Bentos for a Gaggle of Girls
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PostHeaderIcon Cutie Marks and Cupcakes

Cutie mark cupcakesWe go to dinner once a month at our friends’ house, and we eat with them and our church’s missionaries. It’s wonderful – we really enjoy the time with our friends and the missionaries, plus my youngest daughter is BFFs with our friends’ daughter. We alternate who brings the entree, but we always bring the dessert. We do this partly because gluten-free desserts can be tricky, but also because G2, G3, and I love to bake.

This month I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes, and G2 and G3 decorated them with the cutie marks of several major characters from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. Cutie marks appear on their flank to tell them their destiny/talent. The 3 blank ones are for the “Cutie mark crusaders” who haven’t gotten cutie marks yet. The amount of detail they put into something that no one else would recognize is rather impressive. (And no, the Elders and our friends had no idea what they were other than cute.)

Twilight Sparkle lunchG2’s lunch matches a leftover cupcake. In her Easy Lunchbox she has Twilight Sparkle painted on provolone cheese, with details in food coloring and food safe markers. She also has Havarti cheese in a silicone heart cup and homemade MOMables-inspired gf crackers in a mini silicone cup, with heart mini forks. At the top right she has a clementine with a heart mini fork, and a Twilight Sparkle cupcake. In a Snoopy Bento Box she also has a penguin roll.

Rarity CupcakeG2 has a Thermos filled with chicken and rice soup. To go with that she has a Snoopy Bento Box with a white tiger bread roll. I’ve also put a  Rarity cupcake in her Snoopy Bento Box along with her roll. G3 also has two Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies containers. One is filled with chocolate pudding, and the other with orange smiles and heart mini forks. She also has one more container with orange smiles for snack, but that one didn’t fit in the picture.

LasagnaG1’s lunch is simple. I packed the last piece of lasagna in her Thermos, and she’ll be sad to not have any more tomorrow. As a bonus part of her lunch she has a panda roll. Plus, in her Snoopy Bento Box she has two oatmeal  chocolate chip cookies in mini silicone cups, and a clementine with a heart mini fork.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Black and White animals

B&W AnimalsI read the recipe for the Japanese Milk Bun Pandas over at Bento Monsters, and fell in love with the idea. Now, we’re gluten-free, so I knew I couldn’t follow the recipe as printed. However, I have several different dough recipes, and I tried to think of the one that gives me workable dough. Most GF dough recipes are much more like a batter than a bread dough. I ended up using my pizza crust recipe, but using just white rice and cornstarch as flours, no seasonings, and adding 6 TBS extra corn starch to make the dough more workable. If I’m going to do this again, though I want to use the Chebe bread dough or breadstick mix, as that’s the most malleable gluten-free dough I’ve ever used.

B&W cheesey animalsI used orange and black food coloring to add details, and ended up making G1 some pandas, G2 some penguins, and G3 some white tigers. I’ll admit that you have to use your imagination a bit, but I tried. They toasted up a bit, and the orange turned brown, but it was good for a first attempt.

To perk up their lunches a bit more I used food coloring and food safe markers to make a panda, 2 penguins, and a white tiger out of cheese. I’m not expecting them to eat them, as that’s a lot of food coloring on one piece of cheese, but it looks cute in their lunches. I also used some black & white paper to take lunch pictures against.

B&W PandaG1 has leftover lasagna in her Thermos. The first time I put leftover lasagna in her Thermos she was confused that I hadn’t put tofu or a spoon in her lunch – she thought the Thermos was filled with tomato soup and that I had been an eejit that morning. She was happy to find the lasagna, though – much more loved than even tomato soup! In her Snoopy bento box I put in some “orange smiles”, or sliced oranges, complete with a couple different panda food picks. I packed mini silicone cups with a Hershey’s nugget and the painted panda cheese. The baked panda bun is all by its lonesome, and was packed in a separate Lock & Lock container.

B&W TigerG3 has a lunch as close to being white tiger focused as I could. I’ve yet to find any food picks focused on white tigers, but I have the two I made, plus a couple of lions. In her Thermos is some chicken and rice soup. In her Snoopy bento box I packed one mini silicone cup with a Hershey’s nugget and another with a painted cheese white tiger. In a silicone heart cup I added two gluten-free Joe Joes Oreos. Usually her sweet and fruit are packed together (one for snack, one for lunch), but things keep seeping juice into the treats, so I gave up. She has a Target container with sliced oranges and lion food picks, plus a Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies with pineapple and a heart mini fork. She also has a white tiger bun that I put in its own container.

