Friday, July 15, 2011

Lunch is Served: French Dip Sandwiches Cafeteria Style

I have to be honest, there are some life experiences kids miss out on when homeschooling. 

Years ago, when our kids were "wishing" they could go to public school I asked them why they would want to make to that decision.  I soon found out their curiosity concerning public school had nothing to do with academics or education.  It didn't even have anything to do with meeting or hanging out with other kids.  The response I received when questioning why they would want to do a short stint at public school was, "I wish we had recess and could ride a bus." 

Hmmm...Not what I expected, but thankfully we could easily solve this dilemma. 

They didn't realize the play time they had regularly accounted for a "recess."  When I would whisk them outside to run around to get the energy out, or take them for a bike ride, that was our recess.  And when we were walking down the road on our way to pick blackberries, that was our recess.  One day while on our way to town, we drove slowly past the local elementary school.  We viewed kids hanging on the chain link fence  forlornly watching us drive by.  I think that solved our recess issue. 

Next, we had to tackle the bus ride.  We went downtown and caught the transit bus.  We rode around the town watching people get on and off.  We were thoroughly soaking in the bus ride experience.  On another stimulating occasion, we had the opportunity to ride the bus while on the field trip to Disney World.  After these exciting adventures, I think the mystery and fascination of bus riding was a thing of the past. 

One additional experience I think homeschool kids miss out on is waiting for lunch in the cafeteria line.  I'm not referring to the cafeteria experience of today, but the lunch line from days gone by.  I was not a "buyer" growing up.  My mom made lunches for us daily and we were known as "bringers."  Even before we had all this research, I'm sure my mom knew making a homemade lunch was the best, most nutritious option for us.  On the rarest of occasions my mom would give us money for lunch.  I remember getting the tray (in 5th grade) and waiting for the lunch ladies to put a dollop of this and a dollop of that in each space.  Like I said, I may have bought lunch a handful of times in my whole public school lifetime, but I remember watching other kids with their trays.

So, to ensure there are no missed life experiences, we have the lunch trays here at home.  Some days we pull them out and go "Cafeteria Style."  I like them because I think they look incredibly cool and they remind me to provide a balanced meal for the kids.  With the multiple spaces to fill, I make sure we have protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, drink and of course a little treat.  If you're looking for trays, you can find the old Texas Ware style on ebay or Pottery Barn has offered some cute ones too.  I'm sure there are many options available.

I have to share this fabulous, easy, time-saving recipe for French Dip Sandwiches.  I found this recipe in Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly by Phyllis Pellman Good.  The recipe was from Loretta Weisz of Auburn, Washington.

If you're eating gluten-free or paleo, just enjoy the meat without the bread.  It is delicious!

French Dip Sandwiches


2-3 pound top round roast, trimmed
3 cups water
1 cup soy sauce (you can go with the wheat free soy sauce)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1-2 bay leaf
5 whole peppercorns

Sandwich rolls

Place roast in slow cooker/crock pot.  Add water, soy sauce, and seasonings.

Cover.  Cook on high for 5-6 hours.

Remove meat from broth.  Thinly slice or shred.  Keep warm.

Strain broth and skim off fat.  Pour broth into small cups for dipping.

Butter rolls and brown slightly.

Serve beef on rolls.

Sandwich Ready

Side of homemade potato salad

Lunch ready to be served

Enjoy!  Cafeteria Style

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