Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mummified Halloween Bento

It wouldn't be Halloween if we didn't have at least one mummy themed bento!  There's last year's mummy-licious bento, made while we were still living in the hotel waiting on our house.  And from two years ago, we had mummy pizza, which is very easy to make, as long as you use strips of cheese!

This year, we went with a simple mummy sandwich, and I learned that it's getting to dark in the mornings to get good pictures.  Time to break out the lightbox my brother and SIL got me for my birthday. :)

Both kids had the same lunch--a turkey sandwich on honey wheat, topped with strips of white cheddar to make the mummy's wraps, along with two sugar eyes.  To go with that, they had carrots, grapes, and a mini cupcake that is part of the group I made for Ben's class for their Halloween party.  Lunch, as it often is, is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 127

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 30, 2012

Halloween Lunchable-Style Bento

F&B do enjoy the snacky style lunches, but most of the store bought ones don't have quite enough food for them, not to mention the general lack of fruits and veggies.  We make homemade style lunches in our Easy Lunchboxes, and add fruits, veggies, and a treat, along with a side of Greek yogurt for extra protein.  This week, they are Halloween style too!

Ben has pumpkin shaped bologna pieces (nitrate-free), bat shaped marble cheese, Frankenstein shaped cheddar cheese, crackers, a few veggie chips, carrot sticks and cantaloupe (complete with Halloween picks).  On the side, not pictured, was Chobani Champions Honey-Nana yogurt. Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Hormel October - National Pizza Month

Did you know that October is National Pizza Month? This might be our kind of holiday, since we do enjoy our pizza nights.  As a general rule, there's always a few homemade frozen pizzas in the freezer to pull out for quick suppers with a kettle of soup (homemade bbq pizza is my favorite, topped with leftover bbq pulled chicken or pork).

Pizza is also a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen. Even the littlest helpers can sprinkle cheese or add pepperonis to a pie. Hormel also offers these tips for getting kids to help:
  • Start off the experience by shopping for ingredients together. Let your kids write out their own lists with their favorite toppings and allow everyone to make an individual pie! 
  • Make the food preparation process fun. Let kids cut their dough and toppings into fun shapes; encourage creativity while cooking.
  • Put a theme to your family pizza night! Do you want to pretend you are having a meal in the streets of Italy? Can your kid’s design the kitchen to match their favorite pizza restaurant? Put up decorations and set the table to round out the experience. 
  • Cooking can be an educational experience, as well. Use cooking to educate your children on family history and recipes. Cooking also teaches kids about kitchen safety and proper handling of measuring and cooking tools. 
Besides the bbq pizza, we love trying out new varieties of pizzas, besides the standard cheese and pepperoni (which yes, is a favorite too).  These recipes all sound like things we'd love too!
  • Chicken Pesto Pizza: take your dish to the next level and impress the rest of your family with this gourmet pizza featuring Hormel® Chunk Breast of Chicken, pesto and your favorite cheeses. 
  • Peppy Three Cheese Pizza: microwave your favorite pizza crust or tortilla with a mixture of cheeses and Hormel® Pepperoni for one minute and instantly enjoy a quick snack or meal! 
  • For a smaller, bite-size pizza meal or tasty appetizer, serve your family or guests Hawaiian-Style Pizza Bites which are deliciously topped with chopped Hormel® Canadian Style Bacon and crushed pineapple. 
What are your favorite kinds of pizza?  Bonus points for interesting!

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. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Simple Halloween Bento

Still in the Halloween spirit, but just with a simpler bento idea this time. It's pretty easy to carve a jack-o-lantern face without needing anything other than a knife. And it's much easier to do this on cheese instead of on an actual pumpkin!  I did use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter for the initial shape, but any basic oval kind of idea should work just fine.

Faith has a turkey and cheese sandwich on multigrain rounds, topped with a cheddar jack-o-lantern.  To the right, she has a Rice Krispy treat topped with a sugar ghost (my mom sent those) and some honeydew with ghost and pumpkin picks.  I did decided to add carrots to the bento after I took the picture, just tucked on top of the sandwich.  Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Surprise Rice Krispy Treats

Tell me these aren't just the cutest Halloween treats!

Rice Krispies contacted me and asked if F&B and I would like to try out the recipe and the kids were thrilled.  Not only are they adorable pumpkins, they have a surprise inside (mini Milky Way bars)!  Better still, they are easy to make and look amazing.  Ben has already requested that this is what he wants to bring for his class Halloween party (yes, we can bring homemade food, yay!) and Faith now wants to do the same.

Want to make a batch for yourself?  Check out the recipe below, then enter to win a prize pack from Rice Krispies with everything you need!

