Tag Archives: lunch

Kale Salad with Spicy Cilantro Dressing

This is a post from a couple years ago, and it’s just too good of a recipe to not share again.

Well this 98+° weather we are having here is leaving me with little motivation to cook in the kitchen, especially with an air conditioner on its last breath. Easy, cool, crisp and delicious is what I am going for during these next few days of heat. The fridge has been stocked with lots of fruit, greens and easy fixins to toss in a bowl for when it’s time to get our munch on. I have some dressings made but am always looking for new ones to try. Shannon at The Glowing Fridge is such a bright light and makes the most delicious recipes, and this is one I have been wanting to try and I had just about everything but some I modified for what I did have. If you like spicy hot (but doesn’t leave you sweating) and bursting with flavor, then this is one I recommend trying.

 

putting the fixins together

Recipe Inspired by: The Glowing Fridge

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 cups de-stemmed chopped kale (I used half kale & half spinach)
1 cup of quinoa (I didn’t use this in the first batch that is why it is not in my picture)
1/2 red onion or 1 shallot, chopped (I chopped about 5 green onions as that is what I had and it tasted fine)
1 can black beans
1 cup organic sweet corn

Spicy Dressing:

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup hot sauce of your choice (I used Franks Hot sauce)
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 generous teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cumin
sea salt and pepper to taste

spicy dressing (2)

 

Directions:

Cook quinoa according to directions if not already cooked. (I did not use warm quinoa)

In a large bowl add the kale and the onion.

Once the quinoa is done cooking, add in the black beans and corn to the pot with the quinoa and mix it up. Add the quinoa mixture to the bowl with the kale and mix.

Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients in a bowl.

I added chopped avocado and cherry tomatoes, but you could add any vegetables you’d like.

Note: I had pre cooked quinoa in the fridge so I used that and did not heat any of the ingredients and it tasted great. I also used both kale and spinach and it was delicious. Also depending on if you want a warm or cold salad, you can’t go wrong. The dressing can be modified to how hot you like by adding less or more hot sauce.

 

Carrot Noodle Salad

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Tossing a bowl of chopped or spiralized raw veggies with fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice, vinegar and a few shakes of some spices, turns into a flavorful dish. I usually just add a little of this and that, and taste until I like the flavor. Sometimes the juices will be a bit to tart/sour so I will add a little honey or pure maple syrup to balance it out. The family tends to go through phases of eating lots of raw ingredients and then cooked, mostly due to the season but we definitely need to include more raw into our meals. I have become a huge lunch/dinner bowl muncher by mixing up what ever vegetables, fruits, grains or legumes that are in the fridge and tossing them into a bowl. It seems to be the most satisfying and easy meal. Plus it cleans out the fridge!

When the weather warms up this salad bowl is just so refreshing. IT can be a great side dish, starter dish, lunch or straight up dinner. I have found that this salad is best soon after it is made and the next day.  I recommend that it does not be stored in the refrigerator for more than 2 days. So without further ado, this quick fresh salad bowl will tantalize your taste-buds!

 

raw chick pea salad #2

 

Ingredients:

1 can of organic chickpeas or 2 cups
2 large carrots (2-3 depending on size)
1 large organic cucumber (cut in fourths – slice in half, then slice again in half and chop)
1 cup chopped bell pepper (optional)
1/4 cup organic edamame (optional)
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1.5 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds or sesame seeds

Ingredients for the first dressing:

2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/8-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Ingredients for the final dressing:

2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons local honey

 

raw chick pea salad

 

Directions:

Pour and whisk all the ingredients for the first dressing in a small bowl.

Using a medium sized bowl, add the chickpeas, onion, chopped cilantro, bell pepper (if using), and the chopped cucumber.  Pour the dressing into the bowl, mix thoroughly and set in the fridge.

Using a spiralizer or gadget of choice, curl the carrots and remaining cucumber into noodles and set aside.

Using the small bowl from the first dressing, whisk together the rice vinegar and honey.

Pull out the bowl from the fridge and add in the noodles and pour the final dressing and mix well.  Top with chia seeds or sesame seeds and enjoy!

 

Chickpea Tacos

Chickpeas are so versatile, they are loaded with of fiber, carbs, calcium, iron, protein and vitamin A, so I suggest you use them :)  They can be roasted, cooked on stove top, used in salads, soups and stews, mashed for ‘tuna’ or hummus, baked in treats and many other easy meals.  These tacos are simple and quick. They have more flavor than I expected as I added what I usually add when making a ‘taco’ type dish and with the avocado cream sauce, it just comes together nicely.  I didn’t add extra toppings to these as I didn’t feel the need to, but you add what you like on your taco :) You could add your favorite taco seasoning if you prefer.  Share your chickpea favorites!

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Lunch and Snack Ideas for Kids

During the school year and the summer break,  I rely on some of the favorites picked by the kids to keep well stocked, which means batch baking, dicing and slicing. I also like to try new recipes to change things up a bit. The list is ever evolving and changing, so be sure to check the Kids tab for new ideas!  Everything I have on my blog are recipes that are consumed and liked by my family, kid approved! What is wonderful about these choices is they work for lunches and/or snacks, and are not filled with corn starch, corn syrup, oil, refined sugar, white flour, bleached flour and the many non food ingredients found in most packaged items. I will say we do have our occasional packaged pretzels and Late July crackers in the pantry, there are far worse options than those. Sports are a large component of our family, so I keep these, along with lots of fresh fruits and veggies on hand for those grab-n-go moments. I have included a variety of options for those who do and don’t have food sensitivities.

kid snack summer

And remember, these aren’t just for kids :)

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One of the top requested from my girls are Zucchini Muffins. Love that these have some veggies in them and can be made without nuts and are dairy free, soy free and a gluten free option. And double up the recipe and store in the freezer for lasting snacking.

