Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A True Bento

This lunch looks a lot more like a traditional bento lunch would look, if GiGi and LiLi were little school girls in Japan;)   They both love fish, so when I make it for dinner I always make extras...my girls can't get enough of this good for you, brain food!

Lunch today has some baked salmon, white rice with sesame seeds, dried seaweed sheets, cucumber slices (I wanted to make cucumber salad but ran out of time), sliced permission and juice.   If you haven't tried dried seaweed you should check it out...it has a crunchy, salty taste and it's full of nutrients!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Field Trip Lunches

LiLi and I are headed to The Rice Rock Museum for a field trip and I was at a huge loss when it came time for packing a lunch I'd want to eat too!  (I might be the pickiest eater in our house.)  Lucky for me LiLi is game for just about anything, so I decided on a trio of salads.

1.  A nice big green salad topped with turkey, swiss, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, topped with a little green goddess dressing! Yum!  
2.  Pasta salad filled with loads of veggies and topped with cheddar cheese and Italian dressing.  Enjoy!
2.  Fruit salad; grapes, cantaloupe and strawberries....Delish!  (I got the fruit salad, LiLi got plain grapes)

I've thrown in tons of extras too, because who knows what we'll feel like eating.  We have fruit leather, granola bars, kettle corn, freeze dried strawberries, cheese crackers and some corn candy as a treat.  We both get a bottle of water for the day.

Grace is taking a similar lunch, but she doesn't like pasta salad so she has some fresh mushrooms instead.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When a Kid Packs Lunch

When a kid packs lunch it looks a lot like this....

In my head, this whole packing went something like those "If You Give A Mouse A Muffin" books.  If you give a 10 and 8 year old free reign, they will start with candy.  Always.  Every time.   Then hopefully they will decide that they should throw in some fruit and maybe a veg (mandarin orange and cucumbers).  This might lead them to some sort of protein, or two.  Because salami is never enough, you probably need a bagel and cream cheese.   While a bagel may seem like enough fiber/carbs, your wrong.  So throw in a granola bar and goldfish to round it out!   When it's all done, there isn't really room for candy so you eat it right then, because who can let candy go to waste?!

That's how I imagined it went.  Even if it went another way; which may have included some arguing, bossing and a little crying...plus a lot of mess...it's packed.  I can live with it.  I can get used to these kids of mine packing a sort of balanced lunch every now and again.  It bought me a few minutes of time just hanging out on the couch, surfing Pinterest. 

Oh, and in this spirit of letting go every now and again and letting the kiddos be in charge they got to pack their own snacks too.  I'm a little freaked out about this part.  I'm fairly certain that GiGi's teacher is going to call tomorrow to make sure I'm okay, that I haven't suffered a seizure or some other medical emergency.   They have bags of sugar cereal. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lunch for Mom

I'm going to be at school all day today and a Mom's got to eat too! It got me thinking about all of you who work outside the home too, what do you do every day for lunch?  Every once in a while I'll be featuring some lunches for the older set.

Lunch for this Mom almost always includes a salad. I LOVE salads!  It's a sickness, sort of, because it's sort of healthy. 
My salad today is piled high with all sorts of goodies.  Swiss cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, turkey, orange bell pepper.  I have a little container of vinigrette to top it with.  I threw in a couple of whole wheat crackers, a few starburst (because I like a little sweet too) and some freeze dried strawberries. 

I'm having a hard time waiting till lunch to eat this!  Just knowing it's in the fridge waiting for me is making me a little bit crazy and hungry!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Black Cat and Pumpkins

It's official, we go to school in the dark and come home just in time for sunset.  I'm tired.  All of the time.  I forgot how Fall in the North West takes some adjusting too.  (Every year)   I'm loving the Autumn colors, the cozy sweaters and the warm roasts (I seem to be roasting something every day).  
Being cozy seems to also be making me forgetful...I need to remember to see if there is some study about the correlation.   I forgot lunches, until I was in bed and just about to fall asleep.   I knew my brain would never shut off so out of bed I climbed, down to the kitchen...I made lunch by the light of the fridge, it was sort of romantic. 

Both girls got ham roll ups, scary cat carrots, a mandarin orange, school days apple granola bar (these are made in a peanut free facility!), Stretch Island apple fruit leather, whole wheat crackers, scary cat colby jack cheese slices, and some Halloween marshmallows.  They both have organic vanilla milk.

For snack they have dried strawberries and a caramel rice cake.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Make Dinner Work Twice as Hard

I'll admit it.  This might have been the easiest (laziest) lunch I've ever packed!  It took me roughly 1 minute (and that's only because I had to cut the pizza so it would fit in the container).   Oh. My. Goodness.  I live for days like this. 
We're all busy, we all have lists that never stop growing.  Why not make dinner do double duty?  Especially when it's a dinner your kiddos really dig!  (I know, this is the second appearance of pizzaish stuff this week)  My kids would eat loads of stuff left over.  Spaghetti, chicken, pizza, stir fry, salmon...the list goes on and on and it makes your life a lot easier!

