25 Oct

Halloween bento picks

 

I wish I could claim to be the crafty genius who came up with the idea for putting puffy stickers on toothpicks or plastic cocktail picks to create homemade bento picks but honestly, it’s been done so many times that I couldn’t even tell you where it originated from.

I can however show you my favorite way to make bento picks.

I really think you guys are going to love it.

First though, in case there are those of you who aren’t familiar with the puffy sticker/toothpick methods, I’m going to walk you through each one.

I’ll also explain why I don’t like either of them.

Seems like I’m always rebelling against something on this blog. Today it’s puffy stickers, tomorrow – who knows?

There are two ways to make food picks using puffy stickers.

Method 1 : The puffy sticker is hot-glued directly onto the toothpick or plastic cocktail pick. Once dry, it’s ready to use.

Method 2: Mirror images of stickers (like the set pictured below) are stuck together with the toothpick or plastic cocktail pick in between.

 

bento picks - Halloween 005

 

My first issue is with the glue. It can be messy and you have to wait for it to dry.

You also need to press the stickers for a minute or two to keep the bottoms together while the glue sets.

And if you don’t use glue, the bottoms of your stickers will come apart. You can see this happening in the picture at the very top of this post.

It’s not a big deal but as a perfectionist, this really bothers me.

Now let’s talk about my favorite way.

 

bento picks - Halloween 038

 

I love to use scrapbooking stickers.

They’re almost always 40%-50% off at my local craft store. I think I paid about $1.60 for those googly-eyed cuties up there.

The reason that I love using scrapbooking stickers for this project is because they all have a piece of sticky foam on the back so I can just run my toothpick right up into that foam and it’s not going anywhere.

See…

 

bento picks - Halloween 048

 

Quick and easy.

No waiting for glue guns to warm up or messy glue to dry and then peeling it off of your fingers later.

This takes two seconds and it’s done.

You can also just stick a toothpick onto the back, like I did with the pick on the left, and it will hold just fine.

 

bento picks - Halloween 052

 

Pretty cute, right?

I love them.

Camryn has a field trip on Halloween so I’ll be packing some of these cute picks in her lunch that day.

If they don’t make it home, it’s no biggie. They’re disposable anyway.

So if you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to spruce up your kiddos lunches for Halloween, or really any day, I hope you’ll give this method a try.

Remember, these work great as cupcake toppers too!

 

 

13 Oct

chocolate & espresso larabars

 

I normally steer clear of packaged snack bars because they’re usually pricey and full of mystery ingredients, but Larabars contain simple wholesome ingredients like fruit, nuts, spices and chocolate.

I’m okay with all of those things.

In fact, when I read the ingredients listed on the back of a Larabar wrapper, my first thought was I could totally make these.

So I did and let me tell you, these are insanely easy to make. In fact, once you make your own Larabars, you’ll probably never buy them again.

All you need is a blender or food processor, some dates, nuts and whatever add-ins you like.

You just dump everything into your blender or food processor, pulse until the mixture comes together, press it into a pan, and toss it into the freezer to firm up for about half an hour so that you can cut it into bars.

Seriously, that’s it.

And if you don’t want to wait on your freezer, you can just roll the mixture into balls and eat it that way.

Take it a step further and dip the balls into dark chocolate. These would be a much healthier alternative to cake pops and you could decorate them just as easily.

Anytime I want to really test out a new recipe, I send it off to work with my husband so that he can share it with his coworkers. Then he reports back in the morning whether it was a hit or a miss.

These were a big hit.

If you think you won’t like these because you’re not a fan of dates, you’ll be happy to know that the dates aren’t a predominate flavor in these bars. They just add natural sweetness and act as the glue that holds everything together. They also bring a good bit of potassium, vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium to the party.

Larabars are usually made with cashews but I had two huge jars of peanuts in my pantry so that’s what I used. If you don’t like peanuts or can’t use them due to an allergy, just use the same amount of cashews instead.

 

Ingredients

15 Medjool dates

1 cup honey roasted peanuts

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp real maple syrup

1 tsp instant espresso powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup chocolate chips

 

Directions

Add the peanuts to the blender and pulse a few times to chop them up a bit. You’re not making peanut butter, just getting them chopped up fairly well so a few pulses should do.

Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and pulse several times to combine. You may have to scrape the sides down a couple of times during the process.

Once everything is well blended you’ll need to consider the following options:

You could empty the mixture into an 8×8 inch pan lined with plastic wrap and press it out evenly. Then toss in the freezer for about half an hour. Once set, you can cut it into bars. This method will yield you 12 thin bars.

I prefer mine a little thicker so I use a loaf pan. Same method applies here.

Alternatively, you could roll the mixture into balls or press into a muffin tin that was lined with paper cups.

There’s no wrong way to do this.

I will say that these are much better right out of the fridge so I would store them there if you can. If not, they’ll be just fine at room temperature.

I like to wrap mine individually in plastic wrap so that I can just toss one into a lunch box or my purse.

If you’re making these for little ones, you can leave the espresso powder out. The finished bars will still taste just as good.

Daily Bento

9 Oct

 

Today, Cam’s Laptop Lunchbox contains a chicken sandwich on Hawaiian bread, some cheese crackers, a few pieces of mozzarella cheese, and a small salad of romaine hearts and sweet pepper rings.

 

 

Daily Bento

7 Oct

Yesterday’s sandwich was a hit!

She ate all but the last two bites which were only bread.

I had one Hawaiian roll left so I filled it with thinly sliced roast beef for lunch today. Cam loves steak so I think she’ll like this one even better than the turkey sandwich she had yesterday.

I also filled her lunch box with cheese crackers, carrot sticks, a fruit and veggie strip, and a Babybel.

Daily Bento

6 Oct

 

Cam has asked to give lunch meat sandwiches another try. Her one condition was that I must use Hawaiian bread.

So in her Lock&Lock today, she has turkey on a Hawaiian sub roll, veggie chips, and a Babybel.

I tucked a couple of pieces of panda baran from this set in her lunch to spruce it up a little.

 

 

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