Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Basic Lunches

Holy Smokes, bring back Thanksgiving Break!  I need a break from our week off...boy, did I let things slide.  Including all planning, routine and practical stuff.  I went to the grocery store this morning and I swear I walked around for an hour and left with 2 mangos, some berries, milk, a reading light, some flavored seltzer water and a pack of gum.    It never even occurred to me that I should be thinking about dinner or getting some real food to feed the people that call me Mom.

So dinner was blah and lunches tomorrow will be a little bit too.  But thank goodness I got those berries!  ;)

Gigi has a mixture of fresh berries (I knew those would come in handy), baby carrots, a cup of cream cheese and a bagel (because she only likes it if she can spread the cream cheese herself) some yellow tomatoes, a nutrigrain bar and some Junior Mints (totally Peanut Free! They rock!)...Lili has an orange instead of berries because she'll only eat berries from our garden (I have no idea why, it's the strangest food rule ever!)

They both have organic apple juice too!

For snack they have a bag of popcorn and some Stretch Island fruit leather.

Monday, November 26, 2012

But I Don't Wanna Go To School...

Anyone else have to pry kids out of bed and get them off to school this morning?  Hope they weren't as full of "I don't wanna get up" and "I wish it was still break" and "why can't we just homeschool again?"....truth be told, it was hard for me to get going this morning too. 

That included packing lunches.  I'm sure your burned out with all the cooking and cleaning and shopping from this last week and the grocery store was the last place I wanted to go.  Thank Heavens for leftover veggie trays and fruit trays or my kiddos would be living off of canned fruit and veg for the next day or two!

This lunch is a mix up of all the appetizers present at Thanksgiving dinner...I love a fridge full of appies.  In fact, I could eat nothing but bite size snacks for the rest of my life and be totally content.  Hmmm...this is giving me ideas for dinner tonight;)

This lunch has baby carrots, watermelon, slices of cheddar cheese and summer sausage, a selection of crackers and a couple gingerbread cookies.   They both have organic chocolate milk to go with lunch.
For snack they have homemade blueberry muffins and string cheese.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch

Today's lunches are not for my girls, they are for "my girls".  A group of us Mom's are abandoning our motherly duties today in favor of watching 12 hours of vampires and wolves....that's right, our little town is showing all 5 Twilight movies today and we have tickets! 

I can't even believe I have signed up to watch 5 movies, in a row, from noon to midnight (really 2ish), but I am totally excited.   However, the cost of movie theatre food and the just plain grossness of it (who needs a nacho with neon orange cheese?!) make me a little queasy.  What's a girl to do?

Well, we get breaks between the movies.  And we get a lanyard (collectible I imagine), I'm hoping mine has the lovely Doctor on it or Edward.  Being on Team Jacob would just be creepy, I could be his mother!   We can also come and go as we please, so I have packed us lunch!  At least one meal will be relatively good for us.

Secelia doesn't like veggies (it's hard to believe we're friends...just kidding) so she has dry Italian salami and homemade summer sausage, 3 kinds of cheeses, little pickles and whole wheat crackers, some strawberries and pineapple and a slice of Sugar Cookie Bar.  (Y'all have no idea, NO IDEA, how hard it was for me not to just pack an entire lunch of sugar bookie bars!)
Heather and I have loaded salads, strawberries and pineapples and SCB's...again, the fact that we just have a little bit is a testament to my commitment to healthyish eating!

Did you notice the little bat picks?  ;)

I've got to run to the store to buy some fancy smanshy drinks for us and some cheap candy (who are we kidding, I'm totally sneaking it in!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful For You GIVEAWAY!

Sure there was a lunch today, and it was pretty darn cute...but I've got bigger things to talk to you about today.  A giveaway just in time for the holidays!   Reynold's Wrap was so kind to send me a darling Cook Book that is all things Cupcakes and a set of their amazing cupcake liners, I threw in a couple more sets of liners and a cake decorating kit so you can create to your hearts desires!

I love using these liners when I bake, but I also use them to dress up a lunch.  The liners fit perfectly inside the silicon ones and just kick it up a notch...you can jazz up a holiday them, a birthday lunch, you name it! 


Promise after you've read the blog post and entered to win this fun give away that you'll head over and like their Facebook page.

I bet you want to know, how can you win?!  Let's not get ahead of ourselves, let's see what might be coming home to you!

 and this....
To win you just need to comment on your favorite things to bake either on the blog post or on Two Little Lunches FaceBook Page.  Also, share this giveaway with your friends and family and leave that in the comments too! 
Give away will be ending on November 13th at 9:30 a.m. PST.  Open to residents of the US only.  (I'm sorry my out of country friends, I wish I could mail these things to you, but the shipping costs are insane!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Did You Vote?

I'm a day late on this lunch, but all of America has the beautiful right to vote, so today we are celebrating Democracy and hoping it worked out the way you wanted it to.   The girls' school voted and Romney won by a landslide (which is a surprise being we're in Oregon), but they've been learning all about the 6 main political parties so I'm pleased with their turnout;)  Apparently there was a vote for Mommy, one for Daddy and one for Lauren?  Guess those kindergartners didn't understand exactly what this voting was about, or they weren't happy with their two choices...who could blame them!

This lunch is red and blue, I wish I'd thought about it before tonight and found an elephant and donkey cutter...that would have put this lunch over the top! 
 Both girls have white cheddar stars, salami stars, cucumber stars and carrot strips, cheese it like crackers, organic cut pear cups, and a couple of chocolate chip cookies.  Both girls are taking an organic chocolate milk.

