Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Johnny Appleseed Day Lunch!

September 26th is "Johnny Appleseed Day" because it's his birthday. To confuse matters, March 11 is also Johnny Appleseed Day... closer to when he died, because it's planting season. Why he gets two days and everyone else gets just one (or lumped into a generic holiday like "Mother's Day" or "President's Day,") is beyond me.
To commemorate (and because someone told me about it in advance enough I could actually do it... and I had enough cheaterly bento tools to make it easy,) I made Z an apple-themed lunch!

Johnny Appleseed Lunch
Cinnamon (in little apple bottle,) Ranch, cheese, Sunbutter-apple butter sandwich, carrots
Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt with apple butter, apples, Biscoff spread

Pin It

Read on to find out more about this lunch, as well as what Mama ate! Or check out some other fun Johnny Appleseed-themed goodness. Or both!
(Blogs listed in alphabetical order)

An Abundance of Apples
Apple Tartlets: For the carrots and cheese, I used a mini apple cutter and put them in a silicone apple cup (I had to order these in sets of 24, but I found friends to go splitsies with me!) and a green muffin cup (I couldn't fit two apple cups in there, and this green matched better than the green apple cup!) 
I got some he-uuuuuuge carrots at my CSA farm, and was able to use a regular mini cutter on the carrot coins! Yowza!

Apple Dippers: I put her dips in the mini plastic cups (found at a Korean grocery called H-Mart.) I didn't need containers with lids since I would be in charge of keeping her lunch horizontal. The Ranch was for her carrots, and I thought Biscoff (aka: "cookie spread") would be a fun treat for her to dip her apples, since she would be eating this lunch in a nut-free facility. Peanut butter NOT an option!

Applewich: For her sandwich, I used an apple cookie cutter on two slices of bread, then added Sunbutter and some spiced apple butter from a jamming friend (she wins ribbons and stuff at fairs... or at least did before she got tired of sweeping every category she entered and quit to become a judge! So trust me. This stuff is T-A-S-T-Y!)
Apple Trick: For her Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt, I wanted to try something fun. I saw this trick done with colored yogurt over at BentOnBetterLunches, and with applesauce at Lunches Fit For a Kid
Basically you place your mini cutter where you want the design to go, then use a small straw to suck out a layer of the yogurt (or applesauce.) While the cutter is still in place, add your contrasting element (colored yogurt/applesauce, or in this case, apple butter! Jam would be a great option as well!) Spread filling around as evenly as you can before caaaaaarefully removing the cutter. 
Ta-Dah! And you know if *I* managed to not mess it up, it can't be TOO tricky!

In the little apple-topped sauce bottle I put some extra cinnamon for her to sprinkle on. Because she likes it, and as an excuse to include the bottle! *wink!*

I packed a BPA-free baby spoon from Dollar Tree and a reusable silicone Cool Straw for her to stir and slorp her yogurt, respectively.
We have Baby E's "preschool" class at the co-op preschool on Wednesday mornings (it's really a class for the mommies, where the babies get to play and socialize. Or lay there like a slug. Whatever.) Since it's a nut-free facility, I wanted to be sure and pack something safe for Z to eat there. She's having a hard time transitioning to her new preschool class, and has always had difficulty accepting alternate caregivers. So I opted not to put her in Mom's Day Out on Wednesday mornings, and everyone else will just have to deal with her being in the classroom with us.
She's fairly respectful, gentle with the babies, and obedient; so other than a few gentle reminders, she's been able to sit quietly and amuse herself so far. And one of E's teachers was also her teacher the past two years, so it's another familiar comfort in a year full of scary changes. (This Summer her Little Gym moved locations, so instead of us having an easy camp-filled Summer, I got to deal with her having to become comfortable with the place all over again. And the teacher for her weekly class switched to someone completely new at the beginning of the school year. Plus she's in a new pre-K preschool class with all new teachers, mostly all new students, and in a different classroom. And no Mama's-sitting-in-the-lobby at co-op days alternating with her drop-off preschool days to help ease her stress and anxiety.)

