Monday, November 5, 2012

Kashi Review and Giveaway!!


I was was recently asked by Moms Meet to review the new Chocolate Soft baked Squares from Kashi. Kashi is already a brand we enjoy and I was excited to try a new product and learn more about the company. 

What I like about Kashi is that they they use whole grains and healthier ingredients than you typically find in similar products.The Chocolate Squares are made with 7 whole grains, sweet potatoes and beans!!  They also do not use high fructose corn syrup but instead use agave to add sweetness. To learn more about how Kashi chooses the ingredients for their products head on over to their website you can also find great recipes their too!

Now, I won't lie to you, my daughter was not a fan of these bars :( I think the main issue for her was that they  look like a brownie but they aren't of course! She just couldn't get past that and was expecting a really sweet chocolaty taste which these bars do not have. I shared them with a friends children and they gobbled them up. So it really depends on your child. I thought they were okay. I enjoyed them most when I topped them with some vanilla fro-yo for a "healthier" dessert option. My husband said they were okay. 

We are however fans of lots of other Kashi products. Some of our faves are the banana chocolate chip bars, the cinnamon harvest cereal and ALL the cookies,lol. Kashi is easily found in almost every grocery store so no need to go to a specialty store to try and find their products.

Kashi wants one lucky winner to try some products for free and they are even throwing in a Kashi lunch tote as well!! Contest ends Nov 12th. Open to US residents only please!



a Rafflecopter giveaway





Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed
to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the
manufacturer of the product.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Love Meat!! An Applegate Review and Giveaway!!

Today instead of talking about what I did to the outside of the sandwich and the "cute" factor, I am going to discuss what I put inside my sandwiches. For the past year I have posted about ideas, lunchboxes, picks,etc.. But I rarely discuss what I actually made the sandwich or wrap with. Mostly this is because you come to my blog for ideas on cute lunches and not on how to make a sandwich,lol. I figure you probably already know that ;)


I do love meat ( sorry my veggie friends) but I do not eat it daily and I am very conscious of where it came from. For my regular dinner type stuff like chicken or beef I use a local farmer who offers all natural hormone free meats and his animals are humanely treated. These things are important to me. But when it came to lunch meat it got trickier. I started looking around for something organic or all natural. I needed it to be free of nitrates,antibiotics and other artificial and unhealthy ingredients. And I wanted a company that believed in making sure that in the process the animals were being humanely raised. I found all of this in Applegate Organic and Natural meats.

Recently Moms Meet asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing Applegate products and of course I said YES!! While I was already using some of their products this gave me a great opportunity try more of them and learn more about the company. And I am so glad they allowed me to do it!


If you are worried about taste you shouldn't be!! In fact I found Applegate products to be tastier than their less than natural competitors and my daughter even notices when I use a different brand and she's never very happy about it,lol! I was also concerned that the selection wouldn't be great, but they offer many many choices, of meats, cheeses, hot dogs and more!! And I am finding many of my local stores are now carrying a wider variety of their products.

So next time you look at one of my lunches you will know that there is some tasty Applegate meat and cheese tucked inside :) Like in yesterday's Detroit Tigers lunch or the Frog from last week, we use Applegate often and you should try them too!



Would you like to try them for FREE??? Of course you would!! Thanks to Applegate and Moms Meet, 2 lucky winners will get to do just that! Contest is open to US residents only and ends October 23rd.





Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms
MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the
manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and
post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Detroit Tigers Day Lunch!!

Here in Michigan the Detroit Tigers are kind of a big thing right now. They have made the playoffs and everyone in Tiger town is excited! Today at my daughter's school it was Tigers Day so of course a fitting lunch was needed ;)

I used food writers for the tiger sandwich. If you do not have food writers you should buy some, I use them for so many things!! They are definitely one of my must haves. The little tiger in the middle is from Wilton and was supposed to be a cake pop topper, but I knew they would look so cute in lunches! And the Detroit Tigers pick on the bottom was originally a cupcake topper from my local cake and candy store. If you have a cake and candy store near you, go and check it out. I get some great lunch stuff at mine.

I hope in a few weeks, I can come back and tell you the Tigers are World Series Champs. But come back tomorrow and I will be chatting about the lunch meat and cheeses I use in my sandwiches and how you can win some too!!

Have a great day!!
~Jen





Thursday, October 4, 2012

World Animal Day Hop- One Pink Pig



Today is World Animal Day and to celebrate my Bento Blogger Friends and myself are all participating in a blog hop!! If you complete the entire loop you will see 37 different animal lunches, now that's cool!!

As you can see, my animal for the hop is a pig. I had some pink airbrush spray from some cupcakes that was just calling out to be used with my Cutezcute pig cutter. I think he's pretty stinking cute.
For the rest of the lunch I stuck to an animal theme as well. Animal crackers, a butterfly silicone liner for the grapes and a giraffe fork pick for the oranges.

Now it's time for you to hop along to the next animal. and let me just say that you will be AMAZED by the awesome penguin lunch at Biting the Hand That Feeds You and if you are a Hello Kitty fan (isn't everyone?) then you will love it even more!!! Don't forget to keep hopping until you end up back here!

Enjoy!!!







Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Frog on Lilypad Lunch


Made my daughter a very simple lunch today in a Planetbox. I made the frog using my Cutezcute cutter that I absolutely love. If you only buy one cute cutter set, it should be this one! So easy to use and works perfect. Instead of  putting the lettuce in the sandwich, I used it for the "lilypad" underneath. In the container is a pumpkin dip, you can find the recipe here. The pumpkin dip is a family favorite and makes a nice sweet treat for fall.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Goodbyn Bynto Winners are.....

