Friday, October 29, 2010

a new Lock & Lock bento lunch set (and a GIVEAWAY!!!)

A ghostly fun bento in a fun new lunch set! :)

Ghostly Lock & Lock box

This (not so) spooky spector lunch consists of:
Box on top:
- half sandwich of peanut butter & jelly on whole grain bread
- two little jack cheese ghosts (faces drawn with food safe marker)
- Peeps marshmallow ghost
Box on bottom:
- cucumber slices
- strawberries and grapes on a ghost pick
- baked chicken

These two Lock & Lock bento boxes are part of this complete Lock & Lock lunch set -
complete lunch set

To read more about it and for your chance to win one of your very own, click here to pop on over to enter the giveaway! :)
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

not-so-spooky PlanetBox snack lunch

On a weekend day of running around Ethan took along this PlanetBox lunchy snack. He munched on it throughout the afternoon.

Planetbox Halloween

In the large section is a Big Dipper full of chopped strawberries and kiwi fruit. The lower side compartment holds a mini cheesecake "cupcake" and a mini granola bite. The upper side section holds a Little Dipper of dry roasted peanuts (taboo at school!) and a Babybell cheese. The long top section has a bounty of carrots and the tiny middle treat section holds an icing spider.

The mini cheesecake cupcake was a bit of a disaster. I tried to make a spider web out of chocolate sauce on top, but it didn't turn out like the vision I had in my imagination at all! What a mess it was! I sort of slowly drizzled it on by toothpick... tedious and just not a good thing at all. It thrilled Ethan though, which is all that counts I guess. :) And it gives the icing spiders a place to call home. ;-)

I also experienced an epic fail when I attempted to carve a freehand spider into the Babybell wax coating. So I flipped it over and stuck a Halloween sticker on it instead. So much easier. :)

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

brunch bento: freaky froggy & friends

Marching on with the spooky meals, today my Paigey Pie had this brunch-time bento.

freaky froggy
Packed in a Sassy box:
- freaky froggy cinnamon toast
- raspberries in a spider shaped silicone cup
- ghostly string cheese
- ham on a jack o' lantern pick

The freaky froggy was made using the frog prince Lunch Punch sandwich cutter (minus the crowns!), and the creepy details were almond slivers for fangs and a little black icing I had handy. Nutella would work great too (and be yummier to boot!).

The sting cheese ghosts are just a regular mozzarella string cheese stick cut in half and the eyes are made with the same food safe marker I showed ya yesterday. :)

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - trick or treat!

There was no assigned theme for this week's Muffin Tin Monday meal, but you know me.... I like themes. :) So I made up my own - a "trick or treat" theme. This muffin tin meal represents this year's trick-or-treating for my own family. :)

MTM trick or treat!

Across the back row:
- candy corn (you can always count on getting some while trick-or-treating!)
- Boba Fett sandwich (Ethan's costume of choice this year!)
- cheddar cheese ducks (toddler Tyler will be a duck with the cutest striped tights!)

Bottom row:
- grapes on piggie picks (Paige will be a squiggly piggy)
- Kryptonite (for Superman - Owen)
- clementine made to look like a jack o' lantern (what will greet us at every house while trick-or-treating!)

So now you know what my lil' Boo Crew will be dressed as this year! :)

MTM SW fett and duckies

The Boba Fett sandwich was made using a Williams-Sonoma cookie cutter, from the same set his Darth Vader grilled cheese and cheddar Yoda came from! I just used a few strokes with a food-safe marker (General Mills brand) to bring out some of the detail the cookie press makes.

MTM piggies

I had to show you the reverse side of these cute piggie picks! They have a curly tail on the backs, just like the curly piggie tail on the back of Paige's costume. Tee-hee! So cute!

MTM jack-o-lantern

The clementine was turned to a jack o' lantern with a food-safe marker and a little piece of pretzel stick was used for the stem. I've been using this black food-safe marker quite a bit lately and I keep getting questions about what I'm using - this is it! :) It works better on some things (such as the witch grapes and this clementine!) than others (like cheddar cheese jack o' lanterns).

