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fruit salad and cinnamon chips

21 Apr

this is one of eli’s favorite lunch box treats. i say treat because i don’t make it very often since it contains more sugar than i like to put in his lunch. this past year i have been reducing his sugar intake, including fruit and other unrefined sugars, and have noticed a big difference in his skin, digestion and behavior. eli who used to be known as “sugar tooth” now tells me on occasion that things are too sweet. he’s also developing more sophisticated taste buds and is willing to try things he never would have in the past. i don’t know if this is related to reducing his sugar intake but it all happened around the same time.
i usually pack this with some protein like boiled eggs (another favorite) or some lunch meat and chopped veggies. now that spring has arrived and there is an abundance of fresh fruit this is a perfectly simple packed lunch.

fruit salad

be creative, i used:
cut the fruit small for easy dipping. you can also add fresh herbs, mint is our favorite. or add a spicy pepper to make it more of a salsa.

cinnamon chips

corn tortillas, amount depends on how many people you are serving
coconut oil, to coat the tortillas
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs sugar of choice

mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. cut the tortillas in 4ths and put in bowl or on a cookie sheet. toss gently with coconut oil. lay on cookie sheet in single layer then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. bake for 10 minutes and then check to see if they are crisp enough if not try five more minutes. watch them carefully so they don’t burn.

potato vada

9 Feb

potato vada is a popular indian snack, it’s also a nice finger food that works great in lunches.  i pack it with some brown rice or other grain, ketchup for dipping plus fruits and veggies. eli always deems them as “awesome” (in opera voice). i use the recipe from sailu’s kitchen, she has a fantastic blog with recipes that never fail me.

i leave out the curry leaves, and the green chilies as i don’t normally have these ingredients on hand. i’ve also, on occasion, made them without the cumin seed, mustard seed and onion. i think the kids liked these the best, the flavors are a bit more mild. this recipe calls for mashed potatoes, just bake 3 or 4 potatoes and mash ’em. i make them into patties and pan fry them in oil, not deep fry them.

potatoes are a great healthy, filling food for lunch that kids love!

how do you pack potatoes in your lunch?

forbidden rice balls

5 Jan

when i asked eli what he wanted for his first lunch at school in 2011 he immediately replied, “rice balls!!”  i bought some forbidden rice a few weeks ago so i thought i’d give it a try and, to my surprise it was very easy to make into rice balls. i took this picture on my phone’s camera right before i snapped the lid on and sent little buddy to the bus. when told it was forbidden rice he said “you mean like the forbidden city?” “yeah” i said, “i bet they ate forbidden rice in the forbidden city.” he thought that was cool! so today’s lunch was forbidden rice balls (shapes), carrot sticks, trail mix, and an apple. what wasn’t eaten at school was finished in the car on the way home.

forbidden rice

1 cup forbidden rice, rinsed and soaked over night or for several hours
-i cooked mine in 2 cups of water but i think it was too much, next time i will try 1 1/2 cups
place rice and water in pan and bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. cook 45 minutes or until tender then set aside to cool.

rice ball filling – you can fill it with whatever you want…….here’s a good guide at just hungry.

1/4 cup(ish) filling of choice, i used ham today
1 tsp of sesame oil, just enough to cover bottom of pan
soy sauce or braggs liquid amino to taste
1 tbs sesame seeds

heat sesame oil in small cast iron pan over med heat. when hot add the ham and soy sauce stir until liquid is gone. this will not take long, add sesame seed and cook another minute or so. set aside to cool.

here are a few different way to form the rice:

just bento
lunch in a box
there is always leftover filling, i just sprinkle it over the top.

bin dae huh? (mung bean pancakes)

28 Oct

i’d never heard of bin dae duk until a few days ago when i was looking for a recipe for some mung beans i had sitting around. i wasn’t sure if the kids would eat it or not but we love to try new foods so, i decided to give it a go. one kid loved them, the other did not. here is the recipe i started with and here is another one i will be trying soon. mine were far from authentic, i didn’t have any kimchi so i used blanched cabbage. they worked great in today’s lunch with some brown rice and pickled carrots. this is definitely something i will be making again.

mung bean pancakes

2 cups split mung beans, soaked overnight
1 cup shredded cabbage, blanched
1/2 cup-1 cup shredded carrot
1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp or so of brine from some pickled green beans (these are SO good and when the beans were gone we sliced carrots and put them in the brine)

drain mung beans and blend in food processor until a thick paste (you may have to add a little bit of water). place into a bowl add other ingredients and mix. using a tbs drop in pan, flatten slightly and fry with a bit of oil until golden on both sides. about 2-3 mins per side.

