Friday, March 29, 2013

Rockin' the Lunch Box

Recently, Bella woke me up asking if I had any poodle bento picks. "No, why?" "Poodle skirts Mum! You know, from the '50s? To make a lunch to go with the Rock Hop?" I wasn't fully awake yet so I was confused for a moment, then I remembered. Her school was having a 1950s themed "spirit day" followed by a dance, called the Rock Hop. I said I'd see what I could do.

Ooh, I had a record cupcake ring! I quickly sliced some carrots into sticks and put the record ring on one, then sliced some cucumbers and filled a heart cup with dried strawberries and stuck music note picks in them. I decided to spell "Rock Hop" with my alphabet picks and stick them in a sandwich, but when I opened the fridge to get the cheese, I noticed the leftover cheese pizza - perfect, can't get much easier than leftover pizza :) 

Meanwhile, Bella put together her idea of a '50s style outfit. She was very pleased that the bright pink of her EasyLunchboxes' lid matched her skirt :)

It wasn't until I got home from taking the sproutlets to school that I remembered the lunch I'd packed for her the night before (my guest post at Bento for Kidlet) was sitting in the fridge. How had I not seen it when I got out the pizza? *sigh*

Bentos on the Bayou Photobucket BentoForKidlet

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And the Mini Dippers, and the cookbook too!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lunch On A Stick : Late Edition :)

At almost the last minute before it was time to leave for school, Sprout decided she wanted a "mum lunch" instead of the school lunch. So with less than 10 minutes to spare I made her one a lot like her brothers, but prettier:

Sprout's sweet Something On A Stick Day lunch contains peanut butter sandwiches on a stick, made with my FunBites squares cutter, a string cheese stick and a fruit leather roll stuck through cupcake rings, Trix yogurt (dye free!) and baby carrots, packed in her yubo lunchbox. 

Rather than edit this morning's post, I decided to make this late addition to today's lunches a late edition blog post of it's own. Then I can link it up to my own Something On A Stick Day link-up!

Stuff used for today's lunch:

Bentos on the Bayou

Lunch On A Stick : Linky Party!

Today is Something On A Stick Day!

Pickle almost always takes a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. It's the only kind of sandwich he likes. I usually cut it in fun shapes with a Lunch Punch or cookie cutters, but today, he's getting it on a stick!

I just got a whole bunch of these long skewers from BentoUSA, and I used my FunBites cutter to make the bite sized squares. His lunch on a stick is packed in a yubo lunchbox with a sprinkle-topped yogurt and a couple of Oreo cookies topped with a Trader Joe's yogurt covered cookie star.

The sproutlets' school is even getting in on the fun - the hot lunch today is pizza on a stick!  So that's what the others are having :) I had mixed emotions when I saw that on the menu - I'm glad they are doing something fun, but also slightly bummed that I won't be making lunch on a stick for ALL the sproutlets - if you follow the blog you know I love to put food on a stick :) Ah well, there's always tomorrow - any day is a good day for something on a stick!

Stuff used for today's lunch:

Happy Something On A Stick Day :)

* You don't need to have a blog to link your Something On A Stick! You can link photos hosted on Facebook or Flickr  too, as long as you have the Privacy settings to Public :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fun Fuel! Lightning McQueen & Mater Cars Lunch

I'm back in the race!  I made these lunches while on my brief blogging hiatus, so if you follow me on Facebook you've probably seen them already - but hey, now you can get the detailed description :)

Cars Mater & Lightning McQueen bento School PlanetBox Lunch
I love this Cars themed PlanetBox I made for Beanstalk!  I found NASCAR Ritz at our base commissary - and this is how a theme starts sometimes, with one little thing - and remembered I'd saved a Mater cupcake ring from a birthday party (I stuck half a fruit leather roll through it) and had a Lightning McQueen snack box kicking around somewhere (I filled it with spiced almonds) and a car cookie cutter (for the PB sandwich). On the way home I stopped by the Party Store, thinking if they had NASCAR crackers maybe it was a racing time of year or something and they'd have stuff in that theme, and sweet, they had checkered flag food picks (that I stuck through rolled honey ham). A checkered flag apple was the perfect finishing touch...  Sadly, my big boy took one look and asked "Can I buy lunch and have that after school?" I should have known it was too cute for middle school :(

Cars Mater & Lightning McQueen yubo bento School Lunch

Beanstalk suggested maybe Pickle would like a Cars lunch; I could give the Mater fruit roll-up and Lightning McQueen snack box to his little brother. Pickle doesn't eat nuts so I swapped those out for some gummy fruit snacks, added some sugar sprinkles and chocoladehagel to his yogurts (one for lunch, one for snack) and a couple of peanut butter sandwich cars,  in his yubo lunchbox. And he did like it, of course he did, he loved it!

