This post is linked to September’s edition of “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free!” which is being hosted by Ali over at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen. Ali chose the theme: Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch, yea!!! I am really excited to see all of the fantastic ideas that will certainly come of this event.
So how did I land on spring rolls you ask? Well, last month Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs shared a recipe for spring rolls when she “adopted” Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness for August’s “Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger” event which was hosted by one of my favorite people, Shirley of Gluten Free Easily!
Phew, did you catch all of that?
I am sure there are at least 23 different grammatical errors in the above run-on sentence, but I did it on purpose (you believe that, right?) to demonstrate what can happen as a result of poor nutrition in school lunches…you don’t pay attention in grammar class!
My typical school lunches growing up consisted of PB&J or bologna and cheese (the processed American cheese complete with their own individual wrappers) on Wonder bread, Doritos, Oreos and maybe a piece of browned fruit and/or some carrot sticks (which inevitably would end up in the trash, because why on Earth would I eat that when I had all the yummy high fat, high salt, and high sugar goodness calling my name?
You remember those plastic-wrapped little 4×4 slices of “pasteurized cheese product” joy, don’t you? With the unnatural pale yellow hue and the gooey gelatinous texture that very much resembled the plastic wrap it came in? Then, when you were done eating it, you would use the wrapper to tickle your lips as you hummed against it…okay, maybe that last part was just me.
Did you know that you can make your own homemade “processed” cheese product? Ah, I digress.
Anyhoo, Ricki’s post on spring rolls got me to thinking, how would these go over with Sam as a lunchbox option? If you read my recent post on “Inside Out Sandwiches,” you may recall me mentioning that I have been having some trouble getting my eldest to eat his lunch because he does more talking than eating during his lunch period (I have NO IDEA where he gets that from!). I had never made fresh spring rolls before, so I thought I would see if the almighty Google could point me in the direction of a video tutorial on how to make them!
I thought that the following video by Chef John of Foodwishes.com was a great tutorial for learning how to fill and wrap a spring roll. The first part of the video is for a specific recipe using imitation krab meat, which is not gluten-free, so just skip over that part. Starting at about the 2 minute and 20 second mark, John begins demonstrating the filling and rolling of the spring rolls. He did such a good job, I almost felt like a natural the first time I made my own!
For my first homemade spring roll undertaking, I went with what I like, shrimp. Other than that, I decided to keep it pretty simple so I wouldn’t scare my youngest off, and I just added julienned red bell pepper, carrots and cucumbers for the contrasting colors (top photo). For the dipping sauce, I made Martha’s Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce, subbing the soy sauce for gluten-free Tamari (low-sodium) and the sugar for honey. I held my breath as S&L sampled them and just as I suspected, Sam loved them but Luke was iffy until I offered him the soy dipping sauce and called the spring rolls “mummy fingers.”
For my second attempt, I made basically the same spring roll only this time I added some pre-cooked gluten-free rice vermicelli, chopped green onions and a few leaves of romaine lettuce. For the dipping sauce, I used Sweet Red Chili Sauce (the Thai Kitchen brand is gluten-free), or you can make your own Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.
Then I got a wild hair for my latest spring roll adventure and did an Asian-Italian Fusion! I had made some veggie pasta for dinner one evening and decided to use the leftovers as a spring roll filling.
Aren’t the “noodles” in the above photo cool looking (and they are naturally GF!)? Using a spiralizer is a GREAT way to get kiddos interested in veggies (the vegetables I used above were yellow squash, zucchini, and Chioggia Beets); as well as adding lots of low-carb vegetables into our own diets (another of my 70-lb. weight loss tips)!
I have the World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer and Lexie from Lexie’s Kitchen shares her slicer in her post on Inside Out California Rolls. You can also use a vegetable peeler for making wider “noodles.”
Here’s what got me on this one…my picky 3 year old LOVED this spring roll! Sometimes, you just gotta keep pushing forward until you find “that thing” to unlock the door to accepting new foods (it also hasn’t hurt that I have put him on a no added-sugar hiatus; more on that later though).
The Vegan Pumpkin Dip is super simple to make and it has been a big hit around here for dipping fresh apple slices!
I followed Alanna’s Pumpkin Dip recipe over at A Veggie Venture, only I subbed the dairy-based cream cheese with Cashew Cream Cheese so it would be casein-free. Did you know that cashews are high in magnesium? Want to know more about this “faux-dairy” nut? WHFoods.com has a great article on cashews that I recommend reading.
What is in your lunchbox this week? Have you branched out and tried anything new recently?
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