Monday, June 28, 2010

A Farewell to Legumes

I've been sick for the past two weeks and not up to bento making. Now I'm finally feeling better, but have another challenge to add to my meal making list. Over the weekend, Senorcito had a bad reaction to split peas. Right after he'd finished a plate of the stuff, his eating arm broke out hand to elbow in a red bumpy rash with large blister type things. Since he already has a major peanut allergy and a soy allergy (both legumes), the allergist wants him off of all legumes until his next blood tests in November. This means no more of his beloved beans, no lentils, no peas, no green beans, and no more of the one cereal I thought was safe, because it does contain pea protein. As frustrating as it is for me, I feel really bad for my little guy. He just wants to eat and enjoy his food. He's not a big meat eater beyond ground turkey and was very displeased with the turkey breast and veggies I gave him for dinner. The doctor basically wants him on just meat, veggies, and fruit, plus breastmilk, of course. I'm going to continue with the rice, too, as I've seen zero issues with it and I'm not going to deny the kid his muffins and pancakes if I don't have to. Looks like I will be experimenting with meats, including those I haven't touched in over a decade. I used to be a vegetarian, so all this meat stuff is not only hard for me to deal with emotionally/ethically, it's completely foreign in terms of cooking! I have a kid friendly recipe for chicken apple meatballs, I'll be trying soon. I made turkey-apple meatballs previously and he loved them. Hopefully, I can continue to keep him interested in his food with this extra diet change. I so glad I decided to keep on breastfeeding, though. That should fill any gaps he has with solid food. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll start getting foods back before he weans himself.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Unfortunately, I'm at home with a sick Senorcito. He's got a terrible cough and congestion, plus he had an allergic reaction to something yesterday evening. At least, we won't have to worry about what to eat today. Last night's leftovers were already packed. I used the last remains of the already cooked sweet brown rice to make "breakfast rice" by mashing it with some banana. I tasted a spoonful and it was so good. E-man shoveled it in with much enthusiasm, so it's safe to say we both approve. I'll have to pack myself some in the future. Due to the allergic reaction yesterday, my son's lunch got a slight makeover after these photos were taken. The cornmeal crusted chicken was a new food for him, so I'm suspecting something in the cornmeal is the culprit. I replaced the chicken with a leftover stock of turkey that I had in the freezer.

My Lunch:
  • Cornmeal crusted Chicken
  • Asparagus
  • Character Shaped Rice Noodles
  • A portion of Plum and Nectarine

E-man's Food
  • Breakfast: Breakfast Rice and a Plum
  • Lunch: Chicken, Asparagus, and Pasta w/ Butternut Squash
  • Snack: Os plus Peaches and a few Blueberries

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Muffin Burgers Monday

I'm attempting a bento "class" online. This week's homework was to create some non-muffin food using a muffin tin. I experimented with a few foods. The one that worked was these turkey-veg burgers. They are a frequent item at our dinner table (and lunch boxes). Instead of cooking them in a pan, I just baked the burgers in a muffin tin. It takes longer to bake, but it's great to just put them in the oven and walk away. I also made sweet brown rice for the first time. It was so good, plus it was sticky which made it easier for Senorcito to get a hold of. Yum!

My Lunch:
  • Turkey-Zucchini-Carrot Muffin Tin Burgers
  • Carrots and Green Beans
  • Plum and Blackberries
  • Sweet Brown Rice w/ Carrot Flowers and Wheat-free Soy Sauce

Senorcito's Food:

  • Breakfast - Mixed Muffins, Banana and Cherries
  • Lunch - Mini Turkey Burgers, Carrots and Green Beans, Sweet Brown Rice
  • Snack - Cereal, Blueberries

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Muffin Mayhem

I spent the morning in the kitchen experimenting with different kinds of muffins. One important lesson was learned. The kind of rice you use to make the flour is very important! I've been using a short grain brown rice and it's worked wonderfully. Earlier today, I picked up a bag of sweet brown rice thinking it would be good to try for "sweet" foods like muffins. That assumption was WRONG. The sweet rice was way too sticky and I ended up with a gooey mess where I wanted blueberry-apple muffins. Oh well. Next time, I will have my blueberry-apple muffins! For now, I'll have to settle for Pumpkin-Quinoa and Pumpkin-Zucchini (I had pumpkin I needed to use up). On to the recipes ... which I actually wrote down as I baked to verify. For the record, I use a cheapie coffee bean grinder to make my own flours for my son's sake. I use Lundberg Short Grain Brown Rice and run the grinding cycle a few times to get the flour a little more fine. This is a textured muffin.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a single bowl, mix together the ingredients of one of the following muffin types. Pour batter into a lined muffin tin. The muffins will stick to the pan, so liners are very important. Each recipe makes 6 muffins. I like to mix and match my muffins, so I keep the batches small. For full size muffins bake for 20-25 minutes. Mini-muffins take about 12-15 minutes.

Any Flavor Muffins
  • 1 C brown rice flour
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1/4 C add-in ingredient of your choice (blueberries, apple, chocolate chips)

Rice Quinoa Pumpkin Muffins
  • 3/4 C brown rice flour
  • 1/4 C white quinoa flour (also home-made in a coffee bean grinder)
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 C canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 C water

Rice Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins
  • 1 C brown rice flour
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 C canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 C grated zucchini (I use a food processor)
  • 1/3 C water

Beachy Bento 2

This little guy is much more like what I'd pictured for my sea turtle. I couldn't decide between a rocky beach and a sandy beach, so I did both! Turtle loves Fishy, who is defying nature by strolling on the beach alongside Turtle. Food wise, the bento contains quinoa, black beans, zucchini, avocado, carrot, cherry, and yellow bell pepper.

