Orange Julius-inspired Smoothie

Orange Julius-inspired smoothie
Orange Julius-inspired smoothie
Orange Julius-inspired smoothie

How much did I love Orange Julius when I was a kid? It was that special treat you’d get when you went to the mall: frosty, sweet, orangeylicious! Does Orange Julius still even exist? I feel like I haven’t seen one since 1989. Maybe it’s all the Prince music I’ve been listening to since the tragic news broke yesterday, but, for some reason, I got a crazy Orange Julius craving today. So, I went outside, picked some oranges and whipped up this:

Orange Julius-inspired Smoothie
  • 4 oranges, peeled
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into slices
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, or any milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Put everything in your trusty Vitamix and blend it up. Put on your Purple Rain soundtrack and try not to get too depressed, because at least it’s Friday.

Living Large: Sushi Rolls for Lunch

lunch on 22 Apr 2016: picnic lunch feast of California rolls, caterpillar rolls, edamame, apple slices, pear slices, grapes, and smokey almonds

Today there was a family picnic at the kiddos’ school. Usually, I don’t get to go to family picnics because I almost always teach all day on Friday. Not this quarter, so, for once, I got to be fun mom who can visit school in the middle of the day. And what did the kiddo’s request for their picnic lunch? Why, sushi, of course. Those little fancy pants.

lunch on 22 Apr 2016: the family picnic with rolls from Yanagi Sushi
lunch on 22 Apr 2016: the family picnic with rolls from Yanagi Sushi
lunch on 22 Apr 2016: picnic lunch feast of California rolls, caterpillar rolls, edamame, apple slices, pear slices, grapes, and smokey almonds
lunch on 22 Apr 2016: picnic lunch feast of California rolls, caterpillar rolls, edamame, apple slices, pear slices, grapes, and smokehouse almonds

Lunch with Lots of Fruit and Fancy Carbs

lunch on 20 Apr 2016: crumpets with jam, peanuts and chocolate chips, pineapple, and yogurt with honey and chia seeds

The kids are still going strong with their sack lunches. For some strange reason, they really like filling up a bunch of little containers rather than using their lunch boxes with little separate compartments (?!). Here is this week’s lunch roundup:

lunch on 21 Apr 2016: banana bread with chocolate chips, pineapple, applesauce, and carrots
lunch on 21 Apr 2016: banana bread with chocolate chips, pineapple, applesauce, and carrots
lunch on 20 Apr 2016: crumpets with jam, peanuts and chocolate chips, pineapple, and yogurt with honey and chia seeds
lunch on 20 Apr 2016: crumpets with jam, peanuts and chocolate chips, pineapple, and yogurt with honey and chia seeds
lunch on 19 Apr 2016: homemade egg bread with butter and strawberry jam, applesauce, carrots and grapes
lunch on 19 Apr 2016: homemade egg bread with butter and strawberry jam, applesauce, carrots and grapes
lunch on 18 Apr 2016: apples, carrots, yogurt with honey, applesauce, Goldfish and a granola bar
lunch on 18 Apr 2016: apples, carrots, yogurt with honey, applesauce, Goldfish and a granola bar

The Latest Lunch Craze: Baggie Lunches

kids making lunch
kids making lunch
kids making their baggie lunches

At the end of last week, the kids requested a baggie lunch for Friday. Huh? “You know: like a sack lunch with little baggies filled with snacks.” Hmm. So, we have all kinds of fancy lunch boxes, but now the kids are into “baggie lunches.” Well, whatever works, as long as they contribute to the lunch making effort.

Earlier in the week, we packed our usual lunches in Planetboxes:

lunch on 11 Apr 2016: peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches, sweet crunchy rice roll, pretzel thins, strawberries and carrots
lunch on 11 Apr 2016: peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches, sweet crunchy rice roll, pretzel thins, strawberries and carrots
lunch on 12 Apr 2016: fruit, yogurt with strawberry sauce, dried apricots, peanuts, honey wheat pretzels, cherry tomatoes and carrots
lunch on 12 Apr 2016: fruit, yogurt with strawberry sauce, dried apricots, peanuts, honey wheat pretzels, cherry tomatoes and carrots
lunch on 13 Apr 2016: yogurt with bananas, strawberry jam and chia seeds, mango, Goldfish, pretzel thins, tomatoes and carrots
lunch on 13 Apr 2016: yogurt with bananas, strawberry jam and chia seeds, mango, Goldfish, pretzel thins, tomatoes and carrots
lunch on 14 Apr 2016: bagel with strawberry yogurt, apple slices, Goldfish, carrots and tomatoes
lunch on 14 Apr 2016: bagel with strawberry cream cheese, apple slices, Goldfish, carrots and tomatoes

