Wednesday, June 30, 2010

recipe: fresh homemade salsa

There were a lot of requests for my salsa recipe and here it is... a month later. Oops. Sorry about that. I'm rarely punctual (one of my less charming qualities). :p

4 medium tomatoes (or thereabouts)
1 small white onion
2-3 diced green onions
1 bunch of cilantro
2 jalapenos
3 cloves garlic, diced
the juice of one lime
garlic salt
red pepper flakes

Alrighty now. Please note, I am not a professional recipe writer-upper, and I will ramble to get my point across (one of my more charming qualities). :)

When I call this a "recipe" what I really mean is a "guideline". And for the record, my husband makes this for the family, I just stand by with my bag of corn chips in hand ready to strike.

As far as the tomatoes go, the redder the better. With our last batch we had two nice tomatoes left over from our last trip to the local farmers market and when I went to the grocery store to pick up a couple more the best looking ones were roma tomatoes, so that's what we used. I don't think it matters that much. I am by no means a tomato expert.

If you like more "bite" to your salsa, use more onion. I personally prefer more green onion flavor in the salsa than "regular onion" flavor, but that's just me. You may be different.

One full bunch of cilantro. This is a must! There is no such thing in my world as "too much cilantro". Pile it on and pile it on now, please.
It goes without saying here that you need to rinse it well and then use the leaves only - discard the stems. (I actually have a TO DIE FOR baked chicken recipe that requires cilantro stems, but that's another post. I'll tell you about it next month. (LOL) Get it, next month? Ha ha...nevermind.)

With the jalapenos you need to slice them down the middle and remove the membrane and seeds. If you like hot spicy salsa you can include the membrane. If you want a milder salsa discard the membrane and seeds. We use 1/2 of the membrane from one of the jalapenos because the kids eat this too. If it were just me and my husband eating it we would use the membrane of one whole jalapeno.
Word of caution!: if you are inexperienced dealing with jalapenos please be aware that you need to be careful with the insides. Handling the membrane and seeds can really hurt your fingers, burning them and causing soreness that can last for days. I suggest you wear latex gloves or just be really careful to not handle them too much with your bare hands.

Garlic, mmmmm yummy yummy garlic. So, my husband says he uses 3 cloves, but I'd say it's closer to 4. He may make the salsa in this house, but I may add in more garlic when he's not looking. Just sayin'. ;-)

Toss in a few shakes of red pepper flakes. I suggest you start with one shake and then increase if you want more heat.

Salt and pepper to taste. We use regular salt and garlic salt pretty interchangeably in our family, and we really love garlic, so we tend to use more garlic salt in the salsa. If you aren't a huge garlic fan then you might just stick to regular salt to do the final seasoning tinkering. If you are a fellow garlic lover (or leery of vampires) just use garlic salt at this point.

Sometimes we (and by "we" I mean "my husband") will make this all by hand - dicing and chopping all the ingredients. That makes for a chunky and pretty salsa, as seen here:
MTM - mexy meal
"Muffin Tin Monday - meximeal"

Sometimes we just toss this all into the food processor and push the pulse button a few times. That makes for a very soupy salsa. Less visually appealing, but we think it tastes better. All the ingredients really get mixed up super well and get to know each other better.
EasyLuncbox Fiesta
"EasyLunchbox fiesta!"

The great thing about making something like salsa is that you can just add a little more of this or that until you get it to taste just the way you want. In that second photo we obviously added more green onion after the food processing. "We" probably added more garlic too. Just sayin'. ;-)

Store in a sealed container in the fridge for about a week or so. This salsa tastes WAY better the next day. I really recommend letting it sit in the refridgerator overnight before you dive in. It will also get spicier the older it is. By the end of the week it is spicy. Ay, caramba!

Hope you enjoy!! Oh, and don't forget the corn chips!! :)

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - the frog prince

Good morning! Today's installment of Muffin Tin Monday features another adorable Lunch Punch sandwich shape from the new Sand*wishes set. :)
MTM frog prince

Top row: green grapes, dry roasted edamame, Smart Puffs (I bought the wrong ones, thought these were Pirate Booty, packages looked the same to me...)

Bottom row: cheddar cheese stars, frog prince sandwich, applesauce with sprinkles.

