Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dance Recital Lunch

Molly and her sister will be performing tomorrow night in their dance recital.  They are both very excited.  Molly will be in a ballet number and a tap number.  She loves her tap costume (black and blue with little black sparkles) and her ballet costume looks like a beautiful pink and yellow flowing flower.  They both get to wear make-up...REAL make-up and Molly's little sister just loves make-up.  (Daddy's not a fan of the make-up but he agrees that they look beautiful.)

We've made a very special dance themed lunch for the special day, along with a very special Fun Friday treat.
Our main entree is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  We used our ballerina cookie cutter to cut it out and our food safe markers to decorate it.  (Not my best effort.  It's quite an odd shape.)

Our vegetable side is star shaped cucumbers.  We know that Molly will be a star tomorrow night!  We used our micro cookie cutter to cut these little stars out.

Our fruit side is strawberries.  We used a larger star cookie cutter to cut these out.  We also added a ballet slipper ring to this container.  Molly will be so excited because she is giddy about rings every single time we put one in her lunch.  (We have one for her sister too!)

Our dairy side is a Babybel cheese.  We used the same micro cookie cutter that we used for the cucumbers to cut out a tiny star from the wax.

Finally, our Fun Friday treat is ballet slipper cookies.  We dipped nutter butter cookies in pink chocolate, let them set and then added some white chocolate embellishments.  Cute and delicious!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Popcorn Chicken

Molly has chosen to have the hot school lunch tomorrow.  With only a little over a week of school left, this may be her last cafeteria lunch for this school year.  We're hoping! ☺

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Picnic Lunch

While looking for inspiration for Molly's lunch, I channeled our weekend.  We had so many picnic-like meals, it was easy to figure out a great lunch.  *side note - has anyone else realized how many different "salads" there are at a picnic?  pasta salad, fruit salad, veggie salad, jello salad, etc.  I wonder if picnic is another word for salad somewhere?  haha!
Our main entree is a cheese tortellini salad.  We cooked up some Trader Joe's cheese tortellini for lunch today for Molly's siblings.  The rest were put in a container, light Italian dressing was added and there you have it. One of Molly's favorites.

Our vegetable side is mini cucumber slices.  We picked up another bag of these mini cucumbers at Sam's Club today.  They are crunchy and great by themselves or dipped into hummus or a yogurt dip.

Our fruit side is strawberries and blueberries.  We saw a lot of fun recipes for strawberries and blueberries incorporated into desserts for memorial day.  The idea of a vanilla yogurt parfait with strawberries and blueberries sounded really good.  This and the next container could be that, just deconstructed.

Our dairy/dessert is vanilla yogurt.  Molly is all about the vanilla yogurt right now.  Parfait or no parfait, it's a great end to a healthy lunch.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Swimming and Sea Creatures

Molly's Grammy and Papa have a beautiful pool in their back yard and we are so lucky to have access to it.  We've spent most of the past two weekends swimming and enjoying family time.  Molly has become quite a little fish.  Her swimming has gotten better and better over the past few summers.  Her new thing is a snorkel.  She just swims around looking underwater at all of the things that "coming up for air" wouldn't let her see before.  Only a few more days of school left before this becomes our full time activity.
Our main entree is a mini cinnamon raisin bagel sandwich.  We split it in half and added whipped cream cheese.  Molly had this last week and loved it.  We added a little sea turtle pick to represent great swimmer, just like Molly.

Our vegetable side is carrot chunks.  This will be a great crunchy addition to lunch.  We added a little shell pick to this container.

Our fruit side is strawberries.  So sweet and juicy with a delicious fragrance and flavor.  We added an octopus pick to this container because it is one of Molly's favorite sea creatures.

