Monday, November 29, 2010

Laptop Lunch - gobbling up leftovers

Howdy ho! I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! :) We sure did. We spent the day with some good friends and it was great!

This lunch was for my girl Paige on a day she went to our babysitting place (Christmas shopping with 4 kids in tow just doesn't work for us!), packed in one of our Laptop Lunches boxes.
Laptop Leftovers

In the big box she has ingredients to make her own little roll-ups:
- whole wheat tortilla
- turkey strips (Thanksgiving leftovers!)
- shredded cheese
There is a piece of silicone barran in there to separate the turkey from the tortillas.

The smaller boxes hold cucumber slices, a clementine orange & blackberries.

I am delighted with the little pick in the clementine cutie. I've been jonesing for these leaf bento picks forever, with my main sights set on poking one right in the middle of a mini orange, just like this! :)
cutie clementine

I removed the other large box to make room for a milk box and there is a little sauce packet for the roll-ups in there also.

Paige must have really loved this lunch because the box came home empty and she asked for more of "doze roll-em-ups" for lunch the next day, too. :)

Will there be any Laptop Lunches under your Christmas tree this year? :)
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

new bento box! Lunchbots (review & giveaway!)

A new bento box!! :)

Tasty Trio!

Ooh, what is it? What could it be?

CLICK HERE to read more and enter the giveaway! :)

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Monday, November 22, 2010

PlanetBox - (almost) turkey time!

My little girl's PlanetBox lunch -
PlanetBox turkey time

This yummy lunch contains:
- rotisserie chicken leg, fishy crackers, cheddar cheese hearts
- strawberries and blackberries
- cucumbers with hummus in the Little Dipper container
- bugles (I love how they look like cornucopias!)
- craisins

The chicken drumstick has a little turkey cupcake pick for a little Thanksgiving decoration. :) 

Are you as ready for Thanksgiving as I am? I can't wait for the holiday, the school break, and the turkey!

*** Friends, voting is still going on in the California Raisin's "Let's re-Do Lunch" contest...and my radical raisin bento box made the finals! You can vote for each entry once a day and I sure would appreciate your vote!! My entry, Bento Box with Harvest-Raisin Muffin & Banana-Raisin "Sushi", and I thank you!! :)
Please Vote!

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

winners announced for the Healthy Habits Plates

Friends, I am so sorry for my long delay in announcing the winners! Three of my kiddos and I were all struck down by a yucky bug this last week that totally knocked us out (literally!). Yuckaroonie. Feeling better now, though still a little whoozy and dizzy. Whew!

Anywho, without further delay, the winners of the Healthy Habits Plates giveaway are....



Congrats, girls! Your plates will be shipping directly from!

In other news, voting is still going on in the California Raisin's "Let's re-Do Lunch" contest...and my radical raisin bento box made the finals! You can vote for each entry once a day and I sure would love your vote if you can spare a moment!! My entry, Bento Box with Harvest-Raisin Muffin & Banana-Raisin "Sushi", is found right there! Thank you so much everyone! :)
Please Vote!
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Monday, November 15, 2010

MTM - Food Pyramid & Nutrition (plus a GIVEAWAY!!)

For this week's Muffin Tin Monday the appointed theme from the Muffin Tin Mom was "food pyramid/nutrition".

I thought it was an interesting theme choice since the regular old food pyramid so many of us grew up with seems to have undergone so many face-lifts and transformations over recent years. The question of whether the pyramid should even continue to be used as a guide for healthy eating is an oft debated one. Still, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to craft my own actual food pyramid. Just for old times sake.

MTM - food pyramid

My muffin tin meal contains:
- orange slices and grapes
- food pyramid
- turkey bologna roll-up (cut in half) and a light Babybel cheese round
- peas
- strawberries
- carrots

The food pyramid was fun to make! :)
Wheat Thin pyramid

It's made of Wheat Thin crackers and cream cheese, constructed just like a little house of cards. I scored a lot of "cool mom points" with Ethan on this one! ;-)  "It's kind of like a gingerbread house, but without the candy. And it's cooler."  That is some fantastic praise from the mouth of an architect-wannabe 8 year old!