For more Muffin Tin Monday meals, pop on over to the home of MTM to check it out! :)

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Easylunchboxes: total creepfest

This creepfest of an EasyLunchboxes bento lunch features another hideous breadstick beast...

creepfest in an ELB

In the big section:
- cereal bar
- monster finger (garlic breadstick!)
- jello in a spider shaped silicone cup (with icing eyes and apple fangs)

Smaller sections:
- squishy dragon eyes (raspberries!)
- eye of Cyclops (icky gummy candy!)

- deli rolls on spider picks
- spider web shaped cheese

The "monster finger" breadstick was made by just shaping and cutting notches in the dough prior to baking. The gnarly finger nail is a small piece of fruit leather. :)

Grape jello was set in the silicone cup and garnished with the eyes and fangs. The icing eyes sort of melted a little over time as they absorbed the moisture from the jello... which made them look REALLY creepy by the time Ethan ate his lunch. LOL

This spooktacular lunch is packed in an EasyLunchboxes container. Time is ticking on the free cooler bag deal! ;-)
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

the three witches snack bento

Fun little Halloween witch-themed snack bento. :)

witchy witchy woman snack bento

- 3 witches (green grapes & witch hat picks)
- broomsticks (pretzel sticks & fruit roll-up)
- deli rolls in a silicone spider cup

The little broomsticks are really fun and super easy to make! Just take a fruit roll-up (I use Simply Fruit - no HFCS or other nasties), cut into strips about 2" wide, "fringe" one side of each strip, then roll the strip around an end of a pretzel stick. :)

I found the witch hat picks at a local birthday party supply store and the spider silicone cups at the same place I found the pumpkin silicone cups...I thought that place was JoAnn's, but a few peeps have found them at Hobby Lobby - it's entirely possible that's where mine are from too. My memory is awfully moldy these days.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

PlanetBox lunch in all its Halloween gory, I mean glory

If yesterday's mummified hotdogs and zombie jaws didn't scare you away, I've got some more tricks treats in store for you today! Ha ha ha! {witch's cackles!}

Ensconced in a PlanetBox...
witch's lair

In the large section a witch's brew of ghoulish delights is held in a Big Dipper container (Piccolini mini wagon wheel pasta, peas, Italian dressing).

In the smaller sections:
- severed witches finger (mozzarella stick)
- witch broom (bread stick)
- bat eyes (pomegranate seeds in a Little dipper container)
- cauldron shaped fruit leather, dried banana chips and raisins (freeze dried monkey brains and bat brains)
- treat in the center is some innocent candy corn :)

I LOVE how the mozzarella stick turned out!
witch finger

Just cut out some little notches for knuckle lines, trim one end to make it a a little pointy and add a finger nail. I used my food-safe marker, but a bit of bell pepper or cucumber peel would work great too!

The witch's broom stick was another fun idea I found in a book I picked up awhile back. It's the same breadstick dough I used for the hotdog mummies yesterday, but just twisted into a breadstick and then cut the end to look like broom bristles.

I'm putting together a little Halloween goodie bag for the Facebook Page peeps! If you don't want to miss out on some ghoulish bento treats, keep your eyes peeled (not literally, please!) over there for the details! :)
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bento lunch: high on the creepy scale

This is one creepy Halloween themed lunch! Not for the faint of heart! ;-)

Scary Halloween EasyLunchboxes lunch...
EasyLunchboxes mummy

In the big section:
- mummified hot dog
- vat of blood sauce (ew!) (don't worry, it's just ketchup!)
- fruit leather bats
- "pumpkin slices" (carrot coins)

Smaller sections:
- extra mummy bandages (shredded string cheese!)
- zombie jaws (apple slices & almond slivers)

Close-up of the creepiness:
close up of creepiness

I saw the mummy hotdogs in a Halloween idea book I picked up a couple months ago, I've since seen the idea replicated on a lot of sites and in some other magazines lately. It's pretty much the same idea as a "pig in a blanket", but using breadstick dough instead of crescent dough and you wrap the hotdog up like a mummy. Bake according to breadstick baking directions. :) I sprinkled garlic powder and garlic salt on my breadstick dough for added flavor and to ward off any vampires that may roam too close.

