Lunchbox Dad's Top 13 Lunches of 2013!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This is Lunchbox Dad's Top 13 lunches of 2013 roundup.  Actually this is part of a bigger party happening right now.  You can click on the button below to take you to the party that is filled with talented bento food bloggers showcasing their top 13 lunches. Believe me, you won't want to miss it so click that button after you read my post.

Some of these lunches made my top 13 because of their popularity with readers and some of them made it because they were special for our family.  Each picture below has a link to the original recipe so make sure and check those out as well.  These are ranked from number 13 to number 1 overall.  I hope you and your family have a Happy New Years!

This was a fun movie to see with my kids and even though I thought it was going to be tough lunch to pull off, I loved the way his fists turned out!

The thing I like about this lunch is how all the elements work together in the theme.  I also loved how the flavors of each part of the lunch worked together.

Even though this turned out more serious than I would have liked, this might be the most artistic lunch I have ever done.  Plus she has a pancake for a face, what's not to like about that?

This lunch took a little bit of extra time to plan, but it ended up coming out better than I thought it would.  It had cheese and chocolate lego guys and frozen yogurt lego bricks.  there was more to it, but you're gonna have to clink the link above to see all the fun stuff that went into this!

This is on here because it is the only legit superhero lunch I have done and it was tough thinking about what to do for the side dishes.  I did like how Spidey looked though.  Sigh, hopefully more superhero lunches in 2014!

This lunch was for Roald Dahl Day and it ended up getting shared by The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Roald Dahl Facebook pages.  Because of that, it is now number three all time in views for my blog.  Honestly, I like that it is old school WIlly Wonka and the Everlasting Gobstopper is my favorite part of this lunch.

I don't know why I'm drawn to this lunch but I think it is because it is so simple.  I just used a few different easy ingredients and it came together like I pictured it in my head.  It was actually based on a t-shirt design from a friend of mine and he was pleased with it, which meant a lot!

I made this lunch to help promo yubo lunch boxes being on the TV show Shark Tank.  This one took awhile, but not because it was complicated.  I actually made something completely different for the shark at first (you can see it in the post if you click the link).  My wife then said that it looked like a fish not really a shark.  Soooo, I started out over.  I thought it turned out to be fun and my wife gave the idea for the red eyes, which made the shark.  I also thought the blue yogurt with red fruit (blood in the water) was fun.

This is one of my family's favorite Halloween movies so I do a lunch for it every year.  This actually looks complicated but it came together really fast and the ingredients are pretty simple.

This is my wife's favorite lunch that I have ever made.  It might be my favorite Pixar movie for sure.  People ask me how I put the bubbles in the blue jello background.  That was a happy accident so I just went with it.  The sea turtle tends to be people's favorite part of this though.

One thing about making lunches that look like cartoon characters is that you have a little  artistic license since you are working with food.  This is one of my favorite lunches of the last year because the elements really turned out to look like Kermit, so the finished product was way better than I imagined.  Sometimes I get lucky like that.

2.  Chewbacca
I don't know, this might be number one in my book, I can't decide.  My kids and I are Star Wars junkies so this was a really fun lunch to make.  It was actually pretty simple and it was the number one viewed lunch on my blog for a long time.

1.  Despicable Me 2 Minions
This is the lunch that sort of put me on the map this year.  I originally made it on TV with my daughter for back-to-school and it just took off.  It is by far my most viewed lunch ever and is almost number one on my stats every week.  I think it is so popular because it is simple, yet fun, plus minions are everywhere.  I wanted to make them out of bananas because I hadn't seen that done yet with them and also because of the hilarious banana song.  You can YouTube it.  It is also a healthy lunch that is well rounded.  It is kind of everything that I try to do with my daughter's lunches.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but this time it came together well.

Happy New Year!  Click the button below to see the other lunch roundups that my friends have put together.  Don't miss them because they some incredible stuff with food!

No New Lunch Today

Monday, December 30, 2013

No new lunch today because my daughter is still on Christmas break and my wife is about to have a baby.  Check back on New Year's Eve as I will be part of an awesome roundup to showcase some really cool lunches from 2013.  I will have Lunchbox Dad's top 13 lunches of 2013 as well.  
Anyway, here is a video showing a guy who created a video game to propose to his girlfriend instead.  This has nothing to do with food or parenting but I thought it was fun!

