Listen, Learn, Decide: 2012 Presidential Debate

3 Oct

It doesn’t happen very often that I declare absolute control over what we watch on TV, usually opting not to watch at all while the kids get their fill of all things DISNEY/NICK/CARTOON NETWORK.  But every once in awhile, there are events that I want to watch, requiring that I take temporary charge of the remote control.  When this happens, I’ve found that there are two things that make this abrupt change in behavior much more acceptable:

1. Snack trays.
2. Worksheets.

Tonight’s Presidential Debate is one of those TV watching occasions that I really don’t want to miss.  Taking a page from my experience with the Oscars and the Super Bowl, I’ve created a worksheet for the kids to use during the debate.  Armed with a pencil and clipboard, the worksheet will help to keep the kids engaged and listening as the debate happens.

Depending on their age and how much they understand, this may only last for a few minutes, but it gives me the chance to hear the candidates and the kids to start to understand the basics of civic responsibility.  As second and fourth graders, I don’t expect that they will fully grasp the content of the debate or the positions of the candidates, but by watching the process they can start to understand that it is the responsibility of every voter to LISTEN, LEARN and DECIDE.

In each of the worksheet fields, I’ll ask the kids to write a few words or sentences to capture their thoughts – what they heard, what they liked about it, and what they’d like to learn more about.  Lastly, I’ll ask them to make a decision based on what they know.  I’d like the kids to understand that it is equally important to be INFORMED and TO TAKE ACTION.

Want to join us?  Sharpen your pencil, grab a clipboard, and print your own chart below.

Print it: Debate Chart_2012

Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup

7 Sep

Cooler days and school back in session means that the crockpot has returned to it’s semi-permanent position on my kitchen countertop.  Hungry for some flavorful, slow-cooked food and eager to have food ready with little effort, I started searching around for some new recipes to try in the crockpot.  I spotted a Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup on Pinterest that looked mighty tasty, the only problem of course, all that dairy.  Looking through the ingredients, I figured that it wouldn’t be very hard to substitute the dairy for non-dairy counterparts, and while I was at it I decided to reduce the calories from the original version.  With all new recipes, it feels like a real crapshoot whether anyone will eat it, let alone enjoy it.

This recipe?  Jackpot.  Jackpot in the Crockpot.

Creamy and slightly cheesy, the base of this soup tastes a tiny bit like the sauce in Chef Boyardee’s canned pasta, which normally would not make it a ringing endorsement in my book.  HOWEVER, the kids totally loved it.  And the more I had, the more I loved it too.  Slightly rich, hearty, and low in calories, this soup might be one of our new favorite things.

After replacing the dairy ingredients in the original recipe (butter, parmesan, half and half) with non-dairy counter parts (non-dairy butter, Daiya mozzarella, soy cream), I was worried that the resulting soup would not be thick and creamy enough.  To make sure that the soup was not too thin, I added ingredients in two batches, pureeing the first half to create a thicker base.  The resulting flavor and texture was terrific, helped to thicken up the soup, and allowed me to reduce some of the fat and calorie-laden ingredients (this recipe is about 35% lower in calories than the original).  This recipe makes a pretty big batch of soup, which worked out great here because it has been requested for dinner and lunch several times.  I’m not sure if it will freeze well, and this time, I won’t even have the chance to try.

Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup
Serving size: 1 c.
Serves: 11

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, divided
1-1/2 c. carrots, cut into bite-sized bits, divided
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
1/4 c. onion, cut into big chunks
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. fresh herbs (mix of basil and oregano)
4 c. chicken broth
2 T. non-dairy margarine
1/4 c. flour
1 c. soy cream
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. Daiya mozzerella
Salt and pepper to taste

Add one can tomatoes, half the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, and chicken broth to a crockpot.  Cook on low for 5 hours.  After 5 hours, use a hand blender to puree the soup until no chunks remain.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.  Add flour and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add cream and stir until the flour mixture breaks up into the liquid and becomes a thick sauce.  Add 1 c. of soup from the crockpot, stirring until well-combined.  Add another cup of soup from the crockpot if any doughy chunks remain.  When everything has been combined and the sauce has thickened, add to the crockpot and stir.  Add remaining tomatoes, carrots, cannellini beans, and mozzerella, then stir to combine.  Cover and cook for an additional hour.