Pumpkin Rice Krispies Treats: 
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) Marshmallows - OR - 4 cups Miniature Marshmallows
  • Orange food coloring (or red and yellow)
  • 6 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal
  • 12 MILKY WAY® Brand Minis or 3 MUSKETEERS® Brand Minis (the little square ones)
  • Canned frosting (green)
  • 12 small green gum drops (I used Tootsie Rolls for a color change)
1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Tint with orange food coloring.

2. Add KELLOGG’S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using 1/2-cup measuring cup coated with cooking spray divide warm cereal mixture into 12 portions. Using buttered hands shape each portion into pumpkin shape around one candy piece.

4. Pipe frosting onto each for vines and attach gumdrop for stem. For the Tootsie Rolls instead, cut each one in half and make an indentation for the stem with the tip of your finger, press into place.

(Giveaway has ended but the recipe is still yummy!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 126

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 23, 2012

A Meatless Monday Halloween Bagel Bento

The Halloween lunches continue today, with a Meatless Monday offering (even though it's actually Tuesday, but I'm blogging a day behind right now to squeeze in the linzer sandwich post from yesterday).  I would love to share an awesome "This is why we are eating meatless" story, but really, it was about not having other lunch fixings and needing to go to the store.

Both kids had a similar lunch--a bagel thin with cream cheese and decorated with some teeny Halloween cutouts (I used the linzer inserts for this).  Some grapes help hold the bagel in place and have a little ghost pick to watch over the lunch.  To the right, they have sliced boiled egg and diced cantaloupe, along with a little pumpkin pick.  Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Linzer Sandwiches Bento

It's a very Halloween-y lunch week this week. I've made some, saved some and will probably be making more!

These Linzer style sandwiches are one of my favorites for the cuteness factor, along with props for the easy factor. They are made with actual Wilton Linzer cutters (which I have in both Halloween and Christmas versions) and very easy to do. Just cut everything first (all the bread, the cheese, and the meat), then assemble. It's easier than cutting the completely made sandwich!

Faith has three linzer sandwiches, made of ham and cheddar on honey wheat, with cat, owl and bat cut outs.  I got four circles per slice of bread, with minimal crust leftover, so Dante-puppy ate that for me.  For side dishes she had carrots, grapes and a couple of Halloween sugar cookies I made.  If you look closely at the cookie, you can see the faint cat imprint.  It's darker in real life, but hard to see in a photo.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pressed Sandwiches Halloween Hop Bento

Headache plus due date = not too much fun

And of course, today requires a cute Halloween lunch to share for a blog hop, so I'm feeling very grateful I had a saved one to post closer to Halloween!

I'm still loving the pressed sandwiches, so I used Halloween cutters for these ones.  Faith had two cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, cut with Williams-Sonoma cookie cutters.  I used a black food writer to dab a bit of color on the design.  She also has a boiled egg with a pumpkin pick, apple cake with a ghost pick and some carrots & cucumbers.  I believe that was the day she wanted to take a whole apple, hence it's not pictured.

To move on in the hop, click here to see another great Halloween lunch *with* a description from Alex at Lunch with Eyeness.

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 125

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 16, 2012

A Disney Cars Lunch & my NASCAR trip

So where did I spend my weekend?

In Charlotte, NC, checking out the NASCAR races at Charlotte Motor Speedway, thanks to Toyota.  It was an amazing trip!  Besides the two races (both won by Toyota Racing drivers), our group got to go to Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, and Darrell Waltrip Motor Sports, to tour the facilities and meet some of the people involved with Toyota Racing.  Each of those could take an entire post to share, and I will on my personal blog, but one of the cool things was meeting Darrell Waltrip.  He was a race car driver in the 80s and won the Daytona 500 among other events.  He is now a Fox Sports commentator for racing, and the voice of Darrell Cartrip in the Cars movies!  So Mr. Ben got a signed Darrell Cartrip die cast car from my trip and I realized I just *had* to make a Cars 2 lunch to commemorate it.

Ben has two Cars 2 sandwiches, different race cars from the movie.  They are made with Williams-Sonoma cookie cutter presses, but we used honey wheat, turkey and cheese instead.  In keep with the racing theme, I added a pit crew carrying grape tires and some honeydew, along with carrots and a few crisps.  Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).  His Darrell Cartrip car is safely on display in his room, although I think it's going to school for show and tell this week too.

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Getting ready for Halloween Bento

In case you didn't know, I adore Halloween--the costumes, the decorating, the goodies, and of course, the lunches. That's why there even is a Halloween tag in the blog tags. And now that it's more mid-October, I can finally start getting ready with it. (I try to wait till after my birthday for Halloween, just like I wait on most Christmas stuff till after Thanksgiving. I have a system.)

But now?  Now is the time for Halloween lunches and Mr. Ben was more than happy to volunteer his lunch for Halloween decorating.

