My Adventures In Bento

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Adventures in Bento: September 8-12, 2014

on September 12, 2014

I feel fairly confident in my bento making skills this week. I started noticing in the past weeks that I make the girls a lot of sandwiches. Cute sandwiches of course, but sandwiches none the less. So this week I tried to come up with other things I could put in their lunches. This, of course, took more time than normal because it hasn’t become routine, but it wasn’t all that much extra time and the extra cute factor was worth it.

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Monday’s lunch included PB&J tortilla roll ups. (I realize this is still close to a sandwich, but it was different enough for me, lol) I cut them into almost bite sized pieces to get them to fit in the box, but Delaney, who has very recently lost her two front teeth on top, struggled a bit with biting into them. While both girls liked them and want them again, I may wait until Delaney has a few more teeth or cut them smaller for her. Also included was celery strips with ranch dressing (in the pink bunny container) and pretzels. Both of those are hard to see because they’re hiding under the other food. This particular box is a fairly small square, but it’s a bit deep, so I have to stack things in there.

You might also see a bit of dark green in that bottom level. That stuff is food dividers, or baran, that is disposable. I have a big box of 1000, I believe. It’s literally the only bento supply I do not reuse. There is reusable baran and I’m hoping to get my hands on some really soon. Not only do I like the fact I can reuse it, but they’re so much cuter than what I have, which is the exact same stuff they put the wasabi on when you buy California roll from the corner market.

But I digress, the top layer of lunch includes some Gummy Tummies, a small yellow tomato cut into quarters, and cut strawberries. Delaney scolded me when I picked them up because I did not include a fork pick to eat her strawberries and tomatoes with and her fingers got wet. :o)

You might recognize this lunch from the post I wrote a few days ago about Tatem stacking all her empty supplies up and our talking about what they want in their lunch. While Tatem ate everything but a single celery stick, Delaney’s lunch came back with the pretzels and celery untouched, and the ranch container open so there was ranch dressing everywhere. I hate cleaning up a lunch like that, so much food wasted and what a mess. That’s what really prompted the talk we had that day.

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Tuesday the girls begged me to let them take canned pasta. Now, I don’t let them have it very often, but I do keep a can or two of Chef Boyardee ABC’s & 123’s with Meatballs in the house. The girls split a can even if they eat it at home, so I don’t feel too bad about it. The pasta was kept in these new thermos containers my mom picked up for us during the summer and this was their debut. I like them because they come with a spoon that’s hidden in a bottom removable compartment. I also gave each girl a large portion of strawberries because they needed to be eaten up.

This brings me to an issue I am having. Ever since Ron and I first got married, I have always done my grocery shopping on Fridays. And it’s never been an issue. It’s the day Ron gets paid, so it makes sense that I would fill the pantry and fridge then. However when I buy delicate fruit like berries on Friday, they are often less than desirable come Tuesday. I think I need to save my lunch fruit buying until Sunday to that the fruit will last longer. That being said, neither girl complained about their plethora of strawberries. :o)

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Wednesday we tried something new. I often buy frozen turkey meatballs from Trader Joe’s and the girls love having them for dinner. I cook them with some Marsala Simmer Sauce and Ginger Mango Chutney that I also get from Trader Joe’s and it’s so yummy! However, it is too spicy for the girls, so I just give them the meatballs plain with ketchup. Since they always cheer when we have them for dinner, I thought I’d try them for lunch. One of my favorite bento bloggers, Wendolonia gives her sons the meatballs often for lunch, so I can’t take credit for the idea. :o) I wasn’t sure how the girls would like eating them cold, but they both said they were yummy, so, score! I just cut them into quarters and added a giraffe fork and ketchup in the little container.

