Lots of Bread Baking

lunch on 9 Dec 2016: pepperoni, butter and dill pickle relish on a pumpkin roll, cheese stick, satsuma, grapes, and veggies

I’ve been on a bread baking kick this week thanks to my trusty bread machine (and the fact that I’m not teaching this quarter!). It’s hard to even call bread machine bread “homemade” because it’s so easy. I also love using the bread machine to mix and knead dough, so I can make cute rolls like this:

lunch on 7 Dec 2016: peanut butter and honey on a roll, colby jack cheese stick, satsuma, veggies, pretzel fish and cheese filled crackers
lunch on 7 Dec 2016: peanut butter and honey on a roll, colby jack cheese stick, satsuma, veggies, pretzel fish and cheese filled crackers

My son mentioned this week that he wants to have “simple” lunches that aren’t too heavy. He’s a sixth grader, but his little sister has a bigger lunch time appetite than he does. I think it’s because he just wants to eat as fast as possible, so he can go to recess and play with his friends. With that in mind, I’ve tried to keep things “simple”. I made a batch of little rolls twice this week, and they’ve been perfect for making mini sandwiches like the one above with peanut butter and honey.

lunch on 8 Dec 2016: honey and peanut butter on golden pumpkin bread with a satsuma, kiwi and veggie sticks
lunch on 8 Dec 2016: honey and peanut butter on golden pumpkin bread with a satsuma, kiwi and veggie sticks

The peanut butter and honey was a hit, so I spread it on some fresh pumpkin bread for Thursday’s lunch. Fresh pumpkin bread? What?! I have a favorite holiday roll recipe that uses pumpkin puree in the dough, so I decided to add some pumpkin puree to my standard egg bread recipe. It turned out both pretty and delicious—a gorgeous, soft, golden loaf of bread. If you’re a bread baker, try adding some pumpkin puree in place of half the liquid in your bread recipe. You won’t be disappointed.

lunch on 9 Dec 2016: pepperoni, butter and dill pickle relish on a pumpkin roll, cheese stick, satsuma, grapes, and veggies
lunch on 9 Dec 2016: pepperoni, butter and dill pickle relish on a pumpkin roll, cheese stick, satsuma, grapes, and veggies

Because that pumpkin bread turned out so well, I was motivated to whip up another batch of rolls—this time with, you guessed it, pumpkin added to the dough. Today’s little sandwich has a couple of pepperoni slices, a little butter and lots of dill pickle relish. We’ve also been on a radish kick lately. My daughter just loves radishes. Look at these beauties I picked up the farmers market last weekend:

farmers market radishes
farmers market radishes

Now, don’t you just want to add some crunchy radishes to your next salad?

Crunchy Veggies, Kiwifruit and Assorted Breads

lunch on 6 Dec 2016: homemade roll with butter and jam, salami sticks, carrots, kiwi, and a satsuma

We’ve started out the school week with assorted featured breads. On Monday, I had some leftover French toast, which made some nice little Nutella and jam sandwiches. While I had the Nutella out, I spread some on a tortilla and rolled it up with a banana inside. Yum!

lunch on 5 Dec 2016: French toast with Nutella and jam, banana and Nutella roll up, kiwi, carrots, radishes and candy cane pretzel treats
lunch on 5 Dec 2016: French toast with Nutella and jam, banana and Nutella roll up, kiwi, carrots, radishes and candy cane pretzel treats

Yesterday, I made some delicious rolls using my trusty bread machine to mix and knead the dough. Aren’t they lovely?

homemade dinner rolls
homemade dinner rolls

So, naturally, the kids wanted some rolls in today’s lunch. I went with my favorite way to eat a fresh roll: with butter and raspberry jam. Total comfort food.

lunch on 6 Dec 2016: homemade roll with butter and jam, salami sticks, carrots, kiwi, and a satsuma
lunch on 6 Dec 2016: homemade roll with butter and jam, salami sticks, carrots, kiwi, and a satsuma

Back into the Swing of Things, Lunch Style

lunch on 30 Nov 2016: hummus and veggies, crackers, grapes, and mini chocolate mint stars

It’s always a challenge to get back into the school routine after having an entire week off for Thanksgiving break—especially when that break includes a trip to Disneyland followed by the making and consumption of way too much food. The first few lunches of the week were typical lazy mom affairs made with minimal fuss and effort.

