Tag Archives: Easy Lunchboxes

Daily Bento

29 Aug

 

Happy Friday!

I know you see it so let’s go ahead and discuss that brownie.

Camryn put in a special request for brownies in her lunch because her friends were all bringing them. Not homemade brownies either, they had to be the cool ones with the neon-colored candies on top. Personally, I think these brownies are severely lacking in the flavor department but I know how it is at that age and when your friends are doing something, you want to do it too.

Apparently, one of the girls at the lunch table puts her brownie on a straw and eats it like a lollipop. I had to draw the line there. I wonder how many times her mother has had to scrub chocolate frosting out of her daughter’s pants. Maybe never but I doubt it.

Along with her brownie she has cauliflower, strawberries, pineapple, salami, and crackers.

 

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Daily Bento

26 Aug

What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?

If you had asked me that before last week, I wouldn’t have had a good answer for you.

But that was before last week.

We’ll get to lunch but first, I’ve got a really stupid story to share with you so settle in.

Last Monday was the first day of school ’round these parts and as a special treat, my daughter had asked if I could bring her a Sprite when I picked her up from school. So just before I left the house to go get her, I added some ice and Sprite to her thermos to keep it nice and cold because it’s about 120 degrees here.

I parked my car and started walking up the sidewalk which is right next to the car circle, thermos in hand (but not shaking or swinging it in any way).

The first bell rings and a stampede of children along with their parents trailing behind, is now moving past me back toward the parking lot. I’m smiling, saying hello, and (most importantly) not swinging or shaking the thermos in any way.

As you may remember, it was about 130 degrees outside. That kind of heat can make a girl really thirsty so I was glad to have had the foresight to fill a thermos with an icy cold drink and then not shaken it in any way.

I was feeling rather proud of myself as in one move, I returned the Principal’s wave and lifted the thermos to my face to have a drink. It’s a flip top so you push a button, the cap flips back, and the straw pops out. Only this time, in that one swift motion that I had done probably a thousand times, the contents of that thermos (which had not been shaken in any way) exploded in my face with more force than I would have ever guessed was logically possible from such a small container.

So there I was. Soaking wet, soda dripping from my face and hair, right next to the car circle full of cars infinity miles long, and the hundred or so kids seated on the ground waiting for their parents, and the parents standing around waiting for their kids to come out of class, and all the school staff who work the car circle.

Do you guys know what happens to soda when it gets on your skin and it’s 150 degrees out? It turns into a sticky mess, that’s what. Your hair gets crispy and your skin becomes both tacky and slimy at the same time.

Additionally, as if that weren’t enough, you become especially attractive to WASPS and other insects!

I can tell you for a fact that all it takes is one waft of your crispy hair and sticky skin and they go nuts. I’m pretty sure that one wasp in particular was in love because he kept hovering right in front of my face.

Ever had a wasp look you dead in your eyeball and then try repeatedly to land on your face? Were you aware that unlike cute little honeybees, wasps can sting you repeatedly?

It’s every bit as terrifying as you’re imagining it is.

I’ve been stung by wasps before but I’m not really interested in getting stung in the face, so I did the only thing I could think to do. The only thing that seemed logical in such a situation…

Full on Matrix style evasive maneuvers were now happening, in front of everyone.

I was ducking and weaving and swatting and my new pointy-ended BFF remained unphased. The cherry on the top of this story is that only the people closest to me could actually see the wasp. For everyone else, I was just a crispy headed, wet shirt wearing lunatic who was flailing about in public.

By this point Camryn had come out of class (what pride she must have felt upon seeing all this) so we started heading back towards our vehicle with that stupid wasp hovering in front of my face every step of the way.

Finally, the wasp left my face for just a moment to investigate Camryn’s floral print backpack that I was carrying. Maybe he was tired of all the swatting – who knows? So I did the next most logical thing I could think of and promptly flung my daughter’s backpack as far away from us as I could and watched it land in the grass where unbeknownst until way too late to me, several other wasps were congregating.

