Thursday, September 30, 2010

Faith's Hoot-iful Bento

Crazy, busy day today, and it's not even close to over. The kids have taekwondo in a hour, then we go straight from there to drop Faith off at Brownies, come home, start dinner, then go pick Faith back up at Brownies and hopefully eat dinner after 8!

Because of all that, I thought we needed a little snack box along the way. Nothing too heavy, just some healthy goodies will we can get around to eating dinner. Plus, it was a chance to use the insets of my new Wilton linzer cookie cutter.

Faith has two mini pitas, stuffed with tuna salad, and topped with two hoot-iful white cheddar owls, sitting on an orange cheddar branch. Baby carrots help stabilize the sandwich. The middle compartment holds pretzels and still frozen blackberries, while the right compartment has green grapes and cantaloupe. Can't remember exactly where I got this box, but isn't it cute?

ETA: Alie reminded me in the comments, it's from the Dollar Spot at Target!

We're also up to 62 entries now, for What's for Lunch Wednesday for a Cause! That means 62 food items for the North Texas Food Bank! It's not too late to add yours, the link up is open until Tuesday night!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Taekwondo Snack Bentos Again

Based on this week's schedule with Faith's birthday and Brownies, I knew we'd have to stay for martial arts class last night or risk not making it at all this week. Since F&B are hungry after theirs, we need a healthy snack bento that wouldn't interfere too much with dinner.

I kept it very simple, little decoration, just a single cheese cutout to spruce up the box. A little bit of cute, the kids love it, and it took all of an extra 15 seconds to get the extra cheese out of the fridge and cut it quickly with a cookie cutter.

The kids have identical meals--ham and cheese sandwiches on fresh pumpernickel rye bread, watermelon from our garden, cantaloupe, grapes, and a simple white cheddar cutout decoration (bunny for Faith, airplane for Ben). I grabbed the bread from the bakery at Kroger and it is lovely. My grandpa used to buy pumpernickel from a bakery in Buffalo, I've always loved it!

And if you haven't already, please check out this week's What for Lunch Wednesday for a Cause! As of publishing this post, it's up to 57 entries, which means 57 food items for the North Texas Food Bank!

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 18 - For a Cause!!!

That's right! This week, I'm adding a cause to What's for Lunch Wednesday.

It's the end of Hunger Action Month, which raises awareness for and fights against domestic hunger. After talking it over with Shaun, we decided that for each entry in this week's What's for Lunch link up, we will donate a food item to the North Texas Food Bank (we live in the Dallas area). 50 entries (my hopeful goal)? 50 food items. More? Even better!!! If you don't specifically blog your bentos, you can also add them to Flickr and add the direct photo link. If you have problems adding (I know a few people did last week), leave the post link in the comments and I can add it in for you. :o)

Want to join us? There are several ways. No matter where you live, add your bento entry this week to the linkie below, which adds 1 food item to the amount our family will donate. If you're in the Dallas area and want to do something with us, email me and let's chat!!! Not in Dallas? What about donating to your local food bank? You could even match the number of What's for Lunch entries with your own donation to a food bank in your community.

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 18!!!

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:
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feeding My Husband - Simple On-the-Go Bento

Sometimes, it just has to be simple. Shaun is in real estate, so some of his lunches need to be eaten in the car. So food that is messy, food that needs to be kept refrigerated (versus ice packs) and food that needs reheating is out.

The other day, he had multiple appointments and little time to stop for lunch, so I attempted a simple bento that could be eaten in the car in a short period of time.

On The Go Bento Easy Lunchboxes

Excuse the picture please. I made it very late the night before and he left early, so the only picture I had is under the dining room lights.

He has a sandwich on Nature's Own Multigrain Sandwich Rounds. I used pepperjack, turkey, ham, a bit of lettuce and a light coating of mayo, some black pepper and other seasonings. I did skip the onions, banana peppers, tomatoes and the larger amount of mayo. You can't exactly meet customers wearing your sandwich!

To go with it, he has veggie chips, a sweet muffin of sorts and some watermelon from our garden. I would have preferred sending an apple or grapes, but we only had melons and berries, so I assumed he could just be careful.

It's packed in one of our Easy Lunchboxes because I also like to send the mini cooler & ice packs with him in the car. If you've been wondering about the Easy Lunchboxes, now is a great time to buy them. Kelly is offering a free black cooler bag with an order of Easy Lunchboxes, estimated arrival in mid-October. If you can wait a couple of weeks for yours to arrive, this is an awesome deal! I'm thinking about ordering a second set because I really want a second cooler too.

