Monday, February 24, 2014

2014 -- 032


I don't know about you but my favorite lunches are the ones that are really colorful. Sometimes I end up sort of monochromatic and I find I don't love those lunches as much as the ones like today's that have great color. I hope you like it too! 


  • 1/2 a piece of leftover chicken
  • 1 kiwi cut into shapes
  • 4 strawberries
  • about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup cottage cheese
  • Handful of Annie's Cheddar Bunnies
  • About 1/4 of a leftover zucchini cut into pieces
  • Served with an organic milk box (not pictured)
I'm also really loving my new cups that my husband got me. I've been using them in darn near every lunch lately! What are you all having for lunch today? Do you find you get more excited about lunches that are more colorful too?

Happy Packing!

2014 -- 031

Two for One

So I got a bit behind in posting these last week so you get to have Thursday and Friday's lunches in a this lunchy double feature! Hope you enjoy!! 

  • Taco Salad
  • Green Bell Pepper Strips
  • Pear Chunks
  • Cottage Cheese

  • Duck shaped sandwich
  • Pear Chunks
  • Babybel with a fish cutout
  • Goldfish (Ducky chow!)
  • Tomatoes
Hopefully I'll be more on it with the coming weeks. We've got big changes happening in my home and I can't wait to share them with all of you! 

Happy Packing!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 -- 030

A Bear-y Good Lunch!

So this lunch was a completely happy accident that I am really in love with! I asked my husband to put on an egg to boil for me this morning and next thing I know he asks if he could try to use the bear mold on it. I have had nothing but trouble with those molds but decided, what they hey, let's go for it! I think he did a pretty good job getting that little bear mold to work (better than any of my attempts!) and from there we decided we wanted a bear lunch! 

  • Bear Shaped Sunflower Butter and Jelly Sandwich
  • Bear Shaped Hardboiled Egg
  • Carrots
  • StrawBEARies. :P 
  • Yogurt Parfait (Greek yogurt, cut grapes, slivered almonds, and some sprinkles!).
I'm not sure why but this lunch just makes me sort of happy. Not sure if it's the shapes or the colors, but I really ended up loving this one! I guess I owe my hubby a thanks for wanting to use that egg mold! :) 

Happy Packing! 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2014 -- 029

Feeling Green

Literally, last night I woke up feeling really ill. I really hope that little miss hasn't decided to bring morning sickness back in the last few weeks of her gestation! Subsequently, I overslept a little...which also means, lunch got a bit thrown together. Today I was really gravitating towards green items and fruit. I had several times I would pick up something to include and went, ''no not another fruit!" and would put it back. She almost had about 5 different fruits in her lunch today (not counting her drink). Also, I apologize for the terrible glare and picture quality. It was a one snap on the kitchen table sort of day!


  • Hello Kitty Thermos is filled with a Mango Fruit Smoothie, 
  • Cottage Cheese w/ Pepper, 
  • Pretzels, 
  • Almonds, 
  • Cucumbers, 
  • String Cheese and;
  • Kiwi
So this is one of those ''look, grab, pack'' lunches! It is featuring my new triangle silicon cups which I got for Valentine's Day. Oh yes, my hubby knows me. BENTO SUPPLIES! Loving them. Monkey has also been asking for a smoothie for quite some time and I never get around to it. Partially because I don't like taking the time to make smoothies and also because the thermos takes up so much of the box! She will be pleasantly surprised though! 

Happy Packing!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 -- 028

Happy Valentine's Day! I will be totally honest I did think about what kind of lunch to make for several days. I thought about all the cute hearts, x's, o's, envelopes, conversation hearts, roses, and anything else I could pin to this holiday. I came up with some ideas but truly just couldn't figure out how to make them happen (that happens a lot, I get grand visions and lack the tools or skills to create them LOL). So, instead Monkey got a lunch made with lots of love that really isn't all that festive. I think she's still going to really enjoy it though. 

