Archive for the ‘Lunch Box/Snacks’ Category

I’m really pleased with how my photos turned out this time…there might be hope for me yet!  And so I got a little photo crazy in this post.

These cookies are easy to make.  Take your favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe, pick up some Cadbury Mini Eggs, a bottle of wine and you are ready to begin.

Here is my go to chewy chocolate chip recipe.

Adapted from Canadian Living

Chocolate Easter Egg Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
1-2 cups Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

In a large bowl and using a hand mixer (or kitchenaid) beat butter until smooth. Slowly beat in sugar & brown sugar. Add your eggs & vanilla.

In a smaller bowl whisk together flour, baking soda & salt. Stir into wet ingredients. Drop in your chocolate chips and mix well.

Drop onto parchment lined cookie sheets about 1-2 inches apart. Once cookie sheet is full, gently press in 2 easter eggs.

Once all cookies have eggs; bake in oven for 8-9 minutes, turning/rotating half way through until edges lightly browned.

Let cool completely on racks. Can be frozen (2 wks). Makes about 2 dozen delicious, chewy chocolate chip cookies.

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What a Fun lunch for kids.  My first-born kid enjoys little bitty finger foods (and she’s missing several teeth so things have to be cut up for her).  I would love to be able to create bento style lunches for my kids but do not have the time for it so I try to keep it fun and interesting using whatever methods I can find.

For this lunch idea you need to find a 6 pack egg carton and pick up some of those colourful plastic easter eggs….the kind you use for egg hunts.

Next find small snackable items (sausage, pepperoni, leftover roast…chicken…turkey, cheese, fruit, veggies, boxed snacks) that will fit inside the eggs, cutting to size and/or using very small cookie cutters to cut out shapes in mini sandwiches, pieces of cheese, veggies, etc.

Today I was so focused on getting some healthy options into the eggs without her seeing, I forgot to add some chocolate jelly bean treats ;).

Any food item that can be cut up small will work. Have fun with it! And if you do it for your kids, let me know what they thought!

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Over the years I’ve collected and googled ideas for kids lunches to try to keep things relatively fun & interesting when school started.  Some ideas worked…others not so much. 

This one is pretty straight forward and I have made it many times.  I pick up packages of wooden skewers from the dollar store and cut them to size – smaller for small hands and lunch boxes.  You can also cut the tips off the skewer if you are concerned about the safety factor.

Next add your favourite ingredients to the skewer until it is full and you are ready to eat.  Or if it’s going into a lunch or on a picnic, wrap it with Saran wrap to keep it fresh.

Besides Sammy’s on a Stick we’ve also tried:

Sausage/Pepperoni & Cheese on a stick
Fruit on a stick
Veggies (carrot & cucumber) on a stick
Pre-cooked cheese tortellini served with a marinara dipping sauce

Muffin chunks or cinnamon bagels/cream cheese with strawberries might be the next adventure!

When I’m serving this for lunch at home, I tend to make them bigger. The kids LOVE to eat this way!

Here are some ingredient ideas:

  • Any kind of bread, cheese buns, croissant, bagel, thicker sliced bread (raisin bread)
  • Deli meat or leftover over roast beef, chicken, turkey, ham cut into cubes or folded up
  • Hard cheese cut up into cubes, cheese sticks cut up, mini bocconcini balls
  • Vegetables: lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber cubes, carrot coins, celery slices, pepper wedges to name a few.
  • Fruit, apple works well
  • Pickles or olives, just ensure you keep them away from the bread so you do not end up with soggy bread!

These are some of the simpler ideas.  Be adventurous and create your own!

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Back when I was single and living on the coast (Vancouver) I used to follow the Greens Restaurant (in San Fransisco), even bought their cookbook “Field of Greens” by Annie Somerville. It’s a vegetarian cook book with fabulous recipes, tastes and flavours.  I tried out a few back in the day and loved every one of them.  I am ready to get back to some vegetarian cooking and happily still have the cook book for inspiration.  This is one recipe I have made many times and adore.

Adapted from Fields of Greens

Orange & Pecan Scones

1 orange, zested
4 tbsp orange juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 cup dried currants, stems removed
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp milk
1/3 cup pecan pieces, toasted

Preheat your oven to 400F.

After scanning your currents for stems, plump them in a bowl in the orange juice.

Mix together your dry ingredients.  Cut the butter into small pieces and cut it into the dry mixture using a pastry blender. Do this until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add in your currant/orange juice. Add your orange zest to the buttermilk, give it a quick stir. Add to dry ingredients and mix until moistened. Do not over mix.  If you find batter slightly dry add another tbsp of buttermilk.

Put your dough on a lightly floured counter and form into a round, 1 inch high. Cut like a pizza into approximately 8 wedges.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet ensuring they are about 1 inch apart.  Stack another cookie sheet underneath to keep bottoms of scones from browning too quickly.

Whisk together egg & milk and brush onto the tops of the scones.  Sprinkle with toasted pecans. Bake until lightly browned on top, 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm with butter or jam. Makes 8 scones.

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Mini Cinnamon Muffins.  Quick. Easy. Yummy.  Perfect for lunches or snacks. This recipe makes approximately 24 mini muffins.

Adapted from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen

Cinnie Minnies

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon (extra)
Mini muffin pan
Pam or mini muffin liners

Preheat oven to 375F (190C)

Combine four, baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk together melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar and egg until well blended. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir just until blended. Do not overmix.

Get your pan ready. Either put muffin liners into the muffin cups or spray with Pam. In a separate bowl mix together 2 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Set aside.

