Recipe Mama

“Under the sea” bento February 24, 2011

Filed under: bento,For Kids,Lunch — obsidian @ 2:25 am

This is a cute little kids school lunch I made today.

I started out by taking a spoonful of cream cheese in 2 separate containers, added a bit of food colouring, and spread it onto a halved slice of bread.  This forms the background.  The fish with pink scales was made with a boiled egg, placed into an egg mould and allowed to cool.  Then painted with pink (natural) food colouring.  The eye is a dot of cream cheese leftover from the background, with black sesame seeds as eyelashes.

Baby fish cut from carrot (by hand, a fish cutter would be handy)… “seaweed” is a cheese stick “stringer” cut in half and peeled open.  The starfish is a piece of bread spread with apricot jam and orange sprinkles.

The “octodogs” were something new I tried today, they get their name from hotdog octopus… and these are a skinless cocktail frank.  What you do is cut the bottom portion in half lengthways, then turn it on it’s side and cut again, so now there are 4 “legs”, then carefully cut between those (I did single layer, not all the way through, so I could make sure it was even) to make 8 legs.  Then simply put them in a pot of water, bring to the boil and watch their legs fan out  Allow them to cool before putting in the lunchbox.

They curl more the longer they are in the water, this shows the difference in just the time it takes to cut each one (the most flared went in first, the least flared was in shortest time)

Personally they don’t seem very appealing cold in a bento, but apparently kids love them… They are a bit cute, I admit, so I think I might make some hot ones one day just for fun…  maybe poke a piece of wild rice into where the eye should be?


Preschool & School Bento Ideas May 16, 2009

Filed under: bento,For Kids,Lunch — obsidian @ 10:23 am

“Bento” is a great way to encourage your child to eat lots of vegetables and healthy things, and it can look fun!

It doesn’t even have to take a long time, and you can make them up the night before.

Some of the usual ingredients I use are:

  • Salad vegetables –
    • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes. I have a tomato lover, so I normally use about 6 each lunchbox. You can buy cute “picks” that are a balloon string that can make a cherry tomato look like a balloon, very cute.
    • Cucumber. I wash it and leave the skin on, but you can peel it or even cut shapes from the slices. You can use a small (flower, star etc.) cutter to cut a shape from the centre, and also cut one from something like carrot, and then put the carrot centre in the cucumber… for an interesting effect.
    • Carrots – I peel and slice it, sometimes cutting shapes out of the slices, or I cut it into sticks. You can also grate carrot in sandwiches.
    • Mini Beetroot. My little one and I LOVE beetroot… so I buy the tins of whole baby beets and cut them in halves (or quarters if they are large) and put those in the lunch, with a mini fork. I’ve also used beetroot slices and cut shapes from it.
    • Peas and Corn – these fairly normal things can be quite cool when threaded onto a toothpick! (in a pea, corn, pea, corn configuration)
    • Peas in the pod (Sugar snap peas – where you eat the pod too).
  • Bread/sandwiches – I don’t normally make “sandwiches”, since want to focus on the vegies, but sometimes if I’m a little light on supplies I’ll make a half sandwich (one piece of bread), sometimes cut into shapes. Also another thing I sometimes do is take one slice of bread, cut the crusts off (since they normally come home anyway) and spread it with cream cheese, then sprinkle grated carrot over it and roll it up. You can also just cut the bread out into shapes with cookie cutters if they like to eat plain bread.
  • Muffins – Savoury or sweet…
  • Pikelets (mini pancakes). These are so quick and easy to make!  you can include fruit, sultanas and other things in them too
  • Cheese – Instead of buying cheese sticks and things, buy normal block cheese and cut a slice off then use a cookie cutter to make it into fun shapes. Can be served with crackers.
  • Cold Pizza – you can make them with pita bread, pizza base or pastry – just spread a little tomato paste, some ham, cheese and pineapple and cut out the pizzas in small fancy shapes.
  • Cold Chicken Nuggets – if your child will eat them cold of course (make sure they are cooked properly – I precook a whole batch them freeze them and take them out as needed.)

Please remember that if using any meat or dairy products you should make sure there is a freezer block in with the lunch to keep everything cold.

My first (and most elaborate bento)

Slices of wholemeal bread (buttered), with carrot, beetroot and capsicum flowers, Dinosaur cooked pasta shapes, cucumber skin stalks (and the flowers on stalks are on a cheese star). With purple rice balls, Cucumber slices and peas to fill the gaps and a red capsicum heart. I made this the night before, and it took about 40 mins, but I was not organised and didn’t know what I was going to do.

A Sushi Bento 🙂

I made tuna sushi (and added some beetroot offcuts which made it bleed pink a bit), topped with a cheese flower and a smaller nori flower. Then there are cheese flowers with cracker pieces, mini corn, sultanas and carrot slices. With wholemeal bread stars filling the gaps. I realised I would need a “lid” to keep the sultanas in the cup, so I made lids from cucumber slices with beetroot and pink cucumber (coloured with beetroot juice) inserts.

This way way too much food for her and more than half of it came back uneaten.

Star Bento

This has ham sandwiches on wholemeal bread, cut into stars. Cheese teddy bears, carrot slices, watermelon chunks and cherry tomatoes. It doesn’t look like enough food, but sometimes she’d not eat all of it (They provided fruit at the preschool too)

A Birdy Bento

in an alfalfa nest 🙂 with cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas (podded), carrot stars and cheese hearts.

I had a go at creating a bird from a piece of apple….

I even scooped out a bit of apple and poked a piece of pea pod in there for the eye

This one shows the pea/corn toothpicks and bread letters

More Bentos!


Carrot flowers, cheese hearts, flowers cut from cucumber and the shells of those too, Grape tomatoes, cut baby beetroot.. and muffins and a mandarine.


Tbento0903Star pizzas, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, pink bunny rice, carrot slices, cubed baby beetroot.  With apple slices and plain wholemeal pikelets.


Tbento0904Cooked corn cobbs, carrot slices, cubed baby beetroot, cut cherry tomatoes and a yoghurt/jelly/peach dessert (made by adding gelatine to yoghurt and letting it set in the silicone cases)



Sushi made with purple (naturally so) rice (with tuna and carrot), made into a catterpillar with a pea eye, carrot antenae and an apple mouth.  With carrot slices and cherry tomato

Tuna filled “sushi balls” (I even gave them  slightly rosy cheeks with some jam!)… with pea necklaces, carrot sticks, and some “hello panda” cookies,  a choc-chip muffin and a tub of homemade custard with banana (yellow tub)…


Bento January 8, 2009

Filed under: bento,For Kids,Lunch — obsidian @ 6:23 am

Bento is a Japanese term for (basically) a meal that is designed to include small portions of different things, and is generally arranged into interesting designs.

It can be a way to get kids to eat vegetables, and makes for an exciting lunchbox. Here are some ideas for making Bento lunches, particularly for kids.

Traditionally it’s supposed to contain 4 parts carbohydrates (rice/noodles for example), 2 parts protein (eg meats/egg) and 1 part other stuff (vegetables and fruit for example). However you can make them with any combination of foods. For those wanting to limit carbs and encourage healthy eating, it’s probably best to focus on the vegetables and leave protein and carbs to about 1-2 parts.