Three Lunch Thursday

Tomorrow is my Co-op day at my sons’ school. I get to enjoy my oldest for the entire day!

Here is my lunch:

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I made a salad (greens, bell pepper, yellow cherry tomatoes, carrots, and vinaigrette. I also packed a navel orange, green grapes, raspberries with semi-sweet chocolate chips in them, and some dark chocolate coconut bark. I can’t wait.

My Bigs’ lunch has the continued transportation theme. Although they are still learning about boats, I went trucks. Beep.

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I made a PB&J and used a pickup truck cutter on one piece of the bread. I added a few red sprinkles on top of the jelly to make it more of a profound (and less sticky) truck shape. I also packed pretzel sticks, green grapes, and semi-sweet chocolate chip stuffed raspberries for his dessert.

And for my teeny weeny Smalls:

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He requested a “triangle” shaped PB&J, about which I forgot. I just told him I went with a rectangle shaped one. And he bought it. πŸ˜€ I also packed green grapes, pretzel sticks, dried cranberries, and a chocolate chip cookie. He requested all of those.

Have a great Thursday!

Kristin

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Ho Ho Ho Boy!

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and I’m already doing Christmas lunches! It’s so exciting. And my Bigs is beyond excited for Christmas! We normally wait until the week of Thanksgiving to decorate and put up our tree, but he’s been so excited that we bumped it up a week. We’ll be doing it at the end of this week. He can’t wait. I can’t either. Tomorrow is going to be the coldest day we’ve had this season, so far. It feels more like the holidays!

So, to celebrate ALL of that, I made Bigs a fun Christmas lunch.

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I made a ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich, which I cut into two tiny Christmas trees (Bigs ate the crusts for a pre-karate snack today). I “decorated” the trees with food-safe green spray and used my Food Writers for extra detailing. I also packed raisins, plantain chips (not the sweet kind), a mandarin orange, a banana (also decorated like a tree), goldfish cookies and red, white, and green chocolate covered sunflower seeds for dessert.

Ho ho ho!

Blessings!

Kristin

It’s the end of the week as we know it (and I feel fiiiine)

It’s in your head now. Right? You’re welcome. R.E.M. rocks! Do people say “rocks” anymore? Do young people say “rocks” anymore? I wouldn’t know.

So, the end of the week is here (yay). It’s been such a crazy week. I haven’t even had a second. But now I do. So, I’m taking my second to show you food.

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Bigs’ Wednesday lunch was a breakfast theme! I packed a pancake “sandwich”, made with two gluten and dairy free pancakes, peanut butter, and honey. I also packed one slice of turkey bacon, cut up, some assorted raisins (Trader Joe’s big bag of assorted raisins ROCKS [#cantstopwontstop #imold]), a colby jack cheese slice, an orange, and granola (Trader Joe’s again).

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Bigs’ Thursday lunch was another turkey lunch (this time with ham and cheese!). I used my Food Writers and a turkey cookie cutter to make him so cute (if I can say so myself). His hay bale is crusts. I also packed grapes and applesauce. Bigs told me he was “staaaaarving” after eating this, so I made sure to pack more tonight for Friday’s lunch.

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So. For Bigs’ lunch tomorrow (Friday), I was sure to pack more food. I went with a Fallish squirrel theme. I made a ham and cheese sandwich, shaped like a squirrel. I used my Food Writers for his eye detail and cut out a little piece of fruit leather in the shape of an acorn. I also packed pretzels, seasoned corn, grapes and pineapple, an organic yogurt squeezy thing, and Trader Joe’s ginger cookies for dessert.

He’s going to go nuts! Get it? I love a pun.

And for my Smalls’ lunch today, I packed a Mickey Mouse(ish) lunch. And to prove it, here’s a blurry picture:

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Three baby Mickey Mouse shaped PB&J’s, some organic Trader Joe’s PB crackers, grapes, and TJ’s school house letter cookies. He ate all the grapes this time!

I also made Thanksgiving this week! I don’t think you can have it enough. I made a meal for a friend and doubled so my family could enjoy it too!

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I can’t wait for the REAL Thanksgiving! It’s going to be the bomb! (Do they say “bomb” anymore? Or is that done-zo?) For us, I made gluten free Turkey and Sage Meatballs.

Turkey and Sage Meatballs

1 lb (ish) ground turkey

1/2 C gluten free breadcrumbs

1 egg

S&P

1 1/2 t of ground sage or poultry seasoning

Mix together, roll into balls, place on greased pan, bake for 30 – 45 minutes (depending on size of meatballs) at 350F.

