Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ben's Dinner Bento

I forgot to post this the other day, so figured to post it now. Ben needed a dinner bento the other night as well, so he had one pretty much like his sister's.



Ben's bento was pretty similar to Faith's--ham & cheese sandwiches on Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread, cut into elephants with our new Lunch Punch! How awesome are the elephants, it's a whole "Peanut" sandwich, Mommy & baby! Susan at Hawaii's Bento Box used the cute little candy eyes on one of her creations last week, so I borrowed a bit of inspiration from her again.

Ben had carrots & celery, with a little bit of creamy tomato dressing in the container. Again, same as Faith's--I mixed some homemade tomato soup with a bit of cream cheese to make a dipping sauce, it worked. On the right, he has blueberry banana bread complete with his Peanut pick and some grapes, cantaloupe & blackberries. It's packed in our EasyLunchbox, I'm using those a lot lately.

Someone asked on this post where I got the candy eyes? They are for cake/cookie decorating and my mom actually got them for me at a little candy shop near her house in Canada. They are just little sugar dots, I think I've seen them at craft stores with the baking & cake decorating items in the US.

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 5



Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 4!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Please add a link back here:
http://bentolunch.blogspot.com/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dinner Bento for Faith!

We had taekwondo last night and I realized late in the day that I really should throw together a couple of dinner bentos for the kids. The only dilemma? We're trying to finish out a lot of food so finding stuff to eat without opening new packages was a bit interesting.



Faith had ham & cheese sandwiches on Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread, cut into dolphins. A friend of mine had showed me the Lunch Punch awhile back and the sweet owner sent me a couple to try out for F&B and offered to host a giveaway (coming soon, I want to finish writing our review for them, but in summary, awesome product)! Susan at Hawaii's Bento Box used the cute little candy eyes on one of her creations last week, so had to borrow that idea. The kids loved the little sweet treat.

She also has cucumbers, carrots, celery & peapods, with a little bit of creamy tomato dressing in the container. I'm low on dressings, so mixed some homemade tomato soup with a smidge of cream cheese to make a dipping sauce, it worked. On the upper right, we're finishing off the blueberry banana bread and on the lower right, we're getting to end of the grapes & cantaloupe. It's packed in our EasyLunchbox, which is my preference right now for dinners.

Not bad for lacking a whole lot of food parts right now.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Muffin Tin Mondays - Fresh Fruit Fest

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth


In keeping with my theme of the week (food we need to eat before I go to Canada), I bring you Muffin Tin Monday, the fresh fruit edition. ;o)

We got home from VBS and had decided on pizza for lunch, but F&B were starving, so no reason why they couldn't have a platter of fruit crudites!



This would be Ben's tray. He has cantaloupe, blackberries, green grapes, apple slices topped with a frozen strawberry and an apricot. The bottom center holds vanilla yogurt to dip the fruit in.

Yummy, healthy, refreshing, and I got rid of a ton of fruit doing this!

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Sunday Bento for Faith

Had to feed the kids after church anyhow, so we made bentos. I can't promise how exciting & unique this week's bentos will be. We're coming up on our Canada trip and this week's theme may have to be "Food that will go bad if I leave it in the fridge when I am not at home"! ;o)



Miss Faith opted for ham, cheese & lettuce sandwiches in mini-pita pockets, carrots, cucumbers & a new favorite pea pods, apricots & a blackberry, and some of the apple-cinnamon granola bars I made a few days ago.

Up past 660+ FB followers right now! Thanks everyone! :o)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

And an Octodog for Faith

Never mind that the girl was at camp this week, doing all sorts of cool things like rock climbing, zip lines, horseback riding & swimming. Mommy made Ben an octo-dog and she did not get one. ;o) As any of you with two+ kids know, that is simply not acceptable. So we had to make octo-dogs again. Thankfully, I still had the "dog" part left over.

I did not, however, feel like making another pasta salad, so I premade rice for dinner and used that as the "sea", pretend it's the sea in Antarctica or something!