Christmas Lunch Replay: Winter Snowman

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Lunch Replay: Winter Snowman.  This is a fun Holiday lunch from last year.  My Daughter is on Christmas break so we didn't do a new lunch today.  This could be a great lunch to make together with your kids over break because you might have everything in your cupboards already!  

This was also one that we did on TV last Christmas season so below you will find instructions and a video tutorial of it.  Have a great Christmas!

Here is the recipe for this simple lunch. Use cookie cutters or two different size cups to cut out bread in circles. Put peanut butter on one side and jelly on the other and make two small circular sandwiches. Use your lunchbox container and put down lettuce for the background and then use shredded cheese for snow on the ground. After that, put your two sandwiches on top to shape the snowman. I used dried blueberries for the buttons and eyes with raspberries for the scarf. I cut out a little wedge of carrot for the nose. Attach them all on with cream cheese. Cut out some fruit leather or fruit rollup for the hat and your snowman is done! Then, dip a little broccoli in cream cheese for some snow covered bushes and use half a mandarin orange for the sun. Just like that you are finished!

Christmas Tree Lunch

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Tree Lunch with Cutie Star

Year 2, Week 18: Christmas Tree Lunch.  I wanted to do something simple, yet fun this week.  Like many of you, the holidays are so busy in our family and sometimes a simple lunch is best.  We had our first Christmas party this weekend and did a FROZEN movie weekend the week before.  Here is a link if you want to check out some ideas that I posted for Sven Sandwiches and Olaf Banana Snowmen. We have been loving Cutie mandarin oranges in our house this month and I wanted to make a lunch with one of those also.  I love December because these oranges are in season and available everywhere.  Cuties are healthy and taste so good.  

So if you are busy like us, here is an easy Christmas lunch to make for your kids!  I made it in an Easy Lunch Boxes container with a Christmas themed Lunchbox Love note.  
Cutie Star
--1 Cutie orange
--Blackberries, dried blueberries, or both
--A few white sprinkles
--2 pieces whole wheat bread
--1 slice lunch meat
--1 slice of cheese
--Handful of shredded lettuce
--Plain or vanilla yogurt
--A few green sprinkles
--3 raspberries
--1 granola bar
--green food coloring
1.  Cut one slice of bread in the shape of a tree.  It doesn't need to be perfect, just the general shape of a Christmas tree.  Use the first tree to cut a second tree out of another slice of bread.  Put the lunch meat and cheese between the two slices and arrange the shredded lettuce on top.  It helps if you use some sort of spread between the bread and the lettuce to keep the lettuce on top.  I used pesto on this sandwich.  Place the sandwich in the main container but make sure there is enough room for the Cutie above it.

2.  Using a sharp knife, make shallow cuts on the Cutie to create the star.  It is much easier than it sounds.  Just cut one triangle at a time.  Slice only two sides of the triangle and then bend the orange peel up, working your way around the orange.  Be careful not to pull the peel all the way off.  Repeat for each side of the star.  When done, place the Cutie above the tree sandwich.

3.  Surround the tree and Cutie with blackberries or dried blueberries.  I actually used both in this lunch for some variety.  When done, spread a few white sprinkles on top to look like snow.

4.  In one side container use non-fat plain or vanilla yogurt.  Arrange a few raspberries on top of the yogurt and then spread some green sprinkles over both the yogurt and the berries. 

5.  Cut your granola bar into two pieces.  In this lunch is a sweet and salty almond granola bar.  Use a toothpick and draw lines on the bar with green food coloring so that it looks like a present.  You only need to do this on one piece.  Place both pieces in second side dish with the one that looks like a present on top.

6.  Finish by placing a Christmas themed Lunchbox Love note on top for a little lunchtime fun!

I hope you have an amazing Christmas!  Remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to get even more great tips and reviews.  


Make It a Disney FROZEN Day: Special FROZEN Lunch and Toy Ideas To Do With Your Kids!

