Saturday, December 26, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
We had a high tea instead of lunch today. I put out some home made Xmas cookies, and slices of this tea cake backed from Garvey's tea cake mix (available on Amazon). It has zante currants, and I added an orange glaze, made with organic orange juice and powdered sugar.
I served Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea from Harney's Tea Company with for our tea.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
My kids thought this had too much garlic (5 cloves went in) but my husband and I liked it a lot.
2 large onions,
4 heads baby bok choy, 1 pound baby broccoli, 5 green onions, 1 bunch watercress, 3 large carrots, 5 cloves garlic, 2 pork chops, two 32 oz packaged vegetable or chicken stock.
Cook onion in a few Tbs butter until soft, add garlic (pressed) and carrots (coins). Cook until soft, but not brown- add broth. Bring to boil. Add all the remaining vegetables sliced up- I use a rough slice for the heads of the broccoli, and a finer one for the stems. Finally add chopped or sliced pork. Add white pepper and salt to taste (basil is also quite good in this). I only cook the soup until the pork is hot, since I do not want to overcook the green vegetables.
For breakfast I made pork rib chops. I used a whole can of crushed pineapple, and put it in a large corningware dish. Then I lay for large chops on the pineapple, and coated them with juice. Then I coated one side with BBQ rub, salt and white pepper. I fried this side down in a nonstick pan. When the side down was brown, I sprinkled the side up with the same mix of BBQ rub, salt and pepper, and then fried that side. When both sides were done I put the chops on the bed of pineapple and baked the dish at 350 for about 15 minutes. I used some extra chops in our lunchtime soup- which is why I mention how I cooked breakfast. Otherwise I would NEVER include a breakfast item :-) I served these with toast and eggs and fruit, and a little dollop of the pineapple as a garnish. Delicious. I saved the leftover pineapple and mixed it with soy sauce and put it in the fridge for later use as a marinade. I'll probably add some 5 spices (chinese seasoning) to it, to make it extra tasty.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Here's a delicious and easy soup to make- it's what we had for lunch (it fed 5 people and we had leftovers). I used 32 oz of Trader Joe's organic veggie broth, 2 packages of Udon soup (Annie Chun), 1 pound of baby organic broccoli, 5 green onions, 1 large white onion, 1 package trader Joe's cilantro and chicken won tons, and 4 heads of baby bok choy.
In about 2 Tbs butter, saute white onion till soft. Then put in all the other vegetables. All are sliced except for the heads of the baby broccoli, which look pretty in larger pieces. Saute until the bok choy is just wilted, then add broth.
Add about 4 cups of water, add sauce and noodles from package, and bring to a boil. Add won ton and cook for about 3 minutes.
You can add hot sesame oil if you like it, otherwise just serve and enjoy!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Last week, for example, Monday was peanut butter sandwiches on hot dog buns- because the bread had gone moldy (I also sent Bora Bora bars, apple sauce, peanuts, and some gingerbread men). Then on Tuesday I sent Far North nut clusters, apple sauce, Nature Valley granola bars, a kind almond and apricot bar, some dates, and a berry apple mix of dried fruit. Wednesday I don't have to make lunch because my kids are home early. Thursday and Friday I sent the same thing- mini pain au chocolate (from Costco), granola bars, string cheese, apple sauce, dried fruit and dates.
Monday, November 23, 2009
For lunch today we are having green papaya salad- this is my recipe, but there are many others on the web. I've tweaked the ingredients to make it best for my family. I've listed optional ingredients at the bottom of the recipe- but you could really add anything you like.
