Sunday, January 29, 2012

No-Sew Scarf

Here's another one of those Pinterest inspirations. (SO SORRY for the bad pics. It's dark, flash, and using my IPhone.)

You take an old T shirt. Cut it up, wrap it around your fingers into loops, tie them together, and you have a really cute scarf!

Here are the directions: Click Here.

I gave this one to my mom-in-law.  It's from an old long sleeve light heather blue tee.  It's super soft and she loved it.

I love the stripes on this one.

I made a bracelet from the sleeves. (The top one in the picture.)

So far, I've made six (6!) scarves (in 2 days)!

My uh...9 year old (boy) really really really wanted one, so I made him a red and blue one from 2 different Old Navy Flag tees from years ago.  I alternated red and blue and made it with about 8 strips instead of 16 or so.  He loves it. It's kinda more manly, I guess.

I think it might have to do with his European blood.

Or something.

The Lunch Lady

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I'm SO totally into  Pinterest all of the sudden.  It's like reading a magazine, loving an idea, virtually cutting on the picture, and pinning on a virtual bulletin board. The link is there for when you go back to it.

It's awesomeness.

It's addicting. But really, I can do it for 5 minutes, taking a coffee break, and get SO inspired!

This recipe is from Pinterest Inspiration. (Follow TheNewLunchLady boards to see what inspires me. Leave me a comment if you want an invite to Pinterest.)

Here is the link: Click Here.  Now, the directions are great so I'm obviously not going to re-invent the wheel.

The beauty of is is that it's Gluten-Free, Yeast-Free, Sugar-Free, and if you are eating it in a Carb-Free meal, then it's guilt-free!

I made one for my boys with mozzarella, a little bit of sauteed mushroom and onions, and a few slices of roma tomatoes (I didn't have any marinara sauce.)

I made one for me and hubby with Manchego & Pecorino Romano Cheeses (Sheep Milk cheeses), lots of sauteed mushrooms and onions, and roma tomatoes, and some fresh basil.

Groan. Moan.  It truly is one of the BEST things I have made in a long time.  It's not terribly difficult, it takes a little while (45 minutes total time) but it's SO incredibly worth it.

My middle two sons came back for seconds.
Totally worth it.

Taken from because she does it SO well! I adjusted it to my version just a tiny bit. (visit her site for lots of beautiful yummy ideas.)

1/2 LARGE head cauliflower (or 1 1/2 cups shredded cauliflower)
1 large egg
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese or any combination of other cheeses
1 teaspoon dried italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Whatever your heart desires.

1. Process cauliflower in food processor till crumbly. Place 1 1/2 cups of the cauliflower crumbles in a large bowl and microwave them (dry) for 8 minutes. Give the cauliflower a chance to cool. (Important or you'll cook the egg!)
2. Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups cauliflower crumbles with the remaining crust ingredients. Pat the "crust" into a 9 to 12-inch round on the prepared pan.  Bake for 15 minutes (or until golden). Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to broil.
3. Prepare the pizza: Spread the sauce on top of the baked crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese on top. Broil the pizza 3 to 4 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Cut into 6 slices and serve immediately.
The Lunch Lady

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blueberry Coffeecake

This is a super easy coffee cake that I make in a springform pan.  I love using frozen berries because it cuts several steps when making fruit coffee cakes. No washing, slicing, peeling, or dicing involved.

I'm a cheater. I admit it.

I made this cake for our mid morning snack since we had a bit of snow yesterday and didn't shovel it.  Needless to say, my little car refused to make it up our long uphill driveway this morning and kept me and the boys home from church.

What better thing to do on my day of rest that bake? (besides go to church?)

Plus, I knew the boys would be banging down my proverbial kitchen door for something to eat. As usual.

The downside to such a yummy cake is that there aren't any leftovers.  I had to sneak a piece aside for hubby's breakfast tomorrow.

This is great for breakfast, brunch, snack, or dessert.

Ya can't go wrong here.

It's a great cake because it only uses 2 cups of flour and you put the fruit on top of the batter.

Less mixing.

 I like to add a butter crumb topping made with organic butter, organic brown sugar, and organic spelt flour.

It's just SO good.

