Monday’s Bento Box Idea

These bento box ideas submitted by Summer are intended to inspire you to find fun ways to get your kids to eat healthy either as a school lunch or a power snack for a sport.

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Top left clockwise to bottom left: spinach strawberry chicken salad, blueberry fig bar cookies, Colby Jack cheese cubes (on toothpicks because my kids will eat anything off a toothpick)

Monday’s Bento Box Idea

By Summer

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Top left clockwise to bottom left: raw carrots with raw broccoli, crust less quiche (made with cottage cheese, breakfast sausage, and sautéed onions and red bell pepper), Girl Scout cookies (My sons have so many little friends selling. I buy them and donate them to our local food bank, but my sons begged to keep one box.), fresh mango

Bento Box Idea #BentoBox

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Left top clockwise to left bottom: raw baby carrots, Muscat grapes, cinnamon banana protein mini muffins*, mozzarella cheese stick, sausage links

* Cinnamon Banana Protein Mini Muffins

makes ~4 dozen, cook at 350*F for 15 minutes

Combine wet ingredients: 

4 overripe bananas

1/2 cup raw local honey

1/2 cup room temperature butter

2 eggs

Add in dry ingredients:

1 serving (0.79 oz package) Garden of Life’s Real Raw Vanilla Raw Protein powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups Kodiak Cakes’ Power Cakes mix

Mix to combine and bake as specified above. 

The recipe can be another post and you can link the box to the recipe. If you want a different picture of the muffins text me and I’ll send you one, but let me know ASAP as muffins “don’t keep” around here. And I only took this one picture. 

Bento Box Idea #BentoBox

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Top left clockwise to bottom left: raw baby carrots, clementine peeled and sectioned, slices of Tillamook medium cheddar cheese, egg pancake*, Nothin’But brand granola cookies

* An egg pancake is an egg scrambled raw poured into a pan and not scrambled during cooking. Allow the egg to cook on the pan until firm and flip. I add salt and pepper (to taste) during scrambling.

Family Game Night: Battle Sheep By Blue Orange

By Summer

Games have changed since I was a child. I’m sure you think the same thing. But have they really? I think it’s just that options have changed from the typical Uno, Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders, and Candyland. My favorite “new generation” game maker is Blue Orange.

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Our families owns their games like Spot It, YamSlam and TellTale. Now Blue Orange has a new game out, and it’s not just for kids, Battle Sheep. This is a game of strategy and we’ve played with our children for family game night and we’d played with only adult friends during a weekend getaway. The game is simple enough to be enjoyed by all, but it’s all about the strategy:

 

 

Battle Sheep is a designed for ages 7+ though we played with our 5 and 7 year old. I can tell that our 5 year old has no clue what he’s doing, but our 7 year old gets the game’s tactic. My husband and I don’t let our boys win, but we find ourselves trying to out whit one another and also trying to block our 7 year old from a win; in turn our 5 year old has managed to school all of us.

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Not only is this game a fun challenge … but it’s cute! LOOK AT THOSE FACES!

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Blue Orange knows how to make games that are appealing to children with their graphic and simple instructions, and adults because of their strategy.

Each game doesn’t take too long and is dependent upon players thought time to strategize.

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From our family of four, Battle Sheep get eight thumbs up! You can get Blue Orange’s Battle Sheep at your local gaming shop or score great deals on Amazon. In fact, the price is around $30 depending on your retailer, so this is a great NEW game to add to your shopping list for birthdays and dare I say it … CHRISTMAS!

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Pot Sized Golden Grain Pasta

(samples received)

I love to cook, so I have a lot of different pots. I use to have a trusty “spaghetti pot” but really I never used it for spaghetti. There are several reasons for that, the number one probably being pure laziness. I didn’t want to wait to fill that big of a pot with water and then wait for the water to boil; especially with the amount of pasta I was making for my family of four. Then I find myself doing one of two things with the awkwardly long spaghetti noodles: 1. Sticking them in the pot and letting the ends hang out until I can force the noodles to bend into the pot (and hope they don’t burn because I have my flame set too high). 2. Break all the hard spaghetti noodles in “half” causing fragments to fly across my kitchen where I’ll find them under the fridge when digging out the next matchbox car with my yardstick.

Let’s be real, why isn’t spaghetti smaller? Not every meal is a reenactment of “Lady and the Tramp”. It’s not going to change the flavor. So come on noodle companies, get with it! Well, Golden Grain has taken a hint from every parents’ secret strange desires and has created new Pot-Sized pasta to their product line. That’s right, they just fit into your pot. Open box, chose amount, stick in pot! BAM! Dinner. Everyone loves a short cut!

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Golden Grains has other ways to help you in the kitchen by offering products that matter to your family like Hidden Veggies pasta and 100% Whole Grain pasta on top of their line of traditional pastas and egg noodles. What a great way to gather around the table for a family dinner.

What are your kitchen short cuts, tips, and tricks? We all have them and it’s brilliant to share either things we’ve learned over the years or the tips grandma passed along. My favorite short cut is making quesadillas. Here are my short cuts to this kid’s favorite:

– Use one whole tortilla as the bottom and one whole tortilla for the top. I use to bend mine in half, but that a pain if it doesn’t match up right and the cheese is all gooey and melting everywhere. Make a full circle.

MY NUMBER ONE TIP: Shredding cheese can require a lot of cleaning either in my Cuisinart or via my hand shredder. I’m making quesadilla because I’m looking for an easy way out of dinner. I skip the shredding and grab my peeler, which I clean in the dishwasher. A peeler also makes the cheese thin, easy to melt slices, AND the slices are even.

– When it’s done cooking, I cut the slices with my pizza cutter and serve.

This Mom Start tip is on the Golden Grain Facebook page. Vote for Mom Start in Golden Grain’s “Show Your Short Cut” contest for our peeler quesadilla tip and you’ll be eligible to win a weekly $100 American Express gift card; one entry daily, so VOTE every day! Or try for your own shot to win $500 by entering your own tip or short cut.

If you’re looking for some easy pasta dinners, Golden Grain has you covered with a personal recipe box.

Bento Box Monday Pork Chops

By Summer:

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(clockwise): pork chop with sautéed peppers and onions, granola bar, carrots, yogurt in the cup, strawberries and grapes

Many times I’ll give my husband or children a bento with leftovers. Why not? ESPECIALLY if my kid liked it! However, this one is my husband’s bento.

In this box the granola bars are meant to be crusted onto of the yogurt. The yogurt won’t fit inside the Bento, so this was an extra thing my husband had to pack into his work backpack along with his bento.