Bentos for a Gaggle of Girls
I'm a single mom of 3 gluten-free girls, trying to make lunch more fun through Bentos and baking
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PostHeaderIcon First St. Patrick’s Day Lunch

I’m on break from cute lunches this week – we are moving on Saturday and I’ve had to pack most of my bento stuff away. Due to Celiac Disease and food allergies the girls need to take lunches every day no matter what, but I’m not putting in effort to make them cute. Well, with one exception. I wanted to pack a couple St. Patrick’s Day lunches, and as that’s coming up on Monday I decided to pack a St. Pat’s lunch today.

St PatsG2 has her lucky lunch packed in an Easy Lunchbox. In the large section is cheese cut into a 4 leaf clover shape with a cookie cutter. In one silicone heart cup she has Havarti with dill cheese and a 4 leaf clover food pick. In the second cup she has multigrain gluten-free crackers and a shamrock hat cupcake ring. At the top right in the small section are a couple Glutino chocolate wafers along with a couple of the Annie’s chocolate and vanilla bunnies. At the bottom right is 1/3 of a Sumo tangerine with a leaf and a daisy food pick. If you can find Sumo tangerines, get them! They’re the easiest peel thing in the world, and they’re sweeter than Clementines or even my beloved Satsumas. I found them in Whole Foods, but other stores might have them. Pricey but delicious!

I didn’t have a St. Pat’s Lunchbox Love note, but at least it’s green!

As an aside, I bought a Juice in the Box container for G3′s lunches, and it was packed in with her snack (half day today! Yay!). We’ll see how it fares with leaking or not, and I’ll report back next week.

I’ll see you all next week for another St. Pat’s lunch on Monday, until then I’m going to pack. And then pack some more. And maybe then I’ll pack.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Springing bunnies and flowers

I’m continuing the theme of spring from yesterday’s lunch. The weather is supposed to be above freezing today, so I’m a bit more hopeful about spring coming soon. I can’t wait to see the crocuses and forsythia blooming!

Flower1G2 has a spring lunch in her Easy Lunchbox. In the large section of her bento she has two silicone flower cups, one holding Havarti with dill cheese and the other holding  multigrain gluten-free crackers. I used a decorative cutter to cut flowers out of American and mozzarella cheese to prettify her lunch. The cheese also has a bunny food pick, and I added a butterfly pick for decoration. In the top right section are some green grapes with a hopping bunny food pick. Finally, at the bottom right is a cupcake made by G3 with a third type of bunny food pick.

 

Flower2G1 also has a springy lunch, and hers is packed in her Totoro Bento Box, with tomato soup in her Thermos. At the top right she has a cupcake made by her youngest sister, with heart sprinkles and a bunny. She also has a Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies container with green grapes and a leaping bunny. At the bottom right she has tofu flowers made with the decorative cutter and sliced carrots, with another leaping bunny.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Froggies and flowers

It’s getting close to spring! Not that our part of New England has heard about it, but that’s what the calendar is saying. We’re getting tired of below-freezing temps and hoping for flowers to bloom and to see frogs when we go to the pond. Today’s lunches are reminders that spring is around the corner.

Froggy 1G2 has a froggy lunch in her Easy Lunchbox. At the top left is a Lunchbox Love note that has a frog joke. Inside the bento are two silicone cups – on the left are some multigrain gluten-free crackers and on the right is Havarti with dill cheese and a frog food pick. (As an aside, we were listening to the Muppets while we painted, and seeing a blue frog reminds me of the song I’m in love with a big blue frog…” which we love. I hope G2 remembers it, too!) Also in the large section of the bento is a frog cut out of cheese with the CuteZCute animal friends cutter and a few flowers cut out of cheese. At the top right are some green grapes with another frog. At the bottom right is one of the cupcakes G3 made for everyone and a flower food pick.

 

Froggy 2G1 also has a froggy lunch. She has nice hot tomato soup in her Thermos, and cold goodies in her Totoro Bento Box. At left, in the top section, is one of the cupcakes G3 made in a silicone cup and another silicone cup and a Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies container with green grapes, a frog, a ladybug, and a leaf. At right, in the bottom section of the bento is a frog cut out of tofu with the CuteZCute cutter and some flowers cut out with a vegetable cutter. I also included a Lunchbox Love note to make her smile. Her school had 2 bomb threats on Tuesday, so she’s a little nervous about being in school today. It’s nice to have the Lunchbox Love notes to send a little love in her lunch!

