A colourful lunch of bits and pieces (a favourite this year): crudités w a store bought vegan kale pesto and yogurt dip (pesto+yogurt+squeeze of lemon = dip), the dairyfree kid doesn’t like dips so her vegetables are packed as is, one hard boiled egg, some oatcakes (they are traditional Scottish crackers, not actually cakes) I made this afternoon – so easy and beat store bought any day, some fruit and a few dark chocolate chunks for a little treat. Besides baking crackers (which is truly an optional thing – I haven’t made oat cakes before, wanted a break from my desk, so went down to the kitchen to make them – there are perfectly good commercially available oat cakes) and boiling an egg, this was a simple assembled lunch that looks more impressive than it actually is.
Tuesday was a frantic day and my plans for dinner fell apart as soon as both kids went to friends’ houses to play after school and I realized that I had to be back at their school early in the evening for curriculum night. I had some odds and ends in the fridge – some corn, half a bag of carrots, a handful of mini peppers among other things so planned to cook some rice – my kids love rice and recently have embraced wild rice and other more nutritious varieties – and let everyone assemble their own rice bowl for dinner. This kind of meal works well here – everyone can choose what they like to eat and lunch packing is a breeze the following day because I chop some extra veggies, and cook some extra protein and rice to make lunch. In the end, the first pot of lovely black rice burned and we all ended up eating separately.
When I got back from the school, I made a new pot of rice and while it cooled I assembled lunch: mixed chopped veggies, some smoked tofu strips folded up on long toothpicks, edamame rice crackers and an amazing umeboshi and lime dressing from my favourite new cookbook, Plenty More (a similar recipe appears here), some pluot cubes and orange segments and a honey cookie dipped in chocolate for a treat. Once the rice cooled, I wet my hands and rolled it into two balls and tucked them in next to the tofu. Makes this a quick and easy finger food kind of meal.
Rosh Hashana begins at sundown tonight and we will get together with our families tonight and tomorrow to celebrate. It is traditional to eat apples dipped in honey to get the new year off to a sweet start and to eat honey cake. My mother makes the obligatory honey cake every year and I am not sure that much of it is eaten. A few years ago she found a recipe for honey and spice cookies dipped in chocolate and they are actually delicious. She is an amazing cook and elevated the original recipe that was a little sweet by dipping the cookies in dark chocolate and sprinkling them with sea salt – perfection! She is busy cooking for all of us so I baked up a few batches to bring with us tonight and to give to friends and family.
No school lunch tomorrow – the kids will take the day off – but there will be lunch! More on that later…..
We were out for dinner tonight but tomorrow’s lunches still beckoned. We got some delicious beets and corn in our PlanB CSA box this week so as I was preparing some waffle batter, I charred a cob of corn and grated up one of the beets and passed each bowl along to my little daughter to mix up. She was delighted when the barley flour batter turned bright pink and despite her misgivings about beets, she enthusiastically gobbled up one of the waffles from our test run. The waffles as well as a shredded carrot, candy cane beet and sprout salad are served up with a lemon yogurt dip (greek yogurt, some lemon juice, lemon zest and some salt and pepper), some goldenberries and blackberries and a few mini gummy bear cubs.
My older daughter has an instagram account and is usually among the first to like my posts with images of her lunch. Today she thanked me for lunch and declared she that was so excited about the gummy bears. Hopefully she eats the rest too!
The cedar planked salmon I made last night was not the hit I anticipated with my kids. One declared that it smelled too much like a sauna and the other one had been eating dumplings as quickly as she was folding them so did not eat much at all. They also got pet fish over the summer – betta fish, not salmons – and suddenly found themselves identifying with dinner differently than before. That being said, they like tuna salad and I had a piece of salmon sitting in the fridge that I figured I could whip up into sandwiches for lunch.
I mixed the salmon w a dollop of Greek yogurt, lemon juice, diced celery and finely diced green onion. Still uncertain about how the fish would appeal, I asked my daughter pick out a cookie cutter so that we could cut their sandwiches into fun shapes. With any luck this lunch was a success! The sandwiches were served up with a crunchy salad of radishes, celery, carrots and sprouts, a couple of crackers and a dip made w avocado, umeboshi paste, lime juice, rice wine vinegar and a bit of grapeseed oil. It is tangy and creamy and delicious. A mandarin, a handful of local Ontario grapes from Plan B Organic Farms and a few granola crackers round out lunch number 13!
We take delivery of our CSA box of fresh and amazing organic fruits and vegetables every Thursday afternoon. Everything is grown about 45 minutes from where we live by a really wonderful family of farmers who consistently impress me with how smart they are and how hard they work. This means that Thursdays are always a day filled with excited anticipation (for me!) and that Wednesdays are days when I use up the odds and ends from the previous week’s box in order to get my fridge in order for another week’s worth of produce. I had some eggplant on hand and the kids, in a request that took me totally by surprise, asked me to make them some babaganoush for their lunches as we were walking into school that morning. Before they changed their minds, I set to work roasting the lone eggplant lingering in the fridge and transforming it into babaganoush for their lunches. Unfortunately one of them had changed her mind by the next day, but this just left me more babaganoush to enjoy myself! I mixed the roasted eggplant with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
Lunch today was red lentil pasta – pasta made entirely of red lentils that is delicious and high in protein – broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and some herb pesto, babaganoush and rice crackers, carrots and some fresh fruit. I tucked a fruit jelly into their boxes for a treat too.
Pinwheel sandwiches always taste better than regular sandwiches so lunch today was tuna salad – made with greek yogurt, finely diced carrots and celery, lemon juice, salt and pepper – rolled up on whole wheat bread, hummous with some really delicious seaweed crackers, raw veggies and fruit. Added some granola crisps for a treat.
Our school is nut and sesame free which means that we cannot send commercial hummous to school because it contains sesame seeds. Hummous is quick and easy to make yourself so made up a batch w sunflower seed butter and a bit of pumpkin seed oil in place of the tahini. Not quite authentic but still very tasty!
Day 1 of 196 days of school! It is peach season in Ontario so I have packed a peach and chevre sandwich, hummous and rice crackers, veggies, fruit and a gummy candy. The lunch on the left has a smoked tofu sandwich in the place of the peach and chevre sandwich.
We cannot send nuts and sesame seeds to school so I made the hummous with chickpeas, sunflower seed butter (instead of tahini), pumpkin oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
This lunch would have been a resounding success if I had not managed to mix up my kids’ lunch boxes! 195 days to go!