Friday, September 28, 2007

Quick Friday Lunch

After last night's Lion King extravaganza, we had a late start this morning. Since it was electives and not regular class day, we let Faith skip her first elective in favor of sleep. When we all work up, I had to throw together a quick lunch for her.

Since she had a late breakfast, she had bear & flower shaped sandwiches (turkey, cheese & cream cheese), some mandarin oranges and some pasta salad. And I got to attempt to wake up after the fact.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Last Day of 4 Lunch

My baby is going to be 5 tomorrow! I have no clue where the last 5 years went. :o( She was so excited for school today, she took cupcakes in to share with her class, then tonight she took cookie cake to Daisies (Missionettes) at church.

Today she had a chef salad with lettuce, turkey, cheese & carrots (hoped to have an egg in there but we didn't have any ready). The top tier has mandarin oranges, ranch dressing in the HK container for her salad, some panda & koala cookies and a yogurt jelly.

Monday, September 24, 2007

For my DAM girls

In honor of DAM's 5th anniversary, Nicole is having all sort of neat giveaways going on. I promised her a starter bento set, so this is what she'll be giving away soon!

Spongebob box with movable divider
Hello Kitty box with fixed divider & fork
"Sushi grass" paper dividers for food (hearts & cars)
Animal picks for fruit
Hello Kitty muffin cups
Hello Kitty dressing container
Animal cookie cutters
2 boxes of Koala cookies

No clue which day, so make sure to watch the board! :o)

Edited to add: DAM is Dallas Area Moms an awesome local forum for mommies run by my friend Nicole.

Monday's lunch for Faith

Another Monday morning and another week of school for Miss Faith. I let her pick what she wanted for lunch today.

She has "faaaaaaavorite pasta salad" with some cheese hearts, carrots with ranch in "that cute Hello Kitty container", a yogurt jelly, panda cookies, and "lots of fruit"! Got to love the fact that she picks a balanced meal on her own.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Lunches for Faith & Shaun

I had to make Faith a lunch for school today, so I thought I'd be nice and make Shaun one too.

Picture sucks from the lighting in my kitchen this morning (it was too dark to find halfway decent natural light). Anyhow, she had her "favorite ever" pasta salad with cheese stars, fruit salad, a yogurt jelly, some goldfish pretzels and koala cookies.

Shaun also got the "favorite ever" pasta salad although I don't really think it is his favorite ever, a tuna salad sandwich, fruit salad, some regular & mint oreos, and a granola bar.

It's not too difficult if they both take generally the same thing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bentos from non-specialty stores

Since Faith has pizza day at school and I've been meaning to post this for awhile, it seems like the perfect day for a picture post of bentos from non-bento sources.

Faith & Ben & I went off to see about bento supplies from non-specialty stores. Basically, if we had to buy it at Minoya, Mei Hua or Asian World Market, it couldn't count. We also ruled out anything we bought on Ebay and specialty items that aren't normal stock (like the Hello Kitty boxes at the Dollar Trees). Bonus points were added if said items were cheap and readily available.

Our results!


My first choice of non-official bento boxes - a Lock&Lock 4 compartment container. The four mini containers come out, which is quite useful, imho. This set us back $3.49 at Target.

A distant second was Lock&Lock style container. Unfortunately, it has no internal dividers, but that can likely be worked around. This was $1 at the Dollar Tree.

OK, this was just too cool not to buy! It is an insulated bowl with it's very own collapsible spoon. The bottom of the bowl (to the bottom right) is the insulated part. The left part screws onto the bottom and holds the spoon plus has more space for dry foods. The top screws to the middle and seals the whole thing. And the top looked like a face, so more bonus points for cute. This was also $1 at the Dollar Tree.

Bento Accessories:

Silicone muffin cups work so well for semi-wet foods (assuming of course the box stays right side up!). The upside, they are washable and reusable, they keep their shape well and work to act as dividers in non-divided boxes. The downside, they aren't cheap. Per my mom and some other online sources, some of the dollar stores in Canada seem to sell 4-packs for $1. I haven't found them here. These were 12 for $10 at Joann's or Michael's. However, a 40% off coupon brought them to $6 and it's not like I'm ever going to have to buy them again.

Fruit picks are cute and handy for kebabs. Our regular ones are Chinese Zodiac picks from a specialty store, so we had to find something else. Tada, multi-colored but plain, and they have a kind of cool fork effect at the bottom; they are also washable & reusable. For 75 of them, $1 at the Dollar Tree.

Wilton also makes cupcake message picks that look really cute. However, the Joann's I went to was out. They appear to sell for $2 for 12 picks - link.

Tons of stores sell cookie cutters, so those shouldn't be too hard to find. They are rather useful for cutting sandwiches & fruit/veggies. This was another dollar store find. We got 5 cutters plus some mini-shapes and numbers for $1 at the Dollar Tree. And as a bonus, two packs of playdoh. ;o)

I am not sure what I am going to do with these. They are mini silicone baking molds. I think I'm going to make the kids banana bread in them. They are about the size of my hand and came in a variety of shapes. Faith picked the heart and Ben picked the bear, so for $1 each, I gave in and bought them. :o)

So in summary, 3-4 common stores (maybe less if you can eliminate some accessories), no specialty stores or items, and I don't think we spent more than $15.

More answers

Sarah - in terms of leaks, it kind of depends what you pack. The Laptop Lunches always go with my husband to work. He's a little easier on things than my kids are (ie. he knows to keep a box flat and set it down on its bottom not the side). The LL do have a small dressing container with lid and one of the largest compartments has a lid. They seem fairly tight, but I wouldn't swear they wouldn't leak. The 4 comparment Lock&Lock works really well and you can always put Press&Seal on top and it seems to keep things from leaking. Otherwise, nothing I have is perfect, I just try to get Faith to keep her stuff upright (bento bags over traditional lunch bags help) and not pack anything too messy. Some of the really messy looking meals are when we are having bentos but eating at home.

