Welcome to week 2 of 3 Tools, 4 Lunches! Each week for the next few months I’ve invited several of my bento blogger friends to make a lunch using the same three tools — a lunch box and two tools for decoration. We all make them independently from each other — no one sees what the others have done until everyone has sent me their photo — so we all approach the project with fresh eyes. You’ll get inspiration for different ways to use some popular bento tools and I hope I’ll also introduce you to some wonderful blogs you may not have encountered yet.
Here are the tools we used this week:
- Laptop Lunches Bento Lunch Box — This box consists of an outer, lidded box and five smaller inner containers. It comes in a variety of colors and configurations. (TIP: Laptop Lunches is offering a coupon code for 15% off through 5/31/14! The code is: CAMP31)
- Decorative Japanese hat picks — These cute picks come in a pack of eight with four different styles of headgear: a party hat, a bow, a baseball cap and a lady’s hat. They’re great for adding a little personality to a lunch.
- Bunny and Bear egg molds — slip a peeled hard-boiled egg into one of these molds, clamp it shut and wait a few minutes for it to turn the egg into a new shape. If your family likes hard-boiled eggs, this is an easy way to make a lunch cuter.
And here are the lunches:
First up is this cute bear lunch from Anna Adden at Becoming A Bentoholic. Her lunch box is filled with red grapes with bear shaped watermelon pieces on top, a bear shaped hard-boiled egg with a bow in its hair, baby carrots, crinkle cut cucumbers, corn on the cob, and a small container of butter for the corn.
Anna started packing bentos two years ago when her daughter started preschool. She says, “When I realized I needed to start packing lunches I was perplexed by what to pack. I did a google search, found bento and the rest is history!”
Shannon Carino from What’s for Lunch at Our House is the bento-ist behind this bunny lunch. She says:
“Lately, we’ve been loving the extra simple bentos, so this one features ham & cheese sandwiches on honey wheat, boiled egg, carrots, apples, and a blueberry oatmeal square for a treat. The sandwiches are cut with a bunny Peeps cutter and the apple was just cored and sliced. The eggs were pre boiled, then stored in the egg molds until it was bento time.”
“I’ve been writing What’s for Lunch at Our House sine 2007, just before my oldest started kindergarten, she’s finishing up 6th grade now! I initially wanted fun lunches that would help her eat in a short amount of time and I fell in love with the bento idea. Luckily, I lived in a town with a great little Japanese store and I was able to find tools and go from there. I love playing around with food and making it cute for my kids, along with experimenting with new recipes. My favorite thing with bento is trying to balance the box which leads to overall healthier meals for us!”
Grace Hall is the English mum behind Eats Amazing. Here’s her description of her bunny bento: “I started this lunch off with some leftovers – a fruity rice salad from dinner the night before, topped with some bunnies cut from raw carrot. On the side was a hard boiled egg, shaped using the rabbit egg mould, cucumber sticks and a couple of raw baby carrots, decorated with leaf picks. I popped the egg in a silicone cupcake case, and added a sheet of silicone ‘grass’ and a bow from the hat pick set to decorate. For dessert I layered green grapes and raspberries in one of the containers, topping with a couple more grapes decorated with hat picks. I finished the lunch off with a tub of natural yoghurt, topped with a few rainbow sprinkles.” Learn more about Grace’s lunch here.
Grace blogs over at Eats Amazing about healthy children’s food, focusing mainly on the bento-style lunches she packs daily for her 6 year old son. She has been packing bentos for nearly two years, ever since her older son (one of two) started school. She stumbled across the idea of bento lunches completely by accident whilst surfing the net the summer before her son started school, and was immediately drawn to the possibilities that bento offered; to reduce packaging, pack a good variety of food and make healthy food fun. Her favourite thing about packing bentos is the opportunity that it offers to turn an everyday chore into an opportunity to be creative.
The last lunch is one I made — the teddy bear’s picnic. Since neither of my kids like hard-boiled eggs much, I decided to try something new and I made a shoyu egg — one that’s been marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and a little sugar. In addition to adding flavor to the egg, the marinade turns it a lovely brown color. The brown egg called out to be a bear so I put it in the egg mold and then when it was done I added one of the baseball cap picks. Now that my bear was ready for his picnic, he needed a checkered tablecloth (an apple), some hummus with an olive “ant” on top, snap pea “grass”, pretzel butterflies and a pretty white nectarine.
Do you have these tools? How do you like to use them?
|But wait! There’s more!My book, Everyday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches to Go is packed with ideas for fun, delicious lunches. With 50 brand new bento box lunches and step-by-step photo tutorials showing how to make them it will provide you with loads of inspiration when it’s time to pack lunch. Order today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Powell’s.|