Friday, April 30, 2010

Imperial shuttle

Half way through making this bento I realized I shouldn't have! Ryan has not seen Return of the Jedi yet...I'm making him wait until he's closer to the age I was when I saw it...because I'm mean and evil that way, hahaha. Oh well...
Ryan's lunch: Tofurky sandwich w/ lettuce & soy cheese; carrots; cucumber wontons; green mini gel cup (you can pretend it's the forest moon of Endor if you'd like).

I was running short on time and went to get out the food markers to finish the details on the shuttle...and I couldn't find my set with the black marker in it! Did I throw them away?? Who knows. So maybe it looks stupid with blue, but whatever.

Hey, do you wanna lower my odds of winning a cool bento cookbook? Of course you do! Go visit Happy Little Bento by tomorrow and you too can comment for a chance to will a copy of Hawai'i's Bento Box Cookbook (second course), by Susan Yuen of Hawai'i's Bento Box Cookbook: Bentos and More for Kids.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

chewie soba

Chewbacca is camoflaged in a food jungle!
rice (I
ran out
of brown,
I mix
the two);
(with a
face of
broccoli; foraged chickweed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

cantina characters

So many great Star Wars characters to choose from! I think I like how Greedo turned out best...
Ryan's lunch: tofu salad
sandwich on wheat bun,
topped with 4 Mos Eisley
cantina characters; straw-
berries; steamed broccoli.

From left to right...the jawa:
flax wheat rollup, nori,
carrot...the green-eyed alien:
smoked Tofurky, cucumber, nori...big headed musician: corn muffin, black olive, nori...Greedo: gherkin pickle, black olive, nori. Everthing was adhered using either Marmite or agave nectar.
The drinks are soy cheese, nori & blue food marker...and carrot and nori. The little white ice cubes (or maybe money?) are just soy cheese.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

moisture farm meal

If you're working all day on Tatooine, I'd imagine a boxed lunch would come in handy...
Ryan's lunch: baked sweet potato strips; brown & white rice; smoked Tofurky; soy cheese; carrot & nori embellishments.

Making a rather monochromatic lunch and keeping it balanced nutritionally can be challenging. It also has to be made with foods that go well together, and that will actually be eaten. Cute lunches are great, but in my opinion they are worthless if they're not delicious too. I try my best to stick with the Japanese approach to bentos with more or less proper ratios of grain, vegetable & protein, with fruit added as a bonus (in this case Ryan had a fruit & vegetable juice on the side today, more than enough simple sugars for one meal). Sometimes fruit just lends itself well to carving or colourful kyaraben art, but I never let it replace vegetables in a meal. After this lunch, I'll just make sure to load on the green veggies at dinnertime.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Food Rebellion

With the conclusion of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on ABC friday night, I thought a little food rebellion was in order! I just picked up a new Star Wars Thermos at Target this week, along with a new lunchbox and sneakers for both boys (their shoes literally fell apart within days of each other over the spring break).
Ryan's lunch: small pbj sandwich on 12 grain bread embellished with the Jedi order symbol on soy cheese; mini corn muffin; a strawberry; 2 gherkin pickles; Thermos of vegetable black bean
with 8
and a
base of
(which is
most definitely a fruit folks! Though technically speaking so is the butternut squash!).

If you haven't already done so, please consider signing the Food Revolution Petition to improve public school lunches in the U.S. and the support the training of cafeteria staff.

Also consider contacting Congress to urge them to support the Healthy School Meals Act. To Learn more about it you can visit the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine's Healthy School Lunches website.

In case you haven't watched Food Revolution yet, here is a YouTube link to one of the highlights! You gotta watch! It's the Jungle Flames flash mob from episode 4.

I have noticed a lot of new beginner bento bloggers popping up lately, and a resurgence of posting on other older blogs. Yay!

And just last week I received
a new award from Heather
of Don't Forget Your Lunch.
She makes lots of cute lunches
for her 3 boys using the
Laptop Lunches system.
Thanks Heather!

