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Archive for February, 2011

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I love lists…

And you say “oh, yes, so do I!”

No, really, I love them. Making them, putting them up, checking them off, staring at them, reading them, looking at other people’s lists…ad nauseum.

I have ordered a new homeschooling curriculum and have been spending some time online trying to wrap my mind around how to jump in and start using it. As I have done this, I have encountered many helpful websites. And on many of those helpful websites, I have found…yes! Lists!

Which got me to thinking about some of my own lists of “favorites” or “hints and tips”…and, since every blogger needs a muse, I figured it made for a good idea for a new series. A series of lists.

Here’s my first:

Our Top Favorite Lunches

(keeping in mind that we adhere fairly closely to the Feingold Diet!)

 

1. Bean Burritos

We make these in the George Foreman grill with removable plates, in the omelette plates. You could also use a panini press, a toaster oven, or a skillet. We keep it simple, filling flour tortillas with rinsed black beans and a couple tablespoons of shredded cheese. I use a small dab of butter in the plates for the first batch. You could add to this, sky’s the limit: chopped onions, herbs and spices, salsa, veggies, etc. Serve plain or garnish with sour cream.

2. Bagels and Cream Cheese

Always a favorite. We use sprouted wheat bagels…take your pick of a plethora of flavors and styles, both of bagels and cream cheeses! My children occasionally like to have butter or peanut butter on theirs instead.

3. Crackers, Cheese, and Fruit

Endless possibilities here. We have one brand of crackers that we use regularly because of dietary restrictions, but the availability of so many textures and flavors, and different varieties of cheeses, makes this a go-to lunch that they may never tire of.

4. Boxed Macaroni and Cheese

We use Annie’s…the purple box. My children prefer my baked version, but I’m so thankful to have at least one “prepackaged” lunch option to use with a special diet! Other “pasta” related lunch ideas that have graced our table are: buttered egg noodles, pasta and spaghetti sauce, and chicken alfredo.

5. Sandwiches

Another category with limitless combinations…breads, fillings, condiments. It’s fun to get creative here! My children recently had a sandwich made out of leftover waffles and cream cheese…they loved it! Anything goes here, from the old standby of PBJ to a special treat of tea-time finger sandwiches or a burger off the grill.

6. Baked Potatoes

A comforting hot lunch for a chilly day. We have done potato skins with bacon and cheese, broccoli and cheese potatoes, and I hear a popular favorite out there is to top ’em with chicken curry! My mother-in-law will make a meal of potatoes for my kids and put out whatever she can dig up in the fridge…they have topped their potatoes with shredded carrots, chopped green onion, even celery! My tip: spread the potato with a little butter and some salt, regardless of topping, with the possible exception of chili and cheese.

7. Soup

From a can or grandmother’s recipe, another steamy meal to take away the chill. Leftover soup from last night’s dinner can make a hot lunch a quick and easy possibility! Our favorites include my recipe for Loaded Potato Soup, my mother’s Vegetable Beef Soup that she learned to make from her mother, White Chicken Chili, and Middle Eastern Lentil Soup. Add a piece of crusty bread to make it just perfect!

8. Eggs “and”…

Toast. Bacon. Fruit. Muffins. Top ’em with cheese and chopped tomato, or go all out and make a full omelette. I tend to whip up a large skillet of scrambled eggs and serve them with buttered toast and a piece of fruit. A good lunch for little Hobbits.

9. Pancakes or Waffles

Another breakfast option that finds it’s way to our luncheon table. I will sometimes make these if we have a group of kids over for lunch…always a crowd-pleaser. Plain or dressed up with fruit, nuts, and/or chocolate chips, topped with syrup, whipped cream, fruit compote or preserves…another basic idea that can be tweaked to offer a new and fun meal experience. My favorite? Pancakes with pecans, chocolate chips, and dried cherries, topped with fresh whipped cream. Mmmm…

10. “Snack Lunch”

This is one of my kids’ favorites and makes a frequent appearance in various forms at our table. Popcorn, buttered rolls, graham crackers, veggie sticks, rolls of lunchmeat, string cheese, cheese slices…you name it. And always a piece of fruit. It takes me all of three minutes to line up paper plates and toss on two graham crackers, a string cheese, and an apple or a clementine, but you would have thought I’d offered Happy Meals all around, they get so excited! Individual yogurts would be good here, too.

11. Pizza

I make my own. My children like Veggie Pizza with Garlic Oil, Carmelized Onion with Goat Cheese, and Loaded Baked Potato Pizza. However, at lunch time when every minute is at a premium, it’s a safe bet that our favorite cheese pizza with tomato sauce will be dished up, piping hot! Grab some store bought dough or make your own, top with pizza sauce or marinara sauce, add a layer of grated cheeses (I mix parmesan, cheddar and mozzerella), and sprinkle with a dash of salt on top. Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes for a traditional or thin crust, lower the temp and bake an extra couple minutes for a deep dish pizza pie!

12. Leftovers

Whatever we had for dinner the night before. Bean and Rice Casserole, Chicken Pot Pie, a pasta dish, etc. Especially after holidays or a party, we tend to pull out what’s in the fridge, heat it on up, and enjoy it a second time.

 

What are some of your favorite lunches??

 

 

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Elisabeth at Old Sturbridge Village when my brother and his girlfriend paid us a visit…

 

Nine years. I can’t believe it. My Elisabeth Grace.

I was one of those young mothers. Reading voraciously all about the “right” way to raise a child. Stacks of books on Christian motherhood and “wise” parenting. Internet and magazine articles on infant health and development, organic baby food, toys that stimulate brain activity, baby-proofing. By the second trimester I was already conducting in-depth researching on homeschooling and basically had my little “bun-in-the-oven’s” life mapped out for him or her.

I thought I knew “What to Expect”. I thought I knew what this child would be like.

Elisabeth has proved to be a delightful (though at times challenging!) surprise. She doesn’t think or reason like I do. She doesn’t (always) like the same colors or clothes or movies or books that I like. She is “Other”.

And this is a good thing.

Her father understands her. They are most shockingly similar to one another, and when I push myself past my fog of selfishness, my desire to have a “mini-me” for a firstborn daughter, I can recognize the delight that this girl brings to her Daddy, as well as to so many others that she has formed close friendships with.

Elisabeth loves to write long letters to friends. She has pen pals all over the country, from California to Colorado, Indiana to Virginia. She loves to read cookbooks, taking stacks of “grown-up” culinary tomes up to her top bunk and pouring over them with an appetite…literally. This willowy bean-pole of a girl loves to cook…and eat! She can pack it away better than just about anyone in the family, going forkful to forkful with her Dad on family feast days. Wish I knew her secret!

She loves the domestic arts. Sewing, needlework, scrapbooking, gardening, taking care of babies. She is a lovely little homemaker in training and many days I catch a glimmer of the amazing woman she will become.

Today is her day. She has requested special meals and snacks, which will keep me in and out of the kitchen all day. Here is a picture of her birthday breakfast…Bacon Egg and Cheese Bagels, Fruit, Tea and Cupcakes (thank you Grammie for the princess cupcake kit!).


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