Family Dinner Tonight!

It's Family Dinner night tonight! I can't wait. In light of the hot steamy weather and the Summer of Salads, we're having broccoli salad, cold sesame noodles, watermelon, and bread.
I'm hoping to have some great photos of the food and families to post tomorrow, so be sure to check back - I'll post the recipe for the broccoli salad too.

Summer Solstice

The kitchen is a great place to be at BCS. But for a while now, our Blue Preschool has been eating lunch in their classroom instead. It worked for the kids because not moving back and forth between rooms meant less transitioning at an already tricky time of day. Now however, they are ready for a change of scenery. And I'm so happy to report that our new schedule of two serving times to allow everyone from both classrooms time to eat in the kitchen is working out well so far.
I love it for several reasons... I get to spend a little time with all four teachers instead of just 2, I get to spend time with all the kids and talk to them about the food and get more feedback, and it just makes the pace more relaxed. Serving is easier, and clean up is too. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have helpers like these...

In other news, we love SPINACH!

We have been eating it raw in salads, sauteed in olive oil, and baked into rice casserole. We can't get enough!

Family Dinner is coming up next week. We're having cold sesame noodles and my new obsession, cold broccoli salad. And some watermelon, and probably bread. We love bread!

Well THAT was fast!

I'm sorry for the long, long wait between posts. I've been really busy. I had a a baby!
Her name is Sadie Lou Simon and she's now about three months old.
Our fearless leader Sarah made her this great shirt - I took this photo when she was about two weeks old. Now she looks like this..

...asleep at the Old North End farmer's market!

It's been a huge adjustment for my whole family but we are all settling in nicely and I think I'm finally ready to get back down to Lunch Lady business in earnest!
Sooo....where to start?
Well let's see. I returned to lunch duty on May 10th after 6 weeks at home. My substitute, the lovely Hannah, stayed on with me for two extra days while I got my sea legs back. My comeback lunch was black bean and cheese quesadillas, tomato soup, corn, and apples.

Quesadillas are always a hit. And boy was I glad to be back!

The rest of May was cool, so we enjoyed some comforting cold weather favorites for a few weeks. Spaghetti and meatballs, and macaroni and cheese of course...

But after a few super hot days, everyone's tastes turned to lighter fare. One especially sweltering morning I made a cold three bean salad in a desperate last minute switch from baked pasta to avoid turning the oven on, and it was a welcome change.

And with that, my idea for the Summer of Salads began. A new salad every week, either as a main dish or a side, preferably using at least some ingredients grown locally, with the recipe posted here! Luckily, summer is now officially upon us and that means gardening at BCS, the neighborhood farmer's market, and lots of fresh stuff! Once again we are partnering with Grow Team One to sponsor our plot ay the Archibald Community Garden. The toddlers and preschoolers have been working on the two raised beds there and everyone is working hard to transform the playground and use every available inch for growing. In the works are squash and zucchini, tomatoes, herb pots, a sunflower house, and a raised bed alongside the kitchen growing beans and peas.
The preschoolers also brought some herb pots into the kitchen for me to use in our lunches!

Today we had egg salad sandwiches with chives from the kitchen pots, along with watermelon and carrots.

So to kick off the Summer of Salads, here's the recipe we used for Cold Bean Salad!

1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained
1 15 oz can of red kidney beans, drained
1.5 lbs of green beans, ends trimmed, cut into medium pieces, and blanched
( dipped in boiling water for a minute or two, they should still be pretty crunchy)
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tsp garlic powder
Black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients, taste and adjust however you like. It gets better after chilling together for a few hours or even overnight. Great for lunch on a hot day!

I'm so glad to be cooking again! Especially since I'm lucky enough to have Sadie near enough to be able to visit me in the kitchen!
I'll be back soon with more recipes, and news about our family dinner scheduled for the 28th, and our upcoming American Flatbread fundraiser!