More Lunches for Your Picky Eater

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I keep getting good feedback on my shares of Libbie’s picky-kid lunches on Facebook, so I hope these give you inspiration that your child doesn’t have to eat the same lunch every day!

These are PlanetBox Rover lunchboxes.

See other ideas in this post. (And people, I am keeping it real here. Sometimes I send processed foods. Sometimes I don’t. It’s life here.)

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Pancake sandwich with peanut butter and banana slices; pumpkin spice marshmallows; half a banana; mini cheddar pretzel crips; Chobani banana “gogurt”; a few mini M&Ms.

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Apple sandwich with PBJ and craisin/currant face stuck on with peanut butter; apple slices; cheese cubes; Polenta Blueberry Muffin; craisins, dried apricots, and white chocolate chips. (Both muffins and apple sandwich from Weelicious Lunches.)

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PBJ cut with a pumpkin cookie cutter and with candy eyes; red pear slices; cheddar cheese spelling “BOO”; pumpkin marshmallows; peanuts; fruit leather; and silly Halloween jokes (free printable).

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This was definitely an “I need to go to the store and am in a major hurry” lunch! Peanut butter on graham cracker; applesauce in the little dipper container; raisins; Peanut Noodles with Chicken; frozen blueberries.

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Grilled cheese rolls (Weelicious Lunches); shredded chicken; apple slices; trail mix of pretzels, yogurt-covered raisins, and chocolate-covered peanuts; yogurt.

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Tortilla chips with shredded cheese; trail mix of raisins, cashews, and white chocolate chips; banana; two slices ham. (I know it seems weird, but Libbie LOVES chips-and-cheese like this. Not melted or anything.)

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This was David’s lunch one day – he is my less-picky kid! PBJ cut with a star sandwich cutter; carrots two ways (coins and sticks); ranch dip; black grapes; frozen turkey.

Do you try to mix it up at lunchtime? What recipe is your favorite to send? I am always looking for some new ideas.

Saturday Linky Love

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Oh hey, is it Friday already? This feels like it’s been such a weird week! I feel somewhat recuperated from the prior two weeks: I got to go to water aerobics twice, clean a little bit, and check something off my to-do list (updating this post).

The big kids are with grandparents at a hotel tonight, and Joshua is in bed, so Mr. V and I are getting ready to snuggle in and watch a movie. Yay!

Here are some good things I read this week.

Reading offline: I started What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty this afternoon. Still listening to Joy for Beginners (if I ever remember to charge my iPod), and reading a little of Chasing God by Angie Smith here and there.

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.

Nutty S’more Bars

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Nutty S'more Bars

A few Christmases ago, my best friend from college, Michelle, gave me the sweetest gift for a foodie: a cookbook with post-its annotating all the recipes she and her husband had tried. She wrote comments on which ones they liked, what to leave out, and how to change things. Is that not the BEST? I love it.

The cookbook she gave me was Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. The authors have a bakery in Brooklyn that has had great success and been promoted by Oprah, People, and other outlets. Here they share many of the recipes they use in their bakery.

Most are not simple or easy recipes. Three-tier cakes, bars with layers of flavors, melting chocolate, making dulce de leche and candied lemon peel – all are featured throughout this volume. But if you want to make something special, this is a great cookbook. Every once in awhile I pull it out to make something to blow the dorm boys’ minds and palates.

Mr. V said their eyes got very wide when he showed up with a platter of these amazing bars last night.

Decadent, sweet-salty, and rich beyond belief, these s’more bars are a showstopper! I don’t really care for marshmallow desserts and I was still pretty taken with them.

Nutty S’more Bars

Yield: 24 bars

Slightly adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

Ingredients

  • 2 sleeves graham crackers (about 2 1/4 c. crumbs)
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. (10 2/3 Tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 7 1/2 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
  • 7 1/2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 c. half-and-half or heavy cream (their recipe calls for heavy, but I used half and half and it turned out great)
  • half a bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 1/2 c. whole salted peanuts
  • 1/2 c. chopped salted peanuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a 9x13 dish.

Process graham crackers and brown sugar into crumbs with a food processor. Add butter and pulse until it is worked together. Dump into greased dish and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Use a measuring cup to press it in firmly and evenly.

Bake crust for about 13 minutes to set. Turn off oven and put dish on cooling rack.

