Wednesday, January 31, 2007

LCE #22

Sultanas and grape halves on skewers (a huge hit!), pea and carrot flower in a circle of rice, marinated tofu squares. The peas and rice were easy to do, I just took a large cookie cutter and filled it up with the peas then packed rice around the outside. Remove the cookie cutter and voila! It was very well received.

The Fairy (LCE #21)

I was inspired by the krinkly ruffles of the lettuce and thought they looked a lot like fairy wings. But I got a bit too carried away and the cheese was a bit too shiny. Even so, it was fun to make and A-chan had fun eating it. Particularly the sprinkle stars. Mmm. Sugar stars...
Strawberry rectangles with yellow stars and a grape, Fairy on bread (cheese, lettuce, veg. bologna, nori, star sprinkles), 3 tortilla chips with cheese, veg. bologna and olive slices, salsa with a daikon radish mini-star, small salad with carrot mini-stars and black olives.
The black olives disappeared first, then the strawberries and the salsa. The salad was completely untouched and the fairy was too pretty to eat without coaxing, lol.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Starches, starches everywhere Bentos

I had about 10 minutes
to put these bentos
together before the Star
wars game.
The bridies were cooked
earlier in the morning, the champ was made the night before. I just stuffed it all into the bentos every which way it would fit. I meant to include more variety, but didn't have the time!
Bridies and HP Sauce,
Champ (mashed potatoes with peas and onions in),
Sweet Hawaiian rolls, babybel
cheese & strawberries.

Recipe - Bridies!

A few Forfar Bridies hanging out together. One regular sized one chaperones the minis.

Vegetarian Bridies are one of the true pleasures of the world to me. They are easy and wholesome and yummy and a fantastic HP sauce delivery device. The fact that my toddler loves the miniature ones is a great bonus. Here is my recipe.

Scottish Forfar Bridies (makes about 6): Don’t forget to buy HP Sauce!!
some butter
2 batches of your favorite pastry or pie crust (when I'm in a time crunch I use Pillsbury pie crusts)
1 pkg morningstar farms crumbles
1 onion, chopped extra fine
1 cup mushroom broth
dry ground mustard
garlic powder
dried parsley
salt & pepper

1. Melt some butter in a pan, if you like lots of butter then add 4 TB, if you're health concious just add 2 TB. Cook crumbles and onion in the butter.

2. Add the mushroom broth, 3 shakes of ground mustard, 5 shakes of garlic powder and 4 shakes of dried parsley, salt and pepper to taste.

3. Reduce until very little liquid is left. Set aside to cool.

4. Prepare pastry dough, cut as many 6 inch rounds as possible. (Or 3 inch rounds for miniature bridies) Put a large spoonful of the crumble mixture in the center of the pastry rounds. Wet edges with water and fold over, crimp edges with miniature fork.

5. If desired, cut cute smiley faces into the tops. These freeze well and if you want to freeze them now is the best time...they will be ready to cook straight from the freezer, just lengthen the cooking time about 5 minutes.

6. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, checking near the end to make sure they don't get too browned around the edges.

7. Can be eaten at room temperature or just out of the oven!

LCE #20

Blueberries floating in blueberry yogurt, veggie hot dog flowers with pea centers and ketchup design, pasta salad with carrot flower, 2 slices organic cheddar cheese, Terra vegetable chips.

The veg hot dogs don't seem to work very well for hot dog flowers. Or maybe it's just me :)

I so much love using little carrot bits for garnish now, it's so easy! I took one of the HUGE carrots from the organic market and sliced it up then cut out shapes with my mini cookie cutters. They were frozen in a plastic container and all I have to do when I'm ready to use one is take it out and microwave it for 1 minute in a little water. Or if I have the time, let it thaw naturally so that it isn't cooked.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Saturday shopping bentos

Jasmine rice with green peas, carrot squares and black sesame seeds.
Somen noodle stirfry with onion, carrot, yellow, red and green peppers. Carrot flower with snow pea leaves. Apple bunnies, hot dog flowers and dried mango strips.
Jasmine rice with green peas, carrot leaves and dried mango strip "wind".
Somen noodle teriyaki stirfry with onions, carrots, red, yellow and green peppers. Hot dog flowers, apple bunnies and more dried mango strips.

Jasmine rice with green peas, carrot & cheese flower with sugar dot eyes & origami paper mouth, snow pea stem and leaves. Elephant container holds half ketchup, half spicy mustard.
Somen noodle teriyaki stirfry with yellow, red and green peppers, onions and carrots. Hot dog flowers, apple bunnies and dried mango strips.

Another Bento day that didn't work out quite how I expected. Instead of getting to eat these for lunch, we ended up eating them for dinner. They were quite yummy! The dried mango strips were actually candied and very very sweet. The went well with the apples and also tasted really good with the plain rice!

I've always wondered where other bento makers got carrots large enough to use the flower cutters with...I could never find any that large at the grocery store. But finally we found some HUGE ones at Earthfare and I spent last sunday slicing, cutting and freezing decorative carrots!!

