Thursday, February 28, 2013

quick tip | an easy way to slice olives quickly

Most recipes and dish preparations require sliced olives, rather than whole. But whole olives are a better value than purchasing olives presliced. What's a gal to do? Stand at the kitchen counter and slice olives one by one? Such a tedious chore!

Not anymore!

Last fall when I was visiting friends and family in California, I had the pleasure of hanging with one of my best girls while she prepped dinner for her family. I was a little puzzled what an egg slicer had to do with preparing taco fixings, until I watched her slice a handful of olives in one fell swoop. 

an easy way to slice olives quickly

Brilliant! I told her then that the world needed to know about this. 

World, slice olives with your egg slicer! It's super fast. Easy. Painless. Your kids can do it!

This tip was one of handful of ideas and recipes I had the joy of sharing at the Glad Mom Made site where I was happy to be the highlighted blogger for the month of January. :)

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Boon Trunk Snack Box lunches & carry bag ideas

This is a follow-up post to yesterday's introduction of this cute new elephant lunch box. 
Boon Elephant Trunk Snack Box lunch collage

A couple more lunches we have enjoyed packing in this fun lunch box:

Pizza Lunch in the Boon Trunk Elephant Snack Box
- pizza
- plum
- pickle
- pretzels
How is that for a plethora of "P" foods? How appropriate this was eaten by Paige. :)

Boone Elephant box veggie and crepe preschool lunch
- crepes (peanut butter & honey inside)
- fishie crackers
- dried snap peas
- cucumer slices and bell pepper pieces
This was the first time Tyler has had bell pepper, I think. He wasn't too sure if he liked it or not. He ate two of the 4 pieces. The dried snap peas however, he totally devours those things. 

Boon Trunk Snack Box elephant preschool lunch with hummus sandwich and cute cheddar cheese
- cucumber & bell pepper pieces
- fishie crackers
- olives
- hummus on multigrain sandwich
- cheddar cheese, cut with cute animal mini cookie cutter
Second time Tyler had bell pepper. He took one bite of one piece. I'm backing off the the bell pepper for now and will try again in a few weeks. 

In yesterday's post I mentioned I'd be back to show how the Boon Trunk Snack box fits in a variety of lunch box carry bags, and here is that rundown.

In a PlanetBox carry bag:
Boon Snack Box in a PlanetBox lunch bag
Fits perfectly. Not cramped or squished at all.

In a Go Green Lunch Box carry bag:
Boon Trunk Snack Box in a big Go Green Lunch Box carry bag
The Go Green lunch box is huge, so no surprise that it fits in here with room to spare. I can almost get that Thermos FunTainer drink bottle to fit in beside it. It's really squeezy with it smushed in, but can be done. It stresses the zipper a lot though, so it's not something I'm advocating.

The Boon Trunk Snack Box in a Goodbyn carry bag:
Boon Trunk Snack Box fits in Goodbyn carry lunch box bag
The elephant box fits fine inside the Goodbyn bag, but it takes some wiggling to get it past the zipper (which is the case for a lot of bento boxes we pack in this lunch box). Once you get past the tight-opening that the zipper causes it fits great inside.

The Trunk Snack box in an Olive Kids lunchbox:
Boon elephant snack box in a Olive Kids lunchbox
It is a bit of a tight squeeze, but not difficult to fit the Boon Elephant Box in here. The Olive Kids lunchboxes are not big at all... really, just your average-sized normal lunchbox. 

Zipped up in the Olive Kids lunch box:
Boon Snack box zipped up in an Olive Kids lunchbox
It's a little tricky to zip it up in this one, but it's not hard. I don't think it is stressing the zipper too much.

And finally, the elephant lunchbox inside an EasyLunchboxes cooler carry bag:
Boon elephant snack box in an EasyLunchboxes cooler bag
It may not look like it, but it fits in here easily. It sits at a slight angle, but there is plenty of room to spare to add in a drink container or additional snack box and ice pack. 

