Monday, April 18, 2011

HOMEschooling, HOMEmaking: Let's Do Lunch

I had such a good thing going with lunches. Really, I did. I didn't even appreciate it. The good times are always like that, aren't they?

Lunches were so easy because of one little word: leftovers. Every night, I simply set aside the leftovers from the supper I'd created. The next day, out came the tubs and bowls of good stuff. The microwave did its duty. And voila ... lunch!

But as I shared nearly a year ago (has it been that long already?), those days are long gone. We've moved into a new era of lunching here at Casa Blandings ... one that I'm not always thrilled with, but one that is making do, at least.

Our new "plan" often feels a whole lot less "planned" than I'd like. About half the time, Jo is in charge of lunch. She loves it. I'm all in favor of this--except, I admit, when she makes something that I'm not too fond of and I have to eat it anyhow. Takes me right back to the days of Not Being the Mom. Now thankfully, Jo has no idea how to make some of the yuckier, 70s cream-of-XYZ nightmares that still populate my personal cooking list of Thou Shalt Not. But still. Every once in a while I find myself choking down yet another grilled quesadilla and cringing--hopefully just on the inside, so that she doesn't feel underappreciated.

The rest of the time, I've taken to relying on a pretty well stocked fridge and pantry to get us through. Lots of nibbly type foods, some salads, platters of cut veggiesm fruits, and nuts. The menu ideas that I listed last year are still very much in rotation, and yes, I finally dove in and bit the bento bullet. While I'm only just now amassing the "fun" stuff to accessorize or DIY bento noshes, I admit that delving into the more creative end of serving up lunch has brought a little bit of sunshine to our otherwise dull routine. I recently entered the world of silicone baking cups and fruit kabobs on little animal picks. As if I need another obscure obsession. 

Bento-style Taco salad
I'd been feeling pretty uninspired by the whole thing recently, though. I've gotten breakfast back under control (it had become pretty much a seek-and-find meal for a couple of months after Seven joined us), and dinner is a snap thanks to meal planning and whatnot. But lunch? It's a no man's land pitstop of a meal. Dare I say--boring?

And then I saw this blog, and boy, did I feel ashamed of myself. Check out this momma's lunch repertoire! This is a woman who does lunch. I have no idea what the rest of her life looks like, but I can guarantee that her girls are going to remember that Momma loved them enough to invest time into sweet little creations ... just for them ... every day. 

Probably not now. But you know ... someday they'll remember. Like when they have kids of their own, right?

So I'm now officially back on the hunt for more lunch ideas to stir into the Blandings pot. Stuff that both Jo and I can make in a relatively short time--like the taco salad above, which takes all of five minutes thanks to pre-browning the ground turkey, mixing in black beans, seasoning, then freezing it in batches of 3/4 lb. 

More pasta salads, more pre-cut veggies, more dips. More variety.

Less quesadillas. 

Can I get an amen?


Susan said...

Oh yes, the no leftovers issue. It seems that no matter how much food I cook the night before, I'm lucky if I can eek out lunch for hubby the following day...and sometimes not even that. Unless it's something no one likes, in which case I end up eating it.

I'm afraid I'm not going to win any lunch prizes either. I look upon it as teaching them how most of the world lives...having good food aplenty, ready at hand, is an anomaly in many places.

Kate said...

Amen and pass the good stuff.

Fatcat said...

That other lady only has 2 children! You have a couple more than that. Go easy on yourself. Sandwiches are not unhealthy.

The Hayes Zoo said...

MG - I had total 'homemaker envy' reading that other blog.

I've NEVER done cute lunches. Darnit.

My hubby gets the leftovers and we usually have to to the scrap it together thing. Sigh....

LOVE the bento idea....but it just seems like a lot of fiddly work....

Michelle said...

Guess what my all time favorite food is? ...quesadillas! ROTFLOL! And I hardly ever make them at home! Go figure!

Elizabeth said...


I've read about bento lunches before, but for some reason I was sucked in this time. I am now OBSESSED and can't wait to make my teens lunches for work this summer. :p I'm practicing by making my youngest bento snacks to eat after dive practice every night. :)