Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Foodie Penpal

This is my third month 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 YouMeFit, so be sure and check out what they had to say about what we sent, and browse her fantastic blog!

foodie penpal

Now, for my package, which came from a non-blogger, Teri, and turns out I got a Texan again! Yeah! Our package this month had a great tropical blend trail mix with fruits and nuts. Since I'm supposed to actual have snacks, this is a great thing to have accessible. It's delicious too! The other thing I got sent was not just a food find, but one to serve lots of things in from here on out. Clever to give this dip holder in a penpal program like this, because I get to enjoy it over and over, not just one time! Thanks Teri!
The Lean Green Bean
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, of course.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Jurassic Bento

I figured I might as well utilize the whole box this time. It's the only one I have at the moment, but I love it! I'm also trying out my DynoBytes Sandwich Crust Cutter, which turned out well, but doesn't fit quite right on the bread I buy, so I do have to press the bread a bit to get the full design out. Oh well.. still cute!

dinosaur toast bento Egg noodles, black plum, shredded carrots and bell peppers, and dinosaur shaped homemade garlic croutons.

In this lunch...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Dinosaur Says RAWR

Today, we were talking about what animals 'say' what when we were looking at flashcards. When we got to TRex, kiddo says, after a dramatic pause, that a dinosaur says "RAWR" (at the top of her lungs, mind you). Love it! Can't deny the power of a good 'Rawr'! Speaking of denying the power of something, this caramel 'corn' has me under it's spell... deeply and deliciously under it's spell. My friend makes this stuff every year and tortures me with a tiny, single half gallon portion of it. This year, I will be making some myself, so prepare to be tortured when I post the ridiculously simple recipe!

dinosaur bento lunch locknlock
Dinosaur shaped pasta in tomato sauce, smoked Gouda cheese, red and yellow bell peppers, salami, turkey, Pirate's Booty and some homemade caramel corn. 

In this lunch...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Johnny Appleseed Day

John Chapman, better known as, Johnny Appleseed, was born on September 26, 1774. In honor of the man and his journey west, this day is Johnny Appleseed Day. We celebrated both with an apple lunch and also with apple projects as an extension of the pre-preschool group she is part of, who just happened to have apple projects yesterday in class! You'll notice that we packed this snack style lunch in our Dr. Sears Nibble Tray by Zak Designs! That's because we might have a new review and giveaway coming up.. soon... And while you have Johnny Appleseed in mind, be sure and check out some more fantastic themed lunches from some more talented Bento Bloggers here!

Pumpkin & sunflower seeds, Brown Cow vanilla yogurt, apple gummy, Braeburn and Ginger Gold apples, apple shaped red peppers, apple shaped cucumber, crackers, Babybel 'apple', and a gummy worm. 

For more of those fabulous Johnny Appleseed lunches, travel on over to Bento Bloggers & Friends by clicking the graphic below! Have fun!

In this lunch...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Leap Frogs w/ CutezCute

Let it be known that I have 'met' some really fantastic people this year while blogging. One of those people is JeeJee, who operates one of the most fabulous bento shops, AllThingsForSale. In addition, she has designed a tool that makes super cute bentos a snap! It's called CuteZCute, and this tool has it all! It is a single head shaped cutter that has faces for a cat, pig, frog, and panda nested in it. You can use it as a cutter, stamp, or mold, and it even comes with a handy tool for removing little pieces. Love this thing!!

CuteZCute frog bento
Pirate's Booty, gummy worm, cucumbers, celery, Green Goddess dressing in container, lettuce, grapes, salami & Swiss sandwich.

Besides the fantastic CuteZCute, you can find any of the things we used in today's lunch at the shop by clicking the link in the graphic below.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Fall Lunch & Pumpkin Bars

So, yes, it was officially fall over the past weekend, but when we stepped out of the house tonight, it smelled like fall. The air was just slightly cool, the first leaves were crunching under our feet, and we had pumpkin bars in the oven. Fall has arrived at home. So, lunch and our daily project had to be about fall today too!

fall leaves pumpkin bento lunch
Grapes, homemade pumpkin bar (recipe below), kale, cranberries, carrots, Annie's Organics All Stars, sharp cheddar cheese. The details on the cheese shapes is made from shaved zucchini.

