Back-to-School is always an exciting time for so many reasons, but in all honesty, the one thing I dread about the kids going back to school is packing lunches. I know it shouldn't be THAT difficult, but sometimes I'm just out of ideas, and I'm tired of making the same things.
All three of my girls have a milk protein allergy (that they're starting to grow out of, thankfully), so I've been packing dairy-free lunches for the past 7 years now. Aside from leftovers, these are my go-to school lunches. My kids love hot meals, so I just heat these up, throw them into a thermos in the morning, and they're good to go.
Along with these "entrees," I always pack a side of fruit for something sweet + extra nutrients. I wanted to share a quick and easy way to make fried rice that makes for a [relatively] healthy meal. I love making this when I have leftover rice from Chinese food take-out.
Super Easy Fried Rice:
What are your go-to school lunches?
To kick off the back-to-school season, Lollaland has partnered with Luca & Company and SoYoung for a Back-to-School Lunch Instagram Giveaway valued at $275.
To enter, visit Lollaland's Instagram @lollalandusa and good luck! Both Luca & Company and SoYoung's booths were near the Lollaland Booth at a tradeshow last year. These two companies really caught my attention. The FunPod by Luca & Company has been a God-send ever since I got one. Here's how we use our FunPod in the LollaHome. Oddly enough, my 2-year-old loves to just sit in it and play peek-a-boo, so not only is it functional, but it can make for fun times, as well. As for SoYoung goods - just take a quick look and you'll see why theyr'e so unique and chic! I LOVE their designs and aesthetic.
My daughters' preschool has a vegetable/fruit garden that the children water and maintain. The teachers encourage the kids to pick the fruit and the leaves and try it all. The first time I saw my daughter walk by the garden, tear off a piece of swiss chard, and eat it, I was horrified. The germaphobe in me wanted to bat it out of her hand and wash it first. BUT I resisted, because I realized how amazing it is that she is open to trying these incredibly healthy greens. I have zero time/energy to maintain a vegetable garden, but I wish I did, because it is so amazing to see children take so much pride in growing vegetables, harvesting them, and eating them. What better way to spark a child's interest in food, than by having them grow it themselves?
A good friend of mine shared this easy recipe with me over the weekend, and I cannot wait to make it. I just have to get to the grocery store . . . Kale is one of those vegetables that I don't remember eating until I was in college. My girls, however, seem to enjoy it. I've made them kale chips, and they love it. I've made kale soup, and they gobble it up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one. Who doesn't like fried rice?
My older daughter is a bit of a gourmand. She is open to trying anything, and loves to eat. My younger daughter, on the other hand, eats a lot, but prefers carbs and fruit over protein and veggies. She's also quite picky. If she finds a sliver of a scallion on her chicken, she will spend an eternity picking it off. She literally hates the color green.
I do know that the girl loves to dip and enjoys soups, so in my effort to get some vegetables in her, I've amassed an arsenal of vegetable-based soups.
Cauliflower soup is one of her favorite, so I thought I'd share the recipe with all of you. I love it's simplicity, and it's so nice to watch this little girl devour a healthy meal. Since everything's blended together, she can't pick at the pieces. One of her favorite dinners consists of pita chips or crackers to dip in her large bowl of cauliflower soup. Bon Appetit!
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, broth, and cream. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer gently until cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Puree soup in small batches in blender/food processor until smooth. Return to same saucepan. Season soup with kosher salt and white pepper.
* This recipe is very forgiving. My daughters have a dairy allergy, so I use rice milk or sometimes just 4 cups of chicken broth. It still tastes great! .