We had done a mini Johnny Appleseed unit back when I attempted to do some homeschool preschool with Z a few years back, before I finally came to terms with the fact that she will refuse to learn anything I'm actively trying to teach her. I asked her if she remembered it, and she claimed not to. So I did a brief rundown of who Johnny Appleseed was.
Me: Johnny Appleseed took apple seeds and planted apple trees all across America, so everyone could enjoy them! We live in Washington, which is known for growing apples now. He had to come a very long way to get here!
Z: But there are already plenty of apple trees then. They didn't need him to do all that!
Me: Oh, no. This happened a long, long time ago. Before all the apple trees were here. He planted trees that might be the great-great-great grandparents of trees we have now! (I did a bit about trees to apples to seeds to more trees to apples to seeds, etc. "Like a circle. Yeah, yeah. I got it Mama." Smart ass.)
So it happened a long time ago. He's dead now.
Z: (eyes welling up, lip pouting) He's dead? But I don't want him to be dead! Waaaah!
Me: He did wonderful things and lived a full and happy life! Then got really old. When people get too old, they die. Maybe he had kids, and they had kids, and so on. So in a way he lives on through his trees and his family!
Z: Waaaaaaaaah!

I really wish they'd just teach this stuff in preschool, so I didn't have to flub it.

Scrappy Mama's Gotta Eat
Leftover Sunbutter-apple butter sandwich, cherry tomatoes, medjool date; spinach and
red lettuce salad w/carrot, edamame, raisins, dressing. Dried soy beans, chia seeds
I used the leftover bread from her sandwich to make a half-sandwich for me, and chopped up her carrot scraps for my salad. I left one cut-out carrot coin intact so you could see just how big my carrots are!
My lunch is technically a rainbow, with the Red tomatoes; *Orange/Yellow tomatoes and carrots; Green lettuce, spinach, and soy beans; and *Blue/Purple lettuce tips and raisins. It just doesn't feeeeel as rainbow-y!
*For the purposes of the Food Pyramid's weekly color recommendations, orange and yellow fruits and veggies fall into the same category, as do blue and purple ones.

I put my raspberry vinaigrette dressing in a Smidget, and the Mini Dipper is keeping my dried soy beans (for extra protein and crunch instead of nuts,) and 1 Tbsp chia seeds (for Omega 3s, fiber, and more protein) from getting soggy. Both containers are water-tight.

Since Baby's class is earlier in the day than we're used to being anywhere, I planned for Z to have her lunch to double as breakfast, and packed it the night before. I got Baby's bottles, water and formula for the day measured out and in the diaper bag the night before too. And since I wouldn't have time for breakfast, nor even time to scrounge something up quick, I prepped myself a yogurt and some granola as well, and stacked them in the fridge with our lunches and Z's preschool snack, so I wouldn't forget!
8ish ounces of Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt
and 6ish ounces of granola from one of my NatureBoxes!
I used my plastic Ball freezer jars (16oz and 8oz) since they were handy (and make me look like I know what I'm doing!) The larger one holds my Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt, and I left room to add the granola. The smaller one has some NatureBox granola that I grabbed from my stash at random. I'm not a fan of soft granola by itself, so I haven't gone through it very quickly. But on yogurt? Yum! I think this was the Agave Citrus mix from April, but I could be wrong.

Z ended up getting up early enough to enjoy a Chobani Champions Vanilla Chocolate Chunk single with some Cascadian Farms Organic Dark Chocolate Almond Granola for breakfast, and finished it off in the car on the way there. And yes. It is as good as it sounds!
So I re-used her spoon for myself, and used the baby spoon I had originally packed to share with Baby E! (before I added in the granola.) [Babies' mouths are born without bacteria - we introduce our cavity-causing germs by sharing food, cups and utensils!] She even managed to cadge a few bites after, but I was careful not to give her big hunks of granola.

I had quite the little baby entourage as I ate my yogurt! Since most of the babies in our class are crawling or walking already, they clustered around me, all up in my grill. Chubby little hands slowly reaching towards my spoon, and little puppy-dog eyes following my spoon's every move. Glance to the spoon. Glance up at me. Spoon. Me. Spoon. Me. Darnit! They learned E's little trick! It was hard to resist them blasting me with the full force of their little Jedi mind powers, but I wasn't sharing!



  1. Love this apple lunch! And those are the apple silicone cups?! they DO look like apples. I love them!

  2. Yum! Love the lunches, as always!

  3. I'm going to try that yogurt trick, that looks awesome.

  4. LOVE this bento ~ how cute is your blog?!


Go ahead! Tell me how awesome I am. Or ask a question. Whatever.

(Please note that I had to disable Anonymous comments. Too many spam comments coming through the filters.)