Friday, August 31, 2012

August Foodie Penpal

This is my second month in that I've participated in a Foodie Penpal program from The Lean Green Bean and the last day of the each month is always 'reveal day' where we share what we received and sent. What a fabulous idea it is... sharing your favorite goodies with other people across the nation! The package I shipped out went to Florida to Laurie's Cravings, so be sure and check out what they had to say about what we sent. It was their second month in the program too!

foodie penpal
Now, for my package, which came from a non-blogger, Gracie, and turns out she is from Texas, where my family is from! She had no idea when sending out my package, and it just happened that she sent a lot of HEB items and local favorites! That was a fantastic surprise for me, and made the box doubly enjoyable! We received 2 HEB My Texas Life magazines with great recipes, Sea Salt a& Cracked Black Pepper crackers, Salt Lick Salsa, Basting Oil, Chili Lime Peanuts, Coffee, Raspberry Hibiscus Tea (that we brewed cold.. kind of like Starbucks Passion Tea.. YUM), Peach Iced Tea singles (that my hubby stole and took to work with him), and fantastic tortillas made fresh at HEB.

foodie penpal texas

First of all, O.M.G. that Salt Lick salsa was the best.. my hubby couldn't even wait for me to take a picture. He was diving right into the jar! I've seen Food Network shows with The Salt Lick, and now I want a perpetual running shipment of this stuff. So good with our favorite corn chip!

salt lick salsa

Another favorite was and is those crackers. I have never had something with that texture. It is a multiple grain cracker that tastes fantastic, but is so light it seems to just melt away in your mouth. Gracie said she ate hers with fresh Parmesan, so we tried ours with a fantastic sheep's milk cheese from Trader Joe's with the same sort of flavor. Wow, was she right! The combination was perfect!

crackers cheese

While, we are continuing to enjoy all the items sent, one other I have to feature is my daughter's favorite! I'll tell you, she never ceases to amaze me on the things she likes, but in this case, I'm addicted too, so what can I say.. and that is those chili lime peanuts that I believe were her hubby's afterthought to the box! Good call, hubby! :) Here is some we had in a lunch today...

nibble bento
Turkey balogna, mozzarella cheese, chili lime peanuts, mini crackers, celery, carrots, red bell pepper, tzatziki dip, mini marshmallows, and fruit gummies.

Now for the fine print and details about Foodie Penpals... ALL the details can be found on their website, though.
* On the 5th of every month, you receive your penpal via email. You contact your penpal to get their mailing address and any other information you might need to determine what to send.
* You have until the 15th of the month to get your goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month (reveal day), you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal.
* Boxes should be filled with fun foodie things like local food items, homemade treats, and favorites. The spending limit is $15 and must also include something written like a note or recipe. Shipping appropriately is up to you!

In this lunch...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

FunBites Giveaway Winner!!

Thank you to all who entered our FunBites Giveaway! Really, what a fantastic, fun product this is, and we hope you love yours as much as we love ours.

funbites bunny bento
Vanilla yogurt, celery, carrots, and FunBites PB & J!
Funbites watermelon
On the side is some fabulous watermelon FUN!
And the winner is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congrats!!! Respond to our email or contact us within 24 hours to claim your prize!!

In this lunch...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe Review - Peach Spice Muffins

For some reason this week, I found myself swimming in peaches, and we don't even really eat them. Nectarines, yes. Peaches, not so much. But, peaches are fabulous in muffins, so we whipped up a batch today and wanted to share this recipe.. it's a quick, delicious favorite, and works well with lots of other fresh fruits too. And don't forget to enter our FunBites giveaway while you're visiting. The time to enter for your own FunBites cutter ends in just over 20 hours!

Peach Spice Muffins

peach spice muffins
Ingredients - 1/3 cup unsalted butter (room temp), 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup water, 1/4 tsp almond extract, 1 cup peeled, chopped fresh peaches, 1 2/3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 2 Tbsp brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, water, and almond extract. Stir in the peaches. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Add to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly. 

Pour into paper lined muffin tin (regular size). This recipe usually makes around 16 for me, but you could reduce or increase the amount in the cups if you'd rather have 12 or 18. Divide and sprinkle the brown sugar on each. I've also sprinkled nuts on the top in the past, but prefer them without. Bake for 18 minutes or until tops are golden and spring gently to the touch. Eat warm or room temp. Store covered. This are particularly delicious warm with some real whipped cream.. just FYI.

peach spice muffin

We linked up at This Week's Cravings!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Calls for Lime Cottage Cheese Fluff

It is most certainly Monday. That's all I'm going to say about that. However, Monday grind or not, I feel accomplished. I set my mind to make appointments that I've been putting off, get dinner ready because I'm working late tonight, dust the whole house, make the grocery list, and catch up on some other obligations. So, lunch was something simple today, but still cute and delicious! Oh, and don't forget to sign up for our FunBites giveaway while you're here too! The winner will be announced in 3 days!