I covered our meatballs with a homemade cranberry orange sauce.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 C fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 C frozen orange concentrate

1/3 C water

1 T sugar

1 packet of plain (unflavored) gelatin

Place all ingredients, except for gelatin, in saucepan. Bring to a boil. Whisk in the gelatin and simmer until thick.

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Roasted turkey breast for my friend. I seasoned it with S&P, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, and olive oil. I roasted it according to directions.

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I made green bean casserole, all of which I could have eaten by myself. I love it.

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I made sweet potato casserole. I didn’t have marshmallows, but I DID have marshmallow fluff. And being the resourceful woman that I am, I swirled that ooey gooey fluffy goodness around in the sweet potatoes and it came out just fine.

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I made cheesy corn and cornbread casserole.

http://jareskepinterestrecipes.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/corn-casserole/

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I made my first ever pumpkin pie (weird that it’s my first!). I used a basic recipe. And I overdid it. But I love my friend, she didn’t even care.

And lastly, I made an old fashioned Cranberry Fluff Salad. I took a picture, but it looked awful. Like bad awful. But it was good. SO good. I am on the molded and gelatin based salad train. Doesn’t that sound like a gross train to be on? It’s not. It’s amazing. If you like that sort of stuff. Which I do. I DID have to change the recipe, due to my lack of marshmallows. Again, I used the fluff. I thought it might work since that IS one of the names in the recipe. And it DID work, maybe not as successfully as marshmallows would have, but it was still really good!

http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/cranberry-fluff/

Do it. That could be your Thanksgiving, right there.

Have a BLESSED end to your week! We are ending our week right with our church/school’s Fall Festival tomorrow night! It’s going toΒ rock!!

Blessings,

Kristin

Vacation Eats

What’s your favorite part of vacation? For tropical vacations, is it the sand between your toes? The sound of the ocean’s waves, lapping up to your feet? Is it soaking up the sun in your vacation spot’s crystal blue, fancy pool? While I love ALL of those things, my real joy is discovering the local food. I’m a foodie, through and through!

We recently got back from our annual sojourn to the tropical Sanibel Island. We always look forward to seeing our favorite things down there and eating at our favorite restaurants there.

I’ll jump right in!

We always go straight to the Island Cow, a funky, cow-themed, tropical restaurant in the middle of Sanibel Island. They put “bread” on the table when you arrive…read “bread” as strawberry and funfetti muffins. How can you go wrong?

We ordered the Frickles (fried pickles). If you’ve never had these, I URGE you to try them. They fulfill a lot of taste pockets on your buds – crunchy pickle crunchy, crunchy fried crunchy, salty, and savory. They come with ranch dressing and are sprinkled liberally with Parmesan cheese. Again, seriously, how can you go wrong? πŸ™‚

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I ordered the grilled salmon. It was a little dry. But I didn’t care. I was eating fresh fish and funfetti muffins on a tropical island, surrounded by extended family. Standards are different.

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I ordered it with veggies and cheese grits. Because cheese. And grits. Everyone enjoyed their meals (Hubs got shrimp, Bigs got waffles, and Smalls got catfish – he actually asked for catfish and loved it – such a mini-foodie-baby!).

We then went to the best grocery store on the Island – Jerry’s, as we always do after lunch. We picked up some food for the week…and a few extras….DONUTS.

I was on a donut hunt. Like a Great White Shark (sorry, this all happened during our beloved Shark Week) hunts its blubbery prey, I was out to find the best donut. My hunt began earlier in the week (and in my hometown).

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We had to spend 3 hours in Pediatric Cardiology earlier in the week to check out my Smalls’ heart murmur (healed, God is good!) and I thought we deserved donuts. And it was a nice way to round out the week before leaving for vacation. These (strawberry icing with sprinkles, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, coconut crunch, and jam-filled) were delicious, but still not as good as my go-to donut shop (I’ve talked about them and posted pictures before – they’ve been featured on Food Network’s “Donut Showdown”!).

Back to Jerry’s in Sanibel…

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We picked up a chocolate icing with sprinkles, an almond-filled bearclaw, and a custard-filled croissant bundt. I was delighted to see that as my search continued, the donuts (and pastries, as it were) were getting better and better. The sprinkle donut was very good (the boys devoured it, they love their sprinkles). The almond-filled bearclaw was DIVINE. The pastry was delicate and crunchy and topped with glazed almonds. The inside was lovely marzipan-esque, chewy, and absolutely wonderful. And the little bundt in the back was a delicious surprise. It was made with torn up croissants, pressed into the mini-bundt pan, baked, glazed, and filled with a creamy, cool, vanilla custard. SO fun!

