Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I just like the colors in here and couldn't think of a name so I went with "pretty". Nissa went back to school but we skipped "after school activities" since I'm still on the tail - long, long, tail end of this cold/flu like thing. Annie has, thankfully, missed most of it and Norby was only mildly hit. So to the bento(s). The top tier has kiwi and apple slices decorated with cheese flowers and a few small cups of grapes. The bottom tier has pieces of grilled pork decorated with cheese flowers, edamame, and a few slices of corn on the cob topped with carrot flowers. We had a hot day here in the Midwest on our way to fall. On a side note, I've created a leaf monster in Nissa; every time we head out for a walk, she gathers more beautiful leaves to bring home. I like that kind of monster :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Octopus Attack!

So, I'd sworn never to do the hotdog octopus but look at me now, three in each bento, crazy! I admit, it's kind of fun. My aversion was because they aren't really the healthiest of foods but these ones are at least all whole chicken meat and like I said, it was fun. In the top tier, there are also some sautéed bananas and figs while the bottom has some zipper beans (edamame or soy). I'll see what Nissa does with the fruit, should be interesting. We kept her home today to get rid of that cough she has had and so she doesn't share it with her friends. She missed being at school, that's a good thing :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chef Nissa

Last night, Nissa sat next to me in the kitchen and did at least half, if not more, the work of making lasagna. She absolutely loves cooking and, get this, washing dishes! She's a keeper. So, in this (these) bento is the Nissa made lasagna decorated with cheese decorations and a container of poofs (Pirate Booty). The bottom part has decorated apple wedges and orange slices. On a side note, Oskar is now healthy but Nissa doesn't sound too hot and I'm getting groggy again. This is a crazy long illness. I wish it would get better or worse. This long drawn out in between stuff is un-fun!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baked Hearts

First let me start by saying Oskar and I have been very sick these past few days but today his fever broke and now, at bedtime, I'm finally feeling pretty good. We made it through his first fever quite unscathed, yay! Norby took over lunch duty and, as you can see by the previous post, made bentos too. Yesterday, I couldn't get myself out of bed to take a picture so I've no idea what they had, but I'm sure it was yum. In this bento, I tried something new, baked tofu. I bought extra firm tofu, sliced it in half, cut out heart shapes, marinated them in soy sauce/sesame oil and baked it for about an hour and 20 minutes. An hour ten would have probably been better, but the girls don't mind the crunchy edges. Along the edge of the baked hearts are some mashed potatoes and stuffed tomatoes (that rhymed, hehe) with some herb and cheese garnish with nori decorations. A word on the nori: don't use the teriyaki flavored ones for punching, they're too sticky! The girls prefer the plain ones anyway. The top tier has mini wine grapes, a few ground cherries and a whole bunch of little bits of string cheese. I hope it's enough of the foods they'll eat, another wait and see.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Papa Bento

I was exhausted last night after a day at the Renaissance Festival and just couldn't get it in gear to do the girls lunches so Norby took over and made them this morning. I don't know why, but it made me giggle with glee to see he was making bentos instead of sandwiches. I added the ground cherries and the picks but the rest was all him. Dumplings on the bottom, mini plums and mini wine grapes in the middle, and oranges, quail eggs and grape tomatoes for Annie with the ground cherries for Nissa on the top. Way to go papa!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why Not?

As predicted, Annie was worn out after fencing and just went straight to bed not, however, until she told me about her amazing new fencing partner. "Was she new?" I naively asked. "It was a boy and I've never seen him but he was good so he must have fenced before," said her glowing face. The wheels turned quickly in my head, "Oh and was he cute?". Her eyes twinkled and she said, "yep!". "Well that always makes it more fun doesn't it?" I said as my eyes twinkled back, hehe. Somehow, Norby's eyes weren't twinkling quite as much when I told him, lol.

I meant to just quickly throw these together since Annie wasn't working with me but in the end threw on some decorations... Why Not? :). Both have spaghetti with cheese and nori decorations (I really do love those girls), oranges, apples, grapes and mint. In the small containers, both have packets of seaweed snacks but Annie has more figs (Nissa's sideways thumb must have turned down, she didn't eat the ones I made yesterday) and Nissa has a fruitabu snacky thing. Well it's fun to watch Annie grow up and just as fun to have Nissa still at age 5. They are so much alike and yet light years apart!

