Monday, April 29, 2013

Easy Veggie Lunch for Rose

Rose had two requests for her lunch today - no sandwich and use the planetbox. 
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. Plus -  I had a bunch of her favourite foods on hand :)

walnuts & peanuts, grape tomatoes, broccoli and carrot sticks
clementine, red grapes, chocolate covered sunflower seeds, hummus and Stacy's Pita Chips

I realise that the little container for the nuts looks odd but the lid had  Spongebob on it and I knew she would like it. I should have taken a  photo with the lid on also. Lunches had to be super easy this morning because this Momma was worn out! Yesterday, we had a rainbow art party for the girls' birthday. It was extremely fun. Every party I say that I am going to reign it in a bit and simplify next time but somehow that never happens. I think it's because I have so much fun coming up with ideas! I know it seems kind of late for their birthday party since their actual birthdays were several weeks ago but we wanted to have it at the school playground due to the number of kids (35 invited!! plus my 4 girls) and it was booked up until now. So it was a much anticipated afternoon and the girls were so happy to spend the afternoon with their friends.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Pasta salad - a quick lunch

We ran out of bread the other day, so I made a super quick pasta salad in the morning and everyone had something new in their lunches! I had overslept by ALOT (up working very late the night before!) and was pretty pleased with my quick thinking. I only had the opportunity to snap a photo of my husband's lunch. The girls had to race out the door with theirs. They were a teensy weensy bit late for school.

Carrot sticks ( from our garden), ranch mini rice cakes, honeydew melon & clementine
pasta salad with frozen mixed veg, celery and chicken,  grape tomatoes from the shop.

When I made the pasta salad for the girls I had not put the celery or chicken in it.  I added the extras for my husband only.The girls' lunches each had a boiled egg for protein. I also picked the peas out of Amy's so hers literally had pasta, corn and carrots, kind of boring but I was hoping that she would like it. Well the verdict is in -- nope, not really. She's a tough critic. Rose ate ALL of hers!

We likely won't get many tomatoes out of our garden for a while - the weather was very windy and rainy for a while there and the plants just couldn't take it. Fortunately, tomatoes grow year round here so they can be planted again. The strawberries had a similar fate and this year's strawberry yield has been lower than usual too. So there isn't any homemade jam or syrup in the cards this year. I was really looking forward to trying a strawberry syrup recipe that I saw on Pinterest. I wouldn't buy strawberries to make those things as it would be so expensive.  1 quart of imported strawberries is $7.99 right now, and 1 quart of local strawberries is $9.99!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Leftover Spaghetti & Meatballs for lunch

We had a delicious spaghetti and meatballs dinner on Sunday night. There was just enough left to pack a couple of lunches on Monday. This one was for my husband. I am really loving packing leftovers for lunch. It's just SO FAST! I made this right after dinner when I was packing up the leftovers.

leftover spaghetti & meatballs embellished with two olive slices and some parmesan cheese
strawberries, carrot sticks (from our garden) and hummus

The fruit & veggies were easily removed and placed on the lid while the spaghetti was heated up in the microwave. I am pleased to report that there was no reisdue/staining etc from the spaghetti sauce in the plastic of the Easy Lunch Box after microwaving. Yay!

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Time to vote for your favourite Muffin Tin Meals

It's time to vote for your favourite muffin tin meal on Bento Blog Network. I entered a bunch and there are so many other fun ones to choose from! There are 2 votes allowed per IP. Vote here now! Voting is Wednesday & Thursday only.

Bento of the Week

Monday, April 15, 2013

Grilled Cheese Sandwich hearts in a muffin tin (#2)

grilled cheese sandwich hearts, apple with heart cut out
carrot hearts, yogurt with pink sugar sprinkles, red grapes

I also made this on National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. It's the same ingredients as the other lunch that I posted today but packed in a slightly different way using a regular muffin tin.

Here are some items used to make this lunch:


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Grilled Cheese Sandwich Hearts - in a Muffin Tin Meal

heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches, apple heart cutouts, 
carrot heart cutouts, yogurt with pink sprinkles, red grapes

This is another lunch that I made on National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day.  I haven't made a muffin tin meal in ages! Since we are at home for break I decided to revisit that fun way of serving lunch, plus it's the theme for Bento Blog Network this week - vote for me  ;) ;). I discovered that cutting a grilled cheese sandwich is pretty tricky. For this I used my flower shaped metal cutter to cut out the sandwich before grilling. Then I made 3 knife cuts to turn the flower into hearts. If you let the sandwich cool a bit it's much neater and cheese doesn't ooze out everywhere.

