Tag Archives: back to school

Weekly Menus: Back to School, Remote Edition

Gentle Readers, back-to-school time is almost as hectic as end-of-school time, and they seem so close together. Each year that return is complicated by the fact that one of the biggest projects I have during the work year culminates with a major tech event the week school starts.

How can school lunch compare with Pinkberry in NYC?

How can school lunch compare with Pinkberry in NYC?

So I have to vMom it–remote parenting in the modern age. TPCs Jr biggest complaint is not being able to join me on the dodgeball court, as there’s a yearly charity event. But I digress. How do you show you care from 3000 miles away? FaceTime, food, and photos. Let’s talk food.

We have to temporarily break up the band get get back to work.

We have to temporarily break up the band get get back to work.

Back to School Tips and Lunch Menus:

1. Shop with your offspring. Do not fall victim to the “but you liked this last year” trap. Let them select and own their choices. Tastes change.

Look at the sheen on that peanut butter! (I think we're alone now . . .)

Look at the sheen on that peanut butter! (I think we’re alone now . . .)

2. Let them practice making lunch. This was two parts necessity and two parts evil genius this week. Peanut butter and jelly with sweet potato chips and carrots? I can live with that.

Hello Love: Dark Chocolate Almonds from Trader Joe's

Hello Love: Dark Chocolate Almonds from Trader Joe’s

3. Cheat. Oh I said it. There should always be a few easy wins. This would be dark chocolate almonds with sea salt for dessert. Just two fit nicely into the smallest container in the Bento box set, and they are so satisfying.

Our lunch companion at the Bronx Zoo.

Our lunch companion at the Bronx Zoo.

Proposed Lunch Menus:

Something hearty: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cheese and crackers, pasta in the hot container, peanut butter and banana sandwich

Something crunchy: walnuts, cashews, sweet potato chips, carrots, celery, dry seaweed, sesame sticks

Something sweet: drinkable yogurt, yogurt in a tube, applesauce in a tube or cup, diced peaches in juice (huge hit in this house), grapes, dried cranberries, apple slices tossed in a little lemon juice, blackberries

Something for dessert: fortune cookies, dark chocolate almonds with sea salt, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, granola bars

Select one from each category, mix and match, endless variety with room for new ideas all of the time.

Back to school on a camel?

Back to school on a camel?

I will miss my road warriors as I cross the country by myself for the first time in several months. Good luck to you and your kids as the new year begins. Please share your lunch ideas here, or tweet my way!

Send healthy snacks, good luck, and extra hours in the day to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Sunday: Weekly Menus, Labor Day Edition!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/19/2012

Gentle Readers, it can’t be that time again, but it is. Sunday is menu time, and this week’s list involved a bit more planning and strategery. Though I can scarcely believe it, school starts again soon. Naturally, that happens when I’m traveling for business. Small countries have been invaded with less planning.

Which means I’m keeping things simple, stocking up so that the week after this one will go smoothly, and generally trying to hang on to summer with two hands. It has been a great ride, and I’ve eaten some amazing food.

But enough waxing poetic, here are the menus for the week:

Weekly Menus: 8/19/2012

Weekly Menus: 8/19/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/19/2012

The Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 8/19/2012

Which translates into:

Sunday: rotisserie chicken
The ultimate Sunday punt. They’re on special, I can make stock with the carcass and turn the leftovers into insta-lunch.

Monday: pork chops
I’m craving them, and I have apples and peaches that need to find a good home.

Tuesday: salad and soup
I’m committed to the idea that fall is here. Soup that is not gazpacho is my stake in the ground. Farewell summer heat, bring on soup.

Wednesday: pancakes
Life interrupted and we had to delay our pancake test run. Trying again this week, three courses, same as before! Plan on multitasking and making waffles at the same time to freeze.

Thursday: gnocchi
I haven’t broken these out in a while. I’m thinking potentially with a lemon tomato sauce. We shall see.

Friday: Indian!
Craving it, but haven’t had time to make dal in a while. Going to try to make enough to freeze in portions.