Serve.

 

Estimated calories:  143 cal/serving

Print it: Creamy Italian Crockpot Soup

Notes:
– If you would like to replace my non-dairy replacements with dairy versions, I’d recommend using butter, shredded part-skim mozzerella, and half and half in the same amounts noted here.

Salmon Spread

28 Aug

On Sunday my mom loaded up a bag of goods for me that included a few leftovers and a big pile of lovely produce from her garden.  For two days now I’ve snacked on mostly tomatoes with an occasional cucumber or green bean thrown in for variety.  After a few days of all tomato meals, I decided I better dig into some of the other items she sent my way – and that included some smoked salmon.  I know that I’m in the minority on this one, but I really hate leftovers.  The only way I like to consume them is if I turn them into something new.

Like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, leftover salmon transforms into delicious salmon spread. Really, it’s practically that poetic.

There’s hardly anything easier than making salmon spread.  Take all the ingredients, mix them together in a bowl, and serve.  The spread is good on crackers, bread, bagels, and with veggies.  Because I care about you very much, I feel that I should tell you that the combination of salmon and garlic will give you POWERFUL BREATH.

Salmon Spread
Serving size: 1/4 c.
Serves: 8

8 oz. grilled or smoked salmon, cooled and flaked
4 oz. whipped cream cheese
1 T. mayo
1 T. Red Hot
1 t. prepared horseradish
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors come together.

Serve on a bagel, with crackers or bread, or with veggies for scooping.

Estimated calories:  82 cal/serving

Print it: Salmon Spread

Lamb Chops with Bourbon Cream Sauce and Mushrooms

17 Aug

In order to enjoy this recipe, you will need to love three things: 1) Lamb, 2) Bourbon, and 3) Mushrooms.  I know a lot of people who do not care for at least one of the items on this list, which is why I decided to make it just for myself.  As it turned out, it was for the best because I loved the sauce so much that I practically LICKED MY PLATE CLEAN.

Bourbon cream sauce = boozy magical elixir.

This recipe is easy and fast to make, with the added bonus that this is a one-pan meal.  When cooking lamb in a skillet, it’s important to know that it can get a little bit smoky in the kitchen.  So, I’d highly recommend making this dish on a night when you can throw open the windows or you run the risk of your kitchen looking like the CC Club, c. 1995.

Now, let’s talk for a minute about lamb chops.  There are all kinds of lamb chops.  My favorite is the rib chop, cut about an inch in thickness, Frenched (that means with the bone, cleaned up a bit so that there is little or no meat on the bone).  If you’re going to grill chops, some people like them a little thicker.  Others prefer to have the chops butterflied, with no handle-like bone.  Sometimes your butcher will give you options, sometimes they are already cut and you just have to decide that the cut available is the one you wanted.  This recipe is based on my favorite cut of chop, with about 3 oz. of meat on each one and that estimate is generous.  After cooking, each chop provides about 3-4 bites of lamb.  Really, tasty, awesome bites.

I served this dish with a side of farfalle and peas.  It would be excellent with anything that can soak up some sauce, like garlic mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles, spaetzle, gnocchi, a big slab of Texas Toast.  Texas Toast probably doesn’t actually count as a side, but it sure would make a nice edible squeegee for your plate.