The winners of the Pink Goodbyn Bynto's are:

#67 Jeannie Allen
#64 Kathleen Connolly Yoneyama

Congrats to the winners!!! And thank you to everyone who entered!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

And the Momables Winner is....

Thank you to everyone who entered the Momables giveaway.  I am happy to announce that Nicole Ver Straten has won!!  If you didn't win make sure you visit MOMables to get your subscription today. Also don't forget there is still time left to enter the Goodbyn Bynto Giveaway

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Raining Cats and Dogs!!

It's a rainy fall morning here in Michigan. And what better way to brighten the day then with a cute cat and dog lunch.
I finally talked my daughter into a real sandwich and not a wrap! The sandwich is a turkey and provolone cat. I used the cheese scraps for a nose and whiskers and of course chocolate chips for eyes. I love using the silicone muffin cups in lunches because they add color and separate foods your kids might not want mixed together. These cups  look like flowers to me! A couple little dog and cat picks and your done! So fast, so easy and cute!!

I used our Goodbyn Bynto for this lunch. You still have time to win one of your own here!!


                                                                         Have a great day!!
                                                                              ~Jen

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lunch Made Easy: A MOMables Review and Giveaway!!

Have you ever found yourself standing in your kitchen wishing the lunch fairy would come and help you make lunches? I know I have!! Well you don't have to wish anymore, Momables is here to help!

MOMables is a service that provides you with a healthy and fresh school lunch menu that you can whip out in about 10 minutes! They provide shopping lists, recipes with easy to follow instructions and great colorful photos to give you ideas for packing it in your child's lunchbox. You simply log in,print it, shop and prepare! You can't get much easier than that!!


I found that  if my daughter didn't like all the recipes, it was very easy to switch out a meal with one she liked from previous menus. It's also great to not have to plan out what I should pack for the week and then make a grocery list, it was already done for me and for $6 or less a month, it's a great deal too!


And make sure you check out the MOMables Blog as well. There you will find lots of great recipes and tips and tricks! You do not need to be a subscriber to check it out so make sure you go take look!

One of you lucky readers will win a 3 month subscription courtesy of  MOMables. Just follow the directions below to win!! Good Luck! Giveaway Ends Sept 21st at Midnight EST

a Rafflecopter giveaway



*Disclaimer: I was given a trial subscription to facilitate my review. No other compensation was given and the opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. Images used belong to MOMables*

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's a Wrap! Goodbyn Eco System review and Bynto giveaway!!

Happy Fall!! Hope everyone's back to school is going smoothly! Our first day was rocky but we have been getting back into the swing of things. My daughter however has proclaimed that she will only eat wraps and no more sandwiches :( I'm sure it's just a phase but she broke her lunch packing mom's heart,lol!


I have talked about the Goodbyn Bynto before and here is our new one. We both love the Bynto and really like that the new one also has a tinted lid so you can see what's in your box, which adds to the cute and fun factor!! For the wrap my daughter chose baby spinach,provolone and turkey. I found the cute little hawaiian flower picks at Wal-Mart by the party favors. In the middle you will see one of the new Goodbyn Dippers from their new Eco System line. I like that it works in the Bynto as well as the mix and match sets. Goodbyn also now has really cute insulated lunch totes here is the one my daughter got:
Isn't it so adorable? It's very roomy and has a pocket inside to hold an ice pack as well as outside pockets for napkins, spoons,etc.. It works with the Bynto as well as the mix and match sets and has plenty of room inside for a drink as well. They have lots of cute designs.


Here are 2 more containers from the Eco System. The snack container, which has 2 small compartments and small meal container which has 2 larger compartments. As you can see you I could fit a wrap and a small apple strudel in the small meal container. In the snack container I have several slices of cucumbers and a whip yogurt. The containers are not leak proof, except for the dipper, but the whip yogurt is light and whippy so we had no problems with it upright on the bottom on the bag. There is also a salad/sandwich container that is not pictured here. The best part is you can buy them as a whole mix and match set. I did not have any trouble getting the lids on and off . However my daughter who is 8, said the snack container lid was tricky for her to put back on. She had no troubles with any of the other containers, so it might be something to consider if using for very young children. I always suggest practicing with your child before they take it to school so they won't have to worry about it during the busy lunch time.

The Goodbyn Lunchbox products are also top-shelf dishwasher safe, even with the stickers on, which is helpful for us busy moms. They are also recyclable which is good for the Earth,but who could part with their Goodbyn's?? I know I don't want to!

Now for the fun stuff!! Thanks to the great folks at Goodbyn, I have 2 pink Bynto's to giveaway!!! Yes, that's right 2 of you can win! Giveaway is open to US Residents only and ends at Midnight (EST) on Monday Sept. 24th Good Luck!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway





Disclaimer: I was provided with a set of the Goodbyn Eco System to review. All thoughts,ideas and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone and no other compensation was received.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Almond Breeze Winners!!

And the 3 winners as chosen by Rafflecopter are:

#12 Molly's Lunchbox
#22 Sarah Laureman Felder
#4Michelle Joseph Castaneda

Congrats to the winners!!!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Blue Diamond Almond Breeze!

When Moms Meet gave me the opportunity to review Blue Diamond Almond Breeze products, I jumped on it. We are already huge fans of the Chocolate Almond Breeze and I was excited to try their new Almond Coconut milk blend.

