It’s time for another installment of 3 Tools, 4 Lunches! Each week I recruit three bento lunch packers and challenge them to create a lunch using the same three tools. My goals are to show the variety of ways different bento tools can beÂ used and to showcase some talented bento-ists who you may not know about yet. We’re on our eighth week of this series and the lunches are still kicking butt and taking names!
Here are the tools we used this week:
- LunchBots Trio – this stainless steel box is divided into three sections — great for kids or adults who are watching their portion sizes.
- Wilton Mini Romantic Metal Cookie Cutters – a versatile set of mini cutters with flower and heart motifs.
- Lace decorative cutter set – mix and match the cutters in this set to create many different designs from cheese, lunch meat, fruits and veggies.
And these are the lunches we made:
The first lunch was made by Kathy from Eclectic Lamb. She packed strawberry rice (she pushed a whole strawberry into the center of the rice) and then used the blossom cutter to cut strawberry slices and decorated with black sesame seeds. The next compartment holds raw spinach leaves with toasted sunflower seeds. She used decorative cutter on a slice of mozzarella cheese. And the bottom area is filled with green grapes and toasted hazelnuts. You can read more about this lunch on Kathy’s blog.
Eclectic Lamb is a vegetarian food blog with an eclectic mix of fun and mostly healthy food. Kathy features bentos, themed meals, and parties that she prepares for her husband, nieces, nephews, friends and sometimes herself. On July 18 Kathy will celebrate my 3 year blogiversary with a bento tools giveaway. She purchased the items during a vacation in Japan, so be sure to stop by and enter!
Photos and bento boxes courtesy of Sarah Felder ofÂ Bentoriffic.
Sarah ofÂ Â Bentoriffic began packing bento boxes about 4 years ago to encourage her daughter to eat more fruits and vegetables. Along the road, she decided to eliminate all meat and dairy from her diet. She, her husband and two young girls are all plant based vegans who often eat gluten-free too. She considers bento boxes one of her creative outlets for cooking and enjoys doing so because her children love and appreciate it. She also loves packing bento boxes because they eliminate waste of food with reusable containers so it’s a very Earth friendly way to pack.
The main dish in Sarah’s lunch is a trio of beet wraps made with red quinoa, beets, lemon and other seasonings and rolled up in beet greens.Â In the bottom of the LunchBots Trio are sugar snap peas, local heirloom carrots cut into pretty spring shapes and a scalloped beet heart in the bottom garden of flowers and butterflies. Â In the top left of the container are heart shaped strawberries on the bottom. Â On the top is a large slice of dragonfruit cut with the lace decorative cutter. This lunch is dairy free, meatless and gluten-free. Oh yeah…and gorgeous! Find all the details on this lunch at Bentoriffic.
photo courtesy of Venia Conte, Organized Bites
The open face cheese sandwich has two slices of bread underneath, so that her daughter, Scout, can assemble it before digging in. To create the black background, there’s a layer of Trader Joe’s Seaweed Snack under the sandwich, red gem lettuce under the veggies, and blackberries beneath the melon ghosts. She flipped the tulip from the Wilton Romance Mini Cutters to create the ghosts from thin slices of melon, rainbow carrots, and cucumber. The eyes were a snap to cut using two of the holes from the Lace Cutter to do a pair of peepers at a time. She stacked multiple ghosts to get as much fruit and veg in there as possible…there’s a thin layer of carrot and cucumber sticks under the lettuce, too. Surprise!
Here’s how Venia describes her blog, Organized Bites: “I love colorful, fresh ingredients, and try to pack as much variety as possible into Scout’s bentos. You won’t find any meat in her meals. But, don’t let that discourage you from, hopefully, gaining a little inspiration about how to add more fruits and veg to your lunch box…just substitute your favorite protein for our plant based ones.
Scout would go hungry if forced to forage from a school cafeteria. As a choosy vegetarian, there just aren’t many options for her on the menus. Fortunately, she loves fresh fruits and vegetables, so it’s easy to create fun, colorful meals for her to take to school. And, while Scout loves all the design elements I put in her in lunches, creating fun lunches is as much about keeping the process fresh and fun for me as it is for delighting my daughter. But, that’s definitely a bonus!”
And here is the lunch I made for…myself! I don’t often pack bentos for myself because I’m usually home at lunch time, but the day I had this lunch I was running a bunch of errands and I didn’t want to end up eating junk while I was out and about. The top left compartment is filled with grilled zucchini and corn salad that I packed into a pink flower cup (because moms of boys need to use their pink flower cups every chance they get).Â I topped it with a scalloped cheese heart. The next compartment holds a stack of crackers and pieces of ham cut to look like doilies. The bottom compartment has sliced nectarines and more cheese cut into lacy shapes. The cheese I used was Tillamook garlic chili pepper cheddar and though it sounds like an odd combination, it is incredible paired with ripe nectarine.
Do you have these tools? How do you like to use them?
|But wait! Thereâ€™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.|