Friday, November 30, 2012

Foodie Penpals - November 2012

This month I got a box of goodies from my Foodie Penpal Dawn, at Spatulas on Parade (LOVE that blog name!)

Nature's Path Mmmaple Pecan granola bars: You had me at "sweet and salty!"
I'm not known for my planning or time-management skills [at Disney on Ice (yes, we were late,) when the skaters came out for the ballroom scene, Z kept asking where Cinderella was. When she arrived, Z said "Oh. She's just late. Like us!"] so often my breakfast is just whatever chewy bar is within arm's reach as I bundle the kids out the door.

Home-made granola: Yum! A much healthier item to munch on at the computer than the box of Candy Cane Joe Joes. And tasty in some breakfast yogurt (the mornings I have time...)

Ak-Mak cracker bread: These taste really good with some herb cheese spread Hubby just got. Perfect timing!

Home-made taco seasoning: The juvenile in me keeps tittering over the bottle being labeled merely "TACO." But as luck would have it, Hubby just brought home some leftover taco shells from work, and I happened to buy some ground chicken for no particular reason...

Osem Israeli Couscous: Apart from my sheer enjoyment of any excuse to say the word "couscous" ("Hug hug couscous!") this will make a nice alternative to regular noodles or rice. And it's easy for Baby to eat. Win!

Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame: I had just used up the last of the dried edamame for my salads a few days before this arrived! It's like she's in my head!

Betty Crocker Simply Fruit roll-ups: These are the only thin fruit leathers I've seen. All the rest are thick and smallish, so only good for cutting small shapes from. Yes. I'm always thinking in terms of how any given food would work in a bento. It's a curse gift.

Cat Cora's Kitchen Green Olive Tapenade: Intriguing. A certain little someone looooooooves olives. I wonder if she'd eat broccoli if she could dip into some of this...

The Lean Green Bean
This is my first month sending to another blogger, so you can check out what I sent to Katie at Wish and Whimsy!

Here’s a detailed explanation of the Foodie Penpals program:
-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
December's Foodie Penpals will be for charity instead, to help make the season a little brighter for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy. Look for the link to donate at The Lean Green Bean on December 3-7!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shining Star Lunchable

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I had found these star-shaped crackers at Safeway and wanted to do something fun with them. So I packed a little DIY Lunchable! The crackers aren't really flat, but she often "deconstructs" her lunches and eats each bit separately anyway, so I knew she'd be fine not making cracker sandwiches.

Shining Star Lunchable
Cheddar, ham, grapes, carrots, cheese crackers, milk box
I had just received these silicone star cups (eBay, but World Market sells some as well,) and wanted to use them too. I tried to use a variety of colors. I cut cheddar cheese and ham with a mini star cutter. I used a tiny star cutter on some orange and yellow carrot coins, then switched the cut-outs for contrast. She loved it!
A medley of grapes on long food picks (mine came from a cake supply shop, so I was able to get stars, hearts and butterflies!) plus my star crackers to round it off.
And we have the full rainbow of colors in the fruits and veggies! Red grapes, orange/yellow carrots, green grapes, and blue/purple grapes. Yum!

Cloth star napkin came from Red Poppy Cards and Crafts on Etsy.

Tools of the Trade

*please pardon the poor lighting in the photos. These dark winter mornings are killing me!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fall Happy - Scarecrow Bento

Tuesday, 10/23/12 - a fun Fall-themed lunch in an EasyLunchbox.
Ham and cheese sandwich,, "pumpkin brickle," grapes, corn
I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter on some bread for the body, minus the head. I used the same cutter on some ham to go inside, and cheese slices for the shirt and pants. I cropped the "hands" and "feet" off to make them more clothing-like. Instead of a bread head, I used a cupcake pick a friend found for me at a cakery supply shop. Some sell picks in singles, which is great for a bento-er!

I broke apart a piece of pumpkin "brickle" for dessert. We'd gotten a bag on our pumpkin patch field trip at the gift shop. It's like peanut brittle, except with pumpkin seeds (husks removed) and pie spices mixed in. It is crazy delicious.

I chose a yellow silicone flower cup and arranged some red grapes inside to look like a sunflower. Kind of.

I had made oven-baked corn on the cob the night before, and had some left over, so I used a knife to scrape down the sides to make little sheets of corn nibblets. And added a scarecrow cupcake pick to guard the corn. A white spork was included to (hopefully) help eat the corn. (It was a no-go. She didn't like it. Baby ended up eating it all later.)

