Remember when I bought a bread machine? Well, I love that thing. On average, we go through about two loaves of bread per week. I also make pizza and focaccia dough in the bread machine, and it turns out perfectly every time. What can I say? We’re a gluten-loving household.
Aren’t the colors in this lunch so soft and pretty? I especially love the pale raspberries and the fancy little Riesling grapes that I got at the farmers market. Just like yesterday, the kiddos are suffering through a hot day at school: 107˚ the last I checked!! My plan for dinner on this wretched hot day is a nice black bean salad:
I piled all sorts of goodies into this big salad bowl: black beans that I cooked in the Crock-Pot yesterday, corn, peas, sweet red lipstick peppers, scallions, rice, and cilantro. The salad is dressed in a little olive oil and fresh lime juice with lots of lime zest. For spices, I used cumin, smoked paprika, chile powder, and a healthy sprinkling of salt + pepper. Yummers!
It’s been really, really, really hot here on the Central Coast, and today might be the worst day yet. The kids typically don’t eat much for lunch on super hot days, so I try to pack lighter fare with lots of fruit. Today, I threw in some little grapes from the farmers market and some nice, cool slices of cantaloupe.
On Friday, I made a fruit salad with cantaloupe, grapes, and green plums. For sides, I included a yummy mix of chia seeds, strawberry jam and plain yogurt with some peanut butter filled pretzels. We’ll be powering through the week with more fruit and crunchy snacks from Trader Joe’s.
Today the kiddos have a rather European lunch with fancy cured meat and aged cheese: “Irresistible” salami sticks and New Zealand sharp cheddar, both from Trader Joe’s. Fruit and veggies are: grapes, a green plum and some sugar snap peas.
And, here’s a little peek into the grown-up lunch of the day:
My husband has been getting slightly better lunches since I got a set of EasyLunchboxes a few weeks ago. Normally, he grabs a random container of dinner leftovers for lunch, but I’ve been motivated to pack up those leftovers in a cute EasyLunchbox and that means side dishes! Fancy, huh? We both keep glass containers at work for any microwaving, because I try to never microwave anything in plastic after melting tons of Tupperware/plastic containers and finally realizing that I didn’t want to eat a side of plastic for lunch.
We’re having one of those Central Coast September heat waves that I’ve come to dread. On hot days, the kiddos alway request lunches that aren’t so heavy. That means that big sandwiches are out and cute, dainty sandwiches are in—like these little ham, pub cheese and sweet pickle relish roll-ups. Some nice, crisp fruits and veggies round out this lunch: carrots, sugar snaps, grapes and green plums. And, of course, a salty treat and kid fav: Veggie Straws.
Yesterday, I made mini sandwiches out of sliced pretzel rolls filled with 1) Nutella and peanut butter 2) Nutella and jam, and 3) butter and jam. The kids really love these little sweet sandwiches. And I’m afraid those bananas look a bit dodgy. I like my bananas just on the other side of green, but it’s been so warm in my house that they seem to go from green to speckled and really ripe in a matter of hours.
I got motivated last night to make a fun Friday lunch full of kid-approved snacks: mini ham and cheddar kabobs, rice cracker trail mix, carrots, lipstick peppers, cucumber and apple mango fruit crusher.
Today’s lunch has another delicious sandwich in it: peanut butter, Nutella and raspberry jam. This lunch is similar to Monday’s except I threw in a Trader Joe’s Raises the Bar chewy granola bar and a few more veggies: carrots, lipstick peppers and sugar snap peas.
Last night I made a nice focaccia to go with our black bean soup for dinner. My bread maker is still going strong and it makes the best focaccia and pizza dough ever: light and filled with air. I had just enough bread left over to make fancy sandwiches for the kids and dad.
If you’re curious, I have this bread machine and I love it!
Now presenting: lunch.
Lily helped me pack these lovely lunches last night. She’s very excited about the Laughing Cow Cheese Dippers that she forced me to buy on our last grocery outing. I don’t typically buy packaging-intense convenience snacks like this, but Lily can be very persuasive. She thought the cheese dippers would go great with last night’s leftover pesto pasta. A few chopped veggies, some fruit, and this lunch was done in a flash.
This is an “I’ve got five minutes to pack lunch” Monday morning special: peanut butter, Nutella and raspberry jam on homemade egg bread. All the produce is from the Saturday Farmers Market: sweet baby carrots, strawberries, and Champagne grapes. Can you call them “Champagne grapes” if they are grown right here on California’s Central Coast?
Today the kids get their favorite kind of lunch: snacky finger food. There are lots of yummy little bites in this lunch: a hard-boiled egg with salt and pepper (technically a hard-steamed egg since America’s Test Kitchen has taught me that steaming is preferable to boiling eggs), crackers, salami sticks, cheddar cheese, carrots, and strawberries.
How to Make the Perfect “Boiled” Egg
Choose a pot based on the number of eggs you want to cook: the eggs should fit comfortably in one layer on the bottom of the pan or in a steamer basket. Put about an inch of water in the pan and heat it until it’s nicely bubbling. Carefully lower your eggs into the hot water (if you have lots of eggs to cook, it’s easier to put them in a steamer basket and lower them all at once). Put a lid on the pot and lower the heat so that it continues to simmer. Cook for 6-1/2 minutes for the perfect soft-boiled egg. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect: the whites will be set and the yolk will be gloriously runny in the center. Cook for 13–14 minutes for the perfect hard-boiled egg. Experiment with the time until you find your version of the perfect hard-boiled egg. I like mine with the yellows just a little soft and darker in the very center. Run the eggs under cold water for about 30 seconds, peel and enjoy your perfectly “boiled” egg.
Thanks to those geniuses at ATK for doing all the work to discover the perfect way to boil eggs.
How lucky are the kids today? They’ve got Spam musubi for lunch! Spam musubi is a surprisingly delicious Hawaiian snack food made with rice, Spam, and nori. They sell it everywhere in Hawaii—even at 7-Eleven. It’s basically Spam sushi. When I was in Hawaii a couple of years ago, I picked up a fantastic Double Size Musubi Maker:
I just love this contraption, because you can quickly make a giant brick of Spam musubi, which can then be cut into dainty little rolls. Because, let’s face it, a little Spam goes a long way. I’ve contemplated loading up the musubi press with healthier ingredients, but the teriyaki Spam is just so incredibly ‘ono that I always end up making it the classic island way.