Sunday, October 31, 2010

One Last Halloween Bento

Time for one final Halloween bento, then we're on to a different theme starting tomorrow. But I had to add to try this while I still had one last bento to post. We haven't had anything mummy related and I do love the mummy pizzas I've seen posted all over the web.

Faith had a muffin mummy pizza--I used white cheddar pieces for the bandages, a couple of olives for the eyes and a half piece of pepperoni for the smile. Very easy and the kids were amused. Faith also has some cantaloupe, honeydew and strawberry pieces, a few pretzels, cucumbers and carrot sticks. No sweets right now, we let the kids enjoy their Halloween candy on Halloween night, so trying to up the good food content before we head out trick-or-treating.

If you'd like to see their costumes, and all the Halloweens from teeny baby Faith in 2002 onwards, it's all here on the family blog.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (Yesterday's Bento)

Yesterday, around this time, I made a loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread.

Today, we have maybe a slice and a half left. It is that good. You can't go wrong with pumpkin and chocolate together.

The added bonus is that, other than the canned pumpkin, you probably have the rest of the ingredients at home. I altered my very favorite banana bread recipe to work with pumpkin, since pumpkin puree and mashed bananas basically have the same consistency. And you really can't go wrong with adding chocolate chips to anything.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip 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 pumpkin puree (I actually used the whole can which is a bit more)
1/2 cup yogurt, plain or vanilla (flavored does work if you only have that)
!/2 - 1 cup of chocolate chips, depending on preference

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

My kids like it plain, Shaun likes it in the toaster oven with cream cheese on top. :o)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Today's Pumpkin Bento, with Pumpkin Bread!

It's pumpkin time! Rounding out my Halloween bonanza, we definitely needed some pumpkins again.

This time, it's complete with pumpkin bread (to go with pumpkin cake & pumpkin cheesecake that we had earlier this month). And since pumpkin goes really well with chocolate, it's pumpkin chocolate chip bread!

Miss Faith had a roast beef & cheddar sandwich with pesto cream cheese spread (basically homemade pesto mixed with cream cheese, very easy). It's topped with a marble cheddar jack-o-lantern with cucumber features. In the top tier, she also has carrot sticks and chocolate-chip pumpkin bread. Looks yummy, doesn't it?

The bottom tier holds cantaloupe and grape kebabs--the cantaloupe is skulls or bats. I added extra grapes after taking the picture, but really wanted the shaped cantaloupe to show for it. Who wouldn't want to eat bats and skulls?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quick & Easy Halloween Bat Bento

I realized yesterday, around 2pm, that the kids needed something to take with them, so had to throw together a couple of quick bentos for them.

On the plus side, you can be completely Halloween themed without a whole lot of work, just a couple of cut-outs, sprinkles and picks!

Miss Faith wanted a cream cheese and cucumber sandwich (really), since she loves the onion & chive cream cheese we bought. Easy enough! It's on Nature's Own Multigrain Sandwich Rounds with a marble cheddar bat for Halloween spookiness. Surrounding it are blackberry-pomegranate crisps (made by Quaker, I think) that Grandma bought the last time she was over.

The bottom tier holds strawberry yogurt with bat, pumpkin and ghost sprinkles. That container has a separate lid, so it seals nicely and doesn't leak. To the right, we have grapes with Halloween picks. Nana is sending the kiddos a Halloween fruit bouquet, so we're trying to just use the grapes & cantaloupe we have instead of buying a variety right now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yet Another Halloween Bento

I promise, after Sunday, I'll switch themes for a bit, but for now, I'm loving the last few days leading up to Halloween.

After my weekend in Austin at Bloggy Bootcamp, I came home to kids who made their own bentos and a lack of leftovers to work with. Thankfully, I had made BBQ brisket Thursday night and no one had eaten those leftovers (obviously, this is not today's actual lunch, we are not eating week-old brisket). Of course, there was also no bread out, so instead of brisket sandwiches, we had brisket wraps!

Faith has a BBQ brisket wrap with monterey jack cheese and whole grain tortillas, topped with a ghost pick to hold it in place. To the left of it are pretzels and purple grapes, to the right half of a crescent donut (OK, iffy nutritional quality, but yummy). She also has strawberry yogurt and cantaloupe chunks. We're not varying the fruit a lot this week because my mom ordered a Halloween fruit bouquet for the kids and I don't want to stock up before it arrives.

