Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gumballs for Lunch?

Why yes, gumballs can be part of a nutritious lunch...
...when they're made with a Lunch Punch :)

Today's sandwiches were made with another of my new Sweet set Lunch Punches! Bella has a peanut butter sandwich Gumball Machine embellished with fruit leather,  and in keeping with the gumball theme, the roundest cherry tomatoes I could pick out, and watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew balls. Oh, and since Bella said yesterday's cupcake's cherry fell off, today I "glued" the fruit leather decorations on with honey - so this sandwich is extra sweet!


Pickle's Gumball Machine PB I left plain, he's not keen on anything other than peanut butter and bread on his sandwich. The Lunch Punch makes such a cute gumball impression anyways, it really doesn't need any embellishment :)


Birdie's such a grazer lately, a full size sandwich would be wasted on her - so I packed her a more snacky lunch of crackers, cheese, and melon balls.


I don't know what to make of these little character picks holding the cheese - they came in a set of animals, happy trees, and them. Why do they have x's for belly buttons? Whatever they are, they ARE cute ...



Don't forget to come back tomorrow to enter my Sweet Giveaway!

This post is linked to What's For Lunch Wednesday

Stuff used to make these lunches:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Sweet Surprise!

Bella's going to be surprised when she opens her lunch tote today! For one, she's got a pink sandwich box instead of her usual Easy Lunchbox - but that's not the real surprise... the real surprise is what's inside it... a sandwich that looks like a cupcake! With a cherry on top!


Yep,  my Sweet set of Lunch Punches is here, and they are fabulous! There's a cupcake, a gumball machine, a cake, and ice cream cones - I don't know which one I love most! Oh, I just love Lunch Punches period.  Hands down my favourite cutters. They fit the bread best - all kinds of breads - so there's neither crust still left on nor excess bread left over, and the designs are so cute! They really do make lunch fun :) I've got the gumball machine one on deck for tomorrow's lunches!

Pickle opted for the school's pancake lunch today rather than take his usual peanut butter sandwich, so he'll have to wait for tomorrow for his Sweet sandwich, but here are everyone else's lunches:


Along with the cupcake peanut butter sandwich, with fruit leather cherry on top, Bella got a satsuma orange and the rest of the fruit leather roll that I cut the cherry from. And surprise, my big boy Beanstalk let me snap a pic of what he took today! I know, way too exciting, a banner day ;) Clif Kid Z Bar, cheese crackers, raisins, and a satsuma orange.


Birdie took her Nibble Tray to preschool, filled with some satsuma orange segments, cheese shapes, some pieces of Clif Z bar, and some raisins.


I had forgotten that today was pizza day though, provided by the school, so it stayed in her lunch box. I pick her up at noon, and as it happened Sprout hadn't had lunch yet (some days she eats before we pick up Birdie, some days after when we get home) so I put it out for them to share, with some cocoa. Sprout ate most of it, since Birdie was pretty full from her pizza.



Ooooh, less than 2 days until my giveaway! And even less time than now by the time you are reading this :)  Check the countdown ticker at the top right to see when to come back and enter!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bento Lunch #72

Lots of leaves to munch in today's lunch :


Satsuma orange, mmm, do I love these! They're great for lunches since they're so easy to peel, and seedless too! Some cheddar cheese, carrots and apples cut in leaf shapes with Wilton mini cookie cutters - and I broke the oak leaf one on the carrots, boo :(  Under the cheddar maple leaves is a mini muffin cup full of raisins, and for a treat, 2 leaf butter cookies and a maple sandwich cookie - they are Bella's new favourite. They taste like pancakes and syrup in a cookie - yum!


The boys took cereal & milk. We're out of bread and they like having breakfast for lunch so it's all good :) Oh, plus a satsuma orange for Beanstalk, but not for Pickle. I still haven't had any luck getting him to eat any fruit not hidden in a muffin. Oh wait - he did try pumpkin pie over Thanksgiving, that I made with real pumpkin, so there's hope!

Notice my the countdown ticker at the top of the right column? It's counting down until my first giveaway! Make sure you visit my blog December 1st - I promise you, I'm giving away something sweet!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hooray, it's Puzzle Cookie Day!

Today's post and title is brought to you by my 7 year old, the one we call Pickle. He asked "Will you share my cookie creation on your lunch website?" and how could I say no? So here you go my Pickle, your oatmeal cookie creations, with the title you chose :)

"See my puzzle cookies? I made them like a puzzle. What should I call this creation? I know, how about 'hooray, it's puzzle cookie day'? That rhymes!"


Look , it's an X-Men cookie! 


