Monday, August 4, 2008

August 4th - What Mama Eats

Often when people hear that I am gluten free AND a lactose-sensitive vegetarian, they ask me "Well, what on earth CAN you eat?" My answers vary depending on my mood & how the question is asked, but the simple answer is that my meals are actually quite varied, colorful, and healthy.

Today for example, as I "prepared" lunch for the kids this is what I made for myself. Yes, in essence I created three different lunches, but it took me less than 5 minutes to have them ALL ready to go. And even on a day when I am actually baking, it is easy to pull a small portion of whatever we are having just before adding the meat and/or cheese for myself so it isn't nearly as hard as it sounds to make sure that we all have what we like, and what we can safely eat.

My lunch today is a handful each of carrots & grape tomatoes. Normally I would have these with a nice dollop of hummus to use as "dip" and to act as my protein, but I ran out last week, so I'm splurging on two pepper-jack cheese sticks cut into nibble-sized blocks. Alongside this I have a serving of Flat Earth Chips, and some red & green grapes. Isn't that a pretty lunch? And I'm not "missing out" on ANYTHING!

August 4th - A Rare Treat

During the summer, it can be a battle to get the kids to eat. So our finger-food lunches really come in handy. We tend to have more raw fruits & veggies, and less "comfort foods" and there are days when lunch may be little more than several wedges of melon, with a scoop of cottage cheese.

Today we are having a few rare treats. Two all-natural meat sticks, a pair of string cheese sticks, and a triangle of grape tomatoes are resting in the large container. (my son of course opted for carrot sticks because tomatoes are "evil") Above them is a serving of Goldfish crackers, (with my son choosing Flat Earth chips as a Gluten-Free option) and red & green grapes.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 26th - "Too Hot to Eat" Pasta

I don't know about most families, but in our house it becomes nearly impossible to find anything that people want to eat when summer finally arrives. It's too hot to run the stove or oven, and all anyone really wants to do is sit around & sip at iced tea.

One thing I HAVE been able to feed the kids on these hot, sticky days is cold pasta salads. This is one of their favorite versions. (note: cook the pasta the night before, or first thing in the morning to conserve air-conditioning)

Todays lunch is quinoa pasta spirals with green onions, black olives, cherry tomatoes & diced cucumbers tossed with just enough cucumber ranch dressing to coat the pasta. On the side are the last of this seasons' bing cherries, a small plum... and GLUTEN FREE "Oreo" COOKIES!!!

For anyone else who happens to be gluten-free and has a little one that is pining for Oreos, these really do taste similar! The "cream center" is a dairy-free glaze-like paste, but the cookies themselves are actually rather good, and are enhanced by dunking in a cup of milk. I tried a few too, and they were surprisingly tasty as a rare treat dunked in my soymilk. It's not exactly the dessert of a refined connoisseur, but for a kid who's craving sweets it made a nice easy no-bake treat.

May 12th - Happy Mother's Day

Oh my, look what I found! I had completely forgotten about this meal until I went to post today's lunch.

For Mother's Day this year, we had a wonderful salad with plenty of dried cranberries, feta cheese & calamata olives, and hot dogs (for the kids) or portabella mushroom caps (for DH & me) along with Mandarin oranges. There was enough left over that we decided to have the same thing for lunch the next day!

We discovered on this day that my son (who has previously informed us that mushrooms were "evil" and to be avoided at all costs) LOVES grilled mushrooms! He ate nearly 6 ounces!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May 7th - Finger Foods

It's been awhile, but we've been feeling under the weather and sticking to things like leftovers or soups for lunch. But with the warmer weather we're back to feeling like creative lunches again!

Today for lunch we are having pretzels or rice-crackers, with cheese sticks. (Mama is having a small slice of Irish cheese instead) On the side we have thin-sliced pears, and English cucumber slices with "quick-dip"... sour cream with a bit of lemon pepper. The muffin cup has a single serving of sour gummy bears from the "Let's Do Organic" company; they're gluten-free and vegan & a rare, but yummy treat!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

March 20th, 2008 - Happy Spring!

For the first day of spring, we decided to have a little fun with cookie-cutters. Now I'm thinking we may need some more SMALL cutters as this was the only one we had that was small enough to do the trick! All the same, my daughter loved making cheese shapes.

Lunch today is brown rice seasoned with pesto & liquid braggs, and two Irish cheese chickies sitting on top. (their eyes were made from poppy seeds) On the side is a vegetable medley, organic edamame, and mixed tropical fruits. Yummy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 17th, 2008 - St. Patrick's Day

Today in honor of our Irish heritage, we are having traditional Irish foods all day long. Lunch today is a family favorite, discovered LAST year on St. Patrick's day!

