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Posts Tagged ‘butterfly

Guest post by Lise LaTorre of Veggie-Bento

One of the ways I speed up lunch-making in the morning is by preparing batches of cute food in advance. That way, making lunch is just a matter of grabbing a little of this, smashing a cookie cutter on that, then sticking a bunch of picks everywhere. If I have five more minutes, I smash around some smaller cutters to add that ‘special touch’ (Did I mention I have a full-time job on top of being a mom?). By far the best tools I have for advance cutification are silicone molds.

3 Ways To Use Silicone Molds for Cute Lunch Foods

1. Freeze Stuff

Hummus freezes well and retains its shape and detail even after it has defrosted. Smaller shapes work best so that they will be soft enough for dipping by the time lunch rolls around.

frozen hummus butterflies

Yogurt is another great item to freeze. I particularly like using coconut yogurt since it adds some nice transparency. I prefer larger molds with easily identifiable shapes since yogurt melts quickly and details get lost by lunch time. I have also started putting colored coconut yogurt shapes on a plain greek yogurt background. The difference in consistency and color helps preserve the shape once melted.

frozen yogurt ladybug

2. Bake Stuff

Baked egg whites are very easy to make and have a nice, smooth consistency. Simply pour egg white into oven-safe molds and bake at 325° for 15 minutes. For a little extra fun, drop the shapes into a cup with warm water with a little natural food color in it. This works best for simple shapes without a lot of detail.

egg white butterflies

I’ve recently been experimenting with burying healthful ingredients in cheese to get my daughter to eat them. So far, we have been most successful with beany cheese bites. Stuff cheese pieces into smaller baking molds, spoon in some re-fried beans, then cover with more cheese. Bake at 350° until cheese is fully melted. Allow to cool, then pop them out. Easy and yummy, even at room temperature.

beany cheese bites

Smoosh Stuff

Conventional egg molds make shaping hard-boiled eggs easy and fun. However, they come in a limited range of designs and my highly-distractable preschooler got bored pretty quickly. So, I have been experimenting with less traditional forms. Thus far, medium-sized silicone molds are the winner. Place a warm, peeled egg in the mold of your choice and put a plate and something heavy on top so that the egg is slowly, and gently pushed into the mold. If the egg is a little on the small side, stuff paper towel in the non-essential part of the mold. Thanks to Alexandra Einess and Kendra Peterson of Biting My Hand for these great egg molding tips!

smooshing an egg ladybug hard-boiled egg

Similarly, rice molds are common in the world of bento. We don’t eat a lot of rice so I haven’t wanted to invest in them. On the rare occasion I do want to include rice in a lunch, I use the silicone molds instead. For these, I use pre-made sticky rice and molds with very simple shapes. I put the rice in warm, and put a piece of parchment paper on top. Once it cools, I flip it over and plop it out onto the parchment paper, then flip it back over to place in the lunch container.

rice dragonfly

Silicone is such a versatile material the possibilities are endless! What are some of your favorites?

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It’s spring break week here in Florida so the girls are eating at home.  It’s incredibly warm here again too so it feels like spring too.  Miss G is definitely in a girly girl phase.  Everything must be princesses, pink, flowery and fancy.  I went with butterflies for today’s theme.  In the yellow butterfly cup is leftover cannellini bruschetta with rice vinegar, fresh basil from the garden, mini heirloom and grape tomatoes from the local market mixed with salt & pepper.  It’s great on bread but awesome without it too.  At top right on the plate are heart-shaped strawberries, below that is a small black plum cut into a butterfly shape with pick antennae.  Her sandwich is a whole grain bread butterfly with almond butter and agave nectar.  On top are peeled plum slices on the wings and another slice of black plum for the body and more colored picks for antennae.

Little A had a flower themed lunch today.   Since she turned 2 it’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to whether she’ll devour the whole lunch or smile and chuck it all on the floor.  Today she went with option C which was to push the food around on her plate a bit, make a pattern in the applesauce and then proclaim that she’s “all done”.   I try.  Her sandwich is a whole grain flower with almond butter and agave with a blueberry on top and a snap pea crisp for the stem.  The yellow flower cup has cinnamon applesauce and a grape in it.  Below that are sections of black plum in a flower shape and next to that are a couple of strawberry flowers.

It’s been well over a week since I’ve made a decent meal for my kids so thank you for being so patient as we recover from our ailments!  The girls are both back for their half days of preschool this week.  Little A, who is 19 months, is either finishing her whole lunch or barely eating.  She adores school so sometimes she’s just distracted.  She has definitely decided for now that she does not like sandwiches so I have to be very creative with what to feed her. Miss G on the other hand only wants peanut buttter & jelly or turkey & cheese on whole grain bread every single day.  Yesterday she requested a butterfly.  I used a plastic cookie cutter (SUPER simple), cut the body out of strawberry fruit leather & stuck candy heart decorations on the wings with honey.  The antennae are decorative picks.

Miss G’s favorite fruit as of late is pluots.  They’re a hybrid of a plum & apricot mixed.  They look like a wild plum.  There are a few different varieties, but our favorite kind is the dapple dandies.  They taste like a slice of candy.  If you haven’t had one, they are a must try in any variety.  Her fruit container has half of a pluot sliced underneath, heart shaped strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Miss A got leftover Annie’s Organic spiral macaroni with edamame mixed in, Babybel cheese hearts on top with 2 of the candy heart decorations on top. On the left side in the silicone sheep are cashews and above are mandarin oranges, blackberries and raspberries.  The girls both had Lifeway kefir pouches and apple sauce as well.


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