If you have never heard of Almond Breeze, it's a non-dairy milk alternative from Blue Diamond. It is calcium enriched and free of dairy,lactose,gluten and soy. It comes in original,chocolate and vanilla flavors in both sweetened and unsweetened. They also have a new Almond Coconut milk blend that also come sweetened or unsweetened.

Around my house chocolate was already a favorite. So I decided to try the new Almond Coconut milk blend to see what we thought. On it's own my daughter said it was okay and I felt the same. We also used it some of our smoothie recipes and we really liked it for that. I also liked that by using the Almond Breeze it lowered the fat making them even more healthy and we could serve them to our dairy-free friends too!

The great people at Moms Meet and Almond Breeze also included 2 recipe booklets and I wanted to share the Breakfast Banana Power Boost with you. This would be great for mornings especially with everyone going back to school and mornings being rushed. It takes no time at all and your kids will love it and you will too!!

Breakfast Banana Power Boost
1 serving

1 cup Vanilla Almond Breeze Almondmilk
1 heaping tsp. protein powder
2tsp honey
1 ripe banana,peeled
2 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Per serving there are only 164 calories and 1.4grams of fat

If you are looking for an alternative to traditional dairy milk, I highly recommend Blue Diamond Almond Breeze it is very tasty and can be used just as your would use regular milk.

Moms Meet nad Almond Breeze have give me 3 coupons for a FREE carton of the Almond Breeze flavor of the winners choice! That mean 3 of you can win!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of

the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it

directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed

to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do

not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the

manufacturer of the product.

Picnic Lunch

Today was my daughter's last day of summer rec and they were to have a picnic at our local park with fishing, games and lots of fun. However mother nature had other ideas and it has been pouring rain since yesterday :( So sadly the picnic has been moved indoors. Since I knew my daughter was disappointed I decided to bring some of the outdoors into her lunch.

I used food writers to decorate her sandwich. For the butterfly I used a cupcake/cookie stencil that I bought awhile back on clearance. You got like 6 stencils for 25 cents, what a deal! It helps if you are artistically challenged like me,lol.
I used our GoGreen lunchbox as it seals each compartment separate so I didn't have to worry about the mandarin oranges leaking into the rest of her lunch. And another Odwalla Smoothie for Kids because she loves them!

If you are looking for other "fancy" sandwich ideas you can find my lunch and many others at Beneficial Bento's Fancy Sandwich Friday!! Lots of amazing lunches are sure to found there!

Have a fab Friday!!

~Jen

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Let's Go Swimming!!

Tomorrow my daughter starts swim lessons and since the swim school has a goldfish theme I thought it would make a super cute lunch for camp today.In fact as I took the tour of the school I had all kinds of lunch packing ideas floating through my head. I know I need help, right?

Anyway back to the lunch. I packed it in our Goodbyn Bynto. And if you haven't tried the Odwalla smoothie  boxes you should, they are really yummy!! My daughter loves them and they have no sugar added. There's enough sugar in the peanut butter cup ;) I also think the fish are perfect for summer picnics too! You could even add some goldfish crackers to make it more fishy.

                                                                  Have a great Thursday!!

                                                                              ~Jen

Monday, August 6, 2012

And the winner is...

The winner of the Allergy Friendly Food for Families cookbook is comment number #7 from Laura who wrote:

"I would love to win this - my daughter has a peanut allergy, and it is a recent diagnosis, so we are constantly looking for safe foods and meal ideas for her - this would be perfect for us!"

Laura watch your email :)

Thank you to everyone who entered! If you didn't win you can buy your own copy here. Stay tuned another giveaway will be posted this week!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cherry Lime Slush

It's been super hot here in Michigan and I've been making tons of frozen drinks and smoothies. I use my Vitamix more than any other appliance in my kitchen. My family loves smoothies and there is no better way to get  kids to eat healthy than whipping it up into a fun smoothie. I won't lie though, we do enjoy a cherry limeade from Sonic from time to time and that is what inspired this healthy version on these hot days. We all loved them!! Here is a picture of mine:

It's so simple to do. Just add frozen cherries, fresh cherries, organic limeade, water and ice and blend. The amounts you use will depend on how many you are making and whether you prefer more cherry flavor or more tart lime flavor. I would start out with a small amount of the limeade as it has a very strong flavor you can always go back and some more.  You can also throw any leftover mix into a popsicle mold for some future treats. And if you are having a party for the adults you could add some vodka too ;)

Hope where ever you live you are staying cool!!
~Jen

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!!

Well it's the last day of July and that can only mean one thing, Foodie Pen Pals reveal day!! If you read last month I started participating in Foodie Pen Pals. Foodie Pen Pals was started by Lindsay at the The Lean Green Bean blog. Make sure you check out her blog, besides the pen pals she has lots of great stuff!!

This month I received a package from April of Polka Dots N Pinky Swears. April was great and contacted me right away to see what I like and don't like. I was very excited to see what she had in store for me. A couple weeks later my package arrived. And sadly the USPS had not been kind to it :( April had sent a jar of sauce that had broken open in transit and sadly it caused some of her items to be ruined. But There were still some great things left and whatever sauce it was that got shattered, smelled awesome,lol!
Here are the three things that survived the wild ride from April's house to mine. I'll start with the Banana Nut Bread bar. It was very tasty and if I can ever find them at a local store I would buy them. They make a quick on the go breakfast. The next thing is the Caramel popcorn seasoning. April had no idea, but whenever we go to the movies my daughter always uses the caramel seasoning they have at the theater. She was so excited to see that in the box and I of course had to pop her some popcorn immediately. She still cannot believe she can have her favorite flavor at home and sends a big THANKS to April! The last and my favorite is the Sweet n Spicy pepper glaze. I love sweet n spicy stuff! This stuff does not disappoint. So far I have only used it for dipping my homemade chicken strips and it is amazing. I plan to use it for some chicken breasts next. I hope I can find it locally!!

