Although every week I write about having fun with food to celebrate life and its special occasions, usually I’m preparing food simply so my family can continue living.  I am not a fancy cook.  I’m embarrassed to admit it, but too often I’m interrupted by kids and life’s concerns so that what I’m cooking burns up, dries up, or simmers away.  I shrug and serve it anyway, then go back to what interrupted me.  That’s why for my blog, Edible antics, I generally try to post simple recipes on the website – recipes that aren’t fussy, can be fudged with substitute ingredients, and once made, can hang out until the family is ready to eat.  If I post a tricky one, I’ll try to remember to warn you.   

Be it good or bad, I don’t think I’m too unusual as far as working-moms go.  We’re all busy.  And when I mention a crockpot meal I’ve got simmering, my friends typically say, “Oh yeah, I should use my crockpot more often.”  Or at 4:00 in the afternoon, they’ll say, “I haven’t even thought about dinner.  I’ll probably pick something up on the way home from (insert child’s name here)______________ ‘s (insert child’s lesson/after-school activity here) _____________.”

Thus, I was surprised to see some of the entries for suggested packed lunches entered in coffee and vanilla‘s blogging event on wholesome boxlunches.  The foods pictured are not only healthy, look delicious, inviting to children, but the items are artistic masterpieces as well.  I know my entry won’t win any prizes in presentation, but I offer it as a fast alternative.  This lunch can be packed in less than 2 minutes, – 1 minute if you run.

My entry reflects the additional requirement that it meets the satisfaction of a somewhat picky 5-year old who doesn’t like regular sandwiches and eats in a peanut/tree nut free pre-school.  I’m blessed that he loves cheese – he should, he lives in Wisconsin.  Here’s a typical lunch for him:

  • 1 snack-bag filled with cheese curds
  • 1 snack-bag filled whole-grain crackers
  • one organic apple
  • one snack-bag of sweetened, dried cranberries
  • One large juice box, no-sugar-added variety

(In the picture you’ll notice the addition of a piece of bread smeared with pumpkin butter.  I included this because today he grumbled about the cranberries – the same brand of Wisconsin, sweetened, dried cranberries that last week he hoarded.  Who knows what he’ll eat at noon, so I’m giving him more options.)

The following are fast substitutes for the above items:

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