Sunday, April 27, 2014

Packing Healthy Snacks on Vacation


We're on a 2-week long vacation out west, hitting the likes of SoCal, Vegas, Grand Canyon et al. With a 5 hour flight, so much traveling on the road and in and out of hotels, we ended up bringing a few standard snacks with us in our luggage, which included Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies and Fruit Snacks, Brothers All-natural Freeze-Dried Fuji Apples (no nuts, no GMO's!) and GoGo Squeez Applesauce pouches among other goodies.


Not only did they come in handy on the plane and in the car, they helped out when we made a stop at Kelso Depot Visitor Center while on our way to Vegas from Joshua Tree National Park. We had planned to stop and have lunch in their cute little cafe but after finding out they were closed temporarily due to water pipe issues, we decided to make lunch out of the stuff we already had.


Just after leaving San Juan Capistrano at the beginning of our trip, we stopped by a Walmart to load up on a couple essential items like 2 booster seats because our rental car backseat was too low for the girls to easily see out the windows (doh!), a cooler and some other items like: Stacy's Multigrain Pita Chips, Sabre Hummus, Fage 2% Greek Yogurt and some pre-washed packs of blueberries as pictured here.


So here we are, getting ready to do some serious eating, getting our table ready:


When I asked the girls what they thought about their lunch, this was their response. And yes, I flew my Easylunchboxes clear across the country because I just KNEW they'd come in handy!!


Here some more of the snacky items we got: Yoplait gogurts, baby carrots, packs of pre-washed carrots/sugar snap peas/broccoli/ranch (these were just awesome) to name a few more.


And can't leave out the other goodies I also flew across the country: homemade biscotti, Doctor Yum's Homemade Granola Bars and Snickerdoodles, for healthier snacks and treats.


The girls enjoyed their lunch, nibbling here and playing, playing and nibbling.


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Here's the nifty little cooler we got. The perfect size to hold our stuff. Even has a "dry" compartment on top:


And here's ne enjoying my lunch too! :)


I gotta say that this was probably one of my favorite lunches thus far. Just look at that face and hand sneaking a bite of carrots! :)


A little post-lunch love...


just before we threw 'em in jail. lol! Can't believe this jail was used as late as 1985!!!



Shout-outs:

EasyLunchBoxes - love my ELB's!!

 

Some Snacks we LOVE!


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, April 25, 2014

Free Vegas Hotel Breakfast

Today we are staying at the Vdara in Las Vegas where we aren't bestowed a free breakfast so this is what we put together from snacks we brought and purchased along the way using the hotel dishes and silverware. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself! :) Totally makes me want to go out and buy some new fancy plates to add to my repertoire!


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In this breakfast:
  1. Apple Cinnamon Belvita
  2. Fresh strawberries and banana
  3. Cheerios
  4. Horizon organic 2% milk
  5. Homemade biscotti (brought from home)
  6. Quaker instant oatmeal w strawberries and bananas c/o hubby
  7. Hotel room coffee
I think we just saved ourselves about $40. Plus, the girls could eat breakfast in their PJ's. Sweet!


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. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Here's Lunch #24: Spinach Mozzarella Salad for ME

Heeeeeere's lunch. Mine! :) After a busy morning of volunteering in Little Sis' class, an appointment and last-minute errands getting ready for vacation, I noticed I had the hunger shakes. Good thing I had my lunch w/ me! :)


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In this lunch:
  1. Baby spinach salad with shredded carrots, baby bella mushrooms, mixed medley cherry tomaotes, dried cranberries topped with Aiello's Original Marinated Celigene Mozzarella Cheese (in seasoned olive oil) all from Trader Joe's
  2. 4% milkfat cottage cheese topped with applesauce
  3. Homemade Doctor Yum granola bars
* "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!!



