Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet: Cookbook Review and Giveaway

The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet Cookbook Review and Giveaway. Ends at 11:59pm on Thursday 4/23/15

I've been a MOMables fan for many years now and when I saw its founder, Laura Fuentes, was coming out with a cookbook, I was more than excited. As often as I get my recipes online, I'm kinda old school in that I prefer cooking using actual cookbooks. I just love flipping through pages, looking at pictures and picking out something yummy to make. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one! And then Laura asked if she could send ME one to review and I was thrilled beyond belief! OF COURSE, I said! It was my absolute honor. :)

When the school year started, like 9 months ago - lol, we were faced with an incredibly hectic schedule thanks to piano lessons and 7 soccer practices during the school week between my 2 girls. I was really needing to get organized to stay on top of things and was determined not go insane and not to make hitting fast food drive-thru's a habit. This cookbook has been the answer to all that and more. I rarely read cookbooks cover to cover, but this one I couldn't put down until I had done just that. Laura offers so many great tips on how to plan, organize, prepare (and often how to store) delicious and healthy meals for kids (adults love them, too!). For a while, I brought it with me everywhere I went, especially the after school carpool lane, when I had some down time to really dig into it. :)


The recipes are not only ones that kids will eat, they are healthy, too, which is a must. She offers a variety of ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between - like snacks, treats and drinks, too! Plus the ingredients used are easy-to-find, often items you already have-on-hand and the recipes themselves are no-nonsense. Yes! Exactly what I was in need of!

I decided to get the girls involved too, since this is, after all, for them! During piano lessons one day, I had them each peruse it for recipes they wanted to try while the other one had their lesson. Little Sis chose breakfast burritos and that's Big Sis on the right pointing at blueberry bread, among many other things.


I can't say enough good things about this cookbook. In just a short time of owning it, it quickly became one of my most-used and favorite cookbooks! Here's just a little sampling of the recipes I was able to whip up.

1. Hawaiian Puff-Wheels, page 87, made with bacon instead of ham. These were a HUGE hit with the girls, myself, their friends AND their mom! Send this in on the girls' first day of school last year and they gobbled them right up.


2. My favorite of all Homemade Chocolate Syrup, page 186, because Big Sis LOVES chocolate milk and I have no more worries about high fructose corn syrup, preservatives or nuts! Plus I can control how sugar it gets, NOT the companies that produce them!


3. Mini Quiches, page 125, made using pie crust. Perfect for adults and kids alike. Pretty, too, don't you think?


4. Glazed Cake Donut Muffins, page 43. Yum. is all I have to say.


5. Breakfast Burrito, page 36. Made ahead for busy mornings! A huge plus, because Little Sis could eat one every day if ya let her!


6. Blueberry Bread, page 163. You had me at blueberry. And bread. ;)


Pin It

7. Cornbread Muffins, page 169. Quick, easy and oh so yummy with the touch of honey that's added.


Here are some other favorites not pictured:
Read Chicken Nuggets, page 120
Neighborhood Meatballs, page 104
Peaches and Cream Wafflewiches, page 62
Ricotta and Jam Pancake Sandwiches, page 51

And I'm still dying to try: Lunchbox Falafels, page 115 (and many more)


GIVEAWAY DEETS

I did say this is a giveaway, right? Well, simply leave a blog comment on this post telling me which of these recipes you'd like to try first and enter to win one of your very own! Winner will be chosen using random.org. Check back here on Friday 4/24/15 to see if you've won!

This giveaway is open to contestants with US shipping addresses only. Sorry everyone else! ONE winner will be notified (so leave me whatever way you'd like for me to contact you whether it be an email, facebook profile, g+ profile, etc ESPECIALLY if you are commenting as anonymous! LOL) and will have 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be selected. Laura Fuentes will be responsible for mailing the winner their prize. Giveaway ends at 11:59, EST, on Thursday, 04/23/15. Good luck!

For more information on the amazing Laura Fuentes, please visit her at her website: LauraFuentes.com.

Feel free to stop by and like our Facebook or Instagram pages, though it's not a requirement at all to win. :)

Laura Fuentes' Facebook Page
Laura Fuentes on Instagram
My Epicurean Adventures' Facebook Page
My Epicurean Adventures on Instagram

Updated 4/24/15 10:15 AM to announce winner:
Updated 4/26/15 10:22 PM Haven't heard back from first winner, so I drew a new winner, comment #25:


True Random Number Generator  25

SHANNON QUALLS!!
Congratulations!!

