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lunches

20 Picnic Basket Essentials Inspired by Anne Parks

EAT, lunches, snacks By June 19, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

20 Picnic Basket EssentialsWhen you meet Anne Parks the first thing you notice is the sparkle in her eyes.  Easy-going and in love with life, she infects you with curiosity.  And then she talks about her vegetable gardens and beekeeping, her gourmet cooking and passion for finding new food trends when she travels.  You would never guess that this vibrant, youthful woman with a phenomenal mane of blond hair has worked with McDonald’s Restaurants for 34 years and is now the Director of Menu Management for McDonald’s Canada.  Anne ParksBut then again, every executive I’ve met with at the company has been there for at least 30 years.  Listening to Anne talk at the Vancouver picnic-style launch of the newly developed Signature McWrap® gave us all a window into her passion and the reasons why McDonald’s Canada retains the great people who work there.

UrbanMommies ran a contest inviting readers to share their favourite must-have picnic items, and ten lucky parents attended the special lunch.  We learned so much from Anne about what goes into the process for choosing menu items and we were intrigued to hear Signature McWrapabout the Canadian palate.  In coming up with flavours for the new grilled or crispy chicken McWrap, she took into account  Canadians’ penchant for  spicier foods, and also our love of different textures within each bite.  (Think: crunch with a bit of bite and smoothness in the same mouthful). The sandwiches also come with a whole wheat wrap – a first for McDonald’s globally and only the second whole wheat item apart from the bun of the Premium Chicken Sandwich.

Chai LattesAnne Parks and her team travel to different parts of the world to explore fresh street markets, flavours and trends, and then bring their findings back to the McDonald’s test kitchen.  Working with dietitians and specialists in areas of pastry and baking, the team comes up with items that are tested for taste, quality, nutrition and consistency.  With the Signature McWrap, I loved the diversity that made me feel as if I were travelling.  I get in different ‘food moods’ so being able to pick Asian, Mexican or North American-themed flavours is a bonus.  The Signature McWrap comes in three flavours Fiesta, Sweet Chili, and Chicken and Bacon.

Jill Amery and Anne ParksThe luncheon was special in that guests got to ask very specific questions, and Anne was incredibly receptive to suggestions.  Comments about lower-sodium ketchup and options for healthy Happy Meal side dishes started to flow, and the lunch whizzed by.  We drank frozen Chai Iced Frappés and Iced Frappes that were also developed by Parks.

In an interview about her job and life, Parks clearly shows her love of food, people, and bees!


Picnic Kids

So for our picnic-loving readers, the contest was an incredible opportunity to gather and curate a ton of ideas about summer lunches.  We have compiled the ideas to help you plan your own picnic basket and make beautiful memories with your kids.  As much as I love making sandwiches, though, I’m personally counting on picking up a bagful of the grilled chicken Sweet Chili Signature McWraps, as they are certainly better than anything I can produce at home.  Thanks Anne!


Picnic Basket Gifts

20 Picnic Basket Essentials

1.  Baby Wipes (almost everyone included this!)
2.  A game like ‘Spot it!’
3.  Celery sticks in a lidded jar with peanut butter or cream cheese at the bottom
4.  Cloth napkins in fun colours cut with pinking shears – fun and great for the planet
5.  Extra bags and ziplocks for treasures the kids find during the picnic
6.  A blow-up ball.  It’s lightweight and great for encouraging activity
7.  Afterbite, bug spray and a first aid kit
8.  Old quilts and soft sheets
9.  A small vase for found flowers
10.  A jambox to connect to your smartphone for music
11.  Microwave popcorn cooked still in the sealed bag
12.  A blank book and pen for the family to write memories and share ideas
13.  Lemons and limes already cut up with ice water (we use frozen water bottles that you can drink as they melt)
14.  A scavenger hunt printable (we found one HERE).
15.  Tin dishes.  You can often find them at yard sales or camping supply stores
16.  Old-fashioned games (think: etch-a-sketch, cards, cat’s cradle)
17.  A trash bag
18.  Loveys for the kids in case the picnic sneaks into nap time
19.  Vintage mismatched silver plate cutlery
20.  Candles in tall jars

We’re looking forward to hearing picnic tales throughout the summer and having photos sent to us too!  Enjoy the memories and make sure that your meals have some crunch and some spice!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Grilled Havarti with Bacon and Peach Sandwich

EAT, lunches By April 8, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

Grilled Havarti with Bacon and PeachSometimes the school lunch marathon throws me for a loop.  No nut butters.  Make it healthy.  Ensure it’s not going to be wasted..  Grilled cheese is always a hit and you can even cut it into fingers and keep it warm in a thermos.  But how do you make it healthier?  And ensure it will be devoured.  1) Bacon.  2) Peaches.  The flavours combine beautifully and this is one lunch they won’t dare trade!  Using California Cling Peaches allows you to prep this sandwich at any time of the year and also helps you stick to your budget! The canned peaches also retain their flavour, colour and firmness when used in recipes – just check to make sure they say ‘Made in the USA’ on the can to ensure you’re getting the true California Cling Peaches.

