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PostHeaderIcon Happy Halloween with the Great Pumpkin!

Lunchbox Love

I had found a coupon for 15% off Lunchbox Love Notes on the affiliates page at Biting The Hand That Feeds You, another blog about bento boxes for kids with food allergies. I picked up the new Strength and Hope set as well as the Holiday set. I have some friends going through some difficult times, and it’ll be nice to have the Strength and Hope cards to stick into the allergy-friendly meals and treats. Plus, the Holiday cards are fun for the girls! Another blogger posted a link to these plastic sleeves – by sticking the LBL notes into the sleeves, it’s an inexpensive way to make surethey won’t get icky in lunches and can be used again. I love that – I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of spending that much money on cards that will be thrown out.

In actual food news, we either got cross-contaminated at our (otherwise awesome) church Halloween party, or all 4 of us got the same 24 hour stomach bug at the same time. It sucked. But, on the plus side, the house was very, very quiet all day. I don’t remember the last time the house was this quiet, other than when the girls are with their dad.

As a result of them staying home, the girls’ Great Pumpkin lunches from yesterday are actually going to be eaten today. So no new bentos. But, when everyone started feeling better enough for some dinner, I spent 5-10 extra minutes decorating the leftovers to make them themed with watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The girls loved it! And it really only took a few extra minutes.

Haunted House PizzaFirst I used a leftover lunchbox gf pizza crust and added some leftover marinara. I added some shredded mozzarella and some cooked bacon, and popped it in the toaster for 5 minutes. I spent a few minutes following the instructions from iPackLunch for a haunted house pizza topping. I popped my topping (hand carved yellow cheddar with a pepperoni ghost cut out with a Halloween cookie cutter on top of a slice of mozzarella from Trader Joe’s) on the pizza and stuck it in the toaster for a couple minutes. Sadly, it melted a bit too much, but it was fun to do, and G3 liked it. I wouldn’t bother to put it in the oven next time.

Scrambled Egg PumpkinG1 just wanted scrambled eggs with cheese, plus some tomato soup (something that will surprise absolutely no one who has read this blog before). Her mouth is still hurting from the orthodontist visit Tuesday, so she wanted something soft to eat. I popped the scraps from cutting out decorations into the scrambled eggs, which worked great. Then I topped it with a little cheddar cheese pumpkin cut from a Halloween cookie cutter.

Pumpkin Patch chiliG2 wanted some of the vegetarian & gluten-free chili leftover from Tuesday night’s chili cook off, so I put that in a nice bowl and then created a little pumpkin patch with ghosts out of cheddar and provolone cheese cut using Halloween cookie cutters. So easy, and it’s great to get a huge smile in exchange for the minute or two it took to cut out the cheese.

It’s wonderful to remember that spending that extra moment can turn leftovers and simple foods into something the kids were excited to eat, and got them really in the mood to watch The Great Pumpkin!



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PostHeaderIcon Waiting for the Great Pumpkin

Cauldron CakeThere’s only one more night before Halloween! You can definitely tell based on the traffic and mass of people in Salem, but all around our area homes are decked out and people are in costume. It’s wonderful! Last night our church had its Halloween party, which included a zip line, Trunk or Treat, a chili cookoff, and a scary cake contest. G2 and G3 and I worked hard on our cauldron cake, but, sadly, it didn’t win. We were up against a professional graphic designer, though, so… We’re happy with it, but we’ll see what we can do next year! Quick how-to: Bottom is a 9″ layer covered in red “flame” frosting, with molded chocolates stuck in it. Top layer is an ice cream cake bowl form, designed so you have a “pocket” to stuff with ice cream before putting it on top of the 9″ layer, but we kept it in the bowl shape. We brushed the inside and outside of the bowl with melted chocolate, and let that harden. We whipped green whipped cream, put in a ladle, and topped with chocolate skulls, spiders, ears, eyes, fingers, bats, and fangs.

Because tonight is the night Linus waits for The Great Pumpkin, today’s lunches are all based on that. I didn’t have anything with Linus on it, sadly, but Snoopy and Woodstock can still hang out waiting for The Great Pumpkin!

Great Pumpkin 2G2’s lunch came out the best, I think. In the large container in her Laptop Lunchbox there’s a provolone sandwich with Snoopy and Woodstock drawn on using Snoopy & Woodstock stencils and food-safe markers. I made an orange bell pepper pumpkin and a ghost using Halloween cookie cutters to set the scene. In the top left container is The Great Pumpkin (in a clementine disguise) complete with a crown food pick, with a Woodstock candy ring from Walgreens. At the top right is a Thestral Poop meringue and a skull bracelet picked up locally. 


Great Pumpkin 1G1 had her braces adjusted yesterday, and her mouth hurts a lot. I tried to pack soft food, or food she could have melt in her mouth. So, she has tomato soup in her Thermos, again. For protein and fun, her Totoro Bento Box has a fairly good tofu Snoopy and Woodstock made using rice molds as cutters, and food-safe markers to add detail. Lettuce and ghosts & a pumpkin made using Halloween cookie cutters help complete the pumpkin patch scene. On the left, in the leakproof portion of her bento, is some canned pineapple, with a witch flying overhead, and a graveyard food pick as accents. In two silicone muffin cups are a chocolate skull and bat molded from cookie cutters. I also threw in a Lucy ring pop and a skull bracelet for fun.

