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Crispy and Tender Homemade Churros

Crispy and Tender Homemade Churros

This is what usually happens to me when I travel abroad with friends or family. We get there and we start exploring the city. However, our agenda is usually tight because we want to see as many places as possible so I quickly become hungry! If you need to know one thing about me, is that when I become hungry, I actually become hangry. I don’t know how others can go hours without snacks, but that’s not me! I love the street vendors and all that mouth-watering, inviting food.

Therefore, today’s article is dedicated to the scrumptious churros. Churro is basically fried-dough pastry. They originate from Spain and Portugal, but are winning people’s hearts and taste buds all around the globe. You can easily find them in the USA, France, Colombia… Churros are mostly sold by street vendors but can also be found in restaurants and cafés.

You can have them with coffee for breakfast or as a dessert anytime of the day – dipped in hot chocolate or any other flavor. I personally like them dipped in hot chocolate. Yum!

 

Useful tips you should know about churros

Portion of Churros

  • Always heat the oil to proper temperature (around 375 degrees F). You can use candy thermometer to be safe. You don’t want to have burnt churros on the outside but undercooked on the inside.
  • There is no exact amount of time for cooking churros, so be on the lookout. You are going for golden brown color. If the temperature is right, you will get churros crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • To get more defined edges, just like classic churros, use closed star piping tip.
  • When you add the egg, stir very quickly in order not to get scrambled egg in your batter.
  • After frying, drain the churros on paper towel before you add them to the cinnamon sugar mixture which you can prepare ahead. Don’t drain too long because you want the sugar to stick to them.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • ¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter
  • 1tbsp (13g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Oil for frying

 

For coating:

  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon

 

How to make churros

Known as a crowd pleaser, churros are so easy to make, you will want to make them from scratch. You only need few simple ingredients – flour, water, salt, and sugar. They are best served freshly made. I bet people who don’t like churros have tried day-old churros.

The first step is to heat about 2 inches of oil in a large pot. The temperature should be about 375 degrees F. While the oil is heating, prepare the batter for the churros.

Add the water, butter, sugar, and salt into a large saucepan and bring them to a boil over medium heat. When the ingredients are mixed together, reduce the heat and add the flour. Stir constantly with a spatula until the mixture is smooth.

When your mixture is smooth you can add the egg. You must stir quickly or use an electric mixer because the heat can scramble the egg. The egg will make the batter nice and smooth. Now, you are ready to fill the batter in a piping bag.

When you make churros, the best size for a piping bag is 16 inches. Fit a round star tip, around half an inch big, and start piping. You can pipe the churros on a baking paper sheet or directly in the hot oil. If you do the latter, make sure you use clean scissors to cut the churros.

The usual length of the churros is around 6 inches but you can decide whatever works for you. Fry them until golden brown. My tip would be to put only 5-6 in the oil so they don’t stick to each other. Usually it takes around 2 minutes on each side.

After frying, drain them on a paper towel and then coat them in a cinnamon sugar mixture. When you have them all coated, the options are endless. You can decide what kind of dipping sauce you want. You can make hot chocolate, dulce de leche, white chocolate, or whatever comes to mind. Just make sure you eat them warm and don’t forget to send me an invitation. Bon appétit!

Churro Recipe

The Ultimate List of Super Bowl Party Snacks

The Ultimate List of Super Bowl Party Snacks

Nothing unites sports fans and rivals like good food. And when it comes to Super Bowl, there’s good food in abundance. Super Bowl is the best excuse to enjoy high-calorie food (let’s face it, the tastiest foods are those that are bad for you)! Serve your friends with these chicken, shrimp, bacon, ham, potato, and cheese recipes and trust us, there’ll be hardly anyone watching the game.

 

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Bacon Popovers

Crispy bits of bacon are baked into light and tasty herb-flavored puffs. Try these for a delicious Super Bowl party, but also for a unique lunch or a terrific weekend breakfast. Make these flavorful popovers even more substantial by adding mushrooms and tomatoes.

