Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hormel December - Cooking with Kids & Holiday Appetizers


Did you have a good holiday this year?  We did.  We're in Canada, as usual, hanging out at my mom & dad's, eating lots of yummy foods of course.

One of the fun parts of the holidays is all the opportunities to cook with your kids.  Even the littlest chefs can get into the game with Christmas cookies.  F&B have helped since they were toddlers with  simple tasks like sprinkling iced cookies or adding M&M eyes and pretzel antlers to reindeer.  It can be a wee bit of math too, counting out the eyes, ears and noses, for example!


This year, since she's 10, Faith is really into helping cook.  One of the things she really wanted for Christmas desserts were lemon squares, so my mom handed her the recipe and put her to work too.  She was quite proud of her creation!

We're also really excited about these appetizer ideas from Hormel for her to try making on own!  She's getting quite good with cooking and baking, so I'm happy to let her try some new things, and these choices sound yummy for a party or a regular day.
  • Turn an ordinary biscuit into a more sophisticated appetizer by filling a mini biscuit with a delicious mixture of Hormel® pepperoni minis, cheese, tomato, mayonnaise and pesto to create Italian Pepperoni Bites
  • Tired of being stuck in the hot kitchen and using the oven all day long? With a preparation time of less than 15 minutes, Chicken and Salsa Tortilla Bites are quick and tasty bite-size wraps that don’t require any baking. Simply combine Hormel® chunk breast of chicken, a vegetable cream cheese of your choice, and CHI-CHI'S® thick & chunky salsa, spread on a tortilla, wrap up and enjoy! 
  • Give your appetizer selection a bit of upscale flair with these Bacon and Blue Cheese Crostinis. Elegant and flavorful, each crostini is a mouthful of generous portions of bacon and cheese.
What are some of your favorite appetizer recipes?  Do your kids help cook them too?

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, December 28, 2012

Featured Friday - Christmas Foods I Loved This Year

I've missed doing a Feature Friday of posts and have decided that compiling one each week should be one of my New Year's goals. Of course, it's not quite New Year's yet, but I've seen so many cute Christmas ideas that I figured I'd start a few days early!

This beautiful peace dove lunch is from my friend Sarah at Bentoriffic.
She has amazing vegan lunches, including for her two young daughters.

I love this snowman from Cristi at BentOnBetter Lunches!
It would work for the rest of winter too,
and now I really want a Yubo box!

has a darling Santa face lunch, made with cookie presses!
By the way, bookmark the linky for lots of awesome Elf ideas.

Michelle at Creative Fun Food has 7 sweet ideas for Christmas foods--
in bentos, on plates and sweets!

I found these cute little strawberry Santas on Photo Overload.
There are tons of versions if you Google "strawberry santas" so just pick a version!

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, December 26, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 135

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!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Meatball Biscuit Bento, and a Quick & Yummy Appetizer Idea

While we are away for Christmas, I have a few old bentos to blog. This one, from back in October (I think), was a must-share, since it's an awesome quick appetizer idea for Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, or just for lunches--meatball biscuits with marinara for dipping!


This was Faith's lunch, featuring two meatball biscuits and a side of marinara in the EasyLunchboxes Mini Dipper container.  To go with that, she had a cutie orange, carrots and a homemade chocolate cookie with sprinkles. Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes.

To make the meatball biscuits, flatten out canned biscuits.  Sprinkled a little bit of shredded mozzarella in the middle of each biscuits, then add a frozen meatball to it.  Wrap the biscuit around the meatball, pinch the ends together and invert them into a mini-muffin pan.  Bake per the package directions for the biscuits, then serve with marinara.  You can also brush them with a bit of garlic butter while baking.  We sometimes make these along with mozzarella sticks and frozen pizza for an appetizer night dinner and the kids like them for lunch too!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cookie Time! With some help from our Elf on the Shelf


Before we headed out to Canada, F&B and I made a few batches of Christmas cookies!

Like last year, we made zebra nibbles and gingerbread reindeer.  We also made a batch of chocolate peppermint cookies (chocolate cookies with crushed candy canes mixed into the batter), peanut butter blossoms (PB cookies with Hershey's Kisses on top), and a small batch of my favorite sugar cookies.  By far, these are the easiest sugar cookies ever, just 4 ingredients, and they roll and cut out beautifully.  I used my Nordicware cookie presses on these and they came out perfectly with the imprints.  The elf cookie cutter was a favorite and I made quite a few extras of those.

