Monday, September 30, 2013

A Recipe (Sort Of) & A Cool Trick

Hello again! How are you all doing?  I hope well and surviving your first month of school back. =)     
Here we are on our last day of September.  It's hard to believe that it's almost been a month that our boys have been back in school.  I'm happy to say that my oldest soon is transitioning well into Jr. High. He was so excited to finally get his locker! That was one of the highlights so far.  He and his buddies also tried out for the flag football team, although sadly, none of the 6th graders made the team.  And our little 3rd grade is doing fantastic! He loves math (I'm not sure who he got that from...definitely not me) and is good at it too! We have a few of his math test with AP (Above Proficient) hanging on our fridge right now.   As a mom, I take joy in their accomplishments and in all that they do!  Whether it's a goal scored during a soccer game, an "A" that they got on a test to a sweet simple drawing they made...I'm proud of them. What can I say except this: I love my kids!

Even when they are being picky eaters...I still love them! Haha! And I still make them lunches.  Here are the lunches from last week, plus a tip I'd like to share with you.

While trying to draw a cute little face on our hot dog, I realized that my marker was dry because there was nothing coming out of it.  Oh the horror! How could I send a hot dog with just a bow tie and no face.  That would be weird right? (Lady, you just put a bow tie on a hot dog, and you think no face would be weird?)  I fixed this little glitch by dipping the tip of my food marker into a LITTLE TEENY BIT of food coloring gel.  You really don't need a lot and if you happen to put too much on the tip of your marker, dab it onto a paper towel to wipe the excess.  As you're drawing on your food, you might have to repeat the process because the food coloring doesn't really absorb into the tip. 
So if you ever find yourself in this situation, try this out.  I hope this cool little trick works for you like it did for our little hot dog below!

He's a fancy hot dog, bow tie and all.  Chili cheese dog (chili on the side) with mini milano cookies, strawberries and grapes.

Easy grilled cheese and turkey with apples and pistachios with a Batman ring.  
Because who doesn't love Batman?

Panko crusted mac and cheese bites with deli turkey slices and fruit.  Hold on now...I know what you're thinking. "Panko crusted mac and cheese?!? That's so fancy!!"  AND it's EASY! 

This is how I made it & I apologize for not having exact measurements.  
I winged it after reading a few recipes on Pinterest.  
1) Make your favorite macaroni and cheese 
(this works out great if you happen to have left overs of mac and cheese from the night before).
2) Refrigerate and let it sit for a few hours so it's cold and firm.  
3) Take a round cookie cutter and cut out a few circles of mac and cheese.  You can cut it out however you wish really.  I just prefer the cookie cutter because it helps keep the shape.
4) Pour some Panko bread crumbs into a bowl (measure it out based on how many mac and cheese bites you'll be making),  add a little bit of olive oil and mix.  You only need enough Panko to coat with.
5) Place a mac and cheese round into the mix and cover in Panko bread crumbs.  I used a spoon to coat  the m&c to help keep the circle from falling apart.
6) Once covered in bread crumbs, bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 mins or golden brown.  I used a toaster oven so it actually took about 7 mins.
Let it cool a bit before you pack into their lunch.  This could be made the day before as well.

Pizza! Pizza!  This is our DIY version inspired by Momables! I love their recipes.  And this was kid approved in our home.  We made the pizza crust with ready made dough.  It's much better than the "other" kind of lunch in my opinion.

Fun Lunch for Fun Day Friday! Our little one had a party in class that day so I packed him a fun lunch.  PB&J star sandwich, pears, yogurt pretzels and cookies in his initials. 

Thank you again for stopping by!! 
October is upon us and that means...Halloween themed lunches!! Coming soon... =)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Time For A Change

Hello Everyone!

Next month will be the one year anniversary of my blog! Yay! I feel like a proud momma!  Ha! Ha! It's been so much fun chatting and meeting everyone, from bento mommies to visitors who just stop by.  To my bento bloggers, I love seeing everyone else's lunches and reading different tips and recipes shared. I'm so inspired and wow'ed everyday when I see what you're packing for your kids.  And to my readers who are new to bentos, check out my side bar of bento bloggers that I follow.  You will be there for hours ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the lunches and they have SO MUCH information and tips shared!  

With our one year coming up, I've decided that my blog needed to be updated with fresh new look...oh and a new name!  This is all in the works right now and I'm hoping it will be done in time.  I also wanted a place where I can share my sugar cookies so I'll be incorporating the two on my blog.  It will be a change, but one that I'm excited for and looking forward to and I hope that you will like it too. Stay tuned!

