Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Containers, PBJ's, and Birthday

Although I love the laptop luchbox that schmoo used last year (and the awesome one that was sent to J Schmoo) I couldn't convince Dave that we couldn't live without these $100 wonders no matter how wonderful they were. And unfortunately last year we had a time finding containers that did not leak juices out into the lunchbox. :o( ! This year we did some searching to find a more cost effective way to accomplish a leak proof container for our lunches and this is what we have found so far.
I do not have the large containers like pictures on amazon, only small ones for lunchboxes but so far we like them. The rubber ring on the inside lid keeps all liquidy things where they belong. We have round ones and square/ rectangular ones in different sizes. We also often freeze our drinks to use as the "icee thing" to keep our boxes cold.

IN this lunchbox picture you will see another whole grain wrap (me and my people like these), this time the wrap has a few slices of Lightlife (link to company website) Deli slices (link to deli products page) - I bought the roast turkey flavor. A leaf of lettuce and dijon style nayonaise on the side (things get mushy if these are assembled prior to eating time), a side of Tomato soup (link to previous blog entry and recipe) with sprinkles of basil, dill, and shredded frozen Bryanna chedda' cheez (subscriber newsletter recipe). Melissa will eat the soup chilled, there is a microwave option but if she chooses it to much of the lunchtime is used up to enjoy the rest of the meal.

What is that tye dyed blob of color you ask. Melissa's birthday cupcake, she turned 15 yesterday. We purchased this at a Natural food COOP during our Sunday shopping trip. It has a little sign that says Happy Birthday and it is vegan. Wow! (I won't say how much it was, but sometimes splurges are necessary). It is sitting in a little plastic box that protected it during her trip to the school and to the lunch table (the light loves the plastic box and makes it look huge, but it's really not that big) .

We discovered Matthew's school has three lunch options ( some vegan friendly choices served daily), we were so excited. On Friday he opted for a PBJ sandwich, carrot/ celery sticks, fruit and a small soymilk. They charged $3.85 for this... the first time through and then when he realized it wasn't enough food he went back and they charged him the same again. $7.70 for a peanut butter jelly sandwich lunch and it wasn't even good bread.... ouch. This week he has more than enough PBJ sandwiches on good bread (mom made seedy spelt), plenty of veggie sticks with his favorite dip and even a couple of fruit cups along with almond milk... chocolate, his favorite (on sale for $1.69 quart this week) to take daily. We managed this for alot less than $7.70 daily = $38.50 on one meal a week. His sandwiches are made ahead and stored in grandpa's freezer so he can take them out and pack his lunch easily during this week. I am thankful that the vegan options are there, but it is more important that we get our boy an education than it is to support this option (occassionally if they serve anything to good to pass up, we may).

I throw cleaned and stem removed tomatoes with their skins in into a pot and puree my tomato soup (see recipe link above) with my kitchenaid hand held blender. I also freeze whole tomatoes when I am short in time during the end of summer and use them straight form the freezer.... warm water ran over a frozen tomatoe will cause it's skin to sklip right off. It is easy to cut the stem portion off with a sharp knife and place the frozen fruit into a soup or into a pot for sauces or ketchup (which I can when I have more time in January/February). Here is me pureeing my tomato soup.

Here is Dave's hand dipping a slice of french bagette topped with TVP taco meet and Bryanna's vegan chedda (broiled) into his tomato soup. He also likes the cheez melted into his soup. The thought of the french onion souop with the crisy bread and cheez crossed my mind.... on ly this is a french / mexi version. I love it when food cultures intermix.

TVP taco meet:
The following info is copied directly from the veggin' out talk board under Re: Wanted: Salad Ideas!!
« Reply #8 on Jul 26, 2006, 2:22pm »

TVP Taco Filling by MELODY
-2 cups dried TVP granules
-1.75 cups boiling water
-2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 tsp Oregano
-1/2 tbsp Ground Cumin
-1/2 tbsp Ground Coriander
-1 packet Taco Seasoning Mix
-1 large onion (red onion adds nice color)
-7 cloves garlic
-1 green pepper
-1 red pepper
-1/2 cup Chopped tomatoes or salsa
-1 cup Cilantro (I omited)
-Juice of 1 Lime
-Water as needed
Bring water to a boil, pour over TVP, mix and set aside. In a large heavy bottomed pan heat oil and spices over medium heat. Add onions, garlic peppers and stir- fry for several minutes. Stir in TVP and tomatoes. Heat through and add tomatoes or salsa, lime, water if needed to keep it from burning. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed. Take off heat and stir in Cilantro.
There will be enough filling for 8 tacos and the filling freezes well.

