Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When life gives me snow... I make breakfast!

Today is a snow day.  I know I know, it's spring, you only got rain, blah blah blah.  We have snow.  School is closed.  I COULD catch up on laundry, mop the floor and do all that fun stuff, but instead I made breakfast!

First I made this loaf of bread in the bread maker.  I only made the following changes:

  1. I used buttermilk instead of the oj concentrate.
  2. I used old fashioned oats, because it's what I had. 
It came out really good.  I guess I should have taken a picture of it, but I cut it up already!  The kids loved it.  I made it into french toast.  All ready for tomorrow morning!

Another  French Toast  recipe I REALLY want to try!  This may have to wait, since I'll have to bake the bread :)  

While I have the griddle out, I'm going to attempt to make this pancake recipe using whole wheat flour and and this chocolate pancake recipe.

My kids have been asking to eat the french toast all day, so I guess that's a good sign :)

***UPDATE**** The first round of the chobani pancakes came out GREAT!  Using the whole wheat flour worked fine, just needed to up the liquid a little bit.  The kids LOVE them! WOOHOO

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lunch Boxes - Monday & Tuesday

So, I haven't been taking pictures of our lunches, it's a lot of repeat stuff.

Monday L had:

*Whole Wheat spirals w/garlic, olive oil and broccoli
*Squishers Yogurt

Today, Tuesday she had:
*Spirals with oil and vinegar, cherry tomatoes and shredded mozzarella
*Squishers Yogurt

*Squishers Yogurt


Waste: Just the squishers tubes.

L's lunchbox is completely falling apart.   I guess that is what happens when it is used every single day and it's weighed down by heavy stainless steel thermos jars and tupperwares.  I'm in the market for a new one.  I'm taking suggestions!  I saw one on tv that had pull out freeze pack that would keep everything cold.  I just can't find that one anymore!  Not a good sign, huh!  Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thinking of trying some new things....

Yesterday I made a quadruple batch of waffles.  That will feed my kids three days of breakfast.   I was thinking back to the days of Eggo's and Aunt Jemima, I felt bad that they don't have as much variety.  Then it hit me, I'm making this stuff FROM SCRATCH I can be as creative as I please.  I was in the shower, that's where I do my best thinking, and it hit me, apple raisin, apple cinnamon, plain cinnamon, cocoa,  pear, banana, cranberry, the list goes on and on... I can make pancakes AND waffles.  Then as if a giant light bulb was switched on over my freshly shampooed hair I though of cinnamon bread french toast!  I'm hitting the food store so I'm definitely going to buy extra eggs and a GINORMOUS container of cinnamon!   I found a recipe for whole wheat cinnamon bread to put in the bread machine.  Once I try it, I'll post it here.

Speaking of bread machines, I've been using a borrowed bread machine.  I feel it's time I return it to it's rightful owner.  My rock star of a friend, Eileen (HI EILEEN!)  I definitely need to purchase one for myself.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!


Today's blog is brought to you by the color GREEN!!!!!!

I am going to have to add the pictures in later, but here's what we made.

Breakfast was whole wheat pancakes, tinted green, in the shape of shamrocks.

Lunch was GOING to be mac & cheese, tinted green... I used taco cheese, thinking it would give it a good taste.  The whole thing was horrible.  Maybe my butter browned too much, maybe I shouldn't have used whole wheat flour for the rue, whatever it was, it was HORRIBLE!
I thought quickly, I rinsed off a bit of the pasta, put some broccoli, olive oil and garlic in it.  

L's lunchbox:
*Spirals with broccoli, garlic and olive oil
*Cucumbers - cut into the shape of shamrocks (I used a v-cutter)
*Peppers - cut across instead of up and down, so they look like shamrocks
*Pudding tinted green

R & J will get the veggies and the pudding. 

Tonight's dinner, corned beef, cabbage and boiled red potatoes.
Irish Soda Bread!

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Today's Lunch Boxes

Last night, before heading to bed, I put all the ingredients in the bread machine for a fresh loaf for school today.  When I went to make lunch, my daughter told me she wanted her chicken salad with triscuits, not on bread.  Ugh!  So, here's what we have:

*Cheese Stick

*Yogurt Tube

At this time, J is still deciding. 

