Monday, September 30, 2013

Other Pirate Lunches

Last week we did a blog hop full of pirate-y awesomeness for Talk Like a Pirate Day. You can see my post for that here. But since we have a deep affection for all things pirate (well, the fun sanitized kid-version of pirate, anyway), I made a whole week of pirate lunches for my kids. Here are some of those:

Gluten, soy, nut, peanut, egg, garlic, and dairy free lunch for Beaker in a Laptop Lunch box. He has grapes, multigrain GF crackers, Cutie orange segments, a cucumber treasure map (with fruit leather X and nori bits), baby corn, and sliced hot dog 'dead man meat' with 'blood of my enemies' ketchup for dipping.

In this Lunchbots Trio, Beaker has watermelon chunks, multigrain crackers, dried apricots, an Udi's granola bar, carrots, cheese bits, and turkey triangles. This lunch is also gluten, soy, egg, and garlic free.

A rare lunch for G-man in an Easy Lunchbox. He has frozen Greek yogurt skull and bones, grapes skewered on a pirate sword with some cookie bits, a grilled cheese sandwich island staked out with a pirate flag, and some soft cheese with pretzels. 

For Lulu, a Jolly Roger turkey sandwich with gold dubloons, carrots, pears, pretzels, and Cutie orange segments topped with bloody bones (cupcake decor bits).

This allergy safe lunch has a checkered apple pirate isle, rolled ham and cheese barrels skewered with pirate swords and floating in a silicone sea, an Enjoy Life granola bar, multigrain crackers and baby carrots, with Jake and the Neverland Pirates fruit gummies and pears (tucked in under the gummies).

And finally, another allergy safe lunch, with GF vegan lemon blueberry muffins, cucumber slices, cheese bits, ham rolls, apple slices, and frozen blueberries with Greek yogurt skull and bones.

YAR! (That means "Hope you have a great week!" in pirate-speak.)

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Pirate's Life For Me!

 Avast! Today be Talk Like a Pirate Day! Ye scurvy dogs be sailin' the high seas with the BBF pirate hop and now ye've landed on the great ship C&C. Arr!

Beaker's new favorite show is Jake and the Neverland Pirates, so it was easy to choose a theme for his TLAPD lunch. I asked him which character is his very favorite, and he said, "CUBBY! I love Cubby."

Okay, kiddo. A Cubby lunch it is!

Cubby is an open-faced turkey quesadilla. His face and ear are made with turkey lunchmeat, while his pirate bandanna and eyes are made with white corn tortilla. Blue food dye painted on with a toothpick colored the quesadilla and also painted on the mouth and nose. A circle of white corn tortilla also forms the base of the quesadilla. Carrot shavings form his hair and eyebrows.

This lunch also includes carrot coin 'gold dubloons', a star filled with raisins and EnjoyLife chocolate chips, grapes skewered on pirate swords, and a tub of tasty Cutie orange segments.

This lunch is completely Beaker-safe, which means it is free from gluten, soy, nuts, eggs, garlic, and shellfish. According to Beaker, "My Cubby lunch is DELICIOUS!" But alas, he has now decided that Jake is actually his favorite character and wants a special Jake lunch. Yeah, I'll just go ahead and get right on that, kid. Maybe another day.

Now that you've seen my TLAPD post, follow the button to see the next post at One Crafty Thing!

Once you work your way all around the hop back to here, visit the BBF Blog TLAPD post to see the other half of the hop, Black Beard's Revenge!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Allergy Free Preschool Lunches at Home

I have quite a few posts now showing what I feed my multiple-food-allergies four year old when we are on the go. But what do I feed him for lunch when we're at home?

Beaker can't eat regular bread due to his wheat allergy, and gluten-free breads tend to be pretty pricey. It would be cost-prohibitive for me to make him a sandwich every day, for sure. Sometimes I feed him leftovers from dinner, and sometimes I cook up some rice pasta with mixed vegetables, but other times I try to be a bit creative and make his lunches at home a little more fun.

The best part (well, for me!) is that all of the lunches in this post took less than ten minutes each to make. Fast, easy, tasty, and allergy-safe ~ sounds like a WIN to me!

This pretty lunch features bread-free butterfly mini sandwiches and some healthy sides, simply laid out on a $1 section plate from Target.

To make the mini sandwiches, I placed a slice of cheese between two different kinds of turkey lunchmeat and used a small butterfly cookie cutter to pop out the shapes. 

Included in this lunch are Van's Say Cheese crackers (gluten, soy, and nut free!), apple slices, and cucumber strips.

For this lunch, I heated some mini sausages and served them with ketchup for dipping. He also has carrot sticks, and strawberries with a little yogurt.

