Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tree Decorating Party 2015

A few years back, I started a new tradition we call the Tree Decorating Party. Last year was bust because both girls got the flu. Boo! But this year, we managed to sneak it in and it actually happened ALMOST a week and a half before Christmas! Yeah! That's really good for us! :)

We always start with an invite, even it arrives the day of. :)


The dinner. It's always fun to pull out the dishes you haven't seen in a year.


Here are closeups of a few of the dishes. I even tried making that spinach and artichoke dip stuffed bread based off the video I saw on Facebook. Yum!


Here are the little elves, busy at work, pulling out the ornaments. The big one is setting up our train.


Now they're testing out the train and Little Sis is showing off her new Star Wars ornaments from Nana.


Photo op time w/ the girls! They usually start sweet and cooperative and then quickly degenerate from there. Wouldn't expect anything less from my girls!







Now for the tree topper. Oooops. the tree is toooo tall!


 Here's the obligator family pic by the tree:


And finally, the tree!! :)


"The decorations were up at our house, inside and out even before Thanksgiving. The tree bought and lit almost 2 weeks ago. FINALLY got around to decorating our tree last night at our family tree decorating party! Woo hoo!"

Hope you all are enjoying this wonderful holidays!

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! :)

         

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

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

Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18


My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches

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It's ALMOST the end of the year and I'm trying to sneak in a couple posts I want to get done before the new year begins! Here are a bunch of lunches from Weeks 17-18, in no particular order. It's been a crazy end of the year between winter band concerts, indoor soccer tournaments, visits from family, our outdoor living project, school parties and holiday gift giving to teachers and neighbors, lunches have been made but kept very simple and quick. I'm SO glad to be on break from it all! Hope you have been enjoying your holidays - I know I have! :)

1. Frozen Pizza with pretzel crisps, grapes, grape tomatoes, cheese stick and Little Bites.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, easy pizza

2. Big Sis had her first winter band concert as a 6th grader so I couldn't resist packing the girls this flat toasted ham and cheese sandwich round in honor of it, along with veggie straws, strawberries (for one), carrots with ranch and Candy Cane Milanos.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, sandwichMy Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, sandwich

3. Mac and Cheese, per Little Sis' request, with tomatoes and cute mini mozzarella balls with balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the side, white cheddar popcorn, Peeled Snacks Apple Clusters and Pepperidge Farms Candy Cane Milanos.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, pasta

4. Another lunch by request. Luckily it was like the easiest one of all: bagel and cream cheese sandwich with cuties, beef jerky, protein bar, Cheetos and Pepperidge Farms Candy Cane Milanos.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, bagel sandwich

5. Off we went to Little Sis' indoor soccer tourney in Virginia Beach, so this is the lunch she got on her half day since we had to leave early. Pizza lunchables on a whole wheat english muffin, grapes, cheese balls and Pepperidge Farms Ginger Breadmen.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, pizza lunchables

6. So here we are, getting ready to go on a road trip to the tourney. Gotta pack snacks because even though the ate lunch, they WILL get hungry. Here's mine, nestled on a bed of yarn and scarf I was working on for Little Sis. Even the hubby got one! Hummus with carrots and sugar snap peas, crackers and marbled cheese.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, cheese and cracker lunchables

 7. OMG. It was nearly Christmas break and I don't think I had packed them a single holiday lunch!H Here's a really simple ham and cheese sandwich, jazzed up with some color coordinating items and fun holiday picks. Oh, and can't forget Nana's Christmas Cookies! Thank goodness for Nana's Christmas Cookies!!! Also served: veggie straws, chocolate chip granola bar, carrots and hummus and berry applesauce.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, christmas sandwich

8. Here's one I forgot to even include in the round-up collage. Oh well. Little Sis requested her favorite pasta with butter, bacon and parmesan cheese today. That she got with cheese and crackers, strawberries, carrots and ranch and a yummy chocolate chip cookie.


9. And last but NOT least, Star Wars lunch!! Star Wars turkey, salami and cheese sandwiches with Cheetos, strawberries skewered by light saber picks and Star Wars fruit snacks. May the force be with you!

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #17-18. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches, star wars lunch

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Here are a couple pix of the movie-goers and my brother who made a special trip down here JUST to watch The Force Awakens with his little nieces. How awesome was that?!?!


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! :)

   

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

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

Mom's Thanksgiving Stuffing


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Stuffing is a must for Thanksgiving dinner, in my book. It's an integral part of my day-after-Thanksgiving colossal turkey sandwich and it just wouldn't be the same w/o it. 2 slices of bread with bread in the middle, what could be better? haha.

