Archive for November, 2012

Gluten-Free Friday & snackTaxi Giveaway!

Friday, November 30th, 2012

After a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Gluten-Free Friday is back! I always like to mention that no member of my family is Gluten-Free although we have many wonderful friends who are! For them and for you I do my best to provide GF lunch ideas! Gluten-Free Friday is brought to you at the request of my friends at House-54!

With the weather turning colder in my neck of the woods I decided it was time to turn to some hot lunch options.  In my house the crockpot is already in active use slow cooking up stews, soups and of course chili. I make chili at least once or twice a month in the fall and winter seasons and always have a stock in my freezer. It is such a great comfort food and certainly makes for a hearty lunch on these colder days. To serve in lunch I simply heat my chili to a very hot temperature. While I am heating up I also prime my thermal container with hot tap water. This will warm the metal up and avoid a big cool down of your food which can happen when you add hot food to a cold metal container. Simply empty the water, add your chili and seal. Serve with your favorite gluten-free snack such us tortilla chips.

 Deb’s Simple Crockpot Chili…
2 lbs ground beef cooked and drained
1 can drained black beans (look for gluten-free marked on the can)
1 can drained dark red kidney beans (look for gluten-free marked on the can)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
4-5 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp corn starch
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

Cook on high for 3-4 hours. I have a BIG family so my recipe makes a lot so be prepared to freeze some!

For another guaranteed gluten-free version go visit House-54 for their gluten-free chili recipe.



You may have noticed alongside my chili that bright, colorful bag with some tasty Way Better Snacks (Gluten-Free) Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips peeking out? That my friends is snackTAXI’s snack-sack!  I love how colorful it is! SnackTAXI makes reusable bags for sandwiches, snacks, bread and produce along with napkins, aprons and other accessories. There are so many bright, beautiful patterns and colors to choose from. You’ll want to own a dozen! Trust me! Snack-sacks retail starting at $7.95 each.


Here is a perk for my gluten-free friends… they make some bags that are labeled “Gluten-Free”. That way if you have only one member of your family who is GF you can be sure you are not cross contaminating! It is also a nice reminder for teachers to see. Unfortunately this giveaway is not for a gluten-free labeled bag! Gluten-free snack-sacks retail starting at $8.95.

There is great benefit to using reusable bags! It is environmentally friendly! Did you know that in the US over 20 million plastic “baggies” are added to landfills EVERY DAY?! By using the snack-sack instead you are doing your share to reduce that number. You can also save money by buying larger snack sizes instead of individual portions again reducing waste into the landfill. This method also allows YOU to control the portion of snacks served. Not to mention that the bags are awesome to look at and kids will find them pretty cool!

I find the snack-sack a perfect companion to my thermal container as well as some of my smaller lunch containers. I have shown chips in the photo on this post but certainly you have endless snack options! Envision popcorn, carrots, pretzels, grapes, nuts, cherry tomatoes, dried fruits, cookies, crackers and more in the snack-sack!

Now I am sure you are wondering about caring for a snack-sack? The bag is easy to use but this is one area that it does take some effort. You do have to wash your bag regularly by using one of these methods recommended by snackTaxi. While you are washing have a clean conscience knowing that you are ONE LESS bag in the landfill!

Final breakdown:


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Save money buying larger sizes
  • Made of materials that are lead, phthalate and BPA free
  • Portion control
  • Lots of colors and patterns to choose from
  • Can be labeled “Gluten-Free”
  • Definite cool factor


  • Does require care (machine and/or hand washing)
  • Not leakproof
  • Not completely airtight


Now that you know the details, how would you like to win one of your own? You can enter to win a snackTAXI snack-sack identical to the one shown in this post. It will be the same size, color and pattern but not “the” very bag I used! You will receive a new one I promise! How cool, right? Just follow the instructions along with terms and conditions listed below to enter. The winner will be randomly chosen through and will be notified via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Opinions expressed in this post are my own. I was not compensated for this post. I did receive a snack-sack so that I may give an honest assessment and snackTAXI has generously provided one for this giveaway.



Products used (or similar to) in this post:

O’ Christmas Tree

Thursday, November 29th, 2012


Today’s featured lunch I made for my husband. He has been working some pretty late hours recently to finish a project at his office by December 1st. The kids and I have missed seeing him and I know he has been missing us! Today’s lunch, well actually his dinner, I hope will remind him that the holiday break is almost here! Soon our family will be gathered around the Christmas tree celebrating the spirit of the season!

My Christmas tree is actually a cucumber sandwich. The base is whole wheat French bread sliced in half. I spread on a generous layer of an herbed spreadable cheese and then topped with sliced cucumbers. I added details of carrot lights, a pretzel trunk and a cheese star using additional herbed cheese spread. My family loves snacks and today’s “lunch” has some great ones including lightly salted almonds, apple slices and veggie straws. This lunch is served in an Easylunchboxes container.


Products used in this post:

Snow Bear in There!

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012


I have to admit I am finding quite a bit of inspiration in the pending winter and Christmas season! Making these festively themed lunches is bringing me so much joy! With 27 more days to go before Christmas is here I can only hope I don’t burn myself out of ideas before then!

To be honest I originally set out to build a 3 tiered snowman for today’s lunch. It became evident after 2 tiers that 3 would be too tall. After looking over my lunch packing tools I spotted the bear face and decided the sandwich would instead be a snow bear! Many of my lunches are pretty simple to put together but today’s did require some effort. In all I used 5 mini cutters (moon, star, circle, snowflake and winter hat) and 1 bear face stamp. I also decided that this would be 3 year old Trevor’s lunch since a snow bear might be a bit cutesy for 10 year old Brendan!

The winter hat is cut from a red bell pepper (skin side is down against the bread) and pretzels are used for the bear’s arms and legs. He is laying in a bed of snow… okay Oogie’s Popcorn actually almost as if making a snow angel! Apple snowflakes, clementine clouds and a cheese moon adorn the sky. It is a bit of a concept I know but squint and you’ll see it! Maybe? ;) Finally a cheese star is on the bear’s belly. I wished I had a candy cane food pick for the bear to hold! This lunch is served in a Lunchbots Duo.


Products used in this post:



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