Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7)

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hello again! As promised, here’s the second installment of Paleo Lunchboxes 2014, my collaboration with our pals at LunchBots—the gleaming stainless steel food containers you see in these posts. Our mission is to demonstrate that packed lunches can be simple, nourishing, and magically delicious for kids and adults alike. 

Like the first box in this year’s series, today’s lunch can be assembled the night before, so all you’ll need to worry about in the morning is dragging yourself out of bed and eating breakfast. And wiping the sleep from your eyes.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Spicy Tuna Cakes are a big hit with our whole family…almost. (Big-O digs these portable veggie-and-protein cakes, but Lil-O doesn’t like spicy foods, so he’s less of a fan. Man, six-year-olds have no taste.)

Bonus: these tuna cakes taste great cold, too.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 2 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

You can whip up a dozen (or even double the recipe!) in advance, and pack the next day’s lunchbox(es) before you go to bed. Your reward for planning ahead? Getting to hit the snooze button a couple of extra times in the morning.

My recipe for Spicy Tuna Cakes has been around for a while now; it was first introduced in my iPad app, and since then, it’s popped up in my cookbook and on my blog). So if you haven’t tried ’em yet, what are you waiting for?

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7)

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With a new school year just around the bend, it’s time for the 2014 edition of Paleo Lunchboxes—my annual collaboration with our friends at LunchBots. And this time around, I’m presenting 7—that’s right, SEVEN—new ideas to jumpstart your creative engines.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

These lunchbox ideas are great for your school-age spawn, but trust me: the meals in this series aren’t just kid stuff. In fact, this first one’s a fast and satisfying lunch you can eat with your bare hands. Plus: we’re talking HOT DOGS.

“But wait a minute! How are hot dogs even Paleo?”

Fine. They’re not technically “Paleo™,” but I’ve got nothing against convenience foods that are made from wholesome, healthy ingredients. Most hot dogs on the market are filled with all sorts of chemical additives and cast-off CAFO animal parts—we should all avoid these freaky franken-weenies like the plague. There are, however, other options.

I’m lucky to have a brother-in-law who hand-makes his own hot dogs out of grass fed beef short ribs

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…but most of the time, I just look for commercially-available wieners made with sustainably-raised grass fed beef and a few simple seasonings and spices. The two brands I buy for my family are Applegate and Fork in the Road (I don’t sweat the small amount of sugar in the latter), and you can find them in most grocery stores. (For additional recommendations for high-quality grass fed hot dogs, check out this link.)

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Hot dogs have always been a kid-friendly favorite, but I recently hopped onto the bandwagon in a big way after discovering Flame to Fork’s game-changing idea to use the wiener as the “bun” (a.k.a. #hotdogasthebun) on Instagram.

Since then, I’ve been playing around with different fillings every time I make hot dogs for the kids. (The best thing about using the wiener as the “shell”? Sneaking extra veggies into your kiddos’ bellies!) Unlike hot dogs on bread buns, you can assemble ’em the night before; they won’t get soggy, and they taste great cold. Or maybe I’m just a weirdo for loving cold hot dogs. 

Personally, I like hot dogs piled high with sautéed peppers and onions or kraut and pickles, so for this lunchbox, I made both. Properly cooked onions take a while to sauté, so I always start them in the skillet over medium heat with my favorite cooking fat before I do anything else.

Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 (Part 1 of 7) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Paleo Lunchboxes 2014 Preview!

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Kids: Put away the gadgets ’cause it’s time to head back to school!

As in years past, I’ve teamed up with our friends at LunchBots to show you that portable Paleo lunches can be healthier and more satisfying than a soggy PB&J sandwich. From tomorrow through Labor Day, I’ll be posting a myriad of midday meal ideas that’ll (hopefully!) inspire you to take a few moments out of your day to throw some meat, veggies, and fruit into a container. These aren’t just for kids, either—grown-up eaters will have plenty to feast on, too.

