Unpacking the Bagged Lunch

January 30, 2010

I learned early on in my lunch-packing career that sending a nice, shiny apple in my kids’ lunches was simply sentencing that apple to a day of rolling around in a lunchbox only to return to me in the evening bruised, unappreciated and ready to become applesauce. Sometimes I dream of moving  to a tropical island, where I would send fresh kiwis and mangos with my children to school, and maybe even little coconuts with straws!  But, alas I live in Ithaca, NY, where apples are just about the only fruit that I can count on being able to afford year round.  Because of this, my household eats a lot of apples.and here’s what I do with them when I pack them in lunches. 

* Slice them and put them in a bowl (an apple slicer is very handy for this)

* Toss them with enough bottled lemon juice to cover the apple.            

* Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them (make the cinnamon sugar up ahead of time and keep it in a shaker). 

* Put them in an air tight container and send them off!

Do you have a simple, healthful, lunchbox suggestion to share? The more ideas we can exchange the more we can collectively avoid those annoying lunchbox item boycotts!  To get you started, here is the short list of currently accepted lunchbox fare in my household:

*Peanut butter and banana sandwiches

*Peanut butter and honey sandwiches

*Hard -boiled eggs

*Tofu Kan

*Tofu pups with melted cheese and ketchup, wrapped in a tortilla (yes, they’re cold by the time they eat them)

*Homemade cookies that I freeze (see School Cookies and Lisa’s Sunflower Cookies)

*Dinner leftovers often work for one child, but not the other

*Tuna fish works for one, but not the other

*Veggie Stix (Good Healthy Natural Foods)

*Kashi TLC Cereal Bars

*One of my kids is a vegetarian now, so this isn’t exactly “currently” accepted, but turkey luncheon meat and cheese rolls used to work

Please help me add to this list!  My girls cannot live on cinnamon apples alone.  Leave your suggestions in the comments below, and then bask in the gratitude of lunch-packing moms everywhere.

-Kelly at the Goose

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Co-op Dinners

October 5, 2009

Imagine, 2 nights a week, a fully-prepared home cooked dinner arrives at your door for you and your family to enjoy.  It’s what our family calls The Dinner Co-op.
Here’s how our co-op works: Three families, including ours, have agreed to share the responsibility of nightly dinner preparation. Each family cooks one night a week for all three co-op families (five adults and six kids). Then, two nights a week each coop family receives a delicious meal!

Our Dinner Co-op is vegetarian and we limit cheese for one of the children. Other than that, I let my burgeoning produce drawer* be my inspiration and motivator.  This week, Chard poked out of every drawer in the fridge so I made Chard Cheese Pie from Laurel’s Kitchen.

Laurel's Chard Cheese Pie

Laurel's Chard Cheese Pie

I don’t know what possessed me, but I felt the perfect accompaniment to this dish was veggie pigs in a blanket. Yes, I did consider making the biscuits from scratch, but cut myself a break and bought the cans. They’re just so fun to open.

Vegie Pigs in a Blanket!

Vegie Pigs in a Blanket!

I absolutely love finishing off scraps and space hogs in the refrigerator so already I feel good about this coop. Currently, we’re making piping hot deliveries by car or on foot, but I’m dreaming of a large sturdy wagon.  And there goes the delivery service now …

Delivering dinner for 8.

Delivering dinner for 8.

Cooking for eleven people takes some adjusting. I found the easiest way for me to pull it off was to carve out one morning, or an entire slow moving day, for cooking. While I have everything out, I try to make a soup or something else for us to get through the weekend.  I bet we’re all over-cooking in an effort not to wind up short. I’m finding that I have a lot of leftovers to choose from when packing lunches. But, that’s a plus!

-Kelly Goose

*You too can have a burgeoning produce drawer. Check out this link for a CSA near you.  http://www.localharvest.org/