Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch Box Ideas

It’s that time of year! Kids are back in school and the lunch boxes are pulled out and dusted off ready to take on the school year.

The cub started 3 Day Preschool last week and it’s her first year eating lunch at school. We purchased a Planet Box and a friend from school gifted us the Omie. Both are fabulous lunch boxes!

We prepared two fun and healthy lunch box ideas that incorporate some of our old recipes! Scroll down for links to the recipes!

Box

Omie lunch box:

  • New savory pumpkin bread (Recipe to come) to make a sunbutter and apple sandwich
  • Roasted seaweed
  • Watermelon balls
  • Grapes
  • Brown Butter Pumpkin Cookies

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Planet Box

Watermelon Granita

Watermelon Granita

During these hot summer days, there is no better way to cool down than with a delicious cool treat, like Granita! Not only is it the perfect mix of refreshing and sweet, it’s also a ton of fun to make. Let’s get started!

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We decided to use kombucha for the base. You could use water or juice as well.

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The cub adds her favorite part…sugar!

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Next up the cub chops the watermelon. One piece in the blender, one piece in the mouth! 🙂

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Grandma DiDi zests a lime and adds it to the blender.

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Then the cub gets to squeeze the lime for its juices. SQQQUUEEEEZZEE!

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They poured the kombucha mix into the blender and it was ready to mix.

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The cub covered her ears because it was really loud!

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Once it’s all mixed together, they poured the mixture into a 9 X 13 pan (metal works best) and put it in the freezer.

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Outfit change! Every 45 minutes they pulled it from the freezer to scrape it with a fork. This process insures it breaks into little fluffy ice pieces.

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The finished product… Summer treat perfection!

 

Watermelon Granita
(Recipe adapted from Kitchn)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a small seedless watermelon(any fruit you choose)
  • 1-2 tbsp of sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
  • 1/4 cup of ginger Kombucha (or water or other liquid you wish to use)
  • 1 lime, for zest and juice

Directions

  1. Mix together kombucha and sugar, set aside so sugar dissolves
  2. Cut the watermelon into small pieces
  3. Add all ingredients, plus lime zest and juice to blender and puree until smooth
  4. Pour into 9 X 13 pan
  5. Place pan in freezer and set timer for 30- 45 minutes
  6. Remove and scrape the granita mixture with fork and return to freezer
  7. Repeat scraping with fork 3-4 times and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Summertime means sun, lots of outdoor fun and a time when you can buy the most delicious fruit! One in particular – Cotton Candy grapes! If you haven’t heard of them, ask your local grocer if they are getting any in and make sure to grab a bag before they are gone. I know when they hit the shelves in our hometown they don’t last long!  They are super sweet and taste just like cotton candy.

We grabbed a bag and decided to make popsicles with them!  And these couldn’t be easier!

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The cub started by chopping the grapes in half. We wanted to keep some of the grapes in bigger chunks.

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The rest of the grapes she dumped into the blender.

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For liquid we added one squeeze apple juice box to the blender.

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A quick stir and then it was time to blend up the ingredients.

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Time to get the Koji popsicle mold ready for the mixture.

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In goes the apple grape mixture… oh, and a little friend joined in on the fun.

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Grandma DiDi, the cub and her friend all helped put the grape halves in the popsicle mold. The bigger chunks give the popsicle more texture.

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Last step before they go in the freezer is to put the sticks and caps on.  Notice that Grandma DiDi is getting a little help from a Santa sticker strategically placed on her arm by the cub earlier that morning.

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Finally! The sweetest popsicle on a hot summer day!

 

Cotton Candy Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of cotton candy grapes; save about 1/8 cup just chopped
  • 1 7oz apple juice box

Directions

  1. Wash and prepare grapes
  2. Chop all grapes (reserve approximately 1/8 cup)
  3. Place grapes (except reserved) in blender
  4. Add 1 box of apple juice
  5. Blend for about 1 minute or pulse about 10 times
  6. Pour into popsicle mold
  7. Add reserved chopped grapes to each popsicle mold
  8. Freeze and enjoy. It should take 1 – 3 hours to fully freeze depending on the molds you use

Kale Popcorn

Kale Popcorn

Need an easy snack that your kids will love that also has some nutritional value to it? Look no further – an easy recipe that will satisfy that salty craving all while eating your greens! It’s a win-win situation!

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The cub began by helping strip the kale from the stems.

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Grandma says, “Way to go”!

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Once all the kale had been stripped, the cub stopped for a snack. Raw kale for the win!