Spoon 1 tbsp of batter into each muffin cup until all filled. Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture on top of the muffins.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until muffins cooked through (test with toothpick). Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

These freeze nicely.

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It really is as simple as it sounds.  There are many ways to eat tacos and keep it fun for the family (scoops, wraps, taquito style, pita, taco pasta, in a homemade taco bowl), this one is another kid favourite since they get to eat the taco out of the bag!

You can either buy the Old El Paso or your favourite Taco Seasoning Mix or make up your own seasoning. Either way you will need the ingredients listed below.

The small bags of Doritos are hard to come by except when it is Halloween. I’ve recently found them at both Superstore and Walmart available in a case, so buy the case…plan to give some out for Halloween and keep the rest for Taco’s in a Bag!

Taco’s in a Bag

1 lb ground beef
1 cup water
1 package seasoning mix OR approx. 3 tbsp homemade taco seasoning mix

Small bags of Dorito’s Chips

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp each garlic powder and onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp each seasoning salt and black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
Mix all together and adjust seasonings to suit your taste if needed.

Taco Fixins
Shredded Cheese
lettuce, shredded
taco sauce
salsa, sour cream, guacamole
olives, sliced
tomatoes, diced
Green or Spanish Onions, diced & sliced
Hot sauce
cucumbers, sliced & diced – my son loves them on tacos
cilantro, chopped

Brown your beef in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until nicely browned. Stir in 1 cup water and your seasoning mix. Simmer for 7-10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Take a bag of your Doritos and break them up a bit. Open Bag. Put a good scoop of taco meat into the bag. Make sure your fixin’s are laid out on the table so everyone can add their favourite fixin’s to their taco in a bag! 

TIP:  if your taco meat is hot it will make the bag too hot to hold for little hands.  Allow the taco meat to cool a bit first before adding it to the bag.

My kids absolutely love eating like this and it’s kind of fun for the grown ups too!

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As the rain commeth down and Fall is upon us I am feeling more like soups these days.  I did not grow up eating home made soups or alot of soup in general, but I want my kids to have home made soups in their lives and so I continue to try out different soups to tempt their little palates! 

This is a tried and true one that is quick, easy, tasty and the kids can help!

Adapted from Rachael Ray’s Yum-O

Meatball and Orzo Soup

1 tbsp oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 stalk celery, chopped/minced
4 cups chicken and/or turkey stock
1/2 lb ground chicken or turkey
3 tbsp parmesan
3 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp poultry spices (thyme, sage, oregano)
1 egg
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp parsely, chopped
1/2 cup orzo
s&p to taste

In a bowl mix the ground bird with the cheese, bread crumbs, poultry spices, egg, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.  Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a plate or cookie sheet.

While rolling your meatballs heat up the oil in a pan on the stove.  Saute your onions, carrots and celery for approx. 5 minutes.  Add your stock and bring to a boil.  You can then start dropping your meatballs directly into the boiling broth/soup.  Once all your meatballs are in add your orzo and cook for 7-8 additional minutes.  Serve immediately.  This is how RR does it.

My own spin: I typically double this kind of recipe (usually burger is sold in a lb and it’s just easier) allowing for leftovers.    I further will cook my orzo seperately and add it to each individual soup bowl so the orzo does not absorb all the broth as it sits over night in the fridge (or freezer)!

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I remember eating puffed wheat as a wee child, but do not remember puffed wheat squares.   Husband does on the other hand and has requested them more than one time.  And so like a good wifey I am making Puffed Wheat Squares for my man!

Recipe Source: The Best of the Best

Puffed Wheat Squares

1/2 cup butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla 10 cups puffed wheat
couple sprinkles cinnamon (my own add in)

Combine butter, corn syrup, sugars and cocoa powder in a pot. Bring to a boil (but do not let burn). Remove from heat and add vanilla. Put your puffed wheat into a large bowl. Pour the hot mixture over the puffed wheat and mix well with a spoon. Press into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Enjoy!

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Back to school, crisp Fall mornings, smell of baking wafting throughout the house – time for muffins.  I like to convert regular size muffin recipes into mini muffins because they fit easier into little hands.  You can make them with liners or without (just remember to spray your muffin tin if you do not use liners). 

This classic recipe calls for brown sugar, which adds moisture and a caramel flavor. It’s a great basic muffin recipe – once you get the hang of it, try stirring in other fresh or frozen fruit (peaches, rhubarb, cranberries, apples), dried fruit and/or grated cheese.

Recipe Source: Dinner with Julie

Brown Sugar Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh or frozen (don’t thaw them) blueberries
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375F and line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold gently until almost combined; add the berries and stir just until blended.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Makes about 1 dozen muffins.

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Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

I’ve had a lot of requests for this one and with good reason…they are delish!  This is a great for lunches and/or snacks.

Recipe adapted from Canadian Family

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup cubes of old cheddar and marble
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I prefer balkan style)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet pepper
  • 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2.5 pieces sliced turkey or regular pepperoni (short sticks)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line large muffin pan with liners. 

In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, basil and baking soda until combined.

In another bowl whisk together yogurt, eggs & butter.  Pour into flour mixture and mix until there are no more dry spots (do not over mix).  Add in sweet pepper, cubed cheese and pepperoni (batter is very thick…I thinned it with a little milk).   Spoon evenly into muffin tins.  Add a squirt of pizza sauce on top and a sprinkle of mozzarella.

Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Start testing at about 12 minutes.  Let cool in pan 5 minutes and then completely cool on wire rack.  They freeze well.

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