Ben has a turkey and cheese sandwich on multigrain rounds.  It's topped with a spooky coffin of cheddar, along with provolone "RIP" letters and a little top decoration thingie.  After I took this picture, I realized my zombie hand pick would have gone awesome sticking out the side.  To the right, he has a Rice Krispie square topped with a sugar pumpkin and honeydew with pumpkin and ghost picks.  Lunch is packed in our EasyLunchboxes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Disposable Field Trip Bento for Ben

So two weeks ago, I was in California for a Toyota Women event. I came home for a grand total of 7 days before I had to leave again for event #2. During the 7 days I spent at home, the kids had a 3 day weekend and the boy had a field trip. And the field trip required a disposable lunch.

Thankfully, I had a freezer full of raspberries I could steal a container from, since I hadn't saved anything from the recycle pile to use.  And I save all samples we get for these kind of emergency lunches that need to be single use containers (although I still hate the trash it generates).

Ben has Ironman pressed sandwiches for his lunch, turkey and cheese on honey wheat, along with carrots and grapes.  It's packed in a raspberry clamshell and the raspberries were relocated to one of my reusable containers in the freezer.  For side dishes, I had some yummy Chobani Champions yogurt, along with a GoGoSqueez sample we got at an event this summer.  Ben informed me that no one else had super hero sandwiches and that I really should buy the GoGoSqueez stuff.

Other disposable lunches:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Snow White Bento for Faith!

Along with the superhero cookie cutters I bought for my birthday, I also had to have the set of Snow White ones. They came with 4 designs--Snow White, Evil Queen, Grumpy and Dopey, and I was hoping Faith would still let me make her a lunch with them.

While we are long past the Disney princess days now (she's 10), she was still on board for a themed lunch, especially since she thought Ben's pressed sandwiches were kind of cool.  The result?  One of my favorite lunches recently!

She has two Snow White themed pressed sandwiches--Snow White and the Evil Queen.  They are made from honey wheat as grainy/seeded bread does not take the imprints well.  Inside, they are cheese and turkey. To the right, I decided to keep up with the Snow White theme with red and green apple slices and a piece of apple caramel cake, complete with apple food picks.  She did have carrots & cucumbers as well, but they didn't match well and I used a separate container for them.  Lunch is packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chobani Champions Giveaway Winners

I remembered to actually shut down the giveaway the night of my birthday, but between presents and Oreo ice cream cake, I forgot to draw the winners.

So without further ado, the winners are ...

#21 - Mandy!

And #38 - April!

I'll email you both shortly, or feel free to email me at scarino @ gmail . com!

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 124

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 9, 2012

A Boy's Bento - Captain America & Spiderman!

You know you're a mom of a little boy when you use some of your birthday money to buy Marvel Super Hero cookie cutters at Williams-Sonoma. And then more of your birthday money to order the comic book style ones online. But I have one really happy Ben right now!
The press style cookie cutters work great for sandwiches, but make sure to cut the bread first, then spread on the filling. (And if you use raspberry jam, you might get some odd shading, next time I'm using cheese.)

Ben has two cream cheese and raspberry jam sandwiches on honey wheat (works better than 12 grain for the cutters), one cut out as Spiderman, one as Captain America.  To go with that, he has a boiled eggs, carrots and cucumber stars, and a piece of apple caramel cake I made the other night.  We were out of lunch-sized fruits, so he had an apple in his bag instead.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Piggie Pocket Sandwich Bento

More playing around with my CuteZCute cutters this week, and I realized just the interior parts make really cute faces on otherwise plain sandwiches!

This time, I tried the pig cutter after making pocket sandwiches.  The sandwiches are egg salad inside honey wheat bread.  Despite my love of 12 grain bread, it just doesn't make the best pockets or imprints, so we're using honey wheat for those.  The pig accents are cut from cheddar and "glued" on with a dab of cream cheese.  To go with that, the kids had carrots, animal crackers and some kind of plum. The lunches are packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bento-Free Friday, with fresh fried rice

One of my blogging friends suggested the name of Bento-Free Friday and I really like it. I try to have lunch with the kids on Fridays, especially since they have back-to-back lunches. But instead of sending them regular lunches, I have been bringing them something different to eat.

This week, we had fried rice and fruits!  I cooked the rice just before heading to their school and warmed the thermoses with hot water, so it was nice and toasty for lunch.  This fried rice is garlic, leftover chicken, peas and eggs.  Our standard version is rice, egg, garlic, soy sauce, and whatever veggies & meat we have in the fridge. We use Thermos Funtainers for hot foods.  Ben has Cars, Faith has a Princess one, although she'd like something a little different, so I'm on the hunt for the same size, different pattern at a good price!  I used a mini bento to add some fruits--yellow plums, mini orange slices and blueberries for Ben/grapes for Faith.

