Monday, March 29, 2010

Home Tweet Home

So I decided to make an entry for the Spring 2010 Bento Contest at JustBento. It was a lot of fun to make. I'm sure the competition will be steep, but that's okay.

I tinted the rice with home-
made beet vinegar. Other
highlights include mini grape
tomatoes nestled inside some
steamed Brussels sprouts.

We have a birdhouse on our
garage that both the birds and
the squirrels have been checking out this week. Spring is definitely here despite the flood of rain!

Stuck inside during the wet
weather, I fed the kids a
"picnic" dinner indoors and
everyone enjoyed Maia's
first showing of Toy Story 2.
She seemed to enjoy seeing
"her" Jessie doll come to
life on screen.
Ryan's lunch: asparagus maki; avocado & cucumber maki; mini rice triangles; sesame tofu; apple bunnies.

Only one more day to go before my raw 40 days are up! I cheated again this weekend when my husband arrived home from the west coast and was hungry for a good dinner. I couldn't just watch him eat it alone...

7am- Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar.
9am- 1 orange.
10:30am- sprouted chick peas w/lemon juice, scallion, olives, bell pepper.
12:30pm- honeydew melon.
3pm- apple slices w/almond butter.
8pm- pasta w/zucchini & olives

7:30am- honeydew melon.
11:30am- 1 Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar.
1:30pm- 1 orange; mixed nut.
3pm- 1 banana; handful of baby carrots.
8:30pm- pasta w/zucchini & olives. Yep, blew it when my husband got back!

7:30am- tomato salad: tomato, onion, olives, olive oil, sprouted chick peas
9:30am- bowl of honeydew melon.
11am- small container of raisins, sliced almonds & date pieces.
1:30pm- 2 bananas w/almond butter, agave nectar & grated coconut.
4pm- leftovers from bento prep!
6pm- a pickle; Raw Revolution spirulina & cashew bar.

Friday, March 26, 2010

pizza sandwiches

By the time my husband has been away for a week my creativity and patience has dwindled to this...

Ryan's lunch: pizza sandwiches; orange slices; steamed broccoli; roasted almonds; cucumber slices.

Yep, pizza sandwiches. Like I used to eat in high school for breakfast, LOL. I think my record was 3 days with pizza for every meal. I lived, didn't I?

Let's see, what did I eat thursday...
7:30am- soaked steel cut oats &
grated coconut w/blueberries.
10am- 1 avocado.
12pm- marinated broccoli &
portobello mushrooms.
3pm- banana chips.
5pm- spinach salad: baby spinach,
scallion, tomato, shoyu; honeydew melon.

I dehydrated 2 types of banana chips: cinnamon & almond/hazelnut.

Maia is very eager for Dada
to get home from his trip
this evening. Of course you
can't mention it or she runs
to the door looking for him.
Let's hope the freak spring
snow doesn't delay any
flights today...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

fried rice

Fried rice is one of the quickest, easiest, tastiest things to make in the morning when there's leftover rice lurking in the rice cooker. Toss in a little onion and/or scallion, some frozen or leftover veggies, and that's that. Peanut oil is my preferred cooking medium, but I'll use canola if I'm sending the lunch along to preschool or if it's going to be eaten in the classroom.

Nate's lunch for grandma's
house: vegetable fried rice;
honeydew melon flowers;
sesame tofu; mini banana
blueberry muffin.

And then there are always
snacks to be made...
more mini banana blue-
berry muffins; cucumbers
slices; baby carrots.

My muffin and cupcake
stashes have been running
low lately. Probably due to
the raw food eating plan.
I need to get baking! I can't
wait 'til next week!

Ryan's lunch: vegetable fried rice w/purple potato flowers; honeydew melon flowers; sesame tofu; mini banana blueberry muffin.

This was our very last potato from the farm. But I was impressed at what a deep purple colour it had. Not bad for a local potato!

Me, yesterday:
7:30am- apples slices w/almond butter.
9am- flax crackers.
11am- smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 3 frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup ground almonds & hazelnuts, liquid DHA, water.
2pm- 1 avocado.
4:30pm- dried zucchini chips.
8pm- Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar.

I just HAD to dehydrate some
zucchini chips yesterday after
reading about it on someone's
blog...but now I can't remember
whose! Sorry! I made three
varieties: garlic, kelp, and Old
Bay. LOL. And wouldn't you
know it, Ryan hated them, and
AJ loved them...the total
opposite of our norm.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

turtle & flowers

Come on spring!Ryan's lunch: shelled edamame; double decker flower sandwiches of smoked Tofurky, rice cheese, lettuce & mustard; soba noodles w/carrot flowers; steamed broccoli; cucumber salad.
Yesterday for me:
7am- Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar.
9:30am- sprouted quinoa tabbouleh salad; 1 banana.
11am- mixed nuts; 1 apple.
1:30pm- smoothie: 1 banana, 1 apple, almond butter, grated coconut, liquid DHA, water.
4:30pm- flax crackers.
8:30pm- 1 avocado; 1 pear.

