Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Desperately Seeking BALANCE...

Balance, the notion that creeps into my daydreams. Balance, the notion that I put on a pedestal, the obtainable goal. I'm always striving for balance. Balance isn't something that should be chased, in my mind it should be achieved harmoniously. But still, I find my thoughts and sometimes my actions in the forever pursuit of balance.

I can apply the concept of balance to every aspect of my life.

Take for example the laundry. Piles and piles, chaotically strewn in front of the washer and dryer waiting to be dealt with is out of balance. Balance as one could equate to laundry would be a simpler ebb and flow, a load daily, a folded basket put away promptly each night. A morning not enduring chaos of digging clean clothes out of a pile or basket, balance. Odd socks creating an unsightly pile on top of my dresser shall be thrown out, only mates are balanced.

Now let's say, food. I have to admit food balance is higher up on my priority list these days than laundry. I do know that if my caloric intake is out of balance a direct result can be ill fitting jeans or avoidance of mirrors. But alas I want to shed some weight, so I perch myself on the food balance beam and focus like an olympic athlete. I don't banish any foods, but I strive to balance my plate and cup, with every meal. I've given up chai during the week and replaced it simply with green chai tea bags, made with water and no sugar. On the weekends I indulge in a cup of my regular sugar and milk laden chai. For me that is a new balance, a good balance. I have also put emphasis on my activity level to balance out the potential for over consumption of calories. Burning calories is always a win-win situation in my book.

Enter hiking. The trails and mountains are just this place that is calling me lately. When you can hike five miles with out really batting an eye, that type of balance is awe inspiring. I can't quite explain why now or the comfort level I feel when hiking, but it's my new gym membership. It's mother nature showing me that I can recharge mentally and physically in my daily seeking of balance. Today funny enough I felt out of balance because I couldn't just hop on a trail for an hour or so and decompress.

Balance in my home is more like harmony. For me, harmony in the home is everything has a place, piles don't exist for weeks on end, and cleaning is a daily chore. Apparently I've lost control of the harmony in my home because I'm in this space where I don't know where to begin. I'm overwhelmed by the thought of weeding out, even though I desperately want to let so much of the stuff surrounding me go. Maybe I should start with the pile of dishes in my sink. A balanced home would never have a dust bunny sauntering by on the hardwood floors while I sit and read a book with my daughter. The weight of achieving harmony in my home is overwhelming me. In the spirit of balance, I just need to focus on small accomplishments and not berate myself for fingerprints, piles of laundry, or a chaotic bookshelf.

I'm not quite sure when, but someday my jeans will just slip over my hips with out the slightest tug. Putting on a bathing suit will be as simple as throwing on my bathrobe after a shower. My home will be free of chaos and harmony will arrive. I envision that feeling to be like opening the windows on a spring day and letting the breeze blow through cleansing us.

Maybe I'm not so desperate, but balance is on the horizon. See...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our First Laptop Lunch, A Success!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a Laptop Lunch in the mail as a sample from the company. I've always believed in their products, but with our bento collection already established I had a hard time justifying purchasing another lunch box for my daughter.

I can not tell you how incredibly delighted I was to pack the Laptop Lunch. Typically when packing a bento in the morning, part of the art is getting everything to fit in perfectly. Which is a gentler way of saying, squeezing the food into the bento in a cute manner. But with the Laptop Lunch, everything fit wonderfully. I had lids for wet items and there was no squeezing or rearranging to get what I needed in the box.

Here it a series of photos from the first Laptop Lunch I packed, including a photo from the end of the day! It was a hit. Now I think we need a couple more because that's all my daughter requests in the morning, her Laptop Lunch!

Vintage Cheddar whole wheat quesadilla, cantaloupe, ranch, cauliflower, broccoli, baby carrots. Inside pig, a few jelly beans.


With lids. Oh delightful!


Packed up and ready to go. My favorite part, a water bottle that fits inside the lunch box. My daughter never brings her water bottle to lunch with her because she forgets. Now it's right there! Oh it makes me so happy.


Can you say, all gone! Wow!