Dump chocolate pieces into a large bowl and drizzle with corn syrup.

Heat half-and-half in a saucepan to just boiling. Pour over chocolate and let sit 2-3 minutes. Then whisk well, until smooth. Fold in marshmallows and whole peanuts quickly. (You don't want to keep stirring and have the marshmallows melt; just fold them in so they are covered with chocolate.)

Spoon into prepared crust and smooth out evenly. Sprinkle top with chopped peanuts. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Cut into squares with a wet, sharp knife. Will make about 24 bars. Refrigerate any leftovers, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days.

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Share one of your favorite cookbooks with me in the comments. I’m always looking for a new, special find!

A Day in the Life #onedayHH

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Every year Hollywood Housewife (Laura) does this thing where you can post all day on Instagram with pictures of you everyday life – messes and all. I decided this year not to let my lack of a smartphone stop me from joining in. So I’ll be updating this throughout the day with unedited pictures of my life here. Here is the #onedayHH post for this year!

Technically the day started at 3:40 when Joshua woke up crying. We need a new pacifier “leash” so he can’t keep losing his paci outside the crib. But he was also poopy, so I had the joys of changing that in the middle of the night. Then, for the second night in a row, that woke David up and he crawled into bed with us. Which is OK … he really is very cute and snuggly. But he was still asleep at 7:20 and our carpool ride for preschool picks him up about 8.

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Meanwhile, this stinker was somehow playing with a knife that was on the counter. He can reach the counter. That is a bad thing.

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Scavenged up $3 to send with David for a school lunch, and tried to figure out how to set up Libbie with a lunch account so she could buy today. It didn’t work. I have packed her lunch every day, but today it would have been nice to save the time. (I NEED to pack lunches the night before. But I don’t.) So ended up packing one anyway, whatever I could find in the kitchen that she might eat.

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David cried for approximately 20 minutes because I wanted him to wear this shirt. Daddy even put the shirt on him. Finally, I relented and let him just change. Then when the carpool came his buddy Luke was wearing the exact same shirt in gray. David would have LOVED being twins. I have NO idea why this shirt is offensive to him. Sigh.

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This is spirit week at Libbie’s school (she’s in kindergarten). Today was crazy hair or hat day.

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Mommy had neither breakfast nor coffee this morning in all the rush. (WHY did I not get up with my alarm??? ARGH.) So we made this stop. A BIG coffee for me and donuts all around. Really, we only do this once in awhile (I think this is the second time since school started in early August), so I refuse to be guilty about it.

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Two little ones (David was already with carpool) were excited when this came on the Sirius station, even though they play it almost every day. Joshua is getting very skilled at singing, “Leeee goooo!!!”

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Dropped Lib off at school and headed to the Y for water aerobics. Yay! Totally fuel for my soul and body. Then Josh and I came home. He was already asleep when we got here, so he went down for nap and I hope to have time to take a shower and maybe pick up the kitchen. Here I am, wet and happy.

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Shower? Who are we kidding. I am a bath girl. Took a nice bath, read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (getting close to the end!), and got dressed. Applied my oil regimen – I really feel like these help lift some of my depression, although I am still taking my medicine as well. I feel better than I have in ages. Tried to wax my eyebrows: disaster. My sister uses this kit, even ON ME, but I could not get one hair to come off with it. Tried my old stand-by, the Sally Hansen strips, and I couldn’t hardly get them to work either. What’s up, brows?? Will spare you a picture of them. Still hairy. It’s 12:14 p.m.

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12:31 and someone is up from nap. He is always very unhappy about leaving his paci in the crib.

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Make Joshua lunch, then attempt to pick up and unload the dishwasher while he’s restrained. I think fairies come and reload it all the time, because it ALWAYS seems to need unloaded.

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Realize if I want to each lunch I better do it. Leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Joshua didn’t want his lunch, but of course he wants mine.

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Oh hey. Here is what I look like. Off to go to the preschool pick-up!

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Mr. Trouble thinks he needs to climb the stairs alone every time. And he can … but it’s slow. I scooped him up and carried him this time.

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Back in the van again …

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It really is a gorgeous day. Mid-60s and no clouds. But it’s hard to believe how GREEN it still is in late October.

