Friday, September 27, 2013

Our Lunchbox-Week 5

Oh. My. Goodness.  I am one tired momma today.  I took a spinning class this morning that kicked my booty.  That girl was crazy.  But, dang, it felt good.  So here we go into the weekend.  Hopefully we will all sleep in tomorrow and enjoy what is left of this beautiful weather happening right now.  Love it. 

Here's a look into our weekly lunchbox.  It wasn't too exciting since I didn't have much food in the house.  I just got to the grocery store today which didn't help me this week during lunch time, but what can I say?!

Both kids got half of a Trader Joe's bagel with vegan cream cheese.  Kaiden got leftover watermelon slices (from our camping trip last weekend), popcorn and 2 Trader Joe's sandwich cookies.  Madelyn got a squeezy applesauce, homemade chex mix (recipe below to make it vegan and organic) and 2 cookies. 

Both kids are on a bagel kick.  So they begged for bagels in their lunch.  Again.  As long as it's something they will eat, then I don't care.  Both got 3/4 of a bagel with vegan cream cheese, orange slices with blueberries, Applegate ham roll-ups, and a piece of a vegan brownie.

For a "treat" they both asked for chocolate soy milk in their lunches today which I went along with :)
Both kids got PB&J sandwich, cucumber slices with hummus, apple slices and 2 Trader Joe's sandwich cookies. 

Recipes I used:
Chex Mix- I use the standard Chex Mix recipe with a few modifications cause a big dose of GMO's isn't an appetizing thought for me.  I sub out Cascadian Farms multi grain squares, Earth Balance butter and Annie's Worcestershire sauce.  Follow directions and you have a yummy snack!

Vegan brownies-I used this recipe and it was ok.  After reading a bunch of the reviews I went with one of the modified versions but can't remember which one.  They were kind of "cakey" rather than fudgy brownie like and pretty crumbly.  So, the search continues for another vegan brownie recipe. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Our Lunchbox-Week 3 & 4

I spent all day getting ready for a camping trip that we are going on this weekend.  Some may not call it camping since we will be sleeping in a cabin.  Although it does have a bathroom in it, it doesn't have a kitchen.  That's as close to "roughing it" that you will get from me.  We'll see how this all goes, but I feel like you have to pack up your whole house just to go away for a weekend.  It's a lot of work. 

Anywho, here are two weeks worth of lunches since I must have been uber busy last week to post.   

Madelyn's lunch since she is in a "nut free" school.  Ants on a log with vegan cream cheese.  Carrots with vegan ranch dressing for dipping.  Hummus and TJ's wheat thin crackers (which I switched out for TJ's Triscuit crackers at the last minute when she informed me that she thinks the wheat thins are "yucky.")  Fruit salsa.  I didn't fill the last container since she hasn't been eating all her food.
Kaiden got ants on log with peanut butter since his lunch class is not nut free.  He got the fruit salsa with homemade cinnamon sugar whole wheat tortilla chips (recipe below) and a vegan chocolate cupcake with vegan butter cream frosting.  (Madelyn took her cupcake for snack time since there was a classmate celebrating a birthday.  I always send theie treats with them on birthday days)

Both kids got a half of a Trader Joe's cinnamon raisin bagel with vegan cream cheese, carrot sticks with vegan ranch dressing, fruit salad and a homemade vegan chocolate chip cookie (again, Madelyn had her cookie for snack since there was ANOTHER birthday celebration for school)
I have been running low on food this week since I knew I didn't want to make a trip to the grocery store until later in the week so I could stock up on our camping food.  Using what I had on hand I came up with some pretty decent lunches for the week.  At least no complaints from the peanut gallery.
Both got Applegate turkey roll-ups with Organic Valley American cheese (what a treat for them!).  Apple "sandwiches" with peanut butter and granola on the inside, strawberries and blueberries & vegan chocolate pudding
This was really a feat since there was NOTHING left in the house to eat.  Thank goodness for frozen dime sized banana pancakes with maple syrup for dipping!  The last of the blueberries from the fridge and a pre-packaged organic applesauce (Madelyn got a squeezy applesauce since she likes those better) and a package of Lucy's vegan/gluten free chocolate chip cookies (I haven't tried these, but both kids say there are really good!)

Madelyn stayed for lunch on Friday but Kaiden did not since we wanted to get on the road for camping and his afternoon class ends too late.  So Madelyn got a vegan chocolate zucchini muffin, hummus with grape tomatoes, Persian cucumbers & TJ's tricuits for dipping.  Two Trader Joe's sandwich cookies for dessert.
So there you have it!  Two weeks of lunches down....too many more to count to go.  But, have I mentioned how much I am loving our Laptop Lunchboxes?!  They make packing lunch so much more organized and keep all of the kids lunches, snacks and water bottles neatly in one place!  Love them!

Recipes I used this week:
Fruit salsa and cinnamon tortilla chips-I used this recipe but modified it a bit.  I just used cut up fruit and didn't add any sugar or preserves to the salsa.  It's plenty sweet enough without it and the fruit will give up some juice while it sits so it makes it watery-like.  Just make sure to chop the fruit very small :)  I also used melted vegan butter for the tortilla chips and just brushed it on the whole tortilla then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  Then I used a pizza cutter to cut into 8 triangles and baked.  Me and hubs LOVED it....the kids weren't overly impressed with the chips but gobbled up the salsa.

Vegan Ranch Dressing-Kaiden LOVES this stuff (as do the rest of us!)

