Happy Day After Halloween

halloween lunch with mini mummy pizzas

My favorite Halloween treats to make for the kiddos are these adorable mini mummy pizzas. They take a few more minutes to make than the standard sandwich, but they’re well worth the effort. I typically use sweet, soft King’s Hawaiian rolls, which are sliced in half and layered with marinara sauce, string cheese and sliced black olives for the eyes. Aren’t they adorable?

mini mummy pizza

Why Sliders Are the Best

turkey slider with cheese

When I was in high school, I loved to eat a plate of sliders and fries at this place in Omaha called The Diner. It was, well, a charming little diner with classic diner food. Ever since I discovered those mini burgers, I’ve been obsessed with sliders. I don’t even know where the term “sliders” originated. I should do some research on the internets.

In the meantime, I’ll just continue to have fun making different types of sliders. I love a straightforward beef and American cheese slider loaded with pickles, lettuce and Thousand Island (secret sauce) dressing. Sometimes, I’ll mix it up with turkey or pork or even salmon. The other day, I made turkey sliders with sautéed kale and mushrooms incorporated into the burgers. They were fantastic. I always try to make a few extra burgers, so I have some leftover for lunches. They’re actually delicious cold.

grownup lunch with turkey and cheese sliders served with a green salad
grownup lunch with turkey and cheese sliders served with a green salad
a kid lunch with a turkey and cheese slider, veggies, apple slices, Goldfish crackers, almonds and a chocolate eyeball treat
a kid lunch with a turkey and cheese slider, veggies, apple slices, Goldfish crackers, almonds and a chocolate eyeball treat

 

And Just Like That: The End of School

lunch on 6 June 2017: teriyaki tofu and cucumbers with sweet chili sauce on King's Hawaiian rolls, baby carrots, mango banana chia pudding, and grapes

I still can’t believe it: the school year is over. It’s been a long slog this year, but we survived it. I’m actually relieved to get a break from lunch packing. I was starting to run out of inspiration as the school year wound down. I’ll be using the summer to get my lunch packing groove back and to try to master the art of choux pastry.

Here are some of the favorite kid lunches from the last two weeks of school:

last day of school lunch: pita pizzas with papaya, nectarine, Trader Joe's dark chocolate Nutty Bites and Reese's Pieces (special treat!)
last day of school lunch: pita pizzas with papaya, nectarine, Trader Joe’s dark chocolate Nutty Bites and Reese’s Pieces (special treat!)
lunch on 6 June 2017: teriyaki tofu and cucumbers with sweet chili sauce on King's Hawaiian rolls, baby carrots, mango banana chia pudding, and grapes
lunch on 6 June 2017: teriyaki tofu and cucumbers with sweet chili sauce on King’s Hawaiian rolls, baby carrots, mango banana chia pudding, and grapes
cantaloupe, donut peach, fennel, mini peanut butter banana chocolate chip muffins, grilled chicken and salami sticks
lunch on 31 May 2017: cantaloupe, donut peach, fennel, mini peanut butter banana chocolate chip muffins, grilled chicken and salami sticks
lunch on 1 June 2017: peanut butter, Nutella and bananas on homemade challah, grapes, cherries, kiwi and baby carrots
lunch on 1 June 2017: peanut butter, Nutella and bananas on homemade challah, grapes, cherries, kiwi and baby carrots
lunch on 5 June 2017: cantaloupe, grapes, Cheez-It snack mix, salami sticks for Iain and mortadella wrapped around cheese and sprouts for Lily
lunch on 5 June 2017: cantaloupe, grapes, Cheez-It snack mix, salami sticks for Iain and mortadella wrapped around cheese and sprouts for Lily

 

Variety and Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

lunch on 17 May 2017: teriyaki pork tenderloin, cheddar cheese, pretzel thins, donut peach, apricot, kiwi and purple carrots

I just love our new Monday morning routine in which the kids pack their own lunches. This week, I asked Lily to pack me a snack and she made me a beautifully organized container or cherries and carrots, complete with an encouraging “You’re Awesome” Post-it note. I love that kid.

