Sunday, February 28, 2010

sunny day L&L bento :)

Three cheers for sunshine! Even if it does make a lot of wacky shadows when I'm taking pictures. :)
My 2nd grader's lunch from Friday -
sunny L&L

A checkered apple (or "pattern apple" as my son calls it), Wheat Thins with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, strawberries. There is a little treat tucked in with the Wheat Thins - a sour gummy worm.

My son's peers are very impressed with the checkered apples and he had asked me to include another one all week, so I finally did it on Friday. My boy loves showing it off. Ha! ;-)
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Friday, February 26, 2010

say hello to Goodbyn!

I have been waiting on pins and needles for this very special lunchbox to arrive!

Ta-da!
Goodbyn - it came!

Are you excited?
Maybe?
Not yet?
Give me a minute to tell you more about it.

They are currently available in 4 colors - red/orange (mine!), blue, green and pink!

They come with over 275 stickers to let you (or your child) totally customize it for a one-of-a-kind, very unique, super rad lunchbox.
This is where the Goodbyn can really come to life!

Goodbyn - it's alive!

My oldest son suggested we give it a name. We decided on Byndi. "Like Bindi, the Jungle Girl and Goodbyn tied together!" he said. Sounded good to me! :)

Both my boys wanted to take it to school today, but I told them I needed to wash it first. Um, yes, I did need to wash it, but really - I wanted to play with it some more before they carried it off (not to mention, the issue of WHICH of them would have the first honor of using it!).
As it turns out my 2-year-old asked to use "the Byndi monster box" for her lunch at home today. It was great!

Goodbyn - yummy!

She had orange wedges, Trader Joe's corn puff things (like Pirate's Booty), applesauce with sprinkles, a few animal crackers (and not those gosh forsaken Pooh ones!), and leftover pepperoni pizza.

The Goodbyn comes with a matching drink bottle - which you can see here, fits perfectly in the center spot. My girl had ice water in it. The Goodbyn is designed to not need anything between it and the food - hence the applesauce poured straight into a side compartment. The lid fits so securely that nothing drips out of any of the areas. I did test this out, my girl toted the lunchbox around the house, and lo and behold, the applesauce did not stray! The sprinkles got all mixed in, of course, but there was no soggy corn puffs either. :)

This lunchbox is VERY roomy. I'm actually looking forward to using it myself, as I think that big half-circle compartment will be perfect for salads! The bottom square compartment could easily hold a full sized sandwich too.

One of my favorite things about this lunchbox...the entire thing can be stuck in the dishwasher - bottom rack too! Okay, that is convienent, but really my FAVORITE thing about it is that it's made in the USA (even the stickers!), totally BPA free and fully recyclable.

I'm giving the Goodbyn two thumbs-up. :)

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

mama eats bento too

This morning was ca-razy. I got my son's and daughter's bentos packed but there was no time to take pictures. No time! We were so late my older son even missed the bus. (Is it Friday yet?!)

This bento picture is one of my OWN lunches from last weekend when we were out of the house enjoying a dash of sunny weather in an otherwise frigid and lingering winter.
Laptop Lunch - deli rolls

In a Laptop Lunches box - I have sandwich rolls sans wrap (peppered turkey, havarti cheese, lots of baby spinach and mustard...YUM!) SunChips, pistachios, carrots and celery with my favorite ranch (Trader Joe's low fat parmesan ranch) for dipping.

To be honest, I really don't like celery. I think it tastes like dirt.

The way raw veggies roll in this house drives me batty - the rundown (take notes, there may be a quiz at the end):

* My husband: likes celery, doesn't care for carrots, can tolerate cucumbers in severe moderation, sometimes eats broccoli.
* Me: I love carrots, tolerate small amounts of celery, really dislike cucumbers. No broccoli, no way, no how.
* 8 year old son: loves carrots, can tolerate some cucumbers, doesn't care for celery, sorta likes broccoli.
* 6 year old son: ... uh, no.
* 2 year old daughter: LOVES cucumbers, barely tolerates carrots, suspicious of celery. Sometimes eats broccoli... but cooked broccoli is one of her favorite foods and she scowls when it's given to her in raw format. LOL
* baby: yet to be seen!

