Lunch Literature Book Club #fastfoodlover

I’ve pretty much determined that I stink at running a book club. To be better at managing this book club I would need to do a close reading of the chosen book. I have been just plain reading the book, but that’s not good enough to be an excellent book club leader.

Truth is that I don’t have time to do a thorough analysis of various books. I barely have time to read all of my email. I’ve decided that it’s better for me to focus on the core aspects of running this blog, which include actual blogging, reading email, tweeting and facebooking.

To wrap up our discussion of the book, please share your final thoughts on Fast Food Nation to be entered to win this lunch bag:

BYO™ Black Rambler Lunch Bag by Built® NY 12.5” L x 10” W x 6.75” H
As you can tell by the dimensions, it is on the smaller side. The outside is black, but the inside is teal. It’s a lovely bag! To enter leave a comment on this post about Fast Food Nation. I’ll chose a winner randomly and announce it next Friday!

CSA box: Week one (plus a recipe)

I picked up our first CSA box a couple weeks ago. I told my son that we had a special box to open up together and he was thrilled.

We pulled open the cardboard and he exclaimed, “Dere’s food in here!” He was intrigued by the radishes as I have never bought them before and of course he had never laid eyes on them.

Can you guys tell me what herb this is? I have only a little experience with herbs so I can’t say. I’m sad to report that I ended up going bad in my fridge!

There were onions and broccoli!

Lettuce and basil

Spinach and arugula

My son tore into the box and because we were making dinner and he was hungry, he started ripping leaves and nibbling on them. He was not afraid. He already eats lettuce, kale and spinach, so when he encountered the mystery herb (above) and the arugula, he ripped off some and shoved them in his mouth. Unfortunately, he was put off. We both needed to drink some water after we sampled those and he told me with a wrinkled brow, “Wugala is bad!” I hope I never forget that – it was hilarious and I sort of have to agree. It was on the bitter side (as are radishes actually).

The produce was dirty. As in, it had just come from the farm. I was reminded that what we get from the grocery store is spiffed up quite a bit (triple washes on greens and waxes on fruit). The consequence of these beauty treatments is that we forget that our food originated from the ground. Looking at the dirt on the lettuce, I wondered who picked this food for me and how they got it out of the ground. It sounds stupid, but I’ve never harvested food before so I don’t know if people just use their hands or a big knife — a machete even? 🙂 I even wondered if the person who gathered this food for me had enough to eat and if they had a chance to eat some of these veggies too. I never had these thoughts before about my food. The farm that supplys the CSA offers family activities so I’m thinking we’ll take a trip out there to see what it’s like. We also may milk a goat if we go out there on a special day. Yee-haw!

The contents of our box included:

  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • 1 bag of arugula
  • 1 larger bag of spinach
  • 3 bags of lettuce
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1 bunch of onions
  • 4 broccoli heads
  • 1 bunch of mystery herbs

 

A bounty of green. It was really fun for the family. Everything was eaten except for the mystery herbs!

Stay tuned: Next week we get even more diverse and interesting produce!

***

Taco Salad with Lime

I adore taco salads and threw this together for dinner the same night I picked up the CSA box. I normally would never buy as much lettuce as we got so I had to serve more salad on a daily basis for the next week. It made me realize that if everyone ate seasonally, we’d be eating a lot more green. I’ve never been much of a salad person (my dad called it rabbit food), but I’m really trying. It doesn’t hurt that this lettuce from the farm feels special somehow. Taco salad is a nice entry salad for a first-timer.

Taco Salad with Lime

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 jar of salsa
  • 1 bunch red lettuce
  • 1/2 bunch arugula
  • 1/2 – 1 bunch spinach
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 lime per person
  • Tortilla chips

 

Pour olive oil in pan, add meat and sprinkle salt on top. Add salsa. Allow meat to brown. Turn off heat when meat is cooked. 

Wash all greens. Chop lettuce into bite-size pieces and put in a large serving bowl. Add arugula by the handful to taste. Tear or chop spinach and add to bowl. Chop onions and add them. Toss. Quarter limes, place on individual plates. Allow people to serve themselves with tortilla chips on the side or crushed and sprinkled over the salad.

Note: I used salsa in place of taco sauce since I didn’t have taco sauce on hand. I only had peach salsa in the back of the fridge. It leant a sweet flavor to the turkey meat — next time I’ll choose a darker, richer salsa (maybe a chipotle?). Also I used lime as a dressing, you can also add cheese, sour cream or guacamole if you have it and you love it!

Field Trip Lunch

Cheese sandwich, apple, carrots, cookie

 

The end of the school year is the perfect time to head off on class field trips. Students get on buses to go to museums and zoos, but many go on walking field trips to the fire station, local parks, other schools, and local businesses. Walking field trips are often accomplished in just a half day, but usually what and when to feed the kids for lunch has to be considered regardless of the length of the trip.

Some kids take pride in bringing a special lunch from home for excursions outside of the school. Usually those “special” lunches are Lunchables. Here’s how I feel about Lunchables: 1) Processed 2) Super high sodium 3) Can be made at home. Kids who are brand-conscious may not like homemade lunchables very much, but it would be easier, cheaper, and potentially less packaging waste.