Thanks so much for playing, everyone! To get a copy for yourself, just click on the picture below or follow this link to purchase one at Amazon: The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet Cookbook.


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

        

Check out this fun post about Fun with Jars and Labels to store your homemade chocolate syrup in!


My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

 Japanese Bento Accessories Silicone Colorful Food Cup 6P 

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Orange Banana Smoothie

OMG, a smoothie that my girls actually kind of like AND drink a bit of? lol. Yes, it sounds too good to be true, people, but I've finally found one that they'll tolerate. I've been trying over the past couple years to find a good smoothie recipe that the girls like, but haven't been successful until now. I think my approach was just too overzealous - trying to pack SO much goodness into one cup, sometimes sacrificing color and flavor - because, yes, these 2 are of paramount importance to kids! I decided to take baby steps and started with something my girls love, especially Big Sis. She just loves coconut and orange cream flavors so I decided to make her just that - orange cream with a splash of coconut. Getting her to each fresh fruit is like getting a cat to take a bath (so I've heard!) so I just love that she's getting just that in liquid form. It's a win-win! :) And even though she's not getting a full serving of spinach, it's SOMETHING, right? And the perfect pre-soccer snack.




Orange Banana Smoothie
by happyvballgirl of My Epicurean Adventures

1/2 orange, peeled
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (or 1/4 c plain, 1/4 c vanilla as my girls prefer it)
1/4 coconut water, coconut milk or coconut "beverage"
4 baby carrots
1 handful spinach (optional)
2 frozen strawberries (optional)

Place all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth.

Makes about 2 8oz servings.

* Use coconut water and vanilla yogurt for a sweeter smoothie.
** Use coconut milk or "beverage" with plain yogurt for a less sweet smoothie. I definitely prefer mine this way.

To me, this smoothie is just heavenly with all the options included. It's the most beautiful shade of pale green, but guess which ones my girls prefer? Yup, no options. Neither of them liked the green color and Little Sis is just dandy with the strawberries but Big Sis HATES them, though I doubt that she can even taste 'em, but how can I lie to her face when she asks me if I put strawberries in it? Whatever! I'll take what I can get! :) But I'm still gonna work my way to adding that spinach back in, leaf by leaf. lol!

Stick the finished product in some YummiPouches for great smoothies on the go. I swear they drink more this way because it's just fun to suck on. lol.

Here are today's car snacks for right after school and just before piano lessons and then soccer practice for both girls with pretzel crisps, hummus and the orange banana smoothies. Yes, Tuesdays are crazy busy around here!



Lastly, stick 'em in cups and then in EasyLunchboxes for the perfect quick lunch for when they're too busy "selling" stuff. ;) The girls wanted to set up a stand to sell some stuff they've made one Saturday afternoon... right around lunch time of course. Anh, why not? After a late breakfast and a pending soccer game, I just threw together a quick lunchables for them along with some carrots and the leftover and the orange banana smoothie left over from that morning.



Pin It

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

    

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day Lunches 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I managed to throw together a quick lunch this morning despite our late rising and me single-mommin' it w/ the hubby sick in bed. Simple yet fun. That's my goal.




Pin It
In this lunch:
  1. Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Flat Rounds sandwiches - Applegate Turkey and American Cheese, lettuce and mayo for Big Sis and a fried egg, bacon and Applegate Muenster Cheese sandwich for Little Sis
  2. Organic carrot chips cut using my crinkle cutter from Pampered Chef and Marzetti's Simply Dressed Ranch Dressing
  3. Peeled Snacks Apple Berry Clusters for Big Sis and deliciously sweet cantaloupe for Little Sis
  4. Stacy's Multi-Grain Pita Chips with Sabra Classic Hummus
  5. Andes Mint, Mint Dove Bar and a couple gold coins for 'em both

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

     


My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Japanese Bento Accessories Sauce Container set of 4 Lovely Mayo Cup 



Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pizza Lunchables for Two, Munchkins for One

Monday lunches have GOT to be easy because Monday mornings are hard enough. Girls said they wanted some pizza lunchables today and I was happy to oblige. The one on the left has Dunkin Donuts' Blueberry Cake Munchkins for a treat but the other does not because *someone* ate their treat on Friday without finishing lunch and wasn't even CLOSE! So per our house rule, no treat for you the following day! Sorry Charlie!


Pin It
In this lunch:
  1. Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Pizza Rounds with Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce and Shredded Mozzarella Cheese from Trader Joe's
  2. Organic carrot chips from Trader Joe's (cute using my wavy cutter from Pampered Chef) with Marzetti's Simply Dressed Ranch Dressing
  3. Munchkins for Little Sis and Peeled Snacks' Apple Berry Clusters
  4. Whole Milk Organic Vanilla Yogurt from Trader Joe's with some shaved Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Chocolate Chips
  5. Simply Sun Chips 
Here are some close ups. :)

Pizza Lunchables - So easy and kids love 'em! in @Easylunchboxes

Pizza Lunchables - So easy and kids love 'em! in @Easylunchboxes

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

         

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Japanese Bento Accessories Sauce Container set of 4 Lovely Mayo Cup 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Simple Sandwich Lunch and a Ho Ho

It's been a week of particularly rough mornings thanks to springing forward- ie no one wants to get out of bed, including me! Who woulda thought that just 1 measly hour could be so painful? And try as I might, I just don't have it in me to pack lunches the night before, so my lunches have been REALLY quick and simple. Nothin' fancy, but it does the trick. And this lunch box usually comes home emptied to me, so that works for me! Here's today's lunch for Little Sis. Big Sis once again wanted to buy the school lunch. After all, it is National Breakfast week. Maybe I'll make her a breakfast for lunch lunch tomorrow - IF I can drag myself outta bed! ;)


Pin It
In this lunch:
  1. Archer Farms' Hard Salami from the Super Target deli counter with Applegate Black Forest Ham and Muenster Cheese on Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread
  2. Trader Joe's 12-grain mini crackers with Laughing Cow Cream Swiss Cheese
  3. Strawberries
  4. SmartFood White Cheddar Popcorn
  5. Hostess Ho Ho - why not. ;)
Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)


   

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)



Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Springing Forward with Lunchables

This morning I called up to my girls: "Come on down for breakfast before it gets yummy warm food cold!!" I blame this entirely on being forced to "spring forward". 

I somehow managed to get lunch packed (this is Little Sis', Big Sis wanted to buy lunch and I just sent in some snacks) and get them on their way to school - ON TIME no less on this sluggish Monday morning. It's a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. :)

Easy Peasy DIY Lunchables in @easylunchboxes... for when it's not so easy to "spring forward" ;)

Pin It
In this lunch:
  1. Applegate Muenster Cheese and Black Forest Ham and Archer Farm's Hard Salami from the deli counter with Premium Rounds with Whole Grain Saltine Crackers
  2. Kiwi, cut up
  3. Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies
  4. Yoplait GoGurt
  5. Maplehurst Bakeries' Peanut-Free Cupcake sent home from a birthday party who's mom is ALWAYS thinking about my peanut-allergic Little Sis. How lucky to have such caring, thoughtful friends?!? <3
Happy Monday!

Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

    

My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale.  Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)

Bento Silicone Baking Food Cup - 12 Heart 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Simple Chicken Noodle Soup


Pin It

It's snow day 3.5 and it's cold out so I was having a hankering for some good ol' fashion chicken noodle soup. The girls have been tracked out for 2.5 weeks only to return to school 0.5 days before they called it early to due to snow/ice, which means by now I'm pretty tired of cooking! So, soup, but easy soup was on mind. Here's that easy soup. It hit the spot. :)

Simple Chicken Noodle Soup
by happyvballgirl of @MyEpicureanAdventures

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup finely diced onions
1/2 cup diced carrots (I buy shredded carrots and then further chop them up)
1/2 cooked, chopped chicken (rotissery chicken works great here!)
1/3 cup uncooked small sized pasta (simply balanced organic ditalini pasta from Target used here)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 - 3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
a pinch or two of black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
Simply combine all the ingredients in a large sauce pan/pot and bring to boil. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to med-low to low and simmer until the veggies are tender.

Enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings.

To further spice things up, I also add a couple turns of this Organic All Purpose Seasoning (with no salt added) from Earth's Pride Organics. I believe I found this bottle at BJ's Warehouse. This season-all is simply a mix of various organic dehydrated vegetables including onion, garlic, carrot, red bell pepper), organic mustard spice and organic lemon peel. I find that it rounds off this soup quite nicely, but the soup is just dandy without it, too. :)


Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)

Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)

Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite bento gear and such, just visit my "Products I Love" page! :) Any purchases made through these links earns me a little extra cash to support my bento habit, which my hubby would really appreciate. haha! So thank you!!! if you choose to use any of 'em! :)

Handy Kitchen Tools:
Vitamix - what can I say but I love it! You can enjoy free shipping when purchasing one through their website using this coupon code: 06-009331 (or just click on the hyperlink or button below) or get one from Amazon. :)

vitamix.com Products 

    

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)