Octodog Paperchase Alien Bento Box

Miss Faith has a mini octo-dog (half a regular one) sitting on a bed of steamed rice and decorated with carrot & cucumber star fish. The upper left contains a lovely, freshly made apple-cinnamon granola bar (from this recipe but using dried apples & extra cinnamon in lieu of cherries & chocolate chips) along with some strawberries. The lower left holds the rest of the strawberries, an apricot and a plum, all sliced into bite-sized pieces. It's packed in one of our Paperchase boxes, technically it's Ben's robot one, but the size/shape was perfect for today.

Updates & Lots of News

We're getting set to head to Canada soon for our annual July trip back home. There will be bentos. I'm perusing the web & sending my mom on the lookout for cool Canadian supplies because I'm sure there has got to be something! We may even have an on the road bento or two since we are driving!

We're up to 640+ fans on Facebook (which thoroughly entertains me). If you haven't followed me on FB, I'd totally love it if you would:

If you know someone else who would like this as well, share it on FB, please?

Coming up soon, reviews and/or giveaways for:
Yum Yum Bento Box
Mimi the Sardine products
The Lunch Punch
ZAK Nibble Trays

We're just in giveaway kind of mood and we've found some awesome new products to share with all of you. Stay tuned for some fun summer stuff leading up to back to school lunch time!

Anything else you'd like to see or know? Always wanted to ask me? Leave a comment! :o)

Bento Desserts Part 5 - Blueberry Banana Bread

I've posted this before, but this is possibly the best recipe I have ever tried for banana bread. The yogurt makes all the difference and it is a lovely moist banana bread with a great flavor, definitely a favorite around here. I made one loaf for 3 of us (Faith was at camp). I have 2 pieces left. It is absolutely wonderful.



As well, it's versatile! I threw in a few handfuls of fresh blueberries into the dough for extra flavor and fruit. I've made it before with cherries and I think pineapple would be quite nice, maybe next time.

Base Banana bread:
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup yogurt (I prefer vanilla, but plain or flavored work too)

Beat butter & sugar together, add eggs.
Add banana, yogurt, vanilla, blend well.
Add dry ingredients, blend until moist.
Bake in a loaf pan at 350 for approximately 50 minutes-1 hour.

My note: After blending in the dry ingredients, I added my blueberries so they wouldn't get mashed in the blending process.

We need another loaf of this, one was not enough, but I'm out of bananas.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ben's Octo Bento!

The boy is really missing his sister while she's at camp. He is not used to being the only kid and doesn't seem to enjoy it, especially with no one to play with.

We did go to taekwondo last night, in order to give him something to do, so I made him a special bento just because. I've seen octodogs on other bento blogs many times in the past and always thought I should try them. So I did. Ben was happy.



Ben has an octodog sitting on a bed of blue pasta salad with carrot starfish, peas, & a few celery (seaweed maybe?). He has watermelon chunks and a few pieces of strawberry oatmeal bars. It's all packed in his EasyLunchbox.



A close-up of the octodog! I added his facial features with Wilton Food Writer Edible Color Markers.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feeding my Husband - Laptop Lunches

Shaun didn't need a lunch yesterday. He was supposed to be out showing property all morning, but when that was canceled, he worked from home. We have a fridge, he can make his own food. ;o)

Today, however, he's back at the office, so we'll continue with the series of feeding the grown-ups with bentos. Today, I opted for one of our Laptop Lunches. They work rather well for grown up food, since neither of my kids take enough food to adequately fill the containers.



Today, he has a turkey, ham & muenster cheese sandwich on honey-wheat with lettuce & mayo plus a few baby grape tomatoes to stabilize it. ;o) Below that is a salad--lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot, green pepper & green onion; basically whatever we had in the fridge. To the top right is cantaloupe, below that is a mixed berry muffin from my freezer stash.

