Applegate HALF TIME Review & Giveaway

Do y’all remember those infamous lunches that came in rectangular plastic containers?  You peeled back the plastic cover to find separate compartments containing all of the ingredients to assemble your lunch {plus a sugary treat and sometimes a drink}?  Oftentimes moms packed them as a treat and the other children were envious of whoever had one.

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I distinctly remember enjoying the turkey + cheese cracker sandwiches, cheese pizzas, and nachos.  Nowadays, the thought of them make me cringe.  I haven’t taken the time to read their ingredient lists, but I’m willing to bet there’s a little bit of cardboard in the pizza crusts and rubber in the cheese.

As an elementary school teacher and a soon-to-be mom, I feel as if it’s one of my responsibilities to help educate children about their food choices.  I’m not saying that kids should eat fruits and veggies all day {they’re kids!}, but they should be informed and have the opportunity to learn about making healthier choices.

Applegate HALF TIME Products

Applegate partnered with Stonyfield and Annie’s to create HALF TIME™ – the first pre-packed lunch kit with natural and organic ingredients.  Moms nationwide now don’t have to compromise between convenience and quality…  And they can enjoy a few extra minutes of sleep every morning because it takes less than 10 seconds to throw a HALF TIME™ kit into their child’s backpack!

HALF TIME™ lunch kits come in three kid-approved varieties: Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, Bologna & Cheese.  Each kit includes:

  • Applegate All-Natural Meats and Cheeses which contain no artificial ingredients, no preservatives, and antibiotic-free, and are hormone-free
  • Annie’s Buttery Rich crackers™
  • Annie’s Organic Berry Patch Fruit Snacks™ or Annie’s Friends Bunny Grahams™
  • Stonyfield Organic YoKids® Squeezers® yogurt

Since I don’t have any children of my own yet, I shared my treats with Ryan {he’ll always be a kid at heart} and my students.  Ryan tried the Turkey & Cheese and said that it was tasty.  We frequently buy Applegate and Annie’s products so I wasn’t surprised.  The real question was, what would my picky elementary students think?

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Let's Eat Worksheet

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Applegate HALF TIME Student Reviews
Applegate HALF TIME Student Feedback Worksheets
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All of my students gave the HALF TIME™ lunch kits two thumbs up and said would ask their parents to buy them for their lunches!  One kid even said that the cracker sandwiches were better than any sandwich his mom has ever packed him…  Shhh, I won’t share that at Back-to-School Night tomorrow.

Sound appealing?  The lunch kits are available nationwide at food retailers such as Target, BJ’s, and Safeway for a suggested retail price of $4.99.  The price tag is a little steep, but you’re paying for the quality of ingredients over quantity.  Also, a product locator can be found here.

And now for the fun part…  Applegate would like to send one reader a HALF TIME™ lunch kit!  There multiple ways to enter {please leave a separate comment for each entry}.  The giveaway will be open until 12PM Tuesday, September 23rd and I’ll announce a winner on Wednesday, September 24th.

  1. Do you pack for your lunch and/or for your child{ren}?  What do you pack?
  2. Like Life’s a Bowl on Facebook
  3. Follow @lifesabowl on Instagram
  4. Follow @lifesabowl on Twitter
  5. Like Applegate on Facebook
  6. Follow @applegate on Instagram
  7. Follow @applegate on Twitter

Disclaimer: Applegate sent me complimentary HALF TIME™ lunch kits in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.

— Allison

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WIAW: The Best {Gluten Free} Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you ever eaten a mouthful of peppercorns?  They’re those tiny black bombshells that most people grind up to make fresh pepper…  Except me.  Today I took it to a whole new level of crazy and ate what was probably close to 1/8 cup {which sounds even more badass than 2 tablespoons} because I hate letting food go to waste.  Especially meatballs.

When I flipped the plastic cover off and started twisting to grind the kernels, the whole top popped off!  Peppercorns spewed EVERYWHERE – into my bowl, onto the counter, bouncing across the hardwood floors.  It was a spicy mess.  Just when I thought that Charlie would eat anything off of the floor, I was wrong.  He wanted nothing to do with the menacing kernels.

This week my momma and I are having quality mother-daughter time while Ryan is traveling.  Sleeping in my Lily Pulitzer inspired room, having someone to watch The Bachelorette Season Finale with, eating dinner outside on the deck, and being introduced to THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies…  The #estrogenparty has been fabulous!

Thanks Jenn for hosting another tasty link-up!

Breakfast yesterday was a bowl of apple pie oatmeal with a side of newspaper, specifically the style section.  Sudoku puzzles make me feel like a wizard, crossword puzzles make me feel dumb.

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apple cinnamon oats + plain Greek yogurt + diced apple + drizzle of maple syrup

I had a tutoring session at 9:30AM so on my way over to the kiddo’s house I stopped by Starbucks for some “teacher fuel” <– that’s what my students from last year called it.

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a banana & a decaf Coffee Light Frappuccino

Between tutoring and a lunch date with my momma, I swung by the gym and did in 45 minutes of cardio.  I don’t remember the elliptical being that hard…?  The backs of my legs are feeling it today.

Lunch was a treat.  My momma and I have been going to the same hole-in-the-wall sushi joint since I was in high school and neither of our orders have changed.  Miso soup, ginger salad, and the #3 lunch special {California Roll, no roe + Cucumber Roll} for me, miso soup and shrimp tempura for her.

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exchanged the California Roll above because it had mayo {blah} for one with real crab

We had no afternoon plans and since it was a nippy 68*F we decided against the pool.  If you’re familiar with the DMV {DC, Maryland, VA} area, you’ve probably heard that the new Silver Line on the Metro started running this past weekend.  There are a total of five new stops and a few of them are right near my momma’s house so we decided to take a test ride and go on an adventure.