I love Foodie Pen Pals and I will be participating in August as well. You do not need a blog to participate. Here are some FAQS you might want to know before you join:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents. Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.

I know you want to join so go here and maybe you'll be my pen pal next month!! Also if you are visiting my blog for the first time don't forget to enter my great cookbook giveaway here and I would love you to follow me on Facebook as well.



                                                      Have a fantastic day!!



                                                                 ~Jen

Monday, July 30, 2012

Barely Cooking!

I know most of my posts are about lunches but this past week I made a family favorite and used the leftovers to make a new family favorite. And I barely even cooked!!

Several years ago I stumbled across a recipe for Salsa Chicken in a  crock pot, I'm not even sure where the original recipe came from.Every time I make it I tweak it to what's in my cupboard so now I just wing it,lol! But it is my daughters all time favorite thing and she requests it often. You can also use it lots of ways. Typically my family likes it on rice, I like it in a flour tortilla and we all like to cover it with cheese :)  To make the Salsa Chicken:

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 packet taco seasoning ( the original recipe called for a whole packet which I think is way too much)
1 cup salsa
1-2 cans cream of chicken soup ( you could use mushroom or celery as well)
1 can black beans,drained
and about 3/4 of a 16oz bag frozen corn ( if you use fresh or canned, I wouldn't add until maybe the last hour or it may get mushy)

Throw it all in your crock pot. I like to use the liners because I am lazy and hate to clean. Cook on low about 6-8 hours. You know it's done when the chicken shreds easily. Shred all the chicken and mix well. Serve alone, on rice or in flour tortilla shells. Top with cheese, sour cream or crushed tortilla chips.

There are only 3 people in my household so we always have leftovers. I had a roll of the seamless crescent roll dough in the fridge for another recipe but it just seemed like it would be perfect to fill it with the leftover salsa chicken. So I cut the dough into 4 equal squares. Spooned a bunch of the filling into the middle of each and topped it with cheddar cheese. Then I just folded the 4 corners in and made sure the seams were sealed. Brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with some bread crumbs. I then baked them for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. They turned out so yummy!
I was so happy that I was able to use leftovers and not feel like we were eating the same thing over again. Plus it was great to get 2 meals from barely even cooking!!

Tomorrow is reveal day for Foodie Pen Pals, so be sure to come back and see what I got this month!! And make sure if you haven't done so already you enter my giveaway for a copy of the Allergy Friendly Food for Families cookbook, there's something for everyone in it!

                                                                   Have a great night!
                                                                           ~Jen

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Allergy Friendly Food For Families Giveaway!!

As many of you know I am a Moms Meet Ambassador and I often get asked to try different products and let you know what I think about them. This time I was asked to review a  new cookbook from the editors of  Kiwi. The cookbook is called Allergy-Friendly Food For Families and it's filled with 120 gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and soy-free recipes your whole family can enjoy!


First I have to say that I do not have an allergy in our household, however we have other friends and family that do and I found this cookbook to be loaded with lots of great information I can use to make things that everyone that comes over can enjoy! Besides the recipes it has information on allergies as well as a guide to building a natural allergy-free pantry. And they have a great website you should check out as well!

One of the recipes I made was chocolate cinnamon crisps. These were so fast and easy and as you can tell from the picture my daughter and her cousin really liked them. In fact they liked them so much that they ate them all before I could make a dip to go with them,lol! I also liked that I could cut them into cute shapes to put in lunches and will definitely be making them during the school year.


Another recipe we tried was the Polenta Mini Pizzas. First let me tell you that these are a piece of cake to make and something you can easily have the kids help make. In fact alot of the recipes in the book are geared to having the kids help in the kitchen. Which I think is great and really makes them want to try what they worked so hard on. Anyway back to the pizzas. After having my daughter help me put them together (literally about 10 minutes!!) we put them in the oven and waited not so patiently to try them. My daughter deemed them just okay, but said if she couldn't eat "real" pizza these would definitely be a good substitute. I on the other hand really liked them and on top of being allergy friendly they are super low in calories and fat making them figure friendly too! I will be making them again and trying some different toppings. Kiwi has given me permission to pass the recipe on to you so here you go:

                                                        Polenta Mini Pizzas
 Canola oil for coating the pan
1 (18 oz) tube of prepared polenta, sliced into 12 rounds
3/4 cup of you favorite tomato sauce ( they also have a great recipe for one in the book )
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with canola oil.

2. Place the 12 polenta rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Top each with 1 scant tablespoon of sauce,1 tablespoon of mozzarella and 1 teaspoon Pecorino Romano cheese.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Per Mini pizza:
66 calories
2g fat
3g protein
8g carbohydrates
1g dietary fiber

This recipe is gluten-free,nut-free,egg-free and soy-free.

** You could also add any other toppings that you want such as veggies, herbs or pepperoni.**


There are many other recipes in the cookbook and they are all nicely organized by category and clearly labeled as to which allergy they are for. A majority of the recipes are safe for all the allergies listed. To purchase this cookbook please go here and they will also throw in a free subscription to Kiwi magazine as well.