Delicious Green Papaya Salad
4 TBS fish sauce (I use Three Crabs brand, because it uses anchovies only);
1/4 cup water;
2 TBS lime juice;
1 TBS rice vinegar;
1 1/2 Tsp honey;
2 tsp granulated sugar;
1/8 cup coconut water (I use coconut water with pineapple);
Cut in matchstick julienne:
2 carrots (medium size)-
1 green Asian papaya (I use the very large papayas at Trader Joes)-
3 green onions-
1/2 cup daikon radish-
10 mint leaves cut in ribbons (basically julienne across the leaf)-
5 large basil leaves, or 10 small, cut in ribbons-
mint leaves or flowers for garnish
julienne of green mango-
julienne of apples-
julienne of pears-
julienne of jicama-
Mix all ingredients for dressing in small microwaveable bowl- do NOT boil, but heat enough for the sugar to completely dissolve. Cool
Mix all salad ingredients except for garnish. Pour sauce over salad. Toss gently. Garnish with mint leaves, basil leaves (as in picture) and/or edible flowers.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
My kids loved the muffins, and there was not much sugar in them, and they were whole grain and had flax seed!
Best pan EVER for muffins and brownies and cakes!!!
I got it for 15.99- so if you put it in your cart and if you are patient, you can get it way cheaper than the list price, or the Amazon price of 39.99. It might take a while to fall in price, but it will fall eventually.
The muffins just fall out, leaving the pan clean!!! (and you don't have to grease the molds)
I love household items that are so perfect. Makes you happy to be cooking in the kitchen.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
This is last Thursday's lunch. In the square container that's Erin Baker's Double Chocolate chunk granola (which I buy at from Amazon since my Whole Foods does not carry it any longer) mixed with montmorency cherries. I think I sent about 1/2 cup of granola, and a small wedge of brie cheese, 2 chocolate chip cookies, organic apple sauce and a Mojo nut bar.
I brewed some cherry tea to send with this. It was an easy lunch, but my kids liked it.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This sandwich was cut out using a large cookie cutter. The wheat bread is spread on both sides with peanut butter, then I sprinkled the sandwich with dried cherries, sliced almonds and brownie crumbles, and closed it up. It's a delicious mix!! I sent this sandwich in my daughter's lunch with grapes, celery with cream cheese and dried cherries, a Bora Bora bar and some apple sauce.
Note- don't go TOO crazy with the sprinkles of that sandwich won't stick closed.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Wow. I've been a slacker. I HAVE been feeding my kids- I've just been too busy to take pictures. Today's lunch was for my son, since my daughter insisted on taking a piece of cold pizza. My son's lunch is Costco tabbouleh (bottom square container) and couscous (top square container), some Afghan bolani (spinach flavor), with some garlic mint sauce (in the orange silicone muffin cup). He is also taking organic apple sauce, and a brownie.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I find the Lara bars so filling that sometimes all I eat for lunch is a Lara bar.
Monday, October 5, 2009
The cheese sushi is just nori with sushi rice (I've posted a recipe for sushi rice in an earlier post), and then the rice is sprinkled lightly with about 1/2 heaping teaspoon of Coleman's mustard, and then small sticks of cheese are lined up in the center of the sushi.
The pickle sushi is just sushi rice and pickles.
Cheese and pickles go so well together, and my son likes them a lot in sushi. I think they look pretty together too.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
sliced goat cheese
The slightly sweet brioche bun is perfectly combined with the tangy goat cheese and rosemary ham. This sandwich was quite popular with everyone at my house.
Monday, September 28, 2009
This is a peanut butter sandwich with a twist- brownie crumbles. Whenever I make brownies I put the crumbles left over in the pan in a baggie- this time, instead of saving them for ice cream, I put them on a sandwich. YUM
The walnut pieces made this especially good.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I made sushi this morning. There are few things quicker to make than sushi rolls, I think.
celery match sticks
Sushi is so easy to make. I learned to do it watching people do it on Youtube! And you can do it too. The bamboo roller does all the work. It's like magic. I do have a little secret- I cover my bamboo roller with plastic wrap every time, and that way rice never gets on the bamboo, and when I am done I just wrap the roll up in the plastic, and recover the bamboo roller.
I cooked tomagoyaki (I cook it ahead of time and roll it up in plastic and stick several rolls in the fridge- you can grab one and eat it as an "omelet on the go"- or you can slice it and serve it with other things). I sliced the tomagoyaki and cut it in to match sticks, and then rolled it up. And the other sushi is rolled up celery match sticks.
