During our summer road trip to Chicago we had a delicious dinner at Little Goat. Little Goat is a diner that appears to have been preserved from the 60s – I am not sure if this was a restored or recreated restaurant – but it reminded me in part of the old cafeteria at the airport in Toronto from the 1970s. Among the highlights of our meal was a bowl of tofu noodles in the most amazing dressing. I tried to replicate this dish for lunch (and for our dinner) here. A part of what made this so clever was that the noodles were made of tofu. I expected a bowl of noodles to arrive topped with tofu and it occurred to me after a few bites that the noodles were in fact made from tofu!
I picked up some sheets of tofu skin – thin sheets of tofu – in Chinatown and sliced them into long noodles. I boiled them in some salted water and then drained and set them aside. I tossed in some vegetables, including some carrots that I sliced using a vegetable peeler and made up a lime and umeboshi (pickled Japanese plum) dressing to drizzle over the top. The dressing comes from an Ottolenghi recipe for a slaw that was published in Plenty More and there was something in the dressing at Little Goat that reminded me of this one. It was not quite the same as the bowl of noodles that I had in Chicago but a close second.
I added in some fruit, a few rice crackers and a gummy scull to kick off the Halloween fun in our house!
These lunches in a jar are working well – the novelty of eating from a jar (even if she dumps it into her lunchbox to eat it) seems to inspire vegetable consumption so I am game. This jar is composed of soba topped with broccoli, carrots, corn and ginger and tamari marinated tofu. I buy the tofu pre-marinated in little cubes at the supermarket and keep a couple of packs on hand for school lunches and after school snacks. Packed some fruit and sheets of nori alongside. Quick, easy and tasty.
Making lunch is a bit of a balancing act between my two girls’ preferences. Yesterday’s dumplings were my little daughter’s favourite lunch (she doesn’t look at all like me, but our mutual love of dumplings reassures me that she is my child ;)) and the lunch packed here is definitely on my big daughter’s top ten list. My big daughter likes dumplings, but the little one LOVES dumplings. When she was in nursery school, I used to pick her up for lunch and if she didn’t want to come home for lunch (she really likes to be at home) she asked to go to our favourite dumpling place in Chinatown. By the age of 4, she could navigate the menu and famously took my mother there for lunch and took care of ordering. To this day, she will eat dumplings daily – given the opportunity – and when I do make dumplings for lunches, I always have to make extras for her to eat on the spot.
Back to today, I packed a container of soba w carrots, white turnip and baby beet greens. Will whip up some miso soup in the morning to accompany the noodles (but they have confessed to drinking the soup at their desks, pretending it is water. My children are such rebels) There are some edamame for protein, beautiful roasted baby beets, orange and pomegranate and a few organic candies for a treat. A lovely fall lunch box, packed w freshly harvest veg that just arrived on my doorstep.
Winter is absolutely, undoubtedly here and here to stay for many months. The drive home from school was slow as people got their first taste of winter driving. I love hot soups on a cold days so decided to make a big pot of miso soup and a bunch of add ins for dinner and figured I would pack the same thing for lunch.
I made up some soba noodles, steamed broccoli and bok choi, sautéed some mushrooms – these three were all from my amazing CSA share from the previous week – and sliced some carrots, peppers and tofu up. Because of the slow driving conditions, the kids ate early while my husband hung around the office until traffic looked like it was picking up. They set up a picnic in front of the fireplace and put together bowls of soup and ate away delighted for this rare meal on the floor!
For lunch, I put some soba, bok choi, mushrooms, carrots and tofu into the round container that came with their lunch boxes. In the morning I filled up their insulated bottles with some hot miso soup that they could pour over the contents of their containers to warm them up and have a warming meal. I also packed them some chompers – delicious seaweed snacks that we cannot get enough of – some edamame and rice crackers, an orange and a bunch of candied sunflower seeds. Yum!
FIT TIP OF THE DAY – 1 minute wall squat (lean against the wall like you’re sitting in a chair, knees in line w heels. Breathe). Questions about the FIT TIP? Give Barb a shout – email@example.com
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.