Snack is freeze dried pineapple (this stuff is amazing!) and a homemade granola bar.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Blah! It's Monday

There are days when I would sell my soul to hand the girls 2 bucks to buy a hot lunch; regardless of how I feel about hot lunch; today was one of them.  We got home from a wonderful weekend in Seattle and I was so tired from all the fun, I skipped going to the grocery store to make sure we had some fresh fruits and vegetables in the house.  Probably a mistake.  But it forced me to get creative in packing lunch.

I managed to find a carrot that wasn't too limp and a cucumber that only looked a little questionable.  I always keep organic apple sauce on hand (I know, not quite a fresh fruit...but it'll do!) and we always have loads of cheese.  Thank God!

Both girls got dry Italian salami (also always a staple), aged white cheddar cheese, cucumber and carrot sticks, goldfish crackers, apple sauce for Gigi dried apricots for Lili and leftover Halloween Marshmallows.  GiGi loves to dip her goldfish crackers into the applesauce; sort of like apple pie with cheddar cheese;)
They both are getting an organic chocolate milk.
For snack they each have a Stretch Island Fruit Leather and a Caramel rice cake.  Sort of boring, but it's what we had in the pantry!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A True Bento

This lunch looks a lot more like a traditional bento lunch would look, if GiGi and LiLi were little school girls in Japan;)   They both love fish, so when I make it for dinner I always make extras...my girls can't get enough of this good for you, brain food!

Lunch today has some baked salmon, white rice with sesame seeds, dried seaweed sheets, cucumber slices (I wanted to make cucumber salad but ran out of time), sliced permission and juice.   If you haven't tried dried seaweed you should check it out...it has a crunchy, salty taste and it's full of nutrients!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Field Trip Lunches

LiLi and I are headed to The Rice Rock Museum for a field trip and I was at a huge loss when it came time for packing a lunch I'd want to eat too!  (I might be the pickiest eater in our house.)  Lucky for me LiLi is game for just about anything, so I decided on a trio of salads.

1.  A nice big green salad topped with turkey, swiss, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, topped with a little green goddess dressing! Yum!  
2.  Pasta salad filled with loads of veggies and topped with cheddar cheese and Italian dressing.  Enjoy!
2.  Fruit salad; grapes, cantaloupe and strawberries....Delish!  (I got the fruit salad, LiLi got plain grapes)

I've thrown in tons of extras too, because who knows what we'll feel like eating.  We have fruit leather, granola bars, kettle corn, freeze dried strawberries, cheese crackers and some corn candy as a treat.  We both get a bottle of water for the day.

Grace is taking a similar lunch, but she doesn't like pasta salad so she has some fresh mushrooms instead.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When a Kid Packs Lunch

When a kid packs lunch it looks a lot like this....

In my head, this whole packing went something like those "If You Give A Mouse A Muffin" books.  If you give a 10 and 8 year old free reign, they will start with candy.  Always.  Every time.   Then hopefully they will decide that they should throw in some fruit and maybe a veg (mandarin orange and cucumbers).  This might lead them to some sort of protein, or two.  Because salami is never enough, you probably need a bagel and cream cheese.   While a bagel may seem like enough fiber/carbs, your wrong.  So throw in a granola bar and goldfish to round it out!   When it's all done, there isn't really room for candy so you eat it right then, because who can let candy go to waste?!

That's how I imagined it went.  Even if it went another way; which may have included some arguing, bossing and a little crying...plus a lot of mess...it's packed.  I can live with it.  I can get used to these kids of mine packing a sort of balanced lunch every now and again.  It bought me a few minutes of time just hanging out on the couch, surfing Pinterest. 

Oh, and in this spirit of letting go every now and again and letting the kiddos be in charge they got to pack their own snacks too.  I'm a little freaked out about this part.  I'm fairly certain that GiGi's teacher is going to call tomorrow to make sure I'm okay, that I haven't suffered a seizure or some other medical emergency.   They have bags of sugar cereal. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lunch for Mom

I'm going to be at school all day today and a Mom's got to eat too! It got me thinking about all of you who work outside the home too, what do you do every day for lunch?  Every once in a while I'll be featuring some lunches for the older set.

Lunch for this Mom almost always includes a salad. I LOVE salads!  It's a sickness, sort of, because it's sort of healthy. 
My salad today is piled high with all sorts of goodies.  Swiss cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, turkey, orange bell pepper.  I have a little container of vinigrette to top it with.  I threw in a couple of whole wheat crackers, a few starburst (because I like a little sweet too) and some freeze dried strawberries. 

I'm having a hard time waiting till lunch to eat this!  Just knowing it's in the fridge waiting for me is making me a little bit crazy and hungry!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Black Cat and Pumpkins

It's official, we go to school in the dark and come home just in time for sunset.  I'm tired.  All of the time.  I forgot how Fall in the North West takes some adjusting too.  (Every year)   I'm loving the Autumn colors, the cozy sweaters and the warm roasts (I seem to be roasting something every day).  
Being cozy seems to also be making me forgetful...I need to remember to see if there is some study about the correlation.   I forgot lunches, until I was in bed and just about to fall asleep.   I knew my brain would never shut off so out of bed I climbed, down to the kitchen...I made lunch by the light of the fridge, it was sort of romantic. 

Both girls got ham roll ups, scary cat carrots, a mandarin orange, school days apple granola bar (these are made in a peanut free facility!), Stretch Island apple fruit leather, whole wheat crackers, scary cat colby jack cheese slices, and some Halloween marshmallows.  They both have organic vanilla milk.

