Sunday, June 30, 2013

Shake Your Udi's, Boogie Your Buns House Party

This week I had an opportunity to host a House Party featuring Shake your Udi's, Boogie your buns. We had a fantastic afternoon and the kids and moms boogie woogie oogied.

This was our first time trying the Udi's hot dog buns and moms and kids all approved. They are yummy. Thanks to the Free Udi's coupons provided in the House Party Pack we can all enjoy some Free Udi's products. I also purchased their Sweet and Fruity granola which I love for Chobani Greek yogurt parfaits (not pictured in this post but trust me its awesome).

Being summer a big get-together can be hard to schedule, and afternoons doubly so thanks to nap schedules. Our next challenge was the barbeque, it's in the triple digits here so standing in full sun over open flames didn't appeal to me so we brought the party inside and grilled on our George Foreman grill. I chose Hebrew National Gluten-free hotdogs and one of the guests also brought Gluten-free Angus beef hotdogs, they were delicious! For our sides we served fresh fruit: grapes, oranges, apples, watermelon, and cantaloup. One of the guests also brought home-made strawberry shortcakes with whipped cream and strawberry sauce that was so good for dessert.

9 people for our party, though 3 are hidden

With the 4th of July right around the corner, celebrating gluten-free is easier than ever. Thanks Udi's and House Party!

As part of this party package we received:
  • Free coupons to purchase Udi's Hot dog buns and other Udi's products
  • Udi's Disco Inferno BBQ sauce
  • Udi's reusable grocery bag
  • Hamburger-shaped mini speaker
  • 12 Udi's Zinnia Soul seeds
  • 12 Temporary disco tattoos
  • 12 Boogie your buns wristbands
  • Free Guest product coupons for purchase of Udi's products

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We got work to do

Summer time gives me a breather from the daily rush of getting kids out the door pre-dawn. So I thought I could have a little fun of my own. This week I'm playing with my food. One of my favorite new found shows is Supernatural. I know its been out since 2005 but I am just now getting around to watching it on Netflix. I am hooked. These brothers crack me up, and of course the haunted tales are awesome.
 These are a few of Dean's favorite things

In this lunch :
  • Dean's 1967 black Impala on provolone
  • License Plate - KAZ 2Y5 cut from cucumbers on top of salad
  • Dean's apples - He has a thing for apple pie. I also spread them like wings, but no spoilers. 
  • Trail mix - road food

Time is running out to vote for me over at Cooking Light only 3 days left in the contest. I would like to thank all of you that have been sharing my photo/link and voting every day. It means the world to me. I know whoever wins deserves it, all of the contestants have submitted healthy lunches that look great. If you have a moment I would love for you to click the link and vote for me. Contest ends June 14th. Thanks again for all the wonderful support this year.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Waffles for lunch

One of the things that I love about summer is being able to take the time to let my kids cook with me. During the school year I tend to shoo them away so I can just get it done fast, but that is no fun at all. So while we have the time and open schedule I like to let them make whatever they want, when they want. Today they really wanted waffles, but being on a relaxed schedule also means I hadn't been to the store yet and there were no Eggos to fall back on, oops. Their favorite flavor happens to be cinnamon toast, and I have missed waffles, not Eggos (sorry) but real ones. You see due to dietary restrictions for my health I need to limit sugar and cut out gluten. A real challenge for a sweet tooth like me. I'm still a fledgling and soaking up all kinds of recipes and tips from everything I can find online. I have been buying things to eventually start baking again if I find them on sale or a coupon, but hadn't had the time or inspiration yet. So the three of us journeyed into our kitchen to attempt some yummy healthy waffles.

Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Cinnamon Apple Waffles

These were fantastic! Seriously they are fluffy and sweet and a great substitute for all the cinnamon roll goodness Pinterest has been tempting me with lately. I'm including the brands I use just in case others may produce different results, or like me you stare at the grocery shelves with no idea what brand to pick.

Dry Ingredients :
Wet Ingredients :
      *  Separately whisk the egg whites until fluffy

  1. Sift together the dry ingredient
  2. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl
  3. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl
  4.  Transfer wet mixture to kitchen aid mixer, 
  5. Slowly add in dry mixture
  6. Beat for 2 minutes until well incorporated
  7. Fold in egg whites until well incorporated
  8. Scrape sides and stir one last time
  9. Pre-heat Krups waffle iron, spray with Pam cooking spray
  10. Add batter and bake!
Now the fun part about cooking with kids is the mess. The first batch I was timid and didn't add enough leaving holy waffles. The second batch I over compensated and erupted a waffle mess that really entertained the monkeys. The third round was of course perfect :). Mess not included this should make ~11-12 waffles depending on your iron. One was plenty to fill me up, each kid ate two and we served it with Maple Grove sugar free maple syrup and apple slices.

For more great ideas check out Keeley McGuire's allergy friendly recipe over at MOMables.

