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Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

I can see clearly now.  The rain is gone.  It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day! Now that you have that classic Johnny Nash song stuck in your head I made a lunch about it!

From the top left are black seedless grapes and watermelon suns.  At the top right is barley, white beans and carrot pennies from dinner the night before.  In the bottom compartment is a smiley sunshine sandwich on Rudi’s Honey Wheat bread.  Above the sun are pineapple pieces with a honeydew bird.  To the right are honeydew pieces with a cantaloupe sun and the bottom right pink cup are cantaloupe pieces with a honeydew palm tree and some fun face picks for decoration.  Her lunch is packed in Easy LunchBoxes container.

For her snack, my 4 year old has a matching smiling sun d’anjou pear surrounded by dried cranberries and raisins.  In the orange blossom cup are carrot bread circles.

Little Miss 2 year old has a veterinarian visiting her class today so I made her a dog.  We actually have a long haired dachshund so this looks a lot like him, without the raisin eye and nose, of course.  I used the leftover crust for his ear.  She also has carrot bread circles in the tiny green bucket above the dog.  In the Stitch container is trail mix of mixed nuts, dried fruits and seeds.  At the top left are pineapple pieces with a watermelon sun and the top right are black seedless grapes packed in her LunchBots Uno stainless container.

And packed in his Easy LunchBoxes container are leftovers for my husband.  The last night we had barley with white beans, carrots, onions and a bit of celery seasoned with cinnamon and oranges from one of my new plant based cookbooks.  Yum!   I made a smiley face with the carrots.  At the top left are honeydew and cantaloupe pieces and at the top right, a clementine.

Happy Friday!

I usually start with my kiddo’s lunches, but Miss G was out sick a day last week so today I’m starting with  my husband’s lunch.

I tried my hand at making Mujadara, a lentil dish with mixed rice and carmelized onions.  It’s a very simple, budget-friendly recipe, and the key is to carmelize the onions well.  The longer they cook, the sweeter they become.

This recipe is revised from one I found through Vegetarian Times Magazine.

  • 3 cups rice (I used a brown and wild rice mixture)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 15-oz. can lentils, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked  lentils
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin

I made about 3 cups of brown and wild rice.  While the rice was cooking, I sliced 2 whole onions (I had red onions) in thin slices, and cooked them in about 1/8 cup of water on a medium-low heat adding water as necessary so they don’t stick.  I sprinkled about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt over the onions an cooked for roughly 30 minutes.  I used red lentils which is what I had in the pantry.  While the onions were still cooking, I grated lemon zest and cut fresh parsley.  When the rice was done cooking, I poured it into a large bowl, fluffed, and stirred in the onion,  parsley, lemon zest, and cumin and then placed the rice mixture on plates and scooped the lentils on top.  You can also garnish for dinner with a sprig of parsley or lemon wedges.  It was very simple and delicious!

The above photo is the leftovers packed in an Easy LunchBoxes container with organic raspberries, watermelon and a cantaloupe $ sign for the breadwinner.  I made a sun from the lemon wedges I zested and stuck a parsley sprig in for decoration.

Little Miss A had a very simple bento herself.  In her LunchBots Quad are organic fruits (grapes, raspberries and watermelon pieces) with small heart shaped almond butter sandwiches.

Have a great Monday!

For last night’s dinner we had quinoa pasta.  I love that I can find healthy, fun pasta for my kids in great shapes.  The Quinoa Corporation makes these garden pagodas that I cooked with Lightlife brand vegan italian sausages and marinara sauce and grape tomatoes.  The thing I really like about the quinoa pasta is that it’s organic, non-GMO (not genetically modified), gluten-free and use plant based colors.  Better than that they don’t get mushy and my kids love them.  I decorated with vegan (non-dairy) cheese butterflies. At the bottom are two small apple slices with a butterfly and a G for Miss G with the opposite color plugged into the cutout packed in her Goodbyn bynto lunchbox.

For her snack today, Miss G has black seedless grapes, honeydew melon and the red butterfly cutout from her apple in the middle packed in her Happy Tiffin stainless bento box.

Little Miss 2 year old has the mini version of the same lunch of quinoa garden pagoda pasta, vegan italian sausage pieces, vegan cheese butterflies and a yellow flower cup of red and green apple butterfly pieces with raspberries at the top packed in her LunchBots Duo.

