School Lunches

Monday, February 9, 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Covered in Chocolate!

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to host a group of 6-7 year old girls for a chocolate class. We had so much fun making all sorts of treats and they each got to bring home their own box of chocolates to share with their families.

Of course, before they arrived I was trying to squeeze in some quick pictures but these sweet little hand kept getting in the way. I guess that's what you get for keeping sprinkles at eye level.

Immediately, when the kids arrived and saw all the sprinkles and chocolates I decided it was time for a quick less on "less is more". I demonstrated by dipping a couple strawberries in chocolate and showing them how a few carefully placed sprinkles can actually be better than a whole handful of sprinkles. 

I didn't really think they would pay much attention and I expected them each to go home with a box full of chocolate and sprinkles. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see how each of them was very careful and thoughtful about how they decorated each and every piece of chocolate.

We ended up making a vanilla bean ganache (that they later rolled into truffles), chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered Oreos, cherry/raspberry filled chocolates, caramel filled truffles, peanut butter cups, and painted chocolate hearts. If it sounds like a lot, it was! But, they each managed to get one of each done during our two hour class. 

I know the words 'truffles', 'ganache', and even 'dipped' can seem very intimidating to people. But, I must say, these kids did such an amazing job. Nothing we did was particularly difficult, but they learned new techniques and got to create something made from the heart to give to their families for Valentine's Day. I would take these over a heart-shaped box of chocolates any day! 

I rarely plan ahead to share holiday meals/treat ideas in time for people to actually try them out. So, I wanted to share just some fun breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas that you could easily whip up this week. 

Raspberries stuffed with white chocolate chips make a perfect snack or side for any meal! 

Cupid's arrow cheese sandwich, chicken lettuce wraps, mini pepper rings, marshmallows, strawberry slices, raspberries (with white chocolate chip), and a couple candy conversation hearts. 

Mini silver dollar pancake stack (I added pink food coloring to half the batter for special pink pancakes), raspberries with white chocolate chips. 

A simple fruit and yogurt parfait with a special heat shaped sprinkle. 

And for a sweet ending, beautiful Valentine's Day desserts with no baking required - chocolate covered strawberries and chocolates. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A little of this, a little of that...

I started this blog just a month ago with a specific goal - to create something new every day. That could be food, art, or memories. The purpose is to start figuring out what path I really want to focus on...
So far I am still spending most my time in the kitchen, but honestly I don't know what I love most about food. Cooking versus baking? Decorating baked goods? Food styling? Food photography? Eating? I love it all. I don't know if that is very helpful in 'narrowing down' my interests, but I suppose that isn't really what I need to do. I enjoy learning new techniques, trying new recipes, and pushing my skills to the next level. In fact, I have some amazing new techniques to try out and I can not wait to share them with you over the next couple weeks, but I'm currently waiting on a couple Amazon orders to get all my necessary supplies. So, instead I'll just share some of the things I've made over the past week and link the recipes I've used. 

To be honest, one of my fears of starting a food-related blog was that I don't have many recipes of my own. So I felt like it was 'cheating' to share food I made using someone else's recipe. But, I will always do my best to link to the original sources because I always want to give credit to the people who put in the time and effort to come up with these amazing recipes and were willing to share them with the rest of us. 

(I should also let you know I'm tired and procrastinating cleaning the kitchen. When I'm tired, I tend to ramble - both when I talk and when I type. So I apologize in advance, but I really don't want to do the dishes....) 

First I want to share some of the sugar cookies I made for a birthday party. It was a brother and sister joint party. The boy wanted a sports theme and the girl wanted Frozen. 

Here is my favorite sugar cookie recipe I've found.

In addition to the sugar cookies the kids also wanted oreo ball pops. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the sports ball pops I made (soccer, football, and basketball), but I did take a picture of these adorable Elsa and Anna oreo ball pops!

I shaped the balls to fit the cutouts I purchased from Etsy. Then, after dipping in candy melts I rolled them in colored sugar. The cutouts were certainly time consuming to cut out but I definitely think they were worth it!

Source for printouts - Disney Frozen Cake Pop Topper

I was grocery shopping the other day and came across these adorable dishes at Hy-Vee. I had to get one just to see what I could use it for. So far, I've used it every day I've had it!

Baked Eggs - I have no real recipe because you can customize it to whatever you like. I buttered the dish then put down some snow pea sprouts (I would have used spinach but I was out and I actually loved the way the sprouts turned out), carefully cracked two eggs in the middles, then topped it with sauteed cherry tomatoes and shallots, bacon, goat cheese, a little panko/parmesan/parsley topping and baked for about 10 minutes at 350. I've only done this twice and I've learned that you can quickly overcook the yolk. Both times I kept checking and the whites didn't quite seem cooked and next thing I knew the yolks were hard. BUT, it was still amazing. I just have more of a reason to practice to get it perfect (and I will happily keep eating this for breakfast!)

I also thought my new dish would be the perfect vessel for an au gratin potato. I can't tell you how good this was! It will be a staple side dish in my family from now on. 

I don't have a set recipe for this since I just made an individual portion (honestly, it probably should have been shared....) 

I buttered the dish, put down one layer of thinly sliced potatoes, sprinkled on shredded Gruyere cheese, another layer of pototoes, and more shredded grueyere. Then I warmed up milk, butter, garlic, and rosemary and poured it over the dish and baked until golden brown. 

(Sorry about that 'recipe'... I'll work on making it more precise.) 


I know I'm a little late on posting Super Bowl food but one of my favorite dishes I made was a Thai sweet chili sauce I used for chicken wings. My six year old daughter and I made the sauce together. Then, almost immediately after we finished, I found an entire unopened bottle of Thai sweet chili sauce in my refrigerator. Oh well, I bet my homemade version was better. :) 

Recipe - Thai Sweet Chili Sauce from Food Lush 

Finally, tonight's dinner consisted of a beautiful bowl of fruit and lasagna. 

Blueberries, kiwis, strawberries, and cara cara oranges. Then I squeezed a little orange juice and sprinkled a bit of powder sugar to create a sweet syrup. 

Here is the world's best lasagna recipe. You know it's true because the recipe says so.

It is not a quick dish to make. But it is SO worth it.