A Spooktacular Lunch

lunch on 30 Oct 2015: ghostadilla with persimmons, carrots, red pepper slices and crispy pea snacks
lunch on 30 Oct 2015: ghostadilla with persimmons, carrots, red pepper slices and crispy pea snacks
lunch on 30 Oct 2015: ghostadilla with persimmons, carrots, red pepper slices and crispy pea snacks

Last night I was in my typical Thursday—What am I gonna make for dinner? I’m really tired. What’s in the fridge? What am I gonna make for lunch—frame of mind. I was THIS close to slacking off and not preparing a Halloween-themed lunch. But, then I rallied and mustered the energy to make really dead ghost-shaped quesadillas—ghostadillas if you will. Aren’t they cute?

Happy Trick or Treating. Happy Halloween. Happy Fun Weekend!

Chili + Cheese Quesadillas

lunch on 28 Oct 2015: chili cheese quesadillas, carrots, sweet red peppers, Goldfish and pumpkin bread
lunch on 28 Oct 2015: chili cheese quesadillas, carrots, sweet red peppers, Goldfish and pumpkin bread
lunch on 28 Oct 2015: chili cheese quesadillas, carrots, sweet red peppers, Goldfish and pumpkin bread

On Monday I made a big pot of chili. Some of that chili went into these tortillas, along with some shredded cheese, to make delicious chili quesadillas. For veggies, I sliced up some sweet farmers market carrots and red bell peppers. I also include a few parmesan Goldfish and two small slices of pumpkin bread.

Ultra Pumpkin Lunch: Pumpkin Bread with Pumpkin Cream Cheese

lunch on 27 Oct 2015: pumpkin bread with pumpkin cream cheese, apple slices, satsuma, teriyaki jerky, and parmesan Goldfish
lunch on 27 Oct 2015: pumpkin bread with pumpkin cream cheese, apple slices, satsuma, teriyaki jerky, and parmesan Goldfish
lunch on 27 Oct 2015: pumpkin bread with pumpkin cream cheese, apple slices, satsuma, teriyaki jerky, and parmesan Goldfish

Yesterday I was able to get through a pile of grading while working at home. Since grading sucks, I usually manage to procrastinate by cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, reading The New York Times Book Review, and baking treats. In this case: pumpkin bread. Mmm, how I love the smell of pumpkin bread. Today, the kids got two nice pieces of pumpkin bread with some pumpkin cream cheese in the middle. On the side: a completely random assortment of nibblies: teriyaki beef jerky, Goldfish, apples slices and a tangerine.

A Creamy Jello Monday

lunch on 26 Oct 2015: creamy lemon Jello with kiwi, persimmons, a little satsuma, Goldfish, peanuts and carrots
lunch on 26 Oct 2015: creamy lemon Jello with kiwi, persimmons, a little satsuma, Goldfish, peanuts and carrots
lunch on 26 Oct 2015: creamy lemon Jello with kiwi, persimmons, a little satsuma, Goldfish, peanuts and carrots

Once again, the kiddos requested Jello for lunch. I’ve created two little Jello monsters who love it when those two great 70s tastes come together: Jello + Cool Whip. I tried to balance out all that lemon Jello sweetness with some slightly healthier sides: a kiwi, persimmon slides, a satsuma tangerine, carrots, and Goldfish/peanut mix. Hey, who doesn’t want a little Jello on a Monday?

Kid Approved Combinations and Thoughts on Papayas

lunch on 20 Oct 2015: pizza bites with kiwi, persimmons, apples and cinnamon graham crackers
lunch on 20 Oct 2015: pizza bites with kiwi, persimmons, apples and cinnamon graham crackers
lunch on 20 Oct 2015: pizza bites with kiwi, persimmons, apples and cinnamon graham crackers

Tuesday’s lunch contained that time-tested kid favorite: pizza bites. This time I made them on sesame sandwich buns. Pretty much any bread will work for pizza bites.

lunch on 21 Oct 2015: peanut butter and Nutella on cinnamon raisin bread, trail mix and cucumbers
lunch on 21 Oct 2015: peanut butter and Nutella on cinnamon raisin bread, papaya, trail mix and cucumbers

Today’s lunch also featured another classic kid-approved combination: peanut butter and Nutella on whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread. So yummy. For sides, I packed chunks of papaya, some pretzel fish trail mix and cucumber slices. Now, if you’ve ever eaten a papaya, you know that they sometimes have a strong aroma. I’ve sliced into papayas with a slight eau de vomit that I just can’t eat on account of the smell. I’ve lived in the tropics and I generally love all things tropical, but I always approach papayas with caution. Since I haven’t taken the time to become a papaya expert, I don’t know which varieties have this offending odor. I do know that some papayas are insanely delicious and don’t have that nasty smell. This particular papaya is a Caribbean Red and it’s fantastic. No icky smell: I promise. And I didn’t even have to travel to the tropics to get it. It was available at my local Trader Joe’s.

Quesadilla with Egg + Cheese, or: Eggadilla

lunch on 19 Oct 2015: quesadilla with egg, persimmons, applies, kiwi, and pumpkin bar
lunch on 19 Oct 2015: quesadilla with egg, persimmons, applies, kiwi, and pumpkin bar
lunch on 19 Oct 2015: quesadilla with egg, persimmons, applies, kiwi, and pumpkin bar

I love quesadillas with eggs. A little scrambled egg makes the humble quesadilla so much more satisfying. And, it’s easy. Just lightly scramble an egg, pour it in a cast iron pan, sprinkle some cheese and salsa on top, press a tortilla onto this delicious gooey mess, and fold it over to crisp up both sides of the tortilla. Then serve it with some yummies like: persimmon slices, apple slices, half a kiwi and a small piece of pumpkin bar (made with Trader Joe’s delicious pumpkin bar mix).