Now for the best part Moms Meet and Kiwi are allowing me to give away a copy of this great cookbook to one lucky reader!

To enter to win please comment on why you would love to win this book. Please make sure you leave an email so that I can contact you if you win.

Contest is open to residents of the USA and ends on August 6th at 10am. Winner will be chosen by random.org. CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!!

                                                                      Good Luck!!



Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of
the Moms Meet SM program, May Media Group LLC, who received
it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet SM blogger, I
agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My
opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media
Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Zucchini Season!!

Summer is in full swing and that means lots of zucchini!! My garden isn't doing as great this year but we do have some zucchini! One of my family's favorite things is zucchini bread and my daughter's all time favorite is chocolate chip zucchini bread. Now many recipes are heavy on the sugar and not so great for you but I use a recipe from  Skinnytaste and it is wonderful. In fact I haven't tried a recipe from her site that isn't awesome, so make sure you visit and look around, you won't be sorry you did!!

I like to make mine into muffins because it makes it easier to pack them in lunches and I control the size. When I do the loaf everyone takes giant slices,lol! The bonus is these are low fat as well!! The recipe can be found  here :)

Enjoy!!!

~Jen

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day!!

In an earlier post you read the guest post from my Foodie Pen Pal Tracie. If you missed it you can check it out here to see what I sent her. Now I am going to reveal what my pen pal Danielle sent me!!

As you can see from the picture Danielle sent me a wide variety of stuff!! According to Danielle, who hails from Oklahoma, they love their spicy Tex-Mex flavor!! I already love spicy so I was excited she took the risk and sent me some spicy stuff! She even sent me some homegrown peppers ( which for some reason did not make the picture, sorry!) We used those in some chili and salsa-YUMMY! She also sent some chili dried mangoes, I'm still trying to decide if I like them or love them,lol! They have such an interesting flavor and I would never have bought them for myself. Another thing I would have never bought, but is my new favorite, is the Chili Lemon Peanuts. OMG!! They are so yummy, I sure hope I can find them up here! She even sent my fave Luna bar flavor without even knowing it was!

My daughter of course had to get into the eating action and stole the Mallo Cups and the chocolate hazelnut wafer cookies. I was lucky enough to get a few of the wafer cookies with my coffee ;)

Danielle also included some cool things from her job at a local college that has medical based courses. She sent a fun "pill" pack filled with M&M's, some lip balm they made and a toothbrush. I love that even though they weren't foodie items she still included some things that defined who she is and what she does.

I loved my box from Danielle and it was a great experience. So much so that I will doing it again in July!! You do not need to be a blogger to be a foodie pen pal, so if you want to join in the fun go to The Lean Green Bean  to learn the details and sign up!! Thanks again Danielle for a great box!!

Have great day!!

~Jen

June Foodie Penpals Guest Poster Tracie!!

This month I participated in Foodie Penpals over at the The Lean Green Bean Blog.I was given Tracie's name to send her a surprise goodie box. Foodie Penpals is really a fun program and Tracie does an excellent job explaining it all in her post. Today I will post Tracie's post, to whom I sent a goodie box, and I will also reveal what my penpal Danielle sent to me in another post. So take it away Tracie!


Hi One Cool Lunch readers!  My name is Tracie and I am excited to be doing this guest post for Jen on foodie penpal reveal day.  This was my first month participating and I believe it was Jen’s first month too, so if you are wondering what a foodie penpal is then read on.  You can also check out Lindsay’s blog, The Lean Green Bean.  Lindsay is the founder and coordinator of the foodie penpal program.  She pairs everybody up each month so that you send a package to one person and receive a package from a different person.

I was lucky to be paired with Jen this month.  Jen and I exchanged a few emails and I had checked out her blog (which I think is great and I’m not just saying that because I am doing a guest post) so I was excited to see what she would send. I was not disappointed.  The note she included in the package stated she had sent some of her favorite things.  Check out the great package she sent! 



The first thing to be grabbed out of the box (yes, literally) by my kiddos were the cookies and cream magic milk straws.  We have never had these before so we had to try them immediately.  
They were a huge hit.  The day the package arrived we were packing for a camping trip so I packed the Peanut Butter and Co. dark chocolate and peanut butter.  We ate it with pretzels after our hike one day.  We had to go buy more.  Jen also included a package of Biscoff cookies.  This was another newbie for me.  I am so glad she introduced me to these cookies.  I don’t think I ever would have bought them because I tend to lean more towards chocolate type cookies, but these were delicious.  They had the perfect amount of sweetness and just the right crunch.  I only hope I can find them local.  I was excited to see a packet of Tastefully Simple onion onion seasoning.  I have used this before, but it has been a while.  I used it in the traditional way and made a veggie dip with it.  I made it to take somewhere, but it was so good I left it home for us to enjoy.  We also enjoyed the box of Annie’s macaroni and cheese.  We just discovered this macaroni and cheese and it was an instant favorite in our family.  I was completely unfamiliar with two of the items in the box (I think this is one of the fun parts of the foodie penpal program).  Jen included a jar of Penzeys Forward all purpose seasoning.  I have not tried it yet, but hope to this weekend.  She also included Primula tea.  This one threw me and I had to look it up to figure out how to use it.   The box also contained granola from a local company where Jen lives.  The original granola was super yum on yogurt.  It took me longer to try the dark chocolate and coffee granola because I am not a coffee drinker.  I really did not think I would like it, but as it turns out it was one of my favorite items in the box.  Who knew?  

Thanks Jen!  The box you sent was full of fun new foods for us to try.  If you want to connect with your own foodie penpal, here are a few of the details.

