Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Leftovers Make Great Lunches

Packing leftovers for lunch is a great way to save both time and money while sending a healthy lunch for your family. It's also a good way to cut down on food waste. Instead of throwing leftovers away, or putting them in the fridge and forgetting that they are there until weeks later (and by that time you can't tell if that funky stinky mess used to be pasta, rice, or some kind of soup)... you can just pack them into a dish and send them for lunch!

This one was pretty simple. For dinner I made baked salmon with steamed vegetables and rice. For lunch, I packed the rice into an EasyLunchbox and placed a piece of the fish on one side and the veggies on the other. Add in a few strawberries and a handful of blueberries, and then a pair of cookies for dessert, and it's a complete meal!

The Dude took the lunch to work. To reheat, he only had to pull out the cookies and berries and pop the rest in the microwave for a minute or two.

Another way to use leftovers is to take just one part of the meal and add other components to make it into a completely different meal. For this lunch I used leftover bratwurst from the previous night's dinner. I sliced it up into bite sized pieces and added a few sides for a picnic-y sort of lunch.

Along with the bratwurst bits, there is a cup of guacamole with tortilla chips, stuffed green olives, spicy trail mix, chocolate bar pieces, and kiwi chunks.

Here is another lunch using leftover bratwurst. For this one, I tucked in mustard for dipping. There is also leftover Buffalo chicken dip with celery and potato chips, plum slices, and kiwi.

Packed lunches are a great way to use up leftover food after a party or get together. It's like a mini party in your lunch box!

This one took about three minutes to put together. Leftover rice with pork loin slices, topped with pepper. Peel and slice a kiwi and toss in a couple pieces of brownie for a basic quick lunch.

If there are enough leftovers, sometimes you can make two lunches out of them. This second lunch came from the same rice and pork loin dinner above. Instead of pieces, this time it is thin sliced. Apple slices and raspberries stuffed with white chocolate chips fill out the lunch and add a pop of flavor.

There are lots of easy, fun ways to use leftovers to make interesting and delicious lunches. 

For some more ideas, check out some of these other great posts!

More leftovers posts from Chaos and Confections:

Affiliate links to products used:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dino-riffic Lunch

A dino lunch for a day at the park with Beaker:

A handful of popcorn makes a simple snack, with some chilled fruit for keeping cool.

T-Rex loves raspberries and cantaloupe!

This gluten-free open faced ham and cheese grilled sandwich was so easy and fast to make! Just take a GF hamburger bun (we used Udi's, which is also soy, dairy, and nut free) and spread with a little butter. Sprinkle on a little cheese and top with a piece of ham or Canadian bacon, then toast lightly in the oven. And enjoy! I cooled this down in the fridge to bring with us. 

Beaker also has a handful of Wylde GF pretzel rings, EnjoyLife brownie bites, and broccoli florets.

An easy and fun allergy safe lunch on the go!

Affiliate links for products used:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Parents Also Eat

Just a few random lunches for the Dude and myself. This is how grown-ups eat lunch on the go here:

Broccoli and cucumbers with ranch, Van's GF multigrain crackers, cheese pieces and a turkey rose, and delicious mango slices.

One for the Dude:

Half a roast beef-Havarti sandwich on sourdough with roasted broccoli and plums.

Grapes, a turkey rose, baby carrots and multigrain crackers with spreadable cheese, and a small chunk of brownie.

Fancy salad:

Mixed greens salad with golden and red cherry tomatoes, Caesar dressing on the side, and avocado slices.

Rolled up roast beef and dill Havarti cheese on the side for the salad, and for dessert he has orange slices with pieces of a chocolate bar on top.

Yummy salad, right? Oh yes. And packed with nutrients!

Affiliate links for products used:

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Test Fuel

This lunch was from awhile ago ~ um, May, actually.

Bean's fourth grade class had to take MSPs ~ the statewide Measurement of Student Progress test. Of course, a big test needed a big healthy lunch to fuel her through.

Garden salad with shredded turkey and ranch dressing tucked into an EasyLunchbox. The letters are cut out of colby-jack cheese. I tucked in a little note written on a napkin to remind her how great she is.

She also has a Laughing Cow cheese wedge with her favorite pretzel crisps.

And for dessert, strawberry pieces topped with hazelnut chocolate chunks.

And a bonus random Beaker lunch, from before the dairy restriction:

He has orange Jello with Original Tings, a ham rose, pear slices and raspberries (it's a letter B!), cheese pieces, and celery with cream cheese.

Affiliate links for products used:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Little Bo Peep

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep... because they wandered off into Beaker's lunch!

This allergy friendly nursery rhyme lunch is free of gluten, soy, nuts, and garlic. It's also packed with lots of delicious, healthy nutrients! Perfect for a busy kid on the go... or a little shepherdess hunting for her flock. 

Beaker's sandwich is made with oven roasted turkey, a little bit of cheese, and Udi's gluten-free bread. The letters on top are cut from fruit leather. He also has gluten-free pretzel Os, and a pair of Bo Peep's little lambs are snacking on a field of broccoli florets.

Watermelon balls and pitted cherries are great for cooling off in the summer, while the handful of popcorn makes for a nice, light snack.

Don't fret, Little Bo Peep! Your sheep will come home again, wagging their tails... just as soon as they finish lunch.

Affiliate links for products used:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Butterfly Sandwich

Super cute, and gluten-free (and soy-free, dairy-free, and nut-free) to boot!

