Monday, September 12, 2016

Stress Less Over Packing Lunch

This year, I'm back to focusing on saving so except for special occassions, I decided no ordering school lunch. With 3 kids and not working full time,I can't really justify it anyways. But whether you work or not, I don't know a single mom out there who does not stress over lunch packing.

Here are a few easy things I did to help me keep my cool over the years...

1. Make a LIST of all the foods your kids will eat for lunch. Do this with your kids. You only need to make this once really. This was probably the single most helpful thing I did for myself. I only update this list if the kids ask or if I come across any new foods I want my kids to try. Aim to have a list of "mains" (we used to call them proteins), veggies, fruits and snacks. I post it in the kitchen and it allows me to be brainless. I just scan it real quick any night and it also helps me shop too.

This is the very first list I made when I started to have to make 3 lunches/day. It's morphed a bit since then but not too much overall.

2. Every Sunday, discuss the week's lunch MENU with the kids and jot it. Stick it up on your wall somewhere that is visible to all. We only list out the mains but if you're kids want to, let them discuss the veggies, fruit, snacks, etc. Be sure to have the kids AGREE that this will not change over the duration of the week. Our lunch mains do not change much week to week so now I just jot them down on my own and just have kids OK it on Monday morning. It takes me all of 1 minute!

3. Every weekend, make sure your FRIDGE is sufficiently STOCKED. Don't overbuy as this leads to wasting food. This will help food stress levels for all meals, all week long. If your schedule allows, take the kids with you and let them choose what they want to eat for the week. It only helps. And of course try to eat the foods in order of how long it will stay fresh. The foods that go bad faster, stick them in the front so you can see them.

4. Pack LEFTOVERS. I don't like to stray from my weekly already-agreed-upon menu but if I have dinner leftovers I know at least 1 of the kids will eat for lunch, I will save myself some work (and money!) and pack that instead.

5. KEEP IT SIMPLE! If you have multiple kids, as much as you can, pack the same for all. And of course we want our kids to eat healthy, balanced meals but be realistic and if you don't have a veggie in every meal, your kids can still have extra veggies at dinnertime or for an after-school snack. And no need to be fancy and use cookie cutters and toothpicks. This is one of many reasons why I like the Yumbox. It makes the simplest lunches look good all because the box is pretty and it's just 1 container to wash vs. multiple containers for each food item. However, if you enjoy the extras, go ahead, but no stress please cause honestly, it gets old for the kiddos too.

For more lunch ideas, join my Facebook Lunchbox Ideas group!
Hope this helps! Let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Perfectly Boiled & Peeled Eggs

We eat eggs all the time in my house. I like to mix up how I cook them but one way I never could get just right was the hard boiled egg....until last week! I finally figured out how to make them so they peel perfectly. With Easter coming up, wanted to share this precious knowledge and save others the angst I've felt for years!

I've looked up numerous videos and blog posts on how to make perfectly boiled eggs and all is well until it's time to peel the eggs. Unfortunately, the fresher the egg, the harder to peel. On a lucky day, they peel well, but for the most part, I end up peeling off half the white with the shell and they end up bumpy skinned. Boo.

Last week, I had a nerdy moment. The OCD part of me felt so satisfied cause I found the trick! You know those cute little pointy handles you can buy to hold corn on the cob? They are the key! Before you boil your eggs, gently poke a hole (or 2) in one end of your egg. That's it! This allows a tiny bit of water into your egg that helps separate the egg from the thin film of skin that makes it impossible to cleanly peel your egg. So simple, right? Oh! You can use a tack too but I prefer to use cooking tools on food if I can help it.

So this is what I do...

1. Poke a tiny hole into the egg of each egg and place in a pot.
2. Place your eggs inside and cover them completely with cold water.
3. Bring your pot to a boil, then turn off your stovetop.
4. Let eggs sit for 10-12 minutes for hard boiled eggs and 5-7 minutes for soft boiled eggs.
5. Pour out the hot water and immediately add ice and run cold water over eggs, keeping them inside the pot.
6. Tap each egg on your counter top on all sides and peel away with ease. The shell will peel off in large connected chunks!
7. Quick rinse and that's it!
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