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

Thanks Tracie!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and look for those Biscoff cookies at your local Wal-Mart store ;) To see what I was sent look here !!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Busy As A Bee!

I don't know about you but these last few weeks of school have been super busy!! We are now in the home stretch with only 1.5 days left,finally!! Tomorrow my daughter is having an end of the year picnic at lunch with her class. Of course she wanted me to bring a treat and requested tye dye cupcakes. While I do love making them it was a bigger project than I wanted to tackle this week. So I decided a picnic isn't complete without a few bees buzzing around!
These little peanut butter bees aren't just cute they are very yummy as well. They taste like buckeyes, if you have ever had one of those! The original recipe was from Taste of Home. For mine I used my favorite peanut butter Krema Natural PB. It is so smooth and creamy it's perfect for this recipe. And it has only one ingredient-peanuts. So you don't have to worry about the oils and other junk. I also used candy melts for the chocolate stripes instead of chocolate chips because I think it melts easier, tastes better and is easier to work with, but use whatever you have on hand.

These are quick and easy to make and I got 46 of them from the recipe which was exactly enough for 2 per person for her class. Which was good for me because these are very addicting and it's hard to stop eating after just one. So I didn't even have to worry about eating too many myself ;) And they are nice and small so they make a great lunchbox treat anytime of the year.

Now I know many people have nut free classrooms or nut allergies in their own home. I think you could probably make these with Sunbutter or whatever substitute you use for pb. And for the wings Wilton makes some large heart shaped confetti sprinkles that would probably make great wings too!

                                                               Have a great day!!
                                                                       ~ Jen

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Time on My Hands

One of the comments I get most is "you must have lots of time on your hands". While the comment really bugs me, I understand where it's coming from. I will start off by saying like most moms I do not have enough hours in the day to get everything I would like to get done accomplished.You can tell this by my blog slacking lately ;) So like most of you I have to decide what's a priority for me and my family. One of my top priorities is making sure my daughter eats healthy foods.  Her lunches are a part of that and so I make the time to do them.

With that said most of her lunches take me less than 15 minutes from start to finish. That includes the mad scramble to find the right cutter or pik or any last minute requests! I make them in the morning before school while I enjoy my latte. I suppose I could do them the night before but that's family time as my hubby works alot so for us the morning works best.

As I'm sure you can tell from my lunches some are more detailed than others. And I don't make a "cool" lunch everyday and some days are more healthy than others. The point is you don't need to spend a ton of time to make it fun and healthy and get you kids to eat better lunches. For example, the other day I packed a snack of apple slices and a baby cuke for my daughter in a small bento box. At first it looked like this:
As I was packing it my daughter walked by, picked up a pink dog pik from the counter and stuck it in. It then looked like this:
I don't know about you, but given the choice I'd pick the snack with the doggy in it :)

So it doesn't really matter how much time you have or don't have even something as small as a dog pik can make a big difference. So start small but think big!!

                                                            Have a Great Weekend!!

                                                                     ~Jen

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Disposable Lunch

On Tuesday my daughter and her 3rd grade class made a trip to our local zoo. So of course she needed a lunch that could be thrown away when she was done. Since I never use paper bags or plastic baggies, I needed an alternative solution. I decided to use the plastic strawberry container that was about to make it's way to our recycle bin. You probably have these in your fridge or recycle bin right now too. The best thing is you can find them in all shapes and sizes and unlike paper bags, they keep the lunch from being crushed as well! We also used one of our Menchie's fro yo spoons. Menchie's is a great frozen yogurt place and the spoons are just too cute and nice to throw away,lol! To wrap her sandwich I used wax paper. Of course for a zoo trip we had to have animal crackers and I just put those in an animal themed cupcake liner.
For her sandwich she requested a tiger. Which was good because it is super easy! I used a cat face cutter and then some small candies for the eyes and a choc chip for his nose. I then used my food color markers to fill in the features and that's it!
I was also a chaperon for this trip and I did the same for my lunch but I made a salad in mine. I will also tell you that by lunch the kids with paper bags were trying to hold the bags together because the sweat from their cold drinks had made a hole in the bags and things were starting to fall out so the plastic container prevented that as well. As a bonus our zoo has recycling bins and we were still able to recycle the container and spoon too!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

WINNER WINNER PIZZA DINNER!!

Congrats to Rhi, LoraZee, and Courtney who all won a free Annie's pizza!  Thank you to everyone who entered!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Healthy Pizza Fast?! (Giveaway too!)

Did you ever wish you could serve your family a frozen pizza that was not only quick to make but healthy as well? Well look no further than Annie's Homegrown. The great people at Annie's have come out with a certified organic rising crust pizza, how cool is that? This is something that I love and that my kids do too! Healthy and tasty all in one pizza box! Amazing!!


If you have never heard of  Annie's Homegrown you should definitely visit their website. They make lots of wonderful products besides this pizza including my daughter's favorite macaroni and cheese!!  Annie's has been in business for over 20 years offering families simple yet healthy foods.  You can be assured that the products you get from Annie's are not only delicious and healthy but that they friendly to our planet as well.