I immediately grabbed Cam’s hand and pulled her far enough away to be out of range of those wasps. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it because I don’t want her to panic every time she sees a bug but at the same time, getting stung by a wasp hurts. And her getting stung would have meant lots of screaming and crying and me carrying her and all of her stuff all the way to the front of the school to the nurse’s office in that heat.

No thank you.

And so we stood there. Waiting and watching that backpack just lying in the grass while car after car slowly drove by, each driver staring at me probably trying to figure out why I just threw my kid’s backpack in the grass and why we were now standing there staring at it. And also probably why my shirt was wet and my hair was slicked back and crispy.

After a few minutes, the wasps had all gone about their business elsewhere.

We retrieved her backpack and then drove straight home where I informed my husband that we had to move to another town immediately. Preferably to one with less wasps.

So there it is. My most embarrassing moment. I’d love to know yours. If you’re feeling brave, share it in the comments section below.

Completely changing direction, let’s talk lunch!

For lunch yesterday, Camryn had a few pancake muffins with extra maple syrup in a cute little container for dipping, a fruit salad, broccoli, cauliflower, and a cheese stick.

 

 

Maple Spice Pancake Muffins

adapted from Bakerella’s Mini Maple Chocolate Pancake Muffins

1 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray or drop in liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and spices until combined.

In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until everything is incorporated.

Allow the batter to rest for about 5 minutes or so and then fill your mini muffin pan about 2/3 full with the batter.

Bake for 8 minutes or until tops spring back when pressed lightly.

Let the muffins cool for a few minutes and then pop them out of the muffin pan.

 

… and if you’d prefer a more savory muffin option, this recipe is quite yummy. I like to spread ridiculous amounts of spicy chipotle butter all over them just before I shove them into my mouth.

To make chipotle butter, just chop up a pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and mix it into some softened butter. Add some of the sauce too if you want a little more spice.

 

Daily Bento

16 May

The lunches are back!

I haven’t posted in a while so I have quite a bit of catching up to do.

These particular lunches that I’m about to share with you were my husband’s lunches/snacks over the past week.

Camryn has been bringing a lot of leftovers that have been warmed in her thermos for lunch, and those just don’t photograph well.

So, grown up lunches it is!

 

For the lunch pictured above, I used a rolling pin to flatten two slices of wheat bread and filled each one with a little egg salad. Then I cut them into bite-sized pieces. I tucked some puffed wheat crackers in next to the egg salad rolls-ups, and added cucumber slices, raspberries, and celery sticks. The sauce containers hold peanut butter and blue cheese dressing for dipping.

 

This Easy Lunchbox holds a veggie-heavy sandwich (turkey, mashed avocado in place of mayo, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, homemade pickles on multi-grain bread) with a few cucumbers on the side, sweet potato and brown rice crackers, and strawberries filled with spicy vegan chocolate pudding (recipe to come).

 

On Wednesday afternoon, I whipped up some delicious avocado hummus. Unfortunately, it goes bad fairly quickly thanks to the avocado, so I used quite a bit of it to make the Mr.’s work lunch. I smeared a good helping of the hummus on a multi-grain wrap and topped it with lettuce, shredded carrot, sliced red onion, thinly sliced cucumber, and sprouts. Then I rolled it up tightly, sliced it in half, and it was good to go. I threw in some pita chips, a few of my quick and easy peanut butter bars, and extra hummus for dipping in the fish container.

 

Avocado Hummus

1 15 oz. can of canellini beans – rinsed and drained

1 avocado

juice of a lime

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

a couple pinches of cayenne pepper – optional, except in my house 😉

salt and pepper to taste

Blend until smooth.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Best eaten within a day or two.

 

Quick & Easy Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 cup peanut butter – I used Wild Friends Sesame Cranberry PB

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey – I used maple syrup

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

1/4 tsp cinnamon

optional add-ins – about a handful of dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts, and/or seeds

Add the peanut butter and maple syrup to a large microwave safe bowl and microwave until smooth enough to mix together. This took about 30 seconds in my microwave. You can also do this in a pot on the stove.