And one of my little lunch partner.  Since I ate with her, we were able to sit at another table and she could invite a friend to eat with us.  Ben's class does it differently and I got to eat with 7 other second graders too.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

World Animal Day - Elephant Bento

So, today is World Animal Day, and as usual in our house, we are celebrating the majestic elephant. However, due to circumstances beyond my control (aka my flight was delayed and I got in at 11pm instead of 8pm), I'm not using one of my very best ever elephant lunches.

But, thanks to the wonders of PicMonkey, I did collage some awesome elephant inspiration for you, and would suggest searching either "elephant" or "Peanut" in the handy-dandy search box on the sidebar.  As a toddler, Ben called all elephants Peanuts, so many of our lunches were so named.

Now, this lunch features some awesome new Peanut picks from a friend, so it's now my official World Animal Day Lunch.  Ben had cheese cubes, pretzels, a boiled egg (sliced), carrots and watermelon, accented with two really cool elephant fork picks, packed in a Lock & Lock 4-square lunchbox.

Now this?  Just some of *many* examples of elephant lunches we've had over the years.  Again, try the search and you'll find tons more.

If you're looking for more animal inspiration, some bento blogging friends and I have a great hop going on, each blog hosting a different animal!  Click on the box below to hop over to Julie at MommaSays to see her tiger bento, then follow the link to more!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 123

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 2, 2012

Sandwich Press Bentos

I'm having a ton of fun with the CuteZCute cutters this week. Besides using them to cut out designs, they also work well for imprinting on a sandwich without any actual cutting. And I got a few mini sandwich presses too, so they were the perfect idea for this week's plan-ahead lunches.

(Why plan ahead? Because I'm in California at a #ToyotaWomen event and Daddy & the kids are on their own, so I'm trying to make things as easy as I can for them.)

These were one of the pairs of lunches tucked into our fridge, with a note saying "Take the ELB with red and blue lids on Monday, add a water bottle and a granola bar for snack."  This lunch features one larger pressed sandwich using a CuteZCute cutter (pig for Ben, kitty for Faith) and 2 small pressed sandwiches (bear for both, bunny for Faith, elephant for Ben).  The sandwiches themselves are cream cheese and raspberry jam, on honey wheat.  My usual multigrain pic doesn't take the sandwich press imprints very well.  Side dishes are watermelon chunks and carrot sticks. 

The lunches are packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon), and planned for their ability to be premade.  I'll be out of town until Wednesday night, so everything has to last.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chobani Champions Giveaway

We eat a lot of yogurt around here and with F&B being as active as they are (skiing, swim team, assorted races), Greek yogurt has become a big favorite, due to the extra protein.  It's also a great addition to our meatless lunches, and an integral part of "bento-free" Friday where I get to take a break from the fancier lunches.

A recent bento-free Friday--sandwiches, fruit and 
Chobani Champions VeryBerry, from my Instagram account

So what do we like about Chobani Champions?  They're kid-sized and kid flavored.  Each container has 8 grams of protein, no artificial flavors or ingredients, 5 active cultures, and is gluten-free, kosher, and free of nut, soy, wheat, and shellfish allergens. Plus the four flavors are really good--VeryBerry, HoneyNana, Vanilla Chocolate Chunk, and our favorite Orange-Vanilla, which tastes a lot like a creamsicle.

Another bento-free Friday on Instagram--
homemade tomato basil soup and Chobani Champions HoneyNana

Besides sending us Chobani Champions yogurt to sample, the people at Chobani have offered me two sample packages to give away to readers. Each package contains one 4-pack of each flavor and will come delivered to your door packed in ice. Because of this, the giveaway can only go to US readers, due to shipping concerns.

If you'd like to enter, please leave a comment telling me why you'd like to try Chobani Champions! Which flavor would you like to try the most? Who in your house would love to sample this?

The giveaway is open until next Sunday night, October 7th (also my birthday!).  I'll close the comments and use to draw two winners.  Goodluck!

Music Bento for Faith

Like most elementary schools, F&B's school rotates through a schedule of specials each week, including art and music.  The music teacher often offers fun challenges to the kids, such as wearing a music themed shirt.  So on Faith's music day last week, I told her we'd make a lunch just for her teacher to see (her special time is right before her lunch).

Faith had a turkey and cheese sandwich on multigrain rounds, complete with the word music cut out of mozzarella and music themed sandwich picks.  The lower tier holds carrots, flower shaped cucumber, mini oranges and grapes on music picks.  Apparently, her teacher was impressed with it and awarded her extra tickets (a school prize incentive for behavior and other items).

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