Thursday, December 20, 2012

Niblets for the Nisse

The Nisse are pleased with these vittles. Grapes, sugar snap peas, and cherry tomatoes on the left with smoked salmon, the last of the kamaboko, and a lussekatter bun to round it out. Tomorrow is the last day before break and I've got one little Nissa home with an upset tummy. Hopefully she'll be back at it soon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The Nisse are trying to filch Annie's lunch today. They want her chocolate trees and mushrooms, her cheesy soldiers and snow. They are dangerously close to her kamaboko fish in the middle and are partial to the dill marinated cucumbers, pickles, and cheesy tree. Christmas is close and that always makes the Nisse hungry but still happy little nuts!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas is Coming!

It's been a month full of celebrations with lots more to come! I've been making bentos but not posting. I admit, its because I've used most of my online time to look for present ideas. Also, after last Friday, I was distracted by a gamut of emotions surrounding the great tragedy. But here I am tonight, snuggled in with the baby (can you call a two year old a baby anymore?) and done with my online window shopping. As I looked through my pictures, I found a few bentos from the past few weeks and figured, it's about time! Most of these are accompanying bentos, meaning I included a thermos of this, that, and the other thing. Two pictures are nearly the same except that one shows the this, that, and the other thing as a homemade burrito wrapped in foil, sometimes I do that with chicken too. I'm going to come back later and give more details but here's a few of the unusual things in these - gjetost cheese, pickled herring, lussekatter (lucia buns), mini apples, and cream cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes just to name some. So anyway, here they are:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two Flowers

For dinner I made an inside put cottage pie, which means I was too late to put the fixings in a casserole dish and in the oven so I served them separately. The filling is just burger, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and frozen green beans. I added some chipotle but only a little for flavor or the kids veto the whole thing. Not much more for seasoning besides pepper and salt. It was pretty good and very much a comfort food. That goes with the garlic mashed potatoes which are holding the two carrot green bean flowers. In the top tier is a container of chocolate "mushrooms" and a container of raisins/dried cranberries surrounded by pretzel bites and apple cinnamon snackers (I don't remember their real name). And that's it for the week! Nissa opted for hot lunch for all of December so I'm back to single bentos for a bit. Easier or not easier, that is the question... I cannot yet answer.

Mini Bao

So these aren't really mini bao (bun) which, if they were, would have more of a bread dough around the filling. These have a dumpling wrapper around the filling in the shape of a little bao. So they are more of a bao shaped dumpling but the girls loved them anyway. In Annie's on the left, she has some mini carrot heart garnishes, a middle tier of kiwi and raspberries, and a top tier of carrot flowers and some fresh peas. Nissa's on the left is the same ingredients but with a different layout and fewer carrots.

Red and Green

It's after Thanksgiving so I can use Christmas colors without guilt! Who am I kidding, I'd use them anyway. With Norby's coaching, I made my first noodle stir fry. I'm always shaky on the sauce and seasoning but it worked and it was yum! So that's what the girls get for lunch. A vegetable noodle stir fry seasoned with oyster, soy, and fish sauce as well as some rice vinegar. See, on my own I would never mix all those things but Norby helped and it was just right. On top of the stir fry and in the middle tier are pieces if kamaboko (surimi pressed into a log like shape). On top of the surimi are some fresh peas and the top tier has kiwi slices with raspberries. Christmas here we come!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


It's definitely the winter holiday season. Eggnog and cranberries have arrived. Since I can't put eggnog in their lunches, I added sweetened cranberries. They've already eaten the rest silly kids. I added some regular and mini onigiri seasoned with a beef tomato furikake (a seasoning mix) and wrapped in seaweed. There's also a couple slices of bread to go with their thermoses. Annie had leftover spaghetti and Nissa had Annie's (the company not the kid) organic ravioli. Lastly, I added a container of buttered popcorn as a snack. That oughta hold 'em!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Mini pumpkin and cat sandwiches (what, you can't see them?? Look closely and...well, you can kinda tell) and kiwis protected by pumpkin raven as well as halloween Annie Bunny Graham's, a Full Moon Brownie Zbar, and a little box of raisins accompanied a thermos of chicken and rice soup. Not super halloween but close! Those were Mondays bentos.