Oh, and because he's in real estate, the picks have teeny tiny houses on them! I kind of had to use them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday - Zucchini-Monterey Jack Stuffed Biscuits

Another edition of The Kids Cook Monday and another zucchini recipe.

What can I say, the boy loves his zucchini and it's such a nice versatile veggie to work with. And the mom in me can't exactly object to being able to easily add a veggie to the meal.

Today, Mr. Ben & I made our own adaptation of these Meatless Italian Strombolis from All Home Cooking, All Year Long. I didn't have crescent roll dough, but I did have biscuits. Biscuits worked, we used two flattened ones for each stromboli, filled the middle, and crimped the edges with a fork. I also used Monterey Jack because I still don't have mozzarella and we added a half teaspoon or so of marinara to each one.

Ben's version:

Chop up the zucchini, then put it in the chopper and chop it some more. (Mommy says we used 1 small zucchini.)

Then, mix the zucchini with lots of cheese. (Mommy says about 1 cup or so shredded cheese.)

Then smoosh a biscuit flat and put some sauce on the spoon and put it in the middle of the biscuit. (Mommy says about a half teaspoon or so, you don't want tons of sauce, we served ours with marinara for dipping instead.)

Then put some of the zucchini and cheese on top of the sauce but don't let it spill over. (Mommy says maybe 1-2 tblsp should do it.)

Then smoosh another biscuit, put it on top, then use a fork to push the edges together. (Mommy says pinch the edges so they stick, then use a fork to crimp it.)

Put the biscuits on a cookie sheet and put them in the toaster oven. (Mommy says bake at 400 for however long the biscuit package recommends, and excuse the yucky bottom cookie sheet, it's the only one that fits in the toaster oven.)

And then you eat them!!! (Mommy says that it is also recommended that you do not burn your chin on the cookie sheet because you have to smell them, even though she already told you they are too hot to eat and not to touch them.)

Muffin Tin Monday - Happy Birthday Faith theme

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Eight years ago today (though closer to lunchtime, 11:50am Dallas time), I gave birth to the most beautiful girl in the world. She just also happens to be the complete inspiration for and why I started this blog. :o)

So, among other things, we have a celebratory Muffin Tin Lunch.

Faith has a sandwich, shaped like an 8 (cut freehand, mind you, so be sure to ooh & aah). It's made of Nature's Own 7 Grain Honey Wheat and filled with blueberry cream cheese. She has 8 pretzels, 8 chunks of cantaloupe, 8 grapes, 8 carrots, and a mini muffin/cupcake with vanilla icing, sprinkles and a Happy Birthday pick. Because being 8 is too important not to celebrate all day long!

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkin-ed Out Bento for Ben

While Miss Faith is at Nasa, Ben and I headed out shopping yesterday to finish a few little things for her birthday. In the process, we popped into Ross and discovered a plethora of Wilton Halloween & Fall baking items (and a few Christmas ones too), and for really good prices. I had a bunch of the Halloween cutters, but added some fall ones to my collections, including some layered ones, and a linzer cookie maker!

In case you were curious, the linzer cookie maker also makes for really adorable little sandwiches! I still may make the cookies, but I do like the idea of using them for sandwich decorations.

Mr. Ben was the official taste tester/sampler. He had the linzer sandwiches--ham & cheese on Nature's Own Honey 7 Grain bread, which happens to be my current favorite. He has a few extra cheese pumpkins and a few veggies chips. Below that, he has a mini muffin and some Pucca fish I bought at Minoya the other night. To the right, he has watermelon from our garden, cantaloupe from the grocery store, and a few blackberries, all accented with some cute pumpkin picks, from the Dollar Tree!

Hopefully, Faith should be home soon with Nasa stories and pictures. Her 8th birthday is tomorrow, so I think we'll have some assorted 8 themed lunches to celebrate!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cool Astronauts Eat Bentos!

Miss Faith is off to Houston today to go camping at NASA with her Brownie troop! She is so excited about it, she loves space stuff, so this is an amazing trip for her.

Now, we live in Dallas, which is about 4.5 hours from Houston. The trip packet that came home said "Bring a sack lunch (yay!!!) that is disposable (boo!!!)" And if you know me at all by now, you know that sticking a sandwich in a baggie and calling it a day just wasn't going to happen.

