Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer Lunches


This post was previously posted on the Bentology website. This post contains affiliate links.

Bentology Summer Lunches - mamabelly.com

Even though it is summer we are still packing lunches for work, camp and trips to the beach and pool. I love going shopping with my kids this time of year so they can pick out fresh fruit and vegetables for their lunches!

Bentology Summer Lunches - mamabelly.com

This summer lunch contains:
  • a simple herb salad and cheese wrap, 
  • a mini pepper, 
  • blueberry yogurt topped with fresh blueberries and 
  • a few farm fresh strawberries. 

The perfect lunch for work!


Bentology Summer Lunches - mamabelly.com

My kids prefer smaller portions and a variety of choices. The Bentology Bento Lunch Box makes packing several food groups so easy. No matter if you are packing for camp, school, or a day at the pool, with the right prep you can pack this lunchbox in under 5 min!

This colorful lunch contains:
  • a mini pepper and baby carrots, 
  • blueberries with a few raspberries, 
  • strawberries, 
  • Goldfish crackers,
  • three mini stamped ice cream sandwiches filled with nut butter and 
  • yogurt topped with fresh raspberries. 
Here a few tips to make packing lunches a little easier:
  • Pick out the fruits and veggies you plan to pack with your kids at the store. They are more likely to eat them if they got to decide which ones to pack or try.
  • Prep prep prep! Wash the fruits and veggies when you get home and store them in a container in the fridge ready to go. That way healthy snacks are always available and you save time when making lunch. I often shop and prep on Sundays so I am ready for the week. 
  • It is so much easier to plan and pack at night after the kids are in bed then in the morning when you are rushing out the door! So, pre-pack what you can and store the Laptop Lunches containers in either your fridge or on the counter until you need them.
Bentology Summer Lunches - mamabelly.com


  • --> I filled the containers that need to be refrigerated the night before and placed them in the fridge. Take advantage of the fact that two of the Laptop Lunches containers have lids (but you can also cover the containers with plastic foil if need be). I highly recommend the Bento Buddies if you pack lunch every day since you get 4 lidded containers in the set! I filled one container with crackers and pre-cut the bread to save time in the morning as well. I used a fondant plunger to make the ice cream shaped bread but even a simple cookie cutter can make lunch more fun! I started with one star shaped cookie cutter 2 years ago. I just place the bread back into the bread bag and seal it. That way I only need to fill the sandwich in the morning. With a little prep packing a healthy and colorful lunch is fast and fun!

  • Don't forget last night's left overs! They make great lunches the next day!
  • Always have some healthy snacks in the fridge you can add to your lunchbox in the morning when your are short on time.
  • Freeze juice pouches or to go yogurts to keep your lunchbox cold and the drink and food fresh on hot summer days!
Bentology Summer Lunches - mamabelly.com

ThisBentology bento box contains:
  • left over macaroni and cheese with carrot flowers
  • cheese crackers
  • fruit gummies
  • a peach, sliced
  • a yogurt to go and
  • a frozen juice pouch to keep the lunch cold until it's time to eat
Have a great summer!



Friday, June 10, 2016

Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars - a Literary Lunch




I have a very special literary lunch for you today! The amazing Maria Gianferrari has written another wonderful Penny & Jelly book and this time the adventure takes them outside.


Penny gets invited to a slumber under the stars event at the community center and starts to make plans on what she will need. Penny cannot wait to see the stars in the sky! But then she realizes that pets are not allowed at the sleep over and Jelly will have to stay home. Can Penny make a Jelly to bring out of cotton balls? or Recycling? Find out what Penny and jelly come up with and if they slumber under the stars that night!


We made a yummy campfire snack to match Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars:
  • yummy swiss cheese stars
  • Penny & Jelly chocolate and marshmellow sandwiches with fruit snack decorations.
BUT WAIT! Are you curious to find out how Penny & Jelly solve the "no pets allowed" dilemma?