If you're curious about my new favourite snack, Raw Revolution bars, check out Rawdorable's Raw Revolution giveaway! It ends March 30th, so get over there and comment to enter!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

duck pond

Oh the rain!! It was downright dark on the porch this morning when I popped out to take lunch pics. Ryan looked out and exclaimed "the yard lake is back!" It had retreated quite a bit during the recent spate of warm weather, but as soon as it started raining again the water level rose back quickly. In fact the children's room in the neighboring town's library is closed because it is flooded, and many roads are closed in the town just north of us.
Maybe these duckies won't mind the wet weather...

ini brownie; carrot sticks; steamed asparagus.

AJ actually asked for the
grilled cheez sandwiches
to be cut into shapes,
because he remembered a
snack from 2 years ago (!)
when I cut his sandwich
into a dinosaur. He has a
memory, well, like mine;
he remembers crazy details
and dates like that.

My food yesterday:
7am- 2 sliced bananas w/almond
butter, agave nectar & grated
9am- Raw Revolution chocolate
coconut bar.
11am- flax crackers; baby carrots.
1:30pm- 1 apple; 1 orange; leftover
miso soup.
3pm- salad: romaine, grated carrot,
olives, shallot, balsamic vinegar.
5pm- marinated broccoli, bok choy
& scallion in shoyu & garlic.

Monday, March 22, 2010

spring flowers

Spring is here! It's only March, but the April showers AND the May flowers are here already. And as Ryan would tell you, the Mayflowers bring...Pilgrims! LOL

Ryan's lunch: tofu salad sandwich; apple slices; Tofurky asparagus rolls; baby carrots; steamed broccoli.

I think my paring knife needs sharpening! It was mangling the apple peel (which admittedly wasn't so firm unfortunately). I need to become more adept at knife sharpening.

Catching up on my food from the weekend...

7:30am- smoothie: 1 peach, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1/4 cup blueberries, 3 frozen strawberries, liquid DHA, water.
9am- sushi!
12:30pm- 1 avocado; marinated green beans; baby carrots.
2:30pm- Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar.
4:30pm- mixed nuts; 1 banana.
8pm- tomato salad (tomatoes, snap peas, grapes, scallion, lemon juice).

7:30am- bowl of cantaloupe; smoothie: 1/2 banana, 1 nectarine, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 3 frozen strawberries, grated coconut, liquid DHA, water.
10:30am- some raisins, sliced almonds & date pieces.
12:30pm- bento lunch while hiking: spinach salad (baby spinach, tomatoes, scallion, shoyu); cantaloupe; 1/3 of a Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar; 3 baby carrots; olives; pickle spears.
2:30pm- flax crackers w/almond butter; an orange.
5pm- cold miso soup.
8pm- 2 sliced bananas w/almond butter, grated coconut & agave nectar.

7am- smoothie: frozen strawberries, blueberries & black raspberries, 1 banana, grated coconut, liquid DHA, water.
9am- flax crackers; 1 mango.
11am- apple slices w/almond butter.
1:30pm- 1 banana; Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar.
3pm- marinated zucchini; sliced tomatoes.
8pm- 1 avocado.

Hi Maia!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Restaurant Review: Prana Cafe

***July 2011 update -
Restaurant has closed***

Prana Cafe is the newest
raw vegan restaurant in
the Boston area. I was ready
for a treat while eating only
raw foods, but most decent
restaurants (not to mention
raw restaurants) aren't very
kid-friendly. Not Prana Cafe!

I didn't get any photos of the
outside of the restaurant
because it was POURING rain
the sunday evening we went. There were quite a few customers despite the weather, many with one child. In we walked with four! They had to push two tables together, but other than that, the play area accommodated everyone. Yep, a play area! At a raw vegan restaurant! And they have a kids menu! And vegan wine for the grownups! Score.

There were nice toys, mostly
wooden, puzzles, chalkboard,
and bean bag chairs and kid arm-
chair in front of a flat screen tv
playing kid-friendly dvds. Yes,
I actually got to enjoy my 1/2
glass of Australian white wine!

The dark evening and chasing
after Maia resulted in poor photos of the restaurant interior as well as the food...which I never seemed to get a picture of until it was at least half eaten. We ordered a lot of food, but for 6 people $100 isn't bad for a raw vegan mostly organic meal with raw ice cream and pudding for dessert! You can take a look at the menu here...notice "The Hello Kitty: Pasta" on the kids menu!

Each of the kids had different preferences. Ryan, who usually likes most anything, was rather particular; besides dessert, he only cared for "The Best Salad Ever", pictured above with what remained after he attacked it, LOL. He took one sheet of nori and made a wrap with the lettuce, then proceeded to pick out all of the avocado and raw croutons, leaving me with just some lettuce & nori. Thanks, kid.

The portobello "steak" was just a marinated mushroom with a nutty topping which I quite enjoyed, but my husband who usually likes mushrooms quite a bit did not. What I really loved was the parsnip mash on the side! But then I like parsnips. On the same plate was a heap of marinated broccoli, which constituted the bulk of Nate's dinner; I only got a few bites of the broccoli, but man was it good!

The other thing I really loved was the onion flatbread with olive tapenade. However there were not nearly enough pieces of "bread" (more like chips really) to consume all of the tapenade...and I was really heaping it on! So I brought it home, along with the extra parsnip mash, and ate it for breakfast with my own raw flax crackers.

Probably the least favourite among the kids oddly enough was "The Ariel Pizza-Pizza" off the kids menu. I think a lot of it had to do with expectations, because it just didn't taste anything like any of the pizzas they're used to. Maia was the one who ate the most of it.

My favourite, which only Maia also loved, was the winter squash ravioli with citrus cream sauce. The portion was again rather
small, but had a really delicate
citrus flavour. I'd have liked
more of some sort of sauce, as
there was only the smallest
dab on top of each triangle
ravioli piece.

What I failed miserably that
night to capture was the
artistry of the food and the
beautiful decor of the
restaurant. The presentation
of each dish was exquisite.
And as I always say...the
first bite is with the eye!

I definitely can't wait to
return for another meal.
The service was excellent,
the atmosphere lovely,
and there are so many
desserts (like the coconut
cream pie!!) among other
items that I'm dying to try!

Prana Cafe is located at 292 Centre Street, Newton Corner, MA
They have recently expanded to offer dinner hours (hence why we made it there!).

Breakfast & Lunch every day except Tuesday: 9am - 4pm
Dinner Sun/Mon/Wed/Thurs: 5pm - 9pm
Dinner Fri/Sat: 5pm - 10pm
Closed Tuesdays

Saturday, March 20, 2010

meals on the move

Only grownup bentos today! Woohoo! One for me, and a disposable airplane dinner for my husband.

& shoyu;
1/3 of
a Raw
nut bar.

I enjoyed my lunch alone at Grim's Crossing, a brook in the Ashland Town Forest.

The forecast for Los Angeles was actually the same as here in New England! For once I don't have to be jealous of my husband leaving, because in his words "New England is much prettier."
Husband's travel dinner: olives; toasted everything bagel w/Dr. Praeger's California Burger, mustard, onion & tomato; baby carrots.

Happy 1st Day of Spring!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


My go-to country is Japan, but when you're bored with lunch, choose something of any ethnicity other than boring old American food. Check out a book like Vegan Lunch Box Around the World, peruse some of the meals at E.A.T., or just Google "CountryX recipes" and you're sure to be overwhelmed with new foods to try. My kids love Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese. What are your kid's favourites?

Ryan's lunch: tempura carrot maki; avocado & cucumber maki; onion & potato tempura; blanched spinach; spicy baked tofu.
Me, yesterday:
8am- 1 orange
10am- sprouted quinoa tabbouleh.
12:30pm- large bowl of cantaloupe; mixed nuts.
2pm- 12 baby carrots w/cauliflower dip.
5pm- marinated green beans; almonds.
8pm- Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

whatever you've got

And then there are those days when you've got little time (or at least it seems that way right after daylight savings time begins) and not much variety left in the fridge.
Leftovers, snack cupboard, and the remains of the fruit bowl!

Ryan's lunch: leftover Italian pasta salad; mixed nuts; orange slices; peach soy yogurt on the side.

I don't believe it when people say their kid had to buy lunch because they had nothing left to make them. Was there any food for breakfast? Then make a brunch bento. Did you eat dinner the night before? Save aside a bit for a leftover bento. Went out to eat the night before because the cupboards were that barren? Leave a bit, get a doggie bag, and put it in a bento. Voila. It might be a challenge, but I like a challenge. And besides, it makes you use stuff up in the back of the cabinets and fridge that often get ignored. And it saves some money!

Off to go grocery shopping...LOL.