Sunflower seed butter sandwich with Udi's cinnamon raisin bread, decorating gel, and candy eyes. Beaker's picnic also has brown rice puff rolls and pitted cherries.

It's a butterfly! Okay, squint a little. NOW it's a butterfly!

Perfect lunch for a picnic! Except when you eat the sandwich insides first and poke yourself in the eye with the crust...

Even still, Beaker declared it "My favoritest sangitch EVER!" 

Affiliate links for products used:

Beaker Turned Four!

I love four year olds. Seriously, how much fun are they?! SO much fun! 

Well, not always, of course. There are days when I want to smoosh his cute little face. Days when he runs away laughing when I need him to stay put, days when he screams and kicks because for whatever reason he can't find the words to say that he is tired/hungry/bored/angry, days when he is doing the Charleston all over my last nerve. 

But for the most part, four is a really fun age. For every moment when he is irritating the ever-loving snot out of me, there are three moments when he is amazing me with his awesomeness. He counts to fifteen. He knows all of his letters and can read very simple words. He can run and jump and play and laugh and climb. And at the end of the day, he snuggles up in my arms and gives me kisses all over my face and says, "I love you, Mama. Can I keep you forever and ever? Can you always be my bestest mommy?" And then all the irritation, all of the petty annoyances... they just melt away and I cuddle him close and thank all of the Universe that I get to be his mom.

Beaker turned four a few weeks ago! Did I forget to mention that? He did! We celebrated with a chocolate cake and his favorite foods for dinner. 

Unfortunately his latest allergy test results came back just a few days before, showing reactions to dairy, shellfish, and eggs (in addition to the ones we already knew about ~ hazelnuts, wheat, rye, barley, garlic, and soy), so we did have to modify his favorite foods somewhat to make them safe for him. The mac and cheese had to be made with rice pasta and a butternut squash sauce, and the hot dogs were garlic and gluten-free (yes, mac and cheese with hot dogs is his very favorite meal. He is four.) The cake was vegan and gluten, soy, and nut free. The frosting I made with coconut oil, coconut milk, and powdered sugar with Enjoy Life allergy safe mini chocolate chips. It was actually pretty tasty, if not at all pretty, and Beaker was super thrilled to be able to have CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!! for dinner. 

The missing frosting areas are where he dropped my camera on the cake and then swiped handfuls of frosting while I cleaned the camera.

In four short years, my tiny little Beaker went from this:

To this:

Love you, squishy Beaker face <3

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gluten, Soy, & Nut Free Vegan Pancakes

Since finding out that Beaker is allergic to a long list of foods, we have gotten pretty good at keeping his food safe for him while also serving him tasty meals that he will eat. We have done well at finding alternatives for him for most of the foods that he loves best. One thing I have struggled with is pancakes. Especially since the test results came back with egg and dairy reactions! How on earth do you make pancakes with no eggs, dairy, soy, wheat, or nuts that are still edible and tasty enough to eat?

Like this!

Gluten, Soy, & Nut Free Vegan Pancakes

2 cups gluten, soy, and nut free all purpose flour
2 cups coconut or rice milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp coconut oil + extra for cooking
2 Tbsp ground flax
1 tsp GF vanilla
6 Tbsp water

First, measure water and flax meal into a small pan. Heat on medium, stirring well with a whisk. When water comes to boil, turn off the heat and keep whisking another minute or two. The flax will develop a thick consistency, similar to raw egg whites. Set aside to cool.
In medium mixing bowl blend together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add milk substitute, vanilla, coconut oil, and prepared flax mix. Whisk together well.
In a small pan or griddle heat a small amount of coconut oil. Add a small scoop of pancake mix and cook until air holes begin to appear on top. Flip and cook until done.

The number of pancakes you can make depends on their size. I made them on the larger side of medium sized and was able to make 10 from this recipe.

These were a HUGE hit in our home. Beaker ate four helpings! They were delicious topped with a handful of thawed out frozen blueberries and a few sliced strawberries on the side. Light, fluffy, and just the right amount of sweet! The kids loved them and are requesting them for dinner again very soon.

They also made a great take-along breakfast for an early morning appointment the next day!

This took about five minutes to make. I used our CuteZCute frog sandwich cutter to pop out the pancake shapes, with organic fruit leather for the facial features. Beaker also has a little cup of halved grapes, two whole strawberries, and a Mini Dipper with a bit of syrup on the side for dipping. Easy, fast, delicious, and allergy safe meal on the go for an active little guy. Perfect!

Affiliate links to products used:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Arr! Piratey Grub!

Yo ho, yo ho! A pirate lunch for Beak-y!

Beaker's new favorite TV show: Jake and the Neverland Pirates. He loves it! Something about pretending to be a pirate ("But a NICE pirate, Mama, not a mean pirate.") totally appeals to him. He was thoroughly thrilled with the piratey lunch I packed for him to take on an errands day:

Arrr! EasyLunchboxes and silicone cups made packing this lunch easy and fast. Beaker has a little leafy green salad with a deli roasted turkey rose, watermelon chunks, carrot bits and cucumber slices, cheese pieces, and gluten-free multigrain crackers.

It's the little touches that make bento lunches special. Like this pirate ship pick sailing on the watermelon sea, and the little pirate boy tucked in the corner of the crackers, or the crossed long swords in the cucumber slices. Very little effort, but big smiles from my little guy!

Affiliate links to products used:

Read Me

Blogging tips