Sheri at Happy Little Bento had shared this idea through the summer with her son's camp field trips--save berry containers to use as portable/disposal bentos. Ben helped out by eating a container of blackberries for me, washed it out a bit, let it dry and she can toss it when she's done. I also couldn't send my silicone cups for fruit or cute food picks. We opted for less messy fruit and a paper cup to hold it, plus I made a few cute picks with stickers, cardstock and wooden toothpicks. Much better!

Faith has a turkey & cheese sandwich on Nature's Own Whole Wheat Sandwich Rounds, topped with NASA in cheese letters and a cute little sun pick. She has mini muffin of indeterminable flavor, grapes because they are not messy or juicy, and some baby carrots to stabilize the whole thing. I also bought her a packet of YanYans at Minoya the other night for a treat, then added in a small bottle of water and one of the Juicy Juice boxes from a review project.

She'll be home tomorrow afternoon, so I can't wait to hear about her trip. Thankfully, a good friend of mine is going as a chaperone, so I'll be patiently stalking Facebook for iPhone pics of my girl!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Kid Favorite, in a Bento

I've been asked, quite often actually, about what F&B eat, whether they eat so-called kid food, do we make it, do we buy it, etc.

Well, yes, yes & yes. If possible, I try to make it for them, but I have been known to run through the nearest drive-thru or grab a $5 pizza on the way home from taekwondo (hey, it balances out--1 hour of taekwondo nullifies the effects of the take-out, really!!!).

But back to the making it parts. I have no objections to simple, kid-pleasing foods on occasion, especially when I know the ingredients. Today's meatball subs were actually leftovers from our dinner the other night (yummy Italian style meatballs with marinara) and pared up with Nature's Own Honey Wheat buns (my favorite store bought bread, I do not make bread). And who doesn't like meatball subs?

Faith has a meatball sub with grated cheddar on top (since I forgot to buy mozzarella). She has some cantaloupe, a couple of cucumber flowers, baby carrots underneath those, and the last piece of brownie from my I-really-want-brownies baking the other night.

I find it to be a nice kid-friendly meal but one where I know the composition, so win-win!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lots of New Goodies!

While Faith was at her Brownie meeting tonight, I decided to pop over to Minoya in Plano to pick her up a few goodies/snacks for her campout this weekend. They are going to Houston to camp at Nasa!

Anyhow, I did get her some goodies, and had to check out the bento supplies. I found some darling boxes I don't have, that I managed to resist for now, but then I found these:

I had to get them! I now have a stainless steel bunny rice mold (that I'll probably use for non rice foods), two cute little puppy dog side containers (we use these for yogurt or dips), and two new sets of picks. The ones on the board are a pack of 20 (yellow bears, orange flowers, green ladybugs and blue houses), the loose ones are actually a pack of 25, 5 of each color, with assorted animal tops (bears, bunnies, elephants, squirrels, and lions). So cute!

And this? I picked it from my garden today (the watermelon, not the boy). I have one more just like it, then discovered that the garden I thought was dying seems to be having another growth cycle! We have two more baby watermelons, 4 green peppers, a ton of habanero baby peppers, and a lot of flowers on our tomato plants. I'm so excited, I thought it was all dead by this point, with the 100 degree temps & all.

I'm thinking tomorrow's bento needs watermelon chunks with cute new picks somewhere in it!

A Sweet Little Snack Bento for Ben

The boy gets hungry after taekwondo. And before taekwondo. And probably during taekwondo.

And at a whole host of other times during the day.

He's a growing boy and eats like one! We do a lot of simple snack boxes throughout the day to keep him hopefully semi-full and at least eating healthy. After his taekwondo class, he often has to wait for our class (another hour), then the drive home and dinner prep (another hour total) to eat, so it's a delicate balance between bringing him a full dinner or just a good healthy snack.

This time, we opted for a nice healthy snack.

He has a parmesan zucchini muffin, topped with a cute cheddar bunny (sugar eyes, mozzarella nose). He has some deli turkey rolls, with a few of his favorite picks to hold them in place, and a mixture of fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries & blackberries) plus purple grapes. Lots of his favorites in this box.

And a cute Ben story--at church the other week, they made collages of their favorite foods (maybe something related to feeding the multitudes with 5 loaves/2 fishes?). Anyhow, Ben comes home with his, with the typical pictures of cookies, ice cream, and ... a zucchini. Zucchinis are his favorite vegetable you know.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Very Early Halloween Bento

It's been that kind of day. Horrible horrible headache, so I've mostly been on the just-barely-functioning level.

