Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 20

Today for lunch M brought pizza left over from last night's dinner, cucumber slices and a strawberry/oat bar.  D's snack is strawberry/oat bars, vanilla gold fish crackers and fruit leather stars. 
D and A are having Ham/bean soup, cheddar gold fish and cucumber spears.

Strawberry Oat Bars.
I saw a recipe here, then tweaked it to fit my needs.
First I doubled the recipe and used a 9x13 in pan.

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 C ap flour
1 C white whole wheat flour
1/4 C ground flax seed (optional)
2 C rolled oats
1 C butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
10 oz jar Polaner All Fruit Strawberry.

Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor (except Jelly) pulse until combined.  Line your baking pan with foil and spray with non stick cooking spray.   Press about 4 cups crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Spread the jelly evenly, leaving a small border around the edges.  Cover with remaining crumbs and press down evenly.  Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30-40 minutes...until lightly browned.  Let cool completely, cut into squares.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 19

Yay!  It's Friday!!

M has mini deep dish pizzas (one pepperoni and one meatball) ceasar salad, in the white container top left is salad dressing, croutons and under the bear is some parmesean cheese, on the right is a banana oat muffin, clementine and grapes.  For D's snack she has 3 mini banana oat muffins and a couple of grapes.

D and A had vanilla yogurt with blueberries, walnuts and quinoa crunchies, black bean, steak & cheese quesadillas, edamamae and grape tomatoes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 18

Just in from clearing another 10 inches of snow from my driveway.  No school again today.  At this rate the kids will still be going to school in August!

D and A are having linguine with tomato sauce and parmesean cheese, clementines, grapes and garlic crostini.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 17

Last night M wanted to wait till after dinner to see if there would be any left overs that she could take for lunch.  So the result is, I have no picture of her lunch, but she did take one!  She had Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwich on a homemade roll, Apple Spice Rice Krispie treat and some grapes.  D's snack was greek yogurt with blueberries and Kashi Go Lean Crisp.

D and A are having breakfast for lunch today.  Scrambled eggs, sausage hearts, grape tomatoes and cinnamon pita chips.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken
4 Chicken Thighs, bone in skin removed
3/4 C Buffalo Wing Sauce or Frank's Red Hot
1 tsp Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Mix (or 1/2 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning)

Put it all in the crock pot on low for 4 hours (longer is fine too) take the chicken out, shred the meat and remove the bones.  I skim the fat off the top of the cooking liquid then add the chicken back.  I also tend to add about 1/4 c more of hot sauce but you don't have to.  Makes 4 generous bulkie roll sized sandwiches.  I have made this recipe with boneless skinless breasts, if you do, just don't cook it as long.  The chicken really dries out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 16

For lunch M has chicken burgers, with lettuce and pita pockets (they are under the lettuce), string cheese, grape kabobs, 2 granola bites and in the small lock & lock honey mustard bbq sauce.  D's snack is an Apple Spice Rice Krispie treat.

D and A are having Ham/Cheese/Veggie roll ups from the Just Bento cookbook that I won over at Hapa Bento, string cheese, grapes and a clementine.

Apple Spice Rice Krispie Treats
6 Cups Rice Krispie Cereal
1 package large or small marshmallows
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter
1 handful dried apples (chopped)

Combine cereal and apples in a large bowl.  Melt butter and marshmallows in a medium sized saucepan, stir in cinnamon.  Quickly pour marshmallow mixture into cereal mixture and stir to combine.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 in. pan.  Level mixture and let cool.  Cut into small bars.

I had a small bag of Wilton's candy melts in white left so I melted them and spread a very thin layer on the top then let D decorate with Wilton's candy decorating pens.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 15

Today M has Chicken Taco Salad.  In the large container at the bottom is lettuce mix, then on top left is spicy ranch dressing under the chicken and cheese, some tortilla strips, grapes and in the black bag is some apple straws.  D's snack is some grapes and a babybel cheese.

In honor of D's new fish shaped Ariel bento box, D and A have italian cold cut "sushi", grapes and clementines.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 14

Another snow day here in New England!

So today D and A are having "A Nightmare Before Lunch!"  Their monsters are made from: Head = meatball wrapped in a biscuit, body = bean & cheese quesadilla, arms = yellow bell peppers, black olives, sour cream and ketchup for decorating!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 13

M had Shepard's pie for lunch today which was packed in a thermos last minute this morning.  On the side she has some sugar snap peas, a bottle of hot sauce and a granola bar with a fruit leather heart.  For snack D has 2 granola mini muffins with fruit leather hearts and a few apple straws.

