Thursday, December 26, 2013

Snacks on the Road

Here we are, the day after Christmas heading up to MD to spend time w my family. With all the craziness of Christmas fun, we found ourselves leaving home about 3 hours behind schedule. Sadly, that's just been par for the course lately, but what can you do but keep on going with a smile in your heart?

Knowing full well we wanted to make as few stops as possible our 5+ hour trip, I threw a bunch of snacks in the awesome picnic carrier my bro gave me and off we went. I always carry 3 sets of Easyluncboxes in the car so when the girls were asking for snacks, it was fun to throw these together for them. Love my healthier snacks in my Easylunchboxes!



And I just love that i was able to throw this post together while on the road using my handy-dandy smart phone. Gotta love technology today. See? Big Sis does too. haha! 

Here's my hubby posing for me with my aforementioned picnic bag while driving. Way to keep your eyes on the road at all times, Sweetie! :)


Gotta add the great Kelly @ Easylunchboxes made out of this post. Love it! Thanks Kelly! <3



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 :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jolly Holiday Blog Hop 2013

It's blog hop time once again with my fabulous Bento Bloggers and Friends. I have to admit, I ALMOST skipped this one when I realized last Thursday morning that the girls were already off to school and I was packing, getting ready to head out for Big Sis' indoor soccer tourney in Virginia Beach Friday morning, not to return home until Sunday night. Doh! Didn't leave much time for a holiday lunch to be posted on Monday morning! But as I went to remove my name from the list, I just couldn't bring myself to do it and was struck by one last ditch effort. Hence, this is a very simple snack box that was made in literally 9 mins. Who says that quick and easy can't still be fun? :)

So here they are, the snacks I made to take on the road w/ us.




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In these snacks:
  1. Applegate Turkey and American Cheese Elf Sammies
  2. Carrot sticks and sugar snap peas w/ ranch to dip
  3. Utz Holiday Pretzels (made in a peanut/tree nut free facility - who hoo!)
  4. Maplehurst Bakeries' Peanut-Free Cupcakes - love that I can buy safe cupcakes for my girls in stores!
And I just had to share a glimpse of just one of the many things that have been keeping me busy. Made 12 of these hair ribbons for Big Sis' soccer team's goody bags in team colors. They were fun to make, but maybe not necessarily 12. haha. I was pretty happy with the way they turned out and the girls really seemed to like 'em. Yay! :)


Now it's time to hop on over to see what fabulous lunch Jenn has made for her awesome Kidlet over at Bento for Kidlet. Just love all of her healthy, delicious and fun lunches! And happy belated birthday to Kidlet! :)


Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!


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  

Applegate for providing natural (and organic varieties, too) nitrate-free yet oh-so-convenient pre-packaged deli meats. Check out my FB post professing my love for them: FB post professing my love for Applegate :)

Maplehurst Bakeries - for providing my girls safe and delicious peanut-free cupcakes!

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 :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Here's Lunch #20: My Christmas-Colored Salad

Heeeeeere's lunch! :)

As I was about to eat my salad, I couldn't help but notice how pretty and Christmas-y it is, so took a quick pick and thought I'd share. Hope you are enjoying your December! It can be a crazy busy time, so I constantly have to remind myself not to just start freaking out and to stop to take the occasional deep breaths. :)

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In this lunch, all from Trader Joe's:
  1. Organic Baby Spinach
  2. Baby Bella mushrooms
  3. Grape Tomatoes and Roma Tomatoes
  4. 1/2 Avocado
  5. Toasted sesame seeds
  6. Dried Cranberries 
  7. Diced green peppers
  8. Shredded Carrots
* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)

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 :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

MOMables' Perfect Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

The other day, this picture of the most beautiful pancakes drenched in blueberry syrup temptingly appeared in my Facebook newsfeed and I was instantly struck with the need to pin, print and make this recipe. It was from one of my favorite healthy recipe resources: MOMables and the recipe was Laura's Better Than IHOP's Blueberry Syrup and Perfect Pancake Recipe.

