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Posts Tagged ‘agave nectar

Lunch can get boring for little kids so why not put it on a stick.   It’s amazing how they’ll eat something new just because it looks different.  I realized the other night that other than birthday parties, I’ve never done a lunch on skewers.

I used 8″ wooden skewers and broke them at the end to fit the size needed.  I made little square almond butter and agave sandwiches with grape tomatoes inbetween.  The fruit skewers on either side are green and red seedless grapes and raspberries.  At the top left are cashews and dried cranberries and the top right are snap peas and mini carrots packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

For a snack at school today, Miss G has a butterfly container with mini carrots and one of the new Easy LunchBoxes Mini Dippers with almond butter for dipping.

Little Miss A has a smaller version of the same.  Her lunch includes blackberries too packed in a LunchBots Uno stainless container.

And another cashew and dried cranberries snack packed in the new Easy LunchBoxes Mini Dippers that are now available.

My husband had leftovers from last night’s dinner.   He has Hoppin John in the main compartment of his Easy LunchBoxes container, sugar snap peas at the top left and mini carrots in the top right compartment.  The green heart is Avocado Cucumber dressing.

  I have always been a fan of Hoppin’ John.  It’s a flavorful dish traditionally made with rice, black eyed peas and ground beef  or bacon served often in the Southern United States on New Year’s Day.  I found this recipe for the plant based, meatless and healthier version on a website I admire by Chef Cathy Fisher and her website Straight Up Food.  She also has a Facebook page where you can follow her at Straight Up Food on Facebook.  This recipe is not just meatless.  It’s dairy free, salt and oil free too.  It’s also packed full of collard greens which aid in cholesterol lowering, cancer prevention and are high in vitamin K,  vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and calcium.  We’ll be making it again.  Please visit Straight Up Food here for the recipe!

Hoppin John with Avocado Cucumber Dressing by Cathy Fisher of Straight Up Food

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I must admit that I’ve tried to eat kale many times in my life.  I KNOW how good it is for me, but like many vegetables can be it has a distinct and somewhat bitter taste.  I just couldn’t do it. Most people recognize it as the fake, dark green lettuce looking stuff they throw on plates at a restaurant as “garnish”.

Once we decided to give up meat as of January, I was committed to trying new foods and old ones that I had previously scoffed at in order to be the healthiest I can be.  I had to find a way to make them tasty.  This recipe that I found is what converted me.  This salad makes me eat kale and LIKE it each week, and I’m now eating kale chips too.  The lemon juice and honey (or agave nectar) soften the kale and take the bitterness out of it.

Reasons to eat kale:

*One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C, and K (Web MD)

*Kale is packed with antioxidants, and research shows that it can lower your risks of 5 different types of cancer: bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.

*Kale contains lutein which keeps the eyes and vision healthy.

*Kale is a great resource for minerals such as copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus which control blood pressure and iron which controls red blood cell production.

The Food Network’s Aarti Sequiera posted this recipe on line.  Here is the link:

Massaged Kale Salad

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons ( substitute pistachios, sunflower seeds or whatever I have on hand.

You can also use other sweet fruits if you’re not a mango fan.  Peaches, strawberries or whatever is in season are also a great substitute.

I started with lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale that I found at our local King Family Farm and Market.

I had to look up the different kinds of kale before hitting the farmer’s market to re-educate myself on the different types of kale.  Here’s a link from Eco Localizer that might help you before you go shopping.

Photo guide to different varieties of kale

The salad will taste better if you cut off the branchy ends of the kale and remove the spines after washing it.  Then I just cut the pieces into bite size and toss in the bowl.

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. I minimize the oil because of calories from fat (100% of the calories in any oil come from fat).  Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey (or agave nectar to taste) and freshly ground black pepper. Add oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.   Then top with the cut fruit and seeds of your choice and enjoy!

The girls are out of school today so it’s another lunch at home.  I am always grateful for the easy of fun kitchen tools.  I just bought the puzzle piece set of 4 LunchPunches.  They take no more time to use than making a regular sandwich, but they make it so much more fun!  Both kids’ sandwiches are on whole grain bread with almond butter & agave nectar.  Miss G’s has an avocado half with a tomato half in where the pit was.  In the green flower cup are dried cherries with a strawberry heart on top.