Lamb Chops with Bourbon Cream Sauce and Mushrooms
Serving size: 2 chops, sauce and mushrooms
Serves: 4

3-4 lbs lamb rib chops (approx. 8 chops, 3 oz. of meat/chop)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. olive oil
1/4 c. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. button mushrooms, quartered
2/3 c. bourbon
1 c. stock (lamb, chicken, or beef)
1/4 c. soy creamer
1 T. fresh thyme leaves

Sprinkle the lamb chops with salt and pepper.  Set at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, add lamb chops.  Cook partially covered for about 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove chops from the pan, set on a plate and cover.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion and garlic, then cook for 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add bourbon and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook for a few minutes and add the stock.  Bring to a low simmer, adjusting the heat as needed.  Cook until the liquid has reduced and has thickened slightly.  Turn off the heat, and stir in creamer and thyme.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon mushrooms over chops and drizzle with sauce to serve.

Estimated calories:  595 cal/serving

Print it: Lamb Chops with Bourbon Cream Sauce and Mushrooms

Notes:
– In this recipe, dairy cream can be used instead of the non-dairy soy version used here
– Use your favorite bourbon or whiskey, this time I used Maker’s Mark and it gave the sauce great flavor

Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese

14 Aug

In Minnesota, there’s a slim space in time when fresh tomatoes are available.  After making it through a long winter filled with mealy, flavorless tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes taste gloriously wonderful.  If you are like me and your green thumb is actually plant poison, what you hope for is that someone in your family or one of your neighbors have a bumper crop of tomatoes and want to share their bounty.  For the past few years, this has been the case, and almost nothing makes me happier.

For a few awesome weeks, I will have a tomato at every meal.  And I will be so happy.

Last week, my mom loaded me up with treasures from her garden including cucumbers, green beans, and a bag full of tomatoes.  Earlier in the day, I had also purchased a few yellow and pink tomatoes from the farmers market.  And as they lined up like a tomato beauty pageant waiting to see who would be crowned, I pulled a few winners out of the queue and whipped up some dinner.

This is a very simple and fast dish to prepare.  Wonderful as a side dish, or in my case the main course, the combination of tomatoes, green beans, and bacon is divine.  Throw a little goat cheese on there and you can practically hear the archangels sing.  For real.  You can use any variety of tomato, but know that they cook down so the colors that show up when using non-red varieties are fleeting.  But for those few moments, your pan will look really, really pretty.  For my own dinner, I used pink and yellow tomatoes from the Tomato King (location: Albany, MN).  If you’re lucky enough to spot his tomatoes at your local Farmer’s Market or co-op, grab a few.  They are mighty fine.

To start, I cooked up a little bacon until it was crisp, then removed it and set it aside until it was cool enough to crumble.  In the meantime, I added the veggies and a little garlic wine to help sauce it up and add some flavor.  This was my first time using a garlic wine and it might be one of my new favorite things.  Made at the Crow River Winery (location: Hutchinson, MN), the wine is light in color and packed with roasted garlic flavor.  Added to this dish, it gave a nice, mild, and slightly smoky garlic flavor.  If you don’t have any garlic wine on hand (which is a very likely scenario), feel free to use another wine or water in its place (see notes below).

For those of you who love making foods ahead (hey mom!), this dish is excellent reheated.  For best results, add the bacon and goat cheese after reheating.    As a side, I’d definitely recommend this with pork, BBQ, or any grilled or smoked meats.  As a main dish, I’d recommend grabbing a big bowl.

Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese
Serving size: 1 to 1-1/2 c.
Serves: 2

2 strips pepper bacon
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and snapped into bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. garlic wine
Dash crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. goat cheese, crumbled

In a skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.  Reduce the heat to medium low, add green beans and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.  Add wine, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Divide mixture between plates or bowls.  Top with goat cheese and crumbled bacon.  Serve.

Estimated calories:  247 cal/serving

Print it: Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon and Goat Cheese

Notes:
– Although this was a really great way to use fresh produce, this is the kind of dish that would also be pretty good in the winter, using frozen green beans and canned, diced tomatoes.  It would not be as fresh tasting, but the flavors would hold up really well as a tasty winter side.
– Don’t have any garlic wine?  You could substitute any wine.  Red will give it a full flavor, white will be a bit crisper.  I’d stay away from any sweet wines for this one.
– If you’re a vegetarian, substitute the bacon for some olive oil.  The flavor will be different, but it will still be quite tasty.
– Need to make it non-dairy?  Simply omit the goat cheese or top it with a dollop of non-dairy sour cream.

Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, and Goat Cheese

6 Aug

Last week all I could think about was the Garlic Mashed Potato Pizza from Pizza Luce.  Like an earworm, I knew it would stick there until I did something about it.  I had two options: 1) Drive 90 miles to get some, 2) Make it.  I decided to make it.  All I needed was crust, garlic mashed potatoes, tomatoes, green onions, and tomatoes.  Of those ingredients, I had none, so I had to make do with what I had.

And it is not a real hardship to make do with what you have, when what you have is some goat cheese.

I started out with a pita flatbread.  You can use any variety or size, the one I like is not too dry and around 190 calories.  You can use whatever kind you like, just make sure it is strong enough to hold a big pile of ingredients.  Next, I swapped out garlic mashed potatoes for some pureed cauliflower with garlic.  The consistency is different than mashed potatoes, but not by a whole lot.  Plus, cauliflower is high in calcium, and one serving (2 slices) of this flatbread provides half of the amount of calcium you should consume in a day!  I added a bit of olive oil and goat cheese to the cauliflower mixture to make it taste a little creamier, then mixed in chopped rosemary to give it great flavor.  It looked a little bland, so I threw a few kalamata on the top, and added some extra goat cheese.  If you wanted to cut back on some of the calories, you could leave off the last bit of goat cheese, but it only saves you about 40 calories, and I think its worth it.

This dish would make an excellent starter, would pair well with a salad or bowl of soup, and makes an excellent dinner.  Even if you ate the whole thing all at once, not that I would know (I would totally know).

Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, & Goat Cheese
Serving size: 2 pieces
Serves: 2

 

8” flatbread pita
1 c. cauliflower florets
1 clove garlic
2 t. olive oil, divided
2 oz. goat cheese, divided
1 t. fresh rosemary
3 kalamata olives, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a microwave safe bowl, add cauliflower and garlic, cover with water and microwave for 4 minutes.  Drain, and place cauliflower and garlic in a food processor.  Add half of the olive oil, and pulse until mostly smooth.  Remove from food processor, and mash in half of the goat cheese and all of the rosemary.  Add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the flatbread on a cookie sheet and top with the cauliflower mixture, spreading it out to cover.  Top pizza with the olives and the rest of the goat cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the goat cheese just starts to brown.

Remove from the oven and cut into quarters.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

 

Estimated calories:  484 cal/serving

Print it: Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, and Goat Cheese

Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce

2 Aug

I LOVE lamb and am lucky enough to have a pretty good supply of it in my freezer.  Right now, I have quite a few packages of ground lamb and they are practically burning a hole in my apron pocket.  Last week, I gave lamb burgers a try.  While I found the flavor delicious, they did not hold a nice flat patty shape, and instead puffed up like giant meatballs.  They were tasty, but a little hard to eat.  So this week when I decided to give it another go, I thought dude, why fight it.

Let them be meatballs.

This recipe is super easy, takes just a few minutes of prep, and only a few more to cook.  I served the meatballs with a some sides – pita bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and kalamata olives – and a healthy serving of Herbvocado Sauce.  The meatballs make a tasty dinner but would also be great to serve as appetizers.  Everybody loves meatballs!  Well, not my kids, but that might have more to do with the MEATBALL OVERDOSE OF 2007 more than anything else.

Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce
Serving size: 5 or 6 meatballs + 1/4 c. sauce
Serves: 6

MEATBALLS
1 lb. ground lamb
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

SAUCE
6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T. light mayo
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl combine together ground lamb, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, until the herbs and garlic are evenly distributed.  Form meatballs about the size of a small superball (little bigger than a quarter in diameter).  This should make about 30-32 meatballs at this size.

