Friday, May 7, 2010

Spring Time Salad

So since today was so lovely in the end I decided we need something to go along with it. We had a mixed green salad with yellow peppers, tomatoes, feta, and an apricot horseradish dressing. On top were baguette crouton/crustini and our grilled flank steak. I am really not that huge of a fan of beef and/or steak but one of my families favorite is flank steak, seasoned, and sliced thin against the grain it is lean and flavorful. It is also good warm or cold, so it is brilliant in salads. My husband was incredibly trepidatious when sitting down to eat this dinner but he commented several times throughout that it was very good. Molly did a pretty good job with dinner, she is getting better with salads she ate the meat well, tried the yellow pepper and at first seemed into it and then spit it all back out. She always loves tomatoes, and I made a fresh fruit salad to go with it that she ate a TON of. She loves blueberries, I like to call them brain food, she can eat as much of them as she wants as far as I am concerned.

So my obsession with bento has only intensified. I was looking at blogs about bento for kids all day today as well as trying to figure out what to buy to get started with Molly's lunches. I realized today that this isn't just appealing to me. Two years back I saw an advertisement in one of my magazines for a book on lunches called Lunch Lessons. The cover was so appetizing. Now this was before Molly, and I was really looking for some ideas to jazz up my lunch and my husband's lunch. At the time he was still eating lunch downtown everyday and it was costing an arm and a leg, I had had enough and wanted to save money by making him pack a lunch. As a teacher myself with less than thirty minutes for lunch it has never been feasible for me to "go out" for lunch as it were so I always packed a lunch. I just wanted to make it more appeasing to Brian. I love leftovers for lunch, but the only way I can get Brian to eat leftovers is if they are made into something completely different a la Robin Miller on the food network. So I asked for this book Lunch Lessons as a Christmas present and I read it cover to cover in the following day and a half. Even back then the idea of bento looked fabulous to me, but for another reason. Anyway I am guessing that the idea behind this present movement is to make really good for you food look incredibly appetizing for your young child, particularly if they are a picky eater. Also to make every day of opening up their lunch box an adventure to see what cool new thing mom put in your lunch box today. I also think too that if you had a totally awesome lunch (but still very healthy and good for you) and the kid next to you had a Twinkie for instance that at this point your lunch is too good to give up and trade for the heinous Twinkie. At this point Molly is a great eater, she isn't what I would consider picky and she is two and only takes a lunch box to daycare on Fridays for "fun." So you might ask, why then Nickey are you taking the time to cut out flower shapes in your cheese, and making the lunch look so nice for a two year old that could care less? Well, honestly I am thinking of it from Molly's perspective. This whole lunch box thing is totally new to her and she LOVES it! On Friday she is so stoked to take her lunch box to daycare to see her friends, and according to the fabulous Ms. Laurie at daycare they talk about all day Thursday in preparation. She carries it all by herself and refuses help because she is so attached to the "idea" of it. Now granted when we very first started doing this –taking a lunch- Molly was maybe 16 months old and the lunch box was almost as tall as her but even then she refused help and would muscle her little way from the car door to the front door caring her pink Barbie lunch box. See I was told about this lunch box adventure a little late in the game, and at the last minute rushed to Target to see if they had any lunch boxes left after the "back to school" rush only to find this one and only girly lunch box. I didn't really want my little girl's lunch box memories and photos to be of this cute blonde headed little girl dressed all in pink carrying a gigantic Transformers lunch box, that just didn't seem right. So my only choice at the time was Barbie, I went with it.
Honestly what kid wouldn't love opening up their lunch box to see their cheese cut into butterfly shapes, or their sandwich cut into shapes, and cute little toothpick forks to use etc.? It makes eating your lunch fun, why wouldn't you want to do that for your child? So I bought some bento type boxes (fairly easy ones at this point because I don't want to spend too much money on something that might not pan out) and some fun cookie cutters and toothpicks. So expect some bento picks to be coming soon. I also think it will help with my creative juices for lunches for Brian and me as well. See some of my favorite blogs (on the left hand side here) to see some really awesome ideas on what this could look like –another lunch and bentoblogy- are my favorites right now.

Lunch Lessons as a book was not what I was expecting, I wanted lots of great and colorful ideas for lunches which is kind of what the book cover suggests. Instead it is a great read on school lunches today and how some areas are fighting back. There are some recipes and suggestions at the back of the book but no pictures, for all my reading I LOVE cookbooks with full glossy pics! So I would give this probably two and half to three forks. Three forks for the content itself, not necessarily as a "cookbook."

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