Monday, May 23, 2016

Bento (195) - Zucchini Boat Bento

Sadly, while this bento is one of the more visually pleasing bentos that I've made, Goose was not fond of the zucchini boat (which is essentially a hollowed out zucchini stuffed with browned meat/onions/tomato sauce/etc.).  :P  Upper left hand side was an attempt to see if celery was an acceptable mode of transportation for hummus.  Nope.  Bottom left was a round of sandwich meat pinwheels to beef up the protein (no pun intended) and blueberries to fill in all the little holes that were leftover.  Red fruit to either side of the zucchini boat was raspberries.  All in all, I call it a success--but will likely never make it again.  >.<

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bento (194) - Chicken Apple Skewers with Kale Salad and Watermelon

Ack!  Once again, I have fallen behind in posting.  The good news is that I have lots of bento pictures lined up and patiently waiting for their turn.  :P

Today's lunch (or yesterday's lunch, or last week's lunch, something along those lines....) was chicken apple skewers over brown rice.  Top right is a kale salad mix with blueberries and a panda sauce-holder filled with the world's yummiest balsamic vinegar.  ::drool::  I had to buy a new bottle at Nature's Grocer, and the girl at the checkout was super-excited.  She asked if I had a chance to try the vinegar, and I told her that I most certainly did NOT drink the first bottle...  >.<  (And you can't prove it!)

Lower right-hand corner is watermelon and pumpkin seeds. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bento (193) - Imitation Crab and Avocado Salad

Today's lunch was an old favorite...imitation crab chunks with sliced up avocado.  The avocado has been coated with fresh lemon juice to keep it from turning unappetizing shades of brown.  My family loves the sharp lemon tang this adds to the dish--but if you aren't so fond of sharp citrus, you can quickly run the avocado through heavily salted water and it should still do the job.  Upper right is watermelon with a blue elephant food pick, and bottom right was my sad attempt to add carbs by having quinoa crackers and a store-bought garlic/apple topping that I purchased from Garlic Festival.  Because apples.  And garlic.  And no, Goose didn't eat it.  >.<

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bento (192) - Ham and Pineapple Skewers (and a glimpse into my bento making madness)

It's been a long time since I did a bento "how to" (and really, these things would probably work out better if I planned them in advance), but as I was making today's pineapple and ham skewer bento, I thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into my bento making madness...which is also a small confession that, while the end-product may end up looking decent most of the time, it's mostly the product of me half-panicking around the kitchen in the morning.

For those who just want the usual quick summary--today's bento was ham and pineapple skewers.  Top right is home-made salsa and pineapple with a single accent blueberry (because I'm snobby like that).  Bottom right is store-bought quinoa crackers (which are a lot like rice cakes), blueberries, and a silicone flower cup filled with almond slivers, chocolate chips, and an accent raspberry (because I couldn't let the blueberries hog all the action).  You may now ignore the rest of my blog post if you so desire.

First, I began by putting in a handful of lettuce to act as a back-drop and support for the ham and pineapple skewers.

 Next, I made sure that I had an adequate supply of cubed ham and pineapples.  Next time I might try some fancy marinating...but for today, I was keeping it sweet and simple.

 For each skewer, I applied one piece of pineapple and one piece of ham.  It helps that I have adorable animal shaped skewers, but really, in a pinch, toothpicks would do just fine.

 I kept adding additional skewers.  Note that I alternated the order of the pineapple and ham in order to add some color contrast.

 Add skewers until no other skewer can fit in the lettuce pool.  The octopus skewer proved to be too tall, so his ham and pineapple goodness was sacrificed to the maker and he was banished to the cutting board, and later a bath of dish soap followed by a time-out on the dish-drying mat.

 Here I felt rather proud of myself for finishing the main part of the bento.  This was shortly followed by the realization that I had no idea what to give Goose for sides.  When in doubt, I break out the cute silicone holders and hope for sudden inspiration (see my earlier note about trying to plan my bento before doing a "how to make a bento blog in the future).  Salsa!  I have leftover salsa in the fridge.  Then it's just a matter of finding crackers or chips!