Annie's and Moms Meet were nice enough to send me a coupon to try one of the new frozen pizzas for myself. I have to say I was skeptical. I am not a fan of frozen pizza. I mean, they usually taste like cardboard with sauce and cheese. So I wasn't expecting much. I opted for the Pepperoni Pizza since that is the one that would please all my taste testers. It looked better than most frozen pizzas right out of the box. And a short time later the timer was buzzing and our pizza was ready. It looked great and smelled great but how would it taste? It tasted like pizza!! LOL! I mean like real pizza, not frozen, but a nice homemade pizza. I was so surprised and happy. My daughter said is was super and even  my husband enjoyed it.  I will definitely being buying these again. Finally a frozen pizza I can feel good about serving and it tastes great too!  If you have any leftovers it makes a great quick and easy lunch too!

So to wrap it all up, I urge you to head to the freezer aisle of your local Whole Foods and pick up an Annie's Homegrown Rising Crust Pizza, your kids will be happy you did and you will feel good about serving it to them as well. They come in 4 great flavors:
Uncured Pepperoni
Supreme
Four Cheese
Spinach and Mushroom
All  the meats are made without added nitrates or nitrites. And the cheese is 100% real cheese made from milk from cows not treated with growth hormones.

Now for the best part! Annie's Homegrown and Moms Meet want you to try one of these great pizzas for FREE!! They have given me 3 coupons good for a free pizza so that 3 of my lucky readers can try one out for themselves!

They are 3 ways you can enter:
First, go like Annie's on  Facebook
Next go like Moms Meet on Facebook
And lastly tell me what you like best about the new pizzas and what flavor you would get if you win.
Leave a separate comment for each thing you do and be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win. Contest ends May 1st at 10am. Open to US residents only.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of
the Moms Meet SM program, May Media Group LLC, who received
it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet SM blogger, I
agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My
opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media
Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oh the Thinks You Can Think!!

Today is Dr. Seuss' birthday and what better way to celebrate than with a fun Dr. Seuss themed lunch and blog hop!!  I think the possibilities are endless with Dr. Seuss as a lunch theme. I hope you follow the link at the end of this post to the next awesome blogger who has created a Dr. Seuss lunch of their own! If you follow all the links you will see over 20 different lunch ideas, Oh the Thinks you can Think with all those amazing ideas!! I know I am excited to follow and see what everyone has thought up!


For my daughter's lunch I chose to make the sandwich into the Lorax and the meat stick and cheese are the Truffula trees. I had to have red fish of course( swedish fish are a staple in our house,lol) and the cucumber stars are for the Star-bellied Sneetches ,which is one of her favorite stories! I packed it all up in our new PlanetBox, which so far we like very much ;)  She loved it!! It was also a great way to get ready for The Lorax movie that opens up today too! We are very excited to see it!

If you liked what you saw and want to see more, please follow this link to the blogger next door, I'm sure Keitha's Chaos has great things in store! ( Blog Hop officially goes live March 2nd)

Happy March is Reading month to you all!!


Friday, February 24, 2012

FUN BITES WINNER!!

And the winner is #7 :
I "liked" funbites. trishbazin@yahoo.com


Congrats Trish!! Watch your email :)  Thank you to everyone who entered and make sure you use the code OneCoolFunBites at checkout to get 15% off your FunBites order at FunBites.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Are you ready for some football?

I had planned a really cute Super Bowl themed lunch, but then my daughter came home with the worst news: she ordered hot lunch!!! What?! Apparently they started using these really cute baskets to serve the lunch at school and she just had to try it,lol!! See, even the school knows it's all about the presentation ;)

So instead all I have for you are my Super Bowl Strawberries. Due to the colors of this years teams,these would also be great for 4th of July and Memorial Day! So file this away for those summer parties!
As you probably have noticed, I like strawberries. I think it's the fact that they are easily manipulated into different things and they are so sweet, it's like eating a dessert. You know, a dessert that is actually good for you! And well most kids love them! Now these are not as healthy but they are better than a slice cake! And they are a piece of cake to make!

Wash and dry your strawberries, the bigger the better for these.

Put some blue sanding sugar( you could use jimmies too) in a bowl

Put out a piece of wax paper for cooling

Melt white chocolate candy pieces in your double boiler. Once the chocolate is melted, dip the strawberry part way in, you want to see the red so you get the red, white and blue effect. Make sure the excess drips off and then dip the bottom tip into the sugar. Allow to cool and harden on wax paper.

And that's it!!

These are best made day of or night before as the sugar can get weird if it's stored too long in the fridge.

Hope you have a great weekend and don't indulge in too much bad Super Bowl foods and I hope your team wins!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fun Bites ! More than just a Sandwich Cutter!

Recently I was sent a new product to try called Fun Bites. At first, I have to admit, I was thinking it's just another sandwich cutter. And you are probably saying " Jennifer, how many cutters do you need?" well that depends and  Lord knows I have a shameful amount!  But after using it for a few weeks I found it was more than just a sandwich cutter. It was a great kitchen tool!

First, a little background on the company. Fun Bites was started by a mom and I love mom companies. I mean who knows what a mom wants in a product better than another mom? Not only that, they are 100% made in the USA,  BPA free and top rack dishwasher safe. Fun Bites come in 2 designs, Cube It and Luv It.

The first lunch I did I used the Cube It. I made my sandwich as usual and used the cutter. It was very simple and cut very easily. I love the popper that is included that just pops your cubes out! I stacked up my cubes on cute picks to make it easy to eat. My daughter said she loved her little "mini" sandwiches.

