Monday, February 28, 2011

Honey & Chicken Salad

Honey can be a great immune system booster and also possesses carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumor properties. Besides all that, it's sweet and tastes great. (It certainly kicks chicken salad up a notch.)

Honey & Chicken Salad

  • 2 13 oz cans of Chicken Breast (or about 2 cups cubes or shredded chicken)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste** (salt is not needed if using canned chicken)
Drain canned chicken and add chicken to bowl. Add celery, cranberries and pecan. Fold in yogurt and honey. Can be served as a wrap with spinach (as pictured above) or would also be great on hot dog bun or rolls.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sides: Cinnamon Cream and Berries

I found the most gorgeous, most plumpest blueberries just the other day and I was happy to send off some fresh fruit in the lunch boxes today after resorting to fruit strips for a day or two.

What kicks this simple (but delicious) side up a notch is adding cinnamon. If you have a cinnamon grinder, all the better. Cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. There have been a lot of studies that have shown that cinnamon can help relieve pain, boost cognitive function and memory, is a natural food preservative, has an anti-clotting effect on the blood, reduce the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cells, and much more.

Don't you love it when someone tastes great and has amazing health benefits?

Cinnamon Cream and Berries
(makes 1- easily doubled)
  • 1-2 fresh strawberries
  • 5-10 blueberries
  • 1 spoonful of vanilla yogurt (I used Activia)
  • cinnamon, preferably fresh ground
Dice strawberries in bite sized pieces and add to a 4 oz. container. Add blueberries and top with a spoonful of yogurt. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste, cover and pack.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tips: Fruit Strips

After a long weekend I woke to yet another morning of lunch box making but had a problem. There was only a handful of grapes left in the fridge that were headed to the raisin stage and a few clementines in the fruit basket that were also going bad. Our weekend started with a gracious plenty of fruit but with most foods in this house, it goes fast.

Thankfully I keep a supply of fruit strips for such occasions. Granted, I have to hide them so that I have them on such days, but at least they can be hidden, unlike fresh fruit. Of course, I'd prefer to pack fresh fruit but and am grateful for this alternative.

I am also thinking that this summer when I am making jam, I may also have to make some fruit leather.

And that, my friends, is Lorinda's Lunch Box Lowdown for today.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Strawberry and Cheese Spread

Why not have crackers and a cheese spread as the main dish in the lunch box? No really, hear me out.

A Grilled Cheese Sandwich is simply bread and cheese and it works.

Crackers = Bread
Cheese Spread= Cheese slice


This is inspired by a Southern Living recipe.

Strawberry and Cheese Spread
  • 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • a dash of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • Strawberry Jam (I used Smucker's Simply Fruit)
  • Crackers (I used Kashi's Stoneground 7 grain party crackers)
Stir together cheese, mayo, onion and spices, until incorporated. Then add walnuts. Spread a thin layer of cheese spread in individual container and top with a couple of spoonfuls of strawberry jam.


If you dare, make this into a sandwich using a bagel. It may not be the prettiest, but it is mighty tasty!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sides: Itty Bitty Veggie Trays

Variety in one sitting (or standing) is what makes a veggie tray a veggie tray. Nibble on a little of this and a little of that and you won't feel carrot (or celery, or cucumber, or... you get the point) overload. So why not make an Itty Bitty Veggie Tray? Just do as you would if you were making a big one except slice and dice a little less and put them in little containers.

I would love to send these off with a healthier alternative to Ranch dressing, ie. cottage cheese or hummus... and my children will eat those alternatives. But when it comes to veggies, they are stuck on Ranch.
 (I hold out hope....)

Itty Bitty Veggie Trays
  • sliced carrots
  • sliced red pepper
  • sliced celery
  • a little broccoli
  • a little cauliflower
  • grape tomatoes (tomatoes only go into one lunch box in this house)
  • any other veggie you have on hand that your child (or spouse) will eat
  • Ranch or healthier alternative
  • little containers

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sides: Berry Nutty Chocolate Bites

Almonds are good for your brain, your cholesterol, your heart, your blood pressure, and your skin. Because of the manganese, copper and Riboflavin in almonds, they also can give you a boost of energy. And that's just one of the healthy ingredients in this treat.