Gettin' Figgy With It!

Yeah, I had to say that in the title, haha.  Annie sat with me again and put together her own bento, I'm really liking this new habit! The entire time, she told me all about the graphic novel she's written in her head and has just begun to put to paper. I might be biased (you know, being her mom and all), but it's incredibly creative and very unique. I hope she finishes it.

So the figgy title is for the figs in the top tier. They are surrounded by chocolate mint leaves and orange slices. I wonder if my mint survived last nights frost advisory? The middle tier has four slices of Scandinavian tomagoyaki (a savory dill version of the japanese omelet), some carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms and two quail eggs.  As per Annie's request, I didn't peel them, not sure how Nissa will take to that but we'll see. The bottom tier has cucumber wedges and potatoes in Nissa's with the addition of grape tomatoes in Annie's and of course some oregano flowers to decorate. I'm sure the frost has killed them off but they were nearly gone anyway. Maybe Annie will join me again tonight but since it's a fencing night, it might not happen. Oh well, I'll take it when I can :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Annie's Art

I picked up another of the metal bento like lunch box. Somehow it's just easier to design one bento for two girls and substitute the foods one doesn't like for something else. This time, Annie sat with me and made her's as I made Nissa's, how fun! She kept asking for tips and how to do things, she just may be making her own blog here soon.

In this one there are pork and chicken dumplings accompanied with cauliflower cooked a little in some soy sauce and some more oregano leaves. In the small tins are the last of the soba noodles with soy sauce/sesame oil dressing decorated with some carrot and cucumber circles. The bottom tier has a heart cup of dried blueberries, alternating slices of oranges and apples, and a whole slew of grapes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Flighty as a Butterfly

Quickest bentos ever! We went out to dinner after taekwondo, great idea in theory but time wise? Not so smart. Poor Nissa was stretched beyond her limit and even little Oskar was over sleepy. I guess summer is finally and officially over. Back to schedules it is, but not tonight. Hence the super quick flighty dighty butterfly Bentos. Nissa has the blue one and Annie the black. Both have tea eggs (hard boiled eggs that are cracked and then soaked in a hot tea, soy sauce and herb mixture... a little like heaven), sugar snap peas, carrot butterflies, sesame oil/soy sauce dressed soba noodles, cucumber butterflies, a couple mozzarella balls and grapes. Annie's also has some ground cherries and a cheese butterfly. Nissa was so tired that she was tearfully saying she no longer likes tea eggs when she checked in with me. I'll have to see again in the morning after she has had some rest. Off to bed it is for me now too!

And Piglet Too

Nissa woke up more easily than Annie today but really, that shouldn't surprise me too much. 1. She loves school and 2. Like her papa, she's a morning person. Annie, however, takes after me and needs a lot of just sitting time in the morning. It should be interesting to see how this pans out throughout the school year! Anyway, Nissa's bento has piggy carrots, star fruit, a piggy cucumber over cucumber bites all with some sugar snap peas strewn about (not sure I like that look a whole lot but there it is). The other side has corn bread, grapes with a carrot piggy, chicken with a cucumber piggy, and some more sugar snap peas all around. Third day of kindergarten today and I think she's becoming a pro!

A Few Leaves

Leaves are beginning to fall so I threw a few fall leaves in this lunch to celebrate and I'm going to ignore the 91 degrees predicted for today, lol. The top tier has star fruit, grapes, grape tomatoes (tons of green ones still on the vines, hope they turn red sometime soon), chicken and some gouda cheese leaves. The bottom tier has some corn cakes, sugar snap peas, carrot leaves, cucumber wedges and a container of herbed cream cheese for dipping. Second week of school is now underway!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Khaki and Color

So Annie mentioned that sometimes, the kids at lunch try to guess the different foods in her lunch. Well, this one might stump them. In the top tier are ground cherries. Norby saw them at the co-op and said, "let's try them out" to which I said, "sure". They are amazingly yummy, taste just like a caramel apple in my book. Annie loves them and Nissa gives them a sideways thumb for now. So, we'll see who guesses what those paper covered fruits are! In that tier is also a carved apple wedge, some strawberries and a sprig of chocolate mint. I told the girls to eat a leaf after lunch to freshen their breath, we'll see if they do. In the other tier, there are two mini nori punched decorated mozzarella balls, four chicken/pork dumplings, a bunch of carrot flowers and a few more grape tomatoes from the garden. Annie was a great big sister and didn't want to leave Nissa but knew she had to get to her own class. Very proud of my great girls who are now happy and worn out. Yep, schools in session!