Lunch today is Irish champ (mashed red potatoes) with plenty of green onions & parsley mixed in. To go with it, we have two kinds or Irish cheeses, a green pear, and three dark chocolate Hershey's kisses... frozen & saved from Christmas!

If the servings look slightly larger today, it's because we photographed my son's meal rather than mine or DD's. Being 12 he eats just a bit more than we do, but he wanted HIS lunch photographed today because his plate is green.

Monday, March 10, 2008

March 10th, 2008 - We LOVE Gingerbread!

Todays lunch was inspired by nothing more than a burning desire for fresh, warm gingerbread. We're working on finding the tastiest gluten-free gingerbread, and today's muffins were made using the recipe found in Gluten-Free 101, by Dr. Carol Fenster. They were very rich & full of spice, but just a bit "airy" for our tastes. I suppose that means we'll have to try again!

Lunch was a warm from the oven heart-shaped gingerbread muffin with lemon sauce, (we poke holes in our muffins to let the lemon seep in... our favorite trick!) To go with it was a small serving of sunflower seeds, a cup of yogurt, and some of the largest juiciest strawberries I've seen in awhile!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March 4th, 2008 - Veggies Galore

This evening is a special night, and Daddy will be taking the little princess out for a "just us" night, while Little Man & I will be having a special evening at home. Because our dinners will be rather high-carb, we are rounding out the day with a low-carb lunch. My daughter's comment was "Isn't it PRETTY?!?"

Lunch today was veggie sticks and with "quickie dip" (sour cream with lemon pepper, savory & lemon-thyme) and corn chips, with cottage cheese (I had hummus with the chips instead) and fresh pears.

February 29, 2008 - "Little Devils"

While making up our shopping list last week, my daughter asked if we could have "those cute little devils." It took me awhile to compose myself, and after trying desperately to figure out where she might have heard such a phrase & consulting her to find out what she'd actually meant it turned out that she'd meant deviled eggs!

So just for my princess, today we had "little devils" with Waldorf salad, and broccoli & cauliflower on the side.

February 21, 2008 - Fruit Rainbows

With the flu invading our home, we were looking for a lunch that would help chase away the sniffles. I wanted to make fruit-kebabs for the kids, but when I went hunting for our skewers they seemed to have disappeared. So we made rainbows instead!

Todays lunch was a rainbow of of fruit slices & wedges, and a few almond-coconut mini-muffins with vanilla yogurt to dip everything in.

February 14th 2008 - Happy Valentine's Day!

Not every one of our lunches makes sense, until you take the entire day into perspective. This is a fairly carb-heavy lunch... but for dinner we rounded things out with a giant salad. I'd found the cutest little heart-shaped foil cupcake pans at the dollar store before Christmas, and put them away just for today.

Lunch today consisted of pasta salad (quinoa pasta spirals with garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes & parmesan cheese) and fresh cucumber slices, with baked organic apple slices (frozen from Grandmom's garden last fall) sprinkled with cinnamon, and a heart-shaped gluten-free chocolate cupcake.

February 4th 2008 - Popcorn for lunch?!?

This was an attempt by my kids to create an entire balanced lunch from snack foods. I wanted them to see that there are no "bad" foods, and that healthy rounded meal choices can be created from nearly anything. They sat down and thought for awhile, before finally deciding on this as their "healthy snack" lunch.

Lunch included a serving of air-popped popcorn with a bit of Earth Balance "butter" and salt, with mandarin oranges & a trail-mix made of raw almonds & chocolate chips.

January 30th 2008 - Cheesy Stars & Ham

I purchased a set of patty-pans while we were studying Little House on the Prairie three years ago. Little did I know then, how often they would actually be used! Every time I pull out the loaf-pan for bread, these little pans come out for "leftovers" as well. Today we were baking cornbread for a chili dinner, and decided to use the pans to create little star-shaped sandwiches for lunch!

We filled the star-shaped muffins with cheddar-jack cheese, (mine had hummus) and rolled up slices of nitrate/nitrite-free ham for the kids & a small green salad for Mama to go alongside. On the side there were baby dill pickles, and fresh blueberries.

Why Not-Quite?

I discovered the concept of Bento lunches one day while hunting for NEW lunch ideas. I had recently chosen a vegetarian lifestyle, and my son & I were considering trying a gluten-free diet so things like peanut butter sandwiches could no longer be our meal of choice.

My children are homeschooled, and the three of us love to plan & prepare our lunches together. Because we usually have no need for lids or reheating, we usually create our lunches on a set of divided plates. It is fun to decide what will go in each of the sections, and to create the most colorful arrangements possible.

Having been Vegetarian for 2 1/2 years now, and Gluten-Free for 1 1/2 years food has been a constant adventure. We all love trying new foods and new combinations of old favorites, and are constantly on the hunt for our next "photo-worthy" lunch.