Friday, January 31, 2014

It's Super Bowl Weekend

Our whole state is buzzing in excitement. The Seahawks are in the Super Bowl!

The Dude has been a Seahawks fan practically since birth. He grew up in the Seattle area and has always been a big football fan, so of course he eats, sleeps, and breathes Seahawks from August through February. He is thrilled that they are going to the biggest game of the year!

I made him this lunch after they won the last playoff game.

He has a roast beef football shaped sandwich with Scrabble Cheez-It letters cheering on his favorite team. He also has football cookies and some grapes, which are sort of football-ish shaped, if you squint a bit.

Now it's your turn! We want to see all of your sports themed bentos! Link them up below:

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake

Beaker has recently become interested in the newer Strawberry Shortcake show on Netflix. It's a little saccharine for my tastes, but he thinks it's funny and cute. It makes him happy and buys me twenty minutes to work through homework or load the dishwasher, so who am I to complain? And then some wet blanket had to tell him that Strawberry Shortcake is only for girls.

He was sad, and he asked me if that was true. What?! No way! Strawberry Shortcake is for anyone who likes Strawberry Shortcake! It's for girls AND for boys. We talked about how toys and tv shows and things don't belong to one particular gender or another, and how he can like anything he wants. And then he asked me if I could make him Strawberry Shortcake for lunch.

You betcha, Beaker!

She is an open faced sandwich made with UDI's gluten-free bread as the base, with spinach and turkey. Her hat is a bit of turkey bologna and a spinach leaf, held up at the back by broccoli, and her hair is sweet red bell pepper slices. Of course she is surrounded by strawberries! Beaker also has some strawberry gelatin mixed with banana chunks, and a little handful of Pirate's Booty.

He loved it. He even ate some of the veggies!

And he still watches the show. Because boys can.

I dare anyone to tell him otherwise in my presence.

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Why I Love MOMables

You know the hardest part of making lunches, for me? The most tedious, mind-numbing, exhausting part? Hint: It's not the making of sandwiches or the cutting of fruits and veggies.

It's the PLANNING.

What am I going to pack? Is that enough veggies? Enough fruit? Too many carbs? Wait, where is the protein? And if you're doing it before you've had a real chance to wake up in the morning, it's doubly exhausting.

It's the planning part that takes the fun out of lunch packing for me. Trying to figure out a variety of healthy, tasty foods that my family will eat, without falling into a rut... it kills my motivation. Which is why I was so excited when I found MOMables!

MOMables is a school lunch meal planning service that helps parents feed their kids a variety of lunches they will love. Their one simple plan approach has built in substitutions for vegetarian, gluten free and nut free options when needed (it is not a dairy free or vegan plan). 

MOMables was started by Laura Fuentes, a mom of 3 kids under seven years old, to help other parents get out of the lunch packing rut. MOMables offers a weekly school lunch meal plan with 5 lunch ideasa prep-ahead sheet and a shopping list to help us busy parents feed our kids good food they will actually eat for only $6 per month!
Laura has been kind enough to offer my readers a sample week of MOMables for FREE, when you sign up for their weekly newsletter. It’s also loaded with free recipes, tips and so much more.

MOMables creates a new lunch plan every week, with recipes and kitchen tips and suggested sides to keep lunches both fun and healthy. The lunches change every day, so there is plenty of variety, and they are packed full of delicious recipes to try. There are also tips added to some of the recipes for making them gluten-free or allergy-friendly, which is really nice for those of us dealing with allergies! Plenty of the recipes are also vegetarian, as a great bonus. There is even an entire allergy friendly recipe section!

I am really enjoying MOMables myself, but don't take my word for it. Sign up for a sample week and check it out yourself! MOMables is an excellent resource for lunches, dinners, snacks, and all sorts of kitchen and meal planning tips!

I am experiencing technical difficulties (AKA the camera battery died and the back up battery and charger have apparently fluttered off on a romantic holiday somewhere exotic, or have simply been misplaced somewhere), so here is a phone pic of one of the yummy treats I have made from a MOMables recipe:

(They taste way, way better than they look there. Oh, SO good. Beaker declared them "Yum yum yummy yumtastic!" and apparently ate a solid half dozen today while I was out at school. They are free of gluten, soy, egg, dairy, and nuts, and they are chock full of fruity goodness, with both applesauce and bananas. They are utterly delicious and a guilt-free snack! Super easy to follow recipe, too. Check it out on the MOMables page!)

As a fabulous bonus, MOMables has offered a 3 month subscription for free to one lucky reader! Enter the giveaway below, and be sure to check MOMables out!