Back by popular demand: Jello for lunch!

lunch on 16 Oct 2015: spooky blueberry Jello with blueberries, pretzel bagel with peanut butter and Nutella, carrots, pretzel fish and smokey almons
lunch on 16 Oct 2015: spooky blueberry Jello with blueberries, pretzel bagel with peanut butter and Nutella, carrots, pretzel fish and smokey almons
lunch on 16 Oct 2015: spooky blueberry Jello with blueberries, pretzel bagel with peanut butter and Nutella, carrots, pretzel fish and smokey almonds

I have a feeling that I never should have made the kids Jello for lunch; they were a little too excited about it. So, by popular demand, I made another Jello-themed lunch. This one has spooky blueberry Jello filled with real blueberries. I made the Jello spooky by stirring in a little bit of whipped cream and swirling it around. To go with that spooky Jello, I made a peanut butter and Nutella bagel sandwich (always kid-approved). On the side: carrots sticks and mixture of pretzel Goldfish and smokey almonds.

Thursday Taquitos

lunch on 15 Oct 2015: taquitos with apples, strawberries, and a Joe Joe cookie (TJ's Oreo)
lunch on 15 Oct 2015: taquitos with apples, strawberries, and a Joe Joe cookie (TJ's Oreo)
lunch on 15 Oct 2015: taquitos with apples, strawberries, and a Joe Joe cookie (TJ’s Oreo)

Taquitos are the perfect vehicle for leftovers. In this case, they are filled with refried beans, turkey taco meat, cheese and kale. Clean out the fridge wrapped in a crispy tortilla. Yum!

Watch it wiggle…Jello for lunch!

lunch on 14 Oct 2015: creamy lime jello, with a sweet roll, pretzel fish, strawberries and cheese
lunch on 14 Oct 2015: creamy lime jello, with a sweet roll, pretzel fish, strawberries and cheese
lunch on 14 Oct 2015: creamy lime jello, with a sweet roll, pretzel fish, strawberries and cheese

Some October days in California are so hot that you just have to eat Jello for lunch. At least that’s what the kiddos got today: a total 1970s concoction of Jello, Cool Whip, and yogurt. It’s delicious. On the side, we have a little sweet roll with pumpkin cream cheese, some pretzel fish, strawberries and slices of sharp cheddar cheese.

What’s in My Crock-Pot?

pinto beans in the Crock-pot
pinto beans in the Crock-pot
pinto beans in the Crock-pot

I love cooking beans in the Crock-pot. It couldn’t be easier: wash a pound of dried beans, put them in the pot, cover with about an inch of water (stick your finger in the water to guesstimate), throw in a tablespoon of salt and a bay leaf if you have it, set to low and walk away. Six, eight, ten hours later, the beans will be ready. The longer they cook, the softer they’ll get. I left this pot cooking all day and ended up mashing the beans to make the most delicious “refried” beans ever. Perfect for taco night. Everything you’ve heard about beans is a lie: they don’t need to be soaked and you can add salt at the beginning and they’ll still soften up. The only beans that don’t work well in the Crock-pot are kidney beans, which should always be boiled first due to some toxin thing that can potentially cause major gastrointestinal distress, or so I’ve heard. Black beans, pinto beans, and garbanzo beans all cook up nicely in the slow cooker.

Lunch, Courtesy of Trader Joe’s

lunch on 13 Oct 2015: pretzel bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, beef jerky, apple and carrot slices, Jo Jo cookie
lunch on 13 Oct 2015: pretzel bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, beef jerky, apple and carrot slices, Jo Jo cookie
lunch on 13 Oct 2015: pretzel bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, beef jerky, apple and carrot slices, Joe Joe , cookie

Well, it’s back to reality after a glorious mini-trip to Hawaii. Yesterday, bare cupboards needed to be restocked, to off to Trader Joe’s I went. Then I came home and threw a bunch of TJ’s food into the lunch boxes: a pretzel bagel (yes, it’s a good as it sounds) with seasonal pumpkin cream cheese, teriyaki beef jerky, a chocolate Joe Joe’s cookie, fruit strip, and apple and carrot slices.

Ham and Cheese Sliders with Fruit and Veggies

lunch on 5 Oct 2015: ham and cheese sliders with pomegranate seeds, apple slices, carrots and a marshmallow
lunch on 5 Oct 2015: ham and cheese sliders with pomegranate seeds, apple slices, carrots and a marshmallow
lunch on 5 Oct 2015: ham and cheese sliders with pomegranate seeds, apple slices, carrots and a marshmallow

For today’s lunch, I made two little sandwiches for each kiddo: ham and pub cheese on King’s Hawaiian sweet bread. The King’s Hawaiian bread is appropriate, as we are flying to Honolulu tomorrow (!) for a wedding. So tonight, instead of packing lunches, I packed backpacks full of food for the flights: smoked almonds, sweet and salty trail mix, squeezy applesauce packs, granola bars, beef jerky, mini pumpkin muffins (because when you’re insanely trying to pack for a family of four it makes sense to squeeze in a little baking), and some cheese curls. In the morning, I’ll make some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if I have time. When traveling, I assume that everything will go wrong, but at least I’ll be prepared with food. Until next week, aloha!