Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween, A Lunch That Raises The Spirit

It's here, Halloween is here!  I may be more excited then my kid's.  I love any reason to celebrate and today is no exception!  I've been up early baking and creating and I can't wait for the girls to come downstairs and see their little lunches, I know their going to howl with delight.

Today's lunch is so sweet; I mean spooky, filled with black cats, bats, spiders and ghosts.
This little lunch has a Halloween Pasta salad, filled with veggies and a vinaigrette, a few pieces of smokey salami, speared with my cute Dollar Tree picks, a handful of cheddar cheese bats and cats, two bloody black cat (I mean cherry) hand pies, some trick or treat candy and finally some snack mix.   I also threw in an apple and a thermos of warm and spicy cider.

Just a shot of our full lunch

This pasta was too cute not to share...I get lots of fun shaped pasta from Cost Plus World Market.  Even my Hubby loves it!  Next time your in the store you'll have to check out their amazing selection of lunch stuff! 

As always, I packed our lunches into our easylunchbox containers, I cannot say enough how amazing these little boxes are!

Friday, October 28, 2011

For My Little Pumpkins

You may find this hard to believe, but I really don't like carving pumpkins.  The innards just gross me out...which is fitting for this spooky time of the year.  Of course, my kiddos love it and we all love freshly roasted pumpkin seeds! (Which by the way are totally healthy, yummy and easy.  I'll put the directions on the bottom of this post.)
This little lunch is about all things pumpkin.  Given my aversion to sticking my hand into the gooey mess, pumpkin may be my favorite fall ingredient so we've been eating loads of pumpkin bread, donuts, muffins, pie...and then a friend shared a recipe for pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, and Oh My!

This little lunch was so easy to throw together and the girls loved it.  We have a little pumpkin bar, a half of an orange with a face drawn on in food safe marker, a variety of tomato's (I drew a face on one), a hard boiled egg, 4 cheese quesadillas and some little pumpkin candies.

I used my easylunchboxes, as always and my Wilton food safe pens, I packed the girls thermos with apple cider and they were in heaven...I would have packed some pumpkin seeds but they have already met their demise.

To Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Clean seeds in water, make sure all of the pulp is removed (pumpkin guts)
Oil a baking sheet and spread the seeds in an even, single layer
Sprinkle with salt (I use sea salts) you can add any other seasoning too
cook for 2 hours at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes

No need to wait for them to cool, they're delicious warm!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

There's A Mummy In My Tummy

No really, there is!  Actually, there are a few in there...chocolate ones, butter ones...yummy in my tummy ones!  (Wait till you see these cupcakes)  With Halloween just around the corner I've been inspired to make all sorts of spooky, sweet filled lunches.  
GiGi, my oldest, really wanted to be a Mummy for Halloween, but my Hubby and I weren't sure we were ready to venture into the dark side of costumes.  We sort of view Mummy's as a gateway costume to the icky, gory, bloody costumes (we're a little overprotective).  So I gave her a Mummy lunch she could really sink her teeth into, she very pleased to have been given a treat and not a trick.
In the top corner we have our Mummy cupcakes (this one is chocolate cake, and I used a flat tip and just spread the frosting in ribbons that overlap and crisscross, and added two chocolate chips for eyes).  Some spooky owl carrot pieces in our haunted graveyard, two biscotti spread and jam sandwiches, some bat and cat cheese bits, a little bit of scary trail mix and a sliced apple.  
I attempted to write RIP on the bread with strained strawberry jam, but it absorbed into the bread really quickly...I should have used my letter cutters and fruit leather (next time), and I used sushi grass to line the graveyard.  I added a can of blood, I mean V8 juice, to bulk up the fruits and veggies and because it sort of went with the theme.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Bento Heaven!

