Archive for December, 2012

My Last Minute Cookbook Wishlist!

Friday, December 21st, 2012


I’m a home cook. I’m not schooled in Culinary Arts, I didn’t apprentice anywhere, no real restaurant experience to speak of (no lunch packing classes either). I just like to cook and well honestly it is mostly out of necessity. I do have this large family to feed and believe me eating out gets old real fast! I have no visions that I am an undiscovered talent in the kitchen or anything but I do think I make some tasty family meals! OK I confess sometimes I watch the Food Network! ;)

I am also passionate about cookbooks. I love cookbooks with stories, bright colored pages, easy to follow recipes and ideally lots of pictures! I find them inspiring whether simply gaining motivation from looking at them, or getting a base idea to make my own or a recipe that I love so much I follow to the exact measurements. I love seeing the books all lined up in the bookcase: different heights and colored bindings all blending together. Although these days keeping them orderly is a challenge with little toddlers pulling them out constantly!

My husband will tell you that I am not good at tracking measurements in my own recipes, I’m an eyeballer. I just know based upon the taste, smell and appearance what it needs. I know this is frustrating to him and also for sharing my recipes since it makes it difficult to duplicate. I know every time the recipe tastes a little different. I would argue however, that every time it still tastes good! I do admit though that I’ll often think it probably needed more of this or less of that! I will try to be better about this in the new year. It is time to make resolutions.

I thought today I would share with you some of the cookbooks I have on my wishlist. These are all books selected simply because I have browsed the bookstore and would like to add them to my own collection (click the photos for more information). With just over 3 shopping days left there is still time to expedite an order online, hit your local bookstore OR maybe you have received some Christmas cashflow and are looking for a little post holiday present for yourself! Since today is usually my Gluten-Free Friday post I will start with my Gluten-Free picks!

Gluten-Free Cookbooks


Deliciously G-Free: Food so Flavorful They’ll Never Believe it is Gluten-Free 

by Elisabeth Hasselbeck




The Healthy Gluten-Free Life: 200 Delicious Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free and Egg-Free Recipes 

by Tammy Credicott



Vegan Cookbook

Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year

by Del Sroufe




Weight Loss Cookbook

Hungry Girl to the Max!: The Ultimate Guilt-Free Cookbook

by Lisa Lillien







Cookies for Kids Cancer: Best Bake Sale Cookbook

by Gretchen Holt-Witt




All the Rest!!


 The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

by Deb Perelman



 Dinner: A Love Story: it all begins at the family table

by Jenny Rosenstrach




 The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making

by Alana Chernila




Finally this is one I do already own but I highly recommend!

Cooking with Trader Joe’s: Easy Lunch Boxes

by Kelly Lester




So there you have it. The cookbooks that I covet! If anyone wants to buy them for me let me know lol!  Now go shop for your favorite homecook; it’s not too late; and enjoy some great family meals in this holiday season!


Home for the Holidays…

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

This lunch box is more of a quiet reflection of the holiday season. There are no outright Christmas references at all (the snowman doesn’t count ;) ). You see I have recently been feeling so overwhelmed with all life’s pressures compounded with the extra holiday to-do lists and sick children. There are always sick children at holidays, aren’t there? I just needed a little reminder to set me straight.

Today’s lunch, although packed for Brendan, was really more for me. This quiet little house reminds me that the gathering of our family for this special season of celebrating Christ’s birth is what really matters. So this weekend we will welcome my family into our home and then later welcome some of my husband’s family from out-of-state for Christmas celebrations. I’ll try keep in mind that they won’t care if every piece of my laundry is done and folded or if my baseboards have been scrubbed! They won’t care if I picked up that one last small gift or if there is one less appetizer served. They just want to spend time us and that is what it is all about. Of course there will still be presents!

This Lunchbots Trio contains:

  • Mini cucumber coins
  • Strawberry hearts (for the love of family)
  • Kiwi sections
  • Cheddar corn puffs (above the house like falling snow or smoke from the chimney
  • Pretzel sticks (hidden under the square sandwich, sort of a foundation for my house – OK really so the lunch would be filling enough for Brendan lol)
  • A sandwich (constructed in 2 pieces – I cut 3 squares from bread with a cookie cutter, I then cut one square in half to make 2 triangles, I assembled my 2 sandwiches and placed in the Trio making small adjustment cuts so the roof would fit. I added details cut from the heel of the loaf – a window, chimney and door. Finally a mini chocolate chip acts as a door knob. I could have gone crazy decorating the house with details but wanted to keep it simple).
  • The snowman pick was added in reminder of families building snowmen together AND to pick at the fruits!

Now from my family to yours:

“I wish you a very happy, healthy holiday season with your precious loved ones!”



Lunchbots products used in this post available here:

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Similar Seasonal Lunches…

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

As much as I would like to make lunches that are all individually created masterpeieces, I just can’t! I am packing several lunches each day and in actuality I have all the lunchboxes spreadout before me and try to share common ingredients so I am not all over the kitchen! I have placed Brendan and Trevor’s lunches side by side today so you could see that they are very similar. I have just made them look individual by changing up small things. The winter lighting is hard on the photographs so try to look past the color changes between the photos!

Both  Lunchbots  contain:

  • Apples with Candy Cane stripes (soaked in citrus water after cutting to slow browning)
  • Mini cucumber coins (coins is merely referring to the way I cut them, like coins)
  • Yogurt covered snowflake pretzels
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Cheese stars
  • They both also contain a sandwich just cut differently.

Trevor’s (age 3) was cut in a square and then halved to create triangle “trees”. Trevor also has veggie sticks as a snack. Just to fess up, after photographing Trevor’s lunch I did a slight rearranging of the “trees” so the stars would not get crushed when I closed the box!

Brendan’s (age 10) sandwich was merely cut in a finger sandwich to fit that narrow compartment. His lunch also has pistachios. So you can see how I am using the same ingredients, creating essentially the same lunch but getting unique looks simply in the arranging and changing of small details. I cut just one apple, one mini cucumber and then cut out 4 cheese stars. I keep all of my snacks in a cabinet close to where I prepare my lunches so swapping them out for the lunches is easy to do based upon what each child likes.



Lunchbots products used in this post available here:

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