Monday, December 16, 2013

This Week in Bentos : Dec 10th - Dec 13 2013

Hello Friends ! I am sorry for being in MIA for so long ! After the Thanksgiving break, it was a little difficult getting back on track with my lunch posts. It just goes to show that even a slight break in routine can disrupt schedules significantly. The last weekend, we had a severe ice storm here in Dallas and we were pretty much house bound for almost 3 days - icy roads , cold temperatures led to schools being closed and slight symptoms of cabin fever setting in ! Thankfully, temperatures soon increased just enough to melt the ice on the roads, so that kids could go to school and parents could heave a sigh of relief !
Here are the lunches that I packed last week !

On Tuesday, LG7 got a cashew butter - strawberry jelly sandwich on whole grain bread, vegetable chips and pear slices.

On Wednesday, the lunchbox carried spicy vermicelli noodles, cheddar cheese slices and cheesy popcorn.

On Thursday, LG7 asked for and got spinach and corn quesadillas made with home made whole wheat tortillas, ketchup, navel orange segments and a slice of homemade pumpkin cranberry bread with a smear of cashew butter.

On Friday, a thermos food jar carried Annie's Organic Shells and Cheese, cantaloupe pieces guarded by a cute elephant pick and Newman's Own alphabet cookies as a small treat.
All lunches were duly eaten.

Temperatures keep plummeting and sweaters, socks and an occasional yelp when encountering cold water has become normal. I look forward to my afternoon coffee or tea ritual and I am sure that people who complained about the extreme heat in these parts of the country are counting days until they can do so again :) ..what do you enjoy about the cold weather ?
Keep warm and have a great week !


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Eggless Slovak Paska Bread - Baking Eggless Challenge

November's challenge for the Baking Eggless group was to bake a bread - a Slovak Paska bread - a decorative bread baked in the Eastern European regions. It is generally baked for Easter and is a yeast bread made with eggs , butter and milk.
Now, although I have baked with yeast a few times before and am not scared of working with it, I still consider myself a novice when it comes to baking bread. I do enjoy working with the dough and was quite looking forward to baking this bread. But, I procrastinated and didnt bake the bread until just yesterday.
Although the dough turned out beautifully, I underestimated the amount of dough I would need for the decorations. As it is, I am not very creative and had I reserved some time for the baking and researched some decorative methods, the bread would probably have looked a lot better !
But the bread itself was very good and I think I will probably try my hand at this again, if only to make it look prettier. Do take a look here to see the beautiful efforts of my fellow bakers.


⅔ C milk
2 Tbs sugar
2/3 tsp salt
1 stick butter
1 package active dry yeast
⅓ Tbs sugar
⅓ C warm water
¼ C yogurt (this was my egg replacer)
2½ C - 3⅓ C unbleached all purpose flour
milk to brush on the tops

If the quantities seem a little odd, its because I made one third of the original recipe ! If you want to make more, then just multiply by 3.

1. Dissolve the ⅓ T of sugar in the warm water and then sprinkle the active dry yeast on top of the water. Keep aside for about 5 minutes, until the yeast blooms and becomes frothy.
2. In an small pan, add the milk, the butter , the remaining sugar and the salt and heat over low to medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Cool until lukewarm.
3. Once cooled, add the yeast mixture, the butter mixture and the yogurt in a large bowl and mix well.
4. Add 2 C of the flour and mix in thoroughly. I mixed everything by hand, but if you have a stand mixer, you could do this step easily in the mixer.
5. Add in more flour, a little at a time until the dough is easily kneadable, but is still a little sticky. I needed about a little more than 3 C.
6. Knead this dough for about 5 - 6 minutes until smooth and elastic.
7. Place the dough in a greased bowl - you could use the same bowl in which you mixed the dough in(if its clean enough).
8. Cover with a clean tea towel and keep in a warm place for about 2 hours until doubled in size.
9. Once the dough doubles, punch down gently to deflate the dough. Knead for a few more minutes.
10. Reserve a little dough and shape the remaining into a round loaf.
11. Prepare a 7 or 8 inch round loaf pan by covering with foil or parchment paper on the bottom and sides, so that the bread has some support while it rises.
12. Place the round loaf in the pan. Use the remaining dough to create decorations.


