Archive for the ‘Autumn’ Category

Halloween Hungry

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

healthy halloween jack-o-lantern bento lunch

It’s time once again to hop! Hop, hop, hop! Are you hopping? Now?

No, seriously today I am participating in a Fall/Halloween themed hop with my colleagues at Bento Bloggers and Friends. Today is the first of three days full of Halloween and Fall lunches. I hope you see some inspiration to attempt your own creepy or not so creepy creation… I mean lunch! I decided to go with something not too scary but no doubt about that it is a Halloween themed lunch!

Packed in an Easylunchboxes container this lunch includes:

  • Mini Pretzel Twists
  • Peacharines and strawberries with spooky bat cupcake picks tucked in (see link at bottom of post for picks)
  • A sliced chicken sandwich but fill the sandwich with whatever your preference is (another bat pick is included here for affect)
  • Carrot & Snap pea details

The jack-o-lantern in front of the moon image was created by first placing a slice of provolone cheese on top of my sandwich. I then cut a pumpkin out of a slice of cheddar using a cookie cutter (the link below at bottom of the post is for a similar cutter). I happened to have a small triangle cutter from a another bento set which I used for the eyes and nose. I also happened to have a mini canoe cutter which I used for the mouth.  You could easily turn that smile upside down for a scarier looking jack-o-lantern! The mini canoe cutter was purchased at a cake supply shop but available online as well (link at bottom). I secured the cheese to the bread using a leaf pick. I used a swizzle stick to create the pupil in the eyes but easily a straw could be used. Finally, I tucked additional leaf picks in the cooked carrots (picks will not easily go in to raw carrot) to create a pumpkin patch at the bottom along with sugar snap peas. If you make carrots for dinner simply pull aside a few for this detail!

Cheese scraps from the jack-o-lantern were placed inside of the sandwich so no need to waste! All the cheese details could easily be pulled off and put inside of the sandwich at lunch time or eaten as is! The pumpkin patch may get jostled around a bit en route to school or wherever but not too badly. At a minimum they will be in that compartment still. You could secure them down with raw spaghetti if you want the patch to stay intact! Oh and obviously you’ll need to tuck those bat picks in a little further to put the cover on! All in all a fairly simple and healthy lunch to make! You could leave off the pumpkin patch and skip the bat picks to save time and this is still a fun Halloween lunch!

Now don’t stop here! Please click through on the button below to hop on over to visit Bento, Monsters to see what haunted creation she conjured up into her lunch box! She is amazing! You won’t be disappointed!



Oh and did you enter my 12 months of picks giveaway yet (ends 10/17/13)?

Happy hauntings,

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

Simple Halloween Themed Lunch

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

simple halloween lunch 3

I am really starting to feel the spirit of the Halloween season kicking in. So I dug deep in my lunch supply cabinet and pulled out my Halloween cookie cutters and food picks! I needed to keep it simple though because I didn’t have time to store away scraps etc. You see I waited to pack lunches until this morning and of course I woke up late! That is certainly a recipe for disaster but I wasn’t ready to admit lunch defeat!

Now I admit I was a little foggy minded as my little guy kept me up most of the night. I was still pretty happy however with this simple Halloween themed lunch that I pulled together quickly. I simply pressed my jack-o-lantern cookie cutter into one slice of bread applying pressure underneath the cutter and bread with my hand to make a good impression. I then made my sandwich and cut in half. This happens to be no nitrate added chicken breast BUT fill the sandwich with whatever you like! Your choice! I then added broccoli tucking in a spider food pick for fun. For 2 seconds I had visions of the Great Pumpkin… all you Peanuts fans know what I’m talking about!

To complete this lunch I added sliced plums and broken pieces of Mild Green Mojo Chips by Late July. I couldn’t resist adding a jack-o-lantern pick to the plums! This whole lunch took just a few minutes and was super simple! This lunch is packed in an Easylunchboxes container!


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

Alternatives to Fresh

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

fresh fruit alternatives

As the weather turns colder for much of the United States fresh produce becomes less available. In the NorthEast many CSAs (community supported agriculture) stop delivering shares soon and farmer’s markets will soon pack up until next year. Although the grocery store always imports produce year round much of it doesn’t taste or look the same off season. Strawberries, blackberries, zucchini etc just aren’t quite the same, at least around these parts and the prices can make them less appealing knowing they aren’t as good.

Also as the weather turns colder there is a shift in the types of food you crave. Many people move towards those richer comfort foods that “stick to your ribs” on the cold days. Let’s face it, crockpots and ovens are being turned on everywhere even as you read this post (unless your reading this next summer ha)! I mention this because often fresh produce is a huge staple for a lunch packer.

I am a big proponent that half of each meal should consist of a variety of fruits and vegetables. I miss the mark sometimes but it is something that I at least try to consider for my family’s health when preparing food. If fresh produce is less available you may have less in your refrigerator and therefore question what do I pack? So let’s consider some options that are easy to have on hand when fresh produce is less available:



Frozen fruits added to the lunchbox in the morning will be defrosted to eat by lunch or bake them into some of your favorite muffins. Choose from mango, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, cherries etc. all available year round in your grocer’s freezer section! Frozen veggies can easily be tossed into egg omelets or baked egg muffins, chilis, soups, stir fries and of course be served as is. Try carrots, peas, broccoli and corn in your lunch boxes! Bonus if you go for organic selections! ;) You may want to remember to pack a fork for easy lunch time eating!



Easy to have on hand and has a long shelf life, canned items are a great year round option. Consider mandarin oranges, olives, applesauces, corn, pumpkin to bake into items, tomato soup for your thermos and so on. Most of these are available in organic options. Canned veggies are just as easy to toss into meals as their frozen counterparts!



I LOVE dehydrated fruits and veggies! Whether a softer version like the pineapple featured in today’s lunch or something crunchier like carrot, green bean or banana chips dehydrated produce is a great cold weather alternative. The shelf life is long and the drying process generally leaves a concentrated and sometimes sweet flavor. Look for pineapple, apricots, mango, prunes, raisins, carrot or green bean chips and more. Great on its own as a snack or mixed in trail mixes. These are super easy to have on hand. Consider a monthly delivery service like Naturebox which often includes a nice selection of dried fruits and veggies.



Admittedly pickled veggies is not one of my favorites but I do just love seeing those beautiful and bright summer colors perfectly preserved in mason jars. What a great way to save summer’s bounty. Pickled veggies are great right out of the jar or served on sandwiches and salads. Extra extra bonus points if you pickled them yourself!


Cold Weather Selection

Finally consider that there are actually great fruits and veggies that are in season or continue to be easily imported in the colder weather from more moderate climates. Beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kiwi, celery, clementines, grapefruits, kale, winter squashes and more all continue to be readily available through out fall and winter.

I hope one of the alternates above will inspire you to keep your lunch packing up year round!


Packed in a Laptop Lunches Bento Box this lunch (pictured at top) contains:

  • Peanut butter & cherry berry preserve waffle sandwich
  • Cucumbers & black olives
  • Carrot & sweet potato chips
  • Dried Pineapple from Naturebox




Want one? Lunchbox used in this post is available here (affiliate link):


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