Friday, July 29, 2011

Monster Muffins

Last night I had a fabulous idea for a theme lunch for today, unfortunately I didn't have all the ingredients, so I filed it away for another day. I really need to go grocery shopping, but Sailor Boy's had the vehicle most days this past week, and now the fridge and pantry are pretty bare. I had almost resigned myself to making the sproutlets some sort of mishmash of cupboard scroungings... and then I remembered I promised them lunch out. Yay! But it's not going to be a healthy one. Boo.

So, lunch was taken care of, but I still felt like making something for them - so I mixed up some oatmeal muffins with green food colouring. Don't they look yummy? Hahaha.

This morning, with the help of some cheese and craisins, the muffins became monsters, muahaha! The colour isn't as bright as before they were baked, but they definitely have a green tinge to them. Bella pronounced them "awesome" and asked if I could make them for her school lunch. Sprout named hers, "Tuffin Muffin". They tossed around ideas for other ways I could decorate their muffins in the future. And, they ate them :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sandwich Spiral Trials

With the exception of Pickle and his penchant for PB, my kids don't really like sandwiches. Or, they think they don't. They've been saying they don't like them for so long, I'm not sure they even know if that's still true or not. Baby Bird will eat a PB sandwich with the crusts cut off, unless she hears one of her siblings say "ew, I don't like peanut butter sandwiches"... and then she will refuse it :(

Things is, they like bread, and they like fruit, and they like peanut butter... just not together (or so they think). I thought maybe if the sandwiches didn't look like sandwiches, they might try them, and realize they do like them. So today I made grape jelly sandwiches that don't look like sandwiches. I flattened the bread, spread a thin layer of jelly, rolled it into a log, sliced it into little cookie shapes, and even presented them in a cute container:

Cute, right? Like little cinnamon rolls!

Feeling quite pleased with my cleverness, I offered them to Bella, Sprout & Baby Bird, and while I expected my finicky girls to be a little apprehensive about something new, I didn't expect outright rejection! You would think I was asking them to eat snails. I coaxed and cajoled, but eventually resorted to bribery, promising a treat of mini marshmallows if they ate just one. With an air of distaste, Bella gingerly placed one in her mouth, chewed it minimally, then gulped it down like it was a pill. Her little sisters watched, and when they saw she didn't fall over dead, followed suit. Having fulfilled their promise, they smiled and shouted: "Marshmallows!"

This crowd is going to be tougher than I thought. Although, Sprout did say, after eating her marshmallows, that she might like the sandwich spirals with peanut butter instead of jelly. Willingness to try them again! It's a start :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Easy Lunchboxes

I got some Easy Lunchboxes for my big girl Bella to take to school. They were pretty inexpensive, $13.95 for the set of 4, so if one doesn't come home for some reason I won't cry. They are the biggest lunch container we have, measuring 6"d x 9½"w x 2"h, but still fit nice and snug in the bottom of her BuiltNY Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote - just. (I'm glad I got her the full size tote, the mini would have been too small!) The largest Easy Lunchbox section measures 5½"x5" and holds 2½ cups, or 20 oz, and the 2 smaller ones measure 3"x3" with a 7oz capacity, and 3x2¼" with a 5oz capacity. More than enough room for an 8 year old's lunch.

My first easyLunchboxes!
This was a test run to see what I could fit in them. Bella doesn't often want a sandwich and we didn't have any lunchbox-worthy leftovers, so I used muffin cups to further divide the entree section. I was able to fit a lot of food - graham crackers, mozzarella, grapes, tomatoes, ham, mandarins & pineapple - she couldn't finish it all! Although, she didn't like the orange & pineapple - they were from a jar, not fresh.

Sailor Boy could probably use these too :)

Like the look of these? Get some! 
And the mini dippers, and the cookbook too!

We Are The Dinosaurs, Marching, Marching

Pickle, my 7 year old, is beyond picky. He has autism, and has a very short list of foods he will eat. He would happily eat peanut butter sandwiches every day - boring! Today I tried to make his sandwiches a little fun. I cut them into dinosaur shapes, and marched his plate to the table while singing Laurie Berkner's "We Are The Dinosaurs". I was met with a big smile and clapping from my hungry, happy Pickle :)

I think they look more like Loch Ness Monsters than dinosaurs. Maybe next time I'll serve them on a blue plate and play bagipe music ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Butterfly Garden

As part of my healthy eating overhaul, I organized my kitchen drawers last night - and found a set of cute little tiny 1" cookie cutters! I've no idea where they came from, but they are perfect for making cute cheese cutouts, yay!

Bean Sprout and Baby Bird shared this, with scrambled eggs:

Oatmeal cookie halves make the soil, grape tomatoes, baby carrots, seedless grapes, & strawberries make the garden, and sharp cheddar butterflies (there were a couple more than shown here). So cute. They loved it!

Picky Eater Possibilities

The sproutlets are kind of picky - some more than others - and for the most part they like their foods pretty plain - which actually makes giving them whole, unmixed foods, Bento-style, make sense :)

Some food ideas for future reference:

Bread / Grains - Bagel, Roll, Muffin, Graham Crackers, Crackers, Waffle, Pancakes, Granola Bar, Dry Cereal
Fruit - Grapes, Apple slices, Strawberries, Blueberries, Mandarins, Melon cubes/balls, Pineapple, Cherries
Veg - Mini Tomatoes, CornOnCob, Baby Carrots, Pepper Slices, Cucumber
Cheese - Slices, Cubes, Shapes, String, Shredded, Quesadilla, Mini Baybel
Crackers / Chips - Ritz, Ritz&PB, Cheezits, Goldfish, Parmesan, Triscuit, Fritos, Corn Chips, Pretzels, Chex Mix
Meats - Cold Chicken, Chicken Nuggets, Ham, Turkey
Noodles - Ramen, Mac & Cheese, Shaped Pasta, Chow Mein
Yogurt - Vanilla - use food coloring for special occasions
Nuts - peanuts (they are still allowed at my kids' school) almonds, cashews
Sandwiches - they only like PB - cut into shapes, or rolls, sliced

Beanstalk, age 10, getting himself a snack
Hmmm... now I'm thinking that packing a variety of healthier lunches they will want to eat is going to be harder than I thought! Pickle will be happy to have nearly the same thing every day but the other 4 will be a challenge. I'm committed though - no more Little Debbie or Hostess! Junk food! Banned! I will miss the convenience of those little packets, but their bodies and my wallet will thank me eventually. That's not to say that they won't get treats in their lunch… I'll just be choosing those treats more carefully.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm preparing...

This school year I aim to do better at providing nutritious, affordable, enjoyable lunches for my little ones. I'm so over scrambling around in the morning, stuffing convenience foods in their bags, only to have much of it go uneaten. The school-provided lunches, while more well-rounded, don't often appeal to them. I've seen a lot of blogs about bento lunches and kid-friendly lunches, and I'm inspired to adapt some of those ideas for my picky little sproutlets. School starts in about 6 weeks, so for now I'm just going to be getting my containers and lunch bags in order, and trying out possible lunch combinations on the kids while I can see their reaction to them, and hopefully when it's time to really pack their lunches, I'll have some good ideas for what to put in them!

Look at the time... it's lunch time now! I'd better get on it :)
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