The celery sushi is served with tomatoes, and the tomagoyaki sushi has celery sticks running down the center of the dish (And one celery sushi got in with the egg- but I thought it looked pretty, so I left it).
Here is a link to a man making tomagoyaki. I only put mirin, soy sauce and sugar in mine (and sometimes, when I make it for my youngest, no sugar- since she does not like the sugar) and sometimes I sprinkle the omelet with sesame seeds, or spring onions, or something else, before I roll it up. Sometimes I slice the tomagoyaki on rice, for a pretty effect, and sometimes I cut it into match sticks to roll up in the sushi.
I do NOT use chopsticks- I use two Mario Batali spatulas (small) to roll up my Tomagoyaki, because I like it rolled up nice and tight. I bought my tomagoyaki pan at Amazon (don't spend extra for the Joyce Chen one- get the cheaper one). If you make this a lot the pans will wear out- when the teflon starts to get a spot in the center, throw the pan out and get another.
This is the tomagoyaki pan I recommend:
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
This was my son's lunch today. I love leftovers and cook with those in mind. So yesterday, when I baked salmon quiche for brunch, I made extra hoping it would last until I packed lunches today. Quiche is such a great lunchbox food, since it keeps well, you can eat it with fingers or fork, and it is such an easy treat.
There are two layers of small wedges of quiche (4 wedges total), tiny green tomatoes, organic raspberries, pear sauce (from Trader Joes), and Bora Bora bars (Costco).
I buy the "Crazy Chef" quiche at Whole Foods whenever it is 50% off, as it was this weekend.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Ingredients: Tiny slider buns from Trader Joes, nitrite free ham, Muenster cheese slices, mustard, mayonnaise, baby pickles, edamame beans, clementines, red plums, prunes, sugar peas, 1000 layer crackers.
The tiny ham sandwiches are just ham, Muenster, mayo and mustard. They are surrounded by edamame beans, sugar peas, and some baby pickles. In the fruit container are 2 clementines, and sections of red plum and prune (dipped in vitamin C water to make sure they would not brown.)
I also sent a couple 1000 layer cracker packs- new at Trader Joes and absolutely delicious! I also sent a True North package of nut clusters.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
This was a slightly messy sandwich, so I wrapped it in plastic wrap before putting it in a lunch bag.
Ingredients: baked beans (homemade or canned), onions sautéed with diced pork or bacon, focaccia rolls (I used fresh rosemary focaccia rolls I bought at our farmer's market).
I sautéed one finely diced onion in 2 TBS butter and then added about 1/4 pound finely diced ham shoulder (that had been part of a dinner). On the split focaccia rolls I put 2 heaping TBS of baked beans, and then topped it with the sautéed onions and pork. One onion and 1/4 pound meat was enough to top the beans on 4 large sandwiches. I wrapped the whole sandwich up in plastic wrap, and sent it with some pluots, grapes and a granola bar. It was very tasty cold- although it is equally good hot!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I spread whole wheat Lavosh flat bread with peanut butter, then raspberry jam, and then I sprinkled the sandwich with pecans and almonds. I left a nice 2" patch at the top with no nuts so the sandwich would stay stuck.
I sent this with Trader Joes "pear sauce" (like apple sauce but better!)
My son really liked this one.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
More playing with peanut butter today. The ingredients for this are: whole wheat bread, dried Montmorency cherries, peanut butter (organic), and raw pecan pieces.
Spread peanut butter on bread. Sprinkle with pecan pieces, and then dot with dried cherries. This was DELICIOUS! I'm taking another one of these tomorrow.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Ingredients: taziki (I bought mine at Trader Joes, hummus (I used Sabra hummus from Costco), one large thinly sliced peeled hot house cucumber, washed and dried arugula, lavosh bread.