My husband’s lunch is the third more adult version with vegan cheese hearts, a plum at the top left and a d’anjou pear sliced at the top right packed in his Easy LunchBoxes container.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Miss A has really been testing her 2 year-old limits and asserting herself at home, dressing herself and lunch is part of that too.  She has been eating her sandwiches and leaving all else.  

So I did what any mean mom would do.  I left the bread out.  I used carrot flowers and put almond butter inbetween them to make carrot bites at the top left.  At the top right are cucumber flowers with hummus in the middle.  At the bottom right are red seedless grapes with a carrot flower on top and the bottom left are pineapple pieces with a green apple flower on top.  The bento box is a LunchBots “Quad” stainless container, perfect for a small toddler or adult snacks.

Tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  The Bento Bloggers and Friends are doing another blog hop.  There are 30+ blogs involved with countless pirate themed lunches.  More importantly, there is booty involved.  NO, not that kind of booty.  Loot, prizes to be won and lots of fun to be had.

Please be sure to stop back tomorrow to make your way through all the blog hop.  Or we’ll make ye walk the plank!

We officially love fruit in this house if you couldn’t tell.  Lots of yummy options for snacks.  Today Miss G (4) has a nectarine halved with a Stretch Island Fruit Leather “F” in the middle.  It’s surrounded by organic, local mango pieces in her Happy Tiffin stainless container.  Blueberry flavored So Delicious brand coconut milk yogurt is in the bottom round container.

For lunch we have a new bento box.  It’s a hot pink Lego box with 2 tiers.

The top tier was filled with strawberries, dates in between the flowered cups and sliced kiwi.  The bottom was small strips of  Rudi’s whole grain sandwiches, soy ravioli and a heart container filled with dried cranberries.

And Little Miss A had nectarines, blueberried and a mango F for her fruity afternoon snack.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Things I used to make this lunch:

As long as I get creative with it, my kids will eat just about anything.  I took last night’s teriyaki marinaded gardein brand (faux) chicken over brown rice with quinoa.  I used a bear shaped rice mold to reshape the rice/quinoa mix.  The bear cup is filled with small pieces of the soy “chicken”.  Behind the bears at the top are 2 small bear sandwiches.  The water bottle in the middle compartment is great for keeping things compact in the lunch box, and it doesn’t leak.  I do handwash this whole box and the bottle.  At the bottom are watermelon pieces in the middle, strawberries on the side and a skewer of blueberries packed in her Raspberry Goodbyn brand bynto lunchbox.

For her snack today Miss G has mini organic carrots and organic green beans with honey mustard to dip in the bear container.

Miss A (2) is still allowed to take character themed items to school.  I found this small, 2-tiered bento box on eBay this summer with Stitch on it from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch.  She LOVES it.  We’ll be using it quite a bit this school year as it’s the perfect size for her. 

On the left are small almond butter sandwiches shaped like chicks and dried cranberries below.  On the right are organic blueberries with a watermelon chick, strawberries and watermelon pieces.  She also has a snack of nectarine and pineapple pieces not shown.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Miss G’s preschool is reviewing day in English this week, next week in Spanish.  Wednesday’s lunch is leftover dinner.  We had homemade fusilli pasta from Peperonata Pasta, a local company here in Sarasota that makes delicious homemade vegan pasta.  I mixed in butter beans and edamame, vegan pesto and organic cherry tomatoes in the shape of a W for Wednesday.  I used a cookie cutter to stamp a messy W in a large apple piece at the top left and the top right are seedless organic black grapes packed in her Easy Lunchbox container.

For her snack today, Miss G had circles of honeydew melon and watermelon with raspberry flavored So Delicious coconut milk yogurt in the small stainless container packed in her Happy Tiffin stainless bento.

And Miss A (2) had the same smaller portions of the vegan pesto fusilli pasta too packed in her LunchBots Quad.  She also had honeydew circles, pineapple and plum pieces and watermelon circles in her lunch.

Anything that gives me a few more minutes is something I can buy into.  As a busy mom with 2 toddlers, I don’t want to sacrifice the important stuff like healthy ingredients.   I’ve been trying to make more foods that are healthy, with variety and less effort on my part.  Lazy?  I hope not.  My kids wanted a snack.  I thought I’d see what I could make that could normally be cooked but could also be eaten as is in a situation like a tropical storm where you lose power in your house.

