Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's for Lunch Wednesday Week 31

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 31!!!

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 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!

Please add a link back here:
http://www.bentolunch.net/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

If you'd like a button to link back with, it's over in the side bar, with the code!

Trouble adding your link? Leave it in the comments & I can add it for you!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

After-Christmas Snack Bento

And we're back! Well, sort of back. I'm still in Canada, but since the main holiday-ish things are over, and the kids still need to eat, I thought I'd play around with a few new recipes.

I got a lovely cooking with kids cookbook for Christmas and one of the recipes was for stuffed biscuits with tuna. I really wanted to try them, and of course, in our world, everything is better with cheese, so we ended up with tuna & cheddar stuffed biscuits. They were quite lovely right out of the oven and I believe, out of 12, we have 6 left (with Faith and my dad not being home this afternoon). They have lots of bento potential too, they kept their shape quite well and weren't excessively crumbly.



In this bento, Ben has two of the tuna-cheddar biscuits, topped with cupcake picks I got at the Dollar Tree in Dallas. He has mitten shaped marble cheese, carrot sticks, a Christmas cookie, and blackberries that Nana got for him.

What's it packed in, you might be asking? So glad you did!



I found these at the Dollarama in Canada. They are perfect for snacks, maybe 4 inches square by 2 inches deep. Ben's, obviously, is Cars while Faith's is Hannah Montana. They are also BPA-free, which is always a nice thing to discover.

Monday, December 27, 2010

BlogHer, Me, and a Chance to Win

This is a compensated review by BlogHer.

We're still enjoying our Christmas holidays in Canada, visiting with my family, enjoying lots of yummy home cooked food, but not a whole lot of bentos. I did get a really awesome cookbook for Christmas, so I promise some good stuff coming soon.

But until then, I'd love to invite you to check out some of my favorite parts of BlogHer. BlogHer is an advertising network for women that I've been a part of for several years right now. They've given me some great opportunities to network with talented bloggers, work with great brands, and more. I am hoping, this year, that I'll be able to head to BlogHer Food conference in Atlanta, and/or BlogHer 2011 in San Diego.

I've been blessed to work on several of their Exclusive Offers and partner with brands. Our family, along with 9 other bloggers and families, got a chance to visit McDonald's corporate headquarters to find out more about the company, their food and Ronald McDonald House charities (F&B still talk about our Chicago trip). We got to work twice with Pop-Tarts to develop a recipe and video, we worked with Samsung, the NFL, Folger's, Similsan, Ragu, Juicy Juice, and more. Each time, we've gotten to offer a cool giveaway for my readers as well as try out a fun new product. There are always a variety of posts/giveaways to peruse.

I also love the Food section on BlogHer, and the featured posts. I admit, I have a hard time keeping up with a lot of the blogs I want to read. I try, but I always end up missing things. I use BlogHer as kind of a blog reader to highlight some of the awesome posts I know I'd miss along the way. I've found tons of recipes, fun ideas, hostess plans, etc, many of which I never would have seen without using the BlogHer feed.

I feel the same way about the various featured posts. I seriously loved this one--Dear Santa: A Parent's Un-wish List. It's hysterical and totally true, and probably one I would not have come across without the featured posts. I also love the glimpse into starting homeschooling, posted by a lovely blogger that I also got to meet on the aforementioned Chicago trip. There are many more--touching, funny, thought-provoking, that I keep coming back to read.

This week, in conjunction with this post, BlogHer is giving away a ticket to either BlogHer 2010 or BlogHer Food, winner's choice. Visit this week's Sweepstakes post on BlogHer.com to enter to win.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from F&B and Me!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!



And in the spirit of Christmas and cooking, a yummy Christmas breakfast recipe for you! (I just put ours together a few minutes ago.)

Caramel French Toast:
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1 inch slices
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon white corn syrup
5 eggs
2 cups milk, skim or 2%
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup over low heat in skillet.
Bring to simmer until sugar is melted and combines with butter and syrup.
DO NOT BOIL OR OVERCOOK. IT WILL TURN TO CANDY.
Spread the soft mixture into the bottom of well-greased 9x13 baking dish.
Place French bread slices on top of the brown sugar mixture.
Beat eggs with the milk and vanilla, and pour over the bread.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until bread is light golden brown and puffy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's for Lunch Wednesday Week 30

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 30!!!

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 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!

Please add a link back here:
http://www.bentolunch.net/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

If you'd like a button to link back with, it's over in the side bar, with the code!

Trouble adding your link? Leave it in the comments & I can add it for you!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Canadian Christmas Bentos!

Faith is a bit under the weather right now, so the only one having bentos right now is Ben. I suppose I could stick chicken broth in a bento for her, but that just seems silly. And messy. Mostly messy.