We're packed in an Easy Lunchbox again, because Ben has a similar meal and I could stack them in the cooler. In their newsletter, they said orders resume shipping in mid-November, and the free cooler offer is extended till 10-November if you still want to order a set!

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 22

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 22!!!

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.

If you'd like a button to link back with, it's over in the side bar, with the code! (Thanks Glory for creating it!!!)

Trouble adding your link? Leave it in the comments & I can add it for you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New to Bento? Guest Blog

I "met" Serene from The Mom Food Project on a food bloggers' group and started following her on Twitter. When she mentioned the phrase "guest posting" in her Tweets, I accosted her inquired politely if she might be interested in guest blogging here. To my great happiness, she had just bought her first bento box and was kind enough to share that post with me! Serene, thank you for sharing, I appreciate it!

I am not an early adopter. I got my first cellphone a couple years ago, and I still don't have a Smartphone. I tend to be late finding out about trends, and then late getting around to trying them out. So I guess it's no surprise that I just got my first bento box the day before yesterday.

I have loved reading bento blogs like this one, Vegan Lunch Box, Just Bento, etc, but I never took the step to get a bento box. Part of the reason is that I've been working part-time for a few years, and I tend to just come home at lunchtime.

A few weeks ago, though, they asked me to work longer days, and I've been staying sometimes as long as nine hours a day, so I definitely need a lunch. Buying lunch in Berkeley every day is not an option; it would break the bank, to tell the truth. Plus, I like homecooked food more than the stuff at restaurants, so I went looking for a cute bento box.

banded box

I just love this thing. I love the color; I love the rubber-band strap; I love the cute little bag. It's small, but I don't need a huge lunch, and I do have a few non-refrigerated snacks in my desk drawer if my bento isn't enough some days.


I think it will take me some time to work up to the cute kinds of creations I see in other people's boxes, but I started buying cool stuff today to add, like the dried fish you see, and some equipment for making tiny little nigiri. I'll blog my lunches from time to time on my own blog, but I thought it would be fun to share my first one here.

Here's the recipe for the broccoli salad. My family loves it, and it never fails to make me happy.

Broccoli Salad
4 slices bacon
4 to 5 cups broccoli florets
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 cup raisins
Pour boiling water over raisins to cover. Let stand 10-15 minutes to rehydrate, then drain and set aside.

Fry bacon until crisp. While bacon is frying, either blanch broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute, or microwave it with 2 tablespoons of water for 3-4 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, onion, and rehydrated raisins. When bacon is done cooking, remove it from the bacon grease, then pour the grease over the vegetables. (The grease step is optional, but it does add to the flavor of the salad.)

Chop the bacon and add to vegetables. Then add just enough mayonnaise to moisten; if necessary, add more to taste. Serve at room temperature, or chill up to 24 hours before serving.

As we move into the cold & flu season, check out my list of what to do with sick kids, and enter to win a $100 gift card from BlogHer & Similisan.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday - Faith Made Bentos!

As mentioned, I spent the weekend in Austin while F&B stayed home with Daddy. While I was driving back, I called and discovered that they were making lunches.

Faith decided that, instead of normal lunches, that she was going to make bentos, set them up, have Shaun photograph them for her (iPhone, sorry about the quality, I had the cameras with me), and that I was going to blog them for The Kids Cook Monday.

Faith made roast beef & cheese sandwich on pumpernickel rye, topped with cheese flowers. She has strawberries, carrots, little honey graham bear cookies, pretzels and some peach yogurt.

Ben's is similar, but without the peach yogurt and his sandwich is topped with a cheese boat

She did a pretty good job for 8! I am loving how she had to use picks and decorations to make it pretty.

Faith wants to add:

We were standing in the kitchen and I decided that I was going to make lunch. I had it on the plate but then decided that I was going to make a bento. Then I looked around the kitchen, trying to decide what I was going to do and then I remembered that Mommy puts cheese on the sandwiches so I cut the cheese into flowers and a boat. And then I remembered that she used picks, I used the Halloween ones, but then I decided because the cheese was flowers and was different, I decided I would use some swirls. And I had lots of fun making it. The end.

(Have you ever taken dictation from an 8 year old? It's, um, interesting!)