Plus, for those of you who’ve requested heartier fare for bigger eaters, I’ve got you covered! This year, you’ll find even more rib-sticking meals in this lunch series. 

Come back tomorrow for the inaugural post—and in the meantime, check out the previous years’ lunches!

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5)

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

“Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear.” ― Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Snicket. I know exactly what goes in my meatballs. And I happen to think they should appear at least once every couple of weeks on my dinner table and/or in my LunchBots.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 4 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

For today’s lunch: Asian Meatballs with Bell Peppers & Blanched Broccoli.  

Yes, that’s right: BALLS OF MEAT.

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5)

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Custom-made fancy lunches are fun, but in all honesty, my packed work lunches almost always consist of leftovers. Why should it be any different for the rest of the family? 

Today’s LunchBots Duo is packed with: My Sister’s Phenomenal Green Chicken, Roasted Rosemary Almonds, and crudités.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 3 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I always make extra Green Chicken so I can munch on the leftovers. These drumettes make for an an easy and delicious grab-and-go lunch option. Go ahead and pack your lunchbox the night before; everything tastes great cold. (Of course, if you don’t share my love for cold chicken drumettes, you can always keep them in an insulated container like a LunchBots Thermal.)

And if eating leftovers means I get to sleep in a teeny bit more the next morning, that’s just icing on the cake. 

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5)

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Who’s ready for another Paleo lunch idea? (If you missed yesterday’s box, read all about it, and also check out last year’s five-part series of packed lunches I made with Jackie Linder of LunchBots!).

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

In today’s LunchBots Duo, we’re packing breakfast for lunch: Prosciutto & Egg Roll-Ups, Mini Cinnamon Apple Scone, and Mixed Fruit Salad.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

I know what you’re thinking: cold eggs?!? But these simple omelets make great wrappers, and they’re pretty darn good at room temp or cold. (I place an ice pack under my kids’ LunchBots.) In fact, Lil-O insists on eating his eggs cold, tamago-style (but sans sugar, soy, mirin, etc.). 

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Silverware is optional, but your fruit salad should really be portioned into a silicone cup or a separate compartment to prevent any juices from running into the rest of your food. I know it all ends up in the same place eventually, but I HATE soggy food.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 2 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Wanna see how easy it is to put this lunch together?

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Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5)

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[UPDATED: My entire five-part series is done! Check out all the lunches here—and don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a motherlode of stainless steel LunchBots swag, too! (Entry deadline is August 28, 2013!)]

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

Every year, it seems like summer ends just a little bit earlier. It’s only mid-August—Labor Day is still two weeks away!—but my kids are already back in school. (Just before his first day of kindergarten began, Lil-O announced to the kids clustered outside the classroom door that he farts out of his butt. This is going to be a looong year.)

Once again, we face the Dreaded Morning Scramble: a desperate race against the clock to get the boys scrubbed, changed, fed, and out the door—but not before getting their lunches packed. In the chaos of the morning, it can be a frustrating chore to make and pack fun, healthy, and easy mid-day meals. You know the feeling, right?

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

With this in mind, I partnered last year with my buddy Jackie Linder of LunchBots—my favorite stainless steel lunch containers in the world—to come up with a week’s worth of Paleo-friendly packed lunch ideas. (Check out our five-part series here!) This year, we decided to put our heads together again to whip up another week of Paleo lunches.

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

One thing to keep in mind before we kick off our new series of lunches: these are just ideas that are meant to inspire you to pack wholesome, healthful foods in your lunch boxes. Feel free to disregard the specifics, and pack whatever real foods you and your offspring will actually eat. After all, even if you’ve packed the most delicious and nutritious meal possible for your kids, it’ll all be for naught if it ends up in the garbage or traded away for a bag of chips and a can of soda.

Encourage your little ones to choose their own lunch items from your Paleo-friendly pantry and fridge. And have them help you make their lunches the night before. This way, the food you pack will actually stand a chance of getting eaten.

