Thursday, July 31, 2014

Muffin Mania

I spent a couple hours on Sunday making some muffins for Baby Girl's bentos for the next few weeks.  I tried out a couple new recipes from the New York Times Well column - Zucchini and Apricot Muffins and Mixed Grain and Blueberry Muffins.  Thankfully the taste tester heartily approved.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bento for Baby 23: Sunbutter Honey Pita and Zucchini and Rice Crostata

And now for something a little bit different.  This bento breaks the rut we seem to have been in the past few days.  For breakfast Baby Girl had half of a 100% whole wheat mini pita spread with sunbutter and a bit of honey.  I bought an organic sunbutter with no added sugar or palm oil (I try to avoid palm oil - save the orangutans!), but it is a bit bitter, so it needs a little honey.  Also for breakfast I included a small silicone cup with organic blueberries and pitted and halved bing cherries.  For lunch I packed a square of zucchini and rice crostata from the freezer, a few cubes of organic cheddar cheese, some halved cherry tomatoes from our CSA and a few watermelon cubes.  Again, I packed this day's food into my favorite little tiffin from World Market.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bento for Baby 22: Pancakes and Quinoa Cake

Pancakes, strawberries and sun butter oatmeal balls, oh my.  Baby Girl's breakfast is starting to feel a little stale.  She does eat a lot of different things for breakfast when she eats at home four days a week, so her meals aren't quite as redundant as it seems, but I do think I need to get cracking making a few more things to have in the freezer to pack for breakfast.   For lunch she had a quinoa cake and a little bit of leftover vinaigrette-based potato salad and some green beans from dinner the night before.   I also packed some edamame and a few sliced and pitted organic cherries.  This was packed in my favorite box, the small green tiffin from World Market.  Baby Girl loved her bento on this day and ate every little bit.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bento for Baby 21: Pancakes and Pizza

Ack!  Still way behind on posting bentos!  This is the last one from two weeks ago.  It is a little bit all over the place, but we'll just say that I did that on purpose to provide Baby Girl with a wide variety of flavors and textures.  For breakfast Baby Girl had one of Dan's Awesome Pancakes, a sunbutter oatmeal ball and some organic blueberries and strawberries.  Lunch is where things get a little crazy.  Clockwise from the top right we have a couple small pieces of leftover homemade margherita pizza, some watermelon cubes in the orange silicone cup, a few cubes of organic cheddar cheese and in the yellow silicone cup some organic mixed veg with some chickpeas mixed in.  This was all packed in the small green World Market tiffin.  Surprisingly, she ate every bit of this except for the pizza!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bento for Baby 20: Strawberry Tortilla Rolls and Spaghetti Carbonara

I packed breakfast and lunch foods together for this bento, with some leftover pasta in a separate glass container so it could be reheated.  For breakfast Baby Girl had some strawberry cream cheese tortilla rolls on a whole wheat tortilla.  In this container there are also some blueberries that could be eaten for breakfast and lunch and some sliced cucumbers and sugar snap peas to be eaten with the pasta for lunch.  This was all packed in the largest container from the Kids Konserve Nesting Trio Stainless Steel Containers with Leak-Proof Lids. The pasta is some leftover spaghetti carbonara I made for dinner the night before.  I made it using whole wheat spaghetti and some delicious fresh farm eggs we get from our CSA.  I also threw in some yellow squash from our CSA and frozen peas to pack a few more vegetables into our meal.  This was packed in a four ounce glass canning jar.

Bento for Baby 19: Pancake and Palmiers

Cruising right along with the bento catch up, we have Baby Girl's first bento from last week.  For breakfast she had one of Dan's Awesome Pancakes from the freezer, a couple sun butter oatmeal balls and some cut up strawberries in the green silicone cup.  For lunch she had two pizza palmiers, some frozen peas with a few garbanzo beans in the red cup and finally some blueberries and strawberries in the blue silicone cup.  This was all packed into the small green World Market tiffin.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bento for Baby 18: The Inadvertent Patriotic Bento

The bento catch up continues.  My laptop was occupied the past couple weeks streaming Wimbledon and World Cup, so I didn't get much blogging done.  This bento is from July 3rd.  I started packing lunch for this bento first and realized I used red and white silicone cups, and then realizing the date I decided to go with it and used a blue cup to pack the yogurt, which I was planning to mix with blueberries and strawberries anyway.  So there you have it, an initially inadvertent, red, white and blue bento to celebrate the 4th of July.  Now for the details.  For breakfast, in addition to the homemade plain yogurt with organic blueberries and strawberries, I packed a couple sun butter oatmeal balls, a spoon for the yogurt and a couple cut up strawberries.  Lunch included leftover pasta from the night before made with some beautiful tomatoes from our CSA, basil and ricotta, some frozen peas and edamame in the white silicone cup and some cut red grapes.  This was all packed into the small green World Market tiffin.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bento for Baby 17: Pancakes and Crab Cake - The New Chicken and Waffles?

