Friday, September 30, 2011

Hormel September - National Childhood Obesity Month

September's Hormel topic is regarding portion sizing and how do ensure your kids are eating the proper amounts of food. After all, September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month and it's something all parents should be aware of.

So what is an appropriate portion size? Well, it depends on the person eating, but as a rule, most people don't choose the correct portion sizes when they are just guessing. Here are some great ways to familiarize yourself with the ideal portion sizes:
  • 3oz chicken (average portion) = about the size of a deck of cards
  • 1 cup rice = about the size of a tennis ball
  • 1 medium piece of fruit = about the size of a baseball
  • 1 small baked potato = about the size of a computer mouse
  • 1 oz chocolate = about the size of a package of dental floss

Another great idea is to try using a digital food scale. These scales allow you to “zero out,” any bowls, plates, or measuring instruments so you are only getting the weight of the actual food items. Try using a food scale for a few weeks or until you feel like you can determine appropriate portions without its help. You will be surprised at how quickly you pick up on these nutritional tips!

And, as always, bentos are a great help for portion sizes. Boxes are sized for adults and children. A tightly packed, appropriately sized box (packed with nutritious food, of course) is typically a good measure of calories for that meal. Choose the right box, though, for an adult versus a child, if you try this method. Filling an adult box for a 6 year old might be entirely too much food for them!

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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

First Day of Colorado School Bento

Yesterday was F&B's first day of school in Colorado! They both had amazing days, and Faith even found a new friend also named Faith! I'm fairly limited on bento supplies, and since we are in temporary housing, I don't quite have a real kitchen to work with. Even so, I made bentos for the kids to the best of my ability.


Faith had a turkey and cheese sandwich on multigrain sandwich rounds, topped with a few little cheese hearts, carrots, some veggie straws and a couple of gingersnaps in the top tier of her box, and some cantaloupe and red plums in the bottom tier.

Apparently, they don't have a large amount of time for lunch, so both kids brought home half a sandwich and their treats. I'll need to work on the amounts.

BlogHer Book Club - Lunch Wars


Out of all the books I've gotten a chance to review, I'd be hard pressed to find one that seemed to fit my blog more than Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa.

For those who haven't been around since the beginning, I started this whole blog right before Faith started kindergarten. In our case, she went to a private school with no cafeteria, so I needed to find a way to make sure she'd be able to eat her lunch in the allotted time. She's always been a great eater, but definitely a slow eater and bento lunches helped with that. Four and a half years later, she and Ben are in school in Colorado and I am making lunches x2. My original purposes have changed, but now it's a matter of feeding them a good, healthy lunch, where I know what ingredients have been used.

That statistics cited are troubling:
  • The price of fresh fruits and vegetables has risen 40% in the last 20 years
  • Half of America's school children eat less than 1 serving of fruit a day
  • 30% eat less than 1 serving of veggies per day that aren't fried
  • At least 30% of the average child's diet comes from sweets, soft drinks, salty snacks, and fast food
  • Since the 1970s, obesity rates have tripled among children,12% have type 2 diabetes, 19% are obese and 35% are overweight, and all these numbers are rising

I know what my kids eat, I know what we all eat, and since I cook almost all of it, I know what is in it. However, one of the ideas I found most interesting in Kafala's book is the talk about the "food culture" at school.

Is what's being served and its message actually undermining what we try to tell our children about health and nutrition?

We tell them eat healthy, but cafeterias serve pizza and ice cream. We tell them candy is a treat, yet every time we turn around they are getting a candy reward at school, at scouts, at athletic games. We tell them to make good choices, but why are we offering bad choices to children who don't have the ability to think long term?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, if you want to leave a comment!

Or if you'd like to chat more about Lunch Wars with the other reviewers? Stop by BlogHer to join in!

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 70

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "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!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Live from Colorado!

We made it, safe and sound!!!



We're in temporary housing for a few weeks until the house we are taking is ready. In the meantime, you all have the pleasure of looking forward to a series of posts on how we are going to manage to cook and eat while living in temporary housing without a real kitchen, LOL!

We have two mini fridge/freezer combos and a microwave. I brought my rice cooker, crock pot, electric skillet and toaster oven. Tonight we hit the grocery store to get a few necessities, then tomorrow begins the "how the heck do I cook dinner without an oven or cooktop?" craziness! Bentos too, of course, but those require less oven usage, except the desserts.

