Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Going rBH-free in Michigan

For months now, I have urged the childcare center to buy rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) free milk. "It's too expensive" is what I heard in response. This hormone, also known as rBST, is injected into cows every two weeks and causes them to produce more milk by way of a chemical called IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor). The drug, produced by Monsanto, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in 1993 . And despite the fact that Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and other countries have banned rBGH milk due to human and animal health concerns, our federal government continues to stand by its decision. Cows treated with rBGH have higher levels of IGF-1 and often develop serious health problems such as lameness, mastitis (which is treated with antibiotics), and reproductive problems. Is it possible that milk from cows treated with rBGH contains harmful substances such as IGF-1, antibiotics, or rBGH? Well, it turns out that several large dairy producers and food companies have taken it upon themselves to get rid of the rBGH in their milk supply. Michigan retailers have demanded that all of their fluid milk be rBST-free by February 1, 2008. According to the Michigan Dairy Review, "meeting this demand requires dairy producers currently supplying Michigan fluid markets to cease rBST use no later than January 1, 2008." This is great news for consumers and especially for children who drink large quantities of milk on a daily basis like the children at the childcare center. But is it necessary to wait until February, 2008 to begin protecting our children from this harmful substance?

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, November 1: Breakfast - applesauce, O's; Lunch - Julie's tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwich on 100% whole grain bread, carrots; Snacks - peaches (canned this summer), persimmon

Childcare Center Menu, November 1: Breakfast - applesauce, french toast sticks, syrup; Lunch - tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwich, pears, cucumbers; Snacks - trail mix, pretzels

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Was I Thinking?

I must admit that there are times when I wonder what I was thinking when I decided to opt Caroline out of the childcare center food program. Tonight is one of those nights. It's 11:00 pm and I am now just sitting down to think about what I should pack for her lunch tomorrow. I didn't get the childcare center menu until today so I haven't been able to give any thought to what I could pack for Caroline that would mimic the center's meals. But it wouldn't have mattered if I got the menus earlier since we were traveling last weekend and didn't get a chance to go to the last farmers' market of the season or to the grocery store. Turkey tacos is on the menu tomorrow so I have two options. I can either run to the grocery store now and pick up taco fixings or I can pack Caroline tonight's dinner leftovers: whole wheat cavatappi pasta with tomato and meat sauce. I'll go with the latter.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu: Breakfast - oatmeal, peaches (canned this summer); Lunch - whole wheat cavatappi pasta, tomato and meat sauce, Butternut squash, peas (frozen, Cascadian Farm), Snacks - persimmon, blueberries (frozen from Walton Orchards), graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu: Breakfast - oatmeal, raisins, bananas; Lunch - turkey tacos, lettuce, cheese, cantaloupe; Snacks - apple cider, pumpkin cookies

Monday, October 29, 2007

California Souvenir - Persimmons!

We just got back from a five day visit to California to visit Geoff's family. We had beautiful weather (in the 70s and 80s). I developed some seasonal food envy when we ate from his parent's recent community supported agriculture share which included watermelon and persimmons. Geoff's dad is on the faculty at Santa Clara University. According to his dad, the food came from a student-run community supported agriculture program on-campus. His mom said that the food came from the university's community garden program. I Goggled both and came up with the CSA (Chinese Student Association) and the Owl's Clover Community Garden. Well, I don't think the food came from the Chinese Student Association (I could be wrong but it's a strong hunch). There were only brief descriptions of the Owl's Clover Community Garden but it sounded promising. In any case, Geoff's dad said he'd send me more information about the program. I wanted to write this preamble because part of Caroline's snack tomorrow comes from the Santa Clara program: persimmons! Persimmons are lovely, orange fruits that are hard to come by around here but are abundant in California in the fall and early winter. There are several different varieties and some can be eaten hard while others are very astringent and need to soften before they lose their tannic quality. I don't know which variety I brought home with me but I do know that it is the type that can be eaten hard. We ate several while we were in California and they were delicious.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 30: Breakfast - oatmeal, applesauce; Lunch - spiral pasta, Navy beans, peas (frozen, Cascadian Farm), winter squash, persimmon; Snacks - Great Aunt Pat's bran muffin

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's Apple Season!