Friday, January 19, 2007

LCE #19

It's not much on cute, but it was apparently a lot of fun. Grapes arranged from large to small (I find that lunch can be a great teaching tool, from grape sizes to numbers and words!), spaghetti noodle 'nest' with black olives and grape tomato. Tomato soup with spinach chip heart, interesting arrangement of babybel cheese wedges. The blue container held grated parmesan cheese which A-chan enjoyed sprinkling on her noodles and soup all by herself. Although it was a very simple lunch the parmesan really made it fun.

Monday, January 15, 2007

LCE # 18

A bit messy but still fun!
Grapes and grape tomatoes, Morningstar Farms chik patty with cheese rabbit & star decorations, ketchup and mustard swirls, Campbell's vegetarian veggie soup, heart shaped veggie chips.
I learned one good lesson with this lunch. Don't put origami paper details on melting cheese! The origami paper became one with the cheese and wouldn't come off easily. All the other things that I had tried them on had been cold and never had a problem.
The heart shaped chips were a big hit with all of us!

P is for Pirate (LCE #17)

It had been a while since I'd done a cute lunch, so I figured that I could go all out on this one. The pierogies were the inspiration for this one, not much one can do to make pierogies very cute...
Blueberry "p", veg hotdog pirate ship with pierogie sails and pickle portholes & flag. Cheddar the pirate with trusty pickle hat, vest and eyepatch sailing the ketchup sea while the mustard sun shone hot overhead. Carrot fish and pea bubbles on the side.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A-chan lunch bento

Another bento just for A-chan. Once again it was time for the monthly Rabies clinic that our local Humane Society holds and while my husband and I could hold out for a late lunch, A-chan couldn't. Tangerine half, carrot and pea skewers, sultanas, grilled cheese flower sandwiches, Hello Kitty tin filled with mini m&ms. The top tier was taken up with a plastic spoon, fancy elephant bib and sugar free kool-aid mix.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Leftovers Bentos

We all had the following: Homemade mac'n'cheese, cherry tomatoes, broccoli bites and cucumber slices with mayo dip, fancy cheeses, apple pulao onigiri, fruit salad with oranges, grapefruit, apple & sultanas. This was a clearing out of the fridge of things from the recent holidays that wouldn't stay good much longer! The fruit salad was made from all the fruits left over from Pancha Ganapati.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

LCE #16

The first lunch of the new year! Left to right: grape halves & tomato flower, homemade mac 'n' cheese in a cookie cutter tulip with cucumber leaves, tomato soup, peas & carrots skewers, cucumber moon and stars.
A-chan seemed to really like it and she even ate all the peas and carrots by herself! She loved pulling them off the picks. The cookie cutter looked neat but kind of got in the way of the actual eating of the m & c. She even tried some of the cucumber leaves which is unprecedented.

Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year's Day Bentos

A-chan's snowman bento

My Snowflake bento

My husband's snow scene bento.

The blue rice was fun! Though it looked a bit funky when soy sauce got poured on it for eating. We all had: marinated stirfry tofu slices, sesame broccoli, veg gyoza (thanks to!!), dubliner cheddar, elderberry wine cheese, baby tomatoes and fake egg pieces. Our desserts were cookies cooked in mini-muffin tins topped with a bit of icing and sugar decorations.

Fingerfood bentos

Our original plan for the day had included a shopping excursion before traveling into town to visit friends. I cleverly made us some Bentos to eat after shopping and before arrival at our friend's house. Unfortunately, as is so often the case with us, we left so late that we didn't get a chance to shop and ended up eating our bentos in the car as we drove. A-chan was still sick and not in an eating mood so her food went untouched which was probably a good thing since it wasn't very car friendly. My husband and I were able to eat our food easily and it really made my day!

We had grilled veg bologna & cheese sandwiches with spicy mustard, broccoli bites with mayo dip, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes with mayo dip, four cheese bow tie pasta & apple pulao. A-chan had Yo-baby yogurt, a sandwich in the shape of a train, cucumber and lemon slices, broccoli bites and cherry tomatoes with a heartshaped konnyaku jelly for dessert and tomato soup on the side.

I've seen on a lot of other bentos where they include a little container with mayo dip or mayo dressing and I don't know what kind of dressing they mean, but it sounded so good I decided to try something on my own. It was just Miracle Whip with garlic powder and Mrs. Dash. I was very happy with it and even my husband ate it with pleasure. For someone who hasn't eaten fish or fish-related foods in about 15 years, it tasted remarkably like tartar sauce. I'm sure that someone who's recently eaten tartar sauce would not agree in the slightest, but that's okay :)

LCE #15

Only half of this lunch was picture-worthy, the other side held tomato soup and corn. The face held A-chan's interest for a while: sultana eyes & nose, cherry tomato cheeks and hairbows, pickle mouth, babybel cheese slices for hair. 1/2 tangerine and lots of bisected grapes, yum!