I rinsed a package of cannellini beans and smashed them with a fork in a bowl.  I added 2 tablespoons of mild salsa and 1 tablespoon of Tofutti sour cream and mixed them into the beans.  I put a dollop of each on pita chips that I had, sprinkled them with a few Daiya (dairy-free) cheese shreds and topped with an olive slice.  I broiled mine for a few minutes until the cheese melted.  They were yummy!  My chips were very thin to begin with and got a bit mushy.  I would recommend toasted bread slices or thicker pita chips.  They were all gone quickly!  Protein packed and fast to fix.

Nacho served with puzzle piece sandwiches and orange slices.

Little Miss 4 year old is off to school again today.  She has a butterfly bowl of vegetable bean soup with a piece of vegan butterfly cheese on top for decoration.

And to go with her soup is a LunchBots Uno with grape tomatoes, homemade butterfly shaped vegan cornbread muffins, blackberries and blueberries with a papaya butterfly on top, cashews, dried cranberries and dried mango strips.

Miss G’s first day in pre-Kindergarten was yesterday.  I definitely had a proud mom moment realizing she was excited to go and well socialized enough to look at the positives of new friends and a fun new classroom.  I also had my sad moment where I felt like I was saying goodbye to my oldest baby.  She is definitely all girl now and ready to go out & meet new friends.  It’s hard to let go sometimes.  After all, it seems like only months ago when I was staring down at a new baby wondering, “What do I DO with her?”.  There is no manual.   As parents, we just do our best one day at a time.  Off to school she goes.

She will be in school until mid-afternoon which means she needs lunch AND snacks daily that I pack for her.  She wanted her trusty almond butter and jam today, but I told her we’re working on more variety from now on.  For today, the apple sandwiches are on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with Justin’s Maple Almond butter and strawberry jam.  Along with the sandwiches are an apple pick of red seedless grapes, a silicone apple container with small Apple Cinnamon Larabar bites (I cut them into small pieces) and grape tomatoes.  She also LOVES Israeli cous cous (top left) so I mixed it with quinoa and edamame which were cooked in vegetable broth.  At the top right are blackberries and raspberries packed in her Easy LunchBox container.

For her snack I used a small 2 tiered bento box. The top compartment is mini carrots and sugar snap peas.  In the green sauce container is Tofutti sour cream for dipping and below that is a mini vegan apple cinnamon muffin.  At the bottom are dried cranberries on the left and the right has sprouted pumpkin seeds and cashews.

The hubby has a salad again.  His mixed baby greens are arugula, tat soi, baby green and red chard, and baby bok choi.  On top is a piece of teriyaki marinaded tofu, a yellow roma tomato, a green heirloom tomato and sprouted pumpkin seeds on the sides.  At the top left are blueberries and raspberries and the top right is a wild rice salad with red & green peppers and pecans packed in his Easy LunchBox container.

Wishing all of my readers’ families a smooth transition during this back to school time!

Today is the first day back to school for us.  Not sure that I’m feeling quite ready for this, but here we go.  These lunches are from last week’s playdate at a friend’s house.  Tomorrow I will post the back to school lunches.  I got 2 new sandwich makers to try.  The first one is from Bento USA by All Things For Sale.  I saw a lunch that they did, and I thought it was the cutest thing.

Expect more pandas from us throughout the school year!  This makes sandwich pockets and even toast cute for your little picky eaters.  Fill the panda face with vegetables or fillings to make them different colors or simply use different kinds of bread.

I was in a rush so I went for simple.   The panda sandwich is on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with Justin’s Almond Butter and strawberries in the middle.  A homemade mini vegan cornbread muffin is above the sandwich and heart shaped strawberries.  At the top left are organic raspberries with vegan chocolate chips in the middle and panda baran.  At the top right are sliced red seedless grapes and sliced dried apricots packed in an Easy LunchBoxes.

And I got a new sandwich cutter from Pampered Chef friend.  It’s called the cut & seal & makes uncrustable looking sandwich pockets.  I get the feeling I’ll be using this one a lot as makes things quick for me, and I can easily make sandwiches ahead of time and freeze them!

I decided to make a pig out of it for Little Miss 4  year old.  I used candy eyes and the heel of the bread is great for dark accents (the nose and ears).  She also has a vegan mini cornbread muffin and blueberries.  At the top are carrots and Tufutti sour cream for dipping in the small pig container.  At the top right are strawberry hearts with a raspberry in the middle and pig pick packed in her Easy LunchBox.

I packed myself a plain almond butter sandwich and a LunchBots Duo full of fruit.  From the top left are fresh, local Florida mango chunks, blueberries, rasperries and mini carrots.

Things I used to make this lunch:


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