After spending 10 minutes figuring out how to get a parking ticket to dispense and another 10 minutes getting my momma a Metro card, Dumb & Dumber finally made it onto the train.  It was hilarious, we couldn’t stop laughing at ourselves and neither could the Metro employees!

We took the Silver Line to the Eastern Market and sampled our way through the outdoor stands before perusing the shops inside.  It was my first time visiting during the week {my momma’s first time ever}, but I was surprised by how few vendors there were compared to the weekend.

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While walking I munched on an apple and some peanut butter sandwich crackers.  We eventually wandered into a baby store, passed by the Capitol Building, and then walked over to Union Station to catch the Metro home.

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Beef burritos were what we planned to make for dinner, but after our big adventure we both agreed to save the cooking for tonight.  I ended up making an orzo dish and served it with a small salad, cheesy tortillas, and a helping of organic ketchup because I currently can’t get enough of the stuff.  It was very random, but satisfying.

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orzo + artichokes + peas + Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatballs + spices

And since I have to end every day on a sweet note, dessert was eaten while watching Extreme Weight Loss.  OH.MY.GOSH.  A little secret…  Trader Joe’s makes THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  Although I typically prefer my cookies to be full of gluten, dense, and chewy, these were delicious – buttery, crispy, very chocolatey, and no icky gluten free flour aftertaste. My momma says that she’s been buying them from years…  I don’t know why she’s now just sharing them with me.

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cottage cheese + banana slices + THE BEST gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Question:  What’s your favorite gluten free cookie?  Homemade or store-bought?

Question:  Extreme Weight Loss or The Biggest Loser – which do you prefer?  I think that I like Extreme Weight Loss better?!  I know that’s a bold statement considering I’ve only watched it once, but I like how the trainers focus on one person and his/her goals, not a group of people.  Also, the weight loss doesn’t seem as dramatic and the contestants seem to be provided with more knowledge than on TBL.

— Allison

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WIAW: White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Dear Readers,

It has been six weeks since my last WIAW post and these are my confessions.  HA!  Kidding.  But really…  It feels like I’m sitting down in a confessional since it has been over a month since I’ve joined Jenn’s delicious link-up.

I could remind you about how busy life currently is, but that would be redundant and I’m sure that others are equally as {or even more} busy.  But really…  Life is crazy, in the best possible way.  Teaching, conferences and meetings before/after-school, tutoring, working at the running store, running, getting ready for a fabulously fun bachelorette weekend, doctor’s appointments, yada yada yada.  I’ll save those rambles for another time because today it’s all about the food.

Salty, sweet, chewy, crunchy, doughy, fluffy, I don’t discriminate.  But I do get cravings and hankerings for things that I just have to have and couldn’t live another minute without.  

Breakfasts lately have been pancakes, but bagels are a close second.  I’ve eaten enough tuna fish to sustain a small country.  Trader Joe’s needs to sell their Sweet Apple Chicken Sausages in larger packages, five is just not enough.  I ate a whole bag of frozen peas after working at the running store {and yes, I had already eaten dinner}.  Wegmans real crab sushi rolls and organic soups are my favorite to get when Ryan and I go on weekend lunch dates.  I forgot how tasty doughy, white carbs are #wheatbrainturnedwhite.  And how delicious Annie’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese is.  Actually, anything cheesy sounds absolutely divine.  PB&J will forever steal my heart.  And all days that end with ice cream are good days!

Now, onto yesterday’s eats…

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Breakfast:  It’s much easier for me to remember to take my vitamins when they’re gummies.  Two mini plain bagels topped with TJ’s creamy peanut butter + St. Dalfour Four Fruits Preserves with a side of {unpictured} frozen berries.

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Mid-Morning Snack:  School was delayed due to Monday’s snow, so on my way in I stopped by Starbucks.  A handful of dates and a grande Coffee Light Frappuccino minus the frapp base, plus a banana.  It has a mild coffee taste with a hint of banana.  The only thing that could make it better would chocolate.

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Lunch:  An apple, {unpictured peas and carrots}, PB&J sandwich on potato bread {current favorite bread!}, and  TJ’s honey pretzels.  More white carbs, swoon.  Oh, and a Diet Hansen’s because I had a stomach ache.  I suppose I do now have one confession to share since I was supposed to have given up candy and soda for Lent…

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Afternoon Snack {unpictured}:  In the car on the way to my chiropractor appointment, I ate a banana and a Luna Bar.  I used to eat a Luna Bar almost every day a few years ago and I seem to be getting back into the habit.  Hate to admit it, but Quest Bars aren’t doing it for me anymore.

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Dinner:  I’ll never forget when my momma first bought a box of Annie’s White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese back when I was in high school.  I was bummed.  Bummed because I was so used to the traditional blue box…  But oh my, I quickly realized that there was more than silly shaped coated in orange cheese and I’ll never go back.  

For dinner I sautéed mushrooms with salt + pepper, added a handful of frozen peas, and poured a little jarred marina sauce into the pan.  While that was cooking, I cooked a box of Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells & White Cheddar {according to the directions} and warmed up a few frozen turkey meatballs from TJ’s.  The mushrooms and peas made a great base for the mac & cheese + meatballs, plus {salted} sliced tomatoes.  Definitely worth remaking again and again!

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Dessert:  A generous scoop of Stonyfield’s Gotta Have Vanilla frozen yogurt with a few animal crackers + grapes.  Strange combo but it hit the spot.

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P.S.  Check back tomorrow for a recipe for PB&J Energy Bites!  They’re no-bake and gluten-free!

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Question:  What food{s} have you been craving?

Question:  What’s the strangest combo you’ve recently enjoyed?

— Allison

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