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Archive for the ‘Vegitarian’ Category

I may have created a lunch monster.  For the first time ever, Miss A (2)  asked for a specific lunch for tomorrow.  She said she wanted a seahorse.  I did one last year for Miss G, but I’m quite sure neither one of them remember it.  Here was last year’s:

Seahorse Lunch 2011

A few fun seahorse facts. 

*It is the male seahorse who is impregnated, gestates and gives birth to the babies in their species.  

*Seahorses are terrible swimmers.  The do have fins to propel themselves but spend a lot of time drifting and resting in one place

*Seahorses, like many species, are vulnerable to extinction.  Please don’t buy the dried souvenirs that you see in shell shops or purchase ones for your aquarium.  They are best left along in the wild. 

Today used the same cookie cutter for this one too for the sake of ease.  I used Vegan brand mozzarella cheese for the markings and a Wilton food marker to color the blue.  She has a cup of shrimp and shell shaped watermelon pieces. Below that is a cup of thinly sliced strawberries and a piece of baran for sea grass below packed in her LunchBots stainless bento container.

Miss G and I were reading a book before bed, and she saw a piece of swiss cheese.  She decided she would like that as her sandwich for today along with a little mouse too.  The sandwich is made from the same Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  I used my small circle cutters to make the impressions in the bread without pushing it all the way through and then smooshed the middle for the indentations.  The strawberry mouse is just hulled.  I used Vegan brand cheese to hand cut a tail and I used tiny cutters for the face and ears. Under the sandwich is a pick of blueberries.   In the top right compartment are grapes and a piece of watermelon.  Below that is a flower cup of So Delicious brand strawberry flavored coconut milk yogurt with a strawberry flower on top.

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My husband has to travel today so I suggested that I pack him a lunch.  Airport food is dreadful in general, but when I flew recently I realized how tough it is to find ANYTHING vegitarian, vegan or just plain healthy.  I packed my own sandwiches, but it was a long day of traveling.  We are still doing our plant based diet so the goal is to eat as little processed food as possible.  Since we’re still a bit new to the diet it takes some planning ahead.

He may want to kill me for a cutesy sandwich, but I couldn’t resist.  He has the airplane LunchPunch cut out of Rudi’s Whole Grain bread which is our favorite brand for the past few months.  The sandwich is surrounded by organic mini carrots and fresh blueberries on the top part.  At the top left are locally grown cucumber slices and at the top right are grapes and a strawberry heart packed in his Easy Lunch Box.

Please excuse the poor photos for his traveling lunch.  I had to take them late last night.

Since I know he will be traveling most of the day,  I also packed a second smaller bento box.  The bottom part has a single serve Sabra brand hummus with whole grain crackers and a heart container with dried cherries in it.  The top portion is packed with halved strawberries as his afternoon snack along with a couple of Larabars.

Little Miss 2 year old is having an apple sandwich on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with a surprise “worm” coming out of it.  It’s actually an Annie’s Organic Fruit Bunny, but I drew a small face on one end with a food marker.  Looks like a worm to me!  She’s also having a small apple container of dried cherries.   On the left side of her LunchBots Duo is a flower cup of halved grapes and a strawberry heart on top.  Above that are blueberries.

Miss G is having a dog house sandwich with a silicone dog cup of blueberries, honeydew melon grass and a small orange cup of dried cherries.  At the top right are grapes surrounding a carrot stick.  At the top left is a cup of homegrown heirloom tomatoes and a green dog pick packed in her Easy Lunch Box.

I must admit that I’ve tried to eat kale many times in my life.  I KNOW how good it is for me, but like many vegetables can be it has a distinct and somewhat bitter taste.  I just couldn’t do it. Most people recognize it as the fake, dark green lettuce looking stuff they throw on plates at a restaurant as “garnish”.

Once we decided to give up meat as of January, I was committed to trying new foods and old ones that I had previously scoffed at in order to be the healthiest I can be.  I had to find a way to make them tasty.  This recipe that I found is what converted me.  This salad makes me eat kale and LIKE it each week, and I’m now eating kale chips too.  The lemon juice and honey (or agave nectar) soften the kale and take the bitterness out of it.

