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Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps

Not sure about all of you, but I am terribly late with my ‘back to school’ shopping.

As I have been away on holidays, I did not really have a chance to take stock of what are the new purchases I will need to make for Adi to get ready for school. And now, I just have a week left.

And while I will be scrambling to get the uniforms, shoes, bag etc…. I am so glad that the lunch box situation has been sorted, all thanks to Smash Enterprises.

My association with Smash began 2 years ago when I was introduced to the brand at a bloggers’ conference and I haven’t looked back since. And for the past two years, I have been reviewing their products and new launches during the ‘back to school’ period.

Check out my earlier posts here and here (there are some easy lunch box recipes too).

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

Smash Enterprises is an Australian owned brand; and all their products are not just reliable and durable but designs that focus on reducing wastage. Moreover the products are BPA free, which is an extremely important factor for me.

There are so many choices when it comes to picking out the right type of lunch box for your child, based on individual needs and eating habits. Highly customizable products in varied sizes and shapes, that’s what I like best about Smash.

Smash products are sold at most of the big retailers like Coles, Woolworths, Officeworks, BigW, David Jones, Masters and Target. You can view the latest product catalogue, to see the entire range and also find out where the products retail as some of the designs are unique to certain stores.

One of my favourite products (and Adi’s too) is the Smash Box, also called the dual lunch box.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

It has a very simple yet practical design that is not just durable but also easy to dismantle and clean everyday. The twin compartments make it easy to segregate the different food items and there is also a sandwich belt to hold those unruly ones in place (how much I need that!). It also comes with a yoghurt container which we use a lot and also plenty of room to hold other nibbles like cheese, biscuits, fruits etc…

Smash also stocks small add on, multipurpose containers in several shapes and colours that can be used to pack food items like dips, pasta etc….

The lunch boxes also come with suitable bags which have the unique BLUE iQ mould resistant and antibacterial lining. It is free from BPA, Phthalate. lead and PVC. Also has an easy swipe clean design which is so practical for easy daily maintenance. Also available in so many colours and designs for that fun factor for children. Adi has chosen the ‘Camo’ design this time; apparently he is done with cartoons and Camo is the new cool!

Apart from the dual lunch box, some of the other popular designs are the bento box and this year’s launch, the Bento switch up which has removable dividers  that make it all the more easier to customize your child’s lunch box.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

Smash also has a great collection for adult lunch boxes and I love the grown up designs and colours. Again really practical and reliable solutions for everyday use.

And now for the recipe….

Wraps are one of our go to school lunches. Adi loves the convenience of eating these while out and about on the playground; it’s non fussy and convenient. And I love the fact that there are a zillion fillings that I could think of for the wraps so that it does not become boring and repetitive.

I also find that wraps are an easy way to get him to eat all sorts of veggies; as long as it’s flavourful, he is not picking out ingredients. So today, we have this super delicious but easy veggie wraps using paneer or the Indian cottage cheese with assorted veggies.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

A really rich calcium source, paneer is often used in traditional Indian dishes but it is equally great to be eaten raw. Just make sure that you get good quality paneer and soak it in lukewarm water for 5 minutes to get super soft texture that is great as a salad topping or in wraps like this.

The only seasoning I have used is a touch of cumin and dukkah; both of which adds loads of flavour.

Do share your back to school experiences, any great brands you have discovered and your child’s favourite lunch box recipes.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

Paneer Veggie Wraps

Ingredients:

  1. Whole meal Wraps (substitute with tortillas/Indian flat breads/pita pockets)
  2. 100 gms paneer (soaked in lukewarm water for 5 minutes); sliced lengthwise
  3. 1 yellow bell pepper; sliced lengthwise
  4. 1 tomato; remove the pulp and slice lengthwise
  5. 1 Lebanese cucumber; sliced lengthwise
  6. ½ tsp crushed cumin
  7. 1 tsp dukkah
  8. Salt; to season
  9. 1 avocado
  10. 1 lime

Method:

  1. In a bowl, add the paneer, cucumber, tomatoes and bell pepper.
  2. Season with salt, cumin and dukkah; toss gently to mix.
  3. Scoop the avocado into a non reactive bowl; add the juice of half a lime and mash well using a fork. Season with salt, taste and add more lime juice if necessary.
  4. Heat a whole meal wrap and spread the avocado smash on top.
  5. Place a handful or two of the paneer veggie mix and roll tightly into a wrap.
  6. Cover the bottom half with some foil which makes it easy for your child to eat.

Back to School with Smash + a Recipe for Paneer Veggie Wraps - thespiceadventuress.com

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Back to School with Smash Lunch Boxes + a Recipe for Easy Lunchbox Pasta Stir Fry

I think life has become a series of shopping lists, one after the other. Still getting over the effects of the Christmas list and it’s time already for the ‘back to school’ list. Sigh!

But in all fairness, life must go on and so does the shopping list. And one of the top spots in the back to school list is always reserved for a new lunch box.

Now we all agree that the lunch box is such an integral part of the school life. Apart from the fact that it is a source of nourishment and good health for our little ones, it is also an integral part of school memories. I can recollect so many fond memories when it comes to school lunches and so will all of you.

So presenting to you my favourite brand of lunch boxes from Smash. I discovered this brand two years back and haven’t looked back ever since. In fact, I even wrote a blog post about it last year; there is also another easy lunch box recipe so do check it out.

Back to school with Smash - thespiceadventuress.com

Smash is an Australian brand so that means they totally understand our needs and requirements better. All the products are BPA free and extremely durable and reliable. In fact, all the lunch boxes, drink bottles from last year are still in great condition and the only reason I would change is because I received these samples to test out. (The old ones will be donated to the local Red Cross, and I strongly urge you to do so too if your old ones are in reasonably good condition)

The new designs out this year are so bright and colourful making it real fun for the kids. Our favourite happens to be this one shown below…of course it has to be blue because Adi is in that phase where ‘pink is for girls’. I like how the compartments are divided in this model and also the fact that there is an outer insulated case (removable) which also has the new Blue IQ antibacterial lining. The wipe-clean formula helps to keep the case clean devoid of any sort of mould or mildew, smells fresh and also protects the life of the lunchbox.

Smash lunchbox and outercase with Blue IQ antibacterial lining - thespiceadventuress.com

Smash has an extensive collection so there are plenty of choices for all sorts of lunch requirements. I love the add-on containers in various sizes, shapes and colours which mean that the food can be kept divided. The yoghurt container is so cool; it keeps it chilled and my son absolutely loves his during summer. The tube shaped box for wraps and rolls are so cool too.

Back to school with Smash lunch boxes - thespiceadventuress.com

Back to school with Smash lunch boxes - thespiceadventuress.com

Back to school with Smash lunchboxes - thespiceadventuress.com

Smash has a good collection for the grownups too especially taking into account the male/female preferences. I remember my hubby cribbing about the lack of ‘male’ colours till we started using Smash. Now he has his favourite blue and brown case which I must admit is really cool.

I also love the ‘Soup, Salad, Smoothie’ containers that were launched this year. Extremely thoughtful designs; for eg: the salad container has a separate portion for the dressing which means goodbye to soggy salads for lunch. I have been using these containers a lot while travelling too. Sturdy and great for road trips.

Smash products are available easily at many department stores and leading supermarkets like Coles, Woolworths, Officeworks, Target, Kmart and David Jones.

Smash office lunchbox collection - thespiceadventuress.com

Now that we have chosen the perfect lunch box, let’s go ahead with the perfect lunch too – a delicious easy to make Pasta stir fry with Mortadella and an assortment of vegetables.

For those who are new to Mortadella, it is basically an Italian sausage or luncheon meat that can be purchased from a deli. Often had as a cold cut like ham or salami in a sandwich, but I am going to lightly stir fry it for this recipe. If you do not have Mortadella, you can substitute it with ham, salami, sausages or any other kind of meat. Or even skip it all together if you want a vegetarian version. The only thing to remember while purchasing from a deli is to ask the staff to cut it into a thick chunk instead of thin slices.

Apart from the fact that this dish is ready in less than 30 minutes, I also like the fact that there is no sauce involved which makes it a great lunch box option; tastes great even when it has gone a bit cold. I usually prepare this pasta stir fry for dinner which doubles up for the next day’s lunch for all of us. One dish for everyone in the family…..

Pasta stir fry with Mortadella and an assortment of vegetables - thespiceadventuress.com

Pasta stir fry with Mortadella and an assortment of vegetables - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 300 gms pasta curls
  2. 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  3. 200 gms Mortadella (cut into a single thick chunk); diced
  4. 2-3 garlic cloves; chopped
  5. 1 large red onion; diced
  6. 1 cup mushrooms; diced
  7. 1 red bell pepper; diced
  8. 1 zucchini; diced
  9. 1 ½ tsp chilli flakes (adjust to preference)
  10. 1 tbsp mixed dried Italian herbs (a mix of oregano, thyme, rosemary)
  11. Salt, to season
  12. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

Method:

  1. Cook the pasta as per packet instructions in salted boiling water and keep aside; reserve a little pasta water too.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan and add the chopped garlic; sauté on low heat for a few seconds and then add the diced Mortadella; stir fry on high for a minute.
  3. Next add the onions and mushrooms; continue to stir fry for another 30 seconds. Finally add the zucchini and bell peppers; mix well to combine and season with salt, pepper, chilli flakes and Italian herbs. Reduce heat and cook for a few seconds.
  4. Add the cooked pasta with ½ cup past water and mix well to combine.
  5. Remove from heat and enjoy; or ensure it’s cooled well before packing into lunch boxes.