  • Bagel sandwich with cream cheese and blackberry jam,
  • Brussels Sprouts (leftover from dinner) sprinkled with dried cranberries (there are some throughout, promise it's not just 5 little cranberries!), 
  • Almonds mixed with white chocolate chips for a treat, 
  • An orange and;
  • A juice box. 
Luckily, thanks to pinterest and other fantastic bloggers I will get to oogle all the creative and cute lunches that I didn't make and will wish I had thought of myself! Are you packing your kiddos any fun treats for the v-day lunches? 

Happy Packing! 

2014 -- 027

You have my heart, Valentine.

Today we were in a very no frills sort of mood with the lunch. So it ended up being a pretty straight forward veggie/fruit sort of platter. Monkey got to peak before pictures though and was pretty impressed with the heart cut into the cheese. While I insisted it was ''lunch magic'' she kept trying to guess how I did it. :-P

  • Green Grapes
  • Leftover Crescent Roll
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Baby Carrots
  • Hummas
  • Cheese Wedge
  • Not Pictured: Organic strawberry milk and about a handful of pretzels in a bag
Monkey really likes getting to dip things so these types of lunches usually go over pretty well. I was pleased to see that she ate the entire taco salad yesterday! Usually there are still some little remnants left but she devoured that lunch! Hmm, now, what am I gonna do for Valentine's Day tomorrow? Hopefully I shake this 'no frills' mood otherwise it won't be a cutesy masterpiece...but who are we kidding? Mine never are. Haha. 

Happy Packing! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 -- 026

Will you BEE my Valentine?

So we're all thawed out (yay! No more snow!), Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching, and if my doctor has his way there will be a new monkey in our home in the next couple weeks! Our house is starting to buzz with excitement on all fronts. This is another leftovers lunch, this time requested by Monkey during our last night's dinner. Hope you enjoy!

  • Main Compartment - Taco Salad - Rice, Ground Meat, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Olives, Croutons, and a little cheese. 
  • Side Compartment - Apricot Fruit Leather and a Dressing Bear (with our fav taco salad dressing. It's sort of like Catalina). 
  • Bee Container - Slices of Cucumber
  • Vanilla Organic Milk 
Happy Packing!! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 -- 025

Just Another Snow Day

Well, we've now been stuck at home for 5 days with the snow and ice. I personally don't mind it much but Monkey seems to be getting bored with it! Hopefully things will thaw out enough for school tomorrow! But, just because there wasn't any school doesn't mean we aren't having lunch. Here's what I put together (and would have sent) for lunch. 

  • Turkey/Swiss Meat Rollups (2 pieces of lunch meat, 1 piece of cheese halved)
  • Cucumber Slices (about 1/4 cucumber)
  • Cranberry Sauce (about 3 tbsp)
  • Handful of Pretzels
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
We also had a great dinner tonight of Cheese Tortellini Soup. It was warm, rich, creamy, and very filling. The recipe is available HERE (or in our recipe section) and you can also PIN IT for later. 

Happy Packing!! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 -- 024

Snow Day

Well, we are home with snow! I know many of you have already been experiencing many of these in your areas and now we've finally gotten one too. The downside to me having a snow day is now I have nothing better to do than harass you all with food! So in addition to her lunch I also posted the recipe for our breakfast in the recipes section. It's called, Pink Monkey Overnight Oats.

This is what Monkey had for lunch today! When possible I find keeping pre-cooked pasta very helpful. You can just cook the entire box when you make pasta, then bag some with a little bit of olive oil (so your noodles don't stick into a block) and you have pasta whenever you need it! Can just reheat if you would like.

IN THIS LUNCH:  Leftover bowtie noodles, a little basil pesto (also leftover), halved grape tomatoes, about 1/4 of an avocado, and topped with a little mozzarella cheese.