For snack they have dried strawberries and a caramel rice cake.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Make Dinner Work Twice as Hard

I'll admit it.  This might have been the easiest (laziest) lunch I've ever packed!  It took me roughly 1 minute (and that's only because I had to cut the pizza so it would fit in the container).   Oh. My. Goodness.  I live for days like this. 
We're all busy, we all have lists that never stop growing.  Why not make dinner do double duty?  Especially when it's a dinner your kiddos really dig!  (I know, this is the second appearance of pizzaish stuff this week)  My kids would eat loads of stuff left over.  Spaghetti, chicken, pizza, stir fry, salmon...the list goes on and on and it makes your life a lot easier!

Left over pizza, salad (I literally used my hands and grabbed a handful, no shame.), a pear, apple juice and a couple chocolate chip cookies. 

For snack they have apple slices and 2 raspberry Newtons.   It's 6:30 and my list is basically done (well the stuff that I can't put off at least)...looks like I get to sit on the couch and catch up on the DVR! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Lunch so Easy It's Scary

The girls lunch was packed in a rush last night, total surprise, right?!  Thank Heavens I keep loads of healthy options in the fridge.  The girls have a hard boiled egg; I made the spooky faces with food safe pens; a little mandarin orange, some veggie crackers, sharp cheddar pumpkins, carrot pumpkins and some grape tomatoes, and a few pumpkin peeps.  They also have a frozen yogurt tube that I threw in at the last minute (I'm obsessed with them having enough protein, but it's truly what fuels their bodies) and a box of apple juice.
I packed it all in my very favorite easylunchbox containers. 
For snack they both have kettle corn and fruit leather.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Lunch...Homemade Pizza Rolls

People in marketing really know how to appeal to kids, and their taste buds.  It's never made sense why kids (or adults for that matter) enjoy food filled with stuff I can't pronounce.   One thing my girls always ask to try are those little pizza rolls, the ones with the funny commercial with the kids so hungry they're delirious.  And pop tarts.  Luckily I've got a good recipe for both.

Well not so much a recipe, as a quick and easy cheat that taste great and is like a billion times better for them.  I'm a firm believer in having a good pie crust recipe because you can make all sorts of yummy things with it!  I was making an apple pie for dessert and decided to double the pie crust recipe and make some pizza rolls.  They turned out perfectly, in fact LiLi was totally fooled.  Gigi is a little less likely to just trust me when I say, "Oh yeah, it's the stuff from the commercial", apparently I've used that line too much.

Anyhoo, pizza rolls, super easy and I'm thinking they'll freeze well too!  I rolled pie crust really thin (and I used half whole wheat flour, because all really does change the flavor) and then topped it with pizza sauce, chopped pepperoni, chopped olives and cheese.  Then I used a pastry cutter to cut them into rectangles and it crimped it at the same time! 

I baked mine for about 10 minutes at 425, and then the girls can zap them in the microwave to reheat them at school.

The girls each have some pizza rolls, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, pomegranate seeds and some cookies...they also have a pear and a apple juice. 
For snack they each have a homemade granola bar and Stretch Island Fruit Leather.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ooooooooooh, What a Yummy Lunch!

Thank Heavens for Awanas! I had the house to myself and was able to really put some time and thought into lunch.  Hope the girls are surprised and a little spooked by their lunches, it was sure fun to make and pack them.  I don't know about you, but I worry more about what their getting then what it looks like, but it's such a pleasure when both come together and make it really special. 

The girls have 4 cheese Ghost quesadillas, homemade guac, sour cream, orange and black chips, ghostly cucumbers, a banana (I couldn't make it work in the whole ghost thing, but again, nutrition comes first!), a ghost peep (how cute are they?!), and vanilla organic milk.
They each have a bag of popcorn and a pear for snack.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Leaves Are Turning

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter. ~Carol Bishop Hipps

Each season is my favorite.  Really, I can see the virtues of each one.  While many joke that Oregon has two seasons; rainy and summer; I fully disagree.  I base most memories on holidays, and I celebrate them all with wild abandon.  I can tell you exactly what the weather is like on the 4th of July (It's been sunny for the last 10 years, I know because I have pictures of GiGi in sundresses every single year!), and that it usually doesn't start really raining until October 30th (again, loads of costume pictures covered up with raincoats!).  

Here, in Oregon, or in my imagination, we get 4 beautiful seasons...and for now Fall is my favorite.  Cool mornings, blue skies, orange and red leaves, raucous sunsets...that cozy smell in the air from wood stoves and warm pumpkin lattes.  What's not to love?

Anyhow, the weather has very little to do with lunches, other then when I saw this darling leaf pasta it made me think of the blanket of red, yellow, orange and brown on our lawn...and a salad loaded with veggies. 

The girls have a large serving of pasta salad, full of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, onion and broccoli...plus a healthy amount of feta.  They have watermelon cut into leaf shapes, and a side dish with some salami and organic chocolate milk...for a treat they have Halloween Pop Rocks and some marshmallows.  (I'm going for Mom of the year with the pop rocks!)
For snack they both have Stretch Island Fruit Leather and a homemade granola bar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hearty Lunch for a Cool Day

We've had a ridiculously beautiful summer and start of fall in Oregon.  I have said before (and I'll say again) "Oregon is proof that God loves us!"  If your not from here, I'm sorry and you really must visit.   The start of fall brings sunshine, red leaves, blue skies, cool nights, and lovely autumn produce.  
Today, when we left for school my car said, "Low temps"...we hadn't left the garage yet so I had no idea that it wasn't joking.  It was 36 degrees and I had sent the girls to school in nothing but a sweater and a good hearty lunch! Thank Heavens we're all in the mood for comfort foods, my lunch worked out wonderfully with this new chilly weather were having; the promise of rain by the end of the week couldn't dampen my spirits one bit!