Blueberry Coffeecake
2 cups organic spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup milk (or apple juice, cider)
3/4 cup agave nectar (or sugar, honey)
4 Tablespoons oil (or half applesauce, half oil)
2 cups frozen blueberries

Topping: 2 Tablespoons organic butter, 1/4 cup organic spelt flour, 2 Tablespoons organic brown sugar.  Mix in small bowl with fingers till crumbly.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F)
2. Mix wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls and then mix them together till just combined.
3. Pour into a greased springform pan.
4. Top with frozen blueberries.
5. Add topping.
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes till center is done.

Try not to eat it all in one sitting.

The Lunch Lady

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quinoa Pilaf

I love quinoa (Keen-wa).  I was able to grab a big bag of organic quinoa from BJs about a month or so ago and have been making a few recipes with it here and there.  Only one of my boys likes it so it usually ends up being a lunch for just three of us.

I actually used the recipe on the bag for most of this dish with a few tweaks.  I'm a tweaker, I admit it.

It's simply sauteing a chopped onion and some carrots in a saucepan with a bit of oil. Add 2 cups of broth and one cup of quinoa, and cook for 15 minutes.

That's just a bit too boring for me so I added some garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a dash of paprika.

Then I dumped some leftover broccoli, onions, and carrots stir fry from last night's dinner (sauteed with fresh garlic, fresh ginger, and tamari (soy sauce).

Now we're talking!


I love the nutty flavor of the quinoa grain.  Once the grains puff into a ball, you know they are done.

Quinoa Pilaf
1 organic onion, chopped
2 organic carrots, diced
1 cup organic quinoa
2 cups organic vegetable broth
salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to taste.
extra veggies

1. Saute onion and carrots in a bit of olive oil in a sauce pan.
2. Add broth and quinoa and cook for 15 minutes.
3. Season to taste.
4. Add sauteed veggies.

Be healthy!

The Lunch Lady

Monday, January 23, 2012

Drenched Tilapia with Roasted Broccoli

This is truly one of the best fish dishes I've ever made.  It was super easy because all I did was use my Peppercorn Dressing that I already had in the fridge, some Pecorino Romano cheese, and Tilapia filets.

I covered each piece of fish with dressing and cheese, and a shot of white wine and baked them for about 15 minutes till done.

You can totally substitute Ranch Dressing and whatever cheese you like.

So simple, so sublime.

I also roasted the broccoli in the oven on 400 degrees.

I made an oil vinaigrette: olive oil, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika. Whisked it together in a large bowl, added the broccoli florets and tossed it by covering the bowl with a plate and shaking it up.  This coats the broccoli really well and seasons it quite nicely.  Throw in the oven and roast till just slightly crunchy.

So yummy.  Everyone liked it so it's a keeper!

Drenched Tilapia with Roasted Broccoli
Tilapia filets
Ranch dressing
Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
White wine
Broccoli florets
olive oil, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika

1. In a baking dish, cover Tilapia filets with dressing and cheese. Pour in a cup or so of wine. Bake @ 400 for 15 minutes till done.
2. Mix vinaigrette ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk. Add broccoli florets and toss to coat using a plate to shake the bowl.
3. Place broccoli on a cookie sheet and roast till cooked through, about 10-15 minutes @ 400 degrees.
4. Plate and serve!

I will post my Peppercorn Dressing recipe soon!

The Lunch Lady

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spaghetti with Peas and Spinach

This dish is very much like any other Pantry Pasta dish I make. Meaning: throw in what you have.

I had a package of bacon, frozen peas, some baby spinach, fresh basil, a roma tomato, and a couple of mini mozzarella balls leftover from New Year's Day.

And I had a very hungry bunch of boys to feed for lunch.

I love my cast iron pan. If ya don't have one, ask for one for your birthday or Christmas.  It's a great investment and cooks veggies and meat beautifully.

Heat and boil water for your pasta. I like to use brown rice pasta because we try to avoid wheat most of the time in our house.

I start with heating my cast iron pan and cooking about 4 slices of bacon, cut in half, till crispy.  Set aside on a paper towel and add a chopped onion to the still hot pan full of bacon grease.

Once the onions are well on their way to done-ness, add the frozen peas and a fresh garlic clove that's minced.  Season with salt and pepper and a bit of italian seasoning.

Cook the spaghetti while your stuff is sauteing.

Meanwhile, chop up a roma tomato, some fresh organic baby spinach, and a few leaves of fresh basil.

Plate the spaghetti in a deep dish and cover with the tomato, spinach, basil, and mozzarella balls.  Cover the ingredients with the hot onion mixture.  Crumble and add the bacon.  Toss it all and season with salt.