Nicole - for a boy box locally, I haven't had much luck. I did get a Shinkansen shaped one at Giga inside Mei Hua in Plano. Everything else of Ben's is not from local sources (his Diego and Spongebob boxes are from one of the dollar stores in Canada, Elmo & Mickey are from Ebay Japan). If you don't mind plain, the Lock&Lock boxes at Target work well.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A New Week Bento

Yet another week of school begins for Miss Faith. I, however, needed to finish out some already made foods, so the bento was less than inspired. She prefers the other pasta salad as it has a ranch type dressing, but someone had to eat the last little bit of the Italian one. ;o)

To the left, we had the end of the Italian pasta salad with a cheese elephant and bunny. To the right, 2 cream cheese & jelly hearts, Hello Panda cookies, grapes, canteloupe & honeydew. She requests something completely different for the next lunch.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Lunch for Shaun

He got one too, since I was already making lunches last night.

He has an egg salad wrap, chef salad with cheese, daigo, fruit salad and a granola bar. Nothing creative, but he's easy to please.

Friday Lunch for Faith

Last day for the week, she loves her Friday classes (all electives--Spanish, hands-on Science, Art & Music). She did just tell me that they need snacks, so along with her lunch, she got a very uncreative prewrapped granola bar, it's almost grocery day here!

She has Italian pasta salad with some cheese stars, ham/cheese/cream cheese faux sushi, mixed fruit salad and koala cookies. I am so loving the silicone cups, so much easier and neater than paper stuff.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Answering questions

Does it work if I reply in the comments? Or does it not feed that way?

Either way:

Janelle - the shapes for the sandwiches and veggies are just mini-metal cookie cutters. Some are from Minoya in Plano, some are from Williams Sonoma, some are from my mom's house. ;o) Really, anything metal works well. Plastic works alright, but metal works better.

Cortni - the yogurt jellies are from Asian World Market at 75 & Legacy. They come in a big bag or a big cookie jar like container. I know the cookie jars were on a front cap the last time I was there. I think they are also down one of the snack aisles.

Jonahlisa - the faux sushis are just rolled out white bread with the crusts cut off. :o) The meatball recipe is easy--mix equal parts of apricot or grape jam & BBQ sauce; pour over frozen meatballs and bake for about an hour. The dumplings, I buy frozen at the Oriental Market, but I don't know what the brand name is (it's written in Chinese characters).

Kelly - the bento bags, I just flipped one of Faith's real ones inside out and kind of followed the pattern. I really can't sew, so thankfully, it was a bunch of straight lines. It's basically a little drawstring bag (fold the flap down and sew it, then sew up the 3 sides) with the corners taken in so the bag sits nice.

Another non-sandwich lunch

Only we really do have bread this time! I just thought Faith could use a change of pace.

I found this box at the Disney store the other night. It was called a sandwich or snack box. But if you know Faith's obsession with Aurora, you know why I had to get it. Thankfully, it was on clearance for $2, which isn't a deal breaker either. It held a fair amount of food for an almost-5 year old, probably not enough for an adult.

Today, she has Italian pasta salad, a yogurt jelly, mixed fruit salad, goldfish pretzels, flower cucumbers, carrots and some Nilla wafers.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Faith School Lunch in a New Box

She wanted to use her new box today, so who was I to stop her. :o)

She has teddy bear & star shaped sandwiches and koala cookies on the left. On the right, she has star shaped canteloupe, grapes and honeydew, some carrots, teddy bear shaped cucumber and a yogurt jelly. All yummy & Faith chosen.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

More New Boxes!

Thank you again Angela! Faith & Ben love their new boxes!

Faith wants to use hers for school tomorrow, so check back to see what excitement ends up inside! ;o)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Faith's "We're Out of Bread" Lunch

And some of us can *go* to the grocery store, buy all sorts of other food and still forget the bread. :o( So since I didn't want to make a trip back to the grocery store, we improvised.

She has a pasta salad (ranch & bacon wtih peas & carrots in there somewhere) covered with a few cheese hearts as her main course. To the right, some fruit kebabs with honeydew, grapes & canteloupe (balled with my new Pampered Chef melonballer), some chocolate koala cookies & a marshmallow jam treat).

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Ben's On-the-go Box

We volunteered for lunch duty at Faith's school today, so Ben came with us. Since it was obviously lunchtime, Ben brought his very own bento. (FYI, today was a special lunch day at Faith's school, so she got to have Chik-Fil-A, so no bento for her.)

Ben picked his new Elmo box, isn't it cute?

It's a decent size with a snap-on lid and a movable divider.

He had turkey & cheese faux sushi, goldfish pretzels, grapes, canteloupe, some Yogos, and a couple of koala cookies. Then he ate Faith's Chik-Fil-A nuggets and chips too.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bento on the cheap

Great blog with lots of good ideas for making a cheaper bento.

As a fair warning, the language is definitely not rated for small children & family viewing. ;o)

Tuesday Ballet Bento

Well, we enjoyed a nice long weekend with little cooking and lots of eating out. Time to get back into the real lunch thing again.
Faith had an hour & half of dance this morning, then Nicole & Ryleigh came over, so we squeezed in a quick bento in between.

We have heart sandwiches, a half a heart egg, some goldfish pretzels & chocolate koala cookies. On the right, some carrots, a cucumber flower and some grapes.

Ben slept through lunch, so if he eats later, who knows. :o)

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