; Supermarket Serenade: Lunchboxes Filled with Love

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lunchboxes Filled with Love

I know the Staples commercial with the Dad dancing gleefully down the aisle of a Staple’s store tossing back to school supplies into a shopping cart would lead one to believe that most parents cannot wait for their kids to go back to school, but you know what? I’m not all that gleeful about it.

I really miss my kids when they go back. And now as they are getting older they are often seldom home because of assorted activities, friend gatherings and now my oldest has a job. So truthfully I really kind of like summer when they are around just a little bit more. But like it or not it is time to send them back to school. Two of my kids have already started and one starts next week.

When I was a kid my mother made bologna and American cheese sandwiches on soft white bread on Sunday nights. Helping her, I would usually slice the bologna into quarters so it could be arranged on the bread in a square (I hated cold cut overhang-is that obsessive compulsive?) She tucked the sandwiches in plastic bags and tossed them in the freezer and each morning, assembly line style, we would grab our sandwich, an apple and a small package of pretzels (sometimes we got cookies) then toss it all in a brown paper bag (I tossed it in my Brady Bunch Lunchbox in the early years).
I don’t quite have the assembly line system my mom had and truthfully my kids do not always like to take their lunch…and certainly only my youngest has a lunchbox (albeit a Vera Bradley one which really looks more like a purse). But lunch usually is not too much different than what I got: a sandwich-but now it is turkey and American cheese on wheat, an apple, pretzels and the occasional treat. Today I have made two treats which I will likely slip into plastic bags and freeze for lunches. Whether I toss these treats into a lunchbox or simply serve them up after school, hopefully my kids will get the message that in school or out of school I love them.

Maple Almond Cinnamon Chip Banana Bars

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, light, firmly packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 medium bananas, peeled and mashed
1 egg
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup Cinnamon chips

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed 15 ½ x10 ½ inch baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour baking powder and salt. In another large mixing bowl beat together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the maple syrup, bananas and the egg, beating until combined. Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Stir in the almonds and cinnamon chips.

Spread the batter evenly over the prepared pan, don’t worry if it’s not perfect just spread it as evenly as possible.
Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before frosting or cutting into squares. Store bars in a covered container.
Note: bars are very thin...if you would prefer slightly thicker bars, bake them in a 13x9 inch pan.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

1(8 ounce) package of reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.

Crispy Peanut Butter Lunchbox Bars

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup marshmallow topping
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups puffed rice cereal
4 ounces dark chocolate

Lightly spray an 8x8 square dish with cooking spray.

In a large saucepan melt the butter, marshmallow topping and butter, stirring to combine.

Stir in the puffed rice cereal. Press the mixture into the prepared dish. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl placed over a pot of simmering water. Using a knife, drizzle the chocolate over the squares. Let the chocolate firm before eating (unless you really can't wait).


Mary said...

Both sound simple and look delicious. Perfect for school lunches. I'll bet the kids love them.

patrice said...

You're such a good mom, Veronica . . . your kids will always remember your lunchbox treats, just like you remember your mom's bologna sandwiches :)

Lisa said...

Great lunch box treats. But I am not thinking about school starting...we are still on vacation.

Emily said...

You are such a good mom! I love that you made these treats for your kids. They look delicious.

The Japanese Redneck said...

That's sweet. I'm surprised my mom didn't spend the night in the parking lot of the school to drop us off for the 1st day!