An Elvis dog and some zucchini in disguise

Easy lunch box ideas: zucchini-chopped date bread; an Elvis dog (peanut butter, bacon and a banana on a hot dog bun); bacon and cream cheese-stuffed mini bell peppers; and raspberries.

Actually, this is one case where Parker embraces vegetables. Zucchini bread!

It helps that the zucchini has been shredded and baked into a quick bread studded with chopped dates and that the whole thing tastes more like a cake than something green and healthy… but I’ll take it where I can get it. Plus, the bread is half whole wheat!

So the leftovers from yesterday’s zucchini bread photo shoot were an easy place to start today’s lunch.

For breakfast today, Parker as usual requested bacon. I’ve been a little indulgent with that lately because at his last checkup he’d actually lost weight (he’s tall and skinny and I suspect a growth spurt is to blame). So the doctor suggested adding some fat to his diet.

“Does that mean I can eat more bacon?” my guy quickly chirped up.

Anyway, so I indulged this morning with some candied bacon. It really is so simple. I fill a plastic storage bag with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and some black pepper. Then I toss in some strips of bacon and shake it violently until everything is well coated.

I line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then set a metal rack over it. Then I just spread the bacon on the rack and bake at 400 F for about 10 minutes, or until crisp and yummy. Done.

And I always make extra.

Since Parker is back at his regular summer camp this week, I can pack peanut butter again. So I decided to combine peanut butter, leftover bacon, a stray hot dog roll and — and banana! — to make an Elvis dog.

For the rest of the lunch, I filled a couple mini bell pepper halves with cream cheese (and wedges of bacon) and added some raspberries.

By the way, the Buy Lunch, Get Dinner Free! book giveaway is going great. Still about 10 free books left, so there’s still time to nab one. For all the details on the giveaway (basically, preorder “Beating the Lunch Box Blues” from Amazon and get my last book free), check out last week’s post.

Also, I apologize that I haven’t responded to the emails sent for the giveaway. Between the broken fingers and a clumsy interface to access that account, I’ve been kind of slow on that. But fear not — if you’ve sent you preorder confirmation, you got the giveaway!

And many, many thanks!

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14 Responses to “An Elvis dog and some zucchini in disguise”

  1. Lynn says:

    We love zucchini bread over here, too. Would love a recipe that uses half whole wheat flour. Please share! Also, does the banana turn dark by the time lunch rolls around? How do you pack it so that it survives the “delicate” manner in which an 8 year-old likely treats his lunch box?

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Ha! Just yesterday when I picked Parker up from summer camp I needed to tell him to stop sitting on his lunch box… He was using it as a stool while putting his shoes on after swimming! Will share the zucchini bread recipe once it’s ready! I promise! The sandwich was packed in one of the large LunchBot containers, so it didn’t move around. And even my destructive child doesn’t seem able to damage the stainless steel containers.

  2. Sara says:

    Cute sandwich idea. Brushing the banana with a little lemon juice usually keeps it from oxidizing. Works with apples too.

  3. Katie says:

    I would also love that zucchini bread recipe, or a link. My boys, 6 & 7, love anything in a bread. And so that’s what I usually send for morning snack time.

  4. Sara says:

    I’m unanimous, I love zucchini too. Even simply steamed plain. I like the whole wheat flour idea added to the bread! My family added can pineapple but sometimes just the juice keeps the bread moist. Also wit no sugar pineapple juice you can reduced the refined sugar in the recipe.

  5. Daniela says:

    I add chocolate chips to mine.maybe you should try some bacon in there

  6. Kathleen says:

    Hey don’t waste that bacon fat. Just put the rack in a roasting pan and pour it into a jar then refrigerate for later. You’re skinny boy will love it. If you get pastured bacon it has one of the highest sources of vitamin D in food. Drs. used to tell their patients to eat bacon when they were sick! We save that glorious pastured bacon fat and cook with it or spread it on sandwiches. The kids LOVE it, and it will fatten him up.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Yum! I’m a big believer in saving bacon fat. In fact, I did it all summer. It makes the BEST croutons for salads. I scoop some of the fat into a skillet and add cubes of bread, then pan-fry them until crispy. Delicious!