Mix well until combined and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix to incorporate everything together and dump into an 8×8 pan.

Press to form an even layer and let sit for a couple of hours at room temp before eating. This helps the oats to soften.

You can also roll the mixture into balls if you prefer.

Store covered at room temperature.

 

This super simple lunch contains fresh zucchini, carrot, and celery slices, more peanut butter bars, dates filled with Wild Friends Cinnamon Raisin PB, and a little chocolate.

 

The lunch pictured above contains one of my new favorite sandwiches: A flaky croissant filled with ham, thinly sliced Bosc pear, and Muenster cheese. If you haven’t tried that combo you’re missing out. It’s delicious!

If you do try it, slice the croissant, add the cheese and pop it in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted, then add the ham and pear. That’s the best way, it just is.

To go with the sandwich, I added some strawberries, raspberries, and sweet peppers that I sliced in half and filled with tzatziki.

 

This lunch is packed in one of my favorite cheapo containers that I found at Marshall’s a while back. I think I paid less than $5 for this one and I use it all the time so it was worth every penny.

Not wanting to make another sandwich or wrap, I added chopped chives to softened cream cheese and then spread a little onto a few slices of turkey. Then I wrapped the turkey around a few of my homemade pickle spears and called it done.

Also included in this lunch are carrot sticks, broccoli, blueberry Belvita biscuits, sweet potato and brown rice crackers, and a couple of pieces of chocolate in this sweet little food cup. The sauce container holds ranch dressing for dipping.

 

I hope these lunches will inspire your own lunch packing next week. Seriously, try that ham, pear, and cheese on croissant. It’s so good!

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Daily Bento

13 Apr

pizza grilled cheese bento

 

Is pizza grilled cheese a thing?

I mean, is this something that people are doing?

I haven’t checked Pinterest because every time I think that I’ve come up with an out of this world original idea, Pinterest is there to remind me that everything has already been done.

Thanks a lot Pinterest.

And while we’re on the subject, did you know that yesterday was National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day?

I sure didn’t. I found out after I had already made lunch. I love when that happens.

Here’s how this particular sandwich masterpiece comes together:

Just like you would if you were making a regular old grilled cheese sandwich, you’ll need to spread butter on one side of two slices of bread. Then shake a little garlic salt and Italian seasoning over the buttered bread.

Fill the sandwich with your favorite pizza fixin’s: Italian cheese blend or mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, peppers, onions, olives, mushrooms, etc. You get the idea.

Cam isn’t very adventurous when it comes to pizza so the most she will let me put on her sandwich is cheese and pepperoni, but put whatever you or your kids like on yours. I’ll be cramming as much as I possibly can on mine – who’s with me!?

Once you’ve got your ‘pizza toppings’ on your sandwich, close it up and toast in a saute pan on the stove top over medium heat.

When it’s golden brown and toasty on both sides, slice it up and serve along with warm pizza sauce for dipping.

Cam thought this was genius. She was not so thrilled about the idea of taco grilled cheese sandwiches though. I still think I can make it work. I’ll keep you guys posted. 😉

Along with her sandwich she had a flapjack from our Graze box with a few chocolate chips tucked underneath, and some sliced peppers.

 

 

 

 

Daily Bento

3 Oct

 

Cam still isn’t too crazy about sandwiches yet so I like to go a more “deconstructed” route with her lunches from time to time.

It seems like more of it gets eaten that way.

Today she has a crescent roll, some cheddar-jack cheese slices, natural salami, watermelon, sweet pepper rings, and carrot coins.

She also has two happy little animal friends to help her eat her lunch.

 

Daily Bento

27 Sep

 

I kept things simple today.

Sometimes simple is best. If nothing else, it’s certainly faster and easier. 😉

I made a salami sandwich with just a teeny bit of mayo (Cam isn’t too keen on mayo but I don’t want her choking down a dry sandwich at the lunch table). Before I made the sandwich, I stamped the bread with a small flower stamp just to make it a little cuter. Her sandwich is cut diagonally and stacked in her ELB.