Eating close to home when you live in Michigan means that from late fall through early spring, fresh fruit is limited to apples. When they are in season, I eat at least an apple a day. I eat them whole, sliced and tossed into salads, and pureed into applesauce. And I dice them and put them in muffins, pancakes, and other baked goods. Farmers in Michigan grown more than twenty different varieties of apples. Each apple has a distinct flavor, texture, and color. My favorite apple is the Honeycrisp - a super sweet, juicy, crisp variety that can last for months in the refrigerator. I love the Goldrush apple, too - a crisp, tart apple that is yellow with an golden orange smear. Organic apples are hard to come by in Michigan (especially the Goldrush apple) but I have found two excellent sources: Almar Orchards and Appleschram Organic Orchard.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 24: Breakfast - oatmeal, applesauce; Lunch - whole wheat elbow pasta, tomato and meat sauce, carrots, green beans and corn (frozen from Titus Farm); Snacks - plain yogurt, blueberries (frozen from Walton Orchards)

Childcare Center Menu, October 24: Breakfast - cream of wheat, raisins, bananas; Lunch - macaroni, turkey spaghetti sauce, zucchini, kiwi; Snacks - veggies, sour cream dip

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gooey Ketchup Lids

I just finished reading, A New Lease on Lunch published in Sunday's New York Times Magazine. The title - and the before and after pictures of the author's refrigerator - immediately perked my interest (of course). This humorous first person romp of Patricia Leigh Brown's quest for culinary redemption and rescue by Alice Waters had me in stitches. I thought about posting a picture of my own refrigerator but honestly, I'm too embarrassed. Before Caroline was born, I obsessively cleaned out my refrigerator every week. I would first pull out each drawer, empty it, wash it out with soap and water, and dry it before laying a piece of paper towel in the bottom of the drawer - neatly folded to cover every square inch. I would then re-stack the vegetables - greens in the right drawer on high humidity and root vegetables in the left drawer on low - and then move on to cleaning the glass shelves. These days, my refrigerator is a sorry sight. The maple syrup sticks to the shelf, the ketchup (yes, I have ketchup) lid is matted with red goo, the carrots and bok choy are in the same drawer, and just this morning, I spilled chicken broth on one of the shelves and only had time to haphazardly wipe it clean. The article though, is about more than refrigerator carnage. It's a story about how a mom of two boys (aged 16 and 13) shifted her family's diet and philosophy about food away from Freon-infused fish sticks and microwavable popcorn to one based on mindfulness and the bounty of the Bay Area's agriculture. Her story is one about flexibility, humor, and a willingness to try almost anything. On nights like tonight when I am burnt out on my dissertation and feeling too tired to pull something together for Caroline's lunch, I am inspired by Alice Water's beliefs as described by Ms. Brown that "good cooking is no mystery if you are guided by fresh, local, seasonal, organic ingredients and learn to follow your senses." The centerpiece for tomorrow's lunch? The last fresh, local, organic tomato of the season.
Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 23: Breakfast - O's, Honey Crisp apple; Lunch - fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, carrots, Butternut squash, 100% whole grain bread; Snacks - sweet potatoes

Childcare Center Menu, October 23: Breakfast - peaches, croissants, strawberry jam; Lunch - enchiladas, peas, carrots, honeydew; Snacks - sweet potatoes

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Teething and Beans

Until about two weeks ago, Caroline only had four teeth. Since then another two teeth (top) and three molars have come through. Needless to say, some of our nights have been a bit rough and we're back to sleepless nights and long bedtime rituals. The silver lining, at least for someone like me, is that with an additional five teeth, Caroline is able to eat more foods. Most notably, beans have finally made it onto Caroline's favorite food list. Beans are highly nutritious and even though our family is not vegetarian, we try to eat beans or other legumes several times a week. Beans are inexpensive too, especially if they are bought in their dried form. I buy dried beans in bulk at the East Lansing Food Co-op. I soak about five cups of beans over night, rinse them in the morning, and then add enough water to cover them by several inches. I bring the pot of beans to a boil and then let them simmer gently for about an hour. They are done when they are tender and creamy but not soft or mushy. I fill old quart size yogurt containers with beans and enough cooking water to fill the container but leave about half an inch of space at the top and then put them in the freezer for another time.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 22: Breakfast - O's, blueberries (frozen from Walton Orchards); Lunch - Garbanzo beans, chard, rice, pureed butternut squash; Snacks - Westwind Milling Company buckwheat and corn pancakes, applesauce