We did bring a few of our own containers and food picks to Nana's house to make bentos in, but we're enjoying all her cool cookie cutters and decorations.



Today, Mr. Ben has turkey tortilla roll-ups with roasted red pepper cream cheese, topped with marble cheddar Christmas trees (the cutter is from a Linzer cookie set, too cute!). To go with that, he has a couple of pieces of pound cake, shaped like mittens for the winter, of course, some carrot sticks, blackberries and grapes.

We just made about 30 dozen cookies last night, so there should be some yummy, cookie-filled bentos very soon!

Don't forget, our $200 Visa gift card giveaway from BlogHer/Chef Boyardee is here! And a $100 Visa gift card giveaway from BlogHer/Pop-Tarts is on the review blog--our gingerbread brownie recipe or Faith's very cute video post have the entry form.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Christmas themed!

Muffin Tin Monday

With all the holiday chaos, we haven't had much of a chance to do Muffin Tin Monday in a few weeks. But since we are squared away in Canada right now, we borrowed a muffin tin from Nana and opted for a festive little lunch for Ben. Nana also provided some fun new mini-cookie cutters for us to use.



Ben has deli turkey rolls, cheddar Christmas trees, made from the good Canadian cheese as Mr. Ben says, crackers, topped with a mozzarella snowflake, cantaloupe, pineapples and blackberries. Nana stocked up on Ben favorite fruits, so we have one very happy little guy!

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Travel Bentos

Greetings from somewhere on the road between Dallas and Bowling Green, Kentucky. More than likely, we're probably in Arkansas, though there is a slim chance we're in Tennessee.

Since we are on our Christmas road trip, I decided there was a large need for on-the-road travel bentos. And since we are traveling in my car and I really don't like crumbs or stickiness in my car (seriously, the kids don't eat in the car unless we are on a road trip), I tried my hand at fairly non-messy bentos.

Lest you think the kids don't have any treats, trust me, we have a cooler full of goodies. I just figured any kind of cookie or granola bar would get soft and mushy in the bentos, so those kinds of things are packed in separate containers. We have granola bars, breakfast bars, chips, and each of the kids got to pick some sort of random candy from the Dollar Tree. I also have a container full of pineapple, another full of grapes, apple slices (on sale at Kroger, even though I usually don't like presliced fruit), bananas, cheese, crackers and pepperonis, lots of bottled waters, yogurt, juice, etc. I also have more sandwiches for the kids, as well as ones for Shaun & I. We're hoping to minimize the stops, since the weather seems questionable into Tennessee and Kentucky, and we want to get as far as we can before night sets in.

Anyhow ...



Ben has a cream cheese & strawberry jam sandwich on multigrain sandwich rounds, carrot sticks and blackberry kebabs. It's decorated with a few of my Christmas picks and a really cute candy Santa that my mom sent me. I think they are supposed to be cupcake toppers.



Faith still doesn't care for blackberries, so she has the same sandwich and carrots as Ben, but she opted for grapes. Hers is topped with a candy teddy bear and candy cane.

Hoping both of these aren't too messy!

While we are on the Christmas theme, feel free to check out our Gingerbread Pop-Tart Brownies and leave a comment to win a $100 Visa gift card! I could use some fun holiday stories for the *very* long drive!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 29

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 28!!!

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 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!

Please add a link back here:
http://www.bentolunch.net/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

If you'd like a button to link back with, it's over in the side bar, with the code!

Trouble adding your link? Leave it in the comments & I can add it for you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Festive Snowman Bento

Everyone ready for the holidays?

I've discovered that the one bonus to traveling for Christmas means I'm actually ready for it a lot sooner than Christmas Eve. ;o) Been busy finishing up my shopping, wrapping, etc. Miss Faith is getting the Playmobil Egyptian Pyramid from us and Ben is getting the Trio Batmans. As for me, I'm looking at a couple of cute things from CSN. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from stylish furniture, to a leather briefcase, or great cookware! I really want a trifle bowl, more fruit roll up sheets for my dehydrator, some books, and a Vera Bradley watch. I also never say no to cute Coach purses (currently carrying the adorable one Shaun got my last year, I have a wee bit of a thing for purses, actually more than a wee bit, it's kind of a vice).

But back to bentos! We are trying to clear out the opened fridge items right now, so while we may be high on cuteness, we are a bit low on variety. Since we are driving, I'm trying to get the kids to eat the watermelon and pineapple at home and we'll take the grapes for the trip. We're almost out of bread, milk and orange juice, so the next couple of bentos might be really strange. This one is from yesterday when we still have bread left. ;o)



Mr. Ben had a snowman shaped sandwich--ham and onion/chive cream cheese on 7-grain honey bread, with a wee bit of carrot for the nose, two chocolate chips for the eyes, and a bit of homemade strawberry fruit roll up for the scarf. He's accompanied by two of Faith's Hershey Kiss pretzels, some carrot sticks and fresh blackberries on Christmas picks.

