Send ‘Em Packing – Easy, Healthy Food/Drink Container

I was going to skip the back to school lunch packing tips. So many blogs talk about it.  And I wrote about packing a healthy and waste free lunch last year.  The surprising and interesting thing is while there are many more product offerings, my favorites remain those I tested (and still use) from last year.  And I realize while this may seem old news to some, it’s brand new for others.  So take a look at what my family has been using and liking.  The added bonus is that some are local Bay Area companies.

My kids will not be getting new lunchboxes this year, as their PlanetBoxes have
held up perfectly. They are easy to pack with appropriate compartments for
everything. The bag can be washed and new magnets can be purchased if your
PlanetBox is needing something fresh.

 

We also still love and are using our Kids Konserve freezer packs (fits well in
the PlanetBox pocket). I am never without one of their stainless steel
containers for snacks in my purse. They now offer more colors and sizes than
ever. Hurry to their online sale thru August.

As far as drink bottles go, we are not as satisfied with the longevity and
rotate quite a bit. My kids have just discovered the new Thermos/Threadless
stainless bottles with spouts, which are easy to open and close tightly. (I
can’t stand the leaky straw designs of some bottles). We also use EarthLust‘s
nature inspired stainless steel designs. I’m enjoying my Lifefactory 22 oz
large glass bottle and have ordered the new lunchbox ready 9 oz size for my
kids. Note: I only pack water in these. I find it is the easiest to clean, the
bottle lasts longer and healthiest for my kids and self. (If needing help with baby bottle choices for the youngest set, check out this article/review from The Babble Out.)

Finally, our organic cotton napkins by Fabkins are holding up from school
lunches, picnics, camps and home use. They continue to introduce new patterns
to make lunch fun and less messy.

So go forth and pack a healthy lunch with reusable, responsible products that are good for you, your kids and the planet. Yes, that is a lofty statement, but every little bit countsm as your child can create more than their weight in school lunch trash each year.

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The Heat is On… Time for Lemonade! (Recipes for Kids)

From Lisa Barnes

For us in the San Francisco Bay Area, the temperature has soared this week. A favorite to quench thirst for all ages is lemonade. In working on my latest book I test drove all kinds of lemonades – sparkling, traditional, herb infused, and more. The basic lemon can really be turned into something special.

Besides the yummy drink, making lemonade can provide a fun activity for children. If you have a tree, there’s the picking. My kids love to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s to pick lemons with “the picker” — a long handled pole.

Then there’s the juicing. Of course this can be done with a machine, but you can also use a hand-held citrus squeezer. Kids love to test their muscle strength, plus it makes the chore last longer (sometimes a necessity for parents looking for some down time). If you have too many lemons and an abundance of lemonade, be sure to share with friends or set up a stand.

The positive power of one child and a refreshing drink created a unique foundation that evolved from a young cancer patient’s front yard lemonade stand to a nationwide fund-raising movement to find a cure for pediatric cancer. Since Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004) set up her front yard stand at the age of four, more than $17 million has been raised towards fulfilling her dream of finding a cure for all children with cancer. Nationwide the effort continues: AlexsLemonade.org

Refreshing and Inspiring!
Here are two different recipes, one requiring lots of lemons and ice for a thirsty few and one that makes a glass or two with just a lemon hint (from my friends at SmallShed Flatbreads in Mill Valley, California).

Frozen Lemonade

This is the perfect lemonade for sipping on a hot afternoon. It is really great whipped in the blender, but if you don’t want to bother you can skip the last step and just pour over ice. Please note the color if this will be golden rather than bright yellow due to the use of raw sugar. You can always substitute white if you prefer.

Makes 3½ cups

½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, juice from about 4 lemons (organic if possible)

½ cup raw turbinado sugar

1½ cups water, divided

2 cups ice cubes, break into chunks if large

Heat sugar and ½ cup water over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. This is simple syrup.

Combine lemon juice, simple syrup and additional cup of water in blender with ice cubes and blend until slushy. Add more ice as desired.

Small Shed’s Fresh Squeezed Maple Lemonade

“I have always found foods to be most enjoyable when prepared simple, and nothing is more simple than our house-made lemonade. Frequently our customers will bring a box of Meyer lemons in from their yards and trade us for a Flatbread pizza!” – Ged Robertson, chef owner at Small Shed Pizza.

Makes 2¼ cups

Juice squeezed from 1 lemon, about ¼ cup

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste

16 ounces sparkling water

Put ingredients in a pitcher and stir with a spoon. Pour and serve over ice.

Tips: first roll lemons pressing between your hand and a counter. This will make them easier to squeeze, and yield more juice.

Variations: You can substitute regular still water for sparkling, and honey for maple syrup. This lemonade tastes great made with hot water too!

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See also Organic Lemonade Has 10x More Antioxidants Than Regular
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: © Norma Cornes | Dreamstime.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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