Saturday, November 30, 2013

EasyLunchboxes First Sale EVER!

Planning to pack and eat healthier for the New Year? Need a good gift for a friend who wants to start packing waste-free lunches? Need extra EasyLunchboxes to keep in the car to make sharing popcorn at the movies or eating drive-thru meals easier? Or just want more on hand so you can pack several days' worth of lunches for each person in one go? Now is the perfect time to stock up, or try EasyLunchboxes for the first time!

[This post contains affiliate links.]
For the first time ever, all EasyLunchboxes products are on SALE! Through Monday 12/2/13, on only, EasyLunchboxes ClassicsEasyLunchboxes BrightsMini Dippers, and the Insulated Lunch Box Cooler Bags in all 7 colors (designed to hold the EasyLunchboxes horizontally) are all 20% off!

All EasyLunchboxes products are eligible for free US shipping, and unfortunately they won't ship outside the US. The rest of you can buy direct from, but sorry, no sale price there.

If you decide you're ready to buy these, and click through one of my affiliate links, the price for you doesn't change, but I make a small percentage of the sale, which helps me do things like pay for my custom URL, pay for file storage so Google doesn't erase all my old blog photos, buy fricken' expensive dye-gluten-dairy free foods,  that kind of thing...

Jack-O-Lantern Leftover Lunches

Jack-O-Lanterns for Dadda
Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Bento Full of Leftovers!
Leftover vegetarian stir fry, organic brown rice and quinoa, carrot coins, organic veggie bird's nests, pretzel things
Thursday, 10/17/13 - On the carrot pumpkins (cut by hand by slicing Vs down the side of a carrot to make a stem, then cutting it into coins,) I used this face nori punch for the eyes, and broken or hand-cut nori scraps for the rest.

My vegetarian stir-fry uses Butler's Soy Curls as a very realistic substitute for chicken. Hubby didn't make negative jabs about it, anyway. I soaked them in some veggie stock (home-made from scraps like broccoli and cauliflower stems, carrot and onion tops and peels, etc) and cooked up some onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and broccoli, adding veggie stock from the soaking curls with each new addition, rather than a ton of oil. Then I added the soaked soy curls at the end to heat them up.

Hubby is a huge fan of my Veggie Birds Nests (recipe over at MOMables) and I just make them with whatever I have on-hand. So I think these have cabbage, carrots, onion, and potatoes.

The pretzel things came in a monthly foodie box that I'd only subscribed to because they had an awesome deal. Otherwise I don't subscribe to ones where everything (or most everything) isn't gluten-free. It was a small sample sized packet, so perfect for Hubby. He loves gluten, and loves pretzels. Win-win!

[This post contains affiliate links.]

My Little Pumpkin
Simple Fall Pumpkin Lunch for a Toddler
GF PBJ; organic carrot "pumpkins," cherry tomatoes, apple chunks, grape halves
This was E's lunch the day I went with Z's class to the pumpkin patch. I made Z a fun Pumpkin Patch Monster lunch, but just did a simple pumpkin themed one for E.

A mini pumpkin cutter for the sandwiches, leaf pick for a cherry tomato, and a pumpkin-shaped muffin cup are easy ways to get make a pumpkin-y lunch!

Tools of the Trade

Friday, November 29, 2013

Nibble Box Lunches

Saturday, 9/28/13 - Can't remember what our plans had been, but we were most likely headed to Nana's. So I packed some easy nibbly lunches for the girls.

Nibbles for Z
Wedge of Hail Merry Lemon Tart; organic HB egg, carrots, sugar snap peas, kiwi berries, apples, strawberries
I sliced the hard boiled eggs to make them easier to eat, and sprinkled salt on the inside of both halves. Yum!

Just for fun, I gave each girl a ring pick to use to eat their berries.

[This post contains affiliate links.]

