Monday, June 24, 2013

Callaloo! Kallaloo!

I first learned about Callaloo a few years ago from the book "Kallaloo" by David and Phillis Gershator. It's a Caribbean twist on the stone soup story and also has two recipes for callaloo in the back of the book, one using callaloo (a green popular in Trinidad) and one using spinach. I never got around to making either of the recipes, but we checked the book out a few times since it's a fun story.

Fast-forward to this June when I spied Callaloo ("Trinidad's most beloved soups - kale and coconut based with hints of nutmeg and topped with pulled chicken and lemon") on the menu at The Beach Cafe at our PTA Board dinner. I had to try a cup, which was delicious and spicy, and then I was determined to try my hand at the recipe! I didn't check the Kallallo book out again, although I should now that the kids have tried (and love) it... I just browsed online and found a wide variety of riffs on this popular soup. Since I really liked the version I tried at the Beach Cafe, I decided to wing it, and came up with this "recipe" all my own. It would be really delicious with large hunks of firm white fish in it too - or in place of the chicken.

Katrina's Kallaloo Soup

About 2 Tbs. olive oil (heat over medium until shimmering), then add

2 large shallots, chopped
6 cloves crushed garlic, and stir/cook until translucent and fragrant, then add
1 can anchovies in olive oil, drained
4 cups washed, mixed baby kale
2 bunches washed, chopped Lancinato (Tuscan) kale, ribs removed
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (or more to taste) 
1-2 tsp. habanero hot-sauce (to taste), and stir/cook until kale is softened

Next, add 

1 (32 oz?) carton mushroom broth or chicken (I only had mushroom) 
1 carton butternut squash soup, and simmer for 20-30 minutes

Then, use an immersion blender to completely puree the kale, onions, etc. Taste soup and adjust seasonings if needed. 

Finally, add 

1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, shredded
1 can light coconut milk
4-6 oz. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
zest from one large lemon

And, simmer until you're ready to serve. If you want to thicken up the soup, make a roux from a couple Tbs. of melted butter and flour. Enjoy!! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And, that's a wrap...

... final lunch of the school year! 

Avocado & cream cheese sammies on Dave's Killer Bread, fresh local strawberries, carrots with sesame-miso dressing, and Jungle Animal cookies... she loved it all.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Creative Lunches... For The Win!!

Back when M was in preschool, I packed her glorious bento-box lunches three days a week, filled with fun, funky, amazing things. Fast-forward a few years (filled with preschool lunches for brother too), and a full year of 1st- and 2nd-grade lunches (minus the three times she bought lunch), and I'm pretty tired of making lunch every single day. 

And, while sometimes I wish that the girl would just buy lunch, I've visited her cafeteria during lunch a few times this year and tried to eat a healthy, semi-appealing lunch from the lunch line and it's very challenging. So, I understand why she doesn't want to buy lunch. I wouldn't want to eat it either.

While I was away for a week in Hawaii earlier this year, M packed her own lunch every evening, for the next day, and she did gain a real appreciation for the lunches I send with her daily. She's also developed a taste for the simple - PB&J or bagel with cream cheese, fruit, a small treat, and veggies with ranch. Pretty easy. 

But, as we neared the final two weeks of school, and everything seemed to pile up (as it always does at the end), and I was so tired of lunch-packing, and we all just wanted summer, I decided to buck the system because this is the finish line! So many parents just seemed to be celebrating "giving up" on caring about school, and stopped packing lunches, volunteering, or making sure kiddos get homework done. Even one of the kids' teachers shared that she was "done" with the year, and it didn't matter anymore... everyone was doing it (or so it seemed, since so many were paying lip-service to it), and I just had to step away from the crowd and get away from the negativity. 

You don't peter out when you're about to cross the finish! That's a terrible lesson for kids. We're all excited for summer fun, but endurance is the name of the game when it comes to kiddos, life, and a healthy attitude. And, so I got really creative with lunches for the final two weeks of school to pump a little fun into the final miles... here are a few of M's favorites, and you know what? It totally worked - flipped all our attitudes around and we've had a fantastic final two weeks full of in-class fun, field-trip and field-day and party chaperoning, lots of reading and art-lesson teaching, Girl Scout fun, and Thank-You gift coordinating! Attitude makes a world of difference. 

Rainbow Lunch with M's favorites, including fresh pineapple and fresh English Peas. What? No protein you say? She bought white milk, and took cheese & crackers for her snack. 

Flat Stanley party lunch today... flat Stanley PB&J on Dave's Killer Bread, flat-sliced apple with cinnamon cream cheese, flat-sliced strawberries, Stanley cheddar slices, Big Cheezits, and Flat scottie-dog shortbread cookies. Fun!

M's faves lunch... salami, carrots & homemade ranch, roasted Yukon Golds and ketchup, Brussels cookies and fresh Bing Cherries.

And, another rainbow lunch with carrots, orange supremes, and canned pineapple.


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