Now for the fun challenge. I entered the Cooking Light Magazine's The Great American Healthy Lunchbox Challenge and have made it to round 2 in the Lunchbox for Kids category on the Facebook contest. As 1 of only 5 in my category every vote counts. I need your help to get to number 1. So please click and vote for me every day until June 14th. One lucky winner from each category will be featured in the September issue of Cooking Light Magazine and on Cooking I would really appreciate your support. As a first year blogger and bento maker you can imagine how exciting this is for me. I would be nothing without all of you however. So we're in this together. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Break the breakfast rut

One of my favorite snacks/desserts is yogurt with fruit. For the past 2 months I started getting Nature Box snacks delivered and the variety has been fun to incorporate. I tend to lean toward sweet over spicy/salty when I snack, so to keep my hand out of the cookie jar (figuratively speaking) I need to have healthy alternatives. Yesterday I swapped snack for breakfast and it was delicious, fast, and filling I actually skipped snack and wasn't hungry until lunch.

 Yogurt Parfait

In this breakfast :
To kick of our summer vacation, the first Monday I didn't have to get up at 6am and make breakfasts and lunches and hound everyone out the door, we all slept in. Oh sure I have a summer bucket list of all the things to pack our summer full of fun, but today was just a relax and go with it kind of day. So while the wee ones enjoyed their cereal I whipped up an easy crustless quiche and popped in a yoga DVD while it baked. I can't say it enough I love summer!

 Crustless Spinach and Kale Quiche

In this breakfast :
  • Crustless Quiche
    • Preheat oven to 350
    • Spray pie dish with Pam Cooking Spray
    • Layer bottom of dish with Kale and Spinach
    • Top with sliced mushrooms
    • 5 large eggs scrambled with 5 Tbsp of skim milk pour into dish
    • Slice 1/2 roma tomato arrange on top ( I used 5 slices about 1/4 in thick)
    • Bake 30-35 min depending on your oven
    • Last 5-10 min sprinkle parmesan cheese on top
  • Fruit trees - 1/2 banana, 1/2 orange, 2 cherries

I took the challenge! I am so excited to be 1 of 5 finalists in the Cooking Light magazine The Great American Healthy Lunch Box Challenge, Lunchbox for Kids category.

Now I need your help. It's your turn to vote for the winner. Voting is so easy its on Facebook. Click the link below and the voting app will take you to my entry, "like" Cooking Light's page, click Vote, that's it no other registration required.

Voting is every 24 hours so check back every day to vote again and again. The winners will be featured in the September issue of Cooking Light Magazine and Cooking

I cannot thank you enough for all of your support. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer Vacation Kick Off!

School is officially out! Green monkey had his final day of kindergarten filled with fun activities. They had a blast from cupcakes and cookies, autographing yearbooks, chalk and bubbles, to popsicles.  After school we kicked off summer by heading to the pool for our Mom's group Big Summer Bash. Since we skipped lunch due to school treats, or shall I say delayed? I packed them each some fun food for poolside breaks.
At the Pool

 In these lunches :
  • Iced popsicles in their signature colors for each of the monkeys
  • Gummy Bear in Gummy swim ring
  • Pool- peanutbutter and jelly sandwich
  • Sand - cheerios
  • Sun bathers under the umbrella - Animal crackers on rainbow sour patch kids towels
  • Ducks - Watermelon
  • Popcorn
Such a fun day I think we'll all end up in bed early...but maybe not. We are very lenient all summer, if you are being good you can stay up, once you get crabby its time to turn in. let the good times roll!

I am also Very excited to announce that we are 1 of 5 finalists in Cooking Light Magazine's "The Great American Lunchbox Challenge" Lunchbox for kids contest. Voting will be held daily from today June 7th through June 14th. You can vote once a day from your Facebook account. If you would like to see our lunch featured in the September issue of Cooking Light Magazine and please click the link and vote for Healthy, Fast, and Fun.

To read the original post for details on this lunch click here. Thank you again for all of your support. It has been a very exciting year. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

School's Out For Summer!

Today was our very last school lunch for this year. Tomorrow is the last day of school and a half day at that so no lunch. The parents are throwing the kids a party and bringing in all kinds of goodies. Since I surprised them with graduation treats I'm taking a back seat to let all the other helpers shine and just bringing chalk, glow sticks, and Popsicles. I struggled with how to best finish off this school year, and one song kept repeating in my head... School's Out by Alice Cooper, a classic end of school ritual for me.

School's Out for Summer!
Anyone who has ever cleaned out a locker at the end of a school year will be familiar with this scene of scattered papers and books. This was a self-fulling prophesy, as my green monkey emptied the entire contents of his locker and cubby into his backpack and its now all over our dining room table.

