Friday, March 20, 2015

A Week of GF/CF Easy Lunches!

This school year I've been pretty lackluster in the creativity department. So here's a week of tried-and-true lunch favorites for my 1st grader and 3-year-old. Well. Most of a week.

Sausage for Big Sis
Organic apples, raspberries, carrots, and sugar snap peas; leftover pineapple-bacon sausage, organic ketchup and mustard
Monday, 2/2/15 - One day at Costco they had samples of this pineapple bacon sausage that my kids (and husband) went ape for. So we stock up whenever they have them. They're Z's favorite dinner option, and leftover sausage is a lunch favorite too! I put in a little sweets fork pick just for fun. And to keep fingers clean... She doesn't like to wash her hands... Ewwww.

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Little Sis Sausage
Pineapple-bacon sausage; organic peas, carrots, apples, raspberries, ketchup
A smaller version of the same lunch for my little one... Not sure what to call her. No longer a toddler, since she's 3, but not quite a preschooler, since she wasn't 3 when the current school year started. Podling? Oompa-loompa? Little Squirt?

Nuts and Bolts
Chocolate nut clusters; organic strawberries, carrots, and snap peas; multi-grain chips
Tuesday, 2/3/15 - For fun I packed chocolate-covered nut clusters as her protein (and a treat!) and some whole-grain chips for her grains. The nut clusters actually have surprisingly little sugar in them. I served them in a flower cup to add an easy fun factor.

Preschooler Lunch
Organic snap peas, apples, clementine; salted hard-boiled egg, GF pretzel twists
Same idea, but I opted for an egg for my little one. Less of a choking hazard. And we'll pretend that the gluten-free pretzels actually contain some grains...

DIY PB Cracker Stackers
Organic apples, snap peas, and carrots; PBCo Dark Chocolate Dreams, GF crackers
Wednesday, 2/4/15 - Z loves "building" her own lunches, and when I'm in a hurry, tossing in a squeeze pack of peanut butter and some crackers makes a quick and easy option!

PB Cracker Sandwiches
Chocolate PB and Glutino crackers; organic mushrooms, carrots, and strawberries
My little one can't quite be trusted to assemble her own PB cracker sandwiches yet, so I made hers for her. No worries though. She just licks off the peanut butter and leaves the crackers behind. *sigh* They're in a butterfly muffin cup because they're an easy way to make a simple lunch look fun. I tend to forget to add little touches like that to her lunches, since I've focused on making my older daughter's lunches fun for so much longer. But E really enjoys when I do add these little details.

Heart and Cheese Cracker Stackers
Glutino crackers, goat cheese, uncured ham; organic peas, carrots, raspberries
Thursday 2/5/15 - Ham and cheese Cracker Stackers are another favorite around here. And a mini heart cutter makes them so much more fun than the packaged lunch kits we can't eat anyway. The heart muffin cups just makes this lunch burst with love!
Goat milk casein is closer to the protein in human milk versus cow milk, and so doesn't trigger my intolerance or cause issues with my girls. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have amazing selections of goat milk products!

Must not have packed anything for the 3-year-old. Which probably backfired, as then I end up making lunches twice. Once the night before for Big Sis and once the next day for Little Sis. Plus she demands her food be served in an EasyLunchbox anyway, even when she's eating at her little table. "I don' wan' a PLATE! I wan' a NUNCH!" Hahaha!

There was no school that Friday, so no packed lunches.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Who's Coming to #SoFabUOTR Seattle? #cbias

I am a member of the Social Fabric community. One of the best parts is their "SoFabU," a series of helpful online lessons and support for bloggers to help us hone our craft. Well now they're not just on the internet - they're taking it on the road! Normally I can't justify going to blogger conferences, since the price of hotel and airfare are prohibitive. But SoFabU On the Road is coming right to me; one of their events will be here in Seattle! If you're interested, you'd better act fast. It's less than a month away, on 4/18/15 at The Crowne Plaza, and spots are limited!

[Disclaimer: I am writing this post in exchange for a discounted conference ticket; however, all opinions are mine.]
The Seattle conference begins with a breakfast hosted by national sponsor Müller Yogurt, followed by a few informative talks about monetization and writing sponsored content. (Woop!) Then featured speaker Andy Hayes talks about building a lasting audience! This is probably worth the price of admission alone! He is the founder and creator of Plum Deluxe, the website that helps you create moments that matter. A published author, prolific writer, tea lover, and public speaker, he is based in sunny Portland, Oregon. Featured in sites and magazines such as CNN, Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic, Andy is known for his fresh ideas on living a good life.
After a short panel on how bloggers and brands can work together, there will be a lunch sponsored by Johnny Rockets. The agenda after lunch hasn't been finalized yet, but there will be plenty of networking, brands, and other learning opportunities. Maybe something with national sponsors Kraft and iBlog. I'm already excited to discover more about the city-specific Adventure! You can check out the agenda on the SoFabUOTR website!)

About SoFabU on the Road
SoFabU on the Road is a unique event that allows influencers to take advantage of educational opportunities that will help set them apart from the rest.
SoFabU on the Road features hands-on, interactive sessions for influencers to implement what they're learning on the spot. The sessions are paired with fun city-specific adventures where attendees get to practice their newly learned skills.
Events are open to all bloggers and influencers!

Jan – Los Angeles
Feb – Miami
March – Phoenix
April – Cincinnati
April – Seattle
May – Dallas
June – NYC
July – Chicago
Aug. – Minneapolis
Sept. – Atlanta
Oct. – Bentonville

About Collective Bias and Social Fabric
Collective Bias® is the only shopper social media company that solves shopper marketing problems by weaving together organic social content with engaging, real-life stories to generate millions of impressions, increased share of voice, SEO and retail sales for brands and retailers. Top brands such as Tyson, Nestlé and Duane Reade rely on Collective Bias to sell their stories socially. Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, with satellite offices in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Cincinnati and London, Collective Bias was named one of America's 25 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a part of the Inc. 5000.

Social Fabric® is Collective Bias’ proprietary community of nearly 3,000 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multichannel reach in excess of 130 million.
For more information, please visit or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Simple St. Patrick's Day Lunch

I almost forgot to do a festive lunch for St. Patrick's Day. Oops! So I managed to whip this together for Z last-minute and gave her original lunch (leftover fish sticks) to Little Sis. Boom!

GF ham and goat cheese with mustard sandwich bites, dye-free chocolate candies, leftover roasted potatoes, organic strawberries 
I used a mini heart cutter to make double-decker uncured ham and sliced goat cheese sandwich bites which I skewered with shamrock picks and clear green picks and arranged into a shamrock shape.

I originally grabbed the dye-free chocolate candies to cull out some green ones (Simple Truth brand from Kroger stores - I've seen them at Fred Meyer and QFC.) But then I figured, hey, make a rainbow! I did go heavy on the green though. I put them in a mini muffin cup because I try to limit treats to that size, but also because smaller servings are more visually satisfying when they're in a smaller dish that looks full, versus a larger dish that looks empty.

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Some leftover roasted potatoes and a few organic strawberries finish it out. It's not a lot of food, I know. But she hasn't been eating much lately (she seems to be in between growth spurts,) plus she gets two (usually healthy) snacks before lunch since her teachers discovered that snack was a great motivation for her to focus and get her tasks done. So they can get her to do some of the tasks on her list, eat a snack, more tasks, second snack, finish her work, then lunch. Yay! I love her new school, and I love that they can be flexible and work with each individual child to help them each flourish in their own way!

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