Finely chop 2 mushrooms and lightly fry with the bacon in Step 2. Add the mushrooms and bacon to the batter with the thyme. Slice 4 cherry tomatoes in half. Remove the popovers from the oven after 15 minutes and place a cherry tomato half, cut side up, on top of each popover. Return to the oven and finish baking as directed.

Chicken Paninis

A brick wrapped in foil is the secret to deliciously sealing the flavors of chicken, tomatoes, pesto, and melted cheese into tasty grilled bread. Sun-dried tomatoes can be purchased in packets (often pre-chopped in diced, julienned, or chunk form) or in jars of olive oil. The oil-packed tomatoes are best for sandwiches.

Spicy Meat Samosas

These golden brown parcels of spiced pork are an Indian favorite and are equally tasty on their own or as part of a buffet lunch.

You can make the samosas in advance up to the end of Step 4. Freeze on a baking sheet, then remove and layer between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost on a baking sheet and bake as above.

Crispy Zucchini Sticks

Zucchini French fries, please! Besides as a Super Bowl party food, these zucchini snacks are perfect for summertime. Zucchinis make a great flavor combination with basil.

Add 1/4 teaspoon dried basil to the breadcrumb mixture before coating the zucchini with it. You can also set out a bowl of warm meatless spaghetti sauce for dipping the crisp zucchini sticks into.

Crunchy Onion Rings

Try serving these onion rings along with hamburgers and vanilla milkshakes on Super Bowl Sunday and you’ll have yourself a private fast-food drive-in! To make sure your onion rings are super-crispy and ready at the same time, arrange the onions in a single layer on the baking sheet. If the only onions you have on hand are large, use two baking sheets to hold them all.

Cheese Dip with Pita Chips

The smell of cheese dip baking at your house on Super Bowl Sunday will promise a good time. You can make this dip easily even if you don’t have a food processor. Let the cream cheese stand at room temperature until it is soft, shred the Gouda on the small-holed side of a grate, then combine the ingredients and bake the dip as directed. The baking blends the cheeses just about as well as a food processor does.

Sesame Onion Twists

Twist some dough this Super Bowl Sunday! Here is an extra tip – sitting down at a beautifully set table makes any meal special. To dress up your table, serve these savory breadsticks and other homemade breads in a basket lined with a pretty cloth napkin.

Zesty Empanadas

These spicy, beef-filled pies are wrapped in light, flaky pastry. Just the thing to add a little Latin-American flair to your next Super Bowl party. To complete the Latin-American theme, serve these empanadas with a salad topped with chopped hard-boiled egg, diced bell pepper, corn, and olives. Add chopped fresh cilantro and season the salad with lemon juice, salt, and pepper or use your favorite oil and vinegar dressing.

Thyme Crackers

Add a little intrigue to your next Super Bowl cheese and fruit plate with these easy homemade crackers—your guests will gladly gobble your efforts! The fresh thyme in these crackers gives them character that boxed crackers simply do not have. Pair them with a strong taste such as blue cheese, or top them with your favorite flavor of herbed spreadable cheese. Serve wedges of fruit on the side, such as pear or apple, for freshness and flavor balance.

Buffalo-Style Meatballs

Instead Buffalo wings, celebrate your Super Bowl team’s victory with meatballs. Buffalo-style foods are coated with melted butter and hot pepper sauce. In addition to that zesty flavor outside, these meatballs feature a surprise inside. You can also make a mean meatloaf with this recipe!

Just place half of the beef mixture from Step 1 in a 9-x 5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle about 2 oz. blue cheese on top of the meat. Cover with the rest of the beef mixture and bake at 350°F until cooked through, 50–60 minutes. Serve the hot pepper and butter sauce on the side.

Batter-Dipped Shrimp

Spoil your family and friends with restaurant-quality battered shrimp, made right at home! They’ll enjoy every golden, crunchy, buttery moment. Wooden skewers 6–8 inches long are perfect for this recipe. Do not soak them in water, as you would for grilling.