DoctorYum - for sharing so many healthy and delicious 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 :)

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Bento for Kidlet - Meatless Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' Tasty Tuesdays
Bento Lunch's What's For Lunch Wednesdays

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Springtime Fun with Cookies Giveaway

The weather has finally warmed up and there's a lovely coating of yellow pollen on everything, inside and out. It's spring! I thought what better way to celebrate the end of such a long winter (well, for most of us - sorry to those of you are still getting wintry weather - crazy!) than with a giveaway sponsored by yours truly! :) I also thought that this would be a fun way to say thank you to all of my awesome readers who take the time to stop by and read my posts. I REALLY appreciate each and every one of you!


So here are the goods: 
  1. Wilton's Bug Buddies Cookie Cutters (different from the cookie cutters I used)
  2. Wilton's Bright Sugar Sprinkles in lovely springtime colors
  3. 2 packs of Sugar Stencils = 12 springtime fun designs


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Here's the cookie recipe I used. Found it on the back of a set of Christmas Cookie Cutters I bought last year. The girls just rave about it, so it's the one I stick with: Grandma's Sugar Cookies from Good Cooks.

And just so it's clear, the cookie cutters I'm giving away are all bug-shaped. They don't include the plain circle, scalloped circle nor the flower cutter. Sorry I couldn't show you what they would turn out like since I don't have a set myself, but I thought they were SOOOOO cute when I ran across them.

When decorating these, Little Sis was helping and accidentally spilled a bunch of sugar on her cookies whereas I carefully sprinkled mine, making sure not to put too much on. Guess what? Hers turned out WAY better than mine, so from then on, we were both generous w/ the sugar to get that well-defined design. It also helped to carefully press the sugar into the cookie using your finger. Good job, Little Sis! She's such a good little helper in the kitchen. Here, these cookies have been carefully decorated and are ready to go in the oven.


And now they're cooling on my cookie racks. We were pretty happy with the way they turned out. I was a little pessimistic at how well these stencils would work, but I'm a believer now!




And without further ado... enter away! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Some of my favorite stuff:
Amazon links:
        

LunchBots - for some seriously awesome stainless steel lunch-transporting gear!

Shop LunchBots

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 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

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. :)

Pizza Lunchables using HOMEMADE Pizza Dough

I was at school having lunch with Little Sis last week when I noticed one of her schoolmates had brought in one of those Oscar Meyer Pizza Lunchables (no comment). Even though I've made tons of Homemade Pizza Lunchables Using Flat Bread Rounds for my girls who've loved them every time, they still occasionally pine for the store-bought ones and I can see why... those little pizza rounds are so cute! So that's when I decided I was going to try to make some myself. I used Yumbox's Mini Pizzas Recipe, my new favorite pizza dough recipe, to make these cute little rounds, using some cute cookie cutters. I made these goodies according to the recipe, baked them and then stuck 'em in the freezer for future use. This morning I pulled some out the freezer and stuck 'em in their lunchboxes. They are perfectly thawed by lunchtime (even sooner).

Whaddya think?


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In this lunch:
  1. Homemade Pizza Rounds with Muir Glen's Organic Pizza Sauce and Trader Joe's Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  2. Banana Chocolate Chip Muffing adapted from MOMables' Blueberry Muffins Recipe
  3. Hershey's Kiss
  4. Cutie for Little Sis and Peeled Snacks' BerryClusters for Big Sis
  5. Smartfood Cheddar Cheese Popcorn in my Blue Avocado Bag


And all their lunch gear. Look, minus the foil on the Hershey's Kisses, this is a completely trash-free lunch!


