Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A House for Hermit Crab Bento

Eric Carle is one of my favorite children's authors, and today is his 84th birthday!  To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to turn one of my favorite of his books into a bento.

In A House for Hermit Crab, Hermit Crab spends his days decorating his new home with the help of lots of new friends.  When he finds his home has become too snug, he is left with the difficult reality of finding a new home for himself, which means saying goodbye to his friends and moving on.   

I have always loved this book, but our relocation a year and a half ago really made it personal for me.  We were, after all, facing the sadness of saying goodbye to many loved ones and dear friends to move to a new city and home, just like Hermit Crab

I hope I have honored Eric Carle by making this special lunch today.  His books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I know I will continue to cherish them throughout my life.
 What's in the Box?
Hermit Crab - Bell Pepper, Rice w/ Black Sesame Seeds
Decorations on Shell - Radish, Carrot, Squash, Celery, Bento Pick
Lettuce, Celery, Tomatoes, Squash, Carrots, Green Apples
Black Beans w/ Squash Fish
Strawberries, Blueberries & Green Grapes
**lunch is vegan & gluten-free**

Be sure to check out Creative Food to see more lunches celebrating Eric Carle's birthday! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

15 Minute Fridays - SUMMER EDITION

With the slowdown of school being out for so many of you, I have decided to host a SUMMER EDITION of 15 Minute Fridays.

I will keep this linky open through the beginning of September, at which time I will begin to host it again on a weekly basis.

I will still be blogging throughout the summer, so be sure to stop back by regularly. 

Now, it's your turn to link up all those quick lunches and snacks you make over the summer.  I can't wait to see them.  Be sure to show stop by the other blogs who link up, too!  
Bentos on the Bayou

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Vegan (and Gluten-Free) Summer Confetti Pasta

There is no getting around it.  Summer is here in full force.  For many, that means cookouts, potlucks and busy days spent outside.  Light meals that are fresh and simple to make are an essential element of summer.  One such staple seems to be pasta salad.  My family and I have never really been fans of pasta salad, so I thought I'd try to create a healthy recipe that we would all like.  

When I found organic Ancient Harvest Quinoa Veggie Curls Pasta, I knew that was going to be my base.  This is a delicious, gluten-free pasta that I have come to love.  I then chose vegetables that are in season locally and set out to make something delicious.  My family and I were thrilled with the end result!  It was so easy to make - literally just cook the pasta, dice all the vegetables up, and throw all the ingredients together into one bowl.  I cannot wait to make this again!  This is surely going to be a summer favorite at my house.
Some of my ingredients:
Look at all those delicious veggies diced together!  
We ate this pasta for lunch today in our EasyLunchBoxes, but this would be a perfect salad to bring to a BBQ or potluck.  
 Served with Steamed Broccoli and White Flesh Peaches


Please stop by "Stick To It Sundays" to see more Post-It Note recipes!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup...mmmmm

Despite the fact that it is already in the 90's here, today was a soup kind of day.  I made homemade Chicken Noodle Soup for dinner last night and was thrilled to have enough leftover for today's lunch.  It didn't make for a fancy lunch, but it was delicious and comforting!  It probably helped that we were eating at home, which meant we weren't actually getting out in that 90+ degree heat. 
What's in the Box?
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Carrot Flowers
Whole Grain Toast Flowers
Strawberries, Blackberries & Blueberries

Served at home in our EasyLunchBoxes.  
PLEASE NOTE: ELBs are not leakproof and liquids won't travel well / aren't recommended.


Friday, June 7, 2013

15 Minute Friday #12

Welcome to 15 Minute Fridays - Week 12

My fellow bento bloggers and I often receive inquiries regarding the amount of time it takes to create the bento lunches we post on our blogs.   Bentos don't have to be much more time consuming than a standard lunch.

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week.  As always, your lunches were fabulous and inspired me!  

Do you have a cute and easy lunch that can be made in 15 minutes or less?  If so, feel free to join in!  It's simple.  Copy the URL of your blog post (not your home page) and enter it into the linky below.  Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps.