Childcare Center Menu, October 22: Breakfast - orange juice, Cheerios, Life, Rice Krispies; Lunch - chicken nuggets, zucchini, squash, bananas, rice; Snacks - cream cheese, graham crackers

Thursday, October 18, 2007

When School Lunch Works

I just returned from a trip up north where I visited the Central Grade School lunch program in Traverse City, Michigan. The school's cafeteria was cheerfully decorated with children's artwork, the lights were turned down (for noise control, not ambiance), and every 20 minutes, the cafeteria emptied and a new group of students filtered into the room. The children lined up for lunch in two lines separated by a salad bar stocked with a variety of vegetables and fruit including Bosc pears and Gala and Empire apples grown less than an hour away just north of Elk Rapids and a baked potato bar - with locally grown Russet potatoes - loaded with toppings like sour cream, cheese, and salsa. I joined a classroom of 5th graders for lunch and while I waited in line for my baked potato, I asked them if they liked eating lunch at school. The answer was a resounding "yes!" Central Grade School is part of the Traverse City Area Public Schools and was the first school in the district to have a farm-to-school program. The district's food service director buys apples, pears, asparagus, Butternut squash, cherries, and other fruits and vegetables directly from farmers who live in the area. Some of them even have children who go to one of the district's twenty-plus schools. It was obvious that the children liked the food. They snatched up the brown-skinned Bosc pears, the striped Gala apples, and the ruby red Empires before they took the bananas. And as I waited my turn at the baked potato bar, I over heard a 10-year old in front of me say, "I just love all this stuff." Fruits and vegetables just taste better when they are in-season.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 19: Breakfast - Yellow Delicious apple, O's; Lunch - 100% whole grain bread, fresh mozzarella cheese, carrots, Patty Pan squash, Julie's tomato soup; Snacks - whole wheat blueberry pancakes

Childcare Center Menu, October 19: pears, bagels, cream cheese; Lunch - turkey sandwiches, carrots, pears, bread, potato soup; chocolate chip cookies, cucumbers

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October 18th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 18: Breakfast - oatmeal, applesauce; Lunch - brown rice, marinated tofu, zucchini, carrots, broccoli; Snacks - Queen's Lace peach (canned this summer)

Childcare Center Menu, October 18: Breakfast - oatmeal, raisins, strawberries; Lunch - Mexican rice, beans, California vegetables, pears; Snacks - apple cider, zucchini bread

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sweet, Sweet, Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are nature's perfect food. They are loaded with nutrients - fiber, potassium, carotenoids, vitamin C - and they are delicious. In fact, the sweet potato is so nutritious that it inspired a class project that I once worked on as an undergrad at University of California, Davis: a dehydrated sweet potato product for infants living in Peru. It was called Nutri Wa Wa and was nothing more than flecks of dehydrated sweet potato packaged like a shiny box of CapriSun. Mashed potatoes are on the menu tomorrow but since sweet potatoes are in season, I am going to mash them and pack them for Caroline's lunch for tomorrow. Mashed sweet potatoes are easy to prepare. I peel them, cut them into large chunks, steam them until they are soft, and then mash them with a fork. I bought the sweet potatoes from Steve Gross of Green Eagle Farm last Saturday at the Meridian Township Farmers' Market. Green Eagle Farm is located in Onondaga, only 17 miles from Lansing. Steve and his partner Chela grow a large variety of fruits and vegetables. Their produce is always beautiful and these sweet potatoes are no exception. Unlike the huge, bruised, and often stringy sweet potatoes that I usually find at the grocery stores, the skin of these ones are perfectly smooth, blemish-free, and the flesh is super-sweet and creamy. Our first sweet potatoes of the season!

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 17: Breakfast - O's, blueberries (frozen from Walton Orchards); Lunch - tofu, broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes, 100% whole grain bread; Snacks - Honey Crisp apple, Ak-Mak crackers

Childcare Center Menu, October 17: Breakfast - pineapple, French bread, strawberry jam; Lunch - BBQ chicken, peas, carrots, cantaloupe, bread, mashed potatoes; Snacks - cinnamon bun crackers, carrots

Monday, October 15, 2007

October 16th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 16: Breakfast - oatmeal, red raspberries; Lunch - egg salad, 100% whole grain bread, carrots, mixed variety of summer squash; Snacks - Almar Orchards Golden Delicious apple, graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu, October 16: Breakfast - tortillas, cheese, applesauce; Lunch - tuna fish pitas, carrots, grapes; Snacks - pound cake, apple slices