Finally, our dairy/dessert is blueberry yogurt.  Molly hasn't had this variety in a while so we figured that it would be a nice change.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hat Day Lunch

Molly's school is having another Funky Friday$ day tomorrow.  They are collecting money for a new playground.  Each student that participates pays $1 to do what ever that funky thing is.  Tomorrow is hat day and every student is allowed to wear a hat, which is normally not allowed.  Molly is very excited to wear her Hello Kitty fedora.  She laid out her special matching Hello Kitty outfit and can't wait till morning for hat day.
Our main entree is a hat sandwich.  We cut out or whole grain white bread into the shape of a hat and used our food safe markers to decorate it.  Then, we filled it with salami and colby jack cheese, per Molly's request.

Our vegetable side is orange mini peppers.  We cut these peppers into rings and put a cute little purple hat on top of them.  We found these hats (this and the one on the fruit) at a local bake shop.  It's so much fun to find great little treasures, even if we don't quite know what we are going to do with them.

Our fruit side is a kiwi.  We cut the kiwi in half and then into slices so that it's easier to eat.  We also added a fun little pink hat on the top to keep with our theme.

Our dairy side is a cheddar and mozzarella cheese stick.  Since there is no yogurt, we're confident that Molly will be needing a little bit extra to eat.

Finally, our Fun Friday treat is dessert hats.  We used fudge stripe cookies for the base, added a mini Reese's peanut butter cup and attached them with some melted red chocolate.  Then we added a little decoration to them because hats are more fun with embellishments.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Return of an Old Favorite

When we went to Trader Joe's the other day, we picked up a bunch of things and a few old favorites made it into the cart.  Molly used to request pimento cheese sandwiches all of the time.  I introduced pimento cheese spread to my kids one day on the way home from the zoo.  Trader Joe's is very close to the Pittsburgh Zoo so on our way home, we stopped for a snack.  I bought mini whole wheat pitas and the pimento cheese spread as a way to introduce it in a small way, just in case they didn't like it.  Well, they are truly my kids and it showed with their new found love of pimento cheese spread.  We haven't had it for a while so Molly's eyes lit up when she saw it.
Our main entree is mini pimento cheese sandwiches.  We split 5 (there are 6 in a serving according to the nutritional information) Trader Joe's mini whole wheat pitas and filled them with Trader Joe's pimento cheese spread.  Molly is going to go crazy over this blast from the past.

Our vegetable side is mini cucumbers.  We used our crinkle knife to cut these up to make them look more like a pickle.  They are really crunchy and refreshing.

Our fruit side is a peach and some raspberries.  We found these peaches very inexpensively at a huge sale at  a local super market.  We like the combination for both aesthetic appeal and flavor.  

Finally, our dairy/dessert is plain vanilla yogurt.  Molly will more than likely add her raspberries to this yogurt.  She has been loving this combination of vanilla yogurt and fresh berries.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Trader Joe's Inspired Lunch

We made a run out to Trader Joe's yesterday to pick up a few essentials and some other goodies.  We just love Trader Joe's and heard a rumor that there might be one opening much closer to where we live.  It's about a 20 minute drive from where we are right now, but totally worth it!
Our main entree is a Trader Joe's mini Cinnamon Raisin bagel sandwich.  What's better with a bagel than cream cheese?  We added some whipped cream cheese and sandwiched it together.  We also added a little bow pick for fun.

Our vegetable side is Snap Peas Crisps.  These are a fantastic alternative to potato chips.  They are crispy, crunchy and salty.  The best part is that they are made with peas and baked so they are very healthy.  We added a pink flower pick to this container for a reminder of spring.

Our fruit side is strawberries.  These are still from the fresh picked batch of strawberries that Grammy got for us.  All four quarts are almost gone.  To say that we like strawberries at our house would be an understatement.  We added a small dragonfly ring to this container because Molly really likes when we put rings in her lunch.

Our dairy side is a cheddar and mozzarella cheese stick.  We think that Molly might be a little hungry (she didn't eat a lot at dinner tonight) so this is the perfect add on.

