Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bentos 94 - 97: Second Week of School

Sigh. . .One month into school and I'm already way behind.  I'm not good at this blogging thing. Here are the bentos for the second week of school.  I forgot to take a picture on Friday morning, we were in a bit of a rush, so there are only four again.  

Bento for Baby 94:  Baby Girl had some leftovers from dinner the previous night.  My mother gave me a few pounds of roma tomatoes from her garden, so I made a fresh tomato sauce from one of my Lidia Bastianich cookbooks.  This was packed into a Lunchbots thermal container.  Along with the leftovers I gave her a zucchini apricot muffin from the freezer, some halved cherries, and some sunflower and pumpkin seeds in the medium Nesting Trio container.

Bento for Baby 95:  Tuna white bean salad dressed with lemon and olive oil in whole wheat pita, sugar snap peas, grapes, and some cantaloupe pieces in the tiffin box.

Bento for Baby 96:  Two mini pizzas on whole wheat pitas from the freezer, some sugar snap peas, bing cherries an some pretzel sticks in the U Konserve Rectangle.

Bento for Baby 97:  Some more leftovers from dinner the previous night in her Lunchbots thermal container - our favorite Bittman spaghetti and meatballs, along a few grapes, a strawberry and a few sugar snap peas in the medium container from the Kids Konserve Nesting Trio.

Items similar to those used to pack these bentos:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

First Week of School Bentos! Bentos 90 - 93

And, we are back. . . back to school, back to blogging, back to bento-ing.  I have actually been bento-ing every school day since my last blog post, but I lost my blogging initiative for while.  Since the school year is starting, and we are all always looking for new lunch ideas, I thought I'd try to get my mojo back.  I'm going to try different formats to see what is the easiest way to keep posting, so bear with me.  For this post, I'm going to give a brief rundown of all the bentos I packed this week.  Since Monday was a half day, I only needed to pack lunch four days this week.  So, here's what my "baby," now 2.5 year old, ate this week.  

Bento for Baby 90:  In the bottom section of our favorite tiffin box, a cream cheese on a whole wheat cinnamon raisin English muffin sandwich, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, a few pretzel sticks leftover from summer travel that my daughter insisted upon.  The top section was a fruit and veggie mix of watermelon cubes, green grapes, sugar snap peas and baby carrots.  

Bento for Baby 91: A snacky bento of crackers and cheese, "woven wheat" crackers with Baby Girl's favorite cheese - Creamy Toscano Cheese Soaked in Syrah, along with some raisins, mini sweet peppers and sugar snap peas. This was packed in the top section of our favorite green tiffin box. This was accompanied by another leftover travel snack, a pack of crunchy dried apples.

Bento for Baby 92:  Baby Girl had an apple sandwich with sunbutter on this day.  I've found sunbutter to be much runnier and messy in apple sandwiches than good old peanut butter, but we cannot send peanut butter to school.  To help with the mess I mixed a little raw oatmeal and coconut with the sunbutter and then rolled the sides of the sandwich in a bit more coconut.  This  gave the sunbutter more structure and allowed for cleaner eating.  Since these are half the ingredients in Baby Girl's favorite sunbutter oatmeal balls, I didn't worry about her not liking the additions.  Along with the apple sandwich, she had some halved cherries, baby carrots, sugar snap peas and more pretzel sticks.  This bag of pretzels is like loaves and fishes, I'd like them to be out of the pantry, but the bag never seems to get any emptier.  

Bento for Baby 93:  Another cream cheese sandwich for Baby Girl on this day, but this time on homemade whole-grain cinnamon raisin bread.  I made this using a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog.  I'll just provide a link to the recipe since I couldn't possibly write about or photograph the bread any better.  I made the recipe pretty much as written, but I did add a few more whole raisins to the swirl, since Baby Girl loves raisins.  The bread is very tasty, but it is not a quick, make-during-nap recipe.  I think it is worth the effort, though.  Along with her sandwich Baby Girl had more halved cherries, some mini peppers and frozen edamame.

Items similar to those used in these bentos:


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bentos 83 - 89: Bento Catch Up!

I have been slacking horribly in blogging lately.  I've been in a bit of a cooking/lunch packing funk lately.  I'm tired of the of the available winter produce and ready for the fresh flavors of spring!  As a result bentos haven't been particularly interesting lately and I haven't had much enthusiasm to photograph and blog them.  Rather than try and do a bunch of individual posts to catch up, I thought I do one large post with the various bentos that have been clogging up my camera the past few weeks. I'll just do a quick list of what's in each bento, please comment if you want any further detail.   

Bento 83: Apple sandwich, raisins, steamed broccoli and some pieces of oven fried chicken with the breading peeled off.  I made the chicken with my favorite recipe from the Joy of Cooking, which uses a bit of cayenne in the marinade and breading.  Unfortunately the breading ended up a bit too spicy for toddler tastes.  After her traumatic dinner experience, she refused to touch these leftovers even with the breading removed.  I think she might be off chicken for a while.

Bento 84:  Spaghetti and meatballs, unsweetened banana chips, grapes and steamed green beans dressed in olive oil and lemon zest.