monday crazy bento lunch
1/2 of a bagel thin, toasted, with sharp cheddar and salami, carrots, spinach, cucumber, and lime cottage cheese fluff (see below)

Lime cottage cheese fluff is one of those things that we've made in our family for a ridiculously long time, and while I'll admit that the combination of ingredients sounds a bit off-putting, it really is delicious. We make 2 forms of it, one with lime jello, and one with orange jello. But, I'm sure you could use any combination that you like. It is so simple, I'd love for you to give it a try!

lime cottage cheese fluff
These are literally the only things you'll need! Okay, well, you'll also need a bowl and a large spoon, but that's goes without saying.. right?

Lime Cottage Cheese Fluff
Ingredients - 1 small box of lime jello, 1 small can (8oz) of crushed pineapple in 100% juice (drain some of the liquid out if you can), 1-16oz cottage cheese, and 1/2 tub Cool Whip (thawed). You can easily double the recipe, too. To do that, use 1 large or 2 small boxes jello, 1 medium (14oz) or 2 small cans crushed pineapple, 1-24oz cottage cheese, and the whole tub of Cool Whip.

Mix together. Let sit in fridge for at least a 1/2 hour before serving. Enjoy! To make the orange version of this, which is my favorite, substitute orange jello for the lime, and use a small can of mandarin oranges in place of the pineapple!

lime cottage cheese fluff
I'm realizing there is really no way to make it look pretty or sound mouth-watering. I can only tell you that it is. Even if you are not a fan of cottage cheese, it just works in an odd sort of way! Yum!

In this lunch...

Friday, August 24, 2012

FunBites Review and Giveaway

Recently, Zoe's Lunchbox was given the opportunity to review these fantastic FunBites food cutters! They are easy and fun to use, and you really can do everything from bite size bits for kiddos to fancy appetizers for adults. I cut through a multitude of fruits, veggies, grains, tofu, meats, and cheeses in an effort to find an area where they failed. Some items took a couple more rocks to cut, but all cut clean, and even my 3 1/2 year old could help out with these tools. The name says it all. They really are Fun Bites to make and eat! I wish this product had been around when my kiddo was just starting finger foods. How simple would that have been?

Funbites lunch bento
FunBites Cube It used to make cream cheese, salami, and cucumber bites, and squares of corn tortilla and red bell pepper. FunBites Luv It used to make watermelon and swiss cheese hearts and triangles. Lunch also has smoked turkey and celery.

How does it work? It couldn't be easier! Simply put your FunBites cutter over the food you wish to cut, then press and rock the tool. To remove the cut pieces, place the plunger portion into the cutter and press. Just like magic you have perfect little FUNBites of food! Heck, because these are dishwasher safe, I'd bet you could even use these on crafty things with the kids like play dough or, better yet, on cookie dough! Good to know also is that they are BPA free and 100% made in the USA!

funbites zoe's lunchbox

funbites heart pancake
Look what Fun-Bites you can have with blueberry pancakes! Makes you just want to eat them up!

Now, I know you're wanting to get one of these exceptional tools for your family, and you can order from directly. These cutters sell for $12.99 each, or you can get both for $22.00! Or you can try your luck at our giveaway. The folks at FunBites have been generous enough to offer a cutter to one of our readers! Enter to win by using the Rafflecopter form below! Open to the US only, ages 18+ please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure - I was provided with this product for the purpose of my honest, personal review. This blog post is not a paid post and the opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwich

I still have days, 3 1/2 years after the birth of my daughter, that I look at her in awe and wonder how this all happened. Okay, I know how it happened, but do you ever really get used to being a mom? There are times when I suddenly become fully aware that there is a little person running around my house, and she is mine. Crazy, isn't it?! Today, for lunch, I asked that little person what she wanted and, without skipping a beat, she said, "Ice cream"! So, ice cream it is!

ice cream sandwich bento lunch
Sharp cheddar and Gouda cheese sandwich, smoked turkey, raspberries, and diced carrots, red bell pepper, and celery.

We also tried another refrigerator oatmeal from The Yummy Life, and attempted our own. I'm hooked on these things! We made the mandarin orange flavor, which is my new runner up to the almond mango one. Then, we made our own using fresh strawberries and lemon curd! Loved it!

refridgerator oatmeal

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Heart You

Today, lunch was something simple and fast, and adding a couple hearts here and there seemed to do the trick. These little fork picks are so much fun!

heart bento lunch
Honeydew, watermelon, smoked turkey, cucumbers, carrots, grilled cheese on rye.
In this lunch...