corn dog muffin remix

21 Oct

i’ve done a post on corn dog muffins before but, i make them all the time, i’ve changed the recipe so i thought i would do another post. what kid doesn’t like hot dogs? since there are a lot of childhood treats eli can’t have i let him have hot dogs. not just any hot dog though, it has to be “free” of just about everything. the only ones i buy are coleman hot dogs. here’s a list of the ingredients. INGREDIENTS: Beef, Water, Contains less than 2% of the following: Allspice, Celery Juice Powder, Evaporated Cane Juice, Garlic Powder, Ginger, Honey, Lactic Acid Starter Culture (not from dairy), Mustard, Nutmeg, Onion Powder, Paprika, Pepper, Sea Salt

if you look at their website you’ll find a whole bunch of info. including where you can buy them. hot dogs may not be appealing to many adults but you can’t deny that kids love ’em.

corn dog muffins

3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup gf flour of choice
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp guar/xantham gum
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup canola oil
3-4 hot dogs, chopped and pan fried

in a medium sized bowl whisk all dry ingredients. in another bowl whisk wet ingredients. add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mix well. fold in hot dogs. bake in oiled muffin tin for 20 mins or until golden.

school gear and gluten free lunch ideas

18 Aug

school starts on monday. i can’t believe it, summer flew by. between running through the sprinkler, playing with friends and receiving his yellow belt, eli also practiced his reading. his favorite books to read are the elephant and piggie series by mo willems. there’s nothing better than listening to your child read a book and giggle uncontrollably, it’s priceless. i highly recommend “there is a bird on your head” and “i will surprise my friend”. we purchased a new lunch box this year because the one we had last year, although very cute, did not hold enough food. we chose the easy lunch box. so here hoping we have a great first grade year full of yummy lunches and no (minimal) eczema and no tummy troubles.

school lunch ideas:

1. sandwich on gluten free bread
2. muffin and potato salad (this may sound strange but it’s really yummy)
3. flat bread and hummus (eli’s favorite)
4. flautas
5. rice balls
6. apple sandwich (less messy with a bit of honey or raisins instead of jelly)
7. corn dog muffins (i’ve changed the recipe, will post someday)
8. fruit salsa with cinnamon chips

the new lunch box favorite

1 Feb

i was up at six this morning making macaroni and cheese. ugh! i boil the noodles the night before that way all i have to do in the morning is make the cheese sauce. this is the container i put his hot lunches in. i put boiling water in it for 15 minutes before i put the food in. he tells me that the food is still very warm at lunch (11:10).

lunch box mac n cheese

1 pkg. rice macaroni
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2 cups grated monterey jack
2-2 1/2 cups milk
2 tbs corn starch
3-4 sliced hotdogs

cook macaroni according to package directions. if you’re making the night before refrigerate noodles.
preheat 350°
mix milk and cornstarch in heavy bottom pan. heat. add cheese and stir constantly until melted and slightly thickened. put noodles in 2 qt. dish. add hotdogs. pour cheese sauce over mix and bake 15-20 mins. until thick and bubbly.
we like to sprinkle cayenne pepper over the top when served.

corn flautas

5 Nov


these are a good alternative to quesadillas and there’s never a crumb left-over.  you can fill them with whatever you are in the mood for. these are shredded chicken and all i did was mix in some of our favorite salsa. i was short on time for anything too fancy. i’ve also made them with shredded beef roast. another bonus is that they freeze well. yay!

corn flautas

corn tortillas



preheat to 350º . heat just enough oil in pan to cover tortillas. cook tortillas in oil until soft, a few seconds on each side. add filling of choice and roll. place flautas in baking dish roll side down. bake in oven 15-20 mins or until golden.

halloween rice balls

22 Oct

jack o lantern

rice balls are always a popular lunch in our house. i’ve found that they also work well in the lunch box. i saw them made as pumpkins here and thought i’d give it a try. to make rice balls freshly cooked rice works best. i added food coloring to make it orange. simple as that.

filling for rice balls (onigiri)

1 frozen tilapia fillet

gf soy sauce (i use black soy), 1-2 tbs

sesame seeds, a few teaspoons

fry the fish in a pan with a little canola oil and sesame oil on med. heat. flake the fillet as it cooks. once the fish is cooked add soy sauce and sesame seeds. continue to cook till liquid is evaporated, less than a minute.

ham n cheese scone type thing

14 Oct


i set out to make ham n cheese biscuits for eli’s lunch but they tasted more like a scone. i haven’t made a good gluten free biscuit yet. these were a big hit with the kids though and eli has already asked for them again.

1 cup rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp guar gum
2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
sliced cheddar cheese
sliced ham

mix dry ingredients. add cold butter mix until crumbly. add milk. don’t over mix.
lightly grease muffin tins. add small amount of dough in tins. top with slice of cheese, ham, cheese. add rest of dough on top. bake 10-12 mins.
makes 6