And now for the GIVEAWAY!!!
Are you curious what it could possibly be? It's very related to the theme of this MTM!
To find out more (and to enter!) you'll need to click HERE.

See ya there! :)
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

very special bento: Harvest Muffins and banana-raisin "sushi"

A couple months ago a friend emailed me to tell me about a contest she heard about. Sponsored by the California Raisin board, the "Let's re-Do Lunch" photo contest was looking for healthy lunch alternatives featuring California Raisins.

Now let me just share here that California raisins have a special place in my heart. It may sound silly, but it's true. I am from California and I happened to live right smack dab in the middle of the raisin heartland. I've driven thousands of miles back and forth past grape vineyards throughout my teen and young adult life. It's a little bit of homecoming for me, those little boxes of raisins. :) 

My raisin-themed bento creation for the contest:
raisin bento yum

This little bento contains a Harvest muffin (pumpkin-carrot-maple-raisin yumminess), banana-raisin "sushi", carrot coins, pistachios, grapes and strawberries.

To make the banana-raisin "sushi" bites I cut a banana into chunks, rolled the pieces in juice to prevent browning, used a wide straw to cut out the centers of the banana, then filled the hole with raisins. :) 

The actual photo I submitted to the contest was this one...
Please Vote!

I was a little bit surprised and a lot ecstatic when I found out that I was a finalist in the contest! The prize is simply amazing - $5,000 (that's five thousand dollars!), $1,000 donation to a food bank of my choosing, and a year's supply of California raisins! Wow!!

The contest is being hosted on Facebook and the voting period is going on from now (!!) through November 29th. Whoever gets the most votes wins! Eeeek! :)

Naturally, I ask that if you can spare a moment of your time, please vote for my entry, Bento Box with Harvest-Raisin Muffin & Banana Raisin "Sushi"

There are 10 finalists in the running, including my witty friend, Wendy. Wendy's raspberry carrot raisin slaw is beautiful, truly. I'm not sure I would have ever thought I'd put the words "slaw" and "beautiful" together in the same sentence, but leave it to Wendy to make it happen!

You can vote once a day, and I would be ever so delighted, thrilled, and thankful if you would!!  And if you are on the Another Lunch Facebook Page, I'd like to apologize for my vote groveling.  I know it's annoying. I'm sorry. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing it... I mean, it's $5,000. Can you blame me? :)  Please bear with me. It'll be all over on the 29th (that's Ethan's birthday, that's got to bring me some luck, right?!!).

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

bento lunch: squirrel love

Cute little bento lunch for my three-year-old daughter - in a new box!!


Packed in this cute little compact box is...
- silicone cup of grapes
- half sandwich of all natural peanut butter and honey on white-wheat bread
- cheddar cheese squirrels and a fruit leather heart
- garlic-parm pretzel thins
- cucumber slices
- strawberry
- tiny pack of Annie's organic fruit snack bunnies (the package also acts as a nice barran (barrier) to separate the wet cucumbers from the sandwiches)

I've been eyeing these colorful sandwich boxes online forEVER! Seriously, it's been months. I just couldn't get a really good idea of size or depth on it at all to determine if it would be a good box for bento. Also, I have been trying really hard to cut back on the amount of lunch supplies I bring into the house. I just don't have the space. I have overflow. My cabinets runneth over. And over and over.

Anyway, back to this box. I've been really really good at resisting the urge to order it online. And then one day I'm innocently pushing my shopping cart through the grocery store buying necessary food stuffs to feed my hungry family and I just so happen to be passing by this small display section that shelves some kitchen items and there I see The Box. I grabbed for it with such a lightning fast reflex that I actually startled my father who was shopping with me. And that was that. It came home with me. And it was soon joined by two three of its friends. So much for cutting back. Oops.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

squirrelly grown-up PlanetBox lunch

This PlanetBox lunch is mine, all mine!


The large section holds a full sized sandwich of smoked turkey, havarti cheese, mustard and a heap of watercress on multi-grain bread.

The side sections hold garlic-parmesan pretzel thins (YUM YUM YUM!), carrots and apple chunks.