Exhibit A:

lunch on 28 Nov 2016: cinnamon swirl bread with butter, dried apricots, carrots, apples and a GoGo Squeez
lunch on 28 Nov 2016: cinnamon swirl bread with butter, dried apricots, carrots, apples and a GoGo carrot applesauce

Exhibit B:

lunch on 29 Nov 2016: peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich with carrots and oranges
lunch on 29 Nov 2016: peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich with carrots and oranges

For today’s lunch, I put in a little more effort and made the kiddos a nice hummus (edamame hummus from Trader Joe’s) and veggie lunch with multi-colored carrots, quick boiled green beans and baby bell peppers. I also included some delicious Ritz crackers, grapes, dried apricots, and Trader Joe’s adorable little mini mint chocolate star cookies.

lunch on 30 Nov 2016: hummus and veggies, crackers, grapes, and mini chocolate mint stars
lunch on 30 Nov 2016: hummus and veggies, crackers, grapes, and mini chocolate mint stars

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

Lunches with Variety

lunch on 7 Nov 2016: quesadilla with carrots, sweet peppers, and watermelon

Here is a roundup of last week’s lunches. You can see certain recurring motifs: watermelon, big green grapes, and colorful carrots (we all love little dark purple carrots). And, cheese, lots of cheese.

lunch on 7 Nov 2016: quesadilla with carrots, sweet peppers, and watermelon
lunch on 7 Nov 2016: quesadilla with kale, lettuce, carrots, sweet peppers, and watermelon
lunch on 8 Nov 2016: cheese and crackers, trail mix, grapes, banana, and persimmon slices
lunch on 8 Nov 2016: cheese and crackers, trail mix, grapes, banana, and persimmon slices
lunch on 9 Nov 2016: peanut butter and Nutella sandwich with Goldfish, watermelon and grapes
lunch on 9 Nov 2016: peanut butter and Nutella sandwich with Goldfish, watermelon and grapes
lunch on 10 Nov 2016: cheese and butter on whole wheat pitas, salami sticks, sliced radish, carrots, and grapes
lunch on 10 Nov 2016: cheese and butter on whole wheat pitas, kale, salami sticks, sliced radish, carrots, and grapes

Mind Blowing Kale Salad

mind blowing kale salad

Do you ever feel like you’re in a salad rut? You want to eat more salad, but you can’t motivate yourself to do all that washing and chopping. Today, I decided it was time to make some sort of new and exciting salad to go with dinner. I was super excited when I saw this gorgeous salad on Smitten Kitchen’s Instagram. I used Deb’s recipe as an inspiration for this completely different kale salad, because I had no green beans on hand and I don’t like onions.

mind blowing kale salad
mind blowing kale salad

Here’s how I made it:

Mind Blowing Kale Salad

a big bunch of kale
handful of chopped cabbage
handful of shredded carrots
1/3 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup raisins
bulb of fennel
1 or 2 stalks of celery
handful of sugar snap peas
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
olive oil
salt and pepper

Make the Pickles

Thinly slice the celery and fennel (this goes quickly if you have a mandolin). Wash and trim the sugar snap peas. In a glass jar, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Add the sliced celery, fennel and sugar snap peas to the brine. Let it sit in the fridge for a least an hour—or better, yet, all day.

quick pickled celery, fennel and sugar snaps
quick pickled celery, fennel and sugar snaps
The Salad

Begin by roasting the almonds on the stove top. I used a dry cast iron pan and it only took a few minutes to cook the almonds until lightly brown and fragrant. Let these guys cool.

Remove any thick stems from the kale and slice it into thin strips. In a large bowl, toss the kale with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Roughly chop the cabbage. I used white cabbage, but purple would be really pretty. Add the cabbage, shredded carrots, and raisins to the kale. Roughly chop the almonds and throw these in the salad.

Now, get some of those pickled veggies out of the jar with a fork and add them to the mix (you might not use them all; it depends how much you like that tart pickle taste). Spoon out some of that pickling juice and add it a little at a time to the salad. Mix everything up, season generously with salt and pepper, and taste it before adding more of the brine.

