Friday, August 30, 2013

Kale Bistro Salad Bento

This lunch post today is mine, all mine, and is one of my favorite salads. I'm not sure when kale and I became such good friends, but I just love this stuff. We are lucky enough to get a couple varieties at our farmer's market, which is really the best stuff in my opinion. Before that, though, my local deli started carrying a kale salad that included some other mixed greens, tomato, onion, raisins and edamame. Later, I got addicted to Trader Joe's kale and edamame bistro salad, but I don't get downstate often enough to feed my craving. But, I've found it's so simple to make my own. Kale is the base, of course, and the salad has to have either dried cranberries or cherries, as well as some 'meatiness' to it from almonds or edamame, but past that, throw in whatever veggies you like or have on hand. Toss with a light dressing of your choice, and you have a masterpiece! I could just about eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes I make a big batch (minus dressing) and I eat it all we have leftover salad to snack on for days. I kind of feel like I might need a kale intervention at some point. Just sayin'!

kale salad bento
Salad of kale, shredded carrots, dried cranberries, cucumber, and slivered almonds with a red wine vinaigrette, vanilla Greek yogurt with raspberries from the garden, colby cheese, turkey sausage, and a Ghiardelli chocolate treat.
kale salad bento

In this lunch...

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beary Simple Snacker

All of a sudden, it's Wednesday. I remember Monday coming around, and I know today is Wednesday. I looked at the calendar at least a dozen times, so I'm pretty sure, at least. So, where the hell did Tuesday go? Really! I can't quite figure out how I missed a day. I know I've been busy, but sheesh. Today, that means lunch was super fast and simple. This mama needs to regroup!

Bear snack bento
Cucumbers, salami with Swiss cheese bears, strawberries, pretzels, and a cheddar/mozzarella cheese stick.

In this lunch...

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Recipe Review - Crockpot Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Let me first say that this is not my own original recipe, rather one that we found from Corey at Family Fresh Meals. It has since become a staple at our house, along with many others from her, and is just too darn good not to share. We always make our version vegetarian and use specific ingredients that work in terms of preparation and flavor for us, so I have repeated that recipe here for convenience. It's perfectly delicious! Oh, and they make great leftovers, too. You should give it a try and visit Family Fresh Meals for lots of other fantastic recipes!

Crockpot vegetarian stuffed peppers
Corey's Crockpot Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers 
Ingredients - 6 large bell peppers (we prefer the red/orange over green), 1 bag of meatless Quorn crumbles, 1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice Fast Cook Recipe (prepared), 2 cups vegetable stock, 1 - 15oz can diced tomatoes, 1 medium onion (chopped), 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 cups shredded cheddar/jack blend cheese, 1 egg, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and some shredded Parmesan to serve.

1. Prepare the peppers by just removing the tops, then discarding the seeds and ribs from inside. Keep the tops for lunch scraps (or munch on immediately).
2. To make the filling, you literally just mix the meatless crumbles, prepared rice, 1/2 can tomatoes, onion, garlic, cheese, egg, salt, and pepper together.
3. Stuff the peppers. And by stuffing, I mean pack that stuff in there good because there is a lot of filling. I'm usually left with enough filling to fill another whole pepper, but since my crockpot can't handle more than 6, I just pack them full, then mound more filling on top of each pepper. It works out. I promise! I usually stuff the peppers outside of the crockpot and then put them in already stuffed, but you can put them in first if it's easier for you. Then, pour the rest of the diced tomatoes over the top, pour the stock around and on top of the peppers, put the lid on, and set your crockpot to high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 hours. Test them about an hour before they are done because sometimes they are ready to go sooner, especially if you like the peppers just a wee bit firmer. To serve, sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese. They are so moist, 'meaty', and delicious! You will love them!
*TIP* - Didn't I say they made good leftovers, too? Keep some cooking liquid with them for reheating and they stay super juicy. In fact, I've kept that cooking liquid (it is fabulous and I could practically drink it out of a straw right from the crockpot) just to douse buttered noodles or rice or to add flavor when skillet cooking eggs, mushrooms, etc. It's that good!

leftover stuffed pepper easylunchboxes
Leftover stuffed pepper with Parmesan cheese, Ritz crackers (to soak up more yummy goodness), and kiwi.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Stingray Bay Bento

Well, we have come to then end of our week of animals from our trip to the Columbus Zoo. Of all the exhibits, attractions, and more that they had to offer, Stingray Bay was one of my daughter's favorites. The ability to literally touch and feed the rays, not just observe (which was fascinating itself) stood out as a favorite for all of us. It was a great opportunity, and was the only request for lunch since we got home. So, today's animal is the STINGRAY! The Columbus Zoo has Cownose Stingrays, specifically.

