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Thursday, September 29, 2016

4 Transportation Themed Lunches

Looking at these transportation themed lunches is putting me into travel and vacation mode! I wish we could have a long vacation and more travels coming soon but unfortunately our next long one will be around Christmas time, not that it will be really long, only around two weeks if I'm not mistaken. These lunches were created with our Lunch Punch transportation set which comes with four cutters. They are easy to use and the final results are always cute, you can add some accents like what I did or go without and your lunches will still turn out cute!

4 Transportation Themed Lunches

Nikolai enjoyed these lunches last school year before our summer vacation! It sure brings back memories.

Truck with cargo school lunch in a Planetbox

Bento lunch 1: Truck with cargo. I used the lunch punch cutter for the sandwich and added cheddar cheese wheels and a cap pick for the driver. Sides are pineapple and watermelon chunks with a truck food pick, choc cover sunflower seeds, cucumber slices, organic baby carrots, a cereal bar and crackers. This lunch is packed in a Planetbox rover.

Aeroplane in cloud lunch in a Yumbox

Bento lunch 2: Aeroplane in cloud with Provolone cheese accents. The plane was, of course, cut with the same cutter, while the little clouds were freehand cut.
Sides are organic granola bar, pineapple chunks, yogurt covered fruits, organic baby carrots with a cloud baran. This lunch is packed in a leak-proof Yumbox panino.

Train with coal car bento lunch in a Planetbox

Bento lunch 3: For this 'Train with coal car' sandwich I used a small circle cutter and some Provolone cheese for the wheels and puffs of smoke from the locomotive and some mild cheddar which I freehand cut for the other accents. Above the coal car is a morning sun of Babybel cheese and below the wheels are celery tracks. This bento also includes orange slices and a granola bar. It is lunch is packed in a Planetbox launch.

Car lunch in a stainless steel Planetbox

Bento lunch 4: Car. Main compartment contains a car shaped sandwich with cheddar cheese accents and a cute face pick. Sides were grapes with a stop light pick, yogurt covered fruits, sugar snap peas with dip in the small dipper, organic granola bar and crackers. This lunch is packed in a Planetbox rover.

I've packed many more lunches created with the lunch punches and I am hoping to post them soon if possible.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall Acorns and Leaf Bento

My favorite time of the year is here, fall, yippee! I can't wait for all the fun activities to start. I've already started enjoying the wonderful fall foods such as pumpkin tea, latte, pie, cake, etc. Everything is moderation, right? The weather here is still very hot and will maybe feel like fall in a couple of months time, hopefully. Hurricane season doesn't end until after the turkey gets cooked, and it will be after that when it gets cool enough to be considered fall weather. Still, it is officially fall according to the scientists and the calendar.

Here is a fall themed lunch which I made for Nikolai last week for his school lunch, on the first day of fall. I've owned the acorn cookie cutter for a while now and every year I overlooked it, so I decided to make a couple of acorns which are so easy.

Fall Acorns and Leaf Bento

In this bento lunch (packed in an Easylunchboxes): A couple of acorns sandwiches with the bread crust from the end of the loaf shaped by the same cutter to make the cupule part, a Babybel cheese with maple leaf cutout, organic granola bar with a scarecrow cupcake pick. Sides were sugar snap peas, green and red grapes in a pumpkin silicon cup with a fall cupcake pick.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

5 Homemade Lunchables and DIY Pizza Lunchables

In this post I will continue to share some lunches which Nikolai had enjoyed last school year and didn't get posted then. There are so many brands and varieties of lunchables these days in stores, their popularity can hardly be questioned. I may have mentioned that we have NEVER bought or tried the store brands ones. It is not that I have anything against those sold in stores, but I just can't justify the price for the small amount of food that you'll get. Packing our own is easy, much less expensive, and we can include the foods that we prefer, and choices are always great. I love packing these lunchable style lunches as it's nice to have a little bit of everything. You can find more lunchables ideas in my previous posts here.

5 Homemade Lunchables and DIY Pizza Lunchables

The DIY Pizzables shown here is the first time I packed this for Nikolai and he loved the concept.

DIY Pizza Lunchables

Bento lunch 1: DIY Pizza lunchables. Main compartment contains whole wheat sandwich thins (you can also use pita if you prefer), nitrate free pepperoni, organic marinara sauce in a leak-proof mini dipper, a spoon and a baran. Top left are shredded mozzarella cheese and top right are organic granola bar cut into half and seedless grapes.