B&W PenguinG2’s lunch is all penguins in her Easy Lunchbox. Packed into silicone heart cups she has diamond-shaped MOMables-inspired gf crackers and a blue penguin food pick, plus some Havarti with dill cheese cut into the shape of penguins using a penguin vegetable cutter. In the small section are two gf Joe Joes Oreos, in the larger section is a peeled satsuma. Both of those have homemade food picks using Happy Feet stickers. In her Snoopy bento box I packed her penguin bun and, in a mini silicone cup, a Hershey’s nugget.

Overall, while I’m not up to the level of Bento Monsters, I’m rather proud of myself. The buns are cute, and they look tasty. I’m looking forward to seeing how they taste!

This post is linked to Leftovers on Fridays and Fun Food Fridays

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PostHeaderIcon From Mom, with Love

I was tired last night when making lunches, so no exciting food art today, sorry. I did, though, make everything a theme, plus I used Lunchbox Love notes, and that makes everything better. With 2/3 of the girls not feeling well, I thought a theme of Mama Loves You would be appreciated.

photo 1(1)G2’s lunch is packed in an Easy Lunchbox. Packed in the silicone heart cups are more of the MOMables-inspired gluten-free crackers and some Havarti with dill cheese. I’ve added a 3D heart in with the crackers and a heart mini fork in with the cheese, plus I cut the cheese and the crackers into heart shapes. G2 has been feeling sick, so I’m hoping this, plus the message that she’s #1 will help perk her up. I added a heart mini fork in with the 2 Joe Joe gluten-free Oreos and in half a satsuma. I only recently found satsumas, and now I can’t get enough of them. She also has a Lunchbox Love joke in her lunch.

photo 2(1) G3’s lunch is also packed in an Easy Lunchbox. They are so versitile and sturdy, I just love them! G3 has some heart-shaped cheese in a silicone heart cup, plus a 3D puffy heart. In the rest of the large section of her ELB she has 4 ham roll-ups. Two are skewered with heart mini forks, one with a heart skewer, and one with a larger heart mini-fork. In the top small section she has 2 Joe Joes and in the bottom half of a satsuma, both with heart mini forks for color and lurve. In her Snoopy bento box she has a Joe Joe Oreo and a chocolate covered peanut butter ball, both in mini silicone cups. I put several grapes in a silicone heart cup,  too, plus packing a Lunchbox Love joke. I hope she picks up on the subtle theme that she is loved.

photo 3In G1’s lunch, the “Mama loves you” theme really is subtle. In her  Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies she has two Joe Joes with a 3D puffy heart slipped into a mini silicone cup. In another mini cup are several grapes. She has very minimal side dishes because I packed a good-sized slice of last night’s lasagna into her Thermos. She also has a Lunchbox Love joke, it’s just not in this picture.

 

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PostHeaderIcon M-I-C-K-E-Y

M-O-U-S-E!

As I was putting together these lunches, the theme song from the Mickey Mouse Club/Mouseketeers kept going around in my head. I stopped in at Michael’s last night to pick up a couple things, and also picked up some scrapbooking papers to use as background for bento pics. Seeing this Mickey Mouse paper on sale and remembering my Mickey food picks prompted me to make a series of Mickey Mouse lunches for today. One of my children may have decided I’ve gone around the bend if I’m buying papers for background, but ah well.

G2 MickeyG2’s lunch is the Mickey-est. In her Easy Lunchbox she has, at left, a silicone heart cup filled with MOMables-inspired gluten-free crackers and another with Havarti with dill cheese with the word Mickey in alphabet food picks. Below the cups is a Mickey face made with cheddar cheese, circle cookie cuttersfood coloring, and food-safe markers. In with the crackers and in with the chocolate covered peanut butter ball are Mickey Mouse head food picks. Mickey’s hand is in with some grapes, too.

