bentoriffic

Archive for the ‘Valentine’ Category

Oh, brand new Planetbox, how we love thee! Anything that makes my life a little more organized with less thinking is for me!

Bentoriffic- Lots of Love bento in Planetbox

I decided to start a couple weeks out from Valentine’s Day to get some ideas cooking. I love pastry/cookie cutters for preschool lunches. They make perfect bite sized goodness, and then kids have to fill up on fruits and vegetables. Muhaha! Sneaky mom! The sandwiches are Justin’s Almond Butter with small pieces of fresh strawberries inside. A few raspberries are in with the mini sammies. To the left are orange slices with grape tomatoes stuck in between. In the top left compartment are carrot and celery sticks and the treat in the center is a Hail Merry brand raw vegan vanilla coconut macaroon. The top row of tiny heart silicone cups are filled with blueberries and dried apricot hearts. Yum! This lunch is for my 4 year old packed in her Planetbox stainless lunchbox.

Bentoriffic- Hearts with love bento in LunchBots

Miss A (3 years old) has her hearts lunch in our new LunchBots Trio. In the left compartment are raspberries and strawberries. At the top are blueberries and carrot sticks and in the bottom compartment are the same mini heart love sandwiches.

Please click on each photo to see what I used to make this lunch:

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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!

The 2 winners of the giveaways chosen at random are Barb from Washington and Karen of What’s In Our Lunch Bags? blog.  Thank you again to all of you for continuing to read, comment and for your kind words regarding the loss of my dad.

This lunch sort of reminds me of something I should do for Valentine’s day, but love for my kids is year round so I make a lot of heart themed lunches.  This one is Rudi’s Whole Grain bread made with my large heart pocket sandwich maker.  I used the heart picks to skewer all the surrounding yummies.  Mini tomatoes on either side and raspberries and blueberries are around the sandwich.  In the top left compartment are 2 Crimson Gold organic mini apples and in the top right are honeydew pieces with a fruit leather heart on top packed in her Easy Lunchboxes container.

My 2 year old has a short morning at preschool which includes an early lunch.  We were having issues with her filling up on the school snacks so I began bringing a few pieces of fruit each week to share with the class.  It turns out all the kids like it, and they’re all eating healthier.  Her lunch today is packed in a LunchBots Quad.  From the top left are almond butter mini hearts made with Rudi’s brand Whole Grain bread, blueberries, green pears and apple hearts and raspberries.  Both girls have ice water with their lunches.

Things I used to make this lunch:

My dad died last week.  Just as I was typing away about the things I was grateful for last week, I realize now that the small things, tiny things we think are so insignificant can sometimes be the most precious memories.  My dad was a gifted writer and storyteller.  He loved to write and shared that love with me.  My dad read my blog.  I think he appreciated that I was using my writing and creativity, making a hobby out of it and feeding my kids healthy food. I live 3400 miles from my family so I was not there for this holiday.  All my siblings were fortunate enough to be there.  He had been ill for a while, but it doesn’t make his passing any easier.   I did have the chance to talk to him to say hi, catch up for a minute and to tell him I loved him the day he died.  And for that I am truly grateful.  The conversation was nothing significant, but it is one I will always remember since it was our last.  Today, more than most, I am grateful for the time I had with my dad.  Life is fragile and fleeting so be sure to stop and appreciate all the gifts in your life, no matter how small they seem.

My 4 year old daughter had an Easy LunchBoxes container filled with angels.  From the top left are pear pieces and angel shaped pears.  In the top right compartment are honeydew angels.  And in the main compartment are carrots, farfalle pasta with vegan parmesan sprinkled on top, grape tomatoes on wing bento picks and a spinach angel on top.  In the bottom right corner is a Crimson Gold apple surrounded by purple sweet potato chips and in the bottom left corner are Field Grain veggie sausages with wing food picks.

For her snack today, Miss G has a Happy Tiffin brand stainless bento box filled with dried cranberries, medjool dates, sliced kiwi, and apple angel and whole cashews.

Miss 2 year old is back to school this week to with a LunchBots Quad stainless container.  From the top left she has dried cranberries, cashews, farfalle pasta with small Field grain Italian veggie sausage pieces and a slice of Field Grain sundried tomato angel on top.  In the bottom right compartment are pear angels and in the bottom left are honeydew angels.

