Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday lunches times 3, part 3

And finally, Ben's:

He has mixed fruits (canteloupe, grapes and strawberries), some turkey & cheese faux sushi, and some goldfish pretzels. I think this is his favorite lunch.

Friday lunches times 3, part 2

And now for Shaun's:
He has an egg salad sandwich, chef salad with some cheese sprinkled on it, some fruit salad like Faith's and some daigo (or however you spell it!). Luckily, he has a fridge and microwave at work, so he can keep some basic stuff there (salad dressings, condiments, etc).

Friday lunches times 3, part 1

So everyone but me gets one today.
Faith is already off at school, so here is hers:

She has a green salad with lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, shredded turkey & swiss. Top tier has some turkey & cheese flower sandwich bites, Koala chocolate cookies, the HK container holds ranch for her salad, and a mixed fruit salad (grapes, strawberries & canteloupe).

Shaun's & Ben's are still in the fridge. I'll post those later.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Rare Appearance by Faith & Ben (and real bentos)

Well, I screwed up today. We were supposed to have lunch and a playdate with friends, but I spent most of the morning relaxing, only to realize I did not have my cell when it was time to leave. I then had to try to track down said cell phone. Eventually it was found, in my husband's car at his office (which was totally in the opposite direction I need to go). Needless to say, no playdate. :o(

So Shaun took us out for Japanese to make up for our otherwise disappointing afternoon.

We had real bentos:

Well, I had a real bento, the kids shared a second one because hey, it's a lot of food!

Ben chows down on gyoza (his plate also has rice, sweet potato tempura and chicken teriyaki; he also ate my orange):

Faith making silly faces and enjoying some shrimp tempura:

It sort of made up for not getting to go on our playdate and the kids were nice & full afterwards. So it all worked out in the end.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fourth Day of Kindergarten Lunch

And we've got kind of a flower theme going on. I'm out of eggs, so no flower egg, but at least we have some other flowers to make up for it. (And in case you're curious, Faith goes to a University-Model school, meaning she attends 2 days, we homeschool 2 days, and she goes an optional third day for elective classes; hence why my days of school aren't quite adding up).

Anyhow, we have in the top tier purple grapes and cantelope flowers, some strawberries and a few green grapes to hold it in place, flower shaped sandwiches of ham & cheese & cream cheese. Bottom tier has carrots sticks with cucumber flowers, the HK container holding ranch dip, granola bar and a few koala cookies to keep that in place. It's packed in one of the $1 Store 2 tier HK boxes. I don't think it seals quite as tightly as I would like, so we used a spare bento band to keep it together. Faith wants to use her new SS bag, so as long as her snack and drink fit in, she can. If not, it will be Carebears or red HK, unless I get really inspired and make her Tinkerbell bag tonight (not likely!). :o)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Look what I made!

The majority of our bentos do not fit well into a traditional American style lunch bag. If they actually fit, they are not sitting flat but upright, so all the food gets mixed together. :o(

One of our Japanese boxes came with a matching bag for it and by a stroke of luck, I found Ben a similar bag at the Japanese store nearby. But 2 bags for 2 kids means hoping nothing gets dirty. I thought about it and realized, I can probably make these, they can't be that hard ...

So I did--Faith's new bento bags:

They both have a 2 tier box in them right now for pictures. The SS one is a bit smaller (I used scrap material), so it only fit some of our boxes. The Carebear one is taller so it can easily accomodate a bento, a snack & a water bottle. I have Mickey Mouse material to make Ben some too.

Stuffed Corn Muffins

I promise, nothing complicated about these.

All you need is a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix (and whatever you need to make it, milk & an egg?), leftover cooked chicken and either leftover or frozen mixed veggies.

Mix up the corn muffin mix per the box.
Chop up the leftover chicken and stir it into the muffin mix.
Throw the veggies in too.
Then spoon it into cupcake wrappers & bake per the directions on the package.

Voila--meat, veggies & a starch. And it's fairly un-messy. I got about 12 from one box of muffin mix.

Faith's are made with leftover hibachi chicken and some frozen peas/corn/carrots/green beans.

Kindergarten Lunch

I let Faith pick what box she wanted to use today since we have quite the collection by now. She picked the new green HK one.

So for lunch today, we have (to the left) a stuffed corn muffin, cucumber flowers and some carrot sticks underneath. To the right are grape & cheese skewers (because who doesn't like grapes & cheese together), some strawberry halves and some chocolate-filled Hello Panda cookies to fill in the gaps.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dollar Store Bentos, the sequel

I had convinced myself that the two tier ones were all we needed. I changed my mind. We may not keep all three of the two tier ones, but we are definitely keeping these two new ones:

The blue one from above has a removable top layer (shallow, less than an inch deep) and a single compartment interior:

The green one is a single tier with a built in divider and a little fork holder on top:

Very impressed for $1. And I came home with a ton more since I'm shopping for the masses. I think I bought 13 today and only 2 are for us. ;o)

Oh, for those asking which Dollar Trees, I've been to the two in Plano (Alma/15th and Custer/Parker). I know Carrollton is supposed to have them, I'm not sure which others. At the one store, they were in a separate display by the cash register; in the other, they were in the tupperware-like section. Hope that helps!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bento Stash - A Peek into My Kitchen

After buying Faith the new HK bentos, I decided I needed to put them away. So we did a bit of housecleaning/organizing/moving so that all the lunch stuff is in one set of cupboards.

