Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Halloween Bento - Monster Mash!

Squeezing in one last Halloween bento today, since I really wanted monster faces! Had to go light on the food, since both kids have class parties this afternoon, then we're having friends over for chili, trick or treating, and candy eating!

Ben has a monster face sandwich, half turkey, half ham, on multigrain rounds, with teeth cut from a slice of provolone. Eyes are boiled egg slices with carrots for the pupils. To the right, he has grapes, cantaloupe, and a little blueberry pastry thingie.


For Faith, I tried the other monster face option and cut the bread as the teeth (side note, Ben's was much easier!). Hers is cream cheese and jelly, but the rest of the bento is the same.

It's packed in Easy Lunchboxes, also available on Amazon.

Hope you all have a boo-tiful Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hormel - Quick Fall Meals

October's Hormel questions ask about quick fall meals. How do you take October activities--Halloween prep, apple picking, visiting the corn maze or hay rides, pumpkin picking--and bring it into the kitchen?

When your schedule gets busy, as it inevitably does in the fall, how do you stay on top of having dinner each night?

Now, for those of you that have been following along, we moved from Dallas to Colorado at the end of September, then spent the first half of October living in a hotel while we waited for our house to be done. Quick, easy meals were imperative, especially since I didn't have access to a full kitchen.


Perfect for fall days, I'm still in love with my crockpot! I actually have 3--a mini one, a taller round one and a wider oval one, for different uses. On MomTrends, I shared two of my favorite crockpot recipes already (crockpot roast chicken and crockpot lasagna). I also love to default to stews and soups in the crockpot. Beef stew is extra easy--cook the beef quickly in a pan to brown it, drain, add it plus water, bouillon, potatoes and mixed veggies to a crockpot, then cook on low all day long.

The next two nights are crockpot nights for us too! Tonight, I have a Hormel Always Tender Pork Loin in the crockpot. It's been simmering all day with garlic and parmesan (which you can smell the minute you walk through our front door). We'll serve it with steamed rice and steamed veggies, so little extra work on my part and it's pretty much ready to eat by 6pm!

Tomorrow, for Halloween, we're having friends over for chili in the crockpot, then out trick or treating with our kids! Another meal I don't have to watch carefully all day long, since I need to be at F&B's school in the mid afternoon.

What are your favorite fall meals? Or crock pot meals? Leave me a comment with your favorite, and one random winner will receive a pumpkin trick or treat basket, filled with Hormel goodies!

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, October 28, 2011

Featured Friday!

I know, in the process of moving, I've let Featured Friday fall to the wayside.

But we are almost moved in now, and sort of, kind of, semi-unpacked. (Well, if you don't go in the basement, my house looks pretty good. But stay out of the basement.) At some point, I'll take y'all on a little tour of our on-base housing. The kitchen is bigger than I expected and we got a darling little corner booth breakfast table which helps open up that part of the room. I did lose my bento cabinet, but confiscated a whole set of drawers for bento drawers, so I'm OK.

Anyhow, since Halloween is Monday, I wanted one more Halloween themed Featured Friday with some fun bentos from some of my awesome bento bloggers.

Cool dual pumpkins from Edible Articles

Absolutely darling ghosts from Ameriasian Bento

Ben had an eyeball obsession a few years ago--
Eyeballs=completely hilarious

Amazing Jack Skellington from Bento Monsters

This is not a bento. But these are too awesome not to add!
Pretzel and marshmallow skeletons!!! (From Wants & Wishes Daily Inspiration)

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, October 27, 2011

Two for the Price of One! Halloween Bento Lunches

Why two for the price of one? Well, I have a few lunches in backlog, in case of emergencies and realized a few are kind of Halloweenie, so today, you get yesterday's and today's lunches!

Now yesterday, we had our very first snow in Colorado Springs. It was cold (and very cold, considering we moved here from 90-degree weather in Texas less than a month ago). And F&B were very cold, so I scrapped my original lunch plan and heated up soup for them.

