MagPad Dinner Table

MagPad Dinner Table

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lunch Sack Ideas

• Buy paper sacks and baggies for sack lunches at Walmart or Smart and Final. It’s cheaper.
• Look for good deals on boxed drinks and stock up.
• Buy reusable box drink containers (Rubbermaid makes one) and fill with Koolaid or Crystal Light.
• Make your own fruit cup: Buy 5 ½ oz disposable container with lid from Smart and Final. Put in fruit from #10 can, available at Costco, Sam’s Club, or Smart and Final. Our favorites are applesauce or pineapple. Put in freezer. When ready to use, put in zip sandwich bag (in case it leaks in lunch bag). Don’t forget the plastic spoon. Smart and Final has small cheaper plastic ware.
  • Fold corner of napkin and cut heart shape to let your kids/husband know you love them.
  • Include a note in lunch sack to brighten someone’s day.
  • Use large heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out brownies or rice krispy treats
  • Make “carrot coins” by cutting carrots circles for a lunch treat.
  • Make ‘orange smiles” by cutting oranges in circles and then in half.
  • Roll up ham slices with grated cheese in a flour tortilla
  • If a microwave is available put leftovers from the night before in a container to be heated up for lunch the next day.
My daughter, Janelle, wrote a college essay about the power of lunches.

“This I Believe”

I believe in the power of lunches.

My mom has six children and a husband, all of who needed a lunch for school and work. And so mom made seven lunches every day for twenty five years. That’s over 63,000 lunches.

Love seems to be expressed in two ways: word and action. Over the years, I began to realize that mom’s lunches were full of love. Every day, my brown paper bag held basically the same thing: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple, tortilla chips, and water bottle. But it also held something more.

Each and every lunch held time. Mom’s day began earlier than mine. She would be up early in the kitchen, spreading peanut butter and washing apples while in her pink robe. Making lunches only took a few minutes, but those were precious minutes that I could use putting on makeup instead of bagging my own sandwich. Mom never called attention to this time she spent serving. She just did it because she loved me.

Each and every lunch held acknowledgment. Mom wrote our individual names on all the paper lunch sacks. Kind of elementary, I know. But mom liked writing our names. She would say them out loud as she wrote, writing them phonetically: “Janelllllllllllllllllle” for Janelle. “Li-a-sa” for Lisa. There is love in a name spoken and heard—something so personable and individual. Sometimes kids at school called us names, or made us feel as if we did not have one. But at lunch time, there was our name in front of us. It was a mother’s acknowledgment of who we were. And we knew that it was spoken and written with love; because of that, nothing else mattered.

I think I first began to realize what lunches meant to me in elementary school. Some kids brought things like “lunchables,” which was the unspoken “cool” lunch to bring. These included yummy treats like candy and mini pizzas, and they didn’t come in brown paper bags. I remember sometimes wishing I could walk into the cafeteria with a “cool lunch.” But then, my brown paper bag occasionally held homemade cookies or rice krispy treats. All of a sudden, I was the spoken of bringer of a cool lunch! My friends would “ooo” and “ahh” over my good fortune of a mom who would actually make treats for me. And then my cookie would get split into eight different shares and passed around the cafeteria table.

Love is spoken through acts of service, and my mom served me every day of my school career. Not only did her lunches fill me nutritionally, but I was also daily filled with reminders of her love. Now I live away from home, and so I make my own lunch every day. What do I make? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Though they aren’t spread with a mother’s love, I don’t think I will ever eat a sandwich again without thinking of my mom.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Homemade Fruit Smoothies

2 cups milk or 1 cup milk and 1 cup yogurt
1 cup ice cubes
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Makes 2 smoothies.

You can make any combination of the following for your smoothies. When using juice, substitute juice for milk in recipe.

Top off any smoothie with ginger ale or sparkling water.
strawberries, blueberries, peaches and a sprig of mint
strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
strawberries, raspberries and banana
orange juice, pineapple juice, banana
crushed pineapple, 1/4 tsp coconut flavoring
apple juice, coconut and 1/4 tsp. grated ginger
banana and 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
banana, strawberries, 2 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
strawberries, banana, peaches and apple
mixed berries and peaches or pears
bananas and kiwi fruit
peaches and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup mint extract, 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
4 tsp. malted milk powder
1/4 cup chocolate syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened grape juice

Other add ins:

1/4 cup oatmeal
1 Tbsp. wheat germ
1/4 cup bran cereal
flaxseed oil
bee pollen
breakfast powder
protein powder
powdered milk
cocoa mix
instant pudding mix
powdered soft drink mix
2 Tbsp. fruit juice concentrate
any flavorings such as cherry, strawberry, peppermint etc.
whipped cream

I got this recipe off of webpage Living on a Dime (Click here for the link). During the summer I make lots of smoothies, and every time I make them, they are different. When I get out the blender to make them up, I make several batches, put them together in a gallon pitcher, and then pour what we don't drink in 5 1/2 oz containers with lids that I get at Smart and Final. Then I put them in the freezer to be taken out later. Then later, when someone gets a smoothie from the freezer, they pop it in the microwave for 25-20 seconds to defrost it a little.

When I make smoothies, I usually use orange juice or pineapple juice as the liquid along with the fruits and ice cubes or anything else I decide to put into my smoothies.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Strawberry Salsa

2 granny smith apples
1 kiwi
1 cup strawberries (fresh is best, frozen will work)
2 TBS jam (raspberry/strawberry)
2 TBS orange juice

Chop fruit into tiny pieces. Mix in jam and orange juice. Let set in fridge for at least one hour.

10-15 medium sized flour tortillas
cinnamon sugar

Butter entire tortilla. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top, covering entire tortilla. Cut into chip-sized pieces. Place on cookie sheet. Heat in oven at 375* for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before serving.

Oh my heavens! If it's this delicious in the middle of January when the fruit is out of season, I can't wait to try it during the summer!  I found this recipe in my former roommate's family cookbook. (Thanks, Nancy!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

German Chocolate Bars

2/3 cup butter softened
1 pkg German chocolate cake mix
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tub coconut pecan ready-to-spread frosting
1/4 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350
Grease/spray bottom of 13x9 pan
Cut butter into cake mix in medium bowl using pastry blender or fork
Press 1/2 of mixture (2.5 cups) in bottom of cake pan
Bake 10 min
Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked layer
Drop frosting by tablespoonfuls over chocolate chips
Stir milk into remaining cake mixture
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto frosting layer
Bake 25-30 min or until cake portion is slightly dry to touch
Let cool, then cover and refrigerate until firm

This is another treat that was on the Simmon's goodie plate. Yum, Yum! Thanks Melody!

No-Bake Rocky Road Chocolate Bars

1/2 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup peanut butter
4 cups rice crispy cereal
3 cups miniature marshmallows


In stock pot over low heat, combine butter, chocolate chips & butterscotch chips.
Stir constantly until melted (4-6 min)
Stir in peanut butter until well blended
Remove from heat
Stir in rice cripies and marshmallows until well blended
Press into bottom of buttered 13x9 pan
Refrigerate until firm (about 30+ min)
Store refrigerated

The Simmons family gave us these bars on a Christmas goodie plate along with other tasty treats. These bars were so good I asked Melody for the recipe so I can put post it.

Chinese Chicken Salad

I found a great recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad. The blog page where I got it from is copyrighted so I'll post a link to the page instead of copying the recipe onto my blog. Click here for the link.

The blog page is called, Make It and Love It. Click here for the link. It is a very interesting blog. The author is very creative. Browse around her blog pages and get inspired for some pretty cute projects.