Muffin Tin Monday - Halloween Theme

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Home from Austin, which means I had to actually make Muffin Tin Monday on a Monday for once. I so much prefer making it over the weekend and having it ready to post first thing, but oh well, not this week.

On the plus side, make sure you come back for Kids Cook Monday later on! Faith made bentos over the weekend for her and Ben, decorated them, got out backgrounds, arranged them and made Shaun take pictures so I could post them on Monday! All her idea too!

But back to Muffin Tin Monday, it's a Halloween theme!

We have:
Cream cheese & jelly mini-pita pockets with spooky cheese bats
Rickety old gate pretzels
Carrot stick and cucumber pupmkins
Cantaloupe kebabs on super-cute Halloween picks
Peach yogurt with pumpkin & bat sprinkles
Peach applesauce with ghost sprinkles

Faith was voting for pumpkin shaped cantaloupe but we already have a half cantaloupe diced in the fridge, so we'll have to cut into the new one later this week.

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Bento Showcase, Part 2

There are just too many awesome Halloween bentos out there to only have a Saturday showcase, so I'm showing off a Sunday one too! A few more talented friends agreed to let me show off a few of my favorites from their blogs.

Susan is the author of Hawaii's Bento Box Cookbook and has totally changed the way I look at some of my design. I've attempted quite a few of her bentos and while I don't have her flair (or kids that eat nori), I'm having a lot of fun trying!

Her Frankenwich is wonderful. I'm constantly amazed at how perfect her designs seem--clean, balanced, smooth edges.

Same with her boo-tiful ghost bento! It just looks so crisp and sharp. One of the many tricks I've learned from her are the little candy eyes on the ghosts. They are so quick to add to faces for detail.

Debra writes HapaBento and her lunches are simply elegant looking. The caprese salads she made all summer looked divine and I need to visit her as she sends travel bentos home with her house guests!

I love this bento, called "The Lost Caramel Apple", check out the teeny little sesame seed ants!

And the aforementioned caprese, but the Little Shop of Horrors version!

Stephanie at A Pocket Full of Buttons has the cutest little girls she makes bentos for. Her oldest and Ben are about the same age (so hopefully we will make it to CA this spring and get to meet them!). With two little girls, she has a ton of cute Halloween lunches, and she sews too!!!

We do love skulls at my house, so I think this witch's shoe and skull one is awesome! And her recipe for pumpkin/apple bread sounds so good.

And since I'm writing this from Austin, I'm going with this adorable bat bento (Austin has the largest colony of Mexican freetail bats, in case you were wondering about the segue). Look at all the cute little bat accents, even a bat resting on the watermelon flowers. I love it!

Susan, Debra, Stephanie, thank you all so much for letting me share these! It is such an honor to "meet" such talented ladies!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Some Favorite Halloween Bentos

I'm actually in Austin for the weekend, so no bento making for me.

However, this is the perfect time to share some of my favorite Halloween bentos I've seen lately. In case you haven't noticed, I'm just a teeny bit obsessed with Halloween bentos and there are so many awesome ones out there. I mean, who wouldn't want to open up their lunch and see a happy pumpkin or Frankenstein or ghosts looking back at them. I've made some amazingly talented bento friends through this blog, so be sure to follow their links to see more than just a sample!

Sheri at Happy Little Bento has some of the cutest Halloween bentos I have seen. This little green Frankenstein is absolutely adorable, can you believe he is made with broccoli rice?

And I have to give recognition to her pumpkin carving skill, especially since she carved an apple!

Sonoma Bento has several of my favorites too. I mean, the spooky fingers look real (Ben would totally love those). They are rather delightfully creepy!

Or check out this awesome quesadilla ghost! I think he's kind of cute and adding him to my list of things to try at home.

I love what Lia at Bentolicious has done. She shared that they don't actually celebrate Halloween in Indonesia, but that she was enjoying the Halloween bentos so had to make her own as well. Isn't that awesome? I think her spider may be the cutest one I've seen yet!

And this is another one I just had to share! It's Kuromi, who is (I learned) the rival of My Melody. She's not necessarily a Halloween character, but she fits the theme perfectly!

Just wanted to thank all three of you for letting me share your awesome creations! Can't wait to see what it up next!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ben's Spider Snack Bento

Only 9 more days of Halloween lunches & snacks to go. I plan to make the most of it.