Today's lunch has chili and cheese (they can microwave it at lunch to heat it up again), mini bell peppers, snap peas, a pear, and some oatmeal cookies. They both have organic vanilla milk to drink.
For snack they have homemade trail mix.  Lili may or may not be happy with this choice.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Picnic Style Lunch

It seems like I've been having "one of those days" for the last two weeks...the hustle and bustle of school, dance, piano, choir and girl scouts have caught up with me.  Then throw in my Mom needing to be picked up at the airport, lunch suffers, or does it?!

All of my normal nightly chores were packed into the 20 minutes between scouts and the airport. Lunch was the quickest and easiest of all of the tasks I had to do.  I swear, this couldn't have taken more then 2 minutes. 

This doesn't look like much, but it has protein, some carbs and a fruit and veggies...my kiddos like V8, so they have a little can of that to boost this lunch even more.  We have a great recourse for local meat, and they make this yummy pepperoni that the girls love.  It's not a traditional protein but it works and it's a fun surprise every once in a while. 
Both girls have pepperoni, Babybel white cheddar, crackers, orange wedges, cucumber slices and tomatoes, some chocolate wafer cookies, stretch island 100% fruit leather and a V8.  For snack they have a homemade granola bar and a little apple.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lili's Turn

LiLi's turn.  She was a little jealous that GiGi is big enough to pack lunches (use a knife), so with some help she made these healthy little meals.   We worked on packing a lunch for a kiddo with some food allergies, hope this fits the bill. 
Lili packed some "Mystery Meat" Ghosts (Chicken breast sliced thin and puckered up a little to look like little ghosts, she added the mystery meat part, but there is absolutely no mystery!)  Mwahahaha Mushrooms (no idea how to spell her maniacal laugh), Toad Eye tomatoes, Snake Scale snap peas, Goblin Smiles (orange slices) and some candy corn and creme pumpkins made in a totally peanut free/nut free facility.  (Our little food allergy friend may not be able to have those, but his Mom can switch those out for another sweet treat.)
Not pictured but included are a box of organic chocolate milk and a little bag of pirates booty.
For snack they both have some banana bread and a little pear.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taste Like Desperation

Last night I sat down on the couch to rest my eyes and watch "Ghost Hunters" (my other guilty pleasure) and when I stopped resting my eyes it was about 3 in the morning.  Ugh.  So I crawled into bed, never once thinking, "I haven't packed lunches, laid out clothes, added snacks, checked homework...". 
I actually didn't think about it until 7ish, when we finally headed downstairs to grab breakfast and I noticed the absence of lunches in the fridge.  That's when the sheer panic hit.  I mean, it seemed strange that I hadn't laid out clothes, but they wear uniforms so getting dressed is easy, I just overlooked it.  I started barking orders, "GiGi, your in charge of breakfast", "LiLi grab snacks for you and sis", "Brush your teeth, get shoes, grab jackets...Go, Go, Go!".  I swear that strange mix of adrenaline and stress really takes it out of a person.  We just started car pool this week, and I refuse to be the Mom who's late.  It's a problem I have, the need to always be on time (my Husband would argue that I need to be 15 minutes early), but clearly I am a person who plans (including for any traffic issues that might arise).

Thank goodness I cook for an army, and I have lunch plans for today; otherwise I'd be bummed to be sharing my lunch; so I threw left over beef stir fry into containers.  Also thankfully I keep some shelf stable snacks on hand for these sorts of emergencies so they both got premade rice krispie treats (we ate all the homemade ones last night!).  I grabbed a mandarin orange and some mini bell peppers and a bag of pretzels.  It's not really a cohesive lunch, but they love stir fry, and they love bell peppers...so hopefully they'll be happy come lunch time.

Even the picture was taken in a rush, on my cell phone....just before I tossed it into lunch bags.  Don't ask what they have for snacks, I have no idea.  Probably candy and cookies.  Where's my coffee?!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

GiGi's Post

Well I had a meeting tonight, and when I came home the kitchen was covered with cookie cutters, silicon cups, scraps of food...and two totally packed lunches.  GiGi took it upon herself to pack lunches for me since I shared some of my nice stationary with her.  Love that girl!  Love that at 10 she will make her sister breakfast, will offer to help with all sorts of chores and thinks about her Mama's busy schedule.  I'm not sure what I did to be blessed with this amazing girl, but I thank God for her every day.
This lunch is pretty well rounded given she had no supervision.  She picked a theme and then planned around it. 

GiGi is taking over this post now.  I'm going to back totally out (except to upload the picture, which she took too!), and let her take over.

My Mom is really busy and takes care of all of us.  She sells houses and has to leave to help people so she has to stay up late to pack lunches for us.  I was looking for a snack and saw that there was stuff she uses to make lunches, so I thought I could surprise her by making lunch for tomorrow.   I tried to remember her healthy rules and kept thinking that sometimes I just want not healthy lunch but made it healthy because she would have changed it.

I picked a shooting for the stars theme because I like that saying.  It makes me try hard at school and sports.  I cut food into star shapes and used star shape holders.   I packed cheddar cheese, sausage, mini crackers, star fruit, cucumber and carrots and tomatoes.  I cut the carrots and cucumbers into stars too.  And then I gave us dessert.  An oreo and a rice krispie treat cut like a star.  I put two lemonaides in the fridge so they would be cold tomorrow. 

Ok, Mom back....I went from cracking up (I would have totally repacked lunch if it wasn't sort of healthy) and crying....see why I love this girl!?  I didn't change anything she wrote or change punctuation on her portion....I wanted it just the way it is.  I also didn't take a clearer picture, she was so proud of her work, all of it....and so am I!
Job well done Baby Girl!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2nd...Bring on the Hauntingly Good Lunches!

