Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stop and Shop Lunch at Sibling Rivalry; Tips for Parents for Back To School

Today, Stop and Shop hosted a "Back to Reality" luncheon with the goal in mind of providing moms, and some of us bloggers who don't have children of our own, with some tips and tricks for the new school year.  I have to say, as one of the people there without children, I was really shocked at the amount of worries, work, and imagination that goes into school lunches.  Of course I always remember my moms lunches-she still makes the best sandwiches- but I never considered how much went into them!  Needless to say, I learned a lot today...and owe a big Thank You to my mom for lots of delicious lunches!

The lunch today was held at Sibling Rivalry, in the South End, and included a presentation by Chef David Kinkead on making the grocery dollar last longer with some great tips to use up leftovers creatively.  It also included a presentation by Andrea Astrachan, Consumer Advisor at Stop and Shop, on the product lines that Stop and Shop has brought in to assist moms with that pesky school lunch.

Sibling Rivalry is a restaurant I've been meaning to check out for some time, so I was excited to be able to learn and dine all at once.  What I really enjoyed was that most of the items that Chef Kinkead spoke about in his presentation were all incorporated into our meal.  Doing this really allowed us to see what these items could, or maybe should, taste like.

We started with a simple salad of Gala lettuce, some celery, red onion, cucumber, beautiful yellow and red cherry tomatoes, Roquefort cheese....and a little bacon.   Can't go wrong with a little bacon right?  The salad was a perfect beginning to whet our appetites as Chef Kinkead spoke to us about the great benefits of a Panzanella salad- a rustic Italian salad that uses almost stale bread.  I have always enjoyed the flavors of Panzanella salad- the acidic tomatoes, the little oniony burst, and the slightly crunchy, but just moistened bread chunks- just delicious.  I haven't ever realized though how really perfect it is for those "oops I didn't finish that loaf of bread" times.  I am sure that we have all thrown out those ends that are just a bit stale, with a sigh, but without really having much control over it.  Panzanella Salad gives you just another option of how to use them in a healthy, fun, and delicious way.    

Our entree options were either roast chicken with rice pilaf and glazed baby vegetables, or grilled skirt steak with that great Panzanella and a little roasted goat cheese.  I, not surprisingly, chose the skirt steak for my main meal.  The steak was delicious, well seasoned and nicely tender.  It was paired beautifully with the accompaniments as well.  As we chowed down, Chef Kinkead showed us his favorite "leftover chicken" salad made with mayonnaise and dijon mustard- my favorite as well!  He also showed us how easy it is to use any left over steak (rare in my house) in a nice panini with just a little tomato and brie on a crusty french loaf.  A quick press in a grill pan and a delicious melty sandwich could be all yours. 

While we munched on dessert, Andrea showed off some great new products, and some great reliables at Stop and Shop.  I think one of the greatest things that they have started doing is bringing in smaller produce that fit especially well in a school lunch box.  A nice small apple, perfect for small hands, or single serving cucumbers makes it a lot easier for kids to finish their lunches without waste, and without getting bored.  They have also expanded their Natures Promise line,  healthy organic line full of fun treats for kids with less fat, sugars and calories than their counterparts. 

I have actually purchased Natures Promise previously and have really enjoyed their whole line.  What I didn't know was their extensive community out reach programs that Stop and Shop hosts each year. Including donations to Cancer research, hosting events for Food Banks, and even running programs that give money back to schools.  Additionally, they have put together programs that make it easier for parents to select the right products for their children to enjoy, that are both tasty and nutritious.

I had a great time today learning about the great ways to help parents, and really all of us, save some dollars at the grocery store.  It even inspired me to look for more ways to help cut costs on groceries, for all of us.  I have decided to roll out a new feature here at ABFD- Leftover Day- to help us all find new and creative ways to use up those leftovers that hang around in our fridges, but sometimes the creativity escapes us.  If you have one that particularly plagues you- let me know- I'll see what I can come up with!

Please be sure to check out Stop And Shop's programs for community involvement and ways that they are dedicated to help keep you healthy.

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