David the Elf had to post with a few cookies too, holding an elf cookie of course!

The Best & Easiest Sugar Cookie Recipe Ever!
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour

Melt butter, cream butter and sugar together, add vanilla
Gradually mix in flour and knead together
Refrigerate minimum 20 minutes, an hour works best IMHO
Roll out on a floured surface, cut and decorate
Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly brown

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 134

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, December 18, 2012

Reindeer and Sleigh Bento

Faith's lunch from the other day was quite similar to Ben's, since we're cleaning out the fridge for the holidays. However, she made up for ingredients with a different style!


Faith has a reindeer and a sleigh sandwich, made from honey wheat bread, turkey and cheese.  I used the Nordicware press cookie cutters for the design, I thought they were too cute! She had a Christmas tree cookie that Nana sent her, a cutie orange and grapes.  After the picture, she asked to add some baby carrots to her lunch, so I tucked a few into a silicone cup next to the reindeer. Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

An Elf on the Shelf Bento

The kids are officially out of school for the year. They actually finished on Friday at 11:30am, so I didn't even have to make a Friday lunch. Ben's class had a Christmas cookie exchange and Faith got to be one of the soloists for their school singalong. I managed to make it to both of their events, along with a million and one other things on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, so I'm looking forward to our vacation time too.

I did have to make at least one Elf in the Shelf bento before school ended, and Ben was the lucky recipient.  I bought me an awesome set of Nordicware press-style cookie cutters at Target while I was picking up gift cards for their classroom teachers.  Now, it is debatable how much I need more cookie cutters, but I really wanted these and they have an elf!


Ben had two Elf in the Shelf sandwiches, made from honey wheat bread (so the presses show better) and filled with turkey & cheese.  He also had a Rudolph cookie that Nana sent him, a cutie orange and grapes.  I'm a bit low on some lunch fixings, but with Christmas vacation coming up, I'd rather double the fruit to use it out than to buy more veggies.  I like to leave an empty fridge when we are away.  Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes.

Now what about David, our real Elf on the Shelf?  


He's been busy and I'll update a post soon with most of his adventures. However, this marshmallow snowman is definitely one of our favorites!

Even more fun, our friends at Lunchbox Love have some cute, free printables available with Elf jokes for your kids!  I'm downloading these for Ben because he loves silly jokes like that!

   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 133

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, December 11, 2012

Christmas Tree Bento

Only Ben needed a lunch today, so decided to keep things very simple for him. We got a sample of Lunchbox Love notes, so I had to include a Christmas one. Since the "Did You Know?" was a Christmas tree fact, the rest of the lunch came together easily!


Ben had a chili muffin, topped with a white cheddar Christmas tree, zebra nibbles, made with Christmas tree shaped pretzels, peppermint Hershey's Kisses and green M&Ms, green grapes skewered on a Christmas tree pick (Secret Santa gift from my sweet friend Sarah at Bentoriffic), and a cutie orange.  His fact of the day was that some of the earliest Christmas tree decorations were apples, which we unfortunately do not have on our tree.  Lunch is packed in a Lock&Lock four-square box today.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Snowman Bento for a Snowy Day

It snowed in Colorado this past weekend, and it actually stuck a little bit. We learned that Dante-puppy is not a snow fan. Apparently, he doesn't like his paws cold or wet. However, the kids were thrilled and are holding out for ski season soon!


In honor of the snow, the kids had snowman sandwiches--pepper turkey and marble cheese on whole wheat rounds, topped with a white cheddar snowman.  I used orange cheddar for the accents since I swear I had cucumber but didn't.  To the right, they had homemade cinnamon donuts with Christmas sprinkles, cutie orange slices and grapes. Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Present Bento for Christmas and Elf Updates!

Having some more fun with Christmas bentos for F&B this week!  We actually only have one more week of school left, they start their break on the 14th, so trying to has as much fun as I can in that time.


Friday, they had sub sandwiches on whole wheat rounds.  Why sub sandwiches?  Because I had a little bit of several kinds of meat left, so I did a bunch of one slice of each so there was enough on each sandwich.  It's topped with a cheese present from my new cookie cutters.  The bow is made by inverting the top bow and the stripes are just a couple of quick knife cuts.  To the right, the kids had cutie oranges with gingerbread picks and grapes with ornament picks. Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes.

