Foodie Friday: Cookbook Review and Giveaway

Peanut butter sandwich, banana, granola bar.  Peanut butter sandwich, orange slices, graham crackers.  Peanut butter sandwich, watermelon, yogurt.  Peanut butter sandwich, blackberries, granola bar.  Peanut butter sandwich, cantaloupe, fruit snacks.

This is what my 3rd grader’s lunch box looks like every single day.  There was a time when he decided he wanted to try ham and cheese sandwich instead of peanut butter and I fell all over myself trying to recreate ham and cheese, dry on white french bread.  Just like they do it at City Bites.  That phase lasted about two weeks and then he was back to peanut butter sandwiches.  He’s a man of limited tastes.

It’s no secret that I have somewhat of a picky eater.  He faints at the sight of green food and eats all of his sandwiches plain and dry.  Even his hamburgers are plain with just a whisper of ketchup.  No cheese, lettuce, mayo.  Nothin’.

All of that being said, I still decided to review Best Lunch Box Ever by Katie Sullivan Morford.

Best Lunch Box Ever


This was a really fun cookbook to look through.  The photographs were beautiful.  They evoked a feeling of days gone by when moms slowly and lovingly packed lunches.  Creating something unique and healthy each day that said I love you and cherish you and will be waiting with baited breath at the window until the bus drops you back off into the sanctuary of our front lawn.  Was there ever a time like that?  Maybe not.  The next image that popped into my head was the lunch Molly Ringwald brought to detention in Breakfast Club.  If you can’t remember, I’m not going to tell you.  Just go and watch that movie right after you finish reading this.

I flipped through the pages of healthy lunch suggestions, all of which I would eat in a heart beat and many of which looked like you could find in a hip bistro, and wondered what I could fix that my picky eater would actually eat.  Heres the thing with fixing something adventurous for a 3rd grader’s lunch…If a drill sergeant isn’t going to sit there and tell him to eat it, it probably won’t be consumed.  Personally, I would prefer to go with what is tried and true, knowing that he will get some food in his belly to carry in through the afternoon, than worry that most of the food will end up in the trash.

My son may not be the best guinea pig when it comes to trying out new lunch ideas but I realize that many children are a little more adventurous.  If you have one of these future Iron Chef’s then this fun little cookbook is for you.  In addition to tons of lunch, snack, sweet spot and tide-me-over-until-dinner-time ideas, Katie has advice on how to prep your kitchen and pantry for healthy lunches.  Packing more than a PB&J and Little Debbie takes some preparation and organization.  It is necessary to plan ahead, know what you want to pack throughout the week and incorporate your dinner menu into the planning process.  Many lunch recipes use dinner leftovers to help mom out in the morning.  Another key ingredient to success is kid involvement. When a child has a vested interested, is able to help shop for, choose ingredients and prepare them they are more likely to actually eat the finished product.

Best Lunch Box Ever

When I received this cookbook I knew I wanted to make something right away.  However, Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches and Curried Quinoa would be met with blank stares and the gag reflex.  I knew I had to try something that would appeal to my picky eater.  Chocolate Pudding.  Bingo.  I decided to make this a fun dinner time taste test and made a batch of Chocolate Pudding from the book and a batch of boxed Jell-O Chocolate Pudding.

chocolate pudding

Both of my boys were happy to be taste testers.  My picky eater decided he liked the Jell-O better while my 4 year old liked the homemade version.  I enjoyed both but after eating almost a full serving of homemade pudding I tried one more bite of Jell-O brand pudding.  The Jell-O was way too sweet.

Now for the giveaway

Because you’re so awesome, the book’s publisher and Oklahoma Women Bloggers want to give you a copy of Best Lunch Box Ever.  Just leave a comment below.  Tell us what your go-to lunch box sandwich is.  Or let us know if your kids would actually eat something besides a PB&J.  This giveaway will stay open until midnight (Central), Thursday, May 1st.  The winner will be announced on Friday, May 2nd.

Good luck

Oklahoma Women BloggersStephanie Clinton is a SAHM to two boys ages 9 and 4.  She loves their hugs and kisses but does not love wiping their snotty noses.  In her past life she has been a Gymboree teacher, an activity director at a retirement home, a business manager and a celebrity sighter.  She likes to think of herself as a pretty decent cook, artistic, crafty and sort of okay with a sewing machine.  She is a free lance writer, administrator for Oklahoma Women Bloggers and contributor to Metro Family Magazine.  In her free time (if there ever is any) she can be found reading, volunteering in her community, singing, avoiding housework but most of all blogging about her stay-at-home adventures.  Visit her at

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  1. Margi says:

    My oldest is in kindergarten, so I’ve only been doing the school lunch thing for less than a year, but I feel as if I could use some new ideas already. It does seem like I revert to the same-old, same-old, PB&J with carrot sticks, fruit and whatever snacky thing I can find each and every day. I’d like to think that he’d try something new if he found it in his lunch box.

  2. Lisa Czlonka says:

    I love making my Pre-K son his lunch. Started out this year with our dinner leftovers (like cubed chicken), a vegetable, fruit, water and sometimes cottage cheese or yogurt. Now, he does ask for sandwiches, but always leaves the bread, so I think it’s just the nitrate free meat and cheese. Love, love, love that he gets involved in requesting his food items though…cucumbers are his favorite. I’ve gotten great ideas off of Pinterest, but would love to get some new ideas to keep things fresh.

  3. Chelle Sandell says:

    My kiddo is in 4th grade and hates the cafeteria food and I always feel like he’s getting a healthier and better quality lunch when I make it…but he does get tired of the same PB&J or lunch meat sandwich. I’m always trying to find other options but stick with healthier options. Thanks do much for opening the door to those options.

  4. Brandi Glover says:

    My daughter actually hates sandwiches in her lunch, bc the bread gets soggy by lunch time! Which is true… So I don’t force her to have a sandwich but then her lunch looks like half the snack drawer and a bag of grapes!

  5. Natine says:

    Love the idea of a quick resource to generate some variety in healthy kid lunches! PB is a quick, healthy staple, but… Love your chocolate pudding taste test. 😉

  6. Diane says:

    I have two very picky eaters. One will only eat peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches and the other eats fluffernutters . I pack fresh fruit cut invite size pieces, along with other snacks but the fruit is often not even touched. I need some new ideas! The kids are 11 and 13 so I have some years ahead of me. I am also a single mom who works full- time so I haven’t a lot of time to cook and bake.

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