Friday, June 27, 2014

Bento for Baby 16: Sun Butter and Honey Pita and Spanish Tortilla

In her final bento of the week Baby Girl had sunbutter and honey spread in half a whole wheat pita and some blueberries in a silicone cup.  For lunch she had a small wedge of leftover Spanish tortilla from dinner the night before.  There are a million recipes for Spanish tortillas out there, I like the simple directions of Mark Bittman's recipe in How to Cook Everything. In addition to the classic potato, we put one large zucchini from the CSA into the tortilla to pack a few more veggies into our meal.  With the tortilla Baby Girl enjoyed some cubes of organic cheddar cheese, a couple sugar snap peas, some sliced cucumber and a few pitted and halved bing cherries.  Everything was packed in the small World Market tiffin.  I picked up this box on a whim for $5 thinking it'd get a couple uses out of it, but it has turned into my favorite box.  It's the perfect size for a toddler's day of food and it's dimensions are perfect for packing things tightly so they don't get mixed up in transit.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bento for Baby 15: Yogurt, Waffle and Panzanella

This magnificent waffle here represents the last of our breakfast baked goods stash (name that reference), Baker Dan has his work cut out for him this weekend!  For breakfast on Wednesday, along with the precious last homemade yogurt waffle quarter from the freezer, Baby Girl had some homemade plain yogurt with blueberries and a few cantaloupe cubes.  I usually don't send yogurt to daycare, but I thought I'd give it a try.  It appears it was a success, she didn't come home with her head and clothes completely crusted in yogurt and there were no gentle encouragements to leave the yogurt at home from her teachers.

For lunch Baby Girl had a whole wheat Ak-Mak cracker, some halved and pitted bing cherries and some leftover panzanella, or tomato and bread salad, from dinner the night before.  We got some beautiful tomatoes for the salad in our CSA share on Tuesday.  I packed the tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, fresh mozzarella and basil from the salad, leaving out the bread so it didn't get too soggy.  Baby Girl thoroughly enjoyed it for dinner and for lunch.  Everything was packed into the small World Market tiffin.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bento for Baby 14: Cream Cheese and Strawberry Tortilla Rolls and Quinoa Cake

Baby Girl is on the mend, so she is eating well again!  For breakfast today I packed her some cream cheese and strawberry tortilla rolls with some organic blueberries in the green silicone cup.  I made the rolls by spreading a thin layer of organic full fat cream cheese all over a 100% whole wheat tortilla, lining up three rows of thinly sliced organic strawberries along the bottom half of the tortilla, rolling tightly from the bottom, trimming the ends and then slicing the roll into four equal pieces. The tortilla will be a bit easier to roll, and the cream cheese easier to spread, if you zap the tortilla in the microwave for ~10 seconds before making these.

For lunch she had a quinoa cake from the freezer and some organic sugar snap peas (with the ends cut off and strings removed) and some organic bing cherries pitted and cut in half.  This was all packed in the small green World Market tiffin.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bento for Baby 13: Dan's Awesome Pancakes and Cheddar and Avocado Sandwich

Baby Girl was sick this week, so I only have one bento to post from this past week.  I used a new box to pack her food, a U Konserve 33-Ounce Rectangle Stainless Steel Container.  It is a larger, single compartment box, so I packed her morning snack and lunch together.  Her morning snack/breakfast is on the left.  It is composed of three small silver dollar sized Dan's Awesome Pancakes from the freezer with some blueberries and a raspberry in the yellow silicone cup.  For lunch I packed some sugar snap peas (with the ends cut off and strings removed) and wedges of a pita sandwich of melted organic cheddar and avocado slices.  The dividing wall of strawberries were for either meal as desired. I made the sandwich the night before by sticking some slices of cheddar and avocado in half a pita and slowly warming it in a saute pan.  The avocado was completely "encased" in the melted cheese, so it didn't brown before lunch time the next day.   Unfortunately, Baby Girl was just getting sick on this day, so even though these are many of her favorite foods, she didn't eat very much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bento for Baby 12: Waffle, Sunbutter ball and Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Tart

For breakfast in Baby Girl's final bento last week she had a homemade yogurt waffle quarter taken from the freezer, some strawberries and blueberries and a sunbutter oatmeal ball.  For lunch she had a deconstructed piece of Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Tart from our dinner the night before and some sliced purple grapes.  These were packed in the small and medium Kids Konserve Nesting Trio Stainless Steel Containers with Leak-Proof Lids.

