Day 48 of 196: Beet farfalle

Day 48A colourful school lunch after a bleak weekend. I had some puréed roasted beet leftover from some pasta fun on Friday and decided to fold it into some pasta dough in place of water and make some farfalle. Tossed it with some pea shoots, shallots, lemon juice and olive oil. Served it up like this for the dairy free kid and topped it with a scoop of ricotta that I whipped w lemon zest for the other kid. Packed it with some fruit and veggies to round out this lunch box for the first day of the week

Day 44 of 196 – Homemade pasta!

Lunch 44I picked up what appears to be a magic machine over the weekend! I was gifted a pasta machine last spring and I have used it more than I ever expected to. Next week I will be teaching some friends how to make pasta and because of a scheduling glitch (there isn’t any school on the date I selected) – but what I am looking at as an opportunity – their kids will also be welcome to join us. We suddenly have a larger group than I anticipated so I figured I needed another machine for people to use.

I headed north of the city to an enormous depot that sells all kinds of fresh seafood but also has the biggest selection of Italian foods I have ever encountered (outside of Italy and and Eataly of course). I was planning on just getting another machine to crank out sheets of pasta until a cavatelli machine caught my eye.  I bought it and headed right back home. I waited about 3 minutes before tearing open the box and making up a batch of cavatelli and was completely amazed! The egg-free dough is stiffer than the pasta dough I usually make and instead of feeding in a sheet of pasta that gets gradually thinner, you simply need to feed in thickish strip of dough and the machine spits out little cavatelli. It is truly magical!  I made up a batch of pasta to bring with us as a hostess gift and then went on to make another batch with spinach over the weekend. This could be my favourite kitchen machine!!

This school lunch is all set for Monday: homemade spinach cavatelli w some garlic and diced tomato, cucumbers and carrots, some fresh fruit and a few of the best cookies ever – @doriegreenspan buckwheat and chocolate sables. Made a batch this afternoon and quickly packed most up to take as a hostess gift tonight and the rest in the lunch box. Dangerously good!

Day 49 of 196: Hot tiffin lunch

lunch 49We had a busy weekend  – all wonderful things fortunately – but that left me making lunch this morning before school. I prefer to make lunch at the same time as I make dinner to save me cleaning up twice and also to simplify mornings which are busy enough as it. The upside of making lunch in the morning is that I can make the kids hot food and they welcome this as the weather is cooling off.

We picked up a couple of tiffins in Little India last summer.  I had one that my older daughter used in nursery school for her snack, but it is small and I now have two children so we went out there for lunch and to do some shopping. I was thrilled to find insulated lunch boxes that the seller assured me would keep food hot for hours and that were under $20 a piece.  The tiffins are not water-tight, so I cannot send liquid in them, but they are perfect for pasta and things along those lines that are not wet.

Since I was making lunch while packing swimming clothes, school bags, making breakfast and getting myself ready, it is a pretty simple meal. I boiled some pasta and tossed a handful of frozen edamame into the boiling water for the last couple of minutes to cook. I drained it, and tossed it with some pesto and split this between the two kids boxes. I packed the other tiffin section with some cut up fruit and packed both up with a fork (I forget cutlery all the time!!).  The kids were thrilled with this lunch but I will go back to my regular routine of making dinner and lunches again today.

Day 43 of 196: A very scary halloween lunch

lunch 43The countdown to Halloween began on October 1st in my house. The kids wanted to immediately go and buy and carve pumpkins, figure out their costumes (really, they have been thinking about their costumes since last Halloween!) and plot out their trick or treating routes. Halloween is a fun day with lots of treats so I wanted to try to pump some nourishing food into their growing bodies before the parties and endless stream of treats began.

I found some delicious red lentil rotini at Costco earlier this year and have packed it in their lunches a few times. It is made only from lentils and is delicious! It is also packed with fibre and protein  – an added bonus. I was the health food store more than a month ago and discovered that the same company makes black bean rotini too so I picked up a box of it and stashed it away for a Halloween lunch. I cooked the pastas and tossed them with some olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest so that I didn’t interfere with the colours but also because they are pretty tasty just like this.

The pasta was packed with some sweet peppers cut in the shape of pumpkins, an orange dressed up as a pumpkin and raspberries and pears (appearing as themselves). I made some fun spider cookies for my little daughter’s class party and packed one in each lunch.  At the end of the day I would prefer for them to eat something I have made, with wholesome ingredients that we have at home – even if they are butter, sugar and chocolate – than eat something made of strange sounding ingredients and processed oils. I am sure they ate both, but hopefully started with the spider!