Sunday was the day. Unfortunately, Big Sis and her daddy headed off to an early indoor soccer practice, leaving just Little Sis and me, but I just couldn't wait any longer, especially since Little Sis requested pancakes the night before. I decided to give another try at making some edible whole wheat pancakes and Little Sis was an easy target, as she's pretty good about eating most things, healthy even. I've tried many times in the past, only to be left with a gritty, tasteless dry disc of a pancake, but I saw a note that MOMables added to the bottom of her pancake recipe on a whole wheat variation so my interest was renewed.

I am so happy to report that both the pancakes and the syrup were just delicious. I even added 1 Tbsp of wheat germ and 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed and we both gobbled them up despite.

Here is Little Sis' breakfast. She is usually not a fan of whipped cream, but over the weekend, I made some homemade whipped cream to top off a labor-intensive 4 layer chocolate cake and had some left over. She tried it and excitedly asked me for pancakes the next day "so I can dip them in your whipped cream. I only like your whipped cream, Mommy." So, how could I NOT make her pancakes for breakfast?


In this breakfast:
  1. Organic Fuji Apples, sliced
  2. Homemade whipped cream
  3. Homemade MOMables' Blueberry Syrup
  4. MOMables' Perfect Pancakes (100% Whole Wheat variety)
  5. Horizon's Fat Free Organic Milk
Here's Little Sis getting SO serious about her breakfast. She housed 3 pancakes in literally a blink of an eye. This girl loves to eat! :)


And my pancakes. Couldn't wait to sink my fork into them, a boy were there just delicious when I did!


Here's how I stored the leftovers. Just love mason jars, especially the little ones.


Lastly, here's Big Sis' breakfast-on-the-go this morning, as we headed out to an early morning appt. This the same as Little Sis' from yesterday, just neatly packed in my beloved Easylunchboxes.

My Epicurean Adventures: #MOMables' Perfect Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup in #Easylunchboxes

When I turned around, this little rascal had finished all but 1 triangle and had moved on to the whipped cream! Busted!!


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Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!


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

MOMables - for sharing so many delicious and healthy recipes with us!

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 :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Pioneer Woman and My Cyber Monday Cast Iron Skillet

I've never been one for watching cooking shows. Sure, I've watched a couple Emeril's from back in the day or the occasional Iron Chef, but I just never got into them... until now. :)

The day after Thanksgiving, the family and I went to visit my aunt and uncle's in Virginia and had a grand ol' time. My aunt aka Aj is big into those kinds of shows and so we sat down to a couple episodes of Ree Drummond's The Pioneer Woman on Food Network. And just like that, I was hooked! Makes me totally want move out to the middle of nowhere and live on a ranch! ;) She has an awesome blog as well: The Pioneer Woman.

Don't know whether it's her laid back style of cooking, the delicious looking food, her absolutely gorgeous kitchen and home (aka the lodge) with perfect lighting, her sweet voice or that heartwarming smile and dimples, but I just love her and her delicious looking recipes!

This past Cyber Monday, Sweetie and I hit our local mall over lunchtime to check out a couple things and I just happened across this cast iron skillet at Crate and Barrel. Because of Ree, my aunt and another friend who have repeatedly told me I neeeeeeeed one, I am now the proud new owner of this beauty. I used it once and already I'm in love. Reminds me of the one my mom used for oh so many years. I'll probably get all buff while using it, too, since this thing is so darn heavy! But what I love most about this is that it was made in the good ol' USA!!!


Here's my first use of it: sauteeing veggies from my CSA Papa Spuds that were starting to go... to use as a side or in an omelet - or both! This batch included green peppers, yellow squash, onions and baby bella mushrooms, sauteed in grapeseed oil with a dash of salt and pepper.


I made a breakfast burrito for myself yesterday and always, I stuffed it too full. So, even though I had no where to be, I stuck it in my EasyLunchboxes - the perfect way to contain an over-stuffed burrito and then plopped myself down on the couch in front of a DVR'd episode of, you guessed it: The Pioneer Woman! Put me in just a fabulous mood to get going on the much dreaded task of Christmas decorating. haha!


