Tag Archives: lunch

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: A grab-and-go meal for any time of day

12 Sep

A new grab-and-go idea from my friend Gina!

I love social media and the ability to find new ideas from people who’ve either thought of them first, or tried them out first, and been successful.

Recently, our friend Gina had shared that she has successfully made ahead and frozen egg sandwiches as a quick grab-and-go breakfast either for school days or camping trips or whenever they’re most needed. She uses Bagel Thins and her family loves them.

I decided that this school year, as soon as I had some time, I’d try out her idea for my family. I always have great intentions, and I can’t always do something like this all the time, but I figure that any time I can be prepared ahead of time, is better than not.

Eight bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches were ready to go.

This past weekend, I was able to get the Bagel Thins and give this a try, and I was so happy when my daughter was able to grab a quick egg sandwich for her breakfast later on in the week, deeming the meal a success.

Gina’s instructions were simple: be sure each part of the sandwich is fully cooled, and wrap in paper towels for reheating. The Bagel Thins bag makes for great storage in and of itself, so I just cooked, cooled, wrapped, labeled and froze.

As I was cooking, my daughter Liz was so excited and before even trying one out, she requested sausage patties for the next time around, so I knew she had high expectations for this trial. I used precooked bacon to cut down on some of the prep time (one slice cut in half per sandwich), and I used my counter-top griddle to cook the eggs all at once. I was able to cook six and then two. I cooled them all on a cookie sheet, which I’d popped in the oven for a couple of minutes first, just to fully melt the cheese.

I hope that I can continue this meal prep idea as it gives us an additional breakfast or on-the-go meal for those times when we want something filling and don’t have a lot of time to make anything.

Storing these right in the bag was super convenient.

I appreciate the sharing of ideas from all of my family and friends, and I love this idea from Gina. I hope that we can continue to make these throughout the school year, along with other grab-and-go ideas for those busy days and nights. I encourage you to give it a try too, if you’re looking for something new for your own family’s busy schedule.

Have a great week!

One banana, two banana, three banana, four…..

6 Oct
I think we have at least one too many bananas!

I think we have at least one too many bananas!

At our house, we tend to go through a lot of bananas in a week. We use them by themselves, in shakes, cookies, muffins and breads and we even freeze them for future use. Even still, there’s a limit to just how many bananas one family can eat.

Last week we were out of bananas, so when my husband was in the grocery store, he bought two bunches. The next day as I was in a different grocery store, picking up the remainder of what we needed, I also grabbed a bunch of bananas because I hadn’t yet seen the ones he bought.

I hung my bunch up on the hook in the kitchen, only to have him bring his two bunches up later that day. Suddenly, we had *a lot* of bananas.

We’re already down one bunch since that day, but we have two bunches to go, so I’ve been gathering up some of my most banana-y recipes and putting them on the top of my list.

This week, I had one of my favorite lunches, but it’s one I can’t have every day because it’s not really stellar in the way of being very healthy. It’s got a banana in it though, so that’s good, and peanut butter, so that’s good too. If you decide to wash it down with a glass of milk, that’s a bonus.

I read about this sandwich online somewhere, and whenever I eat it, I imagine it’s the type of sandwich that would be featured on a show like “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” where you see amazing things made into a sandwich or piled on top of a waffle, or some other sort of unusual meal.

Ooey and goey, this sandwich is a twist on the old school lunchbox version.

Ooey and goey, this sandwich is a twist on the old school lunchbox version.

The Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich is a twist on an old favorite lunchbox staple, the peanut butter and banana sandwich. The recipe I saw online actually had cream cheese and honey in it also, but that didn’t appeal to me as much. I have done this sandwich in three different varieties so far: peanut butter and banana, with peanut butter, honey and banana, and with peanut butter, Nutella and banana. I’ve eaten it for breakfast some days or for lunch other days. The added touch of the grilled bread makes the sandwich warm and gooey. I’m sure there are other varieties you could try, including the one with cream cheese and honey if you so desire.

Enjoy today’s banana recipe, and feel free to share with me some of your favorite banana recipes in the comments below!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

13 Nov
Lunch or dinner, this was a great new recipe!

Lunch or dinner, this was a great new recipe!

Things are constantly getting lost in our house.

“Have you seen…”

“Does anyone know where…..”

“I can’t find my……”

This recipe is one of those lost items. I’d ripped it out of a magazine over the summer. It’s from the June 2013 Woman’s Day magazine. I thought it sounded great.

My husband’s family is Lebanese, he loves Lebanese food, especially tabbouleh, and so does Elizabeth. I love it as well. I thought for sure it’d be a hit.

