Sunday, March 20, 2011

Toddler Lunchbox Series-Menu #1 (Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins & Cheesy Tomato Rice)

Yes, I'm starting a new series today, one that I will be adding to frequently over the next year. This series is my way of recording and keeping track of recipes my son likes as well as helping anyone out there who is in a similar predicament like me, having to pack a variety of delectable lunchboxes on a daily basis (and I know there will be many!). My dear reader friends who are already veterans in this lunchbox routine, please feel free to send me your suggestions/recipes/tips-it would be more than welcome!

The first recipe is one among my son's favorites. I like it particularly because it sneaks in everything we mothers would like our kids to eat - oats (high in fiber and vitamins), bananas (high in fiber, iron, vitamin B6), peanut butter (very high protein and calorific value), yoghurt and milk. The second recipe is something I made up and packs in a goodie bag of betacarotenes (with carrots), lycopenes and vitamin C (tomatoes) calcium (from cheese) and of course carbs (rice). Of course, the muffins and rice is something even grownups can take in their lunchboxes :-)

Sometimes I wonder if this blog is a food blog or a memoir, a journal or a recipe log. The lines do blur after a while and although I try not to ramble on (too much!) and get to the recipe as soon as possible, somehow that doesn't happen...There's always a story behind a recipe and food is so intertwined with our lives that it is impossible to blog about food without a snippet about ourselves, families, and lives sneaking in somewhere...I have to admit that I read a lot of food bloggers because I like the way they write and I end up feeling like I know them like my own friends, even if we haven't met...So why should we limit our food blogs to only recipes, eh?

So the background to today's recipe is...I've enrolled for a one-year full-time Montessori teacher cum early childhood development course, which I've been passionate about for quite some time now. My about-to-turn-2-years toddler will have to be in a daycare/playgroup/nursery. Although my classes start only tomorrow, I've been taking him to the daycare for two hours a day for the last week so as to familiarize him with the place and he seems to love it, other than the heartbreaking cry at the moment when I have to hand him over to the teacher there. He loves the company of the other kids and the teachers say he likes to spend his time in the nursery section rather than in the daycare group, listening attentively to the kids reciting rhymes, alphabets, whatnot...

So from tomorrow, I will be packing his lunch and evening snacks and dropping him off before going to my classes, and this thought alone has been enough to give me sleepless nights! What to cook? What to pack? What will stay warm and fresh till lunchtime, snacktime? How can I pack in the required vegetables, fruits, carbs, calcium, vitamins, etc., etc., in as tasty a way as possible? So I fell back on my age-old organizational practices and drew up a list of recipes for lunch and snacks, made a list of ingredients to buy according to the particular day, and hopefully will stick to it so I don't have to think, plan, and forage for recipes every day! Here's the first menu in the series:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins (for evening snacks)
(I got this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Culinary Escapades, of Arundati's. Check it out here). 
(Makes 12)
  1. 1/2 cup flour (wheat or all purpose or multigrain)
  2. 3/4 cup quick cooking oats
  3. 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  4. Pinch of baking soda
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 4 + 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or demerara-I didn't have this at hand, so used white sugar instead)
  7. 2/3 cup bananas, mashed
  8. 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut butter (the creamy variety is better)
  9. 2 tablespoons yoghurt
  10. 1/2 cup milk
  11. 1/2 cup water
  • Preheat oven to 190 C.
  • Put the first 5 ingredients in a blender and give it a good whizz. Remove and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • In the same blender jar, put all the remaining ingredients (only 4 tablespoons of sugar) and blend until it becomes like a smoothie.
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and tip in the wet ingredients in the center. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  • Now prepare your muffin tin. Either grease the muffin cavities or line with cupcake liners.
  • With a tablespoon, drop in about 2 tablespoons of the batter, leaving space for it to rise.
  • Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • When cool, this can be stored for upto 1 week in the refrigerator.