Measure the temperature of the oil with a deep-fat thermometer. If you like to deep fry, they’re indispensable. Most markets carry them in their kitchen accessory aisle. Candy thermometers are often set up to measure both candy mixtures or deep fat.

Mushroom Bruschetta

Caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms melt right into buttered, toasted bread slices for a fantastic Super Bowl appetizer. Add a sweet touch of onion to any recipe: Just follow Step 1 to caramelize onions, and serve the onions on top of grilled chicken breast, steak, pork loin or burgers.

Chicken Caesar Wraps 

A great sandwich and salad combo! Wrap tender chicken and tangy Caesar salad fixings into a refreshing lunch or light supper. Add 1/4 cup crumbled bacon to the mixture in Step 2 for extra flavor.

  • The wraps can be warmed in the microwave for about 15 seconds to make them softer and easier to fold.
  • Use leftover roast beef, chopped, in place of the chicken.
  • Try whole-wheat pocket bread instead of the wraps.

Chicken Quesadillas

 

These tasty appetizers are loaded with a spicy chicken filling and baked so they are light and crispy. The perfect treat for Super Bowl night!

Pizza-dilla? A quick and easy way to cut your quesadillas is to use a pizza cutter. A pizza cutter, with its rotating wheel, slices through easily, without dragging any of the filling out. It’s also great for cutting pastry dough, homemade pasta and, of course, pizza!

Other options:

  • For more heat, use canned chopped jalapeños.
  • Many Mexican cheese blends contain a little chili powder. You can use your favorite shredded cheese or cheese blend and just add a sprinkle of chili powder.
  • This quesadilla is a great way to use leftovers from a supermarket rotisserie chicken.

Cheese Dip with Chicken Sausage

Warm cheese dip guarantees a successful Super Bowl party. Sliced sausage is a perfect dipper. This dip recipe also makes a great fondue, if you have a fondue pot. Prepare the dip and keep warm in the fondue pot. Have long skewers on hand for guests, and provide platters of sourdough bread chunks, chopped apple, and chopped ham.

Layered Mexican Dip

Chips get the royal treatment this Super Bowl Sunday! Layers of beans, guacamole, spicy sour cream and cheese, crowned with black olives, fresh tomatoes and lettuce. Top this dip with a different shredded cheese—Mexican cheese blends usually contain several kinds of cheese, both yellow and white. Look for taco cheese blends if you want a little chili powder in the mix.

  • Guacamole dip can be found in the refrigerated deli section of the grocery store.
  • For healthier snacking, use low-fat or fat-free sour cream and fat-free refried beans in this dip. No one will miss the extra fat!

Dilly Grecian Gyros

A creamy yogurt-cucumber dip is the authentic topping for this classic Greek sandwich. Make this popular treat right at home for your Super Bowl get-together! Need a creative use for leftover meatloaf? Stop right here! Thinly- sliced meatloaf is also delicious in chilis and sprigs of cilantro.

Italian Rice Balls

Rice balls are a special treat! Starchy Arborio rice is best for this Super Bowl snack because the starch holds the rice in a ball shape best. As an option, you can also try short-grain Asian rice, it works just as well. Whatever rice you use, cook it in advance and chill it for up to two days so that you have it ready to use.

Smoked Salmon Ball

Hors d’oeuvres like this one, using simple ingredients from your pantry, are always great for Super Bowl parties. Variation: Add 1/2 cup chopped green olives with pimientos.

Canned salmon usually contains some tiny bones and skin that need to be removed before using the salmon. Place the salmon in a bowl and pick up and examine each piece of salmon. Remove and discard the skin, bones, and any dark brown flesh.

Pastry Olive Bundles

These tidbits are well loved by grown-ups and kids alike. To ensure that the pastry wrapping is not saturated with oil from the olives, here is a simple solution. Pat the olives completely dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel so that there is no liquid in them to seep through.

