Friday, August 29, 2008


It's always hard to resist the
kettle corn at the Farmer's
Market. We also picked up 2
loaves of bread, 2 peaches,
& some bok choy.

The boys built a mini
golf course using every outdoor toy they own, with badminton racquets and plastic baseballs. LOL


Husband's lunch: bean
salad; cherry & grape
tomatoes; Curry
Coleslaw (with 1/2 the
dressing); ww bagel
salad sandwich.

Yet another ramen
noodle lunch for the
boys. I throw away
the seasoning packets
(not vegan), add fresh
or frozen veggies, and
give the noodles a quick
rinse after cooking.
Then I usually add a
little soy sauce.
Boys' lunch: ramen noodles with broccoli; mini spring roll; Animal Parade vitamin; edamame; watermelon.


Flowers from the farm.
I often don't take the
time to pick a bouquet of
flowers, but I managed a
small one this week.

Farm share: 1/4 lb. arugula, cucumber, 1 head lettuce, 1/2 lb. carrots, 4 ears corn, 4 lbs. tomatoes, 1 lb. onions, squash, eggplant, bell peppers, 1 watermelon. Not shown: pick-your-own cherry & grape tomatoes, herbs, swiss chard, kale, collard greens.


Ryan's first day of
kindergarten! The
first day was only
an hour long so no
need to pack any

Ryan is lucky to be
able to walk to school.
This will make it
possible to get him to
kindergarten and the
other two boys to
preschool on time...
I hope!


I went overboard for Ryan's first full day of kindergarten lunch. He requested a Treecko (a Pokemon). Luckily snacktime is brief, so I could just throw in a granola bar. (However, he ended up in the nut-free classroom, so all snacks must be nut-free, but not lunches because they're eaten in the cafeteria. If he wants to eat with a friend at the "nut-free table" in the cafeteria then I'd have to label the outside of his lunchbox as "nut free".
Ryan's lunch: Nate's meatless meatballs; cucumber "Treecko" sitting on top of 12-grain roll-ups of Tofutti cream cheese, smoked Tofurky slices, & lettuce; onigiri Pokeball; steamed broccoli; Pokemon pasta shapes; a lime gel cup...all on a bed of lettuce.
He ate everything, including the lettuce.

While Ryan was at school my first order from Ichiban Kan arrived. Their cute packs of food cutters are great, and everything is so cheap. My only complaint is that they only accept Mastercard & Visa.

I got to
sit down
for lunch
was away,
so I went
all out! If
I can't
have big
(need to
lose the
then at
least it
can be

We celebrated Ryan's
return from his first
full day of kindergarten
with ice cream sandwiches.

Then he immediately
took off to a neighbor's
house to play, ha ha.
Guess he didn't miss
us too much!


Ryan's lunch: soccer ball onigiri; watermelon chunks; tiny gherkin pickle; "chik'n" salad; green salad with shredded carrot, red pepper "flowers", & cucumber "leaves" (Ryan does not like salad dressing); Korean sweet potato crackers; 2 Panda raspberry licorice pieces.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Lunches

I have finally found a winner in my quest to find a cabbage dish that I really love...and what luck, it's the first cabbage dish that my husband has requested I repeat again soon! Yahoo!!
The recipe is a Seared
Cabbage Salad from
Rachael Ray's 30-Minute
Meals. I served it over
soba noodles with some
shiitake mushrooms and
cold tofu.

Simple, fun meals were
key at the beginning of
the week; Dada left for
his first trip since Maia's
birth. Three days alone
with four kids was
certainly exhausting!

Ian's Alphatots, Yves
Good Dogs
in whole wheat buns with organic ketchup, grapes, cucumber, carrots.

The older boys have been taking turns holding their baby sister.


AJ's camp lunch: whole grain crackers w/cream "cheese" & white crackers w/peanut butter; green beans; edamame; onigiri; watermelon; mini zucchini muffin.


Farm pickup: eggplant, green peppers, pattypan squash, cucumbers, green kale & red russian kale, celery, watermelon, cantaloupe, muskmelon, red onions & white onions, jalapeno, red potatoes, blueberries, orange cherry tomatoes & red Juliet plum tomatoes, purple cabbage, 3 pounds of various heirloom tomatoes. Not shown: herbs & flowers.

More bento treats arrived in the mail:

A Buzz Lightyear Toy
Story bento box, a green
mushroom fork case
with fork, various paper
cupcake holders,
kyaraben nori punches,
a rice ball mold.

I also came across a great instructional Happy Lunch Box website intended for parents of kindergarten kids in Japan. It shows how to make simple animals, people, flowers, etc. out of food. Check it out!


