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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I ordered a new Planetbox lunchbox for Miss G.  She is over the moon about her new box and owl carrying bag, and she’s anxious to pack her lunch in it again all by herself.  Today’s lunches are vegan, gluten free and soy free (except the pretzels which contain wheat).

Bentoriffic pasta and fruit lunch in Planetbox

I packed the first lunch for her in it.  Clockwise from the top are slices of blood orange, Go Raw Pizza flax snacks, cashews, dried aprictos and dried cranberries.  In the round stainless container is gluten free, vegan pesto macaroni in it with black olives and heirloom tomato slices. The bottom left compartment has sliced kiwi and in the middle is a coconut covered date and raisin “snow ball”.

Cukes, almonds and guac snack

For her preschool snack today, Miss G has two small bento boxes.  The top contains mini cucumbers from a local farm, and Trader Joe’s brand marcona almonds with rosemary.  The bottom container has a Wholly Guacamole 100 calorie snack pack of guac with peace pretzel chips for dipping.  At the bottom are dried mango slices.

quinoa, black beans, peas & carrots

For Miss A’s toddler lunch, she has a LunchBots Quad stainless container.  From the top left are dried cherries, rosemary roasted marcona almonds, kiwi and watermelon slices, quinoa topped with black beans, peas, carrots and shallots, and in the bottom left are carambola (star fruit) and sugar snap peas.

Happy Lunch Packing!

Things I used to make this lunch:

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Birds make me happy.  I don’t have a specific reason.  They just cheer me up so I’m hoping that my kids find the same joy in them that I do.  All the lunches today are vegan (meatless and dairy free), soy-free, gluten-free and all ingredients are organic.

spinach pasta with stars & birds

Miss G’s lunch (4 years old) is spinach rice noodles with a small bit of Earth Balance coconut spread mixed in and Field Roast sundried tomato (meatless) deli slices on top shaped into stars and a bird.  In her Easy Lunchboxes container at the top are heart shaped strawberries and watermelon birds.

Oh my stars snack bentoAlong with lunch is her preschool snack in a LunchBots Duo stainless container.  In the left compartment are carrot sticks, blueberries and dried apricot stars, and in the right are sugar snap peas, a Crimson Gold apple and a “snow ball” made of dates and raisins rolled in coconut.

Matryoshka with stars bentoIn our fancy matryoshka bento box is little sister’s lunch.  On the left side she has raisins in the flower cup with star shaped dried apricots.  Below that is jasmine rice with carrot mini stars and sugar snap peas.  On the right side are watermelon stars and below are bird-shaped sundried tomato deli slices and cucumbers.

Spinach with black bean saladAbove is the elusive mom lunch.  I am usually on the run, but decided to make a salad today.  I had a giant pile of organic spinach, about a cup of black beans, bird shaped cucumbers and some daikon I found at my local Whole Foods.  I have to say that the daikon wasn’t a good match with the salad.  I read later that its taste softens with cooking which is what I’ll do with the rest.  It was a little bitter to eat raw. On the sides are avocado slices.  For my dressing I topped with a bit of red wine vinegar.

Things I used to make this lunch:

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Hi ho! Hi ho! It’s back to school we go.  Now you can envision the Seven Dwarfs and hear their whistling stuck in your head for the day.  This isn’t a Snow White lunch though.   I’m just happy that one of my kids is back to school today.  I love having them over the long weekends, but they are ready to go back to their friends after the long weekend.  These lunches are from last week when my laptop failed.  The best news for me is that I’m headache free now after 7 days off of caffeine.  Phew!  Last week was a long one.

Small square pocket sandwiches with carrots

For Miss G’s 4 year old lunch I used a new mini square pocket sandwich cutter that I have.  I filled them with SunButter and surrounded the bite sized lunch with mini carrots.  I have found that the more bite sized the lunch is, the more my kids eat.  If this were a normal sized sandwich cut in half, there would be some left when she returns from school.  Instead, it was an empty lunchbox that came home Friday.  In the top left compartment is an organic mini apple and in the top right of her Easy LunchBoxes container are sliced cucumbers.

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Click on the photo above to find where I purchase my lunch supplies!

Cucumbers, fruit & pinwheels by bentoriffic

Miss A (2 years old) went off to school Friday with Sunbutter and jam pinwheels on Rudi’s Organic Spelt Tortillas.  I stick them in the fridge or freezer to make them easier to cut before sending off.  The nut and seed butters can get runny and squished so I cool them down making them easier to slice.  Next to the wrap pinwheels are sugar snap peas.  Also included in today’s lineup are organic raspberries, blueberries, cucumbers and locally picked strawberries packed in a LunchBots Uno.

Have a great week, and happy lunch packing!

It’s a rainy, cooler day here in Florida today so there’s some sunshine inside the lunchbox.  I made Miss G some vegan BLTs for lunch.  I found these mini slider buns at Whole Foods in the bread section, and they’re they perfect size for preschool lunches.  I cooked some vegan tempeh (fermented soy) bacon.  I use a tiny bit of Earth Balance vegan mayo on the bun, then romaine leaves and sliced tomatoes.  Above the mini sandwiches are grape tomatoes and pineapple pieces.  In the top left of her Easy Lunchboxes container are honeydew melon pieces and in the top right is a sunshiny face clementine.

Mini BLTs with happy orange by bentoriffic in ELBs

My girls also love sliced avocado or guacamole on their BLTs.

Side view blt

Miss G’s snack today is freeze dried mango pieces, a Crimson Gold organic apple and roasted cashews in her Happy Tiffin stainless bento box.

Freeze dried mangos and apple snack bento

Vroom!  Miss A is off with her LunchBots Quad filled with cars.  From the top left are pineapple pieces with 2 honeydew melon cars on top.  In the top right is chickpea hummus with a pita bread car on top.  In the bottom right corner are honeydew melon pieces with dried apricot cars on top, and in the bottom left are Laurel Hill brand peace sign pretzels for dipping and mini carrots.

Car and hummus bento by bentoriffic

Happy Lunch Packing!

LunchPunch flower by bentoriffic

Welcome to Wednesday.  I’m on day 2 of a diet cleanse and exactly 2 days that I’ve had a headache.  I cut out a number of things.  By far the hardest are soy and caffeine.   It’s a great way to find out how addicted to caffeine I am.  My answer was VERY addicted.  We’ll see how I do at the end of two weeks.  Just hoping the headaches don’t last that long!

Miss G is off to school with a flowery sandwich made with a Lunch Punch Sandwich cutter on Rudi’s Whole Wheat bread.  Click on the photo below to find more fun sandwich cutters.  The flower in the middle is made with the heel of the bread loaf.  In the top left of her Easy Lunchboxes container are kiwi and blueberries and in the top right are grape tomatoes.

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Snack time for my 4 year old is in her Happy Tiffin stainless bento with raspberries, mini carrots and dried cherries.


My two year old has a LunchBots Quad with mini chickpea burger halves in the top left and bottom right compartments with mini carrots and at the opposite corners are kiwi slices and pineapple chunks.


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