The weather is beautiful in SA again. It is time to spend time in the sun at the beach with this SUPER easy salad. Oh and perhaps some loved ones too, but that’s optional.
I love Yiros and deconstructing it just makes me feel like I’m fancy and shit on Masterchef. What could be fancier than taking a good thing and turning into a salad? Well lots of things, but hey, the family love this one (obviously apart from the god-forsaken tomatoes that are apparently the devil).
We cook this salad at home, put in containers and take it down to the beach to eat. It’s so fresh, it just needs that crashing ocean soundtrack while you enjoy it. Surprisingly, it still works without the soundtrack at home, who would have thought??
If you are a mum, which you most likely are clicking on this post, then you are well aware (if not secretly counting down) that school starts back again next week. Just quietly, I’m “slightly” excited to not have to hear arguing for at least some of the day. This is a super long post, but I wanted to pack a whole heap of ideas into this post at the start of the year and I will post lunchbox pics throughout the year as I have new ideas!
As much as this may surprise some, I HATE making lunchboxes. I totally understand now why when we got to high school, mum stopped making our lunch. I loathe it already and my kids are only 5 and 7! That said, I actually have a few good ideas when it comes to lunchboxes, mostly led by the girl’s requests.
Before I launch into the food though, I just wanna get all “health professional” on you. I used to work as a Dietitian and saw a LOT of parents with kids. Usually I wouldn’t go into to so much health detail, but I know that number one on mum’s lists (after making sure oneself is caffeinated) is to know that you are providing a healthy lunch for your kids.
Just remember – as with anything with kids, test out the options below on a weekend before sending them off to school with it. Then you will at least know they like it and not go hungry all day!
TOKEN NUTRITION SPEAL
We have pretty much all seen the circle/plate that has all of the food groups and what we should be providing for good health. What most mums haven’t really seen is the more realistic kid’s meals circle/plate I have here. When you are thinking about your kid’s lunch-boxes (and dinner meals for that matter) you really only need to cover 3 bases: carbs; protein; and veg in about equal portions. Before you panic about fruit, consider that most childcare/kindies/schools have a fruit break early morning or in the arvo, and then if your kids have some fruit as an after-school snack or with their breakfast, then that’s their 2 serves. Two is all they really need, any more and they are probably loading up on too much sugar (yes even though its natural) and missing out on other important nutrients.
When you are packing your lunchboxes, remember to think of the whole lunch box, not just what is for lunch. A ham and cheese sandwich is fine for a non-veggie lunch option if they’ve eaten veggie sticks for recess!
A word on portions too – go with how much your child usually eats. ALL kids eat different amounts, some are big eaters, some baffle you that they can even function on how little they eat. Try to match their portions and don’t overwhelm them with super large portions. You will know if you aren’t providing enough for recess and lunch if they are starving when they get home! On the flipside, if there is a lot of food coming home at the end of the day, you are probably giving them too much. If you are worried about how much/or little, your child eats, click here to go and see a Dietitian.
FOOD SAFETY SPEAL
Yes, I’m getting the boring stuff out of the way first. Food safety is pretty important because we all know how absolutely F@#k-ed having kids with gastro is. Good news is that all you need is an ice pack and a cold bag for your kid’s lunch (if it’s not kept in a fridge) and you are set. There are so many cute cold bags (insulated bags if you want the technical name) out there now, I find it hard to stick to just one for the girls. Ice packs are really cheap now (Kmart and Aldi have them for a couple of dollars) but if you want a cheaper version, freeze some water in a zip-lock bag. Just double bag it one its frozen to prevents spills in lunch boxes.
Okay now we know the food groups to cover and how to keep them cold, lets jump into some ideas:
These seem to be the cool thing in my Year 2’s class last year. Wraps are easy for her to make and help with too. If I’m being organised (not often really ha ha) I will get her to make it the afternoon before and put it in the fridge. If not, she can whip one up in the morning after her breakky. Some of her creations have been:
Chicken slices, mayo, grated cheese, lettuce and veggie sticks.
Ham, grated cheese and grated carrot.
Chicken mixed with pesto, lettuce and grated cheese.
Ham, cheese, lettuce and tomato (I added the tomato into her recipe here as she thinks tomato is the devil).
Cream cheese and veggie sticks. You can add some cut up schnitzel from the night before’s dinner too if you have it!
TOP TIPS # wrap the wrap in greaseproof paper, twist each end then cut in the middle. You can then put this in a sandwich container to keep fresh. Glad wrap will also work but I try to minimise waste with this!
