bentoriffic

Posts Tagged ‘dried cranberries

Who doesn’t love ice cream?  I do…until it makes me sick, or…well, now I just eat coconut milk ice cream sparingly.  I thought it would be fun to make colorful ice cream scoops for lunch and pretend like we’re having it as a special treat.
Bentoriffic- Ice cream cone bento

Miss A (3 years old)  has an Easy LunchBoxes container with tiny ice cream cone sandwiches on Rudi’s brand Cracked Wheat bread.  I used a small pastry plunger cutter to make them.  I do press the bread a bit before cutting, cut the shape and then press the plunger VERY firmly to get the fancy imprints in the bread.  Then fill them as desired.  Above  the sandwiches in the pink cup is jasmine rice with balsamic glazed chickpeas. Next to that are some orange “scoops” of cantaloupe and some dried apricots.  In the top left compartment are honeydew melon balls and in the top right are more “scoops” of watermelon.

Bentoriffic- Flower power and apple bentoMiss G has been asking some days to help make her lunches.  Sometimes it’s in the mad rush of the morning, but she loves to cook and help so I try to accommodate whenever I can since I know she’s more likely to eat it if she makes it.  She chose flowers for the above lunch in her Easy LunchBoxes container.  She wanted chocolate almond butter, but we settled on regular almond butter and blackberry jam on Rudi’s Cracked Wheat bread.  She also wanted to poke holes in them so she chose a tiny clover shaped cutter for the middle.  Above the sandwiches are flower cups of dried cranberries and cashews.  In the top left are grape tomatoes which she eats by the container and in the top right is an apple shaped apple which I made for her.  I soaked it in the juice of half and orange for about 10 minutes before packing to prevent browning.

Bentoriffic- flower snack bento

For snack time today, Miss G packed herself some sliced cucumbers, flower cut watermelon shapes, an apple cinnamon flower muffin and raspberries in lettuce silicone cups packed in her LunchBots Uno.

Please click on each photo to see where I purchased the tools I used to make this lunch:

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Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 11.23.15 AMFlowers & Butterfly mini cuttersScreen shot 2013-01-14 at 9.41.39 AM

“Why am I NEVER going back to school again?  I miss my friends!”, Miss G asked over the weekend.  Truthfully, I enjoyed having the whole family home for a while and doing things together.  I know they were getting bored by the time the New Year arrived this week.  I also enjoyed a couple of weeks without making bento lunches and blogging which is a good thing.  I’m feeling like I really had a break.  I hope that everyone else had a bit of a break too aside from the holiday stress.

The tummy bug hit our house so only 1 munchkin is off to school today.

Linzer stars and fruit by bentoriffic

My 4 year old went to preschool with a LunchBots Quad full of healthy goodies.  From the top left she has pineapple pieces, blueberries, raspberries, two small sandwiches on Rudi’s Organic whole grain bread cut with Linzer cookie cutters and a small star out of the middle.  In the bottom left are cashews and dried cranberries.

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One of my goals for this year is to stay more organized.  I found this recycled chalk board at a local store, and I use it for my weekly menu board.  It hangs near the kitchen.  It always has one or two quick meals for when “planned” dinners don’t pan out and the others for when I have the time to prep as usual.  I also try to make enough each night to have leftovers to pack for lunches the next day.  Anything to minimize time and maximize effort is what will help make things run more efficiently.  It’s not a perfect system, but it does keep me from scrambling and wondering what to cook.

Wishing you all a healthy, prosperous new 2013 and happy lunch packing!

Gift box bento lunch by bentorifficEvery day with my kids is a gift.  So I decided to put a small gift in Miss G’s lunch today.  She has an almond butter and jam sandwich shaped like a Christmas gift on Rudi’s Organic Whole Grain bread.  I put a Stretch Island fruit leather bow on top.  Above that are breaded soy nuggets in a star silicone cup.  Wedged in between is a Hail Merry Vanilla Macaroon for a treat.  Pineapple chunks and a peeled clementine are packed in next to her lunch.  In the top left are organic blueberries with a peppermint swirl food pick and Christmassy cous cous in the top right with red peppers mixed in packed in her Easy Lunchboxes container

Cashews, apple and purple chip snack bento by bentoriffic

The snack bento of the day is cashews, a small organic apple and purple sweet potato chips in her Happy Tiffin stainless bento box.