For a little sweet treat I also gave him an Udi's chocolate brownie bite - gluten, soy, and nut free, and delicious! Beaker loves them, and the small size are perfect for little tummies.

This super simple lunch took less than six minutes to put together, including the time to steam the hot dog and broccoli.To make the hot dog 'bow and arrow', I sliced the steamed hot dog into bite sized bits, threading half of them onto a food pick and arranging the rest in a quick half circle. Food picks are excellent for acting as mini skewers to make dipping super easy for small fingers.

 The little star cup holds a small amount of ketchup for the hot dog bites. This lunch also has a bit of lightly steamed broccoli, some small purple grapes, and chunks of pear.

This fun lunch was made almost the same way as the butterflies. The bread-free sandwiches are two different kinds of lunchmeat with cheese in between. The shapes are cut out using one of my favorite cutters, the CuteZCute sandwich cutter and pastry stamper. Super adorable, and so easy to use. The letters were cut out of cheese and meat scraps.

In this lunch, Beaker has two kitty grain-free sandwiches with EnerG allergen free pretzel rings, cantaloupe bites, baby carrots, and a delicious homemade Beaker-Safe lemon blueberry muffin. I make the muffins using a basic muffin recipe, but to make it safe for my son's allergies I have some simple substitutions. I use a gluten, soy, and nut free flour blend, with flax instead of eggs, coconut oil instead of butter, and vanilla rice milk instead of the milk. WAY easier than it sounds and they are actually very tasty. The Dude, who generally turns his nose up at any of Beaker's allergen free foods, can't even tell the difference between the safe muffins and the regular.

There is definitely a learning curve when you suddenly find yourself having to deal with food allergies, but with a little practice and a lot of patience it can become a whole lot easier. If anyone has questions about feeding a kid with multiple food allergies, or just needs a little commiseration, feel free to leave a comment here or drop me an email anytime!

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James and the Giant Peach

Happy birthday to Roald Dahl! 

As a kid, I found his books super creepy. They were the first books to ever scare me. Especially James and the Giant Peach. Something about the mean aunts and the boy who ran away with person-sized bugs was chilling to child me. I blame the giant spider. 

Creepy, scary... but also very good. Dahl was excellent at imagery. I may have been scared by the books, but I still read them all and kept going back for more. 

Bean is starting to be interested in reading Dahl books, so for Roald Dahl Day and the BBF blog hop, I made her a lunch based on the book that inspired several sleepless nights and a lifelong fear of biting into insects in fruit.

Muenster cheese letters spell out the name of the orphan boy across - what else? - a peach.

Miss Spider spins her web across spinach dip, while the Glowworm snoozes on a bed of pretzels. There is also a few Buffalo chicken strips with ranch dip.

And a smiling Mrs. Ladybug crawls across half a chocolate zucchini muffin.

Click the button below to follow the hop through to the next blog and see what the lovely Keitha's Chaos has to share!

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lunch for Dad and Daughter

One recent night Bean and I were chatting while I packed up leftovers for the Dude to take for lunch. She watched me start tucking things into an Easy Lunchbox for him to take and made a comment about how delicious his lunch looked, but how it wasn't very decorative.

To surprise her, I packed up a similar lunch for her to take to school the next day. I used the same basic ingredients for both of them and just perked hers up a little with extra decor. It only took a few minutes, since I already had everything out for her dad's lunch, and she was thrilled to pieces to have a pretty version of his meal. "It was almost like we were having lunch together, even though he was at work and I was at school!"

When they both were home they talked together about their matching lunches and how their days had gone. Their lunch breaks are pretty close to the same times, and this was a simple and sweet way for them to stay connected, even though they're both working hard and don't see each other as much.

The Dude's lunch has leftover grilled chicken slices wrapped in a lettuce leaf. He has some homemade chunky guacamole with carrot sticks and tortilla rounds for dipping, as well as cantaloupe and cucumber pieces.

The guacamole is also delicious when scooped over the chicken wrap. 

For Bean, a sweeter version. She also has guacamole and tortilla rounds, but her leftover grilled chicken is cut into cubes and threaded onto mini flower and leaf skewers. Her cucumber pieces are tucked into a pink flower silicone cup, and her cucumbers are sliced and topped with carrot flowers. For an afternoon snack she has green grapes and a small Baybel cheese round.

Two versions of the same lunch, and a connection fostered between dad and daughter. And as a special bonus, these lunches took less than ten minutes each to make and used dinner leftovers, keeping both cost and waste down!

