school lunches: a whole new world

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Birdie started four year old kinder last week. And I started my new occupation: kinder lunch maker. As the title suggests, it’s a whole new world.

Last year she only needed a snack which I found difficult enough sometimes, particularly when we don’t eat much dairy, and the kindergarten has a no egg and no nut policy to boot.

We are big nut and egg eaters and I find my options slightly limited when they are taken out of the picture. Factor in a fussy four year old who keels over at the sight of anything green and only eats two mouthfuls at any given time and you’ve got some challenges on your hands!

Last night I was motivated by my sister to make some gelatin jubes for the kinder lunch box today (my favourite recipe here). What is meant to take 15 minutes ended up taking two hours after I accidentally blended up a foil easter egg wrapper in the final mixture (Prince Charming is still questioning me on how it got into the blender… I have no answers), moments before I was ready to pour into the moulds. Bye bye to over 10 tablespoons of grassfed gelatin (anyone who has ever bought this will be feeling my pain), two oranges, a few apples, acai powder, flax oil and some sweat.

Yes: I did shed a tantrum induced tear over the kitchen sink as I poured my foil laden tincture into the compost.

By this time I had also run out of most of my ingredients resulting in the jubes (pictured in heart shapes above) tasting rather foul in my humble opinion, but both kids were asking for more this afternoon, go figure.

The girls are going through such a fussy time, being forced to make kinder lunches has motivated me to find some meals I am happy to feed them, that they are equally happy to eat… no easy feat.

Birdie came home from kinder the other day and said in disgust: “Alexander ate a little tomato today.”

“Oh, did he get it off the plant?” I asked.

“No, it was in his lunch box.” she replied, her face filled with horror. To open her lunch box and discover a cherry tomato is one of Birdie’s worst fears. This is what I am dealing with.

In my searches this week I’ve found a few new, a few rediscovered, and a few daily used (by me) resources:

:: This Whole Family

::  Well Nourished

:: Jude Blereau – my favourite family friendly chef lady ever

:: IQS for kids

:: My sister 🙂

How do you organise your kids’ lunch boxes? I’d love some more ideas…

comfort food

As the season [finally] changes and the air becomes crisp and we all feel a bit twisted this way and that, I welcome the chance to cook warming, comforting foods. While on maternity leave I am also always looking for meals that are good for the purse. I don’t like to call food frugal, simply because frugal doesn’t sound all that tasty. But y’all know what I mean.

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Here’s a little sample of our table in the last couple of weeks.

Something naughty: homemade pizzas using a pizza dough recipe from my amazing friend Anna (who also was my guidance counsellor and trusted coach with The Cake). It does feel a bit naughty to eat pizza, but we don’t eat pasta and rarely eat wheat with our meals so a treat now and then is fun. Would you like to make your own pizza? See the recipe below…  I’m sure you could substitute the flour for a flour of your choice… why not?

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{Unfortunately the pizza was gobbled up so fast I only have one picture of the last piece, about to go in the fridge}

Something nice: eggplant parma, recipe courtesy of Veggie Mama.

Something soothing: chicken noodle soup, a hodge podge of homemade chicken stock with rice noodles, some miso, coriander and tamari. Perhaps some ginger and garlic as well? I can’t entirely remember what went in this but oh my, it was delicious.

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And tonight we had:

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Buttery french onion and lentil soup (thanks Meg x), a recipe sent to me via text yesterday which within a few hours I had bubbling and simmering in my blue pot on the stove in the cool evening light.

Despite feeling run down and tired and absurd, I love cooking. I love chopping and stirring and even sometimes lately I am choosing to slowly wash some of the dishes in the sink instead of throwing them in the dishwasher. There is something therapeutic about dipping each dish under warm water and bringing it out clean and dripping. I still hate putting dishes away though, there is nothing therapeutic about that.

Homemade Pizza Dough

Sift 330g (approximately 1.5 cups) of self raising flour by hand with:

:: 2 tsp salt

:: 4 tsp castor sugar (I just used raw as I had nothing else)

:: 2.5 tsp baking powder

:: 1 tsp olive oil

:: around 300mL warm water

Add water in small amounts until the dough feels good. Wrap in gladwrap for 20 minutes. Spread out onto two pizza trays. Blind bake for around eight minutes at 200 deg (celcius).

Add toppings of your choice and bake until the cheese is melted and golden. There is a really yummy selection of topping ideas here.

Enjoy!