The frog prince sandwich (who just so happens to be besties with the fairy princess, just so you know) is decorated with a smattering of green sprinkles, a Simply Fruit roll-up smile, chocolate chip eyes and an apricot fruit leather crown. Doesn't he look good enough to kiss? :)

Of course I have unwavering love for Lunch Punch, but what made this particular sandwich shape so fun for us was that we had just recently acquired this little guy from one of those drop-claw "games" this past week:
Froggie prince

It only took three tries to grab him, making the price for him come in at a whopping $1.50. It was Owen's turn at The Claw that finally nabbed the prize and he has been so smitten with the frog! It's been nice to see because Owen isn't often taken with things like stuffed animals. I think the whole experience was made more momentous for him because we've been on a Toy Story kick, since seeing Toy Story 3 on Father's Day. :) As this frog prince was being carried by the claw over to the chute (and as I was silently praying "please don't fall, please don't fall!, please don't fall!") I heard Owen mutter under his breath "cooool! double prizes!", just like Sid in the original Toy Story. :)

Anywho, if you want a fanciful Sand*wishes set of your very own to love forever and ever, they are available for preorder at the Lunch Punch website!

Want to see what other Muffin Tin makers are up to today? Click on over to the home of The Muffin Tin Mom to check them out!

Also worth checking out (at least I hope it is!) - the "another lunch" Facebook page. You might just "like" it! :p

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

a big kid's bento for no particular reason at all

We had a nice lazy Sunday today and no reason at all to be packing a lunch. No reason at all, until Ethan asked for one. "Just a little snack bento mom. Maybe in that new box?". That "new box" has been in my cabinet for a long time, but I haven't used it yet. No matter how many cool and cute *new* boxes I get, I seem to always grab for the old and familiar. :)

a misc. snack bento

This is quite the miscellaneous snack bento! A little of this and a little of that. :) On the left side, working from top to bottom: animal crackers, cheddar cheese stars, grape tomatoes, homemade granola bite, dry roasted edamame, wheat crackers. On the right side: organic baby carrots, frozen blueberries (his favorite way to eat them!) and pickles.

Now here is one of the great things about bentos. My son doesn't like tomatoes. But I snuck those two cute little tomatoes in there and he ate one of them anyway. ;-) My daughter never liked carrots (not even carrot puree as a baby!), but over the last couple months she's started eating them a little at a time...especially when I cut them into little flowers or other cute shapes. Presentation is everything! :)
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Friday, June 25, 2010

for the love of Lunch Punch

This is the post in which I will profess my undying love, affection, and devotion for Lunch Punch.

It starts with a story. Settle in, if you will, maybe fetch a bowl of popcorn. ;-)

I started this bento lunch blog late last year but only began posting semi-daily in February. While the focus of this blog centers on one of my passions, waste-free, litter-less lunches, I do have other interests as well. One of which is spreading Autism Awareness, for one of my lovely children does happen to be autistic. :) As my little lunch blog picked up steam I felt more driven and compelled to somehow work a little autism awareness into my posts, April is Autism Awareness Month, and it was just around the corner! But I had a dilemma. How could I make autism relevant to my lunch blog? I was afraid of alienating readers. What was I to do?

And then one night I was perusing Amazon and I stumbled across Lunch Punch, and specifically, their puzzle shaped sandwich cutters of Match and Munch.

Match and Munch puzzle shapes

THIS was just what I needed to bridge lunch making to autism. Because everyone knows the puzzle piece is the recognized symbol for Autism, right? (Right?!)
I eagerly bought my Lunch Punch "match and munch" set from Amazon and looked forward to the month of April to begin blogging about two of my favorite topics: lunches and autism. :)

I had decided ahead of time that if people were nice about my autism blabber that I would do a bento giveaway. ;-) And people were not only nice about the autism messages, people were leaving the sweetest, warmest comments. I was so touched, often tearing up when reading them (as I am again, right now, just thinking about it!)("hello, my name is Melissa and I'm a big sap!"). Somewhere in the back of my mind I had braced myself for snarky comments about autism...afterall, people don't come to see foodie pictures and expect to be lectured about developmental disorders. But those worries and fears were unfounded, what poured forth from all you wonderful commenters out there split my heart open and touched me more than you know.