I have to admit my husband is jealous. I can tell he wants a delicious lunch like this packed for him every morning. I may just have to indulge him after I've experienced packing a Laptop Lunch first hand.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hitting The Hiking Trails, Mt. Sanitas in Boulder

There's something about the Colorado sunshine that just seems to warm my soul from the inside out. A few weeks ago, the weather just magically turned into beautiful Spring. For some reason with the change of weather I've been drawn back to the mountains. I've given into the lure of dirt trails, rocky steps, and picturesque views. Sometimes it's hard to justify an hour on the treadmill when mother nature created the most beautiful opportunity to work out right in my backyard.

I've been revisiting my old favorite hiking spots. Some places I haven't been in years, which is truly a shame to admit. A couple of weeks ago I invited a friend to join me up Mt. Sanitas. Sanitas is a trail I've hiked more times than I can count. It's what I consider to be a mellow hike, but worth the work out. 3 mile loop, 1200 feet in elevation gain. I would take Guinness our black lab hiking there everyday before we had the girls. I know all the subtle nuances of the valley trail, where it's washed out, where to expect certain types of flowers, and where the run off drains into a ditch. Sanitas is a place that has always been special to me, brings back so many good memories.

Now that the girls are both old enough, I want them to be by my side exploring the endless hiking trails. Spring hiking is the best because the sunshine is strong enough to warm you, but not too intense where it makes you feel as if you are going to pass out. Hiking with the girls is a completely different experience for me as well. It's more of a exploration of fine detail coupled with a stroll type pace. When I hike on my own, I'm definitely not running but I like the feel of a workout. I know it's a good hike if my legs begin to shake on the descent. I love having the opportunity to stop and observe while taking some cleansing breaths or a sip of water.

The landscape in Colorado is interesting. Our mountains are mainly covered in brush and pine trees. Often the most breath taking beauty comes from rock outcroppings formed in just magical ways that lead your eye from one edge to another. Occasionally there will be a flowering cactus on the trail, which is a delightful surprise. There's a very special wild flower (possibly the manystem pea) that grows in June, it reminds me of a wild orchid and can be found near wet areas such as creek beds. It grows on vines and is just beautiful gently cascading up a patch of yellow brush or the pine tree backdrop.

It's a wonderful feeling to be getting back to a place I once loved to be everyday. I mentioned on my hike up Sanitas, that as of just a year ago I would've been spending my Saturday morning shopping at the mall. Mindlessly buying things I didn't really need. This new channeling of my energy is very much nurtured on the trail. Better yet, it's free. When I return home I feel refreshed and reinvigorated.

Even though we had some wild weather today, which went from heavy down pour of rain to huge fluffy wet snowflakes, I am hoping to hit the trail tomorrow morning. Saturday mornings seem to be the perfect opportunity for me to get a little time to myself, embrace the beauty around me, and sweat a bit of the week's stresses off of my shoulders. Fingers crossed I won't need Sorel boots...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vlog-My Food Revolution Test, Potato or Tomato?

Back in September, Jamie Oliver updated his twitter account with a photo of his "Food Revolution, Hungington" hat. It was over six months ago, I eagerly anticipated the project he gave us small glimpses and insight into. Now the Food Revolution has taken off, by the way have you signed THE PETITION (which Jamie is bringing to DC to help him gather funding for school food reform in the USA)? I couldn't be more delighted over his success in America, as I've been a fan of Jamie for over 12 years. What he is trying to accomplish is an enormous undertaking and if you watch the show you can see his passion comes from the heart.

I believe one of the greatest detriments to our society has become the mechanization of food production. Not for the farmers, but in terms of overly processed foods full of chemicals in the forms of additives and preservatives. I just read we consume 50% of our caloric intake as processed foods. It needs to stop. We need to view food as a living thing rather than something we need to store for weeks or months on end in our cabinets or refrigerator. Maybe we need to grocery shop more, but isn't your health worth more than the convenience of a freezer full of crap which does nothing to nourish our bodies?

I know in an attempt to be sensational, the editors of Food Revolution cut a piece of Jamie asking a group of 1st graders to identify fruits and vegetables. Gasps were heard around the country when the little boy in first grade called a tomato a potato. That moment encouraged the video you are about to see. My daughter is 6 years old and in first grade. I know she knows the difference between a potato and tomato, but how many fruits and vegetables could she identify?

Over the weekend, we headed to Whole Foods with my video camera in hand. It was the test! Watch below to see how she did.