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Remember how I said I didn’t pack David’s lunch this morning? The friend we carpool with takes the boys back to their house in the morning before preschool. And she packed and sent him a lunch. I almost cried.

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Grilled cheese for after-school snack. Because … we seem to be low on snacky things, and it works.

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Meanwhile, I can tell it is water aerobics day because I am hungry again. I am sort of obsessed with these Dole chopped salads.

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Attempted to pick up some and vacuum. But let’s be honest: it still looks like this. I need a maid. I am so not kidding about how awful I am at housekeeping.

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This came in the mail today. I am a little giddy, because I know one little almost-6-year-old who is going to be SO EXCITED (to look like every other little girl on Halloween …).

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A little after 5 and I’m back in the van with the kidlets, headed to church. I think Dunkin’ gave me decaf this morning because I am DRAGGING. Filled up my travel mug with half-pumpkin-spice-half-regular coffee and cinnamon creamer. YUM.

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Time for dinner at church. So glad they do this on Wednesday nights. Tonight there was spaghetti and chicken with cheese.

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On Wednesday nights I co-teach a class of 2, 3, and 4-year-olds. My friend Carrie and I joke that we populate the entire preschool department at church – we each have 3, and they are 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and almost 1. Technically Libbie is in the children’s department now, though. Anyway, here is my class of cuties. We had all 8 there tonight! And they were WIRED.

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Seriously, the noise level when they were playing after the lesson. My ears are still ringing.

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I decide what the heck, I will go to choir tonight even though that gets us home late. When we finally pull into our parking spot about 8:35, our dorm is having a fire drill. Stellar. So we wait not so patiently outside.

Joshua is playing on the floor with cars and it’s almost 9 p.m. This does not bode well for the morning.

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Hallelujah, they are finally all in PJs. Teeth-brushing time.

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And that about sums up my day. It’s 9:13 and Joshua and David are still talking in their room. Sigh. I wanted to make muffins tonight but I am beat and coughing, so I will take my laptop and book and go to bed. I try to get to sleep around 10 to 10:30 so 5:45 doesn’t seem soooo early!

My dad is actually in the hospital in Greensboro, which has also been hovering around all day. He had pneumonia. Thankfully he isn’t old (he’s 55), but it’s still scary. Please send prayers for him! So my phone will come with me too, as I’m texting my mom and dad some.

Good night, friends!

Soups: So Many to Try, So Little Time

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This is a sponsored post through Foodie.com. Thank you for supporting charities like these by allowing me to post sponsored content without complaint.

Check out Soup Is Good for the Soul

by Jessie Weaver at Foodie.com

I’ve been on a mission lately to get my kids to eat soup. It’s not something I’ve ever pushed, even though I am a soup fanatic. And to my surprise, they are actually trying it! Joshua, my 19-month-old, especially loves to sip on the broth. The other two are more selective (ahem) eaters, but are willing to at least try it. And that is a step in the right direction!

Because man, do I love soup. I grew up eating it all the time – chili, beef and barley, vegetable, and even the dreaded bean soup (which I do NOT love, obviously). My mom’s potato soup is one of my favorite take-me-back-to-childhood recipes. And in case you can’t tell we had a bit of a Soup Enthusiasm, every year my parents hosted the SOUPerbowl, so we could watch football and eat all kinds of chilis, stews, and broths.

I couldn’t stop myself from adding more and more recipes to my Foodie collection. I hope you’ll enjoy perusing it! I may have to make soup every day for the entire fall and winter to taste-test all the new recipes I want to try out.

What’s your favorite soup, stew, or chili?

Saturday Linky Love

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Well. It appears it is now Sunday night and I have yet to write a linky post. We’ve been sucking in every moment of the weekend! Libbie was off Friday and Mr. V is on Fall Break, so Friday we trekked to Nashville to visit old friends. Yesterday, I went to water aerobics, napped, and then we went to a church-sponsored hayride and bonfire! And then today, we did church but I had a sinus headache so came home and slept again. It’s been busy but good, and I’m always going to pick “real life” over blogging. And sleep. ;)

But I do have some wonderful things to share, so here you go.

Reading offline: Chasing God by Angie Smith; The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.

So, what did you read that was great this week? Link up here. You can grab the code for the button in the sidebar, if you want. Please link back here and add the PERMALINK to your post, not your home page.