Monday, August 24, 2015

Shark Bento

Watch out! Shark attack!
I am so excited to share my review of the lastest bento book out there: Happy Bento!: Lunches on the Go with you today!

First off, Let me start by saying I am SO proud of Anna of Becoming a Bentoholic! Her book, Happy Bento!: Lunches on the Go, just came out and it is fantastic! There are 50 different bentos, tons of large photos, step by step instructions, and tutorials jammed pack in this small book (I LOVE the size!). There are many wonderful and healthy ideas to give you lunch inspiration! It is a great source if you are looking for school lunch ideas and to add variety to your lunch packing routine. 

My favorite chapter is of course the FUN bentos. I am all about making fun and creative food! I couldn't wait to recreate some of these fun lunches so I had Eliana go through and pick one. We ended up picking the shark bento, which we both loved.
In this shark bento, inspired by Happy Bento!, Eliana has goldfish crackers, homegrown cherry tomatoes (in a silicone cup) and a shark sandwich swimming in a sea of blueberries. The sandwich was ham and cheese, and I used a mini chocolate chip for his eye.

We were really happy with how he turned out! The step by step instructions and photo tutorial really helped and I was able to make him so quickly! Photo tutorials are always such a big help for me. This took about ten minutes (including interruptions from the kiddos and washing the fruit!) Eliana LOVED the Shark bento and was already figuring out what we should make next :)

The great thing about Happy Bento is that even if you don't have everything exactly the same you can still make the lunch and use it as a source of inspiration.  I don't have a lot of the exact cutters, punches, or silicone cups that were used in some of the bentos, but I can easily recreate the lunches using what I have at home.

All in all, this is a great source of bento inspiration! SO happy for you Anna-- Happy Bento! is a wonderful book and an amazing accomplishment! Congratulations on your first book!

*Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links*
**Disclosure:  I was sent this book for the purpose of this review.  As always, all opinions expressed in this post are my own**
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Simple St. Patrick's Day Fruit Snacks

Looking for some really simple, easy, and HEALTHY St. Patrick's Day Snacks?
St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner! I've always loved the month of March and St. Patrick's Day. I say it every year, but its true! Eliana was due on St. Patrick's Day and it will always be a fun holiday we enjoy together each year. We don't usually go all out for other "smaller" holidays..or even some big ones too. But every March we have certain traditions. First we always get our once a year box of Lucky Charms (I don't ever buy sugary cereal, except this one time a year). Then we usually make (and enjoy) a lot of fun St. Patrick's Day lunches and snacks. Then Eliana gets a little gift (like shamrock necklaces or St. Patrick's Day pencils), even though her birthday is a few days before, and I always wear my lucky shamrock socks that were given to me right before Eliana was born. They are simple and small traditions but I look forward to them every year :)

This year we made some simple, easy, and HEALTHY snacks to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!  These snacks work great as an after school snack, in addition to a school lunch, or as a classroom snack!

Green Fruit Salad 
For the Green Fruit Salad we took our favorite green fruits and made a fruit salad. I cut up honeydew, kiwi, green grapes and a granny smith apple. You can either toss in lime juice (another green fruit!) or toss apple in Fruit-Fresh to keep from browning.

You can also stick a cute St. Patrick's day pick in it and make it even more decorative! Please note that the words aren't blurry on each pick.. that is my camera and I didn't realize til we ate it all up and the fruit was gone haha :)

Green Fruit Kabobs
To make these Green Fruit Kabobs I layered half of a green grape, a piece of honeydew, kiwi and then the other half of the green grape so that each kabob could stand on its own.

Eliana loved having the Green Fruit Salad and a Kabob in her school lunch! She also had cucumber slices and a layered ham and cheese on a spinach tortilla sandwich.

 Rainbow Fruit Kabobs
For the Rainbow Fruit Kabobs I used my Shamrock Cupcake Picks and put cut watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple on them. I tried to cut each fruit roughly the same, but I just eyeballed it. These could stand on their own too. This was an after school snack for Eliana but Samantha tried to take all the watermelon while I was cutting it.. I'm lucky there was any watermelon left! haha ;) These would also work great in a school lunch; with or without the pick.

Packed in her EasyLunchboxes Eliana had some Rainbow Fruit Salad, Cucumber slices in a silicone cup, half a wowbutter sandwich and a wee little bit of Lucky Charms cereal in the little green cupI used a mini heart cutter to make a four leaf clover cut out in her sandwich.

These were such simple, easy, and healthy St. Patrick's Day food ideas that my kids LOVED.
Hope your kids love them too! :)

*Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links*
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Monday, March 9, 2015

10 Simple Fun Food School Lunches

10 Simple {and EASY} Fun Food School Lunches!

Fun food can be daunting if you don't know where to start and looks like it takes a lot of time. It doesn't have to, I promise. I'm all about Simple and EASY Fun food that can be easily recreated. Making school lunch every day can get mundane. You might even find yourself packing the exact same thing day after day because it's what you have in your fridge/pantry (been there, done that!).  I decided to put together this round up of lunches to show that with just a few minutes you can add some FUN to your school lunches; and put a smile on your kids' face :)

So a few things about these lunches.  First thing; every lunch here was made in TEN minutes or LESS. These particular lunches were all captured with my phone right before school and I have previously posted them on Instagram. And, as always, all of these lunches are peanut free and tree nut free.