Grilled Havarti with Bacon and Peach Sandwich

4 slices of your favourite sandwich bread, such as sourdough or Italian
4 tsp butter
4 thin slices Havarti cheese
4 crisp-cooked slices of smoked bacon
1 or 2 canned California Cling peach halves in fruit juice from concentrate or water, very thinly sliced and patted very dry (Cling peaches are available in slices, halves or diced and are packed in either light syrup, fruit juice or water.)

Prep: 5 min Cook: 8 min Total time: 15 min

Directions

1. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Lay half the cheese on unbuttered side of two slices of bread. Top with bacon, a single layer of peach slices, then remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread slices, butter side up.
2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes a side. Serve diagonally sliced in half.
Makes 2 sandwiches.

The information and recipes were generously sponsored by California Cling Peaches.  As always, our opinions are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Chuck Hughes Veggie Sandwich

EAT, lunches By October 17, 2012 Tags: , , , , , 1 Comment

Veggie SandwichSo based on recent research, we’ve discovered that kids toss away much more of their lunchtime food than we originally thought..  Oops.  Based on the outcome of the study, Hellmann’s partnered with Chuck Hughes to give parents a few new lunch tricks that will keep the school trash bins from filling up.  Here is Chuck Hughes Veggie Sandwich with a garlic mayo that will keep the kids wanting more.

Just make sure they are kept nice and cold when you send them to school.  (We love the Land’s End Madbox for this feature)!

 

  • 2 slices of whole grain bread toasted
  • 1 slice of Swiss cheese or Havaarti
  • 2 slices of tomato
  • 2 leaves iceberg lettuce
  • 4 slices of avocado
  • 1 pickle sliced
  • 2 slices of roasted red pepper (optional)

Garlic Mayo

  • 1 cup Hellmann’s® mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves of roasted garlic
  • 1 tbsp of Chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped Dill (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of grated Cucumber (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper (optional)

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Chuck Hughes Kid-Friendly Chicken Fingers

EAT, family meals By October 17, 2012 Tags: , , , , , 2 Comments

We all know that creative lunches can be hard to figure out.  But recent research By Hellmann’s indicates that we might be wasting more lunchtime food than we originally thought.  More than two thirds (72%) of Canadian parents who were polled believe that their children do not throw away lunch items while almost a third (31%) of Canadian children admit they throw out some of their lunch items, and nearly half (46%) report that they regularly trade some of their lunch items with friends.  Oops.  Based on the outcome of the study, Hellmann’s partnered with Chuck Hughes to give parents a few new lunch tricks that will keep the school trash bins from filling up.  Here are Chuck Hughes Kid-Friendly Chicken Fingers. 

Just make sure they are kept nice and cold when you send them to school.  (We love the Land’s End Madbox for this feature)!

Ingredients

  • 2 Skinless Chicken breasts
  • Half cup of whole wheat flour
  • Half cup of Hellmann’s® mayonnaise
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or panko
  • 1 tsp of cajun spice
  • Half tsp of garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Zest of a lemon

 

Steps

 

  1. Cut strips of chicken and dredge in whole wheat flour.
  2. Then coat the chicken with Hellmann’s® mayonnaise and toss in with the breadcrumbs, zest, cajun spice, garlic powder and Salt and Pepper
  3. Place Strips on a plaque covered with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees
  4. Place in oven for approx 25 minutes flipping them half-way
  5. Serve with Honey-Mustard, ketchup and Caesar mayonnaise- see below

 

 

Caesar Mayonnaise….

  • Half cup Hellmann’s® mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of chopped capers
  • zest of half lemon and 1 tsp of juice
  • 1 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp of grated parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper

Mix everything in a bowl and serve.

 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Monaco Pasta Salad

Uncategorized By May 1, 2007 Tags: , , 1 Comment

Sliced Tomatoes home delivery mealsThis pasta salad is a nutritious and delicious recipe that the whole family will enjoy.  Better yet, instead of getting out the chopping board and heading to the store to buy all the ingredients, Sliced Tomatoes will shop, chop, marinate and deliver all the ingredients including the easy to follow recipe ready for you to put together without having to deal with all the preparation giving you more time to spend with your family!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Warm Potato and Tuna Salad

Uncategorized By April 3, 2007 Tags: , , , , No Comments

This is a great salad to make in the Spring and Summer. Its delicious served either warm or cold.  You can make this ahead andyummy summer potato salad store in your refrigerator for up to four hours.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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