Saturday: dine out!
First I go to a spa, then I dine out in San Francisco. I’m pretty sure I’m winning Saturday.

Today’s question is in advance of Wednesday’s article. Tell me what your insta-lunches are–what do you grab to eat when you have no time. Post a comment below, email me, or Tweet it to the world. Look forward to hearing from you over the sound of the crickets.

Send your queries, questions, and quips to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Wednesday, Fast Food at Home (like really fast).

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/21/2011

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is writing this with bleary eyes this morning post a trip down memory lane in the form of live music. This may be reflected in the simplicity of the menus that follow. Special shout-out to Illegally Cooking for the latte (decaf and skim, of course) that made this blog possible at all.

One item of note, going forward, I’ll try to note alternative food sources. IC pointed out that the menus seemed like clown cars sometimes, where I produced complex menus having bought practically nothing. I have a big pantry, a deep freezer, and a farming family, so I’ve got a lot of food on hand and incoming  not reflected on the shopping lists. Good question!

But for now, here’s the Weekly Menu:

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/21/2011

Weekly Menus: Week of 8/21/2011

The Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery List: 8/21/2011

Four-Square Grocery List: 8/21/2011

The CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 pk chorizo
2 lbs cucumbers
1 bag yellow corn meal

Which translates into:

Sunday: Tortellini and Sauce
We’re hosting Sunday night dinner for a fleet, so I’m making my life easy.

Monday: Beef and Veg
Just took this out of the freezer to thaw. We’re having steak with mushrooms, potatoes, and peas.

Tuesday: Grilled Cheese
Seriously, this is Punt! week. Lots of things happening with the beginning of school.

Wednesday: Farmer’s Market Surprise
My guess is this will turn into breakfast for dinner, a family favorite.

Thursday: Hot Dogs
Because sometimes, that’s the answer. May go crazy and do pigs in a blanket. I know, stand back.

Friday: Mexican
Flying Mayans in burrito or nacho form, or possibly a casserole of some stripe.

Saturday: Dine Out!

And now, The Practical Cook is going back to sleep. The working, walking, shopping, and cleaning will have to wait! Special happy birthday to my supplier of local cow, my big brother! Love you!

What’s on the menu for you all this week? Post a comment, or Tweet!

Send food pictures and blog requests to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, a review of the Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck!

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Weekly Menus: Week of 8/14/2011

Next week begins the preparation for another business trip, back to school, and sprouting some wings and flying. Yes, it is going to be busy. However, with a bit of planning and prep, hopefully we’ll continue to eat well and survive. Fingers crossed. Here’s the plan.

Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 8/14/2011

Weekly Menus: 8/14/2011

Four-Square Grocery List:

Four-Square Grocery List: 8/14/2011

Four-Square Grocery List: 8/14/2011

CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 pk sweet Italian sausage
1 bag shelled cream peas (craving Hoppin’ John after my trip to Crook’s Corner)

Which translates into:

Sunday: Food Truck Rodeo
Yeah, that’s a hot link, in all senses of the term. If you’re in NC, anywhere in NC, check it out. I’ll be the one passed out like Homer Simpson.

Monday: Beef and Veg
I will thaw something from my cow reserve, TBD, and serve with veggies.

Tuesday: Soup
This will be a batch cooking gig, using up the leftover beef from yesterday.

Wednesday: Indian
Will try to cook this in advance, also in a large quantity, to freeze in portions. Nothing like dal at hand. And buttermilk okra with curry leaves, for the win.

Thursday: Eggplant TBD and Salad
I will punt with eggplant, either Turkish or Italian. Will keep you posted.

Friday: Leftover surprise
I may surprise myself and call the pizza place after this week. 🙂

Saturday: Dine Out
Let’s just say, there may be something wrong with my toast this day. (That would be a reference to a most excellent local band, whose show I will be attending Saturday. Rock.)

What are you eating this week? If it sounds good, I might invite myself over. Post a comment below, or Tweet.

Send your pictures and questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Shepherd’s Pie, TPC Style.

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