Is your house in full mail watch?  Everyday a new catalog with fabulous costumes to pick from, the endless discussions of what to be, the bargaining that comes with sisters; should we match, should we have a theme...  Halloween is officially in full swing at Chez Peterson.    Not to worry, I celebrate only one holiday at a time.  There will be no Christmas lunches until December 1st! 

I will however, spend all of this month focusing mostly on ghoulishly good lunches.  It will probably be frightening, the amount of different Halloween cutters I have.  These lunches could possibly haunt your every waking hour with their cuteness.  I'll stop, I know your probably all groaning anyway.  Yes, I am that corny; candy corny that is!

This little lunch is just a kick off.  I've experimented with making my own "jello jigglers", LiLi has already informed me they are "bisgusting" and she will only allow me to pack her one because her friends will think it's cool.  GiGi is not as picky with the "shivering" food and is enthusiastic about them.

Lunch includes; Brains and Blood (spaghetti and sauce), Monster Finger chicken strips, Jacks and Bats pretzels, Jack-O-Lantern bell peppers and some Goblin Eye grapes...grape juice jigglers and ghostly marshmallows round out lunch.  They'll each have Blood red 100% juice fruit punch.    The beauty of Halloween lunches is that they tell their own story, your kiddos will have as much fun eating them as they do deciding what each item is!

For snack they took Pirates Booty and Cliff Kids fruit snacks.

Monday, October 1, 2012


My children are forced to be "Beaver Believers", just not given a choice, my Husband too.  If you don't live in Oregon your probably preparing to call the authorities, or questioning your judgement in following this blog.  In Oregon we choose our college mascots based on the animals that roam here...Beavers and Ducks.  Not such manly characters considering we have bear, cougar, bobcat, and elk.

I digress, I went to the superior college here in Oregon, Oregon State, home of the Beavers.  (I do realize that all of my friends whom are Ducks are cringing...they have what some might argue, the superior football team.)   This year, my beloved Beavers are undefeated! It's really a spectacular thing...and in celebration I am wearing my orange and black constantly.  I just bought spirit gloves (gloves with little orange and black pompoms on the finger tips), they might be the most fabulous OSU item I've ever owned.

I bet your wondering what this has to do with lunch, and if maybe I've totally lost it.  Probably.   It's just tonight at the store I was seeing orange and black food everywhere! It was like the store was celebrating with me.  I was happy, I had a spring in my step and a song in my heart, I had what I thought was the best lunch idea EVER.  Then I got home and realized I didn't have a Beaver cookie cutter (which is totally amazing considering all the cookie cutters I have!).  I almost cried and then I said, "Whatever, it's still an OSU lunch, even without my mascot!"

This little lunch has carrots and orange tomatoes, orange Tillamook cheddar cheese, a baby mandarin orange, orange and black tortilla chips, some dry Italian salami, and a couple of orange and black oreos! 
I can hear the fight song as I type...OoooooSssssssUuuuuuu  Oregon State Fight! Fight! Fight!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The. Best. Halloween. Treats. EVER!

So, if your in the Portland area your totally out of luck, because by the time this is posted I will have bought every single one of these packages...at least if everything goes as planned and that plan relies heavily on my Hubby, who doesn't always think my plans are ideal.

I have found the best Halloween treats, school snacks, perfect peanut free (and tree nut free), little bags of goodness.  I am sharing with you because a) a lot of you have nut allergy kiddos too and b) it's just nice.

First, Pirate Booty has Trick or Treat size bags (24 of them in a box) and kids love this stuff, and Moms can love it too because it's a pretty okay snack.   Grocery stores carry individual serving bags of this stuff (you get 6 for about $7), but the bags are huge and far to big for my 8 year old to eat in one sitting.  These Halloween ones are smaller, you get 24 for $7!  That's just awesome.  I mean, really, just awesome!

Second, Angies Classic Kettle Corn.  Again 24 little, perfect, snack size bags.  Totally peanut and nut free...just the right size for snack or trick or treating and made with 4 ingredients!  Four ingredients folks, that's incredible.   Again, these were about $6 for 24 bags.

Here's some pictures so you know exactly what to look for.  Oh, and a big THANK YOU to Target for carrying these fabulous treats for you to hand out to your kids, or the kids that will be knocking on your door in a few short weeks!  (Save the chocolate for yourselves...we need it more and we always remember to brush our teeth.)

Kid tested today, totally approved!

I think you're probably all familiar with Pirate's Booty, but if you want I'll post a picture of it too! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lunchables Look-a-Like

How often do you hear "Mooommmmy can we paahleese get lunchables? Please? Can we? Can we? Can we?"  I hear it far to often considering my girls know just how I feel about them.  In one word.  GROSS!  But come on, even I have to admit they are convenient...totally unhealthy and disgusting, but easy for sure.  
Well folks, let me assure you that you can pack a "look a like" meal in 3 minutes and 22 seconds (I timed myself and I was indecisive) and I promise it will cost far less then a stupid real prepackaged lunch.   You could totally cut your meat and cheese into perfect circles if you wanted to, but I was going for speed and nutrition.   It was 10, I was tired, and I haven't been to the store in days...slim pickings my friends.