This is actually from the other day, because I didn't have it together enough to make a bento. They are actually kind of lucky I had food for them. ;o) Ben has been dying to use these Halloween picks, so I figured, why not? We actually got them at the Dollar Tree. They aren't real picks, but little pegs for a little triangle memory game, but oh well, they are CUTE! It's only a little over a month until Halloween anyhow! We also made another batch of pizza biscuits, but added a bit of cheddar to the mozzarella (I forgot to buy mozzarella).

I actually have no idea who had this box, I think Ben? Anyhow, there are two pizza biscuits, with the Halloween picks and some extra marinara sauce in the little yellow container to dip the biscuits in. There are a few carrots and cucumber, plus a piece of homemade brownie (I wanted brownies the other night), blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.

The biscuits are a really nice break from sandwiches and the extra sauce was quite the hit with the kids. I don't use a ton of sauce in the biscuits so they don't leak while baking, so this helped to add a bit more.

Oh, and if for any reason you're having trouble with the What's for Lunch Wednesday linkup, I seem to be able to add anyone's to it, so leave me the bento link you want in a comment and I'll put it in for you. :o)

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 17

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 17!!!

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:
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kind of Silly Princess Bento

I wanted to bring the kids a snack for after taekwondo last night, so had planned on using the zucchini-parmesan muffins. However, I thought the kids might need a bit more protein and I had bought some deli turkey the other day. In the process of rolling it to fit, this silly little princess kind of took shape in my head. - Easy to Make Princess Bento with zucchini parmesan muffins, ham and fruits

Faith has a zucchini-parmesan muffin, with some turkey roll curls, a cheddar crown, blueberry eyes and a strawberry smile. The other side holds strawberry slices and grapes.

I just love when a simple idea comes together. You have to admit, the eyes and smile make it so much cuter without a lot of extra work! :o)

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday - Parmesan Zucchini Muffins

I've been wanting to try these Parmesan-Zucchini Muffins for a few days, so we went ahead and made them for The Kids Cook Monday.

I did not organize well enough to take pictures of the process, so instead, I took pictures of the final project!

Doesn't it look lovely and yummy?

Trust me, it is, especially fresh out of the oven, or warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds.

And the recipe:

2 c flour
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1 tblsp. baking powder
1 tblsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c grated zucchini with peel
3/4 c buttermilk OR sour milk(measure 1 tsp. vinegar OR lemon juice into a
1 cup measuring cup then add enough milk to make it one cup. Let stand for
one minute before using it)
1/4 c oil
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Measure first 8 ingredients into a large bowl.
Make a well in the center.
Combine remaining 5 ingredients in another bowl.
Then add to well.
Stir until just moistened.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake at 375 about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes clean.
Let stand 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool.

Muffin Tin Monday - Shape Theme

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Shape theme today for Muffin Tin Monday, and round is a shape! ;o) I still love that phrase. We actually went with a circle theme because I was feeling a little less than inspired and I do have my fair share of circle items.

The tray features circle shaped cucumber rounds (seriously, cookie cutters are the best way to peel cucumbers), circle shaped baby carrot bits, deli turkey on circle picks (it's a stretch, I know, go with it), circle shaped crackers, circle shaped cheeses (white and orange cheddars) and circle shaped purple grape halves.

I was hoping to use our zucchini-parmesan muffins for this tray, but they didn't fit in well. Stop by later for the recipe, I still have to take & edit pictures.

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Faith Snack Box

I'm about to go make some zucchini muffins for snacks/bentos this week, can't go wrong with zucchini and cheese. Hopefully, they'll turn out well and I'll share the recipe.

Until then, I found a Faith bento I haven't shared before. It's a snack bento from something, but I don't remember why.

She has a pocket sandwich half with cream cheese and raspberry jelly,some veggie straws from Sprouts, cantaloupe, a strawberry, and cucumber flowers. I have no idea why she had this bento, but based on the amount, it's a snack of sorts. :o)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

After Taekwondo Snack Bentos, x2

We all had taekwondo last night, kids first, then the grown ups, plus a desperate need to go grocery shopping! Since F&B were going to have to sit through our class, then spend another good hour at Kroger, I decided it was best to bring them a good snack.

Now, reflecting on that need to go grocery shopping, this was the best I could come up with, given our general lack of food and food elements. I actually ended up using the last pluot, the last 2 tortillas, the last of the shredded cheese, etc. We did make our Kroger run after martial arts, so there should be some bentos with other food coming soon! My mom sent me a recipe for zucchini parmesan muffins that we all want to try.

