Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Getting in the Halloween spirit

Lunch today is a turkey sammie, strawberries, cucumbers, mandarin orange pumpkins (I used the stem of the cucumbers for the "stems" of the pumpkins).  And dried cherries for dessert.  Happy early Halloween!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Second day of school lunch!

I forgot to post a picture of lunch for the first day of Pre-K but keeping with my first day tradition I sent sushi and some sides.  Juju stays for a longer day now so I have to pack a lunch AND two snacks.  It's a lot of food.  I don't get too creative with the snacks so I will probably just post lunches for now.  Sorry I have been absent for a bit (I have been working on another blog.  If you don't know about it email me and I will tell you!).

For the second day I sent brown rice teddy bears (with currants for eyes and nose), cucumber flowers, edamame, strawberries, and a dark chocolate covered almond for dessert.  I made the brown rice bears with a cute stainless steel mold I got in little Tokyo.  If you aren't cooking sticky rice, you need the rice to be hot when you mold it (I tried to make it this morning for lunch with cold rice and the bears fell apart before we left the house).  I now make lunches in the morning which makes the morning rush a bit more difficult but it is probably fresher.

Happy new school year!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Farmer's market dinner

I was so jazzed about my farmer's market finds this morning that I (actually "we" - the KOAM did a lot of cooking too) used almost everything we bought at dinner!  Since I haven't blogged lunches in a while I thought I'd share our dinner with you.  By the way, even though it's August I'm still packing lunches.  Tomorrow is the first day of camp for Juju and she'll need a lunch and snack every day.  I will try to get back in the habit of documenting these for this space.

The thing I was most excited to get today were squash blossoms.  I actually made them last month and posted about it on Facebook.  I made up a recipe based on something I ate at a restaurant and it's absolutely delicious.  They are sort of a pain to put together but the result is totally worth it.

Here are my squash blossoms fresh from the Hollywood Farmer's Market this morning.  They are $5 a pound and these 12 cost me $2.50.  Not bad at all.  I ended up chopping the stems off and we used them in a mushroom and squash lasagna we made (more on that in a moment).

Aren't these just so beautiful and summery?

I also love buying fresh herbs at the market and vow to one day grow them myself.  For this made up recipe I used Italian parsley and basil:

My plan was to stuff the blossoms with a cheese mixture, dip them in egg and flour, fry them in oil and devour them instantly.  The plan paid off.  Here is the cheese mixture:  I used ricotta cheese, one clove of minced garlic, salt, pepper, honey, parmesan cheese, parsley, and basil

Next, I put the cheese mixture into a plastic bag so I could pipe it in to the squash blossoms easily.  As you can see this yielded a lot of cheese, way more than I needed but it was ok because remember that mushroom and squash lasagna I mentioned?  Well this ricotta mixture worked perfectly between the layers.

The next task was to gingerly open the very delicate squash blossoms, remove the stamen from each one by plucking it off, pipe in the cheese filling, and twist the top of the flower to keep everything inside.

This took a while to get it just right but here they are in all their cheesy glory.  I put them in the fridge to firm up a bit, I figured that would help with the next step which was to coat and fry them.

While the squash blossoms were chilling, I decided to roast some okra with olive oil, salt and pepper.  I often forget about okra but it's really great.  And Juju liked it too.  I never thought my child would utter the words "more okra please."  I must make these again.

Chopped, coated, and ready to go into the oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

While I was working with my squash and okra, the KOAM was hard at work at a wild mushroom lasagna.  Here are some of the beauties we picked up this morning:

And here they are sauteing with the actual squash from the squash blossoms (the bottom part of the very first picture) with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

And what would a late summer dinner be without a gorgeous heirloom tomato?  This baby wasn't cheap but sure was delicious.  And it's big enough that we have leftovers for tomorrow.

Back to the squash blossoms.  I didn't photograph it but my next step was the coat them in a bowl with one beaten egg and then roll them in flour.  After that I dropped them into a pan of hot olive oil (yes, they require a lot of oil, don't make these every night) and rotated them a few times until they were golden brown.  Transfer to a paper towel to absorb some of the oil and eat instantly.  They are incredible!

And finally here is a look at our white cheese mushroom and squash lasagna.  I was proud of us; we used things we had around the house, lasagna noodles and leftover panko breadcrumbs in the pantry, three kinds of cheeses from the fridge, etc.  It was AMAZING.  I am so happy we have leftovers.

Here are the insides of that beautiful tomato.  My favorite part was the heart.

Here is how the okra came out all brown and delicious and Juju approved (she ate several before I could snap this photo!:

Happy Dinner plate!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fall into lunch

Pottery Barn Kids is out with their back-to-school line of lunch boxes and backpacks and they've gotten the picture that stainless steel is the way of the future.  Bravo PBK!