Monday, December 16, 2013

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
Ideas for a Disney FROZEN day #FrozenFun #shop #cbias

A few days ago, my family and I had the chance to have an amazing weekend together experiencing Disney's new movie FROZEN.  We made some unforgettable memories together complete with Sven Sandwiches and Olaf Banana Snowmen.  Christmas break is just around the corner so I thought I would tell you a little bit about what we did and give you some ideas for how you can make your own FROZEN memories this holiday season!  All you need is a movie theatre, some FROZEN Walmart toys, and a little creativity.  

My kids and I started off going together to Walmart to pick up some of Disney's new FROZEN toys and books.  We did this a few days before our FROZEN weekend and I will tell you why in a minute.  Hopefully you are close to a Walmart with a Subway Sandwich restaurant inside, because they have limited edition keychains that you will not want to miss out on.  Not only that, but Subway carries the Fresh Fit For Kids meals in FROZEN reusable bags complete with FROZEN puzzles.  My kids loved these healthy meals.  My daughter uses the bag for school lunches and my son loves the Olaf the snowman keychain.

Subway Walmart FROZEN Olaf keychain #FrozenFun #shop #cbias

For the rest of our shopping trip, I had my kids pick out FROZEN toys and books to donate to needy kids in our city.  They had so much fun picking out toys for other kids once I explained that these might be the only Christmas presents some children would get.  The other fun thing about this is that I knew I would let them pick a couple of toys to keep as a special treat during the FROZEN weekend coming up.  

There was such a great selection of FROZEN toys at Walmart to choose from!  My kids picked out Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff dolls along with Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer stuffed animals.  They also chose a number of FROZEN coloring and activity books.  Honestly, there were so many great toys in stock, I would have had a hard time if it was my choice!

FROZEN toys at Walmart #FrozenFun #shop #cbias

Two days later, the fun continued.  While my kids were up playing in their rooms, my wife and I set up a surprise FROZEN lunch for them to go along with the toys.  This took some creativity, but it was worth it.  We displayed the toys so they could pick two toys to keep and play with while they ate their lunch.  We also played the FROZEN soundtrack so they could hear all the fun songs.  Below you can see some pictures and video of the toys and also the recipe for Sven Sandwiches and Olaf Banana Snowmen.  These were two of my kid's favorite characters.  Also, If you haven't heard the hilarious FROZEN songs Reindeer Are Better than People and In Summer, you are missing out.

FROZEN recipe fun food #FrozenFun #shop #cbias

Sven Sandwich
--2 googly candy eyes
--2 large pretzels
--1 serving peanut butter and jam
--1 slice sourdough bread
--2 slices whole wheat bread
--1 piece of nori (dried seaweed)
Olaf Banana Snowman
--1 banana
--1 pretzel
--3 raisins
--2 googly candy eyes
--1 piece of shredded wheat
--1 small square piece of marshmallow
--1 small triangle piece of carrot
--Blue food coloring
FROZEN fun food Sven Sandwiches and Olaf Banana Snowmen #FrozenFun #shop #cbias
Sven Sandwich
1.  Cut a circle out of the sourdough bread.  You can use a cookie cutter or even a kids size cup to make a perfect circle.  Use scraps from this bread to cut two small half moon shape pieces to go behind the googly eyes.  Cut a second smaller circle out of the wheat bread.
2.  Make the head shape out of the other slice of wheat bread.  Use the picture below as a guide.  It is kind of a triangle like shape with pointy ears.  Spread peanut butter on one side and jam on the other.  Place triangle bread piece on large sourdough circle with peanut butter side up.  Place smaller wheat bread circle on top of triangle piece of bread.  Put half moon bread pieces above the smaller wheat bread circle.
3.  Cut three pieces out of the nori, two tear drops for the nose and one smiley piece for the mouth.  Place nori pieces on small wheat bread circle as shown in picture.
4.  Break two pretzels into large pieces for the reindeer antlers.  Slide them in between the sourdough circle and peanut butter covered triangle piece, right above his ears.  Finish by placing the candy eyes on the half moon shape pieces.  You can paste them on with peanut butter if desired.
Disney Frozen Sven Sandwiches and Olaf Banana Snowmen #FrozenFun #shop #cbias
Olaf Banana Snowman
1.  Slice three pieces off of a banana.  Make one large, one medium, and one smaller.  Arrange banana pieces on plate with largest piece on the bottom and smallest piece on top of that.  Medium sized piece will be used for the head.  Press one raisin into middle piece and two raisins into bottom piece.
2.  On top piece, press googly eyes in towards the top.  Draw a smiley mouth with blue food coloring and toothpick.  Put small marshmallow square on top of smile for Olaf's teeth.  Place triangle carrot nose above teeth.  You can also use dried apricot or dried mango instead of carrot.
3.  Poke shredded wheat into the top of banana piece for his hair.  Break pretzel into two pieces and slide those pieces underneath middle banana for arms.
4.  Finish by cutting off one more thin slice of banana.  Cut the slice in quarters and put two pieces underneath Olaf as feet.

