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Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

For Earth Day, I linked up with my fellow blogger moms for a fun day to celebrate.  You can find the amazing, fun creations here for our Earth Day Blog Hop.

We all do our best to reduce waste by using reusable bento boxes each day, eliminating plastic bags and packing leftovers for our kids.   A good friend of mine makes wonderful croutons by coating the scraps with olive oil and sprinkling herbs de Provence over them and baking.

One of the favorite ideas from Earth Day was one that Lunches with Love suggested.  Please click on the link below or the picture to find her original recipe.

Lunches with Love French Toast Casserole

Many of us have used it for the use of our leftover bread scraps.  I store them in the freezer in a gallon bag until the bag is full.  For the sake of my vegan readers, I am showing you how I converted her great recipe for those who have milk and egg aversions, casein free diets, allergies and vegans.  You can use any kind of bread for this casserole so it can be gluten free too depending on your bread.  We buy Rudi’s Whole Grain bread about 90% of the time so that’s what is in ours.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

You will need:

5 cups of cubed bread
(= about one gallon sized ziploc bag full)
4 beaten eggs (I used 6 teaspoons Ener G brand egg replacer mixed with 8 tablespoons of warm water)
Ener G Egg Replacer which is free of gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, yeast, egg, soy, nut, low protein, low/no sodium
1 1/2 cups of milk ( I used 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup of organic sucanat, which is dehydrated cane sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter ( I used earth balance brand organic coconut spread)
1/3 cup of pancake mix (I used Namaste brand gluten free Pancake & waffle mix)
cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

I smeared about 1 tablespoon of the coconut spread around my porcelain casserole dish to prevent sticking.
In large bowl mix egg replacer, almond or other plant based milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar of your choice, salt and vanilla together.
Then add 1/3 cup of pancake mix and mix well.
Carefully add bread to mixture and coat well.
(You can also add bread to casserole dish and pour the milk-egg mixture over it. If you do, let the dish stand for a couple of minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. I like tossing the bread – even though it is messy – because it coats the bread faster)
Add to buttered casserole dish.
Cut remaining butter into small pieces and sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon to taste.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 – 20 minutes or until brown and crispy.
This recipe would be great with fruit like blueberries added in too.
Served with cups of blueberries and pineapple and honeydew melon pieces.
Thanks again, Lunches with Love, for the great brunch idea!
One last item,  I’m in the running for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Foodie Moms of 2012, and I’d appreciate your vote!  I am currently at #16, and each vote counts.  Only 3 days left!

I looked at the school calendar yesterday and realized it’s rainbow week at the girls’ school.  I didn’t have anything naturally blue today so I just left it out & put food in blue cups instead rather than coloring something blue.  Boring, I know.

The coolest thing in the lunches is the bread which, admittedly, I did not make.  I have to give full credit and mad props to my baking envy of Astrid over at Lunch Fit For A Kid.  I have seen her amazing baking skills from breads to cakes and homemade rolls.  This girl can BAKE!  So I begged, and pleaded and bribed her to make me a loaf of her rainbow pan de mie.  Please click on the link here for her recipe for the Rainbow Pan de Mie.  She “veganized” it for me by using soy milk in place of the cow’s milk whey.  It was even more beautiful than I’d seen in her blogs, and my kids went nuts over it.  I even made vegan Easter french toast with it this past Sunday, and it was yummy!  I am not a great baker, and so I was extra grateful to have Astrid make something so special for my family.  Thanks again!

Here’s how our loaf turned out:

And this is Miss G’s lunch today.  From the bottom left up, she has strawberries, a mandarin orange, pineapple chunks and yellow pear tomatoes from our garden.  At the top left in the blue cup are sauteed broccoli & cauliflower, green pear tomatoes and kohlrabi slices in the middle for the purple.  I’m betting they won’t get eaten, but the rule in our house is that she has to at least TRY it.  At top right are three prunes surrounding some organic Lemon Snap spelt cookies that I found at Whole Foods.  And at the bottom right is her tulip sandwich on the rainbow bread filled with almond butter and jam all packed in her Easy Lunch Box.