Faith had a quesadilla, quartered to fit in the box, made out of whole wheat tortillas and mozzarella (love our Kroger bakery for fresh tortillas). She had half a pluot, a few cucumber flowers, a few baby carrots, a few blackberries, and some kind of mini-muffin, all served with monkey picks (I call her my monkey girl).

Mr. Ben has the same kind of quesadilla, along half a pluot, blackberries and blueberries, carrot sticks and a mini-muffin. His are decorated with his Peanut the elephant picks, of course!

In other news, working on a BlogHer fun posting thingie from Samsung. If you're ever wondered more about my kitchen organization skills, stop by!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ben's Snack/Lunch Kind of Bento

It's really more of a heavier snack for the boy, but it was what he wanted, so easy enough.

I haven't used these Mickey Mouse boxes in a while and realized that if I quartered the sandwich, I could make it fit. Ben is no longer a diehard Mickey Mouse fan, but he still does like it. My little 2 year old who loved everything "Mouse" is getting big.

He has a turkey & cheese sandwich on Nature's Own Whole Wheat Sandwich Rounds, topped with a little white cheddar train with orange cheddar wheels. There are a few veggie straws from Sprouts, one of his assorted mini-muffins, and some blackberries. I desperately need to go to the grocery store, we are so low on fruit, it's not funny and Faith is not a big blue/blackberry fan. She's been eating the pluots right now, but there's only one of those left too.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Feeding My Husband - A Very Old Shaun Lunch & Recipe

You'll have to excuse the quality of the picture, it is the only one I could find for this post on short notice.

I made Shaun's favorite stir fry recipe for dinner last night and he mentioned how much he likes the recipe and how great the leftovers are for bentos the next day. This was followed by "You should add a post on that." Well, I can definitely add the post, but there were no leftovers to make said bento, so I'm recycling a really old picture because it is a meal worth sharing.

Stir Fry Bento Lock and Lock

This would be a larger 2-sided Lock & Lock box. It's great in that each side lifts out separately so you can have a food that needs to be warmed and still have a food that needs to be cold or room temperature. In this case, he has a salad of sorts, steamed rice, a beef stir fry, and a little pig bottle for extra soy sauce.

And the stir-fry recipe that everyone needs to try! (I've shared it on my mommy board a number of times and the response is favorable.)

1.5 lbs, your choice of meat, sliced for stir fry
4-5 cups of veggies, either fresh and sliced or frozen
1 packet of Italian Salad dressing powder
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of oil
2 tbsp of soy sauce

Mix the 4 ingredients together very very well.
Cook your choice of meat in a little Italian salad dressing or a couple of teaspoons stir fry sauce, until cooked through
Add veggies and well-mixed sauce and stir-fry until veggies are desired texture.

That's it, so easy, but very very good and great for a bento leftover if you have microwave access.

Piggie Sandwich for Faith!

Busy day today, so sharing a bento from the other night that is already resized and edited! Faith took this for an after-taekwondo dinner, because she is always hungry if we stay for the adult class afterwards. On the plus side, if she and Ben eat dinner at taekwondo, I can get away with a light snack at home before bed, instead of cooking another meal!

Faith has a cream cheese and jelly sandwich, made with Santa Cruz Organics seedless raspberry jam and Nature's Own Multigrain Sandwich Rounds (Momtrends SCO review is posted here), topped with a white cheddar piggie! She also has a mix & match mini muffin, no idea what kind, some veggie chips and a fruit kebab with strawberries & cantaloupe. The stick is from the Dollar Tree when they had all the summer/luau themed items, I think it's a drink stirrer.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pizza Biscuits & Peanuts Bento for Ben

Earlier was a Hoppy-themed bento from taekwondo last night, today was time for another "Peanut" themed bento for Mr. Ben, featuring his favorite little elephants.

Someone posted the idea for individual pizza cups on one of my online forums and it was one of those ideas that you could just see the bento potential in! They were so simple too--flattened biscuits, tucked into muffin cups, topped with a teaspoon of tomato sauce, a bit of shredded cheese and (in my case today), crumbled bacon. We didn't have pepperoni on hand, but I had bacon leftover, so that works too!

Pizza Biscuits Paperchase Alien Bento Box

Ben had two of the pizza biscuits, with his Peanut picks to decorate, celery & carrot sticks, a few pretzels, a mini muffin that I think was blueberry and butterscotch chip, and mixed berries (strawberry, blueberry and blackberry, again with a Peanut pick). Both kids loved the pizza biscuits, so I see making them again.

Ben's Taekwondo Dinner Bento ...

Starring ...