Tools of the Trade
 Food Decorating Pick Fall Leave Scarecrow   

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Turkey Leftover Turkeys

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For our first day back to school after the Thanksgiving break, what better theme than a Turkey Leftovers lunch! (In our EasyLunchboxes, of course!)
Pomegranate arils, turkey and cheese pockets, apples, carrots and cauliflower
Ain't No Jive Turkey: I got the idea for these from Bento for Kidlet. But Hubby was so impressed with their creativity, I had really wanted to take credit for the idea. *sigh*
I used a circle cutter to make two bread circles (the scraps went into a freezer bag to save for making something with them later.) I flattened the middles a little with my fingers, then put some turkey and grated cheese on each one. (Turkey and cranberry relish would be a good combo too! Yum!) 
I set them in a dumpling press and sealed them each into a little pocket. They didn't stay sealed fantastically well, so I added a bit of cream cheese to glue them shut. 
I cut some finger shapes from a bread scrap and a heel (Hubby and I couldn't decide which we liked better, so I did one of each.) I used cream cheese to glue them on, and bits of uncooked spaghetti noodle to pin them in place. More cream cheese to glue on the eyes (currants cut in half) and beaks (bits of carrot.)

Since she refused cranberry sauce for dipping, I put some pomegranate arils into a Wilton Silly Critter cup (they fit almost flush against the lid in an EasyLunchbox! Sweet!)

The rest of the fruits and veggies have nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but cold mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes aren't as tasty. You can pretend the carrots are sweet potatoes, and the cauliflower is mashed. Whee! And apples for apple pie (I like it better than pumpkin pie. Especially MY pumpkin pie. How was I supposed to know you should taste it to see if there was enough sugar? Bleah.)

Tools of the Trade

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Preschool Snacks, Weeks 2 & 3, November 2012

All-Natural Healthy Preschool Snacks
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Since I forgot to post last Sunday we had a slew of holidays in both weeks, I'm putting two weeks worth of snacks together.
Monday was Veteran's Day, so no school.

Tuesday 11/13
Carrot hearts, apples, Enjoy Life Sunbutter Crunch bar bites
In the mini heart cup, I have some heart-shaped bites made from an Enjoy Life Sunbutter Crunch bar that came in my November Savorfull box. For the chewy bar bites and carrots I used a 1" mini heart cutter.

[Use code BITINGMYHAND for $1 off one-month, $9 off six-months, or $20 off a year subscription to enjoy Savorfull's monthly box of allergy-friendly goodies delivered right to your door!]

Wednesday 11/14
Southern BBQ Sunflower Kernels, red and green grapes
The Southern BBQ Sunflower Kernels were from the July NatureBox. She loves them! I got the little heart box in a set from Dollar Tree around Valentines.
Everything is in a discontinued mini snack box I got from a friend.

Thursday 11/15
Annie's Berry Berry bar, True Lemon drink powder
I can't remember why, but I had promised her a "chewy bar" for her snack. The Annie's Berry Berry was one of the only ones we have without nuts in it.
I put a partial packet of True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade drink powder into a little cow container I got after Easter on clearance.

Monday 11/19
Far East Rice Crackers, SnapPea Crisps, raspberries
I put some star picks in with her raspberries. In the triangle boxes, they kind of look like a Christmas tree.

In the other compartment are Far East Rice Crackers from the August NatureBox plus some SnapPea Crisps.

Tuesday 11/20
TJ's Apple-Watermelon Fruity Flakes, Toasted Sesame Stix
The butterfly silicone cup has some chewy "Fruity Flakes" from Trader Joe's I got to try out on her. Although she likes fruit snacks, she didn't like these. Balls!

Toasted Sesame Stix from the September NatureBox in the silicone flower cup. Which she also didn't like. Which is good luck for me, since they're yummy!

Wednesday 11/21
Wednesday was the last day of school before Thanksgiving, so Little Z's preschool had a little singing pageant and potluck feast. No need for snack. 
Luckily I'd been getting previews of the songs all month. Due to traffic, my mom wasn't able to arrive in time to watch the Baby so I could make it to the show. I was able to get there for the eating though. And label-checking. No fake ingredients for my little turkey! No worries though. Her Dadda worked from home that morning, so he was able to go and record it all for me.
Bento Silicone Baking Food Cup - 12 Heart  Microwavable Japanese Bento Box Lunch Box 4 Nesting Container  Japanese Triangle Rice Ball Bento Box Onigiri Case Girl Japanese Bento Cute Sea Animal Food Pick