This has been such a learning experience for me too. I can't wait to see what this year has in store for us.  And with that I leave you with this - my top 10 of what I've gathered so far from making bento lunches in no particular order:

What I Learned From Packing Bentos

  • Your kids will not always eat everything you pack for them. But you learn what they like and don't like, which also allows for you to be able to introduce different foods to them. And sometimes you sneak in those foods they don't like just to try again.
  • Sometimes your lunch boxes and cute little food picks and container will not make it home because they accidentally got thrown away. Grrr.
  • It's totally 100% O.K. if the lunch you pack does not look exactly like the Mona Lisa or Starry Starry Night.  
  • Bento goodies: Food picks, dividers, molds, lunch boxes, cookie cutters -- You can never have enough but you also don't have to buy EVERYTHING.
  • Your kid might come home crying because his friends laughed at the pirate face you drew on his sandwich, and you'll start to second guess if you should do that again.  
  • Any thing that resembles pizza or is pizza-ish ... IS A HIT!
  • Veggies -- NOT A HIT! (For my kids anyway) LOL! I make sure we do veggies when we have meals together.
  • Play with your food has literally taken on a new meaning. I've dressed up corndogs & hotdogs.
  • It's ok for your husband to make lunches too, especially if you're sick and all boogery (yes, I said that).
  • I enjoy making lunches for my boys because at least I have control of what they are eating at school and I know it's probably better than what they are serving...especially when Congress at one point agreed that pizza was a vegetable.
Keep Calm & Bento On ~

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lunch Time Fun

 Welcome back everyone!  Here is this week's round up of our lunches.  Things finally slowed down for us which was nice compared to last week.  But the homework is still here...darn. 
Speaking of last week, I forgot to post the picture of the birthday cakes I made for my kiddo:

Tada! He requested 3 cakes to be themed after the movie, Pitch Perfect. It's been his favorite movie for a while now.  Ok, he's obsessed with it. He loves to sing along!  And you might ask, "Did you eat all 3 cakes?" Haha! Not a chance! It took us all week just to finish 1, and these are small cakes (6in rounds).  I don't want to see cake for a really long time... 

We were still in birthday mode on Monday, so I sent the boys to school with  pizza left over from the party (yay), fruit, and some cake (double YAY).

Again, we love all things Disney! Those are little Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets! Find the hidden Mickey!  Apple slices, Triscuits, and yogurt pretzels too.

Close up of our mini waffle sandwiches inspired by Momables Lunches. I thought these waffles were just too cute. I felt like I was waffle paparazzi taking these pictures.

And here is the complete lunch. For the waffle sandwiches I made some with PB&J and some with strawberry cream cheese.  They were actually really good! I also include some cheese and turkey roll ups and strawberries.

Super start lunch because I'm so proud of my boys! Whole wheat thin sandwich with turkey and Colby cheese (hold the mayo mom!), cantaloupe, strawberries, half of a granola bar and string cheese. 

Chicken Nugget Burrito per my boys request. That's right - chicken nuggets & fat free refried beans wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.  I honestly do not know where they came up with that idea.  But they have been asking me since the summer to make this for them.  Today, I FINALLY gave in.  To me, it was just weird.  But, when I asked them how they liked it... "IT WAS SO GOOD!!"  Ha! Ha! That's my boys for you.

Thank you again so much for stopping by and checking out our lunches!  I hope you enjoyed them as much as my kids did!  

I'm trying to think ahead to what's on the menu for next week.  I'm hoping no other weird food requests.  

Do your kids ask for "unusual lunches?"   
Share below in the comments! I would love to hear them!

Monday, September 16, 2013

My New Found Love

This summer, I fell in love with the art of sugar cookies.  It all started when my niece asked me to make One Direction cookies for her birthday.  And for her, I would do anything. Plus, anything that involves food and art...count me in.

So with that, I searched online for recipes and how-to's on sugar cookies and royal icing. I read different blogs and found my cookie crush, Sweet Sugarbelle. Yes, my cookie crush. Her work is amazing and you can check it out here: I drool over her work and can only hope to achieve that type of cookie perfection one day! 

After a few weeks or so...this was my first attempt. Hello Kitty and Storm Troopers.
Not too shabby in my opinion.  I was playing around with some icing that I made and trying to get a feel for it.  It's not quiet like decorating a cupcake, but you still use different tips.  

