Monday, February 23, 2015

Transformers Bumblebee Bento Lunch


I am so excited to show this lunch. I have been a huge Transformers fan ever since I was young. I remember creating massive battles pitting Optimus and Grimlock against Megatron and Soundwave. I always lusted after the Constructicons, however. I collected a few of them but was never able to acquire them all and combine them together to make Devastator, but I digress. 

I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the Dad 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this past weekend. There were many important conversations on fatherhood (and many fun times as well). One of the sponsors was Hasbro and they gave away a few toys from their Transformers Robots in Disguise line. These toys transform but also sync with a fun video game app. I brought the toys home and my kids were instantly enthralled. I was happy to relive my childhood through them playing with Bumblebee, Sideswipe, and Grimlock. 

I had no choice but to make a Transformers lunch today to celebrate. I chose Bumblebee because he is one of my kids' favorite characters. I modeled him after the new Hasbro line but I also tried to make the words and autobot logo as close to the original as possible. I used my kids' new Planetbox Launch lunchbox to create it in. Below is the recipe. Please visit all my social media sites so you don't miss out on much more parenting news, articles, and ideas!


Ingredients
Banana
Grape tomatoes
Blue fruit snack (for decoration)
Whole wheat bread
Flour tortilla
Wowbutter (peanut free spread) and jam
Babybel cheese
Dried blueberries
Strawberry
Lemon wedge
Black marker

Directions

1. Slice the end off of a banana and use it for Bumblebee's head. Use a middle banana piece for his chest and then cut another piece long-ways for his shoulders. Stick in toothpicks to hold it together. 

2. Draw the black facial and body features with a marker. Also, rub a lemon wedge on the exposed banana to keep it from browning. 

3. Slice a blue fruit snack in pieces and stick it to the banana for decoration. Repeat
for Bumblebee in car form as well. Place in main dish and surround with grape tomatoes. 

4. Make a peanut butter and jam sandwich. Use other fillings if desired. Cut the "Transformer" letters out of a flour tortilla. You can paste them to the top of the sandwich using a dab of peanut butter or cream cheese. I used a slice of strawberry to stand in for the Transformer logo. Place in side dish.

5. Cut large red wax circle from one side of a Babybel cheese round. Remove and use a sharp knife to cut out the details of the Autobot logo from the circle. When finished, place back on to the cheese. Arrange with dried blueberries or raisins in second side dish. Serve to your kids to achieve instant hero status!



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Love Paris Bento Lunch

I love Paris French bento lunch

My daughter is addicted to all things French. Seriously, her dream is to visit Paris. She reads books about it, she loves French words, and any food having to do with France is amazing. I blame her aunts. They both studied abroad in France and have talked about it with her forever. I think if my daughter could live over there for awhile, she would. 

So it was only a matter of time before I made her this "I love Paris" lunch. I tried to incorporate a bit of France in to all parts of it. The blueberries, apples, and strawberries make up the color of the French flag, I used a french baguette, cheese, and of course the Eiffel Tower. The bread, meat, and cheese can be assembled together to make a sandwich. For the the tower and letters I used Mott's Fruity Rolls. They are made with natural fruit, natural colors, and natural flavors. Plus I might have eaten the leftover cuttings from the roll and it tasted great. I made the whole lunch in an Easy Lunch Boxes container.  

I did get some inspiration from some of my friends so check out their French lunches after you read my post. You can see them at: Bentoriffic, Wendolonia (Guest Post on Little Passports), Bento Monsters, Eclectic Lamb, and Becoming a Bentoholic


I love Paris French bento lunch
Ingredients
French Baguette
Assorted Cheese
Meat for a sandwich
Blueberries
Apple chunks
Sliced strawberries
Lemon wedge
Tortilla or sliced cheese
Mott's Fruity Roll
Directions
1. Cut baguette to fit into your container. Also slice it lengthwise so that it is easier for your child to put the meat and cheese inside. Place baguette in main container.

2. Surround baguette with blueberries, apple chunks, and strawberries. Make sure you arrange them in that order so it resembles the French flag. You can also rub the apple chunks with a lemon wedge so they don't turn brown.

3. Cut up assorted cheese and meat. Place cheese in on side dish and meat in another. Put a circle of cheese or tortilla over the meat. This will keep the fruit roll from getting on the meat, which could be nasty.

4. Cut a simple Eiffel Tower shape out of the Mott's Fruity Roll. Do the same for the letters and shapes for "I Love Paris." Place those where shown in the pictures. 


I love Paris French bento lunch

Disclosure: I received some of the products for free from Mott's. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.
#lbdbento

Monday, February 9, 2015

This is Lunch When Life Happens

life happens

So this is today's lunch. Why? Life happened. After this last week of the T.V. breaking, the car battery going out, thinking the DVD player broke, and waging the war against lice in my house, this is what I had time and energy for. Not to mention we finally had the chance to celebrate my wife's birthday. I think it was the lice that broke me. Those little bugs might be the most infuriating parasites I have ever had to deal with. Hate it is a strong word, but I hate those little things. 

