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Posts Tagged ‘butterflies

For last night’s dinner we had quinoa pasta.  I love that I can find healthy, fun pasta for my kids in great shapes.  The Quinoa Corporation makes these garden pagodas that I cooked with Lightlife brand vegan italian sausages and marinara sauce and grape tomatoes.  The thing I really like about the quinoa pasta is that it’s organic, non-GMO (not genetically modified), gluten-free and use plant based colors.  Better than that they don’t get mushy and my kids love them.  I decorated with vegan (non-dairy) cheese butterflies. At the bottom are two small apple slices with a butterfly and a G for Miss G with the opposite color plugged into the cutout packed in her Goodbyn bynto lunchbox.

For her snack today, Miss G has black seedless grapes, honeydew melon and the red butterfly cutout from her apple in the middle packed in her Happy Tiffin stainless bento box.

Little Miss 2 year old has the mini version of the same lunch of quinoa garden pagoda pasta, vegan italian sausage pieces, vegan cheese butterflies and a yellow flower cup of red and green apple butterfly pieces with raspberries at the top packed in her LunchBots Duo.

My husband’s lunch is the third more adult version with vegan cheese hearts, a plum at the top left and a d’anjou pear sliced at the top right packed in his Easy LunchBoxes container.

Things I used to make this lunch:

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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.

My girls like variety just like any toddler. As with most kids who are 2 & 4, they decide what they will or will not eat. The only thing we can really do is to find different forms of encouragement. What works for us is fun colors, shapes, picks and presenting things in a fun way. They will TRY almost anything if I present it well.

A lot of vegan recipes use polenta, but it can either be bland or interesting depending on how you prepare it. I decided to try making polenta fries for the kids as a snack. This recipe was adapted from a cookbook I have called Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann.  I used a pre-made package of organic, non-GMO polenta as a time saver. You can certainly make a polenta loaf at home too if you find the time. I sliced the pieces about 1/2 an inch thick and broke out the fun mini cutters. The bird and butterfly were what wasted the least amount of polenta when cutting it. I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly sprayed it with coconut oil and laid out the shapes on the pan and lightly sprayed the tops of the pieces again with oil. I broiled them on high for 10 minutes on each side flipping after 10 minutes (20 minutes total) along with the leftover pieces for the adults to snack on. They become browned and slightly crispy on the outside and still soft in the middle. I allowed them to cool about 5 minutes before serving them with barbeque sauce in a small container. You can also sprinkle them with salt, nutritional yeast or whatever you like once they come out of the oven to cool. They would also be good with tomato paste, marinara or ketchup for dipping.

Here was the end result.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Today’s W lunches are a witch and a watering can.  I offered a few other options, and Miss G came up with watering can on her own.  I had to cut both sandwiches by hand since I don’t have any cookie cutters that fit the bill.

The watering can is made with Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  I microwaved each piece for 10 seconds and then use a rolling pin to flatten them before cutting.  I do like to garden, and Miss G loves to help too.  The holes in the spout are black sesame seeds.  At the bottom are tulip carrots with leaf picks at the bottom.  In the tiny butterfly container are dried cherries with a carrot butterfly on top.  In the small cup at top left are honeydew melon butterflies and carrot butterflies.   In the larger cup at the top right are strawberry hearts with a carrot butterfly on top.

Miss A has a friendly witch.   Her face and eyes are made of vegan cheese,her pupils and mouth are fruit leather as are the bands on the hat & broom.  Her broom handle is the bread crust and the broom bristles are the heel of the bread.  I wasn’t thrilled about the way her face turned out.  She looks like she could use some sun, but I didn’t have time to alter it.  She is flying across a leftover corn off the cob crescent moon.  The honeydew melon shapes at the top right are a witch’s hat, stars and crescent moons.  In the other cup are strawberry hearts and blueberries.  Both lunches are packed in Easy Lunch Boxes.

The week before Easter is fun for me because I love building up the excitement for my girls.  How many more “sleeps” until the Bunny comes?  My kids, like most, adore little animals.  They recently got their spring pictures taken with some little baby chicks.  Miss G was VERY into mothering them and holding them while little A just stared at them.  She wasn’t sure whether or not they were scary, and every time these 3″ high chicks walked towards her she would shriek.   These chicks are the best kind.  Nothing to clean up!

Miss G has watermelon flowers at the top left with a chick pick, at the top right are blueberries and a strawberry butterfly with a duckling pick.  The chick sandwich is on Rudi’s Nut & Oat bread with almond butter & jam.  On top are slices of mozzarella and cheddar Vegan brand cheese, a candy eye and a carrot beak.   In the yellow chick cup are edamame and carrot butterflies on top, and in the Easter egg are cashews packed in an Easy Lunch Box.

Little Miss A has a duckling today with the same sandwich and Vegan soy cheese on top wearing a hat pick.  The beak and wing are carrots and the eye is a pre-made candy eye.  At the top left are blueberries with a strawberry butterfly and a chick pick, a clementine orange is next to that, and in the yellow chick cup are edamame with a carrot butterfly on top.  Her lunch is in a Hello Kitty bento box.

I also made a salad for my husband to go with his Amy’s brand frozen rice & veggie bowl lunch.  His salad is all spinach leaves underneath topped with a quartered watermelon radish (the purple slices with the green edge).  I hadn’t ever seen one before until a few months ago.  They are pretty plain looking outside, but inside they’re amazingly pretty.  They are also much spicier (I think) than a normal radish.  I also included orange & yellow carrots from the local King Family Farms and a handful of walnuts packed in his LunchBots stainless bento.

Please check back tomorrow, as I’ll be linked to Stephanie from A Pocket Full of Buttons and 15 other bento bloggers for a Bunny Hop with awesome springtime ideas for lunches!

Thursday I was in a rush so both girls had a hodge podge of things in their lunches.  The main theme was elephants.  I just got a new Lunch Punch that I used for Miss G’s bigger sandwich that has a mother & baby huddling underneath.  I included a BabyBel cheese with a heart cut out.

The heart bento has peaches on the right side and on the left are dried cherries and Funky Monkey brand dried crunchy pineapple pieces.  She also had an applesauce pouch and an Orange Lifeway Kefir pouch.

Little Miss A is still very excited about school, and it’s a bit new for her so finding what she will eat is a bit tricky.  She hasn’t been much into the sandwiches, but I included 2 very small elephants PB & Js for her on whole grain.

The heart bento for Miss An included Annie’s Organic macaroni shells on the right with colby jack butterflies on top.  The left side had halved grapes on the bottom, dried cherries mixed in with watermelon butterflies.  She also had an Orange Lifeaway Kefir and an ice water.


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