Sandwiches, Pizza Bread and More

lunch on 14 Feb 2017: pizza bread, sugar cookies, carrots and radish flowers

This week I made a variety of sandwiches and such on bread. For Valentine’s Day, the kids got pizza bread on King’s Hawaiian rolls with sugar cookies, carrots and radish flowers on the side. I admit that I’m not very skilled at making radish flowers, but the kiddos were eager to jump in and help.

lunch on 14 Feb 2017: pizza bread, sugar cookies, carrots and radish flowers
lunch on 14 Feb 2017: pizza bread, sugar cookies, carrots and radish flowers

Wednesday it was Make Your Own Sandwich day with some kid-approved sandwich ingredients: salami, ham and delicious Irish cheddar cheese.

lunch on 15 Feb 2017: Make Your Own Sandwich lunch with salami, ham, Irish cheddar and King's Hawaiian rolls. Chunks of mango, carrots and radishes on the side.
lunch on 15 Feb 2017: Make Your Own Sandwich lunch with salami, ham, Irish cheddar and King’s Hawaiian rolls. Chunks of mango, carrots and radishes on the side.

I got creative with my bread machine this week and made a lovely loaf of spiced carrot bread. I love adding shredded fruit or veggies and cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice into the bread dough: it gives the bread just a little hint of sweetness. Yum!

lunch on 16 Feb 2017: peanut butter and honey on spiced carrot bread with a chocolate oat bar, carrots, and orange slices
lunch on 16 Feb 2017: peanut butter and honey on spiced carrot bread with a chocolate oat bar, carrots, and orange slices

And here were are at the end of the week with a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. Seriously, what could be better than ending the week on a sweet note?

lunch on 17 Feb 2017: peanut butter and Nutella sandwich with nut, chocolate Powerberries, satsumas, parmesan Goldfish and pretzels
lunch on 17 Feb 2017: peanut butter and Nutella sandwich with nut, chocolate Powerberries, satsumas, parmesan Goldfish and pretzels

Getting Kids Into the Kitchen

Lily's Valentine's Day arrangement of broccoli

People always ask me how I’ve managed to get my kids to eat, well, just about everything. My answer is that I have never given them “kid food.” As soon as they could eat solid food, I started introducing them to a wide range of flavors and textures (basically mashed and pureed versions of whatever the grownups were eating). The only thing I really changed about my cooking after having kids was avoiding super spicy ingredients and instead opting for add-on spice (hot sauce, pickled jalapeños, and roasted chilis on the side). Now that my kids are getting older (Iain is almost 12 and Lily is 8), I’ve been trying to get them more involved in food prep and cooking. I think the trick to getting them in the kitchen is finding tasks they enjoy or food they really like to make.

My son, Iain absolutely loves crepes. After making crepes for several weekends in a row, I told him I needed to take a break because crepes are pretty darn labor intensive. With the specter of no crepes for breakfast, he announced that he wanted to learn how to make crepes. Great! And, thus was born a fantastic crepe maker:

Iain making crepes
Iain making crepes

This crepe-obsession even motivated me to finally buy a proper crepe pan, and let me tell you, a proper crepe pan is much easier to handle than a heavy cast iron pan.

Lily chopping broccoli
Lily chopping broccoli

The good thing about having two kids is that they tend to get competitive with one another. If one helps in the kitchen, the other wants to join in. My little Lily has an affinity for chopping, dicing, and mincing. Actually, both kids like to chop—perhaps because big, sharp knives are involved and danger is fun. If I give Lily a chopping task, she’s all over it. I just show her how big I want the pieces to be, and she’s like a machine.

If you let your kids in the kitchen, all sorts of magic can happen. Plus, they’ll learn to respect and appreciate the hard work that goes into making a delicious meal.

Lily's Valentine's Day arrangement of broccoli
Lily’s Valentine’s Day arrangement of broccoli

In Praise of Lunch in a Jar

beet and cottage cheese lunch in a jar

I’m a big fan of bringing lunch in a jar to work. If I’m not motived to make an elaborate salad or sandwich, I just pile fruit, yogurt or cottage cheese, and granola or something crunchy into a jar. Lately, I been on a beets kick—especially raw, shredded beets (messy to make, but delicious to eat). Last week, I made this gorgeous concoction for my lunch:

beet and cottage cheese lunch in a jar
beet and cottage cheese lunch in a jar

I piled shredded beets on cottage cheese with apple chunks, peanut butter, cinnamon and honey. The color is insane and I loved the spiced/sweet/earthy combo.

This morning I decide to make the kids’s lunches in jars. Of course, they had to be made to order, because they didn’t want the same thing. Lily got a yogurt, applesauce, banana and granola parfait, and Iain wanted the Elvis Special (yogurt, bananas, peanut butter and honey).

lunch on 6 Feb 2017: yogurt lunches in jars
lunch on 6 Feb 2017: yogurt lunches in jars