This recipe calls for toasted almonds (almonds are at their tastiest when toasted). Simply put almonds on a shallow pan in a 350 degree oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Berry Nutty Chocolate Bites

  • 6 oz. dark chocolate
  • 1 cup dried berries (I used a mix of cherries, blueberries and cranberries)
  • 1 cup toasted almonds (slivered almonds are what's picture, but sliced works beautifully)
Melt chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds, adding 15 seconds at a time until just barely melted. When melted, add berries and almonds and mix. Place tablespoon sized peices on wax paper or parchment paper. Place in freezer until hardened. (this only taked about 15 minutes) Store in airtight container in fridge.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sides: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Do your little Valentine's deserve a little treat in their lunch box? Why not Chocolate Dipped Strawberries? Use dark chocolate for a more intense chocolate flavor and because dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant. Sorry milk chocolate lovers, the milk in milk chocolate interferes with the absorption of antioxidants and therefor cannot be called health food. Strawberries are high in vitamin C (even higher than oranges) which is great, especially this time of year.

You can read here about tempering chocolate and washing fruits here.

Happy Dipping!

Look for more healthy Valentine treat ideas this weekend.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Almost Famous Sandwich

I am a huge fan of Elvis (huge!) and I am certain it stems from the sweet memories of hearing my dad happily sing Elvis songs while riding in the car with him. Things just felt good and right in the world when my dad was singing Blue Suede Shoes.

Do you know what else is good and right? Elvis sandwiches. Are we all familiar with the Elvis Sandwich? Peanut butter, banana, grilled with butter? Oh so warm and deliciously naughty and completely inappropriate for the lunch box.

This sandwich isn't quite as good as the real deal (obviously) but it's almost as good as the famous Elvis Sandwich, which is why it's appropriately called Almost Famous. I've been experimenting with Banana Jam recipes and I am still searching for the perfect one. (I want one without sugar because by golly if Polaner can make a fruit spread only using fruit, why can't I?) I have successfully tried this recipe using half the sugar (and it is good!) and plan to try this recipe next.

Almost Famous Sandwich
  • peanut butter
  • banana jam
  • sandwich bread
Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread, the banana jam on the other. Join the two and enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mayo-less Tuna Sandwich

Devin Alexander is who deserves the credit for the tuna sandwich hold the mayo. Using hummus in place of mayonnaise keeps the tuna spreadable but adds fiber, (more) protein, vitamins and minerals- such as folic acid, zinc, and magnesium.

In the Biggest Loser Cookbook that I found Devin's recipe, she calls for red onions and put the tuna spread on an English Muffin, which is quite delicious but red onions (unless hidden) do not fly with my children. I added just a touch of Italian dressing to add a little zing, since omitting the red onion seemed to omit zing.

Mayo-less Tuna Sandwich
makes 4

  • two cans of tuna, in water
  • 1/8 heaping cup hummus
  • 3 slices of cucumber
  • 1 tsp. Italian Dressing
  • 1 sandwich thin
Mix tuna, hummus and dressing in a bowl. Spread on sandwich thin then top with cucumber.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

I heard a rumor- I heard that there is a big football game Sunday. I also heard that people like to eat Buffalo Wings on game day. That is the inspiration for this wrap that only my high schooler was brave enough to take to lunch. Your family may also enjoy this wrap while being all wrapped up in the Super Bowl.

Buffalo Wings go with celery and celery (hold the phone!) comes with potassium, calcium, magnesium, folic acid, iron, phosphorus and vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C. Not including plenty of essential amino acids.

 And we thought celery was only good for being negative calories

Ready for a taste of Super Bowl? Here is the lowdown-  

Buffalo Chicken Wraps
serves 1, easily multiplied

1 chicken breast, grilled or baked
1/2 T. Hot Buffalo Sauce (or to taste)
2 T. Blue Cheese salad dressing (or Ranch)
1 T. Mayo
1 celery stem, diced
1 slice of cheese (I used provolone)
1 wrap

Slice chicken breast and toss with hot sauce.  In separate bowl mix salad dressing, mayo and diced celery. Smear dressing and celery mixture in the middle of wrap. Add cheese, then chicken. Top with spinach. Roll into a wrap and cover with plastic wrap.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken Wrap

This is a great lunch box recipe when you have leftover chicken, baked or grilled or rotisseried.

The hummus adds iron, vitamin C and B6, manganese, and copper to the wrap. I like to add spinach instead of lettuce. Spinach has lutein, vitamins A & C, calcium, folic acid, and magnesium. In other words, this wrap packs a pretty nutritional punch and it's tasty on top of that.

So here is the lowdown-

Mediterranean Chicken Wrap
makes 1

  • chicken, about 3/4 of a chicken breast, cut into sliced
  • 1 T. hummus
  • 1 t. Italian salad dressing
  • 1 T. Feta
  • spinach (to taste)
  • diced tomato (to taste), or tomato wedges
  • 1 wrap (I used Toufayan Tomato Wraps)
Spread hummus in the middle of the wrap then add sliced chicken, spinach, tomato, and cheese. Drizzle Italian dressing. Roll wrap tight. Wrap in plastic wrap.