Little A had her own version of a rainbow lunch today. This week is also the letter “U” so her tiny sandwich is a U.  From the top left clockwise, she has strawberries, half of a mandarin orange, at top right are leftover pieces of a Quorn brand meatless & soy free Vegan burger, her rainbow “U” almond butter & jam sandwich, dried cherries, kohlrabi, and pineapple and honeydew melon in the middle packed in her LunchBots Duo.

Lastly is my husband’s salad for lunch.  He is in on the rainbow theme too.  He has a spinach and baby greens salad.  On top are red bell peppers, orange heirloom tomatoes, yellow zucchini, spinach, raddichio, and kohlrabi on top packed in his LunchBots Uno.  Everyone in our family totes CamelBak bottles with filtered ice water throughout the day.

For more great rainbow ideas, please go visit The Rainbow Connection at Bent On Better Lunches.

I already know that tomorrow’s going to be an insanely busy day so I’m posting 2 lunches I did long ago before my blogging universe began.  I started blogging about 11 months ago, and this was one of my first lunches that I made for little Miss G from my original cookie cutters.  Please keep in mind that these are NOT vegan lunches, just ideas that can be replaced with other ideas.  Also, I had a much worse camera then too!

The two sandwiches were cookie cutters, and I’ll be were turkey & mozzarella if I had to guess.  The flower is a piece of fruit leather cut with a fondant flower cutter.  The mushrooms are biscuits with chocolate tops that I found at our local asian market.  To the far right is a pick of edamame, cashews, strawberry flowers, carrots at the bottom, and in the middle is a BabyBel cheese with part of the wax removed to make a toadstool.

The lunch below was a whole wheat sandwich thin cut into an egg shape with colby jack cheese on top in a bunny shape nested in whole wheat pasta.  The face was made of noir (seaweed paper) which my kids did NOT like.  To the left are alfalfa sprouts, mini carrots.  On the right are grape tomatoes, blueberries, an apple cut into a tulip shape and a piece of lettuce below that.

The last lunch is another bunny sandwich on whole wheat with a provolone cheese face.  To the left are halved mini carrots, broccoli at the bottom, and on the right is a colby jack cheese carrot with alfalfa sprout top, cinnamon almonds, raspberries and a sliced kiwi.  All 3 lunches were packed in a LunchBots stainless container.

It’s Bunny Hop day!  My post today is one of 20+ bento bloggers with Spring/Easter/Passover ideas for fun kid foods.  I hope that you find something cute that you can make for your kids over the weekend.

Please make sure to click on the bunny at the bottom to link to the next page!

Today my girls are having, what else, bunnies!

Miss G gets the bunny booty today.   I’m playing along with the Bunny Hop button and decided she gets the backside with the fuzzy tail.  It’s Rudi’s Nut & Oat bread with the same old almond butter & jam today.  The tail is a sweet & sara brand vegan marshmallow with toasted coconut.  To the left of the bunny are mangos cut into carrot shapes.  Above at the top left are bunny cucumber slices and at the top right are watermelon bunnies packed in her Easy Lunch Box.

Miss A is still 2 which means she likes a food one day, and the next day she says it’s yucky and it’s thrown on the floor.  I try to change it up for her a bit.  She has watermelon flowers at the top left, at the top right are pita bunny chips I made with garlic powder & sea salt.  In the blue flower are pink hummus flowers.  I colored some Sabra hummus with natural India Tree red food  color derived from beets.  I froze them in a silicone mold, and I’m hoping they’ll be totally thawed by lunchtime. At the bottom left are dried apricot bunnies and a small bunny sandwich made from the same Rudi’s Nut & Oat bread with Biscoff spread inside.  The tail is made from a sweet & sara vegan marshmallow tail all packed in her stainless LunchBots Duo.

And I decided that my husband would be in on the fun today too.  He gets a spinach salad with the leftover cucumber punchouts, a green plum tomato sliced and mini carrots.  At the top left is a cornbread bunny and the top right is a California mandarin with some peeled bunny ears packed in his Easy Lunch Box.

Please click the bunny below to check out Stephanie’s lunch at A Pocket Full of Buttons!  Follow the bunny until you’ve seen them all. Happy Spring, everyone!

The week before Easter is fun for me because I love building up the excitement for my girls.  How many more “sleeps” until the Bunny comes?  My kids, like most, adore little animals.  They recently got their spring pictures taken with some little baby chicks.  Miss G was VERY into mothering them and holding them while little A just stared at them.  She wasn’t sure whether or not they were scary, and every time these 3″ high chicks walked towards her she would shriek.   These chicks are the best kind.  Nothing to clean up!

Miss G has watermelon flowers at the top left with a chick pick, at the top right are blueberries and a strawberry butterfly with a duckling pick.  The chick sandwich is on Rudi’s Nut & Oat bread with almond butter & jam.  On top are slices of mozzarella and cheddar Vegan brand cheese, a candy eye and a carrot beak.   In the yellow chick cup are edamame and carrot butterflies on top, and in the Easter egg are cashews packed in an Easy Lunch Box.

Little Miss A has a duckling today with the same sandwich and Vegan soy cheese on top wearing a hat pick.  The beak and wing are carrots and the eye is a pre-made candy eye.  At the top left are blueberries with a strawberry butterfly and a chick pick, a clementine orange is next to that, and in the yellow chick cup are edamame with a carrot butterfly on top.  Her lunch is in a Hello Kitty bento box.

I also made a salad for my husband to go with his Amy’s brand frozen rice & veggie bowl lunch.  His salad is all spinach leaves underneath topped with a quartered watermelon radish (the purple slices with the green edge).  I hadn’t ever seen one before until a few months ago.  They are pretty plain looking outside, but inside they’re amazingly pretty.  They are also much spicier (I think) than a normal radish.  I also included orange & yellow carrots from the local King Family Farms and a handful of walnuts packed in his LunchBots stainless bento.

Please check back tomorrow, as I’ll be linked to Stephanie from A Pocket Full of Buttons and 15 other bento bloggers for a Bunny Hop with awesome springtime ideas for lunches!

Well, not really, but this is the closest to eggs my kids are getting this year!  It’s Easter week!  Be sure to check out my post this Wednesday too.  My blogger friends and I are doing a Bunny Hop so you can get dozens of ideas no matter what holiday you’re celebrating.

Today’s lunch is egg themed. Miss G has a whole grain sandwich with almond butter & strawberry jam.  On top is a strip of soy cheese with a few colored sprinkles.  Above that is a pink plastic egg filled with dried cherries.  At the top right are egg shaped mango pieces with a bunny pick and at the bottom right are small purple and orange tomatoes.

 

Miss A has the same sandwich as Gabby today with a soy cheese strip.  Her dots are made from fruit leather and dried apricots.  Above that in the pink bunny are dried cherries.  At the top right are blueberries and an egg shaped dried apricot. And in the pink flower are egg shaped honeydew melon pieces with a bunny pick.  Both girls have ice water with their lunch.

