Thursday, August 30, 2012

Laptop Lunches - one rushed lunch

Kindergarten Color Days resumes and concludes tomorrow with the color brown. As for today, today is school picture day. I was more preoccupied with prettying up my children than I was decorating their lunches, and so Paige's lunch was quite rushed.

Laptop Lunches rushed lunch

Packed in a Laptop Lunches box:
- turkey sandwich on multigrain, hacked into crooked halves with a dull steak knife
- Goldfish crackers
- blackberries
- strawberries
- cheddar cheese stick
- fruit leather, cut with a mini heart shaped cookie cutter
- Odwalla fruit smoothie box

I think this lunch took about 3 minutes to slap toss together. And that's a good thing because it took four times that long to brush the tangles from Paige's hair and another ten to coerce Owen into the polo I had picked out for him. Phew!

"This is how the big girls do picture day. And I'm big because I'm in Kindergarten now" - Paige, age 5.

Supplies used for packing this lunch:

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey lunches - Chicken Tortilla Soup leftovers x2

Today is Pink and Gray Day for Kindergarten and I had some half-baked ideas involving pink yogurt and elephant-shaped sandwiches, but in the end this is what happened this morning:

Chicken Tortilla Soup lunches x2

Ethan and Paige took identical lunches to school (that's certainly not something you see every day!). Um, at least Paige's Thermos was pink? And the stainless steel is gray. Right? 

They both had homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup, (leftover from last night's dinner) packed in Thermos FunTainer Jars.
On the side they each had shredded mexican cheese and tortilla chips packed in a Lunchbots Pico box. 

These were packed in EasyLunchboxes thermal tote for the day. Besides the Thermos Food Jars and the Lunchbots of chips & cheese, they also each had milk in a Thermos FunTainer drink bottle. Although these are all bulky items, they all fit nicely in the EasyLunchboxes tote. Before zipping up the totes I wrapped each Thermos food jar in a clean dish towel to help insulate the heat. At first I was only going to do this for Ethan's, as he was really concerned that it wouldn't be warm enough by lunchtime. But then I decided to do it for Paige's too since since she's a super messy eater and having a towel on hand for soup didn't sound like a bad idea. ;-)

Supplies used to pack these lunches:

>>> pssst! If you missed the super fabulous Bento Lunch Kit giveaway going on now, there's still time to enter. Check it out! :)
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kindergarten Color Days - black & white in a Lunchbots Quad + a Bynto bento

Only a few days left of Kindergarten Color Days! Thank heavens, because I'm growing weary and I've used up all the colors included in that color crayon cupcake picks set
I'm all on my own from here on. 

Paige's lunch for Black & White day:
Black and White day lunch

For starters, she has black beans packed in her Thermos FunTainer Food Jar.

Then, in a Lunchbots Quad box she has the following:
- white corn tortilla chips
- mexican blend of shredded cheese
- blackberries with a little panda bear pick
- the ultimate black & white treat, an Oreo cookie

When Paige saw what was packed for the day she declared it was her luckiest lunch ever. I'm pretty sure the Oreo is to credit for that. ;-)

To prepare the Thermos, again I brought water to boil on the stovetop, the same time I was heating the black beans (in a separate pan). While the beans continued to simmer away I filled the Thermos with the boiling water, lightly screwed on the lid, and let it sit while I moved on to packing Ethan's bento. By the time I was done with Ethan's lunch all I had to do was dump the hot water from the Thermos back into the pan, fill the now hot Thermos with the hot black beans, and seal shut. Next I dumped the hot water from the boiling water pan into the black bean pan to clean it. It was all really easy and didn't take longer to do than I would normally spend packing a cold lunch bento.  

Speaking of Ethan's bento, here it is. I've just been focusing on Paige's Color Days lunch for days on end and I'm getting quite a back log of Ethan lunches! 

Bynto lunch with cool spork

Today his lunch is packed in a Bynto box and contains:
- grilled chicken (dinner leftovers) in a jumbo silicone muffin cup (fits perfectly in the deep Bynto)
- cheddar cheese slices 
- strawberries and grapes
- mini saltine crackers

A cool new lunch accessory for him this year is that stainless steel spork. It's awesome. It has a full sized spoon on one end and a nice sized fork on the other.  I like that it's nearly a full sized utensil on the ends, and yet because it doesn't have a handle it still fits nicely inside a bento box.  Ethan likes it because "it's totally cool!".

