Tuesday, September 23, 2014

our school lunch system

I've been packing school lunches for my boy for two years now. It's something that stressed me out immensely, so I did my research beforehand. After searching and searching online (Google and Pinterest are my friends) and perusing my local Wally World, I came up with the following basic how-to. It's stood the test of time (or a bajillion school lunches, anyway), and we're quite happy with our system.

Each year, I let him pick out a new lunchbox. He hasn't needed to, as they've lasted and been so great, but it's fun for him to have something fresh and new, I think. Both years he's had a Thermos brand box, and they've been fantastic. Standard size, insulated, zip-up lunchbox (or lunch bag). Like-a dis.

I chose to do kind of a bento-style method. The dishes I use are these: Great Value Large Entree Storage Containers from Walmart. They're $2 for a 4-pack, so pretty cheap, and they've worked great for us! They're easy for little hands to open without help, are the perfect size for a standard lunchbox, and have held up well to numerous (nuuuuumerous) dishwasher cycles (put on the top rack). I chose these over other kinds because I needed several; there's no way I was going to wash the same bento box over and over every blasted day. I'm far too lazy for that!

Inside these containers (to create the bento kind of idea), I use these. Silicone Cupcake Molds/Liners. They're colorful, durable, easily washable, and just $2 for the set of six. Find them in the Wilton cake area of Walmart. Look for the $2 ones; there are some nearby for twice as much. 

If I need to pack something liquid or leaky (like yogurt, applesauce, ranch dressing, humus, syrup, what-have-you), I put it in an old applesauce or mandarin oranges container and top it with Cling Wrap (Press N Seal?). That stuff is magical. It. Works. Wonderfully. 

I put the bento box full of goodies inside his lunchbox, stick a juice box (or Gossner's milk or Capri Sun etc) next to it and an ice pack on top. Don't forget a napkin and (if needed) a spoon! Then zip it up and send it to school! 

What system do YOU use for school lunch? Any tips?? Please share! :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

corn bread muffins

Original recipe from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sweet-corn-bread-2/detail.aspx). This is a halved recipe, basically. It's moist and delicious. Yum.

RECIPE: Corn Bread Muffins

Yield: 8 muffins

1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 c sour cream
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 an egg, beaten
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp milk
2 tsp butter

Preheat oven to 400F. 

Measure and put all ingredients into a mixer/bowl. Whip until incorporated and kinda fluffy. 

Drop batter into greased muffin tin. Bake at 400F for 15 min.

Serve warm with butter and honey. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

school lunch: hot lunch

During the never-ending winters we seem to have, my son gets kind of tired of cold lunches and craves something more cozy and warm.  To solve this dilemma, I searched and researched and ultimately bought this thermos online.  And I. Have. Loved it.  I simply make up his hot lunches in the mornings before school.

You have to pour in boiling water first and close it up... let that sit while you prepare the rest of the lunch (5-10ish minutes, though I think the instructions recommend more).  Then dump out the boiling water and add the hot food (likely nuked during the wait time).  Seal it up, and send your kiddo on his/her way!

The thermos keeps the food piping hot for hours, certainly long enough to make it to lunch.  I've even sent something cold with a cold pack in there next to it, and it's fared just fine.  The best part: it opens up a TON of options for school lunch!  (( Helloooooo, leftovers! ))

Don't be afraid to think outside the box a bit for these hot lunches.  We've done all sorts of things, from lasagna to soup to chocolate malt-o-meal to mac-n-cheese.  Let me know what YOU try!  What's your favorite hot lunch to pack for school??

school lunch #29

Nutella sandwich
Cheddar cheese

Easy peasy.

school lunch #28

This lunch isn't super pretty (Cling Wrap, while handy, is not the most delicious-looking stuff), but it was yum.

Saltine crackers
Tuna sandwich spread
Yogurt + berry delight

school lunch #27

Cheese quesadilla
Boiled egg

bacon pancake dippers


RECIPE: Bacon Pancake Dippers

This is more of a concept than a recipe.  I saw this idea online and thought I'd give it a try for James' school lunch.  I used my From Scratch Pancake recipe (though batter from a store-bought mix would work equally well) and just added cooked bacon into the batter as the pancake cooked.  I tried several different methods: pouring the batter onto the skillet then placing cooked bacon on top before flipping, dredging the cooked bacon in the batter and then cooking, breaking the cooked bacon up into teensy pieces and then adding it to the batter. All of the methods worked, but the first one was probably the easiest.  I liked it but didn't love it.  It's a good way to sneak some bacon into an herbivore's school lunch, though! :)  Mmm... bacon. Crazy kid.