Confused yet? Ben has a stuffed kangaroo named Hoppy that is his absolute favorite critter that he sleeps with every night, travels with us, etc. Besides his blankies as a baby, this is basically his "lovey" and he informed me earlier today that he thinks kangaroos might be his favorite animals, because of Hoppy, but he also really loves elephants, so he isn't sure which he should pick for a pet. (He also told me that when he grows up, he'd like to be a cooker and his special dish will be "pi-gnocchi and sausage", "pi" pronounced like the word pig without the g, say it out loud! ;o) )

Anyhow, whilst going through my cabinets earlier, I found a set of cookie cutters I forgot I had. And, it has a "Hoppy" cookie cutter!

So for dinner, he had a cream cheese and jelly sandwich, made with Santa Cruz Organics seedless raspberry jam and Nature's Own Multigrain Sandwich Rounds (yum, I'm having one myself in a few minutes, the SCO review is posted here). I topped it with an orange cheddar Hoppy, complete with a sugar eye. He had one of his mix & match mini muffins, some veggie chips and mixed fruit kebabs. The kebab sticks were actually drink stirrers from the dollar store. I took really good scissors to the bump at the end and managed to make it into a nice point to string the fruit. I thought they were quite cute!

Needless to say, he was very happy with his cheese Hoppy and is now snuggled in bed with the real Hoppy! :o)

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 16

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 16!!!

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:
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Bunny Bento for Faith

Having a lovely day today. Had a friend over this morning to check out bento supplies, which got me back into a more creative mood, so I'm thinking F&B and I need to make some goodies later on. Then last night, the kids and I ran into the Dollar Tree and found the Halloween print cupcake wrappers & picks that MuffinTinMom tweeted about the other day, so I'm in a very happy place with some new supplies!

Today's a cute little bento for Faith, she helped pick what she wanted. She has a triple decker sandwich--ham, turkey, cheese, and the carrot-ginger spread, on Nature's Own Honey Wheat. I cut three circles from the bread to make a thicker layered sandwich and topped it with a cheddar bunny with a white cheddar cotton tail. ;o) She also has some carrot sticks and cucumber, a homemade peach-apple fruit roll up, the last garden zucchini bar, cantaloupe, topped with a sort-of flower made from strawberry slices with a blueberry center.

I'm really liking the strawberry flower, reminds me of a poppy, sort of. :o)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday - Simple Dinners by F&B

Today's The Kids Cook Monday project is a little late in coming. I had a busy morning, coffee with a Twitter pal but in real life, then the kids had taekwondo and I decided to stay for the adult class. On the way home, we decided to make ham & cheese melts for a quick and easy dinner.

The kids are easily able to make their own sandwiches, we did turkey, ham and cheese on Nature's Own Multigrain Sandwich Rounds:

While the sandwiches were toasting in the toaster oven, I had them raid the fridge to find side dishes. They chose carrots, cucumbers & ranch, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries for sides, then we added a few of the veggie chips we're all loving!

And voila! A simple dinner made by F&B. I absolutely love that they make all the healthy choices on their own.

Next week, back to the kitchen for something that's not sandwiches, I'll try to plan better!

Muffin Tin Monday - Movie Theme

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

It's Muffin Tin Monday today and this week, the theme is movies. Now, there were a few small problems. Faith's favorite movies are Mamma Mia, Grease and Hairspray, so those would have been just a little difficult to work with. And I kind of need to go grocery shopping, so a "what's left in your fridge" theme would have been a lot easier!

We had sweet & sour meatballs the other night and I left a couple for bentos in the fridge. Then it clicked!

Why not go with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs?

The hard part is that, while we own the movie, I haven't seen it. I have, however, read the book, a lot, so I pulled it out to borrow a few ideas from it.

In the tin, we have a couple of meatballs, a tortilla cloud (did you know you can cut a tortilla with scissors? you can), strawberry umbrellas and cucumber trees.

This, obviously, is no where near enough food for the kids, so they had more meatballs, more veggies & fruit, and rice to finish out the meal, but who wants a picture of that? ;o)

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bento Q&A Part 1

I really wanted to do a Part 1 of something, but not sure how many posts this will be or how long I want each post to be, so let's just call it Part 1.

Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of getting to talk to a Mom2Mom group at one of the local churches. Since I wasn't quite sure what all to talk about, it ended up being more of a big show & tell session where I dragged a (very large) bag of my favorite supplies along with me and we talked bento and food ideas and all sorts of fun things.

