Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last Lunch of the School Year

[imaginary trumpet fanfare]

It's the last day of school!  Yippee!  The girls were up, dressed and ready to leave by 7:05 am.  This is astonishing.  They were ready a whole hour early!

Today's lunch is "Rollie Bread Sandwiches", otherwise known as ham and lettuce (from the garden) in a tortilla.  This time sliced and placed on end, separated from the fruit and veg by some parchment paper.  The cucumbers, peppers, grapes and blueberries developed a little condensation when they were taken from the fridge, so hopefully the parchment will prevent tortilla sogginess.

Edit July 6 - Added to What's For Lunch Wednesday.  The thumbnail title should read School's Out, but I didn't put quotes around the ' (like " ' ", or the whole phrase, for that matter), so it's truncated.  Sorry about that. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lunch - Packed by Peanut

School is almost over.  Just a two more days!  Then a long weekend!

Today's lunches were packed by.....Peanut!

Both girls have ham, rolled up deli-plate style, and held with grapes and blueberries on skewers, played here by toothpicks.  The mix of grapes and blueberries are kept away from the ham and from the pita wedges by lettuce, picked fresh from the containers moments before packing!  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Garden Week 7

Look!  We have PEAS!

Not very many, and maybe not quite ready to eat yet, but they are there!

Also?  The beans in the window box are starting to produce buds! Which is really surprising for me, considering how yellow the plants are, and how many leaves seem to have come off them.  But still!

The climbing peas continue to stretch toward the handrail on the deck.  They are about 60 cm (2 ft.) tall now, and some are starting to flower.
We are still harvesting lettuce and basil from the containers.  Another handful or so of lettuce seeds have been planted, in hopes of a summer full of salads.  The oregano in the garden is still thriving.  It must really love abuse.  We keep hacking at it, and it just comes back for more. 

I wonder if the girls' teachers would like some as end-of-year gifts. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

BBQ Chicken

One of the girls' favourites.  And since it's summer, finished on the actual BBQ!  Using a grill-buddy, since no one is a fan of char.

Each girl's lunch has two chicken legs, resting in lettuce fresh from the planter.  A row of cucumber slices separates the chicken from the grapes and cherries.  This time the blueberries are threaded on toothpicks.  For (I think) the first time, everything is packed in nice and tight, with no silicone to assist in separation. Yippee!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Math Salad

Today Pumpkin's class is having a Math Party.  I was volunteered to make a snack.  As soon as she heard party, Pumpkin shouted "My Mom can bake something!"

Her teacher said it would have to be healthy snacks only.  Pumpkin, slightly offended now, told the teacher "My Mom can totally make a healthy math snack, baking or not!"

And so today, I walked to school with a very proud Pumpkin, toting a pink soft-side cooler.  We were swarmed by first-graders.  Pumpkin was adamant there would be no peeking until Math Party time.

I was asked if I baked something, or bought something.  I told the children that I didn't bake it, but I did make it.  They cheered.  Pumpkin grinned. 

Here is Math Melon Salad:

Watermelon squares, rectangles and triangles (not seen because they are kinda on the bottom) with Honeydew and Cantaloupe numbers.

It was really easy to make.  The watermelon was sliced and cut into shapes with a knife.  The other melons were sliced between 1/4 and 1/8 in thick (yes, I know, a Canadian giving dimensions in Imperial), and the numbers punched out with cookie cutters.  The scraps and remnants are in the fridge, and will be consumed tonight.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Garden Week 6

Look!  Flowers!

Well, the beginning of flowers.  The prospect of flowers.

These beautiful buds are on the dwarf variety of peas (Pea Knights) planted in the front row of the window box.  The taller variety is in the back, and growing quite well.  Mostly up.  One of the bean plants is also in the picture.  If you look closely, you can see buds on it, too.

You don't have to look very closely at all to see the bean plant is a yellowish colour.  My first thought was too much water, but that can't be it.  Unless it's a delayed reaction kind of thing.  The box was quite soggy when we were getting lots of rain.  It has since dried out considerably.  The beans in the raised bed are catching up to the box planted ones.  Their leaves are a much deeper green, too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shan't do that again

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Today's lunches were looking a little plain.  Two "rolly-bread" sandwiches, sitting on fresh picked lettuce.  Blueberries in a red silicone cup, some green seedless grapes and two cherries added colour and fruit, but there seemed to be something...missing.  The sandwiches looked too plain. 

I had some little fondant flowers left over from a cupcake experiment.  I decided to put them on the sandwiches.  It would be a little surprise.  A little something from the not-healthy group.  A little pretty thing.

It was a surprise all right.

The girls were not fans.