Our lunch supply cupboard (minus the top shelf that I can't reach without at stool anyhow):

Shelf #1 - lots of single tier boxes, sauce cups, mini-containers, egg molds, rice molds, foil dividers, silicone dividers, fruit pics

Shelf #2 - 2 tiered boxes, laptop lunch, drawstring bags for various boxes

Shelf #3 - water bottles/themoses, lots of disposable containers/sippies/straw cups, metal tins holding small supplies

The metal tins from Shelf 3 - small cookie cutters that I use frequently, extra flatware for Faith, soy sauce bottles

Dollar Store Bentos

I've read in several places that the Dollar Tree had bento-style boxes. Well, it's a Saturday, Shaun's working, kids & I are staring at each other, so why not take a ride.

This is what we came home with:

Now, in case you're curious, I am not *that* crazy. They are not all for us. 1 pink is for Lucy, 2 pinks are for Ashton & Ryleigh, 2 greens are for Libby & Caroline, and a blue is for Stell. The other 3 are for Faith. She couldn't decide on a color and really, they were $1, so why make things difficult. We'll use them too, so it's not like they are going to go to waste.

Once we got in the car, I had to pull the shrink wrap off a box and I was fairly impressed:

Two tiers and they all stick together fairly well. Faith and I have turned them upside down, shook them, drop them on the carpet and so far, they stay together. Now, would I put tomato sauce in one and drop it on my white couch & carpet (a la stain remover commercials)? H*ll no! But for $1, they seem to be pretty well worth it. I'm not putting mine in the dishwasher just to be safe.

Bentos for the non-bento crowd (aka my husband)

Shaun has been really good about taking his lunch to work, even taking pictures if I ask him too. But his are not as interesting as the kids, so I haven't been posting them as much. Typically, he takes his laptop lunch with some kind of sandwich, a garden salad, a fruit salad & some daigo (sp?). The last two days were exactly that--one day with a tuna salad sandwich and the other a sandwich with deli ham & turkey. Nothing terribly exciting, but it's healthier & cheaper.

Today, I thought I'd be nice & send him a non-sandwich lunch (and use out my leftovers). He has a garden salad (he keeps dressing in the fridge at the office so I don't have to worry about teeny containers of that). On the other side is steamed rice at the bottom, sweet & sour meatballs from the other night's dinner and a piggy full of soy sauce for the rice. It's all packed in the 2 compartment Lock&Lock container which holds a ton of food.

And as for the earlier comments about the lunch being healthier & cheaper, check out this lunch calculator:
Amazing how much you could really save bringing lunch--this one probably set me back between $1 & $1.5o minus the container.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Second Day of School!

Today was Faith's elective day at school, lots of fun classes (hands-on science, art, music, Spanish). She still needed to take a lunch, so we opted for her pink Hello Kitty box with the fork/spoon compartment built into the lid.

She has half a heart shaped boiled egg, a few carrots, sliced strawberries & honeydew (just noticed you can't see the honeydew), faux sushi with ham & cheese, a yogurt jelly and a marshmallow jam.

Check out the dividers today! They are silicone muffin cups. They aren't cheap necessarily, but you can use Michael's or Joann's 40% off coupons on them, making them $6 for 12. On the plus side, they are completely washable and reusable and they seem to be holding wet food better than the tinfoil cups. And they come in circles or squares to better fit your box. We have both. ;o)

Rebecca - Meant to answer you the other day. For the faux sushi, I usually trim off the crusts then flatten white bread, spread that with flavored cream cheese, then some sliced ham or turkey and a strip of cheese then roll it up. Sometimes a bit more cream cheese to make it stick together better. :o) It works OK with tuna or chicken salad too. I assume it would work with peanut butter except Faith hates PB with a passion, so never tried it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Faith's First Day of Kindergarten Lunch!

Today is the first day of school, so of course she has to have the cutest lunch in her class. ;o)

Top tier holds some doll shaped sandwiches, a couple of carrots, a heart shaped boiled egg and a yogurt jelly. Bottom tier holds honeydew, strawberry & grape kebabs and two marshmallow jams. She helped pick everything.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ben's Favorite Lunch

Faith is out with my MIL for lunch & shopping, so it's just Ben & I at home. Since we now have groceries again, I made him his favorite lunch.

