There are days when I just don’t have time to prepare an elaborate meal, so often on those days when my kids ask, “What’s for dinner?” I answer with, “gourmet sandwiches.” My family has come to love this answer. Who knew something so simple could taste so good?
I have also found that a gourmet sandwich bar can be a good solution when entertaining…it looks fancy, but is quick and easy to put together. In addition, this is a great meal to serve when there will be vegans and meat eaters at the same event.
My in-laws had some friends in town and I had them over for dinner last night. I knew that they were meat eaters, so I added grilled chicken to the sandwich bar menu. Last night my sandwich bar consisted of:
Fresh baked bread
Sundried tomato spread
I serve this menu buffet-style which allows people to make their sandwiches to their liking. I have made this meal many times for guests and it always turns out well. I also find that by slicing the chicken people tend to eat less meat (Sneaky me…always trying to reduce the meat consumption of those I care about!). If you were to leave the chicken breasts whole, people would eat the whole breast in their sandwich. When you slice it up I find that people eat about half as much meat!!!
Last night my sandwich consisted of bread, sundried tomato spread, lots of grilled mushrooms, carmelized onions, avocado, tomato, and lettuce (I could barely get my mouth around it!). I wanted to take a picture of it for you, but got too busy jabby gabbing with my guests.
Maybe you can have a sandwich bar this weekend when you host your Super Bowl parties!
Lunch – I brought lunch to my son at school, so we had a “special” lunch… I had 1/2 of a large cucumber and avocadoTogo’s sandwich on whole wheat with mustard, lettuce, bell peppers, pepperocinis, onions, pickles, olives…piled real high (no mayo)!
1pm – Young Thai coconut (I drank the coconut water)… I would have eaten the coconut meat then too, but ran out of time since I needed to pick-up my daughter from school.
4pm – I drank the rest of the green juice I made this morning (16 ounces more)
5:45pm – Dinner tonight was kale salad and veggie lasagna (I made it a few nights ago and it is yummy! ). Sadly tonight we ate the rest of the lasagna. I will need to post my lasagna recipe the next time I make it.
After dinner snack – this evening I will sip on the rest of the green smoothie I made this afternoon, though at the moment I am pretty full.
I’d say this is a pretty typical day for me food-wise with the exception of the Togo’s…I usually cook/make something simple for lunch.
As often as I can I try to start the kid’s morning off with fresh juice made from my Breville juicer. The school week can be really busy and it isn’t always easy to cram in all of the nutrients they need to fuel their afterschool activities. Fresh squeezed juice is a fantastic way to give their bodies what it craves. In a perfect world my kids would drink 100% vegetable juice, but reality is different. I can get the kids to drink their green veggies as long as I temper them with the sweetness of apples and carrots. Little by little I have been able to add more and more greens.
These were the ingredients in my kid’s juice this morning:
My Kid's Morning Juice Ingredients
If your kids are new to juicing, start them off with apple juice (I have never met a kid that didn’t LOVE fresh squeezed apple juice). Move on from there by slowly adding more and more carrots to the mix (also very sweet). After a while you will be able to add in greens. I find spinach, romaine, and sugar snap peas to be very mild in taste, so those are your best bets when starting to add greens to your juice.
You don’t need to own a juicer in order to make fresh juice. If you own a blender or a Vitamix and have a nut milk bag or cheesecloth, then you can make juice. It will be a bit more work, but well worth it. In order to make juice with a blender you will need to add some water to the pitcher, chop in your veggies (watery veggies and fruits should go in near the bottom where the blade is), blend and then strain through the nut milk bags into another bowl. Work in batches until you are done.
Nut Milk Bag
To make the juice, prepare all of your fruits and veggies by washing them and cutting them down to size if they are too big to fit through the opening of your juicer. Once your produce is ready, set-up your juicer. In order to minimize clean-up, I like to line my juicer’s pulp collector with one of my recycled produce bags. Also keep some paper towel or an extra cup on hand for when you remove the juice pitcher. I block the juice nozzle with a paper towel whenever I move the juice pitcher away…otherwise it will drip onto the counter.
When you juice, make sure you juice the softer fruits and vegetables first (i.e. romaine, cucumber, sugar snap peas, tomatoes) and then push the rest of their pulp through with the harder fruits and vegetables… this will ensure that you get as much juice out of them as you can.
Softer Produce First
Most importantly, get your kids involved. When children participate in making their food, they are much more likely to actually consume that food.
Get the Kids Involved
Some kids are very put off by the color of juice that has carrots or greens in it. I have found a way around that by purchasing some fun cups in different colors. When my daughter drinks out of her fun green cup with the cool straw, she has no idea what color the juice actually is. You could also get some wacky straws to help encourage your children to drink the juice.
Using a Fun Colored Cup
Since we are on the subject of juice, I thought I’d show you what my morning juice consisted of. Most of you won’t start with this many veggies…work up to it with the same method as described above for the kids.
My Morning Juice Ingredients
When my daughter saw the juice she named it “Mommy’s Rainbow Juice.”
Don’t forget to compost your juice pulp…your garden will thank you.
It really feels good to sink your fingers into dirt and get messy. Sometimes life gets busy and we can only do it one step at a time, but slowly and surely it gets done…
Last week before the rains came I spent some time taking all of the compost out of my composter and spread it on my bare garden. A few days later I went to Home Depot and brought home a truckload of nice organically fertilized dirt to spread over my compost and with my husband’s help I was able to spread out all ten bags before another wave of rain came (we literally finished minutes before the onslaught).
Primed & Ready
Today after Yoga I went to one of my favorite nurseries, Plant Depot, and stocked-up on winter greens for the garden. I came home with two packets of seeds (kale and cucumber), sugar snap peas, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. It only took me about 30 minutes to plan the layout and plant.
I put some finished compost into my composter as a starter and threw in the pulp from my green drink this morning. I am all ready to watch the plants grow and keep feeding my composter with scraps which will be ready to prime my planters when the time comes to plant my Spring garden.
"The diet that helps to reduce weight in the short run needs to be the same diet that creates and maintains health in the long run."
~T. Colin Campbell
The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have.