Archive for July, 2013

Lunch QUADrupled: A Lunchbots Review & Giveaway!

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
 

quad bts giveaway b

 

Officially summer is more then half over and we have all begun to turn our attention to the back to school season. For some of us this could not come soon enough! For others it just seems a little TOO soon! Whatever school of thought you are in there is no denying school will be in session soon! We all had better hit the stores!

In all seriousness, inevitably back to school season DOES mean a great spending spree! Many dollars will be spent on pencils, pens, notebooks, clothes, sneakers, backpacks, lunch bags and more! WAIT, don’t forget to budget for lunch containers because this will be the year you pack better, healthier lunches for your kiddos, right? Lunches your children will eat, right? Why not?! It is certainly a worthwhile investment! It does not have to be complicated. With the right containers it can even be fun! You may even be inspired to pack your own lunch.

So what is the right container? Admittedly, I do love me a lunch container but one of my favorite lunch box manufacturers is definitely Lunchbots. So when I was recently given an opportunity to review their Quad container, I was thrilled. I already own other Lunchbots products including the Trio, Duo, Uno and the condiment containers. Certainly I am well versed on this product line. As a matter of fact I previously reviewed the Trio on this blog. This time however, I am here to tell you a little bit about the Lunchbots Quad!

Made of a durable, food grade stainless steel, the 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″ lightweight Quad has four fixed compartments offering you quadruple the options for variety!

quad·ru·ple  adj.

1. Consisting of four parts or members.
2. Four times as much in size, strength, number, or amount.
_

 quad bts 5 giveaway new c

Believe me, quadruple the variety is not an oversell! The combinations are near endless! Fruits, veggies, nuts, mini sandwiches, salads, lunch meats, olives, hard boiled eggs, pretzels, chips and so on… times four! Ha! Go poke around my blog for more ideas to fill a Lunchbots container! Personally I think these beautiful, shiny containers make everything look appealing but studies do actually confirm that a larger variety of food offered to children is more likely to be eaten. That makes the Quad a clear winner for back to school lunches!

The eco friendly Quad containers are 100% reusable, 100% recyclable and free from BPA. They are top rack dishwasher safe although I do recommend hand washing the colored lids. The compartments control portions and allow the food to remain intact as you packed! These containers do not stain, they do not hold scents and they do not rust. Your children will enjoy these containers for many school years to come and so will you! The Quad fits well in most standard sized lunch bags and is available with either a lime green or stainless steel lid. The Quad is also now available with a yellow silicone band exclusively at Lunchbots.

Just when you think I have run out of good things to say… wait here is one more! Lunchbots has generously agreed to give one of my readers a Quad with a lime green lid just like the one pictured in this post! A retail value of $20.99! The perfect prize for the back to school season! Just follow the instructions below to enter for your chance to win!

Note: winner must abide by the terms and conditions listed below. You must have a United States shipping address to win. Entries outside of the United States will be deleted. Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter and notified via email. Winner must respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Product cannot be substituted, winner will receive a Lunchbots Quad with a lime green lid (as shown).

lime green

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Pack your own great back to school lunches like the ones pictured in this post!

Lunch One (pictured at top): chicken strips, cherry tomatoes, mango, bagel chips and Laughing Cow cream cheese.

Lunch Two (pictured above): turkey slices, sugar snap peas, corn bread, pretzel thins, strawberries and nectarines.

Happy back to school shopping!

Sincerely,

Deb

Want one now? Lunchbots products used in this post are available here (affiliate link below):
Shop LunchBots

Disclaimer: This blogger did receive a complimentary Lunchbots Quad container to evaluate for this post. All opinions expressed however are my own and I was not otherwise compensated. Lunchbots is also generously sponsoring the giveaway prize. Thank you Lunchbots!

Easy Work Week Lunches

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
 

pita pizza

Honestly, I really enjoy packing lunch! Perhaps that is obvious by the name of this blog? The thought of spending a whole hour going some place to get and eat lunch seems like such a waste to me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going out with my colleagues for a social lunch but just not every day. I just don’t want to designate a whole hour to this for so many reasons:

  • Obviously it costs money to eat out!
  • It is harder to make a healthy choice when faced with that big menu.
  • I could be doing an errand – time is so valuable to a busy parent!
  • I could be sneaking in a walk or jog – again time is valuable to a busy parent!
  • Do you know how hard it is to get alone time when you have children? I think you do! Lunch time is a prime opportunity for a mental break!

Have I convinced you yet? Maybe you need that social aspect? Well you can always pull up a spot in the company cafeteria with your lunch. Perhaps convince your coworkers to bring lunch and join you at a picnic table outside? Maybe you like the variety of choices you have when you go out? You just need some lunch ideas! I can help with that! This post features enough easy lunch ideas to get you through a whole work week!

 

One (pictured at top of post): Pita Pizza

I had a bunch of whole wheat pita pockets hanging around so I got creative and made my own pita pizza. This was super simple! I actually sliced the whole pita round like a pizza first. I then sprayed a cookie sheet with cooking spray and slid my pita right onto the pan. I spread pizza sauce on the pita, topped with mozzarella and baked at 350 degrees for oh maybe 10 minutes (maybe less). When I pulled the “pizza” out I sprinkled on some black pepper and some fresh basil (from my garden). You could actually top the pita with whatever you wish! Perhaps pesto and tomatoes? Perhaps BBQ sauce and chicken? Actually this would be the start of a make your own pizza family meal night. I also added blueberries, Rainier cherries and a cup full of nuts for extra protein. The blue silicon cup adds a pop of color and helps me maintain the portion of nuts. The cup makes that compartment look more full.

