We have a huge bush of yellow flowers growing wild in our yard which the the inspiration for today’s bento. The flowers attract a lot of butterflies but they also attract a bunch of black bees which the kids hate. Anyway, I wanted to take a picture of the kids with flowers to put in my post and it took sooooo long just to get a few shots. I had to shoo away the two stubborn bees hanging out by the flowers before I could even get the kids to sit by the bush. Then getting Sean to smile was and always has been an insurmountable challenge. If you have my latest cookbook you can see for yourself. Our family picture at the end of the book showcases Sean’s classic “smile”.
Out of 20 pictures today, this was Sean’s best “smile”.
I also wanted to send out a big thank Diane Ako of the Star Advertiser for her wonderful write up of my book yesterday! Happy belated Birthday to Diane’s super cute little girl, Olivia!
Here is a bento that you can eat with your hands! Mini finger sandwiches made with deli meat, were decorated with cheddar and mozzarella cheese butterflies and flowers. I also dressed up the mini sandwiches with cute picks and sugar eyes for the butterflies. Along side the bite-sized sandwiches were pretzels, strawberries, and a small side container of mayo.
To see more fun finger foods and bite-sized lessons check out Kawaii Bento Club’s Bento Summer School, week 2.
These are the cutters and picks that I used for today’s bento.
Rachel from Coconut Crumbs interviewed me for an article that she’s working on about nutritious bentos. I happily included my two cents and also volunteered to make a couple of nutritionally balanced bentos. I have to admit when it comes to actual food group portion sizes, I had no clue! I had to ask Rachel for guidance and she provided me with great information as well as links to the USDA site and CDC’s fruit and vegetable calculator which I found extremely helpful. I always (well at least try very hard to) ensure that my kids eat a balanced meal but I wasn’t sure about the exact portion sizes recommended by the USDA. Along with a cup of milk per meal, this is the recommendations that Rachel gave me to prepare Paige’s bentos today:
1-2 oz of whole grains (1-2 slices of whole wheat bread, 1/2-1 cup cooked rice/pasta).
1/2-1 cup of vegetables
1/2 cup of fruit
1-2 oz protein (1 egg, 1/4-1/2 cup cooked beans, 1-2Tbsp humus or PB, 1/4-1/2 cup tofu) Note: Most meat/fish, if shaped like the size of a deck of cards, equals 3 oz.
For the first bento I made whole grain peanut butter sandwich bento which consists of:
- 2 ounces whole grain bread
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 1/4 ounce of cheese
- 1/2 cup of fruit
- 1/2 cup of veggies
- 1/2 pint low fat milk
My second bento was a veggie fried rice bento which consists of:
- veggie fried rice (1 cup brown rice, 1/3 cup of peas and carrots, and seasoned with a little bit of oyster sauce, garlic, pepper, and sea salt)
- poached egg flower (egg cooked well) with a small cheese circle
- 1/4 cup of veggies
- 1/2 cup of fruit
- 1/2 pint of low fat milk
I made the eggs using this flower silicone egg poacher which was awesome!!! It cooked the egg perfectly and the flower slid out of the mold without effort. I got this set at the Ward Executive Chef for $8.50! If you like eggs, I highly recommend you get one!
Please check out Rachel’s site, Coconut Crumbs for great recipes and nutritional tips! Also make an effort to check out this post of hers…I am on a mission to make a beautiful nutritionally balanced pizza like that! Thank you Rachel for teaching me a lot about nutrition!
Yesterday I went to Marukai at Ward and found this package of furikake that will color your rice when mixed with it. You can see on the package that it contains 5 different colors to play with- pink, green, yellow, red, and purple! I used the pink packet for my flowers which I mixed with a little less than half a cup of rice to get the desired pretty pink color. To keep with the Valentine’s theme, I made the flowers looking at each other lovingly under the smiling sun. The bento also contains fried chicken and a pink ume soba decorated with the same heart picks that I used yesterday. The flavor of the ume is very distinct, so if your child is not an ume fan then you should go for something else like pink somen. The different flavored/colored somen that I have tried in the past have been much, much blander.
Hope you all have a great weekend!