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And it all fits, perfectly. :)

 




Products used in this post:



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



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

Peeled Snacks for a healthy fresh fruit alternative (for Big Sis)

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

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

Friday, April 4, 2014

Paninis

I've been on a serious panini kick lately and it all started with my latest Lodge purchase. It wasn't that long ago that I bought my first Lodge 12" cast iron skillet, inspired by my aunt, my friend Glen and The Pioneer Woman and My Cyber Monday Cast Iron Skillet. :) Now my family has grown to three and I love them all the same. :)


I originally bought the square grill pan, to grill meat with the lines without actually having to go outside. haha! But I don't do grill outside. That's the hubby's job. :) Then I watched another Pioneer Woman episode where she used this pan to grill paninis and then I was SO glad that I didn't get that panini-maker that the hubby had no idea I was so close to getting. I did NOT need another appliance. But I did NEED this pan! It's the best.panini-maker.ever. Oh, and the fish turner that Ree uses on her show (see end of post for Amazon link). I NEED that too. :)

The totally awesome thing is that my girls LOVE paninis now, too! Both just gobble them up, which is way cool because I can get away with adding more stuff to 'em that I couldn't in a normal sandwich. Plus, Little Sis has never been a huge fan of grilled cheese sandwiches (what's wrong w/ her!??!) but she adores these. Yay!!

The first ones I ever made had sliced grilled chicken, muenster cheese, crumbled bacon, spinach, mayo, Wickles (Wickles are my weakness and no sandwhich, imo, is complete without them, except maybe PB&Js) and a slathering of avocado:


Assemble them as such (I used 3 layers of cheese!!), generously butter both sides of the bread and then grill slowly over medium heat. Slooowwwly to get the cheesy goodness melted inside without burning the outside. Grilled to perfection:


So easy. So good. See? Lines!!!


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Here's one I made myself for lunch, just today! This one was made using Applegate salami, turkey and muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo and of course my Wickles. YUM. Oh I used Trader Joe's Organic Soft Wheat Bread for both paninis.


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Can't wait to make more variations. Maybe I'll even come back to this post and add them here!

And here are the tools of the trade that make this happyvballgirl very very happy. :)

 

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. :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Big Sis' 10th (really belated) B'day Lunch

Big Sis is home sick today and for whatever reason, this reminded me that I never got my post up for Big Sis' 10th Bday! Well, here it is, only 2 months late. :) Watch out because Little Sis' Minecraft Birthday post, which occurred 22 days prior to this one, still has yet to be written up. lol!

So without further ado, here's Big Sis: Tenderhearted, sharp as a tack and stubborn as hell - this one keeps us on our toes. :) She also fills our house with sweet music, our little songbird. She maybe 10 but she'll forever be my little Sammy girl. Happy Birthday, Sweetie Pie!

Here day started off with a special breakfast, all of her own choosing:


Here's a close-up of those Cinnamon Rolls!


And her birthday lunch, of course! The cinnamon roll rears it's lovely head once more. What the hey, it's her birthday!

My Epicurean Adventures: Big Sis' 10th Birthday Lunch @Easylunchboxes

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In this lunch:
  1. French bread Pizzas using whole wheat demi baguettes, Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce, Trader Joe's Shredded Mexican Pizza and Applegate Pepperoni
  2. Canned Carrots
  3. Homemade Cinnamon Roll
This year for her birthday party, Big Sis wanted to have it at a local roller skating rink Jellybeans. It's so easy and a lot of fun. In the birthday package, they provide a birthday cake, but as most grocery-bought cakes, there's always that fear of tree-nut/peanut contamination, so I made one just for the birthday girl, her Little Sis and her good friend who also has tree nut allergies. But i made sure to make it just the like cake Jellybeans was already providing (marble w/ white frosting) so everyone's cake was (mostly) the same. :)

This one was made using my go-to cupcake recipe:Pastry Affair's Vanilla Cupcakes, but reserved 3/4 cup of batter, mixed in 2 Tbsps cocoa powder to make the chocolate batter, mixed well and swirled it into the resto of the batter. Voila! DE-licious!!
  

Here's the birthday girl but nothing but big smiles.


and lastly, the birthday circle at the end of her bday party. She had to share it w/ 2 other kids - lol!


A good time was had by all! :)

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



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

 


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. :)