For Both Sven and Olaf:
You can also garnish the plate with snowflake shaped cookies or chocolate covered pretzels.  Of course no FROZEN lunch would be complete without hot chocolate.  Don't forget to pile the mugs high with marshmallows!  I used homemade marshmallows (made by Mary Huggett our other recipe writer here at Lunchbox Dad) because they are square and look like ice, but you can use your child's favorite variety.

My kids had a blast playing with their FROZEN Walmart toys while eating lunch.  My daughter chose the Anna doll and Sven reindeer stuffed animal.  My son chose the Kristoff doll and the Olaf toy stuffed animal.  Little did they know what would happen next...going to see FROZEN in the movie theatre!  If this is too much to do in one day you could always spread it out over a weekend, but a matinee after lunch is always great.  Make sure that your kids bring their FROZEN toys with them to see the movie, it makes the experience that much more fun!

FROZEN movie and toys #FrozenFun #shop #cbias

FROZEN was fantastic!  it was entertaining for both kids and adults.  Disney really put a good message into it.  We were so impressed with the movie that we are definitely going to be buying it when it comes out on video.  What about those other toys that we were going to donate?  My kids had the opportunity to take them and drop them at the donation spot themselves so that other kids could have a special Christmas as well.  

By the way, the Sven and Olaf stuffed animals were such a hit that my kids didn't want to let them go, even when they went to bed!
Falling asleep with FROZEN toys Olaf and Sven #FrozenFun #shop #cbias
So I encourage you to take a little time with your kids over Christmas break and do a FROZEN day.  It will be something your family will always remember.  You can use the ideas here or tell me below what ideas you have to make Disney's FROZEN a part of your Christmas!

Win some free Disney FROZEN toys here!
Love Disney's FROZEN? #FrozenFun Twitter Party 12/20 1pm ET. 30 will win! RSVP/Rules

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The Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker is Ready to Go When You Are

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

"I thought you were bringing that speaker over to the party tonight," My friend asked.  "I did," I replied, "its right here in my jacket pocket."  My friend responded, "What?  You have to be kidding me."  This is the question and answer exchange I have been in a few times now during this busy holiday party season.  I picked up the Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker at the Apple Store and it has provided plenty of music and disbelieving reactions.  Usually the conversation above is followed by, "I can't believe music that loud is coming out of a speaker that small, its amazing!"  This extra small, extra loud speaker has definitely out performed my friends' and my own expectations.  Here at Lunchbox Dad, I always try to pass on my experience with products that help make parent's lives easier.  A great tool, like the Pocket Speaker, can definitely do that.  

I have been looking for a good portable bluetooth speaker for quite some time.  So when I had the opportunity to try out the Pocket Speaker, I jumped at the chance.  My wife and I have had many experiences when a bluetooth portable speaker would be the perfect addition to a party, event, or just to take to the park with the kids.  Unfortunately, many portable speakers sound "tinny" and don't produce the volume to be worth the investment.  Since the Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker is available exclusively at the Apple Store for only $99, I headed there to pick one up.

The store was packed with customers, but I made my way to the back, where the speakers were located, and quickly found the Carbon Audio Pocket Speaker I was after.  The Apple Store had all the available colors so the toughest decision was picking out which color Pocket Speaker I would take home.
The thing I love about the Apple Store is that you don't have to wait in a long line to checkout.  You just find an employee and you can pay them for the item right there.  Now it is even easier, however.  I was able to pick out my Pocket Speaker, scan the barcode with my Apple Store app, and walk out the door.  The app automatically paid for the speaker through my iTunes account and sent me a digital receipt.  The process to take this portable speaker home couldn't have been easier.