My friend Shannon found the green spider and eek picks for me the other day, along with matching cupcake wrappers. The picks were begging to be used in a bento, they are too cute! The Frankenstein & ghost fruit picks were one of my finds. Hobby Lobby has some really cute stuff that is their brand, along with a good variety of Wilton stuff. I restrained and only came home with about $10 worth of Halloween and Thanksgiving bento goodies.

Mr. Ben had this snack box. He had half a ham and cheese sandwich on pumpernickel rye, topped with spider picks and a little carrot spider. White cheddar slivers make his legs, his body is a single carrot round and cucumber peel is used for his eyes and mouth!

To the right, we have two cantaloupe and strawberry kebabs and some chocolate koala cookies.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And Another Halloween Bento

But this one could be subtitled "I grocery shop on Wednesday nights, so Wednesday lunches are whatever is left in the fridge!"

F&B go to our church's kids program on Wednesday nights. This means I have a good two hours to simply go shopping without anyone helping me. So if possible, I hold out till Wednesday nights and go grocery shopping alone. In the process, the last Wednesday bentos typically have the remnants of the week's food sitting in them.

Ben has egg salad pockets, made with mini pita breads. He & Faith prefer a simple egg salad of just eggs & mayo, fine with me, we probably don't have other things to use. ;o) It's topped with a little candy pumpkin that my mom sent because she thought they had great bento potential!

To the right, we have cantaloupe with a ghost pick and strawberries with a pumpkin pick, then to the bottom left are some kind of teddy graham cracker/cookies. I have no idea how they ended up in my pantry, but we happily used them so I could fill the last compartment.

We now have food again, so more interesting bentos to come.

And, if you're in the Halloween mood, F&B and I made awesome Halloween ghost handprints. Seeing them now makes me wish I had made them yearly. Wouldn't they be cute all lined up with bigger and bigger ghosts?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 21

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 21!!!

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.

Trouble adding your link? Leave it in the comments & I can add it for you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Witchie Egg Bento for Faith

I've seen a bunch of awesome spooky egg bentos lately. The creepy eggs & fingers from Sonoma Bento are amazing and these little skull eggs from Sheri at Happy Little Bento just might be my new favorite thing ever.

So, in that vein, we needed a Halloween egg of sorts too. Since I only have medium eggs (Kroger for 59cents, I'll deal with the fact that they don't fit in my egg molds for 59cents), I opted to make egg faces with half eggs. I also just got a new batch of Halloween cookie cutters with a witch hat in them ...

Miss Faith has a witch egg with an orange cheddar hat (white cheddar band) and cucumber features. In retrospect, I should have added hair, next time! The egg is resting on some carrots and has a pet bat that is resting on a roast beef & cheddar sandwich on Nature's Own Multigrain Rounds. The left side holds a plethora of cantaloupe and a couple of fresh strawberries with my spooky Halloween pics.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday - Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

Back on our zucchini kick! Actually, I had one lonely little zucchini in the crisper drawer. We needed to do something with it and it wasn't enough to be the base of a main dish.

So, for The Kids Cook Monday, Faith made zucchini-chocolate chip muffins, all by herself! My role was handing her the ingredients off the top shelves and putting the tray into the oven (we have double ovens and the top one is too high for her).

She used Nana's base muffin recipe:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil (I used canola)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients together till smooth.
Add whatever fruit/filler you want and blend in. Spoon into cupcake lined muffin tins.
Bake at 350 about 20-25 minutes until done.

And to that, she added one cup of shredded zucchini (mini food-processor/chopper to grate it fine), and 1 cup of chocolate chips, which yielded 18 normal sized muffins

Result? Yummy!

As for why she's biting to the side of her mouth? One front tooth is missing and the other is very wiggly, biting down is difficult. ;o)

Muffin Tin Monday - Breakfast Time!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Time for Muffin Tin Monday again! Since there is no theme this week, we're going with breakfast as our theme. It's kind of nice to have these already sitting in the fridge for F&B to grab when they get up in the morning. They usually have cereal, so I'm enjoying shaking things up a bit!

So what's for breakfast at our house?
Strawberry yogurt, orange juice, cantaloupe, boiled eggs, zucchini-chocolate chip muffins (homemade, of course), and strawberries. Lots of the kids' favorites in one little tin!