Win a copy of the new book HERE:


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Maria writes both fiction and nonfiction picture books from her sunny, book-lined study in northern Virginia, with dog, Becca as her muse. Maria’s debut picture book, Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder, was released in July 2015 (HMH Books for Young Readers); a companion book, Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars, will be released in June. Her debut nonfiction book, Coyote Moon, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, will be published by Roaring Brook Press in July, and Aladdin Books for Young Readers will publish Officer Katz & Houndini: A Tale of Two Tails in October. Maria has five additional books forthcoming from Roaring Brook Press, Boyds Mills Press and GP Putnam’s Sons. To learn more about Maria, visit her website: mariagianferrari.com and on Facebook.
And you can visit Penny & Jelly at their website: http://www.pennyandjelly.com/

And check out all of these stops on the the official Penny & Jelly blog tour:
Extra feature:


Friday, May 27, 2016

Van's NEW Gluten Free Granola and Snack Bars {with GIVEAWAY}


We love Van's products at our house and since one of my kids has a gluten sensitivity, they are our go-to company for cereal, granola and snack bars. We can never have enough in the house and snack bars go fast! I was so excited to hear that they have added two new granolas and two new snack bars to their line!

I am a HUGE granola fan and keep some in the house for a quick yogurt parfait or honestly just to snack out of the bag. We love both new flavors of their Soft-Baked Whole Grain Granola Clusters: Double Chocolate and Banana Nut.


I rolled some of the clusters into Granola bites and added them to today's school lunches! They are so delicious and a great addition to lunch.


Van’s Double Chocolate and Banana Nut Granola is baked with delicious, gluten-free, whole grain oats and offer 12-14 grams of whole grains per serving – with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It is perfect for lunch, on the go, breakfast or to snack out of the bag ;)


Van's also added two new snack bars to their line: Chocolate Gramwich Sandwich Bars and Banana Bread Bars. We already love their PB&J Bars and let me tell you these new falvors are amazing! The Banana Bread Bars blend banana flavor with gluten-free oats and flaxseed to create a tasty and portable version of banana bread. And they are delicious! I am so busy these mornings and never think about my own breakfast. I have been enjoying the Banana Nut Granola and the Banana Bread bars as a great way to eat on the go! My kids on the other side have been thrilled with the new Chocolate Gramwich Sandwich Bars! Made with real chocolate sandwiched between two whole-grain, graham-style bars, they’re a real special treat for snack or lunch!


I have already requested these to be carried at our local grocery store to keep on hand for summer car trips and the pool! For now, we love them as an addition to lunch!

To celebrate these great new products, Van's is having an amazing giveaway! One lucky reader will win a Van's prize pack for you AND a friend. The winner will receive the $100 Visa gift card, Van’s water bottle, tote, two reusable snack sacks and coupons for free Van’s Foods. The winner will also receive another set of swag and coupons but doesn’t include the visa gift card for a friend.

ENTER HERE for your chance:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Same Lunch - 3 Ways


Packing lunches does not have to take long or be stressful - even if you pack multiple lunches in the morning! The end of the school year is in sight and I know a lot of us are loosing our lunch packing mojo. Me included! After several weeks of pizza wheels and homemade lunchables, lunches were coming home uneaten and I had lost my patience with lunch packing.

So, I decided to go back to the basics. We all sat down and decided on a few thing everyone wanted in their lunchbox. Tastes differ and not every kid likes everything, but we could agree on the basics.

Here are today's lunches. Same ingredients - almost - and ranging from first to eighth grade!

First Grade Lunch


Same Lunch, 3 Ways - mamabelly.com

My daughter does not eat much for lunch, so I choose our Lock&Lock box today. She has:
  • mini cucumber slices
  • a raspberry greek yogurt muffin
  • a ham, cheese and spinach mini roll
  • grapes
  • and a Superwoman Chobani tube yogurt 

Fourth Grade


Same Lunch, 3 Ways - mamabelly.com

This lunch is packed in our Arctic Zone lunchbox and contains the exact same ingredients as above - just more of it! My son has:
  • mini cucumber slices 
  • a raspberry greek yogurt muffin
  • three ham mini rolls
  • grapes
  • and a Batman Chobani tube yogurt 

Eighth Grade


Same Lunch, 3 Ways - mamabelly.com

My middle schooler needs more food than his siblings, so we packed his lunch in Easylunchboxes and added a cereal bar. However, still the same ingredients:
  • mini cucumber slices
  • raspberry greek yogurt muffin instead he had:
  • a peanut butter mini cereal bar instead of the muffin
  • four chicken, cheese and spinach mini rolls
  • grapes
  • a Flash Chobani tube yogurt 
Planning with your kids makes packing lunches so much easier! If the basics are the same, you can pack lunches so much faster! Swapping an ingredient is not a big deal and everyone is happy in the end.

