Lunchbox Recipes From Best Homemade Kids Lunches Book


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Back-to-school time means putting some thought into creative lunchboxes. Here are some original recipes  from the new book Best Homemade Lunches on the Planet by blogger and author Laura Fuentes.

The book offers simple and approachable recipes designed for various ages, and helps put variety and nutrition back to lunches using fresh, healthful ingredients. The book includes steps on prepping recipes in advance and making ideal child-sized portions based on a child's age, size, and needs. It features 200 "real-food" recipes, and here are a few of Laura Fuentes' recipes to give you a sample of what's in the book.

Black Bean Quesadillas

It's a myth that quesadillas need to be hot and the cheese needs to be gooey and melty for kids to love them. They are excellent at room temperature and the perfect disguise for healthy things—such as beans. (Pictured above Laura Fuentes' Black Bean Quesadillas)

1/4 cup (25 g) canned black beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons (16 g) frozen corn, thawed
1 tablespoon (9 g) scallions, chopped very small (optional)
2 teaspoons (1 g) fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon Arriba! Seasoning (page 106)
1/4 cup (30 g) shredded Cheddar cheese
Two 8-inch (20 cm) tortillas
2 ounces (55 g) Homemade Salsa (page 180)
In a large bowl, place the beans, corn, onion, if using, cilantro, seasoning, and cheese. Gently mix until everything is evenly combined.
Scoop the filling and place on top of one side of one tortilla. Top with the second tortilla.
In a warm skillet, cook both sides over medium heat until the tortilla is brown and crispy, and the cheese has melted.
For a school lunch: I like to assemble quesadillas the night before. In the morning, I slowly grill them while I pour myself a cup of coffee. After the quesadilla is grilled, I lay it on a cutting board to cool, usually while I am getting the kids dressed. Then, simply cut and pack them inside the lunchbox.
YIELD: 1 or 2 servings
___________________________________
Kitchen Note
Why not make extra quesadillas and freeze them? Assemble quesadillas and place flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Once the quesadillas are flash frozen, about 1 hour, transfer to a freezer bag and store flat.
To reheat: Warm in the microwave, or grill in a skillet on low, so you won't burn the tortilla and all the ingredients have time to warm and the cheese to melt.
___________________________________.

o-abc-pinwheels.jpgABC Pinwheels

I love the combination of avocado and bacon. The sweet flavor of ripe avocado paired with the crunchy, salty flavor of bacon is definitely worth each savory bite.

1/4 avocado, mashed
2 teaspoons (10 g) mayonnaise
One 8-inch (20 cm) flour tortilla
2 slices (15 g) bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons (15 g) shredded, white Cheddar cheese
In a small bowl, mash the avocado and mix with the mayonnaise.
Place the tortilla on a cutting board, and spread the mayonnaise–avocado mixture evenly over the top. Top with the bacon and cheese.
Roll the tortilla tightly. Cut the tortilla roll in half, and then into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces.
YIELD: 1 serving

Laura's Tip
Save time in the morning by assembling pinwheels the night before and packing them in the lunchbox.

Breakfast Burritoo-breakfast-burrito.jpg

No more frozen breakfast burritos with mystery ingredients, or a quick trip to the drive-through. This is the perfect make-ahead recipe that your entire family will love!
1 tablespoon (16 g) Homemade Salsa (page 180)
1 tablespoon (15 g) sour cream
One 8-inch (20 cm) tortilla
1 large egg, scrambled
2 tablespoons (15 g) shredded cheese
1 slice (7 g) bacon, cooked and crumbled
In a small bowl, the mix salsa and sour cream.
Lay the tortilla on a cutting board, and spread the salsa mixture evenly on the middle third. Lay the egg, cheese, and bacon on top. Fold the sides in, and then roll into a burrito.
For the lunchbox: Wrap in parchment paper and a thin layer of foil to retain the heat (optional). If you must have these warm, cut them in half and insert face up inside a thermos.
YIELD: 1 serving
____________________
Kitchen Note
Get a pack (or two) of flour tortillas and make extra breakfast burritos. Line a baking sheet with parch- ment paper, lay the burritos flat 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart and flash freeze. Transfer the frozen burritos into a freezer ziplock bag. To warm, microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute and enjoy. Store in the freezer up to 2 months.

o-mexican-soup.jpgMexican Soup

With mild, robust flavors, this soup is perfect to fill the thermos on a cold day.

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (130 g) carrots, coarsely diced
1/2 cup (75 g) green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup (80 g) onion, diced
2 small zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons (14 g) ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 can (14 ounces, or 396 g) petite diced tomatoes, drained
4 cups (940 ml) vegetable broth
1 can (14 ounces, or 400 g) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (235 ml) water
1/2 cup (95 g) uncooked brown rice
Cilantro for garnish
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add in the carrots, pepper, onion, zucchini, and garlic. Sauté until just tender, and add in the cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Stir and cook for 1 minute until the spices are fragrant.
Pour in the tomatoes, broth, beans, and water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the rice and simmer for an additional 35 minutes. Garnish with cilantro to serve.
YIELD: 6 servings

Photos are courtesy of Laura Fuentes' new book Best Homemade Lunches on the Planet

To find more of all kinds of recipes for your family, visit our recipes page.


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November 2017

Step back in time with a 19th-century costumed interpreter and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Registration encouraged online. Tickets available at the...

Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Celebrate the wonderful world of exotic animals and reptiles. Enjoy live specimens, presentations, raffles, vendors and much more. Purchase tickets online.  

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N.C. State Fairgrounds, Kerr Scott Building
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

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Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

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Erwin Road
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

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Open Arts
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Kicks off the holiday season with local art, music, food, and family activities at various locations in Durham’s historic downtown district. Presented by the Durham Arts Council with support...

