Sunday, 26 October 2014

Spook Week

It's Halloween week!

This is my favorite week for bentos.  However, I've been really bad lately at packing bentos for my kiddos, opting more often for a quick sandwich-and-apple combo, so I'm hoping this week will be a good opportunity to get some bentos back on the go.

Last week, I made this spooky lunch.


They had ghost sandwiches with cucumber skin eyes surrounded by raisins ("dead flies"), cucumber slices (not very creative or spooky, I know, but they're green...), a half-banana ghost, "creepy carrots" and monster strawberries, which didn't end up looking like I wanted them too.  I had cut them into zigzag shapes, thinking they'd look kinda scary, but instead they just looked... pathetic. We made funny-face brownies at the weekend, so they each got one of those and some white chocolate skull-and-crossbones made in my silicone mold.  Finally, I added a jack-o-lantern clementine for an additional piece of healthy fruit and Halloween fun.

I've got white chocolate ghosts solidifying in the fridge right now for tomorrow morning. I also have, like, no lunchy food in the house, so it'll be interesting to see what their lunches will look like in the morning. Ghost sandwiches are always easy, but as for the rest... can I somehow make Goldfish and string cheese look scary?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Pumpkins Are Watching


Lolly requested another "spooky lunch" this morning, so I let her choose from my Halloween cookie cutters. She chose the black cat cutter.  It didn't quite use up the whole sandwich, though, so I added a couple of small Pampered Chef pumpkin cutter shapes - one with eyes! - and that used up most of the sandwich. I hate throwing too much away.  (The kids devoured the leftover pieces anyway, like ravenous beasts.)


She also insisted I use the big pink bento box.  Lolly's a light eater, and usually doesn't finish her lunch, so trying to fill an adult-sized bento box without giving her more than she can eat took a little thought.  Rather than filling the side next to the sandwiches all the way up, I used a silicone cupcake liner filled with Goldfish (actually Great Value "Penguins") to take up space but not add too much food.  I filled the bottom tier with fruit, because she almost always eats all her fruit.  I added a string cheese too, which maybe she can save for snack time.  Oh, and I added a few matchstick carrots around the sandwiches to add both some vegetables to her meal and some orange Halloween ambience.  I'll be interested to see if she eats all of this!


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Casper the Friendly Sandwich



I'd love to say that my lack of bento blogging lately has been merely from not having time to blog, but that wouldn't be entirely true. While I have taken several photos of my bentos since school began a month and a half ago, I've also sent the kids to school with boring lunches more often than not. And some days, I just sent them to school with nothing, opting for the school dinners out of either laziness or not having anything in the fridge worthy of packing.

But on Tuesday I hit the grocery store and bought lots of berries and cheese strings and veggies, enough to hopefully last them a few days before my larger shopping trip planned for the weekend.

It's October, and that of course means Halloween, and that of course means my favorite time of year to pack bentos.  I'm pretty sure I still have a good selection of Halloweeny supplies, like candy molds and cookie cutters, to get us through the month with some fun, spooky creations.


Today, the kids got ghosty-shaped peanut butter and jam sandwiches with cake decoration eyes (Fifi's favorite part, of course), baby carrots (which reminds me, I need to get a food pen, I could've done some Creepy Carrots action with them!), Annie's Bunny Grahams, a Slim Jim, and a "berry scary" tray of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.  Fifi got a yogurt smoothie too, and both girls got a Kool-Aid drink thing because I bought way too many at Sam's Club a couple of weeks ago and need to get rid of them... at lunch times, of course, to preserve their teeth.  :/

My other ideas for Halloween include white chocolate ghosts, white chocolate skull-and-crossbones, "Jack O-Lantern" clementine oranges, green monster pudding, maybe a Star Wars lunch, and - if I can convince my hubby it's necessary - a bread machine so I can make orange, green or purple sandwich bread.  I've got pumpkin cookie cutters, so I need orange bread!  I'll probably make Halloween shaped cookies with the kids too, even though homemade cookies are my downfall, and I usually end up eating the whole batch myself at night while watching Netflix and drinking cups of tea.

What are your Halloween treat ideas?

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Pizza Day

I made pizza for dinner on Monday night.  It gave me the bright idea to make an extra pizza for the kids' lunches the next day - a calzone, actually, to be exact. I thought it would be less messy.

I didn't make up the calzone-in-a-bento idea myself; I got the idea from Judith, who is a bento queen, and will hopefully contribute to this blog.



Lolly, in particular was delighted. She's a pizza lover. The pizza was refrigerated overnight and put directly into their bentos cold, but we love cold pizza. I included a couple of tomatoes with the calzone, and in the other box, sliced strawberries, blueberries and green grapes. In the lid were some Marks & Spencer "Mad Frogs" that were sent to us from Scotland.  On the side, the kids got a cupcake, a bag of Quavers (also from Scotland), and a juicebox.

Lolly came home off the bus and the first thing she said to me was, "Mummy I ate ALL of my pizza! I LOVED it! Can we have it again tomorrow?!"

