Lunch today: Spinach Salad with Autumnal Add-ons

April 8, 2009

I eat this salad for lunch every other day, and sometimes for dinner too. It takes 12 seconds and seems kind of restauranty, or at least seems restauranty to someone like me who never eats in restaurants.

Here’s all it is: spinach (we like Olivia’s Organics because it never seems to go bad), sliced or slivered almonds, dried cranberries, sliced apples, shaved parmagiana (use a vegetable peeler), and maple-mustard vinaigrette (which I always have ready to go in a big jar in the fridge). I leave out the apples if we don’t have them, and I add avocado if that’s around.

You’re welcome.



Etsy: Evelyn Fields

March 15, 2009

I am still completely in love with the little fabric baggies I got from Gnomeclothes for putting food into Henry’s lunch. There have been a few times when they’re all in the wash or in his snack bin at school, though. I’m not quite ready to get more just yet, but when I do, I’ve got my eye on the Le Petit Sandwich Bags from Evelyn Fields. They’re the perfect size, and I love those little fruits stitched on to there. I like that she offers them in bunches of different amounts, so you can get however many you need. She also has some larger sandwich bags, but Henry doesn’t really eat sandwiches for lunch (like mother like son), and my experience so far tells me that we use the little bags most of all.


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lunch anxiety

March 2, 2009

Last night I woke up at 2:00 a.m., suddenly panicked because I forgot to make Henry’s lunch. I actually considered getting up and making it then. What is wrong with me?

I didn’t make it in the middle of the night (what would it have been, I wonder? some kind of odd midnight snack lunch, like an olive-and-cream-cheese sandwich?), but made it first thing in the morning. And then of course we had a snow day, and now I’m ridiculously excited that lunch for tomorrow is already made.

Why am I so oppressed by the lunchbox?

CATEGORIES: thirty second post

I should have handed out multivitamins at Halloween.

December 2, 2008

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t make anything especially fancy-pants for lunches here, mostly since I make them 10 minutes before I go to bed, and I’m worrying much more about the allergy-free ingredients that I’m putting into the lunchboxes and less about what the actual foodstuffs are. But whatever I’m doing, it was enough to get accolades.

I’ll admit that I’m pretty out of it when it comes to what Everyone Else is doing in terms of parenting. I’m barely just treading water here with what we’re doing; I don’t really have time to figure out what Pop Parenting says I should be doing. I will say, though, that the food items the Neighborhood Posse brings into my backyard are so horrifying that I’m beginning to see why a handful of walnuts and a piece of provolone (Henry’s actual lunch today) are noteworthy. First, there’s the brother and sister who apparently eat nothing but candy. They have brought over candy necklaces and candy bracelets, and cups of marshmallows (seriously). Once the sister came over with chocolate all over her face, and when I asked her what she’d been eating, she said she’d had chocolate for breakfast. During the summer they came over with those Fla-Vor-Ice popsicles, and gave one to Eli (it was a turquoise blue one), who excitedly took a big bite, and then looked very frightened and stuck his tongue out of his mouth yelling, “Get it out, Mommy! Get it out!” I had to scrub his tongue with a towel before he’d calm down.

Some other kids brought over some of that yogurt-in-a-tube, and left the wrappers lying around (the Neighborhood Posse has a littering problem), and so I got to see that the yogurt was cotton candy flavored.

Once I announced that I was making peanut butter sandwiches (in a desperate attempt to get some kind of protein/fiber food into these kids) and many of them said they loved peanut butter sandwiches. So I made about a million, and Eli and Henry were the only ones who ate them. One boy looked all disappointed and said, “Um, I don’t like this peanut butter sandwich.” I’m such an idiot…if you’ve spent your life eating sugary Jif on white bread, my little Teddie All Natural Super Chunky Unsalted (ingredient: roasted peanuts) on whole wheat bread is going to seem like a big hunk of lentil loaf. During the peanut butter sandwich picnic, one girl had gone home to ask her mom if she could eat one of my sandwiches. The mom obviously felt bad about me feeding everyone, so she gave her daughter something to eat…the girl came back to our backyard munching on a Smuckers Uncrustable, which is the dumbest take on a peanut butter sandwich I’ve seen (how hard is it to make a sandwich? who needs to buy pre-made frozen sandwiches?).

By far the most disgusting thing, though, was when some of them were drinking Sunny D in our yard, and (of course) left their empties behind. I read the ingredients and was staggeringly disgusted to see that canola oil is an ingredient. I can’t for the life of me imagine why oil is an acceptable ingredient in a “juice” that barely has any juice in it anyway.

With this post, I have officially become my mother, the original Label-Reading Food Policewoman.


I do good lunch.