Hello Flowers

I learned that Nissa does not, in fact, like olives at all. She says they're sour. Here I've been giving them to her for years because I thought she liked them. I'm guessing a big sister, who would eat olives for every meal, must have "helped" Nissa with hers, lol. So, no olives in this bento. The right tier has a few nori punched decorated mini mozzarella balls, three chicken and pork dumplings and a whole lot of carrot flowers. The other one has some sliced apple topped with halved strawberries and apple flowers all flanked by orange slices and some chocolate mint leaves. On to the second day of kindergarten! The first day started off with some tears but Nissa informed me that tomorrow, when I leave, she will not need to hold on to me. Such a cute kid.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kindergarten Princess

It's finally arrived, the big day! Nissa starts kindergarten and I'm excited, happy and sad all at the same time. She also requested the panda bento for her first day, knew I should have bought two of them. Nissa's bentos are going to add a new challenge since she is a bit more particular about what she eats. Most everything in this one, however, are foods she likes. We'll see! On the red princess tier, there is a teddy bear container of sugar snap peas and olives with a second teddy bear container of nori decorated fresh mini mozzarella balls. The princess has speared a kalamata olive and hearted mozz ball. Hiding in the corner is what every princess has, a pet (quail egg) mouse. They are resting on a bed of soy sauce/sesame oil dressed soba noodles and adorned with oregano flowers. The blue princess tier is lined with orange slices that are topped with fanned strawberries and adorned with fresh chocolate mint from the front yard. There are also two teddy bear cups of chopped strawberries covered with smoked Gouda nori decorated bears. I can't believe it's time and will so miss the crazy and creative kid called Nissa being with me every day. Love you Nunu!

For The Birds

Third day back tomorrow and I'm guessing the homework will return, boo (not really, I know it's good and reinforces what was taught in the classroom but it seriously cuts into our family fun time). Lots of color in this one. Top tier is sliced oranges and fanned strawberries. Middle tier has two birds nests of 100% soba noodles dressed with a sesame oil/soy sauce mix. In one nest are two quail egg chicks and in the other are three multi-colored carrot owls. Apparently, the purple carrot owl is camera shy and will only keep his back to us, crazy bird. The bottom tier is a separated caprese kalamata olive salad garnished with oregano flowers. Happy happy happy birdie chirpy day to you, to you (darn singing gnome birthday card has that song stuck in my head!). Now, on to Nissa's!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


My mom's favorite animal is a pig, or at least she said that once. I think there's something sort of Americana about them or else they make me wish I lived on a farm, with a Wilbur. I digress... In this bento there are olives, sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes and a couple of smoked gouda pigs with sesame seed eyes. The bottom tier has a pile of kamaboko (a pressed fish like imitation crab meat) with a couple more piggies on top. On one side are carrots adorned with oregano flowers and chives while the other side has dried figs (yeah, Annie loves them). Also, I snuck a packet of snacking seaweed in the cover for her. Finally, for the record, Annie loved the first day of school, can't wait for tomorrow but is even more excited for Thursday when Nissa starts.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to School Grade Five

I am seriously trying not to freak out. Back to school is a time I relish for Annie but not so much for me. I admit that I love being back on bento duty but I am one of those moms who really misses her kids when they're in school. Nissa starts Kindergarten on Thursday and to prepare, Norby took the day off from work to support both Nissa and me. So, Annie requested the panda bento and here it is! This one has press shaped eggs with nori decorations, grape tomatoes from the garden stuffed with cream cheese and chives, also from the garden. There are two little bear cups of olives covered with smoked Gouda bears also decorated with nori and all those little flowers are from my completely gone wild oregano plant. Annie says she's not sure she'll eat them buy will at least try one. The other tier has a handful of grapes and some carrot flowers along with a smoked Gouda flower both decorated with nori and finally, a little cute monster kind of face is sticking out. It's a pick in case Annie doesn't want to use her fingers :). Happy fifth grade year big girl!