In the heart of Seattle, is a mall...a fabulous little spot located right on the monorail.  Inside this mall, on the very bottom floor, right by the parking garage elevator is a glorious store for all you lunch packing families.  Everything in this store is $1.50 (unless otherwise marked, but frankly it was in Japanese so I had no idea if it was otherwise marked), and they have everything! Literally.  My dear Husband; who doesn't always really understand my obsession with cute, healthy lunches; was throwing stuff in my basket like no body's business.  He hates shopping.  But he got into the groove in Daiso.  I had to go back through the pillage and pull out the animal care products and the cleaning products (in his defense, everything was in Japanese...well except the pictures). 
I came home with so many wonderful things, and a new excitement for packing lunches!  Plus a few things for the next giveaway.  And as promised, I'm posting some pictures and sharing all the information about Daiso, and giving up mad props to one of my best girls.  Alisha, you rock!  Our next girls weekend will include a drive North and hours in this store.

A three pack of cute little containers (and I asked the saleslady about it being BPA free...she said, "I don't speak English")  and some great cutters.  Classic bird and bunny shapes that are really popular in traditional Japanese bentos.

More little cutters, with face shapes too! I have maybe never been so excited.  And flags that my DH thought were cute, so we had to get them. Plus some beautiful crystal like picks, all sorts of cute shapes, but the little bird is my favorite (we call our little one LiLi Bird).

More picks.  Can you ever really have enough?  And the plaid! Could it get any better? 

And more picks....The ones on the right are pretty classic Japanese style picks with cute little shapes, based on a vegetable farm.  The ones on the left are a mix of picks and flags.

Cute little containers for sauces and dips (and I found these in the health and beauty section) and you guessed it, more picks!

Daiso Japan is located in The Westlake Shopping Center in Seattle, WA.  Their phone number is
(206) 447-6211

If you're lucky enough to live in or around Seattle, I am so jealous.  If your planning a trip there add this to your list of "got to do", it's on the monorail, so you can start at the mall and end at The Space Needle!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Harvest Party (In My Mouth)

The air is turning cooler, leaves are just starting to turn and the rain is here more then the sun...which means pulling out sweaters and warm socks, boots and scarves, heating the crock pot for yummy meals and baking up a storm.   This lunch is inspired by that very feeling.  It just made me think of packing up a picnic and hitting the local pumpkin patch and running through a corn maze.

This lunch is packed in our easylunchbox containers (I have others, but these are hands down the best!)  It's got a generous slice of homemade banana bread, a small pear (again, LOVE Trader Joe's for fruit that isn't super sized), some dried fruit and nut mix (I found a peanut free variety at Costco), a few slices of summer sausage and white cheddar, a few carrot sticks and a handful of caramel corn (left over from a recent trip to the coast).  It just looks so cozy too me, the perfect lunch to eat curled up by a fire!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Allergies Stink! A Lunch for No Milk, No Egg Kids

I know all about food allergies.  They totally stink.  So when one Aunt asked me to make a lunch for her lunch toting, preschool age, niece who can't have milk and eggs, I knew I needed to make a lunch for her.  It's really hard to find information about what sort of foods a kiddo restricted from dairy can I did a lot of label reading and found that almost everything has milk or eggs in it.  At least the healthier stuff.  And I don't generally do unhealthy stuff so....

Here is that lunch, filled with loads of yummy fresh fruits and veggies a little deli meat (ham), and some bread sticks (no dairy!).
This lunch has a little tiny apple (Thank you Trader Joe's for selling fruit that is the perfect size for little hands), dried blueberries, pineapple, orange tomatoes, some blanched green beans, ham slices, bread sticks and can of V8 juice (my kiddo's love it) and silly me, some chocolate coins, because every Rainbow needs a pot of gold.  My 7 year old said, if she can't have milk, can she have chocolate?  Duh!
I hope this little one and her Aunt think this rainbow lunch is fun enough to eat!

I used my easylunchbox containers, they hold tons of food and I figured for this preschooler this would probably cover lunch and snack.

To Good Not To Share

Okay, for all those families packing lunch (and making dinner and breakfast) on a budget, I have to share my newest holiday find from the Dollar Store.  
Dollar Tree offers these little games every holiday, for $1!  That's right you get 15 picks for $1!  I know, it's awesome!  I just toss the game board, it doesn't really do anything for the lunches;)