Tag Archives: Lunch

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Adventures in Toddler Bento Lunches

I mentioned last week that I had started getting a little more creative with packing The Toddlers meals for daycare, but I didn’t elaborate much. Now that I’m fully committed to the whole bento process (and I’ve worked out some of the “uhhh….duhhhhh” moments), I’m ready to share.

Here are a few of the lunches that I packed for her over the past couple of weeks:

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See the bunny??!! That’s seriously her favorite part.

This lunch was Week 37’s Skillet Enchiladas with a dollop of sour cream, roasted broccoli, oranges, sliced cheese, peaches, and a little square of sugar cookie biscotti that I got from Kupcakes & Co. (yummy bakery! They make Buckeyes!!), and threw in as a special treat.

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This one was also from Week 37’s menu, and very simple. Grilled cheese cut into little hearts, strawberries, pepper slices, oranges, and Annie’s Cheddar Bunny Snack Mix (that’s always a fave).

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This one is a blast from the past. The menu is just from this past week, but that’s part of a leftover Sausage and Rice Stuffed Pepper from a few weeks ago that I popped in the freezer when I realized it wasn’t going to get eaten during the week. The rest is pretty obvious–grapes, steamed mixed veggies, cheese, oranges, and steamed broccoli.

Since she’s still eating little girl portions, I am able to fit both her lunch and afternoon snack in this 3-compartment Bento made by Goodbyn, which I happened to find at Target on accident. I was thinking the other day how handy it would be to have a second, but when I went back to Target, they were all gone! I just did a ‘needle in a haystack’ Google search, since I don’t have the Bento here at the moment, and couldn’t remember the brand. I’m glad I found it…now I can order another online. Hooray for convenience!

For breakfast, I found this very girly Hello Kitty Bento box on Amazon. Of course it’s not pictured on the Amazon listing, but when you open up the Kitty’s face (ummm…creepy), there’s a little removable tray that takes up 1/2 of the space inside, so it’s good for when one thing inside needs to be heated up and the other doesn’t.

Personally, I am overly-careful about heating up plastic containers in the microwave. In fact, I don’t even OWN a microwave because I just don’t see the point. However, at the babysitters, the convenience of popping everything into the microwave wins over my (possibly ridiculous) fear of heating up plastic. Needless to say, the process of getting the right stuff to fit inside the Goodbyn Bento has been a little challenging for me. I’ve come up with a plan wherein I only put the food that needs to be heated inside of glass containers, or in paper cupcake wrappers.The exception to this was the grilled cheese in the picture above, which she ate cold anyway…because that’s how she likes to eat it.

I know it’s weird, but she’s my kid after all.

Even though the wells in it are pretty deep, it was still tricky to find glass containers that fit inside of it, since the wells are oblong and not circular. I finally came across Wean Green, and they make those little oval-shaped containers that you see in the pictures. They fit very nicely inside. I also bought a few other sizes and shapes, but they don’t fit as well (or at all). I’m not worried about them not getting used though, since I’m always in need of some type of glass receptacle for food storage. The only thing that bummed me out about the Wean Green containers is that you can’t put them in the oven…which totally sucks for someone who is constantly heating up food, but doesn’t have a microwave.

Win some, lose some.

I know it’ll be a work in progress, but I’m enjoying the current setup, and I do strangely like packing her fun little meals each day. Well…as much as one can enjoy doing ANYTHING besides watching trashy TV on the sofa after putting in a full day of work, followed by 3 hours of chasing/feeding/bathing a toddler. While 8.5 months pregnant. So yeah. It’s not like my favorite thing, but it’s more enjoyable now that I’ve made it a little more fun.

And, I know that she enjoys it, so that takes some of the “blah/yuck/eew” out of it.

I’m slowly filling up my Bento Stuff board on Pinterest, so check that out too for some ideas. If you have any ideas, email them to me or comment!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 27 (7/1/13-7/5/13)

It’s getting crazy up in here. I realized again yesterday that my freezer is looking pretty baron. I need to get cooking (and freezing), but it’s so DAMN HOT OUTSIDE! However, I’m going to have to suck it up and do some cooking.