13. I tried to make a braid and a cross for the middle. I fell short of dough :(  Let the bread loaf rise again for about 1 - 2 hours, until it doubles in size again.
14. Brush the tops of the loaf with milk. This helps give the bread a nice golden brown color.
15. Preheat the oven to 350 &deg(350);
16. Bake for about 45 minutes.
17. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.
18. If you want, you can brush the top of the hot bread with melted butter to get a tender crust.
19. Cool completely before slicing and eating with gusto !!


1. Although I was understandably disappointed with my lack of decorative ability, the taste of the bread more than made up for it. The crust was brown and slightly crunchy and the crumb was very soft and buttery.
2. It toasted well and made for a very nice snack with some jam.
3. Other than the two risings, there is very little hands on time that is required, although the more elaborate the decorations, the more time it will take.
4. My husband and kids really like the bread and consumed more than half of it within 3 hours.
5. If there is any leftover bread, you could wrap it up in parchment paper and keep it on the counter top.
It is best if its consumed within a day or so.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eggless Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Most kids seem to like pancakes anytime, anywhere ! There is just something alluring about the small stack of round (or mostly round! ) goodies often studded with fruits , chocolate chips , even nuts !
My children definitely enjoy pancakes. I try to keep it relatively healthy by adding whole wheat flour, vegetable or fruit puree , fresh fruit and nuts.
As an ode to the looming  holiday season and as much to try out a new breakfast recipe, I searched around for a pumpkin chocolate chip pancake and landed here. It was an easy recipe to adapt to my needs (wheat flour , eggless , etc. )


½ C unbleached A.P flour
½ C whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp allspice powder
1 C buttermilk (I added a tsp of apple cider vinegar to 1 C of soymilk)
1 Tbs ground flaxseed
¼ C plain pumpkin puree
½ C chocolate chips of choice

1. Mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and spices and whisk thoroughly.
2. Add the pumpkin puree and the flax powder to the buttermilk and mix well.
3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix in gently until no dry areas remain. Dont mix vigorously.
4. While the batter rests for a little while, heat up your griddle and coat with a very thin layer of butter or oil.
5. Pour a quarter C of batter for each pancake and spread slightly. The batter is quite thick. Sprinkle the surface of each pancake with as little or as many chocolate chips as you want !
6. When you start seeing bubbles on the surface and the edges start setting up, gently flip and cook for a couple of minutes more.
7. Stack them up and serve 'em hot!

1. Since I used sweetened soy milk, I decreased the amount of sugar added.
2. I could probably have used a little bit more of the spices to get a more flavorful pancake.
But the kids didnt seem to mind !
3. The recipe made 10 medium sized pancakes.
4. You could easily double the recipe, make them all and then store the cooled pancakes in an airtight container in the freezer. Put them in a toaster and they are good as fresh.
5. The whole wheat pastry flour did not affect the taste of the pancake at all.
6. Except for the chocolate chips, everything else in the recipe is vegan (if you use the soymilk - vinegar combination). If you want to make it completely vegan, use dairy free chocolate chips.

Make these for your children and see them light up :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Week In Bentos: Nov 18 - Nov 22 2013

Its been really cold in our parts this week and bundling up as much as possible is becoming a routine that frankly, I am not looking forward to with pleasure. Dont get me wrong, I love all aspects of the winter season, well...most aspects..its just the bundling everybody up until we resemble eskimos in snowsuits that gets me down !!
So, lunch this week -

On Monday, I packed a raisin bagel, toasted slightly, smeared with almond butter and strawberry jelly, apple slices and whole grain crackers. 

On Tuesday, LG7 took bow tie pasta with store bought pasta sauce, a chocolate muffin, apple slices and whole grain crackers in an EasyLunchBox.

