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Posts Tagged ‘Florida

I know it’s still snowing & cruddy almost everywhere else but here.  We’ve had some cooler weather for Florida, but we are definitely spoiled with the sunshine and year round produce.  We picked some local strawberries last week so there are still some left that I hadn’t frozen for smoothies yet.

Bentoriffic-Florida Strawberries watermark
Bentoriffic Hippity Hop roll ups

Whenever I’m at a loss for things to make, I often turn to wraps.  You can use dinner leftovers, lunch leftovers and pack it into a tortilla for a new meal.  I used Rudi’s Organic Spelt Tortillas to make vegetable wraps.  I used a homemade sunflower seed spread on the base, julienned carrots and cucumbers and pile on a small heap of steamed edamame and wrapped.  I like to refrigerate them for a few minutes before attempting to cut them.  The picks (bunnies in this lunchbox) help keep them together for little fingers.  In with the mini wraps for Miss A are sugar snap peas and pineapple.  At the top are organic raspberries, blueberries and strawberries in her Easy Lunchboxes container.

Bentoriffic Lego cube snack bento

My favorite bento store, Bento USA by All Things For Sale carries some fabulous and very affordable ways to change up lunchtime.  This new building block snack box is a favorite of ours for quick snacks.  This one has pineapple, strawberries and sugar snap peas in it for a healthy, quick preschool snack.
Bentoriffic- Love veggie wrapsYes, it is possible to flirt even in a packed lunch.  I’m not sure that the letters and hearts stay in place, but I’m hoping he gets the idea.  My husband has the grown up version of the same sunflower spread and veggie wraps.  I made a grape tomato heart on top and the letters are cut out of Stretch Island fruit leather.  He has sugar snap peas and last night’s steamed lemon, shallots and slivered almond brussell sprouts in the top right compartment of his Easy LunchBoxes container.

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Please click on each photo below to find out where to purchase the same lunch supplies:

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The Quinoa Corporation makes packages of premade polenta.  They’re perfect for a last minute dinner or snack.  The polenta they make is USDA certified organic, kosher, gluten free and fat free with no funky additives.  It comes in all different types, plain, flavored with garlic.

They also make yummy pastas with corn and quinoa and fun shapes for kids.  For today’s lunches I used their blend of corn and quinoa for added protein.  I like to cut shapes for the kids out of 1/2″ slices.  I also cook the leftover scraps for me to eat.  I either bake or grill the polenta on the stove top.  It’s pre-cooked so there’s no worry about it not being cooked long.  I cook it long enough for it to be firm and picked up by little fingers without falling apart.  Below are quinoa polenta hearts baked in a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat for about 10 minutes on each side.  In her mini dippers container is barbeque sauce for dipping.  next to the polenta hearts are a cup of raspberries and a pick of yellow grape tomatoes.  At the top left are heart shaped watermelon pieces and at the top right are cantaloupe hearts packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

For her snack today, Miss G has a LunchBots Uno with a sweet potato pumpkin shaped muffin at the top left, 2 Crimson Gold mini apples, slices of local Florida oranges with a lion pick and snow peas.

Miss A has mini leaves in her LunchBots Quad.  From the top left are watermelon leaves, cantaloupe leaves, quinoa polenta leaves and a peeled clementine surrounded by dried apricots.

Things I used to make this lunch:

My girls are learning about Florida today.  Miss G was asked to dress like a tourist at preschool to celebrate things about our state.   Since I recently did two lunches showing where the state is, I decided to make things that they like & see often.   The mockingbird is our state bird.  We feed the birds at our house, and a mockingbird sits atop the large oak tree in our front yard and sings most days.  It imitates the songs of many other birds so it’s pretty to listen to.  They are also fierce protectors of their nests so if we (or the dogs) get too close, they will swoop down & chirp at us to give us a warning.