The flowers didn't hold up well.  They got soft and gooey, and ruined part of the bread.  Plus, the girls thought it was weird.  They would rather have more fruit or berries, please and thank you.

So I've learned my lesson.  No more sugary things on lunches to add cuteness. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden Week 5

The peas have definitley found the lattice-web-thing, and are actively growing up it now.  We have harvested lettuce from the planters daily.  Happy Dance!
Look!  It's a photo taken with my camera!  I finally replaced the batteries!

The beans in the window box are doing remarkably better than the beans in the raised bed.  Only one of the basil plants is happy, and I've killed another lavender.  That makes me [checking notes] three for three on that one, almost tying with the poinsettia for most frequently killed plant. 

But the thistles are thriving!  They are in every bed, growing quickly and better than anything purposefully planted.  I think the finches are helping with the seed distribution.

I wonder if they could help with lavender...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Some Good News in the Fight Against Cancer

Pumpkin asked why I was slathering her face in sunscreen.  I've done it many, many times, but this was the first time she asked why.

"Because I want to help you not get cancer of the skin."  I answered.
"Oh.  How can you tell if someone has skin cancer?  Is it wrinkles?"

Clearly I need to explain this to her a little better, and a rushed discussion while she was putting her shoes on wasn't going to cut it.  Earlier in the week I read a CBC article about sunscreen.  Today I went to the Canadian Cancer Society's page for additional info, and came across something awesome. Sunscreen stuff will be a future post.

Beacuse there have been three (3!) breakthroughs in the fight against cancer announced THIS WEEK!

Are they in the news?  Well, not up here.  Today I've heard the 'hard news' about the storm in Eastern Ontario, the fires in the American South West, the Postal Worker's Strike, and the arrest of a singer.  And of course, the feel-good story of ducks in the road.  This time in Washington.  Oh, and Hugh Jackman coming to Toronto in July.

So, what's the exciting, science-y good news?
- Improvements in Preventing Breast Cancer (!) in women having an increased risk
- Revised Treatment of Breast Cancer, reducing risk of recurrance
- Revised Treatment of Prostate Cancer, with fewer side effects

Read all about it at cancer .ca

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

That's a lot of blueberries.

It didn't seem like that many when the girls were helping wash the berries, but when I look at the picture...there is a lot of blue there.

Yep, it's another cell-phone picture.  This is what happens when I forget to put batteries for my camera on the shopping list.  Sigh.

The meatballs are almost completely hidden by the fresh-from-the-planter lettuce.  Picking the lettuce fresh makes me so very, very happy.  Today the girls helped.  They were careful with their selections, and as gentle as possible when removing the leaves.

The steamed broccoli are in mini prep bowls, with blueberries perched on top.  Each lunch has two strawberries, with some blueberries snuggled in beside them, and some grapes, sprinkled with blueberries.  The mini-pitas are topped by a skewer of blueberries.

Check out other lunches at What's For Lunch Wednesday.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Garden Week 4

The lettuce and peas are doing really well.  Several leaves have been harvested from each of the lettuces, and none of the plants have died!  Well, none yet, anyway.

The beans in the planter box are doing much better than the beans in the raised bed.  I think it is the difference in rabbit access.  Selma has a friend in the garden, too.  The yet unnamed yellow cherry tomato plant was added on Saturday, along with some bell peppers.  The garden centre was out of red, yellow and orange bell pepper varieties.  They were running very low on green bell peppers, but we managed to find some.  We also selected a new (to us) kind that claims it will ripen to purple.  They had lots of those.  I guess no one wants a deep purple pepper?   

So, the Oregano Of Doom was hacked back (again) to make room for the tomato and a couple of marigolds.  The girls took turns making holes, gently removing plants from pots, sticking them in the soil and covering them with soil.  They were not allowed to water the plants.  The watering-can is very heavy when full, and can be tricky for small(ish) hands to control.  We could have given them each a smaller watering can (like the toys for the beach), but then they would have watered stuff that didn't require it.  Like the driveway, sidewalk and each other.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What you don’t know can kill you

Normally the Friday post is health related.  It usually has a cancer focus.  Not this week. 

I was reading the paper the other day, and I came across an article about strokes.   It’s available on-line here.    The full report is available on the website for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, here.

I was shocked to read how little women know about heart attacks and strokes. 

Especially Chinese and South Asian women.   

Which is really upsetting, considering they have the highest death rate. 

Apparently there are lots of emails circulating that share “tips” on what to do before, during and after a stroke.  The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends you do not follow or forward these things ( has examples of the emails, if you are curious), but instead become familiar with the actual warning signs of stroke by visiting their website.