Holy hell do we love a bit of Bento lunch. The girls have it often at home but in plate version, so being able to have it in a lunchbox at school is just the best thing ever for them. If you have been living under a rock (and as mums that happens often I hear ya) then to explain, a Bento box is a lunchbox with lots of sections. There are some really gorgeous, good quality ones out there from Stuck On You that I have fallen IN LOVE with but also some super cool cheap ones at K-Mart too (pictured above and only $5!!).
I’m going to split up the Bento options into the three food groups and you can just add in as many options as you have holes in your Bento box. Now, you can go all fancy and cut out shapes in shit, your kids will love it. I just don’t have time for that and the wasting bothers me, so usually don’t. But that’s just lazy old me!
Brown/wholegrain rice crackers – these are a higher fibre version than white ones or mini rice cakes.
Pop corn – if your kids are bigger. Some childcare centres don’t allow popcorn for safety reasons with littlies.
Cut up hot cross buns.
Any type of grainy crackers.
Small squares/rectangles of sandwich (you can use one piece of bread and make half a sandwich).
Wraps spread with cream cheese and grated carrot then rolled up and cut into rounds.
Homemade bread pinwheels.
Savoury rice – make sure you pack a small spoon.
Toasted wholemeal pita bread with season all sprinkled on it.
Wrap bread or pita cut into triangles and lightly toasted.
Mini veg and bacon muffins.
Shredded chicken – buy a roast chicken at the start of the week and shred it into a container. It will be good for 3-4 days.
Sliced ham, roast beef or turkey.
Cold mini meatballs or patties.
4 bean mix, chickpeas or cannellini beans.
Cheese sticks or cubes.
Nuts if your school allows it.
The all-important veggie sticks – carrot, cucumber, celery, capsicum. Softer sticks are better for younger kids.
Shredded lettuce – sounds like they would never eat it but I’ve been surprised with this one before.
Green beans that have been softened in boiling water for a few minutes then cooled.
Dips like hummus or tzatziki are healthy options, or even just Greek yoghurt.
Dried fruit – just remember that this is still fruit. Too much of this and your kids are going to be sugar loading.
Small bits of fruit.
TOP TIP # most of these options you can prepare in a big batch at the start of the week, put in containers and just fill the bento box each morning or night!
SANDWICHES – NOT THE BORING OPTION I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT
I’m not amazingly keen on sangas, but my girls freaking love them. For longer than I would like to admit they ate ham and cheese everyday, but I am happy to say that we are now venturing out and trying some new flavours. I have some sandwich tips, mostly because I would rather eat my own arse with a spoon than eat a soggy sandwich!
Use margarine to spread on your sandwiches, it will stop your fillings from making the sandwich soggy – to a certain extent, keep on reading.
The healthiest bread is wholegrain, but wholemeal or rye are both good options. If your kids aren’t used to it, try “zebra sandwiches” where you put one grain bread slice and one white.
Anything wet – tomatoes, cucumber, tuna that hasn’t been drained well – please, please, PLEASE, don’t put them next to the bread. They will slush up that bread and make it a disgusting mess. Put them in between less wet fillings like lettuce that has been patted dry, meat or a cheese slice (not plastic cheese, real cheese).
Try to make wet fillings less wet by patting them dry with paper towel (works for lettuce or grated carrot), taking the seeds out of cucumber before slicing, and draining tuna really well (you can push this in a sieve with a spoon to squeeze out the juice).
Cut them with cool cutters, we have trains and boats, a butterfly and a new unicorn addition on rotation. I don’t like the wastage with cutting off the crusts so I put them in with the sandwich cut into smaller portions. Eight times out of ten they are eaten!
Here are some of the faves in our house with notes for freezer friendly versions (FF):
Ham and cheese, and also vegemite and cheese. FF
Tuna, mayonnaise (you can add corn to the mayo) and lettuce. FF if you take out the lettuce and butter the bread.
Chicken mixed with softened cream cheese and grated carrot. FF if you take out the salad.
Chicken mixed with pesto. FF
Chopped up schnitzel (chicken or beef) with salad.
TOP TIPS #freezing sandwiches makes morning lunch box packing a breeze. Freeze them flat and in ziplock bags or in a large container, separated with greaseproof paper.
OTHER OPTIONS THAT CAN BE PUT ON ROTATION
Cold rolls always go down a treat with our 7 year old. Not so much the 5 year old.