And the picture above? Well, that's the view outside our soon-to-be front yard! I am so excited about this!!! Be posting as soon as I can!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 69

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "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!

***Movers are coming this weekend, so will do my best to keep posting, but it all depends on how smooth this process is!***


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Featured Friday

Welcome to a very late featured Friday on a Sunday night!

I know, it's two days late; things are a wee bit crazy around here. Our big news is finally official, we are moving to Colorado Springs very soon (as in we should be in CO by 9/25)! We'll be in temp housing until mid-October, then moving into our own place. I'll be doing my best bento-making from a kitchenette, but no promises. ;o)

As for this week, here are a few things I loved!


A fun "Apple of My Eye" Lunch from Bento-logy


Cider donuts from Lunches Fit for a Kid
(I am in awe of her bread making skills too!)


A royal lunch fit for a queen at Bent On Better Lunches


8 Great Lunch Foods from Organic Authority


And several of my bentos were featured on
Parent Map's 20 Lunch Box Ideas for Kids,
including my favorite pirate and Ben's infamous Peanuts!

As always, all pictures belong to their blog owners, click on them or their attached links to see the full posts on the original sites. (If you would prefer your link not featured, please let me know and I will remove it.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 68

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "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 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, September 13, 2011

Leftover Calzones Bento

Hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday!

Yesterday was supposed to be the Kids Cook Monday, but it ended up being "Go out for yummy Thai food with friends" Monday. And we all really love Thai food!

I did make lunch for the kids, and took advantage of a little bit of leftover calzone filling from the other night. It's a bit of ground turkey, seasoned with garlic and Italian seasonings, a bit of garlic/herb cooking creme, some parmesan, a bit of red sauce, a few handfuls of cheese, really just bits & pieces of what was in my fridge, but so yummy!



For lunch, I stuffed mini pitas with the aforementioned filling, which kind of gave a calzone effect. (I used to make biscuit calzones frequently, if you look back to 2007 and 2008 posts; I really should do that again!) To go with the calzones, the kids had pretzels, strawberries and carrots with dip. Today's project is to go buy fruit, we are out again. I swear, we go through scary amounts of fruit around here!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Featured Friday

Happy Friday Everyone! We're back from a really quick Missouri road trip, which also involved our very first trip to Kansas when I decided that one of the exits off I-44 had to have a gas station. No gas station, but within a half mile, a big welcome to Kansas sign. So we stopped and got out of the car so the kids could officially set their feet down in KS (we're a little odd that way).

Anyhow, a few fun links for the weekend!


An awesome stuffed bread character tutorial
from the sweet Lia at Bentolicious!


A cute heart themed "Mommy Loves You" meal
from Basic Bento for her preschooler


Another love themed lunch from Miso Bento
(And I totally want a Planet Box!)


And my Pinterest find--a way to keep apples fresh for snacks!
Check out the apple puzzle from @ Home With Real Food

As always, all pictures belong to their blog owners, click on them or their attached links to see the full posts on the original sites. (If you would prefer your link not featured, please let me know and I will remove it.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On the Road Fox Bentos

Yep, we're on the road again, but just a quick two day trip this time, back to Missouri.

I wanted to have lunch in the car, because I now know we shouldn't have to stop for gas until about Springfield, Missouri. I'm sure there will be bathroom breaks in between, but at least those should be quicker if we don't have to get food too.

This was one of those bentos that sort of came together after I started assembling it. I sliced the cantaloupe and scooper in the yogurt first, then made the sandwiches. I was going to make some kind of sandwich decoration, but started slicing a few strawberries when I noticed, they looked like ears! So from there, the fox appeared!



The kids have identical lunches because I'm driving and don't want to listen to it. ;o) They have ham & cream cheese sandwich on multigrain rounds, topped with fox faces (white cheddar for the eyes and organic blueberry fruit leather for the rest of the features). The ears, of course, are strawberries, then strawberry yogurt, and cantaloupe. Not in the bento, we have pretzels and granola bars for snacks, along with bottled water, and coffee for me.

For the record, Faith thinks it's a cat and Ben thinks it's a chihuahua. I was thinking fox, but I really am not sure.