Sigh.

Friday, are you here yet?

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

quite the colorless bento

If you are looking for color variety and whimsical inspiration this bento is going to be a big disappointment for you. ;-)
4squareL&L

We have apple slices, strawberry cereal bar and chocolate chip granola bar, SunChips, cheddar cheese and baby carrots.

A couple random food notes:

- SunChips bags are now completely biodegradable! You can stick it in your compost bin! The bags are made from vegetable based plant products. How cool is that? I'm stoked! I hope, wish, pray that other companies will soon follow suit.

- I always buy organic baby carrots because I found out a couple years ago that baby carrots are *chemically* peeled. I used to think they just ran through some sort of neat machine that peeled and chopped them up. But then I read an article that stated that the carrots actually sit in a chemical laden solution that disolves the skin off the carrots.
Hmmm. I just don't think that's a great thing to be eating. Call me crazy if you must. ;-)
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

preschool day lunch bento

Packed in our favorite Sassy box!
Sassyboxbento

On the left is a half sandwich and Goldfish crackers.
On the right is a dish of small purple grapes, cheddar cheese pieces and a piece of apple with a heart shape cut from the peel.

I'm MUCH happier with how this apple turned out than the last one I posted. Whew. A bit of redemption there! :) This is a pink lady apple. I'm not really taken by the taste or crunch-factor of them, but they don't brown! Cool, huh? To make the heart I used a tiny cookie cutter with a sharp edge, gently pressed it through the peel, and then using a paring knife I cut away the peel. Cute!
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Monday, February 22, 2010

mac & cheese & broccoli + hot dog = happy girl

Not one of our typical bentos:
maccheesebrocbento

We have macaroni & cheese with broccoli (my little girl's favorite!) on one side, hot dog pieces in one dish, orange chunks and blueberries in the other small dish, with some of those everlasting Pooh cookies stuck in the side.

Wanna guess what the one food item she didn't eat was?

Go on, take a guess.

Yes.

Those *&$%#@! Pooh cookies! I think it's time to find them a new home. If I can't find a teacher at school to take them we'll feed them to some ducks or something. Sheesh.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

TGIF!!! bento

Oof, what a week! So glad to see the weekend is here, along with some sunshine!

My big boy's bento for this great Friday:
checkeredapple

On the top is garlic parmesan toasty bread cut into dinosaur shapes and Goldfish crackers. The bottom holds a small clementine orange, a silicone cup of little purple grapes, a Baby Bell cheese, and a checkered apple.

The checkered apple. Oy. Here's what I have to say about that:
- I don't foresee doing many of these
- it is easy, it doesn't take long, (this wedge took about a minute), but I can't multi-task and make these. And I'm ALWAYS multitasking.
- you don't want to know how many wedges I went through where I messed up the checkered pattern by cutting off the wrong square of peel (there's a reason why there's only one wedge in the box)
- the checkered pattern looks much nicer on these lighter colored apples than they do on dark red apples.
- my kids think they are really really cool.

The dinosaur bread was cut using a Dinobytes sandwich cutter. These are really nifty because you can get some cute shapes without having a lot of excess waste being cut away. :) The box I used was a Sassy Mealtime box with the inner boxes removed.

Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

An "is it Friday yet?" bento

LLbentoraspcarrots

Cheddar cheese, Wheat Thins and granola bar, raspberries, carrots with ranch in the little blue cup. Packed in our "4 square" Lock & Lock box.

Nothing exciting. I'm too tired for excitement today.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

pesto pasta bento

Pesto pasta bento - try saying that three times fast! ;)

This is my little girl's lunch for today. She did not have preschool today but as I was getting out a plate she said "no mama, the box ones please!", who am I to say no to that? :)

pestobento

On the left is salami, baby sized Goldfish crackers and a Baby Bell cheese with a flower cut out of the wax coating.
On the right, raspberries on the top and pasta with pesto on the bottom.

It looks like a lot of salami, but that is only 4 small circles, each folded in half twice.