D and A are having Turkey teddy bears on multigrain sandwich thins with ham flowers/pickle stems.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 12

For lunch today M has fat free refried bean and cheese quesadilla, salad, sugar snap peas, granola "muffin", fruit leather flower (and negative) a couple mini m & m's in the monkey container and salad dressing in the pink bottle.  D's snack today is homemade ricotta cheese, sweetened with a little honey and vanilla extract, strawberry slices, a fruit leather flower and quinoa crunch. 

For lunch D and A have the same quesadilla as M, rainbow peppers, sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes and a smoked salmon flower. 

Ricotta Cheese
1 gal. whole milk
1/4 c white vinegar (you can use lemon juice but because acidity varies from lemon to lemon I have gotten more consistant results with vinegar)

Heat milk in a large pan to 180 degrees.  Stir in vinegar and let sit until cool and curds have seperated from the whey. You could start this in the morning and strain when you get home from work.  Line a sieve with cheese cloth and gently pour mixture in.  Let drain until it is the consistancy you like.  I drain mine for quite a while I like it really thick and dense.  I also save the whey and use to make bread and pizza dough.  1 gallon of milk yeilds approx. 4 C cheese.

Quinoa Crunch

1 C quinoa, rinsed
1/2 tbs honey
1/2 tbs agave syrup
1 tbs coconut oil

Spread in a thin layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.  Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until lightly golden brown.  You may need to stir it occassionally if you notice the edges browning, just be sure to flatten it back into an even layer.  Let cool completely and break into small pieces.  We use it to top yogurt, ricotta cheese, fruit salad, anywhere you want to add a little crunch and sweetness.  I'm not sure where I saw this recipe originally because I have been making it for ages but I have heard that it is in Jillian Michael's book.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 11

Today M had left overs from last night's dinner.  I used this recipe but instead of marinating the chicken and cooking it in a pot I threw everything into a crock pot and let it cook on low for a few hours.  Then I cut up the chicken and tossed it with cooked spaghetti and a stir fry veggie mix.  I took the juices from the crock pot and thickened them with cornstarch and added that to the pasta.  I added a grape tomato heart for some color!  She also has a cut up apple with pb for dipping.  D has a homemade poptart (lemon raspberry) and some chocolate yogurt covered raisins.

D and A had some Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta salad and some hot dog hearts for lunch with homemade granola bites.

you can use store bought pie crust (I made mine with white whole wheat flour)
roll it out to about 1/8" then I cut mine with a 3.5 in round cutter, put 1 TBS filling (use jelly, pie filling, nutella,  I did a few nutella ones and some that I used 1/2 lemon curd and 1/2 raspberry all fruit)  seal the edges with egg wash and a fork. Brush the tops with egg wash and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or so.

Granola bars/bites/muffins
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup  wheat germ
1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg white
1 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (cherries, apricots, raisins)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Pour  oats into a large bowl and stir in wheat germ, honey, agave, vanilla, salt, brown sugar, coconut oil and cinnamon. Combine very well, add egg. Mix to distribute evenly and add dried fruit. Spoon the mixture into silicone muffin cups. Press in very firmly, it is important that it is packed in tight.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned.  Leave in cups to cool over night...seriously don't try to take them out until they are completely, completely cooled.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 10

There was no school today and we went to a play date for lunch so I thought I'd post something that D and I did over the weekend.  One of the ways I am able to get D to eat healthy foods is to involve her in the process.  We made Rainbows And Butterflies Pasta Salad.

Here D is using small fondant cutters (Wilton brand that I picked up at Michael's) to cut shapes out of her all time favorite Orange Bell Peppers. 

The end result...

She loves, loves, loves this pasta salad.  I made some grape tomato hearts for the red, corn for yellow, orange bell peppers, edamame and peas for green, add a bit of greek yogurt with blueberries and she has eaten the rainbow!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 9

M made her own lunch today, but wanted it included in the photo.
She had buffalo chicken pizzas, wheat thins, pepper jack cheese, clementine, strawberries (they are still frozen in the photo and have a sprinkle of stevia on them).  For D's snack she has a couple cereal bar hearts, a panda cookie, 2 berry fiddlesticks and a cheese stick.  The note was written with food safe markers.  M tried to decorate her pizza with the markers too, but the surface was too bumpy!

