Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sides: Banana Snack Cake

This snack cake is so simple, so few ingredients, so moist. Frosting is not even required!

This is another great after-school snack or side to stick in a lunch box. Or both! Since it's made in a 9 x 13 cake pan, you'll have enough for a couple of days, easy.

I found this recipe on but made some changes according to reviews.

Banana Snack Cake

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Mix all three ingredients well. Pour mix into a 9x13 pan that has been spraying with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350° for about 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. May be served as is or topped with whipped cream.

The frosting pictured is 4 oz. cream cheese (softened), 8 oz. whipping cream and 1 box of sugar free banana pudding. Can use regular pudding. Whipped together until creamy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Egg Salad, Salsa and Cheddar Sandwich

I made this for my high schooler because eggs, salsa and cheddar cheese are her 3 favorite foods. When she came home she said, "I opened my lunch box and looked at the sandwich, everyone at the lunch table looked at it in disgust and I told them that 'I think my mom has pushed it too far this time'. But then I took a bite... and boy was it good!"

If you or your kids love eggs, salsa and cheese too, I hope you'll give this one a try. I don't even love those foods (but I like them a lot) and I enjoyed this sandwich.

Egg Salad, Salsa and Cheddar Sandwich

  • 2 boiled eggs
  • 1-2 tsp mayo (just enough for the egg to bind)
  • a spoonful of salsa
  • 1 slice of cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • whole wheat or multi-grain hamburger bun
Take a fork to the boiled eggs and mash. Add just enough mayo for the eggs to bind. Add salt and pepper. Put slice of cheese on bread. Add about half the egg mixture, then top with salsa, then add the rest of the egg. This is to prevent the salsa from making the bread soggy.

sandwich tip-  actually 2 eggs make this quite a bit of filling and 1 egg isn't quite enough, so three eggs should make 2 sandwiches perfectly. but that may be a matter of preference.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Snack Mix

Happy Fall, Ya'll!

I recently saw this right here and I just had to share it here on Lorinda's Lunch Box Lowdown.

What a sweet side for the lunch box. A side and a treat, all in one. What I love is that like all things trail mix, you mix and match as you please. Don't like it? Leave it out. Have a better idea? Add it in. Mine is a tad bit different than her's, who got the idea here, but she didn't make it exactly the same either.

Here is what I added, no measurements here-
Fall Snack Mix

candy corn
semi-sweet chocolate chips
baby Goldfish

I would love to hear what YOU would add (or take away) from this Fall Snack Mix.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

5 Layer Dip

A 5 Layer Dip (or a 7 Layer Dip, if that's how many layers your recipe has) can easily take the place of a sandwich in a lunch box. Especially if you have the right sized container to make the right amount of dip. My containers hold 8 ounces which is "a gracious plenty" (as my mother-in-law says) for my children.

A 5 Layer Dip for a lunch box is a great thing to make when you are already making the dip for an event but it's also easy to make after any Mexican dinner night, when you already have these ingredients on hand.

If you don't already have your own favorite recipe and would like to try my simplified version, here goes-

5 Layer Dip

refried beans
sour cream, with a little taco seasoning mixed in
shredded cheese

Evenly spread each item in order on a container. Serve with chips.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sides: Sweet and Salty Peanuts

I have been putting nuts in my childrens lunch boxes for quite some time but I am telling you, since buying these cute tins, I am enjoying it even more.

 Cute tins + healthy + tastey = what-are-you-waiting-for??

(p.s. My older boys were home when I was baking them and the spices had the house smelling so good they were about to go crazy.)

Sweet and Salt Peanuts

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp salt (if using unsalted nuts)
1 egg white
3 cups peanuts (other nuts would work), divided

Preheat oven to 250°F. Mix sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt (if using) in a small bowl. Beat egg white in large bowl until foamy. Add 2 cups nuts. Toss to coat well. Add spice mixture. Toss to coat nuts evenly. Spread nuts in single layer on lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake 1 hour, stirring once half way through. Cool slightly and break apart. Cool completely. Add the 1 cup of peanuts that were reserved. You can store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pumpkin Snack Cake

Fall is so close I can taste it! No really, I can, because I decided I was baking something Pumpkin, even if we aren't technically there!

This recipe is so easy and yet so delicious. You can stick it in a lunch box or have as an after-school snack. It will be a winner either way.

And know that you are serving something with great health benefits!

Pumpkin is low in fat and calories and rich in disease-fighting nutrients such as:
  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Fiber
  • Vitamins C and E
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Pantothenic acid
Make sure to use dark chocolate, to add even more health benefits.