Vegan chocolate cupcake-I got a "wacky cake" recipe from my friend and was blown away at the moistness (totally a word) of it all.  It's been my "go to" recipe for cake/cupcakes.  I make a batch and freeze these so I always have some to send with the kids when there are birthday parties at school.  The history of "wacky cake" is pretty interesting.  Here's the recipe that I use: 1 1/2 c AP flour (I use 1 cup AP flour and 1/2 c WW flour), 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 c sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1T white or cider vinegar, 6T oil, 1 c water.  Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in bowl.  Add sugar.  With your finger poke 3 holes (2 small, 1 big) in the flour.  Pour vanilla in one hole, vinegar in one how and oil in large hole.  Pour water over top and stir together with a fork.  Bake 35-40 min for a 9x9 pan or 15 min for cupcakes.

Vegan butter cream frosting

Vegan chocolate chip cookie-Dreena has mad cooking skills and these cookies are the bomb.  Make sure to follow the directions to a "T" or they will come out hard and dry.  These don't last long in our house.

Vegan chocolate pudding

Vegan chocolate zucchini muffins-I usually make a double batch and freeze these.  Both regular size and mini muffins. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Off to Pre-K and Our Lunchbox-Week 2

Madelyn headed off to her first day of pre-K on Friday!  I anticipating a little sadness that her big brother wasn't at the same building this year giving her the comfort of seeing him in the hallways.  But, my big girl had no tears and was excited to start!

Stop growing up my sweet baby girl!  

Madelyn will also be spending lunch at school again this year.  But this year she's got her laptop lunchbox to make it more fun!  With the Labor Day holiday last Monday I only had to pack two lunches and because I was out of practically everything in my refrigerator we did the best we could with what was on hand.  
Hummus with cut up apple (the hummus came back uneaten-Kaiden is on a hummus strike I guess).  Cut up cucumber, carrot and celery with homemade vegan ranch dip (He LOVES this stuff!).  Trader Joe's wheat thin crackers and a chocolate chip cookie.

Vegan cream cheese, cucumber and Applegate turkey roll up in whole wheat tortilla (a treat for turkey-which most of this came back uneaten since they both said they didn't really like it).  Cut up strawberries, mini vegan pumpkin muffins & chocolate chip cookie.

Recipes I used:
Vegan pumpkin muffins-instead of the sugar I use 1/2 cup of honey and they come out plenty sweet enough for us.

Hope your week was great!  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Our Lunchbox-Week 1

This year is the first year at our public school kindergarten that you can choose to attend a full day program or a half day program.  All academics are done during the half day option but the full day option incorporates an "enrichment period" which just basically builds upon the things they have already learned in their regular kindergarten session.  In other words, the district was losing students of working parents to the local charter/private schools that have full day kindergarten and they wanted to bring that money back into the public school so they have a glorified day care option to fill the full day.  Whatever you call it we are trying out the full day option on MWF and keeping half days on T/TH.

On full days we need to send in two snacks (one for morning and one for afternoon) in addition to a lunch.  I was like a kid in an (organic) candy store when I ordered the kids their Laptop Lunchboxes.  I ordered the dual compartment kit for both of them to accommodate snacks/lunches (Madelyn's in the "girly" color).  I'm in LOVE with their lunch boxes!  Cause I'm weird like that.  I even took a day to make a meal plan for their weekly lunches.  Some of the meals play off of my dinner meal plan so that I can incorporate leftovers into lunches.  Although only a week into school, it's made packing lunches fun for both me and the kids.  Madelyn will start pre-K on Friday in which she will get to jump in on the lunch fun.  I'll try to post our weekly lunches on Fridays cause I know there are some moms out there looking for lunch inspiration.  I'm with you girls and I'm here for you trying to navigate this world of school lunches.  While I try to keep to a vegan-ish menu as much as possible, we do eat some animal products from time to time.  So, some of my menus will reflect that.  But, I can assure you that they will always be full of "real food" instead of processed junk.  Enjoy!
Star shaped PB & J sandwiches cut with small cookie cutters, fruit salad with a heart shaped toothpick, trail mix & homemade vegan chocolate pudding
Leftover silver dollar banana pancakes with maple syrup for dipping (in small lidded container) from dinner the night before.  Cut up strawberries, leftover overnight oats with blueberries (from breakfast) & vegan chocolate pudding with vegan chocolate chips.

The kids attended camp this summer and their lunchboxes happen to arrive the last week of camp.  So I was able to give it a try before school was in full swing.  Here's a glimpse of what they had at camp.  
Banana wrap with peanut butter and honey, fruit salad, Annie's organic pretzels, 365 sandwich cookies, applesauce with cinnamon

Sushi sandwich (using honey whole wheat bread from Great Harvest Bread Co.) with vegan cream cheese and organic strawberry jelly, organic peaches, carrots & cucumbers & vegan chocolate pudding
Hope you find some inspiration in our lunches.  My kids love to see what they are getting each day and I can honestly say that I enjoy making lunches!  Ask me again halfway through the year and I might have a different answer, though :)

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kindergarten Bound

Yep.  The time finally came that Kaiden headed off to kindergarten!  The excitement was palpable (Kaiden) and the tears were flowing (Mommy).  My little boy is so grown up!  

The first day was exhausting for Kaiden (and the rest of us too for that matter). After heading to bed at 7:30 that night he woke up the next morning stating that, "I don't want to go to kindergarten anymore.  You have to wake up too early."  

Amen to that brother.  Amen to that.  

Welcome to the rest of your life, kid.  God's got big plans for you and I can't wait to watch the journey.