Thursday, January 28, 2010

lunch 1.29.10

Today's lunch is really yesterday's ski school dinner! Ski school was cancelled because the windchill was -8 degrees. For those who aren't familar with windchill it means that even though the temperature was 15 it actually FEELS like -8 (and that is a negative sign in front of the 8)
Turkey sandwich, homemade applesauce, baked Lays, and one of the Chocolate Boutons which turned out really yummy.
My son is haveing the same as me today!

lunch 1.28.10

Today's lunch was, wait for it.... LEFTOVERS. I had to talk my son out of a third helping of my chicken and biscuits so I could pack some for his lunch. He also has some homemade applesauce.
BTW - These biscuits were great. I am going to post a review later with an ingredient list.
I am having 'chicken taco salad' A last minute save! Chicken, chips, cheese, and a salsa sour cream mix.

Cookbook review - Chocolate Bouchons

One of my colleagues gave me this cookbook to try. I am a French teacher so it makes sense that I love the movie Ratatouille :) I also love to cook and many of these recipes I will be able to try with my students in French club too. I thought I would do a bit of a review while I test the recipes.

#1 - Chocolate Bouchons (of course I started with a chocolate one)
I had to modify the recipe because it called for 3 STICKS OF BUTTER! Yikes!

3/4 c. Flour
1 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
3/4 C sugar plus 2 Tbsp
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup butter (1 and 1/2 sticks) melted and just slightly warm
3/4 cup applesauce
some chocolate chips about 1/2 bag
Confectioners' sugar to decorate

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Sift together first three ingredients and set aside
3. Mix in eggs and sugar on med. speed until pale in color
4. Add vanilla
5. Melt butter and mix the applesauce with the butter
6. On low speed add a little of the dry ingredients and alternate with the butter mixture
7. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 min cool a few minutes on rack
8. Invert the muffin cups and sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.
9. I also drizzled a little chocolate syrup too :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Fruit Roll Up" vs "Simply Fruit" review

Ingredients: Apple Juice Concentrate, Dried Apples, Blackberry Puree, Strawberry Puree, Canola Oil. Contains 2% or less of: Fruit Pectin, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Black Carrot Juice Concentrate and Bluberry Juice Concentrate Added for Color, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid and Sodum Sulfite Added to Protect Color.Stawberry Fruit Roll-ups

Ingredients: Pears from Concentrate, Corn Syrup, Dried Corn Syrup, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed oil. contains 2% of less of Citric Acid, Soduim Citrate, Acetylated Monoglycerides, Fruit Pectin, Dextrose, Malic Acid, Vitamin C (asorbic acid), Natural Flavor, Color (red 40, yellows 5 & 6, blue 1)

I just couldn't buy the regular fruit roll-ups in order to do this taste test. Look at that ingredient list!! I did have a colleague help. We tasted the Simply Fruit and compare it to Fruit Roll-ups. She had the originals recently. Ok so the verdict was that....
The Simply Fruit ...

1. looked the same

2. felt a little different, it was less stiff than the original

3. tasted more like real fruit (as to be expected given the ingredients)

4. tasted GOOD

5. did leave a bit of an aftertaste but not a real bad one

6. tasted less like candy, which is what the original tastes like

My conclusions is that this is the perfect lunch room substitute for my son. He will feel like he is getting a real Fruit roll-up but it is much much healthier and contains less chemicals. I know my son is pleased with them and that is what is really important in this review. This is just my opinion on this product.

lunch 1.27.10

I didn't get a chance to post last night so here are the lunches for today. I have yogurt and Barenaked granola, salad with poppy seed dressing, and pineapples.

My son has pineapple as well, Kashi cheese crackers, a Babybel, half a banana, and some tomatos.

*I must come to the realization that if I want leftovers I will need to plan to have them. I used to make a meal and ALWAYS have some leftover. Now, more and more, my sons are eating EVERYTHING! OH the joys of boys!

Monday, January 25, 2010

lunch 1.26.10

YEAH no sideways pics today! My son has a babybel with TLC crackers, 'fruit roll up' (I am still waiting for one of my friends to buy the other ones so I can have her do a taste test), carrots and dip, and a piece of my husband's birthday cake.

I am having leftover lasagna from our romantic dinner, salad with poppy seed dressing, crackers, and cake.

