Tuesday, January 31, 2012

EasyLunchbox & Lunch Punch bento lunches - g'day mate! & beep beep!

My girl Paige was carrying on and on about neeeeding a bento for lunch today. "You haven't made me a bento in practicality forever and ever!" she whined. Poor thing. ;-)  But it was easy (and fun!) enough to dish up a couple cute lunches before preschool.


Paige's lunch:
ELB Australia Lunch Punch bento lunch
Packed in an EasyLunchboxes container:
- peanut butter & blueberry preserve sandwich, cut with a Lunch Punch "Landwich" shape - Australia!
- whole grain Goldfish crackers (to fill the Great Barrier Reef area)
- a few koala cookies
- mixed fruit, speared with a couple cute bento picks, a mighty croc and a dingo ("the dingo got my grapey!") (from this set).
- I added a little fruit leather heart to send my love to Kiersten, the Lunch Punch creator. Mwah! 


Tyler's lunch:
ELB Car Lunch Punch bento lunch
Also packed in an EasyLunchboxes container:
- same peanut butter & blueberry preserve sandwich, but cut with the Lunch Punch "Vroom!" car shape
- some organic vanilla cookies, featuring electric cars (cute!) (from Whole Foods)
- whole wheat pretzel sticks 
- mixed fruit
- a hand-cut lightning bolt to mirror the cookies. That lightening bolt was trickier for me to cut out than I'd like to admit!


My little car lovin' boy was thrilled with his car sandwich. He said "honk honk!". So cute. :)




note: The Australia cutter is part of the not-released-yet "Landwiches" set of Lunch Punches. They are not available for sale, but this Aussie one was part of a promotion for Bega cheese that took place in Australia several months ago. I was lucky enough to get one of those ones.


   
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

bunches of bentos: Goodbyn Bynto and Lock & Lock boxes

I have been a tad lazy in recent mornings and haven't been taking lunch pictures. The dark and dreary (and often drizzly) mornings make me want to curl up and pull the covers back over my head. And sometimes that's exactly what I do. As a result, there isn't a lot of extra minutes for snapping pictures before packing up the backpacks and shoving the boys out the door.


But I came across some bento pics from recent weeks that I never posted. So here they are! It's their time to shine. Or at least, not be lost and forgotten in old picture files.


First up, a Goodbyn Bynto box lunch:
Bynto three compartments
- granny smith apple slices (dipped in juice to prevent browning)
- Whole Foods cereal bar and homemade granola bar, and Ritz crackers
- turkey and cheddar cheese


Judging by the bento pick with the ornament on it, this bento predates Christmas!


Second up, another Bynto box lunch: (I could have sworn I had posted this one! I can't find it on the blog though...still, I apologize if this one's a repeat!)
bunny cheese Bynto lunch
- carrots and grapes in a jumbo silicone cup
- turkey and cheddar cheese, cut into bunny head shapes
- mini saltine crackers


To cut those bunny heads I used a small metal rice shaper tool, like this one


And finally, a Lock & Lock lunch:
easy waste-free bento
- mini saltine crackers
- Whole Foods cereal bar 
- homemade granola bar
- carrots
- turkey and cheese, cut with an elephant cutter (discontinued special offer from Jello YEARS ago)


This box seems to be out of stock at a couple places I checked. I'm not positive, but it looks like it might be getting replaced by this new style. Not sure what I think about that!


Has anyone bit the bullet and bought a Bynto lately? I have to say, I'm kinda wishing I had tried it sooner. We love this box! It's been the most-used box for Ethan's lunches since getting it. :)


   





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Monday, January 23, 2012

recipe: Crunchy Cheese Crusted Stovetop Mac n' Cheese

Mmmm, have I got a treat in store for the macaroni and cheese lovers out there! I'm sharing a super yummy recipe I created for a delicious mac n' cheese. It's good. Real good. 

yummy mac and cheese recipe


The recipe is right over HERE, click to pop on over and drool read all about it. :)
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

FunBites giveaway WINNER ANNOUNCED

Howdy ho!


Thanks to random.org, the winning commenter was #32 -
BeFunky Original on iPhone


I am sorry for the horrendous picture! I am now operating on a Mac and don't know how to do a screenshot. Ha! Too much to learn.


The Harper Family! Congratulations! I'll zip your contact info to FunBites and you will hear from them shortly.


Another giveaway should be up this coming week, especially for likers of the Another Lunch Facebook Page!  Over the last few days we passed the 7,000 mark! Crazy! Fun! I'd like to celebrate by having a giveaway -- bento goodies from my mega stash! Yay!! 


Sure hope everyone is having a nice weekend! Me, I'll be cleaning out a big closet and loading it with pillows and blankets, preparing for the kiddos to sleep in tonight. Tornado weather is a'comin our way.  Shout out to the southern peeps - keep an eye on the weather forecasts! I didn't have a clue until a friend alerted me this morning! Sigh.
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Friday, January 13, 2012

FunBites review & giveaway

Do you know about FunBites? They are new to the lunch scene, making some really neat food cutters.

FunBitesCutters

FunBites are unique in that they cut food into many bite sized pieces in one fell swoop. 
They are a two piece cutter set. The outside piece does the cutting, then the inner piece pops all the bite-sized bits out easily.

FunBitesCutterPieces

The pink cutter is called Luv-It and creates a mosaic of bite sized pieces into a heart shape. In this case, french toast.
FunBitesHeartsFrenchToast

The green cutter, Cube-It,  makes perfect little squares. Rows of cute french toast squares. So tidy and uniform.
FunBitesSquaresFrenchToast

I am especially smitten with the square cutter. What can I say? It's hip to be square. :)  It is is the perfect size to make square cheese pieces on mini saltine crackers.
FunBitescheeseandcrackers

The FunBites cutters are very sturdy and well made. BPA free and dishwasher safe and all that good stuff. :)  They can easily cut through a variety of foods. 

One of my favorite things I've made with FunBites are mini sandwich stackers. Teeny tiny, perfectly square sandwiches. 
FunBitesSandwichStackers

FunBites is providing one of their cutters to one lucky Another Lunch reader. One winner will get to choose either the heart cutter or the squares cutter and FunBites will zip it right on over. :)

Giveaway:
- leave a comment telling which FunBites cutter is your favorite, Luv-It or Cube-It?
- for an extra entry "like" the FunBites Facebook Page (leave an extra comment stating you liked them on Facebook if you choose to do this - that extra comment is your second entry!)


IMPORTANT - make sure there is some way for me to contact you! Leave an email, or have your name clickable to a profile or something.  If there is no way for me to reach you then I'll have to draw another entry!!

This giveaway will run until next Friday, January 20. I'll close comments late that night and announce the winner that weekend. Wheee!  Winner will be chosen at random, of course. :)

AND because FunBites is so super cool they are offering FREE SHIPPING if you order through their site, FunBites.com using the coupon code "anotherfunlunch". Sweet! Coupon code expires February 14, 2012.  Thanks, FunBites! :)

disclaimer: FunBites provided these two cutter sets to me for my review, and are providing one cutter set to the winner of this giveaway. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own! :)

*** Comments are now closed for this giveaway, thanks!***

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Laptop Lunches bento & rosemary bread recipe

This is a momentous event, this bento lunch of Ethan's today! 


Laptop Lunches lunch



Packed in a Laptop Lunches box:
- carrots and grapes
- granola bar
- turkey and cheddar cheese 
- homemade rosemary bread


First of all, I think it's the first time he's ever taken a Laptop Lunches box to school. Which is funny because I bought this box before he started Kindergarten thinking it would be his main bento container. Then he turned out to be a light eater at school and the box was just too big for his appetite.