Waste: Cheese stick wrapper and yogurt tube.

A note about the pineapple chicken salad.
My green onions went limp!  Anyone else have this issue?  They weren't very old at all!  Any thoughts on how to keep them fresh?  So, I had to leave them out.  I also left out the salt, pepper and other spices.  I'm sure they would have added to the flavor and made it taste even better, but I still left it all out.  I didn't have a whole pound of cooked chicken.  I had about 3/4 of a cup.  I added 1 tablespoon of the plain yogurt and a little less than that of the mayo.  I only had baby carrots on hand, so I just chopped them.  I didn't measure the pineapple, either, we went by taste with it.  L tested it and asked if she could have it for breakfast!  I guess that means it's good!  It certainly looked good!  The carrots were little specs of color in the mostly white salad.  It almost resembled an ambrosia.  It has at least 1/2 a serving of each fruit and veggie and honestly it looks like a very fatty salad, but it's not!!!!
So, now I have a full loaf of bread.  Maybe I'll cook up and freeze some french toast!  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My new favorite book

This book is really proving to be great!  I definitely recommend checking it out.
Barnes and Noble has it for less than $10.00!!!!

The lunch ideas I've been posting have come from this book.  I definitely have some others I'd like to share... but my laundry pile is waiting ;-) 

Another lunch idea...

I think I may have mentioned last week the lunch idea cook book I took out of the library...  I'm finally getting around to checking it out.  Definitely some great ideas.  Here's another:

Pineapple Chicken Salad Pitas

2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast - about 1 pound
1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup light mayo
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt (I would use greek)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce - I may leave this out - trying to be kid friendly ;-)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder - I will just use a little bit of fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, in juice - drained
4 whole wheat pitas, cut in half
8 romaine lettuce leaves.

1. Combine all ingredients, except pita and lettuce in a large bowl, stir well.  Line each pita 1/2 with 1 lettuce leaf; fill with 1/3 cup of the chicken salad.  Yields 4 servings, 2 stuffed pita halves, each.

Lunch idea!

My kids love love love the Chinese meatballs and spaghetti, I'm sure they will love this lunch.

Asian Green Bean Salad

3 ounces uncooked linguine - I'm sure you can use any sort of spaghetti - I plan on using whole wheat.
1 pound green beans, trimmed - I bet substituting sugar snap peas or snow pea pods would be delicious!
2 cups diagonally sliced celery
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup (1/2") slices green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup rice ine vinegar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly gournd black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced

1. Cook pasta according to directions.  Add beans during last 3 minutes of cooking.  Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.
Place in bowl stirring in celery, peppers, onions and cilantro.
2. to prepare dressing, combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, whisk until blended.  Add to salad and toss well.  Serve chilled.

Yields 8 1 cup servings.

Chinese Spaghetti & Meatballs

My cousin posted a status on FB the other day about making this.  I was intrigued and asked her to forward me the recipe.  You can certainly leave out the chicken or use shrimp in it's place to make it a vegetarian dish.  I also left out the five-spice powder, my Shop Rite was out of it.  I used the ground chicken.  I also left out the spinach, because my kids don't like spinach.  AND I forgot to add the sesame seeds. 
It was a HUGE success around here!  The kids have asked for it every day since.  Another note, I cooked the meatballs until they were crisp, which was closer to 30 minutes.  

1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti 
1 pound ground pork or chicken 
1 egg 
2 cups puffed rice cereal 
Black pepper 
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder, 1/3 palm full 
8 scallions, 2 finely chopped, 6 cut into 2-inch lengths 
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup tamari dark soy, divided 
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided 
2 cups snow peas, thinly sliced on an angle 
1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced 
2 inches ginger root, grated 
4 cloves garlic, grated 
1 pound triple washed spinach, leaves stripped of larger stems, coarsely chopped 
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, available on Asian foods aisle of market 
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, available on Asian foods aisle of market 