Oh if only I'd had my camera at the ready on the video setting, because right after he arranged his cookies like that, he did a little bum wiggle dance, singing "I'm so creative, oh yeah, oh yeah, booyah, booyah, booty booty booty". It was one of those hard not to laugh and impossible not to smile moments. Ah well, I'm pretty sure it's permanently recorded on my brain :)

It's kind of funny how he loves puzzles so much, since the puzzle piece has become a recognized symbol for autism. He also loves comments! Sometimes he asks me to post something on facebook and then pesters me all day checking for comments - so it would be awesome if you'd leave one for him either here or on my Facebook page! Thanks if you do 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tart & Tangy

I'm snickering at my pun of a title :) Here is Bella's Easy Lunchbox containing a pumpkin tart, and tangy teriyaki orange chicken with chopped veggies and noodles. This is actually some of my dinner from last night. Bella liked hers so much that she had seconds, and still asked if she could take some for lunch the next day... but there wasn't any left! So I scraped half of mine aside for her to have today - oh the sacrifices we make for our children ;)


The pumpkin tart is one of the 6 dozen I made last night for my school age sproutlets to share with their respective classmates today. I used a pumpkin cookie cutter to cut the dough circles so the crust would have a wee stem and the tartlets would look like little pumpkins. I think they kind of do... The bell pepper rounds holding the grape tomatoes were Baby Bird's idea - she was with me when I went for groceries and insisted I get a pepper for her big sister - how sweet is that? ♥

Birdie took a Dr. Sears Nibble Tray full of various fruits and veggies. We just got this container and I love it! The little compartments are perfect for when we get down to the last few pieces of things, and the portions are just right for her teeny tot tummy. I really do love this nibble tray, it's adorable and practical.


You can see on the right side, there are little tabs - that's where the dip tray clips on. Without the dip tray, it's about the same proportions as a Sassy box. It's so cute with the dip tray attached - it looks like a pineapple! The dip tray has an EZ-freeze base to keep what's in it perfectly chilled. There are even cute little happy food characters molded into the compartments, to give you suggestions what to put in there, or something for your tot to uncover as they eat :)  Here's a pic of it empty, check it out!

*This is not a review, I didn't get one free - this is just me gushing all of my own accord :)  

Pickle and Beanstalk didn't need lunches, their classes are having "Thanksgiving feasts", and Sprout wanted scrambled eggies... so that's it for packed lunches for the next 4 days. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate! Enjoy your long weekend :)

This post is linked to:
Bento Lunch

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Manly Lunch

Sailor Boy's workmates tease him about his lunch bag - they call it his "lunch purse".  It's the same kind our sproutlets take their lunch in - a Built neoprene tote - except his is solid black instead of colourful print. It doesn't look like a purse to me, but... I don't have man-vision.

So anyways, this past weekend we had a night out with his co-workers, and the "lunch purse" came up in conversation. I tried to tell the guys that's it's not a purse, it's a tote... "It's called the Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote" I informed them... but apparently that just made it funnier. He told me he loved me but I wasn't helping - and lots of laughs were had at his expense :)

I felt like I should pretend to feel bad, so today, I made him a special lunch to make up for giving his buddies fresh material. Hopefully the yumminess will take some of the sting out of the teasing :)


I made a cheddar and pepper-jack quesadilla, and since he works in aviation I used an airplane in the clouds Lunch Punch to cut it up. I also cut a cheese plane with a Wilton cookie cutter, and filled the other 2 compartments of his Easylunchbox with fruit.

As a final touch, I added a little message to the lid : 


I bet all that teasing about his lunch bag comes from sour grapes - those guys are just jealous of the lunches inside it  :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monkey Business!

Apparently there are a few rules to follow when making cute lunches, and one of them is that if I use a food pick with a shape, the lunch's name must reflect that shape. This is according to my 9 year old Bella. So when she asked what her lunch was called, Quesadilla de Pollo y Queso was the wrong answer... I left out the monkeys! Poor monkeys, what was I thinking? This lunch needed a new name! Thankfully Bella came up with Monkey Business ;)


I'll have to thank her again when she gets home from school - she gave me a cute theme for her little sisters' muffin tin meals :) Here is one of Birdie & Sprout's Monkey Business lunches in a Wilton flower mini tin: 


Banana chips & raisins, a banana half, a banana cookie, banana pudding, a monkey peanut butter sandwich (with mozzarella cheese eyes and chocoladehagel details) and watermelon hearts, just because Birdie wanted some watermelon :) Sprout's had a half a carrot in place of the banana, she doesn't like bananas - but I think it's a texture thing, since she will still eat most banana flavoured foods. They really loved the little monkey sandwiches!


Pickle didn't get a Monkey Business lunch - I had his peanut butter sandwiches ready before the monkey theme came about.


