SPAR shares five tips to make back-to-school lunches stress-free
It’s that time of the year already, and everyone is back in school. But, of course, with this comes the time-consuming task of preparing school lunches for the kids. The thing is, it doesn’t need to be that hard.
Parents could save themselves a week of morning pressure by planning, shopping and freezing on the weekend.
The food stall at SPAR has put together these five tips to make back-to-school lunches hassle-free.
SPAR advised parents to set aside as little as two hours on the weekend (to plan, shop and freeze), and they could save themselves a week of morning pressure.
By planning, you can go from the freezer, fridge and cupboard to the lunchbox in under 10 minutes every morning.
1. Plan a weekly lunch menu: Spare yourself that dreaded early-morning rush by planning. With just a little thought, you can create a weekly school lunch menu and pack healthy, nutritious lunches, saving you time and unnecessary shopping trips.
2. Shop with a list: January is undoubtedly the longest month of the year, and we are all looking to stretch our rands as far as possible. Once you’ve planned your menu, making a list of things to buy will help you prioritise spending and curb the urge to purchase unnecessary items while reducing unnecessary food wastage.
3. Convenience is key: When it comes to the key ingredients for lunches, convenience and waste reduction are essential. Consider buying packaged snacks like granola bars, dried fruit or peanuts, which can be eaten at school or reused for another lunch if not eaten. If you are a time-strapped parent, The Food Stall at SPAR has a Fresh Convenience range of sandwiches, wraps, rolls, sliders, meatballs, chipolatas, pancakes (and more) that are perfect for school lunches.
4. Prep the night before: Sandwiches can be made the night before and still taste great the next day, but ensure that those filled with protein are refrigerated. If you prefer making them on the day, prepare fillings such as chicken, tuna or egg mayo in advance. A timesaving tip for lunch preparation is keeping grated or sliced cheese and deli meats on hand.
5. Freeze and feed: Whether you prepare your own or buy ready-made Fresh Convenience ones from The Food Stall at SPAR, the good news is that sandwiches, wraps, and rolls (depending on the fillings) freeze well! Egg Mayo sandwiches, cheese-and-ham rolls and chicken wraps defrost with excellent results. Just remember that frozen tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, onions, etc., go limp when thawed, so it’s best not to add these ingredients before freezing. Many baked goodies, such as muffins, or certain leftovers like roast chicken, make sumptuous sandwich fillings and can also be frozen, so make a little more and pop them into the freezer for future use.
The Sea Breeze Cocktail is brought to you by CHEERS Magazine.
The Sea Breeze must rank as one of the easiest cocktails to make. It requires no special syrups, exotic ingredients, fancy techniques, or unique glass.
Word on the street is that the Sea Breeze started life in the Roaring Twenties, an era known for the birth of jazz music, dropped waists in ladies’ fashion and the booze ban of Prohibition in America. Gin was the spirit used in the original cocktail, along with apricot brandy, the vivid red-hued grenadine syrup and lemon juice for an added sour tang.
As with most things in the cocktail world, it is featured in the famous The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock. In addition, the drink appeared in the Coolers section as the Sea Breeze Cooler.
The cocktail’s first refinement was completely changing it – almost beyond recognition! Vodka was swopped out for the gin, the peach brandy was dropped, and the popular Italian Galliano liqueur was included, along with blue Curaçao and dry vermouth!
The cranberry juice taking over and adding its lovely pinkish-red hue to the drink is attributed to a very effective marketing campaign in the 1950s by the cranberry growers cooperative to support and promote the growth of Ocean Spray cranberry juice. The drink was a hit, served from California to Massachusetts and by the 1960s, was a firm favourite. Every bartender knew how to mix up a Sea Breeze with its simple 1:2:1 ratio – one part vodka to two parts cranberry juice and one part grapefruit juice.
But there was a bit of a hiccup in that decade when the United States Department of Health warned about high levels of toxins from pesticides used to grow cranberries. It scared people off, and the drink only returned to popularity in the 1980s once memories faded and farmers reduced their use of certain products.
That, along with the popularity of the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail, saw a resurgence in the fortunes of mixed drinks and the Sea Breeze was back, baby!
A few effortless twists or substitutions can extend the home mixologist’s repertoire. By using pineapple juice rather than grapefruit, the drink morphs into the Bay Breeze (also known as the Hawaiian Sea Breeze).
The second alternative is the Cape Codder, where the grapefruit juice disappears altogether, leaving just vodka and cranberry. Doing it the other way around, losing the cranberry juice, and making it only with grapefruit juice and either vodka or gin creates a greyhound. Taking one step further and salting the rim of the highball glass in which this version is served makes the Salty Dog.
40 ml vodka
80 ml cranberry juice
40 ml grapefruit juice
Build all ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice.
Garnish with an orange or lime wedge.
Winning A Fitch & Leedes Surfboard…
Mr Rex McGregor collected the Fitch & Leedes surfboard, which his grandson Jack won in the Fitch & Leedes in-store competition in December and January.
TOPS extends a big congratulations to Jack and hopes he catches many great waves on his new surfboard.