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I am so over summer.
Last week I found Nathan and Lucie in a death struggle over a video. They were screaming in each other’s faces and had tears running down their cheeks. Who are these savages?
My house is gross.The kids have been treating it like one giant garbage can, leaving juice boxes and wrappers on the floor. When I found a candy wrapper among my workout clothes I nearly cried.
So with 10 days to go before school starts, it’s all I can think about. And judging by my blog traffic, seems that my readers are looking for back-to-school recipes and lunch box ideas. So here some links to help you out.
Back to School Snacks and Lunches:
Do you have a favorite lunch box, after school, or quick breakfast idea? Share it below!
Summer is nearly over and school’s about ready to begin. I noticed that my readership dropped this summer. At first, I thought it was because you were all running off to the beach. But now I’m guessing that turning My Readable Feast into a mostly writing blog, with some book reviews and recipes, wasn’t as successful as I hoped. Lesson learned. (And if you have suggestions about what you’d like to see at My Readable Feast, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.)
So no more writing prompts and Tuesday haiku. Instead, let’s go back to what this blog was all about – books and food!
With that said, are you looking for some school lunchbox ideas? Last year around this time I posted information on:
Frankly, I’m a bit concerned about what to feed Nathan this year. Some of the old standbys, like fruit rollups, are going bad in the pantry. Plus, Nathan has become a “pasta-terian” this summer – he doesn’t eat meat or vegetables, only noodles and eggs.
Luckily FamilyFun.com has a whole section devoted to Back to School food ideas. I guess there’s always Nathan’s favorite PB&J, but how can I make it more exciting? How about peanut butter and jelly stars? This looks like a great way to sneak in some whole wheat bread into Nathan’s diet, too.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Stars
- 2 slices white bread
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- Peanut butter
- 1 1/2-inch star cookie cutter
This is different than the directions on the FamilyFun.com site. From the comments it seems too hard to spread the peanute butter and jelly after you cut and swap the stars. Maybe making the sandwiches first, then swapping mini-star shaped sandwiches would be better? I’d have to experiment. Maybe try a simpler shape like a circle would be easier. It’ll be messy, too, but the results will certainly be cool.
- Make two PB&J sandwiches by spreading peanut butter on one wheat and one white piece of bread. Then spread jelly on one wheat and one white piece of bread. Make one wheat sandwich and one white bread sandwich.
- Carefully use mini cookie cutters to cut puzzle pieces out of white and whole wheat sandwich. Swap the whole wheat shapes with the white, then press them into place.
Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine had a terrific idea for taking the boring out of school lunch. How about creating kid-friendly bento boxes? The website features three easy to make recipes, including this one for dessert. (It would make a great party finger food, too.)
From Every Day with Rachael Ray August – September 2006 issue
- 4 large marshmallows
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup rice cereal
- 2 cherry or strawberry twists, such as Twizzlers
- 2 fruit roll-ups
- In a small saucepan, melt the marshmallows with the butter over low heat.
- Add the rice cereal and stir to coat; let cool slightly.
- Cut the cherry twists to the length of the fruit roll-ups.
- Unroll the fruit roll-ups and peel off the plastic film. Place half of the rice cereal mixture on the edge of each roll-up.
- Place the twists in the center of the rice mixture and roll up the candy sushi.
- Cut into 2-inch pieces.
If you like the idea of creating bento boxes for your child’s lunch (or maybe yours!) check out The Vegan Lunchbox. Jennifer is writing a book based on her blog, too.
Until then, you may want to explore the world of bento boxes via these books:
If you’re intrigued to give bento style lunches a try, you may want to order a Zojirushi Mr. Bento Stainless-Steel lined Lunch Jar ($36-42). This would be a great way to pack a healthy lunch for school or work with everything from soup and steamed rice to fish.
Lunchboxes.com sells a bento box that features a main compartment that holds five smaller containers of varying sizes to separate different lunch foods. Some have covers to keep liquid food in, while the other containers can hold solid foods in place by the fold-down lid. Theirs comes with a spoon, fork, and guide to nutritious eating. It’s available alone for $19.50 or as a kit with a high-quality insulated carrying case and water bottle for $29.50. This is a great one for the kids to use.
I’m going back to Weight Watchers once school starts to loose the, um, 15 pounds I’ve packed on since last October. This will be my reward for going back and losing the first 5 pounds. I’m going to check out my local Asian markets first, to see what kind of bento boxes they stock.
For more bento box recipes and inspiration go to:
If your child is into funky sandwich combinations, I’m sure they’ll get some clever ideas from What’s Cooking, Jenny Archer? It may even inspire them to pack their own lunches.
However, you may be safer going with the lunch box recipes The Associated Press (via the Denver Post) took from the August-September issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine. As The AP writes:
Lunch shouldn’t be a chore and shouldn’t be boring, whether it’s for a back-to-school lunchbox, a brown-bagger’s menu, or to eat on the spot at home in the kitchen.
Let’s liven it up, lightly and easily. That’s the cue to take a look at a couple of suggestions from the August-September issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray magazine, from a feature on stylish lunch boxes and tasty meals that are good to go, and can be prepared in less than half an hour.
These two recipes are based on turkey and chicken, respectively; nothing outre about that. But look at the details: You’ll see that beans, corn and a dash of chipotle give the turkey tostadas a special flavor.
To prepare this lunch special, you just pack up the ready-to-eat ingredients, and then assemble the tostadas as you eat, Silvana Nardone, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, says – and points out it’s fun and interactive, especially for kids.
Turkey and Black Bean Tostadas
(Preparation 20 minutes)
Makes 2 tostadas
- 3 1/2 ounces roast turkey, from the deli counter, finely diced (3/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tablespoons fresh corn kernels or thawed frozen corn
- 1 small ripe tomato, finely diced
- Juice of 1 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce or hot sauce, to taste
- 1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup plain reduced-fat sour cream
- 2 flat corn tostada shells
- 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives (optional)
- In a bowl, combine the turkey, black beans, corn, tomato, lime juice, chipotle sauce and cheese.
- Pack the turkey mixture, sour cream, tostadas, lettuce and chives separately until ready to use.
- To serve, spread some sour cream on each tostada. Top each tostada with some turkey mixture, lettuce and chives.
With the curried chicken salad, tossing in broccoli, dates, apple and celery makes clear this is not the same old, same old. It effortlessly introduces children to spices with familiar foods like chicken and fruit, Nardone says, and there’s an added bonus: “You get to sneak in some vegetables!”
Curried Chicken Salad With Broccoli and Dates
Makes 2 servings
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 whole skinless, boneless chicken breast
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup broccoli florets
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 Granny Smith apple, chopped
- 3 dates, pitted and finely chopped
- 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 2 pita rounds
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Season the chicken breast on both sides with salt and pepper and cook, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side; let cool.
- Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the broccoli and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
- Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.
- Chop the chicken and broccoli into bite-size pieces.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar and curry powder. Add the chicken, broccoli, apple, dates and celery, and toss.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with pita.
More school lunch ideas from Everyday With Rachael Ray (and other places) tomorrow.