Antipasto Squares

Be a “hero” at your Super Bowl party or any casual gathering with these mini sandwiches piled high with delicacies. Instead of spreading the bread with the egg and Parmesan cheese mixture, use a spicy tomato sauce. This will give the sandwich a completely different taste.

Bacon Surprises

These small morsels are an excellent addition to the Super Bowl buffet. Crispy, smoky bacon hides the tasty surprises—sausage, apricots, and prunes. Try this same recipe, but substitute the prunes and apricots with dried dates and figs. Soak the fruit in tea for 2 hours, then drain well before wrapping in bacon and cooking as in Step 5.

Artichoke & Olive Pies

Little open pies of phyllo pastry with an enticing artichoke, olive and rice filling make an attractive Super Bowl snack. If rice is left to cool slowly, bacteria may develop that can cause food poisoning. Always serve the rice immediately. If you’re cooking rice in advance, cool it quickly by spreading it out in a shallow dish or holding it under the cold tap. Refrigerate as soon as it has cooled.

Ham & Pesto Swirls

These impressive looking pastries are surprisingly easy to make. They’re filled with succulent Parma ham, Parmesan cheese, and aromatic pesto. Place 2½ cups basil leaves, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 large clove garlic and 3 tablespoons pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor and blend to make a paste. Add 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, then slowly pour in ⅓ cup olive oil while blending. Use in the recipe above or as a sauce for pasta.

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Barbecue Spareribs

Whatever you do, don’t use your good cloth napkins when you serve these saucy ribs at the Super Bowl party! For well-trimmed, easy-to-eat ribs, boil the uncut spareribs and let them cool slightly. Then trim and discard the skin from the back of the ribs. Cut the spareribs into sections after boiling them because removing the skin makes the ribs easier to cut.

Longing for the Summer – Mojito Ingredients, Tips & Amazing Recipes

Longing for the Summer – Mojito Ingredients, Tips & Amazing Recipes

Oh, summer…tans fade away but memories stay forever! The colder it gets outside, the more we miss the summer. Luckily, there’s a way to bring some sunshine & sandy beaches to your living room. Invite your friends over and start shaking up some mojitos!

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Even though many would say Margaritas are the ultimate summer drink (we’ll get to them soon enough), this traditional Cuban cocktail has taken primate in the last several years, becoming one of the most ordered refreshments all around the globe!

Quick History of the Mojito

Part of this drink’s popularity is due to its simplicity and wide availability of ingredients – lime, sugar, mint, and rum. The fact that it was the favorite booze of one of the world’s most famous writers, Hemingway, also contributes some charm.

So, how did this amazing highball come into our lives? Far back in the 1830’s, the Cuban writer Ramon de Palma mentioned a drink very similar to mojito in one of his books. The cocktail was initially called ‘El Draquecito’ and was associated with Sir Francis Drake.

Namely, there’s a story that traces a similar drink in the 16th century when Drake’s ships sailed towards Havana but there was an epidemic of dysentery and scurvy on board. The local Indians prepared a remedy with rum, lime, sugarcane juice, and mint to help the sick soldiers, thus creating the original mojito predecessor. Throughout the years, it was adjusted and became the highball we adore today.

 

How to Make a Perfect Classic Mojito

Even though there are so many versions of this popular cocktail out there, it’s hard to beat the classic recipe. The problem with homemade mojitos is that they always turn out to be so different from those mixed up in a bar.

The key is the balance of ingredients. In other words, it’s not just about what ingredients you’re using, but how you combine and mix them. The classic recipe calls for rum, lime, sugar, mint, and ice, (optionally soda water is added), and served in a highball glass.

Rum

Traditionally, white rum is used to make mojitos. Look for lighter Cuban-style or Spanish-style rum.

Lime

Lime can be added in the form of wedges or juice. In case you go with lime wedges, make sure to muddle well. However, too much muddling will cause the lime to release a bitter flavor. So, if you are uncertain about how much muddling is enough, opt for freshly squeezed juice and use the wedges strictly as decoration.