 

tuna salad work lunch

 

Two (pictured above): Tuna Salad w/Pita Crisps

Since I had a number of pitas left I decided I would make pita crisps. I sliced the pita like a pizza and sprayed both sides with cooking spray. I slid the pita onto a cookie sheets and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I crisped in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or so (until I could “smell” the pitas crisping). I served with tuna salad on lettuce which also could have been served in half of a bell pepper (if I had any). I added strawberries, blackberries, celery and Plentil chips.

nectarine salad

 

Three (pictured above): Nectarine Salad

I had the opportunity to visit a local farmer’s market so I was inspired to make a creative salad. I first layered some chopped green leaf lettuce in the bottom of my Easylunchboxes container. I really let the compartment judge the portion for me. I added blanched green beans, chopped heirloom cherry tomatoes, Perdue Chicken shortcuts and sliced grilled nectarine. The nectarine was grilled with the previous night’s dinner and the green beans were leftover from that meal as well. I added Late July Organics Dude Ranch Chips, sliced cheese and one strawberry filled with a chocolate fruit dip (Nutella and greek yogurt mix). I used a bit of lettuce to hold the strawberry in place but threw it in the salad when I ate so no waste! The filled strawberry may not be a good option if you cannot keep your lunchbox up straight or to keep it simple just add sliced strawberries no filling. Don’t forget a dressing! I served with a Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette (not pictured).

 

breakfast sandwich

 

Four (pictured above): Breakfast Sandwich

This lunch was built on the brunch concept… breakfast combined with lunch. I lightly toasted a bagel while I microwaved an egg in a round bowl sprayed with cooking spray. I topped the cooked egg with a slice of cheese. I then spread my bagel with a bit of mayo, layered on lettuce, tomato, the cooked egg with cheese and a slice of turkey (but swap out for ham if you like). This sandwich is meant to be eaten cold but you could pop it in the microwave for a few seconds at lunch time if you like. Orange slices, strawberries and Late July Organics Dude Ranch Chips are served alongside.

 

chicken salad 2

 

Five (pictured above): Chicken Salad

Today was a clean up day! Time to use up some of what I have left. The blackberries and celery make another appearance here because I am almost out and want to finish them off. The oranges I have plenty of since I purchased a large bag. I still had Perdue Chicken Shortcuts leftover from the nectarine salad so I made chicken salad and threw it on a bagel. If I had pita pockets left I would have used that! I included just half of the bagel. The other half could go into another lunch for another day or for someone else if you pack for multiple people. To keep this lunch from feeling like a rehash I added tortilla chips and salsa in the mini dipper container. Sometimes just adding one new thing keeps the feeling of variety. I could also have thrown in strawberries.

Now I have a large family and therefore often have a good variety of food in the house. You could certainly scale back to a couple of fruits and veggies to cut costs. I do believe however that a variety of produce is good for you! All lunches shown in Easylunchboxes containers.

Sincerely,

Deb

 

Products featured in this post (links below are affiliate links and this blogger may earn a commission on any sales):

Gluten-Free Friday 7/13/13

Friday, July 12th, 2013
 

gluten-free friday 7-12-13 b

Today is the long awaited return of Gluten-Free Friday! Yay! Well I hope somebody was waiting? Anybody? It has been awhile since my last gluten-free post but my journey with my 2 year old son Evan continues. At this point I actually find it pretty easy to feed Evan gluten-free from home and it doesn’t really require much thought. It is when we go out that it is difficult! We rarely just pop by anywhere for a quick bite since there are still many restaurants who don’t even know what gluten-free is never mind understand cross contamination. There are however a few exceptions.

 

So what does this mean? It means that I must research eating establishments on line before we go. It means before we go on vacation I have contacted local ice cream shops and restaurants near our vacation rental to know the “safe” places in advance. Well and believe it or not, there is an “app for that”, actually there are many. It means I stuff my handbag full of gluten-free snacks just in case it doesn’t pan out. We get by. Honestly it is a good way to stick to vows of eating at home more often which also means I have learned to make a lot of favorite foods at home to be certain they are safe. I can now make homemade ice cream like nobody’s business!

 

Does it always work out? No, we have unfortunately “glutened” Evan, accidentally of course. We can usually tell, he doesn’t sleep as well, he doesn’t behave the same and his digestive system will be off for hours or even days. We are doing our best. It is a learning process and you do grow accustomed to it! At a high level that is our progress to date (5-6 months in to gluten elimination)! Lots of success and some frustration!

Now on to lunch!

Here are examples of some lunches I have packed for Evan this week:

gluten free toddler tues b

  • Perdue Simply Smart Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders (packed frozen, they are fully cooked and defrost by lunch)
  • Cheese Stick
  • Carrot chips (cooked)
  • Rainier Cherries
  • Red Grapes

 gluten free toddler lunch b

  • Perdue Chicken Shortcuts
  • Red Grapes
  • Pirate Brands Original Tings
  • Cucumbers

gluten-free bagel pizzab

  • Gluten-free Chex Mix topped with 3 gluten-free Annie’s GingerSnap bunnies
  • Blueberries
  • Bagel pizza made with an Udi’s bagel

All lunches shown on today’s post are packed in Lunchbots (affiliate link) containers.

Sincerely,

Deb

Lunchbots products used in this post available here (affiliate link below):
Shop LunchBots

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