Sunday, August 28, 2011

Week Two of Bentos for new school year.......

Not sure if there will be school tomorrow...Hurricane Irene caused alot of power outages and downed trees. Waiting to hear from the school system about school tomorrow. Either way, Bella still needs her lunch, so here it is:

Monday's Bento for Bella

*Heart and Star shaped Quesadillas
*Banana Flavored yogurt
*Green Grapes
*Animal Crackers

Now, I will be updating my list of blogs that I frequent for Bento information. I stumbled upon this really cool blog, that is not about bentos really, but about simplifying your life. Here is a really cool meal planning printable...check it out

This is a great printable...especially if you are planning lunches for multiple kids.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bento #5 - Breakfast for Lunch!

I love seeing Bella's bentos coming home all eaten! She has been eating most, if not all, of her lunches this week at school. Her teacher even told me that SHE loves Bella's lunches! :) Tomorrow's bento is "breakfast for lunch."

*Mini pancakes - cutout shapes of hearts and tulips (used cut out and negative)
*Bunny shaped hard boiled egg
*Fruit snacks


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bento #4 Grilled Cheese on Wheat Hearts

Bento #4 is a grilled cheese bento. I used my authentic bento box I bought from It is a very small bento but when used properly (with silicon cupcake liners and such) it is a perfect bento box.

*Grilled Cheese on wheat bread but in shape of hearts
*Carrot Sticks
*Red Pepper pieces
*Ranch Dressing for dipping
*Pirates Booty

I was told today that Bella at all of her bento from today. She loved it. That is why I love making them for her!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bento #3 and an Earthquake!

Crazy day...2nd day of work, busy, busy, and an earthquake, to boot; a 5.8 to be exact. It was shaking and shifting from side to side. CRAZY! Everyone is ok and no damage...

Back to making bentos.....Bella ate all of her bento from today, except her sandwich. She told her teacher that she did not want to get her hands messy. Such a princess.... Tomorrow's bento includes:

*Hot Dog slices on a food pick (Winnie the Pooh part food sticks from party store)
*Cucumbers cut into shape of rocking horse
*Mini container of ranch dressing
*Grape tomatoes on food picks
*Colby Jack cheese cut in shapes of Rocking horse
*Animal crackers

If you look next to the food picks of tomatoes, you will see cute yellow grass dividers. I bought these from They separate your cool!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Bento #2 - Fluffer Nutter with Sunflower Butter

Bella has possible allergies to nuts, so we stay away from them. Instead, we use alternatives like Sunflower Butter. I made her a sandwich using Fluff Marshmallow Spread and Sunflower Butter. After making the sandwich, I used my Pampered Chef sandwich pocket maker to make a sandwich pocket. I cut it in half to fit in the bento box.

Using my cute Silicon cupcake liners with feet (I bought at Michaels craft store with a 40% off coupon), I added animal crackers.

The center compartment of the bento box is the perfect size for my cute little bear container with lid that my mom picked up at a dollar store. I filled it with applesauce and placed it in the center of the box.
Complete the bento with a banana, cut in half with peel left on to maintain freshness and food picks of fresh red peppers....And Bella's second bento of the school year is complete!

I told you making bentos was easy and fun. This one took me about 15 minutes, including time to stop and take pics :)

It was a long day for me.....first day back at school after summer break. More bentos to come...stay tuned!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bento #1 of the 2011-2012 School year!

And so it 2nd year of my journey in the world of bentos. What to make, what to make? I figured I would make a lunch with some of Bella's favorites: hardboiled egg, hummus, cheese, and vegis. Yes, not your typical diet of a 3 year old, but they are her favorites. Below, I have made a picture journal of how I made her first bento of the new school year. You will see how simple it is. It took me about 20 minutes from start to finish, adding a few minutes for picture taking. Here are a few key pointers:

1. Before you begin, decide what your bento will include and gather all food items needed.
2. Gather all of your cutters/tools you need to make your bento
3. Select your bento box
4. Make and have FUN!

I started with cutting block cheddar cheese into flower and butterfly shapes. The picture below shows the cheese cut outs, the negatives, and rectangle pieces. I used the cutouts and the negatives in Bella's bento for tomorrow and saved the rectangle pieces for another lunch.

I then cut flowers and butterflies out of cucumber. I used both the cutouts and negatives in Bella's bento for tomorrow. I took the skin off of the cucumber, since Bella does not like the skin.

