bentoriffic

Posts Tagged ‘raisins

Leftovers.  It’s what’s for lunch.  It’s not exciting sometimes, but it sure is a timesaver for whoever is packing lunch!

Bentoriffic- Hato Mugi and Cannellini bean dinnerI have gotten in the habit in the past few weeks of doubling my dinner recipes.  I am always grabbing lunch on the go, and it’s nice to have something I can just reheat.  Plus it makes for simple lunches the next day.  In this case, I had been browsing through Christy Morgan’s Blissful Bites cookbook while meal planning.  She suggested a grain called hato mugi.  In all my years of cooking I hadn’t ever heard of it.  It’s also called Job’s tears.  It’s a barley like grain that is actually the seed of an Asian grass that has a higher quantity of protein, fat, calcium, iron,  B vitamins and more amino acids than most grains.  It also helps with the stomach and cleansing the blood.  I decided to order some for fun.  It’s a wonderful, gluten-free grain.  My best description of it would be a heavy, more textured barley and with a more distinct taste.  I cooked  the hato mugi first.  While it was simmering, I cooked cannellini and pinto beans separately with lemon juice, garlic rosemary, salt and a bit of tahini.  When it was done, I arranged it over the grain.

Bentoriffic- Hato mugi and bean heart leftover lunchAnd above is the same dish packed in an Easy LunchBoxes container for lunch the next day.  The beans got a bit smooshed when I stored it overnight, but I just added fresh fruit in the morning (honeydew melon balls and mango slices).  Lunch is served.

Bentoriffic- bear bento lunchMiss G wanted bears today so I obliged.  She has mini sandwiches in the bottom left with bear faces stamped on them.  Above are cashews, a date, almond and raisin ball rolled in coconut and grape tomatoes on bear picks. In the top right are fresh mango slices with more little bears, and in the bottom right are strawberry hearts and a silicone bear cup with honeydew melon balls packed in her Planetbox stainless lunchbox.

I am also in the running again this year for the Circle of Moms.  This time I’m trying to make it to the Top 25 Vegetarian and Vegan blogs in the country.  You can vote once a day from each IP address.  All you do it click vote.  I appreciate your support!  Click here to vote for me!

It was Miss A’s birthday this week.  She turned 3.   I think every mother sits back and asks where the time went.  It certainly doesn’t feel like 3 years ago!  In any case, I made her a special birthday lunch, and her Easy LunchBoxes container came back empty which is always a sign of success to me.

Bentoriffic- Three Years Old bento

I used the LunchPunch birthday cake cutter on Rudi’s Whole Wheat bread.  Inside is Justin’s Almond butter with a bit of agave nectar.  I cut a 3 out of  Stretch Island fruit leather and used a tiny heart cutter for the flames of the candles.  On either side of the sandwich are heart picks of organic blueberries.  In the top left compartment are 3 pineapple chunks and three candle cupcake picks and in the top right are 3 number 3 pieces of watermelon and a date and raisin ball rolled in coconut.

Stitch present

Her favorite present?  A Stitch action figure which I found on eBay.  He speaks alien, makes laser gun noises and comes with green alien drool.  I know, I’m not winning mother of the year in some people’s eyes, but she LOVES her Lilo and Stitch Disney movies.

Bentoriffic- Cupcake by Miss G

Miss G wanted to make her own lunch today so I obliged.  She had a cupcake shaped sandwich with the same LunchPunch set.  She filled it with chocolate almond butter and cut a fruit leather cherry for the top.  She also has organic blueberries and ice cream cone shaped watermelon pieces in her Easy Lunchboxes container.

Bentoriffic- BBQ beans and veggies bento

My husband is having last night’s leftovers of barbeque black eyed peas, beans and vegetables.  It’s as simple as it sounds. Cook black eyed pease and your favorite beans (I used pintos) or open the can & dump into a skillet.  In a separate skillet I cooked 2 carrots chopped, 1 shallot finely chopped, 1 cup of peas and 2 turnips and sauteed them in a separate skillet until cooked.  I used about a 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce and coated the beans while heating them.  When the vegetables were done cooking, I merged the two and coated it all with the barbeque sauce.  Dinner is served!  In the top left are pineapple pieces and in the right compartment are watermelon pieces in his Easy Lunchboxes container.