What I used to make these lunches (contains affiliate links):

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Peddles - a Literary Lunch


This lunch is also posted over at The Little Crooked Cottage as a Literary Lunch. Head over to the fabulous blog of four children's book authors and check out the wonderful Literary Interviews with Mr. Pig himself!


My kids love author Elizabeth Rose Stanton! Do you remember HENNY? The adorable chicken with arms? Well, Elizabeth Rose Stanton's new book PEDDLES is just as adorable! My kids could not wait to read the book when it arrived at our house and immediately wondered if Henny and Peddles live on the same farm!


Peddles is tired of being the same old pig—he wants to be different.
He wants to stop doing the usual pig things like oinking and sleeping. He’d much rather stand, climb, and dance! And Peddles finally gets his chance when he bumps into a pile of shoes and finds a pair of red boots that fits just right!


We packed a pig-tastic lunch you can eat while dancing:
  • watermelon fresh from the farm
  • mini carrots
  • a treat in a cute pig box and 
  • a Peddles ham sandwich with ham and ketchup decorations


If you loved this book review and lunch, check out our previous feature of HENNY by clicking on the picture below:


Things I used to make this lunch (contains affiliate links):



Monday, March 7, 2016

Boulder Organic Soups Review {with Giveaway}


I love food! And food loves me (a little too much!). So, what do I eat that is delicious, healthy and won't change my jeans size? Soup! Soup has more fiber, more flavor, less sugar and helps me stay satisfied longer than for example a juice.

Boulder Organic offers organic, gluten-free and Non-GMO soups and what could be any better than that!


The Chicken Vegetable Chili was hands down my favorite. I love thick soups and I found this one to be my go to lunch staple last week! It is chock full of chicken, tomato, carrots, corn, zucchini and three kinds of beans. 



But there are so many varieties to choose from that everyone will find a soup they love:
  •  Butternut Squash with Sage
  •  Roasted Tomato Basil
  •  Red Lentil Dahl
  •  Garden Minestrone
  •  Cuban Black Bean
  •  Green Chile Corn Chowder
  •  Potato Leek
  •  Golden Quinoa and Kale
  •  Chicken Quinoa & Kale
  •  Chicken Vegetable Chili
Which one would you love to try? 

I still have my eye out for the Potato Leek and the Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut. One reminds me of home and the other of summer. Cannot wait to try them all!


To try these amazing soups for yourself enter my GIVEAWAY! I am giving away coupons to THREE lucky readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US Residents only. The winners will be notified via email and have 24 h to claim their prize before a new winner is selected.

Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for this post. I was sent two coupons to try the soup. The opinions in this post are my own.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Salad Pie - a Literary Lunch




There is nothing better than finding the playground empty and having it all to yourself. Maggie is overjoyed. Everything is perfect for making Salad Pie. That is until Herbert arrives. Herbert wants to help make Salad Pie. But can Maggie make room for him in her game?

Salad Pie Literary Lunch - mamabelly.com

I love SALAD PIE written by Wendy BooydeGraaff and illustrated by Bryan Langdo because I can remember making mud pies and salad pies when I was little. My daughter likes making salad soups in the backyard and the concept of this book is just a reminder of growing up. But besides salad pie this book is also about friendship. Maggie is not thrilled at first when Herbert wants to join. But little by little she realizes that two cooks make a fantastic Salad Pie.

Salad Pie Literary Lunch - mamabelly.com

We made our own Salad Pie in our Three-in-One ECOlunchbox:
  • about 19 spinach leaves
  • 6 snow peas
  • 2 "crab apple" radishes
  • 2 radish halves
  • 11 blueberries
  • 9 roasted chick peas and
  • 3 cracker "sticks"
What I used to make this lunch (contains affiliate links):

 

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