January 31st, 2012
We knew we had to post our Vegetable Spring Roll recipe after taking them on a ski trip this past weekend. As we unwrapped them and dipped them in delicious peanut sauce, the other parents at our table were asking all kinds of questions:
- “You made those?”
- “Isn’t that hard?”
Not as hard as you’d think!
- “Where do you buy the wrappers?”
We found ours in the international foods section in Wegmans.
We have done this recipe on our own enough time to be comfortable, and enough times to say that, while the process looks involved, it’s really not that much work. The recipe has the full technique, but read on for the cook’s notes:
- Gather Ingredients
Most of the time for this recipe is in the preparation. Get your ingredients together, prep them (slice, dice, cut, soak, etc …) and put them in prep bowls, assembly-line fashion. When it comes time to make the rolls, it’ll be good to have them all ready and in order.
- Soak Wrappers
The wrapper rounds just take a few seconds in hot water to become pliable. Put two in a hot water bath at a time, when you’re ready to start the next roll.
- Blot Dry
We used a Silpat (non-stick) mat on our counter to help with this step. We picked up the first round, laid it on a paper towel, and then flipped the paper towel over so the round is on the Silpat. This makes it easy to peel the paper towel off the top.
- Layer Ingredients
Start with the lettuce leaf and rice noodles, about an inch from the bottom edge of the wrapper.
- Add Toppings
Add the remaining toppings to the leaf and noodles at the bottom of the wrapper.
- Roll in First Wrapper
Slowly roll from the bottom, pausing after one revolution to fold in the wrapper sides to seal the sides, and continuing to roll the remainder. Set the roll aside.
- Roll in Second Wrapper
As in step 3, get the second wrapper onto the Silpat. Place the roll at the bottom again, and roll from bottom to top. This second layer helps to contain any rips or holes in the first wrapper.
If you’re not going to eat them right away, moisten paper towels and wrap the rolls before sealing in a plastic bag. We made these 4 days before eating them on our ski trip (we doubled the recipe and ate half the evening we made them), and they were still fabulous!
Good luck! If you make and take these Vegetable Spring Rolls for lunch, do comment and let us know how your experience was!
January 20th, 2012
Reubens are a classic sandwich available in many sandwich shops. However, their high fat content (many versions contain up to 40 grams of fat) inspired us to find an alternative that we would enjoy just as much. For complete details and a shopping list, view the Seitan Reuben Sandwich recipe.
We replaced the meat with seitan. Seitan has 27 grams of protein per 3 oz serving, compared with 15 grams for corned beef. Seitan is also cholesterol-free. We also omitted cheese, to see if we missed it. I’m happy to report that we enjoyed the sandwich just as much! You may certainly add cheese: just choose a low-fat cheese, or go with your favorite and understand you are adding more cholesterol, fat and sodium to the sandwich. The key to this sandwich is the sauerkraut … make sure to add enough! We heaped on 3 tablespoons. This keeps the sandwich moist and flavorful. Purchase Russian dressing for the sandwich, OR if you want to make it vegan, whip up some of your own vegan Russian dressing.
October 5th, 2011
Halloween is fast approaching: orange food is needed! Fun lunch ideas are sometimes no farther away than the local grocery store and a local farm. Strolling through the supermarket aisle, I happened upon a great new pasta: Barilla Piccolini with Carrots and Squash. I picked some up thinking that I could surely do something fun with this orange pasta. The next day at my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick-up, orange cauliflower was part of my share. Thrilled, I ran home to make a delicious, nutritious and orange macaroni and cheese dish.
If it passed the “Xander Test” (our 7 year-old has very high standards for his lunch fare) we’d be in the clear for a great lunch dish! With a total prep time of about 15 minutes, this is a quick dish that can even be made in the morning. We made it for dinner and will use the leftovers for lunch. Read more…
October 5th, 2011
Wandering through the grocery store the other day, I realized that the days of needing to make your own trail mix are long gone. Every type of mix imaginable is available in bulk foods or the pre-packaged areas of the grocery store. Given that, why would you be interested in making your own?
- You choose your own ingredients.
- Kids can join in the fun!
- Holiday or theme specific mixes are easy to prepare.
- It is a good way to have a favorite sweet treat in small quantities.
- If you or your child has an allergy, you can work around that in your mix.
September 23rd, 2011
We’re in week 3 of school, and we’re all still getting used to the routine! Fortunately, lunches have become easier over the years and we are able to focus instead on piano practice, dance lessons and getting reading and homework done. Our biggest challenge these days is making sure that our little darlings get enough sleep: something that is getting harder and harder for some reason!
I have spent enough time volunteering in the kids’ lunchroom to know this: a lot of food gets tossed, or put on the “give away” table, not ending up in our children’s stomachs. A strategy we’ve used to combat that is talking with the kids each day about how lunch went. Questions like “Who did you sit with?” and “What did [insert friend name here] bring to eat?” help jumpstart the conversation, culminating with “So, did you like your lunch?” Read more…