Archive for ‘No Cook’

May 8, 2012

Ants on a Log, Caterpillars in the Sand

I’m having one of those days. Can I just feed the kids some twigs? Really, I’m not channeling Kim Jong-il, but what I’d really like to do is send S to school with a bag of trail mix and be done with thinking about and packing lunch. I’m feeling uninspired and tired. I’ve also realized that I’m not going to make it to my goal of making 108 different lunches this school year. Bummer.

After pulling together scraps from my rather bare pantry and fridge, I’m making a version of twigs: Ants on a Log and Caterpillars in the Sand. For the Ants on a Log, I filled two celery sticks (and, yes, it’s worth buying organic when it comes to celery) with sunflower seed butter and topped them with raisins. It’s pretty much your traditional version of Ants on a Log. For the Caterpillars in the Sand, I spread cream cheese in two other celery sticks and topped them with cashews. Nuts must be one of earth’s most perfect food. That and avocados. But I’m digressing. To go with her meager lunch, I packed a  bowl of sliced apples and strawberries, plus some sweet potato chips and Trader Joe’s Crunchy Curls (made from lentils and potatoes).

 

April 24, 2012

Simple, Decadent Dessert for Breakfast—Without the Guilt

I’ve found a new love. And unlike most of my food loves, I don’t have to feel bad about it. To celebrate, I’ve been indulging myself every day for the past week. And, nope, I’m not tired of it. Not even close. It’s incredibly easy to make, the kids love it, and you can have it for breakfast, an after-school snack or dessert. Did I mention it’s good for you? When I first made it for S for breakfast, she said, “You’re going to let me eat this for breakfast?”

First, you start with 0% Greek yogurt. Regardless of the fat content, it’s creamy, dreamy goodness. Your gut will applaud you for bringing in all that good “probiotic” bacteria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, if you want to go with the full-fat version, try this (Fage’s whole-milk version is tasty, too, but I didn’t have it in my fridge).

Then, add a handful of frozen berries. If you haven’t heard, berries are chock full of super-healthy antioxidants that fight disease. I like the frozen variety for this “dessert,” because it really helps give it an ice cream-like consistency. However, fresh berries would work just fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, spice and sweeten things up with cinnamon, vanilla extract and a tiny scoop of Stevia. Or, you could use a teaspoon of honey. The Stevia keeps the sugar content—and the guilt—really low. Take your metal spoon and start stirring and pounding it all together. If you have some early-morning stress, this is a good time to get it out. Smoosh and smash and mix it all up, the same way they do at Cold Stone Creamery when they add your mix-ins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After your first bite, all those cravings for Pinkberry and Red Mango will be banished for good. Now, close the door, sit down and have a moment to yourself. It’s better than Calgon. I promise.

April 12, 2012

Would You Let Your Child Pack Her Own Lunch?

Last night, I got too involved with Katniss and Peeta. It was past midnight and I was still trying to figure out if there was any way they would both make it out of the Quarter Quell alive. Yep, I’m talking about the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy. As a result, I didn’t get out of bed until 6 this morning. When I stumbled down the stairs, I found S packing her own lunch. A first, for sure.

Here’s what I found:

A gluten-free bagel with Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread (It’s basically Nutella, but made with almonds instead of hazelnuts.) and bananas. That’s almost healthy, right? Gluten-free and with fruit? LOL. To her credit, she also packed a pear, a granola bar and water. It’s certainly not the lunch I would have made for her, but she saved me the trouble of packing a lunch. For that, she got a big hug and the right to eat what she made. Had I known I didn’t have to make lunch, I would’ve kept sleeping.

Here’s the funny part: when I picked her up from school this afternoon, she told me the chocolate spread and bagel “tasted rotten.” After one bite, she decided to eat only the bananas. I was so floored I almost drove off the road. Now that Nutella sandwiches are off her radar, I clearly need to come up with some sort of arrangement with her so I can sleep in while she makes her own lunch. At least until I’m done with the Hunger Games trilogy.