I would love for you to include a link back to my blog.  Please be sure to check out the other linked up lunches, too!
Bentos on the Bayou
With summer here for so many of you, I decided to post another quick snack idea this week.  This one took me under 5 minutes, but was much more fun to eat than just piling it on the plate.
What's on the Plate?
Golden Delicious Apples
Sun Butter
Raspberries & Blueberries

Your turn!

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Black Bean Taco Salad w/ Homemade Chips

While my family and I do eat some meat, I like to prepare vegan or vegetarian meals for my family several days a week.  Today's lunch was a delicious vegetarian black bean taco salad, paired with fruit and homemade corn tortilla chips.  If you omit the string cheese on the side, this is a vegan meal.  The chips couldn't be easier to make - see recipe below.  I opted to use my new CuteZCute cutter to make my chips a lot more fun, but they could easily be made into standard triangles.
What's in the Box?
Black Bean Taco Salad (see below)
Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips (see below)
Kiwi, Raspberries & Blueberries
String Cheese & Salsa

Vegetarian Black Bean Taco Salad
Green Leaf Lettuce
1 pouch or can Whole Black Beans
1 can Black Olives, sliced
15 Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Avocado, cubed
Fresh Corn cut off cob
Very lightly sprinkle with Garlic Salt
Layer all ingredients and serve with fresh salsa.
Serves 3.
Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips
Fresh Corn Tortillas
Lime Juice
Coarse Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In stacks of 2, cut into desired shape.  I kept mine 2 layers thick for heartier chips.
Lightly brush the tops only with Lime Juice.  
Place onto baking sheet.
Grind Coarse Sea Salt over top of each chip - lightly.
Bake for 8 minutes.  
Turn each chip over and bake an additional 8 minutes.
Allow to cool.  

Bento Supplies:
Check out these other blogs to see the chips they made with the CuteZCute Cutter:
Biting the Hand that Feeds You
Eats Amazing
Bento for Kidlet

Monday, June 3, 2013

Vegan Asparagus & Artichoke Pasta

My friend Karen is hosting a new weekly linkup called "Stick To It Sundays" that I am so excited about.  The idea is to create recipes that will fit onto a Post-It note.  Now, I love cooking, so I was immediately intrigued by this concept and challenge.  I hope to linkup regularly and can't wait to see what Karen and other bloggers come up with.

One day last week, I lost track of time and realized about 20 minutes before dinnertime that I didn't have anything planned or ready to cook.  I opened the pantry and stared somewhat blankly at my somewhat barren cupboard.  I saw a package of Gluten-Free pasta and thought I'd start with that.  I started grabbing other ingredients and threw them all together.  The end result was DELICIOUS!!  I quickly jotted it down and am thrilled to say that it fit on a Post-It!  We had it again tonight, and it has already become a family favorite.  It couldn't be easier to make, either!


Be sure to stop by Karen's blog for more ideas!

Pinky Pie Pony Bento

Both of my children love My Little Pony.  I wasn't a fan at first, but I have to admit that even I think it is cute.  Each of the ponies have a very distinct personality, and each of my children have a favorite pony.  They both think I am a little like Pinky Pie - high energy and everyone's friend.
When I was at Whole Foods yesterday for my weekly grocery shopping, I was excited to see that they had watermelon radishes.  They are one of my favorite produce items, and they are beautiful.  I knew when I purchased them that I was going to make a Pinky Pie bento.

I was a little disappointed in these particular radishes.  They weren't as pretty on the inside as usual, and they didn't have the same mild flavor I love so much.  However, I decided to go ahead and try my hand at Pinky Pie.  While I can't claim this to be my best work, it still turned out cute.
What's in the Box?
Watermelon Radish w/ Rice Paper, Nori & Icing accents
Kale, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Yellow Bell Peppers
Kidney Beans, Broccoli, Carrots
Strawberry, Blueberries, Grapes

Same or Similar Supplies:
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