Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Darn Food Allergies

So, the lastest restriction for one of my kids is no dairy and no chocolate for at least a month and then we'll go from there. Since I'd already done the meal planning and shopping for at least a week, it has forced me to re-think some things. Normally the boys have the same thing in their lunches but I had to make some substitutions today for the no cheese and no chocolate thing. 

On the left, egg and biscuit muffins, ham and pepperoni skewer, mini babybel, corn on the cob, watermelon flowers, baby carrots and a Barbara's chocolate chip snackimal for dessert. On the right, ham and pepperoni skewers, corn on the cob, watermelon flowers, baby carrots and a Barbara's vanilla snackimal.

P.S. The nice thing about the removable magnets on the PlanetBox is that I had originally put the wrong lunch in the wrong kids' box. I just popped the magnets off and swapped them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Re-inventing Lunch

While I will admit to feeding my kids corn dogs on occasion, I'm not a super big fan of all the additives. One way I've gotten around that is to make "corndog muffins".  For these I've used different corn bread mixes but I do like the Bob's Redmil Gluten Free mix. To make, just follow the directions and spoon into muffin cups. Cut your hot dog into 4 pieces and insert one into the center of the batter so it stands up. I baked these for 15 minutes at 375*.

Corndog muffins, watermelon flowers, baby carrots, Barbara's vanilla animal cookies and in baked beans in the thermos. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lunch Boxes Galore

I forgot to take a picture of the boys' lunches today <gasp>. I know you all are shattered but I'm confident you'll be ok. I recently wrote up my ideas and reviews about different kinds of lunch box options for some friends and I'm thinking it might be good to post it here. It is by no means a comprehensive list but these are things that I've tried and I'm sure I'll add to it over time.

All of these are ones that I have personally used or a good friend has used and these are my reviews of them based on that :)

Metal options:

Planetbox. (

pros: super easy to pop into the dishwasher, tough, can swap out magnets to change the look, easy to pack a well balanced meal, comes with smaller containers that you can put dip or yogurt in (but not soup), super easy for kids to open and close.

cons: price, not leakproof (but that’s why you have the other little containers that go in it), the “main entree” section is kinda small for a full sandwich unless you cut off the crust.

Lunchbots: (

pros: easy to open and close, easy to wash, not as expensive and you can find deals on
them. soggy if you put something moist like fruit in there.

cons: not good if you don’t like your food to touch, not leakproof, crunchy things can get

Plastic options:

Easy Lunchbox (

pros: price! keeps food separate, easy to wash cons: not much flexibility
Laptop Lunches ( pros: versatility depending upon what foods your child likes, food doesn’t touch, portion control cons: lots of pieces to wash and keep track of, higher end of the “middle” price point

Go Green Lunch Box (

pros: food doesn’t touch, not a lot of pieces to wash or misplace, supposedly leakproof (each compartment separately), has a place for water bottle inside (where it could keep cold) 

cons: higher end of the “middle” price point

Goodbyn ( 

pros: separate compartments, deep, has waterbottle (great for freezing and using as the “ice pack), kids can decorate themselves, doesn’t require a separate bag to break or lose, washes easily. 

cons: lid might be hard to get on and off for a lot of kids. We had the original when it first came out. The lid sucked. I mentioned it on their FB page about 2 years later and they said that they’d had trouble with that but had made revisions and then sent me a free “Bynto” which is the smaller version. I actually like that for Zoe but I’m still not confident she could get the lid on properly. Maybe a 6 year old could?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Asian Flavor

I discovered a great thing at Costco awhile back. Pre-cooked organic Udon Noodles. I know it doesn't take long to cook these noodles but it's nice to have something you can just grab once in awhile. Since these noodles are most often served cold, they make great lunches. Both boys like them with tamari and parmesan but my oldest also likes some scallions and cilantro.  Another great "grab and go" options is frozen edamame. It will thaw by the time lunch rolls around and give a little protein to go with the noodles.
Udon noodles w/ tamari, scallions and cilantro, mango, edamame, and roasted almonds for a little extra protein. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

4th Day Of School

If you saw my post yesterday about the Taco Wontons you'll be thrilled to know the kids loved them. Ok, maybe you won't be thrilled, but I sure was. One devoured every little speck in his lunch and the other one ate everything but the condiments and informed me that the sour cream and guacamole were "not necessary".  Both agreed they were a "make again" item so I definitely will.

Today I broke out the sandwich shape cutter. I'm not sure how much longer my boys are going to let me get away with making their sandwiches in the shapes of hearts but, so far, no complaints. The skewers in the grapes are some sort of drink stirrer that I got awhile back at Target in their seasonal section. They go to show that you can find fun inspiration in different forms and different places. Things don't have to be made and marketed just for lunch and/or bento box making.

The sandwich cutter I probably got on Amazon a few years ago but am not sure. If you are local, a great shop called Teenie Greenies has sandwich cutters in different shapes (they also have Easy Lunchboxes and reusable snack and sandwich bags along with other great stuff!).

So, even if you don't feel creative or you think "I can't make that bento stuff!"you can use these easy tools and your kids will love the results.

Heart shaped ham and swiss on whole wheat, carrots and cucumber circles,  toasted nori sheets, grapes on a palm tree skewer and a Barbara's double chocolate snackimal cookie. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My New Love

I'm in love with wonton wrappers. They aren't expensive for the amount that you get and I'm having so much fun with them! Yesterday I put half a cheese stick on the diagonal, wrapped it up and baked it at 350* for 10 minutes and the kids ate them with pizza sauce. A big hit for after school snack!

Today I made taco wonton bowls. We'd had tacos last night for dinner so I had a bunch of meat left over. I sprayed the muffin tin and placed a wonton sheet in the bottom and put a spoonful of meat in the middle. I baked those at 350* for 10 minutes and the put some shredded cheese on top.

Taco wonton bowls, cauliflower, mini red bell pepper and mango. The small container had salsa for one kid and Chalula for the other one. The big container holds sour cream and guacamole.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

That Kind Of Day

It's been a morning, oh yes it has! Sadly, I did not take a picture of the boys' lunches today. They were beautiful, too! I suppose ya'll will forgive me and I'll share with you a simple breakfast that I made for the kids that was a big hit.

In the past I've made egg muffins and just baked them in the oven. They were fine and the kids ate them but I was never very happy with how flat and deflated they became as they cooled. Yesterday I had a thing of biscuit dough that needed to be used up so I decided to experiment with that. I popped that badboy (you remember my feelings about these things, right?) and separated the biscuits. I spread it out a little and lined a muffin tin that had been sprayed with oil. The dough covered the bottom and came up a little on the sides. I mixed up 6 eggs and added some shredded cheese, salt and pepper. Once mixed, I poured it into the cups over the dough. I used a measuring cup to scoop and pour it, it was easier and I had more control.

Bake at 350* for about 10 minutes and they will puff up nice! I just ran the knife around the edges and they popped right out and left hardly any mess. These were MUCH cleaner than making the plain egg ones. Next time I'll try getting some veggies in there or some ham would be good. For now, I'm just happy that the kids liked them and I got a decent amount of balanced protein and carb in them before school. Oh, and these still look great the next day so I bet you could make up a bunch in advance and have them in the fridge or even freeze them.  Yay for easy!