I packed my husband his daily fruits and vegetables in his Easy LunchBoxes container to go with his leftovers for lunch (not shown).  He has raw walnuts, the negative cutout angel pieces of honeydew melon, mini carrots, medjool dates, an apple and a clementine.

There are still 2 days left to enter my Grateful Giveaway.  Please click below to enter to win 1 of 2 prizes.

I am Thankful Giveaway

Things I used to make this lunch:

I am excited to share the new CuteZCute cutter with my readers!  One lucky reader will win a CuteZCute kit of their own.  This contest is open to readers worldwide.  This tool takes the guesswork and time out of detailed cute lunches.  I was given a kit to try out and review.  I have received no other compensation for this review.

The CuteZCute Food Deco Cutter kit comes with 6 pieces.  There is a face frame for the template, 4 animal feature cutters including a panda, frog, pig and cat and a great pick for poking out small pieces from the templates.  My favorite feature aside from the awesome possibilities and ease of use is that each facial cutter has a side for cutting through on one side and for simply imprinting on the other which takes the guess work out of hoping you don’t ruin a bunch of bread.  Many cutters also come with intricate designs but don’t offer a way of getting the pieces out without ruining what you’ve cut.  This Panda Assistant poker makes it very simple to get out the eye, ear, nose and mouth pieces without poking small holes in what you’ve cut.

This panda lunch was the first lunch I made with the CuteZCute cutter for a lunch.  I used whole wheat bread and cut the face features from Stretch Island fruit leather strips.  For each creation, you simply cut the face shape from whatever you’re using.  I’ve seen pizzas, rice, cookies, english muffins, bread, tortillas cheese and you could even use pie dough for individual pies.

I also did this almond butter and jam pig lunch with the cutter.  I can tell you after a couple of years hand cutting shapes, this kit is a dream.  I spend about 10 minutes tops making the lunches with the CuteZCute.

The above frog quesadilla was made with green tortillas and Daiya brand non-dairy cheese shreds.  The frog is on a Wholly Guacamole lily pad.  From start to finish this took me less than 10 minutes.

Some examples of the different faces you can make with the cutter are below.

My blogging friend also has a link up party on her blog of dozens of cute ideas for the different uses of all the possibilities with these cutters.  Click below to see all the fun CuteZCute lunches:

Lunch With Eyeness CuteZCute Ideas

I decided to come up with a few holiday ideas for the CuteZCute on my own just to show how quick and easy it can be to have fun.

Now that Halloween’s over, there are still fall festivals happening so I thought a scarecrows would be fun.  I used the face template for the face.  I hand cut the hat and used the bread crust scraps to make hair.  The facial features are the frog eye cutter made from fruit leather. I used the pig ear cutter on a mini carrot slice for the scarecrow’s nose, the pig’s eyes are the cheeks made from apple skin, and the frog’s mouth cutter is the scarecrow’s mouth from fruit leather.  I used 2 pretzel rods for the scarecrow’s arms.

I made a reindeer out of pumpernickel bread and the face template.  The eyes and nose were the panda bear’s eye cutters.  The reindeer eyes are the bread scraps from the scarecrow as is the reindeer’s mouth made from the panda mouth cutter.  The red nose is also using the panda bear’s eye cutter used to cut a small piece of apple.   I used the bread scraps and the panda mouth cutter to make the antlers for the reindeer.

Other reasons to love the CuteZCute:

*It’s owned and operated in the U.S.A.

*It’s made from durable, food safe plastic and packaged in recyclable packaging.

*It’s so simple your kids can use it.

*It’s a perfect birthday gift, holiday gift and stocking stuffer.

*At $8.99 it’s affordable to almost everyone considering how many options the kit gives and available for sale at both my favorite bento supply site All Things For Sale and on Amazon.

The Rules:

Contest opens 11/2/2012 and ends at 12:01am on 11/9/2012. Winner will receive one CuteZCute Food Deco Cutter Kit.

Contest is open to all people worldwide.

One entry for each item:

1.”Like” CuteZCute on Facebook

2.Pin a photo from this giveaway to Pinterest, and leave a comment with the URL to the Pin in my blog comments.

3.Tweet about the giveaway and leave your twitter username in my blog comments.

Winner will be chosen by random.org and posted on 11/10/2012.  Winner will have 72 hours to respond to request by email.  If first winner doesn’t respond in the given time, a new winner will be chosen.  Please make sure you leave me a way to get a hold of you.  Good luck!