Dig into this crunchy sweet sour bowl of deliciousness.

Sweet Bread for Day of the Dead

pan de muerto with a sweet orange glaze

As requested by the kids, our Halloween/All Saints’/All Souls’ Day celebration continues with this lunch of pan de muerto marmalade ghost sandwiches.

lunch on 2 Nov 2016: pan de muerto with orange marmalade, Babybel Gouda, sweet pepper, baby carrots, and kiwi
lunch on 2 Nov 2016: pan de muerto with orange marmalade, Babybel Gouda, sweet pepper, baby carrots, and kiwi

Yesterday, I made a made two gorgeous loaves of pan de muerto for Dia de los Muertos. The kids go crazy for this soft, golden bread. It’s basically brioche with a sweet orange glaze. I’ve tried various recipes, but I really like this one from King Arthur flour. I used the pizza setting on my bread machine to mix the dough and it worked like a charm: no kneading, no fuss, no mess. I also didn’t bother with the King Arthur egg wash and topping. Instead, I made a quick glaze with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice (let it boil for only two minutes or you might end up with hard candy) which I spread on the warm bread and sprinkled with sugar. Crazy yummy and a beautiful offering for the dear departed—especially the bread loving dear departed.

pan de muerto with a sweet orange glaze
pan de muerto with a sweet orange glaze

Fun Halloween Food

lunch on Halloween 2016: little mummy pizzas on King's Hawaiian sweet rolls, persimmon slices and veggies

The only problem with Halloween: the kids never want it to end. They have requested Halloween-themed lunches for the rest of the week. Yesterday it was mini mummy pizza breads made with marinara, mozzarella and black olives on King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls.

lunch on Halloween 2016: little mummy pizzas on King's Hawaiian sweet rolls, persimmon slices and veggies
lunch on Halloween 2016: little mummy pizzas on King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, persimmon slices and veggies

Today, I really should have made some skeletons, but these little pumpkin bagel ghouls and banana goblins were the best I could do after a wild night of trick or treating and candy consumption.

lunch on 1 Nov 2016: pumpkin bagel ghoul and banana goblin, Halloween Apple Jacks (with skeleton marshmallows!) and veggies
lunch on 1 Nov 2016: pumpkin bagel ghoul and banana goblin, Halloween Apple Jacks (with skeleton marshmallows!) and veggies

We also made assorted Halloween-themed treats for a little party we had last weekend. I did a woefully poor job of documenting the food, because I was too busy making and arranging it. Here are a few highlights:

hot dog spiders
hot dog spiders
owl hummus and veggie platter
owl hummus and veggie platter
revolting hot dog finger
revolting hot dog finger
individual mini mummy piñatas
individual mini mummy piñatas

Lunch Round-up: All About Variety

peanut butter and Nutella sandwiched between blueberry pancakes, pears, persimmons, and garden tomatoes

Here are some recent school lunches packed in my new favorite lunchboxes.

Iain was complaining recently that he was tired of peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches. Say what?! So, I decided to mix things up with a peanut butter and apple sandwich. I also drizzled on some honey and sprinkled some cinnamon on those apples to give the sandwich an extra burst of Fall flavor.

peanut butter, honey and apples on multigrain sourdough, brownie bite, sweet peppers, and carrots
peanut butter, honey and apples on multigrain sourdough, brownie bite, sweet peppers, and carrots

Leftover pancakes are always a kid-favorite lunch when spread with peanut butter and Nutella. Yes, that combo is okay when sandwiched between some blueberry pancakes.

peanut butter and Nutella sandwiched between blueberry pancakes, pears, persimmons, and garden tomatoes
peanut butter and Nutella sandwiched between blueberry pancakes, pears, persimmons, and garden tomatoes

This was an easy end of the week lunch: a little cheese pizza roll up with applesauce, carrots and chunks of Asian pear.

cheese pizza roll up with applesauce, carrots and pears
cheese pizza roll up with applesauce, carrots and pears

You could call this “Mom Has a Little Piece of Leftover Pie Crust and Is Feeling Motivated Lunch.” Yep, I actually made little apple pies for lunch last week. Now the kids want more apple pies for lunch.