I think she did awesome. I was surprised that she was hung up on a few things the first being kiwi and asparagus. We just ate both of these this past week in our home. She literally has held a kiwi in her hand and asked me to, "cut up the kiwi". So I don't know if she was nervous or in a group on display she was confused. It took her a bit to identify the asparagus as well, interesting. There were fruits and vegetables she passed. I admit there was no science to this, we just tried to have fun out of curiosity! Well done my girl! This experiment also instilled in me the importance of my girls always being by my side in the kitchen, taking part in the cooking. They usually like to join me to wash veges or chop things up, but now I know I want them there all the time.

Total fruits indentified=18
Total vegetables identified=21

Total identified=39

Total fruits stumped=4
Total vegetables stumped=7

Total stumped=11

Here are three of my previous posts mentioning Jamie Oliver, his Ted Wish, and my experience eating at 15 in London in January!

And one more thing... My shining moment on twitter happened on Friday!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Recycle Those Wine Corks Into Something New!

By chance I have a collection of wine corks. When I say by chance, it always felt odd to me to toss away wine corks into the trash. Wine corks seem to tell a story or quite possibly spark a memory of one night. So instead of the trash, I'd stick the corks in a drawer. The drawer full of corks turned into a hurricane glass full of corks on display.

Am I attached to my display of corks?

No, I'm not.

In even better news, Whole Foods Market just announced this week they have partnered with Cork Reharvest to create a cork recycling partnership. What does that mean exactly? There will be boxes at all 292 Whole Foods stores in the United States where you can bring in your old wine corks. Only natural corks are accepted for the recycling program. Whole Foods will then ship the corks off to different locations where they will be recycled into something new, such as wine shippers containing 10% cork or cork floor tiles or turned into post-consumer products. Pretty cool, huh?

Some cork facts from Cork Reharvest:
  • Harvesting Cork is a 100% natural, renewable, recyclable and biodegradable material that is obtained through an environmentally friendly harvesting process.
  • Hand-Harvest for Long Life Trees are not cut down to harvest cork, rather, the bark is stripped by hand every 9-12 years. Cork oak trees can live up to 300 years!
  • There is enough cork in the cork forests of Portugal and Spain to last more than 100 years.
  • The introduction of new products, such as composite corks, allows even better utilization of existing cork resources, using granulated cork that can be obtained from smaller pieces of raw cork otherwise unusable in the production of conventional punched cork.
Want the Whole Story, read the blog post here!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

If I Had An Extra $150... A Farm Dinner To Not Miss! School Food Project.

I came across this and boy do I want to go. Who wants to sponsor me? This benefits the School Food Project which directly benefits my daughter's school district. The chef line up is incredible, maybe the universe will align and I'll find a spot at a dinner table.

Registration information here!

Friday, April 9, 2010

One Of My Favorite Life's Moments, Monet Style

Claude Monet, is known as father of French Impressionism. A Monet could be received many different ways, depending on the angle or distance from the actual canvas. While in the presence of a Monet painting it's best to step back, maybe even half way across the room to take in the feeling. As you walk closer and closer you see different details and the original image that was emblazoned in your mind, may actually be a grouping of broad brush strokes. The entire feeling of the painting does change if you are just a couple of feet away from it. That's the beauty of impressionism.

I've been in the presence of many Monet paintings, in various museums around the world. While in High School, a brilliant artist and teacher loaded us up into a touring bus and we headed off on a three hour ride to Boston. The Boston Museum of Fine Art was hosting a Monet in the 90's exhibit that was touring the world. It was the largest showing of his collection and namely series of paintings in one location. It was beautiful. I was young and indeed it made an impression.

Studying art in High School turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. I left school being able to name as many famous artists and art movements as a college student. It was during that same time that I absolutely fell for Sandro Botticelli, the Italian artist from the early Renaissance and well about 400 years before Monet's time. Botticelli is best known for The Birth of Venus, the painting of a woman of beauty, stock, and grace all tangled into one mesmerizing escape. I knew someday I would stand in the presence of the Birth of Venus.

