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

Today G2 gets a Mickey lunch, and while her sisters’ lunches aren’t pictured, they had similar lunches with the same cute food picks.

More MickeyIn her Easy Lunchbox G2 has one of G1′s birthday cupcakes (vanilla gf cake and a chocolate buttercream frosting) with a Mickey hand food pick. Below that are some strawberries I halved to help them fit into the lunch box with another Mickey hand. At right, in the largest section are two silicone cups, one with Havarti with dill and a Mickey head and another with gf multigrain crackers and a red Mickey head. Below I used a Mickey cookie cutter to cut out a Mickey provolone head. Below the Easy Lunchbox is a small Mickey head container I found at Target with homemade trail mix in it.

My kids have standardized tests this week and the school recommends granola bars as a snack. 99% of granola bars aren’t gluten-free, and those that are gf are really expensive. There are some good protein bars that are gf, and there are trail mixes, but G2 is fairly picky about trail mix and hates all protein bars, so I went to Trader Joe’s and picked up ingredients to make my own trail mix. How did it take me so long to do that??? G2 is fussiest about nuts (and, actually, all food), so I knew that if it was a trail mix she’d eat, the others would eat it too. So I bought bags of roasted and low-salt almonds, cashews, pistachios, and sunflower seeds. I poured them into a gallon ziploc and added some chocolate chips and shook it. Now we have a trail mix everyone will eat rather than one that has all the “good stuff” picked out of it! Next up in my I should’ve done this already goals is making my own granola…

PostHeaderIcon Celebrate lunches

I took a longer-than-expected hiatus from bento blogging after our move. I have a great new place to organize all my bento tools, and 3 times as much space overall in the new house, but moving and combining two households was more overwhelming than I thought it would be! I was still making bentos, just not taking pictures and blogging. But today is the perfect day to start up again! Celebrate! Saturday was G1′s 16th birthday, and today is Cinco de Mayo!

G1 bdayG1 has the perfect lunch for her birthday. Her favorite food is lasagna, so we have leftover lasagna packed in her Thermos. I found some Captain America/Avengers lunch containers at Target (if you have younger kids they also had Sesame Street and princesses), so I packed her cupcake inside that container. She also has an M from our alphabet food picks and a few music note food picks as well as the sprinkles on top of her cupcake. I packed a piece of cheese art in her Totoro Bento Box. I used a birthday cake lunch punch and some food markers to make her 16th birthday cheese cake. The grapes in the Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies container will go in with the birthday cake.

Meanwhile, G2 is obsessed with Cinco de Mayo. She’s decided to throw a Cinco de Mayo party at our house today, never mind that our yard is far from perfect and we don’t have a working fence. Yeesh. Anyhow, as part of my good mom duties I made her a Cinco de Mayo lunch.

Cinco de Mayo lunchG2′s lunch is packed in an Easy Lunchbox. She has two black bean taquitos in the large section (the easiest Mexican-ish food I could do early in the morning), a cupcake in the medium section, and grapes in the small section. To make it a little more fun the words Cinco de Mayo are spelled out with alphabet food picks. I do wish that I had something else in this, like a cheese art of some type, but I didn’t think about putting a sombrero in it until she had been dropped off at school.

Celebrate!

 

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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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