When thinking of morning tea ideas remember the freezer! Particularly in Summer. Home made snacks that are fun (but with hidden healthy’s) are the best. Try making some blueberry and bran muffins, ‘chocolate’ protein balls, corn kernels, left over pasta, mini wholemeal and vegetarian pizzas, vegetable ‘meat’ loaf, superfood coconut snack bars and freezing them individually. Also freeze a few UHT small milk cartons.
Then all you have to do is choose, grab and pack. They will all defrost fresh and cool for a big mid-morning appetite.
And don’t forget the prize winning Mother Nature wrapped bananas, apples and oranges.
This week’s menu is by popular request. I recently found out that MANY children love Miso soup…. who knew? So whilst the weather is still cool, I thought I’d make it for them. Some of the students have also asked, “What is in the sausage rolls?” Please check the web site for the recipe or e-mail me anytime. I have been researching processed foods and their dietary implications to our modern diet. One of the interesting ones is that of store bought mayonnaise. Mayonnaise should be, simply, egg, oil and lemon juice. The nut/olive oils, which we have historically used, have been changed in many brands to soybean oils. This is increasing our intake of omega 6 fatty acids. We should be eating equal amounts of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. Research is showing that the recommended 1:1 ratio is increasing to as much as 20:1 respectively. Unfortunately, this imbalance of omega 6 fatty acids from refined vegetable oils, particularly soybean oil, has shown to be related to all inflammatory-related conditions such as diabetes arthritis, asthma, heart disease and obesity. So ditch the dressings that contain soybean oil and buy (or make your own!!!) the ones with nut, seed, olive or avocado oils. Or try this: Donna’s Avocado ‘mayo’ 100grs Greek yoghurt (Vegan-use coconut yoghurt) 1 avocado 2 Tbsp grape seed oil 1 Tbsp seeded mustard Lemon juice to taste Salt & Pepper Blend and pour. Use on the day.
Head of Kitchen
Next week is Science Week and we, once again, share the hall with the science week team (myself included). In light of this, we are having ‘walk through’ lunches each day. The above menu reflects the items which the children enjoy the most…and can walk with…without spilling.
I hope the children enjoy the week.
With the Olympics coming up, it has inspired me to understand the needs of the vegetarian athlete. The main thing to remember is that all people need protein in their diets. When you are working out it is recommended that you increase your protein levels to aid in the growth and repair of your cells.
This used to mean large doses of animal proteins, today we know a balanced vegetarian diet, that includes plant based protein, assists in muscular development…no meat required! The trick to it is to be well planned and include protein in every meal, regularly throughout the day. The fact is that not every protein source is equal – it is actually the amino acids which make up the protein that our bodies need. Research has led us to understand that there are many plant based foods which provide adequate amounts of these ‘essential’ amino acids.
So eat whole foods, nuts and seeds, legumes, quinoa, uncooked fruits and vegetables (not always), cheese and eggs, along with good quality fats and unprocessed carbohydrates and you too can start your Olympic dream…. or at least watch them on TV with me!
Citius, Altius, Fortius! Train hard!
So many of us are very busy and are losing the desire to ‘fuss’ over every single meal. Here are a few time-saving tips to get you through, hassle free. 1. We can get very busy at work and skip meals. Stash a few bags of pre chopped bags of fresh veggies in the freezer and fridge at work. You can then microwave them for a warm snack, or eat them fresh if you’re stressed to reduce the tension in your jaw. 2. Keep brown rice bowls (or freshly prepared and bagged) everywhere. Add them to your warm veggies and stay full…and gluten free. 3. Always keep canned legumes in the cupboard. If you’re busy pre-soaking, it is a pain. 4. Liven up any plain meal with oil, garlic, ginger and chilli. Quick food doesn’t have to be bland. 5. Always make up bags of mixed nuts, fruits and seeds over the weekend. Have them everywhere for a healthy snack. You need the good fats to keep going.
This week I have been experimenting with some new recipes and inventions for the students’ lunches. On Thursday, we had Cheese and Spinach Scrolls which the children devoured in a taste test. Once I have worked out the logistics of such a feat we will add it to the menu. This week they will be trying my Apple Muesli Crumble.
Here’s a tip for Winter – some of the best family recipes take only one pot. Don’t wear yourself out, warm yourself up!
One-pot recipe – Broccoli Orecchiette Serves a family of 6
1 x 500 gr bag of Orecchiette pasta 500gr broccoli (small florets) 2 shallots (small rounds) 1 bag baby spinach leaves 1 x 600 ml of thickened cream 3 Tsp of parmesan cheese 250grs cottage or feta cheese (crumbled) 1 Tsp garlic 1 Tsp oil/butter
1. Boil pasta as per instructions. 3/4 way through cooking, add in the broccoli and boil until both tender. 2. Drain and leave in strainer. 3. Add the oil or butter to pan, heat. 4. Add in the shallots and garlic and cook for 30-40 sec, until you smell them. 5. Return the pasta to the pan with all remaining ingredients. 6. Stir through, season (salt/pepper) to taste and serve.
Egg free, dairy free, gluten free and vegan options provided.
In Winter, we often to forget to hydrate due to our lack of perspiration. It can be more important to hydrate in Winter as we find ourselves in warm, air-conditioned, rooms and drinking more hot drinks that can dehydrate. Water and water rich foods help us to detoxify by allowing our kidneys to process waste products from our blood. Three easily available and mostly ‘kid friendly’ are cucumbers, celery and watermelon. They are all low in calories, high in water content, fibre and vitamins that help with hydration, acid neutralisation, digestive health and reducing winter kilos!
Vegan, dairy free, egg free and gluten free options provided.