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Hoping that you have all the craziness behind you by now (except for tonight, of course).  I stayed up late making homemade Stitch ears for my 2 year old’s alien costume and planning the last of the Halloween food until next year.

Ahh, the last of the Halloween lunches!  Miss G, the 4 year old, has a LunchBots Quad with raspberries and an RIP headstone pick, a seckel pear with sticker, dragonfruit pieces with a skeleton pick and at the bottom left are mango pieces with a dragonfruit witch.

I found these little wooden coffins in Michael’s, and I finally put them to use.  I decorated the lids with Halloween stickers for fun.

I hand cut the sandwich to fit inside, and added a Wilton googly eye pick and a fruit leather mouth.

I also found these paper boxes for crafting at Michael’s, and I used them for snack bentos today.  Miss G’s is a jack-o-lantern face.  I filled it with cashews, dried cranberries and moon shaped dried apricots for her morning snack.

My 2 year old has a smaller wooden coffin for her sandwich.  Hers is a light activated box.  It cackles loudly when it opens which she loves.

She also has an almond butter & jam sandwich with a Wilton eye pick and Stretch Island fruit leather mouth, eyebrows and fangs.

Miss A has a pumpkin cup with mango pieces and a dracula pick with cashews above.  On the right are a seckel pear, raspberries, dried apricot crosses and a skeleton hand.

For her morning snack is a small coffin with dried cranberries and a handful of bone shaped candies.

Need quick & healthy last minute Halloween snack ideas?  Here are a few that your store won’t be out of if you need something fast.

Raisins-They’re like nature’s sugar, you can use them to make eyes on just about anything.  Raisins are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Eating raisins can help your energy levels.  They’re high in the best kind of natural sugars.  They also promote healthy bones since they contain high levels of calcium.

Clementine oranges or mandarin cuties-Mother Nature’s fast food.  Grab a box or bag and a few Sharpie markers or a pack of fun Halloween stickers & get creative.   A basket of these are more appealing to little ones than you may think.  For some reason stickers and fun faces make it enticing.  The best part is that they’re packed with nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin C.

Popcorn– NOT the microwave kind, the real no additive kind.  Pop up some corn in an air popper or a paper bag.  Here are the paper bag instructions:

Microwaving popcorn in a paper bag

We like to sprinkle a light dusting of sea salt or sometimes a bit of cinnamon on top for an afternoon snack.  For my kiddo party later today, my neighbor and I are putting popcorn in witch hand shaped bags as a snack.  Popcorn has more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables so skip the heavy butter & oil and dig in!

Pumpkin Seeds-Roast a few lightly salted seeds at home, and you’ll be snacking on these minerals: phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc as well as vitamin K and B.

Wishing everyone a fun, safe & happy Halloween!

I usually start with my kiddo’s lunches, but Miss G was out sick a day last week so today I’m starting with  my husband’s lunch.

I tried my hand at making Mujadara, a lentil dish with mixed rice and carmelized onions.  It’s a very simple, budget-friendly recipe, and the key is to carmelize the onions well.  The longer they cook, the sweeter they become.

This recipe is revised from one I found through Vegetarian Times Magazine.

  • 3 cups rice (I used a brown and wild rice mixture)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 15-oz. can lentils, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked  lentils
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin

I made about 3 cups of brown and wild rice.  While the rice was cooking, I sliced 2 whole onions (I had red onions) in thin slices, and cooked them in about 1/8 cup of water on a medium-low heat adding water as necessary so they don’t stick.  I sprinkled about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt over the onions an cooked for roughly 30 minutes.  I used red lentils which is what I had in the pantry.  While the onions were still cooking, I grated lemon zest and cut fresh parsley.  When the rice was done cooking, I poured it into a large bowl, fluffed, and stirred in the onion,  parsley, lemon zest, and cumin and then placed the rice mixture on plates and scooped the lentils on top.  You can also garnish for dinner with a sprig of parsley or lemon wedges.  It was very simple and delicious!

The above photo is the leftovers packed in an Easy LunchBoxes container with organic raspberries, watermelon and a cantaloupe $ sign for the breadwinner.  I made a sun from the lemon wedges I zested and stuck a parsley sprig in for decoration.

Little Miss A had a very simple bento herself.  In her LunchBots Quad are organic fruits (grapes, raspberries and watermelon pieces) with small heart shaped almond butter sandwiches.

Have a great Monday!


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