Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I am so addicted

I am so addicted to making bentos I can not go in a store without looking for cute things to add to a lunch, or anything that can be used as a bento box.

On my third store of the day, the BX for you military folks, I only went to get a fancy candle and they had bento boxes just sitting on the end cap screaming at me to come look at them. Look I did, and I also bought 2 of the 3 they had to offer ;)

They are so pretty, how could I say no?

Green - $7   Blue $8

The green one is my fav but I couldn't really get a picture of it opened. The bottom is undivided and the top part has 3 sections. It came with this weird water bottle that looks like a plastic flask that I don't think I'll be using. 
The Star Wars one I just had to get. I have some Star Wars bento picks, but no cutters and this will be the perfect box to use them in! It opens all trasnformers style with a compartment for a sandwich and 3 sides. You can't move the dividers, but I think I can live with that. 

I can not wait to play with these! If you can get to AAFES I suggest you check them out! They had tons of pink and purple for the girly girls and Monsters Inc ones like the Star Wars box. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I love lists

You all know I do a major grocery trip once a month and stay away from the store until another month rolls around. I've had people ask my how the heck I do it. Well, here it goes!

In order to make a month's long shopping list, you need to plan a months worth of meals. I only need to plan dinner since we all eat the same things for breakfast everyday, daddy takes left over dinner for lunch, and the kids live on sandwiches and extra left over lunches. Totally works for our family.

Plan out a detailed list of your dinners to include any side you are having. I always use a calender.

Once you have your meals planned, go through each meal and tally up the items you need. Like for this month, I need 5 lbs of ground beef and 1 thing of asparagus

Make your list, check it twice and add any and all non perishables that you will need like diapers, cereal, soap, and candy for mommy ;)

Once you have that list (told you I like lists) go through your pantry, fridge and freezer and adjust numbers based on what you already have. There is no need to buy more meat/veggies if you won't eat them this month

So here is where the fun part comes in. Now you need to organize the list for the grocery store, I go to 3. That means I have to know what I buy at each store and separate the list accordingly.

No idea what that top part says, the husband speaks Serbian, I do not. 

I have my book divided by store and just fill in what I need from each place like this 

Then I can just go on my merry way and check off my list as I go. I never forget anything, and thanks to the power of planning my family can eat a delicious dinner every night with no "OMG WE DON'T HAVE ONIONS" at about 5:15. 

Also, making lists is a great way to find out where you impulse buys are and adjust the budget if I need to. If something is not on my list, I add it when I get home so I can chastise myself for buying that bag of chips that no one will eat. If my budget is a little high one month, I can look back so see where/how I bought or spent more and adjust on that. 

Lists make me happy, and so does feeding 3 men on a budget. Hope you agree! 

Saran wrap and your fridge

I am preparing for a massive shopping trip (check back later for that post) and I always clean my fridge before a trip, always. I hate my current fridge, and being in Military housing, I have no choice. It's one of those side by sides with the fake glass shelves? Well you know what? The consolidation on those bad boys always make my fridge look absolutely disgusting, and sticky finger prints seem to fuse to the shelves. I really do hate these fridges.
I had to do something before I pulled out all my hair. Then, it came to me. Press and seal saran wrap! I've never actually used it, but I know people that swear by it.

I forced asked the husband to pick some up on his way home and I am so stinking happy.

Just take out the shelves (one at a time) clean and stick the stuff on! I had some issues with it at first, but I simply wet the edge of the shelves and it stuck like magical glue. I know the package says to use a dry surface, but the cold wasn't helping things!

The light blew as soon as I opened  the door. Grrr

It looks kinda funky, but I tested it out and it was amazing! I spilled some sticky canned fruit and it didn't leak on my nice clean shelves. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

A sleepy bento snack

I am so tired, I really should have napped while Big A was at camp and Lil A was sleeping.
But, I had to get stuff done, so I didn't and I totally regret it.

