Tag Archives: yogurt

My First Time

15 Jul

I’m about to share with you the very first bentos I ever made for Camryn.

The lighting is bad and the pictures are blurry because I took them with my cell phone in my dimly lit kitchen before I ever thought about starting a blog.

I never had any intention of sharing these with strangers on the internet and I think that point is pretty clear based on the quality of those pictures (yikes!).

But I’m sharing them today because these are the two that started it all.

These two bentos were my very first and second attempt at bento style lunch making.

The first bento, which was made on March 5th of last year, contains tuna salad on spring greens topped with half of a hard-boiled egg that was decorated with eyes made from cucumber peel and a carrot beak, flower-shaped toast, yogurt covered raisins, peanuts, sunflower seeds, cheddar butterflies, carrot slices, and grapes.

There is also some dye-free yogurt in the heart-shaped silicone cup in the middle, topped with a flower that was cut from cantaloupe, honeydew, and cucumber.

Whew… That’s a lot of different foods!

I think Cam ate two bites of this lunch because she couldn’t stop looking at it. She told me that it was the best lunch ever.

2012-03-05

The second bento was made the very next day. It contained flower-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches, mixed nuts, grapes, carrot slices, spring greens, dye-free yogurt, cantaloupe and cucumber cut-outs, and a happy cherry on top. The facial features on the cherry were cut from a cucumber peel.

2012-03-06

I started making bento style lunches because the idea of mostly healthy, fun, and trash-free lunches really appealed to me. I also love being creative with food and making lunch this way allows me to do just that.

I had so much fun last year making Cam’s lunches and I think she enjoyed eating them just as much.

Here are a few of my favorites from this past school year:

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A Salad for Saturday

13 Jul

saturday salad

 

I get it.

It’s salad. Salad isn’t hard.

You don’t need a recipe for salad.

I’m sure when you saw the title of this post, you wondered for a second why I would take time out of my day to sit down and write a whole post on a salad and probably now why you’re taking time out of your day to read it.

Understood.

And in my defense, I almost didn’t post it because I thought it was too simple.

But then I came across this. And this. And then I didn’t feel so weird about posting it.

Also, this salad is just a tad more involved than say, throwing some leafy greens onto a plate, drowning them in dressing, and calling it a day. This one requires just a few more steps.

It’s totally worth it though because it was really good, and really filling without being heavy. So how could I not share it?

It’s hot out, let’s eat things that fill us up without filling us out.

This is one of those “no-recipe recipes” meaning that the amounts are not exact and you can use the same ingredients and steps that I used or change them up to suit your taste. If you don’t like beans, leave ’em out. Want cheese? Add it.

It should be simple… it’s just salad, remember? 😉

For the chicken:

Chicken (for obvious reasons)

The juice of 1 lime*

1 Tbsp of taco seasoning

Extra virgin olive oil

Agave syrup

Pinch of sea salt

For the dressing:

1 ripe avocado

1 small container of plain yogurt – approx. 6 oz.

1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice*

Agave syrup

Small handful of cilantro

1 tsp taco seasoning

Sea Salt

For the salad:

Greens of your choice

Tomato

1 ripe avocado

Beans – cooked

Here’s how I put it all together:

I whisked together the juice of a lime, a tablespoon of taco seasoning,  a sprinkling of sea salt, a squirt of agave syrup, and a little evoo and poured it into a big plastic bag along with my chicken to marinate for about half an hour. Then I grilled it until it was cooked through and sliced it up.

While the chicken was cooking, I rinsed and drained some canned black beans and seasoned them with onion powder, cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Then I nuked them in the microwave until they were heated through and added sea salt to taste. If you’d rather use dried black beans, go for it. The end result will be the same.

Then I sliced up a tomato and an avocado and set them to the side.

For the dressing, I added another avocado, yogurt, a small handful of cilantro, a good squeeze of lime juice, a small squirt of agave, taco seasoning, and a pinch of sea salt into my blender and gave them a good blitz.

Then I arranged everything nicely on a plate so that I could share it with you.