This is what I made D and A for lunch.  Almond butter & Jelly sandwich pockets with cheese flowers and apple ladybugs.  However, I made lunch before I left to get D from the school bus and my very, very bad dog ate D's lunch!  So D ended up with a redo, but she was just as happy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 8

So I was making M's lunch and D's snack last night when we got the phone call that there was no school for pre-K and K, but grades 1-12 would have a one hour D didn't need her snack after all.
M has the bowtie pasta with tomato cream sauce and chicken meatballs, salad (dressing in the pink container) and D's snack was a jelly flower with fruit leather flowers, raisins and a mini m&m.

I ran errands all morning so for lunch D and A had,

Turkey sandwich lady bugs (turkey and mayo on a sandwich thin, cheese wings and a "big raisin" aka prune head) a ham flour and not pictured they had a clementine too!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 7

Snow Day!!!  We had our second blizzard of the season here in the North East so no school for the kids!

This is what D had for lunch.
High protein, multigrain bowtie pasta with tomato cream sauce, 2 chicken meatballs, greek yogurt with blueberries and some trail mix.  I bought the chicken meatballs pre-made.  I don't usually buy pre-made food, but these were on sale and I recognized all the ingredients on the label and the sodium was at a level I could live with. 

Tomato Cream Sauce
I just used a can of diced tomatoes (seasoned with garlic and oregano) and a splash of cream.  The trail mix is Emerald brand S'mores.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 6

Today M has 2 mini deep dish pizzas, salad, Sesame Ginger dressing in the pink/red container, mini babybel cheese, clementine, a couple of Wheat thin garden veggie crackers and 2 candies.  D's snack is vanilla yogurt, Kashi Go Lean Crisp (toasted berry crumble) 2 chocolate filled cookies.

For lunch today D and A are having...
Spinach/Tortellini soup (I put in some left over turkey/spinach meatloaf too) with a hard boiled egg slice on top, corn bread and a half an apple.

Spinach/Tortellini Soup
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and drained)
1/2 (13 oz) package frozen tortellini
4 c chicken stock

Cook the tortellini in the chicken stock, add the defrosted spinach and heat through, serve.

This recipe was the inspiration for my turkey meatloaf....although I didn't follow this recipe.  I also made my turkey meatloafs in mini loaf pans so for the soup I used 2 mini meatloafs and chopped them into 1/2 inch bite sized pieces.  I added the meatloaf at the same time as the spinach.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 5

M made her own lunch today so here is D's snack.
Vanilla yogurt with a couple of broken up Chocolate Quaker Quakes to mix in for crunch.

A wasn't here today either so it was just D for lunch...

She had a mini deep dish cheese pizza, 3 hotdog hearts, ketchup for dipping and some cucumber slices.

I almost always have pizza dough in my fridge...I use it for everything!

Pizza Dough
3 1/4 C flour (you can use any flour.  I usually use a combo of white whole wheat and bread flour)
1 1/4 tsp salt (I usually use 2 good pinches of kosher salt)
2 TBS olive oil
1 1/4 C warm water
2 tsp instant yeast.

I usually put the flour, yeast and salt into a bowl mix with a wisk, make a well in the middle and pour in the water and oil.  I use my hand to combine it all and knead it for a minute or two until it looks smooth, then I put it in an oiled bowl, cover and let sit for an hour, after that I use it or put it in the fridge.

For the mini deep dish pizzas
I roll the dough out to about 1/8" or so (room temperature dough is easiest to work with) then I cut it with a 3 1/2" round cookie cutter.  I put the dough into a muffin tin (mine is non stick but I still spray it with pam).  I press it into the bottom and part way up the side.  I put in a few diced tomatoes and a tablespoon of shredded cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes in a preheated 450 degree oven.  Let cool in the pan for a couple of minutes then remove to a wire rack...or just eat them!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 4

Left over day!  Everyone is having left overs for lunch.
M has left over "chinese food" that I made for dinner last night and a tangerine.  D's snack is 3 mini multi-grain pancakes with strawberry creamcheese, american cheese "face" with chocolate chunk eyes and mouth and mini m&m nose.  Oh and for drinks M usually has water and D has either plain white milk or water.

D and A's lunch
Same left overs, cucumbers with carrot flowers and a grape tomato with seal pick.