apple hand pie, yogurt with honey, cinnamon and chia seeds, sweet red pepper
apple hand pie, yogurt with honey, cinnamon and chia seeds, sweet red pepper

And, finally, today’s lunch is a merry mixup of plain yogurt sweetened with marmalade and honey, a juicy kiwi, a granola bar, a mini sweet pepper, a mini cucumber, a Hebrew National hot dog (the only hot dog worth eating, in my opinion), and a Babybel gouda. Fancy!

yogurt with chia seeds, marmalade and honey, kiwi, hot dog, cucumber, sweet pepper, granola bar and Babybel gouda cheese
yogurt with chia seeds, marmalade and honey, kiwi, hot dog, cucumber, sweet pepper, granola bar and Babybel gouda cheese

Two Ways with King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

lunch on 17 Oct 2016: tuna salad on King's Hawaiian rolls with a sweet lipstick pepper, carrot, Goldfish, and grapes

Is there anything as satisfying as a King’s Hawaiian sweet roll? It’s like a soft little pillow of love. The kids go crazy for King’s Hawaiian bread, so we started the week with some delicious little tuna sandwiches:

lunch on 17 Oct 2016: tuna salad on King's Hawaiian rolls with a sweet lipstick pepper, carrot, Goldfish, and grapes
lunch on 17 Oct 2016: tuna salad on King’s Hawaiian rolls with a sweet lipstick pepper, carrot, Goldfish, and grapes

The second King’s Hawaiian sweet roll lunch has little slider pizzas (marinara sauce + mozzarella on a little roll, pop in a 350˚ oven for 10–15 minutes). Don’t those little pizzas look delicious?

lunch on 18 Oct 2016: pizza bread on King's Hawaiian sweet rolls, Goldfish, and persimmon slices
lunch on 18 Oct 2016: pizza bread on King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, Goldfish, and persimmon slices

 

Lunches for Salami Lovers

lunch on 14 Oct 2016: focaccia sandwich with salami and pickles, applesauce, Parmesan Goldfish, persimmon slices and grapes

I have a couple of salami lovers in my house, and they were treated to some serious salami this week.

On Wednesday, it was salami, cheddar, and sweet pickle relish on a sesame bun.

lunch on 12 Oct 2016: salami, cheese and pickle relish on a sesame bun, carrots, banana chips (in the cute pink container), mini pumpkin muffins and grapes
lunch on 12 Oct 2016: salami, cheese and pickle relish on a sesame bun, carrots, banana chips (in the cute pink container), mini pumpkin muffins and grapes

On Thursday, some salty focaccia was paired with little salami sticks.

lunch on 13 Oct 2016: focaccia and salami sticks, sweet peppers, carrots, cantaloupe and grapes
lunch on 13 Oct 2016: focaccia and salami sticks, sweet peppers, carrots, cantaloupe and grapes

And Friday’s lunch has little focaccia sandwiches with thin pieces of salami, dill pickle relish, and butter.

lunch on 14 Oct 2016: focaccia sandwich with salami and pickles, applesauce, Parmesan Goldfish, persimmon slices and grapes
lunch on 14 Oct 2016: focaccia sandwich with salami and pickles, applesauce, Parmesan Goldfish, persimmon slices and grapes

Cucumber, Cream Cheese, and a Favorite Condiment

cucumber cream cheese roll
lunch on 11 Oct 2016: cucumber roll ups, fruit salad, granola bar and graham Goldfish
lunch on 11 Oct 2016: cucumber roll ups, fruit salad, granola bar and graham Goldfish

For today’s lunch, I made a fruit salad with cantaloupe, grapes, and pineapple. I also made some cucumber, cream cheese and furikake roll ups.

cucumber cream cheese roll
cucumber cream cheese roll

I’m crazy about furikake, which is a sweet and salty mix of little pieces of seaweed and sesame seeds.

furikake seaweed seasoning
furikake seaweed seasoning

I pretty much sprinkle it on everything. My kids love it because it makes boring food taste like sushi.

open-faced sandwich with cream cheese, cucumbers, and furikake
open-faced sandwich with cream cheese, cucumbers, and furikake