I did not heat this, it was a cold pasta salad and she loved it. The avocado was getting really soft so I was worried about it going bad soon and wanted to use it up. For some reason getting trapped in by snow makes me want to go all survivor-mode. Haha. So I wanted to use up things before they went bad so we don't waste any food, in case we can't get to a store soon. Will we be home more than a day or two? Probably not, but it's just a weird place I get. I don't know about you, but I will not drive in snow unless it's an emergency! :-P I'm just not a snow gal.

Happy Packing! (Or Happy Stay Home and Leftover Making)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

2014 -- 023


  • Owl Shaped Sandwich -- Free handed sunflower butter and jelly owl using cheese circles, raisins, and an almond for the face. 
  • Carrots
  • Raisins & Almonds
  • Rice Krispie Treat heart - Was just a square, I pressed it into a heart mold to get it into the correct shape. 
This lunch didn't take long to put together at all! If you all know me, I'm a quick and easy gal. I have found owls to be a cute addition to lunches that are really easy to put together for any skill level! When I was struggling for inspiration this morning, the owl is what got my lunch mojo working! :-) Whoooo loves ya?!

This lunch was shared in the Fancy Sandwich Friday link-up. Make sure to check out all the other lunches!

Beneficial Bento

Happy Packing! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2014 -- 022

We go together like Peas & Carrots, Valentine.

I'm getting excited working on my first post for the new section of the blog. If you hadn't heard about it, take a quick peek up there at the pages bar! Mama Monkey's Branch is a new area for me to share many of the things that I just always felt didn't quite fit in the lunch area. It won't be updated daily like the lunches are but I hope you all enjoy it. My first post will be about Freezer Meals. This will be the first time I have ever planned and made them so I hope that I am able to share some useful information for all of you! IF you have any subjects you'd like to see me tackle please feel free to email them my way!

On to today's cheesy titled lunch.


  • Leftover Chicken
  • Leftover Peas & Carrots
  • Swiss Cheese Squares (I just broke down full slices into quarters)
  • Crackers
  • Applesauce w/ Cinnamon
Happy Packing! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 -- 021

You Fire Me Up, Valentine!

So, I decided that hearts everyday for February just wasn't gonna work for me! So you'll have to excuse the terribly cheesy titles that you'll be seeing on my posts the next couple weeks. I do hope that you'll enjoy the lunches though!  For this lunch I just made a tiny twist on a snack classic. 

  • Turkey & Swiss Rolls Ups w/ Heart Skewer
  • Annie's Organic Bunnies
  • Orange Segments
  • Fire Ants on a Log
Okay, so what's the difference between ants on a log and fire ants on a log? Not much! In this lunch we took the two celery stalks like normal, spread in some laughing cow (she just had cream cheese yesterday and sunflower butter is VERY messy for ants on a log), and then topped it with dried cranberries instead of raisins. Changing up the filling and the raisins gives this a snack a totally different flavor. Raisins are typically sweet and dried cranberries a bit tart that paired with the Swiss laughing cow cheese will be a different flavor and experience than her typical ants on a log without changing the look much! If your kids like one version of ants on a log, can fiddle around and play with it. Dried fruit, nuts, seeds, tuna salad all fun things to try experimenting with on your celery sticks! 

Happy Packing!

Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 -- 020

Spread the Love

It's the first school lunch of February! I have been excited to bust out those heart cutters and to go to town...Till I got sleepy last night and went to bed last night having forgotten to make a lunch! Oh no! Husband woke me up this morning with 45 minutes to get ready and make a lunch. I wasn't giving up the heart filled lunch dream! Challenge Accepted! 

  • Linzer Sandwich - Whole Wheat Bread, Cream Cheese, Blackberry Jam
  • Skewered Tomato Hearts
  • Strawberry Yogurt w/ a Sprinkle Heart
  • Organic Strawberry Milk (Not Pictured)
Now that I've made this lunch though, I'm wondering where I can take it for her ACTUAL Valentine's Day lunch. Eesh! I let Monkey see it before she left because I knew the sprinkle heart would be destroyed by lunch. She first was excited about tomatoes, then the sandwich, THEN she went ''OOH IT'S A SPRINKLE HEART''. So I doubt it much mattered anyway, hehe. I was pretty pleased with it though. I've never made this type of sandwich, so it was a learning curve. 

