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Showing posts from September, 2011

#11 Chicken Spaghetti

One of my favorite bloggers is Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman. I've been following her blog for a while. She now has a cookbook, a kids book, taped a Throwdown Challenge (Thanksgiving) against Bobby Flay and now have her own show on Food Network. She's real. She's a wife of a rancher. She's a mom of 4 kids whom she also home schools. And she's a great cook.

We have tried out a handful of PW recipes and one of our all-time favorites is Chicken Spaghetti.  I made this when we hosted our small group from church at our house. We had a lot of leftovers (because I always seem to cook for a small army--a trait I learned from my mother) so guess what's in our lunch boxes the next day...

Chicken Spaghetti w/melon and yogurt (Miss C) 
So as I was packing Miss C's lunch I remembered that I had forgotten her fork every time we use that Thermos bowl. I grabbed a red fork and put it on the counter... but of course I forgot to put it INSIDE her lunch box. *sigh* And s…

#10 all things round

Jelly Sandwich with apple, crackers, mozzarella cheese and vanilla cookies (all things round!)
I went to a Pampered Chef party that a friend of mine hosted and I bought Cut-N-Seal. Its a round cutter that cuts your sandwich, but also presses and seals the edges of the bread. Pretty nifty. I can see making empanadas or  ravioli or homemade pizza rolls or homemade toaster strudel/pastry puffs. 
Miss C picked that apple all by herself during a field trip to a local apple orchard. :) We also bought a 5 lb bag of apples. I'm sure we will not be able to eat all of it, so I'm in the hunt for a good apple crisp recipe!

#9 ham rollups

Ham rollups using flat bread. Steamed carrots. with vanilla cookies, party/trail mix (no nuts), mandarin oranges Here is a picture of the cute HK bento I got from Ebay:
My lunch is leftover cavatappi with my husband's spaghetti sauce. Once in a blue moon, we do a cooking blitz where we cook 3-4 dishes, worth 6-8 meals in one night and freeze them. Usually we incorporate one main meat ingredient (chicken or ground beef) into 3 or 4 recipes and double the recipe. For example, one night we bought ground beef in bulk. We made 2 meatloaves, 1 batch of meatloaf muffins, taco meat (2 meals), a big pot of spaghetti sauce (divided into 3 meals), and Cuban rice (a Filipino stew--don't be fooled with the name--with rice/gr beef/potatoes/carrots).  The freezer meals come in handy for those busy weeks. And we try to cook our favorite recipes for our freezer meals instead of trying out and freezing a new reicpe. I'll write more about that on a future post. I need cute bento boxes too.…

why do I do this?

I have been asked numerous times why I started this blog. Why I take pictures of our lunches everyday. Why would anyone care? Well, below are my reasons... and if anyone cares, great! If you don't, then just move on...

1.) I have to.

Miss C started preschool with "play&stay".  She goes to pre-k in the morning, then have a structured extended afternoon at the school. The preschool does not serve lunch due to state regulations so she needs to bring her own lunch. And she's not packing it herself. She's 4.

2.) I'm try to be healthy and 3.) save money by eating lunch at work everyday.

I'm trying to break this habit of eating out for lunch all the time. And even though we are trying to be budge-conscious, we throw out  a lot of leftovers because we forget what we have in the fridge. While my husband and I do try to cook at home, it may not always be organic or extremely healthy. If things are on sale, we choose organic and healthier foods... but on a tim…

So far so good... and Pinterest.

Its been two weeks and so far so good.  I told my husband that I'd be surprised if I last 2 weeks... but I have not lost interest in this yet.  Much like with cakes, I look at food in a different way. "How can I make this (dinner or an ingredient) into something fun for lunch?"  I get my inspiration from sites like Bentobloggy, Lunch in a Box, and Cute Foods for Kids. And Pinterest.