It occurred to me that it only made sense that part of my giveaway should include a set of the Lunch Punch puzzle cutters. That made sense, right? After all, I was using them in every bento I made that whole month (even for Muffin Tin Monday!) At first I was just going to buy a set to include in my giveaway. But then I decided to be really brave, put on my big-girl pants, and email Lunch Punch to see if they would be interested in providing a set for the giveaway.

Note that I had been blogging semi-daily at that point for only nine weeks. I'm not a big-name blogger or well-known. Lunch Punch had really no reason to want to deal with me at all.

But the response that came from Kiersten at Lunch Punch was more than I could have hoped for. Not only was she happily sending a set of the puzzle shaped "Match & Munch" set, but also sending a set of their "Critter Cutters" animal set for the giveaway too! I was blown away by their generosity and kindness.

I am a fan of Lunch Punch on Facebook and a couple weeks ago I was thrilled to see Kiersten announce the upcoming release of two new sets!

VrrRRMM!! Sandwishes

"VrrrM!!" a transportation themed set and the soooooo adorable Sand*wishes, a princess fairy tale theme set!

Let me tell you, my imagination was going wild the moment I saw these. So many ideas for cute lunch themes! The thought of waiting another two months was positive torture.

But the thing about Kiersten is that she is so nice. And so intuitive. She must have known that it might just kill me to wait so long for them because I found both sets in my mailbox the very next day. (!!!!!!!!) :)

Both these sets are available for preorders at the Lunch Punch site. They will begin shipping in mid-August, in time for back-to-school! :)

You can find Lunch Punch on Facebook and you can follow on Twitter too @thelunchpunch, although the Twitter bit might not do you much good as Kiersten has never tweeted a peep! Such a shame too, because the Lunch Punch is an Australian based company and you know she'd tweet all sorts of cute Aussie-ish terms and phrases. I'm holding out hope that one morning I'll see a tweet from her greeting her followers with a "g'day mates!". Maybe some tidbits about how she just wrestled a croc away from the barbie would be cool too. ;-)

In the interest of full disclosure (hello, I don't think it could get any "fuller" than this long babbling post!), this is not a paid endorsement. Lunch Punch has sent me 3 sandwich cutter sets for my own personal use and sent two sets to the winner of the April giveaway. I was not asked to write about Lunch Punch. This novella was penned by yours truly on my own volition because I truly love this company, I love their products and I felt compelled to (over)share that love with all of you.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

piggie in a blanket bento

This was a mini-lunch/big snack for my little girl. Miss Paige is a huge hot dog fan. Unfortunately for her, mean mama doesn't let her have them too often. ;-) Playing in the kitchen I made a few "pigs in a blanket" (hot dog in a crescent roll) thinking it would be a big hit with her!
pig in a blanket, with a side of bunnies

This bento lunch consists of a pig in a blanket, pretzels, cheddar cheese (cut in flower shapes) and a silicone cup of strawberries and blueberries.
The cute little bottle with a bunny lid holds ketchup.

The pig in a blanket was a big flop! My girl just tore off all the breading and ate the hot dog plain. She didn't like the crescent roll barging in on her hot dog one bit. ;-)

In other news, there will be some fun changes coming to my blog soon. I apologize in advance if things look a little wonky in a few days. The end result will be worth it! :)

Also, if you haven't seen yet, "another lunch" is now on Facebook! Please join me over there and share with your friends too, if you are so inclined! The more the merrier! :)

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Monday, June 21, 2010

fun & sassy summer salad bento

Somehow I've fallen behind on posting our bento pictures. I keep coming across pictures on my computer that haven't been posted!

This bento lunch was for my little girl. I was packing a salad for myself and she wanted one too "just like you, mama!".

clover roll & sassy salad
On the left is a semi-homemade garlic clover roll, a few slices of salami and mozzarella cheese. On the right side is a salad of mixed organic greens and a couple grape tomatoes. The little bear face on the side is a small bottle of salad dressing. The little dressing bottle has a flip top lid and is sold (at JList) as a set with a few smaller bottles with cute tomato lids. :)

For the "semi-homemade clover rolls" I sort of followed the Pioneer Woman's recipe for "buttered rosemary rolls", only I cracked the frozen rolls into a few pieces and placed the pieces in a muffin tin. Instead of using butter, rosemary and sea salt as she does, I used garlic butter and garlic salt on these. Delicious! (and easy!). :)

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Muffin Tin Monday - stars!

