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Healthy Eating/ How-Tos/ Meals/ RECIPES

Serving Your Company Leftovers

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IMG_3028I’m all about being perfectly imperfect lately, and serving my company leftovers is a great example of embracing the imperfect and reaping quite perfect benefits.

About a month ago I had my Mom over for lunch.  I love having her as I know her favorite foods and flavors.  I know she loves meatloaf and sweet potatoes which we actually had for dinner the night before, I also knew that one of her favorite flavors is coconut, which ended up being the perfect topping for our sweet potatoes!


We had a wonderful lunch together, and although she knew most of the meal was leftovers, she enjoyed it and we had precious time together.

So let’s talk leftovers.  At first I felt weird serving my company leftovers, but then I thought about my favorite deli at my local health food store,  and realized everything they serve ‘to -go’ would be considered a ‘leftover.’ The have a glass case with a wonderful selection of foods, and I know that all of their foods are fresh, but not all are made exactly that very day.

I know there are some people who really dislike leftovers, but I love them.  I love the ease of just reheating food and enjoying a hot meal that was easy to just heat and eat!


Just about everything we ate that day for lunch would be considered a leftover.  Even the wine I served was a bottle that was opened the night before, but one that my girlfriend and I did not finish, so I served it with our lunch.  Why not?


The meatloaf, beans and sweet potatoes were all made for our dinner the night before.  Even the salad was tossed the night before.  The cheesy bread was a asiago cheese bagel leftover from breakfast that we split, since there was only one and limiting carbs is always a good thing. A simple sliced apple was a great way to round out our little lunch.  Can you tell that my Mom and I don’t mind our food touching?  I purposefully used small plates to make the lunch look filled out and hearty.

Nuts were the appetizer and cupcakes that my lil’ one made the night before was dessert.  A few little touches like lemon in our water and fun napkins made the table look special.

I don’t know about you, but if leftovers looks and tastes like this lunch did, I’m all for reheating food and offering it to my loved ones.


What about you? Do you use leftovers? Would you or do you use them for entertaining?



HOME/ Simplifying

The Best Way To Pack A Lunch



I’ve written a couple posts on packing lunches. It has been something I have done every school day for the past 7 years, and  I think I have finally found the best way to pack a lunch.

Last year I ditched plastic baggies and bought containers with lids.  It was a step in the right direction, but not quite what I wanted.  I quickly found washing out all those small containers and keeping track of their lids made lunch making more of a chore than it should be.  I’m all about efficiency, working smarter not harder, and keeping things simple.  A bunch of lids and containers was not smart, simple or efficient.

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This year before school started, I was on a mission.  I wanted to find something different that would keep me from going back to baggies but that would be just as simple as baggies.  These lunch kit containers from Sistema were the perfect find. They are affordable and a huge plus– BPA free!

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The school lunches I make for my girls 90% of the time start with sandwich & something crunchy–tortilla chips, crackers, pretzels–free from artificial colors, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup.  I think this habit stems from the school lunches I had as a young girl.  I always loved a crunch along with my sandwich.  The other 10% of the time I throw soup or leftovers into a thermos.

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These containers have a large area for a sandwich,  with an attached lid/divider that keeps the sandwich safe and your chips from tasting like peanut butter. My girls favorite bread is an oat bread & I use a peanut butter with no hydrogenated oils or corn syrup in it. If you make a cheese or meat sandwich, this small blue ice pack is perfect for putting right on top of the sandwich.  I place a paper towel in between the sandwich and the ice pack, but I have found it is not necessary as these ice packs do not ‘sweat.’

I use the second compartment for something crunchy, and the 3rd area for some type of bar (store bought or homemade) or cut up veggies.  A cut kiwi with a spoon fits nicely in there–I just cut it in half, unpeeled, and my girls scoop the fruit out with a spoon, using the peel as a bowl when they eat it. Carrot sticks are another great item for that compartment.

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I like to add a piece of fruit on the side.  A nectarine, banana, or apple.  Having a fruit and veggie gives my girls a head start on eating their daily rainbow.

See how the container shuts so nicely into a compact square.  Hearing the ‘snap’ of the lid after packing their lunch in the morning gives me such a satisfied feeling.

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This BUILT Neoprene Lunch Tote bag is really cute.  It belongs to my now FRESHMAN girl.  When did my Teagan get so old?

When did I get so old?

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This water bottle fits nicely alongside the sandwich container.  Usually my girls just get a cup of water at school, which leaves that area free for fruit.


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This system is the best, most efficient way I have found to streamline the chore of not only packing lunches, but also emptying them out and cleaning the containers for the next day.  They can be placed in the dishwasher, but I find a quick rinse is easy and enough, making sure they get cleaned with hot water and soap at least a couple times a week.

Do you pack lunches?  What do you use to hold the food?

What are your kids favorite foods to eat in their lunches?