October 3, 2008

Yesterday at kindergarten pickup the Other Kindergarten Teacher came over to me and said, “I want to tell you…we help the students during the first ten minutes of lunch, and I am really impressed by the lunches you pack for Henry! They’re great!” Once I got over my terror that she was going to chastise me for not including more nut-free candy in Henry’s lunch, I realized she was being very, very nice. It felt good to be praised by the Lunch Police. Though it did make me wonder a bit about what other lunches are getting sent, if Henry’s lunch is looking stellar enough to warrant comment. Usually he gets two or three nut-themed items (peanut balls, PB&J, granola bar, a random handful of some kind of nuts), some kind of fruit (an apple and mandarin oranges, mostly), and a rice cake (he thinks they’re dessert and I haven’t really led him to believe otherwise). Oh, and water. It’s not like I’m making some kind of bento box or anything. What is everyone else getting? Go-gurt and beer?



Great Balls of Peanuts

September 28, 2008

One of our new favorite snacks is peanut butter balls. I got the idea from a recipe in Wondertime; I think they called them Power Balls. The original recipe called for chocolate chips, and while I am always trying to up my chocolate intake, I want to keep it out of the boys, so I don’t add them. Stir together one cup of peanut butter and one cup or honey (or less – I’ve been trying to reduce the honey so it’s less sweet, and I’ve been able to make it work with 3/4 of a cup). Stir in three cups of oats, a few tablespoons of ground flax seed, and some raisins. Roll them into balls (wet hands help). If you put them in the fridge then they’ll dry out a bit and get less sticky. I just keep a big bowl of these in the fridge and the boys (and Dave and I) eat them all day. Protein + fiber + omega + a little sweetness so you think you’re getting a treat = a winner. If I put them in Henry’s lunch (but heavens no not in his snack) then I know he’ll eat something.

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Etsy: Gnomeclothes

September 23, 2008

Right before school started, I suddenly got a bee in my bonnet about plastic baggies and not wanting to use them. Of course once I looked there are a ton of people on Etsy making their own fabric baggies. I got some from Gnomeclothes because they are all cotton fabric (no vinyl – it seemed a bit counterproductive to go to the effort of ditching plastic only to use vinyl). I was also kind of skeptical – could these keep the snacks fresh? It’s been a few weeks now, and I went back and got more. I love them! They are adorable, and it sort of makes each lunch like it’s filled with little presents (though the first day Eli opened his lunch, he said, “What’s in here? Oh! It’s a SHIRT!”). And I feel much better not using plastic bags. I did have some small plastic containers that I was using, but you can fit things into the lunchboxes much better with flexible bags than with hard containers. I have some of the Gnomeclothes baggies that close with Velcro, some that fold over like the old-style plastic sandwich bags, and some sandwich wraps (which fold all around the sandwich (or whatever) and close with Velcro.


CATEGORIES: etsy, Food, housekeeping
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Whoa is Lunch

September 19, 2008

I’m kind of finding the kindergarten lunch-packing routine to be anxiety-producing. (Predictably) there’s a kid (they don’t say who) with a peanut/tree nut allergy in Henry’s class, so Henry’s snack has to be free of nuts. His lunch can have nuts, though, since the nut-allergy children (this is kind of sad, actually) get some special table far off in the distance in the lunchroom, so they don’t have to contend with nut bits. If I couldn’t send nuts as part of lunch, I have no idea what I’d send for Henry to eat. Snack packs of black beans? Anyway, so snack has to be special and nut free and packed separately, and lunch can have nuts. They sent out a letter with nut-free foods listed, which caused me to complain (I’m totally already one of those complainy parents — I sent a frantic 3 am email requesting a specific teacher, but that’s another story) because they included all kinds of candy (ring pops, for heaven’s sake) as options. The nurse seemed annoyed by my complaining and said that no, they weren’t allowed to bring candy as a snack (um, then why include it as an option on the nut-free chart?) but included candy because, “sometimes those kids are out somewhere outside of school and are really hungry and need to know what they can have.” Which makes no sense to me, unless there are kindergarten-related scenarios I’m not understanding. Will I be forced to have a playdate with the anonymous nut-free child, and the only place we’re allowed to go is the circus? She also said something about, “We just want people to know what these families are dealing with.” Like I’m going to think, “Oh, poor kid, no nuts, but at least he can have Swedish Fish.”

The more hilarious sheet was something obviously copied out of a workbook or website. It included a category called, “Major Sources of Peanuts and Tree Nuts” and listed such things as “Anything labeled ‘nuts.’” Which, yeah, maybe they have to list everything, but I would think that would be fairly obviously. There’s also a list of “Hidden Sources of Peanuts and Tree Nuts” which includes things like “Frangelico and Amaretto Liquors.” Dave said we should complain and say, “But he won’t take his afternoon nap if he doesn’t get his Frangelico at snack!”

Anyway, this is all to say that when I realize I have to tackle the lunchbox packing at the end of a long day, it kind of stresses me out, because I know I will really have to focus on it. I pack a lunch for Eli too, which maybe makes it even more complicated, since he can obviously eat whatever he wants, since he’ll be eating it at home. I’m a little concerned about the fact that I am having so much trouble with the lunch boxes already — will it get easier as I get used to it, or will I be fresh out of ideas by December, and start packing Lunchables?


CATEGORIES: Food, Henry, Parenting