I'm way behind posting bentos!  This is the first bento from the week before last.  My husband made us some more of his awesome pancakes the previous weekend, so Baby Girl had a pancake for breakfast with a sun butter oatmeal ball and some watermelon cubes and blueberries.  For lunch I packed a bit of crabcake from the night before.  Baby Girl LOVED having crab cake for dinner the previous night, but she didn't touch it for lunch.  She didn't go hungry though, because she also had some organic mixed vegetables, some organic grapes and one pizza palmier.  These were packed in the small and large Kids Konserve Nesting Trio Stainless Steel Containers with Leak-Proof Lids.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bento for Baby Recipe: Pizza Palmiers

These are Baby Girl's all time favorites.  I've been making them since the early days of Baby Led Weaning.  She devoured them then and still squeals with excitement when I give her one now.  We make a lot of homemade pizza at our house so the idea for these popped into my head when I was trying to think of how I could make a teething biscuit that used whole wheat pizza dough, was easily portable and introduced some veggies into her diet.  They're a riff on the French cookie made with puff pastry.  I make these with homemade whole wheat pizza dough and any kind of easily spread vegetable and cheese mixture.  They work best when the filling isn't too moist and is light on the cheese.  The version shown here is a mix of spinach and ricotta, but you could make them with any number of combinations, pesto and broccoli, classic tomato sauce and cheese (but you need to go light on moist fillings), roasted red peppers and goat cheese, ham and gruyere. . .  the possibilities are endless. These freeze incredibly well, I just stick them in a ziplock after they cool. Baby Girl will gladly eat them frozen or thawed.  They're great for packing in lunches or taking with you for a snack on the go.  I think they are just about the perfect baby food.  These could also make really nice appetizers at a party.  You don't have to tell anyone that you make them for your baby, too.  


6 - 8 ounces frozen chopped spinach (not leaf!)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to taste (optional)


Thaw the spinach in the microwave.  When spinach is thawed, remove as much liquid as possible.  I do this by pressing the spinach against one side of the bowl then gently pouring out the liquid.  Mix the spinach with the ricotta and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Roll out the pizza dough as thinly as possible on a piece of floured parchment paper. Try to keep the dough in the shape of a rectangle. The dough I used to make the batch in these pictures rolled out really nicely, there is no need to get the dough this thin to make the recipe, although it does make for really pretty palmiers.

Spread the filling in a thin layer over the dough.

Roll up the dough on the long edges on each side.  Roll equally from each side until the rolls meet in the middle.  Wet the dough with a damp finger along the center edge of each roll.  Lightly press the rolls together.

Wrap the roll lightly in the parchment paper and stick it in the freezer for half an hour or so that it will be easier to cut.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the roll is a little firm, but not frozen, take it out of the freezer. With a sharp bread knife, trim the ragged ends of the palmier log to the point where all layers of dough is present and the filling is evenly distributed.  Slice the roll thinly with a sharp bread knife into ~1/3 inch thick slices.

Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I use the same piece I used to roll out the dough).

Put in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Flip the palmiers and cook until other side is lightly browned.

Let them cool on the sheet pan and then put them in a container to freeze.

Bento for Baby Recipe: Quick Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This is a really quick and easy pizza dough adapted from Eating Well Magazine.  You can make this with either half whole wheat and half all purpose flour, or two cups of white whole wheat flour.  This recipe makes 1 pound of dough.


1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup hot water, (120-130°F)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix.

Combine water, oil and salt in a glass measuring cup. Heat mixture in microwave for one minute. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.

Coat a bowl with a tiny bit of olive oil and transfer the dough into it. Turn the dough over in the bowl to lightly coat it with oil. Place a plate over the top of the bowl. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.