They both had a thermos of chicken/corn chowder, which I was pleased to here was still piping hot at lunchtime (Thermos brand thermoses, filled with boiling water while I heated the soup to boiling also). In the box, they had cantaloupe, naan and some cheddar cheese, cut like a bat for festiveness. ;o)

Now last night was also cold, so I opted to bake to have a reason to put the oven on and warm up the kitchen! I made corn dog muffins (a kid favorite) and ended up with 18 of them, so I can start rebuilding a freezer stash.


They each had a corn dog muffin, blueberry crisps, honeydew and cantaloupe, once again accented with a bat cutout. I messed up and cut most of the cantaloupe before I remembered I wanted to shape some of it, so had to use the bats by default, since they are narrower than the other Halloween cutters I have!

Now I feel the need to run to the store and figure out something more festive for one more Halloween lunch!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 74

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!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another Halloween Bento Lunch

This one's simpler, because I wanted to use some leftovers out. We made tacos the other night and I had maybe enough meat left over for about a taco and a half. Not enough to make stuffed muffins or something like that and not really enough for Shaun to eat, but we did have a some pita breads left to make taco pitas for the kids!


Ben has a taco pita, cut in half, with meat and cheese inside. I really love the half pitas for the kids, they are so much less messy than the wraps! To go with that, he has some carrots with ranch dip, a kiwi (he's still on his kiwi kick), some honeydew, and two of yesterday's oatmeal butterscotch cookies. To make it Halloween-y, he has a pumpkin and bat cut from blueberry fruit leather.

It's packed in Easy Lunchboxes, also available on Amazon.

ETA: I put Halloween jokes in F&B's lunches today, I need more of these!

Faith's: How do witches do their hair? With scare-spray!

Ben's: What's a ghost's favorite fruit? Boo-berries.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Kids Cook Monday - Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies


Right now, I'm just a wee bit obsessed with a cookbook I just reviewed for Momtrends (side note, I'm now the food editor there, in case you didn't know!). So for today's The Kids Cook Monday, I really wanted another cookie, so we made a version of the Oatmeal Scotchies from The Ultimate Cake Mix Cookie Book



Now why am I obsessed with this book? Because most recipes only involve a few ingredients past the cake mix! Quick, easy, yummy, and done in a matter of minutes. Of course, done in a matter of minutes is also matter of opinion--my matter of minutes was delayed slightly when I discovered the hard way that the drawer below my oven? Not exactly storage, more of a warming drawer and I'm thinking fingerprints aren't really a necessity of life.

Anyhow, in summary, our adaptation of Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies, original recipe from The Ultimate Cake Mix Cookie Book:

1 box white cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted

Blend these three ingredients till smooth, then stir in:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup butterscotch chips

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes or until edges brown.
Serve warm with a cup of tea. (I was in a tea mood this afternoon.)

Halloween Bat Bento!

In this week's unpacking extravaganza, I've found my EasyLunchboxes, my cookie cutters *and* some Halloween decorations.

I still have not found the silverware, for those keeping track, and actually asked a Dallas friend to go check our old house and see if it got left (I am out of places it could be around here).

But Halloween stuff makes me happy!


Ben has a ham & turkey sandwich on multigrain rounds, topped with a cheddar bat with sugar eyes. The bat is making me all sorts of happy today, just because he's more interesting than anything I could make in a hotel room.

To go with that, he has pretzels, carrots, honeydew, and a chocolate zucchini muffin, topped with a little sugared ghost decoration. The ghost also makes me happy. :o)

Of course, as mentioned, it's packed in Easy Lunchboxes, which are also available on Amazon if you need a set of your own (both kids and my husband use ours!). And yes, finding my bento supplies? Also makes me happy! It's a good day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

More New House Bento

Good news! I've found most of my bento supplies, my camera and my card reader. Of course, the silverware is still missing and I feel less optimistic about finding it daily.

Still trying to figure out where/how to take the pictures in this house. The lighting isn't great in the early mornings, so you'll have to excuse the shadows till I find out the ideal location. ;o) This one was taken around 7am and seems a little darker than I'd like it to be.


