Lunch Wrap Up: Week of October 31st

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My son has been at his new school now for three months. I’m really happy with it. There are opportunities for enrichment including extra classes like sports, swimming (off-site), and dance. I signed him up for sports and dance (and paid extra for both), which are held during the day. He loves playing sports so choosing that class was an easy decision. I also chose the dance class because I did ballet as a child and just loved the running and jumping. I told my husband about my wanting Charlie to do dance and he said, “Great. It will help his balance.” Admittedly I enjoyed buying Charlie little black ballet shoes (living vicariously much?). I asked him who is in the dance class and he listed only girls’ names. I think he’s the only boy, though thankfully he is still too young to think of these things. I’ll take advantage of that as long as I can!

Another factor in choosing the school was the diversity. At my son’s previous school Charlie was the diversity (being that he is half-white and half-Chinese). All the reading I have done about raising mixed race kids is that they need to be surrounded by diversity so that they don’t think of themselves as different. I would say that at least 50% of the school is non-white and there are a few mixed race kids, too. When I pick my son up, I hear many parents speaking different languages spoken including Korean, Hindi, and Polish (or Russian — I can’t be sure). My son talks about his friends and it has taken me some time to learn their names because many are unusual. My son has even corrected my pronunciation! I also believe that there is economic diversity among the students, which is good, too.

His previous school wasn’t a terrible place at all, but the new school fits him better. It feels more like a school and I think it’s a great space for him. This summer I was really nervous about turning his world upside down, but I’m thrilled that we did it. Even though there was an adjustment period, I believe Charlie is happier and learning more. Goes to show you should take calculated risks.

 Charlie’s lunches

Bacon; cantaloupe; pepita seeds; pea shoots; half of a mini bagel with pumpkin butter; bar

 I asked my son if he ate his lunch and he said very excitedly, “I told [child’s name] I eat GRASS!! I ate my grass all!” I doubled over with laughter. Of course he saw the pea shoots (from Trader Joe’s) as grass!! That’s going down in history. Child care menu: Meatballs in tomato gravy, steamed rice, veggie blend, apple.

Carrots and chicken; cantaloupe; baked sweet potato; crackers; bar

I have experienced the wonder of roasting a whole chicken. Now we will be buying a whole chicken every week and roasting it. It’s simple, cheap, and fast — with  plenty of leftovers. My son really likes cantaloupe, too. Child care menu: Turkey taco, cheese, lettuce, fruit, tortilla

Mini bagel and pumpkin butter; cantaloupe; hard-boiled eggs; pea shoots and blueberries

That morning I asked my son if he wanted “grass” in his lunch again and he said, “No.” My husband was right there and said, “No, you are getting pea shoots.” Sometimes I will ask and opt out of something if I’m worried that he won’t eat it. Specifically with the “grass” I didn’t want him to feel like he had to eat it. Anyway, we went with the pea shoots and after school he said he ate it. He’s at the stage where he is incapable of lying. And I know there are a lot of bagels with pumpkin butter. It’s a fave of mine. Child care menu: Chicken tenders, salad with ranch dressing, cinnamon apple slices

Pasta and sauce; baby carrots; shrimp; blueberries; cantaloupe

 I bought shrimp at Whole Foods and I asked the man behind the counter how I should prepare it. He said that I could sautee it. So I went home and Googled sauteeing shrimp. I ended up throwing a bunch of garlic in there and lemon juice. Really great — my son was a big fan. Child care menu: Turkey hot dog, steamed rice, carrots with dill dip, banana, wheat roll.

Turkey burger and ketchup; cantaloupe; mini bagel and pumpkin butter; pea shoots; rice cake

As per usual Friday’s lunch is lacking in creativity. I’m usually at my wit’s end. Child care menu: Mashed potato bowl, green beans, applesauce, wheat bread

My lunches

Bacon and a pancake; pea shoots; grapes

It looks UGLY but it was sooo good.

Chili; grapes; crackers

The secret ingredient in the chili? Leftover oven-roasted sweet potato. One can pinto beans, one can black beans, 1 pound ground turkey (browned), a little chicken broth, a can tomatoes, remnants of a bag of frozen corn, and one leftover roasted sweet potato. Simmer until hot. Amazing.

Egg salad sandwich with pea shoots; apple

Pressed for time, but the egg salad was divine. My recipe? Three hard-boiled eggs with canola mayo and a small chopped sweet onion.

Egg salad sandwich, pickles; grapes, mandarin oranges, two degrees bar

Next time I’ll chop up the “bread and butter” pickles and put them in the egg salad.

Mini bagel, pea shoots; pumpkin butter; shrimp; bar; apple

The shrimp was messy but terrific. Highly recommend sauteeing with garlic.

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10 thoughts on “Lunch Wrap Up: Week of October 31st”

  1. When we go out for Thai food, we always order an extra side of bean sprouts, since my daughter LOVES them! She calls them sprouts though. Lettuce and spinach are called leaves, and she LOVES eating her ‘leaves,’ since we made a big deal about not shoving random leaves/mushroom.berries from outside in your mouth. So when our little garden first sprouted and I told her she could eat the spinach leaves, she was super excited, since up ’til then it had been forbidden to eat berries or leaves found in our yard. She’s a BIG FAN of ‘leaves’ now.

  2. When you first started showing us your son’s lunches, it seemed like you really tried to match what the school was serving. Now it looks like you are not worried about it so much. Has Charlie noticed the difference? Did it turn out to be a non-issue?

  3. Shrimp are divine! They are less messy to eat if you peel them before you cook them. We eat them steamed, with Old Bay seasoning sprinkled on during the cooking process.

  4. I feel as if I haven’t lived because I’ve never even HEARD of pumpkin butter, let alone tried it. Where did you find it? I would love to try it!

  5. While I haven’t been on your blog as much since the first year’s photos (for the car wreck factor) I have to say that I have made my son’s lunches all but five days this year due to the combination of your work and that of Jamie Oliver. Keep up the good work!

  6. It seems that the school lunch menus are healthier now too. I have older kids and sometimes they don’t eat their lunch, even if it is things they like because other kids make comments. Example: my middle kiddo who is 7 and pretty sensitive stopped eating cucumber slices at school because kids were making comments about them.

  7. Love the before pictures…would love to see some after pictures of what does and doesn’t get consumed. Keep up the good work!!

  8. Agreed–I’m curious whether Charlie cares about matching the other lunches or not.
    And if you want an amazing and very easy chicken recipe–
    It’s an amazing one-pot meal and very adaptable if you have more or fewer of any of the veggies. I don’t even think my state sells armagnac so I just use the cheapest brandy I can find and still–delicious. Just be sure not to pour over open flame, of course (made that mistake once and got lucky–nothing but a good scare).

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