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Noodles and Tines

It is finally beginning to feel like fall around here. Our weekend was chilly (about 50 F) and its been raining since late this afternoon. We went to the farmers' market on Saturday and bought what may be our last fresh tomatoes for the season - an assortment of cherry tomatoes and a quart of big, beautiful red slicers. And just as the weather is getting cooler, Caroline is finally becoming more interested in cooked tomatoes. Geoff made spaghetti with meatballs for dinner tonight and Caroline really liked it! Spaghetti and meatballs is Geoff's specialty. He doesn't follow a recipe but the meatballs are made with ground beef from Creswick Farms, fresh thyme and parsley, onions, bread crumbs, garlic, and eggs. They taste a little bit different every time but are always perfect especially on cold nights. Caroline actually wasn't that interested in the meatballs until I gave them a couple of pulses in the Cuisinart mini-prep. She started using a fork last weekend and loved watching me twirl her noodles around the tines. She'd watch, grab the fork, and aim for her mouth. And surprisingly, most of the noddles and sauce did end up in her mouth!

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 15: Breakfast - O's, red raspberries; Lunch - whole wheat spaghetti, tomato and meat sauce, zucchini, salad (green leaf lettuce, chard, baby spinach), apple slices; Snacks - mixed variety of cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese

Childcare Center Menu, October 15: Breakfast - orange juice, Cheerios, Life, Rice Krispies; Lunch - spaghetti with turkey sauce, salad, bananas; Snacks - crackers, cheese

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Picky Eaters?

I just finished reading Picky Eaters? They Get It From You, published in yesterday's New York Times. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78 percent of childhood neophobia, or aversion to trying new foods, is genetic and the other 22 percent is environmental. It makes sense to me that food neophobia is in part genetically determined. But 78 percent? I don't buy it. Caroline is only 14 months old and already shows signs of what some would call picky eating. She loves tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese but doesn't care for meats, beans, or egg yolks. She still hasn't shown interest in beets and she won't let cheddar cheese (a food she once loved) touch her lips. I wasn't a picky eater and Geoff wasn't either. Which raises my first question. What does it mean to be a picky eater anyway? And if your child is a picky eater, how do you make sure she gets all the nutrients she needs? Do you hide vegetables in pasta noodles like Jessica Seinfeld (author of Deceptively Delicious) suggests in the article? Caroline is cautious when something new is put in front of her. And it's a good thing. I'm glad that she doesn't eat everything in sight. Even though I am a first time mom of a 14 month old, I firmly believe that repeated exposure and modeling is how to get children to eat fruits, vegetables, and other foods they don't like the first time. It is frustrating and stressful when Caroline won't eat something that I've prepared for her. As tempting as it sounds, I refuse to start loading pancakes with pureed vegetables. How will she ever learn to enjoy beets if they are always disguised as pink pancakes? Instead, the lesson she learns is that pink pancakes taste good (especially with maple syrup). But wait. Isn't adding carrots to my pumpkin carrot muffin recipe essentially the same thing? I don't think so and here's why: my intent is not to deceive or trick Caroline into eating carrots. When Caroline refuses to eat something that I've prepared, I remind myself that children may need up to 20 exposures to a new food before they are even willing to try it. When it comes to most fruits and vegetables, four or five exposures has been enough. And when she sees me (or Geoff) happily eating something she's never tasted, she is usually curious enough to try it. Meats and beans are another story. She only has four front teeth (with two more coming in now) and well, have you ever tried to eat a piece of steak or a chickpea using just your four front teeth (two top and two bottom)? I do think that children get their picky eating habits from their parents. I'd just reverse the numbers - 22 percent genetic and 78 percent environmental.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 12: Breakfast - applesauce, O's; Lunch - tofu, buckwheat and corn pancakes from Westwind Milling Company, Green Zebra tomatoes, corn (frozen from Titus Farm); Snacks - blueberries (frozen from Walton Orchards), Ak-Mak crackers

Childcare Center Menu, October 12: Breakfast - applesauce, cinnamon pita bread; Lunch - turkey sausage sandwiches, cucumbers, grapes; Snacks - celery, cream cheese, saltines