Only when all of that was done, did I pour an obscene amount of that dressing all over that bowl of salad and then promptly shoved it in my face and immediately wished that I had grilled some fresh corn to throw in there too.

Seriously, if you happen to have some freshly grilled corn just lying around, it needs to be in this salad.

* To get more juice out of a lime,  heat it in the microwave for 8-10 seconds and then roll it on the counter before slicing.

24 Jun

super greens smoothie

On any given day, if you search the internet for a “green smoothie”, you will undoubtedly find endless variations of just that, green smoothies.

However, I want to let you in on a little secret…

Ready?

You can add spinach to pretty much any smoothie that contains berries and/or pineapple and as long as you blend it long enough, you will not taste it.

Promise.

There are no recipes to follow and you don’t need to get any measuring cups out.

Just get a handful of fresh or frozen spinach and throw it in.

For realsies.

Spinach in smoothies is all well and good but what I really want to tell you about is how to take it a step further and add kale.

Yes, I’m serious.

Kale is good for you. Super good.

Here’s a helpful graphic:

Isn’t it large and informative?

Here’s another graphic just in case you weren’t swayed by the last one:

I drink this smoothie several times per week. I just feel better when I do and I can also see a noticeable improvement in my skin and energy level.

It’s also husband and super picky teenager approved because it tastes like peanut butter and banana – not greens. If that means anything to you.

I used to use fresh kale and just cut the leaves off of the stem. But I recently discovered bagged organic kale at my grocery store for less than $4, so that goes into my cart every week and then right into the freezer when I get home. For this smoothie you can use fresh or frozen greens.

You’ll notice that there are no measurements when it comes to the greens so it’s customizable to your taste. Add as much or as little as you like.

I put two good handfuls of kale and about half a bag of spinach in my smoothie. If it’s too thick, I add a little more almond milk.

It’s a smoothie. It should be simple.

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana – peel and slice a few and store in a resealable freezer bag

1 Tbsp natural peanut butter

1/4 – 1/2 cup yogurt

1 – 1 1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)

spinach

kale

Just toss all that goodness into your blender and let it whirl for at least a couple of minutes. That gives everything enough time to get thoroughly chopped and blended. Makes for a much tastier smoothie.

If you want more peanut butter flavor, add more peanut butter.

Want a thicker smoothie? Add more banana or yogurt.

Too thick? Add a little more milk.

Now that you’re putting kale in your smoothies, why not take it a step further and put it in rice, couscous, pasta, meatballs, sauces, soups, and mashed potatoes!

Chop it up, saute it in extra virgin olive oil with garlic and a little sea salt until tender and mix it into mashed potatoes. Then top a shepard’s pie with it! I’ve done it – you should too!


* Makes 1 large or two regular sized smoothies.

Daily Bento

11 Jun

Just popping in to quickly share today’s lunch.

In her ELB, Camryn had brown sugar deli ham roll-ups, a mozzarella cheese stick cut into thirds, a few Spring Ritz crackers, broccoli, and a parfait made from yogurt, strawberries, dried cranberries, almonds, and granola.

A Simple Snack For Summer

10 Jun

frozen fruit & yogurt bites

 

Is it hot at your house too?

It was 90 degrees here today and it’s only going to get hotter.

Summer is no joke.

Come snack time, cool treats beat out everything else.

So I whipped these frozen fruit and yogurt bites up in just a few minutes for my kids to snack on this afternoon.

They don’t take long at all to freeze either which is a good thing because my kids are not patient people.

As I was eating them I couldn’t help but think that they would be great on top of a salad.

Somebody try that and let me know.

Anyway, to make these for your kids (or yourself) just wash and dry some fresh fruit, then coat in yogurt, add toppings, and freeze on a large plate or sheet pan covered with wax paper until hard.

I added wheat germ, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and a few sliced almonds here and there to the tops of our fruit.

If you’re using a thinner yogurt, you may want to dip them a second time once they’ve firmed up a bit in the freezer so you get a nice thick layer of yogurt. Add your toppings after the second dip.

I used cherries (which had been pitted and cut in half) and red grapes but you could use any fruit you prefer.