Poppy Seed Dressing
1/3 c sugar
1/2 c white vinegar
1tsp ground mustard
1tsp salt
1 cup oil
1Tbsp poppy seeds
*can't remember if I posted this

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sick, injured, now NO STOVE

First, we all got sick and that disrupted the meal plans, then I got injured at ski school and lunches were put on hold. Well if that wasn't enough, today my oven went KERPUT!!! I can't believe it! I was in the middle of making my husband's birthday cake and when I opened the oven to put the cake in I saw SPARKS! I had to go to my parents to cook the lasagna for tomorrow's romantic dinner. Well here is my son's lunch for tomorrow. Vanilla yogurt, mandarin oranges, carrot sticks and dip, a Babybel, and TLC crackers.

My lunch (sideways again:) Yogurt, Barenaked granola, a banana, and M&M's. This is a strange lunch for me. I don't know if I will be full after this but we will see.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This week's groceries totaled $78.02. I almost bought organic chicken but I just couldn't spend the money yet. I know I should do it but it is almost 4x as much and that makes it a difficult decision.

Menu this week

Breakfast choice of ....
Blueberry cake

Lunch - I don't know yet

1. Lasagna for my husband for his birthday with a Raspberry Torte
2. Chicken Tacos
3. Chicken Pot Pie
(I found some biscuits today shopping that I will post information on later in the week)
4. Annie Chun's Chow Mein
5. Pierogies (I am so happy to see the Mrs. T's no longer has hydrogenated oils)

Friday, January 22, 2010

School lunch from my sons perspective

Once a week I give in and let my son 'buy' his lunch at school. I also teach at the school he attends. I decided today to sneak down and take a pic of his school lunch. Pizza, a banana, green beans, chocolate milk, and an ice cream sandwich. I asked him what he finished and he said all of it but half of the banana.

I also wanted to give him a chance to evaluate the lunch 3 ways.

1. Did you like the lunch overall - "I give it 5 stars for taste." "I loved it."
2. Was it healthy? - "I give it 3 stars. The banana and green beans were healthy but the pizza and ice cream aren't"
3. How about the food groups - "The banana was the fruit, the vegetable was the green beans, the pizza was the grain and the oil, and the ice cream was the dairy so I give it 5 stars."
(I know he is missing some of the groups but I thought it was a pretty good answer. He is 6.)

I think that I am going to try to keep up with this each time he buys. Even though I have to give up part of my 22 min lunch to take the pic :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

First sick now injured

Tonight at ski school I took a lift off the head. To describe further, my son and I were making our way to the spot to stand and wait for the lift to come up behind us. He didn't get his ski turned in time and that made me late too. So when I turned around to look for the lift the lift hit me square in the forehead. As if my body wasn't put through enough this week.

Long story short, no lunch, my son and I will both buy tomorrow. Maybe I will take pics from school if I can. That would be a change of pace.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

lunch 1.21.10

Another sideways picture! Jeesh! Anyway, lunch for my son is noodles and sauce in the thermos (using up leftovers), vanilla yogurt, Barenaked granola, and diced peaches to mix together. This is new so we will see how it goes tomorrow.

I will be having the lunch from Tuesday so I hope it tastes good.

I'm opening my refrigerator

In the Fridge...

Top shelf you still see that huge butter. There is salad dressings, garlic, olive oil mayo, and half jar of salsa. The Gatorade is my husbands due to the sickness he wanted some emergency electrolytes. I need to stock some Smart Water for this. The pickles made there way into lunches this week but I haven't been able to ask my son if he likes them.

Second shelf - Wegman's light blends yogurt which is a new treat my son and I discovered this week while shopping. We added some granola and peaches. I think you will see these in some upcoming lunches. Left-over coleslaw, Parmesan cheese, and pasta sauce

Bottom shelf - Salad, Spinach, leftover pizza, chicken noodle, and mac n cheese. chicken stock and applesauce. The black box is my lunch from Tuesday which I couldn't eat because I was so sick. I will probably take that to school tomorrow.

Little drawer - turkey lunch meat, cheese sticks, shredded cheese

It looks like I need a leftover dinner night to clean some stuff out.

Bottom Drawers -
Left - Veggies - tomatoes, onion, carrots, cucumber
Right - Fruit - 2 types of apples, clementines, a few green grapes

lunch 1.20.10

Well, I am still sick although on the rebound today. Isn't it funny how the world doesn't stop for mom to be sick. Now I have to play catch up to get back on track. Luckily for me I have a wonderful and supportive network that helped take care of my kids while my husband and I were down and out.Look what my sister did! She not only took the boys for me last night so I could recover but she also packed a fantastic lunch AND took a picture for me to post. Not only that but my son lost his first tooth (and I missed it :( Well she took pics of that for me too!

Lunch is, and I quote from her email ..."Honey butter/homemade jelly(made with honey) sandwich, carrot sticks and honey mustard dip, Fruitable juice box and Snackimals Animal cookies for dessert." GO SIS!!

