and a sweet rice roll
lunch on 17 Dec 2014: banana chocolate chia pudding with carrots, sugar snap peas, apples and a sweet rice roll

This lunch looked so tempting this morning that a little apple thief started sneaking a snack. I was surprised she didn’t grab a spoon and start digging into that bowl of chocolate chia pudding (sweetened with a super ripe banana and some dates). This lunch is actually vegan, yummy, and super kid-friendly. I feel so good when that happens.

Holiday Craziness and Two Yummy Veggie Lunches

lunch on 12 Dec 2014: chocolate chip coconut banana bread with edamame, fresh mozzarella and apples
lunch on 12 Dec 2014: chocolate chip coconut banana bread with edamame, fresh mozzarella and apples
lunch on 12 Dec 2014: chocolate chip coconut banana bread with edamame, fresh mozzarella and apples

I am deep in the throes of holiday craziness: gift wrapping, card making, card sending, baking, goodie bag making, etc. Somehow, I’ve also been managing to pack lunches and make sure the kids get their homework done every night. Last week I survived the broken fridge debacle, so this week feels mellow by comparison. And, speaking of the broken fridge, my amazing, incredibly handy and generous, mechanical genius of a neighbor fixed it the day after it went out. I was so euphoric about having my fridge back, that I immediately whipped up this yummy loaf of banana bread with chocolate chips and coconut.

lunch on 15 Dec 2014: sandwich with hummus and microgreens with veggie straws and orange slices
lunch on 15 Dec 2014: sandwich with hummus and microgreens with veggie straws and orange slices

I made lunch on Monday in the morning, so I had to work fast. I made a sandwich with hummus and microgreens, not really knowing if the kiddos would go for it. Surprise! They loved it. That was a super easy, healthy sandwich to make. I threw in the ever popular veggie straws and a sliced orange to complete the lunch. For today’s lunch I made a fruit salad and served it with half a sandwich (cream cheese and lingonberry jam: a hit with Lily, not with Iain) and some teriyaki beef jerky. But, I forgot to photograph it, because I’m an airhead.

Two Ways with Chocolate: Peanut Butter and Nutella Sandwich and Banana Cocoa Oats

lunch on 11 Dec 2014: banana cocoa overnight oats with trail mix and apples
lunch on 10 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and jam sandwich with trail mix, kiwi and apple
lunch on 10 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and jam sandwich with trail mix, kiwi and apple

Yesterday’s lunch featured the kiddos’s current favorite sandwich combo: peanut butter, Nutella and jam. I also mixed up a little trail mix with cashews, Goldfish, and dried fruit. Kiwis and apples are both in season here, so they are sweeter and more delicious than ever.

lunch on 11 Dec 2014: banana cocoa overnight oats with trail mix and apples
lunch on 11 Dec 2014: banana cocoa overnight oats with trail mix and apples

Yesterday I came home from work and discovered that my refrigerator wasn’t working. Total disaster. Luckily my in-laws live a block a way and their fridge is the opposite of mine: nice, clean and empty. After a scramble to move the most perishable items over to their house, I went to bed feeling utterly defeated by life. As I was laying in bed, I realized I hadn’t made lunches, was almost out of bread, and I needed to come up with a plan. Overnight oats to the rescue. I jumped out of bed and mixed up some carob powder and brown sugar with rolled oats and vanilla soy milk (which I had moved to our mini-fridge out in the garage). This morning I added chopped bananas and coconut to the thick and chocolatey oats. A little trail mix, some sliced up apples, and lunch was done. Unfortunately, the sage of the broken fridge continues…

A Couple of Colorful Lunches to Start the Week

lunch on 8 Dec 2014: yogurt with berries, chia seeds and honey, sweet peppers and carrots, crispy rice roll, apple and persimmon slices
lunch on 8 Dec 2014: yogurt with berries, chia seeds and honey, sweet peppers and carrots, crispy rice roll, apple and persimmon slices
lunch on 8 Dec 2014: yogurt with berries, chia seeds and honey, sweet peppers and carrots, crispy rice roll, apple and persimmon slices