Holly & mitten bento lunch by bentorifficMy littlest munchkin has a holly lunch today in her LunchBots Quad.  From the top left she has organic raspberries with a mitten ring.  In between the cups are 2 dried apricots and a Hail Merry brand raw macaroon, cashews in the top right with a holly food pick, organic blueberries and three small holly sandwiches on Rudi’s Organic whole grain bread made with a small cookie cutter stamp.

Fruit & Cous Cous bento by bentoriffic

I packed this fruit and grain snack box to go with my husband’s lunch. In the top compartments are festive colored cous cous and dried cranberries.  In the bottom of his Easy LunchBoxes are raspberries, mixed grain and walnut salad, a local organic Florida tangerine and a mini apple.

Ok, well he’s a mashed potato snowman.  I live in Florida!  It’s the closest my kids will ever get here.  So I got two HUGE bags of organic potatoes this week in our organic co-op box of fruits and vegetables.  I decided we could never finish them all unless I made something big with them.  Hoping to knock out some latkes this weekend with them too.

Snowman in LunchBots by bentoriffic

Little Miss A has lunch packed in her stainless LunchBots Quad.  From the top left are blueberries and raspberries, rice and quinoa mixed under the mashed potato snowman.  He has raisin bits for eyes and a teeny carrot nose.  In the bottom right compartment are cashews and dried cranberries and in the bottom left are snowman shaped watermelon pieces.

Berries and tomatoes in Paperchase

For her morning snack, my 4 year old has her new Paperchase bentos.  On the left are organic tomatoes and purple sweet potato chips.  On the right are organic raspberries with a snowman apple on top.

Snowman in ELB by bentoriffic

And Miss G, 4, has an Easy LunchBoxes container with Israeli cous cous on baby spinach with marinaded Lighlife brand Chik’n strips on top.  To the right is her mashed potato snowman and a baseball hat pick.  In the top left compartment are mini carrots and in the top right are blueberries and raspberries.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Things I used to make this lunch:

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My dad died last week.  Just as I was typing away about the things I was grateful for last week, I realize now that the small things, tiny things we think are so insignificant can sometimes be the most precious memories.  My dad was a gifted writer and storyteller.  He loved to write and shared that love with me.  My dad read my blog.  I think he appreciated that I was using my writing and creativity, making a hobby out of it and feeding my kids healthy food. I live 3400 miles from my family so I was not there for this holiday.  All my siblings were fortunate enough to be there.  He had been ill for a while, but it doesn’t make his passing any easier.   I did have the chance to talk to him to say hi, catch up for a minute and to tell him I loved him the day he died.  And for that I am truly grateful.  The conversation was nothing significant, but it is one I will always remember since it was our last.  Today, more than most, I am grateful for the time I had with my dad.  Life is fragile and fleeting so be sure to stop and appreciate all the gifts in your life, no matter how small they seem.

My 4 year old daughter had an Easy LunchBoxes container filled with angels.  From the top left are pear pieces and angel shaped pears.  In the top right compartment are honeydew angels.  And in the main compartment are carrots, farfalle pasta with vegan parmesan sprinkled on top, grape tomatoes on wing bento picks and a spinach angel on top.  In the bottom right corner is a Crimson Gold apple surrounded by purple sweet potato chips and in the bottom left corner are Field Grain veggie sausages with wing food picks.

For her snack today, Miss G has a Happy Tiffin brand stainless bento box filled with dried cranberries, medjool dates, sliced kiwi, and apple angel and whole cashews.

Miss 2 year old is back to school this week to with a LunchBots Quad stainless container.  From the top left she has dried cranberries, cashews, farfalle pasta with small Field grain Italian veggie sausage pieces and a slice of Field Grain sundried tomato angel on top.  In the bottom right compartment are pear angels and in the bottom left are honeydew angels.

I packed my husband his daily fruits and vegetables in his Easy LunchBoxes container to go with his leftovers for lunch (not shown).  He has raw walnuts, the negative cutout angel pieces of honeydew melon, mini carrots, medjool dates, an apple and a clementine.

There are still 2 days left to enter my Grateful Giveaway.  Please click below to enter to win 1 of 2 prizes.

