Easy & Healthy Office Lunch Ideas

I might look crazy here… but what I am is thrilled to be eating my home-packed office lunch and save between $10-$15 every day! If you’ve been spending money on fast food, tired of eating leftovers, and need healthy office lunch ideas; you are in the right place.

75 Healthy Office Lunch Ideas you are going to LOVE! Start packing healthy office lunches. Save money, waste less, and eat healthier!

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Creamy & Zesty Southern Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad. I mean… look at it. What is there not to love? It’s deeeelicious! Some weeks, I buy a whole roasted chicken and make a big batch for my family’s lunches.

Chicken salad is the perfect way to put leftover chicken from dinner to use when you just don’t have enough for another meal. When I only have one serving of chicken left, I will usually chop it up, add some seasoning, mayo and call it a day.

Recently, I got in a “I-must-figure-out-what’s-in-their-salad” kick and made a lot of different variations. I know, I could make things easier for myself and just make a chicken sandwich!

Well, if you’ve never tried my chicken salad before… you’ll soon see why I don’t slap the leftover chicken between two pieces of bread or on top of a bed of field greens.

I’ve been living in the south since June of 2000, when I moved here for graduate school. I think my chicken salad obsession began shortly after I began studying at a local coffee shop with a delicious and fresh lunch menu.

One of my favorite items in the menu was their chicken salad. You could order their chicken salad sandwich in a croissant, on 7 grain bread, on top of a bed of lettuce or with veggies and crackers. While the 7grain sandwich was my favorite, the salad was so good on its own that often times I would order a “scoop” of it with crackers.

What made the chicken salad sandwich so delicious? It was the thick, creamy and smooth texture with a little bit of crunch and zest. Woah! WHAT?! Yes, the chicken wasn’t “chunky” like most of the chicken salads I had previously eaten. It was smooth.

I soon began to notice that nearly all the chicken salads sold at local supermarkets were creamy and smooth. One of my girlfriends actually told me that she never ordered the salad because the creaminess must be from using a lot of mayonnaise. Maybe… but probably not!

A few weeks ago, I bought a whole roasted chicken at my local Fresh Market when Chris, the young man behind the counter asked: What are you cooking this week? –yes, they all know I cook a lot. I told him that I wanted to make a “thick” chicken salad like the one they sold by the pound. He suggested that I skipped chopping the chicken and let the food processor do the work.

Oh.My.Goodness! Why didn’t I think of that before?! He said that they don’t use a lot of mayo on their chicken salad and that the thick and creamy texture is from letting the food processor do its job.

Note to self: always ask your deli person (when they seem knowledgeable) for food recipe ideas.

Of course, I use this chicken salad in my husband’s work lunches, my office lunch and my kid’s school lunches. I hope you love the texture and zesty flavor as well.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Southern Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Southern
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 whole roasted chicken, meat off and diced
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • Juice from 1 lemon (about 2-3 Tablespoons)
  • ⅓ – ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Zatarain’s Big&Zesty Creole Seasoning (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put cooked chicken in a food processor and pulse a few times to rough chop. Continue pulsing for about 30 seconds until the chicken is finely chopped. *If you turn “on” the food processor, your chicken will become a “paste” instead of very finely chopped. Don’t do this.
  2. In a bowl, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and Big&Zesty (optional) and blend well.
  3. Toss chicken into the bowl, combine a few times with a spatula and throw in finely chopped celery.
  4. Serve with crackers or on top of a bed of lettuce.

 

The Lunch Manifesto #LunchRevolution

Do you know what I say when someone asks: what do you do at MOMables?

I do many things.  From creating menus, testing recipes and listening to parents who need a little help in their lunch making… to running the blog, meeting new people and empowering others to do their best each and every day.

It has been an AMAZING year.  I launched a company, had a baby, traveled with the kids, survived a summer with limited childcare while working full time and finally learned to ask and find help.

I am no super mom.  I don’t own a red cape.  I am a mom on a mission and today I will share it with you. If you find this at all inspiring, please share this post with your friends.

 

My mission is to help parents make fresh school lunches.
No matter the number of kids, how old and how picky
If you are willing to give it a try, I will help you.

Our children are our future.
It’s our responsibility to take care of them
Today, tomorrow and every day after that.

Being  too busy
Not having enough time
And not knowing what to pack…
Are excuses I don’t want to hear.