DIY homemade lunchables with nitrate free salami

Bento lunch 2: DIY Homemade Lunchables. Main compartment contains whole wheat crackers, round shaped cheddar cheese which I used my small round shaped cookie cutter for the cut out, organic popcorn and nitrate free salami in a square silicone cup. Sides were organic celery sticks, dip in small container and organic apple slices.

Ham, cheese, crackers lunchables

Bento lunch 3: Main compartment contains slices of cheddar cheese, nitrate free ham roll ups with a music note food pick and whole wheat crackers. Sides were cucumber slices and watermelon chunks with a smaller music note pick.

Mickey Mouse themed lunchables

Bento lunch 4: DIY Homemade lunchables, Mickey Mouse themed. I used my Mickey Mouse fondant cutter for the provolone and cheddar cheese slices on top of some crackers, nitrate free salami, Pirate's booty and seedless grapes. I also included a yogurt cup which is not pictured.This was the day when we were low on groceries.

Luncables with cheese, ham, cheese bread, carrots, apple, grapes

Bento lunch 5: DIY homemade lunchables with nitrate fee honey ham roll ups, cheese stick slices, cheese bread from the store which was so yummy and organic baby carrots in the main compartment. Seedless green grapes and organic apple slices on the top.

All of these easy lunches were packed in our Easylunchboxes container. Easy peasy right?


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pikachu Pokemon Go Bento

Nikolai is so into Pokémon GO and has been going everywhere gathering up these Poké balls to -attempt- to catch the virtual Pokémon in the real world. Hubby takes him around to the Pokéstops which are interesting because they could be in places you never knew existed, and the Gyms where he battles to defend for his team (Team Mystic!). Nikolai asked me to create several Pokemon themed lunches. How many Pokémon are in the Pokédex? (Answer: 151). I must admit that I don't know them all, only that my personal favorite is Pikachu (Nikolai's is Charizard and Charmander) and I've found it is fairly easy to create. The lunch below is the first which I created a few weeks ago. Now, I need inspiration for some other characters.:)

Pikachu Pokemon Go Bento

In this bento lunch (packed in a Planetbox rover): A sandwich with a Pikachu of mild cheddar cheese using a large circle cutter. The nori mouth was freehand cut as were the tops of the ears, and the nose was made with a heart shaped puncher. Nori and Provolone cut with round cookie cutters made the eyes, and another round cutter was used to make the blushing cheeks. Above Pikachu are cucumber slices and to the left of them are Annie's organic snacks. To the left of Pikachu are some grapes and chunks of pineapple. In the middle of it is a Poké Ball of Babybel cheese, small round provolone and nori.

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


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

4 French Toast Breakfast For Lunch Ideas

I am biased here, I would say that my hubby makes the best french toast! I never much liked French toast before I met him but now, after tasting the ones that he made, I kinda like it as does Nikolai, who loves them and often requests them for his school lunch. The French toast bentos below were made by my hubby except for the French toast sticks which I got from my freezer stash. We like to stock up on some frozen breakfast items for times when we need quick and easy, grab and go.

4 French Toast Breakfast For Lunch Ideas

The first breakfast for lunch, shown in the photo below, and packed in our leak-proof Yumbox , is so easy. While hubby was cooking more French toast, I added some features to the ones that I helped packed in the Yumbox. I used a small circle cutter for the cheddar ears and provolone nose, raisin eyes and nori accent for the nose. Does it look like a bear? His sides were organic maple syrup, organic apple sauce and orange slices.

French toast breakfast for lunch, bear themed.

The second breakfast for lunch was from my freezer stash, with the French toast heated in the toaster oven. The sides were organic granola bar cut into half, grapes, organic maple syrup, strawberry yogurt with a strawberry cut into star shape and some organic crackers. This lunch was packed in a leak-proof Bentgo lunchbox.

French toast sticks breakfast for lunch

This third breakfast for lunch French toast was also made by my hubby and I added a smiley face to it, raisin eyes and nori mouth with a cap pick, easy peasy! Sides were organic apple sauce, seedless grapes, organic maple syrup in the small container, Trader Joe's yogurt stars and a spoon wrapped in cloth napkin. This lunch was packed in a Bentology lunchbox.

