Dec 9, 2009

Mini uttapa and sabji sandwich, guava and grapes

Mini uttapa with vegetables : I used typical Idly batter to make mini uttapas. In the batter add finely grated ginger, finely chopped onions and lots of chopped corriander. On the nonstick pan add few drops of oil and spoonful of batter and then add carrot cubes and peas. let it cook by covering the lid. with Chutney : blend in the mixer (blender) - mint, corriander leaves ( I use chopped stems - its good fiber) , green chili, yogurt, walnuts, Daal (roasted garbano beans), flaxmeal (javas), salt, sugar.
Mini uttapa sabji sandwich : Typical potato sabji that is made with dosa. I added grated carrots, green peas, lemon juice, salt sugar to the boiled and chunky mashed potatoes. Sandwiched it with some ketchup in mini uttapas.
Gauva slices and grapes. I took off the seeds and peeled the gauva. Roo's taste buds haven't developed for guava yet.
Roo ate Uttapa burgers (thats what she called it) and grapes...All chutney untouched, all guava slices and other single uttapas came back.

Dec 8, 2009

Bread pakoda (not fried), broccoli with ranch

Bread pakoda (not fried) : I used honey whole wheat bread. Cut the slices into strips. Mix all the ingredients - 1 cup of besan (garbanzo beans flour), salt, red chili powder, ovaa (known as - ajwain, ajwan, ajowan, omam, caraway seeds). Add water and whisk it to a little thinner than pancake batter consistency. Dip the bread strips into the batter and cook it from both sides on the nonstick pan with little oil. [just like french toast]
with ketchup.
blanched broccoli with ranch.
I added few grapes in the lunch box after taking picture.

Dec 7, 2009

Tofu makhani with poli (chapati)

Roo calls it orange bhaji (sabji/curry). Its her very favorite that nothing goes on the side.
Tofu makhani - Paneer makhani - In a pan heat a teaspoon oil. Add garlic, ginger, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, carrot cubes, peeled and cubed zuchini (if other vegetables like spinach added then add beet root to enhance color), some cooked canellini (white) beans . Let it all cook with some water and by covering with lid. blend it in blender (mixer). cut tofu/paneer into small bite size cubes.
In the pan heat a teaspoon oil/butter and add masala (I usually use Shahi paneer masala/ tandoori masala or paneer makhani). Add the tomato-onion gravy and tofu cubes; some salt and 1/2 teaspoon sugar for taste.
with Phulake (I used few drops of olive oil on top so they will stay soft).

TIP about buying Masala powders : If you are making Sambar...purchase Sambar masala made in south India...MTR, 777 are good brands. If you r making pav-bhaji... Mumbai brands like Everest. If you are making north indian dish like paneer makhani...then MDH brand.
I usually read the address where it is manufactured when buying.

I gave it in typical stacking tiffin which goes in the insulated box. It will be warm lunch.

Dec 4, 2009

Polenta with beans and carrots, apple slices

Polenta with mexican red beans and grated carrots in Pasta sauce :
In this recipe I used polenta like pasta, roasted it on the pan. Mixed some cooked (with salt) beans and grated carrots in pasta sauce...microwaved it for a minute sprinkled some cheese and gave it in hot lunch box.
Polenta is prcooked corn meal (north Italy) and has savory taste. It is available in any supermarket. Mexican red beans are like small kidney beans (rajma) but has different taste.
with apple slices.

Dec 3, 2009

Phodnichi poli (masala tortilla/chapati/roti), woldorf salad

Phodnichi poli - policha kuskara - masala tadka chapati (phulake) :
Its a popular Indian breakfast item made from leftover Roti/Poli/Chapati/Paratha/Tortilla.

Crumble or cut or crush the tortilla/chapati to small pieces. If its dry chapati like phulake you can use mixer to do it. Add some lemon juice, salt and sugar a teaspoon each for 6-7 tortillas and keep it aside. For tempering/ tadka/ phodni - heat very little oil (I used 1 teaspoon) in a pot and then add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, grated ginger, finely chopped onions pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon water. cover with lid and let it cook.
Add vegetables of your choice. I added frozen peas, green pegion peas (tur), edamame, grated carrots, finely chopped zuchini. Mix in the crumbled chapatis/tortillas. Turn the heat to low and let it cook for 10 minutes covering with lid.

Woldorf salad : Mix all of it together - finely chopped apple, celery, walnuts, grapes, thick yogurt, sugar. Yummy and easy :)
It is made with mayonaise and raisins but Roo doesn't like it so I added grapes and yogurt instead.

Dec 1, 2009

Japanese pizza or pancake, marinated and roasted lotus root slices,grapes and strawberries

Japanese pancake (okonomiyaki) : This is a savory pancake - a vegetarian version closer to japanese pancake or pizza. This is clean the fridge recipe...can be made with many vegetables.
3 cups cabbage thinly cut into strings, grated carrots 1/2 cup, sliced mushrooms, 2 tablespoon while wheat flour, 1/3 cup grated raw nagaimo root [optional or potato/taro root can be used], 2 teaspoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, salt. Mix it all together without any water. With few drops of oil make mini pancakes on the nonstick pan. Cook from both sides.
It already has ketchup but kids can eat enormous ketchup. This is a very good picnic food...lunchbox item.
Marinated and roasted lotus root slices : lotus root slices marinated in soy sauce + salt + sesame oil + rice vinegar and roasted on the pan.
Lotus root being a starchy root doesn't have much nutritional value...its different taste makes it a fun food to eat. Fresh lotus root is available at any supermarkets. Asian stores like Uwajimaya carry it in frozen sections too.
grapes and strawberries.

Nov 30, 2009

Grilled cheese sandwich triangles, Masoor, orange and apple slices, garbanzo beans

Grilled cheese sandwich triangles : whole grain bread slices, some finely grated baby carrots, american cheese slices and grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I grilled it on the nonstick pan with few drops of olive oil and cut it into triangles.
Soaked whole Masoor (lentils). they didn't sprout yet.
Tangerine (orange) and apple slices.
Soaked and cooked (with salt) garbanzo beans.