The elephant box, all zipped up:
Boon snack trunk box zipped in an EasyLunchboxes bag
Look at that. You'd never guess this EasyLunchbox bag was packing a pachyderm. ;)

Supplies used:

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Boon Trunk Snack Box | an elephant lunch box (love!)

A couple weeks ago I ordered this adorable elephant shaped lunch box.

Boon Trunk Snack Box elephant lunch box lunchbox review

It's made by Boon, a company that makes super cool baby and toddler products. Do you know that awesome drying rack thing that looks like a square of bright green grass? That's a Boon product. It's also like my favorite thing in my whole kitchen, next to my crutch and lifesaver espresso machine. It's official name is Boon Trunk Snack Box.  (I ordered mine from Amazon, I don't know where else they may pop up.) 

So anyway, they call it a snack box, but it's certainly big enough for a whole meal.  It's just two pieces, a bottom that is divided into roomy sections, and a nice fitting lid.  It's quite a lot like a divided plate, with a cover.
Boon Elephant Trunk Snack Box lunch collage

We've been putting it through the paces for a couple weeks now. While I expected this to be used primarily for Tyler (age 3), and maybe for Paige (kindergartener), even Ethan (age 11 in 5th grade) has used it. He's not only requested I pack his lunch in it, but one morning when he made his own school lunch he chose this one to use, even among all the other "cooler" or "not-preschool-looking" choices our home is filled with. He's very secure in his adolescence. Man, I love that boy. :)

So this was one of Ethan's lunches I have packed in the Boon trunck snack box:
soft pretzel and apple lunch in Boon Elephant Trunk Snack Box
- granny smith apple slices
- baby carrots
- peppered turkey rolls & cheddar cheese stars
- soft pretzel

One of Paige's school lunches packed in our favorite elephant box:
Lunch in the Boon Trunk Elephant Snack Box
- peanut butter & jelly sandwich "ravioli", made with my mini sandwich maker (link to how-to post)
- big pretzel twists
- baby carrots
- grapes

And a breakfast-on-the-go meal for little Tyler:
breakfast for lunch in the Boon Trunk Elephant Snack Box
- hard boiled egg
- kiwi & strawberries
- bacon
- blueberry bagel with cream cheese

The Boon Trunk Snack Box is top-rack dishwasher safe. I've washed it in there once, but otherwise I find it pretty simple and quick to just wash by hand. And then prop up in my cute grass drying rack. It's like art in the kitchen. :)

As for how we are carrying the elephant box... it fits in a regular lunch box. Sorta.  It will fit (at an angle) in the EasyLunchboxes cooler. It fits perfectly in the PlanetBox lunch bag, and it fits with room to spare in the giant Go Green Lunchbox carry bag.  I'll post some pictures of it in various lunch bags for tomorrow. Of course, it also has that cute built-in handle, with the elephant's tail. That's how Tyler carried it the day we used it for a breakfast box on our errand-and-appoitment filled morning one day. :)

Overall, I am thrilled with the Boon box. :)

Items used to make these lunches:

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Muffin Tin Monday | The Arctic

The first stop in a series of environment themes we'll have for Muffin Tin Monday this year - the arctic!

Muffin Tin Monday - An Arctic themed meal

My muffin tin encompasses both the arctic and the antarctic. 
Top row, the northern hemisphere:
- fishing bucket & fishing pole
- ice fishing hole
- polar bear sandwich

Bottom row, the southern hemisphere:
- icebergs & a seal
- a family of whales
- penguins

A couple highlights:
Muffin Tin Monday - Arctic Ice Fishing with jello, fish candy and pretzel fishing pole

The ice fishing hole is blue berry jello, with a Swedish Fish in the bottom. This was my first time ever putting anything in jello. The gummy fish got kind of bloated looking (never a good look for a fish). Ick. My guess is that the jello mixture was still too hot when I put it in there and the fish started to dissolve. The jello is set in a mini round Lock & Lock (from this combo set).
Of course an ice fisherman needs some tackle, and so beside the ice fishing hole is a little bento mini-cup bucket and a fishing pole made from a pretzel stick and short piece of licorice string.