Supplies used in these lunches:

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Kindergarten Color Days - Purple Laptop Lunches bento

Paige was positively tickled pink purple this morning, the long awaited Purple Day in Kindergarten.  She was giddy as her purple Converse was cinched and tied up. So much so that she took to running laps through the kitchen and family room, arms outstretched Superman style, shouting "purple power!". Oh to be five again! :)

Here's to hoping her purple lunch will power her through the day.

Purple Day Laptop Lunches

Packed in a plum colored Laptop Lunches box:
- ham, cheese and mustard sandwich on multigrain bread
- farm fresh plums, decorated with a purple crayon pick
- Trader Joe's cheesy corn puff stuff
- a boxed grape berry Odwalla  fruit smoothie 

The sandwich  was cut in half with the dolphin shaped Lunch Punch. The two sandwich halves stack and fit perfectly in the medium inner box.

I was compelled to buy the Odwalla smoothies when I spied them at my local Super Target this weekend, after viewing the video by Weelicious last week. I almost bought the strawberry banana flavor (in a pinky red box), but remembered in the knick of time that the purple box of the grape berry flavor would work well for Purple Day.  Whew. ;-)

Speaking of remembering (or in this case, not) I forgot to stick the purple-crayon-printed string cheese in the side of her Laptop Lunches box. It would have fit nicely in the vertical space on the right side, where utensils are meant to go. Darn.

Supplies used in the making of this lunch:

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California Ripe Olives - lunchbox recipe & fab giveaway

I was contacted recently by the California Olive Committee to promote yummy delectable California Ripe Olives.

Being a former Californian who relished the rich agriculture of the Golden State more than its shore lines, I jumped at the opportunity. :)

To read more, see a bento-friendly olive "recipe", and check out a truly fabulous giveaway (really, it's a great one!)  CLICK HERE.  


*** This giveaway is now closed. Thank you again, California Olives!

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Kindergarten Color Days - Blue

Today is Paige's Blue Day in Kindergarten. 

Blue Day lunch is packed in a Lunchbots Trio container:

The Trio has three sections, two squarish and one long space. 

The long space here holds waffle pretzels and a string cheese.

One square section has four mini ham and cheese sandwiches and almonds. The sandwiches were cut into the little animal faces, an elephant and a bunny, using this cutter set. Cutest little cutters ever. They are my favorite and my best.

The second square spot has as silicone cup of blueberries with the blue crayon pick and some cucumber slices fill in the spaces around it.

Monday is purple day. Paige can barely contain herself. ;-)

Supplies used in the making of this bento:


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kindergarten Green Day with a GoGreen LunchBox

As I said at the end of yesterday's Yellow Day lunch post, we'd be going green today... and I meant that quite literally as I finally broke out our GoGreen Lunchbox

Paige's Kindergarten Green Day lunch:


The GoGreen lunch contents:
- a peanut butter and fruit preserve sandwich on multigrain, cut with a puzzle cutter from Lunch Punch
- green grapes, decorated with a green crayon cupcake pick
- cucumber slices
- a handful of Trader Joe's cheesy corn puffs things (or, "yummy popcorn" as my kids call it)
- an apple juice drink box

My brain dump of thoughts about this lunch box:

First of all, before I forget to mention it, it comes with a reusable drink bottle that fits in that tall compartment on the right:


The bottle's "spout" part is shaped exactly like kids Sigg drink bottles we've had in the past. Kind of a little pop-up thingie (technical terms are my specialty). You push it down to close it, pop it up to drink. I opted not to use the drink bottle because in the past those Sigg bottles never stayed leak-proof for long because my kids bite and chew on the pop-up thingie which causes it to get all wonky (see what I mean?) and not able to close completely. 

That section is big enough to hold a variety of drink boxes (Horizon milk also fits in it), but not big enough to hold a Thermos FunTainer, my fave reusable bottle for lunches. 

Secondly, or maybe this should have been firstly, this box is big. 
Like Big.  
I bought this lunchbox almost two years ago and this is the first time I've packed anything in it. I expected it to be the same size as a Laptop Lunches box, but it's quite a lot larger. 