Nov 24, 2009

veggie masala burger, roasted sweet potato, kiwi and strawberry

Veggie masala burger with lettuce and whole wheat bread : I cut the bread slices in hexagon shape (its hard to cut in circle shape for me so hexagon!). honey mustard on one slice - ketchup, sweet pickles and finely chopped onion on the burger patty (ketchup on bread will be soggy). thick lettuce round cut and another hexagon slice... Burger ready :)
Sweet potato roasted (fries) : cut sweet potato in stripes. Sprinkle salt and pepper and roast it on the pan, Add few drops of oil. Let it cook from all sides. about 10-15 minutes. with kethup.
kiwi and strawberries.
Frozen section have vegetable masala burger patties or homemade ones are good too!
I sometimes include little love note in Roo's lunchbox...

Nov 23, 2009

Instant spanish rice with vegetables, almonds, apples, grapes, strawberries

Instant spanish rice with vegetables, cheese and salsa : Leftover rice recipe - 1 and 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1 cup thinly grated carrots, 1 cup finely chopped spinach, 1/4 cup salsa [ finely chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander/ cilantro, lemon juice, red chili powder, salt] or taco sauce, 1/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper.
Mix everything else other than rice and microwave it for 30 seconds, then mix rice and microwave for another minute. I gave it in hot lunch box so it will be warm for lunch.
Almonds, Grapes, Strawberries, Apple slices - to prevent apple slices turning brown until lunch - I use orange juice on it or rub an orange slice on the apple slice...Lemon juice can be used (Lemon juice changes its taste)... wash apple slices with salt + cold water.
Roo likes this version of spanish rice.
Roo was 4 years old when first time I made this rice for dinner from leftover morning she asked me - do we have any leftover rice? make spanish rice :) I cooked fresh rice that morning and made spanish rice for her lunch too.

Nov 20, 2009

Israeli style couscous blend with vegetables and beans, plum and strawberry

Grains blend - Israeli couscous, Orzo pasta, baby garbanzo beans and Quinoa - In a pot heat 1 teaspoon oil, add finely chopped 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon fresh (dry) oregano, chopped onion, grated carrots, chopped celery, cannellini beans [I soak dry beans, cook them with salt and in glass jar keep it in the freezer], lima beans, sliced mushrooms, chopped spinach, 1 cup of grains blend (for lunch boxes), 2 cups of hot water, salt, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (2 chopped tomatoes/ tomato paste), 1 teaspoon sugar to balance the taste of vinegar. let it cook for 15 minutes...stiring in between.
Roo likes Quinoa which is mixed in. This dish is 2 thumbs up from her. She asks for KusKus for dinner :)
with Plum slices and strawberries.

Nov 19, 2009

Scone (whole wheat and oat bran) with jam, Edmame and string beans with herbs, pomogranate seeds

Scotish Scones : 1 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup oat bran, 4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8th teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoon butter, 3/4 cup yogurt, 1 egg.
Mix all the dry ingredients. Mix butter and oil in it, kind of rub to the flour [This step is imp] untill mixed together. Whisk egg and yogurt and add to flour. 3/4 inch high triangle shapes. I baked them on 350F temperature for 20 minutes.
I made medium sized ...Roo can handle this size...for younger kids smaller than these r better.
you can cut in between and put jam...
Roo enjoys spreading strawberry jam and I gave her spreading knife.
Edamame and string beans sauteed with herbs and pomogranate seeds.

Nov 18, 2009

Banana Pancake, Quinoa with vegetables

Banana Pancakes : Kids favorite, quick and easy to make in the morning.
more than 1 cup mashed ripe bananas, 1 teaspoon sugar, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (atta), salt - Mix it all together. I added cashew nuts and pinch of cardamom (veladoda/ vilayachi/ elayachi) powder. On the nonstick pan with drop of oil I make bite size pancakes (uttapa).
I gave it with maple syrup (sugary syrup with maple flavor) in little honey jar that I reuse.
Kids will pick pancake, dip it in syrup and eat.
Quinoa (pronounced as keenwa) with vegetables : Soak Quinoa (Its a very high protein grain and has nutty tasty) for 1/2 an hour to take the outer bitter layer or 5 minutes in hot water and rinse it. In a pot heat some oil, add cumin seeds, grated ginger, chopped onions, herbs - oragano, thyme, corriander, red chili powder, chopped potato, green peas and carrot cubes and rinsed quinoa. Let it all cook for 10-15 minutes.
You can make quinoa in many different ways. The above is our family favorite for dinner and leftover for lunch. Quinoa is not Roo's favorite...she eats few bites...thats why I gave it as side dish. Try if your kid likes it.

Nov 17, 2009

yellow khichadi with lentils and vegetables, papad, tandoori tofu, amba (mango) barfi

Roo calls this Yellow Khichadi to differentiate between shabudana (tapioca) khichadi (looks white) and this khichadi (usually called as moong dal khichadi/khichri). I add masoor and tur dal too.
Yellow Khichadi with lentils and vegetables :
In a thick base pot heat little oil add cumin seeds, turmeric, chopped garlic, curry leaves, gaam masala. I added frozen lima beans, frozen green chana, lots of chopped spinach, chopped green string beans, salt. 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup moong dal, 1/4 cup masoor dal, 1/4 cup tur dal rinse with water and add it in the cooking pot. Let it cook for 20 minutes...add hot water as needed...stir occasionally while cooking.
Adding different grains : I add whole grains like Quinoa, millets, Amaranth, Kamut flakes, barley flakes, rye flakes, Farro flakes...
The trick I use is cooking time has to be same for all the grains u will be adding.
if I am cooking brown rice(70 min o cook) then I add whole grain barley, soaked farro etc.
Tandoori tofu toothpick kabobs : Cut super firm tofu in cube pieces. sprinkle some tandoori masala and salt. Dry roast it on non stick can add few oil drops. This is our family favorites. I saw it in PCC natural markets for the first time...
I make Papad in microwave for 30 sec - 1min.
Chitale Amba (Mango) made from Alphonso mango juice...tastes very yummy...just beyond explanation...Roo loves it. She preferes this mango barfi over chocolate...

