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 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 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 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 Valentine’s Blog Hop

Today I’m really excited to be a part of a blog hop! The Bento Bloggers and Friends group is hosting two Valentine’s Day Blog Hops today, and after looking at my bentos please be sure to hop over to Perry’s Dreams, Schemes, and Bento Themes blog and continue hopping!

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! I have 3 daughters, and today I’m featuring the lunches for the older two. The youngest’s lunch is just chicken soup, grapes, and a cupcake, so nothing fun today! All three girls also have Lunchbox Love Valentine’s Day notes in their lunches.

Luvdisc Lunch

G2’s lunch is a return to the Pokémon lunches. In her Easy Lunchbox I’ve packed a silicone heart cup filled with penguin-shaped MOMables-inspired gf crackers, and I used a food safe marker to add some details. She has another heart cup with Havarti with dill cheese and a cute 3D heart to jazz it up. I used food dye to color the sushi rice and paint cheese to make two Luvdisc Pokémon. I used a nori face punch for the eyes and a circle punch to make the cheeks and lips out of sliced mozzarella cheese. I hope she likes them!

In the top right section of her  ELB are four strawberries cut into heart shapes. At the bottom right is a gluten-free chocolate cupcake that G2 and G3 over sprinkled. I added a little chocolate heart in red foil as a treat – G2 is spending the day “shadowing” a student at a private school she’s hoping to attend, so getting a little chocolate is rather like getting an energy and love boost.

I <3 UG1’s lunch is simpler – she wouldn’t appreciate a Pokémon lunch. In her Thermos is tomato soup to keep her warm on a cold day. The rest of her lunch is packed in a Totoro Bento Box. At left, in the top section, are strawberries cut into heart shapes and decorated with a 3D heart. Her cupcake is decorated with some face candies I found at Target rather than a bazillion sprinkles. In the bottom section of her bento she has three tofu hearts that say I Love U, plus a pink sushi rice heart with a nori face on top.

 

Click the blog hop image to hop on over to Perry’s blog to see what she’s done for Valentine’s Day, then keep hopping to see all the blogs on today’s blog hops!

VDayHop2purple

If you’ve come back to my blog after making the rounds of the 2nd Blog Hop, start here to check out the first blog hop!

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PostHeaderIcon Snoopy Love

Last night we went to see The Lego Movie. We all highly recommend it! It was really great! And, while we’ve hit the jackpot with the past 2 movies we’ve seen (Frozen was the other one), it is rare to have all 4 of us (42, 15, 13, 10) love the same movie. And the soundtrack. Everything is awesome! Anyhow, we had frozen pizza doctored with extra cheese and toppings for dinner before the movie, and that means leftovers for lunch!

Snoopy loveG1 and G3 have the same lunch as G2, just in different containers, so I’m just posting the one lunch. In her Easy Lunchbox, G2 has a chocolate cupcake with a bazillion sprinkles at the top left, plus a 3D heart. At the bottom left she has some green grapes and a red grape sliced diagonally and put back together in a heart shape with a heart mini fork. There’s another 3D heart in with the grapes, too. In the large section of the ELB G2 has two slices of olive pizza with Snoopy in a heart written on cheese with food safe marker on top. In a mini silicone cup is a red foil chocolate heart. She also has a Lunchbox Love Valentine’s day note to make her feel special.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Snoopy as Cupid

My darling daughters have decided that Snoopy is the new Cupid. They say that you don’t see Cupid around Valentine’s day, but you see Snoopy all over the place, so therefore Snoopy is the new Cupid. Well, since we’re in the lead-up to Valentine’s day, I made Snoopy heart lunches for my older two daughters today (G3 is staying home sick with my mom with a 102 fever).

Snoopy love pizzaG2 has leftover pizza in her Easy Lunchbox. I used a Snoopy stencil to get Snoopy just right using a food safe marker. The hearts I drew free-hand. I also added a 3D heart pick and a heart mini fork to perk up the leftover olive pizza. Also in the large container is a Lunchbox Love Valentine’s note.(They currently have a 25% off coupon code 14LOVE for everything in their store.) In the top right section are two gluten-free Oreos, a heart and a dark chocolate Toblerone piece. In the bottom right section are some baby carrots and a Woodstock cup filled with Trader Joe’s hummus.