On Wednesday, I made spicy vermicelli noodles, apple slices and cheese slices.

On Thursday, I made a version of pizzawiches , using hamburger, buns, pasta sauce and cheese, slightly toasted on a pan until the cheese melts with ketchup on the side, orange segments and carrot coins.

On Friday, I didnt have much time in the morning to make something from scratch, so I just packed LG7 a standard PB&J, apples, blackberries and strawberries and cheese slices.

This  coming week, my kids are at home due to Thanksgiving break. So no packed lunches, but am definitely going to try out a few new recipes. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving holiday!
Keep warm and be thankful for all the bountiful blessings in your life :-)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Week in Bentos - Nov 11 : Nov 15

This past week, I have been very late in posting the week's bento lunches..I had something that I needed to prepare from..and in between that and the remaining chores of the weekend, just wasn't able to take the time to sit down with my laptop and write out this post..Increases my respect tenfold for all those wonderful bloggers out there who are supremely organized and so regularly update their blogs.
So onto last week's lunches.

On Monday, I packed a penne pasta in simple butter sauce, blackberries and apple slices,pretzels and a mini twix candy bar from LG7's candy stash.

On Tuesday, I packed a gluten free waffle sandwich (Van's Gluten Free Brand) made with almond butter and strawberry preserves, apple slices, multigrain crackers and a homemade pumpkin muffin.

On Wednesday, I made spinach and corn quesadillas on homemade whole wheat tortillas with ketchup in the small box, apples and blackberries and a slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread.

On Thursday, LG7 took a grille cheese sandwich (cheddar slice on whole wheat bread slices), apples, pretzels and a homemade double chocolate muffin.

On Friday, I made Mac and Cheese (Annie's Organic), apple slices and blackberries.

Did you notice that I packed apple slices every day of this week ? I didnt have a variety of fruits that could be packed into the lunch box. My son loves pears, but he complains that they dont travel well in the lunchbox, they get mushy and unappetizing !
But LG7 loves apples and never complains, so in the absence of other fruits, apples it is !

The weather is getting crisper and colder and I have started craving hot soups and stews. I made a very simple minestrone soup the other day, which was received very well by the family. I think paired with some nice bread, it could make a very nice lunch box item !

Have a great week !

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Penne Pasta in a simple butter sauce

I am always amazed at the variety of pastas available at my local grocery store. All kinds of shapes, sizes and made with different kinds of grain - the ubiquitous enriched flour ones, whole wheat, whole grain, multigrain, gluten free - whew! But I can definitely understand the reason..pasta is an amazing versatile product and is loved by kids as well as adults.
My kids love pasta and eat it quite often. As a result, I try to get the whole wheat or the whole grain varieties and always add various chopped vegetables to the dish.
This week, I tried a simple butter sauce with vegetables and some spices, instead of a tomato or a cheese sauce. The kids liked it in their lunchboxes and I wasn't unhappy with the whole grain profile of the dish !


2 C whole grain or whole wheat pasta
½ C chopped veggies, such as carrots, beans , peas , corn
1 tsp grapeseed oil or oil of choice
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Cook the pasta as per directions and set aside.
2. In a wide bottomed pan, heat the oil and add the cumin seeds.
3. When the seeds splutter, add the turmeric, grated ginger and the garam masala and saute for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the chopped vegetables and cook until they are tender.
5. Add the salt and mix thoroughly.
6. Add the butter and let it melt.
7. Mix in the cooked pasta and turn gently until pasta is coated with butter and vegetables are evenly distributed.
8. Sprinkle lemon juice and garnish with parsley or cilantro, if your children like it.

