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Monday, November 23, 2015

Monkey Roll-Ups Sandwiches

We are getting so close to Thanksgiving! Will you be hosting the feast or will you be attending? This year we will be hosting and my amazing husband is going to do the cooking. You see, he is our cook during the holidays as well as the weekends when we decide to eat in.:)

I didn't make any Thanksgiving themed lunches this year since school will be out from this coming Wednesday which is also Nikolai's birthday. You can find my previous Thanksgiving themed lunches here. These roll-ups sandwiches are so easy and fun to make. I've also created other characters before such as bear, bunny and dog with the same roll-ups method. I used a small heart shaped cookie cutter for the monkeys face, small circle cookie cutter for the ears (cut into half), and a paper puncher for the eyes and mouth. I find that my paper puncher works better on nori sheets and a little quicker, lol. I found some banana shaped picks which I collected years ago. His sides were some grapes in a silicone cup and a Clif Kid organic bar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monkey Roll-Ups Sandwiches bento lunch

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack this lunch.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Squirrel Sammies and Pasta Lunch

I've been so occupied with the upcoming holidays, or rather enjoying a cheerful holiday mood, and haven't been blogging as much as I had planned. Whenever we have a long weekend, we are mostly out of town and as there are so many fun activities this time of year, especially during the weekends, we are mostly out and about. It's all fun though, and I am sure that things will slow down somewhat early next year when hopefully I'll be able to pick up and blog more often.

Here again are a couple of lunches which I prepared for Nikolai awhile back. Both of these lunches were packed in his Planetbox Rover.

Bento lunch 1: I used my new set of cutters/stampers for the squirrel sandwiches. His sides were grapes with a squirrel pick, yogurt star, Annie's organic snacks, baby carrots and celery sticks.

Squirrel stamped sandwiches for lunch.

Bento lunch 2: Organic ditalini pasta with leftover turkey or chicken pieces (it's been so long and I can't remember) topped with fish shaped cheddar cheese, seedless grapes, yogurt star, organic baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, goldfish crackers and some dip in the small dipper.

Turkey ditalini pasta lunch

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


Monday, November 16, 2015

Warm & Tote Lunchbag Review

I am elated to be given the opportunity by the nice people at Warm & Tote to try out their warm and tote heated lunch tote. Sometimes, during the cooler months, Nikolai requests something warm for his lunch, and I understand that many other school children prefer to enjoy their lunches warm as do many adults. Now, thanks to Warm and Tote, there is an excellent and very attractive solution. Our son's lunch time is 12:45 p.m. and I need to finish packing it by 7:35 a.m. which leaves a span of time of approximately five hours. Much of last week I sent 'leftovers for lunch" and asked each day if it was still warm. The last time he replied," You don't need to keep asking, Mom, it has always been warm!" Previously I would occasionally pack a warm food in our thermos container, which worked well, but had some limitations. With the Warm and Tote, you can keep the entire lunchbox warm, which means you don't need to plop the sweet potato casserole on top of the turkey and dressing. I like such options. 

There is plenty of space in the 'perfecta' model by Warm and Tote, and with two compartments separated by an effective thermal divider, you can keep the lunch warm in one while you keep fruits or a beverage cool in the other. Its size also makes it quite handy for traveling with snacks and beverages, like when visiting theme parks, attending a sporting event, or for taking along for short trips on the weekends.

Warm & Tote Lunchbag Review.

Here is a photo of the Warm and Tote with the Microcore pac to the left. I followed the instructions for the use of the Microcore pac and it easily kept the lunch warm for five hours. In addition to keeping foods warm, it can also keep them cold for up to ten hours! We tested this feature during the weekend and we were quite amazed that even in the hot Florida sun we could enjoy some cold beverages. I really like the bright red color of this lunchbag.

Warm & Tote Lunchbag Review

Here is a photo of the Warm and Tote Perfecta with the lunch I packed and sent to school with Nikolai.
On the left is Couscous decorated with a flower made with mild cheddar cheese cut to shape and thin strips of cucumber with leaf picks. To the right are edamame and meat balls with another pick. This lunch was packed in an Easylunchboxes container which fit nicely in the lower compartment of the Warm and Tote Lunch tote with the Microcore Pac. In the upper compartment he had some fruit in another container with an ice pack.

Warm and Tote Lunchbag Review, Couscous lunch

In this photo you can see how nicely the Warm and Tote perfecta holds our Easylunchboxes container. They have other models with different dimensions available, but for us, this one is truly 'perfecta'!

Please note: Warm and Tote has requested that I link to their Amazon store which will be handling their business volume. They intend to use their private site only to handle the Heat Pack aftermarket purchases. 