Snoopy love tofuJust like yesterday, G1 has a Thermos filled with Trader Joe’s tomato soup. The rest of her lunch is packed in her Totoro Bento Box, which is remarkably sturdy and works with many different lunches. As anyone who has read the blog for a while knows, one of her favorites is tomato soup and tofu, and that’s what she has today. I used the Snoopy stencil on the tofu and used a small heart cookie cutter to make hearts, plus adding the heart mini forks to perk up the plain white tofu. In the top section she has a couple of Glutino lemon wafer cookies in a silicone cup, plus a Clementine and a small piece of Toblerone. She also has a Lunchbox Love note, this one is about a huge tarantula, something G1 will find interesting, but would horrify G2!

This post is linked on Bento Blog Network – Hearts

 

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PostHeaderIcon Froakie Lunch

It’s been a while since I made a Pokemon lunch, and while I’ve really liked making 3D Pokemon out of rice, this time I only had time to draw a Pokemon onto the cheese for her pizza. Everyone was sick yesterday, and my headache has been hurting, so we didn’t have any good lunches yesterday. Today’s lunch was simple – leftover pizza, and G2’s lunch was the one decorated to look cute. (G1 is still home sick with a fever.)

When we were talking about what they wanted for lunch last night, G2 told me, “My friend comes in with prepackaged cookies, prepackaged chips, and a soup. How do people live that way? No cute lunches! It’s sad.” So she gets the cutest lunch today!

FroakieIn G2’s Easy Lunchbox she has two leftover slices of homemade gluten-free pizza. On top of the pizza is a slice of cheese on which I drew a Froakie using food safe markers. In the top right section she has two Joe’s Joes, Trader Joe’s gluten-free oreos, and in the bottom right section she has a Chebe bread mix panda. Finally, in her Squooshi penguin she has some applesauce I blended with leftover strawberries. Overall a pretty yummy lunch, and one that will fill her up until she comes home. No more play practice, so she’ll be home at a reasonable time again!

G3 also had an Easy Lunchbox with all the same ingredients, but her Squooshi was filled with regular applesauce.

This post is linked on What’s for Lunch Wednesday.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Penguins and Tigers in rice and bread

The biggest piece of news in our life is that we just bought a house! So excited!! If, for some reason, you want to read more, I’m blogging daily about our year of change (I’m getting married soonish, so lots of change) over at A Year of Living Change-erously.

Yesterday was a snow day, so no lunches, but it was busy with the closing, etc. I did have time last nite, after buying the house, to make a quick dinner for G1 and I, and then to pack lunches for the younger two. G1 has midterms, so no lunches.

Even more penguinsI packed G2 a very penguin Easy Lunchbox. She has a silicone heart cup with Havarti with dill slices, and a mini silicone cup with penguin-shaped MOMables-inspired gf crackers. I added a couple little details to the penguin using food safe markers. In two additional mini silicone cusps are two penguins made using sushi rice, some nori cut with a heart-shaped opening for the face, a frozen piece of corn for the beak, and nori cut into eyes with a face punch. On the right side of her ELB are some strawberries and a mini silicone cup with a Trader Joe’s gluten-free Oreos. At the bottom of her lunch is a Chebe bread mix penguin. Below her ELB is a  Mini Dipper with Lemonheads and Sixlets. G2 has play practice until 5:30 today, so she has a little extra sugar and a (not photographed) gf granola bar as well. She is currently obsessed with Lemonheads, and will be very happy to find that surprise.

TigersG3 is allergic to the strawberries G1 and G2 love so much, so her lunch was prepared first so there would be no cross-contamination on the cutting board. In her Thermos I’ve packed gluten-free chicken noodle soup for our girlie, in the hopes that she’ll be warm today. She has two gluten-free TJs Oreos in mini silicone cups and a Chebe white tiger in her Snoopy Bento Box. In her Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies container she has some yummy oranges cut into “smiles”. She also has a little white tiger rice ball in a cheap Target container. She loves rice in her soup, so I thought she could add this to the soup at school. I used a nori face punch for the eyes and mouth/nose combo. I cut little triangles out of some of the rest of the nori to make the stripes. I didn’t quite make ears, but I think you get the idea.