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place a pot of water on to boil for spaghetti. When it comes to a boil, salt the water and add pasta to cook to al dente. Heads up: reserve 1/2 cup cooking water just before draining.
  • Place pork in a mixing bowl. Add the egg to the bowl. Place rice cereal in food processor and pulse into a bread crumb like consistency. Add cereal crumbs to bowl.
  • Add salt, pepper, five-spice powder, 2 chopped scallions and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Mix the meat balls thoroughly. Form 1 1/2-inch balls and coat with 1 tablespoon oil, scatter onto a baking sheet and roast 15 minutes.
  • When the meatballs are close to done and the pasta is in, heat a large skillet over high heat with enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the skillet, a couple of tablespoons. Add the snow peas, red pepper, remaining cut scallions, ginger and garlic, stir-fry 2 minutes add spinach and wilt, 1 minute. Add the remaining soy sauce, about 1/3 cup, and the sesame oil.   Then drain the pasta, add in pasta cooking water and toss to combine so pasta can soak up sauce, about 1 minute. Garnish with sesame seeds and top with lots of meatballs.


My kids, especially the little ones, notice when their friends have "fun" snacks.  The kid at the table with the pudding or jello cup, the marshmallows, cookies, etc.  I tell them that snack time is for healthy snacks, those are treats.  Well, I found a recipe and I'm going to give it a try!  It doesn't have that much sugar in it, it's only 8 ingredients and it's PUDDING!  I'm going to surprise them all by putting it in their lunch boxes for a dessert!  Maybe I'll tint it green for Thursday! ;-)

2 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise - or substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup half and half
2 large egg yolks
4 teaspoons butter

1. Place milk in a medium, heavy saucepan.  Scrape seeds from vanilla bean (or add vanilla extract) into milk.  Bring to a boil.
2. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl, stirring well.  Combine half and half and egg yolks, stirring well.  Stir egg yolk mixture into sugar mixture.  Gradually add half of hot milk to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Return hot milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Remove from heat.  Add butter, stirring until melted.  Remove vanilla bean; discard.
3. Spoon pudding into a bowl.  Place bowl in a large ice-filled bowl for 15 minutes until pudding cools, stirring occasionally.  Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap; chill.

Yields 6 - 1/2 cup servings

Today's Lunch Boxes

Happy Tuesday!
Tuesday is usually my grocery shopping day.  However, I didn't need too many items this week, so I just popped in to Trader Joe's yesterday.  I purchased these:

This is something I would not normally purchase.  First off, it was a little pricey.  Secondly, it's not very green at all.  I can just put applesauce in a reusable container and have zero waste from lunch.  But, when the little ones ask for something, I have some trouble saying no!  Especially when the ingredients are applesauce, carrot sauce and pumpkin juice.  They come in a packet, not too unlike a yogurt tube, with a twist off top.  The kids then SQUISH the apple carrot sauce into their mouths.  These are making an appearance in 2/3 of today's lunch boxes!

*Peanut Butter & Jelly Tortilla Roll
*Apple Carrot Sauce
*Vanilla Yogurt

*Apple Carrot Sauce

*Yogurt Tube

Waste: 2 crusher pack and cap, recyclable yogurt container, yogurt tube.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Today's Lunch Box

While it bothers me that they don't list the ingredients on this dressing pack, my joy for my kid asking for salad trumps that!

This was L's main lunch today.
She LOVES it.  
I added in some extra snow pea pods.
She also took
*Cheese Stick
*Yogurt Tube

Waste: Yogurt Tube, Cheese Stick wrapper and a napkin - cloth ones are all dirty!  Mom needs to have a day home to get the laundry done!

Friday, March 11, 2011


So, today's lunch box was too boring for a photo ;-)
It included:
*Peanut Butter and Jelly on a whole wheat tortilla, rolled up
*granola bar

Waste: the granola wrapper - which we are on the "waiting list" for terracycle, so we can recycle Kashi packages!

The boys have had little snacks and drinks all day.  For lunch, the three of us had smoothies.  
1 cup of almond milk
1 banana
about 1/4 cup of plain 0% greek yogurt
a smidge of honey

1 cup of almond milk
1 banana
a handful of a frozen fruit blend - strawberries, peaches, pineapple, mango
about 1/4 cup of plain 0% greek yogurt
a handful of frozen blueberries

1 cup almond milk
handful of baby spinach
a handful of a frozen fruit blend - strawberries, peaches, pineapple, mango
1 banana
about 1/4 cup of water

I didn't think of taking a picture and blogging about these until we finish consuming them.  My kids see this as a "treat"!  How great is that!!!!!!!  