Spread bread with hummus, then with a thin layer of taziki. Make a single layer of the thinly sliced cucumbers. On one sandwich add arugula, leave the other plain. Roll, chill and slice. In the lunch box 3 sandwiches have arugula and 2 do not. That gives my son some variety to his lunch. He is also taking a Kind bar (apricot and macadmia), some cherry tomatoes, sliced celery, and some cheddar bunnies mixes with cashews.
Friday, August 28, 2009
This lunch is another roll up sandwich using lavosh whole wheat bread.
lavosh whole wheat bread
dry cured sopressata (no nitrates)
Spread lavosh with light layer of crème fraiche. Layer olive tapenade on the crème fraiche layer (I used Trader Joes' green olive tapenade). Spread thin slices of sopressata over the bread, and top with romaine with the ribs removed. Roll up tightly, chill, and slice.
Here the sandwich is served on a bed of romaine with organic cherry tomatoes. I also sent clementines, cheddar bunnies, cashews and True North nut clusters.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here is another pressed sandwich.
home grown tomatoes
black currant balsamic vinegar
Hollow out the pugliese bread until there is only 1/2 inch thickness remaining, except at the very edge of the bread. In the hollow you have created, layer the tomatoes and then arugula. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil and black currant balsamic vinegar (or any other sweet balsamic vinegar- fig is also very good). On top of the veggies, layer the prosciutto in a thin layer, and top with mozzarella. Put the two halves of the loaf together, wrap in plastic wrap, and press under something heavy in the fridge.
Chill for several hours or over night. Slice and serve.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This sandwich is made with whole wheat bread and sliced almonds. The almonds are drizzled with a little local honey.
I sent this sandwich with apple sauce, raisins, carrot sticks, and tea (mint and honey).
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I still have a lot of whole wheat lavosh bread, and my kids asked for more salmon sandwiches. So I got to thinking, how about two complimentary sandwiches? I used dill weed to tie these two sandwiches together.
4 oz smoked salmon
whipped cream cheese
home grown tomatoes
lavosh bread (whole wheat)
The first sandwich has whipped cream cheese spread on lavosh bread. I sprinkled the cream cheese generously with dill weed. Then I layered salmon on the lavosh bread, and topped it with romaine lettuce with the ribs removed. Finally, I rolled it up tightly. The two sandwiches at the top of the box are the salmon sandwiches.
At the bottom of the box are four tomato roll ups. I made them by spreading whipped cream cheese on lavosh bread and then sprinkling the cheese with dill. Then I took thinly sliced home grown tomatoes and put them on a paper towel to get a little of the liquid out. After drying them out a little I layered them on the sandwich, sprinkled them with a little sea salt, put some freshly ground black pepper on them, and rolled them up (no lettuce on these). Delicious!
In the little oots box I sent celery heart sticks and cherry tomatoes, and I packed an apple sauce and some cookies, since this was my son's lunch, and he has a big appetite.
Monday, August 24, 2009
But anyway, I was looking at the cups of hummus, and right next to them was some Trader Joes Cilantro Yogurt dip, and I began to wonder if those two things would go great together.
So I spread 2 oz of hummus on some lavosh bread, and then spread 1/4 cup of Trader Joes cilantro yogurt dip on top of that. Then I sprinkled the bread with 1/3 cup of very finely sliced celery hearts, and topped it with romaine lettuce (ribs removed). I left a good 3 " at the "top" of the bread uncovered, so it would seal the sandwich when I rolled the bread up. Make sure to role the sandwich tightly- just as if you were rolling sushi. My kids LOVED this lunch. It's very fresh tasting, and it's also healthy and filling. The carrots were cut with my steal vegetable garnishing tool, and are just lying on top to add some color.
In the light green compartment, to compliment the sandwiches, I sent couscous (I bought in a big tub at Costco), cucumber salad (see recipe at the bottom of this post, and heirloom tomatoes.
1 large hot house cucumber
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbs sugar
Mix sugar and vinegar in microwave until sugar dissolves, add a pinch of salt. Finely slice the skinned cucumber. Pour the sugar mixture over the cucumber, and mix, then add paper to taste. Chill the salad at least over night. Drain spoonfuls before putting in lunchbox.