Smiley face French toast breakfast for lunch

The fourth French toast breakfast for lunch was also packed in our leak-proof Yumbox. I added a baran sheet for cuteness. Alongside are Chobani Greek yogurt, organic maple syrup and seedless grapes with a pick.

French toast breakfast for lunch with a cute baran sheet

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


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: PlanetBox BottleRocket Booster Water Bottle

When I earlier reviewed the PlanetBox BottleRocket, I wrote," The only suggestion that I could make, would be to make it also available in larger sizes in addition to the present size of eleven ounces." Now, here it is! The very nice people over at PlanetBox generously sent us their new, larger, Planetbox BottleRocket water bottle. I am very pleased to introduce their 18.8 oz. PlanetBox BottleRocket Booster, which, along with the 11 oz. Capsule, provides two great options for keeping hydrated.

Review: PlanetBox BottleRocket Booster Water Bottle

We have been using the smaller BottleRocket, from PlanetBox, almost every day for a year now and, believe me, it is still in perfect condition! Let me put it this way, ALL of our PlanetBox products are still in perfect condition. If you have been following our blog, you'll see that we've used our Planetbox Rover quite often and the lunchbox is still in like new condition after all these years, just AMAZING. That is what we refer to as fantastic quality! Let me continue with this review before I get side tracked writing about how much we love our PlanetBox products.

Below is a picture of the smaller BottleRocket Capsule and the new BottleRocket Booster for comparing their size. They both share wonderful design and features I appreciate. The Booster water bottle is great for both kids and adults alike. I am thrilled to discover that it is available with pink caps. You all might already know that pink is my favorite color! I'll have to get the pink one for myself!

Review: PlanetBox BottleRocket Booster Water Bottle

Here are some of the things I think you also will like about the stainless steel Bottle Rocket Booster. It is truly leakproof and the contents remain COLD for up to 12 hours even in our famous Florida heat. It's double walled and vacuum insulated which means it does not sweat so no wet slippery fingers or water rings on the table. The cap keeps the spout clean and sealed, yet they are easy to open with just the push of a button even for young children. To avoid accidentally opening, there is an easy to use locking mechanism. It is comfortable to hold and can be carried in most cup holders or bottle cages almost anywhere.

The photos below show the cap. On the left you can see the clever design of the spout which dispenses easily and quietly yet seals completely. On the right you can see how the cap is taken apart for thorough cleaning.

Review: PlanetBox BottleRocket Booster Water Bottle

Below is the PlanetBox BottleRocket Booster paired with the PlanetBox Rover lunchbox to deliver a space themed lunch which consists of a large planet sandwich with cheddar cheese ring, organic baby carrots with cucumber stars, seedless grapes with cute space food picks, yogurt covered stars and some cheddar rocket shaped crackers.

Space lunch and PlanetBox BottleRocket Booster Water Bottle Review

Like the Capsule, the Booster also fits nicely in the PlanetBox Carry Bag as you can see in the photo below.

Review: PlanetBox BottleRocket Booster Water Bottle

PlanetBox has durable and high quality products, and their new water bottle, the BottleRocket Booster, is another excellent example! I am sure that it can last for many years to come!


Disclosure: PlanetBox generously provided me with the product without cost to me. Other than receiving the product, I have not received any compensation to write this review. All opinions are my own.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Football Bento Lunch

With football season just around the corner, I thought I'll make Nikolai a Football themed lunch and I believe this is my first ever football lunch. Thanks to the lunch punch sporty set I was able to create this lunch easily.

The nice people over at the lunch punch sent me this sporty set a coupe of months ago when we were on summer break, and it's now the perfect time for me to put this set to use, sort of a kick-off for the school year! We also have the VRRRM and Sweet sets, of which you can find my review here, and the the Critter cutters as well as the Match and Munch set that can be found here. We love all of these sets and they are frequently my favorite cutters when I need to create something cute, quick and easy.

The Sporty set comes with four shapes of cutters: Baseball and glove, Basketball, Football and Soccer ball. Like the other lunch punch cutters, one really great feature of these cutters is that they are very cleverly designed to capture the most amount of bread to minimize waste!

The ease of use includes their ease of cleaning. If you desire, you can simply put them in the dishwasher, and like the other sets, these are made of US FDA approved food-grade virgin ABS plastic, which is free of such things as BPA, PVC, phthalate, and lead, so of course you won't see these, but you will definitely see fun lunches!

Football Bento Lunch, NFL.

