Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Let's do lunch!

So - what are you doing for lunch? The cows are tucking into a bale of haylage, and they seem to be enjoying it. I love the smell - its like opening a bottle of summer meadow - a blast of sunshine in the depths of Winter. I am having a quick bowl of leftover sausage and tomato pasta as I write.

If you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or facebook, you will be familiar with my #lunchboxoftheday posts. Each morning, I take a photograph of James's school lunch-box, and post it via Instagram. I started doing this when J entered school, mainly to inspire myself to provide him with healthy homemade packed lunches. I thought that if I did this, it would encourage me to keep up my standards, and also be a source of ideas.  It's become quite popular, and people are very kind in their comments, but sometimes I feel a bit uncomfortable about it. A couple of folk have joked that I was putting them to shame with my lunch box photos. It is lovely that people are so interested, but I really don't want to make anyone feel inferior at all - no no no!  You see - I don't have to get myself out to work by a certain time in the morning, I only have one child at school now, and I have access to a fair amount of home produce, so it is relatively easy for me to put these together, but I thought I would talk a bit  more about what goes into them.

First of all, J doesn't like sandwiches. He will eat the contents, and leave the bread, although he happily eats bread on its own. Also, I plan as many meals as I can with leftovers in mind, so we can have pizza slices, pasta, tortilla, pie, or roast lamb kebabs turning up in the lunch-box next day (things on skewers always go down well). Tonight I am planning to make a chard and feta pie for dinner, so I will save a bit of that for tomorrow. I do try to think ahead - if I bake, for instance, then I will freeze some specifically for the packed lunch, or I will freeze slices of meat or sausage rolls - no need to defrost, just pop a slice of cake or scone into the box and it will be perfect by lunchtime - you can see some caramel shortcake making a couple of appearances above. I always have a main course, some fruit and a sweet treat. The portions are  quite small, mainly because eating interferes with playing outside, but he has a good breakfast, and dinner at 5pm. I try to vary the meals as much as I can -there is nothing worse that seeing the same boring thing day after day. (My dad still can't eat bananas, after my Gran, excited by their re-introduction after wartime rationing, included one in his packed lunch every day - for several years.)   That said, J does like satsumas and kiwi fruit, so they make very regular appearances, and when the cherry tomatoes were ripe, they had to feature every day. I do tend to spend a bit more on some items - for example we are very fond of the cheeses and charcuterie which we can buy in our local delicatessens, but I feel I balance that out by using leftovers. It works well, cuts down waste, keeps me out of the supermarket, and saves money. I don't think it takes anymore time to pop a piece of pie, or serving of pasta into the lunchbox than it does to make up a sandwich, and I enjoy the challenge of coming up with different ideas - and, most importantly, I know exactly what is going into the food.

The boxes are called Lunchbots, and are available in various styles. Ours is the Naked Lunchbot Trio. I like them because they are stainless steel, rather than plastic. The partitions are not totally leak proof though, so the food has to be reasonably solid - I wouldn't send yoghurt for instance, but the banana sponge pudding with mascarpone was fine. (bottom right, mosaic)

Goodness - that was a long lunch. I hope you enjoyed it - but you really must stay for dessert! xx


  1. I love that you take a photo of J's lunch every day. Emerson doesn't like sandwiches either so Erin has to find other foods that will fill her up. I am not sure what kind of lunch container Emerson carries, but I will ordering her one like you have pictured, I love it.
    I am having my usual salad for lunch today, I eat it every day and for some reason never find it boring.
    Enjoy the day!

  2. Ohh....When I lived on a farm as a child we fed the cows silage....Is that the same as haylage? The smell you described sounds the same....I loved that smell!!!
    Those lunchboxes are fantastic!! What fab alternatives you have to sandwiches x

  3. I am definitely staying for desert, it looks delicious!

  4. Can you make me lunch? :) ...on a totally different topic, you said "opening a bottle of summer in winter"...that made me chuckle because it is so cold, snowy and dark here and everyone is feeling rather "blah". The other day I dug to the bottom of my shirt pile (no, I'm not a slob--we have no closets, so I have neat piles of clothes, ha, ha) and found a shirt that had last been hung on the line to dry. It smelled like summer in the middle of winter! I made everyone smell my shirt, ha, ha, ha! It was the best thing about my whole week. lol So I certainly get what you're saying. :)

  5. Fantastic lunches! Mouth-watering pics too! Gosh, I feel all inspired now with hubby's lunch box. Thanks for the ideas! xxx

  6. Gosh, I wish you were my mother way back when, I got a baloney sandwich (ick) every single day in an ugly brown lunch box :( Seriously though, I love how you switch it up and keep it interesting to the palate and pretty to look at!

  7. There's me thinking you really did have your own cookery show! Great title for one that's for sure!

    Love the lunchbox ideas it is a great way of sharing and inspiring others. I had been meaning to ask about the boxes so thanks for sharing about them too.

    I read Sunday reflection but the day ran away with me to add a comment, just wanted to add that your posting despite all the hassles it highlighted was enthused with a lightness, so keeping your eyes on the Lord is helping for sure!

    Love to you

    San xx

  8. Nourishing lunches packed with love...and in about the best lunch box I've ever seen. We usually eat leftovers for lunch which is just fine by me. And if we have no leftovers, I make a salad, which I never mind. Rarely do we need to pack a lunch, but if we did, I'd buy one of those lunch boxes. :)

  9. Lots of good ideas in this post! Your lunchbox arrangements of delicious, healthy foods look to my eyes like jewelry boxes. The variety of colors adds to your child's delight at opening that daily box...I am sure!


    I think your lunchboxes are inspiring!

  11. This was a fun post to read....it made me reminisce about many years ago when my three children were young. I also was a stay at home mom who loved to pack lunches....My children are grown with families of their own, and still talk about the lunches I packed (with love).

  12. Searching for you on instagram as soon as I am done here. As someone that packs their kids' school lunches everyday due to celiac, I am always interested in finding new ideas.

  13. Thanks for sharing this. I've emailed it to my husband as he's been struggling with packed lunch inspiration lately. Love the presentation! ♥Mo

  14. I like that simple lunch box and how you fill it with not so simple(nutritious) lunch!


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