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Texas Rangers Bento

My friend Tom suggested on Facebook the other day that I need to make a Texas Rangers bento since they are in the playoffs. (Not following me on Facebook, you should be, I love Facebook.)

Despite the fact I am not a big baseball fan, I do love a challenge. Thankfully, the Texas Rangers have a lovely, simple logo that I was able to more or less replicate. Since it's Football Sunday at our place, I had plenty of time to try to make a Rangers logo.

Our lunch today features ham & onion/chive cream cheese sandwiches on Nature's Own Multigrain Sandwich Rounds. I figured a circle was a good starting place. It's resting on a small bed of popcorn, because you're supposed to eat popcorn at a baseball game and we don't have peanuts here. The logo on top is a circle of white cheddar for the ball, with a lovely Rangers "T" of orange cheddar and cucumber markings for the ball stitching. To the right, we have carrots and Texas star cucumbers, as well as cantaloupe and dried cran-cherries. It's packed in an Easy Lunchbox, because I needed something to let the sandwich lay flat. (Side note, they are still giving away a cooler if you pre-order a set of Easy Lunchboxes,so it's 4 boxes & a cooler for about $14, we love ours.)

And there you have it, my Texas Rangers bento!!! Hope you like it Tom! ;o)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Silly Little Fishies Bento for Ben

Sometimes things look a lot better in my head than when I finally make them. These little fish were one of those times.

In all honesty, they probably aren't so bad, but they look a whole lot better in my imagination. I had to use double cookie cutters for the shape which made the tail to body line very pronounced.

And now I realize I'm talking about cheese fish as if this matters. ;o)

Silly Fish Paperchase Alien Bento Box

Ben has a cream cheese and jelly sandwich on Nature's Own Multigrain Rounds (still loving the blackberry pomegranate jam too). It's topped with some teeny cheese fishies. He has a few pretzels and a few of the blackberry-pomegranate Quaker Crisp things that Grandma bought. To the right, he has a fishie-shaped boiled eggs, some carrots and some cantaloupe.

I did go grocery shopping last night, so lunches may look a little more varied soon!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Bunny Garden Bento for Faith

Took a short break from my all-Halloween, all-the-time theme for a cute little bunny bento for Miss Faith. We had a couple of eggs left, so I decided to boil & shape them today. The result was one cute bunny and one cute fish. Obviously, Faith got the bunny.

She has her bunny shaped egg with some carrots (bunnies love carrots), along with a cucumber & cream cheese sandwich on honey-grain pitas. The sandwiches have cheese flowers to make a garden for her bunny.

On the bottom, she has the rest of the cantaloupe, some pretzels, and these blueberry-pomegranate Quaker Crisp things that my MIL bought. They're pretty good and lots of fiber in each, so she had a few for snacking.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Halloween Bento Lunch

Still loving the spooky Halloween themed bentos around here.

This one's just a simple little, got-to-feed-the-kids kind of meal because I need to run to the store! Had some leftover pasta, so that worked well to be turned into a pasta salad. I did have veggies, but minimal fruits, so it was the best I could do on short notice! :o)

Faith has a pasta salad (trying out Jovial Einkorn pasta) with ham and cheese, topped with a marble cheddar bat. She has carrots, peapods and a witch's cat made of cucumber, some cantaloupe and dried cranberries with her spooky little ghost pick, and some veggie straws.

We definitely need more fruit choices, plus eggs, and maybe some pretzels. I need to bake a bit more too. Variety seems to be lacking a wee bit right now.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Laptop Lunch Bentos

The kids had to come with me this afternoon, so we packed a nice heavy late lunch to carry them through until after church. I decided to break out the Laptop Lunches for the occasion. Shaun usually uses them instead of the kids, but they were both here and clean and they do hold a whole lot.

I also repurposed some dinner leftovers into a very yummy salad. We had leftover grilled chicken and homemade pesto from the other night, which turned into a lovely pesto chicken salad. Both kids and Shaun really liked the flavor, and it's always nice to get rid of leftovers.