Finally, our dessert is peach yogurt.  Molly really likes to put her strawberries into her yogurt and peaches and strawberries are a great pairing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

School Lunch

The temptation of the school lunch strikes again. Chicken Fryz. Ugh! But, we have an agreement and it isn't the worst lunch being served this week. We may be changing our agreement next year from once a week to once a month to buy school lunch. These things that they are feeding the kids are so gross. The nutritional information provided just makes my blood boil. 838 calories for a lunch at school. Might as well feed them Big Macs! I digress. Plus there are only a few more weeks of school and then any "buying" options will be up to us.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

This past weekend, we went to Grammy and Papa's house for some fun in the sun and lots of swimming.  Thing 2 is done with school but Molly still has a few more weeks.  As we were getting ready to leave this evening, Molly was very jealous of Thing 2 because she got to stay another night and Molly had to come home because of school tomorrow.  But, the dog days of summer are right around the corner.
Our main entree is a doggie shaped sandwich.  We made a salami and colby jack cheese sandwich then used a dog shaped cookie cutter, a tiny bone cookie cutter and a small paw print cookie cutter to cut it out.  Then, we used our food safe markers to make it more fun.

Our vegetable side is mini peppers.  We sliced an orange and a red mini pepper into rings.  We think that they will taste great with the sandwich.

Our fruit side is fresh strawberries.  Grammy's friend got these for us.  They are fresh picked from a local farm and their flavor is incredible.

Finally, our dairy/dessert is vanilla yogurt.  Molly asked for plain vanilla yogurt because she like to put some of her strawberries in it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pizza Friday!

Thing 2 graduated from preschool today and it was awesome.  The four of us, along with Grammy and Papa, watched as she sang her songs and received her diploma on the stage.  (sniff...sniff...)  She will be joining the ranks at the Elementary School in Kindergarten next year!  That also means that she will be the lucky recipient of a new Laptop Lunchbox of her own and get fun lunches just like Molly.

For now, we're still sticking with lunch just for Molly.  A Fun Friday of yumminess!
Our main entree is cheese pizza.  We picked up a "take and bake" pizza at the grocery store today after graduation so that we'd have an easy dinner.  There were plenty of leftovers so Molly is getting a slice in her lunch tomorrow.

Our vegetable side is a mini cucumber.  We sliced these into little nickle slices so that Molly can just pop them in her mouth.  They are SUPER crunchy and delicious.

Our fruit side is sliced strawberries.  It's the merry berry month of May here in Pittsburgh so the strawberries are plentiful and amazingly scrumptious!

Our dairy side is a mozzarella and cheddar cheese stick.  We wanted to add a little extra protein so that Molly wasn't starving at the end of the day.

Finally, our Fun Friday treat is a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie.  We picked these up as a special treat for Thing 2's special day.  The kids went gaga over them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sister's Graduation

Tomorrow, Molly's little sister will graduate from preschool!  We are allowing Molly to miss a few hours of school tomorrow to attend the ceremony.  This means that she will get to school just before lunch.  I had a hard time trying to decide what to do.  Do we let her buy lunch or do we pack something small?  See, there is going to be a "luncheon" at the graduation ceremony.  We don't want to waste food and we aren't sure how much Molly will eat at the preschool.  So, we decided that we are going to bring a brown paper bag with a few ziploc bags so that Molly can eat a little bit at the luncheon and bring some of her leftovers in for lunch.

I am also going to pack a few peanut butter crackers and an apple, just in case there aren't a lot of options for Molly.  Our last resort is to just let her buy lunch at school if she doesn't eat much at all.

I can't believe that Thing 2 is old enough to be graduating from preschool and heading to Kindergarten in the fall.  She is completely ready for the big step but my heart is a little bit sad knowing that she's no longer a baby. Yet, I'm so excited for all of the fun adventures that await her.

Congratulations to the Preschool Class of 2012!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Something New

We are trying something new in Molly's lunch tomorrow.  We purchased some chicken burgers a few weeks ago on a trip to Sam's Club.  They are really delicious plus, they aren't breaded and fried like the average chicken nugget.  We've ended up buying a lot more of them.  I've been eating them like a regular piece of grilled chicken during a meal or on a salad...YUM!  I've also had them cold and I think that they are so good that way too.  I'm hoping that Molly feels the same because she gobbles them up at dinner.
Our main entree is an Old World Kitchen Caramelized Onion and Swiss Chicken Burger.  We cut it into strips, like we do for dinner.  There is so much flavor in these that they don't need any kind of dip or spread.

