Tuesday, February 27, 2007

LCE #28

I hadn't intended for this lunch to look so yummy, I wasn't feeling good and didn't want to wash her lunch tray...

Wasa cracker with vegetarian lentil pate cut-outs (the pate was made by A-chan's godfather and it's delicious!), grapes, black olive, baby tomato halves, grilled soy turkey and cheese sandwich triangles, vegetarian vegetable soup.

A Bento

Left side: Sloppy Joe sauce in the blue cup, carrot butterfly, tater tots.
Right side: broccoli bites, baby tomato halves, olive, carrot butterfly, container of mayo dip.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lunch Cuteness Experiment #27

Another Hello Kitty lunch. Luckily A-chan knew who it was even without the whiskers which I totally forgot about, lol. She did eat the sandwhich bit by bit, including the nose which was actually origami paper but shouldn't do any harm to eat, I guess.
Pineapple chunks, star cheese sandwich with pickle glow, HK sandwich with soy turkey, cheese, sugar dot eyes, origami paper nose. Tomato soup with star crouton, tortilla chips with medium hot salsa.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sloppy Joe Bentos

Top tier: 3 halves of hot dog buns with sloppy joe sauce inside. 4 apple half moons.

Bottom tier: 1 sloppy joe, 2 halves of a small greek baked potato with two bites of broccoli.

Pretty much the same as above :)

A-chan's bento was a little bit different.

Top tier: Sloppy joe sauce in a cup since she won't touch hot dop buns of any sort, greek baked potato, broccoli and bamboo leaf cheese shapes. Also she only got one potato half so I could fit some corn into hers.

Bottom tier was an olive roll, corn, apple slices and japanese rock candy.

Snack bento: corn with cheese slices and black olive, black eyed peas with cucumber and dill.

The sloppy joe dogs are a much less messy way to eat sloppy joes! The greek baked potato was wonderful, but it was not easy to fit into the bento. Olive oil and garlic were poured onto the cooked open halves of the potato and soaked into slices that I made as soon as it came out of the oven. It was delicious!

Butterfly & Hula dancers Bento

This was a great hit! And a very fun bento lunch to make for my daughter.

Grilled Cheese Butterfly sandwich with fruit by the foot decorations, carrot circle cutouts, cheese body and origami paper face. Boiled broccoli surrounds the butterfly. ( I have found that taking frozen broccoli and boiling it for maybe 4-5 minutes makes it wonderful and soft as butter - no more cranky toddler not wanting to eat the stem, she gobbles the whole thing now.)

Animal picks with flower carrots and pineapple chunk hula dresses dancing on a bed of dried coconut shreds. On the side were four miniature pickles and a black olive.

The side bowl contains vegetarian vegetable soup and a heart veggie chip. This inexpensive set of bowls for toddlers are a great way to carry things like soup and are microwaveable as well!

Monday, February 19, 2007

LCE #26: Pink Rice

These pink rice hearts were easy to make! I just added some red gel food coloring to the water before cooking the rice. Then tightly packed the rice into heart shaped cookie cutters on the tray. The small one had a tendency to fall apart once the cookie cutter was removed, but the large one did so well that I made one for my husband too.

Interspersed apple and cucumber hearts, soba noodles & veggie stirfry, pink rice with green pea decoration, veggie chips and 1 veggie gyoza.

The pink rice was a huge hit. "I like pink rice!" and "more pink rice?" were such nice refrains. It did look a little funny when soy sauce was poured over, but it wasn't as bad as the blue rice had been. :)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Greek Bentos

A-chan's bento has miniature versions of the spanikopitakias and keftethes. It was very easy to make the miniatures, I was pleased with how well that went!

These were fun to make and contained two of our absolute favorite foods, but we found out that they don't work very well in bentos.

Spanikopitakia (spinach & cheese triangles), vegetarian keftethes (meat patties that I made into meatballs), eggless Menemen (a turkish vegetable omelette that I made with tofu instead of egg), ichigo daifuku (strawberry mochi not in any way fitting in with the rest of the meal, but a traditional valentines treat for my family). My husband got hot chocolate flavored pocky as a valentines day chocolate from our daughter.

The spanikopitakias got kind of soggy in the bentos. They were still delicious, but without that nice crisp crunch that we expect from them. The keftethes were awesome!!! The menemen on the other hand came out very soupy after sitting for a while. So all in all this wasn't a great bento meal.

Lunch Cuteness Experiment #25

This is another of those neat little $1 trays from Target. Both my daughter and I love them :)
She had four mini-onigiri with a slice of sesame carrots on each, apple bunnies, more sesame carrots, and a morningstar farms broccoli n cheddar bite with mayo sauce. I'm delighted to find that she loves the mayo sauce (as do I and my husband) and the broccoli bites. Especially since the mayo sauce is very easy to make at the drop of a hat. It's just a large dollop of mayo (I use miracle whip) with a liberal squeeze of gulden's brown mustard, some garlic powder, some onion salt, a very generous amount of Mrs. Dash. How simple!