Left over pizza, salad (I literally used my hands and grabbed a handful, no shame.), a pear, apple juice and a couple chocolate chip cookies. 

For snack they have apple slices and 2 raspberry Newtons.   It's 6:30 and my list is basically done (well the stuff that I can't put off at least)...looks like I get to sit on the couch and catch up on the DVR! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Lunch so Easy It's Scary

The girls lunch was packed in a rush last night, total surprise, right?!  Thank Heavens I keep loads of healthy options in the fridge.  The girls have a hard boiled egg; I made the spooky faces with food safe pens; a little mandarin orange, some veggie crackers, sharp cheddar pumpkins, carrot pumpkins and some grape tomatoes, and a few pumpkin peeps.  They also have a frozen yogurt tube that I threw in at the last minute (I'm obsessed with them having enough protein, but it's truly what fuels their bodies) and a box of apple juice.
I packed it all in my very favorite easylunchbox containers. 
For snack they both have kettle corn and fruit leather.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Lunch...Homemade Pizza Rolls

People in marketing really know how to appeal to kids, and their taste buds.  It's never made sense why kids (or adults for that matter) enjoy food filled with stuff I can't pronounce.   One thing my girls always ask to try are those little pizza rolls, the ones with the funny commercial with the kids so hungry they're delirious.  And pop tarts.  Luckily I've got a good recipe for both.

Well not so much a recipe, as a quick and easy cheat that taste great and is like a billion times better for them.  I'm a firm believer in having a good pie crust recipe because you can make all sorts of yummy things with it!  I was making an apple pie for dessert and decided to double the pie crust recipe and make some pizza rolls.  They turned out perfectly, in fact LiLi was totally fooled.  Gigi is a little less likely to just trust me when I say, "Oh yeah, it's the stuff from the commercial", apparently I've used that line too much.

Anyhoo, pizza rolls, super easy and I'm thinking they'll freeze well too!  I rolled pie crust really thin (and I used half whole wheat flour, because all really does change the flavor) and then topped it with pizza sauce, chopped pepperoni, chopped olives and cheese.  Then I used a pastry cutter to cut them into rectangles and it crimped it at the same time! 

I baked mine for about 10 minutes at 425, and then the girls can zap them in the microwave to reheat them at school.

The girls each have some pizza rolls, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, pomegranate seeds and some cookies...they also have a pear and a apple juice. 
For snack they each have a homemade granola bar and Stretch Island Fruit Leather.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ooooooooooh, What a Yummy Lunch!

Thank Heavens for Awanas! I had the house to myself and was able to really put some time and thought into lunch.  Hope the girls are surprised and a little spooked by their lunches, it was sure fun to make and pack them.  I don't know about you, but I worry more about what their getting then what it looks like, but it's such a pleasure when both come together and make it really special. 

The girls have 4 cheese Ghost quesadillas, homemade guac, sour cream, orange and black chips, ghostly cucumbers, a banana (I couldn't make it work in the whole ghost thing, but again, nutrition comes first!), a ghost peep (how cute are they?!), and vanilla organic milk.
They each have a bag of popcorn and a pear for snack.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Leaves Are Turning

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter. ~Carol Bishop Hipps

Each season is my favorite.  Really, I can see the virtues of each one.  While many joke that Oregon has two seasons; rainy and summer; I fully disagree.  I base most memories on holidays, and I celebrate them all with wild abandon.  I can tell you exactly what the weather is like on the 4th of July (It's been sunny for the last 10 years, I know because I have pictures of GiGi in sundresses every single year!), and that it usually doesn't start really raining until October 30th (again, loads of costume pictures covered up with raincoats!).  

Here, in Oregon, or in my imagination, we get 4 beautiful seasons...and for now Fall is my favorite.  Cool mornings, blue skies, orange and red leaves, raucous sunsets...that cozy smell in the air from wood stoves and warm pumpkin lattes.  What's not to love?

Anyhow, the weather has very little to do with lunches, other then when I saw this darling leaf pasta it made me think of the blanket of red, yellow, orange and brown on our lawn...and a salad loaded with veggies. 