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 11th Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 11: Breakfast - peaches (canned last summer), O's; Lunch - whole wheat rotini pasta, ricotta cheese, tomato sauce (canned this fall), carrots, green beans (frozen from Titus Farm), Green Zebra tomatoes; Snacks - apple sauce, graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu, October 11: Breakfast - strawberries, croissants, strawberry jam; Lunch - turkey lasagna, peas, carrots, honeydew; Snacks - apple crisp, graham crackers

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


As far as I know, avocados don't grow in Michigan or anywhere else in the Midwest. Advocados are a subtropical fruit and typically grow in climates without frost and with little wind. But it turns out that Garden Fresh Gourmet, a company in Ferndale, MI, makes guacamole. And it is delicious. In addition to sourcing food grown/raised as close to home as possible, I try to support local businesses whenever I can. Every food that I pack for Caroline will not be grown/raised in Michigan and sometimes it will be from another country or continent. And I'm okay with that. What is most important to me is that I make intentional and informed decisions about what I feed my family. Avocados are packed with nutrients (high in monounsaturated fats, potassium, B-vitamins, vitamins K and E) and makes a healthy dip or "dressing" for beans and vegetables. Tacos are on the menu tomorrow. I'll skip the shell but I'll include guacamole in Caroline's lunch.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 10: Breakfast - oatmeal, peaches (canned last summer); rice, black beans, mozzarella cheese, mixed variety of summer squashes, Asian pear; Snacks - boiled egg, Ak-Mak crackers

Childcare Center Menu, October 10: Breakfast - cream of wheat, bananas, raisins; Lunch - veggie tacos with lettuce, refried beans and cheese, apples; Snacks - boiled egg, bagel

Monday, October 8, 2007

Butternut Squash Risotto

Geoff and I made Butternut squash risotto tonight. Since Caroline went to bed before it was done, she didn't get a chance to try it. But it was wonderful and I think that she will like it. The most important ingredient in risotto is Arborio rice, an Italian medium-grain rice. Arborio rice has a high starch content which gives risotto its characteristic creaminess. Rice is on the menu tomorrow and Butternut squash risotto seems like the perfect seasonal rice dish. Risotto is not difficult to make but it does require patience. Risotto recipes usually call for white wine plus a soup stock (vegetable/mushroom/chicken). To make our version more kid-friendly, we replaced the wine with homemade chicken broth which doesn't have the intensity and high sodium content of commercial chicken broths. Every once in awhile I make a large pot of homemade chicken broth and freeze it in one quart yogurt containers. We used two quarts of our homemade chicken broth in tonight's risotto and it was flavorful without tasting too chicken-y.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 9: Breakfast - blueberries (frozen from Walton Orchards), pumpkin carrot muffin; Lunch - Butternut squash risotto, tofu, green beans (frozen from Titus Farm), Snacks - mixed variety of cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese

Childcare Center Menu, October 9: Breakfast - fruit cocktail, corn muffins; Lunch - sweet and sour chicken, rice, salad, kiwi; Snacks - carrots, pretzels

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cooking with Winter Squash

Cooking with winter squash can be intimidating. And figuring out how to cut into it seems like half of the challenge. But cutting into it doesn't need to involve large knives and band aids. Before I cut into a winter squash, I take a paring knife or fork and poke holes into it and then microwave it for a couple of minutes. The number of holes and minutes varies depending on how big the winter squash is. This weekend, I bought a large butternut squash from Pooh Stevenson at the Meridian Township Farmers' Market. I love butternut squash for its meaty flesh and long, easy-to-cube neck. It is versatile, too, and can be added to soups, stews, baked goods, and pasta dishes. I probably poked about 15 holes into my three- or four-pound Butternut squash and microwaved it for two minutes before cutting into it. I steamed 1/2 cup of it for Caroline's lunch tomorrow and will use the rest of it throughout the week. My friend Robyn (who is visiting from Vancouver, Canada) cut about one pound of it into small dice for tomorrow night's dinner, butternut squash risotto. Thanks, Robyn! What I can't use will be baked or steamed, pureed and frozen in one cup portions.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 8: Breakfast - buckwheat corn pancakes, blueberries (frozen from Walton Orchards); Lunch - egg, Butternut squash, rice, zucchini; Snacks - mixed variety of cherry tomatoes, Ak-Mak crackers

I forgot to pick up this week's childcare center menu (again). I hope that Caroline's meals and snacks will be similar to what the rest of the children are eating!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Communication Mishap