(Dill or mint can be added to vary the taste of this salad, and shredded carrot, or very fine slices of onion are also nice additions)
Friday, August 21, 2009
Today's lunch is a little more grown up, but that doesn't mean kids won't like it. This makes enough for a whole crowd.
One loaf unsliced bread (I use the flattish pugliese bread at Trader Joes)
One container of cream cheese and chives spread- you can mix this yourself, but I buy mine pre-made from Trader Joes
Romaine lettuce, ribs removed
4 oz of smoked salmon (more if you prefer)
Slice longwise from the thin side the entire length of the bread so you end up with two large flat halves. Hollow out each half to remove some of the bread. Be careful not to weaken the shell of bread too much. I try to leave about 1/2 inch of bread. (I use the saved bread for egg frittata- just throw it in a baggy and freeze it for later if you feel lazy.)
After the bread is hollowed out spread both sides thinly with cream cheese and chives spread. Next, layer the bread on one side with romaine. Then layer on the smoked salmon and close the sandwich. Wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in a gallon baggy and put it under something heavy in the fridge to press it flat.
Then I slice mine to fit a bento, and arrange them as you see in the picture. The garnish is mint and a mint flower. There was enough left over for me to leave sandwiches in baggies for my kids who aren't in school yet.
The fruit section of the bento has organic pluots, organic red flame grapes, and mint flowers. (Mint flowers are edible, and look beautiful in tea or on cakes, as well as being pretty in a bento.)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Today was very easy. Remember yesterday when I told you I made 3 cups of rice (3 cups dry) and several hard boiled eggs? Now I'm using what I made yesterday. While the rice was still hot yesterday I put some in a pikachu mold, and some in ball molds- and today all I had to do was use the rice from the molds.
Pikachu sits surrounded by edamame beans. Pikachu is made of solidly packed sushi rice (rice mixed with mirin, seasoned organic rice vinegar and a small amount of organic cane sugar). After the rice was unmolded, I coated pikachu with about 1 tsp of egg yolk mixed with about 3/4 tsp crème fraiche. I had some egg yolk left over from the eggs I cut this morning, and I threw it in a baggy, because I thought it might be the perfect color for pikachu.
Pikachu's eyes and ear tips are nori- hand cut, but a hole punch works great for the eyes (mine has disappeared!). The highlights in the eyes are made from small pieces of egg white. Pikachu's cheeks and mouth are carrot- but they could also have been made of pimento or roasted red pepper- or any other red or orange food. Some people use food coloring for this step, but I like to use natural ingredients we'd eat anyway- and the egg crème fraiche mixture is delicious!
I had a whole bowl of rice balls that I made yesterday (even though my kids ate some for breakfast). These are super easy and fast to make with a mold. It's a clam shell mold, and you just scoop and press, and you are done! So I colored one half of the ball with paprika- that makes the red side of the pokeball, and the black stripe is nori. I used nori strips, so I didn't even have to cut a large sheet down. I have both sheets (for sushi) and strips (for garnishing).
The pokeball is surrounded by romaine lettuce, and in the small cups are cous cous salad which I bought at Costco (it has super ingredients), and some German celery salad, which I buy in a jar at Whole Foods. The celery salad has a nice mild pickle flavor that goes very well with sushi rice. A few egg slices finish off the bento. Very quick to make- and if I'd had the hole punch in the kitchen it would have been even quicker.
I'll be sending a clementine in a baggy with this lunch. Tomorrow I'll be sending rose flavored black tea from Harney's (see link at bottom). Today I sent Harney's Hot Cinnamon Spice, with a little bit of cream top milk (I like the non-homogenized milk at Trader Joes). Hot Cinnamon Spice by Harney's is one of our favorite teas.