If I could find it.

Once I ripped it out and showed him, he agreed it sounded great, and then I never saw the page again.

Until last week.

We happened to move the couch away from the wall to get something one of the kids had seen fall back there, and lo and behold…my Woman’s Day recipe!

It just so happened that we’d made quinoa the night before as a side dish for our dinner. We had leftovers and it was in the fridge already.

With the quinoa cooked and cooled previously, this was a super-easy lunch to throw together in the morning before school for Don and Elizabeth’s lunchboxes. I even had sliced cucumbers leftover from the day before too, so I was really already on my way.

The votes came back with big thumbs up for the new salad. I sent wheat pita pockets on the side. Elizabeth scooped hers up with the bread, Don put his right inside the bread.

We had a little bit leftover and they used it as a side dish one night with dinner.

This is a great, quick tabbouleh and if you like Middle Eastern foods, give this a try!


Woman’s Day June 2013

In a medium bowl, whisk together:
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon olive oil
a pinch each of salt and pepper

3/4 cup cooked quinoa1/2 cup canned chickpeas
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 seedless cucumber, chopped

Toss to combine.

The most exciting news EVER….

24 Jul

What could my exciting news be??


You won’t believe it.

I’ve been keeping this a secret for SO LONG, more than a month, and it was SO HARD!

Okay I told *a few* people.

And of course my immediate family.

But that’s it.

Do you want to know??? I know you do!

Okay here it is.

I would sit down if I were you. It’s big.

Caroline and I are going to Washington DC.

We’re going to meet THE FIRST LADY!!!!

That’s right! Michelle Obama!! We’re meeting Michelle Obama!!!

Yes, seriously!

Okay. Let me regroup. Here’s how it happened….

Back around the end of May, my editor at the Cranston Herald, Meg, received a press release from Senator Jack Reed’s office announcing a recipe contest that Epicurious was putting out in conjunction with the White House. One winner, a parent/child team, would be chosen from every single state. You can read a similar press release here.

Now Meg is a big fan of The Whole Bag of Chips. She emailed me the press release and said, “You should enter this with one of your kids.”

I took a look, and thought, “Hmmm….maybe I should.”

So I broached it to my kids, but there was one problem: you could enter with one child at a time, ages 8-12, but if you entered with more than one child, only one could win and if one was a winner, the whole family doesn’t get to go to Washington, just the one winner and their parent.

Right off the bat, Alex is seven, so I couldn’t enter with her. My first initial thought was to enter with Caroline because she cooks more in the kitchen than Liz and is slightly more independent in the kitchen, and additionally, she’s 12, the top age. She couldn’t enter again if it ran next year.

But, Elizabeth, upon hearing about the contest said, “Well, I’m between 8 and 12 I want to enter too.” So I explained the whole thing about not being able to win with both, even though I could enter with both.

Elizabeth said, “That’s okay, if Caroline won, I’d be happy for her.”

Caroline said, “I don’t know. If you won, I think I’d be too sad. I don’t know if I can do it.”

I was stumped. I didn’t know what we should do. We had some time though, I let them think on it, and I hoped that Caroline would come around and both of them could enter.

One day at the beginning of June, I received an email from Caroline that said, “Okay, I’ll do it.” (I’m pretty sure she wrote that email from in our house, with me right in the house with her, but it didn’t matter to me. She wanted to do it.)

And so, we did it.

Elizabeth and Don with their contest entry, a tuna wrap and all the fixins’!

On June 9, after dinner we got down to business.  Separately we had to come up with our meals, cook up our meals, type up our entries which included the recipe with ingredients and step-by-step instructions and a photo of a complete meal including side dishes and beverages, as well as a short essay.

We have a tiny kitchen. We had to take turns.

Elizabeth had chosen to enter with Don because their healthy lunchtime recipe was one he makes for her lunch a lot: a tuna wrap with lettuce and tomato. On the side she had celery and carrots and a glass of coffee milk (a delicacy here).

Lunch anyone?

Caroline and I came up with an egg white omelette with broccoli and mozzarella cheese because she will only eat egg whites, and she loves broccoli. On the side we had wheat toast and mixed fruit (kiwi and nectarines).

We sent in our entries that night. The deadline was June 17, the night before the last day of school.

That Friday afternoon, following the deadline, I received an email. Caroline and I were finalists for our state. I couldn’t believe it. I asked Don if he’d gotten one, but he had not.

We had to tell them.

