Back To School

Back-To-School Lunch Ideas!

School gets going and sometimes it is hard to come up with fun lunches the kids will like. Check out some of these ideas from Simple Solutions Diva:

BTS Lunch ideas

Chicken Soft Tacos – Let the kids assemble their own soft chicken taco for lunch! Place all their favorite ingredients in small, separate, plastic containers. Things like guacamole or avocado slices, shredded cheese, salsa, and leftover shredded chicken work great — they can wrap it up in a whole wheat soft tortillas and feel like they are the chef!

Sandwich Sushi – Sometimes it is not about the sandwich, but the presentation! The night before, take your favorite filling – PBJ, chicken salad, turkey and cheese – and layer it in whole wheat soft tortilla. Tightly roll the tortilla up and seal in plastic wrap. In the morning, unwrap the plastic and slice the sandwich into pinwheels. Place in a plastic container like sushi rolls and include wooden chopsticks.

Shake It Up Layered Salad – Layer/assemble a salad in a mason jar or tall plastic container. Be sure to place the dressing at the bottom of the container first, to avoid wilting the salad greens. Also, you want to leave a little room at the top so when there is room to shake things up (and disperse the ingredients!  This is also great for adults!

Lunch Dip Day – Assemble a simple tapas-style lunch – a little bit of everything! For protein, use things like single serve hummus, sliced chicken, black bean, corn and red pepper salsa, avocado or guacamole, yogurt dip. Assemble dippers/scoopers like whole wheat or bean tortilla chips, baby carrots, red pepper slices in a separate container. They can much away at a little bit of everything!

If you want a GREAT Black Bean, Corn and Red Pepper Salsa, check out my recipe here!

Black Bean, Corn & Red Pepper Salsa, From
Black Bean, Corn & Red Pepper Salsa, From


Now we have these great ideas for lunch, but how do your kids lay everything out to assemble? On a dirty school lunch table? Nope! I like creating a disposable placemat out of parchment paper or wax paper. A small sheet will do!

Now, my kids are older, and they really don’t like taking a lunch box to school – they go old school with a paper bag lunch. But I get worried about things getting too warm. So, I started freezing their small water bottle (or you could freeze a juice box) to use as a freezer pack that is melted by the time they sit down to eat. 

Another great lunch idea, if your kids like soup or chili, is to send them to school with a small thermos that will keep their soup or chili hot.

How to Take Lunch To School (or work!)

Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Sandwich Kit
Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Sandwich Kit

Lunch Blox by Rubbermaid – These are a cool way to carry salads & sandwiches to school or work. They come in a variety of sizes, but I really thought the Sandwich Kit and the Salad Kit were unique – they come with a freezer pack that fits between the components to keep everything cold!

You can find Lunch Blox on the Rubbermaid site (Click Here), or you can also look at Target, Pulbix or other grocery stores.


Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Salad Kit
Rubbermaid Lunch Blox Salad Kit


French Bull Packit Salad Cooler – I thought this was so neat! The entire bag freezes to keep salad cool up to 6 hours! They have a variety of sizes (sandwich, entree, and more!), but I snagged the salad bag! (And it can hold the Rubbermaid Lunch Blox salad kit!)

Screenshot 2014-08-19 17.39.56
French Bull Packit Freezable Lunch Bag

You can find it on – Click Here: PackIt Freezable Salad Cooler Bag with Zip Closure, Ziggy

Thank you to First Coast Living (WTLV-TV/NBC 12) for inviting me on to speak about Back-To-School!


Back-To-School Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Screenshot 2014-08-12 19.48.56
Back-To-School Blueberry Breakfast Cake

The first day of school is a great day to do something special for the kids for breakfast. Waking them up to the smell of this yummy Blueberry Breakfast Cake may make getting them up a little easier! A wonderful tradition.

No need to get up at the crack of dawn to make this cake for breakfast! You can make the dough the day before and store it in plastic container in fridge – just pull it out, place in greased pan, sprinkle with the sugar and bake!

Wish I could take credit, but this wonderful recipe is from – she has terrific recipes with beautiful photos to illustrate the recipe process!


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (Zest from approximately one large lemon)
  • ¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (reserved for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour (reserve ¼ cup to toss with blueberries)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter or non-stick spray.

Cream butter with lemon zest, ¾ cup + 2 T. sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup flour.

Whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Add this mixture to the batter, a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in blueberries and then pour into greased pan, spreading to cover bottom of pan.

Sprinkle the batter with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 35-45 minutes. Be sure to check with a toothpick for doneness. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy! And good luck to all the kids going back to school this Fall!

Back-ToSchool Blueberry Breakfast Cake
Back-ToSchool Blueberry Breakfast Cake


Back To School/After School Treats: A Recipe Round-Up!

The kids are heading off to school early in the morning, and coming home STARVING! How do we give them treats that are filling, are good for them, and will not ruin their dinner? Simple Solutions Diva has gathered a few recipes from friends and her social media circles that are sure to be easy, fun, and great snacks!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 2.18.40 PMWarm muffins fresh out of the oven just melt my heart every time!  Make them in mini muffin tins (or in heart shaped muffin tins, as illustrated in the photo!) for a perfect child-sized treat.