AJ's lunch for camp: Nate's Meatless Meatballs; cantaloupe chunks; tiny gherkin pickle; blanched spinach; grilled nutritional yeast cheese sandwich.


Husband's lunch: Thermos of homemade vegetable lentil barley soup; soba noodles; steamed broccoli & tomatoes; Insanely Easy Chickpea Salad & cucumbers; baguette slice (to accompany soup); carrot sticks; sesame tofu; marinated mushrooms.

AJ's playdate lunch in his new Buzz Lightyear bento: 1/3 of an EnviroKidz Berry Crispy Rice Bar; sesame tofu & green beans; soba noodles; cucumber slices; carrot sticks; mini zucchini muffin; steamed broccoli.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Restaurant Review: Gianni's

Gianni's Pizza & Subs, Framingham, MA

I love pizza. And I'm
originally from New
York. So when I look
for a good pizza, I want
a thin crust that is not
greasy, a simple tasty
tomato sauce, and being
a vegetarian I obviously
want a good selection
of toppings.

Luckily we live right around the corner from three pizza shops. But only Gianni's has the right kind of crust for us.

Our standard order that
the boys enjoy is a large
pizza, sans le fromage,
with spinach, mushrooms &
black olives. Toppings are
usually $2 a piece, but
they'll add one free instead
of the cheese for their
monday night 2 large
pizzas deal.

While pregnant I got hooked on a cheeseless tomato, garlic, black olive pizza. My non-pregnant self also loves this combo with broccoli.

But if cheese is your
thing, that's good too.
My husband is not
vegan, and he sometimes
stops in for a slice or two
on the way to an evening

And if you're not in the mood for pizza (you must be crazy) there are plenty of other options: subs, pasta, lasagna, calzones, appetizers & salads.

There is very limited seating inside, since most people get take-out or delivery (check their website for coupons on pick-up or eat in). In nice weather there are picnic tables out front with umbrellas if you don't mind the traffic.

Definitely the best pizza I've found without heading into Boston proper. Gianni's is located at 861 Edgell Road. 508-877-7697 or 508-877-7704.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Our Wild Life

AJ asked for "gingerbread men" cookies when it was his turn to bring snack to camp, so we made gingerbread men and handprint shaped sugar cookies instead. Unfortunately his camp was rained out 3 times in a row, so we decided to eat them ourselves. I'll have to come up with something else for next week.


Boys' lunch: roasted
vegetable pizza; banana;
carrot; cucumber.

Trader Joe's makes an
inexpensive frozen
dairy-free roasted
vegetable pizza that
we love.


Lunch: cinnamon toast;
blueberries; cucumber;
chickpea salad; carrots;
blanched spinach.

(Yes, that is toast on
Nate's fork in his left

Ryan decided to make
one of his Iron Chef
creations again. But
this time he wanted
to plan out a recipe
first. He drew this
chart with ingredients:
2 Craisins, cucumber,
yellow wax beans,
grapes, black sesame seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar.

He loves to
pose with
a very
he shows
off his

We all
and it

Dinner: corn on
the cob; mashed
potatoes; spicy
baked tofu;

Husband's lunch: mashed potatoes; spicy eggplant; grapes; stuffing; cashews & Craisins; tomatoes & cucumbers w/balsamic vinegar; baked tofu.

Farm share: 2 dozen stems kale, carrots, 1 onion, 1 watermelon, 1 cantaloupe, 1 purple cabbage, 1 bunch scallions, 1 pint orange cherry tomatoes, 1/2 pint blueberries, 1 orange tomato, cilantro, 2 hot peppers, 2 green bell peppers, 3 small eggplant, 5 ears corn.


Nate is ready to go!
We are very fortunate
to live less than a mile
from the New England
Wildflower Society's
Garden In The Woods.
We met a friend and her
boys there and walked
the trails.

They are currently
showcasing the Big
Bugs art exhibit.

Here's Ryan with
a giant ladybug.

The afternoon mail brought some new bento box goodies! There are some flag food picks, fruit sauce containers, small square rice ball shaper, Chip & Dale snack bento, sea animal spoons & forks, a mini bundt silicon cup, 3 flower food cutters, and a Thomas The Tank Engine bento for Nate.


Dada & AJ were out
running business
errands, so I made a
"picnic" dinner for
Ryan and Nate to
share: mini vegetable
potstickers; quartered
wheat pita bread;
Nate's meatless
meatballs; carrot sticks; cherry tomatoes; diced pineapple & mango; blueberries; cucumber.

