Archive for ‘Sandwiches’

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?

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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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March 14, 2012

Pork + Candy = Bliss!

Yes, candied pork. It sounds obscene, doesn’t it? One bite and I guarantee you’ll be moaning in ecstasy. This recipe came to me from my brother, who found it at TastingTable.com. What could be better than combining pork with brown sugar and bourbon? But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, the slab of pork shoulder is rubbed with a mixture of spices, including cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and slow-roasted for many hours (I cooked mine for 6), until it’s tender and falling apart. Then, you brush a mixture of brown sugar and bourbon over the the meat and roast it again until it turns into a sweet and spicy candied crust. Break the pork into chunks and eat like a cave man.

This is a straightforward recipe that doesn’t require much skill. What it needs is time to slow-roast to ensure the meat will melt in your mouth. Making this was virtually a comedy of errors at my house. I had prepped the shoulder for roasting before we had left for church, so it could cook while we were away. Right before I put the pork in the oven, my husband came through the kitchen and saw that the oven was on but nothing was in it. So, he turned it off. On my way out the door, I slipped the roast in the oven, not noticing the oven had been turned off. Three hours later after church, lunch and shopping, as we’re driving home I mention how great the house must smell because of the pork in the oven. To which my husband responded, “Uh, what? I turned the oven off because nothing was in it.”

I tell you, this pig did not want to be eaten. When I got home, I immediately turned the oven on and started roasting the pork. But then, my 3-year-old came along behind me and pulled the lever for the cleaning lock. Thankfully, my oven didn’t go into nuclear mode and clean itself. However, it did shut off the heat. And it took my a little over an hour for me to realize what had happened. When we finally had the candied pork for dinner the following day, the kids went crazy. I had never seen my son eat with such zeal. Both kids made sure they had the perfect ratio of meat to candy before taking each bite.

For S’s lunch I made a couple of pulled-pork sliders. Even after that, I still have about 2 pounds of meat left. It’s time to get creative. Any ideas?

February 16, 2012

Five Under 5: Meatball Sliders

Okay, I admit I’m cheating a bit with this post. But you really could make this with less than five ingredients—if you bought pre-made meatballs and sauce. Friends have told me that the turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s are quite tasty. And there are a number of jarred sauces on supermarket shelves that are winners. I had a few meatballs left over from the batch of 100 I made months ago. I warmed them up in some sauce (confession: I made my own) and put a little slice of fresh mozzarella over the top of the meatball. I lightly toasted some mini hamburger buns and pieced it all together.

1 – Mini hamburger buns

2 – Meatballs

3 – Marinara sauce

4 – Fresh mozzarella

I packed the sliders with some baby carrots, cucumbers and a banana. These sliders would be great for dinner, too.

In doggie news, my sweet German Shepherd is feeling much better after chemotherapy and some prednisone. She’s finally eating and wagging her tail again. Keep your fingers crossed that remission is on its way and that it’ll be a long one.

February 9, 2012

Five under 5: Pesto Burger

It’s pesto—again! I had no idea how much S and C love it. I knew they liked it in their pasta, but they seem to like it anywhere and everywhere. Today, I packed S a leftover pesto bison burger from last night’s dinner. I had mixed two heaping tablespoons of pesto with one pound of ground bison. I shaped them into five patties and cooked them in a cast iron skillet. I topped each patty with a slice of fresh mozzarella and let the cheese get nice and soft. Then, I toasted a couple of Par-Baked Panini Rustic Rolls (a new Trader Joe’s find!) and spread each side with more pesto. I topped the rolls with some spinach leaves and a few slices of red bell pepper. On the side, I served grape tomatoes, carrots, and sweet-potato chips. S begged to have it again for lunch today. Easy enough—and with just five ingredients.

I may have to take a short hiatus from blogging. My beloved German Shepherd, Zoe, has been diagnosed with lymphoma. She was our first baby (we got her when she was just 8 weeks), and has been a sweet, loyal friend for more than 12 years. While there are still lunches to pack, I’d like to make time in the mornings to take her to Dog Beach and the wilderness preserve, making her last days as happy as possible.

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.

November 30, 2011

The Simple BLT (&A)

I knew this day would come. I was just hoping that I’d have a couple more months. S is getting tired of the variety in her lunch.

“Can’t I eat the same thing more than once or twice?” she asked me yesterday.

I reminded her of my blog and my self-induced challenge to come up with 108 different lunches this year.

She groaned.

“It’s better than eating the same thing every single day, right?” I offered.

S did not respond.

To perk up her spirits, I decided to make her one of her favorite things today: bacon. Admittedly, it’s one of my favorite things, too. Pork fat. Yum. And I wonder why my jeans are so tight.

I opted for the classic BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) sandwich today, but decided to swap out the mayonnaise for some avocado. If you have access to it, I highly recommend Niman Ranch’s applewood-smoked uncured bacon. It is out of this world. Not only does it taste fantastic, it’s also free of nitrates and nitrites, hormones and antibiotics. Yes, bacon isn’t exactly low in fat, but I like to tell myself that S is also getting lettuce, tomato and avocado with her lunch—all good stuff. Plus, I loaded her up on fruit, lots of yummy grapes and clementines. It’s all about balance. But that delicate balance may get upset if I have to dedicate an entire category to bacon to get S and me through the school year.

Update:  When I unpacked S’s lunchbox that afternoon, I noticed she had only eaten two bites of her sandwich. What?! Her explanation: “The lettuce was disgusting!”

Um, okay. I actually kind of believed her, because typically S likes lettuce. But my adult brain wanted to scream, “Why didn’t you just take the lettuce off then? The rest of the sandwich was perfectly good.”

Instead, I simply made a mental note that BLTs would not be in her future.  Then, I gave the leftover bacon to my sweet German Shepherd.

November 23, 2011

Turkey Day Leftovers – Grilled Cheese with Cranberry Relish

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and already I’m think about leftovers! I was so excited to try this that I simply couldn’t wait. The idea came to me when I was shopping for Thanksgiving and saw a goat cheese log wrapped in cranberries. Mmmmmm. Then, I thought: why not a grilled goat cheese cheddar sandwich with cranberry relish? The goat cheddar was what I had in the fridge, but I think it’d be just as delicious, if not more tasty, with Gruyere.

Yes, I admit, I buttered both sides of my mutligrain bread (not a true grilled cheese without butter, right?) and then grated the goat cheddar over both sides. I put both pieces in the skillet on medium and let them get nice and toasty, and golden brown. Then, I spread a layer of orange-cranberry relish over the melted cheese. I topped it with the other side and, voila, I was done! C loved, loved this sandwich. But this is the same kid who eats spoonfuls of cranberry sauce. He had to fight me for the last bite. Happy Thanksgiving!

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