What’s in My Crock-Pot?

ramen soup broth with shitakes, cabbage, garlic and ginger
ramen soup broth with shitakes, cabbage, garlic and ginger
ramen soup broth with shitakes, cabbage, garlic and ginger

If you get home from work at 6:3opm, it’s a given that the kids will be ravenous. That means dinner needs to made FAST. The solution: Crock-Pot Cheaterpants Ramen Noodle Soup. This is my totally inauthentic version of ramen noodle soup. Real ramen noodle soup is made with glorious broth in which chicken, beef or pork bones have been simmered with secret aromatic spices for a gazillion hours. My Crock-Pot Cheaterpants Ramen Noodle Soup is made with this stuff:

ramen noodle soup broth ingredients
ramen noodle soup broth ingredients

I love Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base, because you always need chicken broth but you don’t always have a chicken carcass hanging out in the fridge. Dried shitake mushrooms and soy sauce will add some serious umami to the broth. Did I just same “umami”? Damn straight I did. Ramen noodle soup has gotta have umami. A few shakes of toasted sesame oil before serving the soup will add richness and will approximate some of the glistening fattiness you’d get with a good meat stock. Did I just say “glistening fattiness”?

Crock-Pot Cheaterpants Ramen Noodle Soup
Soup Broth
  • 8 cups water
  • 7 teaspoons chicken base or cubes of bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • crushed garlic, lots
  • minced or grated ginger, lots
  • big handful of rinsed dried shitake mushrooms
  • about a cup of shredded cabbage (optional)

Ramen Noodle Soup Add-ins
  • boiled ramen noodles
  • sliced spinach, kale or bok choy
  • sliced scallions
  • shredded carrots
  • sliced sugar snap or snow peas
  • wakame seaweed, soaked and rinsed
  • some sort of protein: tofu cubes, edamame, thinly sliced pork roast, grilled chicken, etc.
  • fried eggs or not-too hard boiled eggs
  • white or yellow miso to taste
  • roasted sesame oil
  • Sriracha

Throw your broth ingredients into the Crock-Pot. Cook on low all day or on high for 3–4 hours. When you are ready to serve the soup, start a pot of water to boil the ramen noodles. Slice up your veggies and throw them into the Crock-Pot; they will get heated through, but will still be nice and crisp. If you want to make miso ramen, add in a few tablespoons of miso paste (go easy, as miso is very salty) to the broth and stir it in well. If you’re feeling ambitious, quickly fry some eggs (I like sunny side up with nice, runny yolks). When the noodles are boiled, drain and put a nice pile of noodles in the serving bowls. Place your protein of choice on top of the noodles. Spoon on the warm broth, slide your fried eggs on top and shake on a little sesame oil and Sriracha if you like some heat. If you work fast, dinner will be on the table in 15 minutes and you’ll feel like a ramen rock star.

The First Week Back: Lunch Roundup

lunch on 8 Apr 2016: rice cakes with strawberry jam and Nutella, apples, carrots, and cherry tomatoes
lunch on 8 Apr 2016: rice cakes with strawberry jam and Nutella, apples, carrots, and cherry tomatoes
lunch on 8 Apr 2016: rice cakes with strawberry jam and Nutella, apples, carrots, and cherry tomatoes

It was back to the routine this week after a leisurely spring break for the kids. The week was pretty busy, but the kids and I still managed to make some decent lunches. On Monday, Iain insisted that I buy a watermelon and some green grapes, so that was the recurring theme of the week (quite a nice color combo). I’m also still going strong with the bread machine. My recent experiments: cinnamon raisin bread and little dinner rolls.

lunch on 4 Apr 2016: peanut butter and jam on cinnamon raisin bread, Goldfish and pretzel thins, apples, and carrots
lunch on 4 Apr 2016: peanut butter and jam on cinnamon raisin bread, Goldfish and pretzel thins, apples, and carrots
lunch on 5 Apr 2016: mini rolls with Nutella and peanut butter, watermelon, grapes, pretzel thins and wheat thins, carrots
lunch on 5 Apr 2016: mini rolls with Nutella and peanut butter, watermelon, grapes, pretzel thins and wheat thins, carrots
lunch on 6 Apr 2016: pizza margarita rollups with watermelon, grapes and pineapple
lunch on 6 Apr 2016: pizza margarita rollups with watermelon, grapes and pineapple
lunch on 7 Apr 2016: honey sweetened yogurt with chia seeds and applesauce, watermelon, grapes, pretzel thins and wheat thins
lunch on 7 Apr 2016: honey sweetened yogurt with chia seeds and applesauce, watermelon, grapes, pretzel thins and wheat thins