Would you like to try out the Sistema Lunch Cube lunch container?  If so, Amazon has a great deal on them, and if you order them through this link I will get a small percentage which would support New Nostalgia & make me happy!


mini squeeze bottles

Ok…I said I didn’t want a bunch of little lids to wash…but I might make an exception with these super cute sauce-to-go containers!  My girls would love them filled with ranch dressing for dipping those veggies, and I would love that I can control the portion size.


More on school lunches at New Nostalgia:

14 Healthy School Lunches Your Kids Will Love

School Lunch Smoothies

How To Make A Note Into An Envelope–Perfect For School Lunches



Hummus Salad

There is a local cafe in town that serves a hummus salad that is to die for.  I order it every time I go, and leave so satisfied without being overly full.  They serve it with a side of pretzel chips– just a few–  I love the extra crunch and using them to scoop up any hummus left on the plate.

This cafe is where I first saw hummus used as a salad dressing.  It makes so much sense.  It is creamy, adds a nice bit of plant protein, and is full of flavor.  I would never have thought such a simple dressing would taste so great!

Here is my copycat salad, minus the side of pretzel chips…I ran out that day!

Here is my no recipe recipe for:


Hummus Salad

~greens of your choice (make sure to get some dark leaves in there for extra iron and goodness)

~chopped carrot

~chopped broccoli

~chopped red pepper

~chopped apple

~dried cranberries

~sliced almonds


Put the greens on a plate.  Top with chopped veggies.  Top with a heap of hummus. Top with nuts and dried cranberries.  Enjoy!

The same cafe serves a hummus sandwich.  Click here to learn how to make it!

Also, don’t miss out on another of my favorite hummus recipes: 2 Ingredient Taco Dip

Meals/ RECIPES/ Sides

White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup

Bowl of white bean quinoa and kale soup
This soup is easy to make, and full of so much nutritious goodness!  Great plant protein from both the beans and the quinoa.  Fiber and tons of nutrients from all the beautiful plant food–onions, carrots, celery, garlic, kale, tomatoes!  All of that goodness creates great flavor.  This soup is hearty and warming.  I serve it with some sourdough bread for dipping.
Making soup and eating it for lunch or dinner is a GREAT way to get those servings of vegetables in. Add a green leafy salad and you could get up to 5 servings of vegetables in one meal!  Now that is what I’m talking about! 

White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup
via Enlightened Cooking
Makes 6 big servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1-1/4 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium-large onion)
1-1/4 cups chopped carrots (about 2 medium carrots—no need to peel)
1 cup chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 cups prewashed and cut kale
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2/3 cup quinoa (rinsed)
8 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1-1/2 tbsp Italian herb seasoning
1 19-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Add kale and cook and stir 1 minute.
2. Add the tomatoes with juice, quinoa, broth, and herbs and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is cooked, about 20 minutes.
3. Place half of beans in a small bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Stir mashed and whole beans into soup and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Frugal/ Healthy Eating/ HOME/ How-Tos/ RECIPES/ Simplifying

How To Have A Friend Over For Lunch Without Cooking Or Baking

I’m slowly getting my energy back after 2 surgeries, but not so much energy that you will find me cooking and baking up a storm in my kitchen just yet!  Thankfully, I have a great little market super close to my home.  It is a little health food co-op grocer and they have a small deli in the back where they sell amazing homemade wraps, salads, etc.
I often use their food to help make entertaining a breeze.  I love that they use ingredients that I would use here at home.  They have lots of vegetarian, vegan & gluten free choices, so no matter who my company is, I can usually find something good for us to munch on from my local co-op.  

Recently I had a friend over for lunch.  It took no time at all to set out a nice little lunch that tasted homemade.  I stopped over at the co-op grocer, picked up a few things, and within minutes had my table set and ready to serve my sweet friend.

I kept the cost down by splitting the wrap in two.  The cake and granola bar is made there at the grocer and are only 99 cents each.  I got a salad mix, some organic corn chips, salsa that is made fresh by the grocer which is to die for, some curry quinoa & chickpea salad, & a couple kiwis.

I peeled a couple of clementines and tossed them into the salad mix along with slivered honey almonds and dried cranberries.
This huge burrito wrap was a little over 3 bucks and was plenty filling for the both of us.
Banana cake with cream cheese frosting & a granola bar cut in half for dessert.  Perfect to eat with coffee!  I bought one piece of cake and one bar and cut them in half.

 Pretty is important…or at least it is fun!! Put food on pretty platters, add a little lemon to the water.  Throw on a pot of coffee and make sure to have some cute napkins on hand to brighten up the table.

 So easy, very delicious!  My friend and I had a great time catching up over lunch & I know she felt loved and cared for by the food I fed her.

{Don’t forget to PIN IT!}

Do you ever buy pre-made food instead of making everything yourself?

What foods do you like to throw onto platters and pass as homemade?