Our vegetable side is sugar snap peas.  Molly went through a period of time when she wasn't a fan of these but luckily, she's gotten over it.  They are juicy and crunchy with such a yummy flavor.

Our fruit side is a MacIntosh apple.  We sliced it up to make it faster to eat.  Elementary kids don't have a lot of time at lunch so anything to help make it easier is great.

Finally, our dairy/dessert is vanilla yogurt with a few Trader Joe's Elegant Cocoa Pearls.  They are a little crunchy and sweet.

Monday, May 14, 2012

May Flowers Lunch

We have breakfast for dinner quite often at our house.  The kids just love it.  Last time I made breakfast for Molly's lunch, I had some fun with a squeeze bottle.  I recalled it tonight when I was making dinner.  I made more Hello Kitty pancakes, smiley faces, a few rocket ships for my son and a whole bunch of flowers.  Those flowers were the inspiration for Molly's lunch tomorrow.
Our main entree is pancakes.  These are honey wheat Krusteaz that we put into a squeeze bottle and created fun flowers with.  We added a side of Biscoff Spread for Molly to dip into.  (That stuff is so delicious that it would make even a plain rice cake taste spectacular!)

Our vegetable side is baby carrots.  Molly has said that they are the best option for a vegetable when breakfast is on the menu.

Our fruit side is a mix of fresh berries.  Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries that have been cut into flower shapes to match our theme.

Finally, our dairy/dessert is vanilla yogurt.  We added a few berries to liven it up and add more fun flowers to Molly's lunch.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mommy's Night Off

Happy Mother's Day to all of the Mommies, Grandmas, Great-Grandmas, Aunts, Sisters, Friends and Dads that are Dad and Mom.  Being a Mommy is the most special gift that I have ever been given.  I am truly blessed by the three little miracles that daily call me Mom.

In honor of this special day, Molly's Daddy was nice enough to make Molly's lunch for me.  Mommy got a night off!  Thanks so much Daddy! ♥
Our main entree is chili.  Molly and her siblings requested Wendy's for dinner (while Mom and Dad got take out from a different restaurant) and this chili was left over.  Molly asked for it to be in her lunch tomorrow...easy peasy!

Our vegetable side is a romaine lettuce salad.  We added a side of French dressing.

Our fruit side is strawberries and raspberries.  Molly has been all about berries lately and we are happy to fulfill her request.

Finally, our dairy/dessert is a Chobani Champions Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Greek yogurt.  Molly's favorite. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fun Friday Lunch

Molly had an absolute blast at "Yo Vikings!" today.  She loved how the book came to life and the fact that the main character had such a vivid imagination, kind of like our Molly.  I'm so happy that we live in a city where a short bus ride can offer awesome theater, music and world class museums plus an incredible zoo.  The "burgh" sure is a great place to live.
Our main entree is turkey pepperoni, crackers and cheese.  Molly requested this just before bed tonight.  Sometimes, she's all about the finger food.

Our vegetable side is sugar snap peas.  These looked so yummy at the store yesterday, that we had to pick them up.  They are sweet, crunchy and juicy.

Our fruit side is a mix of berries.  One of our local grocery stores has raspberries 2/$3 so we loaded up.  We added a few blueberries and blackberries too.

Our dairy is plain old vanilla yogurt....but we added some fun sprinkles to liven it up a bit.  The weekend is almost here so we're ready to celebrate!

Finally, our fun Friday treat is an Archer Farms Organic blueberry fruit strip.  We purchase these at Target all of the time and they usually serve as an after school snack or an accompaniment to yogurt at breakfast, which means that there aren't any left for lunch.  We held on to one just for Friday.

*Happy Mother's Day to all of you Mommies out there!  My plan is to sleep in and that is enough for me.  ☺

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Field Trip Lunch!

