Tuesday, February 26, 2013

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Box 11

I had some leeks and potatoes that needed to be used up, so I made one of my favorite new creations: potato leek soup. Besides the soup being extra tasty, I keep the extra leek broth to use for cooking things like brown rice or quinoa later. Yum! The kid doesn't like anything pureed so happily I get all the soup for myself. 

Half Organic Gala Apple, Clementine
Chunk O White Cheddar
Sauteed Kale and Onion
Homemade Potato Leek Soup

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Box 10 and Bento 101 Assignment 3

Just as Ethan was starting to feel better, I came down with his cold. I did a lot of sleeping over the weekend and zero cooking, lunch boxes, or food shopping. Tomorrow, I'm off to the grocery store, but for now we're using up all the odds and ends in the kitchen. I hate wasting food, and the money it cost to buy that food, so I'm always happy to have a bare fridge the end of the week.

I started this bento with leftovers from dinner, quinoa and kale. Believe it or not, my kid still loves kale! Ethan will be delighted with the two stray links of homemade chicken sausage I discovered in the freezer this evening. One lone apple was left in the fridge, so I split it between our lunches.

Homemade Chicken Sausage
Organic Gala Apple
Red and White Quinoa
Sauteed Kale w/ Onions

Friday, February 22, 2013

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Box 9

Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef
Organic Gala Apple
Raw Carrot Sticks

After sleeping in until 10:15, my sick little man asked me for hamburger and apple for lunch. Along with beans and avocado on tortillas, "hamburger" and apple are hands down his favorite foods. I had some carrots leftover from when I was prepping my own lunch so I threw those in, too. Ethan was excited with this lunch, but was only able to eat a few bites. I'm guessing his illness has something to do with his decreased appetite and all those rejected bentos earlier in the week. Thankfully, his terrible cough is gone today. I'm hoping he's on the mend!

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Box 8

Scrambled Eggs
Vegetable Gyoza
Raw Carrots and Dip
A couple  Apple Slices

Poor Ethan has been sick with a really bad cough the past couple days. Yesterday, I was racing the winter storm to get him to the doctor before the roads got too bad, so needless to say, making bentos hasn't been a top priority lately. Today, though, I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch box. I ended up so full, I couldn't eat this whole lunch! I'm saving a little for snack later.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Box 7

Black Beans
Tortilla Chips
Homemade Guacamole
Organic Gala Apple

Ethan was pleading for black beans yesterday, so today I delivered! This is sort of a big lunch box for a 3 year old, but my kid can down tortillas, guacamole and beans like nothing I've ever seen. Typically, I make allergy safe tortillas from scratch, but on lazy days I just use tortilla chips. As seen by the pajamas, today was a very lazy day! Obviously, this lunch was a hit with the little person.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Boxes 5 & 6

Catching up on my posting ... These are the kid's lunches Sunday and Monday. Recently, E went through an eat everything in site phase. I'm guessing it was a growth spurt. Now he's moved on to the opposing, and frustrating, refuse everything in sight phase. He chose to eat only the strawberries in the first box. Not sure why he'd rather go hungry than eat what are typically his favorite foods, but that's three year old logic I will never understand. Monday's box went over much better, although I'd forgotten to tell him to save the chocolate for last (d'oh!). He adores Brussels sprouts so that was a hit and he ate some of everything in the bento. Yeah!

Turkey, Avocado and Tapioca Bread Teddy-wiches.
Yellow Peppers

Baked Chicken
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Corn on the Cob
Enjoy Life Chocolate Square

Saturday, February 16, 2013

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Day 4

Bento failure! I admit the kitchen is suffering with a bit of end of the week sparseness and the meal was a bit random, but I didn't expect such rejection! The kid ate all the bacon and one carrot. He was very unhappy that I messed with one of his favorites, green beans and noodles, by replacing the veggies w/ asparagus. Apparently, it was so insulting even the noodles lost their appeal! Not sure why he didn't want the pear. Oh well!

Rice Noodles and Asparagus w/ Olive Oil and Garlic Salt
Raw Carrots
Turkey Bacon
Green Pear

Friday, February 15, 2013

Just Bento - Bento 101 Assignment 2b

I'm on Assignment 2b of Just Bento's Bento 101, which entails figuring out what bento works for your own bento-ing needs. You can find her post on the assignment here. The short answer for me is that it depends on what I feel like that day. Long answer requires going though all the pros and cons of my own collection. This is an updated post of my bento supply since 2009. Original 2009 post can be found here. Surprisingly, not a lot has changed bento-wise, but there have been a lot of life changes since then including the birth of my now 3 year old son and the fact that most of our bentos are now the stay-at-home variety.

^ My first bento! This cute little rabbit bento was my official reality check on the actual size of bento boxes. It's as tall as it is wide and I find it hard to fit my own lunch into this thing as the width is only about 1.5 inches. However, it's a great size for my 3 year old son. Capacity 250/250ml.

