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skye gould lunchbox letters advice from mom
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I’ve never given much thought to the lunch box love note that many parents lovingly pack in their child’s mid-day meal each day, but I recently read a story that has me wishing I had given it a little more consideration when my older kids were in their tween years.

When Skye Gould was in 6th grade (from 2003-2004), her mother, Stephanie Skylar, wrote more than 100 advice notes that were tucked into her school lunch each day. Her family had just moved, and her mother used the letters as a way to connect while she was working full-time. Each note was filled with what she referred to as ‘Lunch Box Letter Advice’ such as, ‘Don’t be quick to judge the girls at school—it’s up to you to look for the good in each one,’ and ‘Keep a journal of milestones in your life so you’ll have good memories of growing up.’ Stephanie says that working full-time and being a proper influence on her daughter took a lot of energy in those years, but she wanted to plant positive messages in her daughter’s head without becoming a nagging mom.

Skye kept every letter in a Sketcher’s shoebox, and more than a decade later she used them as research for her Master’s thesis in visual communications. As part of the project she launched Advice from My Mom, a website which showcases the notes. She also asks readers to share the best advice they’ve received from their own moms, creating an inspiring collection of encouragement for all.

I’m not about to take on my own lunch box letter project, but I’ve certainly warmed up to the idea of periodically packing a sweet note alongside the school lunch. It might be something handwritten in Sharpie on an index card, two things I always have on hand in the kitchen, or I might print off some of the many free printables available online. Here are a few of my favourites, if you’re inclined to do the same:

Lastly, these store-bought notes include messages about doing good and being a great person, while funny food superhero images keep things light-hearted. Tell us, do you pack a lunchbox letter everyday? Is it something handwritten or printed off the Internet?

Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
Comments | Tagged under school, lunch, motherhood
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Jacques Pepin's Peach and Plum Galette
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I’m a huge fan of galettes. These rustic tarts with hand-folded edges can be filled with any sweet or savoury filling, and look impressive on the table but really couldn’t be easier to make. The beauty of them is that the more imperfect they are, the more charming they look, so you don’t have to be a professional baker in order to put one together.

This time of year I’m partial to stone fruit filled galettes and like to use peaches, nectarines, plums, or even a variety of all three. They’re versatile enough to be cut into wedges and tucked in the school lunchbox, or served with a dollop of whipped cream for a dinner party-worthy dessert. Regardless of how you choose to eat yours, here are six easy steps that will guarantee galette success when it comes time to bake:

1. Roll the dough out on a clean, dry, and lightly floured surface to prevent sticking and then carefully transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

2. Pile the fruit into the centre of the dough, leaving at least a 2-inch border of pastry around the perimeter.

3. Fold the dough up and into 2-inch folds tucking the fruit into the pastry.

4. Patch any cracks to prevent the juices from leaking (but remember, it’s okay if they do – this is a rustic tart, after all).

5. Chill the galette in the fridge before baking to ensure a flaky crust.

6. Bake as per recipe directions.

Tell us, what dessert are you baking up these days?

Jacques Pepin’s Peach and Plum Galette

You’ll Need:

For the pastry:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice water

For the filling:

  • ¼ cup + 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ground hazelnuts or almonds
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ pounds large peaches and/or plums—halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small bits
  • ½  cup apricot preserves, warmed and strained, if chunky

Prep and Cook:

  1. To make the pastry, put the flour and butter in a food processor and process for 5 seconds; the butter should still be in pieces. Add the ice water and process for 5 seconds longer, just until the dough comes together; the butter should still be visible.
  2. Remove the dough from the processor and gather it into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 16” circle. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill the dough until firm, about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. To make the filling, combine ¼ cup of the sugar with the ground almonds and flour in a small mixing bowl. Spread this mixture evenly over the dough to within 2 inches of the edge. Arrange the peach/pulm wedges on top and dot with the butter. Sprinkle all but 1 teaspoon of the remaining 1/3 cup sugar over the fruit. Fold the edge of the dough up over the peaches/plums to create a 2-inch border. (If the dough feels cold and firm, wait for a few minutes until it softens to prevent it from cracking.) Patch any cracks to prevent the juices from leaking and sprinkle the border with the reserved teaspoon of sugar.
  4. Place the galette in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. Bake the galette in the middle of the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the fruit is very soft and the crust is richly browned.
  6. Evenly brush the warmed preserves over the hot fruit. Let the galette cool to room temperature before serving.
Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
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