I know a lot of moms out there are under the impression that making bento meals must take a long time, or that they don't have time to do it too. This whole box from start to finish was 6 minutes - and I was handicapped by a crawling baby at my feet while I did it - and that included time to wash the berries since I hadn't washed those prior. The pasta was premade in the fridge (I talked about that before) I just stirred in a bit of pesto I had on hand and that was done in a flash. The most time consuming parts of this whole bento thing is washing the boxes out (most are not dishwasher safe) and taking the photos to post on this blog! :)

The bento box is a new Sassy Mealtime set. I decided to get a 2nd one for back-up in case the other is not clean (and because I'm a glutton for new bento stuff). :)
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

sorta sushi bento

Sometimes a bento just doesn't come together for me, or there will one component that just stands out and ruins the end product for me - both are the case with this bento. Here it is (try to hide your snickers and laughter!):
rolledsandwichbnto

Left to right: Cheeze-it Crackers, rolled "sushi" jelly sandwiches, a silicone cup of strawberry yogurt with apple-strawberry fruit leather hearts on top, apple pieces in the bottom corner.

Those apple pieces are an eye sore. The cut-out I tried to make on the peel turned out all wonky. My daughter must have agreed because she didn't eat it and she usually LOVES apples. Hmphf.

The sandwich "sushi" is super easy to do:
- flatten your bread (I used a rolling pin this time, but I'd done it before by just smooshing it really well between two cutting boards)
- add your sandwich contents (I just used jelly this time)
- roll the bread up
- cut into segments with a sharp knife
Very fun and easy and visually interesting in a bento box. :)

To make the yogurt more "bento friendly" and less spilly I drained away some of the liquid by making a funnel out of paper-towels and leaving the yogurt in the funnel, sealed in a larger container, overnight. The result is a thicker, creamier, yogurt. Similar to greek yogurt. As an added bonus, it makes the yogurt less messy to eat too. This is a good thing, for my little girl is a VERY messy eater.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

a little of this and that bento

This is a smorgasbord bento for my 2-year-old daughter. It is packed in a small Lock and Lock box - smaller and more shallow than the regular "4 square Lock and Lock" I normally use. This one is just sandwich sized.

littleofthisandthatbento

In the top left are tortilla strips (really, just the "crusts" of a quesadilla, my son won't eat the edges and she will, so...), a leftover spring roll from my husbands dinner the other night, some mini kabobs of colby cheese and summer sausage. Rounding the right side and to the front left corner are a silicone cup holding raspberries, some of those never-ending Pooh animal crackers, a tiny heart shaped silicone cup of baby Goldfish crackers.

The first thing my daughter did with this lunch was pull the cheese and sausage off the picks and throw the picks to the floor. She was definitely not as taken with them as she was the pink kitty pick yesterday. She was also not very keen on the spring roll. It has been a long time since she's had those, she used to gobble them up. I hope this isn't a sign she's turning picky on me!

   
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

burrito bento con la gata rosa

That's "burrito bento with the pink cat" for all you non-Spanish speaking types out there. My high school Spanish teachers would be so proud! ;)
burritobento
This little lunch bento was for my two-year-old daughter. This was the first time she's been given a small fork pick in her bento and she was THRILLED. She couldn't stop giggling about it and wanted to keep it in her pocket after she was done eating. :) I'm definitely not going to give her picks for her school lunches - she's still too unpredictable and the choking hazard aspect is a scary one to me - but when we have lunch together, as we did today, it will be a fun thing for her.

The little burrito was made with some chicken I had leftover from making enchiladas the night before and leftover mexican rice. In the orange silicone cup are some not-ripe strawberries, some cubed cheese and animal cracker/cookies are in front.

Sorry for the weird picture. My camera was not focusing correctly. Hm. That's probably a bad sign....
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine Bento

For my big boy in a that trusty four-square Lock & Lock box. :)
VdaybentoLandLheartback

In the back we have mini sized saltine crackers and a cereal bar. In the front is a pile of cheddar cheese hearts (of varying sizes) on the left and fruit to the right; heart-cut strawberries and grapes on heart picks. Awwwww. Can you feel the love? :)
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

the anti-bento lunchbox

So far you have seen the lunches of my oldest son and my daughter. I do actually have another child who takes a lunch to school every single day. 