Hummus was next. I used one of my cute little containers from to scoop some hummus into.

The egg was next. Typically, I prepare hardboiled eggs ahead of time and have them in the fridge ready to go. But I did not this time. So, I boiled some eggs. After boiling the eggs, I immediately put them into my egg molds (from Usually, I then place them in the fridge and store them in their molds until I use them. But since I was not prepared :(, I did the quick way. After placing eggs in molds, I placed the molds in ice water. Left them in ice water for about 10 minutes or so. Sometimes, the egg will not mold completely, just depends on the size of the egg and how is molded. You can see the fish is missing his tail, but still a fish and cute to look at and eat :)

Add a crunchie snack of pirates bootie from Trader Joe's and a few grape tomatoes on fancy fish food picks and walla! A bento is born. I used my new bento box that I bought at Old Navy (wishing I bought more )and some silicon cupcake liners to hold the food in place.

I placed Bella's bento in her new lunch bag, with her cute name tag that Bella, herself, helped me design.

See, that wasn't too hard....right? Any questions, feel free to ask. Here is to a great school year of bentos!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stay Tuned......Bento making 101 with visuals tomorrow

Bella returns to daycare in two days. Daily bento making returns! I will begin recording my bento making to show you how easy it is AND how much fun..

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just had to post. Bella raided the bento rack and made her own bento with her toy food :). Love !

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Just stumbled upon some new sites

Here is a great site I just found that has the most adorable bento boxes, including the ladybug one! Click on "Fun Foodie Finds/Bento" on the left side.....

These Bento lunch boxes are a bit on the pricey side but are really cool.

This is a website that sells economical bento containers. Look on the website for the sticky that says "Yummy Lunch Gallery." These are pictures of lunches using bento idea....not all use fancy supplies :)

Getting started on your Bento Journey

School is around the corner, and for some areas in the US, school has already started. If you want to try making bento lunches for your child(ren), you do not need to invest a large amount of money, if you do not want to. Here are the basics you will need:

You can purchase from Target, Wal-mart, Amazon, and the like, containers from Ziploc, Rubbermade, Lock n Lock, and Gladware that will work just fine for Bentos. Some Dollar Stores even carry these type of containers. The cost of these types of containers range from $2.00-12.00 for a multipack.

If you choose to start off with authentic like bento boxes, you can order them online at places like:

Here are a few examples of authentic like bento boxes

I like to use standard cookie cutter sized cutters, but also have alot of mini cutters, too. You can purchase cookie cutters pretty much anywhere kitchen supplies are sold. Some of my favorite places to get cool ones are Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Michaels (at Michaels you can use a % off coupon and get them really cheap!). You can also order them from places like eBay, Amazon, Allthingsforsale.

You can use metal or plastic (so you can raid your child's playdo supplies to borrow some :) ) I prefer metal, although you need to dry them real good after each use so they do not rust.

Think about foods that your child likes. Think about foods that will be easy to cut into different shapes. Some ideas:
fruit like kiwi

For cutting into shapes, think of food that can be cut into flat surfaces that a cutter would fit on.

See, that was easy, eh?

My next entry will show step by step on how to make a bento lunch for your kiddo :)


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My first post on my new blog

Hello all. My name is Charlene and I am the mom of 2 beautiful girls, Morgan (13) and Bella (3). I started my journey into the world of bentos when my Bella would not eat her lunch. I looked online to find ideas and found bentos. They have been a hit for Bella since I started them. I take pictures of my bentos and post them on facebook but decided to start a blog of bentos and ideas for making kids lunches fun and healthy. I hope you enjoy my blog.....

Bella had become a very picky eater. I was looking online for creative ways to get her to eat. I came across Bentos and haven't looked back since. Bento meals are compartmentalized meals that are cute and fun to look at and eat. Bentos make eating FUN!

Not at all! The first few are a bit time consuming but once you get the hang of it, it is easy and fun to do.

Very simple bentos can be made using cookie cutters and compartmentalized containers. That is how I started. Then I started building my bento supply collection to include lots more, like;
Egg Molds, face cutters, food coloring markers, fancy food picks, a greater variety of bento boxes, and lots more.

Some Ethnic markets will have supplies, although limited. If you live in California, you are in luck because there are alot of brick and mortar stores that sell authentic bento supplies from Japan.

I order most of my supplies from You can find all sorts of authentic bento supplