Planning my week's lunches

We're starting the fifth week of school. Not that I'm counting, but that's eighteen sack lunches so far. On Sunday afternoons I need a little personal pep rally to get psyched up for another week. A perky theme, a skit, maybe a few cheers and songs, then I do an impressive jump with pompoms. It doesn't resemble a herkie.

Herkie is a vocabulary word I didn't learn until my second half century started, being more word nerd than cheerleading type. A herkie is a jump where your [and your is definitely a hypothetical here!] weak leg is bent towards the floor and your strong leg is out to the side as high as it will go. Named after cheerleading legend Lawrence "Herkie" Herkimer.

This Herkie is not the same as the Herkimer who haunts the mixed up memories of the Captain Kangaroo generation. That Herkimer, depending who you ask, was Herkimer the Lonely Doll, Herkimer the Homely Clown, or even my off-base Herkimer the Homely Hound.

The homely bassett hound of my memory was probably the plastic walking dog named Gaylord, by Ideal Toy. That ugly "flesh"-colored hard plastic segmented pseudo-pet was of the same era as Marvel the Mustang, by Marx. Which is all beside the point.

Now what was the point? Getting psyched for packing lunches for school, of course!

One Sunday I broiled chicken breasts. My lunches were either Caesar salads with chicken and grated Parmesan, or chicken and black bean soft tacos ready for the school microwave. These were lunches worth cheering.

Last week my theme was "healthy salad trio". Give me an H. Give me an S. Give me a T! I made coleslaw with caraway and yogurt dressing, watermelon and green grape ambrosia, and romaine with sliced broiled steak. That lasted three days, then the leftover steak was gone.

Taking its place was an easy substitute that took less than ten minutes to make. It would score a two-point conversion after touchdown:

Put frozen edamame in a microwaveable bowl with 3T water. Cover. Nuke for 3 min. Let stand 2 min. Drain and shell edamame.

While edamame is cooking, put frozen cocktail shrimp in colander in the sink and run water on it to thaw.

Slice some fresh red bell pepper. Cut ripe avocado.

Place everything in a plastic storage container. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon through a strainer into the mixture. Add shake of fresh black pepper. Season according to your tastes.

I added some of my friend Rosa's chili sauce. Her recipe is a concoction of peppers, garlic, and cilantro put in the food processor, then mixed with olive oil. Wish I knew the details, but it was delish with the shrimp!

Pack a serving of the salad in a thermal lunchbox with a frozen Blue Ice pack, or store in the school refrigerator until lunch.

I sure hope some spirited inspirations pop into my head soon for the coming week. It's going to take some Spartan cheers to get me pumped.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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