bentoriffic

Archive for the ‘food blog’ Category

I want to thank each one of you personally who voted for me in the Circle of Moms contest.  It ended last night, and I’m # 7 in their Top 25 contest again this year thanks to you.  I am overjoyed!  I don’t win any money, but I do gain a great group of new  people who look at my blog because of the list.  I also have made new blogging friends from last year when I was in the Top 25 for Foodie Moms.  Thank you again for your continued support.  I encourage you all to peek at the lists that Circle of Moms provides. There are some amazing moms out there blogging from home & creating masterpieces to share in the hopes that we’ll help you find healthier meal solutions.  We can’t do it without you so THANKS!

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Bentoriffic stars and hummus bento lunch

Miss G (my 4 year old) asked for stars in her Planetbox lunchbox today.   From the top left are cucumbers, cashews, grape tomatoes, and pistachios.  In the bottom right compartment are Laurel Hill brand peace sign pretzels.  Miss G is crazy about peace signs so she requests them every week.  An organic plum is in the bottom corner and the green square silicone cup has chickpea hummus with a cucumber star on top.  Organic kiwi and carambola (star fruit) are in the bottom left and above are blueberries and an apple star cutout.  In the center is a Hail Merry brand raw macaroon.  Miss G loves the small portions and lots of variety.  Her lunchbox rarely comes home with food in it!
Bentoriffic stars and hearts snack bentoShe stays a bit longer in school some days so I send snacks with her.  In her LunchBots Duo.  On the left are local Minneola tangelos sliced and in the I Love U container are currants (small raisins).  In the right compartment is a pink heart full of cashews and half and apple with a star cutout.

Bentoriffic-Dr.Teeth & toothbrush bentoThe end of dental week is today at Miss A’s (my 3 year old) school.  I wanted to fit in a set of choppers with a toothbrush.  When I got done with this lunch it was NOT what it looked like in my head.  I wanted something cuter.  Instead it reminds me of Dr. Teeth or Janice from the Muppets in the 70s.  It’s still fun, and she giggled when she saw the crazy face so I guess it serves the purpose.  I used heart shaped silicone cups to fill for the eyes. Inside are plum sections topped with more cucumber stars.  The nose is made of a few dried apricots and the mouth is her sandwich on Rudi’s Organic Whole Wheat bread.  I used a lips cookie cutter and sliced the mouth in half.  The teeth are peeled apples cut into sections and soaked in citrus water and then towel dried and placed in the mouth.  I also hand cut an apple to make the toothbrush and then with a paring knife, sliced the skin off to make it look like white bristles.  The apple pieces also soaked in citrus water for 5-10 minutes.

Bentoriffic spinach & stars salad bento

My husband took some leftovers not worth photographing so I made him a salad to go along with his lunch.  Baby spinach leaves are at the bottom of his Easy Lunchboxes container topped off with the cucumber cutouts from Miss G & Miss A’s lunches, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks and celery pieces down the middle.  In the top compartments are carambola (star fruit) and blueberries.  Everyone in our house takes a reusable bottle of ice water to go for the day.  Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!

Things I used to make this lunch:

Heart fork picks

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Extra flossing and brushing are what’s going on in our house for some extra dental education.  Thank goodness Miss A’s teacher reminded me it’s Dental Week this week at her school and all month long is Dental Health Awareness.  They’re talking tooth care in the classroom which means I get to break out the molar picks and drill deep for my creative side!  Miss A just came back from a dental visit about a week ago with a clean bill of health and a new toothbrush. She is starting to enjoy her visits so I like to keep it all fun for her while she doesn’t have any stress attached to the visits.

Bentoriffic-Tooth bento for dental week

I don’t own any tooth cookie cutters so I had to think of what I could make.  I went the easy (and lazy route) for pancakes and used Bisquick pancake mix, which is vegan.  I didn’t say healthy, but it was quick.  I also added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  I used EnerG egg replacer and unsweetened almond milk in the mix in place of eggs and cow’s milk & poured it into a pancake bottle like the one below. In the top compartments of her Easy LunchBoxes containers are organic plums, blueberries and a strawberry on a “tooth” pick.  Get it?  I hand drew a toothpaste bottle, a molar and a small toothbrush.  I accented the tooth with 2 vegan (dairy free) chocolate chips and a fruit leather mouth.  Next to her lunchbox is an Easy Lunchboxes Mini Dipper container with organic maple syrup in it.

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Bentoriffic fruit snack bento

Snacktime today will be loads of fruit.  From the top left in her LunchBots Quad are sliced local strawberries, d’anjou pear pieces, pinapple chunks and sliced local Minneolas which are technically tangelos but look like a small orange.

