Hello!  This inaugural post is inspired by the lunches I made today for two-year-old daughter M.  Like many lunch-making parents, I try to put together meals that are relatively healthy, with a balance of food groups and without a bunch of processed stuff.  In general, I try to incorporate at least the following into each lunch: one protein serving, one vegetable serving, one serving of whole grain/carbs, and one serving of dairy.  Once in a while, I throw in fruit, but M tends to get fruit at breakfast and dinner, so I usually lay off it at lunch.

Today was a what’s-in-the-fridge? kind of day.  There was no considering of recipes or shopping for particular ingredients.  I started with the idea of putting some brown rice in the rice cooker.  I had a couple of blocks of extra firm tofu in the fridge.  I had some veggies.  Felt like a stir fry of some kind.

Brown rice went into the rice cooker first.  Then, I did a bunch of other stuff while the rice . . . you know . . . cooked.

I drained the blocks of tofu and blotted them dry-ish with paper towels.  I cooked the tofu in the only way that I’ve ever really had much success with:  I put a tablespoon or two of sesame oil in a nonstick pan with an equal amount of cooking/canola oil.  I turned on the burner pretty high, and when the oil shimmered, I added one block of tofu.  Today, I tried two ways of cutting up the tofu: in cubes and steaks (to cut into cubes after frying).  Both methods were fine, but I think I prefer the control I have over the color of the steaks.  See how they got nice and brown?

IMG_9457 (1)Here is how the tofu looked after all the cooking and cubing:IMG_9458 (1)I guess they’re not so much cubes, are they?  Rectangular prisms?  Did I mention I used to be a Math teacher?

OK, so now I chopped an onion, a green pepper, and some carrot.  I added a little more sesame/canola oil to the pan, turned the heat up high, waited for the oil to shimmer, and added the veggies to the pan.

IMG_9460I sauteed the veggies until they were soft, and added a tablespoon or so of jarred minced garlic and some Chinese five-spice powder.  I sauteed for a minute or so until fragrant, then added three or four cups of the cooked rice.  I cracked two eggs on top of the whole thing and stirred it all up, still over the high heat.  Once the eggs were cooked, I seasoned with a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce.

IMG_9462I portioned the fried rice into five two-cup containers like this one:

IMG_9464Then I added about a heaping half cup of the tofu to each container and stirred it in:

IMG_9468Yes, this has some veggies in it, but I wanted more in M’s lunch.  I had some butternut squash puree leftover from Thanksgiving, so I portioned some into half-cup containers like this:

IMG_9473Of course, there wasn’t enough squash for five portions, so I also prepped a broccoli crown into florets . . .

IMG_9471 . . . and stir fried it in the same sesame/canola oil mix over high heat until bright green with some charred spots.  I put a half cup or so of this into some one-cup containers, like this:

IMG_9478With protein, grain, and veg all set, I added a serving of one of M’s absolute favorites, cottage cheese.  This week, M’s lunch will be one of these two options:

IMG_9481IMG_9480That’s it.  First post complete!