bentoriffic

Posts Tagged ‘Creative Food

Today is the first day back to school for us.  Not sure that I’m feeling quite ready for this, but here we go.  These lunches are from last week’s playdate at a friend’s house.  Tomorrow I will post the back to school lunches.  I got 2 new sandwich makers to try.  The first one is from Bento USA by All Things For Sale.  I saw a lunch that they did, and I thought it was the cutest thing.

Expect more pandas from us throughout the school year!  This makes sandwich pockets and even toast cute for your little picky eaters.  Fill the panda face with vegetables or fillings to make them different colors or simply use different kinds of bread.

I was in a rush so I went for simple.   The panda sandwich is on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread with Justin’s Almond Butter and strawberries in the middle.  A homemade mini vegan cornbread muffin is above the sandwich and heart shaped strawberries.  At the top left are organic raspberries with vegan chocolate chips in the middle and panda baran.  At the top right are sliced red seedless grapes and sliced dried apricots packed in an Easy LunchBoxes.

And I got a new sandwich cutter from Pampered Chef friend.  It’s called the cut & seal & makes uncrustable looking sandwich pockets.  I get the feeling I’ll be using this one a lot as makes things quick for me, and I can easily make sandwiches ahead of time and freeze them!

I decided to make a pig out of it for Little Miss 4  year old.  I used candy eyes and the heel of the bread is great for dark accents (the nose and ears).  She also has a vegan mini cornbread muffin and blueberries.  At the top are carrots and Tufutti sour cream for dipping in the small pig container.  At the top right are strawberry hearts with a raspberry in the middle and pig pick packed in her Easy LunchBox.

I packed myself a plain almond butter sandwich and a LunchBots Duo full of fruit.  From the top left are fresh, local Florida mango chunks, blueberries, rasperries and mini carrots.

Things I used to make this lunch:

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Today’s guest post is from Alex from Lunch with Eyeness.  She and I have been friends for over 25 years, and she is the one that originally taught and inspired me to do bento lunches.   Bentoriffic wouldn’t be around without her!  She doesn’t have a blog, but I borrowed this one from her photo album of all the amazing lunches she makes for her boys.  Thanks, Alex,  for everything!

Since Sarah has two girls, she doesn’t have a lot of reason to do boy lunches. I have two boys and they are tuff guys, not so much into cute as cool. Although it is harder to find picks and sandwich cutters that have tuff boy themes, I have found I can still make some fun lunches that don’t make my tuff boys cringe.

Sports are the easiest theme for boys. This lunch was for opening day, but the sandwich could easily be a football, golf ball, basketball – any sport. I happened to have candy baseballs, so I cut the baseball bat sandwich, but it wasn’t necessary. I carved the baby carrots by hand, just make sure you have a sharp knife and except the first couple not to look right – I make lunches in the morning and I often end up eating cheese and carrots for breakfast because I messed up the first few times I tried something.

I got the idea for the the Babybel cheese head from these cute cheese heads on Over the Crescent Moon (http://overthecrescentmoon.blogspot.com/2011/02/cute-cheese-for-boys.html). Just cut a curve down from the top half of the wax and fold it up a little for the bill. Then I used food pens to draw his face and his body on the small container with applesauce in it. If you don’t think you’re up to carving the hat, just take all the wax off and draw stitches on it!

I cut the letters out of bologna with little letter cutters – I am lucky that our team name is so short! And, again, used food pens to draw the stitches. Peanuts are a big part of baseball for us, but you could also use Cracker Jacks or plain popcorn – whatever snack your family associates with baseball. I also happened to have tiny, round, white Japanese crackers that I got at the Asian market and so I threw those in with drawn on stitches as well. Look around your pantry and you might find something that works just as well, maybe mini marshmallows or Nilla Wafers. Green grass baran and a green silicone cup round out the feel of the field.

Well, I hope you got some inspiration for fun lunches for boys! Thanks for letting me guest post for you, Sarah!
Make sure to stop back tomorrow for our all Olympic inspired Blog Hop tomorrow!

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?

Hello Bentoriffic readers! I’m Cristi, a friend of Sarah’s and
a fellow bento blogger
(at BentOnBetterLunches). I’m delighted to
have this opportunity to guest post on one of my favourite blogs!
Sarah is an inspiration in healthy food choices and creative bento
making! I chose our PlanetBox for this guest lunch, since I know she
doesn’t have one of those … yet!