Looks like I'll be making another pizza tonight!


Monday, 25 August 2014

High Tea (aka Jello for Lunch)

A few years ago, my daughters received these little teacup and saucer muffin cups for Christmas from their "Auntie" Sarah.  They were so cute, I bought several more. (I even used them as the base for party bags for Fifi's "Mad Hatter Tea Party" when she turned six.)




I've been frustrated at my inability to find jello molds like these in America, thus unable to send homemade jello in the kids' packed lunches. (And by homemade, I mean, of course, simply from a jello box.)  I got the idea last night, though to put jello in these durable muffin cups, and if I do say so myself, they turned out cute!

I did have to wrap them in cling film and then put them in an EasiYo tub (which I then realized are also perfect for putting jello in), but I think the kids will have fun with them at lunch anyway.

Their lunches today consist of cheddar cheese and summer sausage slices, saltine crackers (also wrapped in cling film to keep the moisture out so they don't get stale or soggy by lunch time), blueberries, kiwi, baby carrots and mint chocolate chip cookies.  They also go a juice box and a banana (not pictured).

Think this qualifies as "high tea"? Probably not. Maybe next time I do the jello teacups, I'll do cucumber sandwiches and fairy cakes too.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Animals For Lunch


Yesterday I wanted to do a cutesy animal-themed lunch, but it only half turned out.  I had a little teddy bear shaped cutter which I imagined would make adorable little jam sandwiches, but they came out looking pretty scraggly.  I got five out of one sandwich, leaving very little waste, but they didn't look as cuddly as I hoped.  I included some Annie's Bunny Grahams and some "Penguins" (the Great Value version of Goldfish) and a Babybel with a heart cut out of the wax to complete the bottom tier.

The top tier consisted of baby carrots, blueberry-stuffed raspberries and banana slices. The lid contained some cucumber slices, and I put in a vanilla milk (which neither of the kids liked, it turned out.)


That was Lolly's lunch. Fifi, being older, got similar, but instead of the animals, I just gave her heart-shaped PBJ sandwiches, and Bunny Grahams in the lid. She had a cheese string on the side and cucumber slices in a separate container. 


Today I tried a different lunch idea (though still keeping somewhat with the animals, I guess). I put on the oven as soon as I woke up this morning and baked some dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. I used to do this fairly regularly in Scotland, so I'll find out after school today if it was a hit with the kids or not.  In one tier, they had nuggets with ketchup in a container. In the other tier, I placed baby carrots, cucumber sticks, black grapes and a silicone cupcake liner filled with Penguins.  Inside the lid are 2 fudge-striped cookies and as an added treat, they got a Tunnocks caramel wafer on the side.  Special treat from Scotland!  Not pictured was their apple juice boxes.

I also made some EaisYo yogurt last night. Unfortunately, EasiYo isn't easy to find here in the States, and I'm down to my last five packets.  Today's flavor is Greek & Honey, which hasn't ever been their favorite, so I added some raspberries and blueberries to the cup.  I'm hoping they eat it. It's good for them.  (I don't know what I'll do when I run out of EasiYo.  It will be a sad day.)



In other news, I've been working on rebuilding my collection of cookie cutters (after mine got presumably stolen out of my suitcase at the airport, presumably by a cookie-loving TSA agent), and in the mail today, I received my new Star Wars cutters! Star Wars might feature in tomorrow's lunch. So glad to have some of these back again!


Monday, 18 August 2014

Lunch Is Boring is Back!

New school year, new blog!

Isla started kindergarten today.  The kids told me they wanted me to start making 'fun lunches' again, so I gathered up some motivation, started combing through my old photos and old blog posts, and I'm getting back in the game. I'm trying to retrieve my old posts from my old blog, but I'm having some trouble with ftp blah blah blah stuff I don't understand.  Hopefully, I'll be able to import all the old files back into this blog and have all the archives available to peruse for ideas - not only for you, but for me too!

Today's lunch was a 'Garden Party' lunch.   On the left, both girls had blueberries, frozen grapes (our new favorite treat) and Annie's Bunny Grahams (because it's a garden).    On the right, they have a tulip-shapred ham and cheese sandwich, with a cheese tulip on top, some matchstick carrots, lettuce and cucumber (they won't even realize they've just eaten a salad!) and a Babybel cheese with a flower cut out of the wax.

Inside the lid is a spoon and their names cut out in cheese.  They each got a chocolate pudding and a juice box.  


My favorite part today is the little felt pillow. It's a recordable message charm.  For both kids, I recorded a special first-day-of-school message and put it in their lunchbox.  I wish I could've found two apples, but there weren't many left to choose from.  So an apple and a band-aid. Whatever.  The messages can be re-recorded each day, so every now and then, I'll give them the charms in their lunchboxes with a new message. 

I'm excited about getting back into bento!  Maybe one day, I'll reopen my shop too. Maybe. :)

Happy school year, everyone!