Warm and Tote Lunchbag Review
Disclosure: GreenPaxx generously provided me with the products for review without cost to me. Other than receiving the products, I have not received any compensation to write this review. - See more at:

Here are the supplies that I used to create and pack this lunch.

Disclosure: Warm & Tote generously provided me with the products for review without cost to me. Other than receiving the products, I have not received any compensation to write this review.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

5 Quick and Easy Sandwich Ideas

Thanksgiving is approaching soon and Nikolai's birthday will be one day before Thanksgiving this year. As you can imagine, we will be quite busy, but on the bright side, there will be no school on his birthday. I believe I've mentioned before that I usually start my Christmas shopping months before November but this year I've not even started yet! I'll have to  need to start shopping as soon as possible. Not that I'm complaining, I LOVE shopping.

Some of the below sandwich lunches were enjoyed by Nikolai last school year, which means more than half a year ago. I decided to combine all of them in one post. All of the lunches were packed in our leak-proof Yumbox Panino

Bento making should be all about having fun and never something about which you should feel  intimidated. You should ignore any suggestion that bentos are too much work, or take too much time, or that they need to be based on Japanese food, for none of that is necessary. It’s really all about adding that bit of fun, color and whimsy to a meal. And sometimes that extra cheer can make a big difference in a day. Here are five examples of how one can add a little something extra to a plain sandwich.

Bento lunch 1: Cheese lettering. I created the letter SMILE from my alphabet cookie cutters, included a cute eye pick and a cheddar mouth. Alongside are Annie's organic crackers, seedless grapes, apple slices and strawberries.

Smile lunch, Quick and Easy Sandwich With Cheese Lettering

Bento lunch 2: Face cutout. Simple sandwich which I used a mini circle cookie cutter for the eyes (you can use a straw as well) and free hand cut the mouth. His sides were a babybel cheese, organic apple sauce with extra cinnamon topped with frozen blueberries, yogurt covered raisins and seedless red and green grapes.

Quick and Easy Sandwich for Lunch

Bento lunch 3: Topped with a topper or baran: I love Keroppi and used our Keroppi topper on a sandwich, how easy is that. His sides were string cheese, seedless grapes, Annie's organic fruit snack, organic baby carrots with a pick.

Keroppi topper on a sandwich for lunch

Bento lunch 4: Stamped sandwich. I've not used my CuteZCute Animal Palz in a long time and use the monkey stamper on this sandwich. His sides were cookies from Ikea, string cheese, yogurt covered raisins, strawberry pieces a pick.

Stamped sandwich, quick and easy school lunch

Bento lunch 5: Use a cupcake ring or a food pick. This is one of the easiest of them all and also the day when we are low on groceries. I used a cupcake ring on the sandwich, Trader Joe's yogurt stars, Annie's organic fruit snacks and organic apple slices.

Easy lunch with cupcake ring on sandwich

 5 Quick and Easy Sandwich Ideas

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


Thursday, November 5, 2015

6 Ways To Use String Cheese in Lunch Packing

String cheese is quite popular in our home and we always have some in the refrigerator for a grab and go snack or to be included in lunch boxes. I am not a cheese fan but Nikolai and my hubby are. I included them often in Nikolai's school lunches and I'll share with you ways that they can be used. Here are just 6 examples.

Bento lunch 1: Message on the wrapper. I made a simple breakfast for lunch and added a message/letter above the string cheese. His breakfast contains french toast sticks, sausage patties cut into halves, organic maple syrup in the smaller container and the string cheese with a message. Alongside were rice crisps, organic apple sauce and a spoon wrapped in cloth napkin. This lunch was packed in a bentology lunchbox.

French toast breakfast for lunch.

Bento lunch 2: Cheese roll-ups. I used salami and rolled it on the cheese and then had to add a few picks for fun, how easy is that. I've seen something similar in the grocery stores (without the picks) and they were quite pricey, why not make them myself. His sides were seedless red grapes, Annie's organic fruit snacks, heard shaped cookies which we purchased from Ikea, wheat crackers and organic baby carrots. This lunch was packed in a Bentgo leakproof lunchbox.

Salami and Cheese rolls lunch

Bento lunch 3: Sushi roll-ups. Another easy roll-up with which I used uncured ham slices, rolled on the cheese sticks and cut into bite sizes. He also had some grape tomatoes, ants on the log (aka celery sticks, sun butter and raisins), Annie's organic cheddar crackers, seedless red and green grapes and a yogurt tube. This lunch was packed in a bentology lunchbox.

String cheese roll-ups for lunch

Bento lunch 4: Cut into slices. This idea is great when you have to fill up small sections in a lunchbox or to be included in silicone cups. This lunch contains seal shaped sandwiches, wheat cookies from Ikea, slices of string cheese, orange slices, and seedless grapes. It was packed in a Bentgo lunchbox.