Monday’s lunch was a lovely mix of textures and colors. The yogurt bowl has plain homemade yogurt mixed with blueberries, lingonberry jam, chia seeds and honey. The puffed rice roll is a nice light, sweet, crispy snack. Veggies are sweet lipstick peppers and carrot slices. Fruits are apples and persimmons.

lunch on 9 Dec 2014: chicken sausage pizza roll-up with sweet peppers, applesauce, cashews and Goldfish
lunch on 9 Dec 2014: chicken sausage pizza roll-up with sweet peppers, applesauce, cashews and Goldfish

Today’s lunch has a couple of chicken sausage pizza roll-ups (crumbled chicken sausage, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese rolled up and baked in a whole wheat tortilla). The peppers are a mix of sweet baby bell peppers and lipstick peppers—both kid favorites. My kids are much more evolved than me: I wouldn’t touch a pepper as a kid. Fruit today is a little container of unsweetened applesauce. I also threw in some Goldfish, roasted cashews and couple of Junior Mints for a treat. St. Nicholas was kind enough to leave some holiday Junior Mints in our shoes over the weekend. That, St. Nick, he’s such a great guy.

It’s a PBN&J Kind of Week

lunch on 5 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and apricot jam sandwiches with a granola bar, carrots, apples, and tangerines
lunch on 5 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and apricot jam sandwiches with a granola bar, carrots, apples, and tangerines
lunch on 5 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and apricot jam sandwiches with a granola bar, carrots, apples, and tangerines

This is the second peanut butter, Nutella and jam sandwich of the week. What can I say? It’s been a crazy PBN&J kind of week. I also included a little granola bar and some yummy fruit and carrot sticks in this lunch. Happy weekend.

Ants on a Log and Other Yummies

lunch on 4 Dec 2014: ants on a log, carrots, Goldfish and pretzels, and fruit salad
lunch on 4 Dec 2014: ants on a log, carrots, Goldfish and pretzels, and fruit salad
lunch on 4 Dec 2014: ants on a log, carrots, Goldfish and pretzels, and fruit salad

Everyone once in a while, I get ambitious and decide to make ants on a log. I don’t know why, but it always takes way longer than I anticipate to makes ants on a log (something about getting the peanut butter perfectly spread into the celery). Clearly, I was feeling particularly motivated last night, because I also dug the seeds out of a couple of pomegranates (a labor of love, I tell you). So today’s little fruit salad has persimmons, apples and pomegranate seeds in it.

Peanut Butter + Nutella + Lingonberry Jam = Love

lunch on 3 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and lingonberry jam sandwiches with veggies, apples, Goldfish and graham crackers
lunch on 3 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and lingonberry jam sandwiches with veggies, apples, Goldfish and graham crackers
lunch on 3 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and lingonberry jam sandwiches with veggies, apples, Goldfish and graham crackers

The kiddos have been wild for Nutella and lingonberry jam lately. I indulged their obsession with a peanut butter, Nutella and lingonberry jam sandwich for lunch today. I’m sure they were also excited to get little Despicable Me Minion grahams. Who doesn’t want mini-Minion graham crackers with their lunch?

Classic Yum: The Pizza Bagel

lunch on 2 Dec 2014: pizza bagel with Goldfish, whole wheat pretzels, kiwi and Hello Kitty fruit snacks
lunch on 2 Dec 2014: pizza bagel with Goldfish, whole wheat pretzels, kiwi and Hello Kitty fruit snacks

Both kiddos were in the clean plate club today, and I’m not surprised, because: who doesn’t love a pizza bagel? My mouth is watering just thinking about pizza bagels. I made the pizza bagel on a whole wheat bagel, so it’s not completely decadent. Lately, the kids have been really into eating kiwi halves with a little spoon. This is great, because peeling kiwi is a total pain in the butt. With the Jedi mind trick, I managed to convince them that scooping little bites of kiwi out of the fuzzy skin is a much more fun way to consume kiwi fruit.