Notice the odd shaped cantaloupe? It's what is leftover after making cantaloupe stars for Ben to take to church last night. I get lots of questions about what we do with the leftover bits when we cut things out. That's about it. It goes back in the fridge and added to other things or we nosh on it when we're looking for a quick snack.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Martial Arts Snack Box for Ben

~*~We are officially live at our own domain - http://www.bentolunch.net~*~

Last night was Wipeout night on tv, which meant the 3 of us had every intention on coming home from taekwondo, making a quick dinner and watching our show. However, Mr. Ben finishes his class an hour before Shaun & I do and he is usually hungry while he is waiting.

I opted to bring him a quick snack box, totally inspired by Susan at Hawaii's Bento Box and the Fun Finger Sandwiches she made the other day. Ben & I finally bought the circle fondant cutters I wanted, so it made shaping the bread much easier.



Ben had a couple of finger sandwiches of turkey & muenster cheese on Nature's Own Honey Wheat, topped with a muenster flower & a sharp cheddar star. He was less than interested in a cute butterfly. :oP I'll have to wait for Faith for that one. He had a boiled egg, sliced in my handy dandy egg slicer (seriously, one of my most favorite kitchen gadgets ever), a few grapes with his "Peanut" picks and a beautiful red strawberry.

Then he came home and ate a whole second meal. ;o) Teenage boy eating starts at age 4?

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 4



Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 4!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Please add a link back here:
http://bentolunch.blogspot.com/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Feeding my Husband - Mexican Food Bento

Day 2 in the "Feeding My Husband" series is upon us. ;o)

After looking through my fridge and freezer to see what I could possibly give him for lunch, I decided on a Mexican themed meal (I had half an avocado that needed to be used).


In the bottom part of his box, he has a sort-of Mexican style salad of lettuce, green onions, tomatoes, black olives, green peppers, avocado and shredded cheese. Dressing is in a separate container not pictured.


The top boxes held a Fajita Chicken Burrito on one side and some homemade blueberry banana bread and strawberry slices on the other. The burrito is from Cedarlane (organic) and was on sale at Kroger. They are a little high in price normally, so I only buy them on sale. 75 cents per burrito is a great sale. ;o)

Shaun's lunch is packed in a Fit & Fresh Lunch on the Go container. The multiple separate compartments work well for him, especially with salads, and since he commutes in the Texas heat, I like the built in icepack.

Ben's Comfort Food Bento

Ah, comfort food. Sometimes you just need things on those lines. Mr. Ben is a bit lonely for his sister, so he & I opted for some comfort food yesterday. We made one of my favorites, of course, grilled cheese & tomato soup, perfect to take along to taekwondo with us in a bento!

It was seriously perfect--homemade tomato soup with parmesan and real grilled cheese with sharp cheddar and muenster on Nature's Own Honey Wheat, no pear today. So lovely!



Ben brought along a bento with a star-shaped grilled cheese and a few extra sharp cheddar stars on top. The cutter didn't slice well from the heat, hence why the sandwich is a bit hidden. He had a slice of yesterday's yummy banana blueberry bread, a strawberry and some grapes.



In his Cars thermos, he had the tomato soup. It's thick and creamy and so so good!



We packed it all in our Easy Lunchboxes cooler, since we had a box, a thermos, a water bottle, plus napkins & silverware.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Feeding my Husband - Intro to GrownUp Bentos

Since Faith is at camp this week, I only have one kid to feed. And while Ben eats a *lot*, I wasn't entirely sure I would have enough blog material for the week, especially if he gets stuck in a food rut.

My lovely husband came to the rescue with the suggestion "You could make lunch for me, maybe your readers are interested in bentos for adults." While I think the initial suggestion was a bit self-serving, he kind of hit on a good idea.

So while Faith is gone, we'll attempt "feeding the husband" as a theme for the week.



For lunch, Shaun had a salad (lettuce, cucumber, carrot) with shredded cheese & happy boiled eggs, along with baby grape tomatoes to add in at the office. For the time being, they are making sure the sandwich stays put. Dressing was packed in a separate container. He had a chicken salad sandwich with lettuce on Nature's Own Multigrain Sandwich Rounds (cut in half to fit in the box), the last cherry-chocolate chip granola bar, a bunch of grapes, and a bit fat strawberry for color.

