bentoriffic

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Elves and trees by bentoriffic

My 4 year old has elves watching her for lunch.  These look more like Keebler elves than Christmas elves to me, but she doesn’t know.  They are sitting on a crust of their Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  At the top left are small carrot Christmas tree sandwiches filled with Justin’s almond butter and in the top right compartment are watermelon trees cut with a tree shaped pastry plunger that I found in a set at Target and packed in her Easy Lunchboxes container.

Christmas trees and hummus snack

Miss G’s snack today was a container of Sabra hummus with dried sour cherries in the bottom, Newman’s Own pretzel sticks and cashews in the bottom.  In the top tier are dried apricots stuffed with carrot trees and surrounded by raisins.  On the right side are cantaloupe trees.

Santa and trees in LunchBots by bentoriffic

Little Miss 2 year old is back to school today with a LunchBots Quad.  From the top left are watermelon Christmas trees, raisins, cashews and carrot trees, cantaloupe holiday trees and 2 mini Santa sandwiches on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Santa face cookie cutter

Car, arrow and tree mini cutters

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I admit there are days when I really miss the smell of dried leaves and the beautiful fall colors.  For my 4 year old daughter’s lunch, I tried to make a little autumn in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

I love finding new ways to reuse existing tools.  My readers have probably noticed my slight obsession with the small cookie cutter presses.  I loved the patterns they leave in the sandwiches.  This leaf cutter was part of a set for cutting fancy pie crusts.  I use them year-round for cutting fruit, vegetables and mini sandwiches.  The leaves are made from Rudi’s organic whole grain bread and filled with Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter.  The tree trunk is two pretzel rods.  Green grapes are the grass on a pick.  The top left is filled with organic rapsberries with an oak leaf & acorn pick.  In the top right there are 2 Crimson Gold tiny apples and a peeled clementine with a scarecrow pick.

Miss G’s snack is a Happy Tiffin brand stainless bento filled with cashews and dried edamame in the bottom container.  At the top are dried apricots, grape tomatoes and a peeled clementine.

For my 2 year old daughter, I packed a LunchBots Quad.  From the top left, she has long grain brown rice mixed with vegetables and black beluga lentils.  Green grapes and raspberries are in yellow silicone ovals at the top right.  In the bottom right compartment are Rudi’s organic whole grain bread cut into mini ice cream cones with a small cookie cutter plunger and filled with Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter and in the bottom left compartment is a peeled clementine and a small silicone container of marcona almonds.  Both girls have ice water with their lunches.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Last week one of my friends posted a photo of kiwi berries.  I had never seen or heard of them so it was a must find for me!  We love kiwi, and I was hoping the flavor was similar.  I was lucky enough to find them at a stand at the local farmer’s market.  They only had a few, but I’ll be back for more after trying them!

Here’s what they look like inside.  They are the size of grapes and sweet like kiwi without the fuzzy exterior.  Just pop them in like grapes and eat.  They have a very short season so if you’re lucky enough to find them, buy them and enjoy!

Both girls had the same wraps today for lunch.  From the top left are raspberries and 3 kiwi berries on top.  Inbetween the 2 cups are mini carrots and at the top right is a cup of lemon orzo.  In the bottom container are red seedless grapes and the veggie wrap pinwheels.  They are Rudi’s brand whole grain spelt tortillas.  I used a homemade sunflower seed spread and added julienned carrots and steamed edamame.

Below are Miss G’s snacks for school.  The top are watermelon flowers and the bottom is a cup of sprouted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries mixed and grape tomatoes.

From the top left are red seedless grapes with sliced strawberries on top.  In the top right compartment are kiwi berries, 2 pieces of corn shaped mini cornbread muffins and 3 grape tomatoes.  At the bottom right are watermelon and d’anjou pear flowers, and in the bottom left are the same edamame and carrot wraps at the bottom right packed in her LunchBots Quad.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Hot!  That’s what fall is like in Florida.  While everyone else gets cool evenings and crunchy fall leaves with gorgeous color, we’re still sweating and pretending it’s summer.  I remember the good old days when October meant snow in Minnesota where I grew up.  My kids don’t know any better so I made some Florida fall bento lunches.

Packed in her sistema brand lunchbox, my 4 year old has kiwi slices with a clementine peel squirrel on top, mini acorn sandwiches, black seedless grapes and orange cantaloupe leaves.