Pasta salads – our usual is cooked and cooled pasta, grated cheese, diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and olives if you have amazingly adventurous kids.
Small homemade pita breads made into pizzas with tomato paste, ham, veggies and cheese. These freeze really well too.
I haven’t even broached the topic of recess but I think enough is enough for today! I will write a recess post for another time.
Hopefully this post has given you a few options to run with for kids lunches. Please comment below or on Facebook your lunchbox ideas and lets make this a master go-to for all the mums out there battling the ol’ lunchbox gig!
Well I’m back in the land of the living (i.e. have gone back to work so therefore am getting shit done) and rearing to go for 2018. I asked for your feedback and love that it has been along the lines of what I have been thinking and what I love to cook. I have done some planning and testing and am looking forward to sharing some new recipes and old faves with you!
Judging by your comments, we are a bunch of “quick and easy” cooks but also want it to be healthy and not so fancy that the kids won’t eat it. Amm-I right? I will throw in some options along the way for mums with allergy kids too so look out for the tags on my pics and recipes.
We seem to have working mummas out there too because you are looking for easy, healthy lunches that you can whip up ahead of time. I am loving the meal prep Sunday trends I see on Instagram but I don’t know about you but with kids, I don’t have a whole Sunday to prep my lunches. I get about 30 seconds! I’m going to translate some meal prep ideas into easy lunches for us who are time poor and don’t have hours on a Sunday.
I will also be featuring some seasonal recipes as we go along, think Summer salads, Winter soups and whatever the hell I eat in between. There may also be some personal posts in there too, because I love to ramble.
I can tell you what you WON’T see on here in 2018:
Food shaming – all foods are welcome.
Posh language and meticulous directions – sorry guys but it’s pretty slap dash around here so if I say chuck something in a bowl, I mean chuck it in a bowl. If I say get your hands in there, then don’t be fancy about it, get those hands dirty!
Too-hard recipes with too many ingredients. Let’s keep it simple hey?
Imbalance – I’m not guaranteeing every recipe is going to be healthy because who wants to only eat healthy foods all the time? And what is healthy anyway?? I will be presenting balance, food from all the groups, foods that some people would call “junk” and foods that would keep the most particular of calorie counters happy. Because it is all good in my books. Say it with me…..balance.
Looking forward to the year ahead guys, I hope you will follow along for the ride!
Who loves something you can bang up at the start of the week and have awesome lunches for the rest of the week? Well me. Sometimes. Other times I make big batches up and eat 5 serves for dinner. But hey, for those of you out there with control, this is a great meal prep recipe.
If you are into coriander in a big way, these are for you. If you don’t like coriander, you are dead to me. Jokes, it works without the coriander but you are MISSING OUT. The lime in this recipe gives you a sassy tang that would give Miss G a run for her money.
You can freeze the cooked chicken mix, and make up the guacamole and salsa. As long as your sour cream is in date, the guacamole is good for a while. I use 40 second brown rice tubs and just layer the bowls up. It seriously takes about 2 minutes and it is next level delicious!
So have a little non-authentic trip to Mexico with these bowls of taste explosions. Here is the recipe. Enjoy, cook, comment, tag.
I really don’t know if there is much I need to say about dumplings. Everyone loves them, right?? They are SUCH a good recipe to have in your “bank” because you can make a big batch and freeze them in bags. Then at any time the craving hits, they are ready to go in less than 15 mins. Now that’s the sort of food that makes me happy!!
The recipe is below, click the pic or the pdf link and enjoy my friends….
Well you asked for it, and you got it. It may be approximately 2 years since I said I would do this but hey, it’s here. Some recipes!
Given that salad season is here, and y’all are going to be seeing a heck-load of salad pics in my feed, I thought we would start the ball rolling with my chicken salad 101. It is set out to show you how with a base recipe, you can have at least 3 variations on a good ol’ chicken salad classic. Hopefully, it will also give you the basis to make multiple variations of this delicious summer staple.
If your kids are like mine (and by that I mean, apparently “don’t like salad” – but will eat it if it isn’t in “salad form”) set aside their salad elements and plate them separately rather than on top of each other. Because god-forbid it looks like a salad – how dare you!
I’m not going to bang on about it, but just get on with it. Here it is, click on the pdf link or the pic.
Okay so warning here, there’s a LOT of swearing in this one, sorrynotsorry. Also I wrote this post two days ago, but didn’t post it because of said swearing but showed my sister (because I know she would have a laugh) and she said post it. So here you go, one for all the mums out there. Hot topic at the moment!!