I then posed the question on my Facebook page, to share the burning bento questions you have for future posts. (BTW, not on Facebook with us? You should join in! It's right here. I love Facebook as an easy way to reply to people, since I am very bad about remember to go back to blogs that I ask questions on to find out the answer. Plus I'm always on Facebook!)

I also added in ones that come up a lot on comments or emails, so this may take more than a post to work my way through all of them.

So, what exactly is bento?
Well, technically, it's a specific style of lunches, originating in Japan and noted for their compact presentation in a box of sorts. Traditional bentos have a very specific ratio and combos of food. Bento, in my world, refers more to the box and cute presentation, a good balance of healthy foods, but not a specific system. Most American style bentos tend to be more on the lines of what I'm describing and a little less of the traditional Japanese elements.

And why do you do this exactly?
In my case, it's fun, the kids like it, and I have to feed them anyways. ;o) Actually, it all started when Faith was pre-kindergarten and I realized that she was possibly the world's slowest eater. She's not picky, she never has been, but she takes her time, chats, has a bite or two, chats some more, etc. I didn't think kindergarten was going to allow her a 2 hour lunch, so I started working on ways to get her to eat more quickly & efficiently. The idea of a bento style meal (lots of little bits of a variety of things, including single bite items) worked very very well. You can see our first ever bento here, before we were even able to buy a real box.

Do your kids eat normal food? Do they eat fast food? Do all meals look like this?
Yes, yes, and oh my Lord NO! Breakfast and dinner consist of regular food, cut into pieces, on a plate. Lunch at home varies, depending on whether or not I want to try something and see how it works. But yes, they eat pretty much whatever lands in front of them, regardless of presentation. And yes, we eat out, grab takeout, order pizza, etc. That's actually part of the reason I love bento lunches. If I know they have a good breakfast and a good lunch, it's easier to go ahead and order pizza for dinner, but if they've had two meh-kind of meals already, then I feel like I have to cook a good dinner. And it's much quicker to make healthy lunches than dinners.

Do you serve this stuff cold? Hot? Room temperature? How do you keep it warm/cool?
Most bento stuff is served cold/room temperature. Things like the stuffed muffins (which I personally like warm only), the kids like just fine at room temperature. They are so used to it, that I think it doesn't bother them to eat the food without heating it first. When I taught at the same school Faith went to, I was occasionally able to warm something up for her (her class went to lunch just as my class was coming back from recess), but for the most part, it's all cold. Soups are the exception and I'd recommend the Thermos Funtainers for those. Someone gave me a tip ages ago to fill it with boiling water first, to warm the container a bit, then add in your extra hot soup/food to keep it warmer. As for keeping it cool? Lots & lots of ice packs. I use a few different ones, usually packed around the container in different ways to keep it cool from multiple sides.

What do you do with all the leftover bit & pieces of things? Isn't this wasteful?
This is probably the most popular question I get! It depends on the food. Most of it is eaten by F&B while we are making lunches. Occasionally, it's eaten by me while I'm making lunches.
If it's not eaten by one of us, its:
a) put back in the fridge for later use if it's a large piece of cheese/meat
b) put back in the fridge for salad use if it's small pieces of meat/cheese/fruit/veggies
c) hidden underneath the good items in a bento where you can't see them in the picture anyhow
I really want to try making my own bread crumbs out of the crusts sometime, but for now, the ducks who live in the pond across the street from our house can enjoy them too.

Where can I get bento supplies near me?
Assuming you're not in Dallas (check Minoya in Plano) or an area of California which has Japanese Dollar Stores, your best bet is probably online. Check out Ebay, Etsy,, From Japan With Love, and J-List for Japanese Style supplies. Other great products include Easy Lunchboxes, Lunchbots, Laptop Lunches, and more. If you're wondering about a specific product used in a bento, email me or leave a comment and I can probably tell you what it is & where I got it.

Where do you get the sugar eyes for your creations?
My mom got them for me at a candy store near her house in Canada. Since that's probably not the answer you were hoping for, try here on Amazon!

Being that this has already gotten a bit long and I'm getting sleepy, part 2 (and probably part 3) will be coming soon. Feel free to add any questions on here or the Facebook page! I have no objections to even going to a Part 4!!!

Carrot Ginger Dip/Spread

OK, it's not quite a bento today, but we've been using this dip/spread in a few bentos that I still need to post and it is amazingly yummy. It's a Carrot-Ginger Dip, but we've also been using it as a sandwich/cracker spread as well as a veggie dip.

We grabbed a quick snack with it today, so I had to take a picture to use. The crackers are from Aldi, I think, and of course, we have some cucumber flowers. I've had a few people ask why I always have shaped cucumbers. No special reason, but cookie cutters are much easier than having to peel the cucumber!

