Remember the good old days of PB & J?

When we were kids lunches were just peanut butter and jam slapped on bread, a juice box and that was that. Now things are more complicated and you’re probably already sick to death of making your child’s school lunches. With allergies and litter free restrictions and your own kids’ preferences lunches can’t be just a sandwich anymore.  Here are a few brown bag lunch ideas to spruce up the old ho hum ordeal.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Jennifer Chait

Think outside of the bread box. Here are some lunch options that forgo the bread and some school approved fillings:

  • Romaine, Swiss chard, steamed kale leaves or Boston lettuce as wraps
  • Rice paper wraps (they make great day old salad holders)
  • Grilled Portobello mushrooms stuffed with filling of your choice
  • Apple slices stacked with cheddar cheese
  • Use skewers to layer fruits
  • Baby pita used for dipping; layer bean burrito fillings: refried beans, cheese, salsa…in mini containers.
  • Hollowed out cucumber stuffed with tuna
  • Celery filled with cream cheese
  • Red pepper halves hold everything nicely

Jazz up fillings by turning them into salad toppers. Try:

  • Tuna, olives, grapes chopped celery
  • Cooked potatoes, chick peas, curry powder and yogurt
  • Salmon, dill, chopped kale, honey mustard
  • Feta cheese, chopped peppers steamed Brussels sprouts, oregano
  • Frozen spinach, blue cheese, mayo, dried thyme, chopped garlic

Slap this list on the fridge and take a look at it whenever you want to avoid the brownbag burnout.

Here is a healthy recipe for a delicious sandwich that all can enjoy!

 

Baby Kale Caesar Salad Sandwiches

This mixture is equally good cold or grilled. If you want to take it for lunch, keep the salad filling separate until you are ready to enjoy and pre-scoop the buns.  Keep insides and break up onto a cookie sheet, toast in oven and then blend into breadcrumbs. (If you want to go low carb or paleo, simply swap the bread for rice or lettuce wraps!)

Makes: 4     Takes:15 minutes

4 whole grain Kaisers or Rolls

2 boiled eggs

½ cup silken tofu

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy mustard

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

8 cups baby kale leaves or other hearty greens

Mash boiled eggs with tofu, parmesan, anchovy paste, lemon zest, juice, mustard, vinegar, oil and garlic.  Mix well and toss with kale. Scoop out the centre of each roll. Stuff into bread bowls.

If you wish to have a hot sandwich, add a layer of shaved parmesan and grill on a Panini press or in a skillet, pressing to flatten.

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Fundraiser Spotlight: Short and Sweet.

The saying ‘short and sweet’ is commonly used when something is less painful than expected. For example; wedding speeches. No one likes a long, drawn out wedding speech. Argh.

Or the wait at the walk in clinic. Imagine walking in at 2:00pm and being called in at 2:04pm. Short and sweet. No one likes waiting; especially during cold and flu season. Yuk!

Our NEW Fundraising Program is ‘short and sweet’ and we think you’ll like it!

Previously, organizations could run fundraising campaigns that were year-long, but now we offer a maximum of 60 days to fundraise. Why? Because people react better to things that are ‘short and sweet.’ We’re all busy, so why draw out a fundraiser for 12 months, when you can focus on it for just 2 months? We know that there are other initiatives, companies and causes that are important to your organization.

It’s proven that supporters are more likely to take action regarding a fundraiser if they’re given a due date to purchase. With our new program, they have up to 60 days to support your cause earning you 20% commission on their order. If their order comes through your fundraising campaign after your campaign ends, then you earn just 5%.This is extra incentive for them to support you earlier.

With the new fundraising program you don’t need to constantly remind supporters throughout the year. You can choose the time of year that best suits your organization (Back-to-School season, holidays, or targeted around a special event like a year-end trip) so that you can set your sights on reaching your goal. Easily and quickly email and post to social media information about your campaign. Social media marketing is effective and easy, and with the click of a button you can invite committee members (or parents, teachers, coaches, etc) to join your campaign to assist you with your efforts. Effectively watch your commissions grow with your very own customized campaign page.

Short and sweet.

Here are some other reasons why our new 30-60 campaign driven fundraising program is painless:

-          20% commission earned during campaign period

-          5% commission earned up to 6 months after campaign has ended

-          Fast payouts. We’re talkin’ within 15-20 days fast.

-          Build a fundraising committee within your campaign. The more people you have join your cause, the quicker you’ll reach your goal!

-          Real time results. See who’s supporting you.

-          Social sharing tools. Everyone is online; reach them that way! No more door to door!

-          Customized campaign page; upload your logo, organization info and cause details. The more a potential supporter knows about you, the more likely they will support.

 

To learn more about how our Fundraising Campaign works and how to raise money online, click here. To sign up for a campaign, go here.