So I know this isn’t a bento post, but it’s still cute food so I guess I can pass it off.  Last weekend we threw a Pinkalicious birthday party  at the community swimming pool for our 4 year old..  As one of my neighbors said, I “went bento” on the fruit.  It was a fun party once it started, but my note to self is that I shouldn’t have taken most of the preparation on by myself.  I thought the project was manageable until I found myself cutting fruit hearts at 1:30 am the night before the party, and then I realized I must be crazy to think I could do it all alone.  Of course, I owe some credit to the idea which I found on Pinterest.

and a great watermelon on a stick idea from my blogger friend Keeley McGuire Blog

Here’s what I came up with:

GRAPE SKEWERS

HEART SHAPED MELON SKEWERS (HONEYDEW, CANTALOPE AND WATERMELON)

MORE SKEWERS OF HONEYDEW & STRAWBERRIES

AND WATERMELON HEARTS ON POPSICLE STICKS.  IDEA COURTESY OF KEELEY MCGUIRE BLOG.   THANKS AGAIN, KEELEY!  THE WATERMELON DIDN’T STAY ON THE SMALL WOODEN SKEWERS AS WELL AS I HAD HOPED SO I REMEMBERED HER POPSICLE STICK IDEA & VOILA!  PROBLEM SOLVED.

MY FRIEND LIGA AT LIGA’S SWEET CREATIONS MADE THE PINKALICIOUS CUPCAKES FROM SCRATCH & HAND DECORATED THEM ALL.  SHE EVEN MADE FONDANT CHERRIES SINCE I DIDN’T WANT ALL THE FOOD DYE FROM THE MARACHINO CHERRIES.  SHE USED ALL ORGANIC INGREDIENTS AND FOOD BASED, NATURAL FOOD DYES.  SHE IS AMAZING.  THE CUPCAKES WERE THE ONLY THING THAT WEREN’T VEGAN, BUT THEY WERE INCREDIBLE!

I was determined to keep the party as healthy as possible but still fun for the kids.  I had 3 trays of skewers and about 20 kids there.  There were only 7 skewers left at the end of the party!  I was so glad I spent all that time cutting those hearts when I knew my friends’ kids were all going home not filled with junk.  There was also a basket of clementine oranges and pretzels with hummus.  I wanted to use natural food dye to make the hummus pink, but I decided against my plan so that I could do the individual hummus packs & keep them cool.  It was about 87 degrees here on Saturday which is always tricky keeping fresh fruit and other foods safe AND fresh.  We had organic tea, raspberry lemonade and ice waters for everyone to drink.

Again, because the party was outside, I kept decorations pretty simple but VERY pink.  We had pink tissue paper flowers, hot pink lanterns, pink baskets for all the Pinkalicious plates, cups & napkins and I was able to use some of my spring pink baskets that I have to put things in.  I bought two glass vases from the dollar store, filled them with pink Peeps (not for eating), shredded pink recycled paper on top and used them to hold some of the party favors for the girls which doubled as the centerpieces.  They had pink and purple flower wands in one and pearl wands or pinwheels for the smaller siblings who attended.

The treat bags that went home had some Pinkalicious stickers & temporary tattoos for the girls and prince/knight themed ones for the boys.  Each child also got a cookie cutter of a crown, a unicorn (for Goldilicious, Pinkalicious’ imaginary unicorn friend) or a frog for the boys.  It was tough to figure the boy part out, but they all had fun.

A big thanks to all Miss G’s friends who were there, and we missed all those who couldn’t make it.  Happy Friday!

We celebrate Easter in our house.  Like many parents, I think candy is ok in very small doses.  I am not a fan of filling up a giant basket of junk that sends my kids spinning like tops for hours afterwards.  We chose pretty woven baskets to be reused every year.  I happened to pick these up at Michael’s.   We leave our baskets and our eggs out every year to be hidden, and in the morning the hunt for them.  This way we re-use the same things every year, and it’s more of a fun game than about the candy.

As of the first of the year, we are also not eating eggs any more on our plant-based diet.  We had some decorative eggs that we use every year that will be hidden, and this year we will hide non-toxtic painted wooden eggs that can be re-used each year.  There are a lot of choices now to be able to avoid buying more junky plastic each year, and we like that they can play with them year-round.  Here are the eggs I like that I found on Etsy sold by applenamos:

Wooden Easter Eggs

If you’re still a fan of the plastic eggs, why not try something new?  These eggs are made from corn, are biodegradable and compostable.  These options may seem a bit pricey, but if you never have to buy them again it may actually save money over time.  At least you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in your little one’s mouths.