Seal kids school lunch

Bento lunch 5: Use one as a separator. This is the most simple lunch which I spruced up with a cupcake pick on the string cheese (I've also used cupcake rings on string cheese). Nikolai had a sandwich cut into half, the string cheese, popcorn, seedless grapes, organic granola bar and cookies from Ikea. Packed in a bentology living box.

Simple sandwich school lunch

Bento lunch 6: Cut into shapes. I've cut a string cheese into octopus shape in many of my lunches and this is one of them. It's simple, cut the string cheese into half and slit lengthwise for about two thirds of each to make the eight tentacles and then gently spread them out slightly. He also had celery sticks with Sunbutter in the small container, fruit snacks, some huge seedless grapes and Annie's organic oatmeal cookies. This was packed in a Bentgo lunchbox.

Octopus cheese on sandwich lunch

Below is a Pinterest friendly collage of the group.

6 Ways To Use String Cheese In Lunch Packing

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Flamingo and Beach Lunch

Today has to be the day! It's already November, and these lunches were enjoyed by Nikolai during Spring time! I guess its has to be that time really does fly when you are having fun! I found this post which was written and overlooked it in my draft folder.

 It was then
It's almost almost summer time and it's also time that we switch up our yard decorations. We have several flamingo decorations and they look super cute when pink in color for the first few months, but due to the hot Florida sun, they start to fade after that. The pink almost looks like white now and I can't wait to remove them even though they still look cute.

This bento lunch features a flamingo which looks quite like the one in our yard, not pink at all, lol! I used my flamingo cookie cutter from my Wilton cookie cutter set for the sandwich, accents are provolone cheese and a raisin for eye. Alongside he had Ikea alphabet cookies in a silicone cup, organic granola bar, organic baby carrots, seedless red and green grapes with palm tree cupcake picks. This lunch was packed in an Easylunchboxes container.

Flamingo school lunch.

We live not too far from the beautiful beaches and the second bento has a beach theme. The sandwiches, which were shaped with a circle cutter are decorated with provolone smiles and sunglasses picks. In silicone cups there are a babybel cheese with the covering cut to resemble a peppermint and some fish shaped crackers. Top left I included some celery sticks and dressing in a mini container and top right I included some apple slices. This lunch was packed in an Easylunchboxes container.

Beach themed bento lunch.

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


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Frankenstein Bento

Halloween is on a Saturday this year which means that it's not that hectic to us compared to being on a weekday. Of the many spooky icons available for the Halloween season, Frankenstein is one of the most famous. Therefore, I've chosen this not so scary Frankenstein to be my last Halloween themed lunch of 2015. I am quite happy that this year I managed to post all of the Halloween themed lunches before October 31st! I've created a couple of other Frankenstein lunches in the past and this one, I think, may be the easiest to make of them all.

Frankenstein Halloween school lunch

In this bento lunch:
  • A Frankenstein monster sandwich with the crust trimmed to use as his hair, eyes of mozzarella cheese and raisins, mouth and scar freehand cut from fruit leather, and a couple of picks from my space themed collection.
  • Top left are some organic baby carrots with a creepy skeletal hand which I purchased from Michaels craft store.
  • Top right is half of an apple carved into a Jack-O-Lantern in a pumpkin silicone cup. This lunch was packed in an Easylunchboxes container.
Hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween, and a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jack-O-Lantern Bento

It looks like I've gotten into some kind of Jack-O-Lantern mode lately, from my bento lunches to my home decorations. We have a wooden doll house or, since Nikolai uses it for his collection of bears, perhaps I should call it a bear house. My hubby made this cute little bear sized house for Nikolai many years ago. It has three stories with different flooring in all the rooms from carpet and marble to wood with a beautiful roof top, and fully furnished. Several weeks ago I spotted some adorable little pumpkin shaped string lights, got them for the bear's house, and used them to decorate it along the roof and in one of the rooms!

For this lunch I made a simple and free hand cut sandwich into a Jack-O-Lantern.

Jack-O-Lantern Halloween bento lunch

In this bento lunch: Main compartment contains a sandwich topped with mild cheddar cheese carved into Jack-O-Lantern with a bread crust stem and a leaf food pick. The sides are some ghosts and bats veggie chips which I purchased from Target, a ghost marshmallow in the center, organic baby carrots with hummus in the small dipper, a brownie and some seedless grapes in a silicone cup with a Jack-O-Lantern pick. This lunch was packed in a Planetbox rover.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ghost Halloween Lunches

I thought I'll combine these two ghost themed lunches in one post. We will be on a long weekend since Monday and Tuesday there will be no school and I am expecting to only post one or two more Halloween themed lunches next week.