For her snacks today, Miss G has grape tomatoes with mini carrots and in a smaller container she has trail mix with cashews, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.

I like to change things up between kids so my 2 year old is having the same trail mix with a squirrel cutout for decoration.  She also has acorn and pumpkin sandwiches, honeydew leaves and cantaloupe acorns packed in her LunchBots Quad stainless container.

And for the other snack I packed a fall themed squirrel bento with strawberries, plums (underneath) and a peeled clementine orange in the middle.

Lunch can get boring for little kids so why not put it on a stick.   It’s amazing how they’ll eat something new just because it looks different.  I realized the other night that other than birthday parties, I’ve never done a lunch on skewers.

I used 8″ wooden skewers and broke them at the end to fit the size needed.  I made little square almond butter and agave sandwiches with grape tomatoes inbetween.  The fruit skewers on either side are green and red seedless grapes and raspberries.  At the top left are cashews and dried cranberries and the top right are snap peas and mini carrots packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

For a snack at school today, Miss G has a butterfly container with mini carrots and one of the new Easy LunchBoxes Mini Dippers with almond butter for dipping.

Little Miss A has a smaller version of the same.  Her lunch includes blackberries too packed in a LunchBots Uno stainless container.

And another cashew and dried cranberries snack packed in the new Easy LunchBoxes Mini Dippers that are now available.

My husband had leftovers from last night’s dinner.   He has Hoppin John in the main compartment of his Easy LunchBoxes container, sugar snap peas at the top left and mini carrots in the top right compartment.  The green heart is Avocado Cucumber dressing.

  I have always been a fan of Hoppin’ John.  It’s a flavorful dish traditionally made with rice, black eyed peas and ground beef  or bacon served often in the Southern United States on New Year’s Day.  I found this recipe for the plant based, meatless and healthier version on a website I admire by Chef Cathy Fisher and her website Straight Up Food.  She also has a Facebook page where you can follow her at Straight Up Food on Facebook.  This recipe is not just meatless.  It’s dairy free, salt and oil free too.  It’s also packed full of collard greens which aid in cholesterol lowering, cancer prevention and are high in vitamin K,  vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and calcium.  We’ll be making it again.  Please visit Straight Up Food here for the recipe!

Hoppin John with Avocado Cucumber Dressing by Cathy Fisher of Straight Up Food

The smaller it is the more they eat.  I keep thinking about a mom sized stomach and forgetting to tailor to the pip squeaks.  I think every parent packing lunch needs that reminder.  If not, then this is just for me 🙂  Pack small portions and bite sized morsels!

From the top left are nectarine and mango slices with a duck pick, duck heart-shaped sandwiches, a sliced red d’anjou pear at the bottom right and gobbetti curly wheat pasta with green zebra striped heirloom tomato slices packed in her LunchBots Uno.

Little Miss A had a similar lunch.  From the top left are strawberries, mango & nectarine pieces, gobbetti curly pasta with kidney beans and a sectioned plum at the bottom left packed in her Hello Kitty Sanrio lunchbox.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Thank goodness I put it on my calendar.  I check my schedule last night, and Miss G’s school is celebrating International Peace Day today.  At first, I had a good laugh over what’s NOT appropriate for a kid’s lunch box that reminds me of peace and the 60s.  Cheech & Chong movies, protests, stinky hippies, a lot of grass (and I don’t mean to walk on) and some really good music I will pass on to my kids some day.  But for now, I decided on the basic peace sign lunch.

At the top left are barley and brown rice and black beans on top.  At the top right are blackberries, raspberries and a strawberry.  The peace sign is cantaloupe and piel de sapo is the greenish white melon.  It’s also called a Santa Claus melon and tastes a lot like honeydew.  I used a cookie cutter to cut the melon.  The PEACE letters are Stretch Island fruit leather.  The heart and Have A Nice Day sandwiches are Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with almond butter and sliced berries with fruit leather faces packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

In all seriousness, I think it’s great that they’re teaching 4 year olds about respecting others from all walks of life and all nations.  Being kind to others always goes a long way in accepting even when we don’t understand.

Miss G’s snack today is a sliced nectarine surrounded by more melon pieces.  In the round container is So Delicious brand coconut milk strawberry yogurt packed in her Happy Tiffin stainless container.

Have a great weekend!

Things I Used To Make This Lunch:


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