As I mentioned to you in Wednesday’s post, Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps was selected to review Kelly Lester’s new cookbook, Cooking With Trader Joe’s Cookbook – Easy Lunch Boxes.kellylester-298rtsmaller-fi

Kelly Lester’s EasyLunchbox System, the #1 best-selling lunchboxes on Amazon, has amassed nearly 30,000 Facebook fans solely via word of mouth marketing and her personal, daily involvement with her enthusiastic lunch packing community.

I, too, found out about Kelly Lester and her EasyLunchBoxes system via Facebook when my oldest son was about 2 years old.  I was struggling to pack his daycare lunches.  I had always packed him healthy, fresh meals and didn’t really like using plastic sandwich bags or multiple containers to pack his lunch.  When I found the EasyLunchBoxes system I felt like my prayers had been answered.  I have been using Kelly’s EasyLunchBoxes system for over four years now.  I use them for both of my boys, and I use them for my lunch as well.  I can’t say enough about these containers; they are simply fantastic.

Now, onto the cookbook.


Cooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook – Easy Lunch Boxes is a delightfully different cookbook, born from social media. Through the online network that grew around her EasyLunchboxes products, Kelly discovered a world of bloggers and parents whose ideas for attention-grabbing, healthy food matched her own ingenuity – so she brought them together for this book. Among the book’s 32 contributors are popular food bloggers Marla Meridith, Aviva Goldfarb, Leslie Durso, and Lisa Leake, with a foreword by food activist Bettina Elias Siegel. The cookbook offers options for the entire family, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free offerings.  You can read more about the book by clicking here –

elb-square-hi-resCooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook – Easy Lunch Boxes is an easy to follow cookbook featuring over 100 recipes.  There is easily something for everyone in this book.  The recipes are broken down in sections such as: Pack It (Really) Fast; Pack It Early; Pack It Kid-Friendly; Pack-It Playful; Pack-It Snack; Pack-It Yummy; Pack-It For Work; Pack-It Veggie; Pack-It Vegan and Pack It Gluten-Free.  The recipe contributors include 30 of the most popular food bloggers around, including some of my favorites, such as Marla Meridith of Family Fresh Cooking (Marla is also the photographer and stylist for the book and takes beautiful photographs), Astrid Lague of Lunch Fit For a Kid, Nimali Fernando of Doctor Yum and Laura Fuentes of MOMables.  If you aren’t following these blogs, either via their website, Facebook or Twitter, now is the time.  Their ideas and recipes are so creative; talk about food gawking!

I really enjoyed the cookbook and all of its many recipes.  I liked how they broke down the content into sections. I was most interested in the Kid-Friendly, Playful, Snacks, Yummy and Work sections and found myself looking at those recipes the most.  The recipes were very easy to follow, didn’t require a ton of ingredients and seemed so doable.

Many of the pages feature quick tips from Kelly on lunchpacking, such as ways to add flavor to air-popped popcorn prior to popping or how to remove stinky smells from lunchbags.  Also on the pages are fun, little Did You Know facts and also nutrition snapshots for each recipe.  There are recipes for sandwiches, pizza, handheld meals and more complex meals. Really, anything you can think of.  With this book, your lunchpacking woes are over.

For the review, I opted to also try a few recipes out.  It only makes sense, why not take care of two things at once?  I pack my family’s lunches everyday – including my own – and I wanted to really write a good post.  It was multi-tasking at its finest!

For my first recipe, I decided to make Marla Meridith’s, of Fresh Family Cooking, Bacon-Cheesy Whole Wheat Pita Pockets.  I was drawn to this recipe because I loved the combination of bacon, avocado and cheese and the simplicity this recipe offered without skimping on flavor.  Plus, I heart Marla and her fantastic blog so why not profile her recipe here on my blog?  This is how it turned out and for the record, it was fantastic.  My kids gobbled it up for dinner in no time.

For recipe #2, I opted to make Lisa Leake’s, of, Un-Fried Rice.  I decided to make this recipe for many reasons: 1). I love brown rice, 2). I love Edamame, 3). I love avocado, 4).  Cashews ROCK! and 5). It promised to take about 5 minutes for prep.  I gotta give it to Lisa, it was quick, it was yummy and I felt satisfied.  This is how the second recipe turned out.  How easy is that for such a beautiful lunch?


Cooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook: Easy Lunch Boxes is available at bookstores everywhere including Barnes & Noble and beginning September 15th (hardcover, $24.95, Brown Bag Publishers. Not affiliated with Trader Joe’s stores).  You can purchase the book by clicking here.

I would totally recommend this cookbook.  Created for moms and lunchpackers everywhere, this book will not disappoint.  Definitely GGG approved! 

Disclaimer: The purpose of this review is to offer GGG readers an objective opinion so they can make an informed decision before buying this cookbook.  This review was based on quality, practicality and overall culinary impression.  GGG will always deliver an honest and unbiased opinion.  No goods or money were exchanged as a result of this review. Note:  Affiliate links are included to help support Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps

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