^ I have 4 of these two-tiers Lube Sheep bentos. They each collapse into one-tier for storage which is awesome for those of us with limited storage space, plus you can use just the top tier for packing a small meal or snack.  I'm always impressed with how much food it fits. This is my go-to box when I use a "real" bento box. Capacity 330/250ml.

^ My second bento ever. I purchased this little cutie about the time I got my first rabbit bento. Once again, I was shocked at the small size. The box is great for snacks or lunch for my son. Capacity 350ml.

^ The Snack Bento Trio. I do love my Clickety Click bentos. Unfortunately, baby Ethan enjoyed playing with my bento supplies and ended up breaking the clips on the bunny cap. These are a great size for snacks or little man breakfasts. Capacity 320ml each.

^ Three-tier Metal Tiffin. I bought this tiffin awhile back, but admit to rarely using it. The containers are too big for my typical meal use and not microwaveable, but it's great for those bulky/high-volume foods like salad, fruit or a sandwich on a bun. The little tin got a lot of use for a snacky cracker container when I was pregnant with my son.

^ The Laptop Lunch Boxes. My kitchen was graced with the presence of a laptop lunchbox long before I dreamed of owning a bento box. These boxes are so easy to use and make eating a meal with several food groups nearly inevitable. I guess you could fill the entire box with nothing but spaghetti , but why?! I love that you can place a single inner container in the microwave without disturbing the cold food, plus it's dishwasher friendly, which is very important to me! Since this photo was taken, I've added a Bento Lunch Box 2.0 to the collection. Even though they are not technically bento boxes, I love these lunch boxes more than any of the others I own. My son has a lot of dietary restrictions due to his allergies, so we use these regularly to pack to-go meals if we're going to be away from home at meal times. The only drawback is that you should keep them upright to avoid spilling and shifting. Some of the containers have tops to contain liquids, but I find the tops always break, shrink or warp over time. Otherwise, it's been a perfect box for us! It holds about 3 cups of food which is roughly 700ml.

^ Last year, we added LunchBots to our collection of boxes. My husband has claimed the Uno for himself and uses it almost daily to pack his sandwich. Ethan uses the Pico for his school snack. It's no where close to full for his snack, but is a great size for a preschool lunch or large adult snack. The Duo doesn't get used much since it's not microwaveable, but seems like a good size for an adult lunch and the boxes are dishwasher safe except for the tops. Capacity is 420ml for the Pico, 600ml for the Uno and Duo.

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Day 3

This bitty bento was for my little man's breakfast. I admit, it's missing the protein element, but he's a hard guy to get much food into in the morning, so I'll take what I can get. He's loves to help me bake his special "safe" treats like these rice muffins. When he started helping in the kitchen, I was lucky if everything got in the bowl, but he quickly caught on and now he's able to dump everything in the bowl without making a mess. His reward: the spatula. Luckily, we don't have to worry about raw eggs.

Homemade Rice Muffin (wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free)
Grapes, Raspberries, Blueberries

Ethan, delighted, after helping me "clean" a spatula.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Day 2 & Assignment 2a

Today's lunch was an experiment for Just Bento Assignment 2a. The goal was essentially to arrange your typical meal's worth of food into a bento box as compactly as possible. I was really surprised I got everything to fit. The veggies had to be stacked on their sides to squeeze in the fruit. I'm not sure this box would have closed, but it was very interesting to see the comparison from plate to bento.

Bean and Cheese in Soft Taco
Roasted Zucchini, Peppers and Onions

Link to Just Bento : Bento 101 - Assignment 2a

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Just Bento - Bento 101 Assignment 1

Just Bento is having a fun course on making bentos. The first assignment is to make a list of packable foods, divided into food types. I actually have a huge list of foods that I'd typed out awhile ago, but I decided to simplify it for the sake of fitting it on one page. I admit everything is not technically "bento-friendly", but I pack mostly stay-at-home boxes so I cheated a little. 

You can find the blank chart and assignment info here: Just Bento Assignment 1

Oops! Unfortunately, my chart doesn't quite fit, but the next size smaller is unreadable. Oh well.

40 Days, 40 Boxes - 2013 Day 1

Last year, I started my 40 Days, 40 Boxes project for Lent, only to be side-tracked by some real life issues, when my beloved dog Addie was diagnosed with malignant oral melanoma. Somehow she has beat all odds and that little miracle dog is still with us. She's slowed down a bit, but still loves long walks, followed by long naps. I'm very grateful and consider the past year to have been a gift for us. 

This year, I'm really focusing on eating more "real" foods and less of the junky created-in-a-lab type foods. It can sometimes be hard to navigate the grey area, but I'm not striving for perfection here, just progress in the right direction. I've already cut out most fast food, from several days a week to once a month; have cut way back on the Diet Coke; and have cut out my daily portions of candy and chips. It's hard to believe my once healthy habits got so off track! However, I'm now moving forward. On to the lunch box ...

Homemade Cheese Pizza
Sauteed Asparagus
Red Cherries