To be silly I pressed a squirrel shaped cookie cutter into the top slice of bread on my sandwich (I did not press it all the way through since that would make it hard to eat and watercress is already kind of tricky to keep contained as it is). Adding to the silliness, I cut out a cheddar cheese acorn to add to the middle treat section. Because really, what is a squirrel without a nut? :)

I've been getting some questions about whether I think the PlanetBox can hold enough food for an older kid, teen, or grown-up. My answer is YES, I think a PlanetBox can hold enough food for a full lunch for a big kid to adult. This is actually more food than I typically eat for lunch. I could have easily had space for more carrots and pretzels, but as it was I had to save the carrots and pretzels for a snack later anyway - this was just too much food for me in one sitting! :) Though to be fair, I *did* eat a lot of apple chunks while I was packing this... I just can't resist those Honeycrisps!

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Lock & Lock lunch set Winner Announcement (& some blog babble)

Punctuality has not been my specialty since having kiddos and as such I am delinquent in announcing the lucky winner of the neato Lock & Lock bento lunch set! Please accept my apologies dear readers!

Without further ado the winner, selected via -


Congrats to KimV.! And many, many thanks to for providing the great lunch set for the giveaway!

And speaking of, remember when I said that any sales for their site will earn me a small commission that I'd like to use to buy goodies for giveaways for you all? Well, I think we are getting close.

AllThingsForSale report

So far our credit is up to $41.50! (Another Lunch earns 5% of total sales, which are currently at $830). Yay us! Glad to see I'm not the only crazy bento shopper in the mist. ;-) I confess I had to buy the blue version of the Lock & Lock bento lunch set. Had to. It's just too good to pass up. :)

I already have some other giveaways lining up, but we'll be doing a giveaway using this earned credit from allthingsforsale before too long also! :)
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

bento: San Francisco Giants win the World Series!!

Maybe you have heard of a little sporting event in the baseball world called the World Series? Maybe you knew that the San Francisco Giants played against the Texas Rangers? Maybe you heard my husband and sons whooping and hollering in victory when the Giants pummeled won over the Rangers?

My 8-year-old son, Ethan, is still talking about it. :) And so is my husband for that matter. ;-)

An after-school snack bento to surprise Ethan, just for the fun of it....
SF Giants World Series bento

This San Francisco Giants bento holds a grilled cheese sandwich at the top end. Not just any grilled cheese sandwich, but a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough. This is celebrating San Francisco afterall. :) Atop the sourdough sandwich is a flower. Not just any flower, it's a posey. Because Buster Posey is awesome. And cute. And let's just mention awesome again.

A bit of baseball field grass barran separates the sandwich from the goods below. At the bottom end of the bento box we have a Babybell baseball. This was so easy and fun to make with a few strokes with a food safe marker and I think it looks great! :)

Babybell baseball

I used the Betty Crocker brand of food markers for this. They are what Jenn recommends, and considering she's a bonafide cheese artist, I take her advice! :)

Beside the Babybell baseball are some fruits - strawberries, grapes, and my favorite, a chunk of green apple.

You see, I had these bento picks that are shaped like a baseball cap. Problem is, they were blue and had a "T" on them... so there was only one thing I could do. Make a Texas Ranger, aka Loser, with it.

Texas Rangers are losers

Ha ha ha! The face is drawn on with Sharpie, which I really don't recommend, but I had to do it. The apple was too waxy or something for the food safe marker I have to work. The face on this is inspired by a hilarious little cartoon sketch Ethan once drew. It made me laugh like a hyena at the time and I thought it was the perfect expression for the Texas Loser to sport. (Ethan only ate the inside apple part and skipped eating the toxic peel!) ;-)

I understand that I may be coming off as showing very poor sportsmanship here. But here's the thing. I don't care. I actually don't care about baseball one teensy bit and the best thing about baseball and the World Series, if you ask me, is that's it's finally over. ;-) In fact, during the World Series games that I was forced to watch under duress instead of cooler shows on the DVR, I posted as my Facebook status a few times such things as "the Giants Rock!" (after winning one of the games without the other team scoring even once!), "yay Buster!" (after Buster Posey hit a homerun), etc. and my friends who know me well responded with "is this really Melissa posting?" LOL :) Though I admit that while I was putting this bento together that I kept finding myself humming the tune to "we are the champions". Huh. Maybe I'll morph into a baseball fan in spite of myself. (not too likely).

Oh! And I almost forgot. These were some things I wanted to incorporate into the bento, but they didn't work.
SFGiants extras

The blue cup is grape jello with a little ship flag on it - that was to symbolize the bay of San Francisco and how all those silly boats gather out in the harbor to try to catch homerun balls, but it didn't fit! And the "Giants" were cut out of apricot fruit leather using my alphabet cutters from JList. I planned to have that on top of the grilled cheese, but the letters blended in to the golden toasted bread and weren't very visible.

Were you watching the World Series? (for the record, every single time I've written "world series" in this post I started off writing "Super Bowl" and would have to go back and fix my mistake! I'm am so far from a sports fan it isn't even funny!)

This post is dedicated to my husband, my sons, my friend Shannon who lives in the Bay Area and shops bento for me and even attended one of the World Series games (game 2, I think?) this year!.... and for Giants fans everywhere. :)
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

catching up: a whole lot of bento pictures!

I have a back log of bento pictures I never posted.

I'm not sure what this one was for. I think it was for an after-school snack...Ethan has some clubs and activities that keep him after school a couple days a week now and he needs a snack to tide him over. It was either for an after-school bento or a snack on a day he went to the babysitter. Hard to tell. ;-)
L&L snacky jello bento
Clockwise from top left, and packed in a 4 square Lock & Lock bento box: cheddar cheese, grape jello, carrots, saltine crackers.
The jello was "set" in one of the Lock & Lock squares...not much else to say here. :)

This was an after-school snack a couple weeks ago. I'm almost positive. Note the Halloween-esque cheese shapes. I am so tardy getting things posted. Sigh.
cool L&L snack box
This bento is packed in the divided Lock & Lock lunch set container, just like the one you can win in the giveaway going on now! ;-)
This bento snack box is holding Wheat Thin crackers, cheddar cheese, and kiwi fruit.
I specifically remember sticking a witch hat bento pick in the kiwi section before packing this one up in the lunchbox and kicking myself for not remembering to stick the pick in before I took the picture!

This is a bento lunch for Ethan from early October. I didn't post it right away and then before I knew it I was neck deep in Halloween themes and it just got buried back in my picture files...
Clockwise from top left: cereal bar and homemade granola bite, Wheat Thins and bear-shaped cheddar cheese, carrots & grapes, pickles.

And a similar bento lunch in that fantabulous Lock & Lock box -
Carrots, cereal bar & granola bar, mini saltine crackers & cheddar cheese flowers, strawberries.

Lastly, a little wayward snack bento. This is just a "normal" sized snack, typical for what Ethan takes to school everyday for his morning snack (similar to the batch of snack bentos previously shared)
Lock & Lock snack bento
This is packed in a two-tray Lock & Lock box and holds Goldfish crackers and kiwi fruit.

That's all, folks! Hopefully I'll get back on the ball posting some current bentos tomorrow. :)

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - leaves & harvest

Leaves and harvest were on the agenda for this week's assigned theme for Muffin Tin Monday. Technically, "trees" were also part of the theme assignment, but I didn't really incorporate that part. I barely eeked this one together as it was! :)

MTM leaves, harvest

The top row of this muffin tin holds turkey bologna roll-ups on fall leaf food picks, orange jello in an orange shaped silicone cup and colby cheese leaves.
MTM leaves, harvest roll-ups on leaf picks

I really like the way the cheese leaves came out. :) The colby cheese gives a nice fall leafy mottled effect and a few light strokes with a red food-safe marker provides nice vein detail very easily. :)
MTM cheese leaves

The bottom row of the muffin tin lunch holds a leaf-shaped carrot pumpkin muffin (it was baked in a leaf-shaped muffin pan)(same recipe and pan as I used in the pumpkin themed Muffin Tin Monday tin)
MTM leaves, harvest - muffin & horn o'plenty
Also in that bottom row are Bugles to represent the cornucopia and "harvest", and lastly there are apple slices in the bottom right, another nod to harvest. :)

For more MTM trees, leaves and harvest tins pop on over to check them out! :)

pssst! Did you see the fabulous Lock & Lock lunch set giveaway? Don't forget to enter! :)

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