Thursday, November 29, 2012

Simple Lunches with Elephants Bento

We were in a bit of a rush the other morning, and I couldn't find the cutters I wanted to decorate the boy's sandwich.  So, like we often do, I defaulted to elephant picks because he does love his elephants. He left for school, I moved a box and found the cutters.  Isn't that how it always works out?


So instead, Mr. Ben had his sandwich (turkey and cheese on whole wheat rounds) accented with a cute little elephant pick instead.  To the right, he had cantaloupe with a mini-elephant fork pick, a few carrots and a melon pudding we buy at the Asian grocery.  I have no idea exactly what they are, but he loves them.  (For those looking, they come in a big jar with four flavors--mango, melon, grape and strawberry, the bottoms are shaped like stars.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesdays, Week 131


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, November 27, 2012

Back to School Bento

Thanksgiving break is over, so it's back to school for all of three weeks before the Christmas holidays.  We did have a nice Thanksgiving with friends, along with some fun Black Friday shopping, but I was ready for the kids to get back to school and back to their routines for sure.


I had hoped this picture had turned out better, it doesn't reflect the sandwich press as well as I would have hoped.  Ben had a Hulk pressed sandwich, which you could see the detail on him person, but not in the photo.  I used the extra sandwich bits to make a quick sandwich kebab, so nitrate-free bologna, white cheddar and some honey wheat bread for both.  To the right, he has kiwi, carrots and cantaloupe, because that's what I had in the fridge!  Snack was a Cutie orange because he's obsessed with them.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Owl Pancakes!


Every so often, we also love to have fun with the rest of our food, not just lunches!  I'm lucky enough to be a contributor to Van's Natural Foods blog, which has helped expand the fun-with-breakfast foods repertoire.

These awesome owl pancakes were one of our recent posts over at Van's.  They're gluten-free too (using Van's gluten-free pancakes as the base), and use nuts and fruits to decorate.  For more details, come visit me on Van's Natural Foods blog!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 130


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, November 20, 2012

Hormel November - Thanksgiving Tips from Joan Hanson

Let's talk turkey!

Are you ready for Thanksgiving yet?  We actually are, for once.  I picked up the turkey last week (thank you 49cent/lb sales) along with most of the ingredients for the side dishes.  We're having a couple of friends over this year, plus the four of us, so I'm still keeping things simple--turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole, deviled peas, rolls and pumpkin pie.  I debated a few other sides, but with only four adults and two kids, I figured I didn't want leftovers for life!

Hormel asked their bloggers what Thanksgiving prep questions they had and Joan Hansen recorded a video to answer the most pressing turkey tips!

Do you have any secrets or tips on how to prepare the turkey or ham? What's the one dish for the holidays that you can't live without?

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. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nestle Fall Favorites - Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies & a Giveaway

Nestlé® Fall Favorites Banner 6

If you've been around the blog for a bit, you probably know that I'm obsessed with all things pumpkin flavored--pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake (which I am really craving right now).  The husband even found pumpkin ice cream and brought it home.


I definitely do not object to trying out and blogging new pumpkin recipes, so was excited to try out the new Nestle Fall Favorite recipes.  Even better?  I get to do a give away for my readers!  I've got 3 $25 Walmart gift cards, perfect for holiday shopping.  But first, brownies!!!  They are seriously yummy, almost a spice cake flavor, and with chocolate chips.  You really can't go wrong with any of those.

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar blend
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Spray 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

COMBINE pumpkin, sugar blend, egg, egg whites and oil in large mixer bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add flour, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, allspice, salt and nutmeg. Beat on low speed until batter is smooth. Stir in morsels. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares.


I also get to give away three $25 gift cards to Walmart to three lucky winners.  Want to win?

First, follow me on Pinterest (username is scarino, I am not creative that way).

Next, repin one of the recipes on my Nestle Fall Favorites board.

Finally, leave a comment using the Rafflecopter below to let me know which recipe you repinned.  That's it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a gift card of my own to purchase the ingredients for my post, all opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Am Thankful For ... Bento

In honor of Thanksgving, and rather than a plethora of the standard turkey posts, it's a celebration of things we are thankful for with my bento friends.  That theme is open to all sorts of interpretation, so I had to think about it for a long time.

I'm thankful for my husband, my kids, my parents & family, good books, good theater, skiing, the men & women my husband serves with, and more.  The one thing different this year?  I'm thankful for my Dante-puppy, which won out for being the theme of Ben's lunch since Faith, Ben and I have wanted a puppy for a rather long time.


