Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lunch round-up: a cooling trend starts the week

The weather has turned cool, here. It was almost feeling fall-ish the other day. I had to remind myself not to get too cozy and bundled up, as the hot weather would surely return in a week or two.

But, with cooler weather comes opportunities to bake again. So, for this week's lunch round-up, it's looking like:

  • kale, rice and cheese casserole
  • bean burger patties
  • cranberry-orange muffins (need to use up last year's cranberries!)
  • carrot sticks and 1000 Island dressing/dip
  • watermelon chunks, as I have half a melon left to use
I got out of rhythm with yogurt and bread making. So this week, I also had to make 5 loaves of bread, and a large batch of yogurt. I picked up 2 more wide-mouth, quart canning jars the other week, so I can now make 5 to 6 quarts of yogurt at a time. I will make more yogurt each time, but make it less often. 

For lunches this week, family members can choose from the above list, or pbj sandwiches, yogurt with jam, and raisins. These are our "staples", and always available.

The kale, rice and cheese casserole is a lot like oven-baked macaroni and cheese, only sub rice for pasta, and add some onions and kale for flavor and nutrition. The kale part isn't a mom-thing, but my daughters actually ask for more veggies. I KNOW! Go figure! But I'm happy they like veggies. It's a lot easier to accommodate a veggie-lover than a veggie-hater.

As I knew this would be a long cooking day, the bean burger patties and some of the rice and kale doubled as dinner. I try hard not to make too much work for myself.

The aroma of the muffins was so tempting, I just had to eat one right away. There are some flavors that seem to go together to me. I like almond extract in many fruit desserts and pastries, such as cranberry, blueberry, rhubarb and cherry. I also like orange zest with these same fruits. I always put apples together with allspice, cloves and cinnamon. Pears seem to go well with ginger. Are there any pairings that you're particularly fond of?

And now, I'm dog-tired. I just knew this would be a long, long day!


Mondays are always my busy day of the week. There is so much that I have to catch up on from the weekend. Tuesdays, on the other hand, are one of my lighter days of the week. I've got a nice cup of coffee poured, the house is silent, before anyone else is up yet, and today I'll sit for a bit, before getting the kitchen cleaned up. Hope you have a lovely day!

~~ Cheers

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12 comments:

  1. I love being up before everyone else. I just don't like the getting-out-of-bed part. Hope you enjoyed your quiet morning.

    We had cool temps last week and have warmed up now, so I did some baking/oven cooking last week (cookies, breadsticks, roasted a chicken ... ). It was finally a nice enough day for a beach day yesterday so I hauled out my Oster (it has a blender attachment) and made smoothies to go along with our PB&J at the beach. I need to find a better place for the Oster--it's such a bear to haul out that I don't want to do it often--but smoothies are a fun way to get nutrition into my kids and use up iffy produce.

    Your lunches sound good. I like your pairings--and I can't seem to roast a chicken without garlic and rosemary and lemon. :)

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    1. Hi Kris,
      yum, I love chicken with rosemary, garlic and lemon, too! Even if the only lemon I have is bottled lemon juice, that's better than no lemon.

      I hope you had a great day at the beach. I miss those days when the kids were home during the week and we could go to the beach.

      I wound up going back to bed, as my throat was feeling scratchy -- ugh! I'm hoping it's just allergies. But otherwise, a quiet house, early in the morning is so peaceful, and a great way to start the day.

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  2. I am so sorry to see our cool weather become history. We're in for a heat index today reaching 100-105 with temps in the mid 90's and humidity in the tropics! Yuck.

    Such yummy lunches you make. I wish I could get my act together!

    I always enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      Oh, I don't think I could take that heat that you'll get today! I melt at that temp. When we had our heat wave a week ago or so, they kept saying that humidity was down, but it felt muggy to me the entire time, and I was miserable. I hope you can find a cool spot this week!

      Making lunch items ahead of time really helps our family save money. Otherwise, we'd be grabbing all the more expensive items from the pantry. And that's my primary motivation to get this done each week. But in other households, different priorities may be in place, such as time saving on making meals. I understand that.

      Thanks for commenting.

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    2. When you have temps and humidities like Linda's, you are allowed to take the easy way out in the kitchen. That's my rule, at least! :) I find we aren't very hungry when it's hot and humid, which helps when it comes to meal planning.

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    3. I agree! I think we'd be eating sandwiches all week! One of the days we had our hottest temps a week ago, we used a gift card to go get fish and chips at the beach. I wasn't about to cook that day -- just too hot.

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  3. I also love the almond flavoring. I made a pavlova type of dessert a couple of years ago and put almond in the cream. I thought if a little is good, then why not add more? It was SO nasty! I had to throw it out. So - lesson learned! Use a small amount!

    I saw on a cooking show last night that the cook used lemon zest and combined it with salt to make lemon salt - and she sprinkled it on asparagus and peas. I am anxious to try it on green beans, but it would be good on lots of things.

    I have zested my oranges before peeling them to eat them and frozen the zest. It does weaken the flavor to freeze it, but it's better than nothing! I just add more.

    How long does the yogurt last? You make quite a bit so you have big yogurt eaters at your house! Do you use it in baking? Just wondered because I enjoy making it also, but we don't seem to eat it very fast.

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    1. Hi Ruthie,
      I guess we eat a lot of yogurt. 6 quarts lasts about 3 weeks, in our house. But all 5 of us will eat it. Breakfast is often yogurt with berries and granola. And yes, I sometimes use it in baking. My stomach can tolerate pancakes made with yogurt, better than those made with milk.

      Mmmm lemon salt sounds good. I make a lemon-rosemary salt that I enjoy. Mostly I use it on chicken, or in soup or salad dressing. But on veggies, that might be good!

      I have heard warnings about using too much almond extract. In a recipe I was reading for cheery preserves, it said to only use a little almond, as too much would make it taste like a cheap Italian pastry. That's too bad it ruined your pavlova!

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  4. I'm going to have to check into making some lemon salt. Those two flavors go well with a lot of vegetables--especially when they're roasted and I have some lemons to use.

    The weather remains hot and humid here, but at least it's not record breaking. I'm thankful for that. Enjoy your cooler weather.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      I hope you have a break from the heat/humidity soon. When it's cool and cloudy here, it's really hard for me to imagine that summer exists anywhere, right now.

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  5. I make kale and rice casserole too with this recipe:
    http://iowagirleats.com/2014/04/09/beechers-kale-and-brown-rice-gratin-with-smoked-cheese-sauce/
    So yummy!

    Enjoy that cool weather! We had a few days with highs in the 80s, but we're back in the 90s now (which means lots of salads for dinner).

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    1. Hi Amanda,
      I checked out that recipe (thanks for the link), and it's a lot like how I make my casserole. The differences -- I use cheddar instead of smoked cheeses, and I top the casserole with buttered bread crumbs instead of grated cheese, and I add a bit of chili powder to the cheese sauce, for extra zip. The casserole gets a huge thumbs up by the whole family.
      (And now I'm getting hungry!!)

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