Lunchbox: Mommy Daddy and Me

Hubby made a passing comment to the effect that he is always eating his lunch before 13h00 as he is always hungry before lunch time so can I please add a "snack" for 10h00 so he doesn't devour the lunch box's contents too early...well this cause a dilemma! All pretences of a healthy lunch box for Hubby was out the window.  

This is what the 'healthy'-ish lunch box was suppose to look like: 2 hotdogs (a bit much but I was scheduled for a late night at the office), 1 naartjie, a couple of radishes, green Tabasco sauce and tomato sauce. Still contains processed viennas and white bread but at least also include a fruit and a vegetable right?

 Wrong, Hubby's is bread, bread with a side of bread and a whole lot of processed meat! It was his specific requests though...I promise. 2 Hotdogs with double viennas (he has Tomato sauce at work) so a small red Tabasco sauce container, another hotdog filled with his (and my) favourite filling: french polony from Woolworth's (only) with butter and mayonnaise. He also has cheese and chicken meatballs to round off this meat fest...sigh.

At least the Little One had a better fair: full cream yoghurt, 1 vienna, 2 cheese and chicken meatballs, string cheese, 2 fruit flavoured rice crackers and some grapes. At least one of us had limited processed meats, proper diary and some fruit... The life of a mother trying to feed everyone a proper lunch.


COHEN DIET: Breakfast and Lunch

So this is what my day looks like (except for dinner obviously), easily totable and all can be prepared ahead of time to be packed for lunch

So for lunch I had my Chicken and Mango Salad/Stew or warm salad.

And breakfast was my Yoghurt "Rice Pudding" but without the mango (I kept that for my salad).


COHEN DIET Margarita Pizza

These really are so quick and easy to make and you need no more than 4 ingredients and 15 minutes of your precious time. And who doesn't love the combination of mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil? I added the tomatoes on top of the cheese and basil to ensure the crackerbread doesn't get soggy from the tomato juices.

What is also very surprising about these little morsels is, even though they are great straight from the oven, they are just as nice cooled completely and added to the lunch box. Just ensure that when you cool the pizzas on a grid like you see above, otherwise they get soggy and they don't taste nice. I also sometimes add them to the oven on the grid to ensure they stay crisp.

What you need:

  • 1 tomato sliced
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 4 crackerbread crackers
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Place the crackers in an oven safe dish.
  3. Add the cheese in an even layer.
  4. Place 2 leaves on top of each cracker.
  5. Top each with 2 slices tomatoes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted to your liking.
  8. Enjoy!


Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich

I love Curry Chicken Salad. It is so quick to make from left over chicken and so extremely versatile: on leaves as a salad, on bread as a sandwich, on crackers as a snack or sometimes with just a fork!

As always I add mango for sweetnesss but the sauce changes. You could make it healthy or you could just buy a ready made curry sauce (I used Ina Paarman's creamy curry sauce) and added mayonnaise, chicken, mango and red onion. For the lunch box I added sliced apple and juicy grapes.

The Little One also enjoyed some of the leftover chicken, cheese dippers and mini-breadsticks, apple slices, grapes and yoghurt.


COHEN DIET: Chicken and Mango Stew/Salad

It is that time of the year again where I try to healthy and loose some weight before summer starts. And the only way I know how is with the Cohen Diet. It is a low carb low fat diet but so strict that I don't last very long when I do follow it but is highly successful when I do! The idea is to do the Cohen and then to switch to a low carb high fat diet thereafter. With it being winter I really wasn't in the mood for a cold salad so I thought why not do a warm salad instead? And the chicken salad was delicious. This, together with my chicken-in-mustard-sauce, are my two favourite recipes and will be using them a lot. If you are following this diet as well, please share some ideas - we can never have enough!

  • 250g chicken cubes
  • 100g mango
  • 50g green pepper strips
  • 50g butter lettuce
  • 20g mushroom
  • 1 tsp mayo
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (I used balsamic as I didn't have any other)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC or 360ºF.
  2. Place the mushroom on a roasting tin and spray with spray-and-cook.
  3. Roast until cooked and golden. Set aside
  4. In a frying pan, spray with spray-and-cook and pan fry the chicken pieces.
  5. When brown add the green pepper and ½ of diced mango.
  6. Fry until brown and the chicken is cooked, add the mayo, vinegar and pesto and simmer until the sauce is thick and gooey.
  7. Lunch box: cool down chicken and mushroom and add to a lunch box with lettuce and other ½ of the diced mango (separately).
  8. To eat now: Place the lettuce on a plate. Top with chicken mixture, fresh mango and quartered mushrooms.

I added my lettuce in a bag so it won't get squashed or wilt.


My new Lunch box | Lunch box Thursday 11 June 2015

I just received the cutest ever lunch box! It has a bright pink top with a shocking green bottom and comes with a black and white striped elastic that covers the "no peeping" note in the middle. I love the comment on top of this being "My very healthy snacks" because it usually isn't! Just check out what I actually had inside!

I made myself a cheese and salami sandwich on white bread with lots of proper butter and chutney for sweetness. I added some healthy aspects such as grapes and strawberries. The Little One had a healthier lunch box: a fish cake cut into quarters, grapes and strawberries, 1 piece of salami rolled up and grilled zucchini and carrots.

I might not look after myself that well, but at least I go the extra mile for the Little One.


Home Made Beef Meatballs

There are so many things to watch out for when you have a toddler: sugar, salt, excess white four etc.
I thought I had a handle on the sugar and was rather proud of myself for always adding a meatball or chicken nugget to Little Em's lunch box for proper protein. Until I realised the amount of salt in each one! So I decided to make my own and really, they are so easy.