Ben has a puppy sandwich, of course, to represent our fur-baby.  The puppy sandwich is a LunchPunch, with a puppy in a dog house.  This part is a little imaginative as Dante tends to sleep on my bed as soon as the husband leaves for PT each morning.  He has honey wheat bread, turkey and orange cheddar inside, with an extra puppy cut on the outside from white cheddar.  To the right, he has a mini orange and grapes, accented with puppy dog picks, and some carrots. It's packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

And in case you haven't seen him before, this is my beautiful fur baby!  He's a rescue puppy from Oklahoma, who was found abandoned at 2 days old.  He was hand raised by the rescue, then they partner with another rescue in Denver, where we met him and adopted him when he was a little over 2 months old.


To check out the next thankful bento, follow the button below to Beneficial Bentos!



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 129


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, November 13, 2012

Fall Leaf Bento

Feeling a little fall-ish today, especially since it is a wee bit chilly in Colorado.  And we have lots and lots of leaves in the backyard (and a puppy who eats them for us).

And, after a conversation with a FB friend of mine, I really want to do a lunch made easy.  She was mentioning how many "easy" lunches were still not easy.  This one is!  If you haven't invested in cookie cutters yet, it's imperative to cute *easy* lunches.  I used Wilton metal leaf cutters for this bento, but any good size cookie cutters will do (there's an awesome jar of 101 on Amazon for around $12, great starter set!).


Ben has two fall leaf sandwiches, on honey wheat bread with ham and cheese, topped with two more mini cheese leaves.  For shaped sandwiches, it is a lot easier to cut everything first separately, then assemble the sandwich.  Plus, you can most effectively cut the bread to minimize scraps if you cut each piece individually.  For side dishes, he had a mini orange with a cute pick stuck in the top, along with cantaloupe and grapes.  Easy peasy and very cute. Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides with Country Crock & Giveaway


Have you started planning for your Thanksgiving dinner yet?


Last year was the first year that it was just the four of us for Thanksgiving, so I kept it simple with some  family favorites (although I did upgrade the traditional turkey to a turkey wrapped in bacon).  I made the kids' two favorite side dishes--a sweet potato casserole with pecans and deviled peas.

This year, Country Crock issued the challenge to make a Thanksgiving side and switch out the regular butter for Country Crock, since it offers 0 grams of transfat per dish.  Challenge accepted!  And the kids were more than happy to sample their favorite deviled peas for a regular dinner.



Now, trust me, this recipe sounds weird.  But it is seriously yummy and very easy to put together!

Deviled Peas:
3 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 Tbsp chili sauce (or salsa)
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp butter (switch for Country Crock!)
1/2 cup cracker crumbs

  • Layer peas evenly in bottom of a 1 1/2 quart casserole. 
  • Combine next 4 ingredients in small bowl, spoon over peas. Spread evenly. 
  • Layer egg on top, sprinkle with cheese. 
  • For topping, melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in cracker crumbs. Sprinkle over peas. 
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until hot and bubbly.
If you're still thinking it's a bit odd, check out the Country Crock Chronicle for other Thanksgiving recipes ideas!

Country Crock is also letting me give away a cute Thanksgiving decoration for my readers--the winner's choice of Harvest Pumpkin Tiny Taper holders, Italian Scalloped Bakers, or Wire Baker Racks!  Just leave me a comment below (using the Rafflecopter please!) telling me what your favorite Thanksgiving side dish is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Country Crock for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 128


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, November 6, 2012

Faith's "I Love Pandas!" Bento

In my bento blog group, we did a pick exchange, where everyone chose a pick that they loved or represented something fun/special to them, bought it in bulk and we all swapped. Me, I sent in zombie hand because of Ben, which seemed well received by the other boy moms! I also got some amazing picks back, including a few brand new panda ones.

That, plus some cute picks that my friend Kendra shopped for for me and my awesome CuteZCute cutter, meant I could make a very panda themed lunch for Miss Faith.


Faith has a turkey and cheese sandwich on multigrain rounds, topped with a white cheddar panda with orange cheddar accents, cut with the CuteZCute cutter. To the right, she has carrots, a couple of crisps and honeydew and green grapes, topped with a variety of panda picks. The lunches are packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Very Last Halloween Bento

As much as I love Halloween, I'm not exactly sorry that this is the very last Halloween bento I have to make for the year. I'm running low on ideas (especially not wanting to redo every idea I had last year too).

On Halloween, Faith's class had a field trip to the zoo, so she needed a 100% throwaway lunch because the zoo is a huge hike to go through and the teacher didn't want bags to deal with. I was out of disposable containers, so was in the freezer looking for ideas when Faith came in and said that the lunchmeat container would be perfect to take. Since she had a very good point, we emptied the container to a reusable one, washed the recyclable one and made lunch!


Faith had a turkey and cheese sandwich on multigrain rounds, topped with various cheese cutouts from our linzer cutter set.  She had one of the mini cupcakes I made for Ben's class party with a couple of extra candy corns and a Tootsie Roll (mostly a place holder to help keep the sandwich in place).  On the right, she had grapes and carrots, separated with paper muffin cups to keep up with the disposable theme.

 

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