Eco Eggs

All that being said, I am still realistic.  My kids want to get fun Easter things.

This year I decided to put new bath towels as their bigger gift from the Bunny.  They were in need of new towels, so why not make it a gift?  My kids will be getting new bath towels and matching wash cloths Kohl’s, Target and Cost Plus World Market all have cute kid towels that you can find for girls and boys.  I also chose some small toys, stickers and books to fill their baskets.  We feel like our kids have WAY too much stuff as it is so we try to keep it pretty simple.

Miss G’s basket (just turned 4) contains a panda bath towel & wash cloth (Kohl’s), a new Pinkalicious book, a Hello Kitty pencil, a Hello Kitty hair bow (attached to wash cloth panda’s ear),  Pinkalicious matching game, stacking crayons and duck necklace bubbles (both found in Target dollar bin), Max & Ruby stickers  (not shown but also from Target dollar bin),  and a Hello Kitty utensil set.

And Miss A’s basket (just turned 2) has an elephant towel & matching wash cloth (from Kohl’s, Hello Kitty hair barrette, stacking crayons, Max & Ruby stickers and duck bubbles (again, Target dollar bin) and a fun Easter book.

Try your local Dollar store too for fun, non-food spring gifts.  I also saw some great ideas for egg stuffers if you want snacks in them like homemade mini muffins, bite size granola, small fruit bars (LaraBar makes healthy ones with no additives!)  organic gummies and even dried fruits.  That way your kids won’t be overloaded with unhealthy candy.   I hope that this spurs some healthy ideas for spring baskets.  Happy Spring everyone!

Still spring break here so lunches are at home every day. Miss G insisted on helping me with lunch today. I promised her that I’d let her help me more often so she chose the cutters to use and wanted to make lunch for her sister too. Here she is learning how to cut the shapes out of the bread.

She wanted the cute animal faces on her sandwiches so we stamped those on there too. She had peanut butter & agave nectar sandwiches on whole grain bread. A pick of seedless green grapes and below that watermelon squares and 2 halves of a black plum. In the middle is a strawberry. She ate the entire thing because she was SO proud that she made it.

Then next she was on to little A’s lunch. She made her a small car, a star and a shell shaped sandwich that looked more like a small tree when it was done. She also made her a bowl of grapes and car & shell shaped watermelon pieces. Even little A ate almost all her lunch today.

It’s spring break week here in Florida so the girls are eating at home.  It’s incredibly warm here again too so it feels like spring too.  Miss G is definitely in a girly girl phase.  Everything must be princesses, pink, flowery and fancy.  I went with butterflies for today’s theme.  In the yellow butterfly cup is leftover cannellini bruschetta with rice vinegar, fresh basil from the garden, mini heirloom and grape tomatoes from the local market mixed with salt & pepper.  It’s great on bread but awesome without it too.  At top right on the plate are heart-shaped strawberries, below that is a small black plum cut into a butterfly shape with pick antennae.  Her sandwich is a whole grain bread butterfly with almond butter and agave nectar.  On top are peeled plum slices on the wings and another slice of black plum for the body and more colored picks for antennae.

Little A had a flower themed lunch today.   Since she turned 2 it’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to whether she’ll devour the whole lunch or smile and chuck it all on the floor.  Today she went with option C which was to push the food around on her plate a bit, make a pattern in the applesauce and then proclaim that she’s “all done”.   I try.  Her sandwich is a whole grain flower with almond butter and agave with a blueberry on top and a snap pea crisp for the stem.  The yellow flower cup has cinnamon applesauce and a grape in it.  Below that are sections of black plum in a flower shape and next to that are a couple of strawberry flowers.


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