Springtime lunch (LCE # 24 )

A lunch inspired by the daffodils that my husband brought in from the yard and are sitting cheerily on my kitchen windowsill. Mashed potato clouds, cucumber butterfly, cheese and fruit by the foot tulips with cucumber stems. Morningstar farms chik nugget kitties with cheese details, apple flower with cucumber stem. Apple cutout on the side, on the other side are 4 pickles and 3 ketchup hearts.
One of the things that I just love is my ketchup squeeze bottle. It's one of those like you find in certain restaurants that makes designs really easily. I never knew how much I needed one until I got it on a whim. Now I couldn't do without it!
An interesting thing that I learned after making this lunch: fruit by the foot melts into cheese. Ick!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Recipe - Pastitsio

This is my version of Pastitsio, a greek meat casserole, that is vegetarian and incredibly yum! I've changed it quite a bit from the original idea so I don't know if it truly qualifies as 'pastitsio' any longer, but that's what I call it. On the side are black olives and homemade bread. (I love my bread machine!)
1/2 box macaroni noodles
1 pkg. Morningstar Farms soy crumbles
1 onion, chopped
1/2 can tomato sauce
2 TB red wine
garlic powder
1 container Digiorno grated parmesan cheese
3 TB parsley
2 ts paprika
1 ts cumin
2 ts cardamom
1 ts soy sauce
butter, lots of butter
1/2 cup soy milk
2 TB flour
1. Cook the macaroni noodles. As soon as they are done drain and pour into a baking dish. Mix in 4 TB butter, 1/4 cup parmesan, salt, pepper & three generous shakes of nutmeg.
2. Sautee onion and garlic pwd in butter (I used about 2 TB butter, but you can use more or subsitute olive oil instead). When the onions are mostly cooked, add the soy crumbles with 1 ts soy sauce. Sautee until just cooked.
3. Add tomato sauce, veg. broth, red wine and spices. Simmer until almost no liquid remains. Mix into the macaroni noodles.
4. Take the pan from the crumbles mixture and put in 1/2 cup soy milk, 2 TB flour and 1/2 cup parmesan, 2 shakes nutmeg. Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture turns creamy. Pour into the macaroni mixture and stir well.
5. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove and cover top with the remaining parmesan cheese in an even layer. Put back into the oven for 5-10 minutes depending on how brown you like your topping.

Lion Lunch

This little lion shaped tray was bought at Target for $1! It's so cute and perfect for a toddler's lunch. I went easy on myself and just followed the shape with my ingredients :)

Jasmine rice base with Maruchan teriyaki yakisoba 'mane', black olives for eyes, nose and mouth, carrots for ears and tongue, cheddar cheese for whiskers.

On the side was a slice of cheddar cheese, green grapes, black olives and sesame broccoli.

The lion was definately a huge hit. She ate almost every bit, it was awesome!

Baked Tofu Bentos

My bento consisted of -

Top Tier: Jasmine rice with tiny carrot stars, a baked tofu star, tomato, homemade veggie gyoza and black sesame seeds.
Bottom Tier: Jasmine rice packed around a green pea star with baked tofu star and black sesame seeds.

My Husband's Bento -
Top Tier: Baked tofu dice with black sesame seed pips on a bed of green peas, baby tomatoes, homemade veggie gyoza.
Bottom Tier: Jasmine rice with carrot cut-outs and black sesame seeds, green peas and another baby tomato. (My husband calls the carrot cut-outs "soy sauce targets")

My daughter's bento -
Top Tier: Jasmine rice with Mrs. Dash 'furikake', green peas and carrot heart & star.
Bottom Tier: Baked tofu dice with black sesame seed pips, baby tomatoes and homemade veggie gyoza.

The baked tofu was the only thing that I could think of that would leave the tofu white enough to look like dice. It worked very well and the blandness of the tofu allowed our new favorite sauce, tonkatsu ala Cookingcute.com to shine! I just cooked the tofu cubes in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes, turned them over and cooked 10 more. The original tonkatsu sauce recipe is here: http://www.cookingcute.com/gallery/gallery_011806.htm I modified it by using HP sauce instead of Worcestershire cause the big W isn't vegetarian. And I'll take any excuse to use HP sauce, yummm!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Day with the Dogs Bentos

A-chan's lunch and our much needed snack for a day at the Rabies Clinic. She had all the same stuff we did that's listed below. The yellow elephant had hot and spicy sauce for the onigiri and was wrapped in saran wrap just in case. The green dog had ketchup and mustard. The Hello Kitty tin had mini m&ms. Her onigiri have origami paper faces. I can't use nori (okay, I prolly could but I don't wanna...) and so the origami paper is a nice alternative. She knows to take the faces off before eating the onigiri :)

Our snack had Caldee's heart shaped veggie chips, pretzels, grapes and a babybel cheese bunny.

Bentos for us to look forward to on our return from working hard at the Rabies Clinic which takes place during lunchtime...but we don't have time to eat at! So we had bentos waiting at home for us to scarf down right after.

We had Morningstar farms chik nuggets, two french fries, broccoli, pea and black olive spears, tomatoes, mini onigiri. One of my mini onigiri had hot sauce dripped onto it, one had Mrs. Dash 'furikake' and the last was plain.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Wierd Weather Bentos

These bentos were a result of being promised winter weather and not getting any after all. We were supposed to get lots of ice and power-outages and lovely wintery weather things so we stocked up on pbj which we only eat maybe twice a year. (the other time would be during DragonCon where we stuff ourselves silly) Before the weather report I had planned to make us bentos but then we had all this extra stuff that wasn't going to get used...and this was the result.

PBjs, black olives, grape tomatoes, broccoli cheddar bites (morningstar farms) with mayo dip, lychees. Not shown were tortilla chips and salsa, some pretzels for the strange man who doesn't like salsa.

I am horrified by the fact that my husband (a notorious picky-eater) like lychees and I don't! Normally I love anything new and exotic...but lychees have a texture that is a lot like pears and I don't like pears and apparently I don't like lychees. My husband ate all mine, and our daughters and his own and I am so shocked!

This was also the first time my daughter had ever had peanut butter. She was at risk of a peanut allergy (because of a soy allergy that thankfully went away) so she hasn't been allowed to have peanuts or peanut butter ever. It was definately a hit :)