David the Elf has also been very very busy in our house.  If you're looking for EASY elf ideas, we've been taking pictures of his adventures here.  This morning, he was waiting in the kitchen with a great idea.

We had Christmas shaped lemon pancakes with a cheesecake spread and syrup, so yummy!

   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Reindeer Bento for a Ho-Ho-Holiday Hop!

We're well into our holiday plans and I found the cutest new cookie cutters while out shopping the other day, so I knew they had to be featured in a lunch.  The kids have been singing a lot of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, so I made the matching lunch.


Both kids had a Rudolph sandwich (turkey and cheese on honey wheat) topped with a red M&M nose and sugar eyes.  To go with that, they had carrots, Fig Newtons, and orange blossom flowers with grape centers.  I thought they might need some extra protein, so they took Chobani Champions Orange-Vanilla Greek yogurt with them too.

Now this lunch is also part of a fun holiday themed hop, so click on the button below to visit my friend Crystal and check out her cute lunch!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 132

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, December 4, 2012

Come Elf With Us! The Ultimate Elf On the Shelf Link Party

Welcome to the Ultimate Elf on the Shelf Link Party. This is THE place to find great Elf on the Shelf ideas. Visit & link all month long. This party is co-hosted by Diana Rambles, MamaBelly, & BentoLunch.net.

Rules:
1. Follow the co-hosts. Diana Rambles, MamaBelly, & BentoLunch.net. GFC and/or other accounts.
2. Follow the Ultimate Elf on the Shelf Board on Pinterest.
3. Post the Ultimate Elf on the Shelf Link Party button somewhere on your blog.
4. Only link your own Elf on the Shelf related posts. No limit to how many you post.
5. Visit other participants, leave comments, pin from their blogs, and have fun!

Only bloggers who follow steps 1-3 will be considered for blog, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook features. By linking up to this party you give permission for us to feature your post and all readers to pin on Pinterest. The co-hosts reserve the right to delete any links that do not follow the rules. Keep an eye out on for features to be posted by one of the co-hosts on Sundays through Christmas!

Please spread the word about this link party by Tweeting! 

Ultimate Elf on the Shelf Link Party

Monday, December 3, 2012

December Means Christmas Bento, and Meet Our Elf on the Shelf

Now that it is officially December, I can get into the Christmas spirit.  Of course, that includes bentos, but we also bought an Elf (I'll explain that later).


Ben has Christmas tree sandwiches, cut with 3 different tree-shaped cookie cutters (Wilton brand).  Each sandwich is honey wheat bread with ham and cheese, with a cheese start tree topper.  He has fresh kiwi, skewered on a Christmas pick and a half a Cutie orange.  Above that, he has two homemade cinnamon donuts that I dipped in glaze and added Christmas sprinkles to make them more festive.  Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes.

Now, as for that elf ... I have resisted for awhile, but pressure finally won me over.  I'm actually slightly freaked out by life-like looking elves/dolls/puppets, so we went with the plush version.  F&B seem to like him and named him David (my dad's first name and Ben's middle name).  This is David.


Since David just arrived at our house last night, he hasn't gotten in too much mischief yet.  He did decided to take a cotton ball bubble bath in the husband's spare work helmet this morning, and while he doesn't bring gifts, he does open up the mail and take out cool review games and leaves an after school snack too.


I'm kind of curious what he'll be up to tonight, Ben is very intrigued at where he might end up.

  

Hormel - Lending a Helping Hand

Would you like a way to help give back this holiday season?

I'm really excited about Hormel's "On Our Way to Ending Hunger" program Through this program, Hormel Foods has commissioned surveys to uncover perceptions of hunger in America, hosted hunger summits that brought leaders from the public and private sectors together, and donated millions of dollars worth of product to local food banks and Feeding America.

For our family, we try to give back in several ways, especially with military-related causes. F&B and I shopped all year long so we could take a toy donation to our local USO for their Christmas party.  We also partnered up with GE to donate energy efficient lightbulbs along with all the toys.


Hormel is giving one "What's for Lunch at Our House" reader a chance to give back in their own community too, with a donation from Hormel to their local food bank.  Just follow the Rafflecopter below to leave a comment sharing how you and your family like to give back.  If you have a blog post about it, link it, I'd love to see!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.
 

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