The next cutter is the Luv It and my daughter wanted in on the fun. So she made her sandwich the way she wanted it. She thought it was lots of fun to be able to easily make her own design. She used food writers to "color" it. The ease of use and lack of sharp edges makes this a great way to get your kids involved in meal making. And when kids help make their meals they are more likely to try new things and eat all their food!! Here's her creation:
The other day I went to make croutons and I realized the cube it would be perfect for that. I sliced my beer bread and used the cube it to quickly make perfect little croutons. It was so fast and easy!!  This also would be a great tool to cut up meat and cheese for an antipasto salad. With the Superbowl coming up, I can see myself using this little green guy alot!!
The Luv It has lots of great geometric shapes that could be made into a million things! This morning I was in a hurry and did a quick face on my daughters sandwich. Literally took 2 seconds and I didn't have to look for a bunch of small cutters or try to free hand it.
 As you can probably tell , I really like these and I think they could be used a million ways I haven't even thought of yet! Both for cool lunches and your everyday meals.

Now for the best part! Fun Bites has graciously offered to give one of my lucky readers the cutter of their choice!!  To enter, do one or more of the following and leave a separate comment for each. make sure you include an email so I can contact you if you should win.

Mandatory entry: "Like" Fun Bites on Facebook, if you already do that counts too.

Visit Fun Bites.com and tell me what you are most excited to cut first if you win!

"Like" One Cool Lunch and share this giveaway on your wall!!

But wait there's more!! Fun Bites has given all One Cool Lunch readers a great coupon code! Visit Fun Bites and when you place your order use code OneCoolFunBites at check out to receive 15% off your entire order!! So there's no excuse for you not to have one or 2 of these!!

Contest ends on Feb. 23rd at Midnight. Open to US residents.

** I was sent a sample of this product to try. The thoughts and opinions shared on this page are mine and mine alone and I was in no way told what to say nor was I paid to write it.**

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Strawberry-orange Jello Bites!

While cruising around Pinterest the other day, a place I visit too many times in a day,I stumbled upon some really cool strawberry margarita jello shots. I knew that these would make a cool lunch or snack item, all I had to do was remove the alcohol !! Easy Peasy! I used orange jello for mine but I think lime, strawberry or really any flavor you have would work as well.


To start I washed and dried my strawberries. Then I cut the bottoms flat so they could stand on their own. You only need to cut a tiny bit on most of them. I put the bits  I cut off  on my salad for lunch since I hate wasting! Then I used  my strawberry huller to clean off the tops and insides. It works great for this. If you don't have a huller a small sharp knife will work too. Next I made the jello and used a straw to easily get the jello into the strawberries. The I put them in the fridge. Once they were done I used sour apple Laffy Taffy to make the  "stems". * Do not put the "stems" in until ready to serve, the Laffy Taffy can get weird in the fridge*

My daughter who does not like jello, I know it's hard to believe their is a kid who won't eat it, even liked them!  I think they make a cute party snack as well and are perfect size for lunches!

I still plan to make the margarita ones for a Mom's Night Out sometime because even moms want a cool treat ;)


Jen

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Eat Cleaner in 2012! Giveaway too!

With all the recent food scares and the growing use of pesticides it feels like it's not even safe to give your family fruits and veggies anymore! I try to buy organic when I can but let's face it it can be expensive and it's not always easy to find what you need. I started looking for ways I could make sure the healthy foods I was putting in our meals were actually healthy and I needed to do it in a economical and earth friendly way. That's when I found Eat Cleaner products.


Eat Cleaner is company that was started by a mom who shares my sames concerns for her family. So she designed a safe all natural product that will get all the gunk like wax, pesticide residue and other bacteria off your foods. And not only does it make safer for your family it also makes your food last longer!! And they stand behind their products 100% so you can try them without worry!!

I personally did my own test using an apple. I washed the apple with the Eat Cleaner produce wash and could tell the difference right way. I then cut the apple and sprayed half with the produce wash and left the other half as is. The next morning the apple that had Eat Cleaner on it was almost as perfect as when I cut it and the other side was getting brown and my family would have never touched it! I left it the rest of the day and even after almost 24 hours of siting on my counter the apple half that was treated was barely browning and my daughter happily ate it, while the other half she declared was gross! Here is a photo of the apple test as conducted by Eat Cleaner.



Eat Cleaner is also Made in the USA and has FDA approved ingredients that are safe for the whole family. They are made with a natural blend of plant-based ingredients including Citric Acid, which naturally occurs in most fruits and vegetables.Other ingredients include Sodium Citrate, a citric acid salt, Calcium Ascorbate, an antioxident that helps prolong shelf life, Sea Salt, a natural preservative and anti-bacterial, and Vegetable Glycerin. 

Needless to say I am sold on this product and have been using it for a few months now and am still very happy with it. I will continue to purchase and use this product for my family. And I hope you will try out there products as well!


Now on to the best part- A GIVEAWAY!!!!!!

The wonderful folks at Eat Cleaner want you to try their product so they have given me a great travel size pack, yes they even have a travel pack for safe food on the go, to give away to one lucky reader. Here are the things Eat Cleaner would like you do in order to win. After doing each one make sure you leave a separate comment for each thing and an email so I can contact you should you win. Contest will end Feb. 14th at noon.US residents only.

Entry Requirements:

Follow Eat Cleaner on Facebook

Follow Eat Cleaner on Twitter

Sign up for the Cleaner Plate Club newsletter and you'll also get 25% your first order!!

Watch this video and answer the following questions:

On average how many hands touch your food before you do?
Name 2 reasons why washing with Eat Cleaner is better than washing with water.

And as always like One Cool Lunch on Facebook for an entry as well. If you already do that counts too!


*** I was given a sample of this product to review and one to use for a giveaway. All views presented are solely mine and I was in no way told what to say in my review**