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Next up, the cub oils the baking sheets.

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And tosses the kale in the oil and adds some salt for flavor.

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While the kale bakes in the oven, the cub gets to work prepping the toppings. Popcorn wouldn’t be complete without a little cheese!  Yes, this task necessitated a princess and some help from Grandma!

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After the kale was cooled, the cub crushed the chips into small pieces.

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But she needs to taste them first to make sure they are just right! Delicious!

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Once all the kale has been crushed, Grandma DiDi adds the popcorn to the mixture. We used pre popped popcorn from the store, but you can make your own if you prefer.

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The cub stirs it up so that all the popped kernels are covered.

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Grandma DiDi does the final toss!

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The finished product. It didn’t last long!

Kale Popcorn

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Kale Dusted Popcorn recipe)

Ingredients

Kale Dust:

  • A bundle of Lacinato kale (aka dinosaur or Tuscan) although, we used red curly kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sea salt

To finish:

  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels or bag of popped popcorn(we used  1 bag of Trader Joe’s olive oil popcorn)
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale. Remove and discard the tough stems.
  2. Lightly brush two large baking sheets with olive oil. Arrange the leaves in one layer on the prepared baking sheets, sprinkle lightly with salt, and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the leaves are crisp. Let cool completely. In a food processor, with a mortar and pestle, or even with a muddler in a bowl, grind the kale chips down into a coarse powder.
  3. Make the popcorn (Directions from Smitten Kitchen): Place 3 tablespoons olive oil and 2 or 3 kernels of popcorn in a 3-quart or larger pot. Turn the heat to medium-high, and cover with a lid. When you hear these first kernels pop, add the remaining kernels and replace the lid. Using pot holders, shimmy the pot around to keep the kernels moving as they pop. When several seconds pass between pops, remove from the heat. (Or use your preferred brand bag of popcorn heated in oven on tray for just a couple minutes.)
  4. Transfer to a bowl, and immediately toss with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, kale dust, Pecorino, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss until evenly coated. Taste, and adjust the seasonings if needed.

 

Brekki/Legit Gluten-Free Pancakes

Brekki/Legit Gluten-Free Pancakes

Here’s a mash-up that we are very excited about! These two products are a staple in our home, and the idea to mix them together came one morning when prepping breakfast. We love paleo Legit pancake mix, but I am always looking for a way to add more nutritious ingredients to them. Enter Brekki overnight oats. One container is packed with protein, fiber and fruit.

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Legit Pancake Mix – uses many allergen friendly ingredients with the base consisting of cassava flour. It’s gluten-free and kosher facilities, are nut-free (therefore school safe), and certified paleo.

Brekki Overnight Oats – Brekki is a line of convenient, nutritionally balanced dairy-free overnight oats with the added flavor and crunch of amaranth, buckwheat, flax seeds, and chia seeds all mixed together with almond milk, fruit, and a touch of coconut nectar for sweetness.

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The cub began by following the instructions on the back of the pancake mix. First she cracked the eggs with the help of Grandma DiDi.

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In go the eggs!

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The cub continued adding the rest of the ingredients to make the pancakes, including apple cider vinegar and oil.

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Time to mix it all up! “I’m going to stir Grandma,” explains The Cub.

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In goes the Legit pancake mix. The cub pours and Grandma DiDi stirs. Great team work.

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Once the batter is mixed thoroughly, Grandma Didi adds the Brekki overnight oats. The cub is very amused at the creation we are making.

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Smile! The batter is on the skillet! Grandma Didi does this part while the cub patiently waits for them to be finished.

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Our official taste tester approves! They are nutritious and delicious.

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Dress them how you wish – we topped ours with blueberries and a touch of maple syrup.

 

Brekki/Legit Gluten-Free Pancakes

Ingredients

  • Legit pancake mix (Legit)
  • 6 Eggs
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 11/2 cups dairy-free milk
  • 1 container of Brekki overnight oats

Directions

  1. Mix all wet ingredients together well with whisk
  2. Beat in eggs until well blended
  3. Add Legit pancake mix and stir until incorporated.
  4. Add entire container of Brekki overnight oats (any flavor you want). At this point if you feel the batter is too thick, you may add a tablespoons of milk at a time until it reaches the right consistency. It should be slightly thick.
  5. Heat griddle to medium and brush lightly with oil. Cook according to Legit package directions or to your liking.
  6. Serve with your choice of toppings! Endless possibilities!