Lily making her lunch and a snack for mom
Lily making her lunch and a snack for mom

Lunches for the rest of the week were full of variety. For Tuesday’s lunch I made little salami pizza’s on honey whole wheat English muffins.

lunch on 16 May 2017: English muffin pizza with salami, carrots, grape tomatoes and kiwi
lunch on 16 May 2017: English muffin pizza with salami, carrots, grape tomatoes and kiwi

Wednesday’s lunch contained lots of fruit along with cheese, pretzels and leftover pork tenderloin. I love how fast pork tenderloin cooks. I marinated two pork tenderloins in teriyaki sauce (Soy Vay®) and roasted them in a 500˚F oven for 20 minutes (be sure to line a baking sheet with parchment paper or you’ll be left with a sticky, burnt mess when cooking at this high temperature). They were perfectly tender and juicy. With rice and some quick sautéed mushrooms and sugar snaps, it was a perfect dinner with plenty leftover for both grownup and kid lunches.

lunch on 17 May 2017: teriyaki pork tenderloin, cheddar cheese, pretzel thins, donut peach, apricot, kiwi and purple carrots
lunch on 17 May 2017: teriyaki pork tenderloin, cheddar cheese, pretzel thins, donut peach, apricot, kiwi and purple carrots

On Thursday, the kids requested a “sandwich tasting” for lunch. These little King’s Hawaiian rolls have 1) Nutella, 2) butter and strawberry jam, and 3) crunchy peanut butter and marshmallow Fluff.

lunch on 18 May 2017: mini sweet sandwiches, pistachios, carrots, cherries and mango
lunch on 18 May 2017: mini sweet sandwiches, pistachios, carrots, cherries and mango

The last lunch of the week has some oranges that I picked last night in the dark (ripe, luckily), kiwi, carrots and a mini sandwich with mortadella, pork and cheddar. What a yummy end to the week.

lunch on 19 May 2017: pork and cheese mini sandwich, oranges, kiwi and carrots
lunch on 19 May 2017: pork and cheese mini sandwich, oranges, kiwi and carrots

A Week of Lunch Inspiration

lunch on 10 May 2017: little turkey, cheese and dill pickle sandwiches with mini bell peppers, honeydew, Goldfish and pistachios

This was a pretty good week of lunches for the kiddos: lots of variety and plenty of delicious fruit. We got some particularly delicious mangoes and a big, sweet honeydew that the kids have enjoyed throughout the week.

Lily makes here lunch: pita with edamame hummus, purple carrots and grilled chicken, salami sticks, more carrots, orange slices and chunks of mango
Lily makes her lunch: pita with edamame hummus, purple carrots and grilled chicken, salami sticks, more carrots, orange slices and chunks of mango
lunch on 9 May 2017: pizza bread on King's Hawaiian sweet rolls, mango and carrots
lunch on 9 May 2017: pizza bread on King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, mango and carrots
lunch on 10 May 2017: little turkey, cheese and dill pickle sandwiches with mini bell peppers, honeydew, Goldfish and pistachios
lunch on 10 May 2017: little turkey, cheese and dill pickle sandwiches with mini bell peppers, honeydew, Goldfish and pistachios
lunch on 11 May 2017: rice salad with ham, tofu, cherry tomatoes and butter lettuce with seaweed, honeydew and Goldfish trail mix
lunch on 11 May 2017: rice salad with ham, tofu, cherry tomatoes, edamame, and butter lettuce with seaweed, honeydew and Goldfish trail mix
lunch on 12 May 2017: peanut butter, Nutella and bananas on flat bread with mango and honeydew
lunch on 12 May 2017: peanut butter, Nutella and bananas on flat bread with mango and honeydew

Getting Kids in the Kitchen, or, Outside of the Kitchen

learning the proper way to remove a slider from the grill

I’m continually trying to come up with ways to get my kids interested in food prep and cooking. Some days it’s easier than others and I don’t try to force it if they’re not feeling it. A few days ago, my husband decided to give Iain, who is almost 12, a little grilling lesson. This kid LOVES burgers. And, he also loves fire, so it was a perfect combination. We made sliders, which are especially kid-friendly in terms of both flipping and eating.

Iain gets slightly smoked out while grilling
Iain gets slightly smoked out while grilling
Iain gets an audience
Iain gets an audience
learning the proper way to remove a slider from the grill
learning the proper way to remove a slider from the grill

The best part about making sliders: serving them for lunch the next day. The kids said they were delicious cold. Too bad there weren’t enough leftovers for me to have some for my lunch.

lunch with fruit, carrots, pretzel thins and a mini cheeseburger
lunch with fruit, carrots, pretzel thins and a mini cheeseburger

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

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

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