Turkey & cheese faux sushi (with chive cream cheese), goldfish pretzels and grapes in his Shinkansen box. The boy is so easy to please. ;o)

Back from yet another hiatus

Trying to get Faith ready to start school, so many of our lunches have been on the run, in the car, through a drive-thru. Bad mommy. We're back to business now and even bought groceries!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Local resources & whatnot

Just trying to answer a few comments.

Best results I have had for Asian groceries & bento supplies:

Asian World Market at Legacy and Central - This is the big new grocery store between Central & Chase Oaks off of Legacy. It's big, bright and very clean. Great selection, especially the snacks & goodies. They also have a Sanrio shop inside that carries a far selection of girl-ish bentos. We get many of our snacks here plus staples like rice & daigo (it's some sort of Guamanian pickled yellow radish thing, don't ask!).

Mei Hua Supermarket at Park and Coit - The other big Asian grocery store in Plano. They have a good selection of foods, but they don't typically have the boxes I have found at AWM. It's also further from my house, not that that should be a deciding factor for most people. ;o) I really like the in-store bakery, it gets many of its products fresh from a bakery off of Royal and they have some yummy sweet breads & cookies.

Shop Minoya at Parker & Independence - This is a really small little store kind of tucked into a strip plaza (it's near USAToy). They carry the snack items, but not as many basic groceries. However, they have the best bento supplies selection that I have found--cookie cutters, folding boxes, many of the kids' Hello Kitty & Shinkansen small supplies, foil cups, etc. They have really good prices as well, lots of stuff for under $2. It changes frequently, so we tend to pick up some of our snacks there so I can check out their new supplies. ;o)

I would assume there are probably some stores in Richardson and in Dallas (35 & Royal area), but we live in Frisco. Since I can get most of what I need in Plano, I haven't made the trek to either of those places yet to explore. It's on my to-do list, maybe once Faith starts school and I can drag Ben on these trips.

Non-photo lunches

We had friends over to swim, then have lunch, so I did not take pictures today.

The kids ate stuffed corn muffins (the one from yesterday), shaped cheeses, then my two had some panda cookies & yogurt. ;o)

Not a terribly exciting lunch, but swimming was more fun!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Faith's Lunch aka What happens when the kids cook?

We're getting our carpets cleaned this morning, so basically everything that should be in our family room is shoved into our kitchen & breakfast room. The kids are, of course, antsy, so we decided to make something for lunch.

So, we made stuffed corn muffins. That's the thingie on the top left. It's stuffed with leftover chicken from the teppanyaki place the other night and assorted veggies. With it, she has carrots, some goldfish pretzels and half a flower egg. On the other side is the *last* of the fruit (finally!) and a yogurt jelly.

And we are loving the DMN this morning, the picture of Faith is huge!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The DMN article is online!

I don't know why I decided to look tonight, but it's online! It runs in tomorrow's paper too. :o)

Snack Bento for Ben

Since Ben napped through lunch and we had a playdate to go to, he got a quick little snack bento in case he got hungry (fyi, he ate the whole thing).

Ben has some cantelope & honeydew, Teddy Grahams, some goldfish pretzels and star & moon shaped turkey/cheese/cream cheese sandwiches.

Notice a theme? I call it "need to go to the grocery store"!

Another "hot" bento

Since we are home and Ben is napping, why not?

To the left, 3 sweet & sour meatballs. On the right, a Hello Kitty shaped rice mold, 2 steamed pork dumplings, a cup of mixed melons and a couple of carrot sticks to hold it all in place.

We are low on necessities (especially fruit!), so a trip to the grocery store is going to be in order soon.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Quick Monday Lunch

I still can't convince the girl to just eat a sandwich. ;o) I may have created a monster.

Instead, we have some faux experimental sushi (those are string cheese in the center with ham & cream cheese). It worked ok, but it did not roll as well as I was hoping. There's half a heart shaped boiled egg, some Teddy Grahams, some carrot sticks and some cantelope & honeydew. It's all packed into one of the Target Dollar Spot boxes. This is Faith's favorite because of the princesses and works OK for home. I still wish they sealed better, then she could take it to school too.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Media stuff

For those of you local, the Dallas Morning News article on bentos for kids will be out *this* Wednesday in their food section. It's supposed to be the lead story in that section, so look for Faith & Ben pictures! :o)

Also, the October issue of Dallas Child is supposed to have an article too. Talked to the writer a couple of nights ago, so keep an eye out for that in the next month or so!

Picnic Lunches x3

No lunches yesterday. It was Ben's birthday party and we had cake for lunch. Sometimes it is just good to have cake. ;o)

Today, however, we went on a little picnic playdate. Because we were all exhausted, we were terribly late. It was also something like 100 degrees, so we didn't make it long, but at least we ate in style!

