Fruit, Fruit, and More Fruit

lunch on 27 Mar 2015: pineapple and strawberries with little peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, and a lemon Fig Bar
lunch on 26 Mar 2015: ham quesadilla with baby carrots, Goldfish trail mix, and pineapple
lunch on 26 Mar 2015: ham quesadilla with baby carrots, Goldfish trail mix, and pineapple

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.

lunch on 27 Mar 2015: pineapple and strawberries with little peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, and a lemon Fig Bar
lunch on 27 Mar 2015: pineapple and strawberries with little peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, and a lemon Fig Bar

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.

Snacky Momables Lunch

lunch on 25 Mar 2015: snacky lunch of delicious small bites
lunch on 25 Mar 2015: snacky lunch of delicious small bites
lunch on 25 Mar 2015: snacky lunch of delicious small bites

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.

Two Lunches with Some Gorgeous Strawberries and Other Yummies

lunch on 23 Mar 2015: yogurt with strawberries, honey and granola, trail mix, strawberry fig bar and tomatoes
lunch on 23 Mar 2015: yogurt with strawberries, honey and granola, trail mix, strawberry fig bar and tomatoes

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.

lunch on 24 Mar 2015: pizza bread with strawberries and carrots
lunch on 24 Mar 2015: pizza bread with strawberries and carrots

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.

A Week of Lunches

lunch on 19 Mar 2015: strawberry chia yogurt with granola, cucumbers, carrots, pineapple and tangerine slices

Last week was finals week at Cal Poly, so I was in major grading/survival mode. I vaguely remember packing lunches:

lunch on 16 Mar 2015: peanut butter and grape jelly on cinnamon raisin bread, carrots, snap peas, pretzel thins and strawberries
lunch on 16 Mar 2015: peanut butter and grape jelly on cinnamon raisin bread, carrots, snap peas, pretzel thins and strawberries
lunch on 17 Mar 2015: mixed berry chia pudding with Lucky Charms trail mix, pineapple and Leprechaun treats
lunch on 17 Mar 2015: mixed berry chia pudding with Lucky Charms trail mix, pineapple and Leprechaun treats
lunch on 18 Mar 2015: pepperoni, cheddar and cucumber sandwiches, carrots, strawberries and pineapple
lunch on 18 Mar 2015: pepperoni, cheddar and cucumber sandwiches, carrots, strawberries and pineapple
lunch on 19 Mar 2015: strawberry chia yogurt with granola, cucumbers, carrots, pineapple and tangerine slices
lunch on 19 Mar 2015: strawberry chia yogurt with granola, cucumbers, carrots, pineapple and tangerine slices
lunch on 20 Mar 2015: strawberry Jello with mixed nuts, carrots and cinnamon raisin toast
lunch on 20 Mar 2015: strawberry Jello with mixed nuts, carrots and cinnamon raisin toast

By the end of the week, I may have packed a big tin of strawberry Jello for lunch. I’m not proud. But, hey, this lunch stills looks better than hot lunch at school.

In Praise of Purple Porridge

purple berry porridge with raspberries and milk
purple berry porridge with raspberries and milk
mixed berry purple porridge with raspberries and milk

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.

An Eclectic Lunch Roundup

salami, pub cheese, and cornichons on pretzel bread
lunch on 11 Mar 2015: salami, pub cheese and pickle sandwich with nuts, fruits and veggies
lunch on 11 Mar 2015: salami, pub cheese and pickle sandwich with nuts, fruits and veggies

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.

salami, pub cheese, and cornichons on pretzel bread
salami, pub cheese, and cornichons on pretzel bread
lunch on 12 Mar 2015: banana, peanut butter, and Nutella pockets with oranges, grapes and dried fruit
lunch on 12 Mar 2015: banana, peanut butter, and Nutella pockets with oranges, grapes and dried fruit

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.

lunch on 13 Mar 1015: kale pancakes with Nutella, nuts, apples and carrots
lunch on 13 Mar 1015: kale pancakes with Nutella, nuts, apples and carrots

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.

Some Pretty Fruit and Such

lunch on 9 Mar 2015: fruit salad with tofu and sausage bites, baby lima beans, and carrots
lunch on 9 Mar 2015: fruit salad with tofu and sausage bites, baby lima beans, and carrots
lunch on 9 Mar 2015: fruit salad with tofu and sausage bites, baby lima beans, and carrots

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.

lunch on 10 Mar 2015: quesadillas with hash browns and salsa, pretzel thins, strawberries and grapes
lunch on 10 Mar 2015: quesadillas with hash browns and salsa, pretzel thins, strawberries and grapes

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.

Pizza Panini and Colorful Veggies

lunch on 5 Mar 2015: pizza panini with veggies and orange slices
lunch on 5 Mar 2015: pizza panini with veggies and orange slices
lunch on 5 Mar 2015: pizza panini with veggies and orange slices

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.

A Sweet Sandwich and a Savory Veggie Wrap

lunch on 3 Mar 2015: peanut butter and Nutella on cinnamon raisin bread with lima beans, snap peas, and strawberries
lunch on 3 Mar 2015: peanut butter and Nutella on cinnamon raisin bread with lima beans, snap peas, and strawberries
lunch on 3 Mar 2015: peanut butter and Nutella on cinnamon raisin bread with lima beans, snap peas, and strawberries

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.

hummus, avocado and carrot veggie wraps with strawberries and sweet potato tortilla chips
hummus, avocado and carrot veggie wraps with strawberries and sweet potato tortilla chips

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.

Savory Little Frittatas and Sweet Strawberry Yogurt

lunch on 2 Mar 2013: muffin frittata with hash browns and corned beef, strawberry yogurt and carrots
lunch on 2 Mar 2013: muffin frittata with hash browns and corned beef, strawberry yogurt and carrots

Today’s lunch is a breakfasty affair with a little muffin frittata and strawberry yogurt. The frittatas are full of yummy hash browns and little pieces of corned beef.