Day-after-Thanksgiving-Colossal Turkey Sandwich
This recipe is based on the one my mom has been making for as long as I can remember. She always threw in nuts, too, which gave the stuffing a most delightful crunch, but sadly, with my girls' nut allergies, I omit them now. It's still delicious, plus the olives some how lend a little crunch of their own, so it's still good in my book. And oh so easy.

Mom's Thanksgiving Stuffing
by My Epicurean Adventures

Ingredients:
14oz bag seasoned breadcrumbs
3 cups water
8 oz mushrooms, diced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup spanish olives, diced
1 stick butter
3/4 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

Directions:
1. Place water and all the ingredients listed below it into a dutch oven and bring to boil. Cook until onions are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and add breadcrumbs.
3. Fluff with fork until moist throughout.
4. Place stuffing into a greased casserole dish and bake covered at 350.
5. Serve immediately.


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! :)

     

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fit & Fresh Lunch Box Set Review and Giveaway


I was excited to receive more awesome Fit & Fresh products to review (see my last one: Fit & Fresh Bento Kit for Kids Review). This set is versatile and would be great for adults and kids alike!

Giveaway includes ONE of each of the following items:
  1. Retro Insulated Lunch Bag with Reusable Ice Pack - $14.99
  2. Leak-proof Divided Meal Carrier - $10
  3. Dip N' Dunk Snack Container (single container) - $3.98
  4. 28 oz Jaxx Shaker Bottle - $9.99
Let's start with the bag. It's thick, it's insulated and it's big so it can hold a lot. It comes with an ice pack and has a snap that you can close when it's not full. But if you leave it open, you can put a ton of things in it. Though the pattern shown here is no longer available, you can choose from many other fabulous designs as seen here Retro Insulated Lunch Bag with Reusable Ice Pack on Fit and Fresh's website. 

Next, the meal carrier set includes a lunch box container and lid. The lunch box itself is divided into 3 compartments: one large 3-cup compartment and 2 small 0.75 cup compartments. The lid is leak-proof and holds two removable ice packs, one large, one small, that snaps right into the lid.

Here are some of the biggest PRO's for me:
  1. The bento box is compact yet can hold quite a bit of food. The way the box is shaped and divided, there is no wasted space in it. There is a LOT of room to work with which makes it pretty versatile.
  2. The divided box helps keep food separated - a big must for Big Sis! And the compartments are plenty big for favorite sides and snacks.
  3. I love how big the large compartment is. There's room to hold a regular sized sandwich with plenty of space around the sides to pack even more stuff in, using fun silicone cup dividers. This way, you can easily turn it into a 4-5-6 way divided lunch box!
  4. Allows me to pack virtually waste-free (ie trashless) lunches. This is of paramount importance to me!! I constantly strive to reduce-reuse-recycle. This is my way of reducing and reusing.
  5. Allows me to make the girls' lunches interesting and fun yet so easy to pack. People always think I spend SO much time making lunches, when in fact it only takes 10-15 mins TOPS to make two! I would never want to spend more than that on them, yet bento boxes just make 'em look fancy, like you've spent an hour on them. lol.
  6. This easy-access lunch kit makes it easier for my girls to eat lunch in the short amount of time they are given in school. It's all just right there in front of 'em!
And along with the pros, here are a few CON's to keep in mind:
  1. Although the lid to the bento box is leak-proof, the divided compartments are not leak-proof to each other, particularly between the two small compartments. If you're like me and don't always use ice packs, there is about a centimeter-sized gap between the top of the lid and the top of the lunch box dividers of the two small compartments. Here, small-sized snacks or crumbs may find their way into the other compartment.
  2. The ice packs are a neat idea. It's cool how they fit into compartments in the lid, but I find that I don't use them that way very often because it's just one more thing for me to wash since they come into contact w/ the food. If you're not lazy like me, then use as is. They help keep a tighter fit to the lid, as well as keep food chilled. But if you ARE like me, just put them on top of the lid and only wash 'em once in a while. lol.
  3. Lastly, the ice packs can be a bit of a challenge to get in and out sometimes.
Now it's the Dip n' Dunk snack container's turn. It holds one cup of fruits or veggies and the leak-proof lid has a built-in dip container that holds 2 tablespoons of dip/dressing/sauces in addition to a snap-in ice pack that keeps the dips cold. This is THE PERFECT solution for packing one of Little Sis' favorite lunch items: tomatoes and mozzarella with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Packing the tomatoes and cheese is easy, but that oil mixture is tricky. With this system, I can pack it as often as she likes! (or at least as often as we have the items on hand).