Over medium heat, place meatballs in a large skillet and partially cover.  Cook for about 5 minutes and turn.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an additional 5 minutes, then turn.  Cook for another 1-3 minutes until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.  Take care not to overcook or they will get a bit dry.

Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set on a paper towel covered plate to soak up some of the grease.

While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.  In a food processor add avocado, garlic, mayo, and lemon juice.  Pulse until starting to blend together.  Add Greek yogurt and pulse until smooth.  Remove from food processor and add herbs, stirring until well mixed.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve meatballs with a side of sauce.

Estimated calories:  204 cal/serving

Print it: Lamb Meatballs with Herbvocado Sauce

Herbvocado Sauce

1 Aug

In the past few years, Greek yogurt has gone from relatively unknown to everybody’s food BFF.  It’s in EVERYTHING.  And while I like the way it tastes with a little fruit and honey, I find it to be way too sour for my taste to eat it plain.  Even when used in place of sour cream in recipes, it still seems a too sour.  BUT, it is so packed with protein and low in calories that I keep trying to find ways to work it into my diet.  And you know what makes everything better?  No, this time the answer is not bacon, but bacon’s championship counterpart THE AVOCADO.

Creamy and fat tasting, an avocado proved to be just what the Greek yogurt needed to help counter the sourness.  With a garden-load of fresh herbs staring me in the face, I decided to throw some in to add flavor and texture to the sauce.  The result is a thick, flavorful, healthy, protein-packed dip.  Describing it to my son, he said that Greek Yogurt Sauce with Avocado and Fresh Herbs would take so long to say that no one would want to eat it.  He said that if it were him, he’d give it a better name.

Herbs + Avocado = Herbvocado. Kid named, mom approved.

So far, I’ve used this sauce as a dip for vegetables, meatballs, and to top a burger.  It would be great used in place of ranch or blue cheese and served with hot wings.  Add a little water to the dip to thin it out and it would make an excellent salad dressing or a sauce drizzled over grilled vegetables.  It is versatile, light, and delicious.

Herbvocado Sauce
Serving size: 1/4 c.
Serves: 6

6 oz. nonfat Greek yogurt
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T. light mayo
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. fresh herbs, finely chopped (mixture of mint, oregano, parsley)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a food processor add avocado, garlic, mayo, and lemon juice. Pulse until starting to blend together. Add Greek yogurt and pulse until smooth. Remove from food processor and add herbs, stirring until well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Estimated calories: 62 cal/serving

Print it:  Herbvocado Sauce

Notes:
– The amount that this recipe makes will vary slightly based on the size of the avocado.
– Each 1/4 c. serving of this dip contains around 3.5 g of protein.  That’s as much as half an egg a 1/4 c. of cooked beans!  For dip!

SlimKicker GIVEAWAY: Win a Kitchen Scale!

27 Jul

For many years, I’ve known that the easiest way for me to stay at my healthiest is by tracking what I eat.  For a long time it was in a journal, then a spreadsheet, and in the past year or so I’ve relied on sites and apps to do the tracking.  By far, using phone apps has been the easiest way to track since I always have it on hand.

I’ve recently tried a new app by SlimKicker that I really like.  SlimKicker is a diet tracker and game that turns diet and fitness goals into a level-up game with points, rewards and challenges. You level up by tracking healthy calories and exercises, and completing challenges such as quitting soda for a week.  The thing I like the best about it is the way in which it provides nutritional information.  I have not found an easier way to determine whether I’m eating the right amounts of protein, calroies, carbs, fat, and fiber.  If you have an iPhone, I’d highly recommend this free app (or by their site if you do not use an iPhone).

And now that we’re on the topic of FREE, SlimKicker has generously offered to give away an Ozeri Touch Digital Kitchen Scale to one lucky Calamity Jennie reader who comes up with the best new challenge idea.

Here’s how it works:

1. Leave a comment on this entry with your challenge idea.
2. Each challenge duration should be at least a week long and no longer than a month.
3. Challenges can be geared toward fitness, food, or overall wellness.
4. Try to keep your challenges simple to understand and capture the idea in 1-2 sentences.
5. You may add up two entries.  Enter each as its own comment.

