There are 2 things that are promising to totally transform the look of M’s packed lunches for school in 2017. The first is the reintroduction of parsnips to his diet as I’m finally able to cook a crisp-like addition for his lunchbox, which makes them seem a lot more like those of his friends after a long time of feeling so very different. The second was thanks to a somewhat last-minute Christmas present from good ol’ Father Christmas, which M is absolutely thrilled with and can’t wait to try out now that the new term has started – an individual thermos flask complete with a folding metal spoon tucked neatly into its top.
He’s been considering the matter at great length and has already come up with a long list of meals that he is keen to try out over the coming months. From pasta dishes including lasagne, to risotto and stir-fry, the options are endless, but today’s maiden meal was new-found favourite, parsnip and apple soup. This simple meal is beautifully easy to make, which is something I’m extremely grateful for now that I’m back to work full-time and every second saved cooking is a second gainfully employed somewhere else. Even better, the range of herbs and spices that I can safely add to M’s meals means that I can create enough subtle flavour differences to his soups to provide some much-needed variety and keep him engaged in the novelty of his first hot school lunches in a long time.
For the launch of our experimental hot meals at school, I made a spicy apple and parsnip soup and included a few of the Rude Health mini rice crackers that have become an integral part of many of M’s lunch and snack times. Whilst nothing can really compare to the unquestionable delight of dipping some crusty French bread into a bowl of rich, creamy soup, the portion of homemade, and safe, parsnip and apple soup accompanied by a handful of rice crackers was everything that M was longing for it to be and that meant it was a resounding success. Over the coming weeks I’m looking forward to experimenting a little more with texture and flavour and will be looking at replacing the apple with pear as well as changing the herbs added to each bowlful. Most of all, I’m hoping that M continues to be excited about the prospect of enjoying a mix of hot and cold meals during the next few months of the school year.
When I first discovered my own potato intolerance, there were a few things I knew I would miss. Mashed potato I could do without and chips had never been a particular favourite of mine, but the prospect of a life without roast potatoes or crisps seemed a grim one. Of course, 7 years on and the reality of all that M has had to give up from his diet, my occasional longing for a crisp butty pales into absolute insignificance; but the one thing it has given me is the insight into how much M might be missing his favourite foods and it made me determined to search high and low to find him a safe alternative to that much-loved part of any child’s lunch-box: a bag of crisps.
With rice an early staple in M’s new diet, we quickly included rice cakes as a regular part of his lunch-time routine and the discovery of Rude Health Mini Rice Thins was a success that continues even now as M really enjoys munching on these during his lunch-times at school. Great as they are, the rice crackers don’t quite replace the crisps and I continued to look for something else that might just fit the bill. Rice was quickly followed by chicken and cucumber, but neither really opened up any viable alternatives and it wasn’t until the successful reintroduction of apples into his diet that we finally had a whole new realm of options to investigate.
Thanks to the advice of a couple of my fantastically supportive #EGID Mums, we heard all about Perry Court Farm Apple Crisps and couldn’t wait to try them out. I bought a mix of both their sweet and tangy varieties and the moment the box arrived, M eagerly grabbed a bag to try out. The sharpness of the tangy crisps proved a little too much for his particular taste-buds and he refused to eat more than one or two crisps from that original pack. Fortunately, the sweet ones proved to be more palatable and M enjoyed the addition of some crisps to his daily packed lunch. Sadly, I have to be honest and say that these haven’t been our most successful find as M isn’t keen on the after-taste he is convinced is there and has now stopped eating them completely. They do, however, satisfy my cravings for my much-missed crisps and I’ve really enjoyed them as part of my lunch-box choices for work.