Muahahaha Jack-O-Lantern mini oranges and a ghoul yard of rice and beans to go with homemade monster pizzas and chicken spinach noodle soup. Those were today's! Have a happy happy halloween!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dried Flesh and Guts

Well, kind of anyway. Annie has homemade turkey jerky from the reservation (dried flesh) and both have rice and beans (guts). I added some tomato soup, Penzeys 4S salt, garlic, and bay leaves to the cooking rice and beans. Annie ate three plates last night and that was after dinner! Instead of flesh, Nissa has an organic cup of cinnamon apple sauce and some pumpkin bites of bread. Annie has pretzels and both have apple slices. Two more days to halloween!!!!!


Quoth the raven. Dumplings, soybeans, and pickles for Nissa with pretzel sticks for Annie decorated by a few raven picks are all that is in these bentos. Simple and quick. These are from last Friday but I'm just getting to posting. Can't wait for halloween but after this past weekend of parties and skating, I've got to say, I'm pooped out!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Halloween is approaching so I got a little ghoulish. It's a graveyard of rice hot dish (rice cooked in chicken stock with shiitake mushrooms and broccoli) with a bit of grapes, carrots, and rotted flesh (okay, it's chicken jerky we got at the mille lacs band of ojibwe grocery store last week) in this lunch. Hope the find it spookily tasty.

Green Tea

Yep, green tea soba noodles, how excited can a person get?? Norby found these at United Noodle and finally tired of waiting on me to cook them. He made them himself and dressed them with one part sesame oil to two parts soy sauce, so good. The green tea adds a whole new dimension to the dish. So along with the noodles are carrot and orange slices along with a few picked rolls of meat. Finally, I threw in a favorite pair of chopsticks and voila, lunch!


Yum! Noodles, beef, and wine make for a bit of love in my book. Beef bourginone is such a comfort food that I can't believe there was any left to put in the lunches. Of course when I talk about love, it's mostly MY love for noodles of just about any kind. But the girls liked it too so that and salted & dilled cucumbers are in the top. The bottom is all fruity with kiwi, grapes, and pear slices. Should have made one for me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Onigiri Omusubi

The deli at United Noodle now sells Omusubi (I only knew them as onigiri or rice balls) and they were so good that Norby made a batch. They're basically, in this case, pre-seasoned rice that is pressed and shaped when it is still steamy and hot. I have molds I have to use but Norby, who's a lot better at making them than I, just uses his hands to shape and press them. The girls love onigiri so they are the main item in their lunches today. There's also a mini summer sausage, pickles, carrot decorations, and kiwis. Most of Nissa's extras are in her snack tower thingy that is three little snack chambers that screw together. In there and, for Annie, the little metal hello kitty take out box are some chocolate mushrooms. It's lunchtime now so hopefully they're enjoying them!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lasagna Lunches

I spent Saturday baking and cooking from scratch. It was a blast but very time consuming. First I made focaccia, second I made lasagna, and third, fettuccine noodles hung to dry with the leftover lasagna noodle dough. It's been forever since I made lasagna and forever is too long. I don't know why my husband laughed when I talked to my food? All I said was... "Oh lasagna, how I've missed you." I did! Anyway, there was enough leftover lasagna to make their lunches today but I had to make more focaccia. We gobbled the last loaf all up. In the bottom container is just kiwi slices and mandarin orange pieces. Now I'm feeling challenged to make something else "from scratch". I kind of dislike that phrase really but I like the process.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mini Breakfast

Technically, this isn't a bento but couldn't resist. It's mini bratwurst and fried quail eggs with a mini mug of juice! Annie said she almost couldn't eat it but.... she did. I used two methods cooking them that are floating out on the net and frying the quail eggs in a greased ladle was by far the best. In a regular pan, they spread out too thin for me and I found it nearly impossible to get them out. Anyway, here's to mini foods!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Just Annie

