6 Sept 2012: Greek Yogurt, Opa!

lunch on 06 Sept 2012

lunch on 06 Sept 2012

Ah, the things the Greeks have given us: the concept of classical proportions, reason, democracy, Homer, the Olympics. Moussaka. And, of course, Greek yogurt. Today’s main lunch item is Greek yogurt drizzled with local honey (farmers market). I’ve heard that a spoonful of local honey a day can help with allergies to pollen and such. Therefore, this lunch is part of Iain’s holistic allergy treatment. Lily just likes honey. I’ve also included a couple of whole wheat zucchini pineapple muffins from yesterday’s preschool snack, some pluots and berries (farmers market), and a date in the treat tray.

5 Sept 2012: Soy Love

05 Sept 2012 lunch
05 Sept 2012 lunch
lunch on 05 Sept 2012

Today’s lunch is soy-licious. The main entree is a medley of cherry tomatoes (our garden), carrots (farmers market), edamame (Trader Joe’s frozen section), and teriyaki baked tofu cubes. The teriyaki tofu is from Trader Joe’s and comes pre-prepared, but I often make this by cutting a brick of extra firm tofu into four pieces and baking it in teriyaki sauce for about an hour (350˚ish). My kids love tofu—especially if it’s pan-fried or served in some yummy soy-based sauce. In the other compartments are: rice crackers + pretzel fish and blackberries + raspberries (farmers market). The treat is a rather decadent almond toffee dark chocolate drop.

preschool snack: cheddar cheese and zucchini pineapple muffins
preschool snack on 5 Sept 2012: cheddar cheese and zucchini pineapple muffins

Today, I was also in charge of Lily’s preschool class snack. Parents have to sign up for snack duty a couple of times per month. I usually try to bring some sort of whole grain baked item with fruit. We are also required to include a protein item in the snack. This time I made vegan zucchini pineapple whole wheat mini muffins. Man oh man, did these muffins turn out good. Sliced cheddar cheese and granny smith apples were also part of this snack. I try to prep and pack up everything for preschool snack the night before and slice/prep the fruit in the morning.

Cooking Tip: If you are looking to make vegan baked goods (because of allergies, health reasons, etc.), check out this vegan baking site. I’ve had really good luck with the recipes.

4 Sept 2012: English Muffin Pizza

lunch on 4 Sept 2012
lunch on 4 Sept 2012
lunch on 4 Sept 2012

Lunch today is pepperoni and basil (from our garden—the basil, not the pepperoni) pizza on a whole wheat english muffin. The portion of pepperoni is very small, because, let’s face it, pepperoni is a terribly unhealthy food that should probably never be served to children. It should probably never be eaten by anyone, anywhere. It’s an entry drug to fatty, cured meats. I’ll be working through this pepperoni guilt today, as my children enjoy its salty splendor.

At least we have veggies (tomatoes from our garden and snap peas and carrots from the farmers market) and fruit (grapes from the farmers market) to add some essential vitamins to this meal. The treat tray has a few chocolate rocks.

Saturday Farmers Market

Liliana with farmers market fruits and vegetables
Iain and Liliana with sunflowers at the SLO Farmers Market
Liliana and Iain at the SLO Farmers Market

I try to buy as much produce as possible (ideally, all our fruits and veggies for the week) from the farmers market. We have lots of farmers markets, so if I forget to buy something on Saturday, I can go to a market on Sunday or Tuesday or Thursday. My kids consume an mind-boggling amount of fruits and veggies every week; I think this is largely due to the amazing quality of produce at our farmers market.

A typical morning at the farmers market results in this:

Liliana with farmers market fruits and vegetables
Liliana takes stock of fruits and veggies from the farmers market. / September 1, 2012

So, how do I deal with this overwhelming table of deliciousness? I try to tackle it right away. Here is my strategy for produce cleaning and storage:

  • Carrots: tops are snipped off with scissors over a compost bin. Carrots are rinsed and scrubbed, placed on a kitchen towel to dry, and then stored in a ziploc bag in the fridge. I rarely have to peel carrots that I get at the farmers market. I’ll just slice them for lunches.
  • Eggs: these are easy—put the carton in the fridge.
  • Stone fruit (nectarines, peaches, plums, pluots, apricots, etc.): rinsed off and placed on a towel to dry. I never refrigerate stone fruit as this seems to negatively affect the texture. Once dry, these are placed on a tray within reach of the kids; they don’t last long. Pluots and plums will last the longest (5–7 days depending on ripeness) at room temperature.
  • Grapes: rinse well and dry on a towel or in a colander. I store these in the fridge in a recycled grocery store grape (or cherry) bag; you know, the ones with small holes all over them that seal at the top.
  • Kale: separate and rinse well. Then, I shake them out to get them as dry as possible (I do this outside—it never snows here). I lay the leaves on a towel to dry, then gather the leaves back into a nice bunch, roll them up in the same towel and store them in a ziploc bag. The leaves are long, so they stick out of the bag. Hearty kale will easily last a week in the fridge.
  • Apples: get rinsed and placed on a towel to dry. I store them in a cute little 1/4 peck bag that I once got at the farmers market. I place apples in the fridge to keep them nice and crisp, although I’ll leave a couple out on the fruit tray for the kids.
  • Green beans: I put these in a ziploc bag and don’t wash until I’m going to eat/cook them.
  • Potatoes: I put small potatoes in those little green baskets that strawberries come in (I have a zillion of them, because we consume a lot of strawberries) and keep them in the pantry. Potatoes should never be stored in the fridge due to some scientific thing that has to do with starch. I read about it once.
  • Berries (raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, strawberries): I usually buy a 3-pack, so I just keep them in their little containers within the cardboard box, wrapped in a plastic bag, in the fridge. I don’t wash until right before eating. I usually don’t wash raspberries until they look dirty. This is the advantage of shopping at a farmers market and buying from farmers who don’t use sprays and nasty stuff on their crops.
    farmers market produce, cleaned and ready to put away
    farmers market produce: cleaned and ready to put away

    *Lunch tip: Bring your kids to a farmers market, farm stand, green market or some such place. They’ll try new things and they’ll like them, because locally grown food tastes good. Surprisingly good.

31 Aug 2012: Egg Salad

31 Aug 2012 lunch
31 Aug 2012 lunch
lunch on 31 Aug 2012

It’s the end of the first full week of school. A milestone, indeed. Friday’s main lunch item is egg salad on whole wheat sandwich thins. Mmm, do I love a good egg salad. There’s a tiny bit left over for my lunch today.

You’ll notice a lot of sandwich thins in my lunches. These are a fabulous food invention. I find that sandwich thins provide a more appropriate portion for small children than thick slices of bread, unless the bread loaf is pretty small. Iain’s has red leaf lettuce from our garden; Lily still prefers hers without lettuce, I’m sorry to say. Lunch sides are sugar snap peas (farmers market), two small slices of aged cheddar, strawberries and grapes (also farmers market). It looks like one of those crazy candy coated chocolate sunflower seeds in trying to escape from the treat compartment.

*Lunch tip: I boiled four eggs on Monday, anticipating that I could get two lunches for two kids (i.e., four lunches) out of this. Actually, that’s not true. I boiled four eggs, because I had four eggs in the fridge. Whenever possible, prepare things that require cooking or longer prep in bulk (well, mini-bulk; we’re talking kid lunches here) to save time later in the week. 

30 Aug 2012: Lots of Fruit

30 Aug 2012 lunch
30 Aug 2012 lunch
lunch on 30 Aug 2012

When it’s hot outside, my kids do not eat as much food for lunch. I don’t blame them. Since it has been hot all week, I’ve been including lots of fruit in the lunches. Today’s lunch is fruit heavy: strawberries, those insanely delicious green plums, and red flame grapes (all from the farmers market). Half a tuna salad sandwich (tuna salad leftover from Tuesday’s lunch) and sweet + salty trail mix (Quaker Oat Squares, Life cereal, and pretzel Goldfish) round out the lunch. The treat consists of two dark chocolate mints (Trader Joe’s), because, well, who doesn’t like a dark chocolate mint after lunch?

29 Aug 2012: Mini Pizza

29 Aug 2012 lunch
29 Aug 2012 lunch
lunch on 29 Aug 2012

On today’s lunch menu: mini pizza margherita (basil from our garden, marinara sauce, and mozzarella on a wheat sandwich thin), sliced carrots, insanely delicious green plums, strawberries and grapes. All produce is from the farmers market. The treat: chocolate covered, candy coated sunflower seeds (Trader Joe’s).

The was a popular lunch: it was clean plate club for both Lily and Iain.

*Lunch tip: I make pizza-y/melty cheese things when I’m cleaning the dishes after dinner. Line a baking sheet with a small piece of foil, set oven to 400˚ and small melty things will usually be done in about 15 minutes. 

28 Aug 2012: Tuna Sandwich

28 Aug 2012 lunch
28 Aug 2012 lunch
lunch on 28 Aug 2012

Mmm, tuna. Today we have tuna salad (heavy on the dill pickles) on whole wheat bread, edamame, carrot slices (farmers market), sliced plums and kiwi, and one cocoa goldfish and a chocolate shell for a treat.

27 Aug 2012: First Day of School Lunch

27 Aug 2012 Lunch
 27 Aug 2012 Lunch
lunch on 27 Aug 2012

Lunch on the first day of school consisted of: whole wheat sandwich thins with sunflower seed butter and blackberry jam, a hard boiled egg (farmers market) with salt and pepper, carrot slices (farmers market), cherry tomatoes (our garden), one date, and a couple of chocolate rocks in the treat tray.