In this bento lunch: A football shaped sandwich with provolone cheese accents, organic granola bar cut into half, organic baby carrots and organic apple slices in my favorite square silicone cup. This lunch is packed in our Easylunchboxes container.

I've created a bunch of lunches with the lunch punch sets right before end of last school year. I was short of ideas and lost much of my bento making mojo for a time. It happens to all of us occasionally, so I expect you'll soon be seeing more of the Lunch Punch lunches that I haven't yet posted.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Dabbawalla Lunch Bag Review

Dabbawalla kindly sent us an example of their wonderful bag and I am very pleased to share with you my very favorable impression. Their name sounded familiar, so to satisfy my curiosity I managed to find this from the Dabbawalla site.
"Literally translated it means lunch box carrier. We are inspired by the legendary system of dabbawallas delivering homemade lunches, packed with love, to thousands of office workers in India."

It is a colorful and wonderful way for you and me to send lunches with our children. The British Union Jack lunch bag shown here is the one which Nikolai had chosen.

Dabbawalla Lunch Bag Review

This Dabbawalla Lunch Bag is just one from the great selection which you can find at their site. Their colors are eye popping bright and their designs are both numerous and cheerful. 

Dabbawalla is an absolutely phenomenal brand that is known for its trendy designs and its amazing neoprene-like fabric called eco-sponge. Not only is the PVC-free material eco-friendly, it’s also insulating so your child’s lunch stays colder typically for four to five hours if you include an ice pack.

Dabbawalla Lunch Bag Review

The Dabbawalla bags are easy for even very young children to open and close to access their lunch, and the handle is soft and comfortable. While quite roomy inside, they are not bulky outside. It's not as small as some of the ones I've seen sold in stores, this is quite a good size bag which I absolutely like! I have tried it with many lunch boxes from my collection and found that it will easily accommodate many types of containers.

Dabbawalla Lunch Bag Review

The photo above shows the back side. The inside usable dimensions are 10 inches high x 9 inches wide  x 6 inches deep, but these are a bit variable as their bags are soft and expand a bit to fit many containers. I am very pleased with how much I could fit into this roomy lunch bag, it was able to hold Nikolai's lunchbox, an ice pack, his water bottle and still have room to spare! The lunch box can even stay UPRIGHT, a feature that I truly love!

Below you can see that there is even a mesh pocket inside for an ice pack or napkins and one on the side for a water bottle or utensils.

Dabbawalla Lunch Bag Review

The photos below show:
  1. Homemade lunchables with nitrate free ham roll-ups, organic baby carrots, seedless grapes, cheese chunks with a cute pick and rice crisps which was packed in a PlanetBox Shuttle.
  2. The Shuttle lunchbox is positioned upright in the bottom of the Dabbawalla bag.
  3. Room to spare even after adding an ice pack and a PlanetBox BottleRocket.
  4. The adorable zipper pull which is easy for children to use and which I truly adore. How cute is that!
Dabbawalla Lunch Bag Review and Homemade Lunchables

I LOVE this lunch bag and only wish that I've found the Dabbawalla site when Nikolai was much younger. I like all of their super duper cute and functional bags!

Disclosure: Dabbawalla generously provided me with the product for review without cost to me. Other than receiving the product, I have not received any compensation to write this review. All opinions are my own.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Brighten Up Your Lunches With Food Picks

Food picks are one of my favorite bento accessories. Many are so cute that I LOVE them myself! In fact, I've just ordered a bunch of new picks, not yet sure if it's for Nikolai's lunches or for my own viewing pleasure, lol. Lately, especially on days when my lunch packing mojo is on holiday, I've been using food picks to brighten up his lunches.

When I first started out bento-ing or packing lunches for Nikolai, one early consideration was his picky eating. Yes, he is a picky eater. I'm not one to be overly critical or assign lables, but initially I had some difficulty packing lunches that he would actually eat. I thought that cute food picks and rings might be great ways to brighten up his lunches. The first bento accessories I purchased were food picks from Bento USA (they have so many choices with reasonable prices so I purchased a huge collection).

Cute food picks and rings really are great ways to brighten up any simple lunch and I noticed that he would eat up most of his lunches when I included those cute picks or rings. We also acquired many more food picks/ rings by saving them after we devoured cupcakes at a party or just by buying them from the store. Enjoy the cupcakes and save the cute picks for later, how convenient is that! :)

I've included food picks or rings in most of Nikolai's past lunches and below are just a few.

