I love the summertime! I like the freedom from heavy clothes and shoes, I adore all the fresh fruits and vegetables. I prefer throwing my meat on the grill, and I live for giving into that nagging desire to travel. Thats great for someone who does not have young children with extracurricular activities, and a nine to five job to have to balance, but school breaks can throw a real spanner in the works for your schedule if you do. Member Lane Buckman has found a new way to use the Personal Chef Approach to help, and is sharing it with all you busy moms today!


Lane Buckman

For the first six weeks of summer my son was in swimming lessons, only adding to the degree of difficulty in my daily diet high dive. I went from a reverse two and a half somersault into a tuck, to a reverse two and a half somersault with three and a half twists. In other words, I was all over the place!  But, I am a Personal Chef Approach member, so I have access to the awesome advice in the forum.

I asked for suggestions to help me prepare the Car Picnics my son and I were enjoying on the way to swim class, and within the hour I had ideas that would carry me through the rest of our wet and wild commute from my office, to my son’s school, then across town to his lessons, making sure he was getting his nutritional needs met and I wasn’t ruining my diet with peanut butter and jelly.

Staying organized with the Personal Chef Approach™ (PCA ™), I was able to pre-make really fun finger-food meals that my son and I shared during our commute.  Some of the items on our menu included mini-meatloaf bites (baked in tiny muffin tins), baked hamburger egg-rolls (with cabbage that sauteed out to a transparent color he couldn’t identify as green), shredded chicken sandwiches, and my version of sneaky sliders. I could also prep meals for my husband to heat-and-eat when he came in from his day at the office.

Organization is key, but if you’re as bohemian about your weekends as I am, it can be a very loosely interpreted version of organization.  I do my grocery shopping on Saturday morning, then cook at intervals throughout the weekend.  By Sunday night, I have a stock of soup and proteins for my weekday lunches, entrees and about half the sides required for the week stacked in ziplock containers, and everything else ready-prepped for quick cooking as needed. All that done, it was no problem at all to prepare our Car Picnics.

I would zip out of my office at 5:00 and grit my teeth through traffic to our house by 5:45. I could run in, peel, core, and cut up an apple, grab some string cheese and a bottle of water, and pack those in the Lightning McQueen lunchbox while I warmed up the main entree for our meals, then drop a whole apple, and another water into my brown bag before packing the entrees, napkins, and lurching into a change of clothes.  In ten minutes, I was on the road again, picking up my son by 6:00, and making it across town to his 6:45 lesson with about five minutes to spare.  Sure, we were eating in the car, but we were eating good, healthy food, and not blowing the hard work I have put in to getting myself into better shape. Swimming lessons may be over, but our respite will be brief.  Baseball season starts in September, and I’ll be carting my little slugger back and forth to batting practice.  We’ll be employing the Car Picnic method again, Thanks, Julie Anne!  

I’m so happy you are finding more and more ways to apply the PCA™! Other great car picnic food includes any kind of tortilla wrap (I like chicken, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and lite ranch dressing on mine), any kind of mini quiche – there are endless combinations to play with, and of course any burger recipe can be made into sliders or mini meat loafs.



My Jewels Turkey-Jasmine Burgers pictured above are definitely a kid favorite. My clients order them over and over! This is one of the first recipes I ever wrote, and it won “best poultry burger in America” on Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown! Since it is a little labor intensive, I would recommend doing double portions of at least the turkey burgers to freeze for a later date – why make a mess twice when you can do it all at once? After all it is about affording YOU the luxury of time!



1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced rounds
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt


1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1/3 cup steamed jasmine rice
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 Thai chili or serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil
4 sesame hamburger buns


1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise or store-bought
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon peel



1. Toss cucumbers, onions, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Let it marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.


2. Mix ground turkey, rice, panko, green onions, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce, Thai chile, and sugar very well. Make into 4 patties. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute burgers until cooked through, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side (depending on how thick you make them).


4. While burgers are cooking, toast buns, and mix mayonnaise, with wasabi powder, ginger, and lemon peel in a small bowl.

5. Drain cucumber salad well.

6. Smear 1 tablespoon wasabi mayonnaise on toasted bun halves, spread with a layer of drained cucumber salad, then top with burger and cover with bun top.

This post was first published on August 2, 2011

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  • August 2, 2011
    4:34 pm

    nice pictures of this little boy named finn..hes cute.

    • August 3, 2011
      9:57 am

      Both boys are adorable aren’t they?

  • August 3, 2011
    8:53 am

    What a great plan, Lane! I love this idea. With the moratorium on Mc Donalds I put in place over a year ago, in car meals have been a challenge… especially if grandma is along if you catch my drift… these are all doable and SO much better for everyone. I cook like you do on weekends because there is always someone is always wanting something or to be taken somewhere etc. Great job!!

  • August 3, 2011
    8:54 am

    oh and PS… what’s your version of sneaky sliders??

    • August 3, 2011
      9:58 am

      I think she sneaks some baby food vegetables in there – her boys don’t like veg.

  • August 3, 2011
    11:12 pm

    Your PCA approach just plain makes sense! Looks like Lane has really made it work for her frantic lifestyle. I don’t envy any mum trying to ferry their children to their various activities feed them a nutritious meal enroute. Lane, you’ve got it nailed! Mums like you & JulieAnne deserve a big round of applause for all you do to make the younger generation eat healthy meals and enjoy them.
    I made the cucumber salad one night and loved it, Jewels. Maybe I’ll run out and get some ground turkey today and make the burgers without the bun, but add lots of veg to the plate. 🙂 My freezer isn’t large enough to hold extra bread/buns, so I only buy small loaves that I’ll go through before they go green. But if I think that I’m not going to use up the bread, I let it get stale and make croutons or breadcrumbs which I season the way I enjoy them. A little freezer chest is in my future since I have room for one in a storage closet. That will make life easier in the winter months when I have problems getting out. All my nicely prepared PCA meals will fit in along with the odd loaf of bread. Now, I just need to save a little money each week to put in the “freezer jar.” Then, I’ll start the “Kindle jar.”
    Hugs to all, but most of all to JulieAnne, my patron saint of healthy meals!

    • August 3, 2011
      11:24 pm

      One of the most exciting parts of my journey into cyber land is to see how you all take the PCA™ and make it work for your own household needs. Ruthee, I can just picture you all warm and cozy inside (snow piled high outside) enjoying a cup of hearty soup or stew by a crackling fire in the fireplace. You are as equally industrious in making the PCA™ work for the single gal as Lane is for the moms.

  • August 10, 2011
    8:59 am

    mmm, these burgers look delicious! I will definitely try to make the turkey burger!