Chinese Chicken and noodles
1 lb chicken (I used tenders) cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 lb ham (I had it left over from yesterday's lunch)
1 C frozen corn
1 C frozen peas
1 tbs oil
1 onion
a couple big handfulls of baby spinach
1/4 C Sesame Ginger dressing (more or less to taste)
1 lb Barilla Plus Angel Hair pasta (I use this because it is high protien, it is made with whole grain wheat and also lentils and chickpeas)
1 C reserved pasta cooking liquid.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  In a large skillet cook chicken until done.  I spray my pan with cooking spray but you can use oil if you want.  Remove the chicken from the pan, add the oil and cook the onion until translucent, add the chicken back to the pan, add the ham, corn and peas to heat through.  Toss the drained pasta with dressing while still hot, if it seems dry add some of the reserved cooking liquid.  When all the pasta is coated with dressing add in the meat/veggie mixture.  I toss in the spinach right at the end and mix it in so that it's just wilted.

Last night at dinner M said "You know what would make this even better?  NOTHING!"  So I guess it was a winner!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 3

M lucked out...I made her lunch again today.
She has a steak sandwich made from left overs, an apple with chocolate chip cookie dough dip and some Chex mix.  The pink container is D's snack animal crackers with the same dip.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip sounds very decadent doesn't it!  Indeed the original recipe IS decadent.

This is how I made it...

8 oz light cream cheese
2 TBS dark brown sugar
2 TBS agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C dark chocolate chips, chopped

Cream together the cheese and brown sugar, add the syrup and vanilla, mix until well combined then fold in the chopped chocolate.  It doesn't taste like chocolate chip cookie dough, but it's yummy none the less!

Lunch for D and A really isn't a bento today, but they still gotta eat!

They had Ham and Pineapple Kabobs topped with a cherry (Auntie Vicki, D thanks you very much for the idea!), Kiwi and a Multi-grain Bear with Almond Butter.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 2

I will most likely only be posting for school days...weekends are kind of crazy hectic and we tend to do a lot of picking here and there.

So for today, I did actually pack M's lunch.  Here is her lunch and D's snack for school.
M has a short rib sandwich made with this recipe from Evil Shenanigans.  Some cheddar cheese Quakes, a cheese stick, a clementine and a little piece of candy.  D's snack is Cinnamon Life cereal with freeze dried apples and a gingerbread man marshmallow.

For D and A's lunch today...
Bulgur Risotto with cheese flowers and Spinach/Feta chicken sausage spiders.  I added the "round ends" of the sausage to the risotto.  I just chopped it really fine.

Bulgur Risotto
1/2 C Bulgur wheat
2 C chicken stock
1 C frozen peas
1/4 C parmesean cheese
1 tsp butter

Toast the bulgur in a dry skillet on med/high heat until it smells nutty.  Add the butter and 1/2 c chicken stock, stir and cook until most of the liquid is gone, repeating the process until all the stock is gone and the bulgur is tender (about 15 min.) stir in the parmesean cheese and peas...allow to sit for 10 minutes covered to heat the peas.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 1

And so we begin...
Today we have Asian Chicken Salad in low carb pita pockets, greek yogurt with blueberry topping, a cheese heart for D and a cheese flower for A, clementines and 1/2 a string cheese each.

Asian Chicken Salad
1 C chopped cooked chicken
1 Tbs Sesame Ginger dressing
2 Tbs light mayo
a handful of frozen peas

I mixed the dressing and the mayo together first then tossed it all together.  I made it about an hour ahead of time so the peas were defrosted by the time they ate them!

I really didn't expect the girls to eat it all, it seemed like a lot of food while I was packing it and considering that it was so protein dense....but they ate every bite!

Bento Rules and why I will almost never follow them...

Ok so there are "rules" for everything, right?  Even bento...a traditional japanese bento is usually 3 parts carbs, 1 part protein and 2 parts fruits and veggies.  My post WLS diet relies more heavily on protein, followed by veggies, then fruit and carbs sparingly.  I do give my kids more carbs than I allow myself but I tend to put more emphasis on protein.  Now for the kids...I have 2 of my own and I watch my niece 5 days a week.  My kids are M (13 years old), D (5 years old) and my niece A (3 years old).  Most days M packs her own lunch.  D goes to school for 1/2 the day so only needs a snack packed then her and A both eat lunch at home.