Pascale's Kitchen: Back-to-school ideas

Most kids were happy with a couple slices of white bread, spread with white or cottage cheese, chocolate spread, or jelly.

August 28, 2019 16:46
Pascale's Kitchen: Back-to-school ideas


Every year when my kids would go back to school, we’d make sure they had clothes for the first day, new notebooks and a pencil case outfitted with a brand new set of colored markers. Of course, I also would spend lots of time thinking about what kind of sandwich to send with them for breakfast.

Most kids were happy with a couple slices of white bread, spread with white or cottage cheese, chocolate spread, or jelly. If parents really wanted to spoil their kids they’d prepare for them sandwiches with pastrami, tuna or even an omelette.

Nowadays, kids are bringing more unique food to school – and are more conscious of the nutritional value of what they’re eating. We’re always trying to find new ways to prepare food that’s convenient to eat at school, that contains vegetables and protein, and is also fun for kids to eat. Breakfast is so important and helps our kids concentrate during the long school day. We all know that hungry kids have a hard time paying attention in class.

So, in honor of all the kids who are returning to school next week, I’d like to offer you a number of recipes for making tortilla wraps, spring rolls and muffins that are perfect for eating at school and that look and taste amazing, too. I met up with the pediatric dietician, Neta Livneh, who invited me into her kitchen at her home in the Florentine neighborhood of Tel Aviv.

Livneh studied biology, physical education and Pilates, and also worked in gym to pay for her studies. Later on, she completed a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics at the Hebrew University in Rehovot. These studies taught Livneh how important healthy eating, healthy living and sport are for our well-being. She worked at Schneider’s Children Hospital for a couple of years before beginning to work directly with children and adults, teaching them how to combine healthy eating and exercise in order to achieve premium health.

Livneh also writes a blog called Neta Cooks, which includes lots of tasty recipes with gorgeous pictures to accompany them. When I asked her what we should be preparing for our children, she responded that meals “should include whole grains and protein, should keep the kids full for a number of hours, and should not include too much sugar.”
We chose to use tortillas and rice spring-roll wrappers so that the sandwiches can be prepared the night before. Muffins are also a nice and easy way for your child to have a nutritious snack while on the go. One more nice idea that Livneh offers is to include a short and sweet personal note to your child that she or he can read when they take out the sandwich in the morning.

Pascale's Tip:

It’s best to consult with your child as to which foods she or he likes, and to discuss what it means to eat healthily.
It’s important to expose children to new and varied foods, especially if they’re picky eaters.
It’s a good idea to allow children to pick even the most unhealthy spreads to eat once a week, such as a special treat on Fridays. That way they’re more likely to try new, healthy alternatives the rest of the week.

THE WRITER (right) with pediatric dietician Neta Livneh. (Credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN AND NETA LIVNEH)

Healthy vegan muffins
Makes 18 muffins.

1½ cups whole wheat flour, sifted
½ cup white flour, sifted
¾ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. (1½ packets) baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup applesauce
¾ cup canola oil
1 peeled apple, grated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups carrot, grated
½ cup raisins or cranberries
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup chopped walnuts

Line a muffin tray with muffin liners.
Add the flours to a bowl with the baking powder, baking soda, ginger and salt. Mix well. Add the applesauce, oil, apple, and vanilla and mix well. Fold in the carrot, raisins, coconut and walnuts. Pour mixture into muffin tin.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 200°C (almost 400°F) for 10 minutes and then lower temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake another 10 minutes until a toothpick comes out dry. Let cool completely before serving.
Tortilla wrap with humus
and vegetables
Makes 2 tortilla wraps.

1 medium carrot, peeled
1 medium cucumber
¼ red or yellow pepper
2 leaves of lettuce or a handful of baby leaf or rocket
2 whole wheat tortillas (20-cm. diameter)
3 Tbsp. humus

Slice the carrot, cucumber and pepper into long, thin strips.
Place the tortilla on your work surface and spread humus on it. Arrange the vegetable strips in the bottom third of the tortilla and then roll it up starting at the bottom and rolling away from you.


Tortilla wrap with chicken breast
and vegetables
Makes 4 tortilla wraps.

100 g. raw chicken breast, cut into thin strips. (If you don’t have time to cook chicken, you can substitute any kind of pastrami.)
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
¼ red pepper
1 carrot
1 handful of rocket leaves
1 scallion

For frying:
1 Tbsp. canola oil


For sandwich:
4 whole wheat tortillas (20-cm. diameter)

To prepare the chicken breast, mix the honey, mustard and soy sauce together in a bowl. Add the chicken strips and let marinate for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, cut the pepper into thin strips. Peel the carrot and cut into thin strips. Cut the green ends of the scallion off and then slice scallion into thin strips.
Heat the oil in a medium size pan. Add the chicken strips and sauté until fully cooked.
Place a tortilla on your work surface. Add some of the chicken and the vegetables in the bottom third of the tortilla and then roll up tight. Prepare the rest of the tortilla wraps in the same fashion.

Sweet banana tortilla wrap
Makes 2 tortilla wraps.

2 whole wheat tortillas (20-cm. diameter)
1 Tbsp. hazelnut / peanut butter / almond spread
1 large banana, sliced
Optional: crushed walnuts or coconut flakes

Place the tortilla on your work surface and add a layer of your spread of choice. If you want, you can sprinkle some crushed walnuts or coconut flakes on top. Add half of the banana slices to the bottom third of the tortilla and then roll it up tightly. Prepare the second wrap in the same fashion.

Spring roll with baked tofu
Makes 10 spring rolls.

300 g. firm tofu
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame oil (or olive oil if you prefer)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. garlic powder


Spring roll:
1 package of rice paper spring roll wrappers (16 cm.)
½ red cabbage, cut into thin strips
1 large carrot, cut into thin strips
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced thinly OR 1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
5-6 leaves of lettuce, cut into strips
5 sprigs of cilantro, leaves only

To prepare the tofu, squeeze out any excess liquid. Cover tofu with paper towels and let sit on your work surface for a few minutes. In the meantime, prepare the seasonings in a medium bowl. Remove the paper towels and cut tofu into 2-cm. squares. Add tofu to marinade. Stir and let tofu marinate for 5 minutes.
Pour tofu and sauce onto a tray covered with baking paper and bake for 25 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 200°C (almost 400°F).
Take a sheet of rice paper and dip it in a bowl of cold water. Let it sit for about 20 seconds, and then place it on a cutting board. Place a little bit of vegetables, tofu and a couple of cilantro leaves on the bottom edge of the sheet, making sure not to let filling get too close to the edges.
Grab the bottom of the sheet and fold it over the vegetables. Push the filling inside tightly and then fold over the sides of the sheet and roll away from you until it’s tight. Prepare the rest of the spring rolls in the same fashion.

Corn muffins
Makes 12 muffins.

250 g. self-rising flour
1 tsp. salt
200 g. grated yellow cheese (spicy cheese works best)
160 g. canned or defrosted frozen corn
½ cup chopped chives
2 eggs
100 ml. oil
250 ml. milk
Oil to grease muffin pan.

Preheat oven to 200°. Grease a muffin pan.
In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, cheese, corn and chives. In a separate bowl, mix eggs together with oil and milk. Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and mix. Pour the mixture into the muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins turn golden brown. Let cool and then store in a Ziploc bag in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.

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