Molly is going on a field trip tomorrow.  She and several other children in GATE/High-Achieving Students are heading to the Pittsburgh Playhouse to see, "Yo Vikings!"  Molly can't wait because she gets to dress up, ride a school bus (we live on the same street as the school so we walk) and seeing a fun play.  Yo Vikings! is about a girl named Emma who's world is transformed into an epic Viking adventure.  We used the flyer that came home as our inspiration for Molly's packed "brown bag" lunch.
Our main entree is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  We cut out a Viking shape and used our food safe markers to create a Viking.  We put this sandwich in a recyclable blueberry container so that it won't be squished.  We got this idea from our friend Keeley McGuire, who also blogs about her daughter's lunch.  Click here for the post that we got the idea from.

Our vegetable side is baby carrots.  Molly requested these because they tasted good to her today.

Our fruit side is an apple/strawberry squeeze applesauce on the go.  No bruising of the fruit and lots of yummy flavor.

We added pretzels, Annie's Snickerdoodle Bunnies and Annie's Organic Fruit Snacks and a mini bottle of water to round out Molly's lunch.

Molly's lunch bag is our take on the cover art for the book "Yo Vikings!", but we made Molly the main character, Emma.  We also changed the title to Yo Molly! so that she has her name on her lunch, as requested.  ☺

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Sandwich

During one of my weekly trips to Sam's Club, I purchased a new kind of lunch meat, Castle Wood Applewood Smoked Chicken Breast!  The Castlewood line is fantastic because they use real meat and don't overly process it like most lunch meats.  This particular one is just chicken breast (and you can tell by the way it looks) that has been smoked and seasoned.  Plus, it tastes REALLY good, like bacon...YUM!
Our main entree is a smokey sandwich.  We used the new Caste Wood applewood smoked chicken breast and the Castle Wood smoked Gouda cheese in between two slices of Wonder whole grain white bread.  

Our vegetable side is baby carrots.  Molly has been requesting these lately and they are an easy option because they are already ready for you to toss them right into the lunch box.

Our fruit side is an apple.  We sliced up this little Empire apple because without her two front teeth, biting into an apple is a bit more complicated for Molly. ☺

Finally, our dairy/dessert is a Chobani Champions Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Greek yogurt.  Another request from our girl.  We like it too!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Restaurant Leftovers

After our amazing half marathon, Daddy and I had a nice snack at the Hard Rock Cafe then went home, showered off and both fell asleep from shear exhaustion.  We woke up to a phone call from Molly asking us to join her, her siblings and her grandparents for dinner at Bravo! for dinner.  What runner could resist a pasta dinner after running 13.1 miles?

We had some great leftovers and Molly was able sneak some for her lunch tomorrow.
Our main entree is Bravo Mac and Cheese.  They use campanelle pasta and an amazing amount of cream and cheese to make a decadent and delicious entree.  The nice thing is that their portion is so big that it can serve as several meals.

Our vegetable side is a green salad.  Just some romaine lettuce with a side of light Italian dressing.

Our fruit side is a clementine.  We peeled and sectioned it for Molly to make it a little easier to eat.

Finally, our dairy/dessert is a Chobani Champions Verry Berry Greek yogurt.  Molly requested this variety since it is one of her favorites.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Post Marathon Lunch

Well, WE DID IT!!!  The 2012 Pittsburgh Half Marathon is now history!

The 3 H's were HORRIBLE but we persisted and made it to the finish line.

This was a tough race and it was amazing to be running along with 25,000 other people in the City of Bridges.  I am now a Runner of Steel!!!!

If you have ever done a half marathon, you know how tiring it is.  Because of this, I am going to let Molly buy her pizza lunch tomorrow.  I think that I've earned a night off. ☺

Congratulations to all who ran today.  What an amazing experience!  Thanks to my family and friends who helped me to accomplish this amazing goal!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Marathon Lunch

If you follow this blog, you may know that Molly's Daddy and I will be running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this Sunday.  This is Daddy's second half marathon and Mommy's 1st.  I'm excited and terrified at the same time.  I trust in my training and the shape that my body is in so I'm confident that it will be an absolute blast.

