So, off to the food service station we go next. I fill out a form for depositing money onto a debit card that will allow my child to purchase lunch, drinks or snacks without carrying cash with him. Now, being gluten-free, there is not much he can eat in the way of lunch in the school cafeteria. Yes, they said last year that they would be happy to make accommodations for him and serve him a gluten-free meal, but I am not sure I trust that. It really isn’t that hard for me to pack him lunch, he just gets tired of it and wants to have what his friends are having. Anyway, they have “gluten-free” marked on his card/account so that when he checks out and uses his debit card, an allergy allert comes up. I am not really sure what this does. Does someone come check to make sure his food is GF? I highly doubt it. Maybe it just prompts the cashier to remind the student to check their food? Who knows. Anyway, he just uses the debit card to purchase fruit (yeah, right) or drinks or yogurt on occasion.
So, the smell of school. The smell of school is the aroma of home baked bread coming from my Zo (my Zojirushi Breadmaker). This is one of my first purchases when I learned I had to eat gluten-free. I had never made homemade bread before in my life, though I used to watch my Grandmother make Challah bread years ago. Something told me that first time I made bread in my new machine that it wouldn’t taste anything like what Grandma used to make. Glad I didn’t set my hopes too high b/c I believe I threw away the first loaf that I made. Many mixes later I came to love Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free bread and that is the smell I know and love! This is the bread that we make our sandwiches with. It is not necessary to toast this bread, like a lot of gluten-free bread out there, but Jon prefers it toasted. I keep it in the fridge after the first day to keep it fresh, so toasting warms it up and lets me add PB or deli meat & cheese and then pack for him to have for lunch. So when I walked in the house from picking up Jon’s schedule, I was met with the wonderful aroma of bread waiting for me. I had to slice some and have a sandwich for lunch. Yum!
While I am here and blogging, I might as well share what Jon likes to take for lunch. He has been packing lunch now for 2 school years straight. He used to buy lunch a couple days a week before he was diagnosed with Celiac. One of the first things I did was buy him a thermos that could keep his food warm until lunch time. I found it at Wal-Mart for under $10. I fill it with hot water about a half-hour before I put the warm food in and it will keep the food warm for approximately 5 hours. The only thing that stinks about this (literally) is that when your child forgets to bring it home and it sits in his locker all weekend, it is tough to clean. You can only hand wash these and it is close to impossible to get the smell and stains from chili or spaghetti out of white plastic that has been hiding out in a locker for a few days. Here are some of the things I pack for Jon on a rotating basis:
~Deli Roll-ups – meat with American cheese rolled up inside. You could use cream cheese too, Jon is not a fan.
~Tacos in a bag – Taco meat in the thermos. Bag of Fritos or GF Doritos (we use Cool Ranch) and shredded cheese on the side. I also pack a small container of taco sauce (Ortega Mild).
~ PB Sandwich – Simple..PB on Pamela’s bread. Jelly makes the bread soggy, so I either put PB on both sides and then add jelly or pack it for him to add.
~ Macaroni & Cheese – Tinkyada pasta made with the Kraft cheese powder (comes in a can…whoever thought that up is SUPER clever!). I have also made Mac & Cheese with Velveeta cheese. Jon likes it either way.
~ Chili – He likes Hormel chili with beans. (Not all Hormel Chilis are GF, so make sure to check Hormel’s list or only buy the regular with beans). I pack tortilla chips, cheese and taco sauce on the side.
~ Cold pizza – I make homemade pizza out of Pamela’s Wheat Free bread mix and then he will take it cold for lunch the next day. He loves this!
~ Pepperoni & cheese – Hormel Pepperoni and American cheese. He will make little meat sandwiches out of these. Fun and easy, too!
~ Spaghetti & Meat Sauce – Usually left over from the night before. Tinkyada pasta and Prego 3-Cheese sauce with ground turkey or beef.
I alternate side items for him. I do fresh fruit in season. He is picky about fruit, so I have to pack something I know won’t end up in the trash. Bananas or apples, forget it. In the trash can. He will eat cantaloupe or grapes. In the winter I will do Mott’s Natural Applesauce with cinnamon on top for him. He seems to enjoy that. He usually gets Cool Ranch Doritos with sandwiches. He won’t eat raw veggies, so that is out. I will sometimes put in baby carrots with Italian dressing to dip in, but I have to wonder how often he really eats that. He used to tell on himself when he didn’t eat something, now I am not so sure. He may have wisened up in his old years. Desserts are either homebaked cookies or brownies. I do buy Trader Joe’s Gingersnaps (very good) or the occasional box of Enjoy Life cookies (he really likes the Snickerdoodle flavor).
So the summer is coming to an end. It is bittersweet. I really enjoyed spending the summer with my kids, but it is time for them to go back and join their friends.