When I originally ordered it I almost bought just the box by itself, but at the last moment got it with a lunchbox carrier to go with it -- 


I didn't have time this morning to compare the GoGreen lunchbox beside a Laptop Lunches box, but I did snap a quick picture of it in the carrier next to a normal sized lunchbox. 

When Paige or Tyler use a Laptop Lunches box I pack them in their Olive Kids lunchboxes. The Laptop Lunches fits perfectly in these, snug but not too tight. Look at the difference is size between them!

Okay, so that's all the negative stuff. On the plus side, the reasons why I liked the box online enough to buy one:

- it is a sturdy two-piece design. Bottom tray and a lid. That's it. 
- the lid snaps on with latches, the same way a Lock & Lock box works, so it's super easy to open
- it's all nice safe PVC free and all that good stuff (here I am getting all technical again)

HERE'S THE REALLY GREAT PART!!! ... each section seals completely leak-free. See, that lid has silicone gaskets on each little compartment. Think applesauce, yogurt, juicy pineapple, all staying nice and tidy right where it is supposed to be. Without the use of extra inner compartments or lids or Press n' Seal. That's like the lunch packer's holy grail.

So that's the scoop on the new box.  Obviously it hasn't met the test of time yet, unless you count the time it sat on my bedroom bookshelf buried under a pile of school artwork. It held up fantastically in that case.  

Next up: Blue Day. The excitement never ends.

UPDATE!! - When I unpacked Paige's lunch after school I discovered that she had only drunk about half of the juice box. The little darling didn't want to "waste it", so she put it back in her bento box to bring home. Eek!! The section the juice box was in had about an inch of apple juice pooled in it. And it didn't leak out! I was shocked. Thank goodness she latched the whole box back together after eating!!  The carry bag was a little wet on one side, but I'm pretty sure it was from condensation of the ice pack I had placed in the mesh pocket on the inside. 

So far, so good!
Items used in the making of this lunch:


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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

EasyLunchbox bento: Kindergarten Yellow Day

The third day of Kindergarten Color Days brings us to yellow. :)


This sunny lunch consists of:
- little star-shaped pb&j sandwiches (used a cutter from the same set as yesterday's orange lunch)
- string cheese 
- pineapple, with a yellow crayon pick
- a snack mix I tossed together of various yellowish items from the pantry: banana chips, pumpkin seeds, dried mango, and a few yellow mini M&M's

This yellow extravaganza is packed in an EasyLunchbox. Booyah.

Tomorrow we'll being going green. Get it? Going green? Waste-free lunches? Green. 
Hardy har har! 

Supplies used in the making of this lunch:


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video guest post: Odwalla Fruit Smoothies for Kids

I was delighted to be asked by BlogHer to share this episode of Weelicious Lunch Crunch sponsored by Odwalla Fruit Smoothies For Kids with my readers. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lunchbots bento: Kindergarten Orange Day

The second day of Kindergarten color days is orange. Surprise, surprise!
Just try and guess what color tomorrow will be. 

Paige's Orange Day lunch:


Packed in our stainless steel Lunchbots Duo box (which just happens to have an orange lid!!), this bento contains:

- two clementine oranges, decorated with the orange crayon pick
- cucumber chunks (garden fresh!) in an orange silicone cup
- two sealed pocket sandwiches of peanut butter & fruit preserves
- mini saltine crackers and a couple cheddar cheese flowers

Random thoughts:

- too many orangey foods in a box is not appealing. Especially next to brown bread. Blah.

- the orange silicone cup is from this cute cookbook about cooking things in silicone cups. The cookbook came with a rainbow set of silicone cups (and I'll be honest, that was a big draw for buying the book in the first place, though the actual cookbook is actually really cute too). 

- The little pocket sandwiches were made using mini presses meant for making little pies. There are three in the set, along with the circle one I used here there is also a star and an apple. Love them. I'll be using these a lot. I got these from Williams-Sonoma around Christmas time.  

- Almost every time I pack mini saltine crackers in a bento I get lots of questions asking where I find them. Up until recently the only place I ever saw them was Publix, a regular chain of grocery stores around these parts. But just a couple weeks ago I spied them at SuperTarget!


Hopefully some more of you mini saltine cracker hunters will be able to find them there. :)

Supplies used in the making of this bento:



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