Here are some things that I used for this lunch:

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Groovy 60's Muffin Tin Meal

This week's theme on Muffin Tin Meal is a fun one! Groovy 60's. I made this groovy lunch for Heidi.

Cheese sandwich for Peace, Tie dye hard boiled egg, LOVE peanut butter sandwiches
Groovy Grapes, Flower Power Yogurt, Heart Carrots and Tomatoes

Amy, Rose & Heidi went out on a modelling call this morning and I made them some little snack bentos to take. They went out for ice cream after so they weren't terribly hungry at lunch time. I made one muffin tin meal for Heidi because she was still hungry, plus several boiled eggs because they are a favourite and they would all want one as soon as they saw them. Most of this lunch was eaten plus all of the boiled eggs. Here are the others. 

I did these the lazy way. Click here for a full tutorial. After I unwrapped the first egg I just used the same dye filled Viva paper towel to wrap the others. You can tell the first two have more of the individual colours showing and then the last two are all blendy. I think this is a fun way to dye Easter eggs - I must remember it next year! 

We are not all that experienced in dyeing eggs. When making lunch, I made these first and as soon as they were dry we ate them. It took only the amount of time to finish making lunch for them to be OK to peel. I *think* if you put dyed eggs in the fridge and then take them out to pack in lunch they would sweat and possibly the dye would run. I am not positive but I would test that out if you wanted to make these for a packed lunch.

Edited to add: there have been a few questions about the egg -- I dyed the shell only, once peeled the boiled egg inside was still white.

Check out some other Meatless Lunches on:

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Here are some of the items that I used for lunch today:
Food Decorating Pick Puffy Pick Heart Valentines Message   Food Decorating Pick Puffy Ring Mushroom Flower 9 pcs   Japanese Bento Accessory Food Pick Letter Set 26 pcs   Japanese Bento Accessories Vegetable Cutter Stainless Steel L

Friday, April 12, 2013

National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day - try grilled cheese on a stick!

Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! In fact, that's just one part of National Grilled Cheese sandwich Month. Who knew there was a whole month devoted to the love of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches? They are yummy. So today the girls and I all had grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

This is Amy's Lunch
grilled cheese on a stick. peanutbutter to go with her carrot hearts and apples
vanilla yogurt with pink sugar sprinkles

Amy is not really a cheese lover, except on pizza. I told her that a grilled cheese sandwich is sort of like the cheese melted on pizza without the sauce. She took a few bites but was not convinced. The rest of her lunch was made up of some of her favourites so she wasn't disappointed.  Don't you just love the heart long pick? I have seen lots of bloggers using them lately and I fell in love. I was so happy to receive a set that I had ordered from Bento USA yesterday that I just HAD to use one today. There are others in the set too. star, butterfly, and cute sayings like yum, so sweet, with <3.  

We are still at home for Spring Break so even though I used our Easy Lunch Boxes, this lunch was not packed and taken anywhere. If I was going to send it to school I would have used a lidded container for the yogurt so that it didn't make a mess. The peanut butter would have been fine and I would have still used the silicone cup.

You can find some of the things that I used in this lunch here:
Food Decorating Pick Long Pix Stix Assorted Japanese Bento Accessories Ham Cheese Cookie Cutter Set of 3 Easylunchboxes bento lunch box pack of 4 Mini Dippers for Bento Lunch Box

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Cheery butterfly

Rose's lunch -- hopefully it will put a smile on her face. She was a bit unhappy to go to school without her sister who is feeling under the weather today.

2 peanut butter cookies, strawberries, honeydew melon
gummy vitamins, wheat thins & mozzarella cheese
cheery butterfly ham sandwich with fruit leather body and jumbo sprinkle decorations

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Leftovers packed the night before make for a fast lunch

I packed this lunch for my husband to take to work. I almost never pack lunch the night before but I had just the right amount of leftovers from dinner tonight so why not pack it all ready for lunch tomorrow? Plus I was a little bit excited to use my new jumbo silicone cup that came in my order today from Bento USA. It actually would fit in there a bit neater if I wasn't trying to cram two chicken drumsticks next to it :)

My husband's EasyLunchBox has - 2 baked BBQ chicken drumsticks, kiwi, fettuccine with frozen mixed veg, and a salad with - mixed greens including spinach, radishes, grape tomato, carrot matchsticks, apple pieces, cucumber and celery. The little panda container holds Italian dressing. I purposely put the kiwi in that little silicone cup so that he can easily remove it and the salad and rest them on the lid of his easy lunch box while he warms the rest in the microwave. I didn't purposely choose pink though - just noticed that it was pink in fact. He won't mind; real men aren't afraid of pink.