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Downtown Durham
120 Morris St.
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Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Register online.

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Celebrate the natural world and where favorite Thanksgiving foods come from. Make a craft. All ages with adult. Register online.

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Crowder District Park
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Apex, NC
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Search the preserve for hidden holiday-themed clues and learn about native wild turkeys. Make a turkey decoration. Ages 5 and older with parent. Register online. Choose course code...

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Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
Wake Forest, NC
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Search for salamanders, owls and more. Ages 10-13. Register online.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Park West Village hosts Winter Wonderland in the District. This year’s event will take place the weekend of November 17th. Take the family to enjoy train rides, magical winter lights, live...

Cost: Free; $5 donation for sledding

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Park West Village
3400 Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Telephone: 919-234-6710
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See ponies, hunters and jumpers compete in an event that benefits Duke Children's Hospital. Visit the website for hours and fees.

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Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
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Children ages 18 months-4 years and their parents enjoy free creative movement and music classes. The creative movement class focuses on the development of gross motor skills and...

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Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of Neuse Rd.
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Telephone: 919-865-5725
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Make crafts celebrating turkeys. All ages with adult. Meet at the Cardinal Shelter. Registration not required. 

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Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
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Children ages 18 months-4 years and their parents enjoy free creative movement and music classes. The creative movement class focuses on the development of gross motor skills and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: St. Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Sarah Rapp
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Kids ages 6 and younger enjoy stories. Take part in an optional arts and crafts session after storytime for $5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Learn what it was like to be a kid at the first Thanksgiving. Play games and make a food collage. Choose either the 10:30-noon and 2-3:30 p.m. session. Ages 7 and older. Register online.

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Raleigh, AL
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Toddler Time is a special time for ages 5 and younger to bounce under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
Sky Zone Durham
1720 Guess Rd., Ste. 90
Durham, NC  27701
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Children ages 18 months-4 years and their parents enjoy free creative movement and music classes. The creative movement class focuses on the development of gross motor skills and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: St. Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Sarah Rapp
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Explore the woods and shoreline for signs of nature and collect treasures to make a craft. Take a full water bottle, snack and a bag lunch. Ages 6-11. Meet at the Cypress Shelter. Advance...

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Harris Lake County Park
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Kids ages 6 and younger enjoy stories. Take part in an optional arts and crafts session after storytime for $5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Listen for the sound of silver bells and climb aboard in your pajamas for a first-class journey on the Polar Express. Come early to meet Santa and enjoy kid-friendly activities and a traditional...

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Meymandi Concert Hall
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Athletes improve their flexibility, balance, joint mobility, as well as body and breath awareness. Special attention will be paid to core strength and posture and its importance in performance and...

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Little Guru Kids Yoga and Creative Arts
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Raleigh, NC  27603
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Children ages 18 months-4 years and their parents enjoy free creative movement and music classes. The creative movement class focuses on the development of gross motor skills and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: St. Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Sarah Rapp
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Celebrate what you're thankful for. Play a game and make a pine cone turkey craft. All ages with adult. Drop-in program. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Shop more than 20 local vendors offering amazing gifts this holiday season. Enjoy daily raffles with proceeds benefiting local animal rescue Paws in the City. Kids can enjoy crafts...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Crossroads
333 Crossroads Blvd
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

Children ages 18 months-4 years and their parents enjoy free creative movement and music classes. The creative movement class focuses on the development of gross motor skills and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: St. Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Sarah Rapp
Website »

More information

A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

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Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Telephone: 919-828-3344
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Read the story by Karma Wilson and make a Thanksgiving-themed craft. All ages. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, AL
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

See a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovky's timeless music. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $35-$55

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

See the classic holiday story brought to life onstage featuring favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

See the classic holiday story brought to life onstage featuring favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

See a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovky's timeless music. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $35-$55

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Catch this comedy classic on the big screen—as the symphony plays the charming and delightful score by John Williams live. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $14-$29

Where:
Meymandi Concert Hall
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

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Fit & Able Productions presents the Turkey Chase trail festival at Umstead Park. Take part in a 5K, 10K or 20K. After the race, enjoy fruit, brownies and other...

Cost: $25-$45

Where:
Umstead Park
8801 Glenwood Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Sponsor: Fit and Able Productions
Telephone: 919-673-4689
Contact Name: Travis
Website »

More information

Celebrate what you're thankful for. Play a game and make a pine cone turkey craft. All ages with adult. Drop-in program. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Toddler Time is a special time for ages 5 and younger to bounce under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
Sky Zone Durham
1720 Guess Rd., Ste. 90
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Shop more than 20 local vendors offering amazing gifts this holiday season. Enjoy daily raffles with proceeds benefiting local animal rescue Paws in the City. Kids can enjoy crafts...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Crossroads
333 Crossroads Blvd
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Website »

More information

The Raleigh Boychoir makes an appearance before its big Christmas concert.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

Kids ages 6 and younger enjoy stories. Take part in an optional arts and crafts session after storytime for $5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

See the classic holiday story brought to life onstage featuring favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Take a 30-minute tour to view the main power drive and milling machinery. Tickets available inside the park's visitor center. Online registration encouraged.

Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Explore the historic nature of Leigh Farm Park with a friendly guide. Venture inside the historic farmhouse while being captivated by tales about life at Leigh Farm throughout the years.

Cost: Free

Where:
Leigh Farm Park
370 Leigh Farm Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 919-560-1116
Contact Name: Natalya Buckel
Website »

More information

See the classic holiday story brought to life onstage featuring favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Catch this comedy classic on the big screen—as the symphony plays the charming and delightful score by John Williams live. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $14-$29

Where:
Meymandi Concert Hall
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

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