 

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PostHeaderIcon Lumos!

Surprise! It’s a Harry Potter themed lunch! G1 and G3 have their lunches in Thermoses, so that left me with just G2′s lunch to decorate. I finally finished the paint touch-ups (I think) and all of the wall painting at the new house! Of course, that means we’ll have to start packing… Cute lunches may have to take a back seat during the move, but I have a couple more left in me before that pause happens.

HP lunchG2′s lunch is packed in an Easy Lunchbox. In the large section of the bento she has a silicone cup with multigrain gluten-free crackers and a wizard hat and another with Havarti with Dill cheese. I used alphabet food picks to spell LUMOS – the spell in Harry Potter that creates light coming out of the wand. Below, I have a wand with orange light glowing, and a pair of glasses with a lightning scar drawn with food-safe markers. At the top right are two Glutino chocolate wafers and two chocolate macaroons. Finally, at the bottom right are some green grapes.

 

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PostHeaderIcon A Second Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

March 2 was Dr. Seuss‘s birthday, and because that was a Sunday I sent my girls to school with Dr. Seuss lunches on Friday and today. Here are two very similar lunches for two very different girls.

photo 1G2 has a Cat in the Hat themed lunch. I know that the cat from the CuteZCute Animal Friends cutter isn’t exactly like the Cat in the Hat, but it’s a cat and I was tired. In her Easy Lunchbox G2 has MOMables-inspired gf crackers in one silicone cup, and Havarti with Dill cheese in another cup. Stuck inside the cheese are alphabet food picks spelling out Cat and Hat. Below the cheese and crackers are a CuteZCute cat and a Cat in the Hat hat, details drawn with food-safe markers. At the top right section she has 2 macaroons and a Glutino chocolate wafer. At the bottom right is a container of diced peaches in juice. I was so busy painting over the weekend that I forgot to buy fresh fruit, so she has canned fruit. Whoops! She also has a Lunchbox Love note to make her smile.

 

photo 2G1 also has a bento with a Cat in the Hat theme. She has tomato soup in her Thermos, and other goodies in her Totoro Bento Box. In the top section at the top left she has a Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies container with sliced oranges (we call them orange smiles) and a silicone cup with chocolate macaroons and a chocolate wafer. In the bottom section is a CuteZCute cat and a Cat in the Hat hat I decorated using food-safe markers. G1 also has a Lunchbox Love note to give her a boost half-way through her day.

This post is linked to Bento Bloggers and Friends Dr. Seuss Linkup.

SeussLinky2014

 

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PostHeaderIcon Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

March 2 is Dr. Seuss‘s birthday. Sadly, that’s a Sunday, so not a day for packing bentos. However, on the plus side, I can pack Dr. Seuss bentos today and on Monday, celebrating his birthday on two days rather than just on one! I have been very busy painting all the rooms in our new house, so I didn’t have a lot of time, and these were very simple lunches.

Dr SeussG2 has a simple Dr. Seuss theme in her Easy Lunchbox. G2 was just saying “One fish Two fish Red fish Blue fish” over and over the other day, so I added two mozzarella fish and a Cat in the Hat hat to her slice of leftover gf pizza in the large section of her bento. Just in case my intention wasn’t clear, I used a heart cookie cutter with the mozzarella cheese and wrote Dr. Seuss’s name on it with food-safe markers. I also added some polka dot food picks to the grapes at the top right, because they reminded me of some of the funny plants in the Seussical worlds. She has some Glutino chocolate wafers in the section at the bottom right. I need to bake cookies this weekend – this past weekend was too busy with painting to do any baking. We’re running really low on baked goods!

 

1 fish 2 fish red fish blue fishG3 has another One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish themed lunch in her Totoro Bento Box, and tomato soup in her Thermos to keep her warm on this very cold day. In the top section of the bento she has Glutino chocolate wafers in a silicone cup. In a Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies container she has green grapes with the word FISH written out of alphabet food picks. In the bottom section she has One fish, Two fish (with the word TWO in alphabet picks), Red fish, Blue fish (with the word BLUE in alphabet picks) tofu. I also made a Cat in the Hat hat and a heart to hold the word blue. The coloring is done with food-safe markers and food coloring.

