Thursday, December 4, 2014

Food for Thought : Packed Your Lunch Lately

 Have you packed your lunch lately? Taking your lunch can not only be a healthful alternative to eating out, it can also be much more economical. Often times, we slack on bringing our lunch to work because we get bored with the same things. Take a little extra time this week and plan your meals for next week, including your lunch, you will be glad you did. Here are a few tips to help you add some new twists to your wintertime sack lunch:

1 . Baked potatoes are great options for creativity and versatility. You can have them plain, with basic toppings such as yogurt, chili and cheese or even broccoli and baked chicken.

2 .Soups make a great quick-heat lunch. However, if you make a large pot of soup, you may become bored and tired of the flavor before you reach the end of the pot. Go ahead and freeze portion-size servings. This way, you can enjoy your healthful soup a few weeks from today without any extra effort.

3 .Look for fruits and vegetables that are in season to add variety to your lunch. Fall and winter fruits such as pomegranate, apples and pears make great additions to salads. Sweet potatoes and greens also make a bland lunch colorful and appealing.

4 . Make sure you follow food safety precautions when packing your lunch. Just because it is cold outside, doesn’t meant you don’t need your ice pack or cold source.
                               Homemade  Vegetable  Soup
2           tablespoons olive oil 
1           chicken (3 pounds) boned, skinned, and visible fat removed, diced, (save the bones and carcass) 
Creole seasoning, (recipe below)
1-1/2     cups chopped onions 
1           cup chopped celery 
1           cup diced carrots 
1/2        cup chopped green onions 
2           tablespoons minced garlic 
1/4        cup fresh parsley leaves  
2           tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
4           bay leaves  
2           cups assorted chopped fresh vegetables, such has beans, zucchini yellow squash  or cabbage, small dice 
1-1/2     cups torn spinach leaves, cleaned and stemmed 
                    Pinch crushed red pepper  
3          quarts chicken stock  
1          pound assorted small dried pasta shapes, such as stars, tubes, shells, etc. 
12        small thermoses 
1          cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves 
12        small resealable plastic snack bags

ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast): 
2-1/2    tablespoons paproka 
2          tablespoons salt 
2          tablespoons garlic powder 
1          tablespoon black pepper 
1          tablespoon onion powder 
1          tablespoon cayenne pepper 
1          tablespoon dried oregano 
1          tablespoon dried thyme
In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil. Season the chicken with Creole seasoning. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, bones, and carcass and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the meat and bones are brown. Remove the bones and carcass. Add the onions, celery, carrots, green onions, garlic, parsley, basil, and bay leaves. Season with Creole seasoning. Saute the vegetables for 4 minutes. Add the chopped vegetables, spinach and crushed red pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Reseason if necessary. Serve hot. Ladle the soup into thermoses and seal tightly with the lid. Place a spoonful of the parsley into each bag and seal completely.

ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast): 
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

Words of  Wisdom:
I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition

I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we're all teachers - if we're willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door.

Work hard for what you want because it won't come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to. If somebody puts you down or criticizes you, just keep on believing in yourself and turn it into something positive.

Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

A Proud  Grand-poppa 


  1. Howdy Dad ,
    Now I know what you do when you go to the office and go to the break room , you be checking out lunches and snacks . Hahahaha!!!
    I see you put my recipe on for homemake creole seasoning .

    Thanks Dad you are the best .
    Your only daughter

  2. My dear daughter ,
    The staff at Gil's office say the bring their lunch regularly duing the cold months , less germs around people .
    That is also your soup recipe that Emil is holding .
    My grands asked was it time for them to start back to commenting and I told them my research was almost finish . I do so think I am right my dear daughter .
    Your only father

  3. Hello HB,
    I am going to make that soup. It sounds so good and nourishing but I don't know if we Canucks can handle the Bayou Blast. I will be cautious with that.
    Your words of wisdom are right on point as usual. I always look forward to them. Thank you for sticking by us. Your contribution is always greatly appreciated.
    Luv and hugs

  4. Hello Butterfly,
    The soup is delicious , one of Nee recipes she make for Poppas' Garden .
    I can not see a reason why you Canucks could not handle the Bayou Blast .There is no hot peppers ot spicy ingredients , just plain seasoning . Salt, pepper and herbs .

    As I always say , to each it own .
    My lady I will hang in here for as long as I think I am needed .
    As you know sometime actions speak louder than words .
    Hugs and love


Come on in , set awhile and have a cup of tea and cookies , as always you are welcome .