There’s a lot of criticism around here at the moment and it’s all to do with lunch boxes.
I try and I try and I try but the children are proving difficult to please and I don’t think I’m alone because I know so many mums who are like me and dread the daily chore of packing a lunch box. I thought the simplest way around this nightmare would be to make all lunch boxes identical. Everyone gets a sandwich, some cheese and biscuits, a juice box, some sort of a treat and some fruit. But I’m not winning.
Archie doesn’t want two sandwiches, he just wants one and instead of a second sandwich he’d like a can of tuna and a plastic fork. Arabella won’t eat tuna. She says, ‘It makes your breath stink’. She also doesn’t want all those carbs that are delivered in a sandwich so would prefer a wrap but not a wrap with ham because she’s not eating meat at the moment. Alfie doesn’t want any sandwich except for peanut butter but he can’t have that because nuts have been banned from all schools.
Archie doesn’t want juice, he wants bottled water. Arabella only drinks orange juice. Archie wants apple and blackcurrant juice but, ‘Can you put it in the freezer overnight? Archie doesn’t want any treats. ‘Have you cooked any sausages? I’ll take two of those.’ Arabella doesn’t want treats either and, as she’s not eating meat, she won’t take any of those sausages I’ve just cooked. She wants carrot sticks with homemade hummus. ‘We haven’t run out of hummus have we mum?’ Alfie loves treats, doesn’t want a sausage and won’t eat carrot sticks.
Archie will have crackers and tasty cheese, Arabella won’t eat cheese and Alfie wants crackers and cheese but the cheddar, not the tasty. Or was it the other way around? Archie likes green grapes, Arabella says, ‘Yes, I’ll have grapes but not too many of them’, and Alfie says he’ll have grapes but not green grapes, ‘I want the purple ones without the stones’.
Fortunately, I’m only putting myself through this four days a week. Friday is always lunch order day. In this house we thank God for Fridays.
Do you struggle with lunch boxes?
Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad
Here’s something I occasionally make on a Sunday afternoon, then pack it into the lunch boxes for Monday so I’m all organised for the start of the new week. Now this pasta salad is a complete success and something that Archie, Arabella and Alfie all enjoy. You can take a few short-cuts by substituting barbecue chicken instead of poaching chicken breasts and you can buy pesto from a deli instead of making your own pesto. I usually buy a barbecue chicken but make my own pesto.
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: This is lunch for around $5.00 per person
- 500gms spiral pasta
- 1 barbecue chicken, shredded into bite sized pieces (or 500gms chicken breast fillets poached for 15 minutes)
- 1 quantity of pesto – either from a deli or you can make your own (recipe to follow)
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
Cook pasta according to directions on packet then strain and place in a large bowl. Add chicken, pesto and pine nuts and stir well to combine. Season. Serve either hot or cold.
- 1 large bunch of basil, leaves only
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 3 tbspns grated parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor add the basil, almonds, garlic and cheese and process until fine. With the motor still running gradually pour in the olive oil. Continue processing until the oil is well incorporated – about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
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