Would you let your child eat whatever he/she packed for lunch?

April 5, 2012

Sweet Sandwich Ideas

I know it’s been a good long while since I’ve posted, so I wanted to start back up with something fun. I’m in New York City this week and came across some sweet sandwich ideas at the much ballyhooed Dylan’s Candy Bar. Check out this menu and let me know if you’d try any of these at home.

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February 29, 2012

Light, Lazy Lunch

 

This was one of those mornings I would have rather washed dishes and vacuumed the house than pack lunches. When I feel that way, I grab the LunchBots containers and silicon muffin liners. I line each with six red cups and start looking in the fridge and pantry for anything that I can drop into the liners. Today, I found baby carrots, kalamata olives, hardboiled eggs, string cheese, strawberries, sweet potato chips and gluten-free animal cookies. C is a lighter eater than S, so I added some sliced pastrami to S’s container. Lunch was packed in just a few minutes, and in the process I even managed to clean out some bags from the pantry and jars from the refrigerator.

I know this is a lot like the Tapas Lunch I posted a few months back. But this morning I filled it with different food items. That counts as a different lunch, doesn’t it?

 

February 3, 2012

Five Under 5: Turkey and Pesto Sandwich

Remember the pesto from earlier this week? It’s making its appearance again—but in a sandwich, as a flavorful spread. I topped it with smoked turkey, spinach leaves and little grape tomatoes. In the blink of an eye, I used up my five ingredients. I think it’ll be yummy, but it did not photograph well. Toppings kept falling out while I was trying to get a good shot of the sorry-looking sandwich. Then, the sun kept rising with every shot I took, changing the light. Ack! In any case, lunch is done. With the sandwich, I included a banana and some seaweed.

I’m providing links to two interesting articles, one from last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal and the other from Wednesday’s issue of the New York Times. The first is about disgust and food, and how your rules for and responses to different foods can teach and trigger the emotion of disgust in your children. The author takes the reader on a fascinating trip around the world exploring foods that elicit the most visceral of reactions. I found out about the second article from one of my readers (also my father-in-law!). It’s a fun read on how one mom got her 10- and 14-year-olds to cook dinner. I think I’ll try some of her approaches at my house. Happy February!

You Eat That? – WSJ

My Sons, the Sous-Chefs – NY Times

January 12, 2012

Brie, Brie and More Brie!

S is going on a field trip today, so that means she needs a completely disposable lunch. That’s a struggle for us, because S typically prefers a hot lunch. But I have a surprise for her. And honestly, it was new to me, too. We had some leftover bagels in the freezer from the weekend, and then I remembered I had bought Brie at Trader Joe’s earlier this week. I usually steer clear of it because I can eat the whole creamy mess myself. This time, I put back the triple cream variety in favor of double cream. It was hard, but I do try to keep my children’s virgin arteries in mind. At my house, we call it “butter cheese.” It’s one of the few soft cheeses S loves (because she has a special relationship with butter), so I put it in my cart, hoping to come up with something creative for lunch.

When I was in England, I had more than my share of Brie and tomato sandwiches. But tomatoes don’t hold up so well in the lunchbox. On the other hand, apples do! And I have a bunch of them, thanks to my CSA. I lightly toasted the bagel, arranged pats of “butter cheese” on each half, followed by thin slices of apple. On one half, I even put a few slices of turkey. I’m sure I’ll get feedback from the peanut gallery later this afternoon.

I could have packed another turkey and avocado sandwich, but I have to come up with another 50 or so lunches before I get to 108. Help! I’m not even halfway there and we’re already past the halfway mark of the school year. If you have any ideas, please send them along. The Lunch Diva is starting to lose steam.

January 3, 2012

Pastrami and Avocado Sandwich

Happy new year! For 2012, I’ve resolved to convince S to eat more sandwiches—or at least get her to believe that sandwiches can be tasty. That’s why I’m starting the year with a simple pastrami sandwich. Less is more, so I decided to simply pair the pastrami with some avocado.