There was about 3.2 minutes until Big A got home from camp and I *had* to feed him something that resembled a snack. I threw a bunch of finger foods in a box with some picks and have officially called it a day.

He got some
Watermelon balls
Zucchini slices - which I really hoped he would at least try

BAM, snack is served

Of course he didn't want to even try the zucchini and wanted more watermelon, that didn't happen. All the has to do is eat one little slice. But NOPE!

And now if you will excuse me, I have to go lay in the doorway to the kids room so I know they are safe and can maybe catch a 5 minute nap.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Last Friday in July. Almost fall right?

It's July in Texas, and it's hot. Like fry an egg on the sidewalk hot. The last thing I wanted to do was hang out in the kitchen and put together a bento for tomorrow.
Soo I did this lickity split and hightailed my self out there as fast as I could.

This is what I ended up with while sweating and cursing the placement of the air vents.
I threw some boat stuff together and really hope it looks awesome enough for Big A to eat.

He has
Jelly and cream cheese cut in half to fit
vanilla filled cookie
3/4 cereal bar with fruit leather cut outs
1/4 meatloaf muffin
Vienna sausages
in the first box

Oranges in the other box

Hopefully he eats it all. He should, but it's really too hot for me to think about that right now.

Excuse me, I must go take a bath in ice water

Gettin ready to cool down in the pool!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pizza night! It must be a Friday

Fridays equal pizza in a lot of households, mine included. Being from New York I love a good pizza and could eat it every night. Buy my wallet did not like it when we ate pizza at least once a week so I had to fix the situation.

After many failed store bought crusts and silly recipes from the interwebs I came up with a fantastic thin crust recipe.
I guarantee this will turn out right every time if you follow the directions, no guess work involved


For super delicious crust you need 
1/4oz packet active dry yeast
1/4 tsp sugar
3/4c water
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion salt/powder
1 tsp garlic salt/powder
*or season to your taste 

Preheat oven with pizza stone to 500
Microwave water for 2 minutes 
Dissolve sugar and yeast in water and let rest for 7 minutes or until it look like this 

In a mixer with a dough hook, or bowl combine flour and seasonings

Combine yeast with flour mixture until it sets in a semi formed lump/ball

Roll dough out on a well floured surface until as thin/thick as you like

Then cut into squares/shapes if you so desire. We all like out pizza a little differently so we cut it

Bake the crust for 4 minutes, quickly take it out and add toppings 
* if desired heat up butter with garlic and spread on the crust for crunchy amazingness 

Throw it back in the oven for 6-8 minutes and BAM perfect pizza. Promise 

In case you missed it the first time
For dessert we had graham crackers topped with peanut butter and mini chocolate chips!  I was in love 

And FYI when working with flour you should really wear an apron. trust me 
Why yes, yes I am a Spartan AROO 


EAT YOU VEGGIES before mommy breaks

Big A has been boycotting his veggies like the plague. He refuses to eat them. I can not figure out what the heck is going on with him. So, of course he gets them at every meal to try and prompt him to eat. No amount of dip dip and cute picks are working.

For the past two days I have given him mixed veggies for lunch and dinner. Still no dice. What is a mom supposed to do, aside from forcing them in his mouth? And I am pretty sure that would be child abuse.

Thursday's dinner was cantaloupe, steak fingers, mixed veggies, and a cheese lion. He ate everything except for the veggies.
Eww mommy. He wouldn't even try the veggies
Friday's finger foods were basically Thursday dinner reheated. He asked for it, and it saved me time so I rolled with it. Steak fingers, mixed veggie kebab, mandarin oranges (babies), and rabbit and bear cheese.
It's a rabbit, promise 
I was planning on making Lil A a lunch as well, but he passed out in the car on the way home from the doctors. Guess I'm off the hook for that one!

I love how he sleeps with his arm behind his head. Too cute.

Kick butt chicken

Need some pep in your dinner? Getting sick of marinating chicken the same old way because your kids have sensitive taste buds?
Forget the kids (not really) and make you some kick butt chicken with two simple ingredients, aside from the chicken. 


