Monday, December 22, 2014

3-D Gingerbread House Sandwich for Lunch!

I found this mini gingerbread house cookie cutter and had to find a fun way to incorporate it into a lunch! So I made little sandwich "gingerbread" houses, stuck together with peanut butter. A perfect Christmas-y lunch for the last day of school before the holiday break!

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Surf Sweets gummy bears, Sprinkelz, PB, GF PB house, organic apples and carrots, assorted dye-free sprinkles and candy
For my First Grader, I built this little bread and peanut butter house on a square of foil-wrapped cardboard, just like you would a regular gingerbread cookie house. I even added a few bread trees using some tiny tree cutters.
I thought it would be fun for her to decorate her little house too, so I added a bunch of candy - way more sweets than I normally would include. Last day of school before vacation though, so cause for a special treat! In addition to a packet of dye-free Sprinkelz, I sent a single-serve packet of dye-free Surf Sweets gummy bears, and a zip-close baggie with extra peanut butter for her to use as icing. I taped it to keep the PB near the corner, and used a Sharpie to mark where to cut it to turn it into a piping bag and a message to only make a tiny cut. At her school they eat in the lunchroom, and she is allowed to access scissors to help open packages and such.
I also packed an EasyLunchboxes Mini Dipper with some dye-free Choco-Rockscandy-covered sunflower seedsjelly beans, and India Tree Nature's Colors snowflake quins.

I didn't pack too many apple slices and baby carrots in the gingerbread man silicone cup because I knew she wouldn't eat much - she'd be too busy eating and decorating with the candy!

The only lunch box deep enough to hold the assembled house sandwich that I own is a Yubo, but it is designed to be carried sideways. Plus I couldn't find all the parts to ours. Doh! So I used a large Snapware container and packed it upside-down so she wouldn't have to lift the house out of the box and risk dropping it or messing it up. Because everything was all loosey-goosey in there, I carried it in for her and put it in her cubby. That way she only had to be careful carrying it to the table at lunch.

A Little Crooked House
I packed these lunches the day before, and Little Sis saw me making a house for Big Sis. And wanted one! My first house looked terrible, since the roof wasn't fitting right when I built the house as pictured. So I stupidly tried making each side overlap one of the other sides, making the whole house lopsided and the roof crookedy. Doh! So I decided my toddler could have that one, and I made a better version for my older girl!
The next day, when I served up her lunch, instead of using her extra PB to decorate the house, E dipped her apples in it, and ate the candy separately! Hahaha!

Tools of the Trade
Food for Thought

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Easy Elephant Lunch

The Elephant Lunch Punch is one of the few that still fits the smaller gluten-free bread slices. So it's an easy option when I feel like making something cute with very little effort!

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Big Girl Elephants
GF PBJ, homemade GF/DF cheese crackers; organic cherries, sugar snap peas, and carrots
Gluten-free bread doesn't show the imprints from cutters as well (or at least Udi's doesn't,) so I traced along with some jelly and a toothpick to help the lines stand out better. Maybe I just used a butter knife... that would explain why it's so sloppy! Lol! I'm sitting here trying to remember what I did, and wondering why I would have gone to all the trouble to get a toothpick out of the high cupboard, so probably I just used the knife!
I did add chocolate jimmies for the eyes though.

I used the homemade gluten-free dairy-free "Cheez-Its" recipe from one of my favorite recipe sites, Fork and Beans. I cheated a bit and whizzed the Daiya shreds and butter together in the blender instead of using a hand mixer. Made for nice small little cheese bits, perfect for these crackers! They were a big hit with both my girls. Yay!

small flower veggie cutter made for some easy decorations with the snap peas. But I was clearly too lazy to even grab some elephant picks for decoration! Oh well. Sometimes less is more, right?

Toddler Nibbles
GF PBJ bites; organic strawberries, sugar snap peas, and carrots
Little Sis got a simplified version of the same thing. Except I used some bread scraps from a previous sandwich to make her some sandwich nibbles. And she got strawberries, since she like to swallow the cherry pits. And the stems. Ew.

Tools of the Trade

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gluten-Free LUNA Bars for Healthy Holiday Snacking!

Because they have never contained any artificial petroleum-derived ingredients, we've been a fan of LUNA Bars for quite some time! But now they're even better! ALL flavors of LUNA bars have been made gluten-free as well; even the cookie bits in the S'mores and Chocolate Peppermint Stick flavors! And of course their brand new Chocolate Cupcake flavor! (Whoa, Mama!)

Many thanks to LUNA Bar for sponsoring today’s story and creating delicious gluten-free snacks! 

My 1st Grader loves the gluten-free Lemon Zest LUNA Bar the best, but anything chocolate will do as well, and asks me every day if I can send one as her snack for school! And I gotta say, as a Mama dealing with dietary restrictions and being pulled in eleventy-three directions with normal everyday stuff plus all the holiday season stuff, it's nice having an easy healthy gluten-free bar grab-and-go option for snack... or even part of a quick Mama breakfast!

How do you fortify yourself during the holiday season? Do you squeeze in your shopping while the kids are at school? Do you have time to stop for more than a quick bite? What better way to refuel during a marathon shopping spree, a family plane trip, or the long drive to Grandma's house than a gluten-free LUNA Bar?

LUNA's gluten-free switch is still so new, so as stores transition their inventory be sure to look for the pink GLUTEN FREE label before you buy!

Other than the LUNA Protein bars, all LUNA Bars are also dairy-free, making these dye-gluten-dairy-free bars an essential in our pantry!
Additional LUNA Bar details:
- Low glycemic index
- Made with 70% organic ingredients
- NO artificial colors or flavors or synthetic preservatives
- Good source of protein and fiber

- Vegan-friendly (other than the Honey Salted Peanut flavor, which contains honey)
- Non-GMO
- Under 200 calories

My kids and I love the crunchy texture mixed with just the right amount of chewy. And unlike most protein and snack bars, LUNA Bars have almost no chalkiness! Plus these are tasty enough, my kids treat them as dessert! Win for Mama!

Since it is the holidays, I can’t end this post without a {potential} gift for you!  LUNA Bar will send a delicious gluten-free sample for one lucky winner to enjoy! Must be 18 years of age or older and live in the Continental United States.  To enter, click on over to the LUNA Bar website and check out all of their flavors, then come back here and leave a comment with the name of the flavor you are most excited about (or the one you just cannot live without!)  Contest closes on December 19, 2014 at midnight PST. 
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