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 Soup Warms Hearts

If I have to forget something, I prefer to forget something in a way where I’m over-prepared rather than underprepared. Yesterday G2 had a half day, something that (despite it being on every calendar) I had forgotten. So, she had a lunch she didn’t eat. On the plus side, that meant I didn’t have to make a lunch for her today! G1 and G3 wanted soup on this cold day, and I was happy to oblige, it makes the lunch much quicker to prepare. All three girls have Lunchbox Love Valentine’s notes today – they prefer the joke notes, but these are fun Do You Knows. (They currently have a 25% off coupon code 14LOVE for everything in their store)

Lovin TofuG1 has a Thermos filled with Trader Joe’s tomato soup (I have yet to find a wonderful tomato soup that tastes as good as TJ’s or Pacific). In the top section of her Totoro Bento Box she has a Clementine with a leaf food pick and a silicone cup filled with Glutino lemon wafer cookies. In the bottom compartment are some hearts and flowers cut out of tofu with a bit of food safe marker decoration.

G1 had been sick with a fever and “crummy tummy” for several days, and a week of midterms prior to that, so it was nice to pack her a lunch again. I’m hoping the tomato soup and tofu are mild enough that they won’t make her tummy feel crummy at school. She was able to eat yesterday’s leftover sushi, so that was good.

Lovin soupG3 also has a Thermos filled with soup – hers is chicken and rice, though, not tomato. She prefers to have meat in everything. When I was at Marshall’s looking for new work clothes I found the Fit & Fresh containers, so I picked up a pack. G3 has oranges in one and chips in another, plus a 3D heart pick. She also has a little container from Target with Glutino chocolate wafers and a heart mini fork.

 

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PostHeaderIcon Leftovers for Lunches

Today’s lunches are leftovers. I made sushi last night and pizza on Sunday night, so it was very easy to make delicious, and well appreciated, lunches for today.

Penguin sushiG2’s lunch is all about the yummy. Much to her delight she has a Squooshi penguin with applesauce and strawberries (she says homemade tastes better than store-bought!). She has vegetable sushi in her Easy Lunchbox, decorated with some different penguin food picks. She also has a little bunny container with gluten-free soy sauce for the sushi. At the top right section are two Joe’s Joes, Trader Joe’s gluten-free Oreos, plus a snowflake food pick. At the bottom right are some carrots and cucumbers, plus a Snoopy container with some hummus, also from Trader Joe’s.

sushiG1 also has sushi today. Her lunch is packed in her Totoro Bento Box, and includes to Joe’s Joes gf Oreos in a silicone heart cup and a snowflake food pick. The top section also includes a Clementine. In the bottom section she has her sushi, with dolphins and a whale food pick. I’ve also added a rooster container with gluten-free soy sauce to add to the sushi.

Walrus pizzaG3 cares more about what her friends think of her lunch than G1 and G2 do, so she wasn’t interested in having any sushi for lunch, as that might look weird. So, she has leftover pizza in her Easy Lunchbox, with some cute marine life food picks. She also has to Joe’s Joes gf Oreos and a snowflake. In the bottom right section is one final Chebe tiger roll. She also has some applesauce in her Squooshi walrus, which continues to follow the marine animal theme.

 

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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 A Mermaid and Safari animals

G3’s lunch continues to be about white tigers and safari animals, but this time G2’s lunch has drifted away from penguins. Her 4 show run of The Little Mermaid starts tomorrow afternoon! So I practiced my Camera Lucida skills and drew Ariel on cheese for her lunch. I think it’s clear who I was drawing, at least. G1 still has midterms, so no lunch for her.

Ariel

G2’s lunch is very much like her previous lunches, but this time she has Ariel sitting on a rock and 3 notes symbolizing the music she’s singing as a part of the cast of the musical. Given that it’s her first time performing in this school I wanted to show her that I support her, I popped in a Lunchbox Love note.

In her Easy Lunchbox G2 has two mini silicone cups, one with some homemade MOMables-inspired gf crackers and one with Havarti with dill. She also has some provolone and cheddar song notes, and the mozzarella Ariel drawn with food safe markers. I also used the black food safe marker to ad a face to one fishie. In the top, smallest section, she has two Joe’s Joes gf Oreos. Finally, in the bottom right section, she has 3 strawberries.

Roaring animals

Roar! The animals on G3’s lunch safari are roaring at us! First, she has a Thermos with chicken and rice soup. In her Snoopy Bento Box is a Chebe bread mix white tiger and two Joe’s Joes gf Oreos in mini silicone cups. In her pink Laptop Lunch Bento Buddies she has oranges cut into “smiles” (also known as slices, but if you put them in  your mouth you have an orange smile). I used lion and other safari animals food picks to perk up the smiles, plus alphabet food picks to spell out ROAR. She also has a purple Bento Buddies container with snickerdoodles and a Lunchbox Love note.

This post is linked on Fun Food Friday.

 

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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 Totoro, Tigers, and Penguins

Totoro parts(This post was written on Thursday, but unfortunately my site has been up and down, so it’s only now being posted. My host is trying its best with a complicated server/router problem)

I love reading other Bento blogs. I love seeing what other moms (and dads) have done with their kids’ lunches, and I especially love reading tutorials. Much of the time I’m disappointed because something is a gluten-based treat and gluten doughs work differently than gluten-free doughs. My recent success with black & white buns was an exception to that rule. Well, this time I saw another tutorial posted by BentoMonsters, and it was a rice tutorial, so I figured I could actually get it made.

Totoro and SpriteAs mentioned before in this blog, G1 is a huge Studio Ghibli fan, especially a Totoro fan. Most of her lunches are packed in her Totoro Bento Box. This time I followed the tutorial closely (though I used black food coloring as we didn’t have black sesame paste), and G1 was beyond thrilled. Her whole table loved it and was taking pictures! I highly recommend this tutorial.

 

Totoro lunchG1’s Totoro was, of course, packed in her Totoro Bento Box. She had pasta with marinara and a sausage in her Thermos, and the rest in her Totoro Bento Box. In the bottom section was her Totoro with the Soot Sprite. In her upper section she had a couple of oatmeal cookies in a silicone heart cup as well as two mini silicone cups with green grapes.

 

G3’s lunch is almost all black & white. In her Easy LunchboxWhite tiger lunch she has a white tiger Chebe roll in the large section. In the smallest section she has a white tiger cupcake, and in the bottom right section she has a white tiger rice ball. In her Snoopy bento box she has an orange sliced into “smiles” with a couple of lion food picks. Finally, in her Thermos she has some hot chicken and rice soup.

 

PenguinsG2’s lunch is all about the penguins again. I found this cute snowman/snowflake scrapbook paper, and I’m using that as a backdrop for this lunch. Leaning against her Easy Lunchbox is a penguin Chebe roll, which she loves. In her Easy Lunchbox’s biggest section are two marching penguins made out of food coloring and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Above the marching penguins are mini silicone cups with homemade MOMables-inspired gf crackers and Havarti with dill with a couple of snowflake food picks. In the small section at the top right are some green grapes with a snowflake. Finally, in the section at the bottom right is a cupcake with Princess Celestia’s cutie mark, a sun.

This post is linked to Eats Amazing Lost & Found Penguin Linky

 

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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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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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