That said, this week is a little heavy on the freezer-stock…although it’s still very light as compared to many of my previous (spring) menus.

It includes these delicious beauties…


Don’t you want to eat those for lunch next week?! They’re like Bagel Bites, only much more delicious and better for you.

This week, despite the sad state of my freezer, I’m not overdoing it. I’m mainly focusing on getting at least one lunch and one breakfast meal stocked and ready to go, which will last for several weeks into the future. I’ll probably freeze a dinner or two (weekends…or for when the baby comes) next week. I figure if I continue at that pace, alternating between stocking breakfast/lunch/dinner over the next 3 months, I’ll have a solid freezer stash ready going into the fall and winter.

Of course, that is the plan.

We’ll see how it turns out.

[…insert vision of me, on/about November 25th, with a 19-month-old slung on my back in the Maya Wrap, and a newborn wrapped to my front in the Moby…both screaming…both hungry…I’m lactating…I’m also probably crying hysterically…starving…nothing in the oven…husband is at work. So, the ultimate goal is to avoid this scenario.]

Last weeks menu was very lazily-executed on my end. I skipped a couple of recipes that were intended for the end of the week because I just honestly could not find the motivation to cook last weekend (other than the breakfast necessities and the stuffed peppers), and then I’ve been working late this week, so I bestowed the dinner responsibility upon the husband.

But, the stuffed peppers were SO GOOD! Loved them.

This week, since I’m expecting myself to fizzle and burn out again, I’m using a couple of dinner recipes that seem quick and easy. It should make everything a bit easier to execute, especially considering that I have committed to make 3 (admittedly easy) recipes for my company picnic on Sunday afternoon.

Also for that reason, I have noted on the menu that the muffins for Monday’s breakfast will be made this evening. I realize that’s ambitious considering that today is Friday, and I also have to still grocery shop (tonight), but that’s basically the only way these muffins are getting made.

Sleep be damned.

New recipes this week:

Recycled recipes this week:

Here’s the plan, the menu, and the grocery list.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 14

How did everyone do with last week’s plan?! Did you make one recipe? Two? Three? The whole darn thing??

I made most of the recipes, but I definitely didn’t get it done over the weekend. I enlisted a combination of “wing’ it” and “call in some help from mom” this week. I did manage to throw together my Italian Mixed Green Salad with Pasta and Herbs, and my mom very lovingly cooked the PaleOMG Meat Sauce (and had it warm and waiting when I got home from work, to boot), but that was about the extent of it.

This week, I fully intend to get my crap together and actually cook the full menu.

Despite the fact that my brain kept whispering “pasta…pasta…pasta” while I was planning this week’s menu, I tried to throw some non-pasta dishes in. Pasta seems to be my go-to lately, even though the rest of the family is not all that fond of pasta in most forms.

I sourced all of the new recipes this week from Tasty Kitchen, which is one of my favorite recipe collection sites. I had intended on just going on there to take a look, but I just couldn’t pull myself away!

There’s no way I could walk away from these breakfast burritos.



Here’s the menu for this week:


I’m probably a little too excited about the Italian Sausage, Kale and Blistered Tomato Fettuccine.

Here’s the grocery list for 4/1/13-4/5/13 and the Plan 040113-040513!

Just remember that items from the freezer are not included on the grocery list, so if you want to make those to stock your freezer for the future, be sure to add them to your grocery list!

Have a great week everyone!

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 13

Happy new menu day, everyone! Hopefully you were much more plan-ish, organized, and able to manage your time than I was last week.

My chicken enchiladas never happened.

My Sweet Potato Chai Muffins turned into Apple-Pear Bran Muffins, since the 2 sweet potatoes floating around in my produce drawer turned out to be hairy.

The Crockpot Migas? I didn’t even get my crockpot cleaned after I made the Ham & Egg Casserole.

