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Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

Anything that gives me a few more minutes is something I can buy into.  As a busy mom with 2 toddlers, I don’t want to sacrifice the important stuff like healthy ingredients.   I’ve been trying to make more foods that are healthy, with variety and less effort on my part.  Lazy?  I hope not.  My kids wanted a snack.  I thought I’d see what I could make that could normally be cooked but could also be eaten as is in a situation like a tropical storm where you lose power in your house.

I rinsed a package of cannellini beans and smashed them with a fork in a bowl.  I added 2 tablespoons of mild salsa and 1 tablespoon of Tofutti sour cream and mixed them into the beans.  I put a dollop of each on pita chips that I had, sprinkled them with a few Daiya (dairy-free) cheese shreds and topped with an olive slice.  I broiled mine for a few minutes until the cheese melted.  They were yummy!  My chips were very thin to begin with and got a bit mushy.  I would recommend toasted bread slices or thicker pita chips.  They were all gone quickly!  Protein packed and fast to fix.

Nacho served with puzzle piece sandwiches and orange slices.

Little Miss 4 year old is off to school again today.  She has a butterfly bowl of vegetable bean soup with a piece of vegan butterfly cheese on top for decoration.

And to go with her soup is a LunchBots Uno with grape tomatoes, homemade butterfly shaped vegan cornbread muffins, blackberries and blueberries with a papaya butterfly on top, cashews, dried cranberries and dried mango strips.

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Miss G’s first day in pre-Kindergarten was yesterday.  I definitely had a proud mom moment realizing she was excited to go and well socialized enough to look at the positives of new friends and a fun new classroom.  I also had my sad moment where I felt like I was saying goodbye to my oldest baby.  She is definitely all girl now and ready to go out & meet new friends.  It’s hard to let go sometimes.  After all, it seems like only months ago when I was staring down at a new baby wondering, “What do I DO with her?”.  There is no manual.   As parents, we just do our best one day at a time.  Off to school she goes.

She will be in school until mid-afternoon which means she needs lunch AND snacks daily that I pack for her.  She wanted her trusty almond butter and jam today, but I told her we’re working on more variety from now on.  For today, the apple sandwiches are on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with Justin’s Maple Almond butter and strawberry jam.  Along with the sandwiches are an apple pick of red seedless grapes, a silicone apple container with small Apple Cinnamon Larabar bites (I cut them into small pieces) and grape tomatoes.  She also LOVES Israeli cous cous (top left) so I mixed it with quinoa and edamame which were cooked in vegetable broth.  At the top right are blackberries and raspberries packed in her Easy LunchBox container.

For her snack I used a small 2 tiered bento box. The top compartment is mini carrots and sugar snap peas.  In the green sauce container is Tofutti sour cream for dipping and below that is a mini vegan apple cinnamon muffin.  At the bottom are dried cranberries on the left and the right has sprouted pumpkin seeds and cashews.

The hubby has a salad again.  His mixed baby greens are arugula, tat soi, baby green and red chard, and baby bok choi.  On top is a piece of teriyaki marinaded tofu, a yellow roma tomato, a green heirloom tomato and sprouted pumpkin seeds on the sides.  At the top left are blueberries and raspberries and the top right is a wild rice salad with red & green peppers and pecans packed in his Easy LunchBox container.

Wishing all of my readers’ families a smooth transition during this back to school time!

Today is the first day back to school for us.  Not sure that I’m feeling quite ready for this, but here we go.  These lunches are from last week’s playdate at a friend’s house.  Tomorrow I will post the back to school lunches.  I got 2 new sandwich makers to try.  The first one is from Bento USA by All Things For Sale.  I saw a lunch that they did, and I thought it was the cutest thing.

Expect more pandas from us throughout the school year!  This makes sandwich pockets and even toast cute for your little picky eaters.  Fill the panda face with vegetables or fillings to make them different colors or simply use different kinds of bread.

I was in a rush so I went for simple.   The panda sandwich is on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with Justin’s Almond Butter and strawberries in the middle.  A homemade mini vegan cornbread muffin is above the sandwich and heart shaped strawberries.  At the top left are organic raspberries with vegan chocolate chips in the middle and panda baran.  At the top right are sliced red seedless grapes and sliced dried apricots packed in an Easy LunchBoxes.

And I got a new sandwich cutter from Pampered Chef friend.  It’s called the cut & seal & makes uncrustable looking sandwich pockets.  I get the feeling I’ll be using this one a lot as makes things quick for me, and I can easily make sandwiches ahead of time and freeze them!

I decided to make a pig out of it for Little Miss 4  year old.  I used candy eyes and the heel of the bread is great for dark accents (the nose and ears).  She also has a vegan mini cornbread muffin and blueberries.  At the top are carrots and Tufutti sour cream for dipping in the small pig container.  At the top right are strawberry hearts with a raspberry in the middle and pig pick packed in her Easy LunchBox.

I packed myself a plain almond butter sandwich and a LunchBots Duo full of fruit.  From the top left are fresh, local Florida mango chunks, blueberries, rasperries and mini carrots.

Things I used to make this lunch:

My kids LOVE to go to the market.  I can’t handle all the grocery shopping with both of them so I get the basics by myself.  I do find it EXTREMELY important to take them to the local farmer’s markets, farms and organic stands in our area. I save my fruit and vegetable shopping just for them on the weekends.  If THEY pick it out, they will normally eat it.  I’m not sure who taught me this trick, but I am forever grateful.  Our rule is that they girls do not have to eat the whole thing, but they do have to try it when something new is introduced.  It helps to say things like, “Carrots give you x-ray vision.” or tell them that they’re very brave for trying new things. Experts even suggest stickers as a reward for eating fruits and vegetables.   I always make a big deal about them trying a new fruit or vegetable because for them it IS a big deal.  Remember it can take up to 15-20 tries before a child adapts to a new food.  I keep reintroducing things each week even if I know they haven’t eaten it the past 10 times.  Persistence does pay off.