My first test with the speaker was actually in the car on the home from the store.  I was curious to see how easy it would be to quickly set up to play music and also to use it as a hands free device for my phone.  All I had to do was push the power button and then press the bluetooth button.  My iPhone quickly recognized it and I allowed it to pair with the Pocket Speaker.  My first reaction was, "Wow this is loud!"  I actually had to turn it down.  My second thought, was, "This has great sound."  The video I shot below shows the decibel level of the coming from the speaker.  You can see for yourself how loud it is.  The speaker was actually turned down two clicks from the middle volume setting so it can go much louder!  Be aware that the sound for this video was recorded by an iPhone so the quality isn't completely true to what the speaker sounds like in person.

It was very easy to both send and receive phone calls with the Pocket Speaker because of the internal mic.  It definitely works well if you are like me and need a bluetooth hands free device for the car, but hate having an earpiece in all the time.  It even fit nicely into my universal phone mount as shown below.


My next test was at a holiday party full of kids and parents.  Seven gingerbread houses, six parents, four girls, three boys, and partridge in a pear tree.  How would the Pocket Speaker hold up?  I easily paired it with my friend's iPad, set it on a table off to the side, and it filled the room with festive Christmas music.  The other parents were quite impressed.  One even said she had looked at more expensive bluetooth speakers and couldn't find one with the size, features, and sound she wanted for less than $200.  She was speechless when I told her this was $99.  Even with a house full of sugared-up kids the speaker could be clearly heard and even had to be turned down at one point.  The Pocket Speaker handled the highs and mids well.  However, like most speakers this size, it won't produce much deep base.  But, when you consider this speaker can easily slip into your jacket, purse, or even your jeans, the bass is a tradeoff I am more than willing to make.


The reactions were the same when I took the Pocket Speaker to a white elephant gift exchange and also to an office Christmas party.  People asked me questions about it wherever I went.  They thought it would make a great gift and could see its use in their own lives on a regular basis.  I also work with high schoolers so I brought it to a small Christmas get together with them.  They were highly impressed with the size and sound volume.  You know teenagers, the louder the better!  They absolutely loved that they could stick it in their pocket to take it everywhere.  Ok, it wouldn't fit in their skinny jeans but it fit in just about any other pocket.  Below is a picture showing the Pocket Speaker compared to an iPhone.  You can see that the length and width of the Pocket Speaker are just slightly larger than the phone while the height is close to double that of the iPhone. 


The other important feature for any portable device is battery life.  The Carbon Audio website claims that the battery lasts up to 8 hours.  In my tests I couldn't reach that long, but I did get about 6 hours on a single charge.  You charge the Pocket Speaker using the included micro USB cable.  It is actually a unique cable because you can also plug a standard 3.5mm "headphone type" cord into the cable.  You would use this feature if your device doesn't have bluetooth.  The speaker can also conveniently be used while charging.  The last fun feature to mention is that you can actually pair two of these Pocket Speakers to the same device to produce stereo sound.  So if your friend has a Pocket Speaker as well, you can easily pair both to your phone and produce even more volume and stereo sound.

I am not an audiophile, but overall I am extremely happy with this speaker.  As a parent, I need a purchase like this to work for many situations and the Pocket Speaker has been a good fit.  From background music at Christmas parties, to singing songs with my kids in the car, this speaker has come in handy.  The only small issue I have found, the lack of bass, is true for all ultra portable speakers.  You will have to pay 2-3 times as much to even start getting more bass, and it won't be nearly as portable.  For me the extreme increase in price is not worth it.  The Pocket Speaker would make a terrific buy for yourself, or as a Christmas gift for everyone from teenagers to your parents.  Basically, I would recommend this for anyone looking to have a big sound, but don't want want to pay a premium price.  You can find the Pocket Speaker at your local Apple Store or for more info on it go to


Lunchbox Dad is Babble's Reader's Choice Top Food Blogger for 2013!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thanks to all of you readers I was named Reader's Choice Top Food Blogger for 2013 on Disney's!

This was definitely a fun early Christmas present and I just want to thank all of you for your support over the past year as we've been able to grow and learn together.  This has definitely been a fun year for my family and I hope it was for yours as well.

