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

Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

Trader Joe’s Pizza and Breadsticks

We’re back! Excuse our short break… we’ve been dreaming up new recipes that we can’t wait to share!

I don’t know about you, but Trader Joe’s (TJ’s) is life changing for us. They just know how to make life easier! Although I would love to make homemade pizza dough, TJ’s has pre-made bags of dough in the refrigerator section. Everything in this recipe is from Trader Joe’s so enjoy some one-stop shopping. pizza 2

We used TJ’s whole wheat pizza dough. They also have plain and garlic herb. We started by washing our hands, getting them extra dry and then covering them with flour. This, of course, was the cubs favorite part.

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Kneading the dough is important, and turns out, lots of fun!

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Good Job, Cub! That looks like its ready to roll out.

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Another fun tool to use – a rolling pin! The cub took this step very seriously.

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Pat, pat, pat… it’s ready for sauce!

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We grabbed a bag of pre-washed spinach leaves at TJ’s and thought it would be a great idea to chop it up and add it to the sauce. Hidden veggies is my thing.

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The cub spreads on the sauce perfectly.

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Now for the cheese!  We used a few different kinds of shredded cheese from TJ’s. We had a little extra dough so we rolled it out, sprinkled them with cheese and added them to the oven as well.  The Cub enjoyed dipping them into the sauce or ‘dip dip’ as the cub would say.

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Yummy! For added flavor, we added Everything But the Bagel seasoning to the breadsticks. If you haven’t tried Everything but the Bagel seasoning at TJ’s, go buy some now! It can be added to anything.

 

TJ’s Pizza and Breadsticks

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of Trader Joe’s pizza dough
  • 1 container of Trader Joe’s pizza sauce
  • Cheese (mozzarella, parmesan, etc – any cheese that you want)
  • 1 bag of pre washed spinach leaves
  • Any other toppings of your choice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  1. Follow the directions on bag of dough for how to prepare dough for toppings.(i.e., allow to rest outside of bag and refrigerator before handling)
  2. We cut dough into two equal parts for easy handling.
  3. Flour your work surface with 1 – 2 tbsp flour.  Knead dough until it is workable.   Roll or manipulate into shape of choice.
  4. Chop 1 cup of spinach and mix into sauce.  Spread the sauce onto the dough in an even layer.
  5. Sprinkle generously with shredded cheese
  6. Add additional toppings of your choice.
  7. Bake in the over for 12- 15 minutes or the crust is golden brown.

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

Thankfully, our little cub still loves broccoli… for now. She will eat steamed brocoli dipped in yummy sauces or butter, blended in smoothies as well as mixed into baked goods. These Claire’s Little Tot’s adapted broccoli cheese muffins are an easy way to get broccoli in your little ones diet.

Not all mornings are created equal. On this particular morning, the cub wanted nothing to do with our recipe. We got creative and invited all her “friends” to cook with us. Cooking isn’t really worth it unless it’s fun! And cooking is always more fun with friends!

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We started our cooking session by lining up all our toys to watch! The cub cut the broccoli in to little pieces, and then we finished the job chopping the broccoli with a big-kid knife.

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In goes the flour and the crowd cheers!

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We added all the dry ingredients and then Anna (from Frozen) wanted to stir, too! Team effort is important around here.

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Grandma DiDi’s turn to stir! The cub says, “Say Cheese.”

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Now it’s time to add the wet ingredients. This time Olaf is coming in for the assist. You can never have enough help.

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After Grandma DiDi helped stir the ingredients well, the cub (and her baby doll) helped scoop the batter into the muffin tin. We popped them in the oven while the cub and all her friends waited patiently for the muffins to bake.

BC9Ding! Cooked to perfection.

 

Broccoli Cheese Muffins

 

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of wheat flour
  • 5 oz grated cheese (we used shredded cheddar but any cheese would be good)
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 6fl oz of milk (I use whole milk)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F degrees
  2. Cook the broccoli until tender (boil or steam) and mash with the back of a fork
  3. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cooked broccoli and cheese
  4. Add the oil, beaten egg, milk and mix well
  5. Spoon the mixture into a well-greased 12 hole muffin tin  (the consistency should be a moist, sticky dough that is quite thick)
  6. Bake for around 30 minutes or until golden
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days and eat cold or, if we’re at home, I reheat them for 30 seconds in the microwave. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months, just take them out when you need them and reheat once defrosted.

 

Options: Chopped kale, spinach, swiss chard, carrots grated zucchini or other types of squash can be substituted. Get creative with flavor. If your little one likes it, add onion, garlic, etc.

Veggie Roll Up

Veggie Roll Up

Pinwheels, roll ups, whatever you want to call them, they are a great go-to lunch or snack option. You can pretty much throw any vegetable in them and protein for a well balanced meal. In this post, we give you a few ideas on what to add to your roll up and how to get your little one to help make it, too!

Our cub prefers asparagus, carrots and cucumber. We also tested out Trader Joe’s whole wheat lavash flatbread. It didn’t disappoint!

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We started by cooking one serving of quinoa. While it cooks and cools, cut the lavash in quarters.

The cub spread a room temp cream cheese mixture on a piece of the lavash. Grandma DiDi added green onion and parsley to our cream cheese mixture, but you can leave it out or use a different kind of spread. More options below.

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After the quinoa has cooled, have your cub scoop one heaping tablespoon of quinoa over the cream cheese. Take a fork to spread it out and press into the spread leaving approximately one inch just cream cheese.

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We julienned carrots, cucumbers and one whole slender asparagus spear and had the cub lay them over the quinoa. She is so engaged and makes sure they are just right on the lavash.

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Now it’s time to roll! The cub assists Grandma DiDi in rolling up the lavash.

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Now it’s time to eat! But first, baby gets to try!

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Voilã! Here is our version of a veggie roll up! Below are some ideas for you to create your own Veggie Roll Up.

 

Veggie Roll Up

Ingredients

  • Whole Wheat Lavash, tortilla or sandwich bread rolled thin with a rolling pin
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • Spread: Cream cheese (we added green onion and parsley), or any other spreadable cheese. (other options: tradional hummus, white bean hummus, etc., or yogurt chive spread from Trader Joes)
  • Veggies: Carrots, cucumber, zucchini, asparagus, green beans, jicama, celery, sprouts, mache preferred or any tender greens.   We gently roast or blanche asparagus and green beans if we use them, although, they are delicious raw.

Directions

  1. Cook one cup of quinoa mix per package instructions.
  2. Mix green onion, parsley and cream cheese together.
  3. Spread room temperature cream cheese on lavash until it covers the whole piece.
  4. Press 1 tbsp of quinoa into the cream cheese; leaving one inch of cream cheese uncovered.
  5. Lay your vegetables down evenly over the quinoa; leaving one inch of cream cheese uncovered.
  6. Roll the lavash starting from the opposite end as the one inch of uncovered cream cheese.  Once you roll it all the way, the cream cheese will act as a glue to hold the roll together.
  7. Cut the roll into rounds; perfect for small toddler hands.
  8. Share some with your baby, then eat the rest!