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In this breakfast:
  1. 2 Trader Joe's organic brown eggs with Trader Joe's Mexican shredded cheese and sauteed veggies topped with Texas Pete's and Wickles on a Banderita's Whole Wheat Flour tortilla 
  2. Fage Fat Free Greek Yogurt topped with Nana's Homemade Applesauce. See here for the recipe I use: Homemade Applesauce
  3. Fresh strawberries
Here are just a couple of the many many recipes that I can't wait to try out from Ree Drummond:
Blackberry Chip Ice Cream

*updated 8/21/2014:
Thought I'd add a quick note about how to clean this baby. It's really quite easy, actually. From what I've read and been told, just rinse (and scrub if necessary) under warm water. No soaps or detergents!! Dry it, coat it with a little cooking oil and "bake it in" on low on your burner for a couple minutes. You'll on your way to a well-season pan!

And I have to show you how my collection has grown. :)



I'm LOVING the square grill pan for making delicious paninis! It's the best panini maker EVER!! :)


Here are some items used in this post. To see a full list of my favorite 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! :)


Bento Boxes:

  

The Lodge - for their high-quality made in America cookware that seriously makes cooking more fun. :)

  

And OXO cooking tools I use with my cast iron skillets. Yes, they are metal, but that's ok!!:

  

Papa Spuds - for providing the freshest fruits and veggies (and more) right at my doorstep!

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 :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Bento for Kidlet - Meatless Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Bento Lunch's What's For Lunch Wednesdays
Becoming a Bentoholic's Leftovers on Fridays
Bentos On the Bayou - 15 Minute Fridays

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

Allergy Information: This post contains tree nuts! :)

So of course, I don't make this pie for my kids, but I DO make it for my hubby, only to be eaten after the girls go to bed. :) I happened upon this recipe pre-kids and it is, hands-down, one of our all-time favorite pie recipes in the whole wide world. It's seriously THAT good. I made it once or twice, post-kids, for the holidays when we were hosting family, but honestly, though everyone was so careful, it made me too nervous to have around even though of all tree nuts, pecans are probably the safest to have around this house. Little Sis is severely allergic to peanuts (supposedly tree nuts are ok, but I never dared to test it out especially with so much cross-contamination) and Big Sis is allergic to tree nuts (severely to cashews, pistachios and macadamias - all the yummy ones :( and mildly to a couple others, but pecans and peanuts are ok). ANYWAY....

SO, it sadly no longer makes appearances over the holidays to be shared with friends and family, but it does make occasional night time appearances for the hubby and I to enjoy. On more than one occasion, the hubby has said that we was really in the mood for chocolate chip pecan pie and then guess what? I'd whip one up. Though the baking time is long (close to an hour) it takes less 15 minutes to throw in the oven from start to finish, if you skip the fancy pecan dipped chocolate part, so it's definitely spur-of-the-moment do-able!

So here's the recipe, Pillsbury's Chocolate Pecan Pie. Serve with a dollop (or larger) of homemade whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and watch out, waistline! Hope you love it too. :)


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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 :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar Topping



Thanksgiving is fast-approaching so I just need to share with you one of my favorites. It's not your typical recipe of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. In my opinion, this is far better. And I believe this because so many people I've made this for have told me that even though they don't like those typical sweet potato casseroles, they LOVE this one and then proceed to ask for the recipe. :)

I'm always happy to share with them the recipe I found at Epicurious.com: Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar-Pecan Topping. It's sweet but not TOO sweet. It's the perfect amount of sweet. :)

A couple notes: I've made this both with fresh sweet potatoes and canned. The canned of course is much quicker, but I think the fresh is tastier but either way is just delicious. When I used canned sweet potatoes, I actually double to triple the amount of sweet potatoes called for. I drain it and don't even have to boil it, because it mashes in an instant, but I do melt the butter for easier mixing and w/ the recipe from there.

I used to make this with the pecans, but since having kids who have nut allergies, I just leave out the pecans and it still tastes heavenly.



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Hope you guys love this one, too! Happy almost Thanksgiving! :)

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 :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sweetie's Lunch

I typically don't make lunches for Sweetie since he usually just grabs it in his cafeteria at work. And even when he works for home on Thursdays, he quite often ends up making ME lunch! But every once in a while, I'll beat him to the punch - like yesterday!