Bentoriffic-Love pancakes bentoAnother flirtatious lunch for my husband today with I heart you pancakes.  The big stack underneath are all heart shaped pancakes and 2 small organic plums propping up the I and the U.  I also included a bunch of grape tomatoes and blueberries in his Easy LunchBoxes container today. Not shown is his Mini Dippers container with maple syrup.

Bentoriffic-dental bento for dental week

My other preschooler has the same lunch as above with dental themed pancakes, plums, blueberries and a strawberry on top in her Easy Lunchboxes.  Happy Lunch Packing!

Things I used to make this lunch:

Face cutters

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Leftovers.  It’s what’s for lunch.  It’s not exciting sometimes, but it sure is a timesaver for whoever is packing lunch!

Bentoriffic- Hato Mugi and Cannellini bean dinnerI have gotten in the habit in the past few weeks of doubling my dinner recipes.  I am always grabbing lunch on the go, and it’s nice to have something I can just reheat.  Plus it makes for simple lunches the next day.  In this case, I had been browsing through Christy Morgan’s Blissful Bites cookbook while meal planning.  She suggested a grain called hato mugi.  In all my years of cooking I hadn’t ever heard of it.  It’s also called Job’s tears.  It’s a barley like grain that is actually the seed of an Asian grass that has a higher quantity of protein, fat, calcium, iron,  B vitamins and more amino acids than most grains.  It also helps with the stomach and cleansing the blood.  I decided to order some for fun.  It’s a wonderful, gluten-free grain.  My best description of it would be a heavy, more textured barley and with a more distinct taste.  I cooked  the hato mugi first.  While it was simmering, I cooked cannellini and pinto beans separately with lemon juice, garlic rosemary, salt and a bit of tahini.  When it was done, I arranged it over the grain.

Bentoriffic- Hato mugi and bean heart leftover lunchAnd above is the same dish packed in an Easy LunchBoxes container for lunch the next day.  The beans got a bit smooshed when I stored it overnight, but I just added fresh fruit in the morning (honeydew melon balls and mango slices).  Lunch is served.

Bentoriffic- bear bento lunchMiss G wanted bears today so I obliged.  She has mini sandwiches in the bottom left with bear faces stamped on them.  Above are cashews, a date, almond and raisin ball rolled in coconut and grape tomatoes on bear picks. In the top right are fresh mango slices with more little bears, and in the bottom right are strawberry hearts and a silicone bear cup with honeydew melon balls packed in her Planetbox stainless lunchbox.

I am also in the running again this year for the Circle of Moms.  This time I’m trying to make it to the Top 25 Vegetarian and Vegan blogs in the country.  You can vote once a day from each IP address.  All you do it click vote.  I appreciate your support!  Click here to vote for me!

It was Miss A’s birthday this week.  She turned 3.   I think every mother sits back and asks where the time went.  It certainly doesn’t feel like 3 years ago!  In any case, I made her a special birthday lunch, and her Easy LunchBoxes container came back empty which is always a sign of success to me.

Bentoriffic- Three Years Old bento

I used the LunchPunch birthday cake cutter on Rudi’s Whole Wheat bread.  Inside is Justin’s Almond butter with a bit of agave nectar.  I cut a 3 out of  Stretch Island fruit leather and used a tiny heart cutter for the flames of the candles.  On either side of the sandwich are heart picks of organic blueberries.  In the top left compartment are 3 pineapple chunks and three candle cupcake picks and in the top right are 3 number 3 pieces of watermelon and a date and raisin ball rolled in coconut.

Stitch present

Her favorite present?  A Stitch action figure which I found on eBay.  He speaks alien, makes laser gun noises and comes with green alien drool.  I know, I’m not winning mother of the year in some people’s eyes, but she LOVES her Lilo and Stitch Disney movies.

Bentoriffic- Cupcake by Miss G

Miss G wanted to make her own lunch today so I obliged.  She had a cupcake shaped sandwich with the same LunchPunch set.  She filled it with chocolate almond butter and cut a fruit leather cherry for the top.  She also has organic blueberries and ice cream cone shaped watermelon pieces in her Easy Lunchboxes container.

Bentoriffic- BBQ beans and veggies bento

My husband is having last night’s leftovers of barbeque black eyed peas, beans and vegetables.  It’s as simple as it sounds. Cook black eyed pease and your favorite beans (I used pintos) or open the can & dump into a skillet.  In a separate skillet I cooked 2 carrots chopped, 1 shallot finely chopped, 1 cup of peas and 2 turnips and sauteed them in a separate skillet until cooked.  I used about a 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce and coated the beans while heating them.  When the vegetables were done cooking, I merged the two and coated it all with the barbeque sauce.  Dinner is served!  In the top left are pineapple pieces and in the right compartment are watermelon pieces in his Easy Lunchboxes container.

Please click on each photo to find out where I bought tools I used to make this lunch:

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Trying new foods is my thing.  Of course, these days it includes crazy seeds, fruits and things I’ve never heard of since dropping meat & dairy from our family diet.

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Soy curls couscous and chia bento

I made my own version of vegan barbeque last night which means it becomes lunch the next day.  I found a product called Soy Curls made by Butler Foods.  You just soak them in warm water for 10 minutes and add the desired flavoring.  Once hydrated, I added these to a skillet with about 4 tablespoons of water, 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke and about 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and cooked over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  I add water a tablespoon at a time as necessary to keep it moist.  For this lunch I poured it over whole wheat Israeli couscous in her Easy Lunchboxes contianer.  In the top left compartment are local strawberries we picked this past week from Eden Farm.  The top right compartment has a chia seed pudding I made with almond milk.  Chia seeds are high in Omega 3 acids (more than salmon or flax seeds), calcium, potassium, fiber and protein.  Click here to read more about these amazing little seeds. Benefits of eating chia seeds

CHIA SEED PUDDING RECIPE

1 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk

1/3 cup chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons honey, stevia or agave nectar (depends on your preference)

Soak for 20-30 minutes until thickened like tapioca. Stir every 5 minutes to eliminate clumps out of mixture.  Pudding will thicken like tapioca.

I’ve also added cinnamon and raisins as a variation on this recipe.

Sabra & peace pretzel snack bento

For her afternoon snack, my 4 year old has a serving size of Sabra hummus, Laurel Hill brand peace pretzel chips, blueberries, strawberries and dried apricots packed in a LunchBots Uno stainless lunch container.

Happy Lunch Packing!

“Why am I NEVER going back to school again?  I miss my friends!”, Miss G asked over the weekend.  Truthfully, I enjoyed having the whole family home for a while and doing things together.  I know they were getting bored by the time the New Year arrived this week.  I also enjoyed a couple of weeks without making bento lunches and blogging which is a good thing.  I’m feeling like I really had a break.  I hope that everyone else had a bit of a break too aside from the holiday stress.

The tummy bug hit our house so only 1 munchkin is off to school today.

Linzer stars and fruit by bentoriffic

My 4 year old went to preschool with a LunchBots Quad full of healthy goodies.  From the top left she has pineapple pieces, blueberries, raspberries, two small sandwiches on Rudi’s Organic whole grain bread cut with Linzer cookie cutters and a small star out of the middle.  In the bottom left are cashews and dried cranberries.

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One of my goals for this year is to stay more organized.  I found this recycled chalk board at a local store, and I use it for my weekly menu board.  It hangs near the kitchen.  It always has one or two quick meals for when “planned” dinners don’t pan out and the others for when I have the time to prep as usual.  I also try to make enough each night to have leftovers to pack for lunches the next day.  Anything to minimize time and maximize effort is what will help make things run more efficiently.  It’s not a perfect system, but it does keep me from scrambling and wondering what to cook.

Wishing you all a healthy, prosperous new 2013 and happy lunch packing!

Angel & baby Jesus bento by bentoriffic

So maybe this isn’t the most reverent representation of the manger scene, but I was limited on time this morning.  I wanted Miss G to have the manger scene for her lunch…the reason for the season.  Baby Jesus is made from Stretch Island fruit leather on a bed of cashews.  The angel is Justin’s Almond Butter on Rudi’s Organic brand Whole Grain bread.  The star is a dried apricot and next to the angel are a Christmas tree pick of grape tomatoes.  At the top left are organic blueberries with a gift food pick and in the top right compartment of her Easy Lunchboxes container are organic raspberries.

Gingerbread girl bento by bentoriffic

And above is the elusive mom lunch.  I say this because I rarely get lunch.  I’m lucky if I have a protein bar or smoothie while on the run.  Today I am driving down to Miss G’s school to have lunch with her so I packed myself a cute lunch too.  I’m having a gingerbread girl on Rudi’s Organic whole grain bread with almond butter & blackberry jam.  I stuck some raisin buttons on with almond butter.  She has cinnamon candy eyes and a fruit leather mouth.  I used a Hello Kitty bow for her hair pick.  She is surrounded by grape tomatoes on Christmas tree picks.  In the top left compartment are pineapple chunks with a candy cane food pick and the top right has organic blueberries and raspberries.  Merry Christmas to you all!

I will be taking a break to spend time with my family while the kids are out of school.  Hoping everyone has some time to relax and appreciate all the little things in life.  I look forward to hearing from you in the new year!

Much Love, Sarah


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