In this lunch :
  • Scattered paper and book - peanut butter and jelly with food coloring and stamps
  • Crumpled paper - pirates booty
  • Carrots
  • Summer sun - orange with Americolor marker
I hope you all have a wonderful summer. Though we won't have school lunches to prep in the wee hours of the morning we have a lot of great field trips lined up so plenty of road food and picnics coming up.

What are you most looking forward to this summer? For me its lounging by the pool.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Graduation Day!

First and foremost thank you to everyone who supported me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Foodie Moms contest. We did it! We made the list at #21 and will be featured on their site. As part of the feature I may select 3 favorite posts. But which to choose? If you have a favorite leave me a comment.

The graduation ceremony went great! Seems like just last year he was graduating preschool...oh wait yes he did :). It was adorable. Since they were allowed to go home with their family to celebrate we ate out today so no lunches to share today. I did however pull out one last room mom surprise and made cookies for the class, bought some graduation balloons, and made some treats for the teachers and staff.

Graduation Cookies
Variations of this have been all over Pinterest this graduation season. This is how I made ours using store bought cookies and candy. 

Version 1 : I used a marshmallow fudge cookie, frosting, fudge mint cookie, and an M&M. It looked great, easy enough for making one for a lunch, but not stable enough for packing in bags. 

 Version 2 : These were perfect they held up great for transport and the kids and parents loved them.

 1. Materials : I used Marshmallow cookies, melted chocolate chips as glue, fudge mint cookie, Twizzlers Pull and peel as the tassel, and an M&M.
 2. Melt some chocolate chips, and using just a drizzle attach the marshmallow cookie to the fudge mint cookie, let sit until firm, or refrigerate if you're impatient like me. While you wait you can sort your M&Ms and turn them M side down so you can quickly assemble without an oops. Cut the Pull and Peel to about 3" I measured from center of cookie to about table top height. Peel three off at a time, separate half way up, twist the other half tight. Then another dollop of melted chocolate to attach the tassel and finally the M&M button.
 3. All set and ready to go! You can either wait for room temp or chill, I chilled.

4. Final presentation : I found Bell cut-outs in the teacher section of the Dollar Tree, in a pack of 32, it was fate calling. So for the students I made 20 "Saved by the Bell! Congrats Grad!" and saved the rest for Teacher and Staff gifts.

For the Teachers and Staff I made S'mores. Another popular teacher gift on Pinterest. This is my version. All you need is S'mores materials, graham crackers, marshmallows, and Hersheys Chocolate bars.

The rest of the Bells were for the Teachers and Staff and Bus Driver that watched over our Kindergartener this year. They say "Saved by the Bell! Hope you have S'more fun this summer"

So long Kindergarten (after another day and a half of school anyway) hello summer vacation!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kindergarten Graduation

Tomorrow is the big day. Our Green Monkey has been practicing the walk and tricky hand shake diploma transfer. He feels confident, ready, and excited for the big day tomorrow. So today is part 2 of the graduation lunch series. You can't very well get your diploma without your cap and mortar board.

In this lunch :
  • Alphabet pretzels
  • Cap and Mortar - Ham and Colby cheese on whole grain white bread
  • Class of 2025 (OMG) apple with carrots underneath
  • Cap and Mortar dessert - Marshmallow Fudge cookie, Fudge mint cookie, M&M, and frosting
Today is also the final day for voting for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Foodie Moms - 2013 competition. I can't thank you all enough for supporting us and encouraging us all year. Voting ends at 6pm CST (4pm PST). Please take a moment and click a vote for us. Thank you all so much!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Muffin Tin Monday

Well last week was so much fun that I wanted to play along with Muffin Tin Monday from Another Lunch again. Today's theme is perfect picnic. With only one week of school left picnics in the park are right around the corner.

Perfect Picnic 
We typically go on 2 types of picnics. During the day we pick a park and play with friends. Sometimes our neighborhood plays movies in the park on Friday nights and we watch as a family. But now its summer and pool side picnics will be starting soon too. Can't wait to run around town with all of our friends.

In this lunch :
  • Top Row:
    • Popcorn - Pirates booty
    • Blanket - Checkered apple
    • Watermelon Wedges
  • Bottom Row:
    • Playful puppies - Rolled ham and turkey
    • Popsicles
Kindergarten Graduation 

Our big Green monkey is on his last week of school. Wednesday will be their ceremony and Friday is the last day. So only 3 days of lunches to make this week for him. Every year he amazes me with how much he grows, not only in skills useful in school, or physically getting bigger, but as a caring and funny little guy who just loves life and everyone in it. 

In this lunch :
  • Diplomas - Peanut butter and jelly rolled sandwiches with rainbow sourpatch ribbons
  • Alphabet pretzels
  • Cap and Books - Watermelon
  • Mortar board cap - cucumber on top of carrots
This is also the last day of voting for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Foodie Moms 2013 contest. Voting closes June 4th at 4pm PST. So please take a moment and click a vote for me. It is an honor and a thrill to be in this contest. Thank you to everyone who has supported me this whole year.