I like to make a big green salad and put an ice cream scoop of this in the middle, top it with olive, green onion, vegan sour cream and a good chipotle type of dressing. You can even crumble some blue corn chips over it. Yum! -melody


JAM*tacular said...

Jason just surprised me with tacos (my favorite) last night :D I'll pass along this recipe for future reference...


Debbie said...

I'm enjoying your lunch box posts and the photos, but I'm having trouble seeing them (probably my aging eyes). Would it be possible to make the linked versions of the photos a bit bigger?

thisgirlsgonnagetrocked said...

I *love* the lunch box posts! Everything looks fantastic.

That is the coolest looking cupcake ever...I love the rainbow frosting!

laura jesser said...

That picture of your tomato soup looks great. And that really is cool about the cupcake! Great find! Happy birthday Melissa!

Midwest Vegan said...

Happy birthday, Melissa -- and what a great looking cupcake that is! Too pretty to eat.

Isn't it a sin that they can charge that much for PBJ? I bet Matthew's glad to have yours with him now. I'm sure they taste much better than what he can buy at school.

Melody said...

Great lunchboxes... your kids are so lucky. I must be better about lunches for my kids. So far, they get sandwiches, chips, fruit and water most days. BORING!

Happy Birthday to Melissa! What a cute cupcake..

I never knew you could freeze a whole tomato and the skin would come off when you ran it under water.. what a great thing to know! Your tomato soup looks so good... mmmm..

I'm glad you like the tvp taco meat..!

KleoPatra said...


That is such a gorgeous cupcake. I love colour and i love non-chocolate cupcakes! Cute sign. Glad you splurged. She's definitely worth it, and so are you!

That's my fave Lightlife deli slice, the roast turkey. It's been so long since i've had "the real thing" that i have no clue if it tastes like turkey but i don't care either way 'cause i like the way it tastes. I love use a sweeter mustard with it on wheat Ezekiel bread with tomatoes. Pure bliss! Nice lunchbox grub.

Great to know Matthew's school is open to vegan food and offers options. One less thing to be concerned about. The price seems a bit steep, so i'm glad you can make them ahead of time for him. I would imagine having lunch at school with the school's food will be a once-in-awhile thing at those prices! Matthew is lucky to be at a school near his grandpa as well. Glad things work out like this, y'know?

That tomato soup (and what Dave's holding to dip in it, yummers!!!) looks splendid! Mexifrench es muy bueno, s'il vous plait, Dori.

Great post, lookin' good, mama!

funwithyourfood said...

wooaaahh that is an EXPENSIVE pb and j
when i was in school i had a hard time getting fed as well.
but i was on a meal plan. does he use a meal plan?

Dori said...

Meal plan, like a choice of food on a regular basis? This is the first year my kids have had the need to eat away from home ... in our homeschool we used a meal plan I created. :)

Matt's school is more like a mini cafe with three lunch options and a few vegan friendly choices. Nothing "exotic" like tofu or seitan. PBJ is always an option, otherwise they had a cold cheese sandwich and other vegetarian options.

To get the gluten/ casein free diet it has to be on an IEP and doctor ordered, which we could do BUT all meat is gluten and casein free and that is what they serve a lot of :(
Matt only has slight issues with gluten (can eat two - thre times a week), but big ones with casein.

Kleo. Muchas gracias! Merci beau coop. Yo soy una caliente madre!

Dori said...

Debbie, I'd love to attempt to change the photos when I figure outhow to. :) I noticed you have that capability on your blog. Perhaps you can offer me a pointer or two.

Nice to have two new visitors! Glad you like the lunchbox posts.

Gaia said...

I sure noticed that Vegan Rainbow Cupcake :-)
Happy Birthday to Melissa ! Joyeux Anniversaire Melissa !

Caliente madre !! LOL I won't forget that one !

Emmy said...

Oh you have a Kitchen Aid hand held blender. I've always wanted one of those!

That's great that Matthew's school has some veg options but like you, I was surprised at the price for a PBJ sandwich, veggies, fruit, and a soymilk. $3.85? Wowza. Glad he now has some PBJ to bring made with good bread :)

Catherine said...

Hi Dori,

I got some inexpensive containers at The Container Store that my kids have in their lunch. My kid's school just banned all nuts products due to students with allergies - ouch!

I now have to negoiate on the PTA hot lunches with my 6 year old.

Kate said...

I want containers like that. Oh the food I could bring... It is so nice to see a school with vegan options, but paying that much is way to steep. Thank you for being concerned about my brother, he is having a hard time and wants to transfer. I am worried about him. I am planing to send him some food soon, have any good mailable recipes?