Another busy weekend of family celebration but a full and fun week ahead so a delicious and nourishing lunch is in order on the 25th day of school. We got a little pie pumpkin in our CSA box this week and I have to admit that in past years that I have only ever used the pumpkins decoratively and have not ventured into cooking with them. I resolved this year would be different and I roasted the pumpkin in order to make a batch of pumpkin and sunflower seed muffins from the recipe from Sarabeth’s Bakery in New York City. This muffin is apparently enormously popular there and I was delighted with the muffins when they came out of the oven. Roasting and pureeing the pumpkin was more labour and time intensive than I anticipated but felt like time well spent given these tender and flavourful muffins. The kids hesitated before tasting these muffins last night but eventually took a small bite and then devoured the rest.
We have a terrific butcher in our neighbourhood that carries, in addition to meat and poultry, some of the best bread and cheeses around. While I was up there picking up something for dinner, I grabbed a baguette and a ball of some fresh buffalo mozzarella from Quebec. I had a few red peppers from our CSA box, so tossed them on the barbeque to roast while I toasted a few slices of baguette and spread some herb pesto on each one. I topped these with a little slice of pepper, a few black olives and some fresh basil.
On the side, the kids have a little chickpea and diced vegetable salad with a lemon vinaigrette, some berries and a little gummy candy for a treat. A terrific lunch for a rainy Monday morning!
Finger food Friday has arrived and like the other days of the week, I aimed to minimize my food prep effort. We were greeted by our CSA box of fruits and veggies when we came in from school at the end of the day and this inspired dinner and lunch the following day. For dinner, I made a kale salad with grated beets, carrots, sliced avocado, roasted cauliflower and a mix of quinoa, amaranth, millet and some curried pickled cauliflower that I prepared a week earlier and had stashed at the back of the fridge. I topped this with a lemony yogurt dressing and it was a tasty quick dinner.
For lunch, the kids had patties made up of the same grain mix, chopped up roasted cauliflower that also made an appearance at dinner, chives, onion, garlic, panko, eggs and parmesan. I mixed beets into half of the batter and let it sit for an hour to let the colour seep through and turn it pink thinking pink patties could only be more fun than ordinary ones. The kids watched me cooking the patties with great skepticism but were won over when they tasted them. I sent them to school with some of the lemon yogurt dressing, a tomatillo caprese salad, mixed berries, and a chocolate ricotta muffin that my daughter made and swapped out some of the flour for protein powder to make them a bit more nutritious.
Noodles and pasta of any kind are always a hit with my girls. Like yesterday, I wanted to maximize my food prep time when I was making dinner so that I wasn’t doing a bunch of re-work when it was time to make lunches. For dinner, we had lettuce wraps with tofu, water chestnuts, baby corn, mushrooms, carrots and kale and I made up a soy and maple sauce to drizzle overtop of the wraps. It was a hot day and this was a nice light meal to end the day with.
For lunch, the kids had soba with the same veggies and tofu and a spoonful of the same soy and maple sauce mixed in. I served this up with some sliced baby cucumber, mandarin orange segments and raspberries and a moist and delicious zucchini and chocolate muffin made with the zucchini that I think may be multiplying in my fridge! They come in our CSA box for a few weeks each year and these ones – early in the zucchini season – are mildly flavoured and perfect for mixing into muffins and breads.
I like to get lunch making out of the way when I am making dinner. My kids do not like leftovers but I can still use the same ingredients in dinner as I do in their lunches. I had a big bag of limes on hand so made up a big batch of a tamarind and lime dressing that is inspired by a recipe that Yotam Ottolenghi published in the Guardian years ago. It is slightly sweet, tangy and generally delicious! For dinner, I used it to dress an enormous batch of wilted greens – kale, pak choi and spinach – and for lunch the kids had it tossed over some of the same greens, but julienned, brown rice noodles, mushrooms and tofu. Along with this, they had some cut up veggies, strawberries and a lemon raspberry ricotta muffin that my older daughter made up after school.