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Angel & baby Jesus bento by bentoriffic

So maybe this isn’t the most reverent representation of the manger scene, but I was limited on time this morning.  I wanted Miss G to have the manger scene for her lunch…the reason for the season.  Baby Jesus is made from Stretch Island fruit leather on a bed of cashews.  The angel is Justin’s Almond Butter on Rudi’s Organic brand Whole Grain bread.  The star is a dried apricot and next to the angel are a Christmas tree pick of grape tomatoes.  At the top left are organic blueberries with a gift food pick and in the top right compartment of her Easy Lunchboxes container are organic raspberries.

Gingerbread girl bento by bentoriffic

And above is the elusive mom lunch.  I say this because I rarely get lunch.  I’m lucky if I have a protein bar or smoothie while on the run.  Today I am driving down to Miss G’s school to have lunch with her so I packed myself a cute lunch too.  I’m having a gingerbread girl on Rudi’s Organic whole grain bread with almond butter & blackberry jam.  I stuck some raisin buttons on with almond butter.  She has cinnamon candy eyes and a fruit leather mouth.  I used a Hello Kitty bow for her hair pick.  She is surrounded by grape tomatoes on Christmas tree picks.  In the top left compartment are pineapple chunks with a candy cane food pick and the top right has organic blueberries and raspberries.  Merry Christmas to you all!

I will be taking a break to spend time with my family while the kids are out of school.  Hoping everyone has some time to relax and appreciate all the little things in life.  I look forward to hearing from you in the new year!

Much Love, Sarah

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I stumbled across Jenn Cuisine’s call for help.  She asked that food bloggers donate their posts today to promote donating to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Thanks for pioneering this day, Jenn!   I have quite a few friends and a cousin in NYC and the surrounding area.  Many who lost power and one who lost everything.  As if this storm wasn’t enough, there’s another winter storm rolling through with freezing temperatures.  I just pray that those who need help and food get it.  As a Florida resident, hurricanes are all too familiar to me.  It makes me grateful for all that I have knowing the next storm could hit here.

Where To Donate:

  • Red Cross is providing food, shelter, and other forms of support to hurricane victims.  You can donate directly to the Red Cross, you can also text the word “Redcross” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Salvation Army is also focused on providing food, shelter, and support to victims, and takes donations to storm relief.
  • Feeding America is providing food, water and supplies to those who need it as part of their disaster relief program.

My friend Cindy, owner of GreenPaxx Reusable Straws and Lids, has been directly effected by the storm along with her whole family.  Her brother is a first responder rescuing people from being stranded, flooding and downed electrical lines.  Cindy will donate $1 from each item sold directly to Sandy relief.  These reusable straws and lids make great stocking stuffers, holiday gifts and teacher appreciation gifts.  Click below to buy GreenPaxx straws and lids:

I decided to post about one of my favorite comfort foods.  My mom’s chili was always one of those foods that gave me the warm fuzzies on a cold day.  Now that our home is meatless and dairy free, I’ve revised the recipe a bit.  And dare I say that it really tastes no different to me.  This recipe is gluten free, meatless and dairy free.  It could also be soy free if you leave out the soy crumbles and add extra beans.

Mom’s Chili

Add and saute lightly:

1 large onion, chopped.  I rarely use oil in my cooking so I start with about 1/4 cup of water with the onions and add as necessary to prevent sticking.

1/2 cup of green pepper, chopped

2 minced garlic cloves

When onions are cooked (transparent), add:

1 can (2 cups) kidney beans

1 can tomatoes (not drained), I used no salt diced tomatoes

1 package plain soy crumbles or you can omit all together

1 TBSP chili powder

2 tsp salt

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp cumin

1 bay leaf

I mash about half the beans which helps to thicken the chili.  Heat over medium heat for about 1 hour.  Take the bay leaf out before serving.  This chili usually taste better the longer it sits, even the next day.  We often top it with a dollop of Tofutti brand dairy free sour cream and some Daiya brand non-dairy cheese shreds.

Serve with crackers or cornbread.   I made vegan cornbread mini muffins to go with our chili.

Please visit my other food blogging friends who chose to participate:

BentoBloggy

Mommy + Me Lunchbox

Mamabelly’s Lunches With Love

Creative Food

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Hoping that you have all the craziness behind you by now (except for tonight, of course).  I stayed up late making homemade Stitch ears for my 2 year old’s alien costume and planning the last of the Halloween food until next year.