 After shuffling through the pantry, I found the quinoa crackers...which were slightly too big.  A few minutes with a chef's knife reduced them to proper size.  They didn't turn out exactly uniform.  I make no apologies!

 Then I filled the cup with salsa...and suddenly realized that any salsa spillover would result in soggy crackers for Goose.  Given the high occurrence rate of bento tip-overs, I decided it would be safer to move the crackers to a compartment with no liquid components. 

 Of course...that begged the question of what food I could use that would survive a salsa spill and still be edible.  After a few minutes of racking my brain, I realized the salsa was fruit-based (peaches), and I HAD AN ENTIRE TUPPERWARE CONTAINER OF PINEAPPLE sitting right in front of me.  ::face-palm::

I then used blueberries to fill in all the spaces around the remaining silicone flower cup.  I figured blueberries wouldn't make the quinoa crackers soggy unless Goose managed to apply a massive amount of force to his bento (like throwing it under a car tire).  I thought the Salsa and pineapple lacked a little color, so I went ahead and threw one blueberry up top, just to be artsy.

 Then I filled the silicone cup with almond slivers and chocolate (mostly out of desperation).  Of course, once I had already filled the cup, it dawned on me that the crackers and blueberries have a very similar color scheme to the chocolate chips and almond slivers.  ::second face palm::

 I fixed it by adding a freeze-dried strawberry.  ' 

 Ta da!  >.<  A totally beautiful, put-together bento that really didn't take 20 minutes longer than I thought.  Really.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bento (191) - Turkey Zucchini Poppers with Sriracha Sauce

I went back in search of the chicken zucchini poppers recipe...and it had disappeared!  Ack!  I found a similar recipe for turkey zucchini poppers--but having made it both ways, I must say I definitely prefer the ground chicken version!  This bento wasn't the most attractive thing I've ever made (too much brown...yech!) but I tried to liven it up with little drops of red sriracha sauce and a kiwi sauce container (which is filled with dijon mustard).  What can I say?  Goose has odd taste buds.  :P

Left is three turkey/zucchini poppers over brown rice with dabs of sriracha sauce.  Top right was leftover brussel sprouts and bacon from a dinner earlier that week.  Bottom was a rather sad looking leftover banana/grape/blueberry fruit salad that would have been much brighter colors if I had made it that morning--but I can't do it all, people!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Bento (190) - Turkey and Pepperoni Pinwheels (Again) and Chocolate Chia Pudding

So this bento resembles bento 188, but I had to post and share a rather amusing story.  We tried making a batch of chocolate chia pudding, which is essentially chia seeds, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, and almond or coconut milk.  Overall, it came out pretty tasty (and has a bizarre consistency a lot like tapioca pudding)--but Goose wouldn't eat it until I drizzled a little honey over the top.  Now that you have the backstory, I present Goose's bento. 

Long story short, Goose snubbed the pudding.  Why?  Because by lunch time, the honey had absorbed into the pudding. so he assumed I had failed to apply the appropriate level of raw sugar to his bento.  :P :P :P  But in an amusing twist of fate--I HAD PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE.  Mu ha ha ha!

Top left was green grape/blueberry salad, top right was the chocolate chia pudding (with honey), and bottom half was the ever lovely turkey pepperoni pinwheels with appropriately adorable animal skewers.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bento (189) - Almond Butter and Sliced Banana Sandwich

Today's lunch was an almond butter (like peanut butter--only made with almonds) sandwich with honey and sliced bananas.  Goose had a literal side salad (kale and mixed greens) with raw pumpkin seeds.  The orange container was mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a quick and easy salad dressing.  Lucky for me Goose loves vinegar!  To the far right is a watermelon/purple grape salad and a small cup filled with macadamia nuts and chocolate chips. 

