Oct 30, 2007

mini-muffins for my muffins.

I don't actually call my sons my little muffins; though when they were quite a bit smaller, I did occasionally call one of them peanut and perhaps even 'my little pumpkin.'

Now that they are a bit bigger I call them sweetheart, doll and darling. No more 'how is my cutey-cute?' Or my 'sweet little munchkin.'

Name-calling aside, even bigger kids like mini muffins; it just takes fewer bites to inhale a mini muffin than it used to.

I am a big fan of mini muffins; they are easy to eat when in a hurry, less messy than a large muffin and a nice way to tuck in some fruits, nuts, bran, oat, etc., into lunch. Sometimes I use muffins as a replacement for sandwiches---just to keep the whole brown bag experience interesting. After all, the goal here is to keep the brown bag blues at bay.

These mini muffins were from a mix, so use your favorite recipe or mix and pull out the mini muffin tin to bake off a lunch time treat.

Oct 26, 2007

I can't help it: M 'n' M cookies again.

I make these cookies once in awhile. They don't have a long list of healthy ingredients, so don't hold your breath. (At least there are pecans, and nuts are good source of protein, right?).

These cookies generally show up at our house during holidays, an impulse that coincides with various colored M 'n' Ms. When I go to the store and there are black and orange M 'n' Ms, I just cannot resist. Same goes for red and green around Christmas and all the pale blues and pinks and yellows around Easter.

I think I am a sucker for a touch of holiday, a wink at the season and a smile from my kids who are tickled to find these cookies in their lunch box, again...

M 'n' M Cookies
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups m n ms
3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

Oven to 350. Cream butter and sugars. Add egg, vanilla and mix. Add flour, salt and soda and stir to blend. Mix in M 'n' Ms and pecans. Place in spoonfuls on tray and bake 10-13 minutes. Happy Holidays!

Oct 24, 2007

eggs: crack me up.


Yes, eggs. Put them in your kids' lunches! Hard boiled eggs are a great idea for a brown bag snack.

It might be wise to peel them in advance---though if the lunch break is long enough---leave the cracking up to the kids. It is a rewarding, fun event to peel an egg at noon.

I put in an egg or two, then slide a tiny container into their lunch with a mixture of salt and pepper for dipping.

Oct 18, 2007

tucking in a treat

Nothing says you are special like a special beverage. Don't get me wrong: I think milk and water and boxed juices are great. But for my boys, those are pretty standard brown bag fare. So once in awhile, I like to tuck in a treat---of the drinkable kind.

I happen to know my boys love sparkling apple juice. They only get to drink it on occasion, so when I tuck in an individual size sparkling cider, it takes their brown bag to a level above. An otherwise usual lunch time becomes its own 'occasion,'---and they feel rightly special.

Oct 8, 2007

clever combos for brown bags.

...Or I can just put it together myself. I actually don' t mind all the marketing by grocers, companies and coffee shops that cater to parents who pack or plan for brown bag lunches.

I am amused by all the packaging of lunchable, easy-to-grab, pre-sliced and diced items. The carrots come in small packs with ranch dip, microwave popcorn comes in single servings, craisins are packaged in tiny boxes and apples are pre-sliced and sealed in small bags: all ready to drop into a nearby lunch.

In some instances, I don't mind the quick grabs, especially when I am out of time to cut, slice or sandwich things myself. I especially applaud when these prepared snacks serve to increase the number of healthy options for brown bags.

Coffee shops are even getting into the groove, offering non-pastry options for the mid-morning snack or quick lunch. One such coffee shop offers a small container of fruit, cheese and bread. More precisely fruit/nut bread, with a few slices of apple, some red grapes, a wedge of brie, and small 1/2 inch squares of cheddar and dill havarti. I confess to grabbing this snack, and now my 12 year old asks for it as well.

Sometimes, instead of grabbing the quick fix at the coffee shop, I DO take the time to assemble this healthy snack combination. Into my son's lunch I will put this exact fruit, fruit/nut bread and cheese chunk snack. The flavors together pack a punch, the dill havarti with the fruit/nut bread is our favorite pairing in the pack.

...In fact I sometimes serve dill havarti and fruit and nut studded bread toasts as an appetizer for guests! The good news is this: there are more healthy snack options appearing everywhere, all the time. AND even if you don' t grab them on the go, the snackable packs can simply serve as a bagful of ideas for brown bag lunch making!

Oct 1, 2007

product review: sigg water bottles

A fellow blogger, Michelle, over at What's Cooking, has an impressive site full of information for dinners and snacks and above all: cooking with kids.

She asked me to review a SIGG bottle, the stylish new icon to the water bottle world. We bought one and I gave it to my kids, in passing, to see what feedback they would provide.

One of my sons didn't prefer the metal with water experience. My other son liked it, especially that it could be thrown on its side in the back of a goalie box, where he might steal a drink between saving goals (he is a keeper in soccer, and takes his role very seriously). The one thing my goalie son didn't prefer is that the top was a bit small to fit in normal sized ice cubes. Once the ice is in, though, it DOES keep the water colder for longer than other, non-thermos water bottles.

Mom's take? I like that it keeps the water cold, but prefer wares that can be popped into the dishwasher. Sigg bottles are hand wash only. I DO like the idea of reusable water bottles, instead of buying crate after crate of plastic bottles (though a hard habit to break, I am working on it!). Just reusing a water bottle feels environmentally responsible, if just in the tiniest way.

And did I mention cool? Put these bottles in your kids lunches, to keep them hydrated and hip at the same time.
You can pick out a SIGG bottle with a surfer guy, astronaut, hello kitty, numerous pets and bugs or designs, you name it. If you are going to carry around a water bottle, why not have it be a fashion statement? If you want to buy a SIGG bottle, go visit Michelle and check out her supply. (You can also find Sigg bottles at REI, Whole Foods, and online at MySigg).

Other reviews:

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