Some stuff used to make these lunches:

Friday, March 15, 2013

Crunch A Color Healthy Lunch Challenge : Homemade Chicken Nuggets & Carrot Hearts

When Jennifer of Crunch a Color asked if I'd like to join her Healthy Lunch Challenge, I was flattered and a little incredulous... me? I try to pack healthy for my sproutlets but it often is a challenge, so wow, it's such a compliment to have my efforts recognized by such a healthy eating role model! Thank you, Jennifer, it's an honour to be asked, and I'll do my best :)

What's the Healthy Lunch Challenge?
Jennifer Tyler Lee, the mom behind the Crunch a Color Healthy Eating Game, challenged 15 bloggers to pack healthy lunches their kids would love to eat, using fresh, colourful ingredients, and the points cards from the game. Fun! And, the top 5 lunch ideas will be featured in Crunch a Color's April article on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution! Here's my Bella's healthy lunch:

What's For Lunch?
It wasn't hard to meet the Healthy Lunch Challenge criteria of three colours plus a healthy grain, & protein. Lunch is packed in Bella's favourite, EasyLunchboxes, and contains:
  • heart-shaped homemade chicken nuggets for protein & healthy grain (I even snuck some milled flax in the breading)
  • golden sunburst cherry tomato & carrot skewers on a bed of salad
  • the salad itself is made of fresh, crisp romaine & butter lettuce & purple raddichio, with shredded cheddar to top it with
  • sweet juicy pink watermelon & orange cantaloupe
  • an EasyLunchboxes Mini Dipper filled with trail mix, for snack

I'm fortunate my girl loves fresh veggies, but she's not as big a fan of fruit, so I try to make it more appealing to her by cutting it in fun shapes.  The watermelon & canteloupe were easy to cut with a small heart-shaped cookie cutter - and I got to nibble on the scraps, yum, a healthy snack for mum :) Since I had a heart theme going, I made her carrots into hearts too:
How to make carrot hearts for fun lunches
You can also make heart-shaped grapes, tomatoes, & cocktail sausages the same way :) If your little one is too young for toothpicks, I show how to make them without in this blog post.

What's my Healthy Eating Game score?

At first I scored Bella's lunch with 60 points, as shown below. But then I realized I could add an additional 5 points for her Klean Kanteen of water, and a 10 point red card for the cherry tomatoes :) Yay!

What Fun! Want to Play?
You can make your family's meals more fun with Crunch a Color's Healthy Eating Game! You might also like the companion game, Conversation Starters - I recently reviewed both games here. 

Healthy Homemade Chicken Nuggets - Kid-Friendly!
Healthy Homemade Kid-Friendly Chicken Nuggets 
Makes approximately 24 nuggets
  • 1 lb ground chicken 
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oatmeal 
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided 
  • 1 tsp Zatarain's Creole Seasoning
    (or seasoning salt & paprika to taste), divided  
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • ¼ tsp black pepper 
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, oatmeal, half the grated parmesan, half the seasoning, the garlic powder and the pepper.
2. Knead the dry ingredients into the ground chicken.
3. Moisten hands to prevent sticking and form 1 tbsp of chicken mixture into a ball. Press into a small cookie cutter (play dough cutters work too!) for shaped nuggets or simply flatten for a basic nugget shape.
4. In a small shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining seasoning and grated parmesan.
5. Press the nuggets into the bread crumb mixture and turn over, patting crumbs into surface to coat evenly.
6. At this point you can freeze the nuggets on a cookie sheet, then store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Add 3-5 minutes to your cooking time when cooking from frozen.
7. Bake in preheated 375° F oven. Arrange the nuggets on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Lightly spray the nuggets themselves with cooking spray or olive oil for a crispier coating (optional). Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once, and checking - don't overcook!
  • NOTE: These baked nuggets will not really brown - if browning is desired, place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes near the end of cooking.
Visit my post at for a print-friendly version of this recipe, and see how I used them to make a healthy kid-friendly lunch that beats the boxed storebought version :)
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Giveaway Closed
Thanks for entering & congratulations to the winner :)
Enjoy your Crunch a Color Healthy Eating Games!