The box is from Super Target a couple of years ago, but a friend of mine told me they have them again with the picnic supplies. The lid has a built in knife & fork, so it's all one piece. I know they are less than $5, maybe $3.99? Either way, it's a perfect box to give bento a shot for grown ups without spending a fortune to get started.

Muffin Tin Mondays, a Breakfast Tin!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth


The last few weeks, we've been able to have muffin tins ready to post early on Monday. This week, not so much. Instead, we decided to get up and make a breakfast tin for something a little different.



Ben had tamagoyaki (Japanese style rolled eggs, but the are thicker than they should be, oops), homemade blueberry banana bread, vanilla yogurt with a few frozen blueberries, watermelon and fresh strawberries. He then ate all his father's grapes too.

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Three Year Blogiversary Winner!

I am so sorry everyone! I meant to do this yesterday, but we didn't get home from Chicago till 3am Saturday morning (storm delays at O'Hare) and I spent the day getting Miss Faith ready for sleepaway camp.

Anyhow, I went back into the post, got my handy dandy list of entrants, headed to random.org to find a number, and it selected ...



#22

Which, per my list, is Michelle at All Home Cooking!

Congratulations Michelle! I'll email you with the information for your Fabkins! Hope you enjoy!

Ben's Second Sunday Lunch

Faith left for camp this afternoon. We took her to meet the camp bus and had lunch with her before leaving, including Mr. Ben. We returned home, sans Faith, and Ben requested more food. Nothing out of the ordinary.



Ben's second lunch includes star-shaped turkey & cheese sandwiches on Nature's Own Honey Wheat with very last of the roasted red pepper-tomato dip as a spread. He has a small chunk of strawberry oatmeal bar, some carrots, a few apple slices, grapes, and his "Peanut" pick of blueberries.

Stay tuned this week for some grown-up bentos! I promised Shaun that since I only had one kid to cook for this week, I'd make him some healthy husband lunches. ;o)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Bento Time!

We're home! Awesome few days in Chicago and we met some amazing people.

Of course, we're home and the kiddos still need food. After 3 days of all restaurant food, we just need a break back to simple, homecooked meals. The catch, of course, is that I need to now run to the store, but I have enough goodies to make them bentos.



This is Faith's box, but Ben's is essentially the same. She has mini pita sandwiches--whole grain pitas with lettuce and a chicken salad I made today. She also has carrots & cucumbers (with a cute face on the top cucumber), grapes & a few blueberries and a piece of homemade granola bars. Pretty cute, pretty healthy, and definitely yummy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Snack Taxis - A Review

The other day in the mail, we received a lovely surprise. Erin at SnackTaxi sent us a pair of their bags to try out, use and blog about! We do love surprises in the mail and honestly, take a look at these!

Did she not pick the absolute perfect ones for me? Right off the bat, I was in love with the sushi pattern and already thinking that these were for Mommy, not F&B!



Read more ...

Egg Faces Tutorial

Ask & ye shall receive!


These are the eggs we made for Ben's end of the year preschool picnic. They are a great alternative for something cute if you don't have egg molds. A word of warning, they aren't complicated, but they are really not fun when you make 24 of them at once. 2 are fun. 24 is enough to make you stand in the kitchen cursing to yourself.

We're making a bunny & a kitty today. From these two, it's pretty easy to see the bear, the duck, the mouse, or the sleeping kid.

1. Supplies--boiled egg(s), chilled, peeled, cut in half; baby carrots (larger & smaller if you have them), spinach or red lettuce, a good knife, a straw, a toothpick, and a mini heart cookie cutter (mine are from Williams Sonoma)

2. Starting with the thinner/smaller carrot, chop off one end to the desired bunny ear length. Shave off either side so you have two thin ears. Use your knife to adjust the shape accordingly.

3. For the kitty ears, cut two rounds off the larger carrot, trim each into a triangle with your knife.

4. For eyes, hold down one of your leafy greens flat on the cutting board and slowly rotate the straw till it cuts through. You may need to poke it out gently with the toothpick if it doesn't cut smoothly.

