Friday, August 29, 2014

Kid-Friendly School Lunch Ideas!

{Nut-Free} PBJ-On-a-Stick
Z's Lunch: GF Sunbutter-Jelly sandwich, MOMables GF Apple-Plum Cobbler; organic apricot, green beans, carrots
5/13/14 - Cutting a sandwich into bites and stacking them on a fun cupcake skewer is a quick and easy way to turn a boring old sandwich into something fun! Emphasis on quick and easy! Whee!

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E's Lunch: GF Sunbutter-Jelly sandwich, organic carrots and strawberries
Same thing for Little Sis on a Yum skewer. If you don't mind some extra cutting and filling-spreading, this is a great use for larger bread scraps if you save them from making shaped sandwiches.

Green Mac-N-(Not)Cheese
Leftover GF macaroni w/squash and pea sauce, basil, dried seaweed, organic apples
5/14/14 - I make a dairy-free "cheese" sauce from pureed squash and nutritional yeast (among other things,) and added some powdered pea baby food to the mix, which made it greenish. Z doesn't mind cold macaroni, so I just heated it a bit before packing to soften it. I packed it in a gingerbread girl silicone baking mold, and added a leaf of homegrown basil just for fun!

Chips and Dip
5/14/14 - There wasn't enough macaroni left for E, so she got organic whole grain corn tortilla chips and a Sabra hummus cup (we get them in a huge pack at Costco and I freeze them to last longer.)

DIY {Sunbutter} Cracker Stackers
Sunbutter, Van's Perfect 10 GF crackers, Glutino pretzel chips; organic carrots, green beans, grapes, apples
5/20/14 - Z likes the build-your-own lunch types, so I sent her with a Mini Dipper full of Sunbutter and crackers for a DIY MOMables PB Cracker Stackers!

We got the spoon by trading in a bunch of game tickets (probably won by Hubby) at Chuck E Cheese. Having my kiddo pick that over some other useless trinket was a proud Mama moment for me... I've got a little bentoseusse in the making!

Tools of the Trade

Monday, August 25, 2014

MOMables Monday: Elephant Cracker Stackers!

When I saw the elephant shaped Boon Trunk snack box, I had to have it! So I made an elephant-y MOMables Cracker Stackers lunch to go in it! 

Elephants for Kindergarten
Dye-free gummy hearts, GF crackers, salami, goat cheese and basil leaf, organic apricot and green beans
5/12/14 - My kids love cracker stackers... anything with crackers really. Or cheese. Or meat. I don't serve a lot of dairy (even though none of us react to goat milk,) and even less meat. There were a lot of happy dances this day!
I used my mini elephant cutter on some sliced goat cheese to make a fun version of the classic MOMables Cracker Stackers, but left the salami round. 
I found the perfect elephant joke on a Lunchbox Love note! I send them in special playing card protector sleeves so that they don't get soggy or dirty, and then I can reuse them!

Toddler Scraps
Organic green beans, apples, grapes, raspberries; GF crackers, goat cheese, salami
The toddler doesn't like salami as much as her Big Sis, so I only packed one slice for her. She got most of Z's cheese scraps too (Mama ate some...) and one elephant, for fun!

To help fill the space, I used a cheery silicone flower muffin cup to hold E's green beans.

Tools of the Trade
  Biting the Hand 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tired of "Dirty Dogs?" It's Time for a "Wienervention!"

A new survey finds that while 92% of Americans bought hot dogs in the last year, 80% agreed that most hot dogs are low quality and unhealthy. So when it comes to hot dogs, don't you think it’s time for a “cleaner wiener?” 
More than 90% of people who consume hot dogs would rather purchase franks with a short ingredient statement, and that’s where Applegate steps in. Their ingredient list is simple: beef (that has never been administered antibiotics or hormones), water, salt, and spices. It’s time to say goodbye to those dirty dogs filled with sodium phosphate, sodium nitrate, mystery parts, and who knows what else!

[Disclosure: I was sent an Applegate Wienervention kit to share how we enjoy eating our "cleaner wieners!"
Let’s be frank: Friends shouldn't let friends eat bad meat. So let me be your "meatiator" and share our Applegate experiences! [Insert wiener innuendo here.]

I am primarily vegetarian, and don't serve a lot of meat at home. But when I do, it's almost always Applegate products. I trust their natural ingredients and I love that their ethics and standards line up with my priorities as well. For example:
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives - everything is all-natural!
  • No added nitrates
  • No antibiotics or growth hormones
  • Lots of organic options
  • Applegate is working to remove GMO ingredients from their entire product line
  • Their meat is raised humanely - this is a big thing I look for when I do allow meat into our home.
And best of all, in addition to their "cleaner wieners," they also offer a lot of great gluten-free frozen convenience foods like corn dogs and chicken nuggets. As a parent, I love having safe and healthier versions of these convenience foods in my freezer for the occasional quick meal. And my kids love getting to have these "normal" foods again once in a while!

We've had several opportunities to enjoy Applegate hot dogs this Summer! On a recent camping trip (the girls were enthralled with cooking their own food over the fire... for about a minute, then Mama got to hold the sticks while they ran off and played!) plus several BBQs at my sister's house. And even a lazy dinner for my kids and their cousins where I needed something quick to satisfy five hungry kiddos and two tired Mamas!

Applegate didn't just send me some hot dogs - they sent me a whole hot dog enjoyment kit! This kit had all the makings of a full-force backyard barbeque - without the junk!
  • Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dogs
  • Rudi’s Hot Dog Buns (White and Gluten-Free)
  • Annie’s Organic Ketchup and Mustard
  • Rick’s Pick’s Relish
  • Applegate Apron
  • Grilling tool set
  • Frisbee
  • Mini Applegate Cooler
  • Susty paper straws and napkins
image courtesy of Applegate Farms
My family was thrilled! Hubby doesn't get gluten buns often, since he doesn't go through a package fast enough. And I usually don't bother getting buns for the girls anyway... So this was like a hot dog Christmas in July! Yummy Mama-approved hot dogs with actual real buns, pick-your-own condiments, and fun coordinating hot dog boats, napkins, and straws!

My kids and their cousins aren't the only ones who love Applegate products! My sister's dogs pretty much stalk my girls every time they eat them! And my entomophobic child won't eat her hot dogs outside anymore, after she got investigated one to many times by wasps!

Are YOU ready for a Wienervention?
image courtesy of Applegate Farms