My middle son is 6 and in Kindergarten this year. He has autism and is, by far, the pickiest eater I personally know.

The thing you may or may not know about people with autism is that they tend to be very particular about certain things. For some it may be their clothing - being fussy over seams and tags and the way it fits. For others it might be the way items in a room are laid out or the background noise of his or her environment. For my son, his tendacy towards being particular is most evidenced in his pickiness over food.

So with this explanation I will share with you the contents of my six-year-old's lunchbox:
anti-bento lunch

*gasp*cough*cough*choke*

Yes, that's it. Every single day it is the same thing:
- a Horizon milk box (ONLY Horizon brand, he will not entertain the thought of trying another kind) in either vanilla or strawberry flavored (NEVER chocolate)
- a Mott's Natual applesauce in a single-serve container
- a mini-fruit roll-up (always strawberry)
- a small Lock & Lock box of something crunchy (Goldish crackers, pretzels, corn chips, etc.)

He arranges it in his lunchbox just so:
anti-bento lunchbox

You may be wondering what the piece of straw is for. Well, from the time he was a year old to just in the last month the ONLY way he would eat the applesauce is through a straw. Poked through the lid of the container. But just recently he has started to eat it with a spoon! A spoon, people! (can I get a "Woot! Woot!" from the audience?!) :) I took these pictures awhile ago, which is why there is still a straw being shown. But for the last several weeks he has been packing a SPOON! :) I'm working on him bringing the spoon back home rather than throwing it away.

Now when he eats these single serve applesauce containers at home I save the little cups. I wash them out and reuse them for making jello cups in, or serving small snacks to the kids, for craft projects (great for holding small items like googly eyes or beads!), and when they get too cruddy to continue using (or someone steps on one, LOL) then they finally go to the recycling bin. It's not ideal, but it's just the way it is. Now that my boy is finally using a spoon for the applesauce I have hopes of refilling the containers with jarred or homemade applesauce for his eating at home. Eventually he might let me just put applesauce in a regular bowl to begin with and be weaned off these darn wasteful plastic cups. Fingers crossed! :)

So there you have it folks, a little slice of my real life. It's not all ribbons and bows and tidy bentos.

The sticker across his little Lock & Lock box is a Mabel's Label personalized name sticker (I have his name blocked out for safety purposes :) ). If you haven't seen these before, you need to check them out! They are personalized labels that adhere to just about anything. They are dishwasher safe, microwave safe and do not fade. Since I bought labels for my kids the company has since come out with a new multi-colored label, so cool! If you have gear to label I recommend these whole heartedly. :)


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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Laptop Lunch

laptoplunch1

In the blue box is a jelly sandwich, cut in half and each half sealed, with some Veggie Straws to the side, the orange box holds strawberries and blueberries, green cup is cheddar cheese, large pink box has cucumber and carrot sticks, the small dipping box holds lite ranch dressing.

This bento was packed for my daughter. It was the just the right amount of food for her to have lunch and two snacks out of - which was great for the long day of running errands we had that day.

This is one of the original Laptop Lunch boxes. I bought this for my oldest child when he was in kindergarten. I found though, that he just didn't eat much while at school (he still doesn't!) and this box was bigger than he needed. I forgot about it for a long time, and just recently have been using it more regularly.

The Laptop Lunch system is great for holding more food than the traditional (little) bento boxes. It's also an easy introduction to making bento lunches for most people because the layout is less intimidating than having an empty barrier-less box staring at you as fill it. ;)

The original Laptop Lunch box (like this one) comes with a lid for one of the larger boxes (for mine, the magenta box has a lid), and then a lid for the tiny dipping box too. Laptop Lunches recently rolled out a new box called Laptop Lunch 2.0. The new version comes with three lids, the same two as before plus a lid for the smaller sized boxes too. So convenient! Also great, they have an extra set of inner boxes called Bento Buddies, one of which is double sized box - awesome for full sized sandwiches or a nice salad:
Bento Buddies 2.0 B650-berry X-Large, Large, Medium and Small Dip Lidded Containers, Berry, Set of 4

I can't wait to get my hands on the new system with the Bento Buddies. ;)

If you are interested in checking out Laptop Lunches further, their website has a ton of pictures and information available. If you are thinking about ordering, use coupon code "anotherlunch" to get 10% off your order! :)
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

snow day bento

I don't often make the lunches the night before, but this time I did. Since nothing in the bento box would be adversely effected by sitting in the fridge overnight I went ahead and put it together early.

