We’ve been having an exceptionally hot week here, so I’ve been packing a lot of refreshing fruit in the kiddos’ lunch boxes. On Thursday, I included some nice, sweet pineapple with a little ham quesadilla and parmesan Goldfish trail mix.
For today’s lunch, I packed a tin of fresh strawberries and pineapple: mmm, tart and sweet. The kids don’t tend to like big sandwiches on hot days, so I made little mini peanut butter and Nutella sammies.
Yesterday, I decided to do a snacky Lunchables-inspired lunch box for the kiddos. They just love lunches of delicious small bites: slices of pretzel bread with sharp cheddar cheese, ham, carrots, cornichons (oh, those sour little beauties), crazy red farmers market strawberries and a fluffy marshmallow for the treat.
Monday’s lunch was sweet, salty and crunchy. I packed a tin of fresh strawberries with yogurt, honey and granola. The trail mix has cheese crackers, pretzels and mixed nuts. I also included a couple of small tomatoes and a strawberry fig bar.
For lunch today I made the always popular pizza bread with marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella. I used a whole grain hot dog bun, because, of course, I was left with two sad buns after a grilling a pack of smoked sausages. Why do sausages come in quantities of five or six, but hot buns always come in packs of eight? Annoying.
Several weeks ago, I discovered this recipe for whipped cranberry porridge, and it looked so pretty and delicious I knew I just had to make it. Plus, I love hot cereal for breakfast. Because I didn’t have cranberries and I didn’t have the patience to let the porridge cool before whipping it up, I had to tweak the recipe slightly. Here’s how to make it:
Mixed Berry Purple Porridge
3-1/4 cups water
2 cups frozen mixed berries (I used a blend of strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, and pomegranate seeds—some sort of “antioxidant blend” from Costco)
pinch of salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup farina (Cream of Wheat)
milk of your choice, half and half, or, cream if you’re feeling decadent
In a 4–6 quart pot, combine the water and berries. Bring to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes, or until the berries are soft. Reduce the heat, so it isn’t bubbling like mad. If you want a smooth porridge, use an immersion blender to puree the berries.
Add the salt and sugar. Gradually whisk in the farina. Depending on how long your farina needs to be cooked, let simmer for a few minutes stirring constantly. I used Cream of Wheat, which thickens up very quickly. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk it vigorously for a few minutes. Whisking will help cool down the porridge and will make it lighter and less dense. Serve with milk on top and a sprinkling of fresh berries if you have them. This is a great weekend breakfast. It serves two kids and two adults in our house, with a little left over.
The porridge will keep for a couple of days in the fridge, but it will get thicker as it cools. To bring it back to a nice consistency, microwave it for about a minute and stir in some milk. Delicious! This is my new favorite breakfast.
Wednesday’s lunch featured a potent combination: salami, pub cheese, and sour little cornichons on pretzel bread. This sandwich was actually inspired by a snack Lily made for herself over the weekend: sliced pretzel bread with pub cheese and little cornichons.
For lunch on Thursday, I made little whole wheat tortilla pockets filled with sliced bananas, peanut butter and Nutella. Yum, yum, super yum. The cute little bento bear is filled with dried fruit.
Last night—the dreaded Thursday night—I was in survival mode. That meant kale pancakes for dinner with a side of ham and applesauce. I have this dinner philosophy: if you add pureed kale to pancake batter it equals a balanced meal/acceptable dinner (this rule definitely applies on Thursdays). Aren’t kale pancakes pretty? So, today, the kiddos get little kale pancakes sandwiches filled with Nutella. Phew! Another week accomplished.
The kids were really into fruit salad over the weekend. I couldn’t cut up fruit fast enough to feed the two little fruit monsters. I kept the fruit salad theme going on Monday with a little tin of fruit salad in the lunch boxes. I also included pan-fried tofu bites, little pieces of breakfast sausage (super yummy luganega sausage from the Buona Tavola stand at the farmers market), baby lima beans and carrots.
For today’s lunch, I made the always popular quesadillas with hash browns and a little red salsa. I also threw in some pretzel thins, gorgeous strawberries, and grapes.
Today’s lunch is a veggie extravaganza: a spinach and mozzarella pizza panini sandwich with baby carrots, cucumbers, and crazy purple cauliflower. I’m not sure if the kids will eat the purple cauliflower, but it never hurts to try.
The kids have really liked their lunches lately. Or, maybe, school is making them extra hungry. Lunch on Tuesday was a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich on whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread. That little compartment of green veggie goodness is baby lima beans and sugar snap peas with a little salt and chile limón seasoning.
I wasn’t sure if the kids would go for the veggie wraps I made for today’s lunches, but they both gobbled them up. I spread a tortilla with some hummus, mashed avocado (with a little lemon juice and salt), and shredded carrots to make these yummy little wraps. I should have made some for my own lunch.