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Interview with Annabel Karmel: Liven Up The Lunch Box

Interview with Annabel Karmel: Liven Up the Lunch Box


Yesterday, we discussed fussy eaters with the London- based cookbook author, Annabel Karmel, and today we're talking books.

If you have a school-aged child, you know that the morning routine of getting everyone up and dressed, fed and packed for school leaves little time for creativity.

Lunch Boxes and Snacks, which hit book stores in January, takes parents beyond the peanut butter and jelly or tuna sandwiches with tips and healthy recipes to liven up your child’s lunchbox.

Recipes range from sandwich alternatives like Kiddie Sushi-Style Rolls to cold pasta salads, like Mummy’s Ramen Noodles, to ethnic alternatives like Spanish Omelets with Potatoes, Zucchini and Tomatoes.

To find these recipes and hear what Annabel had to say about snacks, read more.

Annabel says snack time is a prime opportunity to introduce lil ones to nutrient rich and new foods.

One way to accomplish this is with Trail Mix Bars, like the recipe here:

Trail Mix Bars

Trail Mix Bars

Trail Mix Bars

Ingredients

4 TBS unsalted butter
3 TBS honey
1 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup Cheerios
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup salted peanuts or pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment or other baking paper and lightly grease.

Put the butter and honey in a small saucepan and heat gently until the better has melted. Set aside to cool.

Put the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the cooled butter mixture and mix well. Transfer to the prepared pan and press down firmly with a potato masher. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is just firm to the touch.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then mark into eight bars, using a sharp knife. Allow to cool completely before lifting from the pan. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 8 bars.

A sandwich alternative can be made with the following recipes:

Kiddie Sushi-Style Rolls

Kiddie Sushi-Style Rolls

Kiddie Sushi-Style Rolls

Ingredients

2 slices white bread, crusts removed
half a 6-ounce can tuna in oil, drained
2 TBS mayonnaise
1 1/2 TBS ketchup
2 drops Tabasco sauce (or to taste)
2-inch piece of cucumber, cut into strips
2-inch piece of carrot, peeled and coarsely grated

Directions

Using a rolling pin, flatten the bread until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Mix the tuna together with 1 TBS of the mayonnaise, the ketchup, and the Tabasco. Spread the remaining 1 TBS mayonnaise over the bread and then spoon the tuna in a line about 1/2 inch from one edge of each slice. Arrange the cucumber strips on one side of the tuna and the grated carrot on the other side. Roll up from the filled end and press down to seal. Trim the ends to neaten using a sharp knife, then cut into three little rolls.

You can prepare this the night before, wrap the rolls in plastic wrap, then cut each one into three pieces in the morning.

Spanish Omelet with Potatoes, Zucchini and Tomato

Spanish Omelet with Potatoes, Zucchini and Tomato

Spanish Omelet with Potatoes, Zucchini and Tomato

Ingredients

4-6 baby Yukon Gold potatoes
1 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 zucchini, diced or grated
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
4 eggs
1 TBS milk
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, add the potatoes, reduce the water to a simmer, and cook the potatoes for about 12 minutes until tender. Drain, allow to cool and then slice.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof non-stick medium frying pan. Add the onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the zucchini and sauté for another 6 minutes (4 minutes if using grated zucchini). When the zucchini is cooked, add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the sliced potatoes.

Beat the eggs together with the milk, Parmesan and a little seasoning. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes until the underside of the eggs has set. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler to high. Place the frying pan under the broiler with the oven door open and the handles sticking out and cook for about 3 minutes until golden and set. Slice the omelet out onto a plate. When the omelet is cold, cut into wedges and wrap in foil.

Makes 6 portions.

Mummy's Ramen Noodles

Mummy's Ramen Noodles

Mummy's Ramen Noodles

Ingredients

6 ounces fine Chinese-style dried egg noodles or straight-to-the-wok fine thread noodles
1 cup chicken broth
1 TBS dark soy sauce
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup canned or frozen corn
2/3 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tsp cornstarch

Directions

Cook the noodles according to the package directions (or uses precooked noodles). Drain and set aside. Put the broth, soy sauce, peas, corn and chicken in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the scallion (if using) Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tsp cold water and add to the contents of the pan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the liquid thickens slightly. Add the noodles and reheat briefly, stirring. Transfer to a bowl and serve, or use individual plastic cups.

Makes 2 portions.

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