I love the variety of lunch
blogs out there. If you're
not feeling inspired to make
lunch some days, just get online and browse what others are doing and you're sure to come up with something healthy and delicious!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

If I were a beaver

The rest of vacation week had its ups and downs with wild edibles.

Half the pizzas on pizza
night received chopped
chickweed and it was
fantastic! My new fave
combo is tomato, onion,
garlic, chickweed...with
sauce and Daiya shreds of course, atop my homemade crusts.

Dandelion greens made it
into (and on top of) grilled
nutritional yeast cheeze

However, the next day I
picked from a new patch
and sauteed them...not even
I could choke them down they
were soooo bitter!

On to what I thought would be a fabulous's Ryan after he helped lop off a dozen stems of japanese knotweed.

My goal was a knotweed crumble, so I did what I would mostly do for a rhubarb walnut crumble or the like. The boys helped, it smelled and looked fabulous. But as my husband said, it tasted great! Except for the splinters!! Maybe it wasn't QUITE that bad, but yeah, the thicker stems were horrendously stringy and pithy.
But can that be solved? I don't know, and the advice I've read is quite conflicted on the matter. For instance, The 3 Foragers recommend small young tender shoots...which makes sense to me because they'd be less stringy...but I did pick a few smaller shoots and I'll be darned if I could peel them before they'd either fray or I'd cut right through to the hollow core! The New England Wildflower Society (who runs among others the Garden In The Woods just around the corner from us) recommends picking the largest thickest shoots possible for easier peeling! They had quite a few recipes available online here.
I am willing to give it another go, but I'm not sure which is more prudent, though I'm leaning towards the smaller shoots and maybe they don't really need peeling?? Hmmm... Just so long as another beautiful looking dessert doesn't end up in the compost I'd be happy.

Another thing that DID go
over well, thankfully, were
dandelion tempura! The
boys of course loved picking
lots of dandelions. After a
quick bath and a patting dry,
they were ready for a simple
tempura batter and pan
frying in peanut oil.

I absolutely love these, and
will happily make them again.

As the spring season progress-
es, I'll be on the lookout for
more wild edibles to try. The
boys never tire of going out
and foraging our own food!

Monday, April 19, 2010


I love to look for wild edibles...but I need to increase my knowledge so I have more variety! Our CSA offered a fabulous walk & talk with a visiting expert on the subject 2 summers ago, but of course I had to go and have a baby and miss the whole thing. Bother!
Recently I have been enjoying blogs like The 3 Foragers. They are also from New England, so what they find is similar to what is in my local area.
So this week during school vacation I will focus on what spring has to offer here in the way of FREE food!

I began in our yard, right next to the house...

The top 2 pics are chickweed, very easy to identify once you know how. I have no idea what the bottom left plant is called, but I have been picking and eating it for literally as long as I can remember; I used to call it "sour grass" as a kid as it is very sour, reminscient of SweetTarts candy to me! Does anyone out there know its name?? Bottom right is obviously dandelions. All of the plant can be used, but I started with just the greens, best when young without a thick rib down the middle.

Not quite as wild, but often overlooked...

Rhubarb doesn't need
any attention to do its
thing. Just let it grow
and pick when the stems
are pink/red. Though it's
a vegetable, rhubarb is
usually treated like a
fruit and used in desserts.
It is also quite tart and
needs sweetening. Just
remember that only the
stems are edible.

There are many varieties
of violets, but the delicate
ones growing in yards and
roadsides and in forests are
easy to identify and pick. The little flowers add some nice
color to salad, and can make a lovely embellishment for desserts!

Now maybe there are some of you out there more expert than me on the subject. I've got a few books on my Amazon wishlist, but have yet to purchase anything.