It’s time to roll up our sleeves,
To take ten minutes each day and pack their lunch.
Letting someone else do our job is unacceptable.

The government, schools and administrators…
Make decisions for us behind a desk.
They are never encouraging,
They are not listening.
They don’t tap you on your shoulder and say…
DO YOUR BEST.

“I just don’t know how”
Don’t worry.
I’ve been there – I say.

My mission is clear:
I help parents pack fresh school lunches.

You are no longer alone,
Starring into your refrigerator…
Wondering what to pack for lunch.

There are THOUSANDS of parents like us.
Parents who want to do better…
They just don’t know how.

It all starts with a plan.
It’s easy.
It’s simple.
It’s a guide to help you…
Take charge.

Our children deserve better.
Unhealthy, prepackaged and mystery food…
Should not be fed to them.

Know this:
We are never going to get rid of the problem
Unless we take a stand for our children.
It’s time to make our own decisions
And be the example we want our kids to become.

Our plans are working for many.
Will you join our lunch revolution?

I will not stop.
I will not go away.
I am here to stay.

I do this for my children.
Yours…
And those I yet not know.

MOMables exists because of them.
Their needs are simple and unmet.

Let us restore the love for fresh food
Wholesome, real and homemade.

School lunches that are nutritious.
Food our children will love.
Meals meant to nourish and help them grow.

Of course they’ll love it.
You made the lunch…
With intention and LOVE.

Thank you for an amazing first year.
For being supportive on this blog, at MOMables, on Facebook and on Twitter.

With courage and love,

Laura Fuentes

Chief MOM

 

A special thanks to Glenn. Your worlds of wisdom and reminders to go out and educate! empower! encourage! are the fuel I need to make a stand and help others. 

 

 

13 Lucky reasons it’s hard to work over the summer

It’s been a difficult summer in terms of being able to get everything done. You could say that I’m still adjusting to having a 3rd child and returning to work. If you work from home or have flex time you can relate with the difficulties of getting anything done over the summer. Throw in no-camps for 4 weeks and it totally seals the deal.

Why can’t I just get things done you say? A) Just because I work from home doesn’t mean I don’t have to get “real work” done.  B) These 13 reasons.

Reason #1: I can’t get enough rocking chair time.  Neither of us wants to let the other one go.

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Reason #2: “Mom, can I have some water?” Again.

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Reason #3: Mom, can we snuggle and watch cartoons?
Ok, I’ll have another cup of coffee in bed.

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Reason #4: Endless cooking. I test out A LOT of recipes for MOMables.  Sometimes they don’t turn out so great.

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Reason #5: “Mom, LOOK!!! LOOK!!” Again… and again.

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Reason #6: Grocery trips with 3 kids are never “quick” when your girl documents everything. “Look Mom, he looks so cute! He’s wiggling!” Yet another picture.

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Reason #7: When you cook a lot, kitchen cleanup never ends. By the way, that is MOMveeta.

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Reason #8: Boys will be boys and I must keep an eye on them. “Mom, my alien pjs and his monster pjs are doing Star Wars.”

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Reason #9: Bath takes a long time. A.really.long.time.

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Reason #10: Babies poop a lot.  I cloth diaper baby G  (the previous 2 as well) and I am a firm believer that poop goes in the toilet as soon as they can hold themselves up. So, we visit the toilet… often and he has a good time there. Too funny. Don’t worry, someone was to my left making sure he didn’t fall and I’m usually holding him up.

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Reason #11: The girl wants to pick G up all the time.  I have to be 2ft away to watch her.

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Reason #12: The kids play post office.  The other day Sofia got “tape-happy” and went on with her day.  I came into the living room to muted sounds of “mommmmm!!! mommmm!! Luckily there was no postage on the box and UPS didn’t pick him up.

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Reason #13: They fight for my lap, who will sit next to baby G and who gets to take a picture.

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I might not get it all done every day but I am making progress. School doesn’t start for another 3 weeks and the kids are ready to see their friends. Ok, I am ready for them too.  I’m learning to manage my stress so when I’m with the kids I am present.  I’m getting much better at taking advantage of any free time to get work done.  Oh yeah, I stay up very very late and I drink a lot of coffee.

Auntie’s Homemade Blueberry Pie & Perfect Crust

This was the best homemade blueberry pie I’ve ever tasted.  Seriously. 100% homemade and with very little sugar! Keep reading because you are going to want to find out how my Auntie made it.