Faith had a honey grain sandwich pocket, cut in half, and stuffed with the pesto chicken salad. It's topped with a Halloween bat made of orange cheddar cheese with a white cheddar body. To the right of that, she has fresh peapods, baby carrots and cucumber moons (the moon cutter was perfect, two per slice and almost no waste). Below is cantaloupe with a ghost pick and to the left is a container of dip for the veggies, dried cran-cherries and a homemade zucchini-chocolate chip muffin that *Faith* made this afternoon while I was making the chicken salad. She was able to follow the whole recipe on her own and they turned out wonderfully!

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 20

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday, Week 20!!!

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.

Trouble adding your link? Leave it in the comments & I can add it for you!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Spooky Snack Bento for Faith

Off to the State Fair tonight to see Shrek the Musical and perhaps walk around for a little bit.

That being the case, we needed a quick healthy snack since we'll likely eat dinner somewhere downtown. And since it's October, I'm highly enjoying the Halloween themed snacks.

Miss Faith has a simple ham & cheese sandwich on a very lovely pumpernickel rye that I got at the bakery the other day, topped with a little cheddar pumpkin with cucumber features. The actual cucumber pumpkin is in the back to hold the sandwich in place. To the left, she has slices of pluot with a spooky ghost pick and chunks of cantaloupe with a jack-o-lantern pick. Cute, simple, and low on sweets because I'm sure there will be treats tonight!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Kids Cook Monday - Pumpkin Cheesecake

Is there a more perfect fall food than pumpkin? I really don't think so!

This week for The Kids Cook Monday, we decided that it's time for pumpkin cheesecakes.

This recipe was actually from one of my fourth graders' moms a few year ago and it's a big favorite of ours. It's easy enough for the kids to make and I love the size/shape of mini-cheesecakes for bento lunches.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes:
12 ounce cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tb corn starch
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup lite corn syrup

Line muffin pans with paper cups and place 1 gingersnap in the bottom of each.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch and pumpkin pie spice with
mixer until well mixed.
Add eggs and blend well.
Add pumpkin and syrup. Beat until smooth. Pour filling into cups, dividing evenly. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until just set.
Chill for at least 1 hour.

You can top with a bit of whipped cream or a drizzle of chocolate, but they are quite lovely on their own!

(Sorry, taking Mr. Ben to a Mavs game tonight, I'll add pictures tomorrow! ~S)

Muffin Tin Monday - Pumpkin Theme

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Since I'm loving all the Halloween festivities, this week's Muffin Tin Monday was just perfect!!! This week's theme was pumpkins and I do have lots of pumpkin goodies to use. Unfortunately, we ran out of pumpkin cake, so everything is pumpkin-shaped but nothing is pumpkin flavored. I'll fix that tomorrow.

In the top row, Faith has a pumpkin linzer sandwich (multi-grain bread, ham & cheese), another tiny ham pumpkin sandwich with a few pumpkin cheese cubes, and strawberries on a pumpkin pick. The bottom holds veggie chips, with an orange one decorated as a jack-o-lantern, pumpkin shaped cucumbers with carrots underneath, and pumpkin shaped cantaloupe

Check out Muffin Tin Monday for more fun tins!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And the winner of the $100 CSN gift card is ...

Comment #99, Katie!

Katie said... 99

I would probably go for some new cooking utensils. Mine are in pretty sad shape.

Katie, I'll email you in a few minutes, congratulations!!!

Halloween Snack Bento for Ben

See, extra busy with Halloween decorating! In the process of looking for assorted decorations, I came across this cute little pumpkin. I'm pretty sure Shaun brought him home from the office one year, in a goodie bag from a mortgage or title company or something. I love when companies are schmoozing him with neat litlte gifts. Ones that send cookies are good too.

Anyhow, back to the bento!

Ben has a ham and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread. I decided to use our Linzer cookie maker for cute sandwiches again, love the little pumpkin cut out with the cheese peeking through. He also has some veggie chips and carrot sticks on that side and lots of fresh cantaloupe and strawberries on the other side, accented with our pumpkin and ghost picks of course.

I really want to make something pumpkin for treats. Last week's pumpkin spice cake was awesome. Maybe pumpkin cheesecake this week? Or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies sounds so good right now ... Whatever we decide, it will probably be tomorrow's Kids Cook Monday, so check back to see what goodies we came up with.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Not-so-Spooky Ghost Bento Snack

I know, I know! Ghosts are supposed to be scary, or at least semi spooky, but my ghosts prefer to smile. They must not know they are about to be eaten!