Muffin Tin Monday - the Arctic seal bento pick on icebergs

The icebergs were definitely the easiest element to execute for this muffin tin meal, but they just might be my favorite. :) Just cute little ice cubes. I picked up the ice cube tray that made these cute little gumdrop-shaped pieces at the Target Dollar Spot last summer.

Muffin Tin Monday olive penguins with cream cheese

Penguins! They are made from black olives and cream cheese. I can't call them Happy Feet and they won't be marching, because I forgot to add the carrot feet. Doh! I had them all cut out on the cutting board and everything too. 
I wish I knew who to credit the idea for olive penguins, but I can not find the original source for them. I saw these cute critters a couple years ago and they've been copied and remade by so many sites by now, I don't know who's idea they were to begin with. Whoever you are, good job. So adorable! 

And now, a lowlight. Worse than a lowlight, this is a full-on blooper. So much so that I axed it from the muffin tin altogether...
Muffin Tin Monday - Arctic theme - hard boiled egg igloo

Wopwop. This is a hardboiled egg, made in an Eggie. Colored with food-safe markers to make an igloo. This was my very first (and favorite!) idea when brainstorming ideas for the arctic theme and I couldn't have been more disappointed with the outcome. Not a fan of the Eggies. At all. They make weird horrible little divets and pits all over the surface of the egg. And the texture of the egg becomes very rubbery. Awful. Let's not discuss the whole boiling food in plastic debacle. Blech.

Supplies used to make this muffin tin meal:
Now it's time to see what other muffin tin makers have whipped up this week! 
A few reminders:

  • please link back to this post 
  • the MTM button is available in the left margin, at the bottom, just below the regular Another Lunch buttons
  • The schedule for upcoming themes is posted at the Muffin Tin Monday information page
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Friday, February 22, 2013

who's having an Oscar party?

The Academy Awards are this weekend! 

And if you are one to host a fun gathering to watch the Oscars, maybe you'd like to serve a dessert inspired by that iconic statue dude.

how to make chocolate decorations for an Oscar Party

I had the pleasure of sharing the process to make homemade edible chocolate decorations at the Glad Mom Made site, where I was the blogger of the month in January. Check it out!  Maybe you can't win an Academy Award for some motion picture performance, but you can whip up some chocolate Oscars and be the talk of the party. :) 

Speaking of parties, here are a couple more links you might enjoy if you find yourself in the Oscar Party mood this weekend:

This one for grown-ups only. Ahem. Unless by drinking you mean apple juice and H2O: 


And more printable fun, this one for all ages, a free Oscar Ballot and Bingo Game

To end this post, I just have two more words to say: Anne Hathaway.

The End.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

3 simple EasyLunchbox school lunches

A few easy lunches from last week:

This was one of Paige's lunches -
leftover chicken garlic pizza and hummus lunch
Packed in an EasyLunchboxes container:
- leftover chicken/garlic/parmesan pizza
- cucumer slices and there is hummus in a leak-proof Mini Dipper box
- crunchy snack mix
- kiwi fruit with a cute elephant bento fork to eat it with

Another one of Paigey's lunches -
Heart shaped sandwich lunch box with cumcumbers and hummus
This lunch is very similar to the first one. Paige is on a hummus kick again.
- sandwich on multigrain
- cucumber slices and hummus (that dip container is from Laptop Lunches)
- crunchy snack mix
- strawberries & grapes with a couple cute panda picks

One of Ethan's lunches -
EasyLunchboxes fruit carrots pretzels bars school lunch
This lunch consists of:
- strawberries and sliced kiwi fruit, with a Snack Marker cocktail fork to eat it with
- cereal bar & granola bar
- baby carrots
- pretzels

Supplies used to pack these lunches:

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