E's Nibbles
Hail Merry Lemon Tart; organic HB egg, carrots, tomatoes, celery, sugar snap peas, kiwi berries, apples, strawberries
Both girls got reusable cloth napkins from Red Poppy Crafts on etsy. And a small wedge from a Hail Merry Meyer Lemon Miracle Tart

Tools of the Trade
 handle picks   Red Poppy Napkins

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Packed Snacks and Lunches for a Family Weekend Away!

Friday, 9/20/13 through Sunday, 9/22/13 - Hubby was going to Rose City Comic Con in Portland, and they were paying for his hotel room. He was a guest of honor or something. Whatever. Anyway, so since he'd be driving down anyway, and his hotel was free, it was like a free family weekend getaway! Except I was stuck with the kids most of the time...

I had a bunch of extra prepped melon and veggies left over from an event, and didn't want them sitting alone at home all weekend, so I jammed as much as I could into three of our EasyLunchboxes - one for each day we'd be gone. And brought a few empties to divvy each day's share into along with other leftovers and foods brought along.
Because Portland is a haven for vegan (dairy-free) and gluten-free foodies, and because our travel expenses were basically free, I only planned for packed lunches and snacks, so that we could explore the local cuisine for breakfast and dinner.
[This post contains affiliate links.]

Day 1: Road Trippin'
PBandCo peanut butter packets, Wholly Guacamole mini cups;
organic celery, tomatoes, carrots, honeydew, plum, apples
I packed as many honeydew slices, cherry tomatoes, cut celery, and baby carrots as would fit in the large compartments, then added side compartments with some apple and plum slices that also needed to get used up. 
We snacked on one of the boxes on the 3-hour drive down (the one with the plum. They don't stay good as long as apples!) And passed around the mini Wholly Guacamole cup for dipping. Mama was in charge of putting peanut butter in the celery sticks though! 

As it happens, NW VegFest Portland was happening that same weekend. So I planned to take the girls to that at some point. But then, lo! It turned out to be at the same convention center! How perfect was that? We could wander back and forth, eating samples at one end of the convention center and annoying Dadda while he was trying to work at the other!

Day 2: VegFest and a Surprise Visit!
Part of the kids area of VegFest had a vermicomposting expert with trays of compost and worms! The girls went wild for them! I finally had to hustle them off when they started trying to smuggle worms into the stroller! NO THANKS!

They also had free face painting (versus the comic con's $3,) and they not only were offering all kinds of elaborate designs, but the make-up was all dye-free! So Mama didn't have to worry about any of it rubbing off onto little sampling hands!
Z had only had her face painted once before, after years of refusing to even try. We'd been at Trader Joe's and I told her that if she let them try, she could pick something for them to paint on me. She ended up sitting long enough for a whole butterfly, and Mama got a mustache. o_O

So I was shocked when she went for the full-face design of an angel. And went back for touch-ups throughout the day, and again the next day. And refused to wash it off, and wore what was left to school on Monday!
I was so impressed, and Z loved it so much, that I ordered some Elegant Minerals face paint myself when we got home! Z wants me to paint another angel on her face, but I just don't think I'm up to the task.
I had brought the second packed box fruit and veggie box, plus guacamole and peanut butter, and had some bagged Naturebox snacks, all stuffed in the bottom of the double stroller. But really, we got so many free samples, no one was hungry! The girls were ravenous food samplers, and I often had to give up my sample to a little someone who had loved it so.

I was so excited to meet fellow bento blogger Jessie from Chaos and Confections! She lives near Portland, and had some time to come and troll VegFest with me. She brought two of her daughters, one of whom was going through allergy testing and was restricted from a bunch of different foods. It was hard finding safe things for her to sample, but they found some, and her daughter also found a new food to love - pumpkin seed butter! I love when trying new things pays off!

