Tuesday, July 28, 2015

4 DIY Homemade Lunchables

We are having a blast of a summer vacation and and I am quite happy that we still have around three weeks of summer break till school starts.The only thing left for us to even think about relating to school is the school supply list which we received in the mail, we usually get those supplies a week before school starts. Every year, we get Nikolai's school uniforms, new shoes, backpack, lunchboxes, lunchbags, etc, the first weekend after the school year ends. YES, you read it right, as soon as school gets off, so we can start our summer break without talking or even thinking about back to school till the last minute.

I'll update more about our trips in my future posts. As I was looking at my picture archives today, I found so many lunches which I made towards the end of the school year, and which I've not posted. Most of them are in the same category, when I have a lot of other things going on, I like to pack lunches based on the same category or theme for the entire week. I thought that this lunchables post would be great for some easy lunch packing ideas. I may start out packing lunchables myself when school starts and when I might lose my lunch packing mojo.

Many have found Lunchables tasty and convenient especially for meals away from home, but often it is even better if you make your own DIY Lunchables. By taking just a few minutes you can include the foods you like best or those that meet your particular dietary needs. You are in control, so they can be the freshest, most yummy, and even cheaper than what you could find on the store shelves. In addition, you can take that extra minute to cut them into cute shapes, perhaps add some decoration, and arrange them neatly in the box.

All these lunches were enjoyed by Nikolai months ago and they were packed in his Easylunchboxes containers.

This first lunchables was flower themed. I used my small flower shaped cookie cutter to cut the Colby-Jack cheese, cucumber slices and ham. It also had Ritz crackers, pineapple slices and Trader Joe's yogurt stars. The square shaped silicone cups are some of my favorites, they are practical and great for keeping foods separated.

Flower lunchables, bento school lunches

The second DIY lunchables are Applegate nitrate free pepperoni slices with a panda baran sheet, Annie's organic fruit snacks, whole wheat crackers, Colby-Jack cheese cut into circles, veggie sticks and apple pieces. I used some round silicone cups here as well as my favorite square cup. The small house shaped cup was given to me by my friend who lives in Japan years ago.

Applegate lunchables, bento school lunches

The third DIY lunchables include crinkle cut cucumber slices, ham roll ups, whole wheat crackers, a string cheese cut into pieces, all in square shaped silicone cups and also apple slices and veggie sticks.

Easy Lunchables, bento school lunches

The fourth DIY lunchables has slices of cheese bread, pepperoni, mangoes, babybel cheese, strawberries and Annie's organic fruit snack.

DIY lunchables, bento school lunches

Pinterest friendly collage.

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Captain America Bento

How are y'all doing? It summer here and it's been raining every single day! Time flies when you are having fun and I can't believe it's already July. So far we have been on a few local road trips, with some of the places we have visited being the Orlando Eye, which is a giant ferris wheel which took us 400 feet above the city in a very comfortable capsule, beaches, museums, Legoland and more. We have unlimited visitors passes to Legoland along with some other attractions, and we are looking forward of going back again soon. Next month, we will be traveling out of country and have several other road trips in mind if time permits. We have the tendency of extending our stay and always have to purchase extra clothing, it isn't the style that matters then, but rather the time that matters.

We also have been watching some movies, both old and new, during our family movie nights and one of them was Captain America: The First Avenger. Nikolai asked me why I've not made him a Captain America lunch so I made this one for one of our outings. I've previously made Thor and  Hulk lunches for him which can be seen here.

I used a bagel for Captain America's shield by first filling the center with black grapes (you can also use blueberries), and then surrounding them first with a ring of strawberry fruit leather and then with a ring of provolone cheese which I also used to make the center star. I used my circle cookie cutter for the rings cut-outs. The outermost ring is of organic strawberry jam. In the upper right is a container of organic applesauce and to the left of that are some orange slices to which I added a flag pick. I think this lunch which was packed in a Fit & Fresh bento kit will also be great for the 4th of July.

