Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mommy & Me's Toasted Cheese

Mommy & Me grilled cheese bento lunches in EasyLunchboxes
Friday 9/12/14 - What's more fun than grilled cheese sandwiches? Matching mommy-daughter lunches, of course!
Thanks to MOMables, I know how to pack grilled cheese without it getting soggy too. And my "secret recipe" makes mine taste better than your average gluten-free toasted cheese! (Hint: I sprinkle garlic powder and salt on the outsides of the bread to make it less bland!)

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GF toasted goat cheese sandwich, organic grapes, steamed organic green beans
Both girls love the different faces in the new CuteZCute Cuddle Palz set (also available on Amazon,) but Z's favorite is the hamster. I cut it before toasting, which helps bring out the details. And the cute top hat pick doesn't hurt either!
The grapes are hosting a cute little bunny/mouse pick. I don't have a hamster pick, and the sandwich cutter could be a short-eared bunny or a mouse too...

Under the sandwich, I put a piece of silicone trivet that I had cut to fit. It helps fill the space and adds color, as well as making the sandwich less likely to scoot around in transit. (It adds texture under to prevent sliding, and raises the sandwich closer to the lid.) Plus if you don't like your food touching plastic, voila! Silicone! (I saved the scraps to fit to the smaller compartments and snack boxes.)

Mama's Lunch
GF toasted goat cheese sandwich, guacamole, organic green beans
I'm not a big fan of cold cooked beans (but the girls like them okay,) so I left my green beans raw and added some Wholly Guacamole for dipping. Yum!

Little Sis Lunch
GF toasted goat cheese sandwich, organic yellow carrot, steamed organic green beans, organic grapes
E got the bread scraps from Big Sister's sandwich, so no cute shapes for her. She did get some yummy yellow (white?) carrot in addition to her "butter beans." I steam the green beans in the microwave by adding a splash of water, covering, and cooking for 6 minutes. Then I add dairy-free butter or olive oil (if I'm feeling lazy, which is usually...) and salt and call them "butter beans." The girls gobble them down and ask for more! I use the same trick for broccoli and they fight over it! It's a great easy way to cook a small portion of veggies to supplement a quickie dinner!

Tools of the Trade
 CuteZCute Bento Sandwich Cutter Cookie Stamp - Cuddle Palz  Japanese Bento Animal Cup Food Pick with Circus Tent Case 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Franny K Stein: Bento Walks Among Us!

Franny K Stein: Mad Scientist bento lunch!
My oldest was (and still is) really into the Franny K Stein: Mad Scientist books. Every time I asked for lunch ideas, she would request a Franny lunch. I stalled and put it off for months as I tried to figure out how I could make one without painting on food colors or cutting nori. No luck. So I finally had to do it the hard way. 
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Franny K Stein: Mad Scientist
Dye-free gummy candies, organic strawberries and carrots, GF PBJ w/ fruit leather, dye-free licorice laces, and nori
I made the sandwich head and shaped the top of the hair using a circle cutter. In hindsight, I should have used a slightly larger cutter on the fruit roll-up for the hair. Because it stretched a little when I cut it, it didn't quite fit right. Oh well. I gave up after two attempts.
I cut the bangs and pony tails using my kitchen shears. And tied some dye-free Candy Tree licorice laces into knots for her hair ties.

When I found the laboratory shot glass (also available from ThinkGeek) on awesome sale, I had to get them. Even though at the time, I didn't really have any use for them. I mean, what idiot is gonna send glass in a Kindergartener's lunchbox, amiright? *cough*
I put around 20ml worth of candy in there, to justify using it. Those fun little gummies are dye-free, and came with an assortment of other fun stuff from the UK, courtesy of my bento-friend at Eats Amazing. They were the perfect mad scientist treat!

Let me just start by saying that this was the most frustrating and time consuming lunch I have ever made. Nori is my Kryptonite. I don't really know what I'm doing, nor do I have the proper tools for working with it. Other than the hole punch for the pupils, I used big ole kitchen shears to hand cut all the facial details! My nori shapes not only broke into a zillion pieces as I worked, but they were also flying all over the place any time I breathed or moved. To say I cussed a lot that morning... would be an understatement!
I finally got all the little nori pieces glued in place with extra peanut butter, so it looks like solid lines. But really, that mouth was in at least 4 pieces. Several of which had to be cut again after parts of it broke off and flew under the stove. (Grrrr!) And don't even get me started on the eyes and eyebrows! I wanted to punch this sandwich in the face!

Igor the Dog
Organic tomatoes and strawberries, GF cheese crackers, root chips, GF PBJ
Franny's faithful lab assistant is her dog, Igor. So I made the toddler a simple Igor lunch using the dog part of an Animal Lunch Punch to go along with Big Sister's.

Tools of the Trade

Monday, October 13, 2014

Leftovers to Lunch: Pizza Fingers!

When I'm feeling too lazy to make Pizza Dippers (because getting out a container and Ranch or pizza sauce is soooo much extra work! Hahaha!) I just cut the leftover pizza slices into little fingers. The girls love it! Easiest. Lunch. Evar!

Big Fingers
Organic strawberries, GF/DF pizza fingers, 1/2 HB egg, organic carrots and sugar snap peas
Wednesday, 6/4/14 - Fun little gluten-free dairy-free leftover pizza fingers for my (then) Kindergartener. Since non-dairy cheese doesn't have a ton of nutrients, I included half an egg for protein.
Some zoo animal picks in the Driscoll's organic strawberries were a super-easy way to make lunch fun and cute!

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Little Fingers
Organic carrots, sugar snap peas, strawberries, and grapes; 1/2 HB egg, GF/DF pizza fingers
The toddler got a smaller version of the same meal. Other half of the egg, a few pizza fingers, and some nommy fruits and veggies!

Tools of the Trade

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Stroller Picnic Lunches

Friday, 6/20/14 - There was a fun Kids' Day festival the next city over, and I didn't know if there would be any safe food options for us. So I packed some quickie snack lunches to eat in the car on the way that would also work in the stroller to snack on later. EasyLunchboxes make fantastic lap trays!

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Organic carrots, nectarine, apples, and sheep milk Feta cheese all around.
Organic tomatoes for Little Sis, organic plum and SoDelicious chocolate dairy-free yogurt for Big Sis 
Both girls mostly got the same thing, and I didn't pack any grains in there because I had plenty of grain-y snacks packed separately. And I packed a bunch of extra fruit into Z's box so that *I* could have some too!
The hunks of sheep milk Feta were by request. I had offered cheese and crackers and they opted for the Feta without crackers instead.

Tools of the Trade

Both girls pretty much only had eyes for the trampoline bungee jumping place. We basically spent several hours circling through the line over and over again. These guys have been to several local fairs, and E recognizes the lady who always helps when it's her turn, and they recognize us now too! Apparently my girls are so happy and fearless flying around up there, it's a draw for other families. I'm constantly overhearing "Look at that little one!" or "Wow! Look how high that blonde girl is flying!"

I love watching their spirits soar. It's worth every penny, seeing their joy, their confidence, their youthful abandon. And literally getting to watch them fly.