Oh, yes. Pinterest. If you have never heard of it, it is sort of a virtual pinboard. You can "pin" an image you find on the web on Pinterest on a board, then you can go back to that board at a later date and it will take you to the original website you got that image from. It sure beats right-click/save then trying to figure out what website that idea originated from. I have boards of recipes I want to try, stuff I want to do in my home, party ideas, and of course, inspires bentos/lunch boxes, and many many many more. (Just ignore the "baby fever" board.) I can get lost &q…

#8 Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles) w/Recipe

Miss C's favorite Filipino dish is pancit. My mom (C's Lola {Tagalog for "grandmother"}) makes it all the time because its one of her most requested dish. Sometimes we get to come over and eat leftovers--and take more leftovers home! :)  Pancit Bihon is a very simple dish. It's flavored with just soy sauce so the flavor is mild and not strong and overpowering. It's not greasy and does not have a lot of exotic ingredients. A lot of our non-Asian friends and kids love this noodle dish.

Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles), watermelon, carrots w/ranch (dip transferred to a small container with lid because I totally forgot that this was going inside C's lunchbox)

Pancit Bihon(pan-sit bee-hohn)
1 package (8oz) thin rice noodles (bihon, or sometimes called rice vermicelli) 1 T oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 onion, diced 1 large carrot sliced/julienned (I use 1c precut matchstick carrots) 1 c shredded cabbage Opt vegetables: 1/2 c julienned green beans or 1/2 c sliced…

#7 noodles & egg

Miss C's lunch consisted of leftover teriyaki noodles, with hardboiled egg (see below), watermelon kabobs, and frozen "gogurt". 
My lunch consisted of leftover noodles, leftover chicken, and leftover egg that I peeled very badly and did not make the cut to be in the molds.

I had been browsing lunch blogs for over a year now, and besides the "lunch box" bento idea, these egg molds keep popping up on posts from various blogs. So I bought some molds. Because they are too cute. Then I ran into this YouTube video on how to use the egg molds. The most difficult part of it was peeling the hot eggs, because you have to put the peeled egg into the mold while its still warm.

#6 SBJ roll

SBJ Roll Up w/pita chips, watermelon, raisins (w/fruit snacks)  and yogurt (read more below for if you're curious about that green thing)
my lunch... grilled chicken breasts over mixed salad w/spinach and yogurt.
I tried to do a sandwich sushi that looked like this... PBJ Sushi ...but it turned out really messy to cut. I left the sandwich (made of Sunbutter instead of PB) in just one roll.  I cut the watermelon into shapes with flower cutters I got from Chinatown in Chicago used for veggies and fruit. Now what is that green thing up there? Those are silicone ice pop makers (from Amazon). I first saw these at Lunch Fit for a Kid. These can be used for making homemade push-up popsicles or fill them with yogurt (think Gogurt)! I was afraid that it was going to explode in her lunch bag, I actually wrapped it in Press&Seal, but it didn't. I love this thing!! 
I am still trying to get into this daily posting groove. I don't know how a lot of these super bloggers do it! Blogg…

#5 potatoes, vegs, & chicken

For dinner the night before, we had grilled potatoes and one of those steamer veggies. Miss C wanted the leftovers for lunch and I mixed in some cut-up grilled chicken. She also wanted cottage cheese. Pineapple and carrot chips and ranch rounds up this lunch.
I've been collecting little plastic containers, thermos bowls, and fun bento-style lunch boxes. The one above is a Dora insulated/thermos bowl I found on clearance at Target. These fun square cups with multi-colored lids I found at Meijer. You know how they hang random stuff at aisles? I think I found these hanging by the juice/pop aisle. I found her Hello Kitty lunchbox at Martin's (regional grocery store) on sale for $5.99 with coupons inside for free bread, $1 off kids' toothbrush, $1 off kids' toothpaste, and $0.75off for yogurt! SCORE!

day 4: "lunchables"