California was a great trip. It was filled with fun family memories, visits with friends that I haven’t seen in a long time and work -a lot of work.   One of my “work-that-was-fun” things was my tip to a Dairy farm and visit to a cheese making facility thanks to the California Milk Advisory Board.

Don’t you just want to eat the screen?? There is a “secret” ingredient in the pie that brought out the sweetness from the nearly 2lbs of blueberries!

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The crust was sweet, flakey, and baked to perfection.  The inside was just… juicy, fresh and heavenly.  One of my favorite things about this pie was that by using fresh blueberries, the filling retained its texture.

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I had this last piece for breakfast the next day.  Auntie said that she always bakes pies the night before  -never the same day- and leaves them on the kitchen counter overnight.

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Besides the blueberry pie, we also had salad, ribs and corn on the cob.  Baby G, being as sneaky as he is, would gum my corn -and suck on its juices- while I was busy eating.

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I know. You want to pinch his cheeks too. I do it all the time.

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Back to my Auntie’s amazing blueberry pie recipe.  The basis for the recipe is so good that it can be used year round. Just substitute the blueberries for the same amount of fresh fruit.  ”Fresh” being the key word.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Good Every Time Pie Crust & Auntie’s Blueberry Pie
 
This crust is a traditional butter pie crust. Prep:10 minutes + at least 15 minutes for freezing ingredients + at least 1 hour for chilling dough. Makes enough for one double-crust 9-inch pie, one 9-inch lattice-topped tart, or two 9-inch pies
Author:
Serves: One 9inch pie
Ingredients
For Pie Crusts:
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup chilled (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
For Blueberry Pie:
  • 8 cups (about 4 pints) blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar + 1TB sugar, divided
  • 2 TBs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 TBs cornstarch
  • 2 TBs all-purpose flour
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon + ½ tsp, divided
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 TB heavy cream
Instructions
For dough:
  1. Make sure all your ingredients are thoroughly chilled before you begin. I freeze my cubes of butter the night before if I know I plan on making pie crust the next day. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the cold butter and flour mixture until it is the texture of cornmeal. A few pea-size pieces of butter is ok. (If using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture by pressing down quickly, using as few strokes as possible.)
  3. Add 4 tablespoons of ice water and pulse again until the dough forms a ball. (If doing by hand, gather the dough and gently press into a ball.) It should come together loosely; if not, add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide dough in half; place each on plastic wrap. Flatten into disks. Wrap tightly; refrigerate 1 hour or overnight. ***Make-Ahead Note: The pie dough can be made ahead of time, wrapped plastic wrap, and kept in the fridge for up to five days. Or it can be made way in advance, frozen, and then placed in the fridge to defrost five days before using.
For Pie:
  1. Remove disks from refrigerator. Between two sheets of lightly floured parchment paper, press rolling pin gently all over dough to flatten it slightly. Working from the center to the edge in all directions, roll out dough into a round about 3 inches larger than the pie plate.
  2. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin; lift and center it over the pie plate. Gently unroll the dough over the plate, leaving an even amount of overhang around the perimeter.
  3. Place blueberries in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, cornstarch, flour, 1 tsp of cinnamon and lemon juice; stir to combine.
  4. Fill pie with blueberry mixture making a mound over the center.
  5. Assemble top crust, and cut away the excess overhang. Flute the edge of the crust using the pointer finger of one hand and the thumb and pointer of the other hand.
  6. Using a paring knife, cut several vents in top of dough to allow steam to escape. In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and cream. Brush surface with egg wash, being careful not to let it pool.
  7. Freeze or refrigerate pie while preheating oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lower third.
  8. Place pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until crust begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Evenly sprinkle top of pie with 1TB sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. Continue baking, rotating sheet halfway through, until crust is deep golden brown and juices are bubbling and have thickened, about 40 minutes more. If your pie top is browning too dark, cover pie with foil paper for final 10-15min (this varies by oven).
Notes
You can freeze this dough for a future pie. To freeze: divide dough, flatten into a round disc and either wrap in saran wrap or inside quart size zip bag. To use, defrost for about 15 min on counter -just long enough to be able to roll dough. Vegan Option: Substitute butter with coconut oil. Make sure the coconut oil is in its hardened state so you can work with it into a dough.