Here's what's new: In addition to keeping the Kids Konserve and PlanetBox systems in their lineup (though you're now paying $69.95 for a PlanetBox instead of last year's $59.95 pricetag!) you can now purchase and personalize a custom PBK printed lunchbag to hold your PlanetBox.  Last year you could only buy the bag in solid pink or blue.  Personally I'm loving the orange and blue robots:

Additionally, PBK has expanded the Spencer line of square shaped food containers.  Last year they only came in plastic, this year they come in plastic AND stainless steel in four sizes and still fit quite nicely in the PBK lunchboxes.  The mini one is particularly good for dips and sauces.

They added another piece to the Spencer line which I really don't understand and found to be of incredibly poor quality, not something I expect for the PBK brand.  It is billed as a Bento Box which I guess means they think your child will carry this to school in his or her backpack because it's quite large and won't fit in any of their lunchboxes.  

The top layer has three compartments and when you lift it up (not easy for this mom to do let alone a 4 year old or first grader) there is a large compartment in the bottom.  It kind of reminds me of the largest size Lunchbots container which is one I never use unless I am packing lunch for myself; it's simply too big for a kid.  My main problem with this Bento Box (outside from it's outrageous price at $48.50) is that the metal used to separate the compartments on top is of such poor quality that several of the units in the store were bent.  I assume this is from customers attempting to pull the top off to see what's down below.  The design is really poor and my guess is this item will be discontinued and on sale pretty soon.  Maybe I'll give it a try when it is!

I'm not too excited about any of the lunch bag patterns this year save for the robots.  The owls for the girls' bags are cute enough I guess (I'm kind of over owls at this point) but my favorite is the navy owls which unfortunately don't come in the Mackenzie retro bag style (the only one big enough for my lunch packing needs).  If you are a fan of animal prints you'll be happy to know they've found a way to bring giraffe and zebra stripes to lunchtime.  The matching Klean Kanteen bottles are back as well although they are still $19.50 which I find to be an obscene price for a tiny water bottle.  

I also stepped inside the Gap to check out their lunchbag in offerings.  In the past I have loved their snail lunch bag and Valentino inspired flower bag but this year it's slim pickins.  The bags are not intelligently designed and are pretty boring.   

More news from the Fall 2012 lunch lines when I see them!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Veggie lunch

Artichoke heart, avocado, tomato, cheese and crackers, strawberries, and dark chocolate for dessert.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chicken noodle casserole

Leftover chicken noodle casserole, edamame, cucumbers, oranges.

Mango lunch

Mango, edamame, watermelon, pita chips, cheese.

Pizza for lunch

Leftover Caioti pizza, edamame, watermelon, oranges.

Fresh fish dinner 2

Fresh fish dinner

Salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper, fresh corn, salad.

Fresh corn lunch

Fresh corn on the cob, hard boiled eggs, watermelon and edamame.

Egg salad lunch

Egg salad on challah, avocado, strawberries, watermelon.

Stir fry lunch

Chicken and veggie stir fry with rice, strawberries, peas, tomatoes, watermelon.

Veggie lunch

Avocado on challah sammie, edamame, strawberries, watermelon.

More of the same for lunch

Avocado on challah, strawberries, peas, sugar plum tomatoes, watermelon.

More Greek for lunch

Leftover homemade spanikopita, string beans, sugar plum tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon.

Avocado sandwich

Avocado on challah sandwich, carrots, cucumbers, pineapple, watermelon.

Greek for lunch

Homemade spanikopita, cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, strawberries, and watermelon.

Lunch on June 1

Cucumbers, tomatoes, string beans, peas, strawberries, chicken and cous cous.

Monday, May 14, 2012

More chicken and rice

Leftover roast chicken and brown rice, carrots, strawberries, artichoke, an dark chocolate for dessert.

Chicken and rice lunch

Leftover roast chicken and brown rice, strawberries, pineapple, artichoke, and dark chocolate for dessert.

Deli for lunch

Corned beef and pastrami on rye, orange slices, peas, strawberries, cucumber slices, robin's eggs for dessert.

Vegan dinner

Fake ground meat, onions, celery, mushrooms, and cashews over white rice, steamed artichoke.

Kitchen help

Mini corn husker!

Vegan sloppy Joe's for dinner!

Fresh corn on the cob, vegan sloppy Joe's on whole wheat bun.

Chicken noodle casserole lunch

Chicken noodle casserole with peas and corn, cucumber, edamame, oranges, robin's eggs for dessert.

Mango lunch

Mango, edamame, watermelon, fresh mozzarella cheese with whole grain pita chips, robin's eggs for dessert.

Lunch on 5/14/2012

Leftover Caioti pizza, watermelon, edamame, orange slices, robin's eggs for dessert.

Little foodie dinner

Salmon with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, corn on the cob, salad with homemade dressing (olive oil, lime, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper).

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vegan dinner

Avocado, quinoa, peas, tempeh with onions, mushrooms, and cashews.

One more lunch

Hummus and carrots, fresh peas and plums, strawberries, quinoa and chicken, chocolate for dessert.

And another lost lunch

Artichokes leaves with sour cream dipping sauce, string beans, salmon with pasta, plums, chocolate covered almond bits for dessert.