September 24, 2013

A Chat with Catherine of Weelicious Lunches + Giveaway!

Weelicious Lunches

Last year I had a great chat with Catherine about her amazing book, Weelicious: One Family, One Meal, based on her popular blog. Luckily for us, Catherine is already back with a new book, Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside the Box with More Than 160 Happier Meals. This year I am packing lunch and two snacks everyday for my daughter and I am particularly grateful for this book. It can be so hard to think of new things to pack every single day! Catherine’s book covers all the basic and great ideas…and then some! Today she is here to chat about the process of writing her book and what we get to see next!

1) This book is a godsend for all us parents struggling with the lunch box each day. How long did it take you to come up with all of these dishes and ideas? You really cover the gamut!
I’ve been working on this book for over 4 years. I realize that people are buying the book for different ages and reasons. Some people like hot lunch, some like room temperature or cold. With so many food allergies and taste preferences I wanted to make sure there were plenty or simple recipes! I want to make sure there’s something for everyone! 
2) It is easy to get caught in a lunchbox rut. How do you advise lifting oneself out of one when you find you are packing the same thing day in a day out?
Keep a list of your child’s favorite foods: 4 fruits, 4 vegetables, 4 sandwiches ideas and so on. Try to keep the items on hand as often as possible so that preparing lunch becomes much less of a chore.
3) Have your kids ever come home with uneaten food despite the great care you’ve taken in packing their lunchbox? (Full disclosure:it has happened to me!)
I’m endlessly shocked when lunch comes home with the fruits and veggies missing and the dessert still there. It happened just last week! I think it’s important to remember that a lot happens to kids during the day that affects lunch time. Many schools don’t a lot for enough time to eat, there may be a lot going on with peers or even those days when your child may have a tummy ache. 
4) Tell us how you hope your book will inspire parents? Sometimes a picture perfect lunchbox full of sandwiches shaped like animals seems impossible, but you maintain that isn’t really the point. Very few of us pack lunches that look like they are picture-perfect ready for a catalogue shoot.
All the principles in the book show you how to make a vibrant lunch full of color, shapes and textures without having to turn everything into cartoon characters and animal shapes. Sometimes the most simple foods can be the most exciting. 
5) Even after writing this book do you ever find yourself searching for even more new ideas for lunch boxes? What inspires you?
The farmers market always inspires me with seasonal fruits and veggies. Looking at leftovers inspires me too! Inspiration comes from funny places. 
6) What are some of your children’s favorites out of this book? We are dying to know!
Cream Cheese Olive Tapenade Sushi Sandwiches, Banana Dog Bites and Mexican Muffins are favorites. I made 50 Whole Grain Fruit-Filled Bars for my son’s school lunch party (per his request) over cupcakes and they were a hit. That made me happy from ear to ear!

7) Tell us a little more about the Food Network work you were talking about on Facebook the other day? We are dying to see you on air!

I just shot episodes of Guys Grocery Games as a judge. It starts airing in October. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
To enter to win a copy of Weelicious:
1) Leave a comment sharing your favorite out-of-the-box lunch idea for kids!
3) Contest runs from September 24th from 7:00am to October 1st at 7:00am. Winner will be announced in the October 4th newsletter!