The tart is another favorite recipe of ours that we have been making for years.  We anxiously await the first squash and tomatoes of the season from our CSA share so that we can make this.  It is a very simple recipe, so the key to its deliciousness is to use fresh and seasonal ingredients.  The recipe originally comes from Cooking Light, but we've adapted it over the years.  We always make it with a mix of yellow squash and zucchini, use homemade pizza dough and fresh whole milk mozzarella.  We brush the crust with some olive oil and minced garlic before layering the vegetables.  I always feel like it is summer on a plate.  Baby Girl has always been a big fan of her Papa's whole wheat pizza dough.  It's one of the first things she happily gummed when starting Baby Led Weaning.  The squash and zucchini used to be happily eaten, but have recently been rebuffed as she asserts her budding toddler opinions.  Of course, that doesn't mean I stop giving it to her!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bento for Baby 11: Banana Bread and Zucchini and Rice Crostata

For breakfast on Wednesday Baby Girl had some banana bread and cream cheese sandwiches made with my Whole Wheat No Added Sugar Banana Bread and a couple pear slices. This banana bread was frozen from a loaf I made before vacation.  I defrosted a slice overnight in the refrigerator and made the sandwich in the morning.  The bread handled freezing very nicely, the texture and flavor were not affected at all.

For lunch I packed a piece of the zucchini and rice crostata I made a few weeks ago pulled from the freezer, some organic frozen green beans, some organic cheddar cheese cubes and a few cantaloupe pieces in the red silicone cup.  This was packed in the tiny green tiffin I picked up on clearance from World Market.  I always worry that I'm packing too much food for my 15 month old, but this box came home completely empty.  That makes for one happy Mama.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bento for Baby 10: Pasta Tutto Giardino and Pancakes

On Tuesday last week Baby Girl had a couple of Dan's Awesome Pancakes pulled from the freezer along with a couple frozen CSA strawberries and a sun butter oatmeal ball for breakfast.  This was packed in the smallest of the Kids Konserve Nesting Trio Stainless Steel Containers with Leak-Proof Lids.  For lunch I packed some Pasta Tutto Giardino leftover from the previous night's dinner and some cantaloupe chunks and quarter of a banana.  These were packed in a 4 ounce glass canning jar so that the pasta could be warmed in the microwave at daycare.

Pasta Tutto Giardino is a favorite recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day. This dish is kind of like the 1980's darling pasta primavera, but without the cream and cheese.  It is easily adapted to use any variety of vegetables that we get from the CSA and the baby loves it.  She has been happily eating this since 6 or 7 months, when we first started Baby Led Weaning.  I cannot express how much I love this cookbook.  It is full of delicious, quick, and satisfying recipes.  I have used it weekly for almost 15 years.  My copy is so well loved that it is completely falling apart.  I have continued to use and love it as my cooking skills improved and tastes matured.  I highly recommend it.  It is mostly vegetarian, with a few fish dishes.  The recipes are child friendly and generally don't take specialty ingredients or cooking equipment.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bento for Baby Recipe: Dan's Awesome Pancakes