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Friday, September 6, 2013

"Heart"-y Sandwiches

For Bean's lunch today, I packed fancy open faced heart sandwiches. She also has a little tub of roasted sunflower seeds, some carrot discs with a cheese stick, grapes, and a bit of double chocolate zucchini bread for a veggie-packed dessert.

The sandwiches look fancy, but are pretty easy to make. I used three different sizes of cookie cutter with two different colored lunchmeats (oven roasted turkey and turkey bologna), with a fourth size for the bread. The meats are held together with a small dab of mustard or mayo between slices ~ Bean's favorites for sandwiches. 

I love using little accents, like this heart shaped cupcake ring and food pick, to perk lunches up a little. It's a simple way to make lunches a bit more special.

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Beneficial Bento

A Vegetarian Pair

My new bento box came yesterday! After eyeballing them and lusting after them for two years, I finally ordered a Lunchbots box. And so far I like it. Shiny!

Lulu wanted to take a Thermos of channa masala to school for lunch, so it was the perfect opportunity to break in the new box by packing sides and a snack.

Everything packed up neatly in pretty shiny dishes ~ she liked that a lot.

Channa masala is a vegan chickpea and lentil soup. I think it has curry, garlic, and tomatoes in it, too. Delicious stuff! It's Lulu's favorite right now. The thermos kept it nice and warm through lunch. The little drink bottle holds iced apple juice.

On the side she also has mango chunks and cucumber slices, double chocolate vegan zucchini bread, raisins, and a cereal bar for a snack. The zucchini bread is yummy - I use applesauce and a little coconut oil instead of the butter, and ground flax meal instead of eggs. It reduces the fat by quite a bit and tastes great!

For the Dude I packed up an ovo-lacto vegetarian lunch of spinach dip with sourdough baguettes, tomatoes and strawberries from my garden, and tortilla rounds with freshly made guacamole, all packed into a Laptop Lunch box.

To keep the guacamole from making a mess inside the box, I used pieces of silicone baran to keep it in place. The Laptop Lunch individual sections also come with lids, which helped to prevent any leakage.

The Dude reported back that the lunch was good, but "not very filling." He said it needed a little more protein of some kind. Maybe a couple hard boiled eggs. Since tofu and nuts are out for now due to Beaker's allergies, it can be hard to find non-meat protein sources that are filling enough for someone who does heavy lifting at a physically demanding job for a lot of hours each day. I would love any tips you all can offer. 

Have a fab weekend!

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Day of School!

Already?! Where did the summer go?! 

Ah, back to school. Back to schedules. Back to early nights and earlier mornings. Back to homework and reading logs and the stacks of papers to sign.

And back to lunches packed every day!

Today Princess (who will henceforth be known as Lulu, as she has decided that she is much too grown up to be called Princess anymore *sniff* ) started second grade. 

To kick off a whole new school year of lunches, I packed up this cute meal in a Laptop Lunch box:

She has little star crackers with dried apricots, a small bit of chocolate doughnut for dessert, a peeled and segmented Cutie orange with cherry tomatoes from our garden, carrot discs, and a turkey and cheese kitty sandwich. Cheesy letters spell out her grade. You know, just in case she forgot. Just kidding - it was totally for cuteness factor!

Crispy stars for my super star! She loved these little star crackers. Apparently not so fond of the apricots though. Or the tomatoes. Or carrots. She liked them yesterday, but they came home untouched today, and I was treated to a little lecture from Lulu about Why I Don't Like These Anymore. Sheesh. 

Miss Bean started fifth grade, moving up to the middle school. Her first experience with lockers and changing classes! Ah, she's going to be great.

She wanted DIY mini tacos for lunch, which was way easy to pack since we had shredded beef tacos for dinner the night before.

A little doughnut dessert is tucked in next to a peeled Cutie and some grapes. She also has tortilla rounds to dip in the homemade guacamole and salsa, with leftover shredded beef and mini soft taco rounds to make into little lunchy tacos. She also took a little dish on the side with some carrot sticks and sunflower butter for an in-class snack. And ate almost everything packed, too! I thought it would be too much food, but apparently it was just right for the first day.

For a special little boost, I packed Lunchbox Love notes in their lunches for the first time. Bean was totally thrilled with hers. Especially the little fact on the back:

Lulu's was a little sweeter, with a factoid about number of times a heart beats per day on the backside.

And G-man started seventh grade today! No lunch for him, as he wanted to buy for the first day. 

And today was Brick's very first day of high school, but no picture of him. He left way earlier than my eyes were open! Apparently freshmen are too cool for their moms to take pictures of them in the front yard...

So here is a gratuitous picture of Beaker, who starts pre-K in a few weeks, instead:

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