1. You can use any kind of pasta instead of the whole wheat penne.
2. Due to the butter, the pasta stays pretty tender and moist even at lunch time, a few hours after it was prepared.
3.The actual butter sauce recipes contain more butter than I have used here.
4.The kids both liked the taste of this pasta and it makes a good lunchtime option.
5.I added a few warming spices to the pasta, because of the cold weather and also to keep the pasta from becoming bland. If you wished, you could leave it out and just use black pepper.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Week in Bentos: Nov 4 - Nov 8

The past week went by pretty quickly. It wasnt as if I was occupied differently, but it definitely felt shorter. However, everybody is well, things went pretty much as I expected , so no complaints from me :-)
I have a few new pasta dishes and soups / breads planned for this coming week, so please come back and visit again ! Now for the lunches eaten last week :

On Monday, lunch consisted of vegetable pasta, apple slices and a homemade double chocolate muffin.

On Tuesday, the kid was out the door when I realized that I forgotten to take a picture of the his lunchbox! Goes to show that I still have to refine my morning routine so I have more time :) I "think" I packed grapes, apples and a sandwich.

On Wednesday, LG7 had an easy bowtie pasta with tomatoes and edamame, leftover potato fry, blackberries with an elephant pick and a pack of M&Ms from the Halloween stash. LG7 has been good about not gorging himself on candy, so he deserved a treat.

On Thursday, an Easy Lunch Box contained crispy grilled cheese sandwich halves, carrot sticks, grapes, blackberries and pretzels.

On Friday, LG7 took vermicelli noodles as requested, apple slices and whole grain crackers.
This week was pretty satisfactory in terms of the lunch eaten completely.  I realize that I can incorporate more vegetables in his lunch and am hoping to do that slowly and steadily.
How do you include more vegetables at lunch time ?
Have a great week !

Friday, November 08, 2013

Cardamom Cuties

To say that I like to try out new recipes would be correct. But to say that I try new recipes on a regular basis would be a little far fetched. But when I come across any recipe that sounds easy and delicious, I do try to find the time to make it at least once. This particular recipe was , believe it or not, in a murder mystery novel !! So recipes can come from all sorts of sources :-)


1 stick butter
1 ¼ C packed brown sugar
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal and 3 Tbsp water)
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 ¾ packed unbleached all purpose flour
¼ C shredded coconut
¼ C white or semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Cream the softened butter with the brown sugar until light and creamy.
2. Add the flax egg and mix until combined.
3. Mix the flour, salt , cardamom powder and baking soda thoroughly well until no lumps remain.
4. Add the flour to the butter mixture in parts, until all flour is incorporated.
5. Add the coconut and the chocolate chips of choice until well mixed.
6. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3 -4 hours. Overnight is fine too.
7. When you are ready to bake, take out the dough from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350.
8. Form the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in extra brown sugar and place them on cookie sheets, about 12 balls to a sheet. Flatten them slightly.
9. Bake for about 12 minutes.
10. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.
11. If you use parchment paper to line your cookie sheets, you can just pull the paper onto the wire racks to cool.

1. These cardamom cuties were really delicious. There were quite crispy initially, but later became chewy.
2. You could add nuts if you wanted to.
3. The original recipe said this recipe would make about 6 dozen cookies. I halved the recipe, but I still got around 4 dozen cookies. Probably they were slightly smaller , but made the perfect serving size !
4. If you want to know where I got the recipe from  -  Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke.Go read it ! The book is good and there are other yummy recipes in it too !

Monday, November 04, 2013

The Week in Bentos : Oct 28 - Nov 1 2013

This last weekend, we spent a wonderful 2 days nestled among the picturesque Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. There were 7 families, which meant the kids had a blast !! It was typical fall weather, with a slight bite to the air. The views were stunning, the company was great and we all came back home refreshed !

On Monday, LG7 took savory vermicelli noodles with vegetables, a homemade cinnamon roll and orange segments.

On Tuesday, the lunchbox contained an almond butter and strawberry jelly sandwich bun, apple slices and bear cookies.

On Wednesday, I packed Annie's Organic Mac and Cheese in the food jar, pretzels and a cookie in a silicone muffin cup and orange segments.

