Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blurry Flurry PlanetBox

If Bella's snowflake bento looks a little dark & blurry, it's because I took the photo out on our front porch before sunrise this morning, by the glow of the Christmas lights :) You can see them reflected here & there in the shiny stainless steel of the PlanetBox:

Holiday Snowflake PlanetBox School Lunch

Mia Bella's blurry flurry of snowflakes PlanetBox Rover contains:
  • turkey & asiago cheese roll-ups
  • cucumber snowflakes
  • white cheddar popcorn
  • a frosted gingerbread snowflake
  • flaky Ritz crackers
  • a foil-wrapped Dove Promises Snowflake chocolate treat
  • & a Lunchbox Love note to remind her that she's awesome :)
The cucumbers were cut with a mini snowflake cookie cutter, the roll-ups are secured with a Happy Holidays cupcake pick and red & white snowflake picks made of trimmed drink stirrers, and the gingerbread was a gift from a neighbour (that I frosted with cookie icing to show the detail).

This post is part of the Bento Bloggers & Friends holiday blog hop! 
Click the button to hop over & see What's In Our Lunch Bags? I know, some of you just came from there...  but surprise, there's moooore!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas Everyday Bento Giveaway!

Just in time for Christmas! I'm thrilled to be giving away 2 copies of one of my favourite cookbooks ever, Everyday Bento by Wendy Thorpe Copley. This beautiful book, written by the author of one of my favourite blogs, Wendolonia, would make a wonderful gift for anyone who packs a lunch for their family or even themselves :)

I just LOVE this book! Aside from being gorgeous to look at, everything in it is completely do-able for just about anyone. The lunches are kid-friendly, made with ingredients even my picky sproutlets will eat :) The recipes are more than text directions & a photo of a finished bento; Wendy shows us step by step how to create every detail, with clear, colourful photos. She also explains the basics of bento packing, the techniques, the tools, the gear, & gives ideas for what to put on your grocery list. There's even a list of foods sorted by colour! Everyday Bento is THE book I recommend to anyone interested in packing fun lunches. Whether you're an absolute beginner or a seasoned bento packer, you'll find inspiration in Everyday Bento!


I was inspired by the festive Christmas Gift Bento Box! My version is slightly modified for my sproutlet's preferences & the bento accessories I have - I realized that I do not own a Santa pick! What?! I must get one :)

I used a Merry Christmas pick instead of a Santa. I did have leftover ham! I cubed it with FunBites cutter. I subbed raspberries & honeydew melon for the pomegranate & kiwi.  Instead of crackers, I cut up a tortilla to stack with the cheese, but kept the red pepper ribbon, which I affixed to the top slice with a bit of cheese spread.

I also added some cucumber slices cut with a holly leaf cookie stamp, & cut some red pepper circles for a holly berry & stacked them together using more cheese spread. I filled the bottom tier of the Fit & Fresh Lunch Pak Carrier with popcorn, a cloth napkinspork, & a Lunchbox Love for Christmas note. Bella loved it!

This festive bento was so easy to make, & quick! I find what takes up the most time when packing a bento is figuring out what to put in it, where to put it, & how to achieve the look. Everyday Bento does that for me & shows the steps for putting it all together! Love it 


Here's your chance to win a copy for yourself or to give as a gift!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 2 winners will be drawn & announced the morning of December 17th. Check back here, follow me on Facebook, or check your email to see if you've won - the winners will only have 24 hours to claim their prizes so there's (hopefully) enough time to deliver them by Christmas!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. I was offered a complimentary copy of Everday Bento to review but declined it as I already have a copy :) This post does contain affiliate links to products I used. All opinions & images are my own. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fit & Fresh & CuteZcute Koala Bento!

The folks at Fit & Fresh recently offered to send me some of their fantastic chilled lunch containers. I've had one small Fit & Fresh chilled container for a few years now - it's one of Beanstalk's favourites (see it in this post), so I'm familiar with Fit & Fresh's overall quality and their ice packs that snap into the lid, and was thrilled to say "yes, please" to getting more :) They sent me the Lunch Pak Carrier, the Dip N' Dunk Snack Container, and the Bento Lunch Kit, in which I packed this koala bento for Bella:

All the Fit & Fresh chilled containers have their own ice packs that snap into the lids. The bento lunch kit has 2! Very handy if you want to keep one side cold but not the other. The bento kit also comes with 2 lidded containers, or "pods", that fit into the small sections - perfect for packing runny foods, or foods you don't want getting condensation from the ice pack. I put a cloth napkin over the koala sandwich on the open side to keep it dry. 

