Giveaway: $250 of Mighty Nest Lunch Gear
Dropping Mazzy off at her new school has proved to be an enjoyable new routine, but pick-up is an entirely different animal. Pick-up time changes daily depending on Mazzy’s after school activities and the person who picks her up changes too.
Adding to pick-up confusion is Harlow, whose drop-off time overlaps with Mazzy’s pick-up time (her preschool meets in the afternoon twice a week), meaning it is impossible for one person to manage both kids.
On Mondays, I pick her up from the after school playgroup. On Tuesdays, my friend’s nanny picks her up since Mazzy and her daughter are in the same after-school elective science class. On Wednesdays and Fridays our nanny picks her up at regular pick-up time. And on Thursdays, Grammy picks her up and takes her to gymnastics.
A routine it is not.
My first day of pick-up, I rushed to school to get to her on time (quickest way is twenty minutes by foot) and while I was busy being so proud that I MADE IT, I also made the cardinal pick-up sin.
I FORGOT AN AFTER SCHOOL SNACK.
Mazzy made me pay for that mistake by whining “I’m hungry!!! Why didn’t you bring me anything to eat????” the entire bus ride home. Which, I might add, was a public commuter bus full of other responsible parents and their happily noshing children.
Since then, I have learned my lesson. I know “What do you have for me to eat?” will always be Mazzy’s first words when she sees me at pick-up and I will never be caught empty-handed again.
What do I bring?
Well, donuts and Oreos would probably be Mazzy’s snacks of choice, but I like to err on the healthier side. Unfortunately, Mazzy has now deemed my go-to snacks— pretzels, apple slices, crackers and almonds as “booooooring”. And then she says those dreaded five words that no parent wants to hear.
“What else do you have?”
I look in my bag hoping an acceptable snack will magically appear.
“Hmmmm…. a broken pencil? A tampon? A stretched out hair elastic? Any of these things sound appetizing to you, Mazzy?”
Apparently, I suck at after school snacks. This is why I was particularly excited to work with Mighty Nest on a brand new challenge— “satisfying after school hunger with healthy and creative snacks“.
Since I am not the most creative in the kitchen, I asked Aunt Debi (aka @thegardenofeatin) to come up with five exciting/healthy/easy-to-make snack ideas using Mighty Nest’s eco-friendly airtight containers and reusable snack baggies.
The plan is to put the snack bags and containers in a separate compartment in Mazzy’s backpack so they are available options for whoever picks Mazzy up from school.
Below is what Aunt Debi came up with, but please leave your own school snack ideas in the comments!
Gorp (aka trail mix) can be made with a million things but since nobody wants to land a classmate in the emergency room, let’s make a nut-free version, shall we?
1 part Cherrios
1 part dried cranberries
1 part dried blueberries or raisins
1 part pumpkin seeds
1 part dried papaya cubes
1 part banana chips
Mix and pop it into a Lunchbot.
2. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Jam Cookies
You can make these with store bought cookie dough to save time, but if you want to make sure the ingredients are nut-free and all natural, you can make your own from scratch too.
1-1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips
1. In bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder and baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
2. In separate large bowl, beat softened butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. Stir in raisins.
3. Drop batter by teaspoons into mini muffin tins.
4. Bake in centre of 350°F oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool in pans on racks for about 2 minutes. Transfer to racks; let cool completely and top with a small dollop of jam.
If your kids are jelly-phobic (like Mazzy), you can nix the jam altogether and still have an exciting treat.
In either case, pop these goodies into a earth-friendly reusable Lunchskin for easy traveling.
3. Rise ‘n Shine VEGGIE BANANA Muffins
Bake these babies on a Sunday and you’ll feel much happier to rise come Monday.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup skim milk
4 medium carrots, shredded or 2 shredded Zucchini’s or a mix of both
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Here’s the beauty of using the Silicone muffin cups— there is no need to grease them and you can send the baked goodies anywhere still in the portable cups.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats and raisins. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots/zucchini, and banana. Stir until blended.
3. Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.
4. Serve muffins warm or at room temperature or wrap them in a Food Cozy for an on-the-go treat.
4. Yogurt Crackle (nuts optional)
This is so good, I was afraid I would eat it ALL before I had a chance to photograph it.
1 Cup Strawberry Greek Yogurt
1 Cup of Toppings (see options below)
Crackle Topping Options:
Berries – Use a combo of frozen strawberry halves, blueberries, raspberries, or cherries
Nuts (optional) – pistachios, pecans, almonds, cashews, etc.
Other ideas – cinnamon, shredded coconut, granola, chocolate, dried fruit etc.
Spread a thick layer of yogurt on the wax paper. Try to make the yogurt a little less than half an inch thick … sprinkle your toppings over the yogurt etc. Freeze overnight.
In the morning, crack the bar into pieces.
Store them in a freezer safe air-tight bag or pop them in a Food Cozy.
5. Mini Granola Bites
Can you tell I love everything in “bite” form?
2 cups quick oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1 cup apple butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl, mixing gently so the crispy rice cereal doesn’t get crushed. Mix until well-combined.
2. Using a mini melon scoop (or roll small amounts in your hands), drop rounded tablespoonful-sized portions onto a parchment or wax paper lined cooking sheet. This is a great opportunity to involve your mini sous chefs in the kitchen.
3. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Place the chilled granola bites in a lunchskin for a takeaway snack. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to one week or a few months in the freezer.
Didn’t Aunt Debi do an awesome job?! If you have any fun school snack ideas, please leave them in the comments below.
If you would like to try the Mighty Nest challenge yourself, take the pledge to “satisfy after school hunger with healthy and creative snacks” by signing up with the widget below. This will also enter you to win $250 of MightyNest products, geared to make to-go snacks easy to store in your kids lunchbox or in their backpack for after school. This giveaway is only open to Mommy Shorts readers.
Additionally, if you identify your local school when you enter, you’ll support them in the Mighty School Challenge, where schools can win up to $10K this fall.
Speaking of winners, congratulations Lee Ann H, who won the last Mighty Nest challenge! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize.
This giveaway was sponsored by Mighty Nest, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.