Brighten Up Your Lunches With Food Picks

Bento lunch 1: A sandwich cut into half which I included a bee cupcake pick. Sides were organic granola bar cut into half, cheddar crackers, string cheese slices, cucumber slices and apple slices with a smaller bee pick. This lunch was packed in a leak-proof Yumbox.

Bee pick on a simple sandwich lunch

Bento lunch 2: This lunch was sent warm in our Warm and Tote bag. It was all natural chicken nuggets with cute picks and organic popcorn. He also had a side of fruits which are not in picture. This lunch was packed in a Planetbox shuttle.

Nuggets and popcorn with Donald Duck and Daisy food picks.

Bento lunch 3: This lunch was packed towards the end of last school year when I'd lost my lunch packing mojo. String cheese with a soccer ball cupcake ring, yogurt covered stars, a sandwich with a soccer ball cupcake pick, brownie for a treat and green grapes. Packed in a Planetbox rover.

Soccer pick on a simple sandwich and a soccer ring on string cheese

Bento lunch 4: I attempted to free hand cut a sweet shape from smoked Gouda cheese, topped it on a Hawaiian sweet bun. His sides were organic apple sauce with a sweet pick, yogurt covered fruits and organic baby carrots. This lunch was packed in a leak-proof Yumbox.

Sweet shaped cheese on Hawaiian bun with a cute sweet pick

Bento lunch 5: This simple lunch was packed in a Lunchbots duo and sent warm in our Warm and Tote bag. It contains chicken nuggets, a cereal bar with a star pick and cheddar crackers. Sides are fruits and veggies which are sent cold, not pictured.

Nuggets and a cereal bar with star pick

Bento lunch 6: A ladybug pick on a sandwich, a couple of flower shaped watermelon slices on green grapes, yogurt covered fruit snacks, a Babybel cheese, cheese crackers and yogurt covered star. This lunch was packed in a Planetbox rover.

Ladybug pick on a sandwich to brighten up the lunch

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


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sailor Bags Insulated Lunch Bag Review and a Sailboat Lunch

I am elated to be given the opportunity by the nice people at Sailor Bags to try out their lunch bag. For me, and perhaps many of you, the right bag can really make a difference. I have a collection of handbags like an artist has a collection of pencils. Lots of them, ask my hubby! Well, with this interest one can appreciate the difference between 'just any bag' and 'a really great bag'. In the spectrum of lunch bags, this Sailor Bag is really, REALLY great!

Sailor Bags Insulated Lunch Bag Review

The color of the Chesapeake lunch bag is very bright and very cheerful, as you can see in these photos. What's more, this lunch bag is of excellent quality and durability. It is made with a genuine sailcloth exterior of Dacron polyester, YKK marine grade zippers, corrosion-resistant metal hardware, super-tough webbing and their signature sailmaker's zig-zag stitching. I love the nautical influence and simple yet stylish design.

Sailor Bags Insulated Lunch Bag Review

The strap is adjustable and comfortable for kids and adult alike (like me, I adore this bag). The strap can even be arranged to make a backpack! The outside dimensions are about 9 inches high, 8 inches wide and 3 inches deep and the inside is insulated to keep your lunch either warm or cold. It will easily accommodate many of our lunch boxes even with an ice pack.

Sailor Bags Insulated Lunch Bag Review

I like the slim but roomy design and it holds a lot more than its great looks. It has an extra wide top opening which means it's easy to pack and easy to access. The front pocket holds a napkin and utensils.

Sailor Bags Insulated Lunch Bag Review  and a sailboat lunch

I made the sailboat shaped sandwich which is floating on a sea of blueberries below a Babybel cheese sun. Above and to the left is a school of fish going to school and to the right of them are some organic baby carrots and green seedless grapes with a life ring pick. This lunch was packed in an Easylunchbox and will make its journey to school in a Sailor Chesapeake Insulated Lunch Bag.

Sailor Bags Insulated Lunch Bag Review and a Sailboat Lunch

Below is his lunch with an ice-pack and juice in the lunch bag, ready to go!

SailorBags has, in addition to this wonderful example, a stylish collection of bags for just about any mission which you can view here. While this bag might be higher in price ($39) than many alternates, you will find few with such style, quality, and a lifetime guarantee!

Disclosure: Sailor Bags generously provided me with the product for review without cost to me. Other than receiving the product, I have not received any compensation to write this review. All opinions are my own.