Avenger Captain America shield fun lunch, Bento School Lunches

This lunch is linked to:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Under The Sea Bento

Next week is the last week of school for us before our long summer holiday, for which we are so excited and we can't wait for all the adventures and travel. I have a journal just for summer break in which I record every single fun activity, all of our trips and how we spent each day so that we can look back later and see all the fun we had. Of course it also serves as inspiration for the next year and refreshes the memory of places seen that could be revisited.

I have a huge back log of lunches which I've been packing for Nikolai daily, and those will have to wait till next school year or maybe I'll schedule some posts for summer. I'm not sure for now as blogging is at my back burner, but I'll try to post at least once more next week.

Here are a couple of under the sea themed lunches which he enjoyed a while back. The first lunch was fish shaped nuggets which I purchased from the freezer section at our grocery store. I baked them in the morning while cooking his couscous on the stove. I always let his hot foods cool down several minutes before transferring them to his lunch box. He had octo-cheese cut out of string cheese and I poked the facial accents with a toothpick. He also had fish shaped cheddar crackers, apple slices and a yogurt covered star. This lunch was packed in a Planetbox rover.
Under the sea bento, fish nuggets, couscous

The next lunch was easy. Free hand cut nori above whole wheat bread topped with fish and star shaped mild cheddar cheese and a star cupcake pick. His sides were crinkle cut cucumber with a crab shaped cupcake pick, Swedish fish and strawberries. This lunch was packed in a leak-proof Yumbox panino.

This lunch was linked to:
Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dinosaur and Field Trip Bento

I hope everyone had a great weekend. We had a three day long weekend and it was quite refreshing. Nikolai went on a field trip last week to MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) in Tampa which is about 2-3 hours drive one way from where we are. This was his first trip out of town in a bus and also a trip without us. I was kind of worried and had butterflies in my stomach when I dropped him off at school that morning. Guess I can't help it, being a parent, and I am sure the other parents felt the same too.

We have been to MOSI before and there is a life-size dinosaur sculpture called Recyclosaurus Rex at the entrance. It was that shape which inspired these lunches. There are a great many interesting and educational exhibits at MOSI and many are interactive. I would certainly recommend a visit there to anyone visiting the Tampa area. 

In making this first bento, I used my Wilton animal pals dinosaur shaped cookie cutter for the dinosaur and a palm tree cutter for the tree. Other cutters made the lower dinosaur and the ones cut from watermelon. I also included some slices of cucumber and some grapes with a cute dino pick.
This lunch was packed in a leak proof Yumbox Panino

Dinosaur, Palm tree, bento school lunch,Yumbox

This lunch was linked to:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

The next dinosaur lunch was created using my dyno sandwich crust cutter which was very easy to use. I've owned this cutter since Nikolai started Kindergarten and it's from one of my earlier collections. I used my alphabet cutter for the letter 'D' on a babybel cheese. He also had strawberry slices, Annie's homegrown organic crackers and crinkle cut cucumber slices.
This lunch was packed in a Planetbox Rover.

Dinosaurs, bento school lunch, planetbox

His field trip lunch was very simple; a thick turkey and Gouda cheese sandwich cut into half with MOSI lettering, organic granola bar cut into half and seedless grapes. I also sent him a huge snack box and a couple bottles of water which were not in picture.

MOSI field trip lunch

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pac-Man Bento and Lunchables

The other day while we were having a conversation Nikolai asked me whether I've played the Pac-Man game before. I am certain that I have seen the game, but I'm really not much into video gaming. I've heard that it was, and perhaps still is, quite popular.

I decided to try creating a Pac-Man lunch for him. It was quite easy to make, I used a circle cutter to shape a sandwich topped with a slice of mild cheddar cheese and then removed a sector to create the Pac-Man. I used my Japanese bento cutter for the ghosts but you can also use a small ghost cookie cutter from your Halloween cutter collection if you have one. They are bite sized mini sandwiches, two were topped with fruit leather and the other with provolone cheese.
I also included some orange and apple slices and in the other section there are some cucumber slices cut with my crinkle cut knife. To the far right I included a mozzarella string cheese.