On Thursday, lunch consisted of a grilled cheese sandwich, apple slices, carrot sticks and a cookie.

On Friday, LG7 took a couple of cheese and chutney toasts, pretzels, apple slices and blackberries.

The week has begun on a cold and wet note. Hopefully the weather will improve a little over the coming days ! Hope you all have a fabulous week !


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eggless Pina Colada cake - Baking Eggless Challenge

This week's Baking Eggless challenge had us making a rich, fruity cake - a Pina Colada cake. I had heard, of course of the pina colada drink, but I had never heard of the corresponding cake. Pina Colada, apparently means pressed pineapple, because of the fresh pineapple used in the famous cocktail. This beautiful cake was suggested by Meena of Chettinad Fiesta.
When Gayathri of Gayathri's Cook Spot posted the translated version of this recipe, (the originals are all in Polish, I believe) I was a little skeptical. There were quite a few steps and quite a few ingredients required. Although I have baked cakes many times, I haven't baked too many layer cakes. My decorating skills leave much to be desired as well !
But I love the flavors of pineapple and coconut (how could a self respecting south Indian not love coconut ?? ) and I already had a good recipe for a simple yet delicious sponge cake, eggless to boot!
So, I gathered all the ingredients and took the plunge and made the cake almost as specified in the original recipe. Here it goes :


Eggless Pina Colada Cake :

The Sponge Cake : The original recipe made a sponge cake using 7 eggs !!!! There wasnt any way I could replicate that recipe by replacing the eggs. I had however, made this eggless sponge cake quite a few times and felt this would be a good base for the pina colada cake.

1 C unbleached all purpose flour
½ C whole wheat pastry flour
1 C sugar
1 C yogurt
½ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ C oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. In a bowl, beat the yogurt to remove any lumps, add the sugar and mix well.
3. Add the baking powder and the baking soda and mix again. Set this mixture aside for 5 minutes until tiny bubbles are formed.
4.Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
5. Add the combined flours slowly to the yogurt mixture and mix gently until no dry flour can be seen.
6.Grease a baking pan ( I used a round 8 inch pan). Pour the batter and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 - 35 minutes.
7. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Pineapple mousse : This mousse is more of a jam type filling made with fresh pineapple and cornstarch. There is no dairy product used in it. I halved the original recipe.


Ingredients :
1 fresh pineapple
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp sugar (if required)
¼ C pineapple juice or apple juice
¼ tsp ground cardamom (optional)

1. Peel and core the pineapple. Remove as many brown bits from the pineapple as possible.
2.Chop the pineapple into small pieces.
3. Place the chopped pineapple in a thick bottomed pan, along with the juice and the sugar, if using.
4. On medium flame, let the pineapple cook until tender.
5. Dissolve the cornstarch in a little juice or water and add to the pineapple mixture.
6. Cook until thickened.
7. Take of from flame and cool.
8. Mix in the ground cardamom.

Coconut Cream
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
1 C sugar
¼ C sour cream
½ C ricotta cheese
1 tsp coconut extract

1. Pour the coconut milk in a pot, add the sugar and boil until the mixture thickens to the texture of a syrup. Cool until just warm.
2. Reserve ¼ C of the syrup.
3. Add the extract, sour cream and ricotta cheese to the rest of the coconut syrup until well mixed.
4. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble the Cake :
1. Cut the cooled cake into two halves, slicing it horizontally, as evenly as possible.
2. Place the lower half on a serving plate. poke small holes gently and pour the reserved coconut syrup all over.
3. Spread a generous layer of pineapple jam over the cake.
4. Then spread about half a cup of the coconut cream mixture gently over the jam.
5. Place the top half of the cake over the bottom layer
6. Use the remaining coconut cream to frost the top and the sides of the cake evenly.
7. Chill the cake in the refrigerator overnight so that the flavors can meld.
8. Decorate the cake with shredded sweetened coconut.
9. Cut into beautiful slices and amaze your family!!