5. Make some more eyes & noses. I needed 6 for this.

6. The mouths--Take the heart cookie cutter and cut out a heart/partial heart, making sure to get the whole scallop at the top.

7. Move the cookie cutter back a fraction of an inch so you can see the top edge of the scallop and cut again. This should leave you a mustache looking piece. Make another one if you can or repeat 6 & 7 for the next one.

8. Time to assemble. Gently lift the mouths onto the egg, move into place with the toothpick and lightly push them down to secure.

9. Same with the eyes. Move into place, then push gently so they stick also.

10. Ears! The kitty ears just kind of sit in place while the bunny ears are poked slightly into the yolk. Again, slowly slide these into place as not to mess up the rest of the face.

With Ben's preschool eggs, the sleeping face is the same mouth as the animals, but cut into eyes and a smile. The chick is the same eyes and a triangle kitty ear for the beak. The bear has carrot rounds cut in half for ears and the mouse has full carrot rounds for ears.

Even better, no specialty items required other than the cookie cutter. Besides the Williams Sonoma set I always mention, craft stores typically have small cookie cutters in cute patterns (I also like Wilton fondant cutters for projects).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bento for Food Allergies - a guest post

We're off on a little adventure to Chicago till Friday night, so I invited Jen from Vegetus Maximus to share a few bentos with you. Her little guy has severe food allergies and she has been making bentos for him (with all sorts of yummy from-scratch items) to help him eat well and stay safe!

This February, I found out my then 8 month old son had several significant food allergies, including wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, dairy, soy, and eggs. Due to their high-allergy risk, we’ve also been advised to delay the introduction of fish, tomato, oranges, and strawberries. This cuts out a lot of foods in the typical American child’s diet, including pretty much anything that comes in a box, bag or bottle.

Being the notoriously stubborn person that I am, I’ve since been determined to provide my little boy with a healthy varied diet despite these dietary restrictions. This means religiously reading labels and contacting companies to find “trace free” basic cooking staples like olive oil and rice (most are contaminated with trace allergens during the manufacturing process), and grinding my own rice flour for baked goods.

I keep things colorful and am constantly experimenting in the kitchen to find new ways of presenting our “safe” foods. In addition to my culinary experiments, we eat lots of fruits, veggies, beans, rice, potatoes, and poultry. My son, or Senorcito as we like to call him, has grown into an adorable happy pudgy one year old who loves to devour the food I pack for daycare.


Colorful Bento
Breakfast - 2 mini Rice-Quinoa-Blueberry Muffins and a Nectarine.
Lunch - Brown Rice, Turkey, Avocado, Okra and Carrot Stars.
Snack - Golden Apple and Blueberries plus Quinoa O's.


Blue Box
Breakfast - Banana, Blueberries, Quinoa O's
Lunch - Baked Chicken, Sautéed Greens and Purple Potatoes
Snack - Peaches

The recipes for some of Jen's muffins can be found on her blog along with pictures of the cute little man she does this all for!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Airplane Bento!

We're off to Chicago! I figured F&B might be hungry on the plane and you just never know if there will be food on your flights anymore. I opted, instead, to pack them a quick breakfast bento. I do wish we could have brought yogurt, but I don't think we could get it through security.



This is Ben's box, but both kids had the same. They each had half a Nature's Own blueberry bagel with blueberry cream cheese, half a hard-boiled egg (sleepy face style), grapes, blueberries & blackberries. My goal was to stave off hunger until we arrived in the Windy City. Mission accomplished.

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 3



Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 3!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!

Please add a link back here:
http://bentolunch.blogspot.com/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On the Road Bentos for Tuesday

Heading to Chicago for a few days on Wednesday, so today absolutely had to be my errand day. No worries, I've got lots of posts scheduled for while we are gone, I planned ahead! Shaun's at work, which meant F&B had to join me for my visits to a million & one stores. Since I knew there would be minimal time to stop & eat lunch (either out or at home), I packed them each a bento to bring along in the car.