While the official home of Muffin Tin Monday is taking a break from scheduling themes for summer, we think themes are fun and are trying to keep them going. :) This week my boys have been all a-buzz with excitement because they sighted their first shooting star one evening while catching fireflies in the yard. Little sister has since been pretending to see shooting stars too, every time she looks up in the sky...much to the annoyance of her big brothers. ;-)
MTM - stars

Across the top row: mini star-shaped dish with organic yogurt covered raisins, granola bar, Babybell cheese.
Bottom row: cucumbers with hummus, star shaped peanut butter sandwich with stary all-natural fruit roll-up on top, grapes.

Having the grapes still in a little bunch is miss Paige's new favorite thing. "Gwapes on sticks" and "gwapes on bwanches" has been a frequent request this week. ;-)

Interested in seeing what other MTM moms are up to? You can click the logo to check them out. :)
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

tools of the trade, part 2: boxes

I am continuing my little series on "tools of the trade" with the most important part of a bento and waste-free lunch - the box!

Click here to read "tools of the trade, part 1: picks". :)

There are so many different styles and sizes of boxes and waste-free lunch containers available, sometimes it can be confusing deciding on which one to get (assuming you are not crazy-obsessed like I am and get them all! Ha!) I also understand from my own experience that is can be difficult to gauge the size of containers by looking at pictures. My goal with this post is to show different containers together so you can get a better handle on the sizes of the bento boxes and hopefully be able to get a perspective on what might work for you. I'll also pipe in with some of my pros and cons for various boxes. :)
how the boxes stack up!
from bottom to top: Goodbyn, Laptop Lunches, EasyLunchboxes, "4 square" Lock & Lock box, Sassy Box, medium "generic" bento box, small "generic" bento box.

side view of various boxes
small and medium "generic" bento boxes on left, two-tier bento box and Sassy box on right, sandwich case in front.

The best way to determine your box/container needs is to consider the types of foods you or your child will eat for packed meals and the quantity/amount of food that will be eaten.

I will start with the three biggest containers I use, the Goodbyn, Laptop Lunches, and EasyLunchboxes:
Goodbyn, Laptop Lunches, EasyLunchbox - stacked up

In my guesstimation, I would say the EasyLunchboxes and the Laptop Lunches are very comparable in size.
open LL vs. ELB
The biggest difference (to me) between the Laptop Lunches and the EasyLunchboxes is the layout.
The standard Laptop Lunches box comes with two medium boxes, two small boxes and a tiny box for dips, all housed in a hinged outer box.
The EasyLunchboxes comes with one large compartment and two smaller compartments (one is a little larger than the other) all in a one piece bottom, with one lid.

If you are keeping track that makes 6 pieces for one Laptop Lunches system (actually, 8, if you count the dip box lid and a lid for one of the medium inner boxes); and for Easy Lunchboxes the total number of pieces per lunch set is two (just the box and a lid).
Notice in my photo of the Laptop Lunches that there are two teal colored boxes...that's because I couldn't find the magenta one that should have taken one of those teal box spaces. Also notice I have only the dip lid shown and not the actual dip box...again, because I couldn't find it when I was snapping these photos! I have Laptop Lunches pieces coming out my ears and it gets to be a bit of a mess!
The obvious perk of EasyLunchboxes is that they are easy. It is as streamlined of a lunch system as you will find.
Laptop Lunches is obviously more cumbersome in the *pieces* category, however, sometimes being able to lift out one component of the packed meal can be convenient - I often will take out one box of food from the Laptop Lunches to offer as a snack before we are ready to have lunch, for example.

One more thing to consider regarding the Laptop Lunches vs. the EasyLunchboxes is how much storage space they may take in your kitchen. The EasyLunchboxes can nest together, making them more compact for storage. This photo shows 6 (six!) EasyLunchboxes next to 3 Laptop Lunches.
6 EasyLunchboxes vs. 3 Laptop Lunches

I find the EasyLunchboxes wonderful for packing a "regular" lunch in. To me a regular lunch is a sandwich and a few side items.
** You can see my gallery (past posts) of lunches packed in EasyLunchboxes by clicking here.