Day 40 of 196: Delicata squash wonton?

lunch 40I have had a delicata squash sitting on my counter since last week. I was going to roast it and throw it into a kale salad but my menu plans changed and it didn’t get used. Delicata squash have sweet and richly flavoured flesh and best of all, they have completely edible skin so that you can roast slices of them in the oven and then immediately plate them up for a meal. Unlike many other winter squash, they are easy to slice and are also relatively small so that you aren’t obligating yourself to days of squash consumption.  It turns out that the flesh of a single delicata makes just enough filling for a dozen tortellini  – perfect for two hungry girls’ lunches.

I sliced the delicata squash lengthwise, scraped out the seeds and popped it into a hot oven to roast while I was busy making dinner. After about 30 mins, it had started to brown and soften so I pulled it out of the oven to cool.  While it cooled, I sautéed some finely diced red onion, sage and garlic until the onions were soft. The squash was cool enough to handle at this point so I scraped out the flesh and mixed it with the onion mixture.  I had a package of wonton wrappers in the fridge so opened it up and put about a 2 teaspoons of the filling into the centre of a dozen wrappers and sealed them up with some water. Finally, I cooked them in a pot of boiling water until they floated – this only took a couple of minutes – and then tossed them in a pan with some olive oil and sage.  Relatively quick and a nice autumn lunch.

The pasta bundles are served up with some carrot coins, sliced pear, grapes, crackers and a few chocolate/beet/orange and oat cookies that I picked up on a cross-border shopping trip. The cookies are delicious and while I am usually reluctant to buy cookies, these ones appear to be made with ingredients I have at home so seem fine for the odd lunch.

FIT TIP OF THE DAY 1-minute plank (on elbows, lift legs off floor, only toes touch ground, legs straight, pull abs in tight toward back). Questions/comments or concerns about the FIT TIP? Email personal trainer and fitness expert Barb Rosenberg –

Day 23 of 196: One school lunch and two for the road

20141001_204748004_iOSOctober 2nd has been circled on the calendar and the countdown has been on since my daughter found out that she had been selected to attend We Day. We Day is a day-long event celebrating the work young people do to help change the world. She was born with an amazing drive to help others and it was thrilling to be recognized by her school to join the 15 person group to go down to the Air Canada Centre for this massive event. In an exciting turn of events, one of the teachers who was supposed to accompany the kids was unable to attend and I was asked to join them. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I didn’t hesitate to juggle things around.  This also meant that I was suddenly packing three lunches – one for my little daughter and two for us.

School lunch was some mini cheese-filled ravioli with cherry tomatoes, basil, grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. I threw in some steamed edamame and carrot slices, strawberries and orange segments, a roll of the apple fruit leather from the other day and a few chocolate chunks that I bought at Trader Joes for baking but are apparently the best treat ever.

Our road lunches were much simpler because we would be eating in our seats  – we had a mixed grain and mixed vegetable salad and some sliced fruit and vegetables. No pics of this one – was so late by the time lunch was made and we had to be out the door at 6am so chose sleep over photography!

Day 11 of 196: Turkey and cauliflower meatballs

photo 11 dinnerEverybody woke up w runny noses this morning and it is a cool and rainy day – a perfect day for soup.  Spaghetti and meatballs was a subject of conversation over the weekend so I figured I would see what I could do.   Chicken soup and colds are synonymous so I made up a pot of rich soup.  At the same time, I cooked up a batch of turkey meatballs: I added a sautéed onion and half a head of sautéed minced cauliflower to a pound of freshly ground turkey breast, some breadcrumbs, a couple of eggs and some salt and pepper. I cooked these in a pan with a bit of oil and set them aside. I also cooked half a pound of papardelle and tossed some of it w some pesto for lunch.


Dinner is a bowl of chicken soup w the papardelle and meatballs. This should satisfy my little daughter’s craving for spaghetti and meatballs and with any luck, help heal the runny noses in the house.





photo 11 lunchThis is lunch – pasta with herb pesto, the turkey and cauliflower meatballs on little seahorse skewers that I found at a kitchen supply store in Chinatown and a selection of fruit from the market down the street: longan (similar to lychees), dragon fruit, mango and raspberries.  I also picked up a box of little panda cookies that are filled with chocolate. Three of them tucked into lunch seems like a perfect treat.

Day 8 of 196: Red lentil pasta with veggies

photo 7We 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.