Reasons to eat kale:

*One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C, and K (Web MD)

*Kale is packed with antioxidants, and research shows that it can lower your risks of 5 different types of cancer: bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.

*Kale contains lutein which keeps the eyes and vision healthy.

*Kale is a great resource for minerals such as copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus which control blood pressure and iron which controls red blood cell production.

The Food Network’s Aarti Sequiera posted this recipe on line.  Here is the link:

Massaged Kale Salad

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons ( substitute pistachios, sunflower seeds or whatever I have on hand.

You can also use other sweet fruits if you’re not a mango fan.  Peaches, strawberries or whatever is in season are also a great substitute.

I started with lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale that I found at our local King Family Farm and Market.

I had to look up the different kinds of kale before hitting the farmer’s market to re-educate myself on the different types of kale.  Here’s a link from Eco Localizer that might help you before you go shopping.

Photo guide to different varieties of kale

The salad will taste better if you cut off the branchy ends of the kale and remove the spines after washing it.  Then I just cut the pieces into bite size and toss in the bowl.

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. I minimize the oil because of calories from fat (100% of the calories in any oil come from fat).  Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a separate, small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey (or agave nectar to taste) and freshly ground black pepper. Add oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.   Then top with the cut fruit and seeds of your choice and enjoy!

My girls are learning about Florida today.  Miss G was asked to dress like a tourist at preschool to celebrate things about our state.   Since I recently did two lunches showing where the state is, I decided to make things that they like & see often.   The mockingbird is our state bird.  We feed the birds at our house, and a mockingbird sits atop the large oak tree in our front yard and sings most days.  It imitates the songs of many other birds so it’s pretty to listen to.  They are also fierce protectors of their nests so if we (or the dogs) get too close, they will swoop down & chirp at us to give us a warning.

The mockingbird is made from Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  And the wings and tail feathers are the heel of the loaf.  Its eye and beak are made from fruit leather. His leg & tree branches are made from pretzel sticks and the leaves are unsalted pumpkin seeds stuck on with almond butter.  Next to the bird is a mandarin orange peeled at one end to make a sun since Florida is the Sunshine State.  At the top left in an orange cup (the orange blossom is our state flower) is a cornbread muffin and at the top right are locally grown blueberries from King Family Farm and Market and organic raspberries with an umbrella pick.  Her lunch is packed in an Easy Lunch Box.

And Miss A gets a flamingo today.  Flamingo “stuff” is sold in every tourist shop in our state.  When I first visited Florida over 20 years ago, I was shocked to not see one flamingo.   They aren’t native here, but we see plenty of them at our local attractions.  If you’re visiting here, Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a fun place to visit in Sarasota.  They have many flamingos that walk around the grounds, and the kids can hand-feed them.  They are also at the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo where we spend a lot of time.  So even if they’re not native, we do get to see them often.  It is a rare thing if we see them anywhere in the wild, and in fact they are mostly in the Florida Keys and Miami area.  Other than that you won’t really see them here if you’re here for vacation.

Miss A’s flamingo was made of the same Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  I stuck some pink sprinkles on with agave nectar.  The state tree of Florida is the sabal palm (also known as the cabbage palm) so her palm tree trunk is made from dates and coconut flakes, and the palm fronds are honeydew melon.  At the top left are orange blossom cups with blueberries and raspberries, and at the top right is a mini cornbread muffin with a flamingo pick packed in her Easy Lunch Box.

School’s almost over for us.  It’s hard to believe since the days drag, but the weeks fly.  This week is a continuation of Under The Sea theme.  Miss G requested a submarine.  I have to admit it would be one of the last things I ever would have come up with.  It was so creative that I agreed.

She has a Justin’s Almond Butter and jam on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  I used a rolling pin to flatten the bread before hand cutting the submarine.  It has fruit leather portholes.  She has a date whale with coconut flakes on top next to the boat.  At the top left are mango slices with a blowfish pick and at the top right are watermelon slices with a small sea turtle pick.