Pumpkin Snack Cake

1 box of Spice Cake Mix
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In large mixing bowl add Spice Cake mix and add can of pumpkin. Stir until well incorporated. Add chocolate chips and stir. Spray a 9 X 9 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Have you seen the Uncrustables in the freezer section at your grocery store and thought, 'By golly, that's just a PB&J without the crust...frozen...' and it's true, that is all it is. No secret recipe there.

But I say, don't waist any part of the sandwich, leave the crust on! Removing the crust can leave the child still hungry after lunch.

Making and freezing a PB& J is a wonderful idea though. I like to come home on grocery shopping day and use a whole loaf of bread to make PB&J's to stick in the freezer. It's wonderful to know that you have sandwiches already made for those days that you just don't have time, just snag from the freezer and toss into the lunch box. Of course, making your own (as opposed to buying Uncrustables) saves money and even better, you have the wheat or white option and can pick your own jelly; We always use an all fruit jelly but even better, I can choose raspberry, black cherry, etc. I don't think you get those options using the pre-made kind.

Oh, I just must write it out in recipe form. :)


  • Make a PB&J
  • Place in ziplock sandwich bag
  • Freeze

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cucumber Sandwich

 I recently was putting together basic turkey sandwiches for my kids when I realized that I was out of my typical green addition, which is usually spinach and sometimes lettuce. While staring dumbfounded in the fridge, I spotted some cucumbers and went with it. After school my littlest one told me several times that she just loved cucumbers on her sandwich. So a Cucumber Sandwiches it is!

The original Cucumber Sandwich comes from Great Britain and comes on very thin bread that has a very thin layer of butter to prevent the bread from getting soggy by the cucumber. The inspiration for this sandwich is the American version which uses cream cheese instead of butter and crusts may remain on, because America can be rebellious like that. I am even going so far as to use a bagel because I am rebellious like that. Sometimes I love traditions, and sometimes I love to break tradition.

Cucumber Sandwich

  • 2 pickling cucumbers, shredded and squeezed dry using paper towels
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened (I use light)
  • 1/2 onion powder
  • 1 T mayo
Zip all 4 ingredients in a blender until smooth, place in a small container and return to refrigerator until ready to use.

per sandwich
  • Whole Wheat Bagel Thins
  • 2 T. Benedictine spread
  • 1 pickling cucumber
  • pinch of dill weed
  • salt and pepper
Spread Benedictine spread on both sides of bagel, top with sliced cucumber, then dill weed and salt and pepper. Best results when made the night before and refrigerated over night.

** Because this sandwich is so light, I like to add a boiled egg to the lunch box on Cucumber Sandwich days.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sides: Granola Bars

Granola Bars make a great addition to the lunch box or can be a filling after school snack. I think I finally found the recipe, the one that will get ingrained into my brain, the go-to recipe that I have memorized for all of our Granola Bar needs. I found this recipe just a few weeks ago in the local newspaper and I have made it several times already. This one is a keeper and can be easily played with, swapping one nut for another, one fruit for another, etc.

I use fat free sweetened condensed milk which changes the calories and fat, but just a smidgen. But the taste is the same. I also usually love to use mini chocolate chips but in this case I think a burst of chocolate is better than barely there.

Granola Bars

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried berries
  • 1 can (14 oz) fat free sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 325. Line 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, sides and all.
Mix all ingredients in bowl. Put in pan and pat down until firmly packed. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool to room temperature. When bar is firm, remove from pan and slice into 16 1X4 inch bars. Can be frozen or stored in air right container for up to a week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jalapeño Popper Sandwich

I am so excited to share this tastey sandwich. Obviously this one might not be for the young ones but the cream cheese tames the jalapeño so it's not too spicey for my family. And the bacon... oh the bacon. The moderation... why do we have to moderate? Using light cream cheese and only 2 slices of bacon makes this sandwich come in at 8 grams of fat and 190 calories. On days like this, the rest of the space in the lunch box is filled with fruits and veggies only.

Jalapeño Popper Sandwich

  • 8 oz light spreadable cream cheese
  • Jalapeño, 3-4 to taste, canned or roasted, diced
  •  bacon
  • whole wheat bagel thin
Make the cream cheese spread in advance by dicing jalapeño's and stirring into cream cheese and returning the mix to the cream cheese container and returning to the refridgerator. This will make enough jalapeño cream cheese for about 8 sandwiches. Per sandwich, spread about 2 Tablespoons cream cheese mix on bagel, top with 2 slices of bacon, top and wrap to send off to lunch.