Tag Archives: soups

Soft Foods That Don’t Suck: Ideas for Eating with Braces

Gentle Readers, one of my very favorite parts of eating, is the chewing of food. While that may sound funny, endless studies indicate that chewing makes you feel full, and I’ve certainly found that to be true. Texture matters. A lot. So many foods are hated (looking at you tomatoes and coconut) because of less than flattering descriptions of their mouthfeel.

The Eldest transformed into a teenager overnight, complete with braces and a digital native's gift for the craycray-eyed "selfie."

The Eldest transformed into a teenager overnight, complete with braces and a digital native’s gift for the craycray-eyed “selfie.”

So why am I crafting endless meals around soft food? Meet The Eldest Practical Cook Jr, newly minted into the world of braces. As anyone who has every had their teeth monkeyed about with can tell you, it hurts. Add to this the challenge of a lunch period that has been sliced down to nearly nothing (seriously, try eating in 15 minutes or less, not easy), and you’ve got trouble.

Easy to use lunchbox food.

Easy to use lunchbox food.

PB and J’s are a little challenging to consume quickly, chips are out, carrot sticks are out, apples are out. How can I provide food that is nutritionally sound, reasonably interesting, and palatable to the rest of us on occasion (so we can use leftovers in lunchboxes)?

Kale and Spinach Bites from Trader Joe's: Nutrition Doesn't Have to Suck

Kale and Spinach Bites from Trader Joe’s: Nutrition Doesn’t Have to Suck

3 Soft Foods That Don’t Suck

1. Kale Spinach Bites. Special thanks to TraderJoesMom for bringing this one to my attention! (Yes, a classmate’s mom works at TJ’s, and she is currently my hero for having tried everything on both herself and her kids.) These bites are actually delicious, and I plan to try my hand at making them from scratch. They are much like spanikopita without the crust, and work well at room temperature.

Don't miss these Kale and Spinach Bites from Trader Joe's. I'm working on a recipe now.

Don’t miss these Kale and Spinach Bites from Trader Joe’s. I’m working on a recipe now.

2. Drinkable Yogurt. This is a two-fer: calcium, calories, and a potentially reusable container for me to pack with homemade smoothies. The blender is getting a workout these days. The combinations are infinite. Look for a feature next week on smoothie ideas and recipes.

Raspberry Mango Smoothie? I say yes.

Raspberry Mango Smoothie? I say yes.

3. Soup. Again, seems obvious, but one of my favorite tricks is making stock from the carcass of a rotisserie chicken. You’ve then got the basis of a soup, plus add in a little of the leftover meat, noodles, and cabbage and carrots. There’s some chew, but also plenty of easily accessible calories. Try Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup for a simple recipe. It was a hit with everyone.

Other things that are soft: poached eggs. My brunch from Beaufort Grocery Company, just because I miss it and remember it fondly.

Other things that are soft: poached eggs. My brunch from Beaufort Grocery Company, just because I miss it and remember it fondly.

More thoughts and reviews coming. There’s nothing like a food challenge to start the creative drive. We are busily blending, stewing, steaming, and serving things on the side to make a single meal work for all of us, with potentials for leftovers to be served in lunch. Share your ideas! The options have certainly evolved past the milkshakes and mashed potatoes period post my wisdom teeth extractions!

The Practical Cook's Mom's Homemade Chicken Soup

The Practical Cook’s Mom’s Homemade Chicken Soup

Send your good wishes, bright ideas, and actual 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! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Coming up Sunday: Weekly Menus, It’s Finally Fall Edition

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Can this supper be saved?, Punt!

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!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

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

2 Comments

Filed under Weekly Menus

Weekly Menus: Week of 1/15/2012

Gentle Readers, when the weather turns cold, The Practical Cook’s thoughts turn to hot  cheesy foods. The cheesy part may just be my personal predilection, to  be fair. And there is a lot of guest eating to be done next week. Stay tuned. When one has gentle readers who can eat two dinners, one must plan accordingly. These meals are planned to be flexible, puntable, and potentially made in advance or by someone else.

As always, if you have a blog idea or a restaurant you’d like to see reviewed, contact me! The Practical Cook rapid response unit will be right on it.

Without further buildup,  here are the Weekly Menus:

Weekly Menus: 1/15/2012

Weekly Menus: 1/15/2012

And the Four-Square Grocery Shopping List:

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 1/15/2012

Four-Square Grocery Shopping List: 1/15/2012

**Have you tried the F0ur-Square Grocery Shopping List method? Send me a picture, let me know how it went!

Which all means:

Sunday: Soup and Sammie
Such a great way to use up bread from the previous week, and any veggies in the fridge that are suspect.

Monday: Fridge Surprise
I’m not sure what is going to happen this day, so I’m planning in advance to Punt! Could be spinach quesadillas, could be breakfast for dinner, hard to predict.

Tuesday: Salad for Dinner
This will be necessary considering the amount of Fried that will be consumed at lunch and in general this week. Balance in the force.

Wednesday: Salmon Cakes or Tuna Noodle Casserole
The challenge here: the troops prefer salmon cakes, but casserole is easier to prep in advance. I have to balance that with a concern of carb overload this week. Still musing on this one.

Thursday: Pasta and Sauce
A classic Punt! meal. Perfect for the parent on the go, who needs to be approximately five places at once.

Friday: Homemade Pizza
By special request, we’re having a pizza night! The Eldest favors Greek, the Youngest likes cheese, let’s see what happens.

Saturday: Dine Out!
Weekend, on!

What’s your favorite cold weather food? I love soup and coffee, hot and liquidy for some reason. Post a comment below, or tweet!

Send your menu requests, blog suggestions, or double dog dares 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!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Up next, Chocolate and Fruit: Where Do You Stand?

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Menus