PS - I am having pretzels only :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

SO Sick

I am super sick. Whatever my son had he so nicely shared with the rest of the family. I sent his lunch with him today but I don't know if I will be able to prepared anything tonight. A few minutes ago was the first food I was able to have in 24 hours. Thanks sis for helping out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

lunch 1.19.10

Here is my lunch for tomorrow. Turkey and provolone on whole wheat, salsa mixed with sour cream, blue corn chips, a clementine, some organic pickles after realizing that other brands had yellow dye in them for no reason, and a couple treats.
My son is having turkey on provolone as well, salsa (sans sour cream), blue corn chips, pickles, and if you look in the silverware compartment you will see a new treat I found today at Target. It is a fruit roll up that has no red dye. I matched the ingredient list to the Annie's gummies and I was satisfied that this would be a treat that passes my test. I recognize almost every ingredient and the few I don't know what they are I have seen in other natural and organic treats. My son was thrilled to have a real 'fruit roll up'.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Menu - Jan 17th

Menu - January 17th

Breakfast - Choice of...
Blueberry breakfast cake
Honey Nut Cheerios
English Muffins

Tues & Thurs -Turkey Sandwich, blue corn chips, fruit cup, carrots and dip
Wed & Fri - Chicken Noodle Soup, cheese crackers, fruit cup, side salad

Sunday - Chicken Parmesan, asparagus, sliced apples
Monday -Cod Filets, sweet potatoes (white/yams), salad
Tuesday -Tuna Noodle Casserole, applesauce
Wednesday - Left Overs ??
Thurs - Subs (homemade not out)
Friday - Breakfast for dinner


Is it strange that I have been living in the same house for 11 years and I can't remember the last time I changed the light bulb in my fridge but I take ONE picture of the inside and now the bulb is burnt? Perhaps the fridge was embarrassed of its contents. I don't know. But whatever the reason I can't take a picture because it is dark in there.

This week's groceries cost $94.57
I was able to use $3.00 in coupons
In-store $1.oo off seafood plus free sauce for my fish ($2.99 value)

I splurged on some cod filets. I know we need to get more fish in our diet.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Organizing moments 101

I thought I would share a system that has worked for me to stay organized with bills.

I have a binder that has a clear pocket for the cover. Inside the binder I have statements seprarated by different colors of paper. Inside the clear pocket is my 'golden nugget'. I created a chart using exel that has a colomn for bills that are due, my user name and password to pay online, the due date, and then blank boxes for each month of the year. (I posted a sample and if you click on the chart above you can see it better).

Each time I pay a bill I write the amount of the bill in the blank for that month. That way I can quickly see what bills haven't been paid each month.
Paying bills online has also been a time saver and it is more green.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

lunch 1.15.10

Just a lunch for me tomorrow. My son is sick. I am so proud of this salad even though it is sideways in the picture. Isn't it pretty? Again what really makes this yummy is the dressing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

lunch 1.14.10

This is sort of a 'throw and go' because I went to Yoga tonight. So my son has the last of the tomato soup in the thermos, some cheese crackers,a fruit cup packed in juice, and some more sugar snap peas because I was so excited that he ate all of them yesterday.

I am having a huge salad and just a little bit of a sausage pumpkin pasta recipe that I made tonight. I am planning to post this recipe later. It was delicious! I also have some apples as well.

The best part of my lunch lies within that tiny container that isn't even visible. It is a poppy seed dressing that is just to die for. I will also post that recipe tomorrow so stay tuned.

Pumpkin Pasta

This dinner was soooo good. It is Pumpkin Sausage Pasta. I took a mix of a recipe from Taste of Home and Rachael Ray.

  • box of uncooked pasta of choice (I used colorful rotinini to sneak in extra veggies)
  • 1/2 lb sausage (I used chicken apple sausage)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for the top
*all of the spices can be used to taste I just sprinkled and didn't measure really
Cook pasta normally.
Cook the sausage and onions in a skillet with a drizzle of olive oil until sausage is no longer pink. (I bought already cooked sausage so I just cooked it to mix with the onion) Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin, and spices. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened. Drain and add pasta to sauce. Serve with Parmesan cheese on top.
Mine is served with a harvest salad of greens, apples, raisins, and veggies. (Pecans would be good too) and this FABOULOUS POPPY SEED DRESSING
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinager
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oil (of choice)
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seed
*I know it seems like alot of sugar but this makes ALOT of dressing, almost 2cups and I don't use alot of dressing on my salad so I justify it that way too.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

lunch 1.13.10

Mac -n- cheese in the thermos, a clementine and sugar snap peas with ranch to dip. Nothing glamorous but it has been one of those days.
Imagine a ham sandwich in that space which I have to make in the morning because my bread is still frozen, a clementine, pretzels and hummus.