Result :
The resulting cake was definitely unique in its combination of flavors, nothing like I ever had prepared before. If I had to make this again, I would try to get more of the pineapple flavor, maybe by adding crushed pineapple to the cake.
I would also make the cake layers moister by adding glazing it with either simple syrup or pineapple juice.
My children and hubby, however, loved the cake !
If you want to make the cake for a larger crowd, you could double the cake recipe and the coconut cream recipe.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Week in Bentos : Oct 21 - Oct 25 2013

Last week was pretty busy. There were several classes that I needed to take my son to, a Halloween party, a Cub Scout event that we had to attend (sans TH) and some preparations for a family trip that we are taking next weekend ! Talk about hectic and this coming week promises to be even more !!

On Monday, LG7 took bowtie pasta in a light tomato sauce, plums and strawberries, a homemade banana mini muffin and some crackers in the silicone cup.

On Tuesday, I packed grilled cheese sandwiches with thinly sliced apples, more apple slices, dried apricots, a cream filled cookie and some cheese crackers.

On Wednesday , I packed LG7's lunch in a two tiered bento box. The lower tier contained a homemade tortilla with peanut butter and strawberry jelly and a banana muffin. The top tier contained apple slices. (Can you tell that my little guy loves aples :)  ? )

On Thursday, I packed Amy's organic and vegetarian cheese ravioli with a couple of picks, an almond butter jelly sandwich half, pretzels and grapes and orange segments.

On Friday, an Easy Lunch Box contained a waffle sandwich made with peanut butter and strawberry preserves, apple slices and grapes and a small treat.

All the lunches were happily eaten and the empty boxes were happily washed :)
Have a fabulous week ahead !

Sunday, October 20, 2013

This Week in Bentos : Oct 14 - Oct 18

This week was similar to last week in terms of the lunches packed. I do need to get inspired for the coming months..Maybe some soups and toasted homemade bread perhaps ? Definitely something slightly heavier in terms of nourishment and preparations containing warm spices such as cinnamon and ginger!
LG7 had a holiday on Oct 14 on the occasion of Columbus we had only 4 school lunches this week.

LG7 had Annie's Organic Mac and Cheese in the food jar and carrots, strawberries, apples and peanut butter filled celery sticks on Tuesday. He ate only the fruits and a couple of spoonfuls of pasta and brought the remaining home uneaten. When questioned rather sternly, he replied that he couldn't finish his lunch because he was busy playing and talking at the lunch table!!  Does this ever happen at your home ?

On Wednesday, I packed banana nutella bites in a whole wheat tortilla, strawberries, steamed and salted edamame and cheese slices.

On Thursday, an EasyLunchBox contained spinach, corn and cheese quesadillas, strawberries and homemade eggless tea cake.

On Friday, I packed cheese toasts made with whole grain bread, apple slices and a treat.

Have a great week ahead !

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Simple Applesauce Cake

I am always on the lookout for nutritious and simple sides that I can send in my son's lunch box. In all my online searches, applesauce came up a lot. Lots of kids seem to enjoy having applesauce in their lunch boxes. Moms all over the country send applesauce regularly, store bought or homemade, in disposable cups and reusable pouches!
So, a few weeks back, I purchased a pack of natural, unsweetened applesauce from our local grocery store. I had my kids try it out at home before sending it to school and wonder of wonders, they didn't like it! So I had 4 boxes of applesauce and nobody to eat it..
I looked up recipes using applesauce and finally chanced upon this one from Martha Stewart.I halved the original recipe and baked it in a square pan instead of in a bundt pan.
I tried it out and it turned out pretty well. Read on for the recipe !


