Friday, September 7, 2012


Early mornings are getting to him. Brick was not thrilled to wake up at 7 again this morning. Tomorrow it's the weekend and he can sleep late, but today he had to get up, put on a happy face, and haul himself off to school. He'll get used to the schedule and be popping out of bed before his alarm in no time, but today is going to be a grumpy day. Luckily, G-man is a happy cheery kid in the morning. It's a nice counter balance.

Princess and Bean are pretty easy to get out of bed. Just have to tell them that if they get dressed, eat breakfast, and take care of their rabbits with enough time to spare, they can check the chicken coop for eggs. One of our buff orpingtons began laying recently and they're still enthralled with the daily egg checks. Hopefully the rest of our birds will start laying soon so they'll have more to check for. We're averaging about one egg per day from 8 chickens and 4 ducks. Soon they should all be laying and we'll have more eggs than we can eat! Well, that's the theory, anyway.

Forgot to post this one yesterday. Beaker's at home bento lunch. He chose the cookie cutter for his turkey, cheese, and sprouts sandwich ~ a little truck. He also has yogurt pretzels, whole grain Goldfish, green grapes, and small cup of Simply Apple juice. I love these little section plates. I think I bought this one at Target for around $2. The little sections make it easy to portion foods out for little guys and to keep things from touching, which is very important when you are three (or so I am told by my tiny little dictator).

G-man has a pretty simple lunch. He requested ham and cheese with cherries. Within reason, I will pack just about anything he asks for. G-man is the pickiest eater I have ever met. He was diagnosed with sensory integration and perception disorder (SID/SPD) when he was 4 and had feeding therapy for about a year to help him to expand his palate, but it didn't seem to help him much. It did help us to learn a few methods of helping him to cope, but at 11 he still eats very few foods and gags easily on most textures. No soups, no sauces, no vegetables (except the very rare fresh sugar snap pea, which he has to completely dissect and eat only the tiny peas inside), only three kinds of meat, no rice, very little pasta, no textured breads. He does like most mild flavored fruits, almost anything sweet, and deeply loves crackers and chips. Dehydrated vegetable chips are something I am slowly trying to work into his diet, but with only minimal success so far. His lunches are generally fairly monotone and incorporate the same ingredients pretty much over and over. I try to mix them up and keep them interesting with as much variety as I can get away with, but if I move too much off the beaten path he doesn't eat any of it, so it's a thin line to walk.

His lunch today: Ham and cheese on whole grain white bread, Cheez Its, pitted cherries, and Dirt and Worms.

Princess has a little salad of shredded cabbage and grape tomatoes (cut in half and threaded onto a food pick), teeny mini sandwiches, pitted cherries, and Dirt and Worms, with a few green grapes tucked in to fill gaps. I also included a little snack packet of Annie's Organic bunny grahams.

Bean's lunch has two skewers of tiny sandwiches, grapes, pitted cherries, Cheez Its, Dirt and Worms, Ritz with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge, and homegrown pickles. It's a lot of food, but some of it is for her snack, some for her lunch, and the rest she will eat after school.

Tiny Mini Sandwiches

These things are ridiculously cute. Teeny tiny itsy bitsy little bite sized sandwiches, no bigger than a quarter. Surprisingly fast and easy to make, and a huge hit with little kids.

To make the tiny sandwiches, I took two small flour tortillas and laid them out on a cutting board. I put a glob of cream cheese on each, spreading the cream cheese out thin to cover the tortillas from edge to edge. Then I put down a layer of pepper turkey on one of the tortillas, and sprinkled clover sprouts over the turkey. I put the second tortilla on top, cream cheese side down. To flatten them slightly I used a rolling pin to roll them a little. Not too much or the fillings will squeeze out the sides, but just enough to press the cream cheese into the turkey and sprouts. Then I took a tiny cookie cutter* to cut the shapes. I pressed the cutter firmly into the tortillas and wiggled it down to cut. As the sandwiches were cut I gently placed them in a stack, and then when the stack was high enough I poked a food pick through to skewer them. The pick will hold the tiny sandwiches together and keep them from falling apart and making a mess in the dish.

The entire process took about fifteen minutes and made enough tiny sandwiches for four long food picks with extras. I sent one skewer with Princess for her lunch, two for Bean, and the last one (and the small pile of trimmings) Beaker and Dude snacked on before bed.

For fillings, anything not too thick can be used. Cream cheese and other spreads help to bind the tortillas together, but aren't absolutely necessary. Cucumber and cream cheese is a delicious combination. Ham and cheese is another good one. Lettuce requires a little bit more of a effort to cut with the little cutters, but it's still pretty easy. These can be made vegetarian, too, or even with peanut butter and jelly. Or with cream cheese and fruit spread for a dessert! They're very versatile and tasty, and easy to make. They can be made with bread instead of tortillas too, but it takes more effort. Another day I will show how to do tiny bread based sandwiches that don't puff up and fall apart.

* The little "cookie cutters" I use for tiny things are Wilton's metal cookie cutters. For these sandwiches I used a frilly heart shaped cutter. I bought my set at JoAnn's on sale, but this set at Amazon is the same set that I have. I have been using mine heavily for over a year and they are still in the same condition as they were brand new. They hold up over time very well, especially if handwashed and dried immediately to prevent rusting. I love these little fondant cutters for packing lunches. They make such nice little accents and I use them for cutting a lot of different things. Having a variety of cookie and fondant cutters on hand makes cute lunches super easy. Cutting cheese into squares to go on crackers is fine and perfectly functional, but hearts and stars and little animal shapes are so much more fun!

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