We finished off our donut crawl at Bennett’s Fresh Roast donuts, which have also been featured on “Donut Showdown”.

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Our group liked them so much, we got them twice! The picture above shows their s’mores donut, pink icing with sprinkles (for the boys, obvi), and their Orange Crunch. Despite loving all things s’mores and not really liking Orangesicle flavored things, the Orange Crunch was out of this world. It was FULL of fresh orange flavor.

Even after all of those wonderful pastries, I still prefer my go-to! And that makes me happy, because it’s close to me. πŸ˜€

We also took our boys to the famed Bubble Room! It was SO much fun! My husband used to go to the Sanibel and my parents used to take my to the one where I grew up – such happy memories!

When we sat down, I ordered Bigs a Shirley Temple (as my parents did for me when I was little) and a Roy Rogers for me. Everything about it is happy.

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Bigs thought it was great. And seeing him experience something I did as a wee one made me so happy.

The bread basket they put on the table also made me happy…

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It was filled with their “Bubble Bread” (garlicky, cheesy, and delicious) and sticky raisin buns. I meannnnnn….

I ordered the Prime Rib, but my picture came out blurry. It was really delicious.

We took a slice (SLAB is more like it!) their famous Orange Crunch Cake back to our condo to share with our family and friends.

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We all loved it. It was so delicious.

The food was incredible, as well as our vacation.

Until next year, Sanibel!

What are YOUR favorite places to eat on your recurring or one-off vacations? I’d love to hear!

Kristin

Β 

Boggin’ Around the Christmas Tree…

Counselor

Yesterday was a really wonderful Sunday for my family. We went to church and had a lovely service.

I love church and especially this time of year.

Β Manger Scene

I ADORE celebrating the true meaning of this season. I am so desperate for my boys to know Jesus in their hearts and to worship Him for who He is and what He’s done.

Come Let Us Adore Him

We also went to Target and I finished up some shopping and also got some necessities, like milk and Gingerbread Twix. My husband and Bigs got an inflatable Snoopy and Woodstock for the front yard from the hardware store. They put that up when we got home while I made a lasagna and dessert, all during which Smalls was balancing on a chair arm rest to boost himself up to catch a glimpse of them outside.

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The lasagna was…normal. Not fabulous. But not burned! So, I’d call that a success. Everyone ate it and seemed to enjoy it. Except Smalls, who only had one bite and spit it out saying, “Ewwwww!”. But I know he was just doing it for a laugh. I think.

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At least I fed them. They should be grateful.

For dessert, I made a Nigella Lawson recipe (TEAM NIGELLA!!!) – Cranberry Orange & Almond Pudding. And this happened….

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Nigella’s looked way better. But that’s okay. This was my fault. I used a dish way too small for the recipe. It still tasted wonderful!

Look at these fresh cranberries, soaking in a bathtub of butter and sugar…

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Isn’t their color just gorgeous? Shiny, firm and ruby red. I love when they heat up and start popping and letting go of their glorious crimson juices. I could eat them all day. I made a quick batter (the only change I made to the recipe was using orange extract versus orange oil, because that is all I had) and poured half of it into the dish, topped it off with the marvelous cranberries and then the remaining batter. A sprinkling of sliced almonds and granulated sugar finished the dish.

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Then THAT happened. I obviously expected it, placing my dish on a tin-covered pan before placing it in the oven. I just used the bubbled over goodness as a “taste test” for myself (Which I ate in hiding…I am very adept at that now.).

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Look at that splendid, crunchy, sugary crust. Truly delightful.

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It looks like a holiday-time dessert.

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Thank you Nigella. This was truly delicious. Recipe link below.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/cranberry-orange-and-almond-pudding-recipe/index.html

So…Gingerbread Twix. I wrote briefly about them recently. I finally got my hands on some from Target. Unfortunately, they still do not have Gingerbread Oreos. But I’ll keep trying…I’m nothing if not tenacious when it comes to getting my seasonal goods.

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They were delicious! I am so sad they are only a seasonal treat. The caramel was gingerbread flavored. And the crunch from the cookie really added a texture that resulted in a gingerbread cookie experience.

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Yum yum yum.

And Duncan is here again! This time, he is indulging in some coffee and donuts. I put him on a tea treats tray (mouthful!) with his goodies in my china cabinet (best place for the boys not to touch, since it’s enclosed in glass). Hopefully Bigs won’t notice all the tape keeping that donut in Duncan’s hand and his hand to his chest. Whatevs.

Elf on a Shelf Day 9

An elf after my own heart!

Hope you all have a wonderfully sweet day!

Kristin