G1 MickeyG1’s lunch has minimal Mickey Mouse. She has a Thermos with leftover pasta, sauce, and sausage from last night. In her Snoopy bento box she has a couple Glutino lemon wafer cookies and a satsuma. Mickey’s hand is reaching out from inside the satsuma. If Mickey has been eating the satsuma from inside, he’s lucky to be enjoying the sweet deliciousness of the satsuma. As an east coast girl, I had never heard of a satsuma until I started listening to the Maximum Fun podcasts. I thought they were just a west coast version of a clementine, but then I found some and tried it. Wow! Yum! Highly recommended.

G3 MickeyG3’s lunch has a medium Mickey level. She has another hand-painted (poorly, but I want points for trying) Mickey head in a silicone heart cup in her Easy Lunchbox. In the same section she has four slices of honey ham skewered with Mickey heads and Mickey hands. On the right she has a chocolate covered peanut butter ball  in one section and grapes in another. I’m hoping the grapes won’t somehow leak all over the rest of the food, as that seems to be G3’s ongoing lunch problem. Not in the picture is her snack of a Bakery on Main granola bar and a Honeycrisp apple.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Every snowflake is unique

Though, if you’re using snowflake cookie cutters, they’re all pretty similar. In this first-day-back-from-vacation set of lunches, everyone has snowflakes in their lunches, but every lunch is different. We got between a foot and a foot and a half of snow on January 2, and schools were closed on the 2nd and 3rd, so snow is very much still on our minds.

Cheese snowflakesG2’s lunch is mainly a bunch of snowflakes. In her Easy Lunchbox‘s largest section she has one silicone heart cup with homemade gluten-free crackers, and in the other she has Havarti with dill cheese and the word SNOW in alphabet food picks. She also has a little blue translucent penguin in with the crackers. In the top small section she has two gluten-free Oreo-style cookies from Trader Joe’s, and in the final section she has a clementine with a bumblebee food pick. I found out during our field trip to the aquarium that the crackers get soggy if the cheese is packed with them, so I chose to put them in separate silicone  cups to reduce that possibility.

Tofu SnowflakesG1’s lunch is packed in a Thermos and a Totoro Bento Box. Her Thermos is full of tomato soup. In the sealed section of her bento she has some tofu cut into the shape of a snowflake, plus a snowflake food pick. In the upper, vented section she has two gf Joe’s Os in a silicone  cup. For fruit she has some pineapple chunks in a rectangular box that I found at Target, decorated with another snowflake.

While G1 and G2 have Meatless Monday lunches, G3 wouldn’t agree to any of the meatless options, so she has a Monday with meat.

Ham and cheese snowflakesG3’s lunch is packed in two Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies and a Snoopy bento box. In the purple Bento Buddy she has two Joe’s Os in a silicone  cup and one chocolate-covered pretzel. In the pink Bento Buddy she has 3 slices of ham skewered with snowflake food picks and a star food pick. Additionally, she has three cheddar cheese snowflakes and an elephant food pick. In her Snoopy bento she has a rectangular container from Target with pineapple chunks with a snowflake food pick and an elephant. She also has a chocolate covered peanut-butter ball in a silicone bunny cup.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Vacation Aquarium trip

We’ve been on winter break here, but as New England Aquarium members we have to spend at least one day at the aquarium. So, we bundled up on the least-horribly-cold day, and went off to the aquarium. I am cheap frugal careful with spending money, so we always pack a snack and a lunch before going off on an adventure. G1 decided to stay home, and because we have a 4 person membership, we took G3’s friend K with us.

Cheese and crackers and penguins

G2 is, technically, the one with the aquarium membership, so I’ll put her lunch first. In her Easy Lunchbox she has some of the awesome homemade gluten-free crackers, alternating with some cheese in silicone heart cups. The havarti is left as is, next to star crackers, but the round crackers alternate with angels cut out of provolone cheese, with a blue dolphin. In the smallest section of the ELB she has a piece of my mom’s fudge and a chocolate-covered peanut-butter ball.In the other small section she has some sliced Honeycrisp apples and two different penguins

Bacon lunch

G3 wanted a BLT without the bread, lettuce, or tomato. I insisted that she have something that resembles food other than bacon, so she has a deconstructed BLT without the bread. So, in her Easy Lunchbox she has some lettuce with bacon and two Sungold tomatoes. I tossed in a snowflake pick, a snow-globe, and a blue whale. In the smallest section are two pieces of my mom’s fudge. In the final section are some sliced Honeycrisp apples with a cute little otter food pick. Not pictured is an orange she wanted to peel herself.

