Happy Thanksgiving Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

Well, here it is – my last Thanksgiving themed lunches for this year.

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I made turkey shaped sunbutter and apple butter sandwiches [again]. I added feathers, gobblers, beaks, eyes, and turkey toes. Gobble. I also packed yogurt covered raisins, honey mustard pretzels, corn, raspberries (Bigs), red grapes (Smalls), and Linzer cookies.

School’s out forrrrrr Thanksgiving!!!

Stay rad.

Kristin

Gobble Gobble!

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Today was an *almost* headache free day. Praise! I was able to put together these fun turkey themed lunches for my boys. I made a turkey shaped sunbutter and jam sandwich. I used Food Writers to add eyes, beaks, gobblers, feet, and feathers. Glorious, colorful feathers. I also packed cheddar sandwich crackers, dried cranberries, dates (Bigs), a Pfeffernusse cookie (Smalls), mandarin orange (Bigs), carrots (Smalls), green grapes, and raspberries (Bigs).

I am also the Co-op Parent in my Smalls’ class, so here is my lunch:

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I packed salad with dressing, a Pfeffernusse cookie, dried cranberries, kiwi, mozzarella cheese, and green grapes.

I’m SOOOO excited for Thanksgiving! It’s my favorite holiday!

Gobble!

Kristin

Pancake Sandwich & Lunchables Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

Hello from the other siiiiide

It’s been a while. Halloween has come and gone. I’ve not kept up with both this blog and my “fun” lunches. I’ve had a time getting my migraines and headaches under control. Anyone who has been through that knows, well…it’s a headache! I’m taking it minute by minute, some days.

Here are two of the many lunches I’ve made since we last saw each other. These are the only fun(ish) ones. At least I *hope* they were fun for them. 😀

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Pancake and jam sandwiches, mandarin orange (Bigs), carrots (Smalls), grapes, cheddar sandwich crackers, dried cranberries, and three little oatmeal letter cookies.

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Another homemade Lunchable – I’ve been doing these about once a week now! This time it was chicken, cheddar, Ritz, a mini banana muffin, mandarin orange (Bigs), grapes, and a piece of Halloween candy.

Peace n’ Blessins’ (look it up, it’s my favorite),

Kristin

Apple Themed Kindergarten School Lunch

‘Tis the season for all things pumpkin…AND apple! I made a quick batch of homemade applesauce earlier this week. I peeled, cored, and sliced gala and golden delicious. I put them in a saucepan, with a little bit of lemon juice and a few cinnamon sticks, over medium high heat. I stirred them until they broke down. I added cinnamon, a little bit of pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. When they over adequately tender, I blitzed them in the food processor. That’s it! It made my house smell so autumnal and homey! And my oldest loves it! So, with that and the Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies I made last week (I froze the batch), I was inspired to make an apple themed lunch for my oldest.

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I made an apple shaped sunbutter and apple jelly sandwich. I used Food Writers to add a little red color and I used some of the upper crust to look like a stem. I also packed colby jack cheese, snap pea crisps, homemade applesauce (with a little extra cinnamon on top), an apple cookie, and a squeezy yogurt. I decorated with two little apple cupcake picks.

I guess you could now call me an inCIDER on all things apple. 😀

Kristin

Kebab Kindergarten School Lunch

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For tomorrow’s lunch (for my Bigs), I packed two ham & cheese kebabs. I used colby jack cheese. I also packed apples, peaches, raisins, pretzels, and an Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookie.

Happy Friday Eve!

Kristin

Pumpkin Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

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I had waited long enough. It was time. Time to pull out the Fall decorations and put them up proudly, knowing that not everyone would agree with my decision. So, today, that’s exactly what I did. I’ve got my Fall wreath on my front door, some sparkly gourds filling a glass pillar (because all gourds should be sparkly), some felt owls on my china cabinet. Oh yes. My boys are so excited. I also baked apple cookies. God-willing, with all this Fall surrounding me, Fall weather will come sooner and relieve me of this dreadful 90+ degree heat.