He had a Christmas Tree train, made with a Lunch Punch and a Wilton mini cookie cutter. He had a Christmas Tree farm tractor several lunches back, so the continuation of that lunch's story is that now the trees have been loaded on a train bound for the city, because Thanksgiving is days away and people are going to want to put up their Christmas trees soon! I may have set myself up though, because now he wants to go pick out our tree right after Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Read.Explore.Learn : Patterns

Today's lunches have patterns in them to go with our first Read.Explore.Learn. meme contribution! (At the end of this post.)

I packed Birdie's lunch in her favourite blue Sassy box. She got a bagel, a cheddar-jack & mozza cheese pattern, and a green grape, red grape pattern.


Bella got a bagel, some leftover fajita chicken, some red grape, green grape skewers, and some mozzarella & tomato skewers. I think it made for a very colourful, eye-pleasing lunch! 


Pickle's sandwich is a real work of art - I painstakingly shaped it to look like a regular sandwich just cut in half ;)  Heheh.  Actually, I had thought Pickle was going to have the school's hot lunch selection, but he changed his mind, and kind of late in our morning routine, so he got a hastily made lunch. 


He was funny though, he's so used to getting a sandwich that looks like something, that he declared this one "a butterfly". Okay sure, I can see it - and good for him using his imagination!

Shibley Smiles

This is the first time we have taken part in the Read.Explore.Learn. meme! My Sprout, who just turned 5, is a preschool dropout. She has been going to a Montessori preschool, just for the social aspect, since she was 2, and her 2 year old sister Birdie still goes, but this year she doesn't want to go anymore - she says she just wants to be home with me - and since next year she has to start school for real, I decided to let her. I'm trying to do some preschool activities with her at home though - so today we read a book about patterns and I made a patterned lunch for her to carry on with the learning fun :)

We read: 
Busy Bugs: A Book About Patterns
by Jayne Harvey


The bugs in the book are getting ready to put on a big show, and there are patterns throughout the story - on the bugs themselves, the way they arrange things, and in the show. The story rhymed and the patterns were easy to spot. Sprout was engaged and enjoyed predicting the next step in the pattern. 

I made her a lunch of cheese and carrots arranged in an alternating pattern, a bagel, and grape "grubs". We looked at the cheese and carrot patterns three ways: cheese-carrot-cheese, square-circle-square, and yellow-orange-yellow. The grape grubs bodies make different sequence patterns too!


The grape grubs are really easy and cute. They are just grapes cut in half and skewered on a pick, with chocoladehagel (sprinkles) for eyes :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Cow Won't Jump Over The Moon

Pickle's peanut butter sandwiches make me giggle. It was late when I made them, and I was tired and goofy.  I made him a Hey Diddle Diddle spin-off:


So here we have the cow who jumped over the moon, only that was a long time ago, and now she's a mama cow, and she's trying to get her little calf to go to sleep. And the little dog, the same one who laughed to see such fun, is barking at her from his doghouse, "Hey, Cow, check out that moon, don't you want to jump over it? But the cow is all "Shhh! No! I'm a mama cow now, no more daredevil shenanigans for me!" And the little dog is pouting, saying "Aw, you're no fun anymore." Heheh. Pickle really liked that little story.
________________

For Bella and the little girls, bentos bright with the colours of fall foliage:


Carrots, grapes & cheese for all, plus sweet orange bell peppers and peanut butter sandwich hearts for Bella. I made them each a carrot heart, but I wasn't sure about sending such a pointy pick in 2 year old Birdie's lunch, so I had to come up with another way to hold her carrot heart together...


... and I did:

I cut slits in the carrot heart halves where the picks would go through if I was using picks. You can probably tell where this is going.

Like my happy thumb nail? Sprout & I played nail salon :)

I cut a sliver from another carrot, and using it in lieu of a pick, pushed it through the slits to connect the pieces, then trimmed what was left sticking out.


Ta da! Toddler friendly carrot heart :)


If you missed the original carrot hearts post and want
 to see the full instructions, with picks, click here.

This lunch is linked to:
Bento Lunch

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Place For Everything...

A reader recently asked (on my Facebook Wall) if I'd written or photographed anything about how I organize all my cutters. I have taken photographs, but I think the only ones I ever posted are the ones of my sandwich cutter drawer - since I'm so in love with all my Lunch Punches! And since it would probably take less time to just take new pictures than to search through the 10, 000 or so photos on my macbook looking for the old ones, that's what I did :)

My Lunch Prep & Storage Station
Ha ha, Sailor Boy would laugh if he heard me call it that! I don't, I'm just being silly :) That's kind of what it is though...  Anyways, here's the corner of our kitchen where I keep my lunch-making supplies:


The cupboard above holds all our containers and muffin tins. Also the shaker of Fruit Fresh and packets of Lunchbox Love notes. There are a few things not pictured (at least one Easy Lunchbox, and a blue Sassy box for sure)  because I took the photos in the middle of the day on a school day ;) 

ETA : In case anyone was curious, the papers affixed to the door are the school's hot lunch menus & lunch money account online access info :)

The little green cutting board on the counter goes on top of the tackle box of mini cutters & picks in the drawer below the pull-out cutting board. That drawer also holds my muffin cups, egg molds, and various mini cutters and small tools. I keep Post-It notes in there too - sometimes I'll stick a note on a container at night to remind myself the next morning what I planned to pack in it. It can be pretty hectic at our house in the morning; I don't have time to stare at an empty container wracking my brain about what to put in it!