I am Thankful Giveaway

Things I used to make this lunch:

Happy Monday, all!  I had another kid activity & errand filled weekend, and the weather here in Florida was a bit warm but beautiful as usual.  My girls are having leftover homemade Pad Thai today for lunch.

Miss G has an Easy LunchBoxes container full of rice noodles with homemade sauce topped with sugar snap peas.  At the top left are organic raspberries and at the top right is a peeled clementine.  We’re accustomed to using almond butter in place of peanut butter almost 100% of the time.  It just makes it easier to have peanut-free lunches if I decide to send leftovers.  We don’t have a peanut allergy, but since it’s so common both schools are peanut free.  If your child’s school is nut free, there are great soy butter and sunflower butter alternatives that you can use in your cooking and baking.

I use the Happy Herbivore’s “Cheater” Pad Thai sauce recipe.

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter ( I use almond butter or soy butter so I can send it to our peanut-free schools)
1 tbsp sweet red chili Asian sauce
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp hot sauce, or to taste (for the kid version, I do not add hot sauce.

I usually top this off with mung bean sprouts, snow peas or sugar snap peas and sometimes broccoli or carrot slices.  My kids love it!

For her morning snack, Miss G (4 ) has marcona almonds, cashews and dried cranberries in a small snack bento.

For her afternoon snack I grabbed a LunchBots Duo and filled it with fresh, organic fruits & veggies.  On the left are grape tomatoes and mini carrots and on the right is a halved pear and green grapes.

Little Miss A (2) has the mini Pad Thai version of the same lunch in her LunchBots Quad.  From the top left are rice noodles with pad Thai sauce, a sliced pear at the top right, green grapes and raspberries.  Both girls always have ice water with their lunches.

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Hoping that you have all the craziness behind you by now (except for tonight, of course).  I stayed up late making homemade Stitch ears for my 2 year old’s alien costume and planning the last of the Halloween food until next year.

Ahh, the last of the Halloween lunches!  Miss G, the 4 year old, has a LunchBots Quad with raspberries and an RIP headstone pick, a seckel pear with sticker, dragonfruit pieces with a skeleton pick and at the bottom left are mango pieces with a dragonfruit witch.

I found these little wooden coffins in Michael’s, and I finally put them to use.  I decorated the lids with Halloween stickers for fun.

I hand cut the sandwich to fit inside, and added a Wilton googly eye pick and a fruit leather mouth.

I also found these paper boxes for crafting at Michael’s, and I used them for snack bentos today.  Miss G’s is a jack-o-lantern face.  I filled it with cashews, dried cranberries and moon shaped dried apricots for her morning snack.

My 2 year old has a smaller wooden coffin for her sandwich.  Hers is a light activated box.  It cackles loudly when it opens which she loves.

She also has an almond butter & jam sandwich with a Wilton eye pick and Stretch Island fruit leather mouth, eyebrows and fangs.

Miss A has a pumpkin cup with mango pieces and a dracula pick with cashews above.  On the right are a seckel pear, raspberries, dried apricot crosses and a skeleton hand.

For her morning snack is a small coffin with dried cranberries and a handful of bone shaped candies.

Need quick & healthy last minute Halloween snack ideas?  Here are a few that your store won’t be out of if you need something fast.

Raisins-They’re like nature’s sugar, you can use them to make eyes on just about anything.  Raisins are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Eating raisins can help your energy levels.  They’re high in the best kind of natural sugars.  They also promote healthy bones since they contain high levels of calcium.

Clementine oranges or mandarin cuties-Mother Nature’s fast food.  Grab a box or bag and a few Sharpie markers or a pack of fun Halloween stickers & get creative.   A basket of these are more appealing to little ones than you may think.  For some reason stickers and fun faces make it enticing.  The best part is that they’re packed with nutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin C.

Popcorn– NOT the microwave kind, the real no additive kind.  Pop up some corn in an air popper or a paper bag.  Here are the paper bag instructions:

Microwaving popcorn in a paper bag

We like to sprinkle a light dusting of sea salt or sometimes a bit of cinnamon on top for an afternoon snack.  For my kiddo party later today, my neighbor and I are putting popcorn in witch hand shaped bags as a snack.  Popcorn has more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables so skip the heavy butter & oil and dig in!

Pumpkin Seeds-Roast a few lightly salted seeds at home, and you’ll be snacking on these minerals: phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and zinc as well as vitamin K and B.

