Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chess Bento:56

As a first grader, sweetPea has the option of participating in several extracurriculars this year. Chess Club meets once a week for an hour after school. I'd like to say that she's learning lots of strategy, but mostly I think she's just having fun playing chess.

The chess board is a cheese sandwich topped with white cheddar and nori squares and orange cheddar chess pieces. Also included are some early fall cucumbers, broccoli, and the very last of the peaches for the season (sigh).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Beet Hummus Bento: #55

This bento contains Red Beet and White Bean Hummus, blue corn chips, a chocolate chip coconut zucchini mini muffin, yellow tomatoes, carrot sticks, and a small red apple. This isn't a particularly "cute" bento, but it's colorful and packs a lot of nutritional punch.

I know I've mentioned it many times, but I'm not a big beet fan. Plain roasted beets bring back memories of canned lunchroom beets slopped on my tray in childhood. They make me gag, to be honest. However, when we became CSA members years ago, I was determined to find uses for them that were palatable to me. Plus, they're packed with lots of good nutrition. This hummus combines the protein power of white beens with the added folate and antioxidants of beets. It's pretty darned tasty.

The apple is a cute little Rome that is pure white inside. sweetPea had fun picking this variety last Sunday. She called them her "prize apples". The little yellow tomatoes came from a friend's garden. And you might notice a bit of frost on the muffin. Often when I make baked goods, I'll make small versions and freeze them for use in a bento. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Apple Picking: #54

Today's bento includes a garden salad leftover from a Labor Day picnic, tiny cheese sandwiches in the shapes of apples, and an individual apple pie. I also included dressing for the salad and milk.

Early September never used to remind me of apples, but for the last few years we've been picking apples at an orchard called Hidden Hollow. They do use a small amount of spray early in the season, but it's the most natural apple orchard I've seen in the area. They have what seems like an infinite variety of apple trees and a lot of them have already started ripening. We were able to pick over a bushel of apples in very short order.

The first dishes I made with all those apples were two beautiful apple pies for our family's Labor Day picnic. While those were cooking, I put together miniature apple pies for sweetPea's lunches. All I did was put a small amount of crust in the bottom of some silicon cupcake containers, cut some of the apples from the pie filling into smaller pieces, and top with streussel. I then baked them for about half the time of the full-sized pies.

I only made three as a test, but I think I'll make more and freeze them to pop into her lunch for a special treat now and then. I also think I should have cut an apple shape out of crust for the top of the little pies. Anyway, I think they turned out awfully cute.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shikai Maki Sushi Bento: #53

Since I first saw this beautiful bento, I've wanted to try to make shikai maki. I had some leftover rice from making the ladybugs earlier in the week and I thought the rich red jewel tones from the beets would work well here. 

My first attempt was a disaster, but sweetPea was generous enough to eat it for dinner last night. I tried to add cucumber to the roll like in the bento zen blog example, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work. This roll, where I've only used rice and tofu, turned out much better. I've also included some sliced cucumbers, cherries, and a mini zucchini coconut chocolate chip muffin. 

Here's a view from above. sweetPea especially liked that the tofu makes a diamond in the center.