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*Disclaimer: MOMables provided a 3 month paid subscription for me to check out and review. Since then I have paid for another, because I liked it so much!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Super Simple Sandwiches

Back to school for all of us, and that means back to packed lunches. And also back to being busy! And back to rushing around to get things done, to homework and band practice and housework, to streamlining and simplicity wherever possible.

Sometimes, simple lunches are the very best!

Here is a series of super simple sandwich lunches we packed recently:

This pretty flowers-and-pink lunch is packed into the largest piece of a Bento Buddies set from Laptop Lunches. The lunch consists of half of a pastrami sandwich with clementines, cheese slices (mmm, black pepper cheese), and crunchy star crackers, all neatly tucked in to a box small enough to fit in a purse. Very convenient for quick lunches on campus!

This tasty lunch, packed into a Laptop Lunches Bento 2.0 box, is not just delicious. It's also gluten, soy, and nut free! The toasted ham-and-cheese is made with a special gluten, soy, and nut free bread, with allergy safe ham and coconut oil instead of butter (Beaker reacts to butter, but not to cheese ~ weird, right?). On the side he has some allergy safe crackers and a tiny tub of sunflower seeds, cheese pieces with fruit gummies, peaches and clementine segments, and baby carrots. Tucked into the side is a homemade protein bar made with a bunch of safe ingredients, a whole lot of deliciousness, and love.

Speaking of super simple, the above lunch could not have been any easier. I think it took about three minutes to put together, max. The sandwich is leftover grilled chicken, tossed with Caesar dressing and grated parmesan cheese, with romaine lettuce on a hoagie roll. Tucked into the side is a small cup of cheese crackers, with a few cookies pieces and a whole plum to round out the meal. All of this is packed into an Easy Lunchbox, which really does live up to it's name!

Another super simple sub sandwich is this Italian sub, made with slices of salami and pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and Italian dressing all on a sub roll, topped with a skewer of pimento-stuffed green olives. Kettle potato chips, sweet watermelon, and garden fresh organic cherry tomatoes make this a delicious and filling meal, great for any appetite!

And finally, the bread-less sandwich! Okay, not everyone will consider this one a sandwich, but it is one of our favorites. The rolls are simply ham, rolled up and sliced, then slid onto skewers. Also included is crisp and sweet apple slices, cool cucumbers, and a chocolate chip brownie bar for dessert. Oh, and also a delicious and healthy protein packed Greek yogurt, drizzled with honey and topped with a sprinkle of chia seed mix. My personal favorite for breakfast or a snack, and one that Beaker and Bean both gobble up and beg for more. I was so glad to find that it is safe for both of their allergies, which makes it a fantastic snack to keep on hand in the fridge!

Hope your week went smoothly and this week is even better!

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Top 13 of 2013!

This past year was a whole lot of ups and downs. We finally figured out why Beaker was sick, increased our garden, worked hard, kept going. A pretty good year, overall. Like most of us, I have spent the last few days reflecting over the past year and thinking forward to what may happen this year. And also fetching orange juice, ice water, and toast for my house full of flu patients.

For fun, and because other cooler people were doing it, I put together a Top 13 of 2013 post. Aw, it was fun for me to look back through the year and choose my favorites! I hope you enjoy the retrospective as much as I did.

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here is a baker's dozen of my favorite Chaos and Confections blog posts of 2013:

A Pirate's Life for Me! - Featuring a Jake and the Neverland Pirates Cubby open faced turkey quesadilla.

A Dalek-table Lunch - Dalek sunbutter sandwich for St. Patrick's Day? Of course!

Winter is Coming - Black bean chili with a Game of Thrones Arya Stark theme.

Alice in Wonderland - Lunch inspired by the wonderous Lewis Carroll in celebration of his birthday.

Are You Ready for Some Football? - Super sport ball lunch from early last year.

Goodbye Ten, Hello Eleven - From when the kids finally watched "The End of Time", in which the Tenth Doctor regenerates into the Eleventh (*sob*).

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! - A pair of lunches inspired by the works of one of the best children's authors of all time.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road - to a delicious spinach quesadilla Oz lunch.

Frogs - Ribbit-y lunches fit for a preschooler!

Resistance is Futile - A pair of Star Trek lunches, including this Takei salmon and rice meal.

Heart-y Sandwiches - a pretty pair of open-face layered mini sandwiches.

The Doctor's Wife - Celebrating the truest of true loves, between the Doctor and his TARDIS.

And finally,

And Now for Bean - A post all about my sweet older daughter's recent struggle with newly diagnosed food sensitivities.

It's been a great year, and 2014 is going to be even more fabulous!

Now, click the button to find a link party full of fantastic posts revisiting the best posts of 2013 from some of the greatest bloggers on the inter-webz!

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