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Posts Tagged ‘ladybug

Miss G has days of the week lessons in spanish this week so I made her a Lunes lunch today.  In the top yellow flowers are raspberries with a blackberry in the middle and a sectioned plum on the right.  In the middle is her ice water and the bottom compartment are almond butter and jam sandwiches with LUNES cut out in Stretch Island fruit leather letters packed in her raspberry Goodbyn Bynto box.

For her snack today, nectarines, blueberry picks and strawberry hearts are packed in her Happy Tiffin stainless bento.

Little Miss A, 2, is having an insect filled lunch today.  They are studying bugs this week so I’m playing along.  She has Wholly Guacamole frozen in a spider cup.  The spider’s 8 eyes and mouth are made from kalamata olives.  Underneath are pretzel chips for dipping.  At the top right are organic raspberries on spider picks. Below that are strawberries and blueberries on ladybug picks.  And at the bottom left are plum sections with a bee pick packed in her LunchBots Quad.

My husband has a green salad today to go with his lunch.  He has mixed baby greens, organic green zebra stripe heirloom tomatoes, scallions and sugar snap peas.  At the top are mini carrots and strawberries packed in his Easy LunchBox container.

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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?

The girls want to have a picnic at the park.  What?  An excuse to pack a bento lunch?  Why yes!  Let’s do it!  I let them choose their own cookie cutters today.

Miss A chose a mushroom sandwich.  I gave her an almond butter & jam sandwich.  On top are vegan cheese dots and face.  The grass below is honeydew melon and to the right is a chopped date roll coated in coconut.  At the top left are kiwi slices with a ladybug pick and at the top right are blueberries with a mushroom pick.  The mushroom container has dried cranberries.

Miss G chose a giraffe for her lunch. The giraffe’s spots are vegan cheese too.  Next to him are baby broccoli trees.  At the top left are mini carrots and at the top right are small yellow and green tomatoes we got from King Family Farm and Market the other day with a giraffe pick.  Both girls’ lunches are packed in our Easy Lunch Boxes for our park picnic.

My goal is to help parents and older kids create fun lunches that encourage healthy long-term eating habits. Bento boxes are great for a few reasons. Portion control is key. Don’t make more food than little tummies can stomach. Make sure to include lots of fruits and vegetables. It can take up to 12 times for a child to grow accustomed to a new food so don’t be discouraged. Include little bits of something new to try whenever you can.  One can reduce waste by using leftover from the pantry, refrigerator or freezer and introduce new foods at the same time.  Most importantly, start out with something simple and have fun!


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