Miss C loves Lunchables. For those who don't know what Lunchables are, they are a popular prepackaged lunch with crackers, some kind of cold cut meat, and cheese that the kids can stack. And most of the time they come with a candy bar. Typical lunchable
I decided that a homemade version of a Lunchable is more budget friendly, earth friendly and kid friendly. I used some circle cutters that I use for cookies and baking to cut the ham and cheese, stacked them with Ritz crackers. Pineapple chunks speared with a heart pick and salad with ranch.   Right: Miss C's Lunchables Left: My lunch with scraps from cheese and ham from circle, cottage cheese, pineapple and soup (that I didn't end up eating).
I was worried that Miss C won't eat her salad but she ate it up. She even said that there are some kids that brought salads as their lunches! I was very impressed with this group of 4-year-olds since I know more than a handful adults who won't even touch a salad with a ten-fo…

day 3: Sunbutter Jelly Sandwich

Due to severe nut allergies, the preschool has a nut-free policy. This means no PBJ's for Miss C.  Which was fine by me because I hate peanut butter and gag everytime I make peanut butter jelly sandwiches. When Miss C found out that she would be bringing her lunch, her first lunch request was PBJs. So off to the store I went to buy a $100 jar of Sunbutter. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. But for a $5 jar of Sunbutter, Miss C better eat her lunch!  Sunbutter is made from sunflower seeds, and it tastes a bit like peanut butter with a sunflower seed aftertaste.

I'm not packing mine. I did not eat my previous lunch (chicken penne) at work, so I had that for that day. Plus, I hate peanut butter (did I mention that already?) or any kind of alternative nut/seed butter... Though I have yet to try Nutella... that one has chocolate, so I may like it.

SBJ sandwich with carrot dots party mix, grapes, mozz. cheese
SBJ Verdict:  Mixed. -- Miss C ate up the sandwich and said it was very g…

day 2: leftover chicken penne

My husband and I both work full-time so we share cooking responsibilities... I have to admit, he does more cooking than I do lately. This is what he made last night:

Easy Chicken Penne:
2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 package (1/2 lb) of penne pasta
2 cups broccolli (we used frozen but fresh is also good)
Philadelphia Cooking Creme (Savory Garlic) (find it by the cream cheese at the store)

Directions: Cook pasta according to directions. Brown and cook the chicken. Stir in the broccoli until its half-cooked. Throw in the pasta and add cooking creme. Stir for 3 minutes until hot. Voila!

chicken broccoli penne carrot sticks+ranch, yogurt, juice
This is my lunch... I should have grabbed a little ziploc bag of carrots. And I want to get fun lunch boxes, but I have a cabinet full of these gladware at work since I have a bad habit of leaving them there. Once every 3-4 months, I take a big bag of containers home.

the first one.

For this lunch, I give it a "B-" for effort, "D" for creativity, and "B" for food.  (Should I give grade evaluations on every lunch? Probably not).  We played too much during Labor Day weekend so I did not get the chance to go get groceries. Nor had plans or menus for lunches or dinners.  So on Tuesday, Mr. Awesome (since my friends always exclaim that I have an awesome husband--I know!--that spoils me rotten.) made egg burritos as I cleaned out searched the fridge for anything lunch worthy. To be honest, I've been shopping for fun and cute and adorable lunch boxes and bento-esque tools that I neglected to think about what FOODS actually go inside those cute Hello Kitty boxes.  Don't worry, I'm going grocery shopping tonight I even pinned a great organizational strategy for my fridge on Pinterest... I heart Pinterest.

So here's our first lunch:

Miss C's 1st preschool lunch ham and cheese rollups with goldfish crackers, raisins and a …

this is going to be fun. i think.

My sweet, adorable 4 year old started preschool today.  She'll be going 4 days a week for morning preschool then going to "play & stay" in the afternoon. Play and stay is like an extended afternoon preschool, there's no curriculum, but it will have structured play time, creative time, music time, and learning time, correlating with what they are learning during the morning classes. We felt that this is a great way to ease her transition to all-day kindergarten next year. 

I now have to pack her lunches--Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.


Pre-planning and packing lunches are definitely not my forte. I tend to eat out for lunch during the work week, despite many attempts to try to pack a healthy lunch.

So now I'm presented this challenge to pack my child's lunches every day. Do I crumble at the pressure and resort to easy PB&J every day? No. I can't because there are a couple students with severe NUT ALLERGIES so her school is a NUT-FR…