Pac-Man bento school lunch

Here is a simple bento which Nikolai enjoyed on a different day. I had no idea as what to pack that day and went with some foods that I had on hand. Looked like lunchables to me, thus the title. He had rolled up honey ham, cheddar cheese slices, cucumber slices, wheat thins crackers, orange, strawberry slices and Yoplait Gogurt.

Lunchables school lunch

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Dinner Rolls Bear and Pinwheel Bento

We have been counting down to end of the school year which will be early next month, and there are some projects and activities at Nikolai's school which makes life a little hectic this time of the year but all is good. With the count down and discussions about trips, my bento making enthusiasm seems to be fading.
This was the first time I sent dinner rolls for school lunch and Nikolai came home with an empty lunch box. I tried to cut the dinner rolls to create the bear ears but they didn't turn out as well as intended. Maybe the bread was too soft and the ears were not holding up or I should have used a tiny piece of uncooked spaghetti to hold it up. Well, I may recreate this sometime again in the near future. I hope then the result will be nicer.
The main section contained a couple of ham and cheese dinner rolls with nori eyes, I used my CuteZCute cuddle palz cutter for the nose and free hand cut the ears. His sides were organic baby carrots, ranch for dip in the yellow container and apple pieces. This lunch was packed in a Monbento Tresor.

Dinner rolls bear, bento school lunch, Monbento Tresor

Here is a simple pinwheels lunch with pretzel thins in the main compartment, cucumber slices and orange slices as sides. This lunch was also packed in a Monbento Tresor.

Pinwheels bento school lunch, Monbento Tresor

Here are the supplies or similar that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pancake Muffins and Pancake sausages, Breakfast For Lunch

As I've mentioned in my previous post about the breakfast which Nikolai made for me on Mother's day, one of the foods was chocolate chips pancake muffins. He followed my favorite recipe which can be found here. This recipe has made it to my personal recipe book. You see, I have this book in which I only write down the recipes which I've tried a gazillion times and which my family loves. The muffins which Nikolai made tasted fantastic, the only thing was, the chocolate chips sank to the center, but the flavor was there. I told him that "Practice Makes Perfect" and maybe he should bake more often.

He saved a couple for his lunchbox to have at school on Monday. I though I'd better post this first instead of my other back logged lunches. The main compartment contains the pancake muffins, Yoplait Gogurt and some sausages which I cooked and let cool in the morning before packing them into his Easylunchboxes container. His sides were watermelon cubes and Annie's homegrown organic granola bar cut into half. The picks which added instant cuteness to this simple lunch can also be used as forks, which I really like. :)

Homemade pancake muffins breakfast for lunch

Here is another breakfast for lunch which he enjoyed a month or so ago. It was sausages covered in pancake, seedless red grapes, applesauce in a leak-proof mini dipper, Annie's organic cheddar bunnies and seedless green grapes. This lunch was packed in an Easylunchboxes urban container.

pancake sausages breakfast for lunch

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Despicable Me Minion Bento

I had a fun Mother's Day weekend showered with food, presents and extra pampering. Nikolai made breakfast with a little help from daddy on Sunday, serving my favorite bacon, scrambled eggs, pancake muffins with choc chips, pudding and some fruits. We saved some pancake muffins for his bento since he suggested that breakfast for lunch would be good on Monday.

We went to Universal Orlando sometime back and of course enjoyed the rides. Nikolai, while we were there, purchased a plush backpack, plush toy, drink container etc from the Universal store as he was excited about the Despicable Me characters then. He showed no interest in them after several weeks later and I think he only used the backpack for a couple of times. When we ask him he'll reply, "yes, I still like Minions" and quickly return to his greater interest.