Sadly--this lunch was only half-eaten as a fried chicken sandwich at school proved more enticing.  :P :P :P  Not that I blame Goose.  This was our first try at non-gluten bread, and we discovered brown rice bread was not to our taste (looks great--crumbles like a batch of dry brown sugar).  Since then, we've discovered a much better brand that tastes and behaves in a much more bread-like manner (Canyon Bakehouse, in case anyone out there is wondering).  Yay!  :)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bento (188) - Turkey Pepperoni Pinwheels with Sweet Potato and Grapes

Today's lunch was turkey/pepperoni pinwheels (held together with plastic skewers), honey-glazed sweet potatoes with pumpkin seeds, and green grapes.  Goose didn't care for the sweet potatoes, but announced I had finally figured out a way to make him eat turkey, so I'll call that a thumbs up on the pinwheel bites...which are also super-easy to make!  You just lay down a piece of thick cut turkey and two pieces of pepperoni, roll tightly, then use a chef's nice to slice the roll into these cute little circles.  The skewers serve to pin the meat in place and as handy little handles.  As a bonus, I got to eat the leftovers.  Yum!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bento (187) - Chicken Apple Skewers

Today's lunch was chicken apple skewers with a side container of watermelon/grape salad and a salted cucumber/pickled garlic and pickled jalapeno vegetable arrangement.  Sadly, I over salted the cucumbers in an attempt to quick pickle them--and so Goose wisely left them mostly untouched.  :P :P :P  For the skewers, I used leftover chicken bits from an earlier dinner (dijon mustard and lime marinated chicken) and an apple pear...but this recipe would work just as well with simple chicken cubes seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and a standard red apple.  I would love to take credit for the pickled garlic (pickled veggie experiments coming soon...woot!), but I confess these were store-bought from the Garlic Festival which (oddly enough) sells their delicious wares at various Renaissance festivals (  Om nom nom nom.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Bento (186) - Chicken Zucchini Poppers with Guacamole and Totally Unrelated Smiley Face Pancakes

Today's lunch was chicken zucchini poppers (which are essentially meatballs) with a mandarin orange/blueberry salad and a side of homemade guacamole.  The corn tortilla chips are store bought (a brand called Simply Sprouted sriracha corn tortilla chips).

And just to prove it runs in the family.... Goose was adding banana slices and split cashews to his pancakes this morning and made these cute little guys without any prompting from me at all.  >.<  It's good to know I'm corrupting the next generation.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bento (185) - Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potato

Day two of the awkward bento box.  Leftovers!  The left is essentially an enchilada recipe: bison (yes I use bison instead of hamburger), onions, garlic, and home-made enchilada sauce over a chopped up sweet potato.  Top right is a mandarin orange and blueberry salad, and lower right is celery with almond butter and raisins (also known as "ants on a log").  Flowers are thin-sliced carrots that I hit with a vegetable cutter.  Goose was skeptical--but eventually announced I finally had found a way to make him eat celery.  :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Bento (184) - Absolutely Adorable Egg-Salad Sandwiches

Wow.  Who knew my bento page still existed?  :P

Soooo...before I get to posting the yummies, I have to add a little bit of a disclaimer.  I recently enrolled Goose in a tutoring program that recommends temporarily putting your kiddo on an elimination diet (likely to test for allergies).  Why the disclaimer?  I have to cut gluten, dairy, and refined sugar out of Goose's diet (in addition to limiting soy and eggs), which means most of my usual recipes are no longer suitable for this particular nutrition plan.  So, I'm experimenting...and some of these bentos may be lacking in veggies or fruits or carbs.  Hey, I'm working on it!

Day 1:  Absolutely Adorable Egg-Salad Sandwiches (don't judge!  It was right after Easter and we had to do SOMETHING with all those eggs and the rest of the bread).

I ordered some sandwich stampers from J-Box.  Highly, highly recommend.  Very easy to use and made absolutely adorable miniature sandwiches.  Sides are mandarin oranges and an umeboshi plum and carrots, snap peas, and broccoli with a dab of almond butter (like peanut butter, only with almonds).

The program provided a bento box (score!)--which I later decided was very awkward to work with and clean (not so awesome).