Sushi rice- some recipes (I just do it by eye):
I like to use mirin as in this recipe (I don't use salt and I've never tried kelp- but it looks interesting- so maybe I'll try this):
Harney's teas (and make sure you look on the web for a coupon before you order. Sometimes they have coupons out there that you can find at places like Fatwallet):
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This is my daughter's first lunch for the school year. This is a 2 part bento- the bottom compartment has edamame, eggs shaped like hearts (there are molds for shaping eggs, see below), a small silicone cup of clementine slices, and a small silicone cup of cheese curds (you can buy these at Trader Joes.)
The top compartment has a plain rice base. The sun and the flower pots are made out of carrots. The leaves are thin slices of green onion, and the "flowers" are olive slices. My daughter will also take some Japanese rice crackers with this, and some tea.
I'll take pictures of my egg molding cups tomorrow. Right now they have eggs in them. They come in all kinds of shapes. I had stars, hearts, fish and cars. I see Winnie the Pooh there now, but I don't see the other shapes. I have put the link to the site where I got some of my more esoteric bento equipment below. My wonderful mother gave me a zojirushi rice cooker with fuzzy logic and it cooks sushi rice perfectly every time! It's the best :-) I've put a link to the zojirushi rice cooker below also.
This lunch does not take long to make, and when I made the rice I made 3 cups, so I'll have plenty of rice for lunches for the rest of the week. Also when I cut veggies, I cut a lot of different pieces, so I can just pull from a plastic bag what I need.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Here are some pictures of some of my favorite lunch things. You'll find links to descriptions on amazon at the bottom of this post. I've got a separate stash of sushi implements that I'll photograph later. In the upper left you see some thermoses that I use constantly. I use a big thermos, and send the kids with slightly smaller 20oz thermoses, and you can see a 16 oz food jar. Food jars are fantastic for sending chili and soup. Right underneath the thermoses you see the Vivo bento boxes I use (I got them off Amazon when they were on sale.) These can carry a huge amount of food.
Under the Vivo bento picture you see my GoGo salad keeper, which I send with the kids when I send a salad with dressing, and the plastic veggie stick and dip container (both of these are available at Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon). The little blue boxes I got at Target- perfect for blueberries or raspberries. Below the salad keeper you see some traditional bento boxes. These are excellent for sushi lunches, or lunches with rice, or small thin cut sandwiches stacked into the box. The tight fitting plastic lid works perfectly. You will find these on Amazon.
At the bottom you see my favorite knives- the Shun (the 8" chef's knife) I use all the time. It's an amazing knife. I like it better than all my other knives- and I have some lovely other knives. The Kershaw single sided is really important for cutting sushi. You just can't use a double side sharpened knife on sushi. I can make almost anything using these two knives- and nothing, nothing, is as sharp as a Shun. I recommend you use blade guard edges on your knives- they keep your knives sharp, AND they prevent accidents. win win
On the right hand side of the page you see my orange water bottle. I bought these water bottles at Costco, one for each member of the family- they are by Contigo, 24 oz. BPA free.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I'll post a picture of the set. It's one of the many lunch boxes and bags I use. And you can find it at Asian Food Grocer:
And here is the container- it's not really a bento (I do have some of those, and I'll post pictures)- but I use it like one.
Last year I tried to make a wonderful lunch for my children every day. We made sushi at home, and "face food". I packed bentos, and Oots boxes, and bought all sorts of wonderful "green" bags and boxes and water containers and thermi (the plural of thermos, of course). Somehow I didn't quite manage to be at my best every day, but I'd say I managed about 3 days out of 5.
So this year, to keep myself motivated to make lunch on those days when I REALLY don't feel like making lunch, I'm starting this blog. I'll post pictures, give recipes, bring suggestions for equipment, and I will hope some of you will talk back to me, because there is power in numbers, and I love sharing information. Some of the best ideas I've gotten have been from friends I've made on the net.
Food is more than simple nourishment- though wouldn't it be lovely it if was at least that? Food is social and it connects us with the people around us. Food is fun, and it's an "event" in our day. Food should be a celebration whenever possible.
With these goals in mind, I hope you will join me for a year of lunches- starting on August 25th, when school starts for me. I hope we'll share our successes, and our disasters (though I also hope there won't be many of those.)