You can pack a "regular" lunch in a Laptop Lunches too, but it will take a little bit more creativity to get it to fit. I can fit a whole sandwich in it, but I need to cut it into smaller pieces or make sandwich rolls (what I usually call "sandwich sushi") and work on the arrangement to get it in there.
** You can see my gallery (past posts) of Laptop Lunches by clicking here!. :)

The largest box I have is the Goodbyn. This guy is huge. Although I haven't gone so far as to make a scientific comparison, I would hazard to guess that the Goodbyn has double the capacity of the Laptop Lunches and the EasyLunchboxes.
inside the Goodbyn
Here you can see the square section at the bottom could hold a small box from a Laptop Lunches box, plus a dip container with room to spare...while the "head" compartment could hold a whole two-tier bento box! The little water bottle (included with each Goodbyn) can hold 8oz.

Another view, this shows the head section containing one large box from the Laptop Lunches with room to spare:
LL boxes inside Goodbyn

The Goodbyn could easily hold a whole sandwich (square "body" section), two whole pieces of fruit, such as an apple and a banana (in the "head" crescent shaped section), crunchies in the two narrow side sections, the beverage bottle and a treat in the tiny area next to the bottle! Hope you bring your appetite! ;-)
** You can see my gallery (past posts) of lunches packed in the Goodbyn right here. :)

Moving on...
This picture shows a Sassy box (with inner containers removed) next to an open two-tier bento box.
two-tier vs. Sassy Box
I think these two are pretty comparable in size, with obviously different layouts.
The two-tier box is fun and also consists of six pieces! (the two trays for food, a middle lid layer, a top lid and then the clear lid removes to store utensils in, plus a bento belt!).
The Sassy box is really practical and only two pieces (unless you choose to use the inner containers). Sassy box is dishwasher safe, two-tier bento box is not.

Here the Sassy box is compared to my beloved "4 square" Lock & Lock box. I think the capacity is pretty close here, again though, obviously very different layouts. This Lock & Lock box is comprised of six pieces, but happily, they are all dishwasher safe. ;-)
4 square Lock & Lock box vs. Sassy box

You can easily fit a whole sandwich into less than half of the Sassy Box (and Lock & Lock box, too!) by cutting it in half and stacking the halves (as seen in these pics:
lions, and tigers, and bears - oh my!
("lions & tigers & bears, oh my!")

here fishy, fishy, fishy
("something fishy is going on")

While I don't use the 4 square Lock & Lock boxes for a "regular" lunch all that often (I prefer to use them for "a little of this and a little of that" type lunches), you can do the same sandwich arrangement in those, too:
puzzle lock & lock
("puzzle bento")

** You can see my gallery (past posts) of Sassy box lunches by clicking here.

** You can see my gallery (past posts) of Lock & Lock bento box lunches by clicking here!

If you have any questions about bento boxes PLEASE ask in the comments! I'm very happy (eager, even!) to chat about it. :) Despite this post taking foreverrrr for me to prepare and write up (I started a month ago!!), I still feel like I've only scraped the surface on the topic. I will probably be revisiting the topic of boxes soon!

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

make-your-own croissant-wich lunch

I didn't take a photo of Ethan's Cub Scout lunch today because it looked *exactly* the same as yesterday's lunch. ;-)

But I do have to share this cute little litterless lunch from a day last week. This was for my little girl on a day spent running here, there and everywhere.
make-your-own croissant sandwich

In the large section is a home-baked small croissant and some turkey and havarti cheese rolls. A couple pieces of barran provide a barrier to keep items separated. The smaller sections hold fresh cucumbers (and a lone baby carrot - not a preferred food of hers, but she'll take a bite or two of carrot these days - improvement! Yay!), and lastly there are strawberries, raspberries, kiwi and cherries in the third section.

The croissant is a really fun find from Trader Joe's. They are frozen itty bitty mini-croissants that you proof (thaw and let rise) and then bake - fresh croissants anytime! Yum. :)

This lunch was packed in a handy dandy EasyLunchboxes container!

psssst! EasyLunchboxes is running a super special summer promotion - you can get 15% off through 6/21 by using the code "WARM15". Sweet!
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cub Scout day camp lunch #2 - Lock & Lock box

I went with the "four square" Lock & Lock box for Ethan's lunch today. Not exactly "bento", but it makes for a fast and easy waste-free lunch. As much as I love the bells and whistles and creativity of dabbling in bento lunches, at the heart of it my main goal is always a litter-free lunch. :)
Cub Scout camp lunch day 2

Fishie crackers, pickles, cereal bar and homemade granola bite, raspberries.

