Let’s eat intestines and eyeballs?!
Today I sent my kids to school with “intestines” egg noodles served with “monster eye” meatballs and “bloody” pasta sauce. I threw in a couple of servings of Karen’s Magic Muffins, some green grape “eyeballs” and a chocolate frog for good measure. Monday is a soccer day, so I included Costco’s organic squeeze apple sauce and some cookies from my Big Batch Pumpkin Patch recipe (expect to see these a lot this week) for snacks. My kids’ black cat thermoses were filled with Caramel Apple Yogurt Smoothies.
All of the recipes in today’s Halloween bento box were prepared in advance so this morning my only tasks were blending the Caramel Apple smoothies and assembling ingredients in their Lunch Blox. My prep time this weekend was actually pretty minimal, considering all I accomplished, and I did take shortcuts with my pumpkin infusions, using the simplest possible recipes. That being said, it is very easy to simplify today’s menu even more; Grandma’s brand frozen egg noodles (I used to find them at King Soopers) can be soaked in food coloring after cooking to achieve bloody hue and “intestine” look. Sprouts makes fresh meatballs daily that would take no time to cook and top with an olive slice to make easy, delicious, “monster eyeballs”
I hope this week brings a slower pace to my kids’ schedules and that they have time to prepare costumes and attend Halloween activities. Finn is home sick today, so we can have lunch together, but I think Anya and Connor will smile when they open their bento boxes at school. Scary lunches might seem an odd way to show my kids love, but odd is half the point at our house. Anya has enough food to share a taste with her friends and make an even more positive imprint on today. I am having so much fun with this theme and monster eyes are much easier to create than Anime eyes. I am making eyeballs from all kinds of ingredients!
Bento Box Ingredients: “Intestines” Egg Noodles (recipe below), Easy Thyme Meatballs with slice green olives, Soprano Night Sunday Gravy, Karen’s Magic Muffin recipe, green grapes and chocolate frogs recipe. The instructions for Easy Thyme Meatballs and Soprano Night Sunday Gravy were posted last Wednesday in “Smart Kids Eat Bento”. I did, however, roll the meatballs in paprika to give them a more “bloody” look. Big Batch Pumpkin Patch Cookies (recipe below) and Costco applesauce are included for snacks.
“Intestines” Egg Noodles
2 large eggs
1-3 Tbsp water
1 3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 – 1 tsp red food coloring
1/2 – 1 tsp blue food coloring
Place all ingredients except water in Kitchen Aid mixer bowl with flat beater. Add 1 Tbsp water and mix for 30 seconds. Add additional water in 1 tsp increments as needed, mixing in between, until dough is formed. Mix 1/2 tsp red and 1/2 tsp blue food coloring to make purple and add to dough. Replace beater attachment with dough hook and run 30 seconds. Add 1/4 tsp red food coloring to dough and run Kitchen Aid for 30 seconds more. Remove dough and knead by hand, for two minutes, adding additional food coloring as needed. Refrigerate dough for two hours to set color. Attach Fettuccine Cutter to Kitchen Aid. Divide dough into 6 pieces and roll out. Process dough pieces through cutter and drop into boiling, salted water. Cook noodles 2-5 minutes, or until they are floating on top of the pan of water.
Karen’s Magic Muffins
(My stepmother introduced us to this recipe and for the moment it has ruined my family for all other pumpkin muffins. My kids turn their noses up at substitutions and I get a break with this easy, no-fail muffin secret. To stave off the twinge of guilt I feel at the sugar content, I add fresh carrots to the original recipe.)
1 box carrot cake mix (I grab these on sale at Target; Free shipping $25 and over)
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c finely shredded carrots
Mix all ingredients together and spoon into muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Caramel Apple Yogurt Smoothie
2 medium Granny Smith Apples, cored and chopped
1 Kiwi, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup baby Kale (garden)
3/4c organic whole milk yogurt
1/2 c coconut milk
2 Tbsp Agave
3 pieces soft caramel, melted
Place all ingredients, except caramel, in 24 oz Nutri Ninja cup. Press Pro-Extraction and blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into 3- 8 oz thermoses and drizzle caramel over each.
(My kids sampled these yesterday, and while the boys voiced their approval, the frogs were a little too sweet for Anya. It is too late for the frogs, rats and skulls I have already made, but I think next time I will try using milk chocolate chips rather than chocolate bark and see if that isn’t a better compromise between not-too-sweet and not-too-bitter for their palettes. Our frog molds were a X-Mas gift, but I believe they are for sale on Amazon.)
1 pkg chocolate bark
2 Tbsp organic vegetable shortening
Break bark into pieces and place in pan. Melt slowly over low heat, adding shortening and stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-5 minutes. Fill candy molds (or in our case, candy and sugar skull molds) with chocolate and chill in refrigerator for 1 hour. Carefully remove from molds. Keep cool until serving.
Big Batch Pumpkin Patch Cookies
(Inspired by Karen’s Magic Muffins, I used Spice Cake Mixes I had on hand to create this easy, mass-producing pumpkin cookie recipe)
4 boxes Spice Cake Mix
1 can pumpkin
1/2 c butter
2 c bitter chocolate chips
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c finely shredded carrots
Combine first four ingredients until dough is formed. Cut in chocolate chips, pecans and carrots. Drop by 1″ balls onto cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees or until done. Do not overcook. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes before removing from pan. Makes 5 dozen. Great for freezing.