Pasta stir fry with Mortadella and an assortment of vegetables - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post has been brought to you in collaboration with Smash Enterprises but the opinions expressed and recipe are entirely mine.

Smash Box – a Product Review + a Recipe for Mushroom Bacon Wrap

Another two weeks to go for the school to re-open!

Little Adi is excited and so is his mom. I mean it was great spending time with each other, having play dates, workshops and a whole lot of fun but seriously, both of us need a break from each other.

Most of you would have begun the Back to School shopping. Luckily, no need for uniforms but have to get everything else, especially new shoes (they cost a bomb!). While thinking about a new lunchbox, I received a mail from SMASH asking if I would like to review their brand new lunchbox products launched for the season. Yay!

What got me even more excited is their new lunchbox range for the grown-ups. The hubby is forever complaining about the lack of choice for adults, especially men. So I decided to review both the products and read on to know what I think.

And yes, there is also a recipe – delicious mushroom bacon wraps. Easy and ready in a jiffy!

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A bit about the brand…Smash Enterprises is an Australian brand! And this speaks volumes to me as I am a great believer in promoting local brands and products. The products are not just reliable and durable but the brand also focuses on reducing wastage and is BPA free.

The coolest thing about the new ‘Smash Box’ is that it comes with an insulated jacket for the lunch box. For me, this is an extremely important feature. Adi loves his ham and cheese but it’s always a worry packing it for his lunch box especially during the hotter months. So this insulated jacket is great when I need that extra chill factor. The jacket can be removed easily so great while washing or for days when it is not required. Insulated bags are also available for the office range – a beautiful blue for the guys and a vibrant green for the ladies (it can easily pass off as a handbag).

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Made from durable plastic, the Smash box is sturdy and designed to be a great companion to your child’s school meal times. I loved the fact that the design is well thought of; the twin compartments make it easy to segregate the different food items. There is even a sandwich belt to hold those unruly ones in place (how much I need that!). A special yoghurt container which will definitely be used a lot and also plenty of room to hold other nibbles like cheese, biscuits, fruits etc… Individual containers of varying sizes and shapes are also available for multipurpose use.

A practical yet simple design, the lunch boxes are easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

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Smash products are sold at most of the big retailers like Coles, Woolworths, Officeworks, BigW, David Jones, Masters and Target. The new Smash Box is sold only at Coles and the adult range (pictured in this review) can be found at Officeworks; these are a limited release so make sure to get your hands on it before it is sold out.

There are also several other designs and styles, so make sure you take a look at the website for more details.

And to inaugurate the brand new Smash box, I decided to make a mushroom bacon wrap – a recipe I make quite often for Adi’s lunch. It’s easy, high on protein and delicious; the filling can be made ahead of time so assembling the wrap is the only job for the morning. The filling is so robust and delicious but I add that extra bit of nutrition in the form of baby spinach, cucumber and tomatoes. For the adult lunch boxes, I bulk up with a mixed salad on the side.

If you are a vegetarian, replace the bacon with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or tofu.

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Ingredients:

  1. 150 gm bacon; diced
  2. 7 brown mushrooms; diced
  3. ½ onion; finely chopped
  4. 1 tbsp chives; finely chopped
  5. ½ tsp paprika
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Black pepper, to season
  8. To assemble:
  • Whole meal wraps
  • Baby spinach
  • Lebanese cucumber; sliced
  • Ripe red tomatoes; sliced
  • Aioli/tomato sauce

Method:

  1. Add the diced bacon to a pan; cook on low heat till the bacon pieces are beginning to brown. (No oil is added as the bacon fat gets rendered down).
  2. Once the bacon pieces start to brown, add the onion and sauté for another minute or two. Then add the mushrooms along with the spices. Season with salt and continue to sauté till the mushrooms get cooked. Remove from heat and mix in the chives.
  3. To assemble, place a few baby spinach leaves on the wrap followed by sliced cucumber and tomatoes. Then spoon the bacon mushroom mixture on top. Finish off with the aioli and tomato sauce. Wrap into a roll tightly with a foil.

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How are your ‘back to school’ preparations going? Would love to hear your stories…..

 

Disclaimer – This post was bought to you in association with Smash. All the products were sponsored but the opinions and remarks are entirely mine. 

 

 

 

 

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