Nov 16, 2009

Burrito with beans and cheese, plum, persimmon, raspberries

Burrito - beans and cheese wrapped in palak paratha (spinach tortilla) :
For the dough I used whole wheat flour (atta) and chopped spinach and then made paratha (spinach tortilla) Beans : Cook soaked red kidney beans (rajma) in the pressure cooker.
Soaking overnight : is an can soak beans whenever you have time...Beans can stay soaked for 2-3 days (as long as water changed every 10 hours...before going to work and after coming from work when you wash hands...just change the soaking beans water). Cook it in the pressure cooker. Keep it in the fridge/freezer.
In some oil saute garlic, onions, tomato, rajma masala (any masala) and mashed beans with little water. Add mild taco sauce to it. Let it cook for few minutes and then cool. I make these beans thick with masala and taco sauce.
Cling wrap it in tortilla with mexican cheese blend (any mild flavor cheese).
with Plum and Persimmon slices, Raspberries.
Roo ate both the burritos...just 2 persimmon slices came back.

Nov 13, 2009

Garlic bread, melon balls, baby corn and broccoli

This lunchbox is the quickest, easiest and kids favorite one. I assembled it within 15 minutes and you can too.
Garlic toast : Fresh 2 garlic cloves finely chopped mixed with 1 tablespoon of butter/ghee(purified butter). I like fresh garlic but you can try using garlic powder/salt. Any fresh/ dry herbs [coriander, basil, oregano, tulsi]. Mix some salt. I microwaved it for a minute so all the flavors will get mixed. Refrigerate it.
I used whole wheat sprouted bread(any bread is good). I took off the edges and made stripes for easy eating. Spread the garlic butter on one (top) side (generously) and toast the bread on the pan.
Cantaloupe melon balls : Kids love this version than bites.
baby corn and broccoli(blanched) with ranch.
baby corn : 60% of worlds corn is grown in US and still I can't find a place where I could buy fresh baby corn all year long...I used canned here. I try to avoid any canned food.
Roo loves baby corn :)

Nov 12, 2009

Jumbo pasta with vegetables and tofu, berries

This is kids favorite lunch box dish. I replaced ricotta cheese in the filling with vegetables and tofu.
Jumbo pasta shells with vegetables and tofu : Cook pasta as per instructions[I cook it 5 minutes more because I don't bake it after filling].
Filling : In little olive oil I added finely chopped onions and oregano; added some salt to cook it. Added 3 cups of chopped spinach, 1 cup of thinly grated carrots, 3 oz mashed firm tofu and salt for taste. Let it cook for few minutes. After cooling mixed 2 tablespoons of pasta sauce in it.
Fill the cooked shells and sprinkle any cheese (parmesan) on top. I microwaved it for 1-2 minutes...until the cheese on top melted.
with blueberries and strawberries.

The flavor of tofu in this dish/lasagna/manicotti goes so close to ricotta...It tastes perfect without extra fat and looked perfect because of cheese on top.

Roo ate everything from this lunchbox : -)

Nov 10, 2009

Steamed spicy modak with vegetables, plum and star fruit slices

Steamed modak (whole wheat + ragi/nachani/millet flour) with spicy vegetables : Roo loves Samosa. This is easier and healthier version of Samosa/ in modak shape. Aalloo matar vegetables r good.
I made vegetables as : In little oil add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, mint leaves, coriander leaves, chopped onions, garam masala(any), carrots, green peas, finely cut green beans and long beans (chavali), spinach leaves (any greens), salt, sugar, lemon juice.
I mixed ragi flour (nachani /millet flour - Millets have high protein) with some whole wheat flour and made the dough with milk. Thats why the color. rolled into tortilla (roti) and made modak or samosa shape and steamed it for 8-10 minutes.
with Ketchup.
plum and star fruit slices. Star fruit looks and smells so beautiful makes me feel like eating it right away...but the truth is It doesn't taste that beautiful. Roo eats a slice or 2 not much thumbs up from her.

1 modak, ketchup untouched and one starfruit slice came back in the lunchbox.

Nov 9, 2009

Mini muffins, plum slices, yellow and green dried peas, mushrooms celery jicama broccoli with ranch

Mini banana nut honey yogurt Muffins (made with whole wheat flour + multigrain flour) : Easy to eat and easy to make in the morning (30 min).
1 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup multigrain flour(with oats barley wheat germs), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt,1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 cup apple sauce, 1 cup mashed well ripe bananas, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup chopped nuts, some chocolate chips or M&M s.
Mix all wet ingredients (eggs, honey, oil, yogurt, applesauce). Mix dry ingredients and add to it. add bananas and nuts. add into muffin pans. In few muffin I push chocolate chip or M&M into the middle of a muffin. For surprise taste :) Bake for 20 minutes on temp 350F.
yellow and green dried peas - Soak overnight, cook with water and salt.
mushroom, celery, jicama, broccoli (blanched) bites with ranch.
and plum slices.

Roo ate 3 muffins, all veggies, plums, some beans.

Nov 6, 2009

Tapioca (shabudana) Khichdi

Shabudana (Sago) (Tapioca) Khichdi : Most favorite all time favorite kids lunch box meal. It is very popular indian snack during fasting.

The 95 percent success of the dish is in soaking Sabudana. For 2 cups of sabudana (tapioca) I use 2 cups of water and soak it overnight. Boil roots - potato, sweet potato and yam(orange in color). 2 cups of some cubed and some mashed of the above roots. Salt, 1-2 tsp sugar, lemon juice, corriander leaves, cumin seeds, 1tbsp oil. 1 cup of crushed nuts (I use either chopper or mixer/food processor with pulse mode) not powder. I used raw almonds and dry roasted peanuts here.

roasted : most of the Roasted label for nuts is fried in oil. Raw nuts are the best(high in heart healthy nutrients). Dry roasted, no salt (or look for low sodium content) are good too.

In the hot oil add cumin seeds, green chili pieces(optional), mix everything else together with light hands and cook for few minutes.

nothing else on the side... :)

Roo ate everything from this lunchbox...It is her (anybody's) all time favorite.

Nov 5, 2009

Sooji Appam (Rava Baby Idly), Fava (giant) Beans, Strawberries

Sooji (rava) Appam with grated carrots : Roo calls it baby Idly. It has been one of the best lunchbox items since her preschool. Quick and easy to make, yummy and easy to eat.