Wishing everyone a fun, safe & happy Halloween!

It’s finally cooling off here at night in Florida.  And by cooling off, I mean that it drops below 70 at night.  I grew up in the Midwest in Minnesota so I do have weeks where I really miss the cool weather, crunching of leaves under foot and the smell of fall in the air.   Hope you’re enjoying the fleeting cool weather and changing leaves wherever you are today.

Miss G, my 4 year old, has a Halloween lunch again today.  She wanted a plain hummus wrap but I snuck in some julienned cucumber strips in the middle.  I have these neat silicone bands that keep the wraps from coming unraveled while she’s eating.  I wouldn’t recommend these for any kids under 4 ,but she manages them well.   Another trick is to put the wrap in the freezer or fridge for about an hour before sending it off.  It will stay put longer this way.  In the main compartment with the wrap is a seckel pear, a couple of grape tomatoes and a date coconut ball on a skeleton pick.  At the top left are pumpkin shaped mango pieces with a spider ring and poison bottle pick.  At the top right of her Easy LunchBoxes container are some tiny golden grapes with a jack-o-lantern face of Stretch Island fruit leather on top of the silicone pumpkin cup.

For her snack today, Miss G, the 4 year old, had sliced strawberries and below is a mixture of dried cranberries, pistachios, caramel apple coated almonds and cashews.

One of my favorite things to draw on and create food art with this time of year are the mandarin oranges and clementines.  They’re perfect for little fingers and fun!  I just grab a Sharpie marker (they’re non-toxic) and color away.  You can also just put stickers on them if you’re not inclined to draw.  This one is in honor or my new bento friend Erin over at Feeling A Little Lunchy. She’s just a tad moustache obsessed, and who doesn’t love a cute handlebar moustache?  Bonjour! and Happy Halloween to you too!

Little Miss Picky Eater, the 2 year old, has a LunchBots Quad full of Halloween fun today.  This is the perfect bento box for wee ones, in my opinion.  Just enough space for variety, keeps foods separate and hopefully less food wasted.  From the top left are a clementine peeled, jack-o-lantern sandwiches with pumpkin butter, sliced strawberries, and golden grapes with a pumpkin shaped mango on top.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Spiders!  These are the delicious kind.  I happen to like most spiders, but I know many people are creeped out by them.

Miss G’s lunch today is an almond butter sandwich (bottom left) on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  She has spider picks of grape tomatoes on either side and a homemade vegan cornbread muffin with raisin eyes.  At the top left are strawberries with a honeydew spider and a plastic spider ring for decoration.  At the top right are red seedless grapes with honeydew spiders on top packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

For her  snack, Miss G has a Happy Tiffin bento packed with a seckel pear and raspberries.  In the container is apricot soy yogurt with some spiders for fun.

I packed another snack for a longer day so Miss G also had watermelon cubes in her sistema container with a raw date treat with coconut sprinkled on it.  It reminded me of a tarantula.

Little Miss 2 year old had her LunchBots Quad with red grapes at the top left in the spider cup, raspberries and a strawberry, almond butter spider sandwiches at the bottom right and at the bottom left is a cup of dried cranberries and sprouted seasoned pumpkin seeds.

It’s Meatless Monday!  I’ll post my variation of the recipe below for those interested.  Miss G has forbidden (black) rice topped with stir-fryed veggies and a small sauce container of soy.  At the top left are dried cranberries, goji berries and dried edamame.  At the top right is a pumpkin clementine all packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

Meatless Monday Stir Fry with rice:

Choose any kind of rice that you have handy and cook.  While rice is cooking, cut up the vegetables that you’d like in your stir fry.  I had broccoli, onions and carrots.  I saute them in water and cook until tender.  I also made a first attempt at brown sauce.  I used 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup vegetable broth, 1/3 cup of molasses, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and 3 teaspoons of minced garlic.  Next time I will add 1 tsp of cornstarch at a time until it thickens a bit.   This sauce is definitely something you make to suit your taste.  My kids won’t eat a lot of ginger so I minimize it.  Cook ingredients in a sauce pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes and pour over rice and veggies.  Dinner is served!

Miss G’s Happy Tiffin container is filled with plum sections and a half of an apple.  The round container is filled with peach flavored almond milk yogurt.

Things I used to make this lunch:


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