On the road, I still prefer our Easy Lunchboxes, also available on Amazon. As mentioned, they fit in my cooler nicely and they are sturdy enough for the kids to use them on their laps.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 67

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "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 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, September 6, 2011

Breakfast for Lunch Bento

Well, almost a breakfast for lunch, assuming one's breakfast includes a pumpkin cupcake. (For the record, *my* breakfast often includes a cupcake. It goes good with my coffee.)

Either way, we bought mini-bagels the other day and F&B love mini bagels, so they were the base for lunch.



Faith has a mini bagel, toasted, and spread with whipped cream cheese and sliced strawberries. To go with it, she has a sliced boiled egg, blueberry yogurt with a dash of sprinkles, fresh cantaloupe, grapes to hold everything in place, the aforementioned pumpkin cupcake with a bit of cream cheese icing, and some tea party cutouts from organic blueberry fruit leather. Pretty, simple, and quite tasty!



I thought this was kind of pretty, so had to take a picture--bagel with fresh strawberries!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Kids Cook Monday - Sour Cream Turkey Enchiladas


Today's The Kids Cook Monday wasn't actually cooked this Monday, since it's from my freezer stash of meals. It was, however, constructed with the help of the kids, then frozen for later usage, since we all enjoy enchiladas.


Sorry for the picture, it fell off the spatula when I served it!

I used leftover turkey for this, cut up, then in my mini-crockpot with some water till it shredded easily. Just drain the excess water.

For the sauce, combine 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 1/4 cup of sour cream, and 1/2 tsp of chili powder in a skillet and heat through. Add the chicken, plus 1 packet of taco seasoning, 1/2 teaspoons of garlic and onion powders, mix well.

Spread a bit of the sauce mixture at the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of tortillas (in theory, you could roll enchiladas, but I find it a pain, I layer mine like a lasagna). Add a layer of the turkey mixture, a sprinkle of cheese, a layer of tortillas, then repeat. After the last layer of tortillas, pour a can of green enchilada sauce over top and another sprinkle of cheese.

You can, if you wish, add sliced black olives, jalapeƱos and/or green onions to the mixture or as toppings, whatever you prefer.

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, keep covered with foil until the last 5 minutes or so to prevent the cheese from burning.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Featured Friday

I know, I forgot to actually publish this on Friday, and it technically is Sunday, but Featured Sunday just doesn't have the same ring to it and I do like a semblance of order. Thankfully, Blogger offers a neat little back-date feature that I'm taking full advantage of.

It's still a bazillion degrees in Dallas and I am so ready for Fall! I have tons of cute stuff bookmarked, so I'm trying to hold out a few more weeks to share it.

This week though, I'm loving some back-to-school ideas! (And I'm still obsessed with Pinterest, if you want to follow me there, my username is scarino.)


Isn't this an adorable first day of school lunch from Glory's Mischief?
I love the puzzle pieces and letters!


I'm a wee bit obsessed with the idea of muffins in lieu of sandwiches.
Check out the pizza muffins from Lick the Bowl Good--perfect!


Jen at Bento for Kidlet always draws the most amazing sandwich toppers.
The current Dr. Who ones are no exception (and browse through her others)!


Much like my muffin obsession, I think mini-pies have to be better.
Mini-chicken pot pies from The Baker Chick have much bento potential!

As always, all pictures belong to their blog owners, click on them or their attached links to see the full posts on the original sites. (If you would prefer your link not featured, please let me know and I will remove it.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Make Your Own Pocket Sandwiches Bento

F&B love the concept of pocket sandwiches or uncrustables, but neither of them will eat peanut butter. That pretty much limits all commercially available ones. On top of that, we all really like multi-grain breads, also not a part of the traditional pocket sandwich.

Last year, in preparation for the Komen 3-Day, one of my friends hosted a Pampered Chef party and we got one of their sandwich makers. For awhile, pocket sandwiches were in abundance at our house. And then we forgot about it. Until today.



Faith has a cream cheese and strawberry jelly uncrustable sandwich made with honey 7-grain bread. Isn't it cute??? The flower on top is made from an organic fruit leather both kids like. To the right, we have carrots sticks; to the bottom, some pretzel grids and some grapes; and I really need to buy some more fruit!
 

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