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:
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?
I’m afraid I haven’t been quite so creative with the kiddos’ lunches, but they haven’t complained.
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.
Naturally, the kids love slurping Cup Noodles in the sun.
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.
Stay tuned for next week’s lunches featuring capicola, fermented pickles and microgreens.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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!
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.
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.
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.