That day arrived in July of 1998. My husband and I spent our honeymoon traveling by train through out Europe. During our trip we spent two weeks in Italy. I don't casually say two weeks in Italy, I longingly say two weeks in Italy. Two incredible, glorious, eye opening, falling in love with food, people, culture weeks in Italy. Of course while in Florence, we had to seek out Venus. The funny part about this moment, one of my favorite life's moments that was captured on film, is that the photo is blurry. See in 1998 we carried rolls of film around with us in Europe. Maybe 15 rolls of film total. Our photos were a mystery until we returned home and felt the excitement and anticipation of opening the envelope from the One Hour Photo developer. We didn't have the luxury of uploading our photos on our laptop that night or instantly tweeting them out on our iPhones. We waited over a month to see our images.

When I was looking through the roll from Florence, I couldn't wait to see my special moment. Definitely a top five favorite moment of my entire trip. This is what I saw. Today I kind of chuckle, knowing we could take 10 photos on the spot, look at them on our digital displays and fric and frac over which one is the perfect moment.

Even though this is blurry, I'd rather say it was inspired by Claude Monet.

The Asparagus Test...

This morning I took a bit of a risk. I absolutely feel the need to pack at least two fresh fruits or vegetables in my daughter's lunch. Variety is key. When I opened the refrigerator, I saw a ziploc full of blanched fresh spring asparagus that was left over from dinner. As I reached for the last four strawberries, I also grabbed the asparagus. I thought, why not let's see what happens.

My daughter happily ate asparagus with her risotto two nights ago, but at lunch I'm not quite sure. So today is a test, an asparagus test. Sure does look beautiful doesn't it?

I'll update a photo when she returns home from school. Anyone want to guess did she eat it or not?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hey ISP Here's How To LOSE A Loyal Customer!!!

Three years ago, I signed up with an Internet Service Provider that was not a local cable company or my telephone company. I'm not naming the company because honestly it's not relevant to my post, if you want to put two and two together, go for it. When I signed up for my internet service, I was promised a speed of connection and I paid more money for that speed. I consider it tiered service, if your connection is 1.5 you pay $19.95, 3.0 you pay $29.95, etc.

Maybe a year after I had been paying for a more expensive faster service, I came to learn that I actually couldn't achieve that speed at my location. I would do speed tests and screen grabs to prove I could not get the speed I was paying for. I felt miffed. First I would call India, then they would call the local guys to check on my location from the server/hub, it was an annoying vicious cycle.

Turns out my home is 15,400 feet away and the best service I could get was 1.5 or less. Gulp. The 15,400 feet was a number I was so familiar with I could throw it out in conversation, easily.

The internet company knew this all along.

They offered me a cheaper rate and I stayed on with their service. But then last month, I kept getting dropped or my service was just unavailable. Let me just say I was beyond frustrated. Long story short, my service was changed once again, from 3.0 to 1.5. Which to me, means HALF AS FAST speed. Would you agree, half of 3 is 1.5? Fine, I take whatever I can get. End the call with a "DSL connection department" tech.

Then my bill comes. My service went up $10. UP! Pay more for slower service, now that doesn't make sense.

So I call customer service. Tech support and customer service are all off shore for this company. I have never called the 1-800 number once and received a native English speaker on the other end, even during normal business hours. I understand the nature of business today and the need to have offshore support, but offshore 24x7 just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. A company that doesn't want to hire anyone in North America for support during business hours is LAME in my book. Just my opinion on the matter.

The woman, Jessica (cough, cough) in customer service starts telling me a load of crap when I question the increase in my monthly service charge. She proceeds to slip into conversation how I have 342 days left in my contract. I was like what contract? I've been a customer for 3 YEARS, did I sign up for 48 months service or what? Jessica answers my question, when I called tech support for bad connection problems, it renewed my contract for a year. LOL! How ridiculous is that, I've never heard of such a thing.

Then she puts me on hold, for like the 10th time, I'm about 36 minutes deep into banter with Jessica by now. Of course, she offers me a reduced price if I extend my service for one more year. Hahaha...I don't think Jessica knew who she was dealing with, quite honestly. EXTEND MY SERVICE!

I cancel.

She puts me on hold. I say no, cancel. She tries to barter and banter with me. I cancel. I say cancel NOW. Finally she agrees. I am reminded of 1994 when AOL would offer you a free month and then would fight and argue with you when you tried to cancel your service. Ick, ick, ick. I make Jessica promise me I will not be charged any more fees associated with my account, I paid until the end of the month, then we are done. She agrees, but really would you trust someone sitting with 100's of people in a room in a far off distant land? Do you think I could get Jessica back on the phone in a month if I am charged again! Highly unlikely.