1 cup Sooji (rava), 1 cup yogurt (preferably sweet and thick), 3/4 cup water, salt - Soak it for 30 minuts. I mixed grated ginger in the above water, drained it and added the water. Kids may not like grated ginger in between. I added little bit of finey chopped onion and lots of grated carrots.
Carrots : Most of the times I start my cooking by grating carrots. They can be added and blend well in most of the sweet, sour, spicy dishes. Goldmines of nutrients, Immunity boosters for kids to fight everyday infections, high in Vit A and alpha-beta carotene etc etc.
Appam can be made in Pancake puffs pan and traditional appam pan. I gave it with Green Tomato Chutney for this lunchbox : Blend in blender (mixer) - finely chopped green tomato, coriander leaves(cilantro), mint leaves, 1 green chili (optional), walnuts, Roasted split gram dal (google/bing it for more info), yogurt, salt and sugar. Fava beans : These are the giant beans I have ever seen. My almost 1 year old loves to eat it. Soak and cook fava beans in pressure cooker with some salt. Just eat them or In some oil with garlic-ginger paste and some onions cook it a little.
I added few strawberries to this lunchbox.

Nov 4, 2009

Vegetarian hot dog, grapes, berries

In preschool Roo had a school picnic day, her school teacher was making hot dogs(meat version) for all kids. I came up with this recipe and its Roo's favorite since.
Veggie hot dog : with multi grain bread slice (edges removed) and ketchup. Mix everything together - 1 boiled and mashed potato, 1 bread slice crumbs (make pieces and make fresh bread crumbs in blender/mixer), 2 cups of grated and finely chopped vegetables, salt and spices (any masala or red chili powder). I used carrots, cauliflower, yellow and red bell paper, swiss chard, methi (any greens), radish, coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped onions, grated ginger. On the pan roast vegetarian hot dog with little oil.
with grapes and berries.

Roo ate everything from this lunchbox :-)

Nov 3, 2009

Lemon rice with vegetables, blueberries

Lemon rice (tadka rice/ phodnicha bhat) with vegetables : Leftovers can be made into great lunches. I used leftover plain rice, vegetables, nuts and lentils to make lemon rice.
vegetables : I used edamame, carrots cubes, blanched broccoli(mixed on top) - peas/sprouted cooked beans, corn, squash, methi, spinach(greens) etc can be added.
nuts : cashews, walnuts, peanuts.
lentils : moong and urad dal - chana dal can be good addition.
In a pan, with little oil add - cumin seeds, turmeric(optional), grated ginger, chopped onion, Soaked (few minutes) moong and urad dal, carrot cubes, edamame. Add pinch of salt and some water, let it cook and water evaporate. Add nuts, precooked rice, lemon juice, salt and 1 tsp sugar. cover it and cook for 5 min. I mixed blanched broccoli at the end.
with some Blueberries.

Roo ate half of the rice and all blueberries.

Nov 2, 2009

baked vegetarian kibbeh, Salad with fruits

Baked Vegetarian Kibbeh : Its a wholesome dish from Lebanese and middle eastern cuisine. 1 cup bulghur (cracked wheat) soaked in 2 cups hot water for an hour. I added 1 boiled potato 1/4 cup soaked Moong dal - crushed in blender with garlic, some Salt and 1/8 tsp Allspice (equal parts of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper grind to powder). Mix it all together(like making dough) and layer it in baking dish. For vegetables layer - In some oil add grated ginger and then I added chopped onions, grated carrots, turnip, squash, 2 boiled and cut potatoes, chopped methi(fenugreek leaves), 1 whole bunch of chopped swiss chard, chopped kale leaves, coriander leaves(cilantro), allspice, salt, 1 tsp sugar. In the baking dish with another bulghur layer...Baked for 30 - 40 minutes.
Variations : mix everything (bulghur+veggie) and make patties or fried/steamed balls.
Salad : lettuce, celery, grapes, strawberry, orange bites, some cheese, with balsamic vinaigrette [balsamic (any) vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper]. I reuse little honey jar for salad dressing. seals good. washes good.

Roo ate 3 kibbeh pieces and all the lettuce...she tried to dump the dressing on the salad and some dressing splashed on her shirt...she usually does it really good...
surprise to me is grapes and orange bites came back.

Oct 30, 2009

Moong dal pancake (uttapa) with chutney, Pomegranate seeds

Moong Dal Pancake (spiced lentil pancakes) : Soak 1 cup of Moong dal overnight. make paste of 1 cm ginger piece, 1 green chili and corriander leaves(cilantro). In blender with some water blend everything so that dal is just crushed (not paste). In the batter I added grated carrots, grated acorn squash, grated turnip, some chopped spinach. On a nonstick pan with little oil make pancakes (uttapa).
With Chutney : Blend in blender mint leaves + roasted split gram dal + walnuts + yogurt + sugar+ salt.
Today is the most awaited day of the year - Halloween, so I cut it and decorated it as Smiley Pumpkin.
and some Pomegranate seeds : Roo likes to play fireworks in the mouth with seeds - hold the seed like pinch and press in the mouth closed. It splashes the pomegranate juice. Its a fun game.

Roo was dressed up as Sakagawea. The whole school celebrated dressing up as a historic character. She chose to be Sakagawea - Native american lady helped Lewis and Clark explorers.
Dressing up and halloween activities in the class or big pancake...Roo didn't eat much... she ate just half of pancake and thats it...even pomegranate seeds were untouched.

Oct 29, 2009

Pizza (whole wheat flour ) with vegetables, jicama carrots celery sticks, Grapes

Pizza : 3 cups of whole wheat flour (not atta), 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon yeast, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 cup warm water. Mix yeast in water and wait for few minutes. Make dough.

{To make it easy in the evening I roll the dough thick in the morning into smaller circles (size of personal pizza) rub lots of oil on it and wrap in the aluminium foil and then keep in the warm place - It will make spongy pizza}

Keep the dough for rising in warm place [Turn the oven light on and keep for 6-8 hours]. This is what I did - In the morning before going to work I used to make the dough and keep it in the oven, when you come back home dough is ready for dinner pizza. heat the oven to 350. Roll the dough on aluminium foil and put your favorite toppings [take your kids help] and bake pizzas. Put some veggie sauce: For the pizza sauce chop, cook and blend the vegetables in blender. I used tomatoes, beetroot, some carrots, squash, rutabaga, spinach, sugar, salt, one garlic clove, dry basil.