 

Quick. Easy. Painless. Fundraising.

Because we all like…Short and sweet.

 

Should You Co-Sleep…with your partner?!

By Lisa Van Meeteren

 

I haven’t had a REM cycle since 2002.

Or at least it certainly feels that way. It’s no coincidence that it’s also the year I got married. While many debate about whether or not to co-sleep with their children-that was never a consideration in our household. I have enough trouble getting quality zzz’s without inviting another human being into my bed, as it is already occupied, quite fully by another. Yes, the love of my life, sigh.

When I first began to share my bed with my husband, (earmuffs, Mom) I didn’t mind his “quirky” habits. Everything he did, including throwing his legs on top of me until I dreamt I was in a fifty car pile-up on the QEW and snuggling me until I dreamt I was being “heimliched ,” was a part of his charm. And he didn’t seem to mind that I stretched out like a giant starfish every night. As these sleep habits became less charming we adapted, and invested in a little thing I like to call, the marriage saver, otherwise known as a king bed. Problem solved. Sleep once again became a reality, until…children. And we all know how that goes, so once again sleep deprivation ruled my life, and I obsessed over sleep like some dieters obsess over cheeseburgers, refusing to give into the temptation of sleeping pills in case I was needed.

Then once my kids grew a little older and when they managed to stay healthy, guess what? I still couldn’t sleep. After years of training myself to remain half alert in case a baby, toddler, or sick child needed me, I slept on half alert, like I was taking a light nap. Which meant I heard- EVERYTHING. Every timbre of every snore my husband orchestrated, every slurp, bodily function and whistle annoyed me. I needed a solution so I bought marriage saver #2-earplugs. And it worked. Every night I shoved those babies into my eardrums so hard that I probably have more hearing damage than your average groupie. And not only did I not hear all of my husband’s snoring as an added bonus I didn’t hear the kids the first time they cried either. This meant for the first time since their birth, my husband woke up before I did and attended to them!

So all was good in the universe was again, until….my husband took up night running. I don’t mean he left the house and went jogging, I mean in bed in his dreams. Every night he would run marathons in his sleep his legs whirling around like electric mixers jiggling me awake the second I started to dream. (Which explained how he looked so trim and why the circles under my eyes would make any nocturnal trash loving beast, envious. Yes, raccoons.)

Once again I began missing my beloved REM cycle. I started to think that maybe Victorian couples were on to something in the days of candlelight and separate bed chambers with a “nookie” door. Sounds romantic to me. Imagine this. After a blessed night’s sleep, you awaken refreshed and greet your mate all groomed and ready to go maintaining illusions of grandeur. I could do that. There’s something enticing about my husband not witnessing me with my mouth guard, earplugs, and eye mask, all part of my womb-like and completely unsexy sleep ritual. And just when this was on the forefront of my mind, that’s when I saw it on TV, dangled in front of me like a beacon of hope.

“Many couples are choosing to have two master bedrooms now,” a designer said. He went on to talk about other bedroom ideas, including the new trend of homes being built with two master bedrooms, a preference of many busy modern day couples who are making the quality of their sleep a priority. I wondered…was this solution #3?

So we tried it. Not on purpose at first. My husband had a cold, and his snoring was an operatic assault to the senses, breaking all sound barriers, including my earplugs, and the pillow I shoved over my head. I kept kicking him, (it started out like a love tap, a gentle, ‘hey, you’re snoring’ and it turned into a ninja- like assault) until he finally woke up and said, “I need to get some sleep!” Ditto pal!

He plodded off to the guest room and for a moment I languished like a child making snow angels stretching out as far as I could go. Then I began to feel guilty. He was the one who was sick. I should have left. I didn’t get much sleep that night. The next night he automatically went to the guest room saying that he wanted me to have a good night’s sleep and I did, sort of. His cold improved but the following night he remained in the guest room and it felt odd. Like we were fighting, though we weren’t.

And it hit me. I missed sharing a bed with him. I missed a friendly tap on the shoulder when I’m grinding my teeth, or a sleepy back rub to calm me down. I missed spontaneous morning cuddles that sometimes led to something more. So I googled restless leg syndrome cures, gave him magnesium (solution #4) and invited him back into our bed where he belonged. I knew I was taking a gamble on whether or not I would get a REM cycle but felt like it was better than gambling with the intimacy of our marriage. So, my take on co-sleeping with my partner? I’m all in. Gassiness, snoring, kicking, cuddles, comfort and closeness- in.

Would you consider the nouveau bedroom ideas that include couples who sleep in separate beds in order to get a quality night’s sleep? Do you have some marriage advice or solutions you’ve come up with to overcome insomnia and sleep deprivation?

 

About the Author

Lisa Van Meeteren is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 9. She works as a copywriter and has just completed a novel!

 

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