freezer meals

Stuff We Like :: 4.21.17

home|school|life’s Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources. 

Hello, weekend! 

around the web

People used to call me a grammar vigilante because I’d pull over while driving to complain to someone about a pluralizing apostrophe (what is up with that, though?), but this guy totally puts me to shame.

Who’s up for an HSL field trip?

Why do women’s dystopias seem so prescient right now?

I love this: What famous authors’ most used words say about them

 

at home/school/life

on the blog: Celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday with some of our favorite film adaptations

one year ago: 4 ways to get your homeschool mornings off to a great start

two years ago: Inside Shelli’s project-based homeschool

 

reading list

I loved The Lost City of Z (which is the kind of twisty, nerdy historical mystery I can’t resist, and which you should definitely read if you’re also into that), so I was excited to pick up David Grann’s new book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

Continuing my “women writers I’d never heard of” run, I read Rumer Godden’s In This House of Brede, about a successful career woman who retires from the world to join a community of Benedictine nuns just in time to help solve the financial crisis caused by the death of the order’s charismatic Abbess. It's one of those books that you want to go back and read again right away just so that you don’t have to leave the world and people it’s created.

It’s funny to be reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with my son so soon after rereading Huckleberry Finn because I am still full of post-Huck Tom hatred. (Seriously, let’s go drink too much wine and complain about how terrible Tom Sawyer is, can we?) I’m trying to embrace the lighthearted spirit especially because my son is kind of digging it, but I AM NOT A FAN.

 

in the kitchen

I am in the restocking the freezer phase of cooking right now, and I was happy to discover this recipe that uses leftover brisket because I may have gone a little overboard with the brisket this year.

Nobody else in my family will eat this, but that’s okay because I want it all for myself anyway.

Cookie of the week: glazed lemon cookies

 

at home

I am a sucker for time travel and Victoriana, so obviously it was only a matter of time before I watched Time After Time. (If it sounds familiar, it’s because the television series is based on the 1979 movie and has the same premise: Jack the Ripper steals H.G. Wells’ time machine and travels to the present day; Wells follows him to bring him back to face justice for his crimes.) It’s just OK, but it’s fun enough for those collapsed-on-the-couch evenings.

Am I being totally superficial if I say that I have finally found my perfect everyday lipstick?

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but everything always feels so hectic! I’m looking forward to the winding-down phase of all our school-year activities and the slower-paced summer school days. Though I am not looking forward to the crowds at the library!


4 Easy Ways to Homeschool Lunch

Great list of easy lunch ideas for homeschoolers.

One of the biggest practical challenges of homeschool life is feeding everybody all the time. And lunch — right smack in the middle of your day — can be the biggest challenge of all. These four strategies won’t make lunchtime hassle-free, but they will free up your brain enough to worry about what you're going to do for dinner instead.

Solution 1: Lunchboxes

  • Pros: lunch is ready to go whenever you are
  • Cons: requires nigh􏰁t-time prep; not always the most budget-friendly option

Take a cue from the school set, and simplify lunchtime by packing it up the night before. Stick with the classics — we like hummus, quinoa, cucumber, and grated carrots on a spinach tortilla or peanut butter, honey, and banana on oatmeal bread for easy sandwiches, with little containers of yogurt, fruit, veggie chips, and a cookie for dessert. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can steal some cute bento box ideas, but kids who don’t pack a lunch every day are likely to be just as excited about a plain sandwich and apple combo. (I get all my best sandwich ideas from the Saltie cookbook.) Make a lunchbox or brown bag for each kid, stash it in the fridge, and lunch is ready to go even before you start your morning coffee. 

 

Solution 2: Freezer Meals

  • Pros: easy on the budget
  • Cons: gets boring; does require some advance planning

Once-a-month freezer stocking ensures that you’ll always have a hot lunch at the ready. Our freezer faves include macaroni-and-cheese bowls; black bean and butternut squash burritos; soups and chili; and chicken potpies. There are lots of freezer meal cookbooks out there, but I’ve splattered and dog-eared Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook enough to recommend it. Freeze meals in individual portions (so you don’t have to listen to a 10-minute argument about whether you should heat up spinach lasagna or kale, sweet potato, and lentil hand pies), pop them in the fridge at bedtime, and they should be ready to heat up for the lunchtime rush.

 

Solution 3: Snack Plates

  • Pros: great for picky eaters, no cooking needed
  • Cons: assembly required; can be expensive

The beauty of this cheese plates-inspired lunch is that you can assemble it with all the random bits and pieces in your fridge and cupboards. Presentation is what makes a snack plate like this feel like lunch, so take the time to arrange small wedges of cheese, little stacks of chopped vegetables or fruits, cured or smoked meats, leftover tuna salad, and other hearty nibbles. Add crackers or vegetable chips — homemade or store-bought — and spoonfuls of mustard, jam, chutney, and purees to the plate. Set it out, and the kids can assemble their own lunches from the ingredients. It’s nice to give each kid her own plate, but you can also set up a fancy spread on a serving plate or cutting board for everyone to share.

 

Solution 4: Emergency Pizza

  • Pros: versatile; easy to customize for picky eaters
  • Cons: requires last-minute stove time

Until a genius friend introduced me to tortilla pizzas, I always thought pizza was too much hassle for lunchtime. But using a tortilla for a base makes a quick pizza as easy as a grilled cheese sandwich. The usual tomato-mozzarella-mushroom combo is great, but you can get adventurous with pesto topped with leftover grilled chicken, veggies, and fontina cheese; butternut squash puree topped with goat cheese and bacon; or even hummus with crispy chickpeas, avocados, and roasted garlic. Lay your tortilla flat in a cast-iron skillet, layer on toppings and cheese, and let it bake in a 375-degree oven for about 13 to 14 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned and crispy.

 

This article is reprinted from the fall 2014 issue of home/school/life.