Here is the long promised recipe for "Dan's Awesome Pancakes."  That's the name my husband gave them when I asked him to type up the recipe. He's very modest, as you can tell. But, honestly, they are actually pretty awesome, just don't tell him that. Dan makes many different kinds of pancakes and waffles, they're all great, but these are some of the best he's made. They came about as a bit of an accident, he was going to make yogurt waffles, but we were low on yogurt so he used some ricotta we had. Then I threw him through a loop by asking for pancakes rather than waffles after he had mixed everything, so he had to make some changes to the leavening agents to accommodate my request. The result is a really light and fluffy pancake that tastes fantastic and also sticks with you and keeps you full all morning. And, like most of the things we make around here, they are low in sugar and have whole wheat flour. Dan uses King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour in a lot of baked goods, it adds the goodness of whole grains without the heaviness of typical whole wheat flour.


1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon canola oil

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries


Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowl with whisk to aerate them. In a larger bowl lightly beat the eggs and then add the rest of the wet ingredients and thoroughly mix. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stir mixture until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Dollop small amounts of batter on the prepared griddle to make pancakes of desired size. Drop a few frozen blueberries on each pancake. Let cook until edges of pancake firm up and small bubbles form on the top, then flip. Let cook until each side is golden brown. Serve immediately or let cool and place in freezer bag to enjoy in the future.

We enjoy these fresh fruit and real maple syrup, Baby Girl enjoys them plain or with some yogurt.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bento for Baby 9: Waffles, Pasta and Meatballs

At long last, here's the last bento from the week before last.  We were on vacation last week, so there were no cute lunches to post.  I'm looking forward making tasty, healthy lunches for Baby Girl again next week.  Our healthy eating got a bit off track on vacation, as it often does.  It wasn't as bad as it could have been though.  I made a large batch of sunbutter-oatmeal balls before we left.  I packed about half the batch for snacks on the cross-country plane ride and during vacation.  They were a fantastic travel snack, not too messy for eating on the go, satisfying and great to quell crankiness.  The adults on the trip might have indulged in quite a few themselves. . . I also packed some pizza palmiers and whole wheat banana bread for travel snacks. I was very happy to have a variety of good, healthy food to offer Baby Girl whenever hunger struck.

Anyway, back to this snack and lunch.  For breakfast/snack Baby Girl had a leftover yogurt waffle, pulled from the freezer stash put up on Mother's Day, a sunbutter-oatmeal ball, a quarter of a banana and a frozen strawberry.  I ordered 5 pounds of strawberries from our CSA before the season ended, hulled them and put them into the freezer.  Although we should be saving them for the winter, I've pulled out a few and they have survived the freezing quite well.  For lunch I packed two turkey meatballs, some sugar snap peas from our CSA, a couple more frozen strawberries and some broccoli pesto pasta in the red silicone cup.  We had some 100% whole wheat rotini pasta left over from dinner the previous day so I tossed it with some finely chopped steamed broccoli and some Trader Joe's pesto. I really thought I had gone overboard with the amount of food on this day, but all that came back was a few pieces of pasta! I packed this day's food in the small and medium Kids Konserve Nesting Trio Stainless Steel Containers with Leak-Proof Lids.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bento for Baby 8: Banana Bread and Quinoa Cake

On this day Baby Girl had some whole wheat banana bread, with no added sugar, made into sandwiches with organic cream cheese and the last of the strawberries from our CSA share for morning snack/breakfast. I made, and posted the recipe for, this banana bread earlier in the week. I've been experimenting with how little sugar and oil a tasty banana bread needs, and I think I've found a good balance. Baby Girl loves the bread and I feel good giving it to her, unlike many banana or zucchini breads which are basically cake. Since we wouldn't finish the loaf before heading out on vacation I sliced it and put about half the loaf in the freezer for future lunches or snacks.

For lunch I packed a quinoa cake, frozen peas and edamame in the silicone cup, a couple sugar snap peas from the CSA, and some pear wedges. I took the skin off the pear wedges just because the pear was a little worse for wear from poor grocery store packing.  I lightly coated the wedges in lemon juice to keep them from browning. Everything was packed into the small World Market tiffin.