With a pile of pulled pork and a parfait, we kick off another 180…

Easy lunch box ideas: barbecue pulled pork with sour cream on an onion roll; lightly salted apples; plum slices; and a parfait made with Greek yogurt, clementines, granola, chocolate chips and honey. http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com

I really hate the first day of school.

I love getting Parker ready for the first day of school. The back-to-school shopping. The organizing and sorting of supplies. All the new stuff really is a fun form of retail therapy.

But I hate the first day of school — yet another reminder that the little guy is getting a lot less little.

Today, Parker started fourth grade. Which doesn’t seem even a little bit possible. He wasn’t upset, but he wasn’t excited, either. I suspect he finds the whole “big kid” thing as unsettling as I do.

Actually, he was a little upset. But that was at me because I insisted he stop repeatedly as we were walking to his classroom so I could take pictures. As you can see, this did not amuse him. So uncool in front of his friends…!

9-3-13-A

Now, about that lunch.

I wanted today’s lunch to be a treat, though not quite the sort I treat I give him on the last day of school.

So I started with a pile of one of Parker’s favorites — leftover barbecue pulled pork. I slow smoked it on the grill during the weekend for almost 10 hours. Pretty darn tasty.

He’s not picky about his pulled pork being hot, so for ease I popped it cold on an onion roll with a bit of sour cream. Had he wanted it hot, I’d have just heated it up, tossed it in a thermos and packed the bun on the side.

To go with it, I went with fruit — apples and plums, cut up for ease. To keep the apples from browning, I used a trick a reader shared a while back. Normally, I’d just toss them with a bit of lemon juice.

But this was even easier. Combine a bit of salt and water in a bowl (I did maybe a hefty pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of water), then add the apples and toss. Pour off the water and that’s it.

You supposedly also can rinse the salt water off the apples without losing the benefit. But I love salted apples. My great grandmother used to give me salted apple slices when I was a kid.

Finally, a yogurt parfait made from vanilla Greek yogurt, granola, frozen clementine segments, a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips and a tiny drizzle of honey.

Why frozen clementines? Simply because they were really the only fruit I had left. I’d bought some for a treat for Parker’s birthday party (I made a fruity ambrosia — the food of the Greek gods), but had some left over. I froze them figuring I’d used them in a smoothie.

Meanwhile, today is the launch not only of Parker’s fourth grade year… But also of the book he inspired… “Beating the Lunch Box Blues.”

Thank you all for the overwhelming support! Folks who preordered should be getting their books this week. I hope you enjoy them. And if you do, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.

Now, back to it. One lunch down; 179 to go.

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26 Responses to “With a pile of pulled pork and a parfait, we kick off another 180…”

  1. Kathy C says:

    Happy first day back to school Parker!My girls started last Weds. and my son 2 weeks before them! I enjoy being back to the routine as well but I also miss everyone too. My 9 year old (Hayley) started 4tg grade too this year. Crazy- It seems like she was JUST in Kindergarten and my youngest just started 1st grade (my oldest is in 7th). The night before school started to told me “Mommy, I am so excited! Tomorrow I finally get to be in a grade and not in an arden anymore” :o) Have a great day!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Ha! I love that. No more “ardens” for him! And thanks so much! Fourth grade — never mind 7th — just seems too real. Too big kid. I don’t feel old enough to have a kid that old!

  2. Daniela says:

    Woohoo..congratulations!! Read this glowing review today.
    http://wendolonia.com/blog/2013/09/03/review-beating-the-lunch-box-blues/

  3. The apple tip is great. I’ve been meaning to cut up some apples for Baguette to take (although she may be unwilling to eat them cut up), but have suspected that she wouldn’t take to the lemon juice. I think salt water might be a better approach.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Parker never minded the lemon juice, so long as I wasn’t splashing a ton of it on. But he inhaled the salted ones today so from here on out that will be my go-to method.

      • Lynn says:

        Yay, so glad you employed my (well, really, my Mom’s) trick for the apples! Glad to hear that Parker enjoyed it, too. Happy first day of 4th grade!

        • J.M Hirsch says:

          Aha! I couldn’t remember who to credit! Thank you so much for that trick! With apple season here, I’ll be using it often.

  4. RuthAnn says:

    Our daughter has the same backpack! Buddy started 4th grade as well this year. Daughter started HIGH SCHOOL (I am still not processing this bit of knowledge, because she is still 4 years old in my head) and her bus leaves at the ungodly hour of 6:20 am. which means I have to get up at the even more ungodly hour of 5 am. for a confirmed night owl, it’s torture.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      High school!?!? Yikes. I’m so not ready for that. I know what you mean about them still being 4 in our heads. Heck, I still feel 14 in my head. Until I try to work out or something… But that wakeup time. Wow! That would ruin my life. Parker slept until a rather sane 6:20 a.m. today and didn’t need to be out of the house until a little after 8. That I can handle.

  5. Molly says:

    I know right it does not seem possible already. My kids start back on Thursday(1st and 6th)but tonight is the dreaded middle school orientation. Hope Parker had a good 1st day.

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Oh… Middle school… Yikes. Parker’s school goes right through middle, so there is much less of a distinction and transition. I suspect that will be a good thing. And Parker had a great first day. So good, we celebrated by going to a bookstore after I picked him up. And good luck with your firsts this week!

  6. Cassondra says:

    I can’t wait to get home from work to check out the book!!!

    A few friends and I have started a lunch bunch group. Each person has one day a week and we have to bring lunch for all the others. Can’t wait to try some of these recipes/ideas out!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Wow! What a great idea. And probably a lot easier than the dinner groups you always hear about. Let me know what you end up making on “your” day!

  7. Gina Lindsay says:

    Looks like another great start to the school year. I am sure you weren’t the only parent that was taking pictures! My FB feed has been full of those pics, and the older the child, the less of a smile.
    I can’t wait for my book to get here!

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Ha! True. There were lots of pictures being taken. Lots of mortified children. Oh well. We survived our own parents doing the same thing to us, right? Enjoy the book! And thanks so much for the support.

  8. Jessica says:

    I looked for the book in my local bookstore and they said it wasn’t in stock till December :(
    I guess amazon is my best option

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      Hmm… That’s not true. Supplies are short (a rushed second printing is on its way), but that will be resolved by the end of next week. Urge them to check back shortly. Or there’s always Amazon. But thank you for checking!

  9. Jillian says:

    I got my email yesterday that it shipped! I’m looking forward to another year of fabulous ideas!

  10. Kerstin says:

    I like your lunch ideas a lo. Do you actually pack the parfait in that glass? What’s the brand, is the lid spill proof? Looks certainly very pretty :)

    • J.M Hirsch says:

      I do sometimes use glass for the parfait. I found some great virtually unbreakable ones at Target (in with the Tupperware type stuff). They sand up to even my destructive child. But the container in that picture is plastic with a lid that seals. That said, I’ve sent it without the lid, too. That Press-and-Seal stuff is pretty amazing. The brand of the plastic container is Beaba. I think they are intended for baby food.