I’m trying hard not to engage in much conversation about what I’m packing for Ryan’s kindergarten lunchbox, just quietly scheme to trick him into eating something more nourishing than a tortilla with cream cheese. Ryan, however, communicates loudly, either with very clear verbal directives or by not even taking a mouse-sized nibble of certain items I’ve packed him. He eats well enough (not great, but fine) at home, so I’m not worried that Ryan starve, emaciate, pass out or be unable to run around at gym or recess. Still, with an eye towards less waste and a (mildly competitive) eagerness to see an empty lunchbox come home with him, I’ve accepted the following lunchbox rules:
- No peanut butter. Not with jelly. Not with honey. Not with fluff. NO PB. Ditto sunflower butter.
- Besides chocolate milk or juice, nothing that is remotely wet will be consumed. This includes: hummus (formally a staple of this wannabe vegetarian’s diet), applesauce, yogurt, fruit-veggie blend “squeezers” and even chocolate pudding.
- If it is fruit and it is fresh, expect scant evidence of consumption, such as two strawberries OR 3-5 grapes. The fact that he loves the apples he picked at the orchard does not mean he will actually eat one at lunch.
- Dried fruit will be consumed as follows: cranberries, 3-5; raisins, none; sweetened mango, always and in any quantity.
- Veggies: raw carrots only.
- Cheese is a winner. In the form of a stick, wedge, square, slice or even creamed on raisin bread.
Best Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe adapted from Baby Center Blog by Lindsay Weiss
Ingredients (Makes 12 muffins)
- 8-ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 package spice cake mix
- 15-ounces canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- Turbinado or confectioners sugar to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin, including top, with cooking spray.
Mix filling ingredients together.
Mix cake mix and can of pumpkin puree. Batter will be thick (and delicious – try it). Add 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips.
Drop about 1 tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom. I used a metal spoon sprayed with cooking spray to spread the mix.
Drop in a level tablespoon of filling.
Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups to the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
The muffins are amazing out of the oven, with a creamy filling. The filling will firm up if you wait for them to cool. We store ours in the refrigerator and eat them chilled or reheated for about 10 seconds in the microwave.
A dusting of confectioners sugar works nicely but they are irresistible either way.
Need more snacks to stuff a lunchbox?