Here's a lunch I packed for Little Sis in our divided lunch box. Plenty of room for a lot of food, which is exactly what that growing girl needs! The removable ice packs fit snugly in the top and are pretty cool.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches

In this lunch:
  1. Slider sandwiches using leftover Thanksgiving dinner rolls, turkey and some corned beef and cheese to keep things interesting. :) 
  2. Veggie Straws 
  3. Sugar Snap Peas 
  4. Strawberries 
  5. Tomatoes and mozzarella with olive oil and balsamic vinegar 
Last, we have the Jaxx Shaker 28 oz bottle. The hubby and I make lots of smoothies for lunch. I often pack mine to-go to have while I'm out running errands. The water bottle I use now isn't large enough to hold the amount of smoothie I end up making. This Jaxx bottle holds more so no more chugging what won't fit or leftover smoothies in the fridge. It comes with a Jaxx agitator to help mix your drink and the leak-proof drinking cap is great. Pictured here is my Orange Banana Smoothie with Spinach.

Product Description: The Jaxx mixing system is the easiest way to mix and enjoy your favorite protein shake, weight loss supplements or even lemonade or baby formula for your little one. The key is the Jaxx agitator designed to powerfully mix even the thickest powdered drink or smoothie. No clogs, clumps or leaks!

Check out Fit & Fresh's Shaker Bottles and tell me which color YOU would choose!


All lunch box pieces are BPA & PVC-Free and the ice packs are non-toxic and freezer safe. Plastic containers are microwave, freezer and top rack dishwasher safe!

And they all fit so nicely in the bag!




And finally... here's the giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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! :)


This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

Disclosures:
I received the above Fit & Fresh products  for review. No financial compensation was received. All opinions are my own, based on my use of the products. 

Affiliate links are used on this blog. :)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #16

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #16. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches

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FINALLY! A single week of lunches and one for every day of the week! :)

1. MONDAY: Used Thanksgiving leftovers in a turkey burrito grilled in my Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. Isn't it pretty? :) This ended up being a HUGE burrito filled with turkey, rice and cheese and I was sure more than half would come back, but much to my surprise, only a quarter of it came back in Little Sis' lunch and Big Sis brought back like an eighth of hers!! Needless to say, I was impressed and HAP-PY! The turkey burrito is accompanied by sour cream and salsa, Utz White Cheddar Cheese Snowballs, a Cutie and some Pepperidge Farms gingerbread men cookies.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #16 - Grilled Turkey Burrito Lunch. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches


2. TUESDAY: Surprise surprise! More leftovers!! ;) Sunday night's Turkey Tetrazzini to be exact. The girls really enjoyed it Sunday night, but not so much for lunch. lol. Little Sis' came back 3/4 eaten (not bad despite the complaints afterwards) and about 3/4 of Big Sis' came back. She actually ended up buying a school lunch - lunch box fail! lol. That's ok, we're allowed those every now and then. I'm just glad she ate SOMETHING. ;) I can't blame them, it's much better hot/warm vs. barely lukewarm like it ended up in their lunch. Here the lunch was served with a leftover dinner roll, pringles chips, cantaloupe and a homemade chocolate chip cookie.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #16 - Turkey Tetrazzini Lunch. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #16 - Turkey Tetrazzini Lunch. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches


3. WEDNESDAY: "Mommy, since we had so much turkey this week and I wasn't crazy about yesterday's lunch, can I just have mac and cheese today?" -Little Sis. lol.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #16 - Mac and Cheese Lunch. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches


4. THURSDAY: Another non-turkey lunch. The girls just LOVED this one. So much that Little Sis came home and said she wanted another bagel sandwich for a snack.

My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #16 - Bagel Lunch. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches

5. FRIDAY: Egg McMuffin Day. Mmmm. Do you like my inset pic? Wrapped in parchment paper to look cool. With carrots and ranch, grapes, a chocolate chip cookie and some Veggie Straws.


My Epicurean Adventures: Lunch Box Fun 2015-16: Week #16 - Egg Muffin Lunch. Lunch box ideas, school lunch ideas, lunches

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   

This post has been shared at:
Homemade Mondays
Tuesday's Table
Anyonita Nibbles' - Tasty Tuesdays
What Kids Eat Wednesday
The Party Bunch

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