I let Caroline see the email first. Then we told Liz. I was worried at how she’d react. Her eyes got bright, but she said, “Caroline, I’m so happy for you. Here, have my lollipop stick,” and she handed her the empty stick. That was the end of it.

I emailed Meg, “We’re finalists! OMG” and began filling out all the paper work needed to complete the next level of the contest. We had five days to get it filled out, notarized and postmarked.

Then, we waited.

We knew from the rules that there could be up to three finalists per state but that’s all we knew; that and the fact that only one of those finalists would win.

And waited.

We wondered. We’re a small state. How many entries could there be?

And waited.

It was agonizing. The original notification date was supposed to be by July 16. I slept about ten seconds the night before.

But we didn’t hear anything.

I checked in. “Just checking to see if all the winners had been notified yet?”

No. Not yet. No one.

We were still in the running. The winners would be notified that week.

So we waited and waited some more. Every day seemed like a week. I checked my email ten million times a day if we were home, to see if we heard anything yet.

By that Thursday I checked in again. A formal email went out. Competition was tough this year. They needed more time. The official notification date would now be Tuesday July 24. We’d hear either way.

And now here it is, Tuesday, July 24.

And guess what???  Well you know already. WE WON!!!!

Caroline and I will be traveling to Washington to represent the state of Rhode Island at the Kids’ State Dinner, which will be held next month!!

I’m so incredibly excited!! But even more so, I’m so incredibly proud of my kids. I’m proud of them for taking the risk to enter, proud of them for being healthy eaters, for being cooks in the kitchen, and for loving each other and us, enough to want to compete against each other and yet be willing to support each other at the same time. To me, and I’m choked up as I write this, that says a lot about the strength of their bond with each other and their bond with us. I love my kids so much, and I’m so, so proud.

I am incredibly proud of my kids!!

I will keep you updated as the trip takes place and you can be sure there will be photos to go along with it. They are creating a free downloadable eBook containing all the recipes from all the winners for each state, so our recipe will be published in that cookbook. I’ll let you know when that becomes available as well.

We won. Can you believe it?

Our healthy lunchtime recipe: Egg white omelette with broccoli and cheese.

My daily lunchtime dilemma…and a recipe

4 May

I dread the daily lunchtime dilemma.

I have such a hard time with lunch. I always have, even for my kids. I don’t love lunch unless it’s leftover dinner or unless it’s breakfast for lunch. But, if we have no leftovers and if I have had breakfast for breakfast and don’t want it again for lunch, I get kind of stuck. Some days my work schedule is such that I can eat a late breakfast and skip lunch altogether. Other days I have to eat lunch for lunch and I often just don’t know what to have.

This week I had one of those days. I’d done breakfast for breakfast and I was working from home so I had to eat lunch at home and there were no leftovers. I opened and closed the fridge a half dozen times, and the pantry closet never had anything new in it no matter how many times I looked.

Finally, I was completely starving.


I opened the fridge again, and I saw two things that struck my fancy that I hadn’t noticed before: leftover cooked bacon, and a fruit dip from my mom (one of my all-time faves) that had just a little bit left in the container. Somehow those two things came together in my head and I knew I had a fabulous little lunch in store for myself.

A few minutes on broil in the toaster oven and I had a crispy baked potato with bacon and cheese for my lunch.

Along with the leftover bacon, I pulled out some cheddar cheese. With the dip I pulled out a kiwi. I went to my potato bin and got myself the biggest baked potato I could find and I threw it in the microwave until it was cooked through. I opened it up, put in some butter, mixed it around and put the bacon crumbled on top. Over that, I grated the cheddar cheese.

I then put the whole thing in the toaster oven on broil for just a few minutes. When I took it out, it was crispy and piping hot.

It was delicious. I was in heaven.

And then, my mom’s almond fruit dip…this dip is so good! It’s great on strawberries, or on pineapple or on kiwi or really on just about anything. We’ve done grapes and cantaloupe too, it’s yummy.

This dip is great for company, or in this case, for me.

There was just enough left for me to make a little side dish for myself with the dip and a kiwi, although I could’ve skipped the kiwi. I’ve been known to eat this dip with a spoon. The kiwi was healthy though, right? Right.

It was perfect.

You too, can have my perfect lunch at your house!

Here is the recipe for my mom’s Almond Cream Dip, which according to my recipe card, she got from a 1982 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine.


One 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 ounce vanilla instant pudding

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

1 tsp. almond extract


Prepare pudding using only one cup of milk.

Fold in whipped cream and almond extract.

Refrigerate if not served right away.

Enjoy! And tell me, what do you like to eat for lunch?