So yeah. Some weeks just don’t look as good in real life as they do on paper, and that’s OK. Looking on the bright side, I did make us one breakfast in addition to the dozen muffins (11 of which went into my freezer for the future), and I was able to bake one pan of Old School Mac ‘N Cheese for the week, and I put a second pan in the freezer for another day.

We also thoroughly enjoyed Pioneer Woman’s Italian Pot Roast.

pot roast

Some of us more than others, obviously.

Despite the fact that I didn’t exactly execute the menu fully last week, I don’t consider it a total bust. I was able to stock my freezer with enough muffins to last us at least another week or two, one dinner for the future, and now I have 2 fully cooked rotisserie chickens in the freezer (since my chicken enchiladas never came to fruition).

But we ate a lot of pot roast.

This week, I’m going to keep things as simple as possible. My “tiny little baby” turned one yesterday **cue the tear-shaped confetti**. My family is coming to town from Central NY on Saturday morning (hooray), and we are having a relatively low key birthday bash fit for a one-year-old!

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She’s totally ready to party!

In light of Saturday’s festivities, I am not going to have time to prep anything, so all of my cooking will happen on Sunday…and I don’t want to spend my entire day in the kitchen, considering that most of my family will be going home that day, so I want to spend some time with them!

My mom is going to be staying with us for the whole week next week, and she really likes salad…so get ready–we’re going to eat salad this week. But, I promise that it’s yummy salad.

My Italian Mixed Green Salad w/ Pasta & Herbs recipe uses the fancy word “Chiffonade”, which I have no idea where I even learned. And I wasn’t even sure that I was using the correct word until I just Googled it up again. If you don’t know what “Chiffonade” is, don’t get nervous–just check this out: How to Chiffonade Basil.

Easy, right?!

I know that you’re looking at me right now and saying, “Eewww…I’m NOT eating leftover salad throughout the week”! But just hear me out on this one. Under the proper conditions, this salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days, and the last time I made it (the last time my Mom came to visit, ironically), it lasted nearly the entire week.


This was on day #4 or 5. No joke.

The key is to make sure that the ingredients going into the salad are as dry as possible. Prior to combining each ingredient, I spin everything in a Salad Spinner—especially the pasta, black olives, and artichoke hearts, since they’re all going to involve extra water to begin with. If you get mozzarella packed in water, spin it! If your sun-dried tomatoes are packed in oil, spin those suckers! Extra liquid will cause the salad to get really mushy and gross. But! If you keep everything as dry as possible before it touches the lettuce and such, your salad will last well into the week. I promise!

Here’s what we have going on this week in terms of recipes:

So that’s pretty much it. Keeping it relatively simple this weekend, but you’ll have some minimal cooking during the week (but only if you are making the breakfasts from the menu). As always, I left off some of the obvious stuff that doesn’t need a recipe (tacos, cheesy eggs, grilled cheese). Those are pretty self-explanatory!

Just remember that items from the freezer are not included on the grocery list, so if you want to make those to stock your freezer for the future, be sure to add them to your grocery list!

Here’s the grocery list 032513-032913 and the plan for 032513-032913.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest–there’s a widget on the left that’ll take you to the menu for this week, and you can follow me from there.

Have a great week everyone!

1 week

Did I mention that this teeny tiny baby is one YEAR old? I’m going to go cry in a corner now.

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 12

Isn’t the new website pretty cool?! I sort of just threw it together in the past few days, so you’ll notice that things will probably continue to morph and grow over the coming weeks. I’m slowly adding the past Weekly Menus onto the site, but for now I’m just focusing on making sure that you have this week’s new menu on time!

New Menu

If this is your first time, you can read all about my menus here.

I’ve just started scouring my old website (RIP Joggerslife) for recipes that I may want to reincarnate, and there is some good stuff on there!  Now I’m deciding if I want them to live on the 52 Menus | 52 Weeks site, or if I want to put them somewhere else entirely. I’ll let you know how that goes.