We are welcoming the Infants Shakespeare Festival to the hall this week so our menu shouts fun food for hard workers.
With the holidays racing towards us it is a great time to think about snacks. It is quite simple. The best snacks are filled with fibre, antioxidants, nutrients and, most of all, they need to be pre (nature's)-packaged or take less than 30 seconds to assemble!
Here are my top snacks – Apples, pears, blueberries (any berries), bananas, yoghurt, Cheese (preferably cottage but that’s tough for kids) or avocado or hummus and crackers. These snacks are all mindful choices which are low in sugar and sodium and promote health and well being.. Enjoy your holidays.
SPINACH & CHEESE MOONS WITH NAPOLI SAUCE(with ROTE GRUTZE dessert)
LENTIL OR TOMATO SOUP (with soldiers)
Dairy free, Egg free, Vegan and Gluten Free options provided
Another fantastic thank you to all of the lunch ladies for preparing pizza for this past week’s favourite lunch. To produce pizza for 250 people takes 2 days of preparation. One to make the home-made vegetable pizza sauce and another to make 9 x 10kg buckets of fresh pizza dough. Then a very early (6.30am) start on the day of pizza lunch. All this to produce this one single meal while preparing and serving the day’s lunch at hand. Add to this, the week after next is the Infant’s Shakespeare Festival in the Hall so we will be having 4 walk through lunches and 1 great big BBQ in the breezeway to end the term. These lunches are always a huge effort.
Remember this is quickly following the Open Day, for which I squeezed every second of their day out of them for over a month. This is a wonderful testament to their fortitude and desire to serve your children. Well done, girls!
Dairy free, gluten free, egg free and vegan options provided.
Thank you again to all of the staff, lunch ladies and parents who warmly helped serve the food on Open Day. It was a great success because of you all. None of us want to get sick but, lately, people are dropping like flies in the cold weather. One of the many things to remember when you want to stay healthy is to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables…and dark chocolate - of course! If you try to eat seasonally you will not only balance your calories but you will also be getting the added vitamins necessary for the season at hand. This is the reason citrus, root vegetables, sprouts etc. are available right now. Do yourself a favour and make up some hot pots, casseroles and pies and then top them with yummy mixed potatoes and cauliflower. Chop up some oranges and leave them ready to eat and add spinach style greens and ginger to everything. PS Just because it’s Winter doesn’t mean you don’t eat salad…try some warm salads like pumpkin, spinach, walnut and haloumi salad or roasted cauliflower, chickpea and pomegranate salad with hummus dressing – my two current favourites.
Egg free, dairy free, gluten free and vegan options provided.
A huge thank you the LUNCH LADIES before Open Day - They ALL deserve a medal with the added load of the school Open Day and our new all singing, all dancing lunch menu which they have borne with dignity and respect for our school. They are all truly a valued part of our community and I wish to thank them all in advance. They are a shining light to our honoured values, particularly that of Service and Care of others.
Don’t forget to get in early at the Open Day for your home-made bottled goods and great food! • Tea, coffee and cold drinks, available from 8.30am, • Sandwiches/Rolls, snacks and bottled goods available from 9.30am, • Curries/Hot food etc. available from 10.30-11am…until sold out. • There will be a limited amount of ‘take-home’ curry packages from 9.30am. Be quick. • Any left overs will be packaged up at 1.30pm for extra take-home packs.
PS For all the students who have asked, yes – pizza is coming up in week 7! The lunch ladies need a break in week 6.
BUTTER ‘CHICKEN’ & VEGETABLE CURRYwith PINEAPPLE FRUIT FOOL
CHEESY HOT DOGS (Breezeway)
THAI FRIED RICEwith ASIAN SLAW
SANDWICHES AND FRUIT YOGHURT(Walkthrough)
Dairy free, gluten free, egg free and vegan options provided
We had a few unforeseen changes in the kitchen this week that we had to adjust to and carry on. We did miss one of our new meals, so I have added it to this week’s menu. With the Open Day coming up fast, anything may happen this week while we are sharing our space with singing, Shakespeare and sport (if it rains). The children are embracing the new food items with great enthusiasm and I would like to thank them all. Requests are starting to come in for repeat menu items and some of their personal favourites from home. We may struggle with some creations ‘en mass’ in our little kitchen, but we will try our best.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in a bottle for the school fair. Keep them coming.
If you are looking for any recipe from the school (new ones will be issued soon) go to the the school web site and type in the search box (top right) - eg. Saucy pasta recipe.
CHEESE & SPINACH AGNOLOTTIAnd SPINACH AND FETA SALAD
CHIPS & BEANSAnd CHEESECAKE CRUMBLE
Egg free, dairy free, gluten free and vegan options available
Healthy fast food can seem to be a difficult task for many. The key is to have a ready stock of pantry items and some forethought. If you make friends with your freezer, cryovaced fridge products, some UHT products and good quality canned foods, you are well on your way.
Think of the savings to your wallet and your health!
Some ideas to help you:
1When you make a curry or stew, make double portions and freeze the other for another day or put into pastry for pies.
2Cut vegetables you won't get to into pieces for stir fry or ‘roasties’ and freeze.
3Use left over mash and add anything then roll in breadcrumbs and freeze for quick croquettes.
4Use leftover risotto and some cheese and roll into arrancini balls, then freeze.
5Make burger patties in advance and freeze.
6Always keep burger buns freshly frozen in the freezer.
7When you make a lasagna – make 2 or 3 at once and freeze the others.
8Make your own pizza base dough and freeze the dough balls before they rise. When they defrost they will finish rising (my favourite idea). No store bought pizza again!
And don't forget to buy some of my pasta and curry sauces, chutney or cheeses at the school Open Day (Sunday May 29th) for your pantry!!!