And a recipe, because it is that good! I found it in Family Fun magazine, but modified it a little, because I was out of fresh ginger (I used dried instead).

Carrot-Ginger Dip:
Baby carrots (12-15)
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp yellow curry powder
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 sugar or honey (I used sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup plain yogurt.

-Bring the carrots to a boil, then let simmer until tender (soft enough to be able to puree them).
-In a mini food processor, blend carrots till smooth, then add seasoning and blend again.
-Add yogurt, blend one more time and chill.

Next time, I'm thinking of adding the yogurt in a smaller amount and slowly adding more. I would have liked it a bit thicker, but it may just have been the yogurt I used.

Carrot-Ginger Dip

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Snack Bento for after Martial Arts

We all had martial arts last night--the kids have their 1 hour class, followed by a 1 hour class for Shaun & I. Of course, they are hungry right after their class. Since we are a) staying for our class and b) eating dinner when we get home, it's a delicate balance between feeding them enough so they aren't starving for that second hour and not too much so they'll still eat dinner when we get home.

I opted to try some little snack boxes, using a carrot roll up recipe I found on Snack Girl. I thought it would have been lovely with a few chunks of cheese, but we kind of didn't have any cheese, so we had to make do. :o)

This is Ben's, but both kids had similar boxes. It includes carrot rolls--whole grain tortillas, covered with a bit of cream cheese, shredded carrots, and raisins, rolled up and sliced into rounds. He also had blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and cantaloupe. A little low on the protein, but it was enough to tide him over until dinner, which was my original goal.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quesadilla Bento for Faith

In honor of my friend Mrs. Q at Fed Up with Lunch and the interesting quesadilla she had on Wednesday, F&B had quesadillas for lunch today.

Except ours weren't shrink wrapped. And the tortillas were whole grain and fresh from the grocery bakery where I bought them in a still warm package. And we used a lovely sharp cheddar for flavor, along with sliced pears. I love cheese & pears together.

Faith's lunch includes a quesadilla, sliced into thirds, and filled with old cheddar and pear sliced, and topped with a cute little white cheddar pear, orange cheddar stem and a wee bit of cucumber peel for the leaf. She also has cucumber flowers, baby carrots, one of her mini-muffins from Monday (my guess is blueberry & coconut based on the zoom function), cantaloupe chunks, half a pluot and a couple of blackberries.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lunch for the Boy Bento

Nothing fancy today, just a bunch of the boy's favorite foods in a cute little bento.

I was going to make homemade uncrustables with my Pampered Chef uncrustable maker, but somehow over-stuffed the filling so the top bread split in half. Thus, we have open top pocket sandwiches that I am going to pretend I meant to make on purpose.

Ben has an open pocket sandwich, cream cheese & jelly, using Nature's Own Honey Wheat bread and Santa Cruz Oragnics seedless red raspberry jam. We reviewed the jams for an article on MomTrends and I am in love with it. We've been on a quest for an awesome jam/jelly, including making our own, so it's always nice to stumble into a great one without even trying!

To go with that, he has half a boiled egg, a few pretzels, a few carrot sticks, a bunch of blackberries (ran to Sprouts last night to stock up on more), and a "mini muffin surprise" from Monday's baking bonanza. It looks like it might have some butterscotch chips in it, but your guess is as good as mine.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bento for Faith & a Fun New Box

Yes, we have another new box. And no, I don't need a 12-step program for this. ;o)

Today, we are showing off our very cool My Square Meal box, made even cooler by the fact that it's a Dallas company founded by two moms! F&B and I are loving trying it out, I'll have more to share soon after we've tried it a few times.

But for now, check out the cuteness of all the little fixed compartments! They are molded into the container, so juice from the honeydew can't leak through to the sandwich in the next compartment. There is definitely a selling point to not having to arrange silicone cups so messy stuff doesn't touch dry stuff.

Faith has a turkey & cheddar sub made on a Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Hot Dog bun. We had sausages the other night and the leftover buns are great for sandwiches, especially since we don't have enough left to be another meal.

She has veggie baked chips from Sprouts (love these), a blueberry muffin, carrots, cucumber, a sliced boiled egg, ranch in the Hello Kitty container, hummus in the pink heart cup, blackberries, strawberries and honeydew.

Are you with us on Facebook yet? You can be! Hop over to and become a fan. :o)

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 15

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 15!!!

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:
so that others can join in and see/share their bentos too.


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