Here it is, the big reveal.  Tell me what you think?  Not to shabby, if I don't say so myself!
Two basically identical lunches, packed in under 4 minutes and I'm sure in under $3.00 but I'll have to actually price everything out per serving.
The lunches have carrots and ranch dip. a little apple, ham slices, ritz crackers, cheese (one likes Baby Bell, one like Laughing Cow) and 3 gummy peach rings (totally peanut free!).  They will each get a lemon aide to go with lunch.
For snack GiGi has freeze dried strawberries and 2 raspberry fig newtons.  LiLi grabbed a bag of Pirate Booty and a Stretch Island fruit leather.
I used our very favorite easylunchboxes....and good news! They are back in stock, follow the link from the blog to get yours today!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


My family is obsessed with Chinese Food.  OBSESSED.  We just can't always go out to eat it because it's often made with peanut products, so I've sort of become good at making it at home.  It's not authentic, my Chinese American friends would probably laugh at the finished product, but my kiddos LOVE it .  Fortunately, I cook for a family of 30 rather then 4 (I've never been good at judging how much I'm making and I like to wing it rather then follow a recipe).

Anyhoo, the upside.  Leftovers!  Lunch becomes really easy to pack and I know the girls will gobble it up.  (They have access to microwaves at their school, so they can heat up stuff.)   I used a little creative licence on this one and really stretched the Asian food to cover a little Japanese too.

Both girls have beef and broccoli with rice, cucumber and carrot rolls, bell pepper slices, mandarin oranges, an Asian pear, rice crispy sushi and fig newtons (they are clearly not Asian).  And a box of apple juice.
Rice Crispy Treat sushi is totally easy to make.  I make homemade rice crispy treats to control the ingredients, then I cut and roll them in to a thin 2 inch by 3 inch strip.  Then you can layer fruit leather, swedish fish...what ever gummy, sticky stuff you have on hand.  I used just swedish fish.  What a fun treat, right?! 
For snack they have Cheese It crackers and apple slices.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuna Tuesdays

I guess it's really supposed to be Fish Fridays but this was what was requested and frankly, the cupboards are looking a little bare.  I gotta get to the store!   It's good to stretch and challenge yourself and your kiddos to use what's available, and to make lunches without spending extra money.  Leftovers are great for this!

Share your favorite money saving or budget stretching tips, especially if they apply to feeding your kiddos!

This little lunch has tuna salad (I get lots of veggies chopped into this like celery, onion and green bell pepper), two different types of crackers (one has loads of seeds),  orange bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, mini oreo type cookies.  They also have a pear and apple juice.

For snack they have freeze dried strawberries and pretzels.

Monday, September 24, 2012

LiLi Loves Lunch

My little LiLi is missing having lunch at home; a full, proper lunch around the table with Mom and GiGi.  She LOVES school more though (thank goodness!), so she just voices the complaint once a day...when I hand her her lunch bag.

I hope she's pleasantly surprised when she opens her lunch tomorrow; it is so far from a tradition, well rounded lunch she wouldn't recognize it as being packed in this house; it's filled with all of her very favorite things. 

LiLi has a mini cucumber, some summer sausage, green grapes, an apple nutragrain bar, an apple fruit leather with "LiLi Bird" cut out of it (her nickname from Uncle J), feta cheese, and swedish fish.   It's random.  It'll probably stink (compliments of the cheese).  And I she'll love every single bit of it! 
I also threw in an organic chocolate milk box and a mandarin orange just in case she needs a little more.

For snack she has a cinnamon muffin and banana chips.

GiGi has a similar lunch, but she hates feta, so she got a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, which she inexplicably loves.  She also got wheat thins, because she likes to make little sandwiches with crackers.  (Her nickname is Goose, she really doesn't like it...so I didn't cut her name out of her fruit leather.)

GiGi asked for plain milk (weird, right?!) and celery sticks with cream cheese as her extras.   And true to form, she needed a totally different snack.  She took pretzels and a mini pear.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lazy Daisy

It all started with an egg, an egg that was supposed to be a star.  When I took it out of the mold I realized that the egg was too small, and I had a daisy on my hands!

So it became a lazy lunch with a daisy theme.  The whole lunch from start to finish took about 3 (5 at the most) minutes to prepare.   I hard boiled the eggs the day before and put them in molds to get them ready for lunches.

This lunch is for Lili who loves all things pink and girly.  She has a mini bagel and cream cheese, hard boiled egg (decorated with food safe pens), grape tomatoes, carrot carnations, watermelon posies and some pretzels dipped in pink white chocolate and sprinkled with a little sugar....to keep em' sweet.
Dipping pretzels in chocolate is easy, melt the chocolate; tint it if you want a specific color;  cover in chocolate...I throw mine in the freezer for just a few minutes are they're ready to go!
I used easylunchboxes and silicone holders.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Gateway Sandwich

My kiddos don't like sandwiches very much...but this one seems sort of fancy and special.  I call it the gateway sandwich for a reason.  This sandwich has gotten my girls to try tuna salad, egg salad, tuna melts and cucumber sandwiches.  That's it, that's the long list of sandwiches my kiddos will eat.

We go back to this one over and over again.  Maybe because it's made with simple, good ingredients.  Probably because it really does feel like you've been strolling through a Farmer's Market in Nice, and you've just grabbed this sandwich before walking down to the beach.

Today's little lunches have a turkey and cheese sandwich, a few little pickles, a mandarin orange, some snap peas and tomatoes, and a couple of oreo type cookies.  Both girls have organic chocolate milk, and a cup of strawberries too.

For snack they took Pirate Booty and apple slices.

As always we packed our lunches in our easylunchboxes.

Oh, the most important part! The sandwich.  You need good french baguette, Kerrigold Irish Butter (it's spendy, but worth it!), turkey and provolone cheese.  That's it.  That simple. And oh, so good!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

My little LiLi was being a little less then sweet last night, which prompted me to sing song this little rhyme to her...she wasn't impressed.  But then that little light bulb in my head went off!  We have all these lovely garden items (compliments of our never ending summer) and I could make a whole lunch with fresh garden items!