The cloth napkin is from Beneficial-Bento, who, incidentally, happens to be a big fan of Fit & Fresh, and recently created a Pinterest board for meals packed in Fit & Fresh containers. Maybe she'll pin this post :)

To make the koala sandwich I used 2 very versatile CuteZcute tools, the Cuddle Palz Sandwich Cutter & Cookie Stamp Kit for the koala itself, & the new Fun Vegetable Cutter Set, for it's cheese moustache. (It was still "Movember" when I packed this bento - I'm really behind!) The 6 piece set also includes cute flower, butterfly, house, face, & top hat cutters :)

I tucked some pepperoni stick "bamboo" next to Bella's cute koala cheese sandwich. In the side containers I packed carrots & tomatoes, & grapes embellished with koala picks. Beside the koala sandwich I packed a little container of ranch dip for the veggies, & a box of dried cranberries - which inspired my choice of Lunchbox Love note (from our Thanksgiving volume).

The Fit & Fresh Bento Lunch Kit fits perfectly in it's included insulated chiller bag, which comes in a variety of colourful prints. Bella loves our bag's "Woodstock" print - it's cute but not childish, & her favourite colour!

The next day, Bella chose to have pizza at school, but took some veggies & dip as a side dish. The Dip N' Dunk Snack Container was perfect for that.

Like the other Fit & Fresh Chilled Containers,  the Dip N' Dunk has a snap in ice pack, but with a neat-o feature; it surrounds the dip well!

The lidded dip well holds 2 tablespoons in the centre of a tray in the top of the 1 cup capacity cube.  Plenty of room for enough fresh veggies for Bella's side dish. It would also be great for yogurt dip & fruit, or corn chips & salsa or cheese dip! I can think of lots of snack possibilities for the Dip N' Dunk :)

Hopefully I'll share the Christmas bento I packed in the Lunch Pak Carrier within the next couple of days. The 2 tiered box comes with an ice pack that can be snapped into the lid or under the top tier, as shown below.

All the Fit & Fresh containers are microwave, freezer, & top rack dishwasher safe (I recommend no heat dry or sanitize cycle though). They're easy for the littles to open, & \seem to be as durable as the one we've had for years that has been banged around plenty :)

Fit & Fresh containers are Sproutlet approved!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Popcorn Makes It Fun :)

As much as I love this time of year, whoa, is it busy! I'm still making the sproutlets lunches, just feeling too swamped & scattered to put much thought into them :) But the littles haven't seemed to mind.  Here's Sprout's lunch from today, packed in her purple Yumbox. I thought it was rather plain (and a little grain heavy), but when Sprout saw it, she shouted "Yay! Popcorn!"  I guess popcorn makes it fun! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Leafy Fall PlanetBoxes with Lunchbox Love

How I love a fall morning in the Pacific Northwest! I love it being cool enough to make a fire in the wood stove, and how much more enjoyable my coffee is when there's still a bit of a chill in the air and it's not quite light out yet.  I love the fog that makes the world outside my window look soft and dreamy as it grows lighter. And I love the bright colours of the autumn leaves in contrast! 

I put some leaves and warm fall colours in the girls' lunches :)

In the PlanetBox Shuttle, I packed Birdie some yogurt with sprinkles (and a happy little spoon to eat it with), strawberries, and mini peanut butter & cheddar sandwich leaves. Her cloth napkin's print is Peanuts characters playing in the leaves. In the little green Woodstock box she has one of her Hallowe'en candies for a treat.  We love Snoopy & the Peanuts gang :)

Bella's PlanetBox Rover contains leaf-shaped turkey & cheddar quesadillas, Craisins dried cranberries,  cranberry & sage Triscuit crackers, apple wedges, a tube of almonds, babble cheese, and a Hershey's Kiss treat.

It's nearly Thanksgiving, so I got out our Lunchbox Love for Thanksgiving, we had a few notes left from last year. They've added a 4th volume this year! Each volume of 12 notes features thoughtful quotes about gratitude on the front and fun interesting facts about Thanksgiving on the back. 