She also has some veggie chips, watermelon, and sweet pepper rings.

Cam loves sweet peppers. I usually slice a few into rings when I bring them home and put them into a mason jar that I keep in the fridge. Seems like I am constantly refilling that jar. That’s o.k. though. I’d rather have to refill a pepper jar all the time than have to refill a cookie jar.

Happy Friday

Daily Bento

23 Sep

Cam is home sick today.

We made it exactly one month from the start of the school year before she was taken out by some nasty cold germs.

Apparently this funk is going around because lots of other kids are out of school right now too.

She was kind enough to share with her father too so he’s currently in bed with the covers pulled over his head.

Whenever those two are sick, they only want my veggie soup, so I made a big pot of it last night so that they could have lots of leftovers to get them through the next couple of days.

It’s a great way to use up veg that may be a bit past it’s prime but still useable.

I normally don’t care much for soup but I love this one. I think it’s the beans and pasta that make it so yummy.

The recipe is below.

 

 

Cam has some of her favorite veggie soup, a couple slices of french bread for dipping, and a piece of pineapple upside down cake for lunch in her ELB today.

It’s been rainy and gloomy all morning. Hopefully I can get her to curl up on the couch after lunch and take a nap.

I’m not counting on it but a girl can dream.

 

Cam’s Favorite Veggie Soup

onion

garlic

celery

bell pepper

carrots

kale

28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

4 cups stock or broth (I use veggie)

small pasta like Ditalini or Stars

1 can of white beans (northern, canellini) rinsed and drained

1 bay leaf

seasoning to taste (salt & pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning – whatever you like)

 

Directions

Slice all vegetables about the same size and saute them in a little extra virgin olive oil until tender.

Add canned tomatoes with juice, stock, kale, and seasoning. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and put a lid on top.

While the soup simmers gently, boil a pot of water for the pasta.

Just before the pasta is done, add the beans to the soup and remove the bay leaf.

When the pasta is done, drain, and add to each soup bowl. How much pasta you add is up to you.

Pour the soup over the pasta and enjoy!

I don’t leave the pasta in the soup because it turns to mush. I keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge and just add it to each bowl of soup as I need it.

 

There are no measurements or amounts because this is another one of those no-recipe recipes. You can adapt it to suit your taste. If don’t like something, leave it out. Add as much or as little of everything as you like. Just make sure you have enough liquid to cover everything by a couple of inches.

 

 

Daily Bento

11 Sep

I told Camryn last night that I would be making muffins for breakfast this morning and she immediately asked if I’d put some in her lunch today.

So in her Easy Lunchbox, she has two blueberry muffins, a flapjack from our Graze box, a few yellow pepper rings in the cute little kitty box, some pineapple, and sliced celery.

This is actually quite a bit of food for her so whatever she doesn’t finish, she’ll have for snack after school.

 

 

 

Daily Bento

6 Sep

 

I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be happier that it’s Friday.

Two days of sleeping past 5:40! Sounds good to me.

 

My favorite grocery store makes pizza dough in-house and it’s delicious. So when I see it go on sale, I always grab a couple pounds of dough to stash in my fridge. There are so many things beyond pizza that you can make with it.

Last night however, my kids wanted cheese pizza. So that’s what they got. They love flavored pizza crust so I brushed the crust with a little olive oil and then sprinkled some garlic salt and Italian seasoning on it before I put in the oven.

The leftovers went into their lunches today. My kids have no problem eating cold pizza.

I cut Cam’s into bite-sized pieces for easy eating. She also has a fruit leather, grapes, celery, and a flapjack from our Graze box.

Both lunches took me no more than 10 minutes to pack. I made them last night and tossed them into the fridge so that they were ready to go this morning.

Happy Friday!

Daily Bento

5 Sep

 

 

For lunch today, Cam has a chicken sandwich on Hawaiian bread, a strawberry banana fruit rope , grapes, and mini Triscuits which are just the cutest little crackers ever.

It’s all packed up in her ELB with some sweet gnome and mushroom picks that I added for cuteness.