Sugar

Can you use crystalline sugar in your favorite highball? Some dislike the crunchiness it contributes, so professional bartenders often opt for sugar syrup instead. The next question is – what type of sugar syrup is the best? Since white rum is pretty light, so should be the sugar syrup so as not to overpower the other ingredients and give the cocktail brown color. Opt for white or golden sugar syrup. To make the syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water and heat at a low temperature until dissolved.

Mint

Mint is here to contribute its amazing aroma. So, the point is to release the aromatic oils from the mint. Don’t slice or break the mint into small pieces. Like in the case of sugar syrup, if you muddle too much, the mint will end up ground and look more like a sauce. In addition, it will release bitter flavors and ruin your cocktail instead of flavoring it. To achieve best results, all you need to do is press the mint gently with your hands. Don’t forget to use another pressed mint spring as decoration next to the straw

Soda water

Adding soda water doesn’t actually make a big difference. Still, it does add an extra subtle layer of flavor to the cocktail. If you decide to use it, make sure your soda water is without artificial additives and sugars and keep the amount low (just a splash will suffice).

Ice

Crushed ice is cherry on top when it comes to mojitos. Take the ice out of the freezer and crush it just before adding it to the glass. Just make sure the ice hasn’t absorbed any unwanted smells from the food in the freezer.

Constructing the Classic Mojito

Ingredients and amounts:

12 fresh mint leaves, divided (plus for garnish)

1 cup crushed ice

4 teaspoons sugar syrup

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (approx. 2 limes)

1/4 cup white rum

1/4 cup soda water

For a perfect mojito, the ingredient ratio should be 1 part lime:1 part sugar syrup:2 parts rum.

Press the mint and add to the bottom of the glass. Add the crushed ice, followed by the lime juice, rum, and sugar syrup. Churn with a spoon. Add some more crushed ice and continue churning until frosting appears on the outside of the glass. Then fill with even more crushed ice until the glass is completely full. At this point, you can add some soda if you want.  Decorate with mint and, optionally, a lime wedge.

Five Unexpected Mojito Twists

Why not try something different from time to time? See what happens when you replace lime with lemon or mint with basil, or when you add totally unexpected ingredients like orange, pineapple, strawberry, or cherry.

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Lemongrass, Lime and Thai Basil Mojito

Pineapple Strawberry Mojito

Reiner Cherry Mojito

Orange Blossom Citrus Mojitos

Minty Non-alcoholic Mojito

Watermelon Mojito

More Amazing Mojito Recipes

Have you ever eaten mojito cupcakes, salad or even popsicles? Well, it’s high time that you did!

Watermelon Mojito Cupcakes

Raspberry Mojito Popsicles

Mojito Chicken Salad Recipe

Mojito Grilled Fish Tacos with Strawberry Salsa

Mojito Chicken Sandwiches

8 Indonesian Foods You Need to Try

8 Indonesian Foods You Need to Try

Fresh herbs and a plethora of spices – this is the phrase that summarizes Indonesian food best. Indonesian cuisine is truly bursting with flavors. The process of selecting the best dishes from the country that offers a delicious array of fried curries, noodles, and vegetable salads with exotic peanut dressings was not easy at all. So, this list might lack some of the very popular Indonesian foods but contains gems like our favorite dessert Kek Lapis.

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#1 Satay

The term ‘satay’ refers to meat skewers not only in Indonesia but in all the countries in Southeast Asia. However, history tells us that the streets of Indonesia are the place where this food originated and was later popularized by Arab traders.

Today, satay is considered a national dish in the country. These meat skewers can be made with different types of meat, with chicken and goat being most popular ones. Mutton and rabbit are also commonly used, whereas westernized versions also include beef or pork.

The ‘secret ingredient’ that makes this Indonesian food so unique is the marinade. Well, to be more precise, marinades. Some recipes require marinating the meat in a turmeric-based mixture, whereas others call for sweet kecap manis soy sauce. Then, the meat is skewered and grilled over very hot & smoky charcoal. Finally, it is covered in a rich peanut sauce.