I love creating these ghosts with my Japanese octopus cutter, I think they look cute and are not such scary ghosts. Nikolai had pizza bites and I topped it with ghost Mozzarella cheese. First, I baked the mini pizza bagel bites which I found in the freezer section of the grocery store and when they were done, I topped with the ghost shaped cheese. I started cutting the ghosts while I was waiting for the pizzas to be done in the oven.

Ghost pizza bites, Halloween bento lunch

In this bento lunch: Pizza bites topped with ghost shaped Mozzarella cheese slices, ghost shaped veggie chips which I purchased from Target, organic pear pieces with a ghost cupcake pick and the far right is a string cheese for which I used a marker on the outside wrapper of the cheese to make it ghostly. This lunch was packed in a Bentology living bentobox.

The next lunch was ghosts Halloween pasta. I purchased the Halloween pasta at World Market and cooked it in the morning with some leftover diced chicken and Italian seasoning. I topped the pasta with ghosts shaped Mozzarella cheese. His sides were organic baby carrots with an eyeball cupcake ring, Annie's organic fruit snacks, apple slices and seedless grapes. This lunch was packet in a leak-proof Yumbox Panino.

Ghost Halloween Pasta lunch

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mummy Halloween Bento

This was a very easy and fun to make mummy lunch. I used a bear shaped cookie cutter to create the mummy, for which I got the inspiration from one of my older posts where I used a Gingerbread man cookie cutter to create the mummy. You can find that post here.
I wanted to surprise Nikolai with this lunch but had to tell him not to panic when he sees it at lunch time. He is afraid of spiders and that cupcake ring might startle him. I don't want him jumping or shouting and getting into trouble at lunch time, lol.

Mummy Halloween bento. I used a bear shaped cookie cutter to create the mummy.

In this bento lunch: Bear shaped sandwich topped with mozzarella cheese bandages, candy eyes and a spider cupcake ring. Organic baby carrots with a monster hand cupcake pick, Annie's organic fruit snack, seedless black grapes, orange yogurt topped with fruit leather which I free hand cut to look like Jack-O-Lantern. I included a Lunchbox love note with this lunch which was packed in a leak-proof Bentgo box.

I'm not crazy about spiders either, but for me it is the startled expression in the mummy's eyes that makes it really scary!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pizza Mummy and Jack-O-Lantern Pizza

Pizza is always popular with Nikolai, he doesn't mind eating them either hot or cold. I found a great recipe for pizza mummies from Weelicoius site and I found her instructions are very easy to follow. These pizzas are made from English muffins and the result was very tasty indeed, but I've also made some out of Pillsbury biscuit dough which you can find here. As often is the case, we doubled up the recipe and decided to experiment a little creating different themes.

Nikolai helped with the pizza faces and I think this is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen. Often times I get him to help in the kitchen with activities from whisking and cutting to cooking and baking. It's also a great time and opportunity to teach him valuable skills for his future. His favorite question to me is usually, "Mom, what is your secret ingredient?" LOL.

Pizza Mummy and Jack-O-Lantern Pizza.

In this bento lunch: English muffin pizzas. The one on the left is Jack -O-Lantern with mozzarella cheese cut with my Jack-O-Lantern cutter. The other is a mummy pizza for which I used strips of string cheese and a couple slices of a black olive. Above and to the left are some organic baby carrots and to the right is a container of apple sauce decorated with a mummy cupcake ring. This lunch was packed in a Bentology living lunchbox

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Halloween Bat Bento

We have so many party invitations and fun activities especially from this weekend onward. As always, we are unable to attend all of them and it's so difficult to choose which ones we could attend, and which to politely and regretfully pass.

I made this simple bat bento which includes a couple of bat shaped sandwiches. For these I used my larger bat shape cutter and added eyes and mouth cut from fruit leather. Above these bat sandwiches there are organic carrots and celery sticks with a BOO pick, and to the left of those are some bat shaped pieces of mild cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I used the same small cutter for both the cheese and the cut-out of the apple half. In the center are Annie's organic fruit snacks. Perhaps dark pumpernickel bread might have been more typically bat like, but what I used here seems to make the little red eyes a bit more startling. This lunch was packed in a Planetbox Rover.

Halloween bat bento school lunch.

My hubby thought that the bats should be upside down as he said that is how they are usually seen. While it might have been extra creepy for those who know such things, I suggested that they probably do their flying orientated as shown. I actually looked this up, and there indeed are white winged vampire bats and while they do hang around upside down they don't do it with their wings spread. Spooky to me!!