Written by Michelle Walrath | Photographed by Jay Wen
Ahh there’s nothing quite like back to school. The sweaters, the new sneakers, the smell of fresh notebooks. But one aspect of the September onslaught that we mamas can all commiserate on is LUNCH, specifically taking time out of our busy schedules to pack a protein-packed, healthy, all natural lunch that won’t end up in the cafeteria trash can.
Enter Organic Krush, an incredible organic restaurant throughout Long Island and the Hamptons. Founded by Fran Paniccia and Michelle Walrath, the pair was inspired to open the eatery after taking their kids to a concert and finding nothing, or nowhere healthy to eat. They signed on Swallow chef, James Tchinni and created a philosophy of using environmentally-sourced proteins like tuna, salmon and chicken that have zero hormones and are always fresh, always organic. Needless to say we have a major “krush,” so much as that we asked Fran and Michelle to help us design the perfect kids Bento Box so we can incorporate their healthy vision into our kid’s everyday lunchtime staples. Here’s their take on a Deconstructed Buddha Bowl and some deslih snacks to top it all off.
DECONSTRUCTURED BUDDHA BOWL
"It's one of our favorite hearty, protein-laden grains here at Organic Krush. Toasting quinoa is very simple to do yet people are often intimidated to try it! Toasting quinoa adds a delectable, slightly nutty flavor to the grain!"
- Measure the amount of quinoa you will be using. Place in a fine mesh sieve.
- Rinse with running water
- When the water runs clear, turn water off and shake out as much water as possible.
- Add wet quinoa to heavy duty (we love Le Creuset) on the stove top.
- Over high heat, let the quinoa dry out and "toast"
- Use a wooden spoon to move the quinoa around the pot every few minutes.
- Turn heat off and add the proper amount of water
- Bring water / quinoa to a boil and then lower to a simmer
- Follow directions on bag of quinoa for proper cook time.
"Proteins, like chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu add great flavor."
"Mix in your kids favorite veggies, we love broccoli, sweet potatoes and edamame."
"I cut up veggies and store them raw in the fridge, then you can take out just what you need to do a quick steam or stir fry as you’re packing up the box. (grilled chicken can also be done ahead of time, and then squeeze with lemon and a dash of olive oil right before packing up).
- Mix of Berries and Bananas
- Coconut Flakes
- Popcorn with Flavor Topping
“When purchasing popcorn kernels, make sure they are certified 100% Organic, as most corn crops in the United States are now GMO-corn. This means insecticides and herbicides have been injected into the corn kernel. We do not consider GMO-corn to be safe corn to eat. Most natural grocers sell organic corn and since popcorn is such a light, healthy, high fiber snack we love recommending it to children. In terms of cooking the kernels, our preferred method is the stove top Whirly-Pop. The kids can help twirl the kernels around the pot (using just a little bit of olive or coconut oil) and then they can also help shake on some fun toppings. We love this shredded coconut on Thrive Market.
Thanks to Organic Krush for these delicious tips, now we just want to know, is there an age limit for Bento Boxes?