Food fun for TV

Late last week I got a phone call from my friend inviting me to fill in for a food segment at the local Sarasota ABC affiliate.  Of course, I said yes, not having a clue what I was getting myself into. But the outgoing, fun-loving girl in me said yes quickly.  I spent the rest of the day planning out some simple but creative meals that could be easily replicated at home.  Hope you enjoy them!  Links to all the products I used are at the bottom of this post!  Thank you again for the opportunity, ABC7 and Suncoast View.  I enjoyed my time on the set with you all!Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 1.48.04 PM

I made a recipe that my family loves and it takes me just minutes to put together.  The quinoa is fabulous because it cooks up in no time (about 15-20 minutes total), and while it’s cooking I can chop everything else.  Dinner in under 30 minutes.  


Southwest Quinoa Salad

1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed
1 pint of grape tomatoes, sliced or one large tomato, diced
1 orange or red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 cup sweet corn 
1/4 cup red onion, diced
Juice of one lime
1 tsp cumin, then to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

optional additions to the salad
1 avocado diced
1 jicama, peeled and diced

squirt both with lemon or lime juice to prevent browning

Add cooked quinoa to a large serving bowl while still warm.  Add all vegetables and spices above topping with the lime juice and cilantro.  Mix and serve.  

Serving size for 4 people.
Serve warm or cold.  For next day’s lunch, wrap in tortilla or stuff into a pita with fresh greens.
Southwest Quinoa Salad in Easy Lunchboxes 

I also made some snack/energy balls. These are great because you can make them ahead of time, and store them in the fridge or freezer and pop in lunches or grab a quick snack during the day.  There’s no baking, they’re dairy-free and gluten-free too.  You can substitute with nut-free seed butters if classrooms are nut-free.

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup brown rice cereal
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup dairy free mini dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup almond butter (I used Justin’s brand Maple Almond Butter)
1/4 cup ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Mix the ground flax seed and water together in a small measuring cup and set aside to thicken.

2. Combine shredded coconut and 2 TBSP of maple syrup in a large bowl and mix to combine. 

3. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix together. 

4. I used gloves on my hands which prevented mixture from sticking to everything and made rolling them much easier.  Using a small tablespoon, scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball, continuing until all of the mixture is rolled into balls.

5.  Place the balls on a large plate lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.

6.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to one week.

 Recipe adapted from Making Thyme For Health’s blog post.  


I put together some more simple school lunches to give a sampling of what bento boxes are and how I like to pack them.

Mini leaf sandwiches and fall veggies in PlanetboxAbove is a Planetbox Rover packed with mini leaf sandwiches I made with a pastry plunger.  I filled them with soy based WOWbutter and berry jam.  Also included are mini carrots, pluot sections, locally grown cucumbers and tomatoes and an energy ball packed for a treat.

Veggie and Hummus wrap in LunchBots large Trio

The last lunch I made for the show is a flatbread hummus veggie wrap.  I simply spread chickpea hummus on the flatbread, lined it with baby spinach, julienned heirloom carrots and cucumbers and a small handful of alfalfa clover sprouts.  I rolled the wrap tightly, sliced in half and put cute silicone bento bands around them to hold them together in the new large sized LunchBots Trio.  On the left are zucchini and yellow squash sticks and a berry medley in the bottom left compartment.

Thank you again, ABC-7 and Suncoast View for the opportunity to work with you!

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 1.47.49 PM


Things I used to make these lunches


Happy Dot Day!

Today is International Dot Day.  I love it because the point of it is to inspire all to “make their mark” in their lives.  My girls are celebrating at school today and dressed in head to toe dots. Their Montessori school definitely encourages them to explore new things and be the best individual they can Continue Reading »

Three Tools for Wendolonia, a bento challenge

I have taken a major hiatus from bento-making this spring and summer.  When I was offered the challenge of using 3 specific tools by Wendolonia, I decided it would be a great motivator for sparking some creativity in my bento boxes.   Please click the link below to see all 4 blogger’s creations with the Continue Reading »

Teacher Appreciation with Lunchbox Love Notes

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” â€• Leo Buscaglia This quote is one that strikes me every single time I read it.  It is so true Continue Reading »

Owls and light lunches for spring

I can hardly believe it’s May!  My kids only have 4 weeks of school left, and then summer vacation.  We took a long drive to Texas recently to see family.  Along the drive we had to stop for fast food.  Considering we’re entirely plant based this can be challenging in rural areas.  We did have Continue Reading »