Day 3 – A Small Fire, No Cook Couscous, and Smoothies

Blessedly last week’s remaining three days went by far less eventfully than Day 2. I was happy to have our skilled kitchen assistant back and ready to rock and roll.  All the food was served hot or cold as appropriate and pretty much on time.

Wednesday I learned that the pilot lights on the stove top, in conjunction with residual heat from the oven, generate enough thermal energy to cook couscous to perfection without actually igniting the burners. Pretty cool. However, I also learned that parchment paper will catch fire upon contact with the afore mentioned pilot lights.  It was 30 seconds of excitement that I could have done without.  The couscous might have been carbon neutral if I hadn’t produced actual carbon in the form of paper ash.  Oh well maybe next time.

preschool lunch

The lunch entrée was a bit ingenious if I do say so myself.  Couscous steamed with a powdered vegetable soup base to fluffy perfection (that was a complete fluke because I totally eyeballed the grain to water ratio).  For the main serving I mixed in browned ground turkey, steamed frozen peas, and some lemon juice and zest.  The veggie option featured al dente lentils.  I also sent out a small batch made with quinoa for our gluten-free eaters.

preschool lunch

My lunch plate featured all three versions mixed together with a little more lemon juice squeezed over the top.  It was warm and comforting but light enough so I didn’t feel like I needed to take a nap after eating my meal. I would totally make this again and add a little bit of any fresh herbs I happened to have handy.  As for the kids, I think it went over a bit luke warm.  Many were willing to try the lunch so it wasn’t too far out. I went to have lunch with The Little Helping and he was busy picking out and eating all the peas one at a time.  He and his classmates were using forks and eating off plates but may have had an easier time with bowls and spoons.

Making Smoothies

Afternoon snack was smoothies and pretzel sticks.  They were not as fruity as I would have liked.  I blended low fat plain yogurt (or rice milk) with frozen strawberries, pineapple chunks, and peach slices but next time I’ll pump it up a little bit more.   The process of making the smoothies was a bit zen.  The blender holds enough for 1 1/2 pitchers and I had about 16 to fill.  With my tunes rockin’ I scooped, blended, and poured for a good 45 minutes or so.  Not surprisingly this snack was a popular one – maybe they were hungry from skipping lunch…

Pitchers with smoothies

Wednesday was the first day I got to head straight home after work. Before leaving for the day I grabbed the remaining veggie couscous. and we enjoyed it cold over lettuce from our garden topped with a drizzle of citrus white balsamic vinegar.

Oh, and two large vodka tonics.

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5 thoughts on “Day 3 – A Small Fire, No Cook Couscous, and Smoothies

  1. From what I’ve seen of Jamie Oliver’s show back in the day trying to get school kids to eat good stuff, you’ve got your work cut out for you. It’s probably easier with younger kids, but if they aren’t seeing it at home and are used to getting fish sticks and tater tots at school, odd lunches (even though they seem perfectly normal to you) might continue to get lukewarm receptions. I wish you all the best, friend!

  2. Do you get to have a discussion with the kids about what is being served? It seems to me that any kid might be interested in something called
    COOS COOS! Also, it surprises me they were picking out the peas to EAT them:-). (peas are not my favourite vegetable, though I like them in couscous.

    • I do pop into the classrooms when I have a moment. Some kids try a bite of everything and then decide if they like it. Some kids flat out refuse most foods. MY kid was the one picking out the peas to eat the first. He is in the minority that way. 🙂

  3. I love couscous and how easy it is to throw together quickly with whatever I have on hand. It’s my go to work lunch in a pinch when there are no leftovers in the fridge – a little couscous, chopped spinach and veg, some frozen chopped leftover chicken, salad dressing.. And off I go.

    If it makes you feel better, my kids are unconvinced that it is an edible food, too.

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