The picture above is taken of a school-provided field trip lunch. It consists of a cheese sandwich, an apple, a bag of carrots and a cookie. Hello, I’m a fan, at least on face value. I’d take this over a Lunchable any day. In fact, I think this could be a perfectly acceptable regular school lunch. It contains fresh fruit and veggies and the packaging has been reduced. I think a cookie on a field trip is a nice touch since it’s a special outing. Grilled cheese? Well, I’d need to know the ingredients to make sure there isn’t a paragraph of stuff in there.

Thoughts?

Blogging on WordPress

I’m not really having a lot of fun blogging on WordPress. I hate to sound like a whiner, but I’m having more trouble than I expected. Many of you guys are commenting that you don’t like the ways things look and the commenting process. My biggest beef is that when I upload photos and set up a long post, everything looks great in the text box. It looks just like how everything looked over on Blogger.

Then I click on “Preview.” The photos are this way and that and don’t even match up with the text I so carefully typed. I haven’t had time to troubleshoot HTML.

For example, I have been working on my blog post about our first CSA box of veggies. When I uploaded 11 photos to the post and lined everything up, I clicked “Preview” and pictures were on one side with random ones out of order and text all over. I couldn’t publish something so sloppy and unreadable and because of our recent vacation I didn’t have time to try and figure out what went wrong. So when it came to blogging my weekly “lunch wrap up,” I put the photos in “gallery-style” because at least they wouldn’t be puked all over the page.

Regarding Disqus the commenting program, I thought it was easier to comment using Disqus on other blogs because of the open ID. Another feature I was hoping to set up was getting an email for every comment and the ability respond to comments and manage them directly from my phone. I haven’t been able to activate that feature yet.

Lord help me, I’m screwing this whole thing up. Please be patient with me and keep the feedback coming in. I’m not going to stop working on this thing until I love it. While Blogger was free, I’m actually paying for this set-up.

Luckily, I am taking advantage of my summer. Most teachers put off big projects until June. I save lots of stuff for the summer from car maintenance to doctor visits. I’m doing much of this type of work the days that my son is at day care. He is attending part-time. Last week I took the dog to the vet for his annual check-up. I couldn’t have managed our 100 lb dog with my son in tow, as much as he would have loved visiting with all the doggies and kitties in the waiting room.

I can’t spend my precious child-free days trying to get an HTML tag just so. However, I do need to familiarize myself with WordPress and get better at this. I’m so frustrated!

Lunch Wrap Up: Week of June 13th

I’m off on vacation this week, enjoying some family time. These are the lunches I packed the last full week of work. It was stressful and crazy in the mornings. I barely had a chance to do anything creative. The lunches show it.

My son’s lunches (top) —

Monday: Raw kale, kiwi, muffin, crackers, tuna, applesauce

(Day care menu: Tuna on bread, tomato soup, shredded cheddar, crushed pineapple with vanilla pudding and blueberry muffins as snacks)

Tuesday: Chicken finger, pasta and goat cheese, bagle, kale chips, apple slices, bar

(Day care menu: Chicken nuggets, pasta with cheddar sauce, peas, diced pears with bananas and strawberry frozen yogurt as snacks)

Wednesday: Salami rolls, egg, bagel, applesauce, apple slices, pasta, green beans, pepitas.

(Day care menu: Vegetarian lasagna, green beans, oranges with bagel and cream cheese and yogurt as snacks)

Thursday: Lettuce, spinach and broccoli salad, cornbread muffin, taco meat, quinoa, salad dressing, applesauce, bar

(Day care menu: Turkey chili with beans, corn muffin, broccoli with cheddar sauce, applesauce with banana bread and shredded mozzarella as snacks)

Friday: Chicken finger, cooked broccoli, apple slices, mashed potatoes, muffin.

(Day care menu: Sloppy joe on bread, real mashed potatoes, peas, apple slices with mandarin oranges and a strawberry muffin as snacks)

My lunches (bottom) —

Monday: Tuna sandwich with raw kale, apple slices, and KIND bar

Tuesday: Salami sandwich, kale chips, apple slices, pasta and beans

Wednesday: Egg salad sandwich with apple slices, roasted portobella mushroom and one sardine!

Thursday: Taco salad with quinoa over lettuce, apple, almond milk yogurt, KIND bar

Friday: Tuna on  lettuce salad with apples and potatoes, cooked broccoli

Teachers’ salads

One of my friends works at a school that offers “teachers’ salads” at lunch time. She is able to spend $3.00 and she gets a salad. I don’t know the specifics about how the program works, but teachers sign up ahead of time to be part of the program. A teacher can’t just waltz into the cafeteria and get a salad, but instead they sign up (and I’m assuming pay) ahead of time. My friend told me it is an extremely popular program.

I mentioned this on facebook a long time ago and someone commented that they definitely had heard of a similar program and that the teachers loved it.

Well, I love this idea too! I’m wondering if $3.00 would cover the costs and provide a little extra for the school lunch program. And since the salad was meant for the teacher, it wouldn’t have to meet the USDA requirements, right? That might make it easier for cafeteria staff to build a salad without constraints. If the $3.00 would be enough so that there is a little “profit” and a school could get a good number of teachers to join up, it would be a great way to bring in some cash for the school lunch program. Thoughts?