Norby and Nissa headed up to the cabin ahead of us since Nissa has tomorrow off so I only made one bento tonight. There's leftover rice, chicken, and bean hotdish with cheese and carrot heart/trees on the left. Two hardboiled quail eggs with chocolate cones and mushrooms in the middle. The last one is straight forward, mandarin orange wedges and a mini Nutella. Given it's October, I threw in a witch pick and given it's a hotdish, I threw in a mini spoon. So proud of Annie who gets to wear jeans tomorrow since she turned in all her homework and wasn't in detention! It's a fun reward. I just heard that its already snowing in Ely and am super jealous they're hanging out by the fire drinking hot chocolate. But, what a fun time for Nissa to have with papa!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mooncake Mayhem

So, those bentos I made that had a mooncake for Annie and not for Nissa, I messed up. I gave the wrong one to the wrong girl. D'oh! The best part is, however, Nissa, who shriveled up her nose at them, ate most of it! She really did like them after all. Now today, I made copycat lunches so I'd at least be certain Annie got her mooncake. I threw in a couple pictures of their extras so you could see, 1. The size of the bentos and 2. Some of the extras I include for each girl. Nissa has the mandarin orange and milk. Annie has the apple and coconut milk. That's it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mooncake and Mushrooms

Yesterday was the Moon Festival which we celebrated by eating mooncakes and looking for the lady on the moon. When we got the mooncakes from united noodle, Nissa was the first to want one in her lunch. All weekend she kept asking if we could eat them and when it was finally time, she bit into one, scrunched her nose, and put it back. She didn't like the lotus paste one or the other two flavors, bean paste and date paste either. So today, it's only Annie getting a mooncake in her lunch. The picture shows the bean paste cake but I actually put the lotus paste, her favorite one in hers. She also got a wedge of cheddar cheese in hers otherwise everything else is the same in their lunches. Green grapes and grape grapes with mandarin orange wedges, zipper beans (or as they are generally known, soy beans), half a mini summer sausage and a handful of mini chocolate covered mushroom and tree crackers! Those are a surprise so I hope the girls like them. That's it for the mooncakes and mushrooms!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


This went together quickly this morning. I made the soy sauce sesame oil marinated soba noodles and boiled the quail eggs last night so it was just a matter of putting it all together this morning. The top has the soba noodles with a spinach quail egg flower. The bottom has pistachios, raisins, nori snacks, and a bit of chocolate. Annie's also has two figs. Can't get Nissa to eat them, they're too fuzzy she says. Oh well!


Lots of rows of different things and some pistachios. There's a row of mini summer sausages, carrots, and kamaboko (pressed fish, surimi) in the bottom. In the top there's a row of pickles and nori snacks and finally, a container of the only non row thing, pistachios!


No, there aren't any peaches in these lunches they're just peachy colored. It's really just leftover rice hot dish with potato ears and carrot decorations on the top. On the bottom is melon with a container of yogurt and melon hearts. Really easy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Summer to Fall

The second entirely too hot for me summer in a row is coming to an end. I am not looking forward to summers if this is what global warming means. We'll need a summer place in the North Pole soon! But alas, cooler weather is here and the green of summer is turning into the brown of fall, hence the green and brown bentos. The top tier has alternating slices of apples and kiwis with a few picks and grass for decorations. The bottom tier has, in Nissa's, three mini corn dogs leftover from grandpa's birthday dinner last night and in Annie's, two corn dogs and two fish sticks. Both girls also have containers of garlic mashed potatoes decorated with cooked carrots. In the covers of both, I snuck in some pieces of chocolate too.  And that's all folks!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


So this has the same ingredients as Nissa's with the addition of mini super flavorful tomatoes. It's arranged completely differently (obviously!) which always amazes me in how different the lunches look. Oh, the bread. I snuck it under the lid of this bento. It was just big enough for one small piece.