Day 3: ComicCon
For our final day in Portland, I packed each girl a lunch to snack on as we wheeled around, but also for the drive home, if they had any left.
E's Lunch
Wholly Guacamole mini cup, celery, tomatoes, carrots, leftover kale salad
from Mama's dinner and leftover GF dairy-free mac and cheese (Veggie Grill)
E is a bit more adventurous than Z, and had enjoyed my salad from Veggie Grill the night before, so I gave her some leftovers for lunch the next day, plus some of their leftover gluten and dairy-free macaroni and cheese (also from Veggie Grill.)
She also got more veggies to dip because, well, she's willing to eat more veggies than her sister! Plus she doesn't eat tortilla chips properly, and keeps trying to swallow larger sharp chunks. And chokes. No thanks.

Z's Lunch 
Wholly Guacamole mini cup, whole grain tortilla chips, carrots, sugar snap peas, leftover DF GF mac and cheese
Z got chips. And fewer veggies. That's how we roll!

Tools of the Trade

Rose City Comic Con didn't have as much to draw the girls in, so we only made short forays into the dealer's area before heading out to the lobby to get the stinkeye from judgy parents as I let the girls go up and down the escalator without me. I got tired of escort duty after about the fourth trip. Which gave me ample time to photograph some amazing costumes. While keeping one eye on my girls, of course!

I also managed to lure them into posing for a picture with a Star Wars fan club raising money for charity. The girls were entranced by the costumes.
So the comic con wasn't a total bust for us. Plus Z found one of the artists who does My Little Pony comics, so we bought her a signed copy. Start 'em young...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cuisine Cube - Curated Gluten-Free Subscription Box Review

I'm a huge fan of monthly curated foodie boxes. It's like Christmas in my mailbox every month! (Well, technically on the porch. But you get my drift...)
Cuisine Cube is a monthly foodie box, but everything has the added bonus of being gluten-free! It's a great way to discover and try new things, without having to worry about weeding out the gluten-y stuff.

And although the November box was geared towards Thanksgiving dinner items, usually each box features something for every meal of the day, plus a snack and dessert! It's a really unique take, and ensures a nice range of different options each month.

[Disclosure: I received a Cuisine Cube box for free to review.]

Black Rice Chip Goodness!
Sunbutter, black rice crackers, homemade GF oreos; organic raspberries, sugar snap peas, carrots
I couldn't wait to get started! Most of the goodies I'm saving for a gluten-free Thanksgiving, but these crackers didn't last long enough. *burp*

November Cuisine Cube Goodness
November Cuisine Cube curated gluten-free subscription box
Aleia's Savory Stuffing - super excited to try this for Thanksgiving!
Lulu's Apple Butter - I am a crazy-huge apple butter fan. My first pregnancy I practically lived off of apple butter toast.
FlourBuds Raspberry Crumb Tart - my family thought this was delicious. It has dairy, so none for Mama. *sniffle*
Maxwell's Kitchen Turkey Gravy Mix - another hold-out for Thanksgiving Day
Grains of Wellness Black Rice Chips - These lasted only two lunches and one toddler. Nom!
Chebe All-Purpose Bread Mix - I can't decide which of the Keeley McGuire Blog's ideas I want to try... I'm thinking a few pizza muffins, some garlic breadsticks, vegetarian Pigs in a Blanket, and maybe a mini pizza crust or two... I might even share with the girls!

The Last of the Black Rice Crackers
Salad (mixed greens, artichoke hearts, palm hearts, tomatoes, almond slivers, hemp hearts, raspberry vinaigrette,)
leftover meatless meat loaf muffin, GF black rice chips, dairy-free onion and chive cream cheese
Another Cuisine Cube feature is that if you loved something, they make it easy to stock-up on some more!

On the fence? Check out some sample boxes, to see more of the great goodie combos you're missing out on!  So far I have loved everything I've tried, both from the two boxes I got on subscription, plus this one sent to me for free to review. And this is also the only subscription box I've had where I discovered new items that I actually went and bought again.
At $29.95 it's a wee bit more expensive than other boxes, but with Cuisine Cube I personally have had the highest ratio of items I could not only eat, but also that I've enjoyed! And they're all full-sized!