I really look forward to what 2014 has in store, I hope you will join me for the ride!

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Lunch

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Year 2, Week 17: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Lunch.  I was sort of stuck with what to make this week.  There are so many great things for Christmas but sometimes its hard to slow down and pick something.  My family and I saw the Disney movie FROZEN this weekend and loved it.  That lunch will come up soon but I finally decided on an old Christmas classic--Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Forget the cartoon version, the claymation version is the one to see.  It is older but definitely still the best.  In fact, I tried to to do an elf to go into this lunch (like the movie) but it was a disaster and I left it out.  

Yes, I do have food disasters all the time.  The thing I've learned is not to let it stop you and to keep going at it.  Usually something good comes of it.  The lunch this week is very simple, but still can be very fun.  I made it in an Easy Lunch Boxes container and also included a Christmas note from Lunchbox Love.  

Rudolph sandwich
--Whole wheat and sourdough (or white) bread
--Peanut Butter and Jam
--1 green apple
--Handful of grape tomatoes
--1 slice provolone cheese
--1 small piece of nori
--2 pretzels
--1 serving Pirates Booty
--Handful dried cranberries
--1 serving strawberry applesauce
--1 kiwi

Kiwi Christmas Tree
1.  Cut on piece of whole wheat bread in the shape of a reindeer head.  Use that piece to trace and cut out the second piece.  Spread peanut butter and jelly on one piece to make a sandwich.
2.  Cut a small you out of a slice of white bread.  Place on face.  Cut facial features out of nori and provolone cheese as shown. Put two small pretzel pieces in between the slices of bread to form horns.
3.  Put facial features on reindeer head.  Finish by placing a grape tomato on for nose.  Place this in your main container.  Surround with other grape tomatoes and sliced green apple.
4.  Place Pirates Booty and dried cranberries in one side dish.
5.  Slice kiwi in half and then cut the skin off.  Cut one tree out of each half of kiwi as shown.  Float trees on top of strawberry applesauce in another side dish.
5.  Finish off by placing a Christmas themed Lunchbox Love note in if desired.

Have a great week and I hope you get everything ready for Christmas.  Don't get sucked into the busyness and make sure to make time for your family!  Follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter for more Christmas ideas and to keep up on all the news!

Simple Winter Roasted Vegetable Medley With LifeOiL

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Disclosure: I was provided with this opportunity thanks to LifeOiL and Mommy Bag Marketing, Inc.  They sent me this product to review and cook with. I also received other compensation for this post, however, the opinions I’m expressing here are solely my own.
vegetable side dish

The more I cook, the more I realize how important a good oil is to making good food.  There is plenty of bad and cheap oil out there.  The trick is to find an oil thats versatile enough to use for a variety of tasks, tastes great, but also can be healthier to use than your run of the mill vegetable oil.  So when LifeOiL approached me about trying their healthier variety of oil, I was all for it.   

LifeOiL says their oil is, "the first all-purpose cooking oil formulated with a natural blend of sunflower, safflower, and olive oil."  It sounded healthy and I liked that it was cholesterol free, trans fat free, low in saturated fat and high in Vitamin E.  You can read all about the health benefits HERE.  The label passed my healthy parent test but would the LifeOiL pass the taste test?  

I decided to give a bottle to some of my family members.  My wife also needed oil to bake some Christmas treats for friends.  She was highly impressed with the difference it made in her lemon bread, and I was more than happy to be her taste tester!  The bread was fantastic.  Other family members also found LifeOiL to be perfect for a number of different dishes.

cooking oil

I decided to work with Mary Huggett to come up a simple yet tasty holiday recipe.  She is one of the best cooks I know and a great resource for me in the kitchen.  I ask her advice on food ideas for Lunchbox Dad on a regular basis.  She has helped out behind the scenes but she is now an official staff member on my blog and you will see her name from time to time helping on other recipes.  We came up with an easy to make side dish that will work for a small family dinner or a large Christmas potluck.  The results were fabulous.  I could have eaten just the vegetables as the main dish!  Try LifeOiL with this Simple Winter Roasted Vegetable Medley this week and there will be some new vegetable fans in your family!  You can find LifeOiL in select Walmart locations as well as Albertsons grocery stores.