That said, we bought fresh naan yesterday, so Ben had a few pieces of naan, some chunks of sharp cheddar cheese, and a bit of deli turkey and ham. He had the rest of the honeydew, a few butter pretzels, and a mini chocolate-zucchini muffin. Faith had a class party today and that was what she chose to bring and share with her classmates, so I saved a few for lunches too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 73

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!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New House Bento!

Today, we finally got all our household goods! But last night, we actually had our first dinner (spaghetti) in the new house, then I decided to whip up a quick pasta salad for today's bentos.

I cheated a little and used Annie's Mac&Cheese as the base, it's the Arthur shaped kind. I added some ham, peas, cheese and ranch to it. Had some for lunch today too, not bad!


Anyhow, for lunch, the kids had a tier of pasta salad (lower/smaller tier), then honeydew, carrots, and some cute little Halloween pretzel melts we made for a treat!

Back to unpacking, I'm still on a search for the silverware!

ETA: Yet again, a horrific picture. Beginning to think iPhone + kitchen lighting? Not going to work.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What is *Supposed* to be a Ghost Bento

So, I'm back, sort of! We are in our new house and the furniture should arrive tomorrow. The Internet should arrive today, we have priorities. ;o)

This was actually the last hotel room bento I made, down to the freehand ghost, lovingly crafted for my son ...


Who came home and said, "Why did you make a penguin???"

Anyhow, the boy had a turkey and cheese stuffed pita with a GHOST made of cheese on top, sugar eyes and a smile from orange cheese. He also had some grapes, some apple cinnamon crisps, and kiwi slices; he's on a kiwi kick right now.

And it's a ghost! Really!!!!

Very late night ETA: I did not realize how bad this picture was till I saw it on my laptop. It looks nice and clear on my phone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mini Biscuit Calzones Bento & Recipe

We've been making mini-biscuit calzones for years for the kids' lunches. I looked back and discovered that the eighth bento *ever* featured these as well, way back in June 2007!

(Observation, I think my composition and photography have definitely improved over the years.)

Anyhow, since they are made with refrigerated biscuits, I can bake them in a toaster oven. And since we are still living at the hotel, I only have a toaster oven, not a real oven. (BTW, say a prayer that the housing office will let us move in on Friday afternoon instead of waiting till Monday morning, we don't have a weekend plan if they don't!)


Ben has two mini calzones, stuffed with mozzarella and turkey pepperonis, along with a side of marinara to dip them in, hiding in the yellow container. He has carrot sticks, some red plum slices and kiwi, because he's on a kiwi kick lately, and a few apple-cinnamon crisps as a treat.

In case you wanted it, here's the mini-calzone summary:

1 can refrigerated biscuits
1/4 cup marinara
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup pepperoni, diced or cut into smaller pieces

-Flatten each biscuits into a circle.
-Put a dab of marinara on each, spread it out but not to the edges. You don't want a ton of sauce or they won't seal, just a teeny bit for flavor, like a 1/2 teaspoon.
-Arrange a few pepperonis on top, then a bit of shredded cheese.
-Fold the flattened biscuit in half, making sure the filler doesn't spill out the sides, then crimp the edges with a fork.
-Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes, or however long the biscuit package says to cook it.
-Serve with excess marinara for dipping.

***Side note: These work with any kind of filler that isn't very liquid, so use out leftovers like BBQ pork, ham, roast beef, etc, along with cheeses, and serve with a matching dipping sauce.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 72

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!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Mummy-licious Bento

F&B had Monday off this week, and I just found out they have Friday off too. I thought I signed up for them to go 5 days a week?!?!? If we weren't still stuck in a hotel, this might not be bad, but it's too little space for four people right now.

I am desperately craving the ability to bake and decorate for Halloween right now, so I had to attempt a kind of Halloween bento. The mummy meatloaf from Featured Friday gave me the idea and the pack of havarti in the fridge made for perfect bandages.