The zombie jaws are so creepy! And so easy to make. Just arrange apple slices and push in almond slivers. A friendly peep on the Another Lunch Facebook Page mentioned seeing this idea in a Pottery Barn Kids catalog recently, and then I started noticing them in some other magazines too!
I never noticed "apple smiles" (as I've seen them called before) made with almond slivers before, just with marshmallows (glued on with peanut butter - though marshmallow fluff would be a good glue to use in order to avoid nuts)... but the almond slivers definitely look very monsterish!

A quick note about EasyLunchboxes, they will be back in stock and shipping SOON, but any orders placed while they are still on backorder will get a free cooler bag! Just sayin'....
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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - pumpkins!

Nothing says "it's fall y'all!" like a big bunch of pumpkins. And it just so happens that the assigned theme for this week's Muffin Tin Monday is "pumpkins". Yeehaw!

MTM pumpkins!

The top row of my pumpkin muffin tin holds...
- whole grain crackers in a pumpkin shaped silicone cup
- green grapes and apricot fruit leather cut into pumpkin shapes
- applesauce with pumpkin sprinkles in a pumpkin shaped silicone cup

bottom row:
- salami rolls on pumpkin pick & cheddar cheese
- homemade carrot pumpkin muffin (baked in a pumpkin mold)
- salami rolls on pumpkin pick & cheddar cheese

Paige has been "studying" pumpkins in preschool and was just delighted with her pumpkin lunch today. :)

The pumpkin silicone cups are great. I know peeps want to know where I got them. I bought them the second Halloween stuff started making an appearance in stores and I'm not certain (because I picked stuff up at a lot of different places long before I started using any of it), but I think these were from Joann's craft store. The pumpkin picks are actually just the backside of jack-o-lantern picks that I found at a birthday party store. :)

To see more muffin tin lunches head on over to the main Muffin Tin Monday site. :)
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Friday, October 8, 2010

(lame-o) jack-o-lantern bento lunch

One very boring bento for the day.

Lock and Lock jack-o-lanterns

In a 4 square Lock & Lock, clockwise from back left:
- strawberry cereal bar and granola bite
- mini saltine crackers & cheddar cheese jack o'lanterns
- raspberries
- baby carrots

The cheese was cut with a mini pumpkin cutter and the jack-o-lantern faces were made using a food-safe marker. It looks so simple, but that black marker did not want to cooperate on the cheese! I think a crayon would have been easier to work with.

Sorry for the lame lunch! I'll try better next time. ;-)

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

ghostly bento snack & crouton recipe

OoooOOoooo! {creepy (but not too creepy) ghost howls}

BOO! Ghostly snack bento for my little girl:
ghostly bento boo!

- Homemade ghost-shaped croutons
- the Evil Eye (yummy foil wrapped chocolate)
- bologna roll-ups
- colby jack cheese cubes
- raspberries

Some people asked for my crouton recipe. I don't really have a crouton "recipe". Most of my "recipes", if you haven't already discovered, are mainly me coming up with something that seems to work fairly decently. But are not to be taken too seriously. "Recipe" sounds serious. Me? I am not serious. I just find stuff to eat and ramble about how it happened to come together. ;-)

With that in mind, this is how I make croutons.

1. cut your bread.

Any bread will do, but older starting-to-get-too-hard bread works great. I used old sandwich rolls/hoagie rolls for this batch.

You can use cookie cutters or just cut with a knife into cubes. Whatever suits you.

2. put stuff on the bread.

I put a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a ramekin, add in some dashes of garlic powder and garlic salt and put it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. And then I stir it around and zap it again for about 15 seconds. And I let it sit awhile....however long...until it seems the oil is diffused with the garlicky yumminess.

3. place bread pieces on baking sheet.

4. using a silicone brush, "paint" the garlic oil all over the bread pieces.