Roo's favorite toppings are pineaple, mushroom and broccoli. Or use the readymade pizza/pasta sauce.
This homemade smiley pizza is made by Roo. She had fun making it and the excitement of making pizza ...oooohs ...aaaahhhs and never ending "Is it done yet?".
Jicama, Celery, Carrots with buttermilk ranch dressing : Jicama is crispy and sweet tasting root...Kids like it. And some Grapes.

I use Whole wheat floor for baking from any supermarket [not atta]. Here I used organic fine whole wheat flour from PCC natural markets. Trader joes has a good flour to start with untill kids get used to the dark color whole wheat flour. It is whole wheat flour made of light colored wheat grains.

Roo finished everything from this lunchbox except few carrot pieces.

Oct 28, 2009

Vegetarian Sushi, hummus with breadsticks, toothpick fruit kabobs

Roo wanted to eat sushi. She is very picky with the strong smells - Raw fish...nope, seaweed...nope. We make it this way. She loved it. Its easy to make and eat in the lunchbox.
Vegetarian Sushi : I make rice (any rice for pressure cooker cooking) with rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar added while cooking. By using parchment paper or cling wrap I mold it thick (it doesn't have nori/seaweed) so it will hold nicely. To this sushi I added grated carrots, strawberries, apple pieces, celery (all Roo's favorite things). wraped it...(phew...) refrigerate it for few hours. I cut it with sharp knife wiping it with damp cloth for every cut.
The rice made this way already has sweet-sour taste...It doesn't need any special sauce to dip. Just pick and eat.
Hummus with breadsticks .
with toothpick fruit kabobs : This is very exciting for kids. Roo wanted to make more during lunch by herself.

When I asked how was your lunch Roo told me - Fruit kabobs was the best part of lunch. Some hummus, 3 breadsticks and some crumbled rice came back in lunch :)

Oct 27, 2009

Spinach tortilla wrap (roll) with beans, veggies, cheese, Persimmon bites

Spinach Tortilla Wrap : wash, cut, cook spinach just a little bit with little water and blend it in blender. I added some Swiss chard, one chopped garlic clove and salt while cooking. In this blended mixture I add fine whole wheat flour (atta) and make dough. I make phulake (roti/tortilla) and put some olive oil dots on it and rub it (it keeps tortilla soft).
I added grated carrots, chopped lettuce, cooked garbanzo beans, little onion, any cheese (feta, Parmesan), any salad dressing (buttermilk ranch/ balsamic vinaigrette). I try to add the dressing in between layers of veggies to avoid tortilla getting soggy. Wrap it with cling wrap. For kids its easy to eat peeling wrap like banana.
Persimmon fruit bites - this is eaten like apple, has different sweet flavor. I take its skin off for Roo.
Roo ate 1 and 1/2 roll and few persimmon pieces. Thats thumbs up

Oct 26, 2009

Pad Thai with Walnuts Peanuts and Roasted Split Gram Dal sauce, fruits

Walnuts, Peanuts and Split Gram Dal Sauce : Blend 1/4 cup Walnuts, 1/4 cup peanuts, 1/2 cup roasted Split Gram Dal, 1 lime juice/ tamarind concentrate, 1 teaspoon soy sauce(optional), little more than 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, red chili powder in blender with little water.
***Roasted Split Gram Dal - available in any Indian grocery store - this is how it looks
Pad Thai Noodles - I used flat rice noodles [any noodles r great] mixed with above sauce and drizzle of olive oil. I added dry roasted tofu and blanched broccoli. You can add any of your kids favorite vegetables (For me I add sauteed bok choy, spinach, Swiss chard, cabbage, lettuce, carrots etc) I microwaved it for more than a minute and gave it in the hot lunch box.
with some grapes and strawberries.

This homemade pad thai is Roo's favorite with broccolli and tofu.

Roo ate everything from this lunch box. :)

Oct 23, 2009

Mexican rice with vegetables, fruits

Mexican brown rice with vegetables : I used 2 garlic cloves, 1 medium size chopped onion, 3 tomatoes (from my backyard garden) -cooked it in little oil with salt and covered with lid. I added chopped vegetable pieces of squash, Rutabaga, broccoli stem, chopped swiss chard and spinach, some pinto beans, lemon juice, salt, coriander leaves(cilantro), dry oregano (optional), red chili powder, Soy sauce is the secret ingredient. I make Mexican rice with short grain brown rice 1 cup (any rice is good). For short grain brown rice I add lots of water and cook (for about 75 min - white rice will take 10-15 min) it in thick base iron pot - stirring it and adding water occasionally. I like this rice moist...not dry. I mix Blanch crisp broccoli in the moist rice before serving.
Adding different grains : I add whole grains like barley, farro, kamut to it. as they have same cooking time as brown rice.
Adding mexican blend cheese on warm rice...yummm... To me this rice has taste like pasta sauce. This is Roo's favorite dish - usually dinner and leftover for lunchbox. In hot lunch box it will be warm for lunch.
with some grapes and strawberries.

Roo ate all the fruits and 3/4th rice.

Oct 22, 2009

Healthy Dhokla diamonds with Veggies, Pomegranate seeds

Healthy Dhokla : Soak 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup chana dal, 1/3 moong dal, 1/3 cup urad dal - overnight. Blend in a blender with some water and 1/3 cup yogurt. Keep in a warm place to ferment [Turn the oven light on and Keep it in the oven overnight]. I added some salt and finely grated - pumpkin, acorn squash, carrots, Rutabaga and green peas, edamame [Its a wonder veggie]. The secret Kid apealing ingredient in - is sugar. I poured the batter (1cm thick) in lightly oiled pot and steamed in the pressure cooker[took off the whistle]. [It can be done in a big pot with 1 inch of boiling water and batter poured in another small pot/cake pan and covered with lid.]
Cut into diamonds. with Pomegranate seeds.
usually Dhokla is made from Besan (garbanzo/chickpea flour). This Dhokla has urad dal and yogurt for fermentation.

