Friday, March 21, 2008

No Luck for the Irish!

Nothing went right on Monday! After fixing all green bentos for the boys St. Patrick's Day snack, my husband left them in the car so the boys were stuck with school pretzels...and I can't even show them off because my camera seems to have lost 2 days worth of photos!

Tuesday's photos were also lost. My husband was the parent helper in Ryan's class and brought strawberries and homemade oatmeal raisin cookies.

Wednesday:On wednesday my husband was parent helper in AJ's class. I made his favourite mini pumpkin muffins. Ten kids gobbled up 2 dozen of these in no time, along with some banana halves.

AJ has this funny thing he does--he'll come up to you and poke your cheek gently and call you a "pumpkin muffin". For preschool I make sure these are nut-free. Just leave out all the "optional" ingredients for nut-free muffins or bread.
Another thing...while I do sometimes use canned pumpkin, or leftover steamed Halloween pumpkin, any squash will do. My favourites are red kuri squash or butternut squash--they give a bright orange color to the muffins. I cut a red kuri squash in half and bake it open sides down on a foil-lined baking sheet for 40 minutes or so, then remove the seeds and rind. For butternut squash I peel, seed, cut into chunks, and steam for 20-30 minutes until soft and mashable.

AJ's Pumpkin Muffins

1/3 cup margarine or butter (I use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 to 1.5 cups pureed pumpkin or other winter squash
3 T. milk (any kind) or water
1 t. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground allspice (optional)
1/4 t. ground nutmeg (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 T. raw cane juice crystals
1/4 cup pecan halves (optional)

Melt or soften margarine in a large bowl. Add brown sugar and mix until creamy.
Mix in mashed pumpkin, milk, & vanilla.
Add the next 6 dry ingredients. Mix well.
Add walnuts and stir.
Pour into greased muffins tins or loaf pan (I spray with olive oil). Sprinkle tops with sugar crystals. Sprinkle or decorate tops with pecan halves.

Cooking times:
mini muffins - 20-25 minutes - makes 3 dozen
regular muffins - 30-35 minutes - makes 12.
loaf - 45-50 minutes - makes 1 loaf...may need a few extra minutes if omitting nuts.

Ryan's snack: 2 mini pumpkin muffins, a strawberry, cucumber slices.

TLT sandwiches and grapes made a wonderful "picnic" lunch. Fakin' Bakin smoked tempeh strips replace traditional bacon. The rest of the sandwich imitates the BLTs at a Brooklyn, NY diner that my father loved:
Toast the bread. Spread your favourite mayonnaise on one side, spread the other side very lightly with peanut butter and sprinkle on a tiny bit of garlic powder. Then add the tempeh, tomato slices, and crisp lettuce (I used romaine). These are sooo good, Ryan even made up a song about them during his lunch.

Dinner: "Asian Cucumber Salad" from The Accidental Vegan (with half the dressing and mirin in place of honey), rice, spicy baked tofu, bok choy cooked in the style of "Snow Peas with a Hint of Pork" from Seductions of Rice, and a vegetable gyoza. Seductions of Rice has some really fantastic authentic tasting recipes. The boys went back for thirds or more of this dinner.

After dinner I went out to buy jellybeans and socks at Target. Who would have thought I'd bring home these goodies! Spiral picks, flexible Easter picks, some cute cupcake liners, & a Dyno Bytes sandwich cutter. They also had some pastel silicon baking cups and mini heart-shaped silicon baking cups.
No school on Good Friday. I almost forgot! Last year we showed up anyway, wondering why it was closed.


serenetabbie said...

Your lunches are so lovely :) They made me hungry! The muffins look so yummy, I will have to make them with some of the pumpkin I have in the freezer.

Where did you get the cool boxes and inserts? What are they made out of? (can you PM me on MDC with the answer pretty please? :loveeyes:)

Frogs Mom said...

Those muffins sure look yummy. I may have to make them soon though I don't have the allspice or pecans, at least not raw ones.

veganf said...

serenetabbie - I have to work on my inbox at MDC, it's overfull by a few hundred messages after I didn't renew my premium membership.
I get many of my bentos in Japan when my husband travels, or on eBay. Sometimes local asian markets carry a small selection in the U.S.
I've been trying to find stuff locally when I can, like at Target, and I'll make sure to post things like that as I find them.

veganf said...

frogs mom - You can omit the allspice and nuts no problem, they are optional. I love my muffins with nuts, but having to cook nut-free for preschool has shown me that they're still excellent without the extras.

That Raw Vegan Girl said...

Yummy! Target gets me everytime. I go in for one thing and you know how it goes.....;)

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