Cherry tomatoes are on the menu tomorrow but they will not be coming from the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm. This week would have been the first week that the farm's produce could have been integrated into the menu since Farmer Tim met with the cook a couple of weeks ago. Orders are supposed to be placed on Wednesdays for delivery the following Monday. But there was a communication mishap and no order was placed last Wednesday. Farmer Tim felt badly and explained that the cook might have tried to call when no one was available to answer the farm phone. This happens often since farming involves work that leaves hands muddy or unavailable to answer the phone. I guess leaving messages is important for good communication with farmers. On Monday, Farmer Tim sent the director and the cook a list of products that will be available next week. But as of today, no order has been placed. Still, Farmer Tim and I remain optimistic that before they are out-of-season, all of the children at the childcare center will get a chance to taste the sweet organic cherry tomatoes grown on the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm. What could be a better Friday afternoon snack?

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 5: Breakfast - O's, raspberries; Lunch - tofu, corn (frozen from Titus Farm), watermelon, 100% whole grain bread; Snacks - mixed varieties of cherry tomatoes

Childcare Center Menu, October 5: Breakfast - strawberries, french toast sticks, syrup; Lunch - fish sticks, corn on the cob, oranges, bread; Snacks - cherry tomatoes

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Broccoli Pesto

Caroline loves pesto and broccoli so tonight I combined the two and made broccoli pesto and served it with whole wheat pasta. First, I cooked about a pound of broccoli crowns by putting it in boiling water for 3 minutes. I put the crowns in my food processor along with a few stems of basil, a clove of garlic, and a couple tablespoons of toasted pine nuts. I turned on the food processor and slowly poured in olive oil until it made a thick paste. I added a large handful of shredded Parmesan cheese, stirred, and then added boiling water until it reached a nice smooth consistency. The color was lovely - pistachio green with specks of emerald. Caroline loved this combination. I have to admit that Geoff and I were only lukewarm on this dish. Geoff pretended to like it but he didn't take seconds which is always my clue that a new recipe didn't make it to his favorites list. The flavor was good but I didn't like the texture. Adding more water might have helped. But since Caroline enjoyed this dish so much and since it is packed with nutrients, I'll probably make it again (with some adjustments).

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 4: Breakfast - oatmeal, red raspberries; Lunch - whole wheat pasta with broccoli pesto, mixed varieties of cherry tomatoes, Muenster cheese, zucchini; Snacks - watermelon, cornmeal pumpkin bread made by our neighbor, Wynne

Childcare Center Menu, October 4: Breakfast - oatmeal, raisins, bananas; Lunch - mostaciolli, cheese, spaghetti sauce, California vegetables, cantaloupe; Snacks - pumpkin bread, cucumber

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Next Go-To Food

Every mom has "go-to" foods for their child -- those never-fail-to-please, easy-to- prepare/no-cook, nutritious (usually) foods that are always on hand. String cheese, mac-n-cheese, graham crackers, peas -- ring a bell? My go-to foods for Caroline are fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. Since mid-July, we have been eating (more like gorging on) fresh tomatoes, cherry-size balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil. With a drizzle of high quality aged balsamic vinegar (or a cheap one mixed with a pinch of brown sugar) and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil, this combination of foods is the perfect summer dish. We take small 4 oz Ball canning jars of fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese on plane trips, to restaurants, to parks, and to the doctor's office. Caroline eats them up every time. And she eats them with gusto as if it was the last time she was going to eat fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. Well, it is almost mid-October and her last time (this year) is just around the corner. I must admit that I already feel anxious. What will replace her go-to foods? Will tomato season end as abruptly as cantaloupe season did? What if she doesn't like winter squash and root vegetables?

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 3: Breakfast - O's, red raspberries; Lunch - chicken, 100% whole grain bread, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, zucchini; Snacks - watermelon

Childcare Center Menu, October 3: Breakfast - peaches, blueberry muffins; Lunch - turkey sandwiches, cucumbers, oranges; Snacks - taco shells, salsa

Monday, October 1, 2007

October 2nd Menu

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, October 2: Breakfast - oatmeal, red raspberries; Lunch - Vita-Spelt pasta with pesto, cucumber and tomato salad, fresh mozzarella cheese; Snacks - watermelon, graham crackers

Childcare Center Menu, October 2: Breakfast - applesauce, french toast sticks; Lunch - enchiladas, mixed vegetables, grapes; Snacks - cheese breadsticks
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