Why I try to reinvent the wheel

If necessity is the mother of invention, a picky child is the mother of reinvention. When I find a healthy food one of my children will eat I go with it (and go with it and go with it). Case in point: the week I remembered my kids like popcorn.

Tweaking a beloved food is a dangerous art. Success expands your menu options and breaks the doldrums of serving cheese, crackers and fruit for lunch for the 5th day in a row. Push it too far and you may end up with hungry, tantrumming toddler.

There is a fabulous Afghani food vendor at our local market. The East and West Ghourmet Food Company sells a delicious array of sauces and breads (aka Bolani) that we can’t help but stock up on. (Here’s a post I found describing the flavors, if you’re curious).

Their generous free sample policy is marketing genius– you can’t say no once you taste the stuff. Maybe they take tips from the Girl Scouts…


Our favorites include basil pesto, garlic mint cheese, and jalapeño jelly. I’m pleased that I can spread this on their pumpkin or spinach flatbread, cut it into bite-size pieces and call it a lunch. However, it doesn’t allow me to get that creative.

My first modification involved using crackers and adding fruit. It was so delicious I turned it into an hors d’oeuvres for a 4th of July party (recipe below).

Crackers with basil pesto, garlic mint cheese, and diced strawberries

When I used the Bolani sauces as a filling in crescent roles, my kids weren’t as enthused.

Garlic Mint Cheese, Jalapeno jelly, and Basil pesto from East and West Afghan Foods on store-bought Crescent Roll dough.

I was surprised they wouldn’t eat it, because they love all of the individual ingredients.They probably ended up having cheerios for lunch that day. At least I had a tasty lunch.

If you don’t live in the Bay Area, don’t fret. I’d like to suggest my efforts as a general plan: Look for ways to reinvent something your kids love. If they like hummus, try using it as a spread in a vegetable sandwich or pita pocket. If they like pesto, why not try to make a pesto omelette for breakfast one morning?

Pesto, Garlic Mint Cheese, and Strawberry crackers

crackers, garlic mint cheese, pesto, jalapeno jelly, and diced strawberries.


  • *Basil Pesto
  • *Garlic Mint Cheese
  • *Jalapeño Jelly
  • Strawberries
  • Crackers

Crackers, Strawberries, Basil pesto, and Garlic Mint Cheese from East and West Afghan foods.

*If you don’t have access to Bolani, substitute a nice fresh pesto and a mint cheese or yogurt. Try a touch of strawberry jam to add sweetness, though you’ll miss out on the kick the jalapeño offers.

If you live in the Bay Area, search out Bolani at Costco, Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl or your local Farmer’s market.


  1. Wash, hull and finely dice strawberries.
  2. Spread a small amount of cheese on each cracker.
  3. Add a dollop of pesto on each cracker.
  4. Add a small dollop of jalapeño jelly on each cracker.
  5. Top with diced strawberry.


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2 thoughts on “Why I try to reinvent the wheel

  1. Pingback: Other Morsels (Summer Edition) | Foodler

  2. Pingback: I guess I’ve always wanted a bento | Foodler

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