What I didn't know was that the 100% chance of rain we were told to expect would come down as snow instead and school would be cancelled!

Snow day bento for preschooler:
pastasaladbento

Left side: a tiny dish of orange jello, purple grapes, and two apple slices.
Right side: a dish of pasta salad, a few pieces of salami, cheese flowery things cut with my smallest mini-cookie cutters.

I prefer to serve my two-year-old pasta that is wagon wheel or flower shaped because it is so much easier for her to spear with her fork. I try to cook some each week and keep the plain pasta in the fridge for quick dishes like this, or her favorite, mac-n-cheese with broccoli. For this pasta salad I just took some of the pasta from the fridge, added some peas and lite creamy Italian dressing and a sprinkle of pepper. Very easy and she loves it! :)

Packed in that great Sassy mealtime bento box. I don't often need to use the inner lids, but I did this time for both the inner boxes I used.
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Monday, February 8, 2010

Lock & Lock bento (yes, another one!)

Good morning, Monday.
No coffee Monday.
Got-to-go-grocery-shopping Monday.
Wish I was still asleep Monday.
Sigh.

The 8 year-old's lunch:
4squareL&L

Clockwise from top left: strawberries with mini-fork, Cheez-It crackers, granola bar and pretzels, baby carrots with ranch to dip them in the small container.

Easy peasy.
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

bento snack box

For an afternoon away from home.
1bentosnack

In the back is a string cheese, two rows of grapes, Wheat Thin crackers and a little gummy burger treat. Personally, I think that gummy burger looks repulsive, but to an 8 year old boy - it's awesome. They are rather bento-ish, being a tiny burger and all. ;)

The grapes are on swizzle sticks. They work great for these long bento boxes - they are just the right length from side to side! :) They can be a great alternative to regular bento picks if you live in an area without bento shops.
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Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Feed The Bears! bento

A beary bear-themed bento, packed in a Sassy Baby Feeding Set.
beary bento

On the left is a cheese sandwich cut with a bear shaped cookie cutter surrounded by paw-holding bear cubs of fruit leather. :)
On the right is a dish of mini sized Teddy Grahams and in the silicone cup is a bear shaped hard-boiled egg.

The hard boiled egg is shaped like a bear by using egg molds. When the egg is still hot you peel it (mind your fingers, this can sting!) and pop it into the plastic mold and then cool. Because the hot egg is very malleable it will conform to the shape of the mold around it. It's pretty easy, except for the peeling a super hot egg part. ;-)
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

bitty bento

Small lunch for my little girl.
pinklove box

Juicy strawberries, Goldfish crackers, egg salad sandwich. Because she is only two she has a small fork rather than a tiny food pick for her strawberries.

Because she has a tendency to peel apart her sandwiches and make a mess I sealed this one closed with a sandwich press. I especially like using the sandwich press on grilled cheese sandwiches. If you seal it well enough you can even stick the whole thing in a wide-slot toaster! :)
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

yet another lovely Lock & Lock box bento

Easy, easy, fast and simple.
L&Lbento

My son is flipping over this last batch of strawberries I bought. He'd have liked the whole box filled with nothing but these strawberries. ;) Alas, just one 1/4 got the lovely red berries, joined by cheddar cheese, granola bar and SunChips.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

this bento has gone to the dogs

I guess that makes it a doggone bento? ;)
granolabarrier

So we have a silicone cup with strawberries and a puppy shaped food pick, some purple grapes in front of it, a granola bar, Cheeze-It crackers, and doggie shaped cheddar cheese.

I like how the granola bar created a natural border between the fruit on the left and the rest of the food to the right. :)
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