Friday, June 10, 2011

Unicorn: #45

For her last day of summer camp, sweetPea gets a very special lunch made in the shape of her current favorite mythical animal - the unicorn. It is a cheese and bread sandwich adorned with a radish flower necklace. She also has brocooli, carrots, and a ginger cookie that I broke into quarters so it would fit into the box. I included some ranch dressing and pineapple juice in separate containers.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ice Cream & Cookies: #44

sweetPea has some super tasty salads in her lunch today. We have had late August temperatures for about the last week so I've been loathe to do much cooking, especially later in the afternoon. I put together a plethora of salads that we can eat on for this week.

Counterclockwise from bottom-left: purple cabbage cole slaw, Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad (without walnuts), blueberries, Big Soft Ginger Cookies, a BabyBel cheese, and in the center is a piece of broccoli. They are decorated with little bitty cheese ice cream cones. I saw it somewhere the interwebs, but they're really easy to make. The cones are just a piece of cheddar cheese that I cross-hatched with a tooth pick. I wish I'd gotten a closeup, because they really do look like little tiny cones. The ice cream is simply provolone cheese.

The Verdict: Surprisingly, she ate almost every bite of this lunch. There were a few wheat berries left, but that's about it. It looked like too much food after I made it, but she must have been hungry. They're pretty active in summer camp.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Fun: #43

The bottom section holds blue rice with chive "seaweed" and cheddar and provolone fish. The top section has a rocky cantaloupe beach with a BabyBel beach ball. I also sprinkled around some blueberries for color. Mr. Pea saw those and asked if they were tar balls from the Gulf oil spill. I included a cute watermelon umbrella that I got at Joanne's Crafts for half price.

This blue rice turned out much better than my last disastrous attempt. The trick is to cook the rice first and then add the cabbage water. (If you're new here, you can easily make blue coloring by steeping chopped red cabbage leaves for a few moments, strain it, and then add a little baking soda. Voila. Blue.)

Ha! I just now realized that my beach ball looks more like a peppermint. Oh, well. Now I have an idea for next Christmas.

The Verdict: She ate everything but the rice. She said it tasted gross. Maybe I'll try using beet juice with a touch of baking soda next time for a blue color. I've not tried that, but I'd imagine the result would be the same. Plus she likes beet risotto so I'd think the flavor of beets would be more palatable to her.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"It's Not Easy Being Green": #42

Yesterday the girl came home from summer camp with a tadpole so today I sent her in with some frogs. My husband saw me making this bento and said, "Boy. That's a a lot of green." It reminded me of Kermit the Frog's song, "It's Not Easy Being Green," so I had my title.

She has broccoli, kiwi lily pads with carrot lilies, rice frogs colored with pureed peas, dried cranberries, and a two little strawberries. The frog details are made from nori and provolone cheese. I also sent her with ranch dressing to for dipping the broccoli and iced water with a squirt of lime.

The last time I turned rice green, I simply mashed peas around and stirred them into the rice. That resulted in weird green clumps that didn't look terribly appetizing. Consequently, sweetPea refused to eat it. This time I pureed the peas with some water and then stirred it into the rice. The result was a much more consistent color and (hopefully) a more appetizing lunch. She was very happy to take this so I'm hoping she'll be happy to eat it. Stay tuned.

The Verdict: At school she ate one frog, all the cranberries and strawberries, all the carrots, a few pieces of broccoli and one piece of kiwi. She said the kiwi was sour. She ate the other frog after school for snack.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Strawberries & Pineapples: #41

Today is the first day of a week-long summer camp held at sweetPea's school. They have a fairly normal, albeit relaxed, school day during the morning and then they have time for water play after lunch. The camp focuses on science. I hear that today the kids will be bringing home a new pet - a little tadpole. I guess I'll have to do a frog bento at some point. :)

We still have lots of strawberries ripening in our garden. In this bento, I made a strawberry & pineapple fruit salad. The only thing extra I added to the fruit was a sprinkling of sugar to allow the strawberries to macerate. In the right side are little strawberry and pineapple shaped provolone cheese sandwiches and a few baby carrots. I also included iced water with a squeeze of lime for her to drink.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Canoe: #40

Last Monday was Memorial Day. Since Mr. Pea was off work, we decided to fill our day with special adventures. Since part of the day would be spent canoeing, I made sweetPea a special bento for her very first canoe trip. In this bento are a cream cheese and strawberry balsamic jam on a croissant with a cheddar cheese canoe with provolone paddles. She also has strawberries and snap peas from our own garden and some Pirate's Booty.

What's that? Stawberry balsamic jam? Yes. I canned some of the best jam I've ever made on Saturday using strawberries from our front yard patch. Apparently, just a smidge of balsamic vinegar makes strawberry jam absolutely sing. 

Here are some of the beautiful berries from our garden and the finished jam. 

I also packed lunch for the adults. My bento contains egg salad on a croissant, pasta salad, and strawberries and snap peas from our garden. 

After a 7 mile canoe trip, lunch was a welcome respite. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures on the trip itself. I was afraid to take along my camera, although I think it would have been fine. I didn't want to chance dunking my camera in the water. I kind of regret it now, considering how many picture worthy moments we had. We saw a big fish chasing a little fish, loads of turtles sunning themselves on rocks, a mama mallard with her little baby mallards, a snake playing in the riffles, a dog wearing a doggy life jacket swimming alongside another canoe. 

sweetPea sat in the center while Mr. Pea and I did most of the paddling. We had plenty of moments of rest because the river was still fairly high and running at a lazy pace. It was nice to set down the paddles and just listen to the birds talk to one another and watch the sun sparkle on the water. It was a record day for heat, but on the river it was quite comfortable. 

No canoe trip could be complete without at least one round of "Row, row, row your boat." Apparently Pea thinks the song ends with "Like a spider dream". Ha!!

After the canoe trip, we had lunch in the shade near a dam in the Blue River (which looks pretty green, by the way). 

Our day wasn't over at this point. Next we went to Marengo Cave and took the Crystal Palace tour. It was a nice cool walk after a hot day on the river. There are loads of stalactites and stalagmites, culminating in the Crystal Palace room itself. I'll be honest - it's hard to take pictures in a cave, but here's the best I could do.

After the tour, we had the option of panning for gemstones (for a small fee, of course). 

We were pretty worn out by this time, so we headed home. sweetPea said it was the best day she'd ever had. She asked me yesterday when we're going canoeing again. :)

Summer of the Sun

I'm behind in posting again. We've been enjoying our summer and staying very active. Last week, my daughter decided we needed a new holiday. She dubbed it "Summer of the Sun". She made cards for us all and we made cards for her. She wore her yellow sun dress. 

What does this have to do with food? Well, like her mama, she has realized that no holiday is complete without some special food. She created her own recipe to celebrate her holiday. 

Voila! We have Sun Dip. 

In case you can't read that, I'll translate: 

8 Strawberries
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup of brown sugar

Yes, it's pretty darned sweet, but I let her do it. She even illustrated it, for heaven's sake. Plus, I remember how much fun I had when my grandmother let me make my very own recipe. I called it "Noodles". I think I was probably 4 years old. I used flour, brown sugar and either water or milk. I mushed it into a dough, cut it into pieces and baked it. I was so proud! I still remember putting a few pieces next to my grandfather's plate and him just munching them up like they were the best things he'd ever eaten. 

I think sweetPea was just as proud of her holiday and her special dessert. She served her dip with blackberries, clementine sections and cantaloupe. She prepared all of it but the cantaloupe.