Then I start doing some research online because quite frankly I know I can't be the only one feeling scammed by this ISP. Boy is my hunch right, they recently were sued for charging astronomical ECF (early cancellation fees) for people who were just moving addresses or were through with their service. After what I read, I started to feel nervous, like another charge would appear on my account and there would be nothing I could do about it.

I already paid $10 more for service this month, not to mention the overcharges for years of service I didn't receive. $10 that would not be credited, as Jessica told me, we don't do credits. What a joke. So, I became proactive. I tried to remove my credit card from my account, but it wouldn't let me. A credit card has to be saved under your account information. Instead I cancelled my credit card, in fear of a $90 ECF being charged to my account! So take that crappy ISP, you aren't getting another dime from me. I feel like I've already been ripped off for 3 years. Mwah...hahahahaha!

So there you have it, how to lose a loyal customer! I'm so glad I finally followed through with canceling my account. Maybe after hearing my story, you'll stop supporting a company that doesn't respect and deserve you as a loyal customer!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Always Remembering A Beautiful Little Girl...

This morning I spent a few extra minutes snuggling the girls in bed, giggling and laughing even though the clock for school was ticking loudly. This morning, I remember a beautiful little girl that continues to touch so many lives. I only knew of Maddie from photos and her parent's words, but her smile was as gorgeous as the sun's rays and her eyes were an incredible clear ocean blue, her presence was joyful and mesmerizing. This morning my thoughts and full heart go out to Heather, Mike, and Annie.

May the love of the world embrace you today like no other.

Please go share some love with the Spohrs today. Also, you can help out another family with a premature newborn by purchasing a support pack, a wonderful gift to honor and remember and better yet, spread the love.

Comments here are closed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Easy and Simple Gluten Free Breaded Chicken!

Although my intention is always to plan a menu, grocery shop, and be prepared for dinner all week, that doesn't always happen. Somedays I look in the refrigerator at 4:45 and wonder what am I going to whip up?

Yesterday, I thought I'll make some breaded chicken, fast and easy. Only problem, I was out of bread crumbs. Which means I had a few choices, to find an alternative or order take out. I opted to make it work and cook at home, I just had to get creative. Now while it is possible to toast some bread and stick it in the food processor that aspect felt a bit daunting for weeknight dinner preparation. Instead I ground up some Gluten Free Multigrain chips that were in my pantry to use as the "breading" instead. While we aren't a gluten free home, I did want to share the tip!


Step 1: Process **chips in food processor until it resembles coarse corn meal, bread crumb texture, place in shallow bowl for breading step.
Step 2: Slice up chicken breast to portions that your family prefers. I tend to go skinny for faster cooking and cut chicken into strips.
Step 3: Place chicken into a ziploc bag with flour (rice flour if you are GF).
Step 4: Dip chicken into a shallow bowl with whisked eggs, I also add parsley at this step.
Step 5: Dip chicken into multigrain chip "crumbs" for breading step.
Step 6: Cook in skillet over medium heat (I use 6 on my electric burner). I use about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of canola oil to cook the entire batch of 1lb of chicken in, as you will see in the photo, I don't "deep fry" my chicken. It's really just enough to get the job done. Extra flavor, throw in some whole garlic cloves that have been gently crushed into the oil.
Step 7: Remove onto plate with a paper towel to catch any excess oil.

*Baking alternative, bread all chicken, place on a baking sheet or a raised broiler type pan. Lightly brush with olive oil to help crisp up surface. Bake at 400 degrees until the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 170 degrees and becomes crisp.

This is what dinner looked like, served to my girls. Cantaloupe, strawberries, corn, peas, and carrot sticks to accompany their gluten free chicken!

** Some of you asked what chips I used. Food Should Taste Good are the brand of chips I used to bread the chicken. I purchased them at costco, they are a nice flavor and texture, kind of cracker meets chip. This is not a product endorsement or inclusion by the company.

Are You Serving A Happy Lunch?

When I started packing bentos for my daughter, I was always surprised by what I found when I opened her lunch box at the end of the day. As you can see in the photo above, she did a great job. Often I forget to take photos of the lunch when it returns from school, I think what comes back is just as important as what goes into a lunch. If you are continually seeing the same half of a sandwich returned uneaten, it may be time to switch things up.

What was in my daughter's lunch that she devoured?

Almond butter and jelly sandwich, cut into a bunny and flower. I used a couple of little pieces of strawberry to make an eye and smile on the bunny. The dot in the flour was a Smartie from the UK. On the side, fresh broccoli, strawberries, and some 365 (whole foods brand) cheese curls. For a treat, some Japanese chocolate biscuits.

I'm thinking this summer will be a great time to practice the "art" of bento. Honing in on my artistic skills and making lunches that are fun and whimsical.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Reinvigorate Your New Year's Fitness Goals with a new Wii™ & Wii Fit™ Plus Giveaway!!!

April started the second quarter of the year! Wow! Three months down, where has the time gone? I'm using the passing of time to reflect on my fitness goals I set for the New Year. It's time to reevaluate my goals and step them up a notch. My goals are typical, New Year definitely in a bikini by summer goals? Just kidding!

Honestly one of my goals is to do something active everyday. My Wii Fit™ Plus has given me the opportunity to stick to that goal. Not enough time to make a yoga class, can't fit in the gym, the girls are sick, the weather outside is miserable? No problem, I'll just hop on my Wii Fit Plus!

Today is one of the most exciting days at EatPlayLove. When I agreed to become a brand enthusiast for Nintendo, I was graciously offered a prize package to give away to my readers.

Drum roll please...

I'm giving away a Wii™ Gaming System AND a Wii Fit Plus game!

Can I hear some cheers and applause? How awesome is that. I am delighted to offer one of you a chance to bring fitness into your home. Yes, you too can reinvigorate your New Year's fitness goals.

HOW TO ENTER:
Leave a comment on this post answering the following question:

How will you fit some fit in with Wii Fit Plus from Nintendo?

CONTEST DETAILS:
1. ONE entry per person.

2. Entry dates are 4/5/10- 4/9/10.

3. Entries will be closed on 4/9/10 at 11:59pm EST. Winner will be drawn at random by random.org from the total number of ELIGIBLE entries. I will delete comments that do not comply with rules (HINT, answer question).

4. If you do not have a Blogger or open ID account, simply comment as anonymous, but leave a valid email address in your comment.

5. I will contact the winner via email, at which time you have 48 hours to respond before I draw and contact a new winner.

6. The winner will have to provide their full name and address to the company for them to directly ship the product to your house. I do not handle shipping.

CONTEST FINE PRINT:
1. Contest only open to US Residents over the age of 18.
2. Nintendo employees are not eligible.
3. This prize cannot be given to an immediate family member.
4. Only comments submitted during the entry dates, that provide valid email contact information, and answer the question will be valid.
5. Multiple comments from the same email address will be deleted.

CONTEST DISCLOSURE:
I was given a copy of the Wii Fit™ Plus game for home use as a part of my involvement as a Nintendo brand enthusiast. I also received a Wii™ system and a Wii Fit Plus game mentioned in this post from Nintendo and I am giving them away!

PRIZING:
One Wii system and one Wii Fit Plus game


Friday, April 2, 2010

It's Friday, Let's Have Music! They're Red Hot!

I've got a girl say she long and tall, she sleeps in the kitchen with her feets in the hall...

The title inspiration for this post, came from one of my favorite songs!

The Original, Blues Legend- Robert Johnson:


My Favorite Version, Red Hot Chili Peppers:


Eric Clapton's Version:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bento Inspired Lunch: Turkey, Bread, and Cheese Flowers For My Sweet...

My daughter asked me for flowers for lunch. She was surprised when I said, flowers for lunch no problem. I love my set of Japanese flower cutters. They work wonders on harder vegetables, but today I used them to deconstruct a turkey sandwich for her. I have to admit she's a picky eater and loves to graze on a meal. Having the turkey, cheese, and bread cut up for her to put together herself in little nibble sized sandwiches was a hit.

While I was at it, I cut up some flower shaped strawberries. I put the outside of the strawberries on the edge of the plate for no waste! I cut up some carrots to add as the flower stems.

Here you have it, flowers for lunch! No bento needed, we were home.

The cutters I use are featured in this post, they are stainless steel from Japan!