Great Pumpkin 3G3 has homemade gluten-free chicken noodle soup in her Thermos. She has asked for a “snack box”, which I’m packing in a container from Laptop Lunch’s Bento Buddies. Her snack box has some MnMs from last night’s Trunk or Treat, plus a couple Halloween food picks. G3’s Easy Lunchbox includes a tofu Snoopy who looks a little evil, which is unfortunate. I need a smaller stencil to go with the Snoopy & Woodstock rice molds – I’m not great at freehand drawing on tofu. She also has a Snoopy candy ring, a skull bracelet, and some Sour Patch Kids from ToT.

Halloween stickers jokesAll three lunches included a set of Snoopy stickers and a couple Halloween jokes. I’m looking forward to getting Lunch Box Love notes, but until then and in addition to them, the various printables are lovely.

This post is linked to I Heart Lunch and Fun Food Friday.


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PostHeaderIcon Halloween Countdown – 7 days left!

G1 7H 1As I’ve mentioned before, G2 and G3 are with their father on Wednesday and Thursday nights, so I only pack lunches for G1 on those days. We went shopping for our final Halloween items Wednesday night, so Thursday’s lunch needed to be quick. As an aside, wanting to collect things for bentos is dangerous. I had a very hard time saying no to things!



G1 7H topIn her Totoro Bento Box  we have, in the top section that has vents, a creepy jack-o-lantern clementine in a spider silicone baking cup I found on sale at AC Moore. She also has two a gluten-free chocolate chip cookies complete with skull and bone sprinkles and a couple plastic bones and a squishy eyeball from Party City.

In her Thermos she has more tomato soup. I’ve given up trying to make homemade for the moment, after throwing out two batches that she and G2 hated. They love Pacific’s Creamy Tomato Soup with a couple shakes of basil on top, so we’ll be sticking with that (and it’s available through subscribe & save!).



G1 7H bottomIn the bottom section in her lunch box is a Halloween Lunch Joke, two graveyard food picks, and a salad. On top of the salad are two pieces of orange bell pepper cut using a pumpkin cookie cutter to give a Great Pumpkin feel. I also took my food markers and drew Snoopy and Woodstock on a slice of tofu. To prep the tofu I tried to press some of the moisture out of it, but it’s not the most perfect material for drawing. I used these Snoopy & Woodstock stencils to draw the characters. I also used a scrapbooking punch from JoAnn’s Fabrics to make some little bats out of nori for the background. I’m going to have to look closer at the scrapbooking punches next time!

This post is linked on Bento Blog Network – Halloween Bentos.

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PostHeaderIcon Minions!!

I saw a recent Despicable Me Minion Lunch over at BentOnBetterLunches, and knew I needed to copy it attempt something similar. We went to Orlando this past April (we were there exactly 6 months ago!), and while we spent some time at each of the 4 Disney Parks and a day and a half at Sea World (we got to pet a penguin! and dolphins), we really went there to go to Universal for Harry Potter World. Not even our totally-Harry-Potter-obsessed family could spend 3 complete days at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so we spent time going through both Universal parks. Out of everything, one of the things that made the top lists of all 5 of us was the Despicable Me ride/experience. Loved it! G2 and my fiance went back twice while G1, G3, and I went on roller coasters. So much fun! So, of course, I had to attempt a Minion Lunch.

MMinion cupcakesost Minion bentos I’ve seen require a Twinkie. We can’t eat Twinkies, as they’re full of gluten. So, in my weekly cupcake making I frosted half with yellow buttercream and half with a fudgy frosting, as requested. We had some leftover homemade fondant from a penguin cake G2 made, so I covered a few of the fudgy frosted cupcakes with yellow fondant, then used black and white fondant to make eyes and goggle bands. I was a little limited, as I don’t yet have an 11 piece circle cookie cutter set, and had to make do with this 5 piece one. Of course I remembered after everything was made that I had some candy eyes. That would’ve been nice, as I could’ve made more eye patterns. I made some chocolate “hair”, but hadn’t put it on the cupcakes yet when this pic was taken.

Minion lunch G2’s vegetarian Minion lunch is packed in her new Laptop Lunch box. She has, clockwise from the top right,  a provolone sandwich on our new favorite gluten-free bread – minion face made from cheddar cheese, with provolone and nori accents. Next she has sliced apples (I dip mine in water with a little lemon juice to stop them from becoming brown) with a dipping container filled with chocolate syrup for she-who-hates-caramel. Next up are some homemade fruit rollups, then the chocolate minion cupcake with fudgy frosting and fondant. Unfortunately, I don’t have any Minion cupcake picks or hard figurines, and no one would’ve wanted a stuffed Minion in their lunch!

This lunch is linked to Meatless Monday on Bentos for Kidlet and What’s for Lunch Wednesday at

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