I made a few cookies in between for a bridal shower and birthday party.  But fast forward to my niece's big day! I couldn't wait to get these to her.  She asked for One Direction cookies, so auntie delivers! These cookies were inspired by Sweet Sugarbelle and I also used her template (because I really don't know much about 1D or how to even create a 1D cookie platter).

Since then, I've been making cookies here and there.  There wasn't one weekend in August where I wasn't making cookies. It was great!! There were some sleepless nights as I've learned that it takes about 3-4 days to complete the whole process. But it was well worth it at the end of every cookie delivered.

Oh...and my niece, she LOVED the cookies! Yay! And THAT right there, made it all the worth while.  To know that I could do that one little thing to make her birthday special, is priceless.

You'll hopefully be seeing a lot more cookies here on the blog and hopefully I can share tips and what I've learned along the way.  So here's to Cookies and Bentos!


Helllloooo everyone!! 

What a busy week it was for us! The week started with a Monday night soccer game, soccer practice on Monday & Thursday, Back To School night (Middle school... will save this for another post!), and weekend soccer games. Don't forget homework in between, baking cookies , cake and today was our youngest son's 8th birthday today.  I know right?! Life is busy, but I thank God for everyday that he gives me to get up and do it all over again! I wouldn't trade it in for anything in the world. 
And with that said, I present to you our lunches in our brand new Easy Lunchboxes! I used them all week and all I can say is this: I love them! They are sturdy, & I like the size of the compartments. There's literally a small, medium & large size compartment. There are so many different & fun things you do with these lunch boxes ... & I have yet to try them ALL! 
Chicken sandwich on whole wheat thins, with fruit & mini Nutter Butters. Mmmmmm.... Nutter Butters. 

Pizza crescent rolls, corn cake and fruit. Don't forget the mustache swag! 

Mickey Mouse cheese quesadilla on whole wheat tortillas, blueberry muffin & fruit.  Note to self: Using a pancake mold to "cut" a quesadilla - not easy & not advisable. LOL! Next time, cut tortilla shapes PRIOR to cooking. Lesson learned. 

Minecraft bento! This was super fun to make! Underneath are mini sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls. The zombie (or is that a creeper?) and Steve are pieces of cheese & I used food markers to draw on them. Colby cheese & ham rolled up with some fruit & a piece of Ube cake. 

And lastly, a special birthday lunch for our little guy who turned 8 Sunday. I got the cute little cookies at Ikea of all places... oh and they are delish too! 

Thank you for stopping by & hanging out! I hope that you all have a wonderful week! This coming week looks to be busy as well ... but in all times and all things, I give The Lord thanks and praise! Without him, I wouldn't be able to do it. 

Love & hugs,

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Back to School...and Boy, Are We Back!

Hello Everyone! Welcome back! I hope that your summer was fun, relaxing and that you had great time with your family! 

Our summer was ~very chill (well, except for this HOT-HOT-HOT weather we've been having in So Cal the last few weeks).  We took our very first family camping trip up to Lake Silverwood. The kids had so much fun sleeping in tents and fishing out on the lake. And the food we ate...seriously, we ate better out there in the wilderness than we did at home. I'm talking steak, potatoes, salmon and of course s'mores!  I'm looking forward to going camping again soon. We also did our usual beach days and DISNEYLAND! =) 

Last week, our 2 boys went back to school. It's official...our oldest son is now in Jr. High (6th Grade). Our youngest is in the 3rd grade.  I wasn't sure what Jr. High kids bring for lunch...but there was still no way that I would want our kids to eat whatever it is that they serve at school. Bleh! And that's just MY PERSONAL OPINION. I asked our oldest if he wanted me to "tone down" his lunches so they weren't so cutesy and he said it didn't matter.  I think he said that because he didn't want to hurt my feelings? =) What a sweetie! 

So below, is our first week of lunches. Cute but not overly cute. Well, ok, except for the last one.  The panda bear was for my littlest one.  Big brother had the same lunch but I cut his sandwich into a square. 

Pizza bagels with strawberries, oranges and granola bar. I also include sugar cookies (my new found love!) to start of their first day of school.

Breakfast for lunch? Why not? Waffles, oranges, grapes, hard boiled eggs and pretzels.

Panda ham & cheese sandwich, peanut butter and jelly rolls, apples and panda cookies.

Thank you all so much for stopping by! We made it through our first week of school! Yippee!! Only 9 more months to go!! =)