Butterfly Effect

If a butterfly lands in Nissa's lunch, will it stop a hurricane from happening? Sorry, nerd girl coming through. The butterfly is a piece of sour dough bread with seaweed decorations. In the three containers are fresh mozzarella and basil, melon and grapes, and finally Annie's taco cheese shell turkey carrot hotdish decorated with more fresh basil too. She's already approved it all, yay!

Nice and Easy

Last night I made Spanish rice with beans and chicken (super easy in the rice cooker with salsa, chicken stock, canned beans, and chopped chicken). Everyone ate it AND loved it. That doesn't happen all the time but when it does, it makes lunches for the next day nice and easy! The bottom tiers are the rice decorated with Thyme flowers and cheese. The tops are grapes and kiwi. Can't get much simpler than that.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Twin Bentos!

I'm not sure I've ever put the exact same food in both girls lunches before. I'm strangely excited about that. So these are pretty simple. The containers on the left have grape flowers and orange slice rows decorated with grass and picks. On the right are grass separated steamed dumplings with a tiny bottle of soy sauce and a mini animal spoon. In the inserted container is the last of the carrot purée from dinner. I sautéed up a big batch of carrots and onions then added about a quarter cup of water to the pan and simmered them for about 20 minutes. Then, I put them in the food processor with some penzeys seasoning salt, 3T butter, 3T brown sugar, and whirred it all together until smooth. We all... well not Oskar for some reason... loved it and the girls asked for it in their lunches. So there they are, matching lunches, twin bentos!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pizza Pie

We made mini pizza pies and Annie likes them! Yay, I get to put them in one girls lunch! Nissa says she only wants an apple pie. Next time Nissa, next time. So there's a hard salami, olive, tomato and cheese mini pie with a few ears of chicken pieces adorned with gjetost hearts, some regular thyme flowers as well as lemon thyme flowers on the right. The other side has a container of puréed smoke salmon and one of puréed crab adorned with carrot hearts and dill sprugs surrounded by dehydrated apple slivers adorned with mint leaves. My melon was turning and I could only get enough for Nissa's lunch but thankfully I found the Just Apples hiding in the cupboard!

Tree Love

Nissa didn't want a mini pizza pie in her lunch so I had to do some scrounging. She certainly could have been a carnivore in another life because she'd be happy if all she had to eat for the rest of her life was meat and fish. The bottom container has hard salami and chicken pieces adorned with carrot trees as well as containers of crab purée and smoked salmon purée adorned with sprigs of dill and carrot hearts. The top has some melon trees and a tin of rice adorned with a sprig of thyme flowers. I had mint leaves in there but Nissa informed me that they add too much flavor to the melon. I still don't know how I ended up with a child who doesn't like mint!


Other than the fruit tier, this was all Annie! On the bottom there's pieces of chicken and boiled dill potatoes covered with gjetost letters and piggy. The middle has a layer of watermelon covered in kiwi halves and the top is mozzarella balls with slices of tomatoes and dollops of puréed smoked salmon. So maybe the bento making torch is nearly ready to pass along! Go Annie!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A New Leaf

So, today started with Nissa having a complete meltdown as she left for school begging to stay with mama. It was an all out scream feast in the car as Norby pulled away and it was all I could do to keep myself from running after them and letting her stay home but I didn't. Norby got her there and left her, tears and all, with the classroom assistant. Annie, on the other hand, was cool, calm, and collected until we walked in the front door of her first day of middle school. Then, for maybe five minutes, I saw Annie slightly shaky and remembered that underneath all her poise, she's still a regular person with fears like the rest of us. Later, when I asked her how long it took until she felt comfortable, she said, "oh, about by 4th period." In their bentos for tomorrow, I have wild rice hotdish with carrot and gjetost cheese leaves. The middle tier has roasted potatoes, mozzarella balls with a black tomato in Annie's and more carrot leaves. The top tier has kiwi slices and melon leaves adorned with mint leaves. In Nissa's, I snuck two california sushi roll slices too in hopes she'll have a better day. Oh and the fact that Norby's driving her there on the motorcycle just might help too!! Here's to continued excitement for Annie, who keeps asking, is it tomorrow yet?, and a return to excitement for nunu.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Middle Years

