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In this issue you will find:

1. Back-to-School Brown Bag Cuisine

2. Our monthly cartoon!

Thank goodness for the "Contact Us" form at easy-strawberry-recipes.com. Just when I was searching for a subject for this month's e-zine, Donna from Canada "popped" up in my e-mail box with this question, "Can (these) mini cheesecakes be frozen for nice additions to (a) child's lunch?" and automatically, I knew what to write about.

So thanks, Donna! And "YES" you can freeze the mini cheesecake recipe found on the site! And thanks for the lead-in to this month's e-zine topic: Creative ideas for Brown Baggers. Here we go......

If you're stuck in a sandwich rut, then you could use a good "back to school idea" for lunch box stuffers. It all revolves around thinking outside the box (sorry:) when coming up with menu ideas.

Forget the idea that your kid needs to head off to school with a sandwich, chips, fruit and dessert neatly packed away in her lunch box. Think salads, pasta, pita, yogurt, cut-up vegetables, dips and fruit salads as you plan your school lunch list.

First step is to know your kid's likes and dislikes. Your best intentions could wind up in the school trash bin if you don't ask first. Let them choose (and plan) what they'd best like to see in their lunch boxes. When I suggested to my fifteen-year-old that she take a cup of flavored yogurt, her eyes rolled back into her head and I swear I saw a nostril flair, BUT she was game to the suggestion of cheese cubes, vegetable sticks and low-cal wheat crackers....(hey, it was brave to even think I could suggest something to a teenager!)

But since I'm assuming that my readership here is post-puberty, I'll take my chances and provide you with some suggestions!


As a general rule, I like getting the kids directly involved in planning and making their own lunches. This means taking them grocery shopping, introducing them to the produce section, and letting them explore their own culinary senses. Nowadays, grocery stores have become more cosmopolitan and offer so many specialty foods that we don't have to (and shouldn't) rely on convenience foods anymore! Our goal should be to try to include one piece of protein, one carbohydrate and at least one fruit or vegetable every day. Remember...fresh (and natural) is best!

Here are some basic ideas to begin with:

Brown bagging can become an international affair! Pita, tortillas, borekas, bagels and specialty rolls take the place of Wonder Bread.

Lunch meats are replaced with hummus, spreadable cheeses, and dips.

Non-breakable thermoses make it possible to pack soups, pastas, and fruit salads.

And speaking of salads....new, small-scale plastic containers makes it possible to send combination salads with dressing on the side to school cafeterias.

Menu Ideas


  • Strawberry Coconut Muffin (click here for the recipe)
  • Cheese sticks
  • Fruit salad (click here for recipe)
  • Natural orange juice

Mediterranean Lunch

  • Pita bread
  • Hummus
  • Salad--chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red pepper, and green olives
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Water bottle

Italian Flair

  • Pasta with tomato sauce and grated cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Water bottle

Tex-Mex Brown Bag

  • Tortilla filled with diced chicken, grated cheese, mashed avocado, chopped tomato
  • Fruit
  • Natural juice, boxed

Soup and Sandwich Lunch Box

  • Alphabet-vegetable soup in a thermos
  • Whole wheat roll with tuna
  • Grapes
  • Juice

There you have it....a week's worth of "internationally flavored" lunch box menu ideas.

Have a Successful School Year!

See you next month!