Bento 85:  Goat cheese on whole wheat pita, raisins and walnut pieces, apple slices

Bento 86:  Oven fried chicken with breading removed (second attempt, she didn't touch it this time either), grapes, two whole wheat biscuits and green beans dressed in olive oil and lemon.

Bento 87:  Apple sandwich, two zucchini and apricot muffins, unsweetened banana chips, dried cherries.

Bento 88:  Clementine, chickpeas, two ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins), two pizza palmiers.

Bento 89:  Leftover Moroccan chickpea and vegetable tagine with couscous, clementine, unsweetened banana chips, cube of feta cheese.

Supplies similar to those used in this lunch:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bento for Baby 82: A Hearty Lunch

I went a little crazy and made a Valentines Day themed bento for Baby Girl last week.  As far as themed bentos go, it's still pretty low key, so I didn't completely lose my mind.  I wanted to do a little something special for Baby Girl because it was Grandparent's Day at her school and she was one of the few kids there without a parent or grandparent in attendance.  We don't live close to grandparents and neither of us could miss work that day.  Plus, she's really into shapes these days, so I thought she'd get a kick out of all the hearts.

I packed it in a bit of a rush, so it's not as cute and neat as it could be.   Looking at this picture, it's driving me crazy that I didn't stick another strawberry on the far left.  But as we're all aware, that really doesn't matter. So, here's the info that really matters, what all the food is!  The main attraction was two heart shaped freshly ground peanut butter and raspberry conserves sandwiches on homemade bread.  My husband bakes all our bread using recipes from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and white whole wheat flour.  This flour allows you to make bread with a nice light crumb, while getting all the benefits of eating whole grains.  With her sandwiches Baby Girl had one large strawberry cut in half and shaped a bit to look like hearts, a few grape tomato hearts filled with hummus and some snap pea crisps.  The snap pea crisps are really glorified chips, but they were a special treat (but she didn't really like them, anyway).  I made the tomato hearts by cutting the tomatoes in half on the diagonal, smearing a tiny dab of hummus on the cut ends and then putting the tomato back together with the pointy ends together.  It works best with the more oblong tomatoes.

Items used to pack this bento:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bento for Baby 81: Spaghetti and Meatballs with Spinach Cake and Apple Sandwich

This bento was a resounding hit with Baby Girl.  I gave her some leftover spaghetti and meatballs I made for dinner the night before.  This was made from a fantastic recipe by Mark Bittman for Spaghetti and Drop Meatballs With Tomato Sauce, which makes a quick (about 30 minutes) and delicious meal.  In addition to being delicious, this recipe also very well written, the steps are laid out in a logical progression, are very easy to follow, and you can actually complete it in the stated prep time, unlike most recipes.  I made it pretty much as written, using whole wheat spaghetti and grass fed beef.  Anyway, Baby Girl absolutely loved it for dinner and polished off the leftovers in her lunch the next day.  

Along with her leftovers, Baby Girl had an apple peanut butter sandwich, some segments of clementine, a spinach cake from the freezer and a couple cubes of cheddar cheese.  This bento came back completely empty, so I now felt comfortable to declare the lunch strike officially over!

Supplies similar to those used in this lunch:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bento for Baby 80: Brussels Sprouts Pasta and Hummus Pita

Baby Girl's bento was a bit eclectic on this day.  This was packed several days after the end of her lunch strike, but I was still a bit afraid to push the envelope with the food I gave her.  So, I gave her a few things I knew would be devoured and a few others that she might turn her nose up to.  The sure-to-be-eaten items in her lunch on this day were half a whole wheat pita filled with homemade roasted red pepper hummus, a clementine and a mix of walnut pieces and raisins.  Things I wasn't so sure she would eat were some leftover Brussels sprout pasta from dinner the night before, and a few small carrot sticks.  Honestly, this bento is from so long ago that I cannot exactly recall how much she ate.  I have a vague memory that she ate most of this lunch, except for the carrot sticks.

I used a handy little lidded glass bowl that my mother-in-law passed on to me for the first time in this lunch.  It is the perfect size for a toddler-sized portion of leftovers, the glass is nice and thick so there aren't any safety concerns, and it is safe to pop in the microwave.  You'll be seeing a lot more of this little container in future posts.  I've found that her little thermal container is still a bit too deep for her to eat out of easily, and it's a mess when they dump it out into her other containers at school, so I'm going to hold off on using it for a little while.

Supplies similar to those used in this lunch:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Bento for Baby 79: Palmiers and Banana Bread

For her bento on this day Baby Girl had a few more favorites.  Although she had eaten her whole lunch the previous day, I wasn't yet convinced that her lunch strike was over.  Thankfully, she again ate most of her lunch, except some of the black beans shown here in the green silicone cup.  Along with the black beans, she had three spinach pizza palmiers from the freezer, some unsweetened banana chips, a clementine, one sunbutter oatmeal ball and a small piece of whole wheat sugar-free banana bread (which was actually leftover from her breakfast on this morning.)

Items used to pack this bento: