Not Exactly A New Year’s Resolution

sweet potato sandwich beauty shot

After a holiday hiatus from lunch making, I am back in action. School started this week for the kids and I, so I am making both school lunches and grownup lunches. It’s not a resolution per se—I can never commit to anything as concrete as a resolution—but I am trying to create more inventive vegetarian sandwiches for the grownups. Here is my first attempt in 2017:

sweet potato, swiss cheese, apple, parsley, romaine and the magic ingredient: sriracha ranch dressing
sweet potato, swiss cheese, apple, parsley, romaine and the magic ingredient: sriracha ranch dressing

Vegetarian sandwiches can be great, but sometimes they require some planning. Yesterday I had a little time between my daughter’s piano and dance lessons, so I roasted some sliced sweet potatoes which became the base of my sandwich. Then I piled on cheese, apples, parsley and lettuce. My favorite sandwich condiment is Trader Joe’s Sriracha Ranch dressing: this stuff is seriously delicious and quite spicy. I spread it on some sourdough and these beauties were done. Don’t they look yummy?

sweet potato sandwich beauty shot
sweet potato sandwich beauty shot

I’m afraid I haven’t been quite so creative with the kiddos’ lunches, but they haven’t complained.

lunch on 9 Jan 2017: English muffin French toast with raspberry jam, carrots and satsumas.
lunch on 9 Jan 2017: English muffin French toast with raspberry jam, carrots and satsumas.
lunch on 10 Jan 2017: peanut butter and banana sandwich on sourdough with carrots, sweet baby bell peppers, celery, and mixed nut pretzel trail mix
lunch on 10 Jan 2017: peanut butter and banana sandwich on sourdough with carrots, sweet baby bell peppers, celery, and mixed nut pretzel trail mix

Slurping Noodles in the Sun

Cup Noodles with tofu, peas, crispy prosciutto, and hoisin sauce

Behold the humble, yet strangely satisfying, Cup Noodles. I don’t buy too many convenience foods, but I admit to a weakness for Cup Noodles. I know Cup Noodles are basically an engineered, sodium-filled, ultra-processed, non-real food and I wouldn’t recommend eating them regularly. However, I do ocassionally indulge in Cup Noodles with fun add-ins, like: peas, tofu, crispy prosciutto, and hoisin sauce. If you’re going to eat something as inexpensive as Cup Noodles, you might as well fancy them up with some delicious add-ins.

Cup Noodles with tofu, peas, crispy prosciutto, and hoisin sauce
Cup Noodles with tofu, peas, crispy prosciutto, and hoisin sauce

Naturally, the kids love slurping Cup Noodles in the sun.

Iain slurping noodles
Iain slurping noodles
Lily slurping noodles
Lily slurping noodles

“Do we have any prosciutto?”

mini sandwiches with butter, prosciutto and buckwheat sprouts
mini sandwiches with butter, prosciutto and buckwheat sprouts
mini sandwiches with butter, prosciutto and buckwheat sprouts

The danger of never giving your kids “kid food” and forcing them to eat “grownup food” could result in this scenario: “Hey, kids, what kind of sandwich do you want in your lunch tomorrow?” “Do we have any prosciutto?” Prosciutto?! I got bologna and Kraft singles when I was a kid. My little gourmands request fancy salumi and 1000 day gouda. I’ve only got myself to blame.

lunch on 9 May 2016: min sandwiches with prosciutto, butter and sprouts, fruit salad and tapioca pudding
lunch on 9 May 2016: min sandwiches with prosciutto, butter and sprouts, fruit salad and tapioca pudding

Stay tuned for next week’s lunches featuring capicola, fermented pickles and microgreens.

Lunch Roundup: Fun Ways with Bread

lunch on 25 Apr 2016: banana bread, crispy rice roll, apples, carrots and strawberries

This quarter is getting the best of me and I haven’t managed to keep up with my lunch posts. In spite of work insanity, lunch must get made. Here is a roundup of lunches that feature a variety of delicious breads:

lunch on 25 Apr 2016: banana bread, crispy rice roll, apples, carrots and strawberries
lunch on 25 Apr 2016: banana bread, crispy rice roll, apples, carrots and strawberries
lunch on 26 Apr 2016: bagel with strawberry cream cheese, fruit strip and fruit salad
lunch on 26 Apr 2016: bagel with strawberry cream cheese, fruit strip and fruit salad
lunch on 27 Apr 2016: trio of pretzel bread sandwiches with jam, cream cheese and Nutella, cantaloupe, strawberries and carrots
lunch on 27 Apr 2016: trio of pretzel bread sandwiches with jam, cream cheese and Nutella, cantaloupe, strawberries and carrots
lunch on 28 Apr 2016: pizza bread, strawberries, carrots, pears and apples
lunch on 28 Apr 2016: pizza bread, strawberries, carrots, pears and apples
lunch on 29 Apr 2016: peanut butter and Nutella sandwich, apples, carrots, yogurt with honey and granola
lunch on 29 Apr 2016: peanut butter and Nutella sandwich on homemade French bread, apples, carrots, yogurt with honey and granola

The Love in Love and Lunch: Halloween Style

Here at Love and Lunch we are crazy about Halloween. Some of our favorite moments from last weekend:

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.

Fruit Filled Lunches for Hot Days

lunch on 26 Aug 2015: fruit salad with crackers, carrots, and ham cheese cucumber "tacos"
lunch on 25 Aug 2015: salami and cheese slider with Pirate's Booty, pretzel Goldfish, carrots and watermelon slices
lunch on 25 Aug 2015: salami and cheese slider with Pirate’s Booty, pretzel Goldfish, carrots and watermelon slices

We could be having a perfectly temperate summer and, invariably, the first week of school will bring a heat wave. This week it’s hot and the kids are sweaty and miserable by the end of the day, because there is no air conditioning on the Central Coast! To make matters worst, they eat lunch sitting outside in the burning hot sun. On hot days, they typically don’t want to each much for lunch, so I try to pack lots of fruit. Yesterday, it was slices of watermelon with a little salami and cheese slider, some carrot sticks and a few crunchy snacks.

lunch on 26 Aug 2015: fruit salad with crackers, carrots, and ham cheese cucumber "tacos"
lunch on 26 Aug 2015: fruit salad with crackers, carrots, and ham cheese cucumber “tacos”

For today’s lunch, I made a big helping of fruit salad with nectarines, white peaches, strawberries and watermelon. For a little protein, I made ham “tacos” filled with Colby Jack cheese and cucumber. I also threw in some wheat crackers and carrot sticks. Iain will probably just eat the fruit salad. We might have to head to the beach after school to cool off.

Leftovers Made to Order

Iain's lunch on 27 April 2015: cheese pizza with carrots and apples
Lily's lunch on 27 Apr 2015: fish, bean, cheese and rice taquitos with carrots and apples
Lily’s lunch on 27 Apr 2015: fish, bean, cheese and rice taquitos with carrots and apples

For lunch last Friday, I made leftover lunches to order. There was only one problem: I accidentally gave each kid the wrong lunch. That’s what happens on Thursday nights when all bets are off and my brain is fried. I was determined not to let that happen again. I made sure that Lily got the leftover fish taquitos she requested for her lunch and that Iain got the cheese pizza (leftover from his 10th birthday party!) he requested. Clearly my brain functions better on Sundays than on Thursdays.

Iain's lunch on 27 April 2015: cheese pizza with carrots and apples
Iain’s lunch on 27 April 2015: cheese pizza with carrots and apples

Rice and Edamame Two Ways

Iain's lunch on 24 Apr 2015: California rolls with edamame, etc.
lunch on 24 Apr 2015: black rice with seaweed salad and edamame, carrots and a banana
Lily’s lunch on 24 Apr 2015: black rice with seaweed salad and edamame, carrots and a banana

Last night we had rice bowls for dinner, so I had assorted leftovers available for the kiddos’ lunches today. Lily is a rice lover, so I packed her a little tin of black rice (it’s actually a combo of brown and black/forbidden rice) with seaweed salad and edamame.

Iain's lunch on 24 Apr 2015: California rolls with edamame, etc.
Iain’s lunch on 24 Apr 2015: California rolls with edamame, etc.

Iain, on the other hand, sometimes likes rice and sometimes is rather ambivalent about rice. But, he always likes sushi rolls. So he got the three leftover California rolls along with some edamame for his lunch today. Friday lunches to please everyone!

It’s a PBN&J Kind of Week

lunch on 5 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and apricot jam sandwiches with a granola bar, carrots, apples, and tangerines
lunch on 5 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and apricot jam sandwiches with a granola bar, carrots, apples, and tangerines
lunch on 5 Dec 2014: peanut butter, Nutella and apricot jam sandwiches with a granola bar, carrots, apples, and tangerines

This is the second peanut butter, Nutella and jam sandwich of the week. What can I say? It’s been a crazy PBN&J kind of week. I also included a little granola bar and some yummy fruit and carrot sticks in this lunch. Happy weekend.

A Lunch on the Sweet Side: Peanut Butter, Nutella and Sliced Bananas on an English Muffin

lunch on 30 Sept 2014: peanut butter, banana and Nutella on an English muffin with a lemon fig bar, carrots and plums
lunch on 30 Sept 2014: peanut butter, banana and Nutella on an English muffin with a lemon fig bar, carrots and plums
lunch on 30 Sept 2014: peanut butter, banana and Nutella on an English muffin with a lemon fig bar, carrots and plums

I realize this English muffin looks pretty small and boring in the picture, but, don’t be fooled. It’s loaded with goodies: peanut butter, Nutella and bananas (quite possibly the best sandwich combo ever). The lemon Fig Bar is from Nature’s Bakery. These Fig Bars are a bit spendy, so I don’t buy them all the time. As luck would have it, I found a big box of Fig Bars at Costco while shopping with my mother-in-law, so now I have a good supply of these delicious little energy bars.

It’s Pumpkin Craziness

lunch on 29 Sept 2014: pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, applesauce, sweet lipstick peppers and carrots, cheese and crackers
lunch on 29 Sept 2014: pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, applesauce, sweet lipstick peppers and carrots, cheese and crackers
lunch on 29 Sept 2014: pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, applesauce, sweet lipstick peppers and carrots, cheese and crackers

When did all things pumpkin and pumpkin spice take over the grocery store, the coffee shop, the moisturizer section of the drugstore, etc.? I went to Trader Joe’s on Saturday with the kids and there was an enormous pumpkin products display as you entered the store. Pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin toaster pastries, pumpkin and cranberry crackers—even salted pumpkin caramels. Naturally, the kids made my buy a package of pumpkin bagels and some pumpkin cream cheese. They love this stuff. I think I could serve them pumpkin bagels with pumpkin cream cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they wouldn’t complain. As a matter of fact, they both ate every last bite of this lunch today. In addition to half a pumpkin bagel with pumpkin cream cheese, they got homemade applesauce (it’s also apple season!), super sweet red lipstick peppers, carrots, fancy 1000 Day Gouda (also from TJ’s) and crackers.