Roo finished everything from this lunchbox :)

Oct 21, 2009

Stuffed Paratha with veggies, banana, grapes

Stuffing : Finely chopped Swiss chard [It is one of the super foods], finely chopped Methi (Fenugreek leaves), cooked and mashed whole moong, salt, red chili powder, masala(spices optional). Mix and cook all the ingredients for 5 minutes.
Methi and Moong Stuffed Paratha : I made Whole wheat flour dough. If you know how to make stuffed paratha great! OR Roll the dough into thin tortilla. Half of the circle spread the stuffing and then fold the half over it. Roll it a little bit with rolling pin. Cook from both sides. OR you can buy uncooked/precooked whole wheat tortilla and make stuffed paratha.
I cut it into long triangles - easy to dip and eat with ketchup.
Banana, Grapes and Raspberries.

Oct 20, 2009

Nutritious Thalipeeth with mango chutney, Orange bites

Nutritious Thalipeeth : It is a very popular Food from West part of India (Maharashtra). It is made from a special flour - Bhajani - which is a blend of roasted grains and variety of beans with some spices.
In my recipe I mix -
Flours : Jawar flour, bajri flour, ragi flour [variety of millets], buckwheat flour, besan (garbano beans/chickpea flour).
Beans : I switched the roasted beans in flour (bhajani) to soaked sprouted and blended version. Blend in blender soaked and sprouted whole moog, masoor (beans) [I like some beans taste in it so I didn't make it like paste]. You can roast beans and cook them before adding OR leftover beans/dal r great addition too.
Vegetables : Finely chopped onion, spinach, Methi [fenugreek leaves], grated cauliflower, grated carrots, grated bellpepper, corriander (cilantro).
Salt, red chili powder and any spice blend (masala)
all of the above to make a dough. If needed I add little water. I pat the dough to 3mm thickness (pancake) on the nonstick pan with little oil. Let it cook both sides by covering the lid.
Mango chutney : Blend in a blender mango pieces, grated onion, salt , sugar, red chili powder and lemon juice.
with some Orange bite size pieces.
I cut Thalipeet in to fun shaped bites. I also added the remaining thalipeet pieces - which make fantastic imaginary shapes for kids to figure out.

Roo ate untill the mango chutney finished...all imaginary shapes, fishes, birds were gone...that would be more than 1/2 and 4-5 orange bites.

Oct 19, 2009

Steamed veggie dumplings, Raspberries, brazil nuts

Vegetable stuffing : I used following vegetables - thick grated carrots and cabbage, little chopped spinach, some chopped green string beans, finely chopped Chauli string beans[ long thin black eyed string beans available in Indian stores], chopped lima beans with Rice vinegar+ sesame oil + soy sauce + sugar + salt and some chili oil. I cooked it for few minutes keeping the vegetables crisp so that it will taste like vegetables in Chinese spring rolls.
Steamed veggie dumplings : Chinese potsticker dumplings are usually made from rice flour /all purpose flour (maida) dough. I used 1 as to 1 ratio of whole wheat flour + nachani flour (ragi/millet). Also added some soy flour and milk to make the dough. I made small thin flat tortillas (roti) then stuffed the stuffing and closed the edges. I cooked these potsticker dumplings by Steaming for 8-10 minutes.
with Dipping Sauce, some Raspberries and 3 raw Brazil nuts. These nuts have high amounts of antioxidents and high calories. Eating variety of nuts in moderation can give you array of heart healthy compounds.

Roo helped me make the dipping sauce by mixing Ketchup and soy sauce. She ate one dumpling in the morning and as soon as she finished it - she said "NI HAO" thats Hi in chinese :)

One dumpling and 2 brazil nuts came back in the lunch box...everything else was all eaten :)

Oct 16, 2009

Beetroot tortilla with pineapple jam, sprouted moth beans, jackfruit

Beetroot tortilla with pineapple jam : Beetroot gives a magnificent color. I cooked beetroot for few minutes with little water and made paste in the blender. Added whole wheat flour to the paste and made Phulake (Tortilla/Roti). Put some olive oil to keep it soft and cut the circular edges (can be hard to chew). I made Roll first by spreading some almond butter (just a layer so tortilla will not be soggy) and then layer of thick Pineapple jam.
pineapple jam : This homemade jam is easy to make - I grated big whole pieces of pineapple from food processor, added some sugar and let it boil and thickened. Refrigerate and use for few weeks...It is so tasty it won't last for long.
sprouted Moth beans (Matki) : These are tasty beans. Roo loves to snack on them. [may be because She sees me eating the plain sprouted ones...Children learn what they live.]
and Jackfruit (Phanas) : Its a very flavorful fruit real yummy treat to your senses. It tastes like fruit cocktail - flavors of Pineapple+strawberry+peach fused together.

I like berry jams on bread and Pineapple/mango jams on tortilla. To my taste berry jams don't go well with poli/roti/paratha.

Roo ate 1 roll, all sprouted beans(matki) and strawberry. She didn't eat Jackfruit...she said now she doesn't like it.

Oct 15, 2009

Indian style Pasta with spinach, Tofu with sambar masala

Today photo didn't come out so well. I turned off the flash and trusted way too much on our bright/cloudy Seattle weather. Morning time is such a rush time.
I took Chakolya for lunch to work. My american co-worker loved the smell of it coming out of the I offered it...When I was explaining the recipe she said its pasta ...Indian style pasta!
Indian style pasta : Chakolya (Dal Dhokli/Varan phal)with spinach : It is made from Tur dal (lentils curry sauce) with fresh pasta made from whole wheat dough. To its regular recipe I added little chopped spinach to the Varan (Lentils curry sauce). For the dough I mixed whole wheat flour + Nachani flour (Ragi/millet flour) + besan (garbanzo beans flour) + salt + turmeric with some milk and water. Roll the dough and cut into small thin square shaped fresh pasta. Let it cook for 15 minutes.
Sambar masala Tofu : dry roast the tofu and sprinkle with some salt + sambar powder + lemon juice...this is my personal favorite. Roo likes it too.