Ah, my sandwich cutter drawer. Mostly Lunch Punches ♥
I can't wait to add the new Sweet set!


This pic is from this older post, but I forgot to take a side shot, and you have to see this drawer from the side. The tiered shelves were meant for spice jars, but I repurposed them :)


Cookie cutter drawer! I bought Wilton's 101 Cookie Cutters set, and with the ones I already owned, that adds up to a lot of cookie cutters. Storing them loose would make finding the one I need a waking nightmare, so I sorted them into categories and bagged them into labeled Ziplocs.


I rotate the bags so those most appropriate to the season are on top. It also helps that the Wilton cutters are somewhat color coded - the Hallowe'en cutters are all orange, spring & Easter shapes are yellow, numbers are blue, etc - so it's really easy to find the one I need, and quickly - as long as my husband put it back in the right bag if he did the dishes!


Lastly, our Built NY Gourmet Getaway neoprene lunch totes and our Nalgene Grip-N-Gulp cups.  There were several of each out in use when I took this pic. We also have an EasyLunchbox cooler bag, which Bella had at school.


So there you have it, my super organized lunch stuff storage system :) If only I could keep the rest of my house in such order!


Don't Let's Be Silly!

I heard those words, spoken in the voice of Disney's Mad Hatter, in my head as I got silly with Sprout's lunch today :) She wanted "just eggies" (scrambled eggs) - how dull. I decided to liven them up with a little Lunch Punch action, heheh. I don't think it says anywhere that they can only be used to cut sandwiches! So here's my Sprout's not a bit dull Flower Garden eggie lunch. I almost didn't get a picture, she wanted to dig right in!


I used the flower Lunch Punch from the whimsical Sand*wishes* set on a solid piece of scrambled egg (cooked in a glass dish in the microwave) and also to cut some extra cheese flowers. Then I filled the flower shaped hole in the centre with grape tomatoes.  I didn't waste the cut off bits of egg either, I tucked them underneath :) Much cuter than plain eggs don't you think?

To be honest, I think Sprout was most excited about getting to use a little knife - her scrambled eggs are usually bite size, so I only give her a fork. She really was quite gleeful as she cut up her eggies :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Always Remember I Love You

Today's lunch is all orange, red, pink, and yellow;  I wanted warm girly colours for my Bella on this cold and dreary Monday. I gave her red bell  pepper strips, turkey & mozzarella  roll-ups on pink and orange heart party picks, baby carrot hearts on pink and yellow heart party picks, some rosy Jazz apple with a heart shape peeled from it before it was sliced, and grape tomatoes in a pink muffin cup. I stuck pink elephant picks in the red veggies, and told her that elephants never forget anything, so they would remind her that I love her when she opened her lunch ♥  Corny, yeah, but Bella loves corny :)

Remember I Love You Elephant Bento

Pickle got elephants and love in his lunch too. I didn't really make up a story to go with his sandwiches today, I just told him the same thing I told Bella, and I was pretty sure the heart in the yogurt would be gone by lunch time, so I showed it to him before I put the lid on. Yeah, he couldn't have cared less, lol. Oh well, it made me happy to make it for him. And I just love the mama & baby elephant Lunch Punch sandwich cutter, the little elephant calf sandwiches it makes are just so darn cute!

Elephant Lunch Punch Lunch

Bean Sprout and Baby Bird had fruit & veggies for lunch, but I didn't get any pics. They were gobbling up the carrot hearts as fast I could make them.  Aren't they cute? A super easy way to cutesy up a lunch too:

 How to make Carrot Hearts

Start with baby carrots - they already have rounded ends - and pick out 
some plump ones, they're less likely to split when you skewer them.  
 Slice them on the diagonal.

Flip over one of the pieces of diagonally sliced carrot. 
 The two halves make a heart :)

 Skewer the pieces of carrot so that the flat ends fit flush. 

  Voilà - carrot hearts!


ETA 11/18/11:
To see how I made these toddler-safe (no picks) click the pic:



* I didn't come up with these carrot hearts on my own, I've seen them done before somewhere, but can't remember where - if anyone knows, could you please leave a comment? Thanks!


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