Anyway, I had exactly 2.34 minutes of time and energy to put together this lunch. We had leftover pizza, mandarin oranges that needed to be eaten, blackberries, and a granola bar. I did have time to put in a handy little Lunchbox Love note though. You know what I'm thankful for? I can feed my kids. If parents can do that, whether it's a fun shaped lunch or not, I think they are doing pretty good. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Parents Need to Stop Apologizing For This One Thing

Parents need to stop apologizing for their kids on planes

This has got to stop. I remember seeing that first picture go viral. You know the one where the parents put together a small package of goodies for other passengers that “had” to share the plane with their baby? It included a note apologizing in advance for their baby being on the flight. I thought that first note was cute, but something just didn't sit right with me.

As time went on I started seeing more and more of these notes popping up on the Internet. Last week, my friend and blogger Derek received one of these pre-apology packages on a flight that he took (check it out on his Instagram here). I finally realized why these bug me so much. I am not of the opinion that parents should have to apologize for bringing their kids places, including on planes. Newsflash: People are actually allowed to travel with their families, and even their (gasp!) babies. Sometimes parents and babies even need to use planes. The last time I checked leaving your baby home alone isn't good for the kid, and you might just end up in jail as well. The alternative is taking the baby on the flight with you. Although for some parents this might seem worse than jail.

I know, sometimes babies cry, poop, make loud noises, or throw food at you. So do other people who travel by plane, so get over it. Invest in some earplugs or a good pair of headphones. Maybe you have never traveled with your own kids before. It is similar to trying to corral a spider monkey who has just mainlined three cups of espresso. Sounds fun, right? I have three children of my own and not once have I thought, “Hey, maybe I should drop everything, write a pre-apology note, and put together a gift bag for people on my flight.” My wife and I are usually too busy stressing out about packing for five people, dividing up carry-on responsibilities, and getting through security without losing track of a kid.

However, if this practice of pre-apology packets must continue, then there are some other passengers that I want presents from long before I expect a parent to hand me a gift bag.

I want an apology package from the lady who fully reclines her seat directly into my kneecaps for the entire flight. How about a little something from the guy who goes comatose next to me the moment the plane leaves the ground? It takes a contortionist just to slip by him to use the bathroom. While we're at it, how about a present from the foul-smelling passenger? You know, the person who either takes a bath in perfume or carries on the meal that you can smell from the front of the plane. Whatever the source of their odor, they are oblivious to the other passengers passing out around them.

Maybe what I’m suggesting is a bit ridiculous, but so is having to pre-apologize for bringing my baby on a plane. So let’s just stop with the apology notes and gift bags from parents, and also the judging looks from other passengers. The next time a baby is crying remember that maybe your habits are just as annoying to the person next to you as that baby is to you. Perhaps you might even go the extra mile and offer some encouragement to the weary parent. They are probably just wondering how they will survive the flight. Give a friendly smile, or even some kind words. 


The truth of the matter is my baby has just as much right to be on a plane as any adult. When we are flying, I do my best to keep the chaos to a minimum, but chances are I'm more bothered by my child’s crying than the guy across the row from me. If you want a noise free flight maybe you should pony up the money to rent your own private plane.

If my baby does lose it I will put all my energy, and whatever time is left in the flight, to calming him down and making sure it doesn't happen again. All most parents ask for is a little understanding and an extra measure of patience from others. I know many passengers are more than willing to offer this. This bit of kindness can do wonders to renew an exhausted parent who is in the middle of their stressful family "adventure." 

So the next time I'm flying I plan to cut other parents some slack, and I want to see the same from you. However, if you are one of those other passengers I mentioned I expect my pre-apology packet as soon as I see you board.

#fatherhood

Monday, February 2, 2015

Lots of Hearts Valentine's Lunch

Lots of Hearts Valentine's Lunch

It's almost Valentine's Day so I thought I would make my daughter a fun but simple Valentine's lunch. It was Super Bowl Sunday yesterday so we had a great time watching the game at a party, but it left little time to make a lunch. You can literally make this lunch in 5-10 minutes. It would most likely take you that much time to make a school lunch anyway. so you might as well give your kid a surprise when they open up their lunchbox! 

I made this meal in an Easy Lunch Boxes container with a Valentine's themed Lunchbox Love note. I also tried some new fruit snacks I received from Mott's. It's their new line of Mott's Fruity Centers made with real juice and natural flavors and colors. They should be available at your local grocery store right now.


Lots of Hearts Valentine's Lunch
Ingredients
2 Pieces of bread
1 Strawberry
Peanut Butter
Strawberry jam
Grapes
Pink sprinkles
Natural fruit snacks
Babybel cheese
Lunchbox Love note


Directions
1. Cut two heart shapes out of one piece of bread. Spread peanut butter and jam on the other slice and press both slices together to make a sandwich.

2. Slice strawberry in two and cut the top of the berry into a heart shape. Place strawberries into holes in bread. Spread a few sprinkles around the bread for decoration. 