You need 

1/2 c Italian dressing
1/3 - 1/2 c of red hot sauce 

Mix them together and marinate your amazing chicken, while the kids boring chicken is marinating in plain Italian dressing.

Cook like you normally would in the oven or on the grill and watch as a party happens in your mouth

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Wednesday is special pool day with us a bunch of friends. Mainly because they have a Military discount for my friends who weren't cool like me and bought a season pass. So with summer camp, my run, and the pool there isn't a lot of bento and cute food making at the T house on Wednesdays. They still get bentos, but they are much simpler and easier to throw in a diaper bag.

Also, there isn't a lot of internet action going on either. We don't watch TV or even have cable for that matter, so completely unplugging and just being with your kids is an amazing thing.

The kids got to eat their snack in peace, without me taking pictures of it. Big A actually tried to pose for me even thought I didn't have the camera. Aww.
 I got to put my phone down and not worry about emails/tweets/texts for a few hours.

Basically, turn the stuff off and and bask in the glory of the day.
Just remember to reapply sunscreen on yourself after you slather the kids.

Clothes made my cry


A blah Tuesday

I've totally been slacking with snack and lunch pictures, but it was oh so nice to hang with the kids without technology

Without further ado, here is Tuesdays lunch. He had a pretty hefty snack and he wouldn't let me add anything else to his lunch. Guess he wasn't that hungry.
It was a PB&J bagel sandwich, half a giant marshmallow with fruit leather, a cantaloupe slice and *homemade* grapefruit apple sauce with sprinkles.

I love making applesauce. I have jars upon jars in my pantry from my 40 lb of apples I got for only $15!!!

The husband man is working a crazy shift and is requiring both lunch and dinner bentos each day, so to save meat money, the kids get to pig out on finger foods.
For dinner they had fish sticks, mixed veggies, another melon slice, and a froggie made out of cheese.
The veggies proved to be a nightmare. This kid just started refusing them all of a sudden. It's driving me bonkers.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Eggs? Yes please!

Eggs are a standard breakfast food for the T clan. We go through a dozen in about 3 - 4 days, and that's just breakfast foods. 
I was asked by a friend to make eggs in mini muffin pans that her kids could eat for breakfast. Well, challenge accepted. And these are my final results. An egg sandwich with a mini bagel, half a muffin bar, and some grapes. The sandwich was inhaled about 5 seconds after I added dip dip (ketchup) to the plate. That's a win, especially because there are some yummy veggies cooked in the eggs. Wanna know how I did it? Of course you do. 

I didn't get many pictures bc my kids were having a play date when I created this. Actually, I only got pictures of the finished products. Don't hate me. Please?

You need
- mini muffin pan - a regular one will work
- 4 eggs
- splash of milk - you need it so substitute it if you can't use dairy
- cheese! as much shredded as you like. I used 1/2 c
- 1/4 - 1/4 c chopped veggies. I did onions, orange peppers, and a smidge of left over zucchini
- seasonings to taste. I used 1tsp of garlic, salt, pepper
- Bacon crumbles (optional)
- 12 mini bagels

Preheat oven to 350
Mix everything together in a big bowl. Waft the smell ( I love that word) and add more seasonings as needed.
Spray muffin pan with non stick spray and fill 3/4 of the way with egg mixture.
*if using a regular muffin pan fill about 1/4 of the way
Bake for about 15-20 mins or until set

While cooking lightly toast bagels and prepare foil if freezing (which worked out awesomely)

Pop eggs out of the muffin pan and assemble sandwiches! It's that simple.

Now, either my mini bagels are huge, or my mini muffin pan is super tiny, but the eggs didn't fit how I wanted so I kinda squished them until they fit the bagel.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pancakes and breakfast happiness

It's no surprise that I like to have my freezer stash stocked for breakfast foods, snacks and lunches. This is because I require a stupid amount of coffee to function before I can even think about turning the stove on. I also hate feeding them cereal because they are always starving 2 seconds later and it's not exactly a balanced meal.