 

 

Banana Pops

Banana Pops

It’s getting to be that time again… popsicle season!   We decided to make it simple and use one of the cubs favorite ingredients – Bananas!

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First, we prepared all the toppings.  The Cub peeled the bananas and cut them in half.   This step uses her fine motor skills.

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Grandma DiDi demonstrated inserting the popsicle sticks after the Cub was finished cutting the bananas.

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The Cub gave it a go although it was hard to not push the stick all the way through the banana. Patience and practice make perfect.

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Next up the cub needed to choose her toppings, but first, of course, she needed to taste them all!!

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Grandma DiDi rolled some of the bananas in peanut butter and others in greek yogurt; making sure to cover them well.

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After laying the bananas on a flat parchment lined surface, the Cub got busy decorating them with our toppings – coconut, granola and hemp seeds.

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After sitting in the freezer for an hour they are ready to eat! We let her decorate one with fancy sprinkles. Guess which one she ate first?!

Banana Pops

Ingredients

  • Bananas, cut in half
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Nut butter of your choice
  • Yogurt
  • Shredded coconut
  • Granola
  • Sprinkles
  • Hemp seeds
  • Or any topping of your choice (chocolate would be great, too)

Directions

  1. Peel and cut bananas in half
  2. Push popsicle sticks into banana (at least an inch and a half)
  3. Roll and completely cover banana in either yogurt or nut butter
  4. Lay flat on parchment paper
  5. Sprinkle or roll on topping of choice
  6. Freeze for at least 1 hour
  7. Enjoy!

*You can store in the freezer in a air-tight container.

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

In honor of the cubs birthday this week, we made DOUGHNUTS!!!

She was thrilled to say the least and it was a new experience for Grandma DiDi. As much as she’s cooked in her day, she’s never made doughnuts.  We found the recipe on Flick of a WhiskDonuts

The cub started by greasing the doughnut pan.

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Then she helped by mixing the dough ingredients.

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Watching Grandma DiDi measure the ingredients. In goes the vanilla.

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Eggs are so fun! Especially when Grandma DiDi cracks them super high and lets the egg slip out.

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“Grandma, what’s that?” The cub gets her first lesson in zesting!
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Time to add the flour. The cub was up for this task.

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The dough become too thick so Grandma DiDi took over stirring.

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Grandma DiDi shows the cub how to make a DIY pastry bag. The cub doesn’t know what to think…

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Grandma DiDI cut just one corner of the ziplock bag.

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And squeezes the dough into the doughnut baking sheet.  See Note*

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They are ready for the oven!

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While the doughnuts bake, the cub and Grandma DiDi make the icing. Of course, it’s lemon flavor! One of the cubs favorite flavors!

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After the milk and powdered sugar were added, the cub enjoyed the leftover powdered sugar. Yum, yum, extra yum!

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The doughnuts are ready and the cub dips them into the icing!

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And quickly sneaks a bite! Cub approved and such a special treat for a special girl!

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Happy Birthday, Cub!

Baked Blueberry Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

Recipe from Flick of the Whisk

Ingredients

For the doughnuts:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
For the glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest
  • 7-8 tbsp fresh lemon juice or milk(or little of each depending on taste)
  • Optional: sprinkles(Cubs favorite!)

Directions

Make the doughnuts:
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and grease your doughnut pans with butter or non-stick spray.
    2. In a large bowl, combine butter, oil and sugar and whisk until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    3. Add in eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and yogurt and whisk until smooth.
    4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and stir until combined. Stir in blueberries. Batter will be thick.
    5. Spoon batter into a large disposable piping bag or freezer bag. Cut off the end of the bag so your opening is about ½-3/4” wide (big enough for the blueberries to get through). Pipe batter once around each doughnut hole – the batter shouldn’t quite fill the hole as they’ll expand and rise.
    6. Bake for 7-8 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the doughnut pan to cool completely.
Make the glaze:
  1. In a shallow, medium bowl, combine sugar, zest, and 6 tbsp of juice or milk. Add an additional 1-2 tbsp of liquid if needed. You want your glaze to be thin enough to evenly coat your doughnuts, but thick enough that it will set and become dry to the tough.
  2. When doughnuts are completely cool, dip tops of doughnuts into the glaze and overturn so the glaze runs down the sides. Set aside for the glaze to set.

*Note: We purchased a mini doughnut pan and found that piping the dough into the little molds was difficult and that the blueberries were almost too big for the mini doughnuts. A larger doughnut baking sheet would work better.