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Posts Tagged ‘dried cranberries

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:

Hot!  That’s what fall is like in Florida.  While everyone else gets cool evenings and crunchy fall leaves with gorgeous color, we’re still sweating and pretending it’s summer.  I remember the good old days when October meant snow in Minnesota where I grew up.  My kids don’t know any better so I made some Florida fall bento lunches.

Packed in her sistema brand lunchbox, my 4 year old has kiwi slices with a clementine peel squirrel on top, mini acorn sandwiches, black seedless grapes and orange cantaloupe leaves.

For her snacks today, Miss G has grape tomatoes with mini carrots and in a smaller container she has trail mix with cashews, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.

I like to change things up between kids so my 2 year old is having the same trail mix with a squirrel cutout for decoration.  She also has acorn and pumpkin sandwiches, honeydew leaves and cantaloupe acorns packed in her LunchBots Quad stainless container.

And for the other snack I packed a fall themed squirrel bento with strawberries, plums (underneath) and a peeled clementine orange in the middle.

Lunch can get boring for little kids so why not put it on a stick.   It’s amazing how they’ll eat something new just because it looks different.  I realized the other night that other than birthday parties, I’ve never done a lunch on skewers.

I used 8″ wooden skewers and broke them at the end to fit the size needed.  I made little square almond butter and agave sandwiches with grape tomatoes inbetween.  The fruit skewers on either side are green and red seedless grapes and raspberries.  At the top left are cashews and dried cranberries and the top right are snap peas and mini carrots packed in her Easy LunchBoxes container.

For a snack at school today, Miss G has a butterfly container with mini carrots and one of the new Easy LunchBoxes Mini Dippers with almond butter for dipping.

Little Miss A has a smaller version of the same.  Her lunch includes blackberries too packed in a LunchBots Uno stainless container.

And another cashew and dried cranberries snack packed in the new Easy LunchBoxes Mini Dippers that are now available.

My husband had leftovers from last night’s dinner.   He has Hoppin John in the main compartment of his Easy LunchBoxes container, sugar snap peas at the top left and mini carrots in the top right compartment.  The green heart is Avocado Cucumber dressing.

  I have always been a fan of Hoppin’ John.  It’s a flavorful dish traditionally made with rice, black eyed peas and ground beef  or bacon served often in the Southern United States on New Year’s Day.  I found this recipe for the plant based, meatless and healthier version on a website I admire by Chef Cathy Fisher and her website Straight Up Food.  She also has a Facebook page where you can follow her at Straight Up Food on Facebook.  This recipe is not just meatless.  It’s dairy free, salt and oil free too.  It’s also packed full of collard greens which aid in cholesterol lowering, cancer prevention and are high in vitamin K,  vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and calcium.  We’ll be making it again.  Please visit Straight Up Food here for the recipe!

Hoppin John with Avocado Cucumber Dressing by Cathy Fisher of Straight Up Food

In a rush for fun lunches?  My go to is always the stash of cookie cutters.  These sandwiches are made from linzer cookie cutters which have interchangeable shapes in the middle.

As far as children go, they aren’t any different than adults.  They like their food to be pleasing to the eyes.  If it looks fun and colorful, they are more likely to try it and eat it!  Above is my 4 year old daughter’s lunch. The Rudi’s brand whole grain bread sandwiches are filled with almond butter & strawberry jam.  The cut out shapes came with my linzer cookie cutters.  Near the sandwiches are mini carrot pieces, cashews and dried cranberries.  At the top left are raspberries and the top right are d’anjou pear pieces packed in her Easy Lunchboxes container.

Miss G’s afternoon snack packed in her Happy Tiffin brand stainless container is Amande brand almond milk yogurt in the bottom with a Stretch Island fruit leather bird.  Above are more d’anjou pear pieces.  The birds on the outside look like honeydew melon.  I actually found a new melon at the local organic market this weekend called Piel De Sapo.  It looks like the shape of a honeydew with the skin of a watermelon.  It is a bit sweeter than honeydew & delicious!  I may go back & buy another one before they’re gone.

My 2 year old likes to have everything bite sized otherwise it ends up being picked over and left.  This morsel-sized lunch is packed in her LunchBots Quad stainless container.  Clockwise from the top left are piel de sapo melon flowers, d’anjou pear pieces, flower sandwiches are Rudi’s whole grain with almond butter & jam, and mango flowers.

My favorite part of packing lunches every day is knowing that there is no waste.  No disposable plastic bags as the silicone cups and Easy Lunchboxes compartments do the work for me.  I send the girls and my husband with cloth napkins and reusable napkins each day, and they all take their water bottles which can be refilled thoughout the day.

My husband has leftover dinner from last night.  I made the Engine 2 Diet’s plant based Sweet Potato Lasagna.  I think it looked prettier on the plate last night.

And below are the leftovers  with nectarines and carrot sticks packed to go for lunch at the office.

We officially love fruit in this house if you couldn’t tell.  Lots of yummy options for snacks.  Today Miss G (4) has a nectarine halved with a Stretch Island Fruit Leather “F” in the middle.  It’s surrounded by organic, local mango pieces in her Happy Tiffin stainless container.  Blueberry flavored So Delicious brand coconut milk yogurt is in the bottom round container.

For lunch we have a new bento box.  It’s a hot pink Lego box with 2 tiers.

The top tier was filled with strawberries, dates in between the flowered cups and sliced kiwi.  The bottom was small strips of  Rudi’s whole grain sandwiches, soy ravioli and a heart container filled with dried cranberries.

And Little Miss A had nectarines, blueberried and a mango F for her fruity afternoon snack.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Things I used to make this lunch:


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