I gave it in hot lunch box (inside is stainless steel) so it will be warm for lunch. Roo loves it very much.

She ate all the tofu and 3/4 of Chakolya.

Oct 14, 2009

Upma bites with vegetables, grapes

Upma with vegetables : Dry roast Rava (Cream of wheat). I used very little oil for mustard seeds,curry leaves and onions to cook. I added additional vegetables and nuts to the original upma recipe. thinly grated - carrots, navalkol (kohlrabi), squash (bhopala). For the crunch I added walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, cashews. I also added soaked Urad dal and Moong dal (lentils).
Upma Bites : Pat hot upma in a plate to the desired bite thickness and cut checks pattern with knife. Let it cool and bite size pieces are ready for the lunchbox. Make fun shapes that your kid loves...I made butterflies, flowers and hearts for this lunchbox :)
and grapes, strawberries on the side.
This upma is very healthy and wholesome with addition of Dals, Nuts and Vegetables. Bite size makes it easy for kids to eat. Fun shapes creates the excitement for lunch.

Roo ate 1/2 of Upma and all the fruits. Roo liked the different nuts and sunflower seeds taste in upma.

Oct 13, 2009

M&C Pizza with veggies, Fruits

What would you like on your pizza? Every kid has their own personal favorites about what can go on pizza. Mac and cheese pizza! ...well we tried can try too.

Mac and cheese pizza on the honey whole wheat bread : Make M&C as per package instructions. On the pan warm the bread with M&C and vegetables with cover. I used broccoli florets and mushroom slices. You can add fruits to it too.
with some grapes and strawberry.
Roo has been excited the whole morning to eat and show off her lunchbox in the class today.

Oct 12, 2009

Spaghetti with veggie sauce, roasted whole Chana

2 yrs back, when I was making spaghetti with tomato sauce (store bought)...Roo [my 6 yr old] was in preschool that time. She told me -Tomato is not a vegetable...its a fruit. Something that she learned in her school. This is her very favorite dish so I had to modify this fruit sauce... That's how I came up with recipe of veggie sauce.

Spaghetti (whole wheat) pasta with veggie+tomato sauce : cook the pasta and mix it with veggie sauce. I added broccoli florets and sliced mushrooms. Sprinkle some cheese. You can add store bought pasta sauce + veggie sauce to it.

Visible vegetables : you can see these and are your kids favorite. here I added mushrooms and broccoli (my kids fav ones). I have seen kids love cauliflower, peas etc.
Invisible vegetables in veggie sauce: You can't see them. They are in the sauce. Cut, cook and blend in a blender all the vegetables - tomatoes (more qty), beetroot, spinach, pumpkin (lal bhopala), basil (tulsi leaves) [Don't be a greedy mommy...try little vegetables and more tomatoes for the first time].

Kala chana (belongs to the Garbanzo beans family) : Soak beans overnight. Let them sprout for few hours. On a nonstick pan add little oil and roast the beans. Add Salt + Pepper + Spices (any masala) as per your taste.
This is a yummy snack... Make it for the family movie night than the packaged popcorn.

Roo ate 3/4 of spagetti and all the beans from this lunch box. Her classmates loved its color and one said It must be from the restaurant...[why facination of outside food???]

Oct 8, 2009

Idly sandwich, green tur beans and squash with oregano, strawberries

Idly Sandwich : Cut idly vertically making 2 circles. If you want good circles -take 2 idlies cut the sherical portion of each idly (will be inside of the sandwich). Fill the chutney (lots of) in between idly/idlies.
Chutney -I make this chutney thick and sweeter. In a blender mix mint leaves, Daal (raosted split gram), sugar, lemon juice, salt. (you can mix little yogurt).

Idly batter is made ahead of time. You can buy ready batter from any Indian store. Soak 3 cups of rice and 1 cup of Urad dal (Black lentils) plus any lentils can be mixed for few hours. Grind all in a blender (like pancake batter) and keep it in warm place for fermentation [Turn the light on of your conventional oven and keep it overnight. Thats how much warm it needs to ferment]. Refrigerate it and enjoy for a week.

Green tur(pigeon pea) beans and butternut squash with herbs : In little olive oil put some oregano(any herbs or little spices). Put small cut squash, beans, salt and cook them for 4-5 mins by covering it with lid.
I got tur(pigeon pea) beans from frozen section. Frozen beans are very easy to cook in the morning.
Butternut squash has this kid apealing mild and sweet taste. It cooks in few mins.
with some strawberries.
Variations : I tried jam in between idlies (idlies r slippery for jam) but didn't work in the lunchbox. Thick hummus(with flaxmeal) worked really good.
Roo ate 3 sandwiches, some beans and few squash bites and all strawberries. Thats good enough lunch for a first grader. It depends on the kid and day activities. kids also eat more during their growth-spike and less otherwise.

Oct 7, 2009

buckwheat noodles with vegetables, grapes

Buckwheat noodles : These Japanese soba noodles are made with wheat + buckwheat flour. I go for the more buckwheat content in soba noodles. trader joes/uwajimaya have good collection.

In a pan with some sesame oil + olive oil cook some garlic, onions with little salt and lid (makes it cook in little oil rather than frying). I added grated carrots (thick, long), spinach, cabbage, celery(thinly cut), 1tbs rice vinegar, 1tbs soy souce,1tbs sugar, salt. cook for 2 minutes (crispy vegetables taste good in noodles). Add more vinegar, soy souce, sugar, red chili powder/chili sauce according to your taste. Mix it with cooked noodles (cook as per package instructions). Warm or Cold - they taste yummy to me either way.

Ruta decorated her lunch with magic sprinkles (sesame seeds). She tasted it in the morning and gave me one thumbs up.

with some grapes.

Ruta ate 1/2 of the noodles and all grapes. She didn't like "some orange things" cabbage in it.

Oct 6, 2009

Shabudana (tapioca) cutlet with sweet potato, broccolli, fruits

Shabudana cutlet : Soak the shabudana overnight [Rinse the shabudana and keep little water in it]. Shabudana - tapioca pearls come from root starch so they are high in carbohydrates. Boil sweet potatoes. Mix it with some Rajgira (Amaranth) flour. Amaranth grains are high in protein. They have very light and nutty flavor. I added some chopped walnuts, salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, coriander (cilantro) leaves and little water to make patties. I cooked the cutlets from both sides in a non stick pan and lid and used very little oil.
This is a kids favorite cutlet and made on religious fasting days in India.
broccolli with ranch (white dressing didn't come very well in the picture) and some strawberries.