Since this was made up of mostly all leftovers (not the kiwi) it took under 5 minutes to pack! I should try this more often.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lunch Box Ideas List

Since we are on break I have been only thinking about packed lunches and not making any. I feel like I am going to need a little inspiration when school starts up again, so I looked through a bunch of my past lunch photos and wrote down a list of items by category that I can put on the fridge for inspiration. Instead of staring at the fridge and cupboards for 5 minutes on those less than creative mornings, I can glance at my list and see what I have on hand. It's also going to be useful when I am working on my weekly grocery shopping list. 

Lunch Box Ideas


  • Boiled egg / egg salad
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peanut Butter
  • Hummus
  • lunch meat – ham, chicken, turkey, roast beef
  • Tuna
  • Chicken Salad
  • Leftovers from dinner – chicken, turkey, beef
  • Beans – kidney, black eyed peas, black beans
  • Chick Peas
  • Homemade chicken nuggets
  • Taco Meat
  • Meatballs
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Sliced mozzarella, provolone, Colby jack, cheddar, Swiss, Muenster
  • Cubed cheddar
  • Mini BabyBel
  • Laughing Cow Wedges
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Neufchatel & Cream cheese
  • String Mozzarella


  • Lettuce / Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Bell pepper strips
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Snap Peas
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Salsa
  • Pickles
  • Beets
  • Olives

Grains / carbs:

  • Whole grain bread / rolls
  • Crackers – club, Ritz, butterfly
  • Pretzels
  • Flour tortillas/wraps
  • Pita bread
  • Mini pita pockets
  • Croissants
  • Pita Chips
  • Taco Shells
  • Tortilla chips
  • Pasta / Pasta Salad
  • Rice
  • Popcorn
  • Rice cakes
  • Potato salad
  • Muffins & mini muffins   – sweet or savory
  • Graham Crackers
  • Cheesy Crackers (goldfish, bunnies)
  • Granola Bar / Granola
  • Stuffed Biscuits – pizza, chicken pot pie


  • Grapes
  • Honeydew melon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Clementines & Tangerines
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Navel Orange wedges
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pineapple
  • Loquats
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Berries
  • Peaches – fresh or canned
  • 100% Fruit spread
  • Dried fruit – raisins, cranberries, apricots

If you would like a handy list for your fridge, click the link below. It prints on one page.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Break!

Hey everyone. Just checking in to say that we have been enjoying a wonderful spring break and hope that you have been too :) We have next week off too and then it's back to school and packed lunches.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Homemade Chicken Nuggets for lunch

Homemade chicken nuggets for lunch - This was for Rose and was eaten at home.
chicken nuggets, pistachios & almonds, ketchup for dipping, carrots and grape tomatoes (from our garden)
fresh fruit - apples, grapes, blueberries, strawberries

The idea to make these into heart shapes was seen on BentOnBetterLunches, I used to always just make nugget shapes, when I saw Cristi's shaped into hearts, I thought hey- why didn't I think of that!
Here's my recipe:

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

1 lb ground chicken
a few grinds each of sea salt & black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground flax seed
1 small carrot, grated
1 small apple, grated
1 leek, sliced
I clove of garlic, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 1 tbsp
2/3 cup cornflake crumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan and romano

Preheat oven to 375F.
In a medium frying pan add olive oil (a quick once around the pan, about 1 tbsp). Saute carrots, leeks, garlic and grated apple until all are soft. Put into mini chopper and whiz a couple of times. Cool slightly. In a medium bowl, mix ground chicken, salt & pepper, papkrika, and ground flax seed. Add the vegetable mixture. Mix until just combined.  In a small bowl mix together cornflake crumbs and cheeses. Form chicken into small nuggets or heart shapes using your hands to form the shape and coat in the crumb mixture. Place on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Spray the tops of the nuggets with non-stick spray and bake for 12-15 minutes turning once. If you would like to freeze these for later, go as far as coating the nuggets and place them on a small cookie sheet and flash freeze them for about 30 minutes - 1 hour. Then store in the freezer in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you are ready to bake them add an extra 5 minutes to the cooking time.

Happy Easter!!

The last Easter lunches of the season. These were from the last day of school before the term break - Thursday. I am so grateful for the break. We need a little time to slow down as a family. I'm sure we aren't the only ones.

Amy's lunch.
Easter bunny & egg sandwiches, mini chocolate in the plastic egg, boiled egg & honeydew melon

Rose's Lunch - same as Amy except fruit snacks in her plastic egg

Hope that you all had a great Easter!