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Load Up a Legit Lunchbox Your Kids Will Love

What’s for dinner, what’s for breakfast, what’s for lunch…the three most dreaded questions that we are barraged with on a daily basis.  It’s not that we don’t want to be creative, healthy, delicious and all things Martha in the kitchen, but who’s got the time?  Back to school presents a particular challenge, not only for lunch box prep, but for healthy dinner and breakfast creation as well…and of course all on the go for our busy lives!  Today we’re going to tackle challenge #1…healthy, delicious lunches both you and your kids will love!

If you’re like me, you’re tired of making the same old sandwiches day after day, and your kids are tired of eating them too.Here are a few easy solutions for making your lunchbox come alive again!

It’s a wrap!

Wraps are easy, fast and can be healthy alternatives to sandwiches.  Meet your dietary needs with the variety of wraps that are offered today…100 percent whole wheat, or gluten free, you choose the wrap and which health ingredients go in your kids’ lunch.  For a healthy wrap, line your wrap with lettuce, adding in some mashed avocado with a little lemon (to not only add flavor, but also to help prevent browning) salt and pepper, and your kids’ favorite proteins.  Replacing the mayo with avocado adds a healthier fat and tomatoes or red peppers amp up the veggie factor while adding color and flavor.   Feel free to get creative with your wraps and sneak in healthy ingredients whenever possible.

Put a stick in it!

Whatever you can get your kids to eat – throw it on a stick for a fun, healthy kabob.  Fruit kabobs are always a kid favorite, and most any fruit will do…pineapple, grapes, strawberries, the sky’s the limit!  For a protein packed punch, alternate cubes of chicken breast (or deli meat) and cheese on a kabob with a few grape tomatoes.  If you want to stay away from the meats, go for tomato, mozzarella and basil kabobs for a kid-sized Caprese to go!

Pita Pocket Perfection!

For the perfect pita pocket, line your pita with green leaf lettuce and fill with your favorite ingredients.  Hummus, deli meats or cheeses, or your favorite recipe for chicken or tuna salad.  We lovean avocado chicken salad, replacing the mayo with avocado and plain Greek yogurt.  Add in your favorite flavorings like red onion, cilantro, celery and season to taste, and, voila…you have the perfect pita pocket!

Why not give some of these lunch box main courses a try, the next time you’re looking for a healthy alternative to the boring old sandwich.  Throw in some healthy snack favorites like apple slices, grapes, hummus served with red peppers, celery or edamame and you’ve got a healthy lunch on the go that anyone would enjoy.  Now that meal prep is complete for the kiddos, how about grabbing a healthy lunch to go for yourself from your neighborhood Atlanta Bread. Use our convenient online ordering and have your fresh salad or sandwich ready for pick up!

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sandwich wrap with vegetables

Make It Healthy and Easy To- Go

/t happens a lot – I need to be heading somewhere during lunch. There’s no time for a sit-down meal a99nd I am really hoping to avoid the fast-food trap. Don’t get me wrong, a juicy burger or cheesy burrito can taste oh-so-good sometimes. They may not be a healthy, common sense approach to food, but there’s something about the taste, the grease, and the quick-and-easy, down-and-dirty business of picking your food up from a window. But I can’t go there. I can’t.

So, that leaves me with very few options. I’m really not a P-B-and J kind of gal either, and I can’t survive on an apple for the day. So what’s a person to do when they know they need a healthy  meal that’s fast to make, easy to eat on the go, and tastes great? They have to have a fresh perspective, take that common sense approach to food, and wrap it up.

The go-to option for on-the-go

Yes, a wrap sandwich is probably one of the best little portable meals that you can make. And talk about allowing for a diverse array of new flavors and goodies to pack up for your meal on the run! It’s kind of a “no-brainer” to make a wrap because honestly, anything goes.

Have a bunch of veggies and other items in your fridge that been to be eaten? Wrap them. Have meats and cheeses and half-empty jars of jellies, sauces or other condiments that are feeling ignored? Wrap them. Here are a few tips and different ideas to get you started on your way to eating healthy and enjoying new flavors.

The wrap

You can start with any type of wrap you prefer, whether it’s a whole wheat tortilla or flatbread wraps.. The choice depends on your tastes and the ingredients. One thing to be mindful of when creating your wrap is not to make a giant log. Most wraps are quite sizeable and you can probably get away with rolling it up, cutting it in half, and saving some for the next day (another reason these are so convenient!) Don’t forget that you can also use a large leaves of lettuce as a wrap – a fresh perspective and a healthy choice!

The spreads

OK, no one wants to have to choke down a dry sandwich just because they are concerned about a mess. Using spreads that are thick enough not to run out the bottom of a poorly folded wrap is your best bet. And remember, you don’t need to slather it all over your rolled up masterpiece. Save yourself some calories and the need for a bib and use just enough to thinly coat your wrap and don’t go all the way to the edges.

The ingredients

Here’s where you can get creative. If you like it, you can wrap it… for the most part. Do make a conscious decision to use healthy ingredients and not to overload your roll. Take that common sense approach to food and include a few servings of your daily requirements for veggies, add a protein, and if you like, some dairy.

Ideas to wrap your head around

If you want  something other than the typical meat, cheese, lettuce,and tomato with mayo wrap idea, then consider combinations like these:

Quinoa, chickpeas, dried cranberries and/or raisins, chopped walnuts, and a light spread of olive oil and Dijon mustard in a whole wheat wrap. It’s vegan and packed with protein.