3. Place sandwich in main dish and surround with grapes. 

4. In a side dish place Mott's fruit snacks. I used mainly red colored ones, but it is what came in one pouch.

5. Use a sharp knife to cut a heart from the red wax of a Babybel cheese round. Place in second side dish.

6. Finish lunch with a Valentine's themed Lunchbox Love note.


Lots of Hearts Valentine's Lunch
Disclosure: I received some of the products for free from Mott's. I have received no other compensation for this post and the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.
#lbdbento

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Win 4 Free Tickets to the Marvel Experience Tour!

WIn tickets to the Marvel Experience

The Marvel Experience is coming to The San Francisco Bay Area from February 27-March 22. I can't tell you how excited I am to write that sentence. I'm even more excited that I have 4 free tickets to offer to the tour for one lucky reader of Lunchbox Dad. What? You haven't heard of of the Marvel Experience? It's basically two acres of superhero awesomeness that you can experience as a family. You and your kids will get blown away by the Marvel themed 3D projection dome, not to mention the state-of-the-art motion ride. Top it off with a life-size Avengers Quinnjet, exclusive collectible store, and much more.

My family are huge superhero fans, so when I tell them we are going, our house might explode from the excitement. Here are two of the Marvel superhero lunches I have made for my kids because they are such fanatics:
Captain America and Iron Man bento lunches
Needless to say, I am pretty pumped that I get to take my kids to The Marvel Experience along with the San Francisco Dads Group. This is a local group that organizes fun get togethers for dads and kids, as well as dad's night out events. A little tip, check out SFDadsgroup.com and join up because we are going to be giving away more Marvel Experience tickets there soon! Still not convinced? Check out this video and then scroll down to read more about the experience and enter my giveaway for the FREE tickets!


Be sure and enter now, because this giveaway ends soon!



The Marvel Experience is a first-of-its-kind, hyper-reality attraction that covers over two acres and encompasses seven colossal Domes, a life-size Avengers Quinjet, the world’s only 360-degree, 3-D stereoscopic full-Dome attraction and a state-of-the-art motion ride.

As agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., guests of The Marvel Experience will swing with Spider-Man, smash with Hulk, fly with Iron Man and more, all in preparation for an epic battle along side Marvel’s mightiest Heroes in a fight against Red Skull, M.O.D.O.K., and an army of evil Adaptoids. The Marvel Experience incorporates next-generation interactive technology including augmented reality and multi-person gaming. Everything happens with bleeding-edge technology and advanced computer animation. There’s nothing else like it. Not only does the audience get to join the adventure, in the end they may even become heroes themselves.

“And with this dynamic new way to experience entertainment, you’re actually in the middle of the action from start to finish,” says Hero Ventures CEO, Rick Licht. “While I’m sure kids will eat this up, we’ve learned that about 60% of the Marvel movie fans are over the age of 25 – and we’ve created this event with them in mind. The grown-ups are going to absolutely love The Marvel Experience!”


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for this post. I did receive the 4 free tickets to giveaway to Lunchbox Dad readers. Opinions shared are my own.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Boxtrolls Lunch


Last week my family got together and had a movie night when The Boxtrolls came out on Blu-ray. We also did a fun recipe and craft. You can see all the directions for those HERE. Because we had such a fun time, I thought it would be natural to do a Boxtrolls lunch for my daughter this week. 

Even though it was a creative and fun animated movie, the Boxtrolls are a bit hard to recreate so I had to get creative. Of course you have Fish, the main boxtroll. I also put some wheels in the background because I thought it looked like some of the boxtroll machinery parts. I had to use an egg and some cheese as well. If you have seen the movie, you know these play a prominent part. I made this in an Easy Lunch Boxes container. When you are done with my post check out my friend's Boxtroll lunch over at Robot Squirrel and The Monkeys. Remember to follow me on all my social media channels! 


Ingredients
Whole wheat bread
Peanut butter (or PB substitute)
Jam
Tortilla
Goldfish cracker
Blueberries
Dried apricot
Fat free cream cheese
Black food coloring
Wagon Wheel Pasta
Peas
Hard boiled egg
Assorted cheeses


Directions

1. Cut bread into two squares. Spread peanut butter and jam on the squares and make a sandwich. 

2. Cut a square and facial features from a tortilla. Dab a small amount of peanut butter on the square and press onto top of the sandwich. Do the same for the goldfish. Color cream cheese with a very small amount of black food coloring and spread on the dried apricot. Press on the tortilla facial features and pinch the sides for the ears. Use a small amount of food coloring on a toothpick to color his eyes.

3. Put blueberries on a toothpick and slightly bend the pick. insert into side of sandwich. Repeat for other arm. Put a toothpick in the head and insert that into top of sandwich. "Fish" the Boxtroll should be completed now.

4. Arrange pasta and peas into main dish. Place "Fish" on top of pasta. 

5. In side dish place assorted cut up cheese. In second side dish put hard boiled egg. Write "Eggs" on top with a marker. 



#lbdbento