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And remember: lunches don’t have to be fancy. Lil-O still insists that his favorite packed lunch is cold scrambled eggs. (Weird, I know.)

Ready to read about a lunch you can pack tomorrow?

Another Week of Paleo Lunches! (Part 1 of 5) by Michelle Tam http://nomnompaleo.com

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Zenbelly Paleo Popup

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Back when we lived in San Francisco — and before we had kids — the vast majority of our meals were eaten in restaurants around town. Henry and I voraciously ate our way through the city, slimming our wallets and fattening our bellies.

These days, restaurant meals are the exception and not the rule, so when we manage to escape for a night out on the town, I try to pick places with insanely great eats — even if the food isn’t always Paleo-compliant. 

But on Saturday night, a group of us nabbed spots at Simone Shifnadel’s Zenbelly Paleo Popup at Coffee Bar in San Francisco, where we dined on super-fresh, gluten/legume/dairy-free farm-to-table fare. Score!

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I first heard of Simone and her catering company, Zenbelly, when she launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a community gluten-free kitchen. Since then, we’ve tweeted back and forth and we finally met IRL at the Weston A. Price conference last November. We instantly bonded over our mutual love of food (and sarcasm).

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So when I learned about Simone’s popup dinner, I bought tickets right away. I was amazed at her ability to pull together a Paleo Popup in just a few short weeks, transforming a Potrero Hill coffee shop into a chic, glowing hotspot for Paleo eaters to congregate over a hearty yet refined five-course feast.

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The ambience was perfect and the service was friendly and professional; if it weren’t for the big red “Coffee Bar” sign out front, no one would’ve guessed that the place is ordinarily a coffee-and-sammitch joint.

Ready for a peek at the food?

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Giveaway Time! LunchBots Clicks & Dips!

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**UPDATE: The contest is OVAH and the winner has been contacted! Thanks to all for entering the giveaway!**

As the family lunch-packer, I’ve tried every conceivable compact food storage container on the market — from plastic boxes to glass containers. For years, our kitchen was stocked with stuff I hoarded from Tupperware parties, but after learning of the dangers of plastic, I immediately replaced them all with Snapware glass containers and stainless steel LunchBots

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Recently, my friend Jackie — the creator of LunchBots — gave us a few sets of her new LunchBots Clicks. It was love at first sight. These stainless steel containers are completely leak-proof, lightweight, stackable, and dishwasher-safe. I was so head-over-heels that I immediately bought complete sets for the most important cooks in my life: my chef sister, my mom, and my mother-in-law.

Wanna try them out, too?

Thanks to LunchBots, I’m giving away a set of two small LunchBots Clicks

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…and a set of three LunchBots Dips!

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If you’re looking for a way to get your cave-children to eat more fruits and veggies at school, pack them a dunk-worthy sauce in a LunchBots Dips. (Or, if you’re like me, you may just want to use the Dips to portion out your macadamia nuts or dark chocolate chunks…)

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Like the Clicks, the Dips are easy for my kids to open and close. They’re completely leak-proof, too.

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Still scratching your head about what to pack in your LunchBots containers? Take a peek at the week of packed lunches that Jackie and I put together:

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Okay — ready to try your hand at winning these babies?

Here are the rules for the giveaway:

  1. Like LunchBots Fan Page on Facebook!
  2. Like Nom Nom Paleo Fan Page on Facebook!
  3. Subscribe to my email Newsletter!
  4. Leave JUST ONE comment at the end of THIS POST no later than Tuesday, September 4, 2012, at 9 p.m. PST, confirming that you followed Steps 1 through 3. (I’ll be checking, so no cheating!)

Simple, right? I’ll pick a winner at random, and Jackie’ll send you the goods. Unfortunately, you have to be a U.S. resident to enter. (Tumblr’s rules, not mine. Sorry, international fans!)

Good luck!