Obviously the toppings are up to you as well.

Chopped pistachios and chocolate drizzle over cherries?

Heck yes.

Bring it on summer.

 

frozen fruit collage

*The chia seeds, hemp seeds, and sliced almonds came from this mix:

Daily Bento(s)

28 May

Was May a busy (and expensive) month for anyone else?

Sheesh!

We had two birthdays, two Mother’s Days, a wedding, recital stuff, family coming in from out of town, and now that the end of the school year is fast approaching, we have ice cream party day and water fun day coming up next week for Cam.

Seriously.

We’ve had a lot going on around here over the last couple of weeks so posting took a backseat to my sanity.

It happens.

Anyway, I have a few of Camryn’s lunches from last week to share today.

This first one was last Wednesday’s lunch:

In her Bynto was organic strawberries, turkey and cheese roll-ups, a granola bar, a juice box, some honey almonds, and veggie chips.

This was last Thursday’s lunch.

It contained a granola bar, a juice box, baby goldfish, Greek yogurt with sprinkles, a cheese stick (under the spoon), grapes and strawberries.  It was all packed up in her Laptop Lunch Box.

And this one was Friday’s lunch:

Packed in her Yubo was a chicken sandwich, organic strawberries, baby goldfish crackers, honey roasted almonds, and a juice box.

There are no pics of her lunches that I packed earlier in the week because I slept in those days, then drug myself into the kitchen, slapped a sandwich together and threw it into an ELB along with some chips or goldfish, and cookies or maybe fruit? I can’t even remember. Let’s go with fruit.

Since this post is already pretty lengthy, I’ll keep my reviews short. First up, the Bynto…

Goodbyn Bynto:

Would I buy it again? Yes. It is inexpensive, it works well, holds quite a bit of food and Cam loves it. You do have to buy the stickers separately but you get a lot and they are dishwasher safe and easily changeable.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yep. But I would be sure to inform them that you have to close the middle section first to get the other sections to close.

Laptop LunchBox:

Would I buy it again? Yes. I had actually been eyeing them for a while and was finally able to get a great discount on the one Camryn wanted. So I would say wait until they offer up a discount code and then snag one for yourself because they are on the pricey side.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, but only to friends with older kids. Say 1st grade or above. The lids can be tricky to get off. I rubbed Cam’s with a little vegetable oil which has helped but they can still be tricky. The box itself can be hard to open and close occasionally too. Not sure what that’s about. It also holds a lot of food. Maybe more than a pre-schooler or a kindergartener would need. It is lovely to have all those compartments to keep everything sectioned off so nicely. That in itself is a big plus.

Yubo:

Would I buy it again? I was lucky enough to win our Yubo so I didn’t pay for mine. That being said, I was eyeing that lunch box too and waiting for a discount code to pop up so I could snag one for Cam. This lunch box is definitely pricey. Especially if you’re going for personalization. But… it would make a great birthday or Christmas gift so if you look at it that way, it’s not so bad.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes. But wait for a discount code and definitely spring for the drink holder. Camryn is the only one in her school with a Yubo and the kids and teachers go nuts for it. It is easy for little ones to use but holds enough food for older kids to use as well. The interchangeable face plates are fairly inexpensive so it doesn’t cost much to swap them out when your kid gets ready for a new look. I also love that the whole thing comes apart and goes right in the dishwasher. Genius!

*Alll of the products listed can also be found on amazon.com.

Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate for any of the companies reviewed above. I make no money if you purchase any of their products. This is just my unsolicited, honest opinion.

Daily Bento

30 Apr

We’re getting back on track today after a long weekend that included Camryn’s birthday party, a trip to a bouncy place, and a day off of school yesterday.

It’s nice to be getting back into our regular routine again.

I made a loaf of sandwich bread and some herb rolls last night.

Cam and I each had a roll fresh out of the oven.

My intention was to just have a bite to try it but before I knew it, I had devoured the entire thing.

No shame – or self-control, evidently.

Seriously. Is there anything better than freshly baked bread warm from the oven?

