After a week in virtual quarantine at home, today I was ready for some healthy food alternatives! I’ve had the flu – and three out of four kids as well and one with strept throat to boot! Most of the week has been just trying to get us all through.
Our kids have been troopers! In Japan, a fever in the winter = need to go to the doctor for an influenza test. A positive flu test = a required five day quarantine at home. Even if your kids are healthy, there are frequent class cancellations when more than 1/4 of a class population is diagnosed with the flu. So we have had the majority of the kids home for the past week or so, either sick or because others in their class are sick! And next Monday there is already cancelled school for our second grader…
Today I felt my first burst – or hint! – of energy. I woke up craving some healthier food options, and our kids were ready for something creative to do. It felt like our go-to comfort meals this week have been starchy and/or not the most healthy. (But I have to say a woohoo for macaroni and cheese yesterday- a rare gift from a friend!).
So today, on our road back to recovery — we made picture art lunches. All the kids got to make pictures on their own piece of oven paper using the lunch ingredients I had set out. There was only one rule: they needed to eventually eat all of the ingredients they used in their pictures.
For being a very spontaneous and first-time idea, it was a surprising success. Our kids ate A LOT of lunch, and we had a lot of fun. The lunch supplies that I had on hand were: ham, cheese, carrot sticks, cucumbers (half that I put through a “Vegini” and made into thin long strings), ranch dressing, tomatoes, oranges, cut-up apples, peanut butter, curly pasta, sliced pepperoni, green olives, raisins. (A great way to use up leftovers!). I pulled out my cookie cutters, which was fun to use on the ham, cheese, and tomatoes. Love the happy faces — on the kids and on the oven paper!
(My daughter loves to make hair curl on one side like this in all her pictures — so cute!)
It was a SCORE lunch … everyone ate healthy; we had fun family time together, and we used up some random food in my fridge.
Tonight, I was feeling a bit unprepared when dinner rolled around… A friend called from the store and offered to bring some groceries. She brought some fried noodles for the kids, and i requested some vegetables. I have totally been craving grilled vegetables — I made them on Christmas eve and have wanted more since. She brought me the veggies I didn’t have, and using a simple recipe I cooked up some deliciousness.
Here’s my recipe for simple Grilled Vegetables:
Cut up into bite-sized pieces your favorite vegetables. Tonight I used: carrots and sweet potatoes (top tray); and broccoli cauliflower, peppers, and onions (bottom tray). I forgot the mushrooms but those are favorites too! I threw them all into a big ziploc with a small amount of olive oil and sea salt that I tossed all around, then spread them out on these two trays. Preheat your oven to about 425 F, then bake away for 25-30 minutes, turning two or so times in between. We now have vegetables to last us a few meals. I am a happy flu-recovering mama on our way back to health.