However, the other new thing we tried was the applesauce. I’ve seen yogurt sent in silicon cupcake liners without lids in other bento lunches and the bloggers swear the yogurt doesn’t leak. However, what I didn’t take into consideration was how much more watery applesauce can be than yogurt. Yeah. So their second tier ended up being a mess. Lesson learned. There’s nothing worse than soggy goldfish crackers, so I wasn’t upset when neither girl ate them. However, they did both love the tomatoes. Those are from a friend’s garden. I don’t know what kind they are, but the girls loved them. The skin of the tomato kind of reminded me of a pluot.

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Yesterday they did get a sandwich, but I even stepped up the game a bit on that. When we had our talk about what to put in lunches, I explained to the girls that I could do really cute things with cheese slices, but that they had to eat the cheese. This was mainly directed at Tatem who often says she doesn’t like cheese and then changes her mind a day later. For this catwich I filled it with turkey and then cut the details of the cat face out a slice of cheese. I used American cheese which started to get harder to deal with once it warmed up. Also, I was a bit rushed, so I got sloppy with the mayo that I used to glue the cheese to the face. Along with the cat, they got goldfish crackers, small chunks of apple (with a pick so Delaney’s hands could stay dry), fruit leather stars on the apple, and some colored carrots. Tatem loves carrots and so when I saw a bag of colored carrots at Trader Joe’s, I just had to buy them. On this day I used white and purple, but there is also yellow and orange (carrot colored) carrots in the bag. Tatem, of course, loved them. Delaney still isn’t sold. As you can see, I cut the carrots into flower shapes. Cutting fruit, veggies, and things like cheese and fruit leathers into shapes is such a great and easy way to set the cute level to 11 on a bento lunch. And it really only takes an extra minute or two to do.

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Yesterday I decided to clean out the refrigerator while the girls were at school. I discovered a nearly full carton of eggs. I don’t normally buy eggs because my parents have chickens and I get their eggs for free. However, I picked up this carton for some reason and they were just sitting there, so I decided to boil the batch to have in the fridge for a snack. Since I was already boiling them, I decided to go ahead and try out my egg molds. I have only used the mold one other time and it was a disaster. The eggs ripped down the middle. However, that time I was trying to make them quickly in the morning and I thought if I let them set in the fridge overnight, I might get better results. I was right.

In today’s lunch Tatem got a fish shaped hard boiled egg, pretzels sticks, 2 pieces of salami and cream cheese rolls, apple chunks, fruit leather stars, and ants on a log in bite sized pieces. I’m sorry you can’t see the fish on the egg better, but trust me that it came out super cute. Because I was worried the eggs would rip on me again, I actually made 3. And none ripped, so the girls each got to eat half a star egg with their breakfast this morning.

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I don’t normally take photos of both girls’ lunches since they are often exactly the same, but this morning each girl got slightly different lunches. Delaney got a car shaped egg. (She was the first one dressed since Tatem had to take a shower, so she got first pick on what shape she wanted in her lunch) You’ll notice he also got twice as many salami rolls. This is because Delaney really likes salami and cream cheese. We sometimes have carpet picnics and salami rolls are a favorite for her. I know she probably would have eaten another 5 or 6, but they’re really not the healthiest thing to eat, are they? :o) Also included in her lunch was cheese sandwich crackers, apple chunks, fruit leather stars, and ant on a log.

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2 responses to “Adventures in Bento: September 8-12, 2014

  1. Jen L. says:

    I had lunch at school with two of my kids yesterday. I have to say even on my not so creative lunch packing days, my lunches look so much better compared to what I saw. With that in mind, trust me, your lunches look great! Keep it up! A little extra work on our part is so worth it.

    • knittingdodo says:

      Thanks for your kind words! I’ve seen what my girls have eaten when they’ve gotten school lunch and I’ll agree it doesn’t take much to surpass it, lol! The girls seem to appreciate my efforts too, for the most part. I mean, they are still kids, so they aren’t fawning over each individual lunch, but every once in a while one will hug me and tell me they liked their lunch that day or that I rock. And that makes it all worth it.

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