I'm thankful that they LOVED making these with me.  They really enjoyed pushing the buttons on the blender.  Thankfully, no one pushed while the lid was off!  I'm happy that they got all these fruits in, especially since it's a pizza night!

Lunch Boxes Wednesday & Thursday

Wednesday's Lunch boxes:

*I don't know what to call it, but I mixed approximately 1 oz. of cream cheese with salsa and cheese, microwaved it for about 20 seconds (to soften the cream cheese), mixed together and spread it on a whole wheat tortilla.  (BTW, she loved it!)
*Cantaloupe - in the thermos food jar
*Yogurt Squishers

*Waste - Yogurt Tube

J had a yogurt tube
R had a fruit salad

Waste - yogurt tube


*Cheese Stick
(Her lunch was purchased at the school)
*Grilled Cheese on whole wheat
*Bread - THIS is the reason I hate letting her buy lunch.... why do they serve bread with a sandwich????
I only let her purchase because we had a very busy, very late Wednesday and it helped me to not have to think about lunch on Thursday.  PLUS, she loves the grilled cheese on whole wheat.  

Yogurt Tube & 2 Thin Mints 

Banana Yogurt & 2 Do Si Dos

Every once in a while, I'll drop in a "dessert" for them.  Since we have a million girl scout cookies, that's what I picked today!

Waste: Cheese stick wrapper, yogurt tube, recyclable yogurt container.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday & Tuesday Lunch Boxes

I didn't get a chance to post lunch from yesterday.  It was a very busy day! I also apologize for the photos, my camera is not cooperating, so I used my cell.
Here's Monday:

*Peanut Butter and Jelly on fresh baked bread
*Hot Chocolate with Snowman Marshmallows

Waste: ZERO

AND Tuesday:
*Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with peppers, broccoli, yellow tomatoes and shredded mozzarella with an oil and vinegar dressing.
*Yogurt Tube
*2 chocolate sandwich cookies for dessert
(I don't usually give dessert, but today at school is breakfast for lunch.  She really wanted to order this, but I know it will make her sick, so I told her no.  The cookies are my guilt gift!)


*Fruit Salad

Yogurt Tube - not pictured

All Three - Water in their respective water bottles.

Waste: 2 Yogurt Tubes

Took a lunch idea book out of the library... hoping to find some new, fun and healthy options!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whole Living Magazine

I just got a magazine subscription for Whole Living magazine for $3.99 for the year by following this link.  Just type LIVING in the coupon code.  WOOHOO!  I'm so excited!

Cereal...on the OTHER side of the aisle

My kids and I ran into Shop Rite on Thursday.  Our intention was to pick up the ingredients we needed for the Cat in the Hat cupcakes, a few produce items.  Silly mom thought we could get down the cereal aisle safely.  My plan was to buy a bag of the puffed wheat, it's $1.79.

Our Shop Rite has all the "earthy" cereals on one side of the aisle and the major brands, sugar cereal on the other.

We've purchased EnviroKidz Panda Puffs before, at Trader Joe's.  I knew our Shop Rite carried them, but I just never purchased them there.  L (the panda freak) wanted them.  In the cart they went.

R saw these EnviroKidz Frosted Flakes and in the cart they went.

J took a little more time looking around.  The three of them kept turning around to look behind them, seeing all the names they see on TV commercial.  I just nicely told them, let's pick from THIS side of the aisle.
John ended up with Barbara's Puffins.

He keeps calling them penguin puffs.  I've tried to explain them that the puffin is a bird.  The picture on the box is a puffin... yet, he still calls him a penguin!

While all three of these ARE gluten free.  We do not have a gluten issue in our house.  L's problem seems to be with digesting white flour.  I have YET to find any other person that has this issue, so if you know someone send them my way.  The doctors all go , "hmm" and move on.  My pediatrician thinks that I am doing a good job with the food choices I make for my kids.  Thank you!  BUT, I wish someone could tell me WHY my kid can't have the white flour.  Not that I'm complaining... they all love the whole wheat everything and don't complain.  
Back to the cereal!

