Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to School Bento Blog Hop & Giveaway

It's almost back to school time and this means back to packing lunches for most families!  It's also a great time to think about bento lunches to make things easier.

If you've never packed bento lunches before, it's a great way to start making fun, healthy, waste-free lunches for your kids.  They can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be, and there are so many tools and containers to help you on your journey.  Check out this list for our picks for beginning bento.

Now once you have the containers, what are you going to put in them?  So glad you asked!  While the blog is full of great ideas, if I do say so myself, these two series of pack ahead lunches will get you started and finished in one night!

Do you already pack lunch and are just looking for some new ideas how to make it more fun?  This Rock the Lunchbox lunch makeover post can give you a few ideas how to make lunch cuter in just a few minutes, using a few simple tools and tricks.

Are you getting excited yet?  You should be, since the best part is yet to come!  With some other amazing bento bloggers, I'm helping to host a massive back-to-school lunch packing giveaway and blog hop.  You could win a $70 gift card for All Things for Sale or some other great prizes, depending on your worldwide location (there are options for US residents and other countries too).

How can you enter?  It's pretty easy.  You'll travel through the blog hop and collect a letter piece from each blog.  When you land back here on What's for Lunch at Our House, you're finished collecting!  Put the letter tiles in order (they're numbered for you) to spell out the codeword.  Then, use the Rafflecopter below to enter the drawing. The first entry is the codeword and the second is what country you're in (to determine the runner up prizes). After that, bonus entries are available from each of the participating blogs.

To make it extra easy for you, here's piece number 14 to the puzzle, don't forget to write it down!

Now, click on the button below to visit my friend Jessie at Chaos & Confections for another piece of the puzzle.  When you make it back here, the Rafflecopter is at the bottom of this post. :)  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 218

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Thanks so much for joining in last week, if you did, and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

5 Favorite Disney Lunches

As I alluded to on Facebook yesterday, we are at Disney this week!

We took advantage of the husband's post deployment leave and headed off to California for a few days to visit the Happiest Place on Earth.  (For the record, we also went bento shopping which could also be described as the Happiest Place on Earth.)

In honor of that, the kids and I picked a few of our favorite Disney lunches over the years to share with our readers!  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
  • Mickey Mouse Snack Box - The Mickey sandwiches are made with a simple cookie cutter and press, then Mickey food picks accent the rest of the food.
  • Toy Story Aliens - I designed this for Disney and it's still one of my favorite creations!  The aliens are crafted from cucumber and a lot easier than they look!
  • Phineas & Ferb Sandwiches - This was a different take on Phineas & Ferb, cutting them from bread to make sandwiches.  If you think about it, Phineas is basically a triangle and Ferb is a rectangle.  (I'm also a huge Perry fan but, for some reason, I've never made him into a lunch.)
  • Snow White - Cheat lunch with Williams Sonoma cookie press cutters and assorted apple themed extras.  It's really cute and the cookie cutters make it a snap to create.
  • Nightmare Before Christmas - Jack Skellington and his dog were created for Disney too.  His facial features all had to be cut with (sterilized) scrapbooking scissors to make the tiny details.
I'm shopping Disney this week for new ideas, cross your fingers that they have cute cookie cutters or other decorations!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 217

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Thanks so much for joining in last week, if you did, and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

4 Ingredient Skippy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

As a Hormel Family Blogger, we get a lot of new products to try out and last month, we received a jar of their Skippy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter.  Now three of the four of us like peanut butter, with Faith being the lone holdout.

It's yummy on toast or bagels, and great with fruits to dip, but I wanted something different!  Years ago, I made a basic 4 ingredient cookie with a different chocolate spread and decided, this just might work!  So last night was experiment night and it was a success!

Just gather up this:

Then add this:

I opted to melt my peanut butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds to make it a bit easier to mix.

Mix these well and roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet.

Press a fork on top of each ball to flatten.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until cookies are set.

Remove from oven and press with fork one more time.

Eat and enjoy with a good cup of tea.

Disclosure: I have received product and information from Hormel Foods in exchange for being a Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger. All opinions expressed within the post are my own.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flavoring with Lemon Instead of Salt #TableTheSalt

Did you know that almost all Americans consume more sodium than is recommended?  Fast foods and convenience foods are the biggest culprits, but most of us could use less sodium in our diets.  Sunkist S’alternative is hoping to help to change this trend!

Flavoring with lemon instead of salt is a great and tasty way to help reduce the amount of sodium in foods cooked at home.  The Sunkist S'Alternative project tested multiple recipes with various ingredients, to discover that the use of Sunkist lemons may allow for significant reduction of salt in recipes with no adverse effect of flavor.

We had to try it out for ourselves. Can we really use lemon as an alternative to salt? We checked out the Sunkist website to find out the ratios and decided to try out lemon pepper shrimp on the grill, along with a lemon-butter to top our grilled baked potatoes.  They were tasty!

Shrimp marinade:
5 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix ingredients together, skewer the shrimp, and brush with marinade while grilling.

Lemon-butter for potatoes:
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter, mix in lemon juice, zest and salt.
Cut potatoes in half after baking and brush with butter.  (We also do this on the grill.)

I also love this handy dandy inforgraphic from Sunkist for how to substitute lemon for salt in different dishes.

We love the idea of substituting lemon for salt and there are some amazing recipes for it on the Sunkist website.  Which one would you love to try?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Sunkist. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lunchbox Mini Tuna Ranch Macs & an Annie's Homegrown Giveaway

Summertime seems to be project time around here!

This time, F&B and I are partnering with Annie's Homegrown as part of their blogger team.  We're getting the chance to try out their products and just have some fun with their yummy foods

Our first challenge?  Creating a new recipe using Annie's products!  We decided to try out an idea I've had in my head for awhile for mini-tuna ranch macs with a crumb topping.  Since it's summer, we made them in glass ramekins to eat at the table, but these would be a great lunchbox addition if you simply made them in paper or foil cups in a muffin tin.

Don't these look yummy?  We used Annie's Shells & White Cheddar, along with peas, tuna and ranch to form the base, then mixed butter with crumbled Annie's Cheddar Squares to form the topping.  Put it all together, bake and enjoy!  We also decided that ham or chicken could substitute for the tuna for a different flavor too.

Mini Tuna Ranch Macs:
1 box Annie's Shells & White Cheddar, prepared per package directions
1 can tuna, packed in water, drained and broken up with a fork
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup peas
About 30 Annie's Cheddar Squares crackers, crumbled
2 Tbsp Butter

Preheat your oven to 350.
Make the macaroni and cheese according the package.
Add peas, tuna and ranch to the macaroni and cheese, mix well.
Divide into ramekins or into papered muffin tins.
Melt butter and mix into the crackers, then spoon over the tuna mac cups.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until the topping sets.

Another fun part of working with Annie's is the giveaways!  Want to win some Annie's goodies of your own?  Just use the Rafflecopter below to leave me a comment telling me what your favorite Annie's product is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also join Team Annie's, a fun social community where fans get special access to the world of Annie’s and can share their love for all their delicious products (did someone say “Mac and Cheese”?!)

Disclosure:  #spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between my blog and Annie's Homegrown. This could include Annie's providing me w/ content, product, access or other forms of payment.


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