Since no one was interested in the cake decorations after the pictures were taken at my friends child's Minion themed birthday party, I asked if I could keep the decorations! So, here are a couple of Minion themed lunches in which I used the cute accessories from a party to create.
The first lunch was a sandwich cut into circle shaped with my favorite circle cookie cutter topped with a Minion on float cake decoration, his sides were organic baby carrots with hummus for dip, Annie's organic cheddar bunnies with a minion pick, a Babybel cheese with the letter 'G' cut-out and organic kiwi slices, packed in a Planetbox rover.

Despicable Me Minion bento school lunch

The next lunch was so easy to make, I removed the crust from the bread and added some cheddar cheese alphabet cut-outs "Ba Ba Ba, Ba Ba, Na Na" with a banana pick on the sandwich. His sides were cucumber slices with a minion pick and apple slices, all packed in a Planetbox shuttle.

Despicable Me Bento Lunch, Banana

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Avengers Thor and Hulk Bento

We watched the movie Avengers: Age Of Ultron on the weekend and enjoyed the movie, can't say more, no spoiler alerts here. I like action heroes and I believe these are my first hero themed lunches. My personal favorite is Thor and I've watched the Thor movies as well, several times I would say.

For this THOR bento I made some Thor hammers from pretzel sticks and cube Mozzarella cheese. The T-H-O-R lettering was cut from mild cheddar with my alphabet cookie cutters, the A above the grapes and next to the baby carrots was free hand cut from fruit leather, and the one in the center is an alphabet cookie from IKEA. I also included a Thor yogurt from Yoplait GoGurt Avengers Collection. This lunch was packed in a Planetbox rover.

Avengers Thor bento school lunch, planetbox rover
This lunch was linked to:
Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

I also like Hulk since I used to watch the incredible hulk t.v series when I was younger. Have you watched the series before? The main section contains a Thomas bagel thin and with the same alphabets cookie cutters I cut HULK from smoked Provolone cheese. In the lower left section I made the hulk face from a slice of honeydew melon (cut with a circle cutter) with nori hand cut for the hair and eyebrows candy eyes and another piece of Provolone cheese for the mouth. In the upper left section I included some organic baby carrots and some Annie's organic cheddar bunnies in a silicone cup. This lunch was packed in a Planetbox launch.

Avengers Hulk bento school lunch, Planetbox Launch

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Fish Bento

How was your weekend? Ours went by like a flash as always. These past few months, Nikolai refused to eat school lunch even when the days they had his favorite pizza. He told us that the portions are too small and he disliked the side dishes. We asked him, "How about those who have to eat school lunch?" He told us that his friends, having no choice, ate the main meal and then complained of still being hungry or said the food was just not tasty. That being discussed, my husband and I joined him at school several times to check things out. True enough, the kids who ate school lunch had just had the main meal which was a grilled cheese sandwich, nuggets, taco or pizza (different days), some took the side dish but did not touch it, most just took the main portion.

So now I have to pack lunches for him five days a week.  At times they are simple lunches, some of which I've posted previously. There are some days that he packed his own lunches which are simple sandwiches or leftovers which he prefers over school lunch. Here are three fish themed lunches which Nikolai enjoyed sometime back.    

The fist lunch was a pita for which I used a paring knife to remove a section to relocate forming the mouth and tail. I used a heart shape cutter to make the side fin of Mozzarella cheese and a candy eye. His sides were fish shaped watermelon slices cut with a small fish shaped cookie cutter in a silicone cup, tiny fish shaped cucumber above organic baby carrots, packed in an Easylunchboxes container. I also included a Lunchbox Love note with his lunchbox.

Pita fish bento school lunch, Lunchbox Love note

The second lunch was a fish created with circle and heart shaped cookie cutters; a larger heart cutter for the tail and a small heart to make the accents, Swedish fish and cheddar fish crackers are also in the main compartment. The sides were crinkle cut cucumber slices, organic baby carrots, seedless red grapes and orange slices. This lunch was packed in a Fit & Fresh container.
I love crinkle cut veggies and I have recently purchase a new crinkle cut knife although I already own several. This one is small in size and it's also ideal for Nikolai to use.