Please click on each photo to find out where I bought tools I used to make this lunch:

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Birds make me happy.  I don’t have a specific reason.  They just cheer me up so I’m hoping that my kids find the same joy in them that I do.  All the lunches today are vegan (meatless and dairy free), soy-free, gluten-free and all ingredients are organic.

spinach pasta with stars & birds

Miss G’s lunch (4 years old) is spinach rice noodles with a small bit of Earth Balance coconut spread mixed in and Field Roast sundried tomato (meatless) deli slices on top shaped into stars and a bird.  In her Easy Lunchboxes container at the top are heart shaped strawberries and watermelon birds.

Oh my stars snack bentoAlong with lunch is her preschool snack in a LunchBots Duo stainless container.  In the left compartment are carrot sticks, blueberries and dried apricot stars, and in the right are sugar snap peas, a Crimson Gold apple and a “snow ball” made of dates and raisins rolled in coconut.

Matryoshka with stars bentoIn our fancy matryoshka bento box is little sister’s lunch.  On the left side she has raisins in the flower cup with star shaped dried apricots.  Below that is jasmine rice with carrot mini stars and sugar snap peas.  On the right side are watermelon stars and below are bird-shaped sundried tomato deli slices and cucumbers.

Spinach with black bean saladAbove is the elusive mom lunch.  I am usually on the run, but decided to make a salad today.  I had a giant pile of organic spinach, about a cup of black beans, bird shaped cucumbers and some daikon I found at my local Whole Foods.  I have to say that the daikon wasn’t a good match with the salad.  I read later that its taste softens with cooking which is what I’ll do with the rest.  It was a little bitter to eat raw. On the sides are avocado slices.  For my dressing I topped with a bit of red wine vinegar.

Things I used to make this lunch:

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Angel & baby Jesus bento by bentoriffic

So maybe this isn’t the most reverent representation of the manger scene, but I was limited on time this morning.  I wanted Miss G to have the manger scene for her lunch…the reason for the season.  Baby Jesus is made from Stretch Island fruit leather on a bed of cashews.  The angel is Justin’s Almond Butter on Rudi’s Organic brand Whole Grain bread.  The star is a dried apricot and next to the angel are a Christmas tree pick of grape tomatoes.  At the top left are organic blueberries with a gift food pick and in the top right compartment of her Easy Lunchboxes container are organic raspberries.

Gingerbread girl bento by bentoriffic

And above is the elusive mom lunch.  I say this because I rarely get lunch.  I’m lucky if I have a protein bar or smoothie while on the run.  Today I am driving down to Miss G’s school to have lunch with her so I packed myself a cute lunch too.  I’m having a gingerbread girl on Rudi’s Organic whole grain bread with almond butter & blackberry jam.  I stuck some raisin buttons on with almond butter.  She has cinnamon candy eyes and a fruit leather mouth.  I used a Hello Kitty bow for her hair pick.  She is surrounded by grape tomatoes on Christmas tree picks.  In the top left compartment are pineapple chunks with a candy cane food pick and the top right has organic blueberries and raspberries.  Merry Christmas to you all!

I will be taking a break to spend time with my family while the kids are out of school.  Hoping everyone has some time to relax and appreciate all the little things in life.  I look forward to hearing from you in the new year!

Much Love, Sarah

Elves and trees by bentoriffic

My 4 year old has elves watching her for lunch.  These look more like Keebler elves than Christmas elves to me, but she doesn’t know.  They are sitting on a crust of their Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.  At the top left are small carrot Christmas tree sandwiches filled with Justin’s almond butter and in the top right compartment are watermelon trees cut with a tree shaped pastry plunger that I found in a set at Target and packed in her Easy Lunchboxes container.