Simple Winter Roasted Vegetable Medley
(Serves 4-6 people)

--3 tablespoons LifeOiL
--3 tablespoons butter, melted
--1 teaspoon rosemary
--2 teaspoons thyme
--1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
--1 teaspoon sea salt
--1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
--3 pounds of mixed carrots, brussel sprouts, and various potatoes (I used red, purple, and white)


1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Stir together butter, rosemary, thyme, and fresh garlic.  Add LifeOiL, sea salt, and pepper.  
3.  Clean and slice vegetables.  They should all be roughly the same size pieces to allow them to cook uniformly.  Place vegetable pieces in large bowl.

christmas recipes

4.  Pour LifeOiL mixture over vegetables and stir until they are evenly coated.
5.  Place coated vegetables on cookie sheet in a single layer.  Put cookie sheet in oven and stir vegetables every 10 minutes.

vegetable medley

6.  Roast vegetables for 30 minutes.  Check to see if they are done by using a sharp knife.  Knife should go through vegetables easily when done.  If not done after 30 minutes, check every few minutes after that.
7.  Place vegetables in serving bowl and enjoy immediately.  

I hope you put LifeOiL to work for you this holiday season.  You can learn more about LifeOiL at and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Please follow Lunchbox Dad on social media also.  If you give this Simple Winter Vegetable Medley a try for Christmas, I guarantee your family will be wanting more!

Charlie Brown Christmas Lunch

Monday, December 2, 2013

Charlie Brown Christmas Bento Lunch
Year 2, Week 16: Charlie Brown Christmas.  My kids watched A Charlie Brown Christmas after Thanksgiving last week.  I had forgotten how good of a movie that is.  Its one of those shows that the kids love, but the humor is great for adults.  Anyway, its turning into a family tradition for us.  I am a BIG fan of Christmas anyway, so my whole family is hyped up for all the fun that surrounds it.  

My favorite part of the movie (and this lunch) is the Christmas tree.  I also used a Planetbox Lunchbox along with a Christmas theme Lunchbox Love Note.  It brings back good memories of past Christmas celebrations.  I hope that you can celebrate this year with some fun traditions of your own.  Its always great for kids to have something like that to look forward to!

Charlie Brown Sandwich
--2 slices whole wheat bread
--Peanut Butter and Smuckers Jam
--Fresh Rosemary
--Green and Red Apples
--Handful of raspberries (or other red fruit)
--BabyBel cheese round
--Black food coloring
--Snowflake shaped pretzels or cookies
--1/2 avocado
--4 grape tomatoes
--Handful shredded white cheese
--1 red M&M
--Lunchbox Love Note
Charlie Brown Christmas Tree lunch
1.  Using a sharp knife cut a piece of bread into the shape of Charlie Brown's head.  Its pretty easy since its a basic shape.  You can also cut out a hat for him if you want.  I used a scrap from a heel piece of bread.  Repeat with a second piece and use Peanut Butter and Smuckers Jam to make a sandwich.  Use black food coloring to draw the facial details.
2.  Slice up green and red apples and place into background of container.  Place Charlie Brown on top and garnish with Rosemary and Snowflake pretzels if desired.
3.  In second side dish place a handful of shredded cheese.  Bend a piece of Rosemary in the shape of the tree.  It will snap a little and stay in that shape.  Place on top of cheese along with a red M&M for the ornament.  Put an "X" of bread scraps on the bottom for the tree stand.
4.  In another side dish, put more slices of green apples.  Cut a round of Babybel cheese to look like Snoopy's doghouse.  Just cut off the top and bottom and take a notch out of each side.  Leave the red wax on the outside.  Use the cheese scraps to make Snoopy.  Draw the details with black food coloring.  I used a tiny piece of nori for his ear.
5.  Place Snoopy in container and put red fruit in as accents.  Garnish with another pretzel snowflake.
6.  If you need a little more food, put some sliced avocado and grape tomatoes in another side dish.  
7.  For a finishing Christmas touch, put in a Christmas Theme Lunchbox Love note.  

Have a great Christmas and remember that in all of the hustle and business of the holidays, they are a ton more important things than presents and making sure everything is perfect.  Spend some time with your family this month and think about the real reason we celebrate Christmas!
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