The girls have a large serving of pasta salad, full of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, onion and broccoli...plus a healthy amount of feta.  They have watermelon cut into leaf shapes, and a side dish with some salami and organic chocolate milk...for a treat they have Halloween Pop Rocks and some marshmallows.  (I'm going for Mom of the year with the pop rocks!)
For snack they both have Stretch Island Fruit Leather and a homemade granola bar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hearty Lunch for a Cool Day

We've had a ridiculously beautiful summer and start of fall in Oregon.  I have said before (and I'll say again) "Oregon is proof that God loves us!"  If your not from here, I'm sorry and you really must visit.   The start of fall brings sunshine, red leaves, blue skies, cool nights, and lovely autumn produce.  
Today, when we left for school my car said, "Low temps"...we hadn't left the garage yet so I had no idea that it wasn't joking.  It was 36 degrees and I had sent the girls to school in nothing but a sweater and a good hearty lunch! Thank Heavens we're all in the mood for comfort foods, my lunch worked out wonderfully with this new chilly weather were having; the promise of rain by the end of the week couldn't dampen my spirits one bit!

Today's lunch has chili and cheese (they can microwave it at lunch to heat it up again), mini bell peppers, snap peas, a pear, and some oatmeal cookies. They both have organic vanilla milk to drink.
For snack they have homemade trail mix.  Lili may or may not be happy with this choice.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Picnic Style Lunch

It seems like I've been having "one of those days" for the last two weeks...the hustle and bustle of school, dance, piano, choir and girl scouts have caught up with me.  Then throw in my Mom needing to be picked up at the airport, lunch suffers, or does it?!

All of my normal nightly chores were packed into the 20 minutes between scouts and the airport. Lunch was the quickest and easiest of all of the tasks I had to do.  I swear, this couldn't have taken more then 2 minutes. 

This doesn't look like much, but it has protein, some carbs and a fruit and veggies...my kiddos like V8, so they have a little can of that to boost this lunch even more.  We have a great recourse for local meat, and they make this yummy pepperoni that the girls love.  It's not a traditional protein but it works and it's a fun surprise every once in a while. 
Both girls have pepperoni, Babybel white cheddar, crackers, orange wedges, cucumber slices and tomatoes, some chocolate wafer cookies, stretch island 100% fruit leather and a V8.  For snack they have a homemade granola bar and a little apple.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lili's Turn

LiLi's turn.  She was a little jealous that GiGi is big enough to pack lunches (use a knife), so with some help she made these healthy little meals.   We worked on packing a lunch for a kiddo with some food allergies, hope this fits the bill. 
Lili packed some "Mystery Meat" Ghosts (Chicken breast sliced thin and puckered up a little to look like little ghosts, she added the mystery meat part, but there is absolutely no mystery!)  Mwahahaha Mushrooms (no idea how to spell her maniacal laugh), Toad Eye tomatoes, Snake Scale snap peas, Goblin Smiles (orange slices) and some candy corn and creme pumpkins made in a totally peanut free/nut free facility.  (Our little food allergy friend may not be able to have those, but his Mom can switch those out for another sweet treat.)
Not pictured but included are a box of organic chocolate milk and a little bag of pirates booty.
For snack they both have some banana bread and a little pear.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taste Like Desperation

Last night I sat down on the couch to rest my eyes and watch "Ghost Hunters" (my other guilty pleasure) and when I stopped resting my eyes it was about 3 in the morning.  Ugh.  So I crawled into bed, never once thinking, "I haven't packed lunches, laid out clothes, added snacks, checked homework...". 
I actually didn't think about it until 7ish, when we finally headed downstairs to grab breakfast and I noticed the absence of lunches in the fridge.  That's when the sheer panic hit.  I mean, it seemed strange that I hadn't laid out clothes, but they wear uniforms so getting dressed is easy, I just overlooked it.  I started barking orders, "GiGi, your in charge of breakfast", "LiLi grab snacks for you and sis", "Brush your teeth, get shoes, grab jackets...Go, Go, Go!".  I swear that strange mix of adrenaline and stress really takes it out of a person.  We just started car pool this week, and I refuse to be the Mom who's late.  It's a problem I have, the need to always be on time (my Husband would argue that I need to be 15 minutes early), but clearly I am a person who plans (including for any traffic issues that might arise).

Thank goodness I cook for an army, and I have lunch plans for today; otherwise I'd be bummed to be sharing my lunch; so I threw left over beef stir fry into containers.  Also thankfully I keep some shelf stable snacks on hand for these sorts of emergencies so they both got premade rice krispie treats (we ate all the homemade ones last night!).  I grabbed a mandarin orange and some mini bell peppers and a bag of pretzels.  It's not really a cohesive lunch, but they love stir fry, and they love bell peppers...so hopefully they'll be happy come lunch time.

