Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Think Outside the Lunchbox


So the 100th day of school has rolled around, and apparently it's a big deal at school. There are all sorts of 100th day activities across the curriculum. To me it represents a 100 lunches made. Some children are happy with the same lunch every single day, and some kids hate their lunch every single day. I have a mix of both. But there are ways to "refresh" your lunch box without using vastly different ingredients than usual. It's a matter of re-framing, so to speak, the lunch items.

Author Adrian Fiorino did just that with his book Insanewiches: 101 Ways to Think Outside the Lunchbox. He creates sandwiches in the form of computer mice, artist's palettes, Pac-man, and all manner of creatures great and small. His tools are probably right in your refrigerator, luncheon meats, cheeses, spreads and bread. Gluten free bread and rolls generally work perfectly fine for these edible sculptures. He even includes a waffle-wich. A favorite when I'm running out of the house in a hurry in the morning-- made easily with Van's gluten Free Waffles.

Check out Adrian Fiorino's site Currently there are sandwiches with the bread cut into hand shapes...very cute idea. You can even roll out dough on a cookie sheet and trace your children's hands on the dough with a toothpick then cut out. I find gluten free dough to be very soft, and have even put it into a ziploc, cut a 1-inch hole in the corner and piped it onto a cookie sheet. This works well for shapes and letters.

The publisher has generously agreed to give one reader of this blog a copy of Insanewiches. Just leave a post below with an email or web address to contact you, between now and April 15th. A winner will be chosen randomly.

Another great idea
is to put cubes of food on skewers or popsicle sticks. Party stores sell some interesting toothpicks and swizzle sticks for a colorful lunchbox. If you have the type of child who is likely to use a toothpick or skewer as a weapon, use popsicle or lollipop sticks!

A great little book I found called On a Stick! 80 Party Perfect Appetizers by Matt Armendariz. Has some novel ideas (not just for cocktail party fare) including orange beef, chicken and waffles, and even spaghetti and meatballs on a stick!

So no matter what you do to perk up lunchtime for your kids, remember to make it fun...mix it up. And, don't forget a little note that tells them you love them.

BTW: The very cool lunch box pictured above that folds out to a place mat (perfect for avoiding cross contamination on lunch tables) is from

These cheese and tomato sticks are very kid friendly and easy for them or you to make!

Caprese Sticks
From On a Stick! by Matt Armendariz , p.35

12 cocktail picks
1 cup small fresh mozzarella balls (or chunks of soy cheese or tofu)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

1. Arrange mozzarella balls, both kinds of tomatoes, and basil leaves on cocktail picks, mixing and matching in varied combinations.

2. Before serving, sprinkle with sea salt and a quick drizzle of olive oil, if desired.