Sprinkle with some Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese and enjoy!

Spaghetti with Peas and Spinach
1 pound organic brown rice spaghetti
4 slices nitrate-free bacon
1 organic onion, chopped
1 cup frozen organic peas
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 clove organic garlic, minced
1 cup organic baby spinach, chopped
3 leaves organic fresh basil leaves, chopped
mini marinated mozzarella balls
Salt and pepper, to taste
Italian seasoning
Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Cook spaghetti
2. Cook bacon. Set aside on a paper towel and add a chopped onion to the still hot pan full of bacon grease.
3. Add minced garlic and peas. Saute.
4. Meanwhile, chop tomato, spinach, and basil.
5. Plate the cooked spaghetti and top with tomato, spinach, basil, and mozzarella balls.  Add hot onion mixture and season to taste.
6. Crumble bacon and toss the pasta. Top with cheese.

The Lunch Lady

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Julienned Bell Pepper Vinaigrette

I love buying a 6 pack of peppers at BJs (our local wholesale club.)  The beautiful orange, yellows, and reds brighten up any salad.  It's also my boy's favorite raw vegetable.

Every so often I get inspired to do something a bit different (for me) and I had the idea of julienning the bell peppers to put on a salad instead of the chunks we usually do.  I also love how my spell check is wigging out right now with this word; jullienne.  I've noticed that it doesn't pick up a whole lot of cooking terms.  The spell check maker guy must not know a whole lot of cooking terms.

Having said that, I also like to make up words.

This is super easy but you do need a sharp knife and a cutting board to get the deed done correctly.

I also threw in half an English cucumber to add in some green.

Once all the peppers are cut, place a bit of oil, vinegar (I love white balsamic), mustard (any kind you like), honey, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl and whisk.

Add the veggies and toss to coat.

I love me some Baby Romaine Hearts because I can buy a giant tub of these already washed. Salad is so much easier if the lettuce is already washed.

Top the lettuce with the seasoned peppers.

 So pretty.

You could drizzle the salad with the remaining dressing or just use a different one that compliments the flavors. My favorite is Creamy Peppercorn.  I just searched my blog and realized that I never posted this amazing dressing. That will be remedied shortly.

Shake up those salads a bit.

The Lunch Lady

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mushroom Rice

It's a bad name. Terrible description.

It's such a delicious dish. It's complex but simple.  A paradox.

Brown Rice, carrots, celery, mushrooms, broth, onions, sun dried tomatoes, and garlic.

I found this recipe on but it was supposed to be wild rice and dried mushrooms, and also had to be cooked on a slow cooker.  I'm not that organized lately to stick stuff in a slow cooker, plus I have no idea how brown rice does with that method. Plus I didn't really want Bisque but just a nice rice dish for lunch. Healthy, vegetarian, organic, filling, yummy.  You get the picture...

So, as usual, I lunch lady-fied it by using what I did have.

I use as many organic ingredients as I can find, especially in bulk. So the carrots, celery, onions, oil, garlic, rice, and broth are all organic.

Everything gets chopped or minced to bite size or smaller pieces.  Saute in a bit of olive oil or butter till they start to sweat a bit.

In a medium to large size pot, add 2 1/2 cups of broth and one cup of brown rice.

I had a happy accident and had bought parboiled organic brown basmati rice (try saying that five times in a row) so the rice cooked very quickly.

The recipe called for sun dried tomatoes.  A little too late I realized that I had used up the last of mine a while back but still had some sun dried tomato bruschetta.

I'm all about substituting.

I dumped in a couple of tablespoons of the stuff.

 A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme.

Saute. Stir. Sweat.


Remove the vegetable mixture and add it to the rice.

Deglaze the pan with a big splash of Sherry wine.

Pour it into the rice.  It's the good stuff.

I added a bit more broth to mix it up a bit.

It was fabulous.

All my boys except my mushroom hater loved it.

Mushroom Rice
2 carrots, peeled, diced
2 stalks celery, peeled, diced
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 1/2-3 cups broth
1 cup brown rice
5 sun dried tomatoes
1-2 Tablespoons Sherry Wine
olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Saute vegetables in a bit of oil.
2. Meanwhile, cook the rice till done in the broth.
3. Add cooked veggies to rice.
4. Deglaze the vegetable pan with 1-2 Tablespoons Sherry and pour over rice mixture.
5. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

I'll definitely make this one again.

The Lunch Lady