Camryn said I had to put one in her lunch today. So I did.

Also in her lunch  are some carrot and celery sticks, a mozzarella cheese stick cut into bite-sized pieces, Greek yogurt with organic granola, and watermelon balls.

Daily Bento

19 Apr

 

For lunch today, Camryn has:

  • 2 Croissants
  • Strawberries
  • Mozzarella cheese stick
  • Pumpkin seeds in the rainbow box
  • Greek yogurt with goji berries and granola
  • Spinach
  • Carrot coins

Daily Bento

17 Apr

As promised yesterday, I have a new lunchbox to show you.

Yes, another lunch box.

You can’t possibly be surprised at this point.

Or maybe you’re new to this blog. In that case – Hello. Nice to see you, I’m glad you stopped by. Additionally, you should know that I hoard lunch boxes.

I suppose hoarding may be taking it a little too far. Can it actually be called hoarding if all of the lunch containers and bento accessories are neatly organized and out of sight in my kitchen? I mean, no one is having to actually climb over or wade through a mountain of lunch packing accessories to get from the front door to the kitchen so…

Maybe we can just call it a lack of self-control fueled by a deep love of all things bento-related instead.

I do think I’m done buying  lunch boxes for a while though.

Or at least until I can free up some cabinet space.

You know, I hardly use my immersion blender. 😉

 

Anyway, here’s the latest addition to my ever-growing lunch stash:

Laptop Lunches Bento Lunch Box 2.0 – Garden

Isn’t it bright and cheery?

In this Laptop lunch:

  • Biscoff sandwiches
  • Greek yogurt with goji berries and granola
  • Saltines with tzatziki in the yellow container
  • Pineapple and grapes
  • Napkin and spoon

With the lids on…

and with stickers on top, just because.

 

So what do we think?

The only thing that I don’t like about the Laptop Lunchbox is that Camryn has a hard time opening the containers inside. I put a little vegetable oil on the rim of each box which did make it much easier for me to open but she still struggled at school. Luckily there are helpers in the lunchroom for just this sort of situation.  This is just one of those things that will be easier for her with practice.

Now, on to a convenient bullet-point list of what we love about it:

  • We ♥ that it’s leak-proof.
  • We ♥ that it’s BPA, PVC & lead free.
  • We ♥ that it’s dishwasher safe & microwave safe.
  • We ♥ the lids on the inner containers.
  • We ♥ that it’s small enough for kids to use but could easily hold enough food for an adult as well.
  • We ♥ that it’s bright and colorful.
  • We ♥ that it’s recycled and recyclable.
  • We ♥ that the food containers are made in the USA.
  • We ♥ that it’s waste-free.
  • I really ♥ that it has a special place for a napkin, spoon, fork, chopsticks, or a cheese stick.

This new lunchbox fits perfectly in Camryn’s insulated lunch bag from Garnet Hill (which is a bit on the larger side) but there wasn’t room for her thermos so I had to put it in the outside pocket. I will probably be buying this in the very near future:

*sigh* I know. The “hoarding” continues.

If you’d like to learn more about Laptop Lunches or to get one of your very own, click here.

Daily Bento – Made by Daddy!

20 Mar

Today is my wedding anniversary.

So I think it’s somehow fitting that the hubs offered to make lunch today.

I gave him free reign of the kitchen and all of the lunch making supplies.

He asked Cam exactly what she wanted for lunch and then went to work peeling, chopping, and arranging everything until it was just right.

It was so sweet watching how much time and care he put into making Camryn’s lunch.

It made my bento loving heart go pitter pat.

I know… gross.

Still, you gotta love a man who puts as much effort into the things that you love as you do.

Even if it is just lunch. 😉

 

Seriously. How cute is that lunch!?

 

In Cam’s lunch today:

  • Bear sandwich. He used a rice mold to cut the sandwich. I would have never thought of that!
  • Organic fruit leather cut-outs
  • Banana cream-filled graham crackers
  • Yogurt in the cat container
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Celery & carrots

 

Now that I know that he’s some sort of lunch packing savant, I think he needs a regular segment on this blog!