Here's a close up of the tomato hearts since they didn't photograph well in the box. They're super easy, you just gotta cut the grape tomato at an angle, then flip the bottom up and skewer! Making these cute little hearts. :) 

This lunch was shared in the Fancy Sandwich Friday link-up. Make sure to check out the other fancy sandwiches.

Beneficial Bento
Happy Packing! 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Special Weekend Post: Lunch Round Up One

For me, lunch can sometimes start to feel a bit like a drag. I lose my motivation, drive, and creativity! I start realizing that I'm packing the same things over and over and my poor Monkey is the one that gets to eat my lack-luster lunch. 

What's a mom to do?

First thing I do is look back at old lunches and find ones that I really like. Sometimes they're things I haven't made in a while and are perfect material for a fresh lunch.

When that doesn't work?

I check out friends blogs.

Still can't get the mojo flowing? I hit Pinterest and look at my lunch inspiration board and look for lunch round-ups from other people that are out there posting their lunches for the world to share in! So, if this happens to you, then I hope you can find SOMETHING here to use! Below are 20 ideas, enough for a month's worth of school lunches. Enjoy.

Tuna Fish Sandwich
Carrots w/ Ranch
Goldfish Crackers

Crackers, Cheese Slices, Summer Sausage
Yogurt w/ Sprinkles
100% Juice box

Skewers: Salami, Cheese, Turkey, Tomatoes
Cucumber Shapes

Mashed Avocado w/ lemon juice
Tortilla Chips
w/ 100% Juice Box

Pepperoni Pizza Pita (Tomato sauce, pepperoni, cheese)
Frozen berries and grapes
Chobani Champions Chocolate Chunk Yogurt
100% Juice Box

Waffle Sandwich w/ cream cheese and jam
String Cheese
A Prune
Frozen fruit (mango, strawberry, and grapes)
Chocolate Organic Milk

Banana Dog (Banana, sunflower butter, hot dog bun)
Sunburst Tomatoes
Ants on a Log
Organic Alphabet Cookies
Juice Box

Turkey/Cheese Roll ups
Cranberry Sauce w/ Orange Zest
Devilled Eggs
Chocolate Almond Milk

French Toast Sticks
Frozen Berries
Hard Boiled Egg
Greek Yogurt

Pumpkin Muffins w/ Syrup
Cottage Cheese
Orange Segments
Organic Milk

Pita Pieces

Pasta Salad - Pesto, Rotini, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Olives
Orange Segments w/ Blackberry center
Cucumber Shapes
Organic Chocolate Milk

Layered Refried Black Beans, Cooked Hamburger, and Sliced Olives
Shredded Cheese
Halved Grape Tomatoes

Tuna Salad (tuna, mayo, carrot, celery) w/ Crackers
1/2 Banana
2 WhoKnew Cookies

Mini Bagel Sandwich - Cucumber, Cream Cheese, Pepperoni
Yogurt w/ Sprinkles
Frozen Blueberries

Pancake Muffins
Whipped Cream
Hard Boiled Egg
String Cheese

Green Beans
Sliced Apples
Chocolate Milk

-Make Your Own Pizza-
Pita Slices
Tomato Sauce
Shredded Cheese
Apple Sauce w/ Cinnamon
Lindor Truffle

Italian Kabobs - Tortellini, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Pepperoni
Orange Segments

Chicken Cesar Salad (using leftover chicken)
Cucumber Slices

Okay, I lied here's a bonus lunch! :-P

Turkey, Salami, Cheddar, and Avocado Sandwich on a fresh hoagie roll
Grape Tomatoes