The middle years of school anyway. Here she goes, growing up on me! The whole middle school came so quickly and seems a bigger deal since Annie is switching schools. She's beyond excited and gets to be with one of her best friends again. I, on the other hand, am a little bit of a wreck, lol. Not too bad just entering the unknown kind of wreck. So, I made her lunch. The top container has watermelon decorated with mint leaves and flowers as well as a small container of black cherry tomatoes (I think they're more purple) from Auntie Cassie, some mozzarella balls with nori and thyme flower decorations. The bottom container is where I kind of geek out because I used my new mini pie maker I got for my birthday!! I made a beef, mixed veggie, and Mushroom pie and surrounded it with nori sheets, carrot flowers, and at the request of Annie, mushrooms! Oh, I almost forgot, the butterflies are made from Norwegian gjetost cheese, a semi soft sort of caramelly sharp cheese. It is amazing and Annie's new favorite cheese! Yep, I feel more relaxed now. On to morning it is!

Blooming Healthy!

We survived the flu, woo hoo! Nissa goes back tomorrow as healthy as can be and I hope she'll stay that way for a while. In her lunch, there is a container of watermelon, kiwi halves, mini mozzarella balls with nori decorations, mint leaves, and thyme blossoms. The other container has a beef and mixed veggie cooked rice with green bean, carrot, and mint leaf decorations. She also requested a z-bar so her appetite has returned! Yay! So far, she loved the one day she was there, even without Annie.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Almost Bento

First day of school and I get a call from the nurse, "yes, Nissa has a fever, could you please take her home?" Bummer, because now she had to wait 24 hours but what are you going to do? She only had 100.3 temp and it was gone by the time we got home so I thought she'd be better by Friday. Which meant I got to make a bento! She saw and approved but shortly after complained of a sore throat and to make things worse, Annie got a fever too. So much for going back to school. Ironic since Nissa missed the first Thursday and Friday of school last year too! Anyway, this bento is pretty straight forward with oranges, strawberries, blueberries, and cucumbers. The other parts is a sort of homemade hamburger hotdish that Nissa loves. She did eat it, just not at school. And I got two more days with the peanut!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


It's Nissa's first day of first grade! It'll be an interesting year since Annie switched schools. Nissa decided to stay so she could see all her friends but is a little sad she won't be with her sister, only a little. Grandma bought her these snack boxes for her lunches which meant they "had" to be used for the first lunch. It was fun to do something different. In the little red cups there are two with blueberries and strawberries and one with roasted dill potato bites. The clear rectangle is full of cucumber slices with some nori decoration. The red rectangle has mushroom wild rice with pork chop letters. Finally, the onigiri (pressed rice balls) are stuffed with veggies, wrapped with seaweed, and have a container of seasoning to be added as Nissa likes. I'm going to really miss the little fireball!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Love Day!

This is Nissa's first year to share valentines, so exciting for her. She keeps asking how it works and was nervous about just leaving them in her locker. I'm afraid that's my trait coming out, not wanting to do something unless you know the rules exactly!

Anyway, I actually made them bentos today. Yay, to those creative juices for kicking me in the rear. There's a baked tofu heart over a soba noodle salad with a scallion hug and kiss and a little carrot heart. The top tier is a dumpling from The Tea House, orange wedges and a few carrot hearts. Finally, I picked up a couple of glutinous rice kitty cake treats for them as a valentines treat from United Noodles. Hopefully they'll like them.

A very happy Valentines Day to all and happy birthday to my mom. And finally a special Valentine's wish to my very best friend who still loves me quirks and all after all these years! Love you Bert!