To further celebrate our festive decor, I went with a pumpkin theme on my boys’ lunches for tomorrow. I made pumpkin shaped sunbutter and apple jelly sandwiches, and used my Food Writers to add a wee bit of detail. I also packed red grapes, cheddar sandwich crackers, charred corn (in my pumpkin shaped silicone cupcake wrappers), and one Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookie.

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These cookies are the epitome of Fall. Chewy, soft, warm with cinnamon, sweet with apples.

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Oh yes, boy

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This recipe is EASY. And, wait for it…HEALTHY! I made smaller cookies than the recipe called for (instead of fifteen, I made 22), and I added vanilla bean paste, in addition to the vanilla extract. And each cookie is less than 100 calories (and actually, I think MUCH less since I made smaller cookies!). These can also be easily converted to gluten free. A must!

http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2015/01/03/apple-pie-oatmeal-cookies/

Happy (almost) FALL, y’all!

Kristin

The Last Day of VPK for 2015

Tomorrow is my Bigs’ last day of VPK. I am in denial. He’ll be in Kindergarten next year. That’s like “big boy” status.

Cue ugly crying.

Bigs’ class pet this year was a flamingo, appropriately named “Mingo”. He spent many nights with us, as he did with all the classmates. He was very loved. It was absolutely fitting that the class pet was a flamingo. It’s always been, um, my spirit animal. If there is such a thing. So I really enjoyed the flamingo theme this year. I made a few flamingo lunches this year, as well (here and here). So for his very last VPK school lunch, I felt that Mingo needed his due course.

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I made a “Mingo” shaped PB&J. I also packed a pluot, TJ’s organic PB crackers, red grapes, and yellow watermelon. I didn’t pack a dessert, since we’ll be having an ice cream party tomorrow. I used flamingo cupcake picks and added a palm tree (that I acquired through a bakery cake at some point).

Long live Mingo.

And for my Smalls, who is also having his last day of Mom’s Morning Out…

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…he’ll be in the “3’s” next year. Sniff. I made two little ice cream cone shaped PB&J sandwiches. I added details with my Food Writers. I also packed PB crackers, yellow watermelon, and one homemade chocolate chip/sprinkle/M&M cookie, cut into fourths.

I made those cookies yesterday to deliver to the boys’ school staff, as a thank you. They were really easy to make and used whole wheat flour.

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Sprinkle M&M Cookies

Adapted from: Weelicious

1 C AP flour

1¼ C whole wheat flour

1 t baking soda

½ t salt

1 C butter, room temperature

1 C brown sugar, packed

½ C granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 T vanilla

1 C semisweet chocolate chips

1 C M&Ms

1/2 C colored jimmies

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and set aside.

Whisk together both flours, baking soda and salt. In another bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), cream butter and both sugars together for 3 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Gradually add in dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Stir in chocolate chips, M&Ms, and sprinkles.

Drop dough onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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Enjoy! Summer is here!!

Kristin

USA VPK School Lunch

I am incredibly patriotic. I love my country. I love other countries as well. I think that there is much to be learned from all of them, and that it’s incredibly important to learn from them. And I happen to love learning about them and their cultures. I’ve traveled a lot outside of the States and loved every minute of it. But this isn’t about that. This is about my country. I remember being in kindergarten during the Gulf War and learning the words to my favorite “USA” song – “I’m proud to be an American”. I remember singing it with pride and getting goosebumps, even back then, like I still do. This week in school, my Bigs will be learning about Country, State, and Town. I am very excited for him to come home knowing a bit more American history (for the purposes of tomorrow’s lunch).

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I made a PB&J star and added detailing (my vultures boys ate the scraps). I also packed honey wheat pretzel sticks, a mixture of jumbo raisins, white yogurt raisins, and dried cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, and Trader Joe’s yogurt star cookies (I used only the white color for this lunch). I used USA-themed cupcake picks and rings for decoration.

Because, ‘Murica.

Kristin

Sweet Week

I was a Baking Fool this past weekend (it’s an official title, of sorts). I needed some new lunchbox treats. That’s always a fun time for me, finding something new to bake. I chose two recipes that I’d had tucked away for some time – Fairy Bites (tiny, little, sprinkle-y shortbread squares) and Campfire Cookies (all the yummy components of s’mores).