Cheesy Tomato Rice (for lunch)
  1. 1/2 cup jeera rice or basmati rice, washed, soaked for 10 minutes and drained
  2. Half carrot, diced fine or grated
  3. Half an onion, chopped fine
  4. 1 flake garlic, chopped fine
  5. A small piece ginger, chopped fine
  6. 2 cloves
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or roasted jeera powder
  8. A pinch of turmeric powder
  9. A pinch of black pepper powder
  10. Half teaspoon garam masala powder
  11. 2 teaspoons ghee
  12. 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped fine
  13. Half cup tomato puree + half cup water
  14. 1 slice or cube of cheese
  • In a saucepan, heat the ghee and add the cumin, cloves, and pepper powder and wait till it sizzles.
  • Then put in the onions, garlic and ginger and fry till translucent.
  • Now add the carrot, turmeric and garam masala powder and fry for 1 minute.
  • Then add the drained rice and fry for another minute.
  • When it starts to sizzle a bit, pour in the tomato puree-water combo and salt.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer until almost cooked.
  • Now add in the cheese and cilantro and stir well until combined.
  • Transfer to the lunchbox and keep your fingers crossed that your lil' munchkin will love it!

I'm linking this to the following blog events:


divya said...

Slurp, mouthwatering and healthy muffins,just love it..

Tina said...

yummy muffins...

Katerina said...

It is always so hard to let them go! I sent my son in a kindergarden when he was 2 1/2, but then again he got sick all the time and I had to stop him from going the rest of the year. It was realy difficult for me because i had to stop working for a while and stay home take care of him. I hope everything will go well for you and you will be able to attend your classes freely. It is a new start for the both of you. The choices you made foodwise were excellent Karishma. I am sure your son will enjoy them very much!

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Lovely and healthy muffins...


Tante Kiki said...

Hi, from Thessaloniki! Mmmm, very yummy your muffins! I will try them for my nieces! If you want come and visit me:

Renee said...

Karishma...I agree with you on the sleepless nights as to what to prepare for the snack box. My son only wants cucumber or biscuits for his snack box. Anything else, I send will come back quarter-eaten, no matter how much he loves what was given - muffins, cake, sandwiches. :-( but still I keep trying. And those muffins looks absolutely healthy and nutritious! Want to try it soon.

Jay said...

very intriguing Karishma...sounds like must try..
Tasty appetite

Umm Mymoonah said...

Nice lunch box idea, both looks yumm.

Emreen said...

Great recipes for kids... I am sure your little one is gonna luv it...!! A different tomato rice recipe... !!

Gourmet Cooking On A Dime said...

ALWAYS happy to see ideas for the kids lunches! And mine are hard to please because they have good taste so thanks for these! Your photos are lovely as well!

Kankana said...

they looks so awsm Karishma :) I am keeping a little busy this week and hardly able to blog hop!

Dan.Eliot said...

Instead of all-purpose flour, use whole grain products in adding more nutrition in your meal. Using whole-wheat flour, bread and soy flour in biscuits, oatmeal in your baked muffins are a lot healthier than doing it otherwise. Look and prepare low fat recipe when baking biscuits and all-time favorite cakes, choosing applesauce will also give the much-loved taste but with less the fats.

Healthy cooking tips

Deepa Praveen said...

Lovely looking muFN...nice presentation it a lot

Now Serving said...

That is a yummy muffin - peanut butter yum - I am bookmarking since I am on a muffin role :)

aipi said...

That is soo appetizing..I am drooling here…
I should stop blog hopping when I am hungry...Sigh Sigh..

US Masala

Dr.Sameena Prathap


Dat's a great snack box idea dear...Lovely muffins..:)


Christina @ The Tattered Tag said...

Good stuff!! I too can appreciate a yummy muffin. :) Thank you for linking up to my K.I.S.S. blog bash last week. This weeks blog bash is in full swing again!! If you haven't already please be sure & link up more of your creativity, I look forward to seeing all your great ideas. :) Happy to be a new follower.

Drop by The Tattered Tag

Anonymous said...

That muffin looks perfect for adults as well as the kiddos - I be it's so moist with bananas plus peanut butter plus yogurt. Thanks for sharing - the rice looks like something I'd love as well.