Not pictured: Thermos Funtainer of ice cold grape juice, Gatorade and a huge bottle of ice water on a lanyard.

It's HOT and yesterday's Cub Scout activities left the poor boy dangerously close to severe dehydration. :( Hoping today he will be more cognizant of drinking water. Though I had given him a mommy lecture Monday morning about drinking water throughout the day, nothing could have sent home that message as strongly as him feeling like complete crapola for the rest of day like he did yesterday. If he's not in better shape after today's camp I'm not sure he will attend the rest of the week. Sigh.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - it's a zoo!

It's time for another chapter of Muffin Tin Monday! My little wild one's lunch for today (she's chowing down as I type!)
animals everywhere! MTM
Across the top row: garden fresh cucumbers (farmer's market, our own aren't ready yet!), frosted animal cookies, bananas.
Bottom row: tortilla chips with apricot fruit leather tiger on top, a lion sandwich(roar!)(natural peanut butter & honey on multigrain bread, decorated with cheese and sprinkles), and an apple slice with a raspberry fruit leather giraffe on top.

The same sun-shaped cookie cutter from last week's MTM quesadilla was used to make this lion. Paige kept asking "are you making my sunny sandwich mama? Are you? Yay!" and she was quite confused when a lion appeared in front of her instead. Gotta keep these kiddos on their toes. ;-)
The fruit leather animals were cut out using a set of cookie cutter presses from Williams-Sonoma. The other cutters in the set are an elephant (you can see in this elephant themed bento lunch picture), a lion and seal. I don't think they are available on the website any longer, but I have seen stores are still stocking them if you are interested. :)

If you'd like to see what some other Muffin Tin Mama's have put together today, click on over to see them by clicking on the logo:
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
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(more!) Star Wars bento boxes

Ethan is loving those Star Wars cookie cutters. I'm crossing fingers for Williams-Sonoma to release some Strawberry Shortcake (old school SS, thankyouverymuch) or CareBears or something more my speed. I'm not holding my breath though. ;-)

This week Ethan has Cub Scout day camp, which means a week of packed lunches. So, fun waste-free lunch for today, packed in an EasyLunchboxes container:
Yoda goes to Cub Scout camp
On the left he has a dish of pretzel sticks (dish is from a Sassy box) with a cheddar cheese Yoda on top (turned out nicely!), and a bunch of strawberries and raspberries.
On the right are pickles, a Trader Joe's cereal bar and a granola bar.

That little blue fork/pick was a fun find. I found a box of 100 in assorted colors at Dollar Tree for just $1.00! Cool deal! They were stocked over in the kitchen utensil area, with spatulas and stuff like that. :) We've used them quite a few times for lunches already but I don't think I ever posted a picture of them yet. They've been working out great and I totally don't stress one itty bit over them making it back home (though so far they have!).

On a related note, Ethan begged for more Star Wars grilled cheese sandwiches this past weekend and he packed his own little bento box. I made the sandwiches, but the rest of this is the handiwork of my 8-year-old.
Ethan's self-made Star Wars bento
Under all those carrots and berries was a whole sliced kiwi. I suggested that he make it visible, but he said "the kiwi isn't important, this bento is all about my blaster". Yes, that weird, er, I mean interesting carrot and raspberry rod thing is a Storm Trooper blaster. He was very happy with his creation and told me I could use his blaster idea anytime I wanted. (LOL LOL LOL) ;-)
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Friday, June 11, 2010

the Dark Side in a bento box

You might have seen that there are spiffy new Star Wars cookie cutters at Williams-Sonoma now. My friends have been all a-buzz over them for weeks. During my outing yesterday I picked up a set (happy birthday to me!).