1 C unbleached all purpose flour
½ C whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ C butter (1 stick), softened
1 C packed brown sugar
2 Tbs honey
1 flax egg ( 1 Tbs ground flax meal + 3 Tbs water)
1 C applesauce (2 small boxes, if store bought)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 °(350). Whisk together the flours, salt, spices and baking soda in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, cream the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy. Add the flax egg and beat again until thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the applesauce.
3. Add the flour in increments and gently fold in until just combined.
4. Grease an 8 X 8 square pan. Pour the batter in and smooth the top.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes until toothpick or skewer comes out clean. Check at around 40 minutes to see if the cake is done.
6. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
7. Dust with confectioner's sugar if you want and serve it to your family for a satisfactory snack!

This cake had a nice crust and a pretty crumb and tasted well right out of the oven.
My kids and my husband all loved it and I think I will be making it again. The applesauce cake travels well and is a nice addition to the lunch box or the snack box.
I think I might buy more applesauce just to make this cake!

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Week in Bentos : Oct 7 - Oct 11

The weather has definitely turned here in the north of Dallas. Gone are the hot, blistering summers, only to be replaced by cool, cloudy and rainy days..Today is one such day..its been raining since the morning and makes me crave for steaming coffee and spicy snacks!
Last week was pretty tame as far as the lunches that I packed went.
But thankfully, the boxes all came back empty.
Here's what I sent this week.

On Monday, I packed a whole wheat bun with almond butter and nutella. Although I dont think nutella is very healthy because of its sugar content, I do allow it as a treat once in a while. I also included apple slices, carrot slices and bear cookies.

On Tuesday, lunch consisted of bow tie pasta with a quick tomato sauce, apple slices and yogurt covered pretzels.

On Wednesday, LG7 got a grilled cheese sandwich, carrot slices and apple slices. 

On Thursday, an EasyLunchBox held waffle sandwiches with peanut butter and honey, strawberries with a frog pick, chocolate covered almonds, raw almonds and yogurt covered pretzels.

Friday included a plain peanut butter jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, carrot coins and strawberries with a panda pick.
Today is Columbus day and schools in our district have scheduled parent teacher meetings. Do your children have a holiday today ? What questions do you ask your child's teacher when you go in for a meeting ?
Hope you have a great week ahead !

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Week in Bentos : Sep 30 - Oct 4

This week marked the 10th year since my arrival in the USA ! Its difficult to comprehend how these many years have passed by , seemingly in the blink of an eye! 10 years ago, I was a young single girl, living with roommates, working at a software organization, enjoying the company of my friends and looking forward to visiting my family. A decade later, I am in an entirely different continent, across the proverbial seven seas, married with two children and running my own household! (Also, I am no longer young..unless 35 is the new 25 ;-) )
Needless to say, I have loved every single moment of these 10 years !

Having said that, moving onto the bentos for this week -

On Monday, LG7 had two tortilla rolls with almond butter and apricot jelly. I try and use homemade whole wheat tortillas whenever possible. These, however, are flour tortillas from Costco. I also added black grapes, carrot sticks, kettle corn and yogurt covered pretzels.

On Tuesday, I made Annie's Organic Mac and Cheese, which I packed in the thermos jar. Black grapes and Pirate's Booty cheese puffs, almonds and dried apricots were added to the rectangular Lock and Lock box.

On Wednesday, LG7 took tortillas again (homemade this time) with peanut butter and honey. Can you tell that my son loves nut butters ?  He also got goldfish, sliced apples and grapes.

On Thursday, the lunchbox contained cheese toasts, carrot sticks, apple slices, yogurt covered pretzels and hazelnut mousse in the small container.  Although the picture shows only half a toast, I actually packed 3 such slices.

On Friday, I made tortillas with a cauliflower cheese filling , cantaloupe cubes, goldfish, carrot slices and whole grain crackers with peanut butter.

Overall, this week was a good one as far as lunches went, because the boxes all came back empty. I also know that nothing went into the trash, because LG7 gets back whatever he doesnt eat. He is also doing much better with his water intake. This year onwards, I have started giving him two water bottles everyday. One in his lunch bag and one to keep on his desk so that he can sip water through out the day.
Since drinking sufficient water is so necessary to a healthy body,  I figure its best if he gets into the habit early on!
Have a great week !