Spring and Summer Themed Lunches

Sunny Florida is living up to its name this week! It’s been gorgeous! We’ve had chilly mornings that burn off into beautiful blue skies with a perfect 70-something degrees. I LOVE Winter, but I think I’m ready for Spring now. There is always something so renewing about this season. I’m ready for renewal.

Here are some fun lunches I made this week, in the spirit of such gorgeous weather:

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For my little guy, I made a “bludderfly” shaped peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich (with two little heart shaped sandwiches – had extra bread!). I used Food Writers to add some deatils. I also packed Goldfish crackers, half a Cosmic brownie, and  some red grapes.

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And for my big boy, I made a sunbutter and strawberry jam tortilla sandwich (quartered). I also packed a teeny mandarin orange, blueberries, Goldfish crackers, and the other half of the Cosmic brownie.

Have a great week!

Kristin

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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

Favorite Things Week – VPK School Lunch (and Chocolate Cake!)

This is my big boy’s last week of VPK. Sniff. I don’t know where the time has gone. I literally only blinked, and his entirely VPK year has come and gone. To help him celebrate his last three days of school, I decided to pack some of his favorite things.

For tomorrow:

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I packed a PB&J. This kid loves his PB&J’s. I also packed corn (his favorite vegetable), a yogurt squeeze (he always wants one), and a teeny slice of super sprinkled homemade chocolate cake for dessert.

Speaking of chocolate cake…

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…oh, yes boy.

Today was my last Mommy church group meeting for this school year, and I made a one-bowl frosted chocolate cake to take with me. I made sure to save some for my boys. They always ask me to save them special treats when I make them for get-togethers.

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I’ve used this recipe a dozen times before. It’s very quick to throw together. I almost always have the ingredients, as well.

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Who could resist such an easy recipe?

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It’s fudgy, not-too-rich, chocolatey, and super moist.

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I covered it with a ton of fun sprinkles.

Do it.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

recipe adapted from: Six Sister’s Stuff

2 C AP flour
2 C sugar
1/2 C baking cocoa (I used 1/4 C of dark chocolate cocoa, 1/4 C regular)
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 C vegetable or canola oil
1 C buttermilk (you can easily make your own with milk and vinegar)
2 eggs
1 C hot water

Frosting:

1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C milk
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
3 T cocoa powder (I used a mix of dark and regular, again)
3 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix in the oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Pour in the water and mix well. It will be runny and that is okay.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Mine was done at 35 minutes.

Once completely cooled, frost.

To make frosting, mix all the ingredients together. Add more powdered sugar or milk, as needed.

I hope you enjoy it!

Kristin

Circus Week – Horse VPK School Lunch

Tomorrow is Bigs’ last circus day. It’s been such a fun week for them. They got their faces painted, they played carnival games, won carnival prizes, and did lots of learning games.

To finish out the week, I went with a horsey lunch. Again, I was thinking about “Water for Elephants”. It’s sort of my go-to circus movie. Well, that and Britney Spears’ “Circus”. You know.

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I made a horse shaped PB&J. The poor thing looks like another My Little Pony. I just can’t seem to get a real horse look. Neigh. The grand horsey is standing atop his bread crusty hay. I also packed pretzels, fruit salad (grapes, blackberries, and raspberries), and an organic yogurt squeeze for dessert.

Happy Weekend!

Kristin

Circus Week – “Magic Bunny” VPK School Lunch

I feel like circuses have magic shows. Do they? Like, with a magician in a tux, pulling a rabbit out of a top hat?

I might be stretching it a little. I only have so many circus-themed cutters.

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I made a magical bunny shaped PB&J and added details for his ears (very instrumental to his magic show), eye, ad nose. I also packed a few banana chips, a few TJ’s organic PB sandwich crackers, two dried dates, an aprium, colby jack cheese, a Tim Tam (thank you Australia!!!), and a homemade granola bar.

And for my Smalls:

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I packed half a PB&J, trail mix, an aprium, TJ’s PB crackers, colby jack cheese, and a cotton candy Oreo. He’s got a granola bar for snack.

I made the granola bars for Teacher Appreciation Week a few weeks back. They were delicious!! I thought I’d make them again for my own family.

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They were super easy to put together…

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…and had ingredients I both had on hand and could pronounce.

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AND they are easy to individually package and freeze!

http://happymoneysaver.com/no-bake-homemade-chewy-granola-bars/

A hint – if you are out of honey, as this recipe requires a LOT, you can use corn syrup as a sub. I don’t love using that, but I do keep it on hand for some recipes.

Do it!

Kristin

This Week’s Lunches

What a busy, busy week I’ve had! Here is what I packed each day:

Tuesday:

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I make two little PB&J’s on toasts. I also packed pretzels, blueberries, mandarin orange slices, seasoned corn and a homemade chocolate chip sprinkle cookie.

Wednesday:

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I made a PB&J on a hot dog bun. I also packed red grapes, pretzels, strawberries, and a homemade chocolate chip sprinkle cookie.

Thursday was my last Helper Parent day in my Bigs’ class. When he goes to Kindergarten next year, his school doesn’t utilize the Helper Parent system. I will SO miss spending the school day with him. I look forward to starting all over with my Smalls next year! I had to pack three lunches for today:

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Smalls got PB&J on a flat bread, broccoli with ranch for dipping, trail mix, and a homemade chocolate chip sprinkle cookie. For myself, I made a salad, packed ranch for dressing, a little piece of flatbread, two dates, and an apple. And for my Bigs, I packed a PB&J on a flat bread, red grapes, dried ginger, dates, strawberries, and a cookie.

And lastly, for tomorrow, Friday:

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We had pizza tonight for dinner, so I packed a piece for Bigs. I also packed goldfish (cheeseburger flavor – so weird!), strawberries, grapes, and half of a chocolate chip cookie bar.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Kristin

Happy Birthday! VPK School Lunch

Saturday is my Big Buddy’s 5th birthday. I honestly don’t know where the time went. I blinked. I literally only blinked.

He was screaming and crying, in his new baby way, his little newborn faced all scrunched up. He then turned his gorgeous violet eyes on to me and stopped crying. We gazed into each others’ eyes, and time stood still. That was the first moment of my life, as well as his.

I knew there was a Bigs-shaped hole in my heart, before he was born, but what I didn’t know was just how perfectly he’d fill it. He’s completely changed my life. He’s made me less selfish. He’s taught me patience (but oh, I am still working on this one). He’s taught me unconditional love, from a depth in my heart I didn’t know existed. This boy is so incredibly special. I hope he feels as loved as he is, always, for I’d surely be lost without him. ❤

To kick off his 5th birthday celebrations, I packed a special birthday lunch for him for tomorrow:

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I made a cupcake shaped PB&J and added detailing to show the cupcake liner, the icing, and a cherry, and added confetti sprinkles. I also packed goldfish crackers, blueberries, trail mix, a mandarin orange, and seasoned corn. I used my cake slice silicone molds and cupcake picks as decoration. I didn’t pack a dessert because I’ll be bringing donuts into school after lunch.

It’s going to be awesome having a 5 year old. He’s simply the best.

Kristin