October 3, 2011

Brown-Bag Challenge: The Final Week (Days 17-21)

Monday: Left-overs Seafood Vegetable LoMein, Roasted Chicken & Fruit Delights

We had a splendid gathering last night with friends at home.  We did a lot of catching up.  And we found ourselves almost eating the entire time we were together.  Non-stop I shall confess.  But we have prepared healthy comfort foods so there's nothing much to worry about extra time at the gym the following day.  The kids did their part of getting to know each other.  Bonding while playing nicely.  But the mess after was a great thing to deal with.  We started late lunch and ended up past bedtime.  So there wasn't enough time to clean-up well & prepare for the next day's brown-bag.  We woke up late and just packed leftovers of LoMein and Roasted Chicken from lunch and dinner yesterday.  A repeat but a comforting meal indeed.
Seafood LoMein
Roasted Chicken
Fortunately, my son had an early release today at 12:30 pm.  So I needed not to worry about him much.  I sent him to school with fruit delights.  A mixture of grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and orange slices that will stuff him till lunch at home.  At home, he ate the LoMein as well and was happy and content.
Have a hearty meal everyone! ^-^
Fruit Delights

Tuesday: Pinwheels and Strawberries:

Ham & Cheese Pinewheels
and Strawberries
Fall weather is officially in.  I can feel the cool morning breeze here in SoCal.  And it's getting harder to rise up early in early to prepare the brown-bag.  Nonetheless, I habe to force myself to prepare for my loved-ones breakfast and lunch tummy fillers.

Today, the brown-bag had sweet Ham and Cheese with Lettuce Pinwheels.  It's one of my son's favorites that I have long forgotten.  It took Healthy Eats' Nutritionist Toby Amiador to remind me that it still exists.  So for a change, I packed that with halved strawberries on the side.  While we ate the leftovers for breakfast.  I have to make one with cheese and one without, since my daughter doesn't eat cheese.  Oh for goodness-sake! Even when we dine out, she'll eat anything as long as there are no cheeses...please :-)  It's not that she's allergic to it, she just didn't like the taste of cheesy dishes.
Hubby packed Chili and Chopseuy Vegetables with steamed rice.  I will be volunteering for my son's school after lunch today so I would have to eat from home before I go.  My choice of anything yummy to eat from home.  Might as well heat up a bowl of chili over steamed rice.  Comforting and fulfilling for a cold day.

If anyone needs a recipe for anything I have prepared, just let me now by leaving a comment.  I'll be happy to provide them for you.

Have a wonderful meal, everyone!

Wednesday: Home-made Cheese Bagel Pizzas

I am a bit excited today to create my home-made pizza bagels, as inspired by the frozen pizzas bought in supermarkets.  My children are pizza fanatics.  And since I pledged on preparing my brownbags as healthy and home-made as possible, I decided to make my own pizza bagels for my kiddos.

It's very easy.  

I just needed 3 ingredients for this. 

A store bought mini-bagels, 
bottled veggie-spag sauce, 
and shredded cheese.  
Pizza Bagels, Plums & Muffin
Preheat oven at 425 degrees.
Lay-out the bagels on cookie sheet
Spread sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Results are healthier, cheesier and yummier pizza bagels.  The kids were excited because they sprinkled the cheese for me.  Next time, I'll just have them do it by themselves, then I'll take it to the oven for baking.  I gave him plums and cupcakes to neutralize the cheezy-ness of his lunch.

Honestly, I'm proud of myself for all the lunches I've made since the start of the challenge.  I never knew I could do wonders when challenged.  I'm happy I made my kids eat a healthier meal each time.  Best of all, my hubby's happy as well.  I guess I will continue this challenge forever.  And I will keep blogging coz it's what makes it exciting as well.

Happy brown-bagging!

Thursday: Pesto Chicken Farfalle

Just to let you know that this is a Broccoli Challenge as well by Kelly. I am doing 2 challenges simultaneously because it inspires me to prepare healthier meals, and encourages my kids to eat healthier as well.  So it's like hitting 2 birds with one stone.  Well.... this one is hitting 2 challenges with one blog and preparation.

Today's brown-bag was Pesto Chicken Farfalle with Broccoli and Nectarines on the side. This lunch is very simple to prepare. I have made the pesto sauce in advance and have stored it in my fridge.  It's made of basil leaves, olive oil, garlic and cheese.  All blended in my blender since I don't have a food processor.  But at times when I'm out, and just crave for it, I make use of any store-bought traditional Pesto Sauce jar.  It works just fine. We have a left-over chicken rotisserie from last night, so I cut it into small pieces to mix with my farfalle noodles.  I separated broccoli from my pesto farfalle because it was by special request.  My 3rd grader is like Kelly, a broccoli fanatic.  He wants to munch his broccoli by itself to satisfy his palate.  But for grown-ups, I tossed it along the pesto chicken farfalle to make it look more appetizing, and not bland.  I topped it off with shredded mozarella cheese.  And of course my fruit dessert would be the famous nectarine wedges.  Blueberry would look better with this but he just gobbled it all up last night before going to bed.  So this is what's left, and we have to make it last.
Pesto Farfalle, Broccoli,
My husband didn't pack his brown-bag today because of a lunch meeting this afternoon.  Lunches will be provided in their office.  So I guess, we'll consider that as his brown-bag for the day.  I'm crossing my fingers that he'll make healthier choices though.

Have a wonderful brown-bag everyone!

Friday: Fancy Garlic Rice & the Works:

Hurray! It's the last day of Healthy Eats' brown-bag challenge.  I must say I did fairly well and made everyone happy.  I have fulfilled my goal and my kids are eating healthier.  But it will never be the last day for my brown-bag chore.  It actually just began.  And I have pledged to myself that I will continue to pack and create healthy lunches for my family, and share ideas as well with other moms in need.

Garlic Rice, Strawberries
and Choco-fudge Muffin
Today's brown-bag is garlic rice with hotdogs, corn and sweet peas.  For healthier option, try QUINOA as a substitute to rice.  Strawberries and a choco-fudge muffin for dessert.

I stir-fried my hotdogs bits with garlic and oil.  I made sure that the hotdogs are slightly browned before I add in the rest of my ingredients (cooked rice, corn kernels, and sweetpeas) over medium to high heat.  You can actually add in carrots as well, edamame or broccoli, depending on what you have in stock.  Then let it cool before packing so as not to create dew inside the container.  I was told that dew is responsible for spoiled rice if you packed it still hot.  Or you might want to throw in ice pack in the lunchboxes to be safe.  I do all the time since he likes to eat his food cold anyways.

Recipes to follow.  Please check back later.

We're teaming up with fellow food bloggers to host a Brown-Bag Challenge, a month-long initiative to eat consciously and save money by packing a lunch each weekday instead of eating out. Join us here and share what you're eating on Facebook andTwitter with the hashtag #brownbag.

I'd like to link this up with Family Fresh Cooking's Project Lunch Box - Week 2.  Feel free to click on the badge to be linked back to Family Fresh Cooking's post.

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