Not only is this lunch peanut and tree nut free, I believe it fits into the vegetarian category too.

This little lunch has a salad made with Bib lettuce (Boston if your on the East Coast), cucumber tulips, red bell pepper flowers, orange tomato halves, and cheese marigolds. (Under all those toppings are some strips of turkey too)  A few just picked strawberries and a plum from our tree.  I added a small cup of dressing, and some croutons on the side.  Both girls have organic vanilla milk to kick up the protein levels. 
For snack today they each have a Cutie (little Mandarin orange) and a nutragrain bar.
As always lunch is packed in our favorite easylunchbox containers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I kept looking at these cute liners I got at IKEA (the picture does them no justice...they have a sweet scalloped edge) and thinking "this reminds me of all those lovely Neapolitan bedrooms and ice cream!"  I know I can't very well pack ice cream for school lunch, but I knew I could find foods that would fit the color scheme.

I've been imagining this lunch for a while now, and have been thinking in terms of brown, pink and white...and a lunch for Gigi, so it's not too little kiddish.   I still think I'll do an ice cream themed lunch soon, but for today this will have to do.

The girls both got a white babybell cheese, pinkish brown ham roll ups, a little pink lady apple, (some not very pink tomatoes), a strawberry fruit leather and raspberry nutragrain bar (sort of brown), whole wheat crackers, and some wafer cookies in brown, pink and white.  I also threw in some freeze dried strawberries and an 100% juicebox.

For snack they have a homemade granola bar and dried cherries.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Last Minute Lunch

I'm that Mom that has everything ready the night before.  Clothes laid out, bags packed, homework checked (and finished), and lunches packed.   At least I was that Mom.  Last night we got home from Musical Theatre class and by the time I got everyone tucked in bed I was wiped out and hungry!

I put off all the things I needed to do in favor of facebook and food.  The food was worth it, the facebook was fun, the pain I felt this morning at 5:30, not so good.  I'm an early riser naturally, but I don't function particularly well first thing in the morning.  I need to time to slowly wake up.  I need tea and morning news.  As LiLi puts it, "My eyes have to adjust", for about an hour.  

This school they are attending doesn't have a hot lunch program (and most of you know my feelings about school lunches), so throwing a few dollars at them as we pulled into the school parking lot wasn't an option.   So I did what any sane Mom would do.  I opened a can of olives.

Not a traditional lunch choice I know, but frankly, I can't be held responsible for anything that happens before 7a.m..  I am certain LiLi will take one look at this lunch and her heart will soar with joy.  It's just the sort of thing she would happily eat every single day.  GiGi is going to open her lunch bag and think, "My Mom is a total Nutter!".  She's probably not too far off.

It's not the best picture...sorry...my eyes have not "adjusted" jet yet;)
This lunch has a little tiny pear (Trade Joe's), some black olives, mini pickles, picks with dry salami, cheddar cheese and yellow tomatoes, and a few JoJo cookies (Trade Joe's again). They both got organic apple juice and a homemade granola bar.
For snack they have crackers, Wow Butter (for GiGi) and Biscoff (for LiLi) and freeze dried strawberries (Trader Joe's, again).
This is proof that lunch doesn't have to be super fancy to be fun, festive and sort of nutritionally sound!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Love You A Bushel and A Peck

My sweet girls are loving school, but they still tell me everyday that it's really different from homeschooling.  The part they miss most; ME!!!! In some sick way this makes me really sort of happy, because I miss them so much too!  This last week and a half has had me sort of floundering in my roll, my identity is a little lost...not to worry, I'll figure it all out, and I have loads of little lunch dates set up for myself.

Hope they love this little lunch as much as I love them!.

The girls love Biscoff Sandwiches, and to kick it up a little I added a smear of cream cheese.  They also has some strawberries and kiwi, carrot sticks and cucumbers.  I threw in a heart shaped hard boiled egg to make sure they'd get enough protein.  An 100% fruit leather and a little meringue cup with some chocolate sauce and strawberries. 

Hope they are sweetly surprised by this lunch filled with all sorts of love.

I've packed lunch in my favorite, Easylunchbox containers!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tea for Two

Any excuse for a tea party! That's our motto.  I spent this afternoon baking a little apple treat and it seemed fitting to make some little sandwiches to go with it.

This little lunch has 2 tea pot shaped cucumber sandwiches (I used homemade white bread...it has to be soft enough to cut), used a cookie cutter to score a flower out of a babybell cheese (made me think of so many of my pretty tea cups), a few butterfly crackers, some snap peas, yellow tomatoes, and a few tiny carrot flowers.  They also got juice, a banana and some apple pie bars.
Here's a link to the Apple Pie Bar recipe (it's time consuming, but worth it!)
For snack they got a tiny pear (Have I mentioned how much I love Trader Joe's for the just right sized fruit!?)  and some pretzel sticks. 
Our lunches were packed in our easylunchbox containers.
Pinkies up!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Little Lunches, Monday

We had a busy weekend, so I'm looking forward to the quiet of today to do some housework and baking...tomorrows lunch should be much cuter!  Today's lunch ticks all the boxes though, good nutrition, simple foods, kids favorites and for our family; no nuts!

The lunches have some ham roll ups, a piece of cheddar cheese, whole wheat crackers, cucumber slices, yellow tomatoes, snap peas, an apple, 100% juice, and some mini oreo like cookies for a treat.  For snack the girls have apple cinnamon rice cakes and 100% fruit leather. 

Pretty basic, but this shows that in a matter of minutes you can throw together a healthy, well balanced meal that your kids will enjoy and most importantly eat!  I know being back in traditional school my girls are being really active; they have 2 recesses and pe daily...so it's important for me to really provide good fuel to keep them going!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bistro Lunch Anyone?