Like the look of our EasyLunchboxes? Get some!
And the Crunch a Color Healthy Eating Games too!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Edible Geekery : Bring Me Some Pi!

3.14 ... Happy Pi Day! Or Happy Pie Day. I've heard it both ways :)

That's because pi rhymes with pie... and mmm, makes me think of Dean from Supernatural & his love of pie, and if you're a fan you know he also loves the song Cherry Pie by Warrant, which happens to be Sailor Boy's ringtone for me, and reminds me of Twin Peaks, then naturally, Dual Spires, the Psych tribute to Twin Peaks, and of course I can't think of Psych without thinking of pineapple, which begins with pi... so wow, pi / pie is awesome!

So I baked some :)

Chicken, broccoli & cheese pie, and cherry!

It's no secret that baking is not my forté;  I'm happy when my pies don't burn or fall apart :) So I'm positively gleeful that these came out so perfectly, and surprisingly delicious too! I baked them in a muffin pan, and they're just the right size for the LunchBots Duo I packed for Sailor Boy.

I went with a cherry pie theme,  a reference to the aforementioned ringtone, with cherry tomatoes, and grapes in a cherry silicone cup :) I always include a heart, and today it's a pick in one of the sunburst tomatoes. And, a Lunchbox Love note, encouraging him to come home from work early if he can
Birdie has a muffin tin meal of sorts. Or muffin cup meal? 

It's pie shaped silicone baking cups filled with circular food - grapes cut in half, watermelon, carrot slices, cheese, & crackers. She has no idea what pi is but I stuck some number picks in her yogurt for my own amusement :)
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Now,  the foodie nerds of Edible Geekery have a Pi Day blog hop for you to enjoy...  so go see if my fellow Superwholockian Karen of What's In Our Lunch Bags? has any pi in her lunch. Or pie. I love me some pie!

Do you have a Pi Day post of your own?

Today's lunches featured:


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

McHappy Spring!

Last night was McTeacher's Night, where the sproutlets' school teachers worked at the local McDonald's to raise funds for their school. Sprout was having so much fun seeing her classmates and teachers and just being at McDonald's, that she hardly ate or drank anything! So she has her Happy Meal apple juice box in her lunch today :)

yubo Spring lunch

Spring is here, and things are beginning to bloom!  I filled Sprout's yubo lunchbox with blossoms: a blossom-shaped peanut butter sandwich, yogurt with flower sugar sprinkles, and grapes & carrots arranged like flowers.

yubo Spring lunch

Cutting sandwiches with a cookie cutter and arranging fruit creatively is an easy way to make a lunch cute without using pointy little bento picks - perfect for a preschooler, or any kid who might not bring home accessories :)

Featured in today's lunch:

Monday, March 11, 2013

iHeart Spaghetti Tacos

No, this is not déja vu, I've made this lunch before. Mia Bella loves iCarly & spaghetti tacos. Not an iCarly fan and wondering what spaghetti tacos are? Basically, you replace the meat in a taco with spaghetti! It might sound strange, but it's actually really good - and a yummy way to use up that little bit leftover spaghetti that's not quite enough for a meal :)

Bella has her iCarly Thermos Funtainer packed with hot spaghetti & marinara sauce. I chopped the pasta a bit to make it easier to fill the taco shells, which I packed in her EasyLunchbox. The big gummi bear is actually a plastic container (from a McDonald's happy Meal!) filled with shredded cheddar cheese to top the taco with :) On the side she has dried strawberries topped with random dancing bears, and cantaloupe "gummi bears".  For protein she has almonds in the EasyLunchboxes Mini Dipper. Bella 's this lunch!

Stuff I used to make this lunch :

BentoForKidlet   Following In My Shoes Bento Lunches
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