Ben had star-shaped ham & cheese sandwiches, a few grapes, a few Hello Panda cookies & mixed melons.

Faith had the same.

And I had a low carb, trainer approved lunch of cottage cheese, peaches and grilled chicken.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Faith's Choice Part 2

Once again, the infamous comment "I'm hungry Mommy." And once again, the kid knows what she wants. So another Faith pick:

Turkey, cheese & cream cheese sandwiches cut into hearts, honeydew melon, a blueberry yogurt jelly, and koala cookies.

Her HK box is from the Target $1 Spot. You don't think I'd get Ben one and not her, do you? ;o) She got HK & Disney Princesses, he got Cars & Spiderman. Once again, $1 each made the kids fairly happy.

Steamed Pork Dumplings

Rebecca asked about these, but there is no secret recipe.

I buy them at the Oriental grocery already made and frozen. The little ones come in a bag of about 20 for $4-5. Bigger ones tend to come in packages of 4 for $2. Faith likes the smaller ones better. I put them in my food steamer for about 12 minutes and they are done. ;o)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Birthday Bento for Ben!

A quick birthday bento lunch for my boy. His favorite--turkey & cheese sandwiches with chive cream cheese (shaped like boats), goldfish pretzels & grapes.

The Cars container is from Super Target's Dollar Spot. It came with a smaller inside container which I didnt need today. I'm ambivalent about it. It's cute, but the lid doesn't seal as tightly as I'd like. It's also taller than I'd prefer so the food moved around pretty freely. But for $1, it's cute & Ben liked the Cars. I certainly wouldn't put wet/messy food in it, I don't think it would make it in one piece.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Baby Bentos

We do not have this, but I think it is absolutely adorable!

Seriously, if Ben was a year younger, I'd have already ordered it.

Amazon link:

If you actually do buy it, tell me how it works, we may need one anyhow!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Faith's Choice ;o)

We get home from running errands and Ben goes to take a nap. Faith says "Can I have lunch?" Being a nice mother, I say "Sure, how about a sandwich?". She, being a bit of a pest at times, says "No, how about a bento?"

Personally, I was routing for a sandwich so I could sit down and relax a bit myself, but wasn't up for the argument. So I told her I would make it, but she had to tell me exactly what she wanted in it.

The result:

Across the center are 3 steamed pork dumplings. The bottom row containes carrot sticks & cucumber stars (note to self: out of cucumber now) and a half a boiled egg flower. The top row contains koala cookies and grapes (another note to self: also out of melon & strawberries and precariously low on grapes).

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Faith's "One Bite" Lunch

Today was an experiment in "one bite" foods. Everything is cut/diced/portioned to be one bite per piece. Kind of a pain, but worth a try. I think it might be a good idea for Ben, he tends to put everything in his mouth at once. Faith is past that stage.

Anyhow, on the right is ham & cheese sandwiches cut into bite-sized flowers, cucumber hearts and little carrot rounds underneath. On the left, there is grapes (cut in half since we apparently bought jumbo grapes), strawberry slices and some koala cookies.

Another Shaun Lunch for Saturday

Today is our anniversary, so we are going out to dinner tonight, hence a simpler lunch to leave room for dinner,

Shaun got a tuna & egg salad sandwich, more daigo, cucumbers and carrots (he already has dressing at work) and mixed fruit salad. I'm sure he can't stand the excitement. ;o)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Shaun's "More Filling" Lunch

The big question has been, for Shaun, on whether or not his lunches are filling enough. The problem is he works at 10am and leaves around 7pm. He doesn't typically eat breakfast (which I think he should), so he has lunch around noon. We eat dinner when he gets home, hence the "is it enough food?" issue.

So, he has a sandwich with ham, turkey, pepperonis & cheese (more meat for more protein), daigo (that yellow stuff on the top, it's pickled radish), fruit salad, a boiled egg (more protein) and carrot sticks. I stayed away from too much carb-y foods, sort of, and less snacky stuff & more substantial food. We'll have to see later if it is truly filling enough. ;o)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Quick & easy lunch bento

Or not so bento since I grabbed dishwasher-safe plates. I'm kind of sick of doing dishes!

They both had the same thing, top plate is Faith's, bottom is Ben's. They had tuna salad bowls (tuna salad in the little Tostada scoopables) topped with cheese hearts, goldfish pretzels and an array of fresh fruit.

Want to guess who is completely uninspired today? They almost wound up with plain sandwiches! ;o)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Faith's After Swim Bento

We spent most of the late morning and early afternoon swimming, so Faith is having a light & late lunch before skating class.

To the left, there are turkey and cheese sandwiches in the shape of 4 bears and 2 bunnies, as well as 2 strawberries way in the back.

To the right, a couple of fruit skewers, some carrot sticks and some Hello Panda cookies.

Should be enough to tide her over till dinner. :o)

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