I've got to get these girls eating the same lunch every day...not sure about you, but I'm pretty sure no one really wants to make two totally different lunches (or 3, or more).   They basically have the same lunch today and I based it loosely on what you might pick up in a bistro, or buy in a farmers market in France for a lovely picnic on the Eiffel Tower lawns (minus the wine, for them at least!).

They have some dry Italian salami, crackers, a babybell cheese, some little tiny pickles, orange bell pepper slices, an apple, a few cookies and organic apple juice.  For snack they each have some caramel rice cakes and a fruit leather.   I would have loved to throw in some olives, but I didn't have any! 

I packed their lunches in our easylunchbox containers, they hold tons of food! And I used flower shaped silicone liners to keep everything from touching.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday's Lunch

Gigi is still not allowing me to have much fun with her lunches, it stinks.  I'm hoping that by next week she gives me free rein.  Anyhoo...today's lunch is full of low fat, high protein foods, which are great for a growing, active girl.
We filled her lunch bag with some honey ham, string cheese and whole wheat crackers, watermelon and cantaloupe, a small container of grape tomatoes, some Swedish Fish (because they were left over from her sisters lunch) and rice cakes, and a small apple.  She'll take an apple grape juice for her drink. 
The dish of almonds and dried apricots are for snack. 
The school requires each child to bring a water bottle each day; which I'm thankful for; and so far it's come home almost empty each day! 

School of Fish

Life at our house just got even more exciting! I got the call last night that there was room at the charter school for Lili.  I just had to decide if I was ready for her to swim in the big pond and leave the safety of our sea urchin (wait that sounds a lot like Finding Nemo), and if she was ready, and if it was the best choice for our family. 
Turns out, the kid makes friends really fast.  Like in the time it took to drop Gigi off.  And she was all set to go!  So we headed to the mall, bought a bunch of uniform stuff, got everything on her supply list and stopped for sushi.   

We bought way to much, and Lili asked if she could have it for lunch tomorrow.   And so our School of Fish lunch was born. 

She has 4 pieces of California Roll, a baby bell star fish cheese, starfish watermelon, sea grass cucumbers and carrot coral, and of course some Swedish Fish because you can't have a fishy lunch with out Swedish Fish,   (I threw in a little apple just case she needed something more)

For snack she gets a banana and some caramel rice cakes.  And I'll throw in an apple juice too!

We used our easylunchbox containers, they're the best!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gigi Packed Her Own Lunch

My girl is growing up, first day of school and she's ready to break out on her own.  At least, she wants to try packing her own lunch...I'm turning over the supplies and letting her have a go at it.  She had three rules:
1. It must be healthy
2. There must be 3 fruits and veggies
3. There must be a variety of color

Given the rules she did a pretty good job.  She packed herself some turkey, raisins, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, WOWButter with organic apple slices and a little dish of cookies.  She packed a bag of trail mix for snack and she has a granola bar and Stretch Island fruit leather in the pocket of her lunch bag in case she needs a little more food. 
WOWButter is a thing of beauty.  We have a peanut allergy kiddo and Gigi misses pb&j dearly.  WOWButter (a soy product) has quenched her desire for all things peanut.  Thank Heavens!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of 5th Grade

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots and the other wings.

 My Gigi is flying today, hope I gave her deep enough roots.  (I know it sounds like I've sent her off to college or something, but she's been with me every single day up until now!)  She is so excited, and I am so excited for her...and she looks so stinkin' cute in her uniform I'm sort of kicking myself for waiting so long to enrol them in a charter school!  Not kidding, at all. 

She really wanted a "teen age" lunch, so no cute little lunches, no cute shapes.  I'm struggling with this new identity.  When I had a theme it made it easier to create a lunch.  And she didn't really care, she just liked the surprise of what I had packed.  We have been negotiating what will be packed, in what containers and if I will be allowed to use cookie cutters.  She's tough.

She mostly won.  After all, she's the one entering a big new world, she should feel pretty good about what she's armed with.   I vetoed about 189 backpacks, almost every single pair of boots and all makeup (she gave it a good fight though).

So her little lunch has salami and cheddar cheese, crackers, snap peas and carrots.  I snuck in a cookie cutter to cut the watermelon, and threw in a plum.  She also has an oatmeal raisin granola bar and Stretch Island strawberry fruit leather.  I threw in a few Hershey's Kisses as a treat (do you think she'll understand the secret message?!)   She has to take snack as well, so we made some trail mix.  The combo she created has raw almonds, dried cherries and apricots, pretzels, whole wheat Goldfish, Honeynut Cheerios and little mini chocolate chip cookies. 


I'm going to sneak in a note, just a little one to let her know I love her, I'm proud of her, and I hope she's having so much fun and learning a lot!

I couldn't help myself...I snuck in a little cuteness to celebrate the start of 5th Grade.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sh....Don't Tell My Hubby

I've been organizing the whole house (it really, really, really needed it!) in an effort be ready for school to start, including my lunch making supplies.   I had no idea, NONE, that I had sooooo much stuff.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I have.  The girls kept coming into the kitchen and looking at me like maybe it was in their best interest to call that show "Hoarders" and report me.

It's done now.  I got about half way through and wanted to quit, I wanted to turn on "Dance Moms" or something equally outrageous and forget Mt. Bento in the middle of the kitchen. I'm better for it.  All the containers have their tops, or were recycled.  All the bins are sorted and labeled.  Lunch creating can happen easily now.

What are you slightly obsessed with? Come on, comment. Make me feel better.