The mockingbird is made from Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  And the wings and tail feathers are the heel of the loaf.  Its eye and beak are made from fruit leather. His leg & tree branches are made from pretzel sticks and the leaves are unsalted pumpkin seeds stuck on with almond butter.  Next to the bird is a mandarin orange peeled at one end to make a sun since Florida is the Sunshine State.  At the top left in an orange cup (the orange blossom is our state flower) is a cornbread muffin and at the top right are locally grown blueberries from King Family Farm and Market and organic raspberries with an umbrella pick.  Her lunch is packed in an Easy Lunch Box.

And Miss A gets a flamingo today.  Flamingo “stuff” is sold in every tourist shop in our state.  When I first visited Florida over 20 years ago, I was shocked to not see one flamingo.   They aren’t native here, but we see plenty of them at our local attractions.  If you’re visiting here, Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a fun place to visit in Sarasota.  They have many flamingos that walk around the grounds, and the kids can hand-feed them.  They are also at the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo where we spend a lot of time.  So even if they’re not native, we do get to see them often.  It is a rare thing if we see them anywhere in the wild, and in fact they are mostly in the Florida Keys and Miami area.  Other than that you won’t really see them here if you’re here for vacation.

Miss A’s flamingo was made of the same Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  I stuck some pink sprinkles on with agave nectar.  The state tree of Florida is the sabal palm (also known as the cabbage palm) so her palm tree trunk is made from dates and coconut flakes, and the palm fronds are honeydew melon.  At the top left are orange blossom cups with blueberries and raspberries, and at the top right is a mini cornbread muffin with a flamingo pick packed in her Easy Lunch Box.

We are so fortunate to live in Florida where we have exposure to so much marine life and education.  My kids get great learning experiences whether it’s at the beach or at the local aquarium.  We also get to visit the birds and mammals who have been injured from fishing lines, plastic bags and other various injuries and watch them rehabilitate here and be released.   During turtle nesting season here (now, spring through fall) we see the roped off sea turtle nests and have even found sea turtle eggs after they’ve hatched.  At our local aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory, we get to visit the hatchlings when they are there before their release and the older turtles who live there.  They have loggerhead and green turtles which are both native to the area.  Mote does a lot of great research and education in our area and in other areas of the state.  We are lucky!

Miss G has my cartoonish version of a sea turtle.  They’re much cuter in person!  She has a Justin’s Almond Butter and jam sandwich on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  The fun pie pieces on its back and its eyes are made from dairy free cheese.  His legs are made from the crusts.  At top left are nectarine slices and a watermelon octopus.  At the top right are watermelon chunks with soy cheese fish on top packed in her Easy Lunch Box.

Miss A has mini boats for her lunch below.  At the top left are watermelon chunks and a soy cheese boat on top.  At the top right are nectarine slices and a nectarine boat on top.

And to go with his rice, tofu & veggie bowl lunch, I packed my husband an Easy Lunch Box of a salad of mixed greens and spinach leaves, locally grown grape tomatoes and a red sweet pepper “I heart you”.  At the top left is a homemade zucchini mini muffin.  At the top right is a single serve container of Sabra hummus and not shown are whole grain crackers for dipping.

Miss G wanted to learn about what state we live in so she got a new 50 states map puzzle for her birthday.  Since it’s still “S” week at school, I decided to make her a Sarasota, Florida lunch.  I rolled out whole grain bread with a rolling pin & hand cut the Florida shapes.  Inside is almond butter, agave nectar and sliced strawberries.  I decided to just make a small fruit leather star to show her “You are here.” in Sarasota.  For fun I added dried cherries in an orange blossom cup for the state flower some watermelon chunks in a pretty cup and on top are flamingo picks of edamame and carrot suns on top.  She’s also having a dapple dandy plum half at the bottom right with a strawberry heart on top.

Little sister got a space themed lunch today with a space shuttle and an S sandwich with the same whole grain bread, almond butter, agave nectar and sliced strawberries. The sandwich is surrounded by watermelon shuttles, a watermelon star and dried apricot crescent moon and a star.  In the pink sheep are dried cherries topped with a watermelon sun & stars and on the bottom left are watermelon chunks topped with a space shuttle strawberry and shuttle picks with edamame on them.  Both girls had ice water in their CamelBak kids bottles.


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