Or how about taking your favorite salad and wrapping it up? Thicken the dressing or use a creamy one – just make it a very light pour.

Veggie burgers rolled with avocado, tomato and hummus are healthy, filling and easy.

Make chicken salad with a plain yogurt and apple cider vinegar mix instead of mayo and wrap it up in a large leaf. Collard greens, spinach, or romaine are a good partner for this one.

Need something convenient for the morning? Wrap up egg whites, spinach, mushrooms and some feta cheese and you have a healthy start to your day.

Heading into fall, try this slight twist on the traditional turkey sandwich: http://www.popsugar.com/food/Winter-Turkey-Wrap-Sandwich-26190920

This one takes prep the night before, but the effort is well worth it for anyone looking for a vegetarian wrap with new flavors: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/grilled-greek-wraps/

Let’s wrap it up

So, as you can see – you can go the fast route and throw in whatever is ready to go from your fridge or you can do a little prep work the night before. The key is creating a reasonable portion of something that can be eaten anywhere. It’s a common sense approach to food that will have you eating healthy and enjoying new flavors on the go.

If you have a moment and want to get ready- made, order one of the delicious sandwiches online from Atlanta Bread at www.atlantabread.com

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Cocktails From the Garden – Discovering Fresh Drinks You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Sometimes it’s nice just to have a good refreshing cocktail, especially in the dog days of summer. While it’s never a good idea to overindulge, sipping a lively concoction of your favorite spirit and mixers can be a great way to lead into an evening meal or to wind down after your day of work. But boy am I tired of the same old thing – I’d like to be enjoying new tastes and ideas. Good thing it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy a cocktail from the garden.

An idea that will grow on you

What? Yes, you read that correctly – from the garden! With a bountiful harvest of herbs, fruits, and vegetables at hand there is a world of unusual drinks that can be made in summer. Whether you have a garden of your own, visit your neighborhood farmer’s market, or simply shop the organic section of your local grocery, you can pick up the fresh items that will give your summer cocktail a healthy feel.

Consider what often winds up in a Bloody Mary- vegetable juice and garnishes like olives, celery, green beans, even shrimp, but now think about lighter and fresher ingredients that add pizazz to the body of a regular cocktail.

It’s time to start enjoying new recipes for summer cocktails that have a little bonus and are beautiful too. No doubt that the creators of some popular beverages were inspired by their gardens and the plentiful foods grown in their area.

A harvest of possibilities

Let’s start by looking at a twist on a classic. Horse racing fans are keenly aware of the Mint Julep famously served at the Kentucky Derby. It’s a southern favorite that has mass appeal. But as we said, some people are inspired by nature’s gifts and like to make use of fresh ingredients. The Blackberry Mint Julep does just that. For this you muddle and strain blackberries and mint leaves, add sugar and bourbon and pour over ice. Garnish it with a blackberry and mint leaf and you have a chiller that will certainly have you chomping at the bit for more. That little extra fruit provides a sweet bonus.

If you’re more of a tequila fan and really crave a taste of summer, consider Bobby Flay’s Watermelon Tequila Cocktail. Your day isn’t complete until you’ve combined the sweetness of fresh, strained watermelon juice mixed with silver tequila. Add sugar syrup and blueberries along with mint and fresh lime juice and you’ve created a cocktail that’s light and refreshing.

Looking for more in your garden cocktail? A couple of New York chefs and their friend really hit the jackpot when they concocted the Porch Crawler. Created with several items from a rooftop garden, they muddled pitted cherries, mint leaves, and chiles. Then they topped with ice, rum, lemon juice and simple syrup and strained it into a glass. Club soda was poured in and the glass garnished with cherries and mint. I’ll bet they had as much fun creating it as they did drinking it.

Expanding the ingredient list

Some specialty cocktails call not only for “harvesting” fresh, healthy fruits and herbs but also for discovering less widely used spirits. Amp up the flavor and wow your guests with these drinks that call for Pisco, a white Peruvian Brandy made with mescal grapes or Lillett, an aromatized wine that is 85% Bordeaux region wines and 15% macerated liqueurs (mostly citrus).

There’s The Tabernacle Crush with muddled fresh peaches, basil leaves, and lemon juice that is strained, then stirred with Gin, Lillett, and simple syrup. You add ice and garnish with basil.

Cholo Fresco was created by Hans Hilbirg of “El Pisquirito” in Peru. For this one you’d muddle fresh mint leaves with sugar and lime juice and then strain into an ice-filled shaker. Add Pisco, melon liqueur, and cucumber juice. Shake and stir into a chilled glass. Try adding your own garnish of a slice of cucumber and a piece of honeydew melon.

You’ll notice most “garden” inspired cocktails require muddling. If you’ve never done it, this very brief video demonstrates the proper technique: http://www.marthastewart.com/976907/how-muddle-herbs-and-fruit

Get creative

What ideas do you have for adding some produce to your adult beverage? Sweet wine with muddled strawberries, club soda, and fresh basil or perhaps Vodka with ginger liqueur and mint? Try being inspired by what you see in the market and experiment with your spirit of choice – who knows, you may wind up creating a summer sensation.

Summer fresh is easy

If you don’t have the time or inclination to mix up one of these delicious drinks, visit an Atlanta Bread location that has bar service and add a healthy salad, sandwich, or other dish from our menu and really sink your teeth into garden fresh tastes.