Ahh, the last of the Halloween lunches!  Miss G, the 4 year old, has a LunchBots Quad with raspberries and an RIP headstone pick, a seckel pear with sticker, dragonfruit pieces with a skeleton pick and at the bottom left are mango pieces with a dragonfruit witch.

I found these little wooden coffins in Michael’s, and I finally put them to use.  I decorated the lids with Halloween stickers for fun.

I hand cut the sandwich to fit inside, and added a Wilton googly eye pick and a fruit leather mouth.

I also found these paper boxes for crafting at Michael’s, and I used them for snack bentos today.  Miss G’s is a jack-o-lantern face.  I filled it with cashews, dried cranberries and moon shaped dried apricots for her morning snack.

My 2 year old has a smaller wooden coffin for her sandwich.  Hers is a light activated box.  It cackles loudly when it opens which she loves.

She also has an almond butter & jam sandwich with a Wilton eye pick and Stretch Island fruit leather mouth, eyebrows and fangs.

Miss A has a pumpkin cup with mango pieces and a dracula pick with cashews above.  On the right are a seckel pear, raspberries, dried apricot crosses and a skeleton hand.

For her morning snack is a small coffin with dried cranberries and a handful of bone shaped candies.

Need quick & healthy last minute Halloween snack ideas?  Here are a few that your store won’t be out of if you need something fast.

Raisins-They’re like nature’s sugar, you can use them to make eyes on just about anything.  Raisins are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Eating raisins can help your energy levels.  They’re high in the best kind of natural sugars.  They also promote healthy bones since they contain high levels of calcium.

Clementine oranges or mandarin cuties-Mother Nature’s fast food.  Grab a box or bag and a few Sharpie markers or a pack of fun Halloween stickers & get creative.   A basket of these are more appealing to little ones than you may think.  For some reason stickers and fun faces make it enticing.  The best part is that they’re packed with nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin C.

Popcorn– NOT the microwave kind, the real no additive kind.  Pop up some corn in an air popper or a paper bag.  Here are the paper bag instructions:

Microwaving popcorn in a paper bag

We like to sprinkle a light dusting of sea salt or sometimes a bit of cinnamon on top for an afternoon snack.  For my kiddo party later today, my neighbor and I are putting popcorn in witch hand shaped bags as a snack.  Popcorn has more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables so skip the heavy butter & oil and dig in!

Pumpkin Seeds-Roast a few lightly salted seeds at home, and you’ll be snacking on these minerals: phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc as well as vitamin K and B.

Wishing everyone a fun, safe & happy Halloween!

Last week one of my friends posted a photo of kiwi berries.  I had never seen or heard of them so it was a must find for me!  We love kiwi, and I was hoping the flavor was similar.  I was lucky enough to find them at a stand at the local farmer’s market.  They only had a few, but I’ll be back for more after trying them!

Here’s what they look like inside.  They are the size of grapes and sweet like kiwi without the fuzzy exterior.  Just pop them in like grapes and eat.  They have a very short season so if you’re lucky enough to find them, buy them and enjoy!

Both girls had the same wraps today for lunch.  From the top left are raspberries and 3 kiwi berries on top.  Inbetween the 2 cups are mini carrots and at the top right is a cup of lemon orzo.  In the bottom container are red seedless grapes and the veggie wrap pinwheels.  They are Rudi’s brand whole grain spelt tortillas.  I used a homemade sunflower seed spread and added julienned carrots and steamed edamame.

Below are Miss G’s snacks for school.  The top are watermelon flowers and the bottom is a cup of sprouted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries mixed and grape tomatoes.

From the top left are red seedless grapes with sliced strawberries on top.  In the top right compartment are kiwi berries, 2 pieces of corn shaped mini cornbread muffins and 3 grape tomatoes.  At the bottom right are watermelon and d’anjou pear flowers, and in the bottom left are the same edamame and carrot wraps at the bottom right packed in her LunchBots Quad.

Things I used to make this lunch:

If I haven’t raved about them enough, The LunchPunch makes some of the greatest sandwich cutters out there.  They are cute, they waste little bread, they’re sturdy and they save SO much time with lunches!  This one is Rudi’s Nut and Oat bread with a pumpernickel dog piece in the middle.  I used bread crust for his collar and the flowers cutouts are from the apple at the top left and a tree trunk pick.  On the dog picks on either side are green seedless grapes.  The top left is an apple tree with flower cutouts and more green grapes underneath.  At the top right are watermelon fire hydrants because we all know dogs are drawn to them!

Miss G’s snack today is sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes and mini carrots.