Rules: SlimKicker will select their favorite idea and use it on their site.  A winner will be selected on Friday, August 3, 2012.  This contest is open to U.S. Residents only.

Need some examples?  Here are a few from SlimKicker’s Recommended list:
– No snacks after dinner for a week
– Replace soda with water for the next 7 days
– Move during commercials when you’re watching TV this week

****

WINNER!  SlimKicker likes your suggestion, Carrie!  So much so, they are excited to give you a kitchen scale. Enjoy using it to weigh your vegetables.

“My challenge idea is to eat 5 servings of vegetables a day. When I do this, I don’t have room left over for un-healthy stuff!”

Great idea, Carrie!

Lunchbox Trivia

16 Jul

We’re at the halfway point in the summer and I swear, when I look at the kids I can practically see their brains starting to turn to mush.  The enthusiasm for my summer reading challenge has waned, interest in math games is lukewarm at best, and they’re onto my efforts to trick them into writing and spelling.  The standard response to the suggestion of any activity is to squint and look me square in the eyes, trying to determine whether there might be any subversive learning lurking behind the activity.

Guess what?  There is.

To combat the mid-summer learning slump, I decided to make up a new game that relies heavily on two facts:

  1. If there is a LAFFY TAFFY JOKE or FORTUNE COOKIE around, a kid will read it.  Even when they don’t quite get the jokes or when the fortune is too confusing, they’ll still read it.  They read it to themselves, share it with me, and run off to show it to another kid.  Every. Single. Time.  So if short bits of information in a sharable way is what they like?  We can do that.
  2. Kids love a scratch-off game.  There’s a tiny thrill in that moment before the reveal.  Very tiny, but still, it’s there.

This week we’re combining both of those facts into scratch-off trivia cards.  Each morning, the kids will choose a trivia card to place in their lunchbox.  At lunchtime, they can scratch the top of the card to reveal the question, then the bottom half to discover the answer.  In order to qualify for a new card the next day, they need to bring the card home to read it to me.  Simple idea and not very hard to make, I think the kids are going to like them.  Even if they don’t find all of the facts interesting or don’t know many of the answers, I can guarantee that they will like scratching off the ticket each day to reveal that day’s questions and answers.

To make your own lunchbox trivia cards, you’ll need:

  • A list of questions and answers
  • Lunchbox Trivia Cards Printable sheet
  • Colored cardstock (cut into 2.25″ x 3.75″ rectangles)
  • Clear packing tape
  • Pen
  • Acrylic metallic paint
  • Dish soap
  • Paintbrush

To start, I made a list of questions that I thought would be age-appropriate, that would interest my kids, or that I thought they should know.  Not every card will hit the mark perfectly, but that’s the beauty of providing info in this way.  Don’t care who invented the cotton gin?  Try again tomorrow!

Once you have a list of questions and answers, print the trivia card sheet and add your own information.  Cut out each card and adhere it to the construction paper rectangles using packing tape.  Most packing tape is just under 2″ wide which will cover the entire surface of the trivia card, with enough room to adhere it onto the colored backing.  Center it if you can and smooth out any wrinkles with your fingernail.

According to Martha Stewart, to create perfect scratch-off paint, mix 2 parts metallic paint with 1 part dish soap.  Not one to argue, I did exactly that and it worked out fine.  Apply the paint mixture over the question and answer on each card.  I applied 2 coats on each one, letting it dry between each layer (about 30-45 minutes drying time with each layer).  I tried both thick and thin layers and found that it didn’t matter much.  You’ll need to keep applying layers or paint until the words are covered, so give each a try and do whatever works best for you.

Print it: Lunchbox Trivia Cards (15 per sheet)

P.S. If you decide to make these cards and find that about halfway through you feel like you are a chump for doing the project and I am a double-chump for suggesting it, try watching an episode of The Vampire Diaries while you complete the project.  It helps, trust me.