Pumpkin Bars w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

These pumpkin bars are a recipe we've been making for years. It's essentially a Texas sheet cake, but pumpkin rather than chocolate. After a couple tweaks from one of my grandma's church bulletins, it is perfectly spiced and super moist. Without (or with) the frosting, it makes a delicious breakfast cake too.
pumpkin cream cheese bar
Ingredients - 2c flour, 2c sugar, 2tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (more if you like), 4 eggs, 1/2c canola oil, 1/2c unsweetened applesauce, 1-15oz can pumpkin puree.

Blend dry ingredients together. Blend wet together. Combine the two. Bake in a lightly greased jelly roll pan at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting. The frosting we use is 6oz cream cheese (softened), 6Tbsp butter (softened), 1tsp milk, 1 tsp vanilla, and 3c powdered sugar. If you want the frosting a bit thinner, just reduce the cream cheese to 4oz and use only 2c powdered sugar.

fall project toddler
For our first fall craft, we did a felt project with falling leaves.. wow, that sentence had a lot of f's! Anyways, I glued some white felt to a piece of cardboard for stability, then cut out and glued on a tree shape in brown felt. Then, I cut a bunch of colored leaves out of the felt, which you can stick on anywhere. Once stuck on, you can hold the board out, give a good tap to the bottom and the leaves go flying, FALLing to the ground. Then, kiddo gets to retrieve them all and put them back on the tree, and do it all over again. When you add beginner chopsticks to pick up the leaves, it makes for some great fun (and an occupied kid for a bit so mama can get those bars frosted)! Enjoy!

In this lunch...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Recipe Review - Favorite Red Soups for Fall

Autumn Equinox. It's officially fall. I love fall. Just to be clear, I'm not fond of what follows, but the aromas, colors, and activities this time of year cannot be beat. We made a couple of our favorite red soups over the weekend, and prepared some upcoming fall themed crafts that should be a lot of fun for the coming weeks. Hopefully, you can enjoy one or both of these soups sometime in your Autumn celebrations too.

Triple Red Soup 

Ingredients - 1 red pepper, (chopped), 1 onion (chopped), 1 clove garlic (crushed), 2 Tbsp olive oil, 14oz can diced tomatoes, 4c vegetable stock, 6 Tbsp quick cooking long grain rice, 2 Tbsp Worcestershire, 14oz can kidney beans (rinsed,drained), 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp sugar, salt, pepper, parsley & shredded cheddar to serve

red pepper kidney bean soup

Heat pepper, onion, and garlic in oil; cover & cook 5 minutes on low. Add all remaining ingredients, other than parsley and cheddar. Bring to boil. Stir and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and cheddar. Serve w/ crusty bread!

Italian Cheese Ravioli Stew 

Ingredients - 2c chopped carrots, 1c chopped onion, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 - 15oz cans vegetable broth, 2 - 15 oz Italian diced tomatoes, 1 - 15oz can Cannelloni beans (rinsed/drained), 2 tsp dry basil, 10oz refrigerated cheese ravioli

italian ravioli stew

Heat olive oil, and saute carrots and onion for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the ravioli. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Return to boil Add ravioli, and cook the additional time to cook the ravioli, typically 7-9 minutes. You can also make this in the slow cooker on low for ~6 hours, but eliminate the oil. Increase heat to high, and add ravioli. Cook additional 8 minutes. Serve with Parmesan cheese and garlic toast.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Elephant Appreciation Day

I promise that I'm not making it up. Somewhere, someone made this day an annually recognized thing. And, good for them! I love elephants! This is our contribution to the day's events!
Speaking of major events, this is our first lunch in our new Easy Lunchboxes. Wow! These boxes are fantastic! Just fantastic! And, I think our debut with them turned out pretty well.

elephant easylunchboxes
Cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, applesauce, Swiss cheese, cashews, PB energy ball, and peanut butter sandwiches.
Eats Amazing World Book Day Linkies
Oh, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to the Bento Blog Network! I love going each week and seeing the different lunches submitted by different bento bloggers. If you haven't already, go check them out!!
Bento Blog Network
In this lunch...