Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Picking

Zoe's Lunchbox Apple Picking
I can't believe I've never been apple picking, which, in turn, means the kiddo hasn't been either. We make it a point every year to visit our local apple farm for apples, fresh cider, and donuts, but it had never occurred to me to pick our own apples, since they don't offer that option. This past week, we've been reading lots of apple books as an extension of an apple-themed week at Preschool, so it seemed like the perfect time to try it out. We headed to a different local farm, Leaman's Green Applebarn Family Orchard. This place was so much fun with a little putt-putt golf range, huge play area, tractor pulled barrel ride for the kids, animals, corn maze, walking paths, and, of course, an orchard that we could pick our own apples. In addition, we happened on a weekend where they had an educational scavenger hunt of sorts that with the completed form, we got free donuts, which were delicious. Bonus! We brought a trio of lunches along to the orchard, and had an apple theme, of course. Now, we just have to decide what delicious goodies to make with our bounty of apples. We picked several varieties we've never tried before, so I'm excited just to cut into them. Yum!

Apple Bento Lunch
Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, pasta salad, Boar's Head roast turkey, Swiss cheese, multigrain crackers, and apples (in our PBK dual compartment box).

Cajun turkey wrap Easylunchboxes Bento Lunch
Mama's lunch - Boar's Head cajun turkey, cream cheese, and spinach wrap, apples, orange and yellow bell peppers, Swiss cheese, and pasta salad.
Cajun turkey sandwich Easylunchboxes Bento Lunch
Daddy's lunch - Boar's Head cajun turkey, cream cheese, and spinach sandwich, apples, orange and yellow bell peppers, Swiss cheese, and pasta salad.

For some other great apple themed lunches, be sure and visit some of my Bento Blogger Friends, too!
Becoming a Bentoholic
Bento for Kidlet
Bent On Better Lunches
JDaniel4's Mom
Keeley McGuire 
Robot Squirrel and the Monkeys

In these lunches...

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Talk Like a (Zombie) Pirate Day

Ahoy, Mateys! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day, and what better way to celebrate than with some good grub for me own crew? All hands on deck for some pirate fun as the Bento Bloggers and Friends are hopping for the day. I took the liberty of tweaking the kiddo's pirate lunch to include one of her obsessions. Lucky for us, Plants Vs. Zombies 2 has a pirate level! We also shared some tasty pirate goodies at Montessori. We bought in Pirate's Booty and fruit swords. Yo-ho-ho!

Plants Vs Zombies Pirate Bento Lunch
Seasoned rice with bell peppers and peas underneath, nori, provolone cheese zombie pirates, Pirate's Booty with a hidden treasure chocolate gold doubloon, and blueberry and banana Chobani Greek yogurt.
Plants Vs. Zombies Pirates

And, lunch for me ol' salt, who's off to work haul in some loot? A fine meal, indeed, says I.
Pirate Easylunchboxes Bento
Turkey and cheese bagelwich, green peppers from the garden, vanilla and banana Chobani Greek yogurt, and Pirate's Booty with some chocolate gold doubloons.

Now, assemble yer crew, and walk the plank by clicking the button below. Ye'll land on one of me hearties pages for more fantastic pirate inspired lunches!
Pirate Hop
And, after ye've sailed 'round this hop, hang on to yer sea legs!
Click 'ere to board t'next ship fer another hop! Fair winds be at your sails!

If ye liked what ye see, be sure and see our Talk Like a Pirate post from last year, too. Don't want to miss anything? Follow Zoe's Lunchbox on Facebook, too. Yo-ho-ho!

In these lunches...
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hot Dog-ish

Lunchbox skewers are so much fun, and are a great way to present something traditional in a way that is novel and exciting. Today's inspiration? The hot dog. Only, in this lunch, it's so much more than a hot dog! I forget sometimes that if I skewer the 'same old' ingredients, they are met with new enthusiasm. This was no exception.
Hot dog bento
'Ketchup and mustard' colored bell peppers with hummus, strawberry, Pirate's Booty cheese poofs, and skewers of turkey sausage, toast, dill pickle, and colby/mozzarella cheese.

In this lunch...

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Dahl-icious James & The Giant Peach

It's Roald Dahl Day and this year, a fantastic group of bloggers are hopping for the occasion. Since I'm a life long Roald Dahl fan, I had to join in, of course. If you missed it, last year's post contained a healthy mix of elements straight from several of his stories, including a 'Dahl-icious' vegetarian split pea soup in honor of one of my favorite books, The Witches. This year, I concentrated on one book, and since my daughter had just watched the movie last night, James and the Giant Peach had to be the inspiration! One of the things that I always appreciated about Dahl's books is the anticipation and wonder in them. This is a great quote from the book to illustrate both, I think.
"'Something is about to happen,' he told himself. 'Something peculiar is about to happen at any moment.' He hadn't the faintest idea what it might be, but he could feel it in his bones that something was going to happen soon. He could feel it in the air around him ... in the sudden stillness that had fallen upon the garden."
-Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach

Now, on to lunch. I went simple.. really simple.. for this lunch, and yes, you'll notice that I leaned on the movie version since the audience (my kid) is not familiar with the book yet (hey, she's 4). In the book, New York was where the group ended up, but wasn't really where James dreamed of going all along like in the movie. Still, the dream of 'escaping' and the idea that everything begins with something you dream possible, both very much existed in the book. Hey, the kiddo 'got' it and loved it, so score!
James and the Giant Peach Bento
Peaches (of course), cucumber, grilled cheese with extra cheese accents.
Dahl James and the Giant Peach Bento

Now, the fun part! Hop through the rest of the creative Roald Dahl Day lunches by clicking here or the button below. Next stop, Eclectic Lamb!
Roald Dahl Day Hop

In this lunch...

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Recipe Review - French Vanilla Ice Cream

I love my ice cream maker. The more I use it, the more I love it. Most of the ice creams I've made have been egg free, therefore no cooking necessary, but this time, I had to just go for it and try a custard based ice cream. This was Vanilla after all. It had to be rich, and well, custardy. I found several recipes and sort of merged them into one, and it worked. It really worked. It was amazing. The richness, texture, and flavor are like nothing you can get from the eggless ice creams. That's my opinion, but that doesn't mean I'm going to create a custard for every ice cream I make, either. It definitely isn't as simple as just tossing the stuff in the ice cream maker, but when the mood strikes, it is worth every extra minute it takes! Delicious!

French vanilla ice cream
French Vanilla Ice Cream
Ingredients - 1 c whole milk, 1 c half and half, 3/4 c sugar, 8 egg yolks, 2 c whipping cream, 2 Tbsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt
french vanilla ice cream base
In a mixer bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar on med-low until blended and slightly thickened. While still whisking, gradually add in half and half and whole milk. Transfer this mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until steamy and just starting to bubble, stirring constantly. Do not boil.Transfer this mixture to a bowl and stir in the whipping cream, vanilla, and salt. Cover the mixture and chill overnight.
Prepare the ice cream base in you ice cream maker based on manufacturer directions. Either serve immediately when it is done, or transfer the ice cream to a freezer safe container to ripen for 3-4 hours. Enjoy!
french vanilla ice cream
Oh, and here's a bonus for you! That chocolate hunk of delicious on the plate with the ice cream in the picture above? The best chocolate cake ever! It's a Texas Sheet Cake. It is not a new recipe. It's one that's been around a long, long time. It is hardly ever altered or mucked with because it is perfect as is. While we don't put pecans in ours, the recipe we use is otherwise identical to that of The Pioneer Woman, so be sure and pop over there if you're in the mood for the best, yet super simple, chocolate cake you can make!