Many moms and bloggers that I know have used the Today I Ate A Rainbow kit with great success.  You children get to reward themselves with different magnets for trying different colored foods each day.  It’s a fantastic way to make sure they’re getting their fruits and vegetables in too.

I had forgotten  I had these cute little bear cups for bentos so when I found them buried at the bottom of the bin, it was a must.  I made some small sandwiches with another little bear pastry plunger that I found at a local baking store.  In the bottom compartment are sugar snap peas and raspberries packed in our Easy LunchBoxes.

Little Miss 2 year old had a much smaller lunch.  She has strawberry sandwiches made with a pastry plunger as well.  Above the sandwiches are strawberry picks of blueberries and raspberries and on the right are sugar snap peas and strawberry hearts packed in her Gel-Cool brand Polar Bear bento.

Things I used to make this lunch:

I got caught with my hand in the Play Doh cabinet again.  I found these cute little bread cutters, washed them off and made these mini sandwiches today.  I cut Stretch Island grape fruit leather faces for both of them.  Just above the sandwiches are picks of green and black olives.  At the top left are raspberries and top right are blueberries.

Little Miss 2 year old is my finicky eater.  She had three little birds today for her lunch.  My kids love that Bob Marley song.  A pick of black olives is just above the sandwiches.  Raspberries, blueberries and a cantaloupe bird are at the top.  Both lunches are packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.

And I’m working on a local food story so my husband’s lunch today included foods I purchased at the local farmer’s market.  The base of the salad is baby spinach leaves.  I placed okinawan spinach leaves (purple and green) on top for color and for him to try, organic radishes which I bentoed out with these cute faces, and topped the salad with fresh sunflower sprouts.  I had never seen the okinawan spinach before so we had to try it.  Here’s a link to find out more about okinawa spinach.  Besides adding awesome color, it apparently has cholesterol lowering properties in it.  All of the ingredients came from My Mother’s Garden at the Sarasota, FL Downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.  In the top compartments are organic blueberries and organic red quinoa at the top right (cooked in vegetable broth) packed in an Easy Lunchbox container.

Things I used to make this lunch:

This afternoon we had some friends over to play.  I made some quick snacks with our FunBites Luv It cutters.  The girls had almond butter and jam mini sandwiches, strawberry hearts and this snack had a plum mouse with pumpkin seed eyes and nose and a Daiya (dairy free) cheese shred for the tail.

The second snack is a guacamole face with pretzel dippers and sliced olive eyes.  The mouth is a piece of Daiya (dairy free) cheese shred.  I made the rest of the FunBites mini sandwiches of almond butter and jam and strawberry hearts.

My husband had a baby spinach salad with teriyaki marinaded tofu in the middle and in slices around the edges.  I used a mini cookie cutter for the house shape.  I also included some yellow heirloom tomatoes.  At the top left are plum wedges and cantaloupe houses, and at the top right is a leftover soba noodle salad with cucumbers, scallions, radishes and carrots all packed in his Easy Lunchbox.  Not shown was his favorite ginger dressing.

Things I used to make this lunch:

The winner of my GreenPaxx reusable straws and lids giveaway is Corey from Family Fresh Meals!

Everyone is still a winner as Cindy from http://greenpaxx.com is offering 20% off with the coupon code SUMMER at checkout on her website through September 14th, 2012.  Some of her products are also available on Amazon.com.

Who has time to make these lunches?  If I had a nickel for every time someone said that to me, I’d have a whole lot more in savings.  The answer is anyone.  It doesn’t take as much time as you think.  Grab a mini cutter and try it!   Today I’m posting some not as pretty lunches.  They took me about 5 minutes each to make.  Still cute, still healthy and barely any time at all.

One of my favorite lunch tools is the Lunch Punch cutter sets.  They are super quick, cute and simple to make lunches.  At the top left are pluot slices and sugar snap peas.  At the top right are raspberries and a watermelon whale packed in a Lunchbots Uno.

Miss Four Year old had mini leaf and flower sandwiches are almond butter and jam with hummus and black bean crackers for dipping at the top.  Her Goodbyn Bynto lunchbox has a water bottle that fits in the middle and below that I packed sugar snap peas and watermelon pieces.

My husband had leftovers from dinner that we will definitely be making again!  I made my own version of this recipes for Six Sisters’ Stuff Spicy Rice and Bean Wraps that I found on Pinterest.  I made it vegan, and I keep out the spice at least for the ones I made for the little ones.  We added a little salsa on the adult versions at our house.

I used whole grain tortillas for the wrap.  In a bowl I mixed  1 cup of brown rice and quinoa mixed, 1 can of pinto beans (what I had in the pantry), and 1 tsp cumin.  I smeared a small bit of Tofutti brand vegan sour cream on the tortilla, then I loaded up with rice, quinoa and pinto bean mixture and added some julienned carrots and cucumbers on top.  I rolled them tightly, cut & served with sides of green and red salsa for the adults.   Dinner and leftovers for lunch too!  At the bottom I packed some sliced kiwi and cantaloupe in a LunchBots Duo.

Things I used to make this lunch:


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