Alternatively, you can just jumble everything into a big tupperware type container and shake it all around. But then you have a really oily bowl to wash out.

You can also drizzle the oil mixture over the bread if you want. Whatever works for you!

Add whatever seasoning you like. Sometimes I add fresh cracked pepper and parmesan. Yum! But garlic is a must. Garlic = deliciousness.

5. put in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

6. check, keep checking, to make sure you pull them out when you get the desired level of crispiness.

7. When done pull from oven and cool on racks.

When completely cool, store in airtight container. Preferably not a tupperware container because they won't stay crispy in those. A metal one works best. A ziploc works better than tupperware too. I don't know why, but it's true. They get soft and squishy in tupperware.

I pulled my Halloween batch out of the oven too soon. These should have been left in to bake another minute or two. Still yummy though. :)
frightfully good croutons

And the business about scraps. Well, for goodness sakes, bake those ones up too. They are perfect for salads.
crouton scraps

The scrap batch turned out perfectly.


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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lunchbots bento: bats in the belfry

I am loving having Halloween themes to work with! Today Ethan is having a bat-themed lunch. This ended up being quite appropriate in more ways than one, for this morning Ethan was driving me completely batty. But that's another story.

Halloween bento lunch:
Lunchbots batty
In the top section there are strawberries on bat picks, a few grapes, baby carrots and another icky Halloween treat - gummy vampire teeth.
The bottom section holds grilled chicken cubes, cheddar cheese bats and a couple pieces of homemade bat-shaped garlic croutons. Get it? Garlic croutons? Vampire teeth? Bats? Tee-hee! Halloween is so fun. :)

The croutons turned out super cute!
bat crouton

This bento is packed in our stainless steel Lunchbots Duo box! Even the orange lid of the Duo is Halloweeny. ;-)

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

PlanetBox lunch - it's the Great Pumpkin

Let's get this (Halloween) party started!  I feel like I've been mentally preparing for Halloween bentos for months now, and it's hard to believe it's already time to start churning them out!

PlanetBox pumpkin

In our nifty PlanetBox we have:
- the Great Pumpkin grilled cheese sandwich
- baby carrots and ghoul sauce (otherwise known as ranch)
- grapes on jack-o-lantern bento picks
- goblin finger (better known as a pickle spear)
- icing decoration for a treat

The grilled cheese sandwich was cooled to room temp before putting in the PlanetBox. This keeps moisture from forming inside the container and getting soggy. Ethan is on the fence on whether he likes a not-warm grilled cheese. I think if I offered them more often he would decide quickly that he doesn't care for it. But as it is I rarely have the time to make a grilled cheese in the morning so he is pretty happy to see it appear from time to time.

The little jack-o-lantern in the middle treat section is an icing decoration. Ethan has called those things "cupcake cookies" since he could first talk. He just loves those things. I think they are icky, but for Halloween I overlook "ick". :)

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Monday, October 4, 2010

lock & lock bento lunch: hello chicken!!

Exciting lunch development underway at headquarters!!! My 8-year-old son, Ethan, otherwise known as Mr. Picky Pants, has made a serious breakthrough. Yeehaw!

Here's the deal with Ethan: he is excruciatingly sensitive about the temperatures of his food. He LOVES grilled chicken. It's one of his favorites. But he likes it warm. Despite many practice runs with putting chicken in our Thermos Funtainers over summer, I just couldn't get the boy to not turn his nose up at it in a packed lunch. It's been a point of big frustration for me. The fact that his lunches are usually lacking in protein is not lost on me. ;-)

Then last week I caught him at just the right moment (hungry, but not TOO hungry, and in a good mood, not unusual highly agreeable sort of mood) and I suggested he try a piece of grilled chicken that was leftover from dinner the night before. Cold leftover chicken. He agreed. He tried it. He liked it. He ASKED for it in his lunch the next day. YES!!!!

Lock and Lock chicken

With much joy I share Ethan's lunch...I think this was Friday. Could have been Thursday. Packed in our 4 square Lock and Lock box...