So without further ado, here is my not so secret secret pancake recipe. These babies are super fluffy and reheat like a charm

Makes 12-15 medium size pancakes
1 cup flour
2 TBS baking powder
2 TBS sugar
1 TSP salt
2 TBS oil - I use vegetable or canola
1 C milk
1 egg beaten
1 - 2 TSP vanilla
* if you want to go crazy add a dash of nutmeg, you won't regret it

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix the wet in a separate bowl.
Add the wet stuff to the dry, mix well (not too much)
Then let sit while your griddle/pan heats up.
Why let it sit? IDK some magic in that makes the pancakes all fluffy and delicious

I go the extra 2.6 seconds and cut mine into shapes right after the come off the pan. Why? because it's super cute and the kids go bananas for them. I save the scraps and just tear them up when the shapes start to get boring.

I went a little nuts and cut out some fruit leather and plopped them on the pancakes. Maybe he will stop calling trucks "car-cars" and cars "vroom-vrooms" Took me about 3 minutes, mostly bc I had kids climbing up my legs to play with the cutters.

He really really really super liked the shapes and the fruit leather. I'd be shocked if he doesn't want this again tomorrow. 

Afternoon snack

Big A gets home around 1:30  from summer camp I feed him a snack and then I tend to not feed him until dinner at 5:30 or 6:00. So his snacks need to be something more than just a single piece of fruit or a cookie.

I made his snack in my new robot container from Target and I think it's pretty darn cute.
Just 2 almond windmill cookies (the pack was on sale for $0.50!!!), some grapes, and peaches with dried cranberries in the middle. That should be enough to hold him off the starvation train until dinner. I hope

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Octopus Hot Dogs!

Since it's Monday madness, I basically make all the cute stuff I want and hope it works in a lunch . And this week I wanted to do something cute with hot dogs. 
Enter the octopus hot dog. Super easy to make, you just need to time it right because they take a hot minute to cook. I like to cut them and let them cook while I am making the bento fillers and then doing the dishes. Makes me feel like less time is wasted 

I used my new Goodbyn box from Target and decided to go nuts. A really wanted a hot dog and I really wanted to make a soot sprite sandwich. We both won. He also got some applesauce and left over birthday cake in the 2 cup container. In the main is the hot dogs with ketchup to dip, grilled cheese sandwich, heart cucumbers, and mandarin oranges.

See that grilled cheese? Totally used all the cheese scraps that have been accumulating in my fridge. 
See? Leftover as it's finest. Lil A got the scraps from cutting the sandwich for his lunch. Double score

Now, on to hotdogs. 

You will need
- Hot dog(s)
- Sharp knife
- Pot of boiling water

First, you are going to cut the hot dog in thirds. You could also do halves. Whichever

Then, take your ends and cut them about 2/3 of the way up into fourths. Confused? Me too. Here's a picture. 
This is what we are going for

Then, you are going to cut each section again. You can either cut from the bottom or the top. I like going from the top better. When I cut from underneath one of mine had 9 cuts. No clue how that happened 

Now that the cutting is done, we have to cook the hot dogs so the legs curl and look cute. 
You can do this in 3 ways. 
You can pan fry them - with or without water
Boil them in a deep pot
Deep fry them in hot oil - This works best for me, but I don't have a deep fryer anymore ;(
 Pan with water - takes FOREVER 
Boiling in a deep pan. Takes about 5 - 7 minutes 

So when your hot dogs are done, they should look something like this, or even a little better. 
I took the middle of the hot dog and cut it into slices to lift the pretty ones up in his lunch. 

I was in a rush to get them done so I only boiled them for about 3 minutes. We had a date with the horsedog and our backyard this afternoon. 

Go conquer the octopus hot dog and see how amazed your kids are. 

 Lil A hanging out in the backyard
Big A hanging out with the horsedog that we were watching this weekend!