Today, well, who knows what it's going to look like? My guess is pocket sandwiches, since that's the only bread I have that's not frozen. ;o)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tips & Tricks for Healthy Eating

This is a sponsored post from Chef Boyardee and BlogHer.

I often get comments on this blog regarding F&B and the choices they make regarding food. Thankfully, it’s usually good ones, either complimenting them when they are making the choices or asking how exactly we got them to that point.

To our happiness, they’ve both loved food from the beginning. I made all sorts of baby foods for them, we’d go to Whole Foods, buy a variety of interesting looking veggies, cook till soft, then puree them to the right texture. Faith’s long time favorite was lentil stew—my own combination of lentils, squash, zucchini, carrots, beans, pretty much whatever veggies I had on hand. Ben has always been my fruit fiend. Other than banana, his first foods were fresh pineapples, mangos and melons on our Hawaii trip when he was six months old.


Pirate bento for Ben--stuffed taco muffin, carrots, celery, grapes & berries

But since then, I’ve come up with a few favorite ideas to get the kids to open up to more new foods.
  • Bentos, of course! Those are *always* my number one idea for feeding your kids. Cute food is always much better than not cute food. Remember those studies earlier in the year, how carrots with, say, Princesses on the packet were apparently yummier than the identical carrots with the plain packet? It’s the same theory—smiling sandwiches, cute fruits and shaped veggie? All tastier than a plain sandwich, carrots and an apple. My own not-so-scientific research with F&B has proved that one time & time again.
  • Dipping sauces help a ton. Both of mine love yogurt dip for fruit, hummus for veggies and bread, ranch for almost anything. Cream cheese can make wonderful dips or spreads too, combined with avocado or a bit of tomato sauce and roasted red peppers are especially good. Carrot-ginger dip is pretty yummy too.
  • Cook with your kids! The sense of accomplishment often means they’ll try what they cook. My two have been in the kitchen with me since they were toddlers. A butter knife and soft foods is a great starting point for a little sous-chef, same with measuring cups and spoons, pouring, stirring, etc. (As a bonus, lots of great counting and math skills happen in the kitchen.) At 8, Faith can follow almost any recipe and loves to bake. She recently made muffins all by herself, other than lifting the tray up into our double oven!
  • Bake with fruits and veggies. Personally, I am not a fan of hiding fruits and veggies in so-called kid foods and pretending they aren’t there. To me, it teaches more of “good foods tastes icky, we’ll hide them in more tasty/less healthy items.” You aren’t going to find brownies with spinach puree or macaroni and cheese with hidden squash around here. You will, however, find fun things like chocolate-zucchini muffins with Ben grating the zucchini first or sweet potato cupcakes made by Faith. We try label everything as what it is. In the process, we’ve discovered that zucchini does not really have much of a flavor on its own, so our zucchini muffins are usually very moist and taste like whatever else is in them. Sweet potato leaves a very similar flavor to pumpkin. And we all love anything with fruit, even making our own dried fruits for granola bars and our own pure fruit roll-ups and popsicles.
  • Let them help choose foods. It might be a little more expensive at times, but I’ll let both kids pick produce they want to try or a new kind of cheese or a fresh loaf of bread. They also help with meal planning. I give them guidelines and they’ll pick what they might like to have. Pizza doesn’t count as a choice either, that’s a Mom-break night! Faith’s favorite choice is her favorite pork chop dish with rice and maple glazed carrots. Ben is on a steak-kick lately, along with potatoes and peas most likely. They both love Italian food, so pasta is another go-to meal.

Crackers with carrot-ginger spread & cucumber flowers

For great tips from moms just like us, sharing experiences, ideas and advice on how to get kids to eat better, visit Club Mum. Club Mum is the perfect resource for moms to learn helpful hints on a variety of topics, which can be applied to their own family. Club Mum is also on Facebook with daily tips, recipes, articles, questions and a terrific and active community!

BlogHer is giving away a $200 Visa gift card in conjunction with this post! To enter, leave me a comment telling me your favorite parenting tip or trick. It can be food related, but it doesn’t have to be!

What’s your favorite brilliant idea that makes your life run that much smoother?


(FYI, besides bento, mine has to be putting every toy back together every single night. Yes, it’s a pain at first, but so much better than having to find that one last puzzle piece, or the very important Thomas the Train, or that Polly Pocket pet that completes the whole imaginary world!)

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) Visit the official rules for additional forms of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents aged 18 and older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

Sweepstakes ends 5 PM PST, December 23, 2010.

For the official rules, go here: Visit the Official Rules

For more great ideas and more chances to win, visit here: BlogHer.com exclusive offers page

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Made by Faith" Holiday Bentos

Isn't Miss Faith awesome?

(For my newer readers, Faith is my 8 year old and she loves to cook & help in the kitchen.)

Anyhow, Tuesday night, I had to work (I tutor high school math a few times a week) and Shaun was going to take the kids to taekwondo then stay for the adult class too. Faith decided that she & Ben would likely be hungry after their class, so she made them bentos, and even set them up and took pictures for me (with the stipulation that I would post them for her).

So, here are a new set of Faith-made bentos!





They both have cream cheese and strawberry jam sandwiches on Nature's Own Multigrain sandwich rounds, watermelon from our garden, baby carrots and a few koala cookies. She topped the sandwiches with Christmas decorations--a cheddar stocking with a Swiss cheese ruffle for Ben and a cheddar gingerbread girl for herself. I'm impressed!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 28

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 28!!!

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 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!

Please add a link back here:
http://www.bentolunch.net/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

If you'd like a button to link back with, it's over in the side bar, with the code!

Trouble adding your link? Leave it in the comments & I can add it for you!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Garlic bread-Gingerbread Men & Noodle Bento

I made spaghetti the other night. In my family, there is a pasta deficiency, in that there is always way too much or way too little pasta in any given meal. In this particular spaghetti meal, I kind of overshot the pasta by about 3-4 servings, so I had a whole bunch of pasta in the fridge.

Now, what to do with leftover pasta? My first thought was an Asian salad, but Shaun likes spicy and the kids hate peanut butter, so that was out. I finally opted to use lots of garlic, butter, parmesan and the last little bit of pesto for a yummy fried noodle.



Faith has the aforementioned pasta, along with some gingerbread man shaped garlic breads (toaster oven, cookie cutter, bit of butter & garlic, and you've got really quick garlic toasts). Along with that, she has watermelon and grapes, along with a mixed berry muffin from my freezer stash. I love my freezer stash. I'm out of freshly baked sweets, but was able to defrost two muffins in a minute, and we've got lunch!

It's packed in an EasyLunchbox today, the layout worked perfectly to keep the garlic-y pasta and bread separate from the fruit & muffin.

For Mrs. Q's Fed Up With Lunch Challenge, total cost, around $1ish, pasta was leftover from a big bag (that was $1 total), bit of butter, bit of cheese, lots of garlic, the leftover pesto I made (basil free from a friend's garden); one slice of bread into toasts, watermelon free from my garden, grapes (free, leftover from the ILs), muffin from my freezer stash, I think I'm around 20cents a muffin.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

More Fun with Christmas Bentos!

Of course, if I had a bit more food in the house, I'd probably be having a lot more fun designing Christmas items. We're finishing out what's currently in the fridge, which means a lot of duplicates and a little less creative. However, we're about done with that, so it's time to grocery shop for something more fun to bento with!



In this instance, Faith has lots of watermelon from our garden, a cream cheese & jelly sandwich topped with a cute little Christmas stocking (orange cheddar and Swiss cheese),half a boiled egg, some carrots and Christmas tree shaped cucumber!

More festivities to come, I'm sure. F&B already set up all of our assorted nativity collections as well as their mini trees. I just need my big tree up, as soon as we get a new pre-lit one (no one likes putting on the lights around here).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas Bento

Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like standing in one's backyard in 70 degree weather on December 2nd, and picking a fresh watermelon off the vines for lunch. (And, as often mentioned on here, yes, I really am Canadian, I just really hate cold weather & snow.)

I've been just waiting to do a Christmas bento, but had to make myself wait at least till the calendar turned to December. And, being that I started prepping for Christmas ideas right after Halloween was over, I managed to lose one of the adorable sets of picks that I bought at Target specifically for Christmas bentos. I'm sure I'll find it eventually, likely the second week of January. ;o) But I digress ...

Christmas Bento


For lunch today, Faith had a turkey and chive cream cheese sandwich, on Nature's Own Multigrain Sandwich Rounds, topped with a little orange cheddar Christmas tree. Since I was feeling extra creative, the tree is decorated with Swiss cheese ornaments. She also has half a boiled egg and some carrots, plus grapes and freshly picked and freshly sliced watermelon.

This is our second to last watermelon of the season, I still have one more on my vine, then that's it till next year. I do, however, have a multitude of tomatoes (picked about 10 beautiful red ones last week) and about 75 habaƱero peppers that I'm hoping get even spicier if I wait longer. We haven't had freezing temperatures or frosts yet in Dallas, so I'm trying to hold out as long as I can on picking the rest of the garden.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 27

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 27!!!

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 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!

Please add a link back here:
http://www.bentolunch.net/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

If you'd like a button to link back with, it's over in the side bar, with the code!

Trouble adding your link? Leave it in the comments & I can add it for you!

 

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