S tells me that her favorite sandwich bread is the gluten-free multigrain from Udi’s. It’s not my favorite, but if it gets her to eat a few more sandwiches a month, then I’m game. To round out her lunch, I also packed her some carrots and hummus, along with some rice and adzuki bean chips from Trader Joe’s. I needed an easy way to start the new year, because I certainly didn’t miss packing lunches.

Have a lunch that’s a winner with your kid? Send it along and share it with us.

December 8, 2011

What’s In Your Kid’s Cereal?

Would you feed your kids a Twinkie for breakfast? How about three chocolate chip cookies? No? Well, you might be giving them the equivalent in sugar if you’re feeding them cereal, according to the Environmental Working Group. EWG’s review of 84 popular cereal brands, just released yesterday, shows that only one in four children’s cereals meets the government panel’s voluntary proposed guidelines, which recommend no more than 26 percent added sugar by weight.

Kellogg’s Honey Smacks leads the list of the top 10 worst cereals, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight. One cup of the crunchy stuff serves up more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie. But Honey Smacks isn’t alone. A one-cup serving of forty-four other popular brands had more sugar than three Chips Ahoy cookies. Here’s a look at the best and worst cereals.

10 WORST CHILDREN’S CEREALS

Based on percent sugar by weight

1 Kellogg’s Honey Smacks 55.6%
2 Post Golden Crisp 51.9%
3 Kellogg’s Froot Loops Marshmallow 48.3%
4 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries 46.9%
5 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch Original 44.4%
6 Quaker Oats Oh!s 44.4%
7 Kellogg’s Smorz 43.3%
8 Kellogg’s Apple Jacks 42.9%
9 Quaker Oats Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries 42.3%
10 Kellogg’s Froot Loops Original 41.4%

For the full list of all 84 brands, click here.

BEST CEREALS

These cereals are also free of pesticides and genetically modified ingredients:

  • Ambrosial Granola: Athenian Harvest Muesli
  • Go Raw: Live Granola, Live Chocolate Granola, and Simple Granola
  • Grandy Oats: Mainely Maple Granola, Cashew Raisin Granola, and Swiss Style Muesli
  • Kaia Foods: Buckwheat Granola Dates & Spices and Buckwheat Granola Raisin Cinnamon
  • Laughing Giraffe: Cranberry Orange Granola
  • Lydia’s Organics: Apricot Sun, Berry Good, Grainless Apple, Sprouted Cinnamon, and Vanilla Crunch.
  • Nature’s Path Organic: Optimum Banana Almond, Optimum Cranberry Ginger, Corn Puffs, Kamut Puffs, Millet Puffs, and Rice Puffs.

My advice? For breakfast, stick with fruit, oatmeal, eggs and my favorite—bacon. After all, this is a post about sugar, not fat and sodium 😉

November 28, 2011

Tapas Monday

Monday always catches me off guard. I get out of the routine of packing lunch—especially following a holiday—and then it seems more arduous than usual. Today’s no-cook lunch was inspired by  a recent cross-country flight. Since none of the airlines offer free food anymore, they’ve upped the ante with choices for food for sale. Last month, we tried United’s tapas box and it was surprisingly decent. In fact, S loved it.

Tapas is basically a meal composed of little appetizers, or as I like to call it, “a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” What kid doesn’t like small portions of lots of different things? I’ve been waiting for a time-crunched day to pull this trick out of my hat. I lined my stainless steel Lunchbots container with five silicone muffin liners and filled them with olives, baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, prosciutto (which could just as easily be ham, turkey or roast beef), and rice crackers. For a little more protein, I included a mini Babybel cheese. I also packed hummus in a separate container for dipping. Lastly, I threw in a whole apple. Lunch was packed in a matter of minutes. And you know what? It was kind of fun.

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