Tempted to "Drive Thru"

When the schedule doesn't go as planned it drives me nuts. It is the 'boy wouldn't it be easier to run through the drive thru at McDonalds tonight" kind of moment.

Our schedule today was that husband goes to doctor and picks up youngest. Meanwhile oldest is with me from school (I teach where he goes). We go home and make dinner so that when youngest and husband get home we all eat and oldest is done in order to be at karate by 5:30. WELL, I am almost home and I get txt from husband that he is going to be longer at doctors then he thought. SOOOO, I turn around and drive 20min out of my way to pick up youngest and now I am 40 min behind schedule. How am I supposed to get home, make dinner, and eat dinner in time to turn around to leave for karate????

As I drive my mind is racing and now not only do I need to assess the fridge but do it while driving and not being able to actually see what it in the fridge. Well, the plan becomes to make the children the two left over taco shells and taco meat, spare just enough taco meat to make myself a taco salad, and hubby gets last nights leftover pasta and chicken breast that he didn't eat because he got home too late. DONE - Dinner is on the table in under 15 min with NO cooking. Everyone got a protein, fruit, and veggie!! We made it to karate.

PHEW another temptation to drive thru averted.

I'm opening my refrigerator

Well I am bearing all and opening up my fridge. So many people take pics of their groceries I thought that I would try to mix it up a bit and take a pic of my fridge.

You know how you open it up and take inventory each night to make decisions on what to make for dinner, what to pack for lunch, what leftovers can I get my husband to eat. Basically, you have to be a human computer to assess what needs to be used when, how close are you to expiration on each item, what can be combined with what to make up an edible and healthy dinner, the list goes on and on. I know you know what I am talking about.

Leftover mac n cheese and tomato soup = lunch tomorrow, pasta sauce, chicken stock, various salad dressing, our Brita, and I think there is some relish from a year or so ago peaking out behind the water. OH and some organic bread and butter pickles which I was so happy to find last shopping trip since I found out that the conventional ones have yellow dye in them.

Huge butter,(which I was talked into and we won't use up for about 4 months), fresh Parmesan cheese, the terrible lunch meat that my husband bought by accident (earlier post), some organic sour cream, pizza sauce, and hummus.

I usually keep the meat I need to use on the bottom left. Right now there is the chicken sausage to make my pumpkin pasta for this week. On the right is where I usually keep the drinks.

In the drawer is always some string cheese because my boys love to grab this as a snack, there is the lunch meat I wanted to have in the house, and some provolone for sandwiches.


LEFT = VEGGIES - Carrots, Snap Peas, Onion, box of Organic Salad Mix
RIGHT = FRUIT - Apples, Green Grapes, Couple Clementines

Organizing Moments 101

(picture from Microsoft clipart)
Last night's dinner was one of those moments that is difficult to appreciate if your not a mom trying to pull it all together all of the time.

If you read my post about changing the menu because I forgot to pull the chicken out of the freezer you would know that my chicken was waiting for me to decide what to do with it.

Well, last night I also discovered that I had a half a container of ricotta cheese and a half jar of tomato sauce also to use. SO, I made noodles and mixed the ricotta and sauce right in the pan then served that over the chicken. I also had 3 lonely hamburger buns to use as well so VOILA garlic bread.

This meal was great AND I used up some items leftover from last week's meals. I LOVE when that happens. I wish I had a photo. I am still learning about what I want to blog so next time I will remember. Promise!

Monday, January 11, 2010

lunch 1.12.10

This lunch is tomato soup, cheese crackers, baked apples, and cake. I have a feeling it is going to take a long time before this cake is gone.

My son is having tomato soup in his thermos, baked apples, and sometimes mini cheese sandwich crackers. When we are at the end of a box of crackers I will just pack them in the package they come in. Reducing waste! Ooops I just realized I didn't pack him cake. I will have to do that in the morning.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

lunch 1.11.10

Boy I need to work on a better way to get higher quality pictures. Until then this will have to do.
Quesadillas with some 'fixin's', a fruit cup (I FOUND FRUIT CUPS PACKED IN JUICE) I am so excited, Wegman's brand has some fruit cups packed in pear or pineapple juice and not syrup. I have never found these before. The rectangle is a piece of organic cake we made this weekend in an attempt to celebrate my 3yr old's potty success.

oops change in menu

Well due to me forgetting the chicken in the freezer.
Chicken Tacos turned into beef tacos and the meatloaf is going to be chicken prepared some how later in the week. That also changed my lunch for tomorrow because we had left over tacos so I turned that into lunch. (see next post)


Well the grocery shopping is done and thanks to all of the coupons I found online. I was able to save $6.50. I am not usually a big coupon user because I always feel like the coupons in the paper are never for things I would normally buy so what's the deal there. I like the saying I heard once "A bargain isn't a bargain if you wouldn't buy it in the first place." Well the coupons I have been able to find on the blogs are for items I would normally buy so it felt really good to save this week.

