Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Sandwiches

                                                                                                    Happy Monday!  We did pb&j sandwiches in various shapes.  E got a gingerbread man since her class went hunting for a gingerbread man at school to learn about all the important places.  K got a large heart shape and some small flowers.  They both have grapes filling the bottom of their containers, baby carrots and "Texas" shaped pretzels (cowboy boots and the shape of the state).  Only in Texas can you find pretzels themed to the state in a regular grocery store.  Silly, but fun!  E also got some stacked american cheese shapes.  They both had a few mini cookies in a bag on the side. 
I did a great job with K's box.  It was filled to the brim.  E's was a little lean as she doesn't have the same appetite.  She got the one gingerbread man sandwich.  I could only fit one on her bread, so it was more than half a sandwich.  That seems to be what she's eating these days, so I didn't want to make another sandwich just to "fill the box."  I tried to build up the cheese stack to hold it all in place and add variety, but I'm sure it was all tossed around. 
K ate every last crumb.  She even ate the granola bar I threw in.  E ate the sandwich, cheese,some of the carrots and a few pretzels.  It looked like all the grapes were left, with tree carrots and the rest of the pretzels.  So, I was right about not making more sandwich for E.  The pretzels were soggy after school.  Wonder if they were that way at lunchtime or if it was because they were rolling around with grapes and carrots, both with water content.  Things that make me go, "hmmmm..." 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday's Bento

Today's lunch included 2 heart shaped pb&j sandwiches, half a banana, grapes, cucumber flowers, cheese stick, pretzels, carrots and 3 mini peanut butter cookies.

After I took the pic, I realized that the cookies needed to be raised up as the lid adds another inch or so of height. Heaven forbid the precious cookies get thrown around enroute to the lunchroom. So I added a few grapes under the little cup so it was higher.

K ate all but the cheese stick, a few carrots and some mushy banana. She said it ended up all mushy and brown on the end. Not her favorite! E ate the sandwich, banana, cheese and cookies. She nibbled on the remainder. Most of the rest came home. Because of the banana mush, the leftovers were not edible. Bummer! Lesson learned.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Leftover Lunch

For this lunch I portioned out some of the leftover spaghetti from the night before. (Actually I packed the two portions in one box sealed in the fridge overnight, splitting them in the morning and adding the other stuff.) The rest of the lunch includes: parmesan cheese on the spaghetti, carrot flowers, wheat crackers, grapes and sugar snap peas. Mandarin orange cup on the side.

As it turned out, K ate the left side and E ate the right side. That's right, if they ate lunch together, they could have shared a lunch. E ate all her spaghetti and the oranges and brought home the rest. K ate the side items, but not her main dish. So now what do I do about that? Maybe I need to look for a little thermos to send with them. Perhaps it was the lack of warmth. Gotta look for a good deal. It's not worth paying full price. Maybe there will be sales on the remaining "back to school" things as school has started in this area. Maybe.

I was pleased with how everything fit in the boxes and mostly how it looked. Next time, I'll try to use red grapes for more color variety.

Day 3 Bento

For the third day of school we did quesadilla rollups, carrot sticks and flowers, apple "bunnies," and a banana bread mini muffin.

K ate about half of her quesadillas as she decided suddenly that she doesn't like them. What?! when did that happen? She also ate her carrots and apples. She picked at but didn't eat her muffin. Another sudden dislike. Here I thought I was being ingenious when making banana bread by making a few dozen into mini muffins that I can freeze and pop out for lunches. Oh well! I was only half brilliant this time. E loved hers. She ate all her quesadilla and left a few apples for after school.

Monster for Day 2

This lunch was for the second day of school. It was a "Monster" peanut butter and jelly sandwich with pretzel "hair," cheese and mini chocolate chip "eyes," and a grape nose. Also in the bento were more grapes, carrots and a fruit roll up.

K's box came home empty. E's box was only half full this time. She finished most of it after school. She ate about half the sandwich, the face and the fruit roll up. Better than nothing, but we're working on getting her to actually eat during lunch time.

I asked K how the face looked after the journey to school in a backpack. She said it was all over the place. There were just spots of peanut butter where it was supposed to be and she put it back together. Her friends thought it was cool. So my question is, how do I keep the cute stuff looking cute by the time it gets to school? Keeping the box flat is not realistic. I guess I need to figure a way to elevate the sandwich so it pushes against the lid and thereby pressure fits it in place. Thicker bread? Cardboard filler? Find a shallower box? Am I really thinking this much about lunch?

First Day of School

On the first day of school, I decided to give the girls a lunch that I knew would be a hit as we had tried all the elements at home in "practice sessions."

In their lunches today: turkey and cheese stick rollups, sugar snap peas, crackers, fruit by the foot and cheese cutouts. Outside the box was a cup of peaches.

After school, K had 2 rollups left and a few scraps. She finished those in the car right after. E had almost all her lunch remaining. Apparently she was talking to her new friend. She didn't want to talk with her mouth full, so she talked instead of eating. Ugh! She also finished her lunch after school.

Bento Lunches

This year, I am dabbling in sending my kids to school with bento lunches to school. I stumbled upon this site and I was intrigued. We are trying to a) save money, b) eat healthy and c) be "green."

Bento lunches have their roots in Asian countries, but seeing some of the Americanized versions opened my eyes to the possibilities. While rice is a traditional ingredient, I have found many other fun things to play with.

Current struggles:
  • differences in taste preferences between the girls.
  • differences in portion sizes for the two girls.
  • ways to incorporate leftovers in lunches.
  • ways to make lunch look fun and stay that way.
I love that bento lunches mean that I'm using fewer plastic bags, which means savings at the store and for the environment, so that's always a good thing.

In this blog, I plan to share some of the lunches I have made for the munchkins. Stay tuned!