star sandwiches

G3’s friend K has her first bento lunch. She wanted peanut-butter sandwiches, which you might notice are easier than anything my children asked me to pack. In her Easy Lunchbox K has 2 sugar cookies and a piece of fudge. She also has 4 star-shaped peanut-butter sandwiches made out of gluten-free bread. I made them a bit more winter and  aquarium-centric by adding two snowflake food picks, a white seal, and a pink dolphinNot pictured is the orange she also wanted to peel herself.

tomato mozarellaFinally, I packed my own lunch in an ELB. I packed some sliced fresh mozzarella and Sungold tomatoes with a blue dolphin. In the little section I have a piece of fudge with a pink dolphin and a chocolate-covered peanut-butter ball. In the other section I have some baby carrots and celery. Not pictured is the hummus I packed to dip the celery & carrots into.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Wintery Wonder-lunch

Tree AngelToday’s lunches are definitely winter-focused. We got half a foot of snow on Tuesday night, so lots of snowflakes in the lunches, to match the snow outside. Plus, we only have 6 days left until Christmas! I’m wishing I had more Christmas bento supplies (especially more star cookie cutters and Christmas food picks), but we’re making do with what we have.

G2 has another lunch of MOMables-inspired homemade gluten-free crackers – these are being devoured! In the large, bottom section of her Easy Lunchbox she has the crackers and cheese cut into snowflake shapes in two silicone heart cups. As a decoration, she also has an angel and a Christmas tree also cut out of provolone cheese and decorated with food-safe markers. At the top left, in the smallest section she has two penguin sugar cookies that she decorated very quickly, plus a mitten snowglobe food pick. At the top right are some Honeycrisp apple sections with a snowflake pick.

Wintery lunchG3’s lunch also has a wintery theme, but otherwise it’s very different. In her Laptop Lunchbox she has (clockwise from top left), a snack of a star sugar cookie and, in a silicone heart cup, half of a clementine with a snowflake. Next she has a sugar cookie we cut in the shape of Snoopy and G3 decorated. Below that is another half a clementine with a snowflake pick. Finally, in a silicone heart cup she has a few American cheese angels and some crackers, then some ham roll-ups with a mitten snowglobe and a snowflake. G3 also has a Snoopy bento box with some Cape Cod bbq potato chips.

And now I’m hungry after writing about their lunches. Yum!

 

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PostHeaderIcon Angels in the lunchbox

Today we only had two lunches again (G1 is still sick, and is going to the dr. later). G3 is on a field trip, so she needed to pack a completely disposable lunch. G2 is the only one with a “normal” lunch, and hers is special because she’s doing a “shadow day” at a local Catholic high school. I hope the kids there think her lunch is cool, like the kids at the Charter school do, rather than thinking it’s weird. Crossing fingers on that one.

AngelsG2’s theme for the day is Angels. I wanted her to remember that Heavenly Father is watching over her, and she’ll be ok. She doesn’t like large groups of people, and she doesn’t like new situations, so while she had a tour of the private school and took a test there, she had never been there without me. In her Easy Lunchbox she has a couple silicone heart cups. Each cup has cheese and homemade gluten-free crackers, alternating angels and rectangles. Also in the large section is an American cheese sun at left and 4 singing provolone cheese angels below. The faces on the angels were made with food-safe markers. At top right she has a slice of chocolate cake with a fondant candy cane and alphabet food picks spelling out ANGEL (the G was mistakenly made as a Q – in one set of letters I have no G and 2 Qs). At the bottom right is a clementine with a snowflake pick stuck in it as an accent.

Arctic crittersG3’s completely disposable lunch is packed into a “family size” cherry tomato container from BJs. She has two Juicy Juice fruit punch drinks (one for snack and one for lunch). For fruit, she has a clementine with a polar bear homemade food pick and an applesauce pouch. Her protein is two ham roll-ups held in place with a bunny and an arctic fox food pick. Finally, she has some Cape Cod barbeque potato chips and a Frosty cupcake.