Faith has a mummy sandwich--turkey with herbed cream cheese on some kind of whole grain bread, topped with a mummy (strips of havarti bandages and sugar eyes). To go with that, she has grapes, carrots, half a red plum, and a few blueberry crisps. Since I can't bake, I had to buy treats. These ones are kind of a rice crisp from Quaker, we bought blueberry and apple cinnamon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Featured Friday (Yes yes, on a Sunday!)

Well, as in all the last posts, we are *still* in temporary housing, but I have to admit, it's much easier sharing a few favorite posts from the week than it is to actually make the bentos! Thankfully, I have some very talented bento friends with great lunch ideas and a slight addiction to Pinterest for regular food ideas!

Sweet Lia at Bentolicious has the cutest little kitten bento this week!

Marshmallow witches from Taste of Home that require no baking!

Sweet & salty bites from Free Cake Info (toaster oven maybe?)

Adorable Jack o Lantern sushi from the talented Sheri at Happy Little Bento

I really want to make this Mummy Meatloaf from The Knead for Speed

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.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fish Sandwich Bento

Heading into our second full weekend in temporary housing (2 down, 1 to go!), I'm low on lunch foods. However, I'm also low on space, so with a 4 day weekend ahead of us, we're using the last bits of food I have.

I saw the Goldfish bread at the commissary the other day at a good price, and F&B wanted to try it out. It's a great bento addition without a whole lot of extra effort on my part!


Faith has a cream cheese and jelly sandwich on the honey-wheat Goldfish bread, some carrot sticks, a couple of gingersnaps, and the last yellow plum. I need to get a few other groceries, beginning to feel like most of our meals look the same right now!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Little Bear Bento for Faith

Today's experiment, posting from my iPhone, so let me know how this looks, please? Worried about formatting. Any blog apps recommendations are appreciated too.



But back to lunch! I got bored and used the egg mold I have to cut out a bear design for Faith. She has a turkey and cheese sandwich on multigrain bread rounds, topped with a cheese bear. I used wee bits of left over green bean to make the eyes. To go with that, she has a few gingersnaps, along with a mixture of fruit--pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, and strawberry.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 71

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!



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rainbow Fruit Bento

Still in temporary housing! Less than two weeks left till we are in a house, thank God!

I'm running out of fun bento ideas since I only have a few boxes and very limited supplies, but I did have enough fruit for a rainbow of produce!


Ben has a chicken salad sandwich, made with leftover Italian chicken, stuffed into half a wheat pita pocket and sitting on top of a few veggie straws. To the right, he has his rainbow of fruits--strawberry, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew and blueberry, lots of his favorites, all in one box. It's packed in our Lunchbots Duo, which I discovered I did have with us, so it's another box option!

Again, sorry for the lousy pictures! I have my iPhone only and there is no window in our teeny kitchenette!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Semi-Halloween Bento!

I'm a little sad that I packed the better part of my Halloween bento items, so I can't make anything really cool right now. I think a trip to the store for some new cutters may be in order since we don't get our stuff till mid-October. I figured a few Halloween picks were at least a good way to welcome October (side note, I also desperately want to bake pumpkin stuff and have no oven, it's traumatizing, to say the least!).


For lunch, Faith had deli turkey, skewered on Halloween picks and chunks of cheddar cheese. To go with that, she had pita crisp crackers, an almond poppyseed muffin and cantaloupe. She was *going* to have baby carrots to go with it, but she ate the bag of them while snacking & doing her homework. I suppose there are worse things in life than a child who eats a bag of baby carrots. ;o)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another Temporary Housing Bento

Temporary housing food is definitely interesting. I've actually managed to cook multiple dinners without an oven, and we're eating pretty well.

Lunches, in and of themselves, are easy, but cute lunches are harder since I'm limited with supplies. I talked to a local mom group in Dallas the day before we left, so at least I have a few things I brought along with me to the talk to show bento ideas. I really miss my big jars of cookie cutters though!



For the second day of school, Faith took a cream cheese and jelly pita sandwich cut into quarters to fit in her box. She had a few veggie straws, an almond poppyseed muffin, carrots, ranch, and cantaloupe. She ate everything, so this seemed to be a better balance of food!
 

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