There's still time to get some Lunchbox Love for Thanksgiving! Besides putting them in lunches,  you could include one (or a set!) with hostess gifts, or even use them as place cards at Thanksgiving dinner :)  And you can use my coupon code, BENTON, to save 15% :)

The note I added to Birdie's PlanetBox reminded me that it's about time to bring out my Little House books for Sprout!

Since it's Movember,  I chose a moustache print napkin for Bella, which I packed atop her quesadillas  & set her Lunchbox Love note on  - I like to save & re-use the notes if they don't get food on them :)

The trivia on the flip side of Bella's note was fitting for her cranberry-filled lunch - it inspired me to add a leaf bento pick to her Babybel cheese :)

That orange tubular container the almonds are in is a repurposed mini M&M's tube! Fits perfectly in that section of the PlanetBox Rover.

Below are the spring-loaded pastry stamps I used to make the leaf mini sandwiches in Birdie's lunch. They make a great impression on the bread! 

Do the colourful sprinkles on the yogurt look like autumn leaves to you?

I think they do... but they are actually turtles! They came in this Sea Accents sugar sprinkles assortment of marine creatures :)

Happy Fall, y'all!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Harry Potter School Lunch & Birthday

I had fun making this Harry Potter themed lunch! The sorting hat is grape fruit leather, folded & pinched into shape. I also used a bit of the fruit leather to bind the pepperoni stick & string cheese broom. That's the rest of the stick of string cheese in the cup with a Harry Potter pick. In the triangle cup I stacked 2 Deathly Hallows turkey & cheddar sandwiches. The grapes with the tree picks are meant to be baby Mandrakes :) Mini pumpkin muffins frosted with a Golden Snitch & a lightning bolt complete the theme.

The frosted muffins were a special request from 8th birthday girl Sydney Bean Sprout (below) to bring to school to share with her classmates.

Truthfully, she requested cupcakes - but if you frost a muffin it counts as a cupcake, in my opinion :) I also topped the cream cheese frosting with the little Snitches & lightning bolts that I made by drizzling melted baking melts on parchment paper, so they're plenty sweet!

They turned out so cute! I had enough left over to put one of each of the "cupcakes" in her big sister Bella's EasyLunchboxes bento:

The pepperoni broom was my variation of the popular pretzel & cheese broomsticks Hallowe'en snack. I used a Slim Jim, which is quite a bit wider than a pretzel, so to avoid splitting the string cheese cheese, I used a drinking straw to hollow out a "pilot hole" of sorts in it first.
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Now, click the button to see what awesomeness awaits
 at Chaos & Confections!

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It's Throwback Thursday! So here are a couple of pics of Bella & Pickle from Hallowe'ens gone by. Bella dressed up as Hermione Granger in 2013:

Pickle was Harry Potter in 2012:

We all love Harry Potter!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Ghost Lunch of Hallowe'en Past

Wow, this past October was the busiest Hallowe'en season ever! Between volunteering to help plan & put on the sproutlets' elementary school Fall Festival, planning & shopping for Bella & Sprout's end of October birthdays, & putting together Hallowe'en costumes, I did not find time to blog. I did make some Hallowe'en themed bentos, & photographed a few ... but for the most part, the sproutlets' lunches were just food :)

This ghostly EasyLunchboxes bento is one of the few Hallowe'eny lunches I took a picture of :) The string cheese ghost's wrapper is decorated with marker, & the PB&J sandwich has candy eyes & a chocolate chip mouth. Baby carrots are embellished with a Boo! pick, & a ghost pick hovers over apple wedges with a little cup of caramel dip. 

Cheese + marker = ghost! I made these easy spooky snacks for Sprout's classroom Hallowe'en party contribution:

Bella's day of Hallowe'en lunch was filled with pumpkins & spiders :) In the spider silicone cup she got a Fig Newton & an Oreo embellished with candy eyes, her turkey, ham & cheese wrap is secured with Happy Halloween & spider pick, a spider ring decorates the baby carrots, & cucumber slices with a jack o'lantern pick fill a pumpkin-shaped silicone cup.