We tried to keep it simple and not too messy, since I really don't like people eating in my car. This is Faith's bento, but they had identical lunches. They each had half a cream cheese & jelly sandwich on Nature's Own Whole Wheat Sandwich Rounds (cut in half again, to make quarters and fit in the box). They had a few carrot sticks, half a boiled egg (bunny for Faith, kitty cat for Ben), the last of the honeydew and the last of the strawberries. Trying to finish out a few food items before it all ends up bad when we get home.

Dips!

I've had a bunch of people ask about the dips we've used in our Muffin Tins this week and last week.

The good part is I took pictures and everything so I could share them with you. The bad part is there's not an exact recipe for either. They are both kind of "combine your ingredients, taste, add more of whatever you think it needs" kind of recipes.

Note, these containers are really small, I don't think they hold a full cup measure of anything when full, so the recipe guesses won't yield you a whole lot.



On the left is creamy avacado dip. It is a combination of pureed avocado & cream cheese, combined in my little mini food processor. I found it works better to puree the avocado first, then add the cream cheese. I used about 1/4 to 1/3 of an avocado and about 1/4 block of cream cheese for this one. F&B are kind of ambivalent about avocado, so I found this more creamy, less avocado-y. You could probably use at least 1/2 the avocado without a problem.

On the right is probably their favorite dip--tomato & roasted red pepper. I used the remaining 1/4 block of cream cheese, a few tablespoons of tomato sauce (you can also use real tomatoes, but I had the sauce in the fridge that needed to be used), maybe 1/2 a roasted red pepper (I buy jarred ones with nothing added), and a couple of tablespoons of mayo. Again, I used my mini-processor. Puree the pepper first, then the tomato (if using whole tomatoes). Add the cream cheese, then the mayo/tomato sauce (if using) and blend till smooth.

Both of these are really good with veggies or with pretzels, mini breads, crackers. I've also used them as sandwich spreads which both kids liked. We made mini club sandwiches with the avocado dip and pretty much anything with the tomato-red pepper one.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bento Desserts Part 4 - Homemade Granola Bars

I'm still working on my quest to find healthier bento desserts when I found this recipe on a forum I am on.

OMG, I think this has been my favorite dessert yet. I absolutely love granola bars to begin with and have been desperately looking for a good recipe with no peanut butter in it (F&B hate peanut butter). This one uses honey to bind it all together and no extra sugar added.

Now, I will say that *I* wanted these and opted for chocolate chips & dried cherries. You probably could make them healthier with nuts (F&B won't eat), other dried fruits, coconut, raisins, etc. But I wanted chocolate chips. ;o) And cherry goes realllllllllllllly well with chocolate.

And again, these aren't meant to be health food, just a healthiER treat than store bought. At least I know what's in these. :o)

BentoLunch.net - Granola Bar Recipe, No Added Sugar, Nut Free


Don't they look good? The raisin-looking things are actually dried cherries which I got at Aldi. Faith & I actually cut each one in four pieces so there are more chunks of cherry and less big blobs of cherry.

Homemade Granola Bars:
3 1/4 cups rolled Oats (or combination of oats and other whole grains)
3/4 cups Whole Wheat flour (or all-purpose)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 T. Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups "Stuff" (I used 1 cup chopped dried cherries and 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 325.
In a large mixing bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, and any spices you want to use.
In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, oil, and honey.
Pour wet mix into dry and stir to combine.
Stir in the "stuff" you want to use.
Spray an edged cookie sheet or pan with cooking spray and press VERY firmly into cookie sheet. (I used a 7x11 pan that was perfect for this).
Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes until top is turning golden brown.
Remove from oven and firmly press down bars again with a spatula or similar, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Cut into bars--they are hard to cut if you allow it to completely cool.
Allow to finish cooling completely before removing from pan.

My note - The original recipe was double the amounts posted. I halved it because I'd rather make things fresh and I didn't have enough honey for a full batch. ;o) You could double it or you could make 2 different kinds. I promised Shaun I'd get some dried mango & pineapple plus some coconut and make tropical ones.