This post is linked to Bento Bloggers and Friends Dr. Seuss Linkup.

SeussLinky2014

 

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PostHeaderIcon M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

My daughters don’t always request special lunches. Sometimes G2 will beg for a My Little Pony or Pokemon lunch, or yesterday G1 asked for tofu pandas, but usually they’re just happy to get whatever I make. Today, though, G2 and G3 both asked for Mickey Mouse lunches. And I can’t think of Mickey Mouse without thinking of the Mousketeers theme song, something I’m not sure my girls even know, other than the few lines I sing periodically. I was glad to find out that I had all the letters to spell out Mickey’s name across two lunches, though.

photo 2G2 has a pretty simple Mickey Mouse lunch in her Easy Lunchbox. I got some Mickey Mouse food picks through eBay, and I’ve put Mickey hands into her grapes in the section at the top left. I used alphabet food picks to write out MICKEY, sticking them into  Enjoy Life chocolate brownie cookies at the bottom left. In the main section of her ELB G2 has Havarti with dill cheese in one silicone cup, and heart-shaped MOMables-inspired gf crackers in another cup. At the bottom of the main section is a Mickey Mouse silhouette on Provolone cheese which I made using two sizes of circle cookie cutters and food-safe markers. I’ve also included a Lunchbox Love note in her lunch to make her smile.

 

photo 1G3′s lunch is also a Mickey Mouse theme, and is also packed in an Easy Lunchbox. At the top right are two Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle cookies, one with a Mickey head sticking out of it, and one with the word MOUSE in alphabet food picks. At the bottom right are grapes with a Mickey hand and a Mickey head sticking out of them. In the main section of the ELB are two silicone cups, each with two Nut Thins cracker sandwiches with chocolate hazelnut spread. I used food-safe markers to draw a Mickey silhouette on the crackers, too. She also has a Lunchbox Love note joke that will make her smile, and make her friend who searches her lunches for jokes smile, too.

I’m really glad that even though my kids are older than most bento-making parents’ kids, they still love getting a special lunch. The few times I’ve made a “normal” lunch since I started making bentos, they’ve complained. They tell me how much their friends look forward to seeing what I’ve done, which really makes me smile, and makes me want to keep making cute lunches.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Penguin and panda packed lunches

I spent 7 hours yesterday prepping for painting and painting. We painted 3 rooms in that time, plus I did 2 ceilings. Dinner last night was a sign of sheer brilliance – we had vegetarian chili in the crock pot. Lunches today are pretty simple after all that work last night.

photo 3G2′s go-to lunch subject is penguins. I have a few different penguin food picks, and a few penguin cookie cutters, so I can mix it up a bit. Today, in her Easy Lunchbox she has strawberries in the top left compartment with the word YUM spelled out with alphabet food picks. At the bottom left are a pink penguin and a blue fish food picks stuck in two  Enjoy Life chocolate brownie cookies. In the large section at the right is one silicone cup with a blue penguin food pick and a fish stuck into Havarti cheese with dill. Another silicone cup has penguin-shaped MOMables-inspired gf crackers with detailing done with food-safe markers. I also used fish and penguin shaped cookie cutters to cut provolone cheese, plus I used food-safe markers for the details. Ta da! A penguin lunch that was put together in under 15 minutes.

photo 1G1′s go-to lunch is pandas. I have several different panda cutters, and that makes creating panda lunches really easy. Some days I need easy! At left G1 has the top of her Totoro Bento Box packed with goodies. She has two Enjoy Life chocolate brownie cookies with two different panda food picks. She also has a homemade flower  chocolate lollipop, and in a Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies container she has strawberries with more pandas. In the bottom section at right she has a panda cut out of tofu using the CuteZCute animal friends cutter and two little panda tofu. She also has a Thermos filled with tomato soup to help keep her warm on this cold day.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Pirates ahoy!