This menu is a little “comfort food” heavy, and I even added a recipe for Old School Mac N Cheese. Don’t question the deliciousness…just go with it! I promise we’ll only do this every once in a while.

Here’s the recipe list:

Just a few things to remember…I only include items on the grocery list for new recipes. That means that if you’re just starting out and you want to incorporate one of the two ‘freezer pulls’ this week, you’ll have to add the ingredients for Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls and Vanilla French Toast to your own grocery list. The grocery list is completely modifiable (it’s provided in Word format), so you can add what you need to it.

This week I also added a text box on the right side of the grocery list for “Weekly Items”, which is what I do with my own list. That way, you can add the things that you need to pick up in addition to your 52 Menus | 52 Weeks stuff (or add the other miscellaneous items that are on my menu like apples, pears, mixed veggies, etc.). If you’re in my household, you NEVER forget the mandarin oranges. That would put us in crisis mode.

Here’s the Grocery List for 031813-032213, and here’s the Game Plan for 031813-032213

I added a batch of Mini Pizzas on to the ‘Make Ahead’ list this week, so just do that when you have a little bit of spare time. You can do it any time during the week–we’re just stocking the freezer for future meals!

As always, just email me with any questions! Hope everyone has a great week!

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p.s…If you want to download the pdf document that has all of the recipes, as well as the grocery list and game plan, it’s right here (just right click and choose “Save Link As”, then you can open it in Adobe to view all of the attachments).


New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 3

I was slowly figuring out the process of menu planning still–this was only my second week of trying to ensure that my kid was fed 3 meals and 2 snacks per day. I wish someone told reminded me that I was eventually going to have to FEED her! I kid. Since we did Baby Led Weaning, she has been “eating” since around 5.5 months, but when she started daycare (at 9.5 months old), she was a full-on ‘3 meals a day’ girl already. I couldn’t just send her with baby food and call it a day–she needed real, healthy food!

[insert ‘overwhelmed, first-time mom’ expression here]

Tuna noodle casserole was a major fail in terms of feeding it to the baby. She was not a fan of the taste or texture of tuna, and every time she would put a piece in her mouth, she proceeded to promptly spit it directly out. It was entertaining at home, but I didn’t realize that I should have been sending a backup for her daycare meals in case she hated something that I sent for her. I learned that fairly quickly…but not without a few days of grumpy baby-ness.

Here’s the menu:

For this menu, I added the recipes into the pdf, so if you click print, you’ll actually get all of the recipes printed out as well.

If you want to see all of January’s menus at once, they’re on the January Page.

Recipe links are as follows:

You’ll probably notice that I started to add little instructions to myself within the menu so that I could have little reminders of when thing were supposed to happen throughout the week. This was what I did before I typed up an actual plan–now put notes on the menu AND type up a plan.

Again, no grocery list and no plan…because I just wasn’t there yet.

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New Menu

Weekly Menu: Week 2

I’d say this wasn’t a terrible effort for my first week of meal planning! We learned some foods that baby girl absolutely won’t touch when they’re presented together (sweet potatoes and pork, for example), and some that she loves (this was the original week of putting mandarin oranges on daily repeat, FTW).

I hadn’t really figured out my mojo yet, so this is very basic and a little fragmented, but hey…I was working out the kinks I guess.

Some of the obvious stuff doesn’t have a recipe (I figured that tacos, cheese on toast, almond butter & jelly sandwich are pretty self-explanatory), and the butternut squash ravioli was store bought.

I put all of the January menus together on the January Page, but here’s this week’s menu:


If you click on the recipe name below, a new window will open with a pdf of the recipe that you can print out. Recipe credit will show up on the pdf when it prints. If it’s my recipe, it’ll either say “Joggerslife” somewhere, or just look like a Word document. Otherwise, someone else is the genius behind it.

I didn’t really have my crap together at this point, so nothing was organized, and I had no game plan. That said, I don’t have a grocery list or a plan to add here…I didn’t figure that out until a few weeks later!

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