In honor of this massively amazing event, we decided to theme Molly's lunch with fun little bits from our training as "Runners of Steel" in our awesome city.
Our main entree is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  We used whole grain white bread, spread on some natural peanut butter and low sugar strawberry jam.  Then, we used our food safe markers to create a running shoe.

Our vegetable side is frozen peas.  These will thaw down and be a great cool addition.  The peas remind us of the little sport jelly beans that we use to fuel during long runs.  They are also a great source natural carbohydrate, something that runners are always looking for.

Our fruit side is a banana with some Nutella inside of it.  Runners love bananas for potassium and a quick sugar boost with carbohydrate.  We also added the word RUN using a strawberry fruit leather and our alphabet micro cookie cutters.

Our dairy side is a cheddar and mozzarella cheese stick.  This is a great source of protein.  A runner needs a certain amount of protein to fuel their muscles and keep their appetite satisfied long after the carbohydrates have burned off.

Finally, our dessert is Mommy's favorite post race snack.  Pretzels with a few dark chocolate chips.  The salt helps to keep electrolytes in check and the chocolate, well, it's dark chocolate...enough said.

Best of luck to our fellow Runners of Steel as we all tackle the City of Bridges!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Leftover Breakfast!

There was a lot on the schedule again for tonight.  Mom had her final weigh in (and I was down another 2.3 pounds!  WOOT WOOT!), plus a final run before the weekend races.  Then there was an impromptu meeting that I attended.   I knew that the night was going to be busy so breakfast for dinner was on the menu.  Everyone loves it and and it's easy to make and clean up after.
Our main entree is mini pancakes.  We tried a new mix called Honey Wheat Krusteaz.  It got two thumbs up from all of us.  You don't need any syrup because the honey makes them sweet already.  YUM!

Our protein side is bacon and eggs.  Well, bacon and an egg.  There are 3 strips of turkey bacon ripped into smaller pieces and a hard boiled egg.  The shell did not want to be removed so it's not too pretty, but it will still taste great.

Our fruit side is pineapple and cantaloupe pieces.  Mom made fruit bouquets for her weight loss coaches and these are the yummy bits leftover.

Finally, our dairy/dessert is a Chobani Champions Verry Berry Greek yogurt.  Molly loves her Cho!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This week has been and will be beyond crazy.  Monday night included a sneak preview of the new Whole Foods store that will be opening near us tomorrow (I am overly excited about this!) and a great dinner with friends.  Tonight was dance for both girls and a run for Daddy plus cross training for Mommy.  Tomorrow is the end of Mommy's weight loss challenge with the final weigh in, which makes me feel like I gained 5 pounds over the last week.  haha!  Tomorrow is also my final run before the Pittsburgh Marathon 5K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday.  We have several other things lined up too and God willing, it will all go off swimmingly.  We are all so excited and next week may feel like the day after the prom but the excitement of this week is something to behold.

Part of my strategy was to plan ahead with a menu and schedule so that nothing is forgotten.  Hopefully this will really help with Molly's lunches.
Our main entree is a pizzadilla, a/k/a a pizza quesadilla.  We spread a small amount of pizza sauce on two flour tortillas, added turkey pepperoni and shredded mozzarella cheese on one, topped it with the other, then heated it on the stove until it was all melted and yummy.  We then cut it into "pizza slices" to make it more manageable for Molly.

Our vegetable side is a green salad.  We added a small container of light Ranch dressing and filled it a little fuller than normal because we know that Molly sometimes likes to dip her pizza in Ranch.

Our fruit side is a sliced apple.  These a very small Empire apples that are the perfect side for kids.  They are crunchy and sweet.

Finally, our dairy/dessert is Chobani Champions Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Greek Yogurt.  This is Molly's favorite variety and we can't blame her.  Chocolate is so yummy!