We actually went out to lunch with my MIL earlier for my birthday, so a snack box was more than enough. After making it and taking the picture, I realized the crackers could be stabilized a wee bit better, so added some extra cheese cubes.

Faith has cheese and veggie crackers. Each piece of cheese is a little different--a pumpkin, a cat, a ghost and a crescent moon. I decided the ghost had to be on top, so he got cucumber peel eyes and a smile. Next to him, on the pumpkin pick are some roll ups of deli ham. To the right, we have another spooky ghost and some strawberries. Below them are some carrots and cucumber pumpkins (I would have made ghosts, but the pumpkin shape keeps more cucumber together), then to the left of that are some pretzels and a little container of dip for the veggies.

Can you tell I'm totally getting into the Halloween bentos? Decorating the house too, just dragged in all my huge decorations, and heading to do the outside once Shaun gets the lawn mowed.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Fall Leaf Bentos

Just loving the slightly cooler weather right now (and I realize that in Dallas, slightly cooler means not 100, but I'll take what I can get)!

We did absolutely identical bentos today, to make things easy on me. I like things to be easy for me and I had just enough of everything to not have to add in extras for somebody!

We used two tier bentos today. The bottom tier holds a sandwich pocket (new kind, Honey Grain, forget the brand name) stuffed with ham, cheddar and herb & chive cream cheese. I did have to take a teeny bit out of the corners so they fit in the box. The sandwich is decorated with some happy falling leaves of assorted cheese with cucumber faces, and a few baby carrots help hold it in place. Quick trick--tiny dots of cream cheese, tip of a toothpick sized, help hold decorations in place!

The top tier has slices pineapple, the last of the pumpkin cake, some pretzels and some dried cran-cherries (State Fair samples yesterday).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Faith's Witch 'Wich Bento

Since Ben had a Halloween bento, Faith had to have one too. Of course, it's not fun to make two that are the same, so she has a "Which witch-'wich is which" themed box. (I just really wanted to write that.)

Overall, the contents are pretty similar to Ben's. She also has a cream cheese & jelly sandwich, made with Santa Cruz Organic Blackberry-Pomegranate Jam, but on Nature's Own 100& WHoney 7-Grain bread. It's decorated with an orange cheddar witch and her white cheddar cat. The hat and broom parts are white cheddar too. Up top are veggie chips, carrot sticks, and cucumber pumpkins (perfect size to remove the peel without lots of pieces left). To the right, she has a piece of pumpkin cake with a jack-o-lantern pick and strawberries/honeydew with the spooky little ghost pick.

Like Ben's, it's packed in one of our Easy Lunchboxes. The Easy Lunchboxes special is still available--you can get a free black cooler bag with an order, estimated arrival in later October. Perfect if you can wait a couple of weeks for yours. We use our cooler all the time, for the Easy Lunchboxes and for other bentos. It easily fits two Easy Lunchboxes, two water bottles, two forks, two napkins, etc, so we can bring one container for both kiddos.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spooky Haunted House Bento for Ben

Since it's October (and my birthday is tomorrow, which is sort of my starting point for OK to do Halloween), get ready for a whole lot of fall and Halloween themed bentos! I did start a day early, since I was looking for something else and found this Halloween haunted house cookie cutter and couldn't resist trying something with it.

Ben has a cream cheese & jelly sandwich, made with Santa Cruz Organic Blackberry-Pomegranate Jam (I think it's his new favorite) and Nature's Own 100& Whole Wheat Sandwich Rounds. The bread is such a nice blank canvas that I just had to decorate it. We have an orange cheddar haunted house (I cut the extra doors and windows as best I could), with a spooky white cheddar bat flying by, and some rickety carrot fencing. Up top are veggie chips, they don't fit in the theme, but I needed to put something there. Maybe they are storm clouds? To the right, he has a piece of pumpkin cake with a jack-o-lantern pick and strawberries/honeydew with a spooky little ghost.

Lunch is packed in one of our Easy Lunchboxes, and, in keeping with the theme, we used an orange lid and a black cooler bag!

© Shannon Carino 2007-2018, Design by Custom Blog Designs
Graphics by Missy B Designs, Fonts courtesy of Fonts for Peas