#2 Soto

indonesian food

Credit:https://boardinghousesemarangpeterongantimur.wordpress.com/2017/05/14/chicken-soto-soto-ayam/

Soto is a traditional meat soup. The only constant in this Indonesian food is the broth, whereas the rest of the ingredients vary depending on the region. The most commonly used meat types are chicken, goat, and beef. Soto Betawi is the most popular version of this soup. It originated in Jakarta and it is well-loved for its creamy, coconut-milk base. It is usually topped with fried garlic & shallots, then seasoned with sambal.

We decided to make the Soto Ayam version, a spicy chicken soup combined with either compressed rice cut into small cakes or noodles. This liquid Indonesian food is seasoned with turmeric which gives the signature yellow color. Sometimes Soto Ayam is served with hard-boiled eggs, fried potato slices, fried shallots, or celery leaves.

#3 Nasi Goreng

Another national dish, Nasi Goreng is a simple but very flavorful Indonesian food. The fact that it is also very cheap makes it popular throughout the country. The rice is fried in a wok pan with some oil or margarine. Its sweet twist and uniqueness come from the thick soy sauce called kecap. After it is cooked, the rice is complemented with a salty seasoning and garnished with crushed chili sambal, garlic, and acar (pickled carrots and cucumbers). Varieties of Nasi Goreng can include meat slices or beans combined with a fried egg.

#4 Tahu Bakar

indonesian food

Credit:http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/stuffed-tofu-tahu-isi

In Indonesia, tofu is considered a poor man’s snack, which automatically means it is a very common ingredient. Tahu Bakar are pockets of crispy fried tofu that look like small pockets. They have a distinct golden color and bright flavor and are best when served with sweet soy sauce & chili.

#5 Ayam Pelalah

indonesian food

Credit:http://mondomulia.com/2014/07/21/balinese-chicken-curry/

Аyam Pelalah is an authentic Balinese dish. It is comprised of shredded chicken which is first grilled and then seasoned with a number of spices. Ayam Pelalah is usually served along with Nasi Campur (mixed rice).

Even though Indonesian food coming from Bali, like Ayam Pelalah, is generally time-consuming, people in Indonesia consider it to be worth the effort since they believe food is a sacred offering to God. Top this Indonesian food with some juice of limau lime, a fruit commonly used in Balinese cooking to enhance the flavor.

#6 Gado-gado

indonesian food

Credit:http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/gado-gado-5/4afaf49f-a295-41c1-a037-e6d2e47800dc

The term gado-gado translates to ‘mix-mix’ and refers to a Jakartan peanut sauce salad. Its base is comprised of compressed rice cakes, eggs, and vegetables like boiled long beans, bean sprouts, potato, spinach, and corn. Besides that, tofu, tempe, and cucumber are often added.

This combination of ingredients makes gado-gado a very fulfilling salad which can be eaten as a main dish. No wonder it is one of the most popular street foods in Indonesia. People in the capital like covering their gado-gado with a peanut or cashew sauce but as you move eastwards throughout Indonesia, the dish gets sweeter. Actually, the nut sauce is the first item of the salad that the vendors will mix up and the one that gives gado-gado its richness and heartiness.

#7 Rendang

Rendang is the dish that ended up on top of CNN’s world’s best foods list! Those who have tried it, agree that the position is completely deserved. Rendang is a truly remarkable Indonesian food. This curry-like dish originated in the island of Sumatra but is widely popular throughout Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.

There are two main variations of rending – one that is drier and is considered to be the original version, and another that contains more gravy. Both versions, however, are usually made with beef, cooked together with shallots and garlic and accompanied by lots of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and dry chilies. The ingredient that distinguishes this Indonesian food from curries is desiccated coconut, which contributes grainy texture to the dish.

#8 Kek Lapis

Kek Lapis is Indonesian layer cake which certainly looks beautiful but is rather difficult to prepare. The batter for each layer of the cake needs to be precisely measured. When baking, you need to pay close attention and remove the layer (yes, Kek Lapis is baked one layer at a time!) just when it gets light brown.