I've heard that some varieties of sedum (top left) are quite tasty, albeit peppery. And what is this groundcover on the right? Or how about the lower left that carpets the forests in the area? Or the weed on the lower right that is EVERYWHERE around these parts? Even if they're not edible, I'm surrounded by them and would love to know the names of some of these plants.

After washing the greens
in a big bowl of water, I
stuffed them all into the
food processor with a bit
of salt and chopped them
up. Then added the rest of
my usual tofu quiche

I cooked up some onion
and bac-un strips and
mixed everything together.
Normally I probably use
about 1 cup of greens, but
I had at least 2 cups of
packed greens and I used
them all.

The result was VERY green,
and a bit strong, but Nate &
I loved it. The only person
who didn't finish his was
Ryan. I served it alongside
some potato & carrot home-
fries, with a touch of ketchup.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bunches of Bento

The beginning of the week started with Ryan being sick. Knock on wood, no once else has come down with anything and it's now the weekend. So I'll start backwards from yesterday, recounting the week's food...
& red

Thursday was early release for parent-teacher conferences, so Ryan didn't need a big lunch. He really wanted some of the pasta casserole for lunch, and everyone's new favourite bar, the Mojo peanut butter pretzel flavour. So there was no need for a that's a first!!
Ryan's thursday lunch: Mojo peanut butter pretzel bar; Thermos of comfort casserole minus the soy cheese but with zucchini added in addition to the other vegetables.

Ryan's wednesday lunch: 4 bean salad; baby carrots; mini corn muffin; sou cheese strips; black olives; tiny gherkin pickle; cucumber slices; fresh fruit salad (pineapple, orange, strawberry, grape).

Stay tuned for some foraging of wild edibles!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thanks iCarly

Lots of activities kept me from the computer this weekend. Then sunday evening I came home with a raging headache and couldn't bear to sit in front of the glaring screen. And today Ryan was coughing and blowing his nose from all of the pollen. Unfortunately I can't really sympathize because I don't have any allergies, but my husband and his sister are experiencing similar symptoms.

2 sand-
and soy

At home, here is one of
Maia's meals: peanuts,
bbq rice/soy crisps, straw-
berries & pineapple, pickle
pieces, soup bits, cucumber

It's easy to make soup into
finger food if you just pick
out the chunks and serve them on a plate...less mess!

But Ryan had something much more, erm, interesting in store for us this weekend...spaghetti tacos??! He got the idea from the tv show iCarly...
Actually, they weren't how about spaghetti taco dip? hahaha

Here's Maia picking up AJ from kindergarten in the rain...her first time wearing a raincoat:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Iron Chef Ryan

I had always told Ryan that when he was 8 he could start using the stove with supervision. Actually, first it was 10, but I lowered it to 8. Well, he's 7 1/2 and I caved and let him cook his own main dish for today's bento...

rice w/

hat is
out of
and the smile is a piece of an Eco-Planet vegan cheddar cracker--often the smiling suns separate in the box and become a smiley face and the sun's corona.

Ryan has also been making his
own breakfasts recently. Often
by the time I bring Maia down-
stairs he's already eating, and
he gets food for his siblings too.
It took some explaining for him
to master the crazy settings on
our double wide toaster though!

Next I have to be brave and
let him use sharp knives! He
really wants to prepare more
things himself, but so much of
it requires knife skills... I think
I'll go buy some bigger band-
aids just in case!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

post easter temps

Record highs in the mid-80s here today! Makin' me crazy! Playing hookie from the blog, among other things...Ryan's lunch: hummus; smoked almond crackers; Annie's chocolate chip bunny cookies; carrots; celery sticks; strawberry; mini banana blueberry muffin; cucumber slices.

Pics from sunday...

In the afternoon the kids did a second hunt at their cousins' house...
The kids loved watching
two of their older cousins
hunt for eggs they'd hidden
for each other. It got a little

Ryan admitted on the way
home that he'd eaten THIRTY
Swedish Fish candies (the big
size, not the minis)! He didn't
go to school due to a stomach-
ache, LOL.