Christmas trees and hummus snack

Miss G’s snack today was a container of Sabra hummus with dried sour cherries in the bottom, Newman’s Own pretzel sticks and cashews in the bottom.  In the top tier are dried apricots stuffed with carrot trees and surrounded by raisins.  On the right side are cantaloupe trees.

Santa and trees in LunchBots by bentoriffic

Little Miss 2 year old is back to school today with a LunchBots Quad.  From the top left are watermelon Christmas trees, raisins, cashews and carrot trees, cantaloupe holiday trees and 2 mini Santa sandwiches on Rudi’s Whole Grain bread.

Things I used to make this lunch:

Santa face cookie cutter

Car, arrow and tree mini cutters

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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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!

I grew up in an old house than I swore at the time was haunted.  Something was always creeking, there were always critters in the basement and it had those funky unexplainable smells and noises that could really freak a kid out.  Now that I’m older, I realized that the house was pretty cool despite the old factor.  But as a kid those things create vivid memories.

Luckily my girls (4 and 2) don’t scare too easily.  They think creepy is still pretty funny.  I made them both haunted house bentos today.  Above is Miss G’s Easy LunchBoxes container.  From the top left is a seckel pear and cantaloupe houses with a black cat pick. Below the cantaloupe is a peeled clementine with a black cat face ring, raspberries with a kiwi house on top, Rudi’s whole grain bread with pumpkin butter filling and more sliced kiwi.

For her snack today, my 4 year old has a Happy Tiffin bento packed with cashews in the round container and a haunted house apple in the middle surrounded by sliced strawberries.

Miss A has a LunchBots Quad packed her her mini version of the same.  From the top left are sliced strawberries and a cantaloupe haunted house on top, a clementine with a witch face ring ( my 4 year old said it was an eagle), in the bottom right compartment are mixed nuts, seeds and dried raisins and cranberries and the bottom left are Rudi’s whole grain pumpkin butter haunted house sandwiches.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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!

We’re back from a fun, long weekend away.  I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend and a safe 4th!  I can’t say I planned well for lunches today since I was feeling especially sleepy this morning.  The girls are off to a week of summer camp at their regular school, and the adults are back to the grind.

I got a new bear face sandwich cutter.  To be honest it was not what I expected.  Maybe that is because I haven’t learned how to use it properly yet (instructions in Japanese), and maybe I should have planned ahead.  In any case, Miss G gets to be the guinea pig on this one.  Whole grain bread, although it is the best FOR you does NOT make the best shapes and mold well in presses.  What I got was a bear with a bit of a skull fracture.  Oops!  It’s definitely not the prettiest lunch I’ve ever made, but I believe it’s important to show you that nothing’s ever perfect.  My daughter will still think it’s fun and like it even if his face is falling apart.  To salvage his face I stuck raisins in his eyes, almonds in his ears, a prune (which she really does love and eat) and dried goji berries in for the mouth.  The goji berries are a newer food to my girls.  I don’t expect them to eat it all, but they must TRY them.  The bread is Rudi’s brand Nut & Oat bread filled with almond butter & strawberry jam.  Above the bear at the top left are mini carrots & dip in the bear container.  At the top right are bear shaped watermelon pieces packed in her Easy Lunch Boxes container.

Miss A gets a simplified version with little bear sandwiches today.  She doesn’t do well with the bigger sandwiches so I made her 3 little bears.  Hers are also almond butter and jam on whole grain bread.  With the sandwiches are organic raspberries, a bear pick and bear baran (food separators) just for fun decoration.  On the left side of the bento box are mini carrots, bear shaped watermelon pieces and pineapple chunks with more fun bear picks.

My husband gets a baby spinach salad made into a funky food face.  Broccoli sprouts make up the hair, cherry tomatoes for the eyes, a sugar snap pea for the nose, a carrot for the mouth cut with a crinkle cutter and walnut ears.  I buried more walnuts and peas under the face for him to find while he’s eating.  At the top left are pineapple pieces and at the top right is leftover whole grain elbow macaroni with marinara sauce & veggy crumbles packed in his Easy Lunch Boxes container.

Things I used to make this lunch:


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