Healthy lunchboxes, a surprise gift and a giveaway

Healthy lunchboxes, a surprise gift and a giveaway

As many of you know, I am a mother of 5 children; two of whom have special diet requirements and are following a gluten-free, casein-free and shellfish-free lifestyle.

Ingredients

  • As many of you know, I am a mother of 5 children; two of whom have special diet requirements and are following a gluten-free, casein-free and shellfish-free lifestyle.
  • If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you have heard me mention that in addition to being a mother, I am also an educator.
  • Couple these facts with a quickly approaching school year, is it any wonder why healthy school lunchboxes are heavy on my mind?
  • Reality is, what we feed our children affects them.
  • Allergies and auto-immune syndromes aside, what we feed our children has an impact on their ability to focus, it has an impact on their ability to succeed.  What we feed our children affects not only their physical growth; it also affects their cognitive ability and thereby is a determining factor in the level of success a child is able to achieve throughout their educational career.
  • It is painful to watch the number of children who come to school with little more than a pop-tart in their stomach, followed by nothing more than cheese, processed meat and crackers for lunch.  If they are ‘lucky’ they might have some highly processed, sugar laden dessert to go with that packet of highly processed junk.
  • Yes, I said it…junk.
  • We are what we eat.
  • Take what you know about the Standard American Diet and throw in a couple of sugar coated pieces of saturated fat. There you have the standard American student’s packed lunch.
  • Do you think I am exaggerating?  Volunteer at your child’s school for a week or two and tell me what you see.
  • Is it any wonder why we, as a nation, are slipping into oblivion?
  • A few weeks ago I had a fleeting thought, “what if I were to gather tips, ideas and recipes from some of my favorite bloggers, friends and moms?”
  • Who couldn’t use some great tips and ideas for their children’s lunchbox?  Heck. Who couldn’t use some great tips and ideas for their own lunchbox?
  • Given that this is the first time I have reached out and asked for guest-bloggers, I am elated at the number of individuals who have jumped on board my humble little project.
  • I am accepting guest-posts through this Saturday, August 20; so if you are interested in joining us, please send me a message at: andloveittoo [at] gmail [dot] com.
  • That being said, I am honored to open this healthy lunchbox series with tip #1:
  • Use Planned-Over’s
  • We are all familiar with left-over’s.  Very few people enjoy eating them.
  • Seriously, why would you? Left-over sounds like something no one wanted to eat in the first place.
  • Planned-over’s, on the other hand, are something you knew would be so fantastic, you made enough for two meals and planned on serving it again.
  • Planned-over’s are an ideal way to trim the amount of time it takes to pack your healthy lunchbox.  Planned-over’s are a great way to add variety to your day, to break away from the cold sandwich and juice box routine…moreover, planned-over’s are a fantastic guard against the junk.
  • What kind of meals make for worthwhile planned-over’s?
  • There are many.
  • Less than a week after I made the announcement that I was seeking guest-bloggers for this series, I received a special surprise in the mail.  My friends over at Ten Speed Press honored me with a pre-release copy of an amazing new cookbook: The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen.
  • If you are seeking whole-food, positively gourmet yet perfectly simple recipes to fill your day with…this is your book.
  • As I worked through The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen, I was pleased to find recipes that reflected special meals from all over Asia.
  • Unlike the gluten riddled, lard fried, soy sauce drenched and barely recognizable dishes we have grown accustomed to in our Chinese take-out obsession; Laura Russell brings to life the true flavors of Asia.
  • By using whole foods, fresh, crisp vegetables and vibrant herbs, even the most basic cooks will find pleasure in creating these very simple yet highly gourmet dishes.
  • Bringing diversity to the gluten-free lifestyle, Laura Russell’s The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen is a must have for us all.
  • I am honored to present two recipes which have brought new levels of flavor and excitement to my kitchen.
  • Far from your typical lunchbox solution, both of these have been recently used as ‘planned-over’s’ for my own lunch, and I look forward to sharing these dishes with my children in their lunches throughout the year.
  • Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Asian
  • Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. Copyright © 2011 by Laura
  • B. Russell, Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and the Crown
  • Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo Credit: Leo Gong.
  • Chicken  and Vegetable Yakitori
  • 11/2  pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 green  onions, white parts only, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 green bell  pepper, cut into 
1-inch dice
  • 1/4  pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, halved or quartered if large
  • 2  tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for oiling the grill
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4  cup store-bought GF or homemade  teriyaki sauce 
(page 26), divided
  • 1 teaspoon  grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
  • 12 small bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 15 minutes, or use metal skewers
  • Thread the chicken, green  onion, green pepper, and mushrooms onto the  prepared skewers, alternating the chicken and vegetables. Leave a bit of  space between each piece to encourage even cooking. Transfer the threaded  skewers to a plate. Brush the oil over the chicken and vegetables and then  sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Read the whole recipe on And Love it Too!