And Little Miss A is doing the letter C this week so the topic of the week was the circus.  From the bottom left is a round clown face sandwich.  The eyes are vegan chocolate chips, the nose is a dried apricot, the cheeks are raspberries, the mouth is Stretch Island fruit leather and the hair is Shirataki brand tofu pasta.  The hat above is watermelon and cantaloupe triangles surrounded by green grapes.  At the top right are mini carrots and a honeydew melon elephant with a pick hat. He’s standing on a circus stand below made of watermelon and cantaloupe with circus themed picks of the big top, another elephant and a seal in her LunchBots Quad.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Thank goodness I put it on my calendar.  I check my schedule last night, and Miss G’s school is celebrating International Peace Day today.  At first, I had a good laugh over what’s NOT appropriate for a kid’s lunch box that reminds me of peace and the 60s.  Cheech & Chong movies, protests, stinky hippies, a lot of grass (and I don’t mean to walk on) and some really good music I will pass on to my kids some day.  But for now, I decided on the basic peace sign lunch.

At the top left are barley and brown rice and black beans on top.  At the top right are blackberries, raspberries and a strawberry.  The peace sign is cantaloupe and piel de sapo is the greenish white melon.  It’s also called a Santa Claus melon and tastes a lot like honeydew.  I used a cookie cutter to cut the melon.  The PEACE letters are Stretch Island fruit leather.  The heart and Have A Nice Day sandwiches are Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with almond butter and sliced berries with fruit leather faces packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

In all seriousness, I think it’s great that they’re teaching 4 year olds about respecting others from all walks of life and all nations.  Being kind to others always goes a long way in accepting even when we don’t understand.

Miss G’s snack today is a sliced nectarine surrounded by more melon pieces.  In the round container is So Delicious brand coconut milk strawberry yogurt packed in her Happy Tiffin stainless container.

Have a great weekend!

Things I Used To Make This Lunch:

YO HO HO!  Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!  There be a pirate hop today for Talk Like A Pirate Day with booty, loot, doubloons, coins, stash and pieces of eight.  That’s what ye lads & lasses will find that’s different from the other hops.  It’ll be worth ye while to hop through each page this time because ye can win some serious loot so don’t try to hornswaggle your way out early!  Visit every page, savvy?

Me little 4 year old Buccaneer got a girl and a boy pirate.  The bow, bandana and eye patch are made of Stretch Island Fruit Leather.  The skeletons are Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with almond butter & jam.  Me found the cookie cutter in Target last year.  It’s one of me favorites.  Above ye sandwiches are grape tomatoes on bones from Davy Jones’ locker.  ARG!  At the top left is me parrot, a gold doubloon and some raspberries, and at the top right are blueberries, a strawberry X marks the spot for the booty packed in ye trusty ol Easy Lunchboxes.

What good be a little pirate if she’s got the scurvy?  Had to send along some orange slices with Jolly Roger pick,  piel de sapo and mango slices surrounding for more Vitamin C.  In the tin be So Delicious coconut milk raspberry flavored yogurt packed in ye new Happy Tiffin bento container.  A special thanks to me trusty bento pal for the extra pirate picks!

Blimey if I don’t have another little scallawag to feed.  I made her a mini pirate sammy with a Stretch Island bandana, eye patch, smile and a candy eye.   At the top left are blueberries, a treasure map and a pirate doubloon.  The top right are raspberries and at the bottom right more orange slices to fend off the scurvy with a sticker on top.  All ye rations are packed in a LunchBots Quad.  Both lassies had rum ice water in their CamelBak kid bottles.

HERE ARE YE DIRECTIONS: Every Blogger Buccaneer in this here Hop has a piece of the treasure map! You’ll need to “collect” each piece and put them together in the right order to find the treasure! You’ll want some parchment and a quill, to keep a log with each clue and each number, because there are 39 scurvy pirates running amok with 39 pieces o’ the map to collect! 37 pieces will guide you to the hidden treasure (by spelling out the URL where you can enter to win!) and there are 2 bonus pieces with the “secret passwords” to get two chances to win some pirate booty!

This here’s my piece o’ the map! Good luck, Mateys!

Ye landlubbers better get to checking the other blogs for pieces of eight until ye solve the riddle what will get ye the booty.  Be sure to click the pirate button below to see what Cap’n Cristi with BentOnBetterLunches
did for her little scallawags.

Ye Olde Contest is sponsored by Bento USA by All Things For Sale the Bento Bloggers and Friends.

If any of ye lads & lasses want to check out a few past skeleton bentos from me, you can find them here!

Skeletons & X Marks the Spot


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