We did Kid’s Choice lunches at our house today. That’s something we do
when I don’t have a lunch plan, and/or we are low on groceries, and
maybe don’t have enough of everything for everyone. I take out a
selection of what we do have from all the food groups, and let the
little ones decide what to fill the sections of their bento boxes
with. I’m often pleasantly surprised by their choices too!

3½ year old Birdie and I packed this PlanetBox together, but she chose
everything that went in it. Birdie loves elephants, so it was no
surprise that she wanted to include elephant picks, or that she chose
to put them in the strawberries and pluots – they were the first
things she asked to have in her lunch. I think she could happily live
on fruit alone – well, no, she’d want cheese as well. But we were out
of cheese.

She liked these colourful silicone mini squares, so we picked out some
little nibbles to fill them with – NatureBox dried apples &
organic Mighty Mix, raisins, and Annie’s Homegrown Cheddar Bunnies:

Like her mama, Birdie has a sweet tooth, so she also chose some
chocolatey peanut butter granola bars her big sister Bella made over
the weekend (that are secretly healthy), marshmallow stars, sprinkles
on her yogurt – specifically butterfly sprinkles. And she insisted
her spoon be included in this photo:

Of course, the sweets were the first things she ate. She eventually
did eat some of everything – although she spit the dried apple back
out, pronouncing it “yucky chewy”. Oh well, at least she tried it! A
sampler-style lunch like this is good for that.

My other sproutlets had similar lunches, except for my middle son, who
had his usual PB. Here’s his “plane” peanut butter sandwich, made with
a Lunch Punch:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at what’s for lunch at someone
else’s house while Sarah’s away – although I’m sure you’re looking
forward to her return, and seeing more of her terrifically artistic
& nutritious lunches – I know I am!

Hi everyone!! I’m Michelle from Creative Food(creative-food.blogspot.com).  I’m so happy to be here on Bentoriffic! I am such a fan and am always in awe of what Sarah creates for her little girls Miss G and Miss A. I am such a fan of Sarah and her food artwork. She is incredible! Even though I haven’t met her in person (yet!) I am happy to call her my friend 🙂 So here I am honored to guest post on her amazing blog!

My blog, Creative Food( creative-food.blogspot.com), is a collection of snacks and lunches that my daughter Eliana and I make together in the kitchen.  I started making creative food because she would literally live off of bread alone if it were up to her.  So I began to present fruits and vegetables in a fun and creative way to encourage her to eat better, which has worked tremendously! It is fun creative outlet for me, and she loves it (win, win!)  We also found out this year that Eliana is allergic to peanuts, cashews and pistachios, so most of the meals (with a few exceptions) are peanut free and nut free.

So without further ado..I made this cute Frog bento in an EasyLunchBox with Eliana last week:

This lunch was very simple, quick to put together and she loved it! 🙂

The frog is a ham and cheese sandwich on a spinach tortilla cut with a frog cookie cutter.  I added edible candy eyes and used a food safe marker to draw a mouth.The lily pad is sliced cucumber.The “water” is white cilantro lime rice dyed blue. (I took some leftover rice, put it in a bowl and mixed in two small drops of blue food dye.) I added some goldfish crackers for added cuteness 🙂 The fly is a raisin with sunflower kernel wings (you can easily put almond slices as wings instead. For example see my spider lunch (http://www.creative-food.blogspot.com/2012/06/very-busy-spider-lunch.html) Eliana isn’t allergic to almonds but has now decided she will not eat them either because they are a nut).

In the upper right Eliana had some “flies on a log” (raisins, sunflower kernels wings, and I.M. Healthy Creamy Honey Soynut Butter on celery. Chocolate sprinkles were used to show the path of the fly).

In the bottom right she has a fruit salad or blueberries and strawberries in a frog silicone cup.  Eliana wanted to add the cute frog pick to finish the lunch!

This really was a simple to do and Eliana loved it and ate it all up. That always makes me happy and keeps me making Creative Food 🙂

Thank you to Sarah for inviting me to share this bento as a guest post on Bentoriffic!  I hope you have a wonderful day!! 🙂

~Michelle

Please visit Michelle’s fun food over at http://creative-food.blogspot.com/ to subscribe to her blog and like her on Facebook here at http://www.facebook.com/creativefoodblog


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