Secondly, I think this is the cutest cheese, ever!  It's just the usual cheddar cheese I always use (bought in big blocks from Costco and sliced at home), but I used cutie patootie little bento cutters to make that adorable bear face. Squeee!  I am eternally grateful that my ten-year-old boy still thinks things like this are really cute too. :)


Thirdly, did you see that there is BREAD in this box?!! Bread, folks! My kid is eating bread! This is my child that has only eaten bread if it is toasted or grilled and comprised of sourdough. Period.  But I made some homemade rosemary bread several days ago and he flipped for it, gobbling it up just as fast as I could cut it. I made a second batch yesterday and this small piece is all that was left. He saved it asking it to go in his lunch for today.  Yay! 


The rosemary bread is devine. If you are familiar with the bread from Macaroni Grill, you'll love this too because it tastes exactly like it. YUM!
homemade rosemary bread
(sorry for the goofy picture. I took it with my camera phone.)


Rosemary Bread Recipe


1 C. warm water
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. yeast


Combine these three ingredients in a glass bowl and leave it alone until the yeast gets all happy, bubbly and foamy. This can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, depending on how fresh the yeast is and the temperature of the water and the room.
When everything is puffing up and looking weird add:

2 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Mix it all up. When you are getting close to everything being all incorporated add the rosemary. I used dried crushed rosemary, but fresh would surely be lovely too. I'll be doing that when our herb garden is up and growing this summer! For full strength rosemary bread add 2 Tablespoons of rosemary (this is the right amount for Macaroni Grill knock-off bread), use less if you like a more subtle rosemary flavor.


Continue to mix, add flour if needed until the dough is not longer sticky, and you can knead the dough into a soft round. Knead for ten minutes, got to get that gluten going!


Oil a large bowl with extra virgin olive oil. I use the same bowl I mixed the dough in, to save myself from washing extra dishes. ;-)
Put the dough in the oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place for it to rise for one hour, until doubled in size. (I leave mine in the oven, turned off, but with the oven light on).


After an hour of rising, punch down the inflated dough and divide in half, then in halves again. This will leave you with four small rounds of dough. Allow the dough to rest for five minutes.


While dough is resting prepare your baking sheet. Wipe with extra virgin olive oil, or use parchment.
Place dough on baking sheet, allowing several inches of space between.
Brush or spray (I use this  oil sprayer filled with EVOO) each dough round with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt.


Allow to rise again for 45 minutes, until doubled again.


Bake in a preheated oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. For a more golden and crunchy crust, pull out half-way through baking and brush/spray with EVOO again.


This will yield 4 loaves of bread that are about 7" round. 
I crunched the numbers for nutritional breakdown.
For a half-loaf (making this recipe yield 8 servings):
calories: 193
fat: 5.2 grams
carbs: 29 grams
fiber: .8 grams
protein: 5 grams


I hope you enjoy! We sure are! :)

Supplies used to make this lunch:




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Thursday, January 5, 2012

back to school with Bynto lunchbox :)

Buh-bye, holidays. 


School resumes for us today. Well, for some of us. Owen is home "sick" with pink eye. Blech!


Ethan's lunch for today is packed in our Bynto lunchbox.
beary Goodbyn bynto lunch


In the top section: 
organic granny smith apple slices (dipped in some fruit juice to prevent browning) and organic baby carrots in a silicone cup.


middle section: 
peppered turkey and cheddar cheese (cut with a mini beary cutter).


bottom section:
pretzel sticks.


And Ethan's snack (if you tilt your head to the side you'll barely notice how crooked the photo is!):
snack
Grapes and mini saltine crackers, packed in a small two section Lock & Lock box.

Every time I post a bento with mini saltine crackers I get questions asking where I find them. So here it is - They are from the brand Premium and come in a regular box. I usually find them stocked next to the oyster crackers. If you have a Publix you can get them buy 1, get 1 free this  week. :)

     
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