  • 500g lean mince
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 2 slices white bread
  • ½ cup full cream milk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ onion, chopped finely
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tbls chutney
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC or 360ºF. Spray a pan with spray and cook.
  2. Soak the 2 slices of bread in the milk for 5 minutes.
  3. Break up the mince with a wooden spoon in a big bowl.
  4. Add the bread and egg and mix well. 
  5. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. At this stage I use my hands as they are best.
  6. Form the mixture into small even sized balls and place into the pan.
  7. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until cooked through (depending on size). I f they brown too quickly cover with foil.
  8. Enjoy!

I added these with the quick marshmallow cookies and french toast fingers.


Chicken, Beetroot, Avocado and Raspberry Salad

I have said it before, sometimes salad is the only way to go for a quick and easy lunchbox and here I use the same method I used for the Curry Chicken, Blueberry and Cashew Nut Salad by mixing everything in the lunchbox container to save on mess.

I love using leftovers and I always have bits and pieces in the fridge as Little Em only eats a mouthful here and there. A salad is the summer version of a stew: you get to take all the bits and bobs and add it into a salad! For this salad I used 1 cup of shredded cooked chicken, ½ a cup cooked beetroot, ¼ avocado chopped into pieces and fresh raspberries, about ½ a cup.

The salad dressing is just 1 tablespoon mayonnaise mixed with 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar. If you want more sauce or more creamy sauce add 1 tablespoon of full fat plain yoghurt. Always, always place the leaves on top and be sure to transport the container in an upright container. This ensures fresh and crispy salad leaves, even if not refrigerated!

Everyone needs snacks and as I neglected the crunch factor in the salad, I made double sure to get crunch in my snacks. Here I have individual portions of raw, cashew nuts, wasabi coated peanuts (you have to eat them slowly or you will burn your sinuses to pieces!) and fresh, bright orange baby carrots.

Beacuse I know myself and my terrible eating habits, I only take a small container of nuts to work as I will eat the whole bag if I have access to it!

Coffee Chocolate Chia Pudding

This is such a quick a easy recipe and gives you this fantastic coffee hit. For me it was very strong but Hubby loved it. It would work just as well with cocoa powder instead of coffee.

  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 2 tsp raw cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons chai seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa nibs

  1. Add the raw cocoa powder to the coffee and stir.
  2. Add the coconut milk and coconut water.
  3. Add the chia seeds and co. Stir well.
  4. Pour into a container with a lid and refrigerate overnight.

Quick Toddler biscuits

Some times old-school is the best. We used to make these quick biscuit while I was still in primary school using Marie biscuits and big marshmallows. You could use any biscuits but since we now have access to mini biscuits and mini marshmallows I just couldn't resist! There were Marie biscuits available but I am a sucker for anything coconut so I bought Tennis biscuits instead (coconut biscuits).

These are so easy I won't even type out a recipe as it is not needed: place a couple of biscuits on a plate and top each with a mini marshmallow. Microwave for 15 to 30 seconds or until the marshmallow puffs up. Remove and gently place another biscuit on top and press down until marshmallow can be seen coming out of the sides.

You can make these even fancier like dipping them in white chocolate and sprinkle with some pretty sprinkles but they are great just like this.

I added a couple to Little Em's lunch box together with home made meatballs, grilled vegetables, french toast fingers, yoghurt and dried fruit. Wow I was so domesticated! 2 home-made goodies in one lunch box! I must over do it!!!


Sugar free Crunchie bars

We went away for a weekend to the beautiful Aloe Ridge self-catering houses located on the Breede River. Each house had 2 big rooms with on-suite bathrooms, a fire place, big open plan kitchen, dining room and sitting room and everything you might require while making your dinner each night. But I digress.  I always take something sweet to nibble on and usually take my 7 layer No Bowl slice (meaning you assemble it in the pan you are baking it in).

However with the kiddies now also snacking with the adults, I was seriously worried about the amount of sugar they might get and sugar addled toddlers are a nightmare at best. I knew the consistency a crunchie bar or biscuit requires before it is baked (like wet sand) and the glue is usually either syrup or honey with some oil but as I am not a baking goddess like some people, I adapted a recipe form Weelicious author Catherine McCord I saw in the September issue of Parents magazine 2014 for Chocolate-Cherry Trail mix bars. This time I used rice malt syrup, which has the same consistency as honey, not as sweet but almost, but it doesn't have the same effect as sugar on your bloodstrem. I also used the power house known as coconut oil but because it can be expensive I mixed it with olive oil. You could use either one. I also used oat flour to make it gluten free and ignored any  dried fruit as they are complete sugar bombs!

I added dark chocolate chips to make up for the lack off excessive sweetness. Hubby and Little Em loved them but I think I loved them the most as I ate more than half! Hubby had the opinion that they are almost like muesli rusks and therefore used his to dunk into coffee.

I tried cutting them before they were properly cooled but don't! They don't cut as nicely or neatly if still warm. If you allow them to cool completely, they cut into beautiful squares or fingers. I cut small squares for the toddlers but left half as longer fingers for the adults.

What you need:

  • 4 cups oats
  • ¼ cup oat flour (or any flour)
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup half olive oil half coconut oil
  • ½ cup rice malt syrup
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºc or 325ºF. Line a baking pan with baking paper (I used one where my bars were 2 cm thick), set aside.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. 
  3. Melt the coconut oil if it is cold until liquid. Add the wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool completely and then slice with a sharp knife.
  6. Enjoy!

If you use the first 5 ingredients you can add in anything you feel like for instance dried fruit (cranberry and white chocolate chips) or a tropical mix (dried pineapple and coconut chards) as long as it adds up to 1 cup.

Enjoy these moreish bites guys.