I sampled all three of these:
*The panda puffs are basically Kix w/peanut butter.  A corn cereal with a peanut butter coating.   The difference is the ingredients.  Compare the two boxes, next time you are in the store. 

*While nothing tastes like Kellogg's Frosted flakes, the Amazon Flakes definitely can substitute for them.  They taste more like Kellogg's Corn Flakes, with a sweet coating.  They got the approval stamp from all 3 kids... even my husband said they were good.  He said "They not Frosted Flakes, but they are good."  

*The Puffin's are the new favorite by a landslide.  The box is almost gone.  All three kids had them for breakfast on Friday and both boys had them today.  I'm definitely adding them to our list.    
There is a coupon on the Barbara's Bakery Website.  It takes $1.00 off.  Give them a try!  There is a HUGE variety of Barbara's cereals.  

These are definitely a little pricier than the major label brands.  But I think it's worth it.  I love that I can actually read the ingredients in these cereals.  I purchase Kashi Go Crunch Lean at Costco, about every 4 weeks.  They cost approximately $9.00 for a giant box.  If I add in the $10-12 for these 3 cereals, which I would probably have to purchase every 2 weeks and the $6 for the Honey Nut Cheerios, at Costco.  I'm spending about $35 a month for cereal.  I don't think that is SO outrageous.  That is less than $10 a week.  Which if you buy 2 of the big boxes of a "sugar cereal", that's $10 right there!  They don't eat cereal everyday.  We also have waffles, pancakes, eggs, yogurt, so I could definitely stretch these boxes out.  I think my next step is going to be, finding a replacement for the Honey Nut Cheerios... I think my new BFF Barbara has a variety! ;-)  

By the way, I never did get my puffed wheat!!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Today's Lunch Box

Just L today, and no snack because today is her class "Publishing Party".  This is where the kids all stand in front of their class and some parents and read books they've written.  This particular party is in honor of Dr. Seuss, so I made these for the class:

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting 

Back to Lunch:
*Asian Salad Blend - L picked this out at the food store yesterday, it's a veggie lover salad with dried pineapples, slivered almonds, crispy noodles and a sesame dressing.
*Naan - Not on my "approved" list, but she's been begging me to buy it for her since trying it at school.  So, she just has a piece of it to eat with her salad.
*Granola Bar

Waste: Granola bar wrapper... which CAN be recycled.  I just need to get us signed up with

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Today's Lunch Box

L's Lunch Today:
*Peanut Butter and Jelly Rolls - again, she loves those!
*Cantaloupe - cut up and in her thermos
*Cheese Stick

J & R still need to decide their snacks, I'm guessing R - Cantaloupe & J - either yogurt or a granola bar.
I'll be bringing yogurt!  

Waste: For L - 1 cheese stick wrapper

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!!

Dr. Seuss is a big deal in our house.  Our kids LOVE to read all of his books.  So, in honor of his birthday, we had a Seuss inspired breakfast and Seuss filled lunch boxes!

First up, Breakfast!  Green Eggs & Ham!

Just scrambled up some eggs and added some green food coloring.
Served it with some lean canadian bacon!
The kids LOVED it!

L's Lunchbox:

The "Menu"

"Poodles of Noodles" - Whole wheat pasta, cucumbers and tomatoes with an oil and vinegar dressing.

"Pink Ink Yink Drink" - Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie - Strawberry Yogurt, Strawberries and Milk

This Cat In The Hat cookie didn't photograph too well.  I took apart 3 Vanilla Sandwich cookies and put a small dot of red frosting in between each layer of the vanilla cream (which came off the cookie surprisingly easy!)

Cat AND a Hat cookie!  

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss - And Happy Birthday to Jon Bon Jovi, too... what kind of Jersey Girl would I be if I forgot to mention that!!!!!

Waste: Just the paper the menu was written on :)  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Today's Lunch Boxes

Three lunch boxes today, plus a snack for Mom ;-)

*Peanut Butter & Jelly on home made bread
*Strawberries - kept cold in her thermos
*Cheese stick


(Also in R's box: Mom's Blueberry Chobani - not pictured) 

Waste: Cheese stick wrapper, 2 recyclable yogurt containers