Pirate paintersWe’ve been very busy painting our new house, and by the time we’re done for the day we’re a bit punchy and wiped out. So, upon seeing the painting sticks, G2 and G3 instantly thought pirate sword fight. After going up and down the stairs (like in The Princess Bride), I got them to pose in front of the not-yet-painted yellow wall, because I could get the good shadows in the pictures. They had a blast, and I happy to hear happy voices, as they had been complaining a wee bit about the lack of chocolate at the new house. I used the sword play and pirate talk as inspiration for today’s lunches.

Pirate tofuG1′s lunch gets the first place position on this first day back from school vacation. Her Thermos is packed with tomato soup, and the rest of her lunch is packed in her favorite Totoro Bento Box. I’ve included a Lunchbox Love note in her lunch and in her sisters’ lunches. We love the joke Lunchbox Love notes most of all – the girls enjoy sharing the jokes with their friends. At the top right are three pirate faces in tofu, and one pirate sword food pick. I used a different nori face punch for each face, and hand-cut the eye patches out of nori with scissors. At the bottom right of the picture is the top section of the bento. The Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies containers fit perfectly in this section, and keep the fruit from mixing with the desserts. Today G1 has strawberries with pirate swords. In the rest of that section are a homemade flower lollipop with mini MnMs as petals, a gold pirate treasure coin, and two Enjoy Life chocolate brownie cookies.

Pirate hamG3′s lunch is packed in an Easy Lunchbox. She has three ham roll-ups speared with pirate swords in the main section, and a tofu pirate with nori face details in a silicone cup. In the top right section she has a gold pirate treasure coin, and in the bottom right she has grapes that have been speared on pirate swords. G3 is the tortoise in her school’s Aesop play, so she has longer rehearsals for the next couple weeks, which means she needs a slightly larger lunch than usual so she can have a snack for play practice. She has a Snoopy Bento Box with a chocolate flower lollipop and a silicone cup with two Enjoy Life Snickerdoodle cookies. This week we are painting the new house, so I don’t have as much baking time as usual, which means pre-packaged cookies. Enjoy Life makes wonderfully soft and yummy allergy-free cookies that fit beautifully in lunchboxes. G3′s snack is a Bento Buddies container filled with gf cheese crackers.

Dinos and flowersG2 also has a lunch packed in an Easy Lunchbox, but hers has dinosaurs and flowers. In the big section of her bento are some dinosaur broccoli and potato bites from Whole Foods (G2 is a vegetarian, so she had these while her sisters had dinosaur chicken nuggets last night). For a little protein punch I used two vegetable cutters to cut flowers out of tofu, and then decorated them with different food picks. At the top left she has strawberries with some flower food picks and a silver chocolate coin. At the bottom left are two Enjoy Life chocolate brownie cookies. Laying across the top of her bento is a chocolate flower lollipop. Those were so fun and easy to make! I’m so glad I have a collection of chocolate molds I got from a friend when G3 was a baby – they really turn a little chocolate into a special treat.

This post is linked to Meatless Monday on Bentos for Kidlet.

 

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PostHeaderIcon LOVE you lunches

Anna from Becoming a Bentoholic posted a great bento with the word LOVE spelled in fruits and veggies during the Valentine’s Blog Hop, and she inspired today’s LOVE lunches. I wish I had the cool bento box she has, but I made do with what I had. The two lunches are very, very similar, as you will see.

Yesterday I was excited to be part of a blog hop. Please check out yesterday’s post, and then continue the hop. There are links to both hops and a linky party over at Bento Bloggers and Friends.

photo 1Today G2′s lunch spells out LOVE in silicone heart cups inside her Easy Lunchbox. First the L is baby carrots with a little Snoopy container filled with ranch dressing. the O is written with food safe marker on sliced mozzarella atop Havarti with dill. The V is a heart-shaped MOMables-inspired gf crackers, with a food safe marker to make a red heart inside a heart. The E is written on another sliced mozzarella heart. At the top right are some strawberries cut into the shape of hearts. In the bottom right section is a decorated cupcake with the word LOVE spelled out with alphabet food picks.

photo 2G1′s lunch also spells out LOVE, but hers isn’t done in cheese and carrots. I used tofu and cookie cutters (and a knife for the L & E) to spell LOVE in the bottom half of her Totoro Bento Box. The top section has heart-shaped strawberries and a chocolate cupcake with a Valentine’s Day face on it. In addition, she also has a Thermos filled with tomato soup.

 

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