Fish bento school lunch, Fit & Fresh

The third and last lunch was quite easy. The main compartment contains a pita cut into quarters (stacked) and topped with fish shaped cheddar cheese, organic granola bar cut into half and cheddar goldfish crackers in silicone cups. The sides were organic baby carrots, broccoli florets, Annie's organic fruit snacks, pineapple and watermelon pieces.
This lunch was packed in a leakproof Yumbox Panino.

Fish on pita bento school lunch, Yumbox Panino

Here are the supplies or similar that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pizza and Quesadilla bento - Planetbox Rover #716

It's almost Mother's Day and my son and hubby are planning a short get away for us. I thought of going to Disney and I know everyone else will enjoy that also. We are very fortunate to live only a few hours from Disney and going there is always great fun, the only thing we have to watch is that the weather during that weekend is pleasant as well.

These two lunches required some cooking in the mornings but it was not too difficult. The first lunch was Trader Joe's mini pizzas which I baked in the morning. While the pizzas were baking in the oven, I assembled the entire lunch and the finishing touch was the cheese. As soon as it was done, I pulled it out from the oven and added some star shaped smoked Gouda cheese cut-out on the top. I let the pizzas cool for a few minutes before I transferred them to his Planetbox Rover.

Mini pizza bento school lunch, planetbox

In this bento lunch:
  • Main compartment - Mini pizzas topped with star shaped cheese.
  • Upper left - Strawberry slices.
  • Lower left - Annie's homegrown organic bunny crackers and bunny pretzels.
  • Center - Trader Joe's yogurt star
  • Upper right - Sugar snap peas with a star shaped cupcake pick.
This second lunch was quesadiila which I pan fried in the morning. I included my homemade chocolate chip granola bar which is Nikolai's favorite. I'm not a great fan of granola bars but these homemade ones are pretty good. This lunch was also packed in a Planetbox Rover.

Quesadilla bento school lunch, planetbox

In this bento lunch:
  • Main compartment - Ham and cheese quesadilla
  • Upper left - Granola bar and Annie's organic cheddar crackers and pretzels.
  • Lower left -Cucumber slices
  • Center - Trader Joe's yogurt star.
  • Upper right - Orange slices.
Here are the supplies or similar that I used to create and pack these lunches.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Disney Mickey, Minnie and Friends Bento

Time flies and when I looked back at my previous Mickey Mouse lunches, I discovered that they were created two years ago! It feels like just a few months ago. Laptop Lunches sent me their new lunchbox several months ago and it was a while before I put it to use, this box in translucent compared to our primary colored box.

This first lunch was created with my Mickey and Minnie cutter and stamp set, and their friends Donald and Daisy are food picks. I used the same Mickey cutter to cut the watermelon slices. I saved the cute Mickey container from Nikolai's Easter egg hunt many years ago and frankly, I can't remember what I included in it since I made this lunch a while back.

Disney Mickey, Minnie and Friends. Bento School Lunches

In this bento lunch:
  • Bottom left: Mickey and Minnie stamped sandwiches (stacked).
  • Top left: Mickey watermelon slices above kiwi slices.
  • Bottom right: Food in the cute Mickey container and ranch for dip in the small container.
  • Top right: Organic broccoli florets and organic baby carrots.
  • Far right: Cloth napkin.
This second Mickey and Minnie themed lunch was packed in his Monbento Tresor box. I used the stamp from the cutter set and stamped Mickey's face on cheddar cheese.

Disney Mickey and Minnie. Bento School Lunches

In this bento lunch:
  • Bottom tier: Mickey and Minnie sandwiches. Yogurt covered raisins in Mickey cup.
  • Top left: Mickey shaped cheddar cheese above Annie's Homegrown organic crackers.
  • Top right: Watermelon and seedless red grapes.
Here are the supplies or similar that I used to create and pack these lunches.