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I’ve had these on my radar for a while and I was happy to finally be able to make them. They were so simple and easy to make and came out so cute.

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Lightly almond and super buttery, these cookies are sure to please almost everyone (as long as “everyone” likes lightly almond and super buttery and cookies, and if you don’t, I’m not sure I want to know you)!

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They are so adorably tiny, which makes them perfect for little hands. Or big hands, like mine. Either one.

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I probably definitely should have added more sprinkles.

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But, I am still very happy with the way they came out.  These are great lunchbox treats and would be so precious at a little tea party (which my boys would straight up annihilate, so I’ll be sticking with serving these in lunchboxes for them and eating directly from the cookie jar for me).

http://pinkpiccadillypastries.blogspot.com/2014/02/fairy-bites.html

Needing something with chocolate??

Me too. Always.

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I had also been wanting to make these Campfire Cookies for a long time. I LOVE s’mores. We have a life-long love affair, me and s’mores. And when the opportunity arises to eat them deconstructed or reconstructed, I’m in.

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These hearty cookies are made with both flour and graham cracker crumbs.

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They are chock full of Hershey’s milk chocolate and mini marshmallows.

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They were so ooey and gooey and melty, fresh out of the oven.

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I highly recommend these.

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dessert/gooey-smores-cookies.html#_a5y_p=1384098

And continuing with the “sweet” theme, for Tuesday’s lunch…

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I packed a heart-shaped ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich, colby jack cheese, assorted raisins (LOVE Trader Joe’s raisins), strawberries, blueberries, and one Campfire Cookie.

Enjoy!

Cookies for Santa (and Mrs. Claus!)

Christmas is almost here! Do you know what you’ll be putting out for Santa to enjoy? I’ve got two very easy recipe for you, should you need them (and don’t we all need extra cookies recipes in our repertoire?).

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The first cookie could not be any easier! I’m sure you’ve tried these at least once in your life. They are no-bake chocolate, oatmeal, and peanut butter cookies. The best of everything!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

2 C sugar

4 T cocoa (using dark cocoa really changes the flavor and makes them so decadent!)

1/2 C butter (1 stick)

1/2 C milk (I used coconut milk)

1 C peanut butter

1 T vanilla

3 C oatmeal

Bring sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk to a boil. Let it boil for about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal. Drop spoonfuls onto a prepared sheet pan (waxed paper or Silpat). Let them cool and harden (you can do this in the refrigerator).

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They are as equally good freshly plopped onto the pan…

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…as they are from the refrigerator or freezer.

The second cookie is not as easy, because it is a baked cookie, but is equally delicious and completely customizable.

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They are a basic brown sugar cookie with chocolate chips, M&M’s, and sprinkles. All in Christmas colors! I think Santa will be back for seconds (if you ask me, and I would know, wink wink).

Santa’s Chocolate Chip, M&M’s, and Sprinkle Cookies

Recipe adapted from: “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie”, http://www.dinnersdishesanddesserts.com

3/4 C softened butter

3/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C sugar

1 egg

2 t vanilla

1 T vanilla bean paste

2 C flour

2 t cornstarch

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 C chocolate chips

3/4 C M&M’s (I picked out the red and green ones)

1/4 C sprinkles (I used Christmas colors)

Cream butter and both sugars together, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and vanilla bean paste. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, M&M’s, and sprinkles.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes. I covered it, and left it in the fridge overnight. I had to let it thaw a bit before baking. Chilling the dough makes for a thicker cookie.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Scoop out dough. I rolled mine into balls. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

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These were just a really fun take on the classic chocolate chip cookie, which goes over well with almost everyone I know. And to be honest, I’m not sure I want to know you if a chocolate chip cookie doesn’t go over well with you. #nooffense #moreforme

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My boys loved helping with these, especially knowing that “Santa” would be enjoying them (and indeed SHE will). They dumped in all the chocolate and sprinkles.

Enjoy! Only a few days left to get your baking on!

Kristin (aka Mrs. Claus, aka Cookie Queen)