Saturday, April 19, 2014

Simple Easter Lunch!

Thursday, 4/17/14 - Only a few pre-Easter lunch days left, and I was on Day 5 of having a sick toddler who was needier and moodier and was incapable of sleeping longer than an hour at a time. So I didn't make anything too fancy. At this point, my kids were lucky I was coherent enough to feed them at all!

Kinder-bunny Lunch
Leftover organic brown rice w/hemp hearts and lime miso, Brad's Raw Pina Colada kale chips, organic carrots
I put some leftover rice in a jumbo muffin cup because it reaches up flush with the lid of the EasyLunchboxes, so the rice shouldn't fall out, at least on the way to lunch (she carries the lunch horizontal, with a normal amount of jostling for a 5-year-old.) After heating up the rice a little, I was able to get the lime miso to melt and blend in. It's crazy good. It was left over from dinner, and was crazy awesome delicious, and a big hit with my little girls! I also added some hemp hearts for protein. And stuck in a bunny pick for fun.

I used an Easter egg ring to hold the Easter-y cloth napkin. I still had some carrot coins cut with a small flower veggie cutter and put them in a silicone flower cup to finish it off.

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Tot-bot Lunch
Freeze dried strawberries, GF crackers w/PB, organic carrots
E had hardly eaten anything all week, so I packed a tiny lunch with some options she was more likely to actually eat. And I was right. She nommed down the dried strawberries and even ate half of a cracker-wich.

Tools of the Trade
  Food Decorating Pick Puffy Ring Bunny Egg Butterfly  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Super Simple Spring Lunches

 
Wednesday, 4/16/14 - Day 4 with a sick clingy toddler, and I was almost desperate enough to just go get Taco Time fast food to deliver to school! So I was truly just "phoning it in" for these lunches!

Kindergarten Lunch
Leftover polenta w/dairy-free butter and salt, Naturebox Dark Cocoa Almonds, organic carrots
 

I had some cooked polenta left over from dinner a few nights earlier and it had solidified in the container. So I sliced a few thin slabs, extracted them with a highly skilled technique (tipped the whole blob out of the container into my hand and eased the loose slabs down onto the cutting board...) and used a flower veggie cutter to make them more interesting. (Scraps went back in with the leftovers. Hubby will eat them!) I added some non-dairy butter and salt and heated them up enough for the butter to melt and make them all nommy. Z calls this "Butter Corn" and loved it when we had it for dinner.
I stuck some flower picks in with the Naturebox chocolate-covered almonds (the rest of the bag didn't survive the day...) Not your standard protein option, but the sugar content was decent, and I knew she'd eat them!
To finish off the flower theme, I used a mini flower veggie cutter on a carrot and put the coins in a silicone flower cup. Plus a purple bunny cupcake ring to make it Easter-y!

Sicky Toddler Lunch
Leftover rice blend with organic hemp hearts and salt, organic carrots and apples
I (correctly) assumed that E wouldn't eat much, so I packed simple. Brown (with a little Jasmine) rice blend for the grains, and a Tbsp of hemp hearts for protein. Plus salt, to make it yummy! Carrots for veggies and apples for fruit, which I ended up eating as a midnight snack! The Santa spoon is just the first one I happened to grab. It's from Target.

Tools of the Trade
   Japanese Bento Accessories Vegetable Cutter Flowers 8 pcs    
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easy Funny Bunny Lunch!

 
Tuesday, 4/15/14 - I didn't have a lot of time or any cool ideas planned, but wanted to squeeze in at least one more Easter-y lunch before Easter weekend. So I rooted through a cheap plastic Easter cutter set I got at Target until I found a fun shape small enough to fit on gluten-free bread.

Kindergarten Bunny
Sunbutter and jelly sandwich on GF cinnamon-raisin bread, dye-free jelly beans, organic carrots and apples
 
For my Kindergartener, I just used a bunny head cutter and "glued" on some dye-free candy-coated sunflower seeds and white jimmies with extra Sunbutter to make a very rudimentary face. It isn't perfect, but I got it done within my time limit with a clingy sick toddler hanging off of me (jelly beans may have been involved in buying some "breathing room"...) I included some dye-free (Valentine's clearance!) jelly-beans as the Easter Bunny's eggs, and put them in a mini silicone bunny cup.

She hasn't normally liked Sunbutter, but I keep it on hand since I prefer it to PB in most things (except sandwiches ironically.) But since Z had gobbled down the Sunbutter-jelly sandwich she packed when I did a lunch class with her class, I thought maybe it was jelly that was the key to helping her like it (Sunbutter-honey and Sunbutter-Ricemallow sandwich combinations have both been rejected in the past.) But no. She was a fan of the candies and sprinkles though.

The cute Easter napkin came from Beneficial Bento on etsy.

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Plain Toddler Lunch
GF Sunbutter and jelly sandwich scraps, dye-free jelly beans; organic carrots, tomatoes, and apples
I didn't bother making the toddler's lunch cute since she'd been sick for the previous few days and ate hardly anything. She ate virtually nothing from this lunch either, but somehow managed to muster up enough appetite to down all the jelly beans in her mini silicone flower cup. What a shock.

Tools of the Trade
    

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt Lunch

I decided to pack a festive lunch for my big girl, and what better way to pack a super-simple but fun Easter lunch than by packing it in Easter hunt eggs? I used Eco-Egg brand because they're about as food-safe as food-safe can be! And since Z wouldn't have her usual lunchbox to push her food around in, I also sent our new Matkins portable cloth place mat to keep everything off the table.

To make it more fun, I packed some "grass" (paper packing material shreds) in an eggish-shaped lunch bag. I was even able to fit in her water bottle!

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Udi's GF Brownie Bite, organic carrots and apples, Crunchmaster GF crackers, Earth Balance PB Coconut Spread 
I happened to have a sample pack of Earth Balance Coconut and Peanut Spread that fit perfectly in one of the eggs. None of my other PB packets would fit. I thought about putting some peanut butter in a silicone cup, then jamming that inside the egg to make clean-up easier, but this worked out okay.

I was sent the Matkins Enchanted Forest portable reusable place mat for review, and this was our first time trying it out. 
So pretty! The back side of the Matkin matches the border and pocket on the front, which has a layer of BPA-PVC-phthalate-free water-resistant fabric to keep foods from seeping through. Yay! So far I think these are a fun and brilliant idea, but I'll be replacing the napkin. It's 100% polyester so as far as I can tell, is only good for pushing crumbs and such around, rather than soaking up messes or wiping off faces. But the mat is gorgeous! And washer- and dryer-safe! Woop!

Eco-Eggs are a 100% plant-based (even the colors are natural!) and reusable eco-friendly "plastic" Easter eggs. So I don't have to worry about any chemicals leeching into the food. What's that? Aren't plastic eggs "food safe?" Not really. BPA plastics are still considered "food safe" by the FDA, except for plastics meant for infants, so you can't assume that something is safe just because your food is served in it! Canned foods are almost all lined in a BPA plastic, and Plastic #6, commonly found in hot and cold disposable drink lids (I'm looking at YOU, Starbucks!) is one of the plastics known to release BPA. But even some BPA-free plastics are found to leech similar estrogen-mimicking chemicals that are just as bad - or worse - but didn't get all the bad press, so no one is worried about them. Yet. 

So the only way to truly be safe is to avoid plastics you aren't sure about. You think that for those 12/$1 plastic eggs, the manufacturers are going to use the finest, safest plastics? Me neither.