Do you admit to your company that you didn’t make it?    I do, as I like to show people that it is easy to entertain without spending hours in the kitchen.  PLUS, the food is always so good that I always get asked for the recipe, so I might as well fess up ahead of time!  Ha!!

GF, Vegan & Raw/ Healthy Eating/ Meals/ RECIPES/ Sides

A Quick Lunch Salad & How To Keep Your Salads Interesting

Sometimes reaching my goal of getting leafy greens into my body everyday can get boring.  Especially in a salad form!  I have made it my mission to find ways to motivate myself to keep up the salads and buy ingredients to take them from boring to delicious!  
Here are 2 key ways I do this:
1. I use a mandolin to slice my veggies, then store them in mason jars.  Cut em’ once, store them for the week.  
2. Splurge on ingredients that make compliment greens and make them delicious. A couple ways I do this with seasoned/ glazed nuts & sesame sticks.  I have even been known to crush wheat crackers and sprinkle on top for a little bit of crunch.  I also like to do it with fruit, from dried cranberries to sliced apples & clementines.
Sliced colorful veggies including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and carrots
A mandolin is the best and fastest way I have found to slice veggies.

Sliced colorful veggies

Add beans for protein…or hard-boiled eggs.

Sweet and spicy pecans from Trader Joes
Splurge on the extras.  These Sweet & Spicy Pecans from Trader Joes are amazing, and I also love their sesame sticks. It may add a few extra calories, but to me it is so worth it when I think of all those flavonoids, anti-oxidants & vitamins I am getting from the veggies.
Coming soon—>How to make your own salad dressing using no oils, only the natural oils from nuts!
More Ways To Get Your Greens From New Nostalgia:
Salads/Salad Dressings:
Cooked Greens
Smoothies & Juices

FAMILY/ Healthy Eating/ HOME/ Homemaking/ Meals/ Parenting/ RECIPES

14 Healthy School Lunch Recipes Your Kids Will Love


How do I  know your kids will love these? Because mine do!  With summer break coming to an end, I decided to gather my favorite recipes to add to my girls school lunch boxes.  I will refer to this list often, to keep me out of the “peanut butter and jelly sandwich” rut.  Even if I do give them a pb & j sandwich, at least they will have some interesting and yummy sides!

Heavenly Hummus Sandwich
The apples and sweet dried cranberries make this sandwich kid friendly.
Udon noodles with sesame seeds and peas
The clementine juice in these noodles give a hint of sweetness.  We never have leftovers when I make these noodles.  Can be eaten hot or cold.
orange homemade fruit roll up
These are so easy to make and very versatile.  Use what fruit you have on hand, especially those that are starting to go soft.
chocolate peanut butter chia pudding with raspberries
This can be breakfast, lunch or snack.  It has wholesome oats in it and the amazing superfood, chia.  Chia has great fiber, protein and more omega’s than flax!  They are flavorless and help thicken  this pudding.
slieced applesauce bread
This bread is simple and delicious.  Uses ingredients that we always have on hand.
Peanut butter banana chia seed roll ups
Another great way to use those chia seeds!  These are protein filled thanks to the peanut butter and chia.
Whole wheat banana honey muffins
These muffins are so moist and this recipe makes a ton of them!  I freeze at least half.  You will love this recipe.
Crockpot apple sauce in mason jars
Great fall recipe, but really we make it all year long.  Just grab an extra bag of apples when you are at the store, throw them in the crockpot, and enjoy the amazing scent this recipe gives the entire house!
These are delicious and have gone viral on Pinterest, with many raving about the recipe.  It is a must try!  You will love knowing there are no preservatives and less salt in your kids crackers!
Black bean soup with spoon
This soup is perfect for a lunch box thermos.  It is a breeze to whip together the night before.  It is one of my MOST easy recipes, and has lots of great fiber and protein.
Crunch roasted chickpeas
I’m amazed at how a simple bean can become a healthy crunchy snack with just minutes in the oven.  Use these in place of chips!  Much more healthy & full of nutrition.
Lunch box smoothies
My girls LOVE when I put these in their lunches.  I take them straight from the freezer and by lunch time they have thawed perfectly.  I love knowing they are getting such nutritious berries and fruit in their lunches.
Cheesy Kale chips
These are actually vegan, but get a cheezy flavor from nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast is packed with vitamin B12 and is a popular ingredient in the vegan world, often used in place of Parmesan cheese.  These kale chips are a weekly staple in our home.  So nutritious. So delicious!
Orzo and roasted fall vegetables
My girls beg me to make this recipe.  They love the little bits of pasta, and the amazing flavor comes from roasted veggies that have been chopped so small that the girls have no idea that they are eating kale and a load of other veggies.  Winning!


Other posts on School Lunches from New Nostalgia:
School Lunch Plan: No More Baggies & A Free School Lunch Planner