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However, if you get this cake right, you will realize that it is worth the effort. This sweet Indonesian food is based on butter and eggs (some versions call for yolks only, while others include whites as well). Then, spices are added to obtain the distinct exotic flavor and beautiful aroma. Kek Lapis is very rich and filling and therefore served in small pieces. It is one of the favorite holiday & special occasion desserts in Indonesia.

Mission Lunchbox – 16 Tips for Packing Lunch to Go (No. 15 Will Blow Your Mind)

Mission Lunchbox – 16 Tips for Packing Lunch to Go (No. 15 Will Blow Your Mind)

Have you been spending a lot of money on your office lunches? It is estimated that an average person spends between $10 and $15 a day on junk food while at work. Still, the damage done on the household budget is not the only downside that should make you consider switching to home-packed food; there are two more reasons why you should do it:

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–    Health. There is no need to talk about how harmful fast food is. Changing the type of food you eat is the first step to creating a healthy lifestyle. Consuming homemade food on a daily basis provides variety and allows you to control portion sizes. Not to mention it tastes much better.

–    Convenience. Even though the daily expenses related to food-on-the-go are significant, many people continue relying on fast food due to convenience – order and you have a warm meal in a matter of minutes.

However, packing lunch at home can be very simple and that is what this post is all about. It all comes down to two things: organization and routine. Keep reading and learn how to become a professional lunch box-packer that complies healthy and balanced meals for the whole family completely stress-free!

office lunch

The Food

  1. Check Your Fridge and Pantry

Make sure your fridge and pantry are always filled with staples like sandwich bread, along with your family’s favorite ingredients. Stock such ingredients in a bulk to be sure you won’t run out at a critical moment. This will minimize the stress and speed up the whole process.

  1. Use up the Leftovers

By packing leftovers, you save any unwanted food from ending up in the trash (which is another way to save money), providing diversity at the same time. One option is to make extra dinner and pack the leftovers to eat at work. Another option is to re-purpose leftovers – for instance, if you had roast chicken for dinner, use the leftover meat to make a quick chicken salad, wraps, or sandwiches.

  1. Balance the Meals

When packing your lunch, make sure it contains a wide range of nutrients. Here is what you need to include in order to cover all daily needs:

–    Protein to give you enough strength and energy for the day. Plan to include about 2 oz. of protein in the form of meat, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, or nut butter.

–    Fruit and vegetables to be sure your meal is packed with vitamins and minerals. We recommend bananas, strawberries, carrots, and broccoli, but anything you choose is fine.

–    Whole grains to provide fiber that will make you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Think whole grain bread or pasta.

–    Don’t forget to include a bottle of water for refreshment and hydration and a coffee to keep you awake!

The Preparation

  1. Plan ahead. Make Sunday a day to prep the meals for the whole week. Draw up a weekly meal plan and shop for the ingredients accordingly. You can make bigger batches of meals and distribute them throughout work days or freeze part of them for future use.
  2. Another option is to prepare your lunch boxes the night before to prevent being late. You are probably groggy and in a hurry when you get ready for work, so forgetting certain items or even the whole lunch box is very likely.
  3. Line up. If you really must assemble your lunch box in the morning, the least you can do is arrange all the containers and ingredients you’ll need on the counter. This will save you plenty of time & nerves.
  4. Whole fruits are great to eat on the go, but veggies are a bit more complicated since they need to be washed and chopped. Do this they day you get them from the supermarket and store them is containers or zip-lock bags in the fridge until ready to use.

The Containers

The first rule to go by when choosing your containers is: make sure they are high-quality and convenient. There is no need to have a whole cupboard of containers. Here are the essentials everyone needs.

  1. Lunch Boxes. Apparently, lunchboxes have evolved into portable electric heating containers, heat-resistant glass boxes, and complex stainless-steel vacuum lunch jars. These advanced lunch boxes allow you to heat your meals wherever you are, pack liquid foods without the fear of spilling or place them directly into the microwave, but we believe that there is nothing better than the simple, old-school plastic ones.