I’m now out of sushi rice, so I’m going to have to go to the store soon so I can experiment more with making rice critters! It’s been too long since I made a Pokemon lunch, I was reminded…

This post is linked on What’s for Lunch Wednesday and 15 minute Friday.

This post is linked on Fun Food Friday and Eats Amazing Lost & Found Penguin Linky

 

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PostHeaderIcon Kitty cats and penguins

Last night I spent some time making Chebe bread mix creatures. They’re so cute! I’m really enjoying making these! It’s actually much easier than I thought it would be. I am going to have to put together a tutorial for the gluten-free folks.

In other news, we were planning to go to the Aquarium for MLK day, but it turned out everyone was tired, so we slept in. After we woke up, I bought bins and we started packing – we close on Wednesday! (though the house won’t be ready to move in for a bit, need heat & a new roof) If you’re at all curious about our ongoing changes, I’m blogging daily at A Year of Living Change-erously.

More penguinsG2’s Easy Lunchbox has Havarti with dill and fish-shaped MOMables-inspired gf crackers, each in a silicone heart cup. They are decorated with penguin and fish food picks as well as a snowflake. I also added penguin cheese and a fish with details written in food safe markers. In the top left section of the ELB she has a clementine and a green leaf pick. At the bottom left she has two chocolate chip cookies, a little thing of Sixlets, and a chocolate smiley face. She also has one of the Chebe animals, a penguin.

Kitty kitty lunchG1’s lunch is all about the kitties. In her Totoro Bento Box are some kitties – I used my CuteZCute Animal Press and a small animal press to make kitty tofu. Between sections she has a Chebe kitty with orange ears, and in the top section of her bento she has 2 oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, a smiley face chocolate, and an orange with a leaf food pick. She also has a Thermos is filled with hot tomato soup.

Another kitty kittyG3’s lunch is similar to G1’s. In her Thermos she has gluten-free chicken noodle soup. She also has a Honeycrisp apple (she’s going to be so sad when those go out of season soon!) and a Chebe kitty. For a snack and for a dessert she has Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies containers. In one is a chocolate chip cookie, a small string of Sixlets, and a chocolate smiley face. In her other Bento Buddy is some homemade chocolate pudding. This doesn’t look like a very big lunch, but the chicken noodle soup will fill her right up, and it’s unlikely she’ll even eat all of it.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Ponies and Snowmen

B&W animals take 2After falling in love with the idea of Japanese Milk Bun Pandas over at Bento Monsters, I tried making black & white animal rolls last week, and the end result wasn’t as good as I would have liked. Today, though, I tried using the Chebe bread mix, and it turned out beautifully! I especially like the white tiger.

Unlike many of my posts, today’s two lunches (G3 has a half day) don’t match at all. G1 has a hot and cold lunch, and G2 has another My Little Pony lunch. The trick I learned from a pin on Pinterest is how to use the iPad/iPhone app “Camera Lucida” to draw on food.

DerpyG2’s lunch is based on the My Little Pony cutie mark cupcake G2 had made this past weekend. Today’s pony is “Derpy Hooves”, a grey pony with bluish bubbles as a cutie mark. I wasn’t able to make grey easily at all, so she turned out much closer to black. Other than the pony being too dark, I’m rather proud of myself. the Camera Lucida app makes it so much easier to draw ponies!

In her Easy Lunchbox G2 has Havarti with caraway seeds and homemade MOMables-inspired gf crackers, each in a silicone heart cup. Her Derpy is made using provolone cheese, a MLP cookie cutter and food coloring and food safe markers. At the top right she has baby carrots and a CuteZCute rainbow star container filled with hummus. At the bottom right is a chocolate cupcake with Derpy’s cutie mark on it.

Warm and ColdG1’s hot & cold lunch is in her Totoro Bento Box and a Thermos. Her Thermos is filled with hot tomato soup with a bit of oregano and basil sprinkled on top. At left in the upper, vented section of her Totoro Bento Box is a clementine and two gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in a silicone heart cup, plus a snowflake food pick. In the bottom, sealed section of the bento are two cold snowmen cut out of tofu and decorated with food safe markers, with a snowflake for decoration.

This post is linked on What’s for Lunch Wednesday and Fun Food Friday.

 

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