3-4 ripe bananas, mushed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix together bananas, peanut butter, sugar, and milk.  Add in flour, powder, and soda.  Stir in chips.  Prepare pans with cooking spray or oil.  Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake mini muffins or heart-shaped muffins for approximately 15 minutes.  Bake loaf for 45-50 minutes and regular muffins for 15-18 minutes.

This yummy recipe (and photo) is courtesy of Annette at  She always has wonderful recipes, homemaking tips, craft ideas, and so much more on her website.  If you have a chance, please visit her!

Simple, Small-Sized Pizza

SImple Pizza Using Stonefire NaanWhat kid does not like pizza? And decorating your own mini pizza to bake can be a healthy treat for the kids, because YOU control the ingredients!

Provide the kids with sauce, your favorite mozzarella or other cheese, fresh cut veggies, turkey pepperoni (Hormel has a mini-sized turkey pepperoni that is terrific-70% less fat than regular pepperoni!), and they have their own pizza pie shop!

Now, because I’m the SIMPLE Solutions Diva, I love to use pre-baked breads for the base of my small pizza – you can use 1/2 an english muffin (PERFECT small size!), small pitas, or one of my favorites, StoneFire Naan Flatbreads (See photo above).

Once assembled, these little pizzas cook up quickly in the oven or toaster oven – Cook at 400 degrees, for 5-10 minutes. Not much of a recipe, but you get the idea! And in my book, the simpler, the better!

Trail Mix Sprinkle Cracker Snack

Trail Mis Sprinkle Cracker Snack from
Trail Mix Sprinkle Cracker Snack from

Another great recipe where the kids can take a break from studying to make a tasty snack.  And it is Vegan, so you can feel good about giving it to your kids!


8 extra large ‘entertaining’ size crackers, multi or whole grain
4 Tbsp vegan cream cheese or nut butter (you can use regular cream cheese instead of vegan if you prefer)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 cups of “trail mix” sprinkle – Basically a mixture of your favorite combo of dried fruits/nuts/seeds. A few ideas: dried apricots, dried blueberries, salted sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cherries, dried figs, sesame seeds, goji berries, shredded coconut, dried cranberries, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pistachios and hazelnuts.  For large items like dried apricots and large nuts-be sure to chop them into pea sized bits.


1. Assemble your trail mix sprinkle of choice in a bowl, making sure you chop extra large pieces into smaller pieces.

2. “Whip” your maple syrup into your cream cheese or nut butter into a smooth “frosting”.

3. Line a cookie sheet or other flat surface with wax paper (this will catch any wayward sprinkles so they can be used again!.)

4. Assemble the crackers (pack them tightly together) on the covered flat surface. Spread one teaspoon of “frosting” onto each cracker.

5. Sprinkle the trail mix mixture over the crackers and frosting. Press mixture lightly and then remove crackers to individual plates and enjoy!!

This recipe (and the photo!) is from; it is a site full of tasty and terrific Vegan recipes. 

Choco-Banana-Almond Chiller

Choco-Banana-Almond Chiller from
Choco-Banana-Almond Chiller from

My nephew loves chocolate (What can I say? He takes after his favorite Auntie!), and since he discovered Chocolate Almond Milk, he’s hooked! I haven’t introduced this smoothie recipe to him yet, but I know he will LOVE it!


8 oz. Silk Pure Almond Milk, Dark Chocolate Flavor

1 small, frozen banana

1 heaping teaspoon almond butter (I love the crunchy kind)

A handful of ice

(Optional: For an extra kick of calcium, you can get creative and add flavored yogurt, like coconut flavored for an “Almond Joy” type of flavor, or just plain vanilla yogurt.)


Blend all ingredients in a blend until the drink is smooth. Serve icy cold!


For more great ideas for snacks and Back-To-School snack ideas, visit Simple Solutions Diva’s Simple Snacks For Back To School Pinterest Board, where I’ve collected way too many ideas to feature here in this post!  May your kids enjoy their new school year (and may YOU enjoy a little quiet time!). 


Simple Recipe: “Get Your Greens” Smoothie

The “Get Your Greens” Smoothie is the perfect way to incorporate stealth nutrition into your diet (and your kids’!).  Kale and spinach are “hidden” in plain sight, and are masked by the flavors of mango, pineapple, and banana.  You can name this smoothie whatever you want to call it to get your kids to eat it!

Suggestion: Using baby spinach and baby kale greens adds a little sweeter flavor to the smoothie.


  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1 whole, fresh mango peeled and cubed  (or 1 cup frozen)
  • 1 handful of fresh washed spinach
  • 1 handful fresh washed kale
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • splash or two of almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (optional)

Feel free to add flax seed or other ingredients to add your own take on this smoothie!


Add all ingredients into blender (add ice first).  Blend until smoothie is the consistency you want. Enjoy!


If you are looking for the OXO Mango Splitter, Click Here: OXO Good Grips Mango Splitter

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