Oh yeah, for me yesterday:
9am- sprouted quinoa
tabbouleh over baby
10:30am- raisins, dates,
almonds; an apple.
12pm- marinated broccoli
& portobello mushrooms
(in shoyu, olive oil,
balsamic vinegar).
3pm- blueberries; flax crackers.
5pm- Italian salad: , zucchini,
broccoli, tomato, olives, onion,
olive oil, red wine vinegar,
salt, raw sugar, oregano.
8pm- Raw Revolution
chocolate coconut bar.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wear Your Green!

It's St. Patrick's Day! I may only be a teenie bit Irish, but my husband and the kids are very Irish, with fair complexions and some with freckles. Amazing we didn't end up with any redheads!Ryan's lunch: tofu herb ravioli; a green bell pepper shamrock; chocolate truffle w/green frosting; blanched spinach; pickle bites; 1/2 sandwich of avocado & lettuce.
AJ's snack: mini waffles;
cucumber slices; a pickle.

Ryan's snack: snap pea
crisps; cucumber slices;
a mini waffle.

I tried to get a photo of
all the kids together. Of
in his
and Maia
to sit
it's not
a bad

the day before:
7:45am- smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 a nectarine, 5 frozen strawberries, liquid DHA, water.
9:45am- a pickle; 3 dried apricots; 1 banana.
12pm- flax crackers; a pickle; an apple.
3pm- Raw Revolution chocolate coconut bar.
5pm- carrots & olives.
8pm- 1 avocado; small bowl of raisins, sliced almonds & date pieces.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

wanna bes

Another way to please kids at lunchtime is to make a lunch that looks like what their friends have-- packaged store-bought lunch packs, fast food, cafeteria favourites. Just choose foods that look similar, but packing it yourself will totally one-up it nutritionally.

& veggie

You can
dress up
a lunch
in a snap
with a
cute food pick or two. And
don't underestimate the
visual appeal of patterns
and geometric shapes.
Creating stripes or layering
foods looks fun, not to
mention your child getting
to build his own little
stacks of food to his liking.
Cutting foods into simple shapes that are unconventional for that particular item makes lunch more interesting--like quick circles made out of the soy cheese. So take a familiar food and cut it in a new way!

My food from yesterday:
9am- leftover parsnip mash
& tapenade from last night,
with 8 flax crackers.
10am- smoothie: 1 banana,
3 frozen strawberries, 1/8 cup
black raspberries, 1/8 cup
blueberries, liquid DHA, water.
12:30pm- gazpacho soup;
Raw Revolution chocolate
coconut bar.
3pm- small bowl of raisins, sliced almonds & date pieces; sprouted quinoa tabbouleh salad.
5:30pm- flax crackers w/guacamole.

I left the first bowl of gazpacho lumpy, but then tried some more after straining it. I think I want to try juicing the ingredients, might be good!

Monday, March 15, 2010

back to basics

It's gonna be a week of simple lunches, utilizing basic techniques anyone could use to spiff up a bento with little effort. First a lunch including some of Ryan's favourites...

Ryan's lunch: wrap pinwheels w/Tofutti cream cheese, smoked Tofurky, Vegan Gourmet monterey jack cheese, baby spinach on flax lavash; cucumber slices; apple slices; roasted almonds; gherkin pickle.

Half a piece
of wrap bread
is usually
First I spread
on the cream
cheese. Other
good options
are Veganaise,
mustard, a
creamy salad
dressing, or
some hummus.
Next come two
pieces of the
Tofurky, fol-
lowed by a few
strips of soy
cheese. Finally
I lay on some greens. Here I've got the first row done, to show you all the layers. Then I added a second row of greens. Always remember to leave enough space at the top to allow for shifting of ingredients when rolling. Fold up a short bit at the bottom and roll slowly and tightly.

The skins of apples, cucumbers & other fruits can easily be turned into a cheerful garnish with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. Try carving the letter of your child's name, or use a tiny cookie cutter to outline a shape before you carve. Don't forget to bathe apples in a mixture of citrus & water for a few minutes to minimize browning.

Food markers can be an even easier tool for creating familiar shapes, text or characters in a lunch. Betty Crocker makes an easy to use set of 4 basic colours, perfect for drawing on cheese or other solid materials. When you don't have time to cut nori or other garnishes, a quick picture with food markers is sure to bring a smile.

Now a brief summary of my raw food from yesterday...stay tuned for a restaurant review in a few days!
8am- smoothie: 1 banana, 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen mango, liquid DHA, water.
10am- 6 flax crackers.
12pm- zucchini ribbons with tomato puree (tomato, garlic, salt, olive oil).
3pm- 1 banana.
6pm- dinner at Prana Cafe!