My note 2 - If the mixture seems too crumbly, add extra honey by the teaspoon. I'm not sure why it sometimes needs it and sometimes doesn't, but thinking it might depend on the fillers. Add slowly though, it's easier to add more than remove some! ;o)

Check out the dessert tag for some of our other experiments!

Muffin Tin Mondays, ABCs!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth


I know we've done this theme before, but I have certain foods that just need to be eaten! I'm off to Chicago later this week and I wanted certain fruits/veggies eaten before they end up being wasted. I really don't enjoy wasting food.

Anyhow, we opted for an alphabet theme this week!



Starting from the top left and going across the top row, then bottom:
A is for Apples
B is for Bananas, Blackberries & Blueberries
C is for Carrots, Celery & Cucumber
D is for Dip (roasted red pepper & tomato is the fave this week)
E is for Egg (half a hardboiled egg, decorated to look like a cat)
F is for Fish-shaped sandwich (tuna FISH salad on Nature's Own Honey Wheat)

Be sure to check out Muffin Tin Monday for other fun lunches!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Newly Organized Bento Cabinet!

I've already posted this on Facebook without the details, but figured I'd share here as well.

F&B and I organized our bento cabinet yesterday. Thankfully, we have a really good sized kitchen with a lot of cupboard space, so I was able to steal one whole cabinet for lunch supplies. It's on 3 of the 4 shelves, if you notice the last shelf at the top, I can't reach it without a stool and I'm 5'7". I use those shelves to store holiday related kitchen items so I only have to climb up there once a year.



The contents:

Top Shelf, starting from the left in columns:
1. Dollarama Spongebob/Dora/Diego/Strawberry Shortcake boxes & collapsible basket-style sandwich boxes (they are not visible, but say something like "Feel at Ease" with leaf pictures)
2. Assorted square boxes, similar to Lock&Locks but cuter (Hello Kitty, jungle animals, school themed), sandwich style boxes (Cars & Kung Fu Panda)
3. Random rectangular bentos around the same size,3 Dollar Tree Hello Kitty with sporks in the lid, an Aurora box from Disney Store, black Sanrio Monokuro Boo, yellow Elmo
4. 2 Laptop Lunches, a blue Hello Kitty box that looks more like a tackle box imho, Disney Store 101 Dalmation bone shaped boxes which hold sauce bottles, bands, and sauce cups too, one more sandwich box that holds all our food picks
5. In the front, 2 triangular boxes and a different sized two tier box that didn't fit anywhere else

Middle shelf, starting from the left in columns:
1. Single layer boxes with snap down lids--Putifresh, Clickity Click, Thomas the Train
2. Single layer boxes with snap down lids--aliens from Borders, Disney Marie from Aristocrats, and black stacking boxes (Mickey Mouse)
3-6. Double layer boxes inside themselves--Putifresh, Clickity Click, Hello Kitty, a few others, and Faith's stacking wiener dog boxes from Borders
7. In the front, Ben's Cars box from the Disney Store that looks like a gas can, a couple of sets of silverware/chopsticks in cases

Bottom Shelf, starting from the left:
1. Mini containers--Hello Kitty, Shinkansen, Feel at Ease, some round ones with animal lids, in the back. In front of those, silicone muffin cups, squares, circles & mini hearts. Next to that, my Pampered Chef uncrustable maker.
2. Rubbermaid tote of egg molds, rice molds, and ice cream sandwich molds I use for eggs. Another Rubbermaid tote with a small fraction of my cookie cutters, those most frequently used. On top of that, a dinosaur and star sandwich cutter, 4 bug shaped silicone muffin cups that Faith & I had to buy the other day.
3. In the back, smaller Disney Store boxes with snap down lids, Hello Kitty & Shinkansen shaped boxes. In front, a pretty green two layer box a friend got me, small square Clickity Click boxes for F&B.

Not shown:
Our stainless steel water bottles fit perfectly in front of the totes on the lowest shelf, I took them out for pictures.
Our Easy Lunchboxes are in the dishwasher.
The regular grown up bentos (Fit & Fresh, Lock & Lock, another Target picnic one) are all in the tupperware cabinet.

It's a hobby, really!!!
 

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