1. The Last of Everything Lunch
**Many times grocery shopping is put off til the last minute. I enjoy being creative with using everything up in the pantry! I take it as a challenge to eat out of our pantry and fridge/freezer so that we don't end up wasting food!**

Here Eliana's school lunch is all about lasts! As in last of everything in the pantry at that time! The last of the raspberries (some filled with mini chocolate chips), the last of the snowflake crackers, the last of the wowbutter (in the small container so she can make cracker sandwiches), the last of the pirate booty (found half a bag in the pantry) and a cut up last cheese stick and packed it all in her EasyLunchbox in square silicone baking cups

2. Grab and Go!
I made this very simple and quick lunch for Eliana on a morning where my days got mixed up and I had to make it FAST before we left for school! I used square silicone cups in her LunchBots Quad and filled them with blackberries, chocolate soy butter mini sandwiches, sliced plum and a cut up cheese sticks! A cloth napkin and a lunchbox love note finished it off!

3. Flutter Flutter Butterfly!
Here Eliana had a lunch full of Butterflies. Cucumber, strawberries, yogurt (in the purple butterfly container) with nut free granola to mix in (inside small green container) and chocolate soy butter sandwich squares. Packed in her Easylunchbox.

4. Sheepishly Easy
A Sheepy Bento for Eliana's school lunch this day. Popcorn (looks like wool right?), sliced plum with a waving sheep bento pick, sliced apple with a sleepy sheep bento pick and two CuteZCute Sheep wowbutter sandwiches. Packed in a LunchBots Quad.

5. Springtime is coming; Ladybugs and Flowers
This Simple Spring lunch full of flowers and ladybugs is perfect to lift your wintertime blues! Packed with a homemade wowbutter granola bar, strawberries, yogurt (in the ladybug container) with nut free granola (in the orange container ) and sliced cucumbers. The ladybug bento pick and flower silicone cups are simple touches that make the lunch complete :)

6. Roll it up!
Sometimes I pack lunch the night before.. Sometimes I am a quick!-rush--and-pack-the-lunch-before-we-leave! kinda gal. This lunch represents the latter. For less than 10 minutes this lunch is not too shabby! A babybel cheese, butterfly crackers, raspberries, blackberries and chocolate soy butter sandwich roll ups packed in Eliana's LunchBots Quad.

7. Leaping Dolphins
I went with a Dolphin theme for lunch this time! Packed in her Easylunchbox she had strawberries (with two cute dolphin bento picks ),  yogurt with mini chocolate chips, A wowbutter honey and cinnamon sandwich and dried cranberries (in the little blue container). I used this small cutter to make the dolphin bread cutouts.

8. Bear-y Simple Lunch
This panda-riffic school lunch was so simple and easy to make! In a LunchBots Trio Eliana had sliced plum and blackberries with cute panda bento picks, slightly overstuffed (whoops!) wowbutter, cinnamon and honey CuteZCute panda pocket with two fig newton cookies underneath it and a cut up cheese stick. I accidentally overstuffed the sandwich so some wowbutter was coming out of the sides... but that is just a minor casualty in rushing to make this lunch ;)

9. Froggy Fun!
This school lunch happened to fall on a Friday. A Fun Froggy Friday Lunch! Strawberries, cucumbers, cheese and wowbutter cinnamon sandwich roll ups on froggy picks, all packed in her Easylunchbox.

10. April Showers Bring May Flowers

This is one of my absolute favorite school lunches I've ever made Eliana! Flower cut cucumbers (with cucumber scraps underneath), a strawberry flower with a blackberry center, babybel cheese umbrella and a chocolate soy butter sandwich with cut outs. This was SO simple and quick to make! I'll have to make it again when those April showers come this year! :)


SO, there you have it! Ten Super Simple FUN food school lunches that are EASY to make! 

You'll notice there are some common themes throughout these lunches. I'll explain five of them in more detail :)

One, you will see repeats of my pantry staples: crackers, fresh fruit, cucumbers, cheese sticks, popcorn, bread and nut free spreads. These are things I always have in my fridge or pantry so that putting together a quick fun lunch is possible. These staples will be different for every family based on favorite foods/fruits/vegetables/seasonal availability.

Two, I use fun shaped silicone cups and bento picks. Just sliced cucumber inside a fun shaped silicone cup makes all the difference in presentation! Just adding a panda bento pick to cut strawberries takes one second and it really makes lunch more fun!

Three, I use sandwich stampers or cookie cutters to make quick designs on the fly. 

Four, I try to add a daily lunchbox love note. Doesn't really make the food taste better or look more fun but I do try to add one and Eliana loves saving them and reading them. 

Five, If I have no idea where to start I go with an overall animal or color theme-- butterflies, frogs, ladybugs, dolphins etc. Once I have the animal/theme down the rest of the lunch comes together quickly!

These Simple and Fun lunches are EASY to recreate! Your kids can make it with you, or make it themselves if they are old enough! I figure if I have to make her lunch every day I might as well make it FUN! and no. Not every lunch I send to school is fun. I have many times sent in a lunch with no cute shapes or picks because I'm too tired or don't feel like even spending the extra minute doing that. And that is OK too. The important part is providing her with a healthy and nutritious lunch every day :)

*Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links*
Linking up here :)

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