- grilled chicken, cut into cubes and put on picks
- mini saltines and cheddar cheese
- baby carrots and grapes
- pickles

Woot! So happy here. It's been a long battle to get to this point, but totally worth it. Don't give up on your picky eaters! Baby's slow going, but you'll get there eventually. :)
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - circus style

This week the theme for MTM is "circus".

I'll be honest with you. I don't like the circus. Not even a tiny bit. I pretty much had decided to skip MTM this week because of it, but decided at the last moment Sunday evening to toss something together after all. This is what it came out like... Ethan helped. :)

MTM - circus theme!

In the back row we have a couple favorite circus food treats:
- cotton candy
- popcorn (kettle corn from our farmer's market, to be exact)
And in the 3rd spot we have the Strong Man's barbells: mozzarella cheese & pretzel sticks

In the front row:
- a creepy clown: tortilla, cheddar cheese hair, olive eyes, fruit leather mouth
- high-wire act, tightrope walkers: pocky stick, Teddy Grahams, peanut butter to "glue" and stabilize
- the Sword Swallowing event: grapes on sword picks

You may notice that my circus is animal free. :) Well, except for those tightrope walkers...but they are more the Berenstain Bears type of bears than the Stolen From Nature And Forced To Perform Demoralizing Schticks For Human Entertainment type of bears. ;-)

tight rope walkers

There are very few things that I outright boycott, and even fewer still that I not only boycott but will do so vocally. The circus is right at the top of that list. I am completely, 100%, unequivocally in the Animals Don't Belong in the Circus camp.

The last time I went to a circus was about 14 years ago. I went with my boyfriend (who is now my husband!). I went feeling very excited and giddy, but as I sat there my spirits sank. The animals in the circus broke my heart. I left feeling deflated and depressed. Probably not the effect the Ringling Brother's had hoped to bestow. My kids haven't been to an animal circus, nor will long as I have any say in the matter. It won't be much of a battle anyhow, Ethan thinks the circus is cruel. He doesn't even like to watch Dumbo. ;-) Steve Irwin taught him well. :)

If you are interested in reading about how animals have been mistreated, displaced, and even killed by the circus trade you can read about it: Animals in the Circus: A Lifetime of Misery , 10 Fast Facts about Animals in the Circus, and Circuses: Three Rings of Abuse.

If you are in the mood for a good cry, read Kiba's Story. Kiba was a beautiful African Elephant at the Nashville Zoo. My family loved Kiba. We have a painting painted by Kiba hanging over our mantel. Kiba died a premature death due to crippling joint disease she acquired from being abused as a circus animal in her younger years.

::stepping off soapbox::

More muffin tin meals can be seen at the Muffin Tin Monday site. Check them out. :)
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Chemo Duck donation results & prize pack winner! :)

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month has come to a close, and with it, the Another Lunch donation drive for Chemo Duck is complete.

Would you like to know many ducks have been sponsored through all your amazing donations in September? Let's take a look....

sponsored Chemo Ducks!!
sponsored Chemo Ducks!!
sponsored Chemo Ducks!!
sponsored Chemo Ducks!!
sponsored Chemo Ducks!!
sponsored Chemo Ducks!!
sponsored Chemo Ducks!!

That is 35 Chemo Ducks!!!35 fluffy, huggable, duck friends were sponsored for kids with cancer! :D
$875 was donated to the Gabe's My Heart Chemo Duck Program from you last month! WOW!!!

I am blown away. I am humbled. I am so thankful to you all. :) Honestly and sincerely, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is acts of kindness and generosity like this that render me (almost) speechless. I have a smile on my face from ear to ear and my eyes are dripping. :)

As for the prize pack!

Chemo Duck prize winner

Teena, you are the lucky ducky prize pack winner! I will email you to get the prize to you. :)

Thank you, everyone, for having such big hearts and for supporting the Chemo Duck program. And Lu, thank YOU for all you do to bring comfort to sick kiddos. You and Gabe are totally amazing and inspiring. Changing the world, one little bald head at a time. :) The world is a better place because of people like you.
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