stingray bento easylunchboxes
Red peppers and capers, blueberry and maple frozen yogurt fish, seasoned rice, and provolone cheese stingrays.

stingray bay
Here's some fun facts that we picked up about the stingray!
*Stingrays give birth to 1 live pup.
*The Cownose Ray does have a spine (sting), but they are very docile by nature, and the venom is only equivalent to a bee sting.
*The Ray sucks in clams and oysters and crushes them with plate-like teeth before eating the fleshy bits.
*Cownose rays migrate long distances and can be in groups of nearly 10,000 individuals.
*Cownose are strong swimmers, and are not the type found resting or buried in the sand.

zoo bento
 If you enjoyed this lunch, be sure and visit the whole week of animals inspired by our Columbus Zoo trip. We had a great time and hope to head back again soon! And be sure visit us Monday for that fabulous giveaway I mentioned, too!
Day 1 - Elephant
Day 2 - Lion
Day 3 - Dinosaurs
Day 4 - Koala
Day 5 - Stingray

In this lunch...

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Koala Krazy

So, I've reached day 4 of our post-zoo animal week, and this will be the last day for a collage and links to all those better other fabulous themed lunches, too. Tomorrow's animal, turns out, is quite the unique one for a lunchbox. At least in representation, rather than actually eating one. Ewww.. You'll just have to see tomorrow. For today, though, the animal theme is the KOALA! And, I couldn't exactly pack eucalyptus for lunch, so I improvised.

Kiwi (you know, because it's an animal from 'down under' too), cucumbers, tomatoes, a koala sandwich with butter, Muenster cheese, and a wee bit of Vegemite, and for the koala's 'tree', there is pretzels and spinach leaves.

Here's some fun facts that we picked up about the Koala!
*The Koala actually has two opposable thumbs on each hand.
*Koalas are great climbers, of course, but they can also jump distances up to 8 feet and are good swimmers.
*Like the kangaroo, the koala's baby is also called a joey, and stays in the mother's pouch for 5-6 months.
*While koalas really are picky eaters, eating only eucalyptus, they are even picky about that. They sniff out their favorite eucalyptus, and may only eat 2-3 varieties of it.
*The koala is not a bear at all. It is a marsupial.

As I did with our elephant, lion, and dinosaur posts, I wanted to include some fabulous koala lunches from some awesome bento peeps. Be sure and visit them all and see their koala creations! (Numbers in the collage above correspond to the blog with the same number below)
A Boy & His Lunch *5
Bento for Kidlet *4
Bento School Lunches *2
My Epicurean Adventures *3
Zoe's Lunchbox *1

In this lunch...

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dining with Dinosaurs

Welcome to day three of an all animal week based on our recent trip to Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. The animal of the day is the DINOSAUR! Now, don't get all crazy on me. I have been told they are extinct, but try and tell that to my daughter who just saw them 'alive' at the zoo, moving and growling, and "real"! Honestly, the dinosaur bit was nearly the best thing the zoo had to offer if you ask her. So, I had to include a dinosaur lunch in the mix, didn't I?

dinosaur easylunchboxes bento
Almond butter & honey sandwich w/ provolone cheese on top, cucumbers, frozen yogurt dinosaurs, and dragon fruit 'eggs' in a lettuce nest.
dinosaur lunchbox love

Here's some fun facts that we picked up about the kiddo's favorite dinosaurs!
Let me first say that since our trip, dinosaur books have been the rage. We've got a pile from the library and I'm forced to recite tongue twisting dinosaur names multiple times a day. How fantastic, right?!
*Even though the Stegosaurus was over 30 feet long and 14 feet tall, it's brain was only the size of a ping pong ball.
*Scientists believe that Brachiosaurus, like mammals, was warm blooded.
*Psittacosaurus, whose name means 'parrot lizard', would have stood only about waist high to the average adult human.
*The Pteranodon is actually a relative of the dinosaurs and had no teeth.
*The Ankylosaurus (mama's favorite) was one of the last dinosaurs of any type to live.
*Tyrannosaurus rex had a head that was nearly 5 feet in length, but had arms so small, it couldn't even reach it's own mouth.

Dinosaur Bentos
As I did with our elephant and lion posts, I wanted to include some more wonderful dinosaur themed lunches from some fellow bento blogging friends. Be sure and visit all of them to see their fabulous creations! (Numbers in the collage above correspond to the blog with the same number below)
A Boy & His Lunch
Becoming a Bentoholic
Bento Lunch
Bent on Better Lunches *1
Bento School Lunches *2
Chaos and Confections *6
Crystal's Ramblings *5
Diana Rambles *7
Eats Amazing
Eclectic Lamb
Glory's Mischief *3
Keeley McGuire
Organized Bites
What's in Our Lunchbags *4
Zoe's Lunchbox

In this lunch...

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