While they were out my husband picked up a Rubbermaid ice blanket at REI that I can cut into small portions for the boys' lunchboxes this fall. So cheap too. Hooray!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


In about 2 weeks my oldest starts kindergarten. I realized I will be packing double the lunches and snacks of last year. Ryan will need a snack and a lunch 5 days per week, AJ will need a snack for preschool 4 days per week, and Nate will need a snack and a lunch 2 days per week.

Time to take inventory. I need to make sure I have enough containers for at least 2 days per child, in order to account for items being left behind at school, in the car, or me just not getting the dishes clean in time.

And I need to keep packing in the morning as quick and simple as possible; this year's challenge will undoubtedly be keeping up with the boys' school needs with a newborn to care for! I'll definitely be making good use of pre-prepared frozen items and leftovers.

First of all, my Hello Kitty collection. With Maia's birth a month ago, I feel like I can finally justify showing off my favourite bento items (and maybe even purchase a few more in the future!)

Ryan's favourite: Pokemon. Tupperware put out a Pokemon collection a number of years ago and I have a few of those; the sandwich keepers are great, and I love bringing them on family outings because I can usually stack 2 sandwiches in 1 container. Some of the other items I bought at the Pokemon Center in Tokyo (which changed location about a year ago) or off eBay.

Here are my Sanrio and various other character containers: Thomas the Tank Engine, Snoopy, Miffy, Kuririn, Badtz Maru, Keroppi.

And a variety of other miscellaneous containers, including a Thermos for warm food (I also have a Hello Kitty one for myself, not pictured, lol). Bottom right are a bunch of odds and ends, items missing their matching tops or bottoms.

My other concern is keeping Ryan's lunches simple and "cool" looking during the first few weeks of kindergarten. Am I over-thinking this too much? He'll be eating in the cafeteria with lots of kids and I have no idea what the climate is regarding brought-from-home lunches in public school. Easily recognizable sandwiches, pasta, fruit, etc should make him not feel different in the beginning.

Anyone with public school experience have any tips for me??

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Review: Asinayo Market

Asinayo Market, Framingham, MA

I love the variety found
in little local asian
markets. Asinayo Market
is a Korean grocer in
downtown Framingham,
MA, across the street
from the Town Hall.

In addition to the typical rice, noodles, tea and sea vegetables, there are some kitchen gadgets, Korean videos, and an extensive refrigerated and frozen foods section. And dare I mention the candy counter where I picked up a few treats including some Hello Kitty candies.

The staff are friendly and
generous. They've offered
to carry my grocery bags
to the car (I decline, but I
guess having a few kids
along makes it look like I
need some help).

Here are my purchases from
my recent visit: a HUGE bag
of dried shiitake mushrooms,
soy sauce, sweet potato
crackers, mini gel cups, coconut milk, Hello Kitty candy, black sesame furikake, dried gourd strips, red bean paste cookies, and vegetable potstickers.

I was really surprised to find that the mini gel cups were vegan; I'm glad I decided to check the ingredients! Sure, they're just sugar, agar agar, and food coloring, but I think they will look cool added to a new kindergarteners lunchbox.

can be
found at

is on-
and some
in the
lot by
the town


Friday, August 8, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

...Come again another Day...
AJ wants to go to camp to play!

Preschool camp was postponed twice this week, so I have no lunches to display. Nor do I have many food photos, it's been so crazy around here with 4 kids and various birthdays; Maia has been acting colicky and Dada's been quite busy.

We tried to
limit our
farm share
this week
due to last
The berries
were too
but we
much of
the pick-
just to give
me a week
to catch up.

Lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers, hot peppers, cherry tomatoes, 1 large tomato, scallions, 1 pint blueberries, yellow onions, 5lb mix of carrots/eggplant/purple peppers/summer squashes, corn on the cob.

AJ has been making
letters out of just
about anything lately,
including produce.

And I just have to
sneak in a few pics
of Maia too!


We celebrated Dada's
birthday with his
favourite vanilla
cupcakes (topped with
farm strawberries I
had frozen in the spring).

The boys loved having our favourite dip & chips for lunch.

6 Layer Bean Dip

1 can refried beans +
1/4-1/3 cup water,
mixed until smooth
3/4-1 cup guacamole
(or 2 mashed ripe
3/4-1 cup sour cream
(I like using Tofutti
Better Than Sour Cream,
their non-hydrogenated
1/4-1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
3 diced tomatoes
3-4 sliced scallions

In a 9x9" glass baking dish (or other similar-sized serving dish), layer all ingredients from first to last.
For a spicier version, add a teaspoon of taco seasoning to the sour cream and mix well.