My Week in Photos

by Wendy Copley on March 20, 2015

For many years, I posted a weekly round-up of photos from our week on Wendolonia. As the bento and lunch stuff picked up, the daily life stuff fell by the wayside and honestly I’ve begun to miss it a little. A lot of these photos have moved over to social media. I post to my personal Facebook page, of course, and I lovey, love, love Instagram but I also like posting this sort of thing here so I’m going to make an effort to get back to it.

Here’s a peek at what I’ve been up to the last week:

Saturday: tried broiled grapefruit for the first time

Saturday: I tried broiled grapefruit for the first time. I’ve read about this dish many times and I’ve always been curious because cooked grapefruit seems completely wacky to me on some level. I was reminded of it when I saw a recipe for it in my newest cookbook, Sheet Pan Suppers, and I decided to give it a whirl. I liked it. It needed a little more sugar, but the flavor was intense and interesting.

Monday: a sunset that almost made me cry

Monday: The light on the hills was weird when I came out of the grocery store, and when I turned around to look to the west, this was what I saw. The sunset was so amazing that I wanted to shout to everyone in the parking lot to look at it, but I was too embarrassed so instead I called Zach and told him to take the kids outside so none of them missed it.

Tuesday: St. Patrick's day lunch

Tuesday: You’ve gotta give the kids a special lunch on St. Patrick’s Day when you blog about bento boxes so this is what I made Wyatt. I packed it in our our new Laptop Lunches​ Bentology box: garlic naan shamrocks, a pot o’ gold (pineapple), carrots and black bean dip, chicken chunks and some gold coins (rice crackers).

Reminder: even though I’m no longer posting The Week in Bentos, I am still updating the Bento Box Gallery with all the kids lunches. Go take a look if you’ve been missing these posts!

Thursday: My first shrub

Thursday: Have you ever had a shrub? I hadn’t until yesterday. A shrub is a drink made by combining a fruity, sweet vinegar syrup with soda water. (They’re non-alcoholic but you can add hooch if you want.) Coincidentally I’d read about shrubs in my new Cooking Light on Wednesday, then I was offered one the very next day! Did I want to try one? Heck yeah! I liked it and now I want to try making them at home.

Friday: a note from Charles Dickens

Friday: This morning while I was having coffee with my friend, Whitney, the guy at the next table kept engaging us in conversation. I chatted with him a bit between talk of orthodontia and YouTube and when he got up to leave he asked if I’d like an autographed page from David Copperfield. “Sure,” I said. Because how could I not?

Friday: beauteous fruits and veggies

More Friday: On the way home from coffee I stopped at my favorite produce market to get fat carrots for an upcoming blog post (Mark Bittman just wrote about it in the NYT!), and I ended up buying a bunch of bee-YOO-tiful fruits and veggies.  The mangos are probably the best thing I’ve eaten this month.

What did you do this week?

For more photos of my daily life, follow me on Instagram!

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Taco Mac & Cheese: a quick lunch box recipe. Gluten-free too!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organics. The opinions and text are all mine. In other words, I created the recipe and my kids ate it.

My kids have been loving taking hot lunches to school lately. They love twisting the tops off their thermoses and digging into a warm meal at lunch time. They love it so much that they almost always eat all of their meal! But other than reheated leftovers, I’m often at a loss for what to pack into their thermoses. I want something they’ll like, but it also has to be easy to put together in the morning when I’m running around fixing breakfasts, getting myself ready and hollering at everyone to put their dang shoes on.

Enter Horizon macaroni and cheese.  I’ve been making mac and cheese since I was seven year old — it was the first thing I learned to cook on my own — so I barely have to think when I’m cooking it. I can put on the pasta while I’m doing something else, then come back and finish the dish in less than 5 minutes.  Horizon also makes organic and gluten-free mac and cheese varieties, so I can pick the right one to support our family’s dietary choices.

Plain macaroni and cheese is a hit with my boys, of course, but sometimes I like to take an extra 3 minutes to add some mix-ins to their mac and cheese. This Taco Mac and Cheese recipe is something we’ve been enjoying lately and it couldn’t be simpler. Add some corn, beans and spices to the finished pasta, pack it into a thermos, add some sides and you’ve got a fast packed lunch that you know they’ll eat!

This short video will show you how to make Taco Mac and Cheese:

And here is the recipe:

Ingredients for Taco Mac and Cheese lunch

Here’s what you’ll need to make a Taco Mac & Cheese lunch:

  • Horizon Gluten-Free Mac (plus milk and butter to prepare it) — you can use any other kind of Horizon mac and cheese too.
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (not pictured)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (not pictured)
  • Horizon Super Squeeze — any flavor
  • veggie sticks — I used a mix of carrots, cucumbers and red pepper
  • cookies

And here’s how you make it:

The key to keeping food you send off in a thermos hot all day is to fill it with boiling water for a few minutes before you add the hot food.

Step one when you’re sending a lunch in a thermos should always be to pre-heat it with hot water. I usually use boiling water from our tea kettle because I always have that going in the morning while I’m packing the lunches but you can also use really hot tap water in a pinch. Put the lid on your thermos and let the water sit in it while you prepare whatever you’re filling it with — at least 5 or 10 minutes. This keeps the cool thermos from pulling the warmth out of your hot food once you add it in, thereby keeping your lunch toasty warm all morning long.

And I’m sure you already know this, but just in case — dump the water out before you put your food in.

Add corn, beans, cumin and chili powder to your mac and cheese to make it taco-licious!

Make the Horizon mac and cheese according to the package directions with one minor variation — about a minute before the noodles are done cooking add a half cup of frozen corn to the boiling water. Drain the corn and pasta, add the milk, butter and cheese packet and stir to combine. Then stir in the black beans, cumin and chili powder.

Don't forget the side dishes!

Dump the hot water out of the thermos and place the taco mac and cheese in the thermos. This recipe makes enough for a generous serving for both of my kids, plus a little extra for me to tuck away and eat at lunch time.

Fill another box with some fun sides to round out the lunch: crunchy veggie sticks, a few cookies (use gluten-free cookies if you’re gluten-free) and and a Horizon Super Squeeze pouch. I like these Super Squeeze pouches because they give the kids 5 extra grams of protein and a good shot of calcium. The kids like them because they’re yummy.

What do you add to mac and cheese to jazz it up? Or are you a macaroni and cheese purist?

Find more quick and easy mealtime solutions by following Horizon Organics on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organics. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Lunch Box Staple: A Dozen Ways to Pack Ham

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Crazy Typewriter Lady

February 12, 2015

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Cute Pinky Bear Lunch — Just for Fun!

January 12, 2015

As the mom of two boys, I don’t get a lot of chances to make girly-girl lunches and sometimes — every now and then — that makes me sad. Like kids clothes and scrapbook supplies, it seems like bento manufacturers create waaaaay more products that are targeted at girls than they do for boys. Despite […]

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