Secret Santa’s Gift

It’s my first Secret Santa here in Canada! I was actually hesitant at first to join since I don’t know most of the member of the group where I belong, but they were just so warm and welcoming and I thought, why not, that would make me happy and someone happy in a way. So I joined… I sent my gift but I am still waiting for any news from the recipient. But I’ve already got my Secret Santa gift! Wohoo! Here it is:

Cookie cutters… and more cookie cutters!

I’ve always love cookie cutters, even if I don’t bake and make a lot of cookies most of the time because of my part time work, but if I have the time, I bake cookies as I’ve got three voracious cookie monsters here in the house. So my Secret Santa just knew what I wanted (we were asked what we wanted to receive, hehehe). I can also use these cookie cutters to cut shapes on sandwiches for my son’s lunchbox! I miss doing creative lunches already as I have run out of ideas and my son has become the pickiest eater of all the picky eaters out there… uuuggghhh!

So anyway, I love love love my gift, it’s a tub full of cookie cutters and a nice little cupcake ornament! Thank you very much Secret Santa Jody Arsenault (not a secret anymore) for this!:-)May you have a wonderful and meaningful Christmas!

Laptop Lunches Bento Lunchbox Review

I have been practicing my bento-making adventures these past couple of months and so far, I’ve collected a handful of bento supplies and accessories and have made several bento lunches for my school boy. I am a newbie to this kind of hobby and even though I always ran out of ideas and SPACE in my son’s not-so-big lunchbox, I am always inspired by the many moms (and their blogs) who make creative lunches (and healthy ones) for their children.

When I got hold of the Laptop Lunches Bento-Ware Bento Lunchbox, I was so happy because I finally now have a lot of SPACE for my son’s lunches and by the way, my son chose this color!

laptop lunches bento lunchbox

Laptop Lunches Bento Lunchbox is perfectly sized for my school boy, although I find it a little big for his lunch bag, but its size if big enough to hold serving portions fit for a first-grader. Inside the box are four containers or compartments with various sizes that sits just right. Two big and small containers and a tiny one have lids which are water-tight (leak-proof), while the two others don’t have. It also has a section where I can place my son’s spoon and fork and a napkin.

laptop lunches bento lunchbox

I asked my son (after showing him how to, he’s only six years old) to open the lunchbox himself and surprisingly, he found it very easy to open, with hands and fingers half my size and whose fine motor skills are continually developing, the lunchbox did not give him hard time. Laptop Lunches containers are dishwasher and microwave safe (not the lids), it is BPA, PVC and Lead-free so it’s very safe to use. It’s also very easy to clean and allows me to interchange the containers for fun! Laptop lunches lunchbox is also eco-friendly, that means they are recycled, recyclable, and eliminates the use of plastic zippy bags, foil or cling wrap and ever since I’ve hooked to bento and making fun lunches for my school, I have not used a lot of zippy baggies anymore. Another feature of this lunchbox is that every compartment has a name label space at the bottom, so you can stick a name label on it and don’t worry of losing it. Laptop Lunches though sell extras and replacement. Most of all it is cost-effective, packing own lunches just lets me SAVE a lot than buying those prepared lunches.

I’ve packed a couple of lunches using the Laptop Lunches Bento Lunchbox that we got and here they are:

laptop lunches bento lunchbox review

Lunch #1 includes creamy bacon carbonara (my son’s favourite), some carrot sticks with spinach dip, strawberries and banana fritters. I also sent him a Lunchbox Love card to simply remind him that he makes me sooo happy!

laptop lunches bento lunchbox review

Lunch #2: We had some leftover chicken nuggets and rice, some popcorn, apple slices, animal crackers, and a car-shaped boiled egg.

laptop lunches bento lunchbox review

Lunch #3: He had what I call hotdog people on top of rice, pretzels, with WOWButter dip on the small container, baked & dried mango chips, grapes, extra hotdog people on a train food pick, and a granola bar.

So far, all his lunches came back with very few leftovers (mostly the rice and some pretzels and mango chips) and being a picky eater that he is, packing these food in a colourful lunchbox has greatly helped. It keeps his dry and wet food separated (much to my delight) thus letting him eat them in their original state. No soggy and yucky (wet) crackers or sandwich anymore! 🙂

Overall, Laptop Lunches Bento Lunchbox is approved by my picky eater school boy and by mum! We both love it and he wants to use it everyday even though it does not fit in his lunch bag, which will probably lead me soon to purchase a lunch bag from Laptop Lunches!

If you are looking for inspiration on making fun, creative and healthy lunches, head over to the Laptop Lunches website for menu ideas, recipes, and you’ll soon find yourself listing down and bookmarking the pages (like I did)! You can also check them out on Facebook, see what they’ve been pinning on Pinterest and follow them on Twitter as well!

*Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for this review. Laptop Lunches did however let me purchase this lunchbox at a special discounted price. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and may differ from others.

WOWButter Review and Giveaway

My little boys love peanut butter and I am just thankful that they don’t have allergies to any nuts or food ingredient. But because we now live in a country where many kids (and adults too) have allergies to nuts and other food ingredients, I have learned to read food labels well and to be compassionate to other moms who have to deal with such allergies.

Since my son’s school has a nut-free policy, I make sure that all the food that I pack in his lunchbox are peanut-free. I have read a lot of news about young children who have gone into shock because they have eaten something with peanut, or even smelling or just getting in contact with foods that are not nut-free, others have unfortunately died and many others are bringing their epipens with them in case they get in contact with such kind. I feel the pain and the worry of the moms out there who have to deal with this kind of, I don’t even know how to call it, so for me, even with a picky eater, I still make sure that my son’s lunches are nut-free. It is quite hard for me too because I have to think of ways on how I can have at least a balanced meal on his lunches and that even if he wants to have PB&J sandwiches or bread and Nutella, he just can’t have (yet). He will have to wait till he gets home.

But when I found out about WOWButter, a peanut-butter replacement, I knew I had found the solution to his “cravings.” Much to my delight, WOWButter sent me two jars of the toasted soy spread and boy, was I so glad to send a WOWButter sandwich for my son the next day. My little boy also loved it a lot.

wowbutter

Okay, so what is WOWButter? It is a peanut-free, tree nut free, gluten free, egg and dairy free soy spread produced in a dedicated facility that manufactures only soy products. It is a complete protein source as it has nine (9) amino acids compared to peanut butter. Soy, which is the main ingredient of WOWButter is beneficial to us since it helps fight heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer and may help to reduce the symptoms of menopause. Soy is rich in calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, B-vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and fibre. Essentially, WOWButter is a healthy alternative to peanut butter.

wowbutter

My son was so eager to try WOWButter.

I opened up one jar (due to insistent demand by the school boy as he was already hungry that time), I immediately noticed that the spread’s color resembled that of peanut butter, it was easy to spread as well and does not clump up on the butter knife or on the bread. It tastes, feels and looks like peanut butter but it is NOT, and yes, I had to lick the spread that was left on the butter knife, and it was good! 🙂

I even caught my son grabbing the opened jar and ate a spoonful of the WOWButter!

wowbutter

So I made his lunch the following day and had a WOWButter sandwich along with his other food.

wowbutter

What’s nice about WOWButter is that school lunch stickers are included in the jar. There are 16 small lunch stickers that can be placed in lunchboxes or sandwich bags so that teachers (or other kids) would know that my son’s sandwich is totally peanut-free and safe for those kids with peanut-allergies (or dairy, egg and gluten free). So I peeled off one sticker and placed it on my son’s lunchbox and sent a note to his teacher in his Agenda.

So while my school boy was in class, my little one and I prepared some after-school snack for his big brother. We made a creepy-crawly banana, WOWButter and pretzel snack! (I got this idea from bable.com and I was so enthralled at the cuteness of this snack, it was actually made of peanut butter, so I replaced the peanut butter from that blog with WOWButter).

wowbutter

The little boy was so eager to eat it, he just wasn’t able to wait for his brother to come home and nibbled on the chocolate chip eyes and the “caterpillar’s tail!”

wowbutter

I am still exploring the possibilities of using WOWButter in cooking, though I have already read some reviews using it in baking, but to add it up to a dish would probably be my next kitchen experiment. As for me, I am a happy mum because I am able to send a good amount of protein for my son’s physical and mental growth and development. Even though he is still a picky eater, at least I am assured that he gets essential vitamins daily.

What I like most about WOWButter is that I can send it in my son’s lunchbox anytime he (or I) wants without feeling guilty that I might “hurt” another child because I have sent a cookie or PB&J sandwich and that I would feel responsible in case something happens to that child. I like the idea that I am able to show compassion to other parents. It’s satisfying the emotions or the soul (and the body at the same time). Aside from being healthy and nutritious, I can help spread the word that there is an alternative to peanut butter and that parents won’t have to worry about what to pack for lunch or that their kids are safe.

Having said that, WOWButter is kind enough to give away a case (6 jars x 1.1 lbs/jar) of their tasty, healthy and nutritious peanut butter replacement to one lucky reader. Just simply follow the steps in the Rafflecopter below and you’re in for a treat! This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For allergen declarations, nutritional information, articles and other pertinent information regarding WOWButter, you can visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

*Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the product mentioned above for review purposes only. The opinions are my own, based on personal experience with the product.