Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fruity Jello Cups

So, last night I decided to use the cherries waiting in the fridge to make a batch of cherry crisp, and also to make fruity Jello cups. At around 11 pm. Not my best thought out plan ever! I got up a little earlier this morning and put Princess and Bean's lunches together instead of making them last night, like I usually do. I can not claim that I was entirely awake, but the lunches got made, so everyone wins. Brick and G-man decided they would just get lunch at school today. Good thing, since they have to get up and leave an hour earlier than the girls do. Not sure I could have even gotten pried my eyes open enough to throw food at a box at that hour! Mornings and I are not good friends. I am definitely a night person.

So, not a lot of fancy today. Way too tired! But I did manage to pull a cookie cutter out of the bin for the sandwiches. The rest was just toss-and-go. The canteloupe was already balled and waiting in the fridge, the Jello set last night, the carrots just too a quick swipe with a knife to cut in half. This is where doing some of the prep work in advance (like cutting veggies and fruit, making things like the Jello cups or freezing mini muffins, etc.) really pays off.

Bean's lunch has a turkey bologna sandwich with sprouts - sun shaped, as today is a beautiful sunny day and we'll be entering the rainy season here very soon, so our sun is limited - with Goldfish and honey graham sticks. She also has carrots with ranch dip, nestled on a lettuce leaf to keep them protected from the canteloupe juice. And also canteloupe balls and raspberry Jello with a raspberry floating in it.

Princess has a pretty similar lunch, except a star sandwich, no ranch dip, grape tomatoes in addition to the carrots, and an orange Jello with a mandarin orange slice floating inside.

Adding Beaker's lunch:

Cute, right? Teddy bears! I pushed the little bear cookie cutter into the Jello, but it didn't turn out so well. The rest went great though. And Beaker ate every bite! Plus half a pear and three more apple rings. The sandwich is ketchup and bologna (yuck, but he loved it) cut with a bear shaped cookie cutter. I used a mini cookie cutter to make the cheesy bears, placing one in the center of the bigger bear sandwich and the rest are lounging on oyster crackers. The apple rings were a huge hit with Beaker. He though the bear was "WOW, so cute and nummy!" So easy, too. Just took an apple and sliced it, then used the cookie cutter to cut away the core in a fun shape. Totally making these again.

Fruity Jello Cups are a big hit here. Me? I think Jello is slimey and a little too creepy to eat. But my kids love the stuff. Beaker and G-man could probably happily live on Jello and fruit alone. To make these cups and have them ready to easily grab and pack in lunches, I set a bunch of silicone cupcake liners on a baking tray. In each one I put a piece of fruit. Cherries for the cherry Jello, mandarin oranges for the orange Jello, raspberries for the raspberry Jello. Then I just mixed the Jello according to package directions and poured it into each corresponding cup. I use a large Pyrex measuring glass to mix the Jello because it has an easy pour spout, perfect for pouring small amounts of Jello into each cup. Then I just carefully slid the pan into the fridge to let the Jello set overnight. In the morning I put plastic wrap around the entire pan. I just have to lift a corner of the wrap to reach in and grab a few cups when I make lunch each morning.

I also made up some of these in little Solo cups with lids. I prefer to use the silicone cups because they're reusable, but the Solo cups with lids are nicely convenient for storing in the fridge and for tossing in lunch boxes when I'm not packing it all into one dish. The Solo cups stack easily for saving fridge space.

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