Ruta ate everything from this lunchbox.

Oct 5, 2009

Quesadilla with vegetables, cucumber sticks and fruits

Quesadilla : 1 cup whole wheat flour + 2/4 cup Nachani flour [Ragi/Millet has a very high protein content for a grain] + pinch of salt. I used milk to make dough. Make Rotis [tortillas] and cook them less from one side which will be the outer side of quesadilla. I used spinach, sliced mushrooms, grated carrots, grated red and orange bell peppers and little cheese as a binder. I cut the edges and snack on them. This is my personal favorite dish.
cucumber sticks, strawberries and grapes on the side.

Ruta is learning to trick us by saying opposite things...maybe its a 6 yr old thing. I asked her how was your lunch today and she said "I didn't like it (with a pause and naughty look)...I Loved it ... I finished it all except the cucumbers". She doesn't like certain vegetables...I guess everybody is a picky eater in their own way.

Oct 2, 2009

Pita bread pizza with vegetables, cantaloupe

Pita bread pizza with vegetables : On the whole wheat pita bread put layers of grated vegetables [I used carrots, cauliflower, red and yellow bell pepper], cheese, dots of pasta sauce and sliced mushrooms. cut into triangles.
and some cantaloupe bites.
I always try the recipe at home with Ruta before giving it in the lunchbox. For this recipe Ruta suggested strawberries on top...and it tastes delicious.

Oct 1, 2009

Pohay with vegetables, marinated and roasted tofu

Pohay : [pohay is flattened/beaten white/brown rice]. Peas, boiled sweet potato(potato), Onions, green coriander leaves and spices makes it fragrant and mild flavored kids all time favorite.
Tofu : Roasted on pan with soy ginger flavored marinade. Ruta loves this tofu and gives it 10 thumbs up (that means best). She learned it after reading two thumbs up on movie DVD cover.

Sep 30, 2009

Pancake puffs with grated vegetables, peach bites

Pancake Puffs : I used multi-grain pancake mix and light flavored vegetables like carrots (lots of), sunchokes[kind of a root and has very light and nutty flavor like sunflower seeds], little sweet potato etc. In a hot appam pan (pancake puff pan) with little oil/butter add spoonful of batter. Cook puffs from both sides by turning over.

Eating different kinds of puffs is fun. Here I made 3 kinds of puffs for this lunchbox - M&M, cheese and pasta sauce, strawberry jam.

and some Peach bites in a small bowl covered with cling wrap.

Sep 29, 2009

Vegetable cutlets with rice and cheese, ketchup, fruit

Vegetable cutlets : boil the sweet potato, cook and mash kidney beans (rajma) (any kind of beans like moong, masoor, lima etc), grate carrots, grate some cauliflower, grate bell pepper [flesh will grate and skin will come off], finely chopped swiss chard (any green leaves), cooked rice (brown rice), little grated cheese (any kind), salt, some grated ginger and chopped coriander leaves (cilantro).
Mix all the vegetables in a bowl. Use more vegetables , little rice and little bit of sweet potato as a binder. Make thick Patties. coat pattie with egg white (optional) and sooji (or breadcrumbs). Use nonstick pan with little oil to cook the patties.
[this is the only way Ruta eats bell pepper and cauliflower.]
with ketchup and some apple slices.

Sep 28, 2009

Dosa roll with vegetables, lima beans, grapes

Vegetables for stuffing: In a pan heat some olive oil. Add some cumin seeds, turmeric, very little masala (any spices), Add finely chopped onions with pinch of salt [helps onions cook with less oil] and stir it until cooked. Add cut and boiled potato, grated carrots, grated cauliflour, salt, sugar and coriander leaves(cilantro).

Dosa roll : The batter is made ahead of time. Soak 3 cups of rice and 1 cup of Urad dal (Black lentils) plus any lentils can be mixed for few hours. Grind all in a blender (like pancake batter) and keep it in warm place for fermentation. Refrigerate it and enjoy for a week.

In the batter add some salt and little warm water. On a hot pan make it like crepes. make it little thick so it will be easy to make roll. Roll it with vegetables. wrap it in a cling wrap.
Lima beans : Boil frozen lima beans in hot water with some salt.
And grapes.

Sep 25, 2009

Hummus and pita bread, veggies, fruit

Hummus : Soak for few hours and Cook the garbanzo beans (chole) in pressure cooker for few minutes. Blend all the ingredients in a blender - For 2 cups of cooked beans add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (tahini paste), salt, cilantro (coriander) [little flaxmeal and very little garlic optional], and some water. Refrigerate and enjoy for a week.
Whole wheat pita bread : [whole wheat bread/ bhakri (thick bread made from Jawar,Rice,Millet flour)/ Naan - tastes good with hummus].
Vegetables : Broccolli and celery with Ranch drops. [vegetables washed with hot water]
and some grapes.

Kids love to spread by themselves while eating but for younger kids you can spread hummus in between pita bread.

Sep 24, 2009

Bread pizza with veggies and cheese, fruits

Bread pizza : On a multigrain bread slice spread grated carrots, chopped green leaves (spinach, swiss chard r my favorite as they come fresh from my backyard vegetable garden), any cheese (here I used mexican blend and little parmesan cheese) and sauce drops (pasta/pizza sauce, ketchup works too).
On a nonstick pan cook the slices under cover (pan oven) for few minutes until cheese melts.
some grapes and apple slices.

Sep 23, 2009

Mac and cheese with vegetables, Fruit

Mac and cheese : Cook the macaroni. To make cheese I use milk. Mix it together as usual.
Vegetables : Wash the brocolli in hot water and soak it in the another batch of hot water . [its better than raw or cooked.] Drain it. Season it with some salt and pepper. Mix it with pasta.
Cauliflower/corn blends in with mac and cheese. Green peas are great too. Your kids any favorite veggie.
and Pear :