Even the picture was taken in a rush, on my cell phone....just before I tossed it into lunch bags.  Don't ask what they have for snacks, I have no idea.  Probably candy and cookies.  Where's my coffee?!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

GiGi's Post

Well I had a meeting tonight, and when I came home the kitchen was covered with cookie cutters, silicon cups, scraps of food...and two totally packed lunches.  GiGi took it upon herself to pack lunches for me since I shared some of my nice stationary with her.  Love that girl!  Love that at 10 she will make her sister breakfast, will offer to help with all sorts of chores and thinks about her Mama's busy schedule.  I'm not sure what I did to be blessed with this amazing girl, but I thank God for her every day.
This lunch is pretty well rounded given she had no supervision.  She picked a theme and then planned around it. 

GiGi is taking over this post now.  I'm going to back totally out (except to upload the picture, which she took too!), and let her take over.

My Mom is really busy and takes care of all of us.  She sells houses and has to leave to help people so she has to stay up late to pack lunches for us.  I was looking for a snack and saw that there was stuff she uses to make lunches, so I thought I could surprise her by making lunch for tomorrow.   I tried to remember her healthy rules and kept thinking that sometimes I just want not healthy lunch but made it healthy because she would have changed it.

I picked a shooting for the stars theme because I like that saying.  It makes me try hard at school and sports.  I cut food into star shapes and used star shape holders.   I packed cheddar cheese, sausage, mini crackers, star fruit, cucumber and carrots and tomatoes.  I cut the carrots and cucumbers into stars too.  And then I gave us dessert.  An oreo and a rice krispie treat cut like a star.  I put two lemonaides in the fridge so they would be cold tomorrow. 

Ok, Mom back....I went from cracking up (I would have totally repacked lunch if it wasn't sort of healthy) and crying....see why I love this girl!?  I didn't change anything she wrote or change punctuation on her portion....I wanted it just the way it is.  I also didn't take a clearer picture, she was so proud of her work, all of it....and so am I!
Job well done Baby Girl!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2nd...Bring on the Hauntingly Good Lunches!

Is your house in full mail watch?  Everyday a new catalog with fabulous costumes to pick from, the endless discussions of what to be, the bargaining that comes with sisters; should we match, should we have a theme...  Halloween is officially in full swing at Chez Peterson.    Not to worry, I celebrate only one holiday at a time.  There will be no Christmas lunches until December 1st! 

I will however, spend all of this month focusing mostly on ghoulishly good lunches.  It will probably be frightening, the amount of different Halloween cutters I have.  These lunches could possibly haunt your every waking hour with their cuteness.  I'll stop, I know your probably all groaning anyway.  Yes, I am that corny; candy corny that is!

This little lunch is just a kick off.  I've experimented with making my own "jello jigglers", LiLi has already informed me they are "bisgusting" and she will only allow me to pack her one because her friends will think it's cool.  GiGi is not as picky with the "shivering" food and is enthusiastic about them.

Lunch includes; Brains and Blood (spaghetti and sauce), Monster Finger chicken strips, Jacks and Bats pretzels, Jack-O-Lantern bell peppers and some Goblin Eye grapes...grape juice jigglers and ghostly marshmallows round out lunch.  They'll each have Blood red 100% juice fruit punch.    The beauty of Halloween lunches is that they tell their own story, your kiddos will have as much fun eating them as they do deciding what each item is!

For snack they took Pirates Booty and Cliff Kids fruit snacks.

Monday, October 1, 2012


My children are forced to be "Beaver Believers", just not given a choice, my Husband too.  If you don't live in Oregon your probably preparing to call the authorities, or questioning your judgement in following this blog.  In Oregon we choose our college mascots based on the animals that roam here...Beavers and Ducks.  Not such manly characters considering we have bear, cougar, bobcat, and elk.

I digress, I went to the superior college here in Oregon, Oregon State, home of the Beavers.  (I do realize that all of my friends whom are Ducks are cringing...they have what some might argue, the superior football team.)   This year, my beloved Beavers are undefeated! It's really a spectacular thing...and in celebration I am wearing my orange and black constantly.  I just bought spirit gloves (gloves with little orange and black pompoms on the finger tips), they might be the most fabulous OSU item I've ever owned.

I bet your wondering what this has to do with lunch, and if maybe I've totally lost it.  Probably.   It's just tonight at the store I was seeing orange and black food everywhere! It was like the store was celebrating with me.  I was happy, I had a spring in my step and a song in my heart, I had what I thought was the best lunch idea EVER.  Then I got home and realized I didn't have a Beaver cookie cutter (which is totally amazing considering all the cookie cutters I have!).  I almost cried and then I said, "Whatever, it's still an OSU lunch, even without my mascot!"

This little lunch has carrots and orange tomatoes, orange Tillamook cheddar cheese, a baby mandarin orange, orange and black tortilla chips, some dry Italian salami, and a couple of orange and black oreos! 
I can hear the fight song as I type...OoooooSssssssUuuuuuu  Oregon State Fight! Fight! Fight!