I didn’t feel like making 2 subs so Miss A got an octopus today.  Hers was cut from a biscuit cutter and then I used the biscuit cutter to cut “legs” out of the remaining bread.  His hat is a date roll with coconut flakes shaped into a hat.  The eyes are candy eyes stuck on with almond butter and so is the fruit leather mouth. At the top left is a mandarin orange with a dolphin pick, at top right are watermelon pieces with an octopus baran (food separator), and in the yellow oval are mango pieces with an octopus pick.

My husband has a salad & sides to go with his lunch today.  His salad is organic romaine lettuce,with a locally grown, sliced tomato courtesy of my generous neighbor (Thank you!), unsalted, raw walnuts, mini carrots and cauliflower.  At the top left are dried apricots and a date roll with coconut flakes and at the top right are watermelon slices.  All 3 lunches today are packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.

My lovely blogger ladies decided that it would be fun to give dads and/or little ones a chance to pitch in for lunch and give us a hand for a day!  What a great idea!  So please make sure to push the button at the end of each post to see what everyone’s families did to help mom out for Mother’s Day!

My little Miss G is 4.  She ALWAYS wants to help.  I do love for her to help me, but most of the time the help she wants to give is in the morning rush to finish breakfast, making lunches & run out to school.  This morning I started her early so she could choose all the things for her own lunch.  She chose the ice cream cone shaped LunchPunch for her favorite sandwich shape out of the hundreds of cutters that we have.  She also said she wanted LOTS of pink since it is her favorite color.

She filled her smaller compartments in her Easy Lunch Box with 2 pink silicone cups , cut her sandwich shapes out of the loaf of Rudi’s Whole Grain organic bread and asked for her favorite standard, Justin’s Almond Butter & raspberry jam.  She was surprised that it was tough to spread the almond butter without ripping the bread.

I let her choose which fruits & vegetables she wanted.  She chose the picks and put it all together by herself.  She said she wanted a lot of pink sprinkles, and I told her she could just for today.  She even knew that she needed honey (agave nectar) to make them stick.  I had to laugh.  I think I’m so special at this, but she has been watching me so intently that the lunch looked an awful lot like something I would have done myself (minus the loads of sprinkles and too much food) and just a tad bit messier than me.

Finishing up:

She wanted to choose the background paper herself for the official picture, and insisted that she also take the photo of her lunch too.  She included watermelon, honeydew melon, mini carrots and threw in cashews and dried cherries in the green cup at the end. She also chose a Hello Kitty pick and a pink racoon pick to add in the end.

Here is her photo which I only cropped:

And here’s the photo I took of her.  I’m not including her beautiful, proud face, but know that she has a HUGE smile from doing this all by her 4 year old self!

Please hop over to Ludicrous Mama’s page called Biting The Hand That Feeds You to see what her munchkin did for her lunch!

We are so fortunate to live in Florida where we have exposure to so much marine life and education.  My kids get great learning experiences whether it’s at the beach or at the local aquarium.  We also get to visit the birds and mammals who have been injured from fishing lines, plastic bags and other various injuries and watch them rehabilitate here and be released.   During turtle nesting season here (now, spring through fall) we see the roped off sea turtle nests and have even found sea turtle eggs after they’ve hatched.  At our local aquarium, Mote Marine Laboratory, we get to visit the hatchlings when they are there before their release and the older turtles who live there.  They have loggerhead and green turtles which are both native to the area.  Mote does a lot of great research and education in our area and in other areas of the state.  We are lucky!

Miss G has my cartoonish version of a sea turtle.  They’re much cuter in person!  She has a Justin’s Almond Butter and jam sandwich on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  The fun pie pieces on its back and its eyes are made from dairy free cheese.  His legs are made from the crusts.  At top left are nectarine slices and a watermelon octopus.  At the top right are watermelon chunks with soy cheese fish on top packed in her Easy Lunch Box.

Miss A has mini boats for her lunch below.  At the top left are watermelon chunks and a soy cheese boat on top.  At the top right are nectarine slices and a nectarine boat on top.

And to go with his rice, tofu & veggie bowl lunch, I packed my husband an Easy Lunch Box of a salad of mixed greens and spinach leaves, locally grown grape tomatoes and a red sweet pepper “I heart you”.  At the top left is a homemade zucchini mini muffin.  At the top right is a single serve container of Sabra hummus and not shown are whole grain crackers for dipping.


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