Miss A has the same sandwich with a puzzle piece of avocado and apple on the top.  The green container has dried cherries in it and on the far right is a strawberry heart.  Wishing everyone a great weekend!

Still spring break here so lunches are at home every day. Miss G insisted on helping me with lunch today. I promised her that I’d let her help me more often so she chose the cutters to use and wanted to make lunch for her sister too. Here she is learning how to cut the shapes out of the bread.

She wanted the cute animal faces on her sandwiches so we stamped those on there too. She had peanut butter & agave nectar sandwiches on whole grain bread. A pick of seedless green grapes and below that watermelon squares and 2 halves of a black plum. In the middle is a strawberry. She ate the entire thing because she was SO proud that she made it.

Then next she was on to little A’s lunch. She made her a small car, a star and a shell shaped sandwich that looked more like a small tree when it was done. She also made her a bowl of grapes and car & shell shaped watermelon pieces. Even little A ate almost all her lunch today.

It’s spring break week here in Florida so the girls are eating at home.  It’s incredibly warm here again too so it feels like spring too.  Miss G is definitely in a girly girl phase.  Everything must be princesses, pink, flowery and fancy.  I went with butterflies for today’s theme.  In the yellow butterfly cup is leftover cannellini bruschetta with rice vinegar, fresh basil from the garden, mini heirloom and grape tomatoes from the local market mixed with salt & pepper.  It’s great on bread but awesome without it too.  At top right on the plate are heart-shaped strawberries, below that is a small black plum cut into a butterfly shape with pick antennae.  Her sandwich is a whole grain bread butterfly with almond butter and agave nectar.  On top are peeled plum slices on the wings and another slice of black plum for the body and more colored picks for antennae.

Little A had a flower themed lunch today.   Since she turned 2 it’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to whether she’ll devour the whole lunch or smile and chuck it all on the floor.  Today she went with option C which was to push the food around on her plate a bit, make a pattern in the applesauce and then proclaim that she’s “all done”.   I try.  Her sandwich is a whole grain flower with almond butter and agave with a blueberry on top and a snap pea crisp for the stem.  The yellow flower cup has cinnamon applesauce and a grape in it.  Below that are sections of black plum in a flower shape and next to that are a couple of strawberry flowers.

I was taking some pictures for a class to demonstrate how to make simple faces so I used the leftovers from last night to make Miss G’s lunch today. The hair ended up looking like a hockey helmet, but I am grateful that she’s 3 and doesn’t care!  The sandwich is on whole grain bread, crinkle cut carrot hair & mouth, Veggy “cheese eyes with cucumber pupils and a raisin nose stuck on with agave nectar.  Above the head is a pick of mini heirloom tomatoes and mini cucumber slices.  In the blue cup are dried cranberries and a strawberry on top.  Below in the red cup is a plum mouse with cucumber eyes & nose sitting on a bed of barley.  Miss G’s lunch is packed in an Easy Lunch Box We are still keeping with the meat and dairy free theme in our house, and the kids are adapting surprisingly well!

Little A gets a flowery lunch today.  She also has an almond butter and jam sandwich on whole grain with a cucumber slice in the middle.  She doesn’t eat cucumber, but I keep putting in new vegetables and fruits for her to try.  It can take up to 20 times for some children to decide they like and will eat a new food.  I just keep the quantities small so I’m not throwing out a lot of food.  The small green flower cup has dried cranberries in it and the large one has sliced plums and a sliced strawberry in it pack in her LunchBots Duo.  Both girls get ice water each day with their lunches.

The girls are off to play this morning so mommy can get a few things accomplished this morning.  I decided last minute to have them stay through lunch.  Miss G gets a flower LunchPunch cut sandwich with almond butter & jam.  She has red grapefuit in the purple cup and a peeled & sliced kiwi in the pink cup.  The flower cutout has agave nectar in it and inside the heart container are Craisins all packed in her Easy Lunch Box.

Little Miss A has a smaller version.  Her is an almond butter & jam in whole grain bread made from the new LunchPunch set.  She got a little ice cream cone, agave nectar to stick sprinkles and fruit leather for the cone details which are SURE to fall off from all the shaking she does.  She insists on wearing her “pack pack” and RUNS with it on so I’m sure it doesn’t look cute by the time she eats hers. On the right are dried apricots, sliced strawberries and Craisins in the heart container packed in her LunchBots stainess Duo.  Both girls have ice water in kids CamelBak bottles with their lunch.


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