In with the junk mail today was the annual Mother’s Day catalogues. Now this issue has been bugging me for quite some time, and I have gotten angry but then just ranted to husband about it and gotten over it. This year, I don’t know why but I just felt the need to shout my anger from the rooftops!! (maybe it’s because I am 33 now.
Now before I start, I actually really love the shop that the aggravating catalogue came from, (I love pretty much all shops) and I love shopping catalogues (it’s like shopping but without getting trtouble from the husband for spending money) but their particular marketing (and that of all shops really) at Mother’s Day REALLY grinds my gears.
Let’s just first say, the shop in question hasn’t overtly named the catalogue as the Mother’s Day catalogue, however the sale goes from today until Sunday May 8 so really, we all know it is. Not to mention the fucking stock-standard Mother’s Day picture on the front of mums. In particular young mum and old mum (presumably young mum’s mother) in their pyjamas, hair and makeup immaculate, no signs of dribble from yet another crappy sleep, no hair sticking on end from perhaps a rare dead-persons-sleep because you are THAT tired, and of course nails perfectly painted not a chip in sight. Young mum and old mum are accompanied by just one, beautifully smiling little girl in her pyjamas who clearly hasn’t been fighting with her sister, pulling her hair out, red in the face from screaming about not going to bed. I don’t know about you ladies but I can’t remember a time where my mum and me just hung around happily in our pyjamas with hair and makeup done. Or for that matter managed to wear matching pyjamas, or sometimes wearing pyjamas at all.
Then I read the caption on young mum’s pyjamas, “Weekend I love you”. This is perhaps where I snapped inside. Hello big marketing team from big department store. I am a MUM, I DON’T GET A FUCKING WEEKEND. Perhaps if childcare centres were open on a weekend we would love them? But then of course society would tell us that we are selfish and not loving mothers because we want time to ourselves to recover from being a mum. Selfish bitches we are.
Okay open the page, more ladies hanging around together in their PJs. Because that’s all we females fucking do, prance around in our makeup and pyjamas. And while they have attempted to get a “balance” in female representation, there is one token “young mum”, one token “larger mum” alongside 5 beautifully groomed, playfully posed 20 somethings. Now if I was a mum, which I am, and I was forced to be in my pyjamas in a room full of 20 somethings, I WOULD NOT be happily posing for the cameras. I would either be hiding from self-doubt about how old I look (and why am I in my fucking pyjamas) or giving said 20 somethings daggers because I hate their energetic natures and their abilities to look amazing in pyjamas.
Next page. Ah slippers and knickers. BORING. You have been pedalling this crap for how many years? Get some new ideas.
Now the next page really confuses me. Young, skinny, tanned girl in moderately sexy lingerie. Where are you going with this guys? Are you trying to make us mums out there not in shape and white from tending to babies 24/7 feel like shit? Achieved. Are you trying to alert us to the fact that we probably don’t have enough time or for that matter energy for being sexy? Achieved (but seriously we know that already). Or, are you trying to rub it in that we are not 20 something anymore, don’t look amazing in lingerie and don’t have time to get out and get a fucking spray tan? Then YES achieved guys. Fuck you!
Turn page. Oh fucking brilliant. Work out gear. Sooo what you are saying here guys is that when we aren’t lazing around the house in our pyjamas being all like happy and relaxed, the only other thing we could possibly be doing is working out? Or perhaps it’s just that after realising we look really shit in pyjamas we will be amazingly motivated to get into our home gyms and work out, or make a delicious smoothie from your suggested smoothie book.
Turn page. Ahh finally something we can relate to, clothes and shoes. I don’t have heaps to rant about this but seriously, another stunningly young model. Not a tired mum wrangling shitty children in sight.
Followed up closely by more 20 somethings. Hanging out all energy-filled and carefree. Are you trying to rub it in marketing team?? Do you actually believe that this is your target group here?
Turn page. Okay beauty products, okay great, fine with that but seriously when do I find the time?
Ah next page is my fave, foot massagers. For all those times when me and my mum friends all get together with no kids and sit around having foot massages. You know what I mean mums? NO WE DON’T. Because, kids??!!