This one was barely Hallowe'eny.  It was a dark & dreary pre-daylight savings time morning, I wasn't awake enough to be creative ;) Bella got pepperoni bites, string cheese, turkey & cheddar wrap, 2 cocktail tomatoes,  Fig Newtons, & a Lunchbox Love note.

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The sproutlets in their Hallowe'en costumes:

Bella was Wednesday Addams. I was super impressed with how well she did keeping that deadpan expression, especially for such a naturally smiley girl:

She looked so good! The skeleton behind her is my mom :)

Birdie was Amelia Earhart, in a mini flight suit we got at our NEX.

She loves those aviator goggles!

Pickle was Eggs from The Boxtrolls.  I made the box easy to put on and off, kind of like a cardboard vest - it closes in the back with velcro. Colouring the eggs label was kind of fun :)

Sprout was Annie Oakley, & requested her costume have lots of "cowgirl fringe". For the record, I did not enjoy sewing on that fringe! 

One last picture before going out trick or treating - a silly face group shot - including Beanstalk as a pirate & his buddy as a nerd :)

My little tricksters got lots of treats. A happy Hallowe'en was had by all!

Friday, October 17, 2014

By the Dawn's Early Light

Bella tried ranch dressing at a friend's recently, and liked it! She says she thinks she'd like to take some in her lunch now & then. We wouldn't use ranch dressing for anything else so I got a pack of single serving dip cups rather than a full bottle that would have to be refrigerated once opened, in case now & then tuns out to be rarely ;) If she does end up asking for it often I'll get the big bottle and send it in our EasyLunchboxes Mini Dippers.

Bella's EasyLunchboxes bento box contains:
  • a juicy little cocktail tomato
  • fat little organic baby carrots
  • ranch dip for the carrots
  • pepperoni sticks
  • mozzarella string cheese 
  • parmesan garlic Triscuit Thins
  • & a brownie left over from last night's dessert

I just realized this morning, Hallowe'en is in less than 2 weeks! Eek! It's time to start spookifying the lunches! There wasn't time this morning, but I did slip a Hallowe'en Angry Bird cupcake ring over the string cheese, for fun :)

It was the dim morning light that reminded me how late in the year it's getting; all of a sudden it's still fairly dark when my bigger sproutlets leave for school! Look how dark & cold Bella's lunch photo was before I colour corrected it - I wasn't even sure there was enough light to take it!

The streetlights & outside lights were even still on when we got to the school. I felt a little bad for my girl as I watched her cross the parking lot in her winter coat while I got to stay in the warm car, still cozy in my pajamas ;)

School's about to let out now and it's still cold & grey...  Bella & Beanstalk usually walk home, but I think I'll surprise them and pick them up :) 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Special Delivery Lunches : Cupcake & Pirate

I recently had the pleasure of making fun lunches for my friend's little girl & delivering them to her at school while her mother was away for a couple of days. Her little girl is called Bella too, so I just had to use my alphabet stamps in one of the lunches, I already had the name put together! 

Cute cupcake lunch in EasyLunchboxes by BentOnBetterLunches

Bella's Cute Personalized Lunch contains:
  • strawberry Go-Gurt (frozen in an L shape to fit)
  • cupcake ham & cheese sandwich made with a Lunch Punch, stamped with her name, & topped with a cherry tomato
  • roll of Rockets candy (or Smarties if you're American)
  • organic strawberries cut like hearts, with a heart fork pick
  • organic green grapes in a pink flower silicone cup

For the other day, she asked if I could make her a lunch like the one I made Birdie on Talk Like A Pirate Day, but without berries, & jelly instead of cheese on her treasure map sandwich. She definitely wanted me to include the jelly bean treasure & chocolate doubloon though! I packed her lunch in an EasyLunchbox with the treasure in a Mini Dipper.

Pirate treasure lunch in EasyLunchboxes by BentOnBetterLunches

Bella's Pirate Lunch contains:

Both lunches were packed in EasyLunchboxes that she got to keep :) It was fun packing lunches for someone other than my own sproutlets! My friend told me how much her daughter was looking forward to lunch those days, rather than being bummed about having the school lunch, so I really wanted her to like them. And I'm told she loved them

Disclosure: My posts contain affiliate links to products & services I've used & approve of  :)  If you make a purchase after clicking one of those links, I earn a small commission. Thank you!

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