Brown bagging it + the easiest, laziest cookie recipe ever

Nina brings her lunch to school, which probably comes as no surprise. I make it while she eats breakfast and watches a few minutes of her favorite tv show (if she’s ready for school in time – tv is the best motivator ever). Her lunch includes something in her thermos 3-4 days a week, which I prepare on the stove and then transfer immediately to keep it hot.

vegan kid lunch (1)blueberry coconut yogurt, blanched tofu, pecans+dried apricots, Veggie Booty, veggies+pasta tossed w. olive oil+nutch // most of the veggies are on the bottom; she always thinks there’s more pasta overall based on what she sees at the top // I pack it into her thermos when it’s slightly more firm than al dente, since it will soften a little in the thermos

It probably sounds time consuming, but it isn’t! Not as long as we stick to a schedule. Here’s our morning routine:

0545    I get myself up and ready for work (sometimes hitting snooze until 0600 because dudes, short hair! short hair!)
0610    N’s alarm goes off (she hasn’t learned the art of snoozing – yet)
0615    N is at the table, and if she hasn’t told me what she wants for breakfast, I get to choose it for her
0630a  N finishes breakfast, gets dressed, brushes teeth and hair, makes her bed, (cleans the stables and sweeps the chimney, ha ha ha) and with time left over watches the brothers Kratt
0630b  I start her lunch, have my breakfast, finish getting ready for work (eyeliner and picking out shoes – because short hair!)
0700    Feed the (non-human!) animals
0715    In the car to drop her at school on my way to work

This routine was ignored maybe two or three times last year by Nina. The solution? I got in the car and left without her. (Evil laugh.) (Her dad drove her instead.) (Tough love can fun.)

vegan kid lunch (2)veggie chips, spelt sourdough pb+? (j/banana/chocolate hazelnut spread), a sliced peach; not pictured: yogurt + chocolate almond milk

The thing that always, always, always messed up our routine? Preparing my own lunch. I’m not in the pack-it-up-the-night-before camp, because my lunch ends up tasting stale or gross and I just end up buying something else, then feeding my uneaten lunch to my hens when I get home. The solution was ridiculously easy. I stock my work refrigerator with enough greens and various proteins to provide a week’s worth of giant salads, and only bring from home some veggies and a small jar of whatever easily reheatable leftovers I set aside from the previous night’s meal. Sometimes I bring rice and guacamole, sometimes a curried vegetable biryani. Having a couple of different proteins at work gives me an excuse to indulge in something my family doesn’t have that often (smoked tofu) or that I want to try before serving it to them (Beyond Meat). Also, it gives me an excuse to take a mid-week field trip to Whole Foods when I need to get out of my office. Win-win!

2013041814696my lunch = a casserole dish-sized salad topped w. whatever favorite plant protein was on sale at Whole Foods that week
vegan kid lunch (3)prep time for N’s lunch: 5 minutes // pita bread pb+j/etc, carrot sticks, yogurt w. frozen fruit (to keep it cold!), unshelled pistachios hiding in the monkey bag

If I have a little extra time (especially on days Nina takes a sandwich^^), I’ll also whip up these cookies. I make a small batch, so that my husband doesn’t feel bad about eating all of them five minutes after we leave.

lunch-sized cookiesall packed up, room for a cookie

Anything goes chocolate chip cookies

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These come together very quickly – I start preheating my oven before I even get out the mixing bowl. I’ve discovered that they also bake well in a countertop oven. I use whatever flours are on hand: millet, sorghum, brown rice, oat. I don’t bother with starch, since they’re so tiny. For those of you who aren’t gluten free, they also work well with spelt flour.

§ § §

Large scoop (2-3 tablespoons) nut or seed butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
splash (~1 tablespoon) of almond milk
a few drops of vanilla or almond extract
small pinch of baking soda
small pinch of fine grain salt
2 tablespoons quinoa flour
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 palmful of semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, mash the nut/seed butter, maple syrup and milk into a slurry. Add the extract, baking soda and salt and mix thoroughly. Add the flours and chips and mix one more time. You’ll want the dough to be stiff, but not unmanageable. If too stiff, add another splash of milk. If too wet, add a pinch of flour.

Spoon walnut-sized portions onto a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 12 minutes. No need to space them very far apart, as they will not spread. The cookies will be soft and cakey, firming up as they cool.

Yield: 6 cookies

Prep time: 5 minutes | Bake time: 12 minutes

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10 thoughts on “Brown bagging it + the easiest, laziest cookie recipe ever

    • I let N pick out her own lunch box/bottle/accoutrements, and she still gets excited just about the swag. Also, I send cloth napkins and actual silverware, quieting the burgeoning (and very vocal) environmentalist she’s becoming!

  1. You are a super mom! I was lucky enough to have access to a microwave in 1-9 grades (transferred to a public school after that and not so much) so I just got whatever leftovers we had with nothing much added in. Would have killed for one of those awesome cookies!

    • My lunches were the same as what you describe – blech! It’s probably why my sister has always had a strict “no leftovers” rule in her household. The cookies *are* good – sometimes we snack on them while waiting in the school drop off line. :)

  2. Just wanted to pop on and say I am LOVING all of these posts. It is so good to see you back here writing. Also love the variety and quantity in Nina’s lunches. I see a lot of parents pack very little food and/or not much variety. Exciting.

    • I KNOW! I see what other parents pack and I think, if Nina eats this much food and she’s on the long & lean side, how are they getting enough to eat? Also, holy crap can she be picky. Anything she doesn’t eat at lunch becomes her after school snack.

  3. wow, what a super neat post. I don’t have kids, but I am uber impressed with your ability to keep the show moving on schedule every day. I love that you went off without her when she didn’t stick to the schedule! Your work-lunch solution sounds totally perfect… salads are great too because they don’t bog you down too much.

    • Salads are awesome, because I work out on my lunch break, so I can throw a salad together very quickly and just eat in my office after my break. Also, it was kind of fun leaving without her . . . considering we were running late because she was trying to find a missing glitter boot or decided to bust out her legos or was throwing a tantrum over something silly.

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