June's B.O.M.B. Challenge

Friday, June 11, 2010

Beachy Bento 1

I'm experimenting with a beachy theme for HapaBento's B.O.M.B. for June. The beach always makes me think of aquatic life. My son has loved turtle's since day one, so I'm determined to work a sea turtle into the bento. I have a good graphic idea sketched out, but need to go grocery shopping. I didn't have any cuttable food that was big enough and in the right color family. Since, I've never tried to create any sort of animal out of food, I was playing around a bit today. It's definitely going to be a challenge! Tomorrow, I will go to the store to get food for the planned bento.

Here's my first attempt at a food animal:

Sea Turtle Bento
  • Purple Potatoes (w/ ground turkey hidden underneath)
  • Zucchini turtle
  • Carrot stars and Cherry Flowers
Star Fish Bento
  • Quinoa Os for "sand"
  • Blueberries for"water"
  • Nectarine for "starfish"

Senorcito had the Star Fish bento right after I made it. I figured the blueberries and cereal would turn into a blue mess if left to their own devices.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Inspiration

I love this kid more than words can ever express. The past year has been the best, scariest, most wonderful, frustrating, fantastic year ever! Senorcito fully has my heart. I imagine being a new parent is a challenge for everyone, but it's an even more stressful experience when the most basic of things, namely food, can be a poison for your child. I hate that he has to suffer through all these allergies, but I'm proud to have been able to provide him with so many diverse and healthy foods thus far and I'm happy he so readily eats majority of it. It's been a sacrifice to cut his allergens from my own diet, due to breastfeeding, and a time consuming feat to make our meals, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat for this little guy.

Back to Bentos 3

Last night was a raid the freezer for dinner night. As I was putting the lunchboxes together I was thinking about the fact that the black and white of the noodles and beans would be so much crisper and cleaner if I drained the juice and/or didn't mix them together, but then I realized the bean goo is what makes things taste good (plus it keeps the noodles from drying out). Forget aesthetics, I want bean goo! I also had no clean bento boxes, but had a handy stash of Laptop lunchboxes.

One success of the evening was that I made a fresh batch of pancakes after Senorcito was in bed. The boy and I love our pancakes!

Bento for Bambino:
  • Breakfast - Rice-Banana Pancakes and 1/2 of the Apples, Cherries and Plum.
  • Lunch - Rice Noodles, Black Beans, Peas
  • Snack - Mini Rice-Quinoa-Pumpkin Muffin, Mini Rice-Quinoa-Blueberry Muffin and the second half of the fruit.
Breakfast for Me:
  • Bananas and Blueberries (I warmed them right before eating. Yum!)
  • 1/2 Plum
  • Rice-Banana Pancakes plus earth balance and syrup
  • Rice Milk (not pictured)

Lunch Stuff:
  • Baby Romaine Salad w/ Sunflower Seeds and Asian Dressing
  • Salmon Patty
  • Rice Noodles and Black Beans
  • Apple and Cherries

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back to Bentos 2

I've been seeing purple potatoes all over the bentoscape for awhile now, but hadn't been able to capture a single violet tuber for myself. This week, my cravings were answered by one of my coworkers who happens to have an organic farm. A whole basket of the blue taters arrived at my office and I snatched them up to try at home. We roasted the suckers and Senorcito dove right in. My little food junkie has also started refusing his previous veg favorites like broccoli and yellow squash in favor of new vegetables like sauteed leafy greens. Its so fantastic, but also kind of weirds me out.

I've found the hardest part of making bentos is fitting the food you have to eat into the box. There's always holes to fill and food to shove in that doesn't quite fit. It's a wonderfully frustrating challenge and it's so fufilling when it finally comes together :)

  • Rice-Quinoa-Blueberry Muffins
  • Turkey Bacon spirals w/ Apple
  • Cherries and Kiwi
  • Roasted Purple Potatoes
  • Baked Chicken w/ a Strawberry
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrots

Baby Boy's Food for School:
  • Breakfast - Banana, Blueberries, Quinoa O's
  • Lunch - Baked Chicken, Sauteed Greens and Purple Potatoes
  • Snack - Peaches

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back to Bentos 1

I love looking at other people's bentos online. So many beautiful colors, textures, and shapes masterfully arranged. Unfortunately, I tend to get discouraged with my own creations, but like everything in life, I need to practice in order to improve. So here goes it ...

For breakfast today, I had:
  • A homemade Rice-Quinoa-Pumpkin Muffin w/ earth balance spread.
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Strawberries & Blackberries
  • I was supposed to have rice milk to drink, but I forgot! D'oh!

For Lunch:
  • Brown Rice
  • Carrots & Hummus
  • Refried Black Beans
  • Plum, Avocado & Okra
If you'd looked in on my lunch today, you would have seen me eating the refried beans w/ chopsticks. Somehow it seemed wrong. Fun, but wrong.

Senorcito's Food for School:
  • Breakfast was 2 mini Rice-Quinoa-Blueberry Muffins and a Nectarine.
  • Lunch was Brown Rice, Turkey, Avocado, Okra and Carrot Stars.
  • Snack was a portion of Golden Apple and Blueberries plus his Quinoa O's.
Dinner made it's way to tomorrow's bentos (already packed!). I've found a new bento sharing blog called What's For Lunch Wednesday :)