$74.15 was my total

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Menu - Jan 10th

A busy week for us because some of the activities that have been 'on break' will start up again this week. Both of my boys will start their music classes again and we will still have ski school, and karate. Anyway, here is the plan for this week.

Breakfast Choice of....
Blueberry Cake (*thanks again SnoWhite)
Cinnamon Raisin Toast
Oatmeal (this is my choice since the weather is SOOO cold)

M & W - Soup, Back to Nature Crispy Wheat Crackers, Fruit Leather or grapes
T & Th - Turkey Sandwich (Hormel's Natural Turkey), provolone, carrot sticks and dip, pretzels with hummus for me
Friday - leftovers or pizza at school (I give in once a week for my son to buy)

Chicken soft tacos and rice
Mini Cheddar meat loaf, sweet potato fries, baked apples
Sausage Pumpkin Pasta (recipe from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking)
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Annie Chun's Chow Mein, pineapple

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Baby Belly"

Home with a sick son today so no lunch. We went to ski school (which was probably a mistake) and his cold is worse today so we decided to have an extra day to rest up.

We did, however, order a really good dinner last night from a local pizza shop on our way home from skiing. It is called a 'baby belly'. It is basically any sub you want wrapped in a pizza crust instead of a sub roll. YUM! They have "Fat Bellys" too and those are huge. Here is a picture of half of a baby belly from last night. I had a turkey and my husband had a taco. I could only eat half of my turkey so my hubby ate the other half of turkey and we have half of a taco left for lunch today.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

lunch 1.7.10

Well I made it to number 2 lunch. I almost didn't take a picture because I am frustrated that they came out sideways yesterday. However, I will try again! Tomorrow night we have ski school so that means extra packing (clothes and snacks). I also don't know how I will be able to pack lunch for the next day when we will be getting home around 8:30-9:00. I know, I know, it still seems early to most people but it is late for me. :)Leftover burgers, apple sauce, Doritos, and a treat
I know it isn't a healthy lunch but I can't be good every day.
As a matter of fact, that is the reason I am doing this. I am a bit embarrassed by that lunch and I need to do better.

My son is having a burger too with Pirate's booty, applesauce, and Annie's gummy bears. A little bit better but not much.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

lunch 1.6.10

I'm not sure why my picture is sideways! (I fixed mine but can't fix the other) This is my lunch pretty much the same as yesterday because it was SOOOOO good. Pasta and sauce, baked apples, whole grain crackers and some treats from Christmas.
My son is having leftover broccoli cheese soup which has to go in his thermos so no laptop lunch today. He is having baked apples and whole grain crackers (which are a super yummy cracker by Back to Nature)

Groceries/Menu January Week One

We needed to do the shopping quickly this week on Monday after school. I went to Martin's and I sent my husband to get the rest from Walmart. The only reason I wanted him to go to Walmart was to get Hormel's Natural Turkey Breast because there are no nitrates in it. Anyway, he ended up getting ham AND the wrong kind. AHHHH Live and learn!

Breakfast - Choice of ...
Kris Kringle Pancakes*
Blueberry Breakfast Cake*
Cinnamon Toast

Lunch - Stay Tuned for Pics

Pasta, broccoli, baked apples*
Broccoli soup* whole grain crackers, strawberries
Hamburgers and sweet potato fries
(Out for pizza - Ski School night with school)
Chicken Pot Pie *

*Thanks to SnoWhite at Finding Joy in my Kitchen for these recipes

Soooo, in order to make this menu plus a few snacks around the house I spent

Martin's = 49.15
Walmart = 37.35 (I subtracted the huge coffee that my husband bought for his turn at work)
TOTAL = 86.45

New Year's Resolution

I am going to try to keep myself going through the rest of the school year by blogging about packing lunches. I have been inspired by some blogs especially lunchbox limbo (THANKS). I want to keep my spirits up when packing my son's lunch and mine as well.

I have no fancy designs like some of the other wonderful blogs but it is the best I can do.
I will try to post pictures if I have time too.

Today my son is having leftover baked apples from last nights dessert, pirates booty, whole grain crackers and a cheese stick wrapped in ham. I am having leftover pasta and veggies with my baked apples and whole grain crackers.