Okay so turn page and this is about the point I realised I couldn’t keep this rant in. Titled “The Ultimate Mother’s Day Guide” which consists of a quilt cover set, cushions, sheets, a blanket and some pyjamas. I don’t know how you roll in your house but generally household items like sheets, blankets and FUCKING quilt covers, are HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. NOT FUCKING PRESENTS. Don’t buy the house a Mother’s Day present, buy ME a Mother’s Day present. Seriously, is this IT?? Is this your brilliant ideas for mums all over the country? I actually feel like I need to ring up the department store and tell them to flush their marketing budget down the toilet because your marketing team is a bunch of MONKEYS!! Just so you know guys, let me play out how this would go down Mother’s Day morning:
Kids “Here mum here’s your Mother’s Day present” which we ALL know comes from husband/partner.
Me on opening “Well wow, thanks girls”. Head turns to husband. All feeling drains out of his face. My face fixed in def-con level death stare that could sear steaks “Can you please step out of the room girls while mummy has to strangle your daddy with some sheets and shove a quilt cover up his arse”
This amazing marketing team follows this up on the next page with toasters and fucking kettles. Because seriously, that’s what all of us mums do all day, just staring at an empty space in our kitchen pining over a beautiful kettle and toaster. No we fucking don’t. We either already have a kettle and toaster because, coffee and toast (two mother essentials marketing team, you’d be better to promote that), OR if it’s broken we buy a fucking new one. Because it’s BORING. A kettle and toaster is not a present, it’s a House. Hold. Item. Husbands and parters out there, if you have bought a toaster or kettle for the mum in your life: take it back. If she opens it and says “oh thanks what I’ve always wanted” she is a bloody good liar, or being sarcastic and you haven’t quite worked that out yet.
Recipe books and cooking stuff take up the next few pages, fine I get it, I LOVE cooking, but I also know I am in the minority. 90% of my mum friends hate cooking. Still not kicking goals here guys.
Turn over to the next page and FINALLY we are getting somewhere. Colouring sets, mandala stone kit yes, YES. Outside of the box! Fun shit. Something we can do at nights when we might actually find ourselves with an hour of peace (if we are lucky) but then…
SWEET. FUCKING. JESUS.
Next page. Vacuum Cleaners. Actual silence for the death of any slim piece of faith I had in this marketing team, and also any husband out there who DARE gives a vacuum for Mother’s Day. I pity the poor fool (husband/partner/child) who presents a mother with a vacuum cleaner on Mother’s Day. Here mum/honey have a vacuum cleaner so you can more efficiently pick up more of our shit that we leave ALL OVER YOUR HOUSE. You better duck mate because you about to get knocked the hell out when mum comes swinging with the vacuum cleaner. The ONLY way this would ever be a good present, ONLY WAY, is if it came accompanied by a water tight contract detailing that you (the present giver) now hereby declare that you will use said vacuum cleaner and do all vacuuming from here on out. If not, maybe you should run.
To finish it off the catalogue of course has pages and pages of books. Just to top off the “let’s make mums feel shit” vibe they are going for. I love books and I LOVE to read. Have I finished a book since having kids? No. I have not. Because I am a mum. And I HAVE SHIT TO DO!!!
And of course it finished off with chocolate. Because now that we all feel like utter shit, we can now get a huge chocolate craving. Thanks a bunch guys. Seriously.
So you might be thinking now well come on, what DOES make a good Mother’s Day gift? Well here you go, and said department store marketing team, you are getting this for free. Take notes. How about a wine glass that never runs out. Or just wine for that matter. Guess what, we drink. To relax and shit. It happens. Then coffee. Lots of it. Super strength coffee that keeps us going all day. How about a magical electric shocker that stops kids coming into the room when you are on the toilet? That would be nice. How about virtual reality goggles so when we are losing our shit we can put them on and be somewhere else. You could have different scenarios like yoga in Bali, or night out with the girls, or maybe just pooing in peace?!! Or do you know what, just something that makes us feel good. Nice skincare, mum directed fashion, or perhaps just some time alone.
In all honesty though, the presents don’t matter, and maybe that’s why department stores find it so hard to market to a bunch of ladies whos jobs really can’t be matched by material things. We are fucking brilliant, a toaster or sheets sets or a bloody vacuum cleaner will never be enough to appreciate our work. What does is beautiful cuddles from our kids, an I love you mum or a bright smile from our babies when we walk into the room, or just a pure a simple “your doing a fucking good job” from our partners/best friends/sisters or our own mums. Now THAT’S what it is all about.
So to all the mums out there, Happy Mother’s Day for next week, YOU FUCKING ROCK.