Choose a compartment lunchbox that will help control portions and prevent different ingredients clean (you don’t want your pasta spilled over the fruits!).

No matter what type of lunchbox you decide to invest in, you can rest assured that it is a far better option than plastic zip-lock bags. According to statistics, American families spend over $80 yearly on plastic bags, which makes them budget-unfriendly. In addition, plastic boxes are reusable and hence eco-friendly. And finally, they allow for minimum mess and waste.

If you still find it difficult to give up baggies, try reusable silicone ones. Unlike their plastic counterpart, these airtight bags contain no harmful materials such as PVC or latex. They are made of the best food-grade silicone and are safe to throw in the microwave, freezer, even the dishwasher.

  1. Drink containers. Everybody needs one reusable drink container. We prefer plastic over glass because it is unbreakable and over stainless steel because it is lighter. Plastic containers will enable you to replace store-bought juices full of added sugars with fresh ones but are also perfect for milk, sodas, and water.

no more junk food

Alternatively, you can opt for reusable blood bags. As creepy as these bags might sound, they are quite convenient since don’t take up too much space. Moreover, they are completely food safe and widely used for parties and decorations.

  1. Coffee thermos or travel mugs are the perfect choices for caffeine lovers. They are leak-resistant and heat-insulated, ideal for keeping your coffee or tea aromatic and warm for hours. These containers are perfect for soups, chili, and other meals that are served hot, but you can also use them for smoothies!
  2. Mini dip containers might seem too tiny and insignificant but you will soon come to realize how difficult life is without them. Use them for sauces, dips, dressings, and more!
  3. Lunch bags come in so many shapes, sizes, and exciting colors. Some of them have such cool designs, they can safely pass as regular bags that match your outfit! Besides great looks, lunch bags come with a specific function – they keep your food chilled until you are ready to eat.

The Motivation

Sometimes, good organization is not enough to keep you repeating the same routine over and over again. Here is what you can do to inspire yourself.

  1. Do a research. Find an amazing cooking app and pack your smartphone with quick and easy recipes. Read through blogs dedicated to packing lunches (yes, such things do exist) to find ideas and resources. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
  2. Printables. To make things easier and far more interesting, print colorful weekly or monthly meal plans and pin them on the fridge. They will not only help you stay organized but will also make your kitchen more cheerful! In addition, print some cute notes to slip inside your loved ones’ lunchboxes and brighten up their day.
  3. Make your lunch containers cooler. If you are skillful, decorate them yourself by sticking fun handmade drawings or turning food into art. In addition to your vivid imagination, owning a few cookie cutters and some food coloring will come handy in this case. Less artistic souls can download some great lunchbox designs online. Not fancy enough for you? Buy a lunch box worthy of showing off.
lunch box

Credit: http://www.blessthismessplease.com/2016/06/adult-lunch-box-ideas.html

Explore antique shops for vintage lunch boxes – you might just get lucky and find a hidden gem. But bear in mind that such pleasure comes with a price – lunch containers from the 1900’s are very popular collector’s items and real aficionados are prepared to pay between $1500 – $13000 for rarities featuring Superman, Mickey Mouse, or the Beatles.

However, this is nothing compared to the most expensive lunch box in the world. The Takashimaya Restaurant in New York serves Oscheriyori, the world’s most expensive lunch box meal worth over $230.000 made completely out of gold (of course we know this is crazy and impossible, just sharing a fun fact 😊)

  1. Partner up with a coworker to share recipes and ideas but also to eat lunch together. Having support when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle is very important, especially if the rest of the colleagues stay loyal to fast food and sweet treats. You can also make an arrangement to bring food alternately, which will certainly reduce the pressure since you will only have to pack lunchboxes every other work day!

DISCOVER GREAT RECIPES, TIPS & IDEAS!

In the end, remember: eating healthy is important, but treating yourselves to a guilty pleasure from time to time is definitely not a crime.

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