 

 

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PostHeaderIcon Penguins and Elves

Penguin crackersLast night I tweaked the recipe posted at MOMables for gluten-free lunchbox crackers for our family’s preferences and for what I had in the house. It was incredibly easy, and they’re delicious. The crackers taste a bit like Mary’s Gone Crackers mixed with what I remember a wheat thin tasting like.  I’ve posted my tweaks on my recipe blog. The new crackers inspired G2 to ask for crackers and cheese for lunch, and I was happy to say yes.

G1 has been out sick with a stomach bug, so no lunches for her today. I’ve tried to make an elf again with G3’s lunch, and while it’s better than yesterday’s elf, it’s not awesome yet. Humanoids are hard for me! I can do Pokemon or My Little Pony, but not people as of yet.

Penguin snowflakeG2’s lunch is packed in an Easy Lunchbox. At left, in the large section, she has several provolone snowflakes decorating the container, then in two silicone heart cups she has crackers and cheese alternating. At left are cheddar penguins cut with a vegetable cutter and rectangle crackers. At right are snowflake cheese alternating with penguin crackers. In the smallest section at the top right is a Happy Feet penguin ring and a slice of Christmas tree cake with a purple fondant star. At the bottom right in the smaller container is a half a clementine with two different penguins.

Elf Tree SnowmanG3’s lunch is also packed in an Easy Lunchbox.At left in the large section is a quesadilla cut into the shape of an elf, an elf’s hat, and a Christmas tree. I used food-safe markers for the detail work on the elf and to add “ornaments” to the tree. At the top right is the other half of a clementine, this time with two snowflake picks as decoration. At the bottom right is one of the snowman cupcakes I had made for the parties last weekend.

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

 

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PostHeaderIcon Elves, Snowmen, and Reindeer, oh my!

Cake & cupcakesThis weekend we had multiple Christmas parties to attend. We were invited to 4, two were cancelled due to a snowstorm, and one new one popped up, so we went to three. Two required us to bring dessert, so we made a Christmas tree cake and some snowmen cupcakes. Very fun! Of course, one of the cancelled parties is being rescheduled for next week, so we can make another set of cupcakes for that.

We ended up with quite a few leftovers, as many other people brought desserts, so you’ll see cake and cupcakes in place of cookies in lunches this week! After the multiple parties, I ran out of steam, so lunches are pretty simple today.

This is our Meatless Monday post, so none of the lunches have any meat in them. After G2 went vegetarian the whole family started to eat less meat, which is working out very well for all of us. Well, except for G3, who adores meat of any kind.

Rudolf lunchG1’s lunch is a Thermos, full of tomato soup, plus some treats in her Totoro Bento Box. The vented section at the bottom left has a EasyLunchboxes Mini Dipper with pineapple chunks, and a snowman cupcake. The sealed section at the top right has two tofu reindeer. When I get a new package of tofu, I slice it long-ways into four large slices. For the reindeer I took one of those slices and cut it into 4 triangles. I stacked the triangles on top of each other to make 2 reindeer. I found some reindeer horn food picks at a local shop, and used them, plus food-safe markers, to turn the triangles into reindeer. Easy and fun!

Elf lunchI was really excited about G2’s Elf lunch, but it doesn’t look as good in the picture as it did in real life! *sigh* Anyhow, in her Easy Lunchbox she has a provolone cheese and mustard sandwich on gf bread cut into the shape of an elf and then an elf hat (hat was made by cutting the curves off a heart and turning it upside down). I used provolone, face-punched nori, and soy paper for the details. I also cut two snowflakes out of provolone and added a snowflake pick for fun. At the right she has half of a Honeycrisp apple with the word ELF cut into it using a paring knife. She also has some of the cake and the angel from the top of it in the larger side section.

Hat lunchG3’s lunch is also simple. In her Easy Lunchbox she has a grilled cheese on  gf bread cut into the a Santa or elf hat and as well as a snowflake cut out of sliced mozzarella cheese. She has the other half of the Honeycrisp apple with the word ELF cut into that, as well. In the final section of her Easy Lunchbox she has a snowman cupcake. In her Snoopy bento box she has a clementine and a slice of cake with a star on top inside a silicone heart cup.

This post was linked on Meatless Monday and What’s for Lunch Wednesday and Bento Blog Network – Snowmen.

 

 

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