Kinda Like Muffins are another huge hit around here and with friends. Another snack that can be changed up to your liking, with or without chocolate, with or without nuts. Perfect size for grab-n-go time and store in the freezer for long lasting. My kids will eat them straight from the freezer, I have yet to try them like that but they say they are tasty that way.  The Blender Pancakes have been a great snack lately, I double the batch and then store the remaining pancakes in the fridge.  They hold well for quick grab and go, and the kids pack them as snacks for school too.

Pesto Roll Ups are another quick lunch fix. I make pesto once in while and we will use it for the wraps. These are filling, flavorful and easy to make. The PBJB Burrito is another “wrap” the kids make, even though we may have bread, they prefer a tortilla most of the time. They will also just do PBB, which is peanut butter and banana rolled up.  Sierra’s Potato Salad is another addition to the lunches.  As well as Quinoa Salad.  My kids will pack these nuggets in their lunch with ketchup, yes cold packed.  Made with chickpeas which are a great source of fiber, carbs, calcium, iron, protein and vitamin A, which make for a great snack or some fuel for a workout., Chick’,LESS Nuggets.

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Granola and granola bars are very convenient and come in many varieties in the store. What is not convenient is the ingredients. Avoid the unnecessary sugars and find something that is less processed.  Best to find other options, but if you are going to buy bars, I suggest, Lara Bars (read ingredients), Go Raw, Picky Bars and That’s It Bars.  Keep in mind when buying bars the less ingredients the better and where on the list the ingredient falls. They are intended to provide your body with fuel. Regardless of what you call them, it is wise to look at the ingredients to determine whether they are a nutritious choice or merely empty calories. Look for words (AND STAY AWAY FROM THEM) like brown rice syrup, agave, evaporated cane juice, cane sugar, corn syrup, soy oil, coconut sugar, raw sugar. These are glorified names for added sugars that are totally not necessary, buy organic if possible, as with anything, if you don’t recognize an ingredient don’t buy it.  Here are a couple I have made: Oatmeal Cookies , Dark Chocolate Granola Bars , Fallnola, Hangry Bars.

Whether you need something for school or sports, these Energy Bites and Raw Cookies and Hangry Bars are the bomb! They are a powerful package in a small bite and are such a better option than a sports bar. My husband packs these on his long bike rides and we keep them handy for our backpacking excursions as well.

The girls are always putting fresh fruit and vegetables in their lunch which are the largest portion of their lunch, whether it be a mini salad (fruit too), sliced apples, stone fruits, grapes, cuties, sugar snap peas, carrots, cucumbers and many other varieties.  Always have fruits and veggies packed in lunches.  Keep some of the favorites stocked, but also give them varieties to try because limiting to only their favorite will limit their body of vitamins and minerals.

An example of a hummus veggie wrap lunch

 

Cucumbers are a favorite around here, especially since we started growing our own. Kyla’s Cucumbers Snack and Mikes Mango Madness are popular with my kids and their friends. Even just sprinkling salt and pepper with the lemon is refreshing.

Hummus, it goes with so much, veggies, crackers, wraps or as a salad dressing with some balsamic stirred with it. There are many store bought brands and flavors. Downside, there is “stuff” in there that doesn’t need to be, like oil (soybean, canola, safflower). Hummus is fairly easy to make and you can find many recipes on the internet that do not use oil, citric acid, potassium sorbate, phosphoric, cultured dextrose or “natural flavors”. Here are some great hummus recipes to try.

 

Some of my favorite recipe makers have put together some suggestions:

Veggies Don’t Bite – Easy School Lunches

Dreena Burton – Tips For Lunches

Fully Raw – Lunchbox Ideas

Making sure you provide plenty of FRESH options will not only provide balanced nutrition for you and your children, but it will introduce making better choices.  The more that is accessible, the easier it will be. And sometimes the most simplest of items are all that is needed.

 

 

Specialty Sandwich

The girls do not eat sandwiches often but they came up with their own creation to take to school for lunch. One day they asked Jon and I if we wanted a specialty sandwich for lunch, Jon said “sure”, I was a little hesitant because I like to know what is in my food :)  but I went with the flow and was surprisingly served with a very tasty sandwich.   I was quite impressed they used the resources they had and have now made this their specialty sandwich when they feel like eating one. I just need to make sure we have certain ingredients stocked so they can work their creations in the kitchen.

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Pasta Salad

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Warm days are in full swing and we are finishing up the last week of school… yipeee!!  We have been working on some different lunch items and the girls requested pasta salad.  I do not even remember the last time I made, let alone ate pasta salad so it was time to get one to add to our collection of recipes.  Most recipes use oil or suggest a store bought dressing and that just isn’t something I choose to eat or feed my family.  You could very well use what you prefer for this pasta salad and please share your variations. Chilled on a warm day, this salad hit the spot!

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Lunch… or Dinner…

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Black beans, rice, spinach and kale heated in a bowl topped with salsa was my standard lunch for a number of years when I worked full time out of the home.  As crazy as it sounds, I ate it just about every day (unless I met a friend for lunch).  Well I no longer work full time out of the house and I have pimped my beans, rice, spinach and kale lunch!

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Pizzaritos

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What? YES!!  Two totally all time favorites combined into one.  This is a meal I wish I had come up with!  Now this is nothing similar to what you find in the frozen section of the grocery store with any ingredients you don’t recognize nor can pronounce on the package it is in.  These are the real deal!  This meal is fairly easy to make and if you plan it right, it doesn’t take long to put together either.  I ended up prepping the ingredients the same morning I was making the meal and it worked out fine, but I would recommend doing it the night before so the flavors sit and come to life :)

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