Thursday, August 9, 2012

School Lunch

its that time again.
No matter how I try to live in the moment, as soon as that calendar rolls over to mind swirls of all the things I'll do different, better, not get over scheduled by. Its truly as if school starting is a mother's New Year, resolutions and all.

I have to admit I have small heart tug about lunches.
Yes, I make them. Not always-sometimes my chef does in morning while I corral kids, but none the less since I'm the grocery shopper its still up to me.
And I don't complain-I feel like this is my chance to give them a little love, a little of me in their day at school.
Of course this probably stems from issues. Ha, doesn't everything.
When I was a kid, my mom hated to cook-even making lunches was not her thing. Sometimes she'd do it, but really it was such a bother-mostly it was part of my morning. I starting in Kindergarten, remember making my own lunches, packing it and always being a bit disappointed when I opened my bag at lunch time. I was so envious of all the kids with momma packed lunches, the notes, and plastic ziploc bags. She bought wax bags (which now the crafty me loves) but they saturated through and my sandwich and orange slices would end up in bottom of my bag-plus they were uncool.

So between that and my sister (12 years younger, obviously also has similar issues) when I had my first child-made me promise to always make my kids lunches.
Yes, those were her 13 year old self words to me as a new mom, "promise you'll always make her lunches for school". Clearly there's some emotions tied to lunches. Clearly.

So-back to my current state of affairs.

Thankfully my kids like to eat-they aren't picky. Yes, I consider it a huge blessing, because I'm  not sure how that'd work out in our household. Then again, maybe because its never been an option-they aren't. I like to take in consideration their wishes, but no I don't make different lunches for different people, not this is where my chef and I see things different. I know which kid doesn't like vanilla yogurt (because I see it come back thrown in the trash after school which makes me not so happy) and I don't mind finding that kid a peach or berry. And I know who takes mustard who doesn't. And I have a thing about juice boxes....I just don't do em. I know...I know-my kids may end up with issues because of this, but its a waste. And they need water. I'm happy to add milk money. And odwalla juices don't count as juice-those are awesome-just too expensive. But I am always thinking both-what can they eat in the amount of time (sheesh they rush them through lunch!!) and what nutritionally will propel them in their day. I add lots of things-just in case. I know I have days when I need/want more snacks than others and like I mentioned above-its how I can take care of them while they are away.

love the idea of the little cute plastic dividers, hate the idea of missing those and ending up with nasty dirty old food in addition to more dishes, which I don't need those.

We also have a tradition that the kids get to pick their first day lunch, all their favorites. Other days, its mass production line, first day its like being a short order cook. 

 I get cute notes like this of lunch "wishes"
 this wasn't first day-but you can see the assembly line!
of course, he always wanted to be big too...and helps with lunches-and also wants his own! Which daddy made for him, and after we walked the kids to school, he sat down to eat. At 9 am.
This year this little boy will be off to school lunch box in hand and leave his momma home without her lunch date. The sadness is creeping in.......

I've made a few lunch ideas before mentioned here 

Of course I add a treat too! Chocolate chip cookies are a favorite-and my recipe has never let me down! I figure every mom needs that recipe that always works, every kid likes, we've taken them as birthday treats, thank you's and team snack. And they are my favorite-soft and chewy, no flat crispy cookies here. 

Never Fail Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 ounce size)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 bag  MINI chocolate chips 
specific because there is more chocolate in every bite, smaller little bits of yum! 

Cream butter & both sugars
Add vanilla, baking soda, pudding, eggs. 
then flour but don't dump it all at once, it poofs!
Add chips and mix em in! 

I scoop it with a average ice cream scoop and cut those in half. 
The reason to make each cookie the same size is so they cook evenly, not to be perfect (perfection is never the goal!)

And I use industrial sheet pans (they are called half sheets) 
they sell them everywhere
they have edges, so they work for large batches of brownies
roasting vegetables, sheet cakes etc. 
Truly these are not cookie sheets (no good) 
They are indispensable! 
I think I'd hear an "AMEN" from my favorite recipe writers;

because they both use em too!

And a silpat. A must-cookies never stick and always get that perfect edge of crispness, but soft inside. Never fail. 

Any good new lunch ideas out there? 
This year I am thinking I'll keep a list of my kids favorite lunches and share-because I get this question from parents all the time! 

Seems like we all need a little inspiration. 

1 comment:

  1. Lovely Ada! Thanks for sharing your lunch making memories. My guys are in college now and even when we were home schooling, I still made them lunches. You never knew when the beach or park or a lunchtime movie was calling us.

    We like cheese sandwiches: bread, mayo, cheese, sliced dill pickles, another layer of cheese to protect the bread from getting soggy (or put pickles in baggie to be assembled when eating), and the other piece for bread. These are good for "emergency" sandwich making. You always have the ingredients in the fridge.