Darth Vader in a bento box

I've seen cookies and little sandwiches made with these Star Wars cookie cutters ...and even ice cream sandwiches! I attempted to make little grilled cheese sandwiches out of them with mixed results (I must not have "the force"). This Darth Vader didn't turn out too badly. The Storm Trooper was about the same, but Yoda's facial details were lost in the grilling.
Packed in the bento were also some baby carrots, strawberries, kiwi and a honey stick. I thought the honey stick looked like Vader's light saber. ;-)

I have to say making the tiny grilled cheese sandwiches was a real pain. As I was finishing up I had wholly talked myself into NEVER making them again...but the look of delight on Ethan's face when he saw them was pretty priceless. He's got plans to have Boba Fett for lunch tomorrow. What have I gotten myself into?

On a side-note, I recently hauled out all my bento boxes from the depths below to take inventory (stand by for pics, lol). I came across this black one that I got over a year ago, back when Ichiban had an online store. This box was described as a "mens medium" and the description said it was a good size for a man's lunch. I ordered it to use for my husband. I was aghast when it arrived and it was sooooo small. Littler than the lunch boxes I used for my kids! It seemed like an appropriate choice to use for today's Star Wars bento, though. :)
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

hey, it's my birthday! & a Laptop Lunches

Hello everyone! So sorry for not posting in a few days, I've been busy with technical issues and general icky stuff. But, today is my birthday! I'm headed out to eat and see a movie in an actual movie theatre (haven't done that in over a year!) and just bum around with my hubby while all the kids are stowed away. Yay!

My little girl is going to her buddy's house for the day (thank you, Katie!) and this is what she'll have to eat.
hey hey, it's my birthday!

In the pink container is Trader Joe's brand of "Pirate Booty", in the teal box are two cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, surrounded by a zoo of plain and frosted animal crackers and a couple pieces of fruit leather (giraffe is apricot, elephant is raspberry). In the back green box are cheddar cheese lions and some little deli rolls of turkey and salami, and lastly, in the front orange box are strawberries and kiwi. Tucked in the side under her fork is a Simply Fruit fruit-roll up in case she asks for a snack at some point...and I'm sure she will! :)

Gotta run! Ciao!

* Pssst! If you'd like to order your own Laptop Lunches box you can get 10% off your entire order at by using the coupon code "anotherlunch"!!
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - meximeal

I didn't think I'd be doing MTM this week but with my little miss wanting "lunch, not bweakfast!" this morning it ended up coming together just in the nick of time somehow. ;-)
MTM - mexy meal

clockwise from top right: grilled chicken leg (leftover from last night's dinner), "sunny" cheese quesadilla, strawberries, corn chips, homemade salsa, fiesta rice (not sure of exact name, it's a frozen entree from the organic baby food line "Happy Baby". This one is rice, black beans, pinto beans, bell pepper. Paige and baby bug love it).

You can check out what other MTM mamas are cookin' up today by clicking over here.
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

stars & stripes bento lunch

It's past Memorial Day and not yet the 4th of July, but I'm of the opinion that stars & stripes are in style all summer long. ;-)
stars & stripes bento

Star side: royal blue star-shaped silicone cup (be on the looksie for some of these to pop up in a giveaway soon!)full of raspberries, grapes on a star pick, a strawberry with a star mini-fork (sort of looks like a strawberry stem!), a mini cupcake and some animal crackers.

Stripes side: panini (italian cheese blend on sourdough with EVOO and lightly seasoned) and a slice of apple. A piece of green silicone barran separates the apple from the sandwich.

This bento just screams "It's Summertime!" to me. :)

Supplies used to make this bento lunch:
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Princess Lunch Punch bento

This fairy princess from the new Lunch Punch set, Sand*wishes, turned out just the way I had imagined her to! :)

fairy princess & bunnies

She is dressed in a strawberry Simply Fruit fruit-roll up dress, and accessorized with a cheddar cheese tiara and magic wand (aka a piece of Pocky). :) Her smile is a teeny piece of fruit roll-up too and there are a few sprinkles on her wings.

As I was putting her together I found myself humming the tune to "Little Bunny Foo Foo". Do you remember that nursery rhyme? I don't think it is very popular these days, and I suppose for good reason, what with the bashing of field mice on their heads and all. ;-) Still, that gave me the idea to dig out the bunny marshmallows for the bento (much to my little girl's delight).

princess Lunch Punch

The rest of the bento lunch consisted of cucumber slices and a few cherry tomatoes in one section, with organic yogurt covered raisins and blueberries in the other. This waste-free lunch is packed in an EasyLunchboxes container. :)

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