He's a pretty healthy eater at lunch (so he can load up on the "good stuff" at dinner, dessert and/or snacks) and thus I made him our "usual" salad.


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In this lunch:
  1. Chopped Baby Spinach Salad topped with: diced carrots, broccoli slaw, diced green peppers, grape tomotoes, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and crumbled goat cheese, ALL from Trader Joe's. I THINK I got it all...
  2. Crunchmaster's Multi-seed Gluten-Free Crackers (I'm seriously addicted to these!)
  3. Sabre's Classic Hummus (we must eat like 50 lbs of hummus a year, at least!)
Here's my hubby so graciously posing for me with his lunch.


And here he is actually working (ie on a call), while I hover and snap up pix. I swear, he's really working and not just posing for me. haha!



Be sure to check out Kelly Lester of EasyLunchboxes and her awesome: Man Up Your Lunch post about lunch box ideas for men!

Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!

http://www.easylunchboxes.com/


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 :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Here's Lunch #19: Korean BiBimBap To Go

Heeeeeere's lunch! :) MY lunch. And I was sooooo hungry for this today that I actually ate it at 10:30am. :) I guess that's what happens when you skip breakfast (bad Mommy) because you are busy running around. Boy, did it hit the spot. And let me add that not only is this lunch delicious, it's pretty darn healthy as well, made with brown rice and a ton of veggies: green peppers, carrots, zucchini, onions, kale and mushrooms in addition to some Korean Beef BBQ aka Bulgogi and a fried egg to top it off. And though BiBimBap isn't quick and easy to make the first time around, the leftovers sure are! :)


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In this lunch:
  1. Korean BiBimBap
  2. Sugar Snap Peas from Trader Joe's
  3. Organic Grape Tomatoes from Trader Joe's
Click here for more yummy Korean food recipes from my blog.  :)

* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)

Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!



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 :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Bento Lunch's What's For Lunch Wednesdays
Lunchbox Dad's Throwback Thursdays
Becoming a Bentoholic's Leftovers on Fridays
Eat's Amazing's Fun Food Friday

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used in this post. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Here's Lunch #18: Pinwheel Wraps for Dinner

Heeeeeere's lunch! Ok, dinner this time. :) I made this for Little Sis one night last week, but I don't exactly remember why!


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In this dinner:
  1. Steamed organic broccoli
  2. Pinwheels wraps with Applegate Genoa Salami and Applegate Provolone Cheese wrapped in Banderita Whole Wheat Tortillas
  3. Del Monte Canned Carrots
  4. Organic Red Seedless Grapes
  5. 2 Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies
* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)

Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!

http://www.easylunchboxes.com/

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

Japanese Bento Box Accessories Food Pick Cute Animal Fork 8 pcs Bento Silicone Baking Food Cup - 12 Heart Food Decorating Pick Long Pix Stix Assorted

Applegate for providing natural (and organic varieties, too) nitrate-free yet oh-so-convenient pre-packaged deli meats. Check out my FB post professing my love for them: FB post professing my love for Applegate :)

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 :)

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are used in this post. :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Here's Lunch #17: Quick, Easy and Yummy Breakfast-On-the-Go

Heeeeeere's lunch! :) Well, breakfast, actually, from last Tuesday, the girls' first day back to school after being tracked out for 3 weeks. That meant it was a day of running non-stop errands, so I took my breakfast with me. I had very little time in the morning, what with getting the girls off to school, but managed to whip up this quick breakfast. I didn't have time for anything other than my eggs and veggies, so I just stuck my precious coffee in one of the empty EasyLunchbox compartments. Fit perfectly, too!


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In this breakfast:
  1. Eggs topped with shredded Mexican cheese alongside sauteed green peppers, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes
  2. COFFEE!! :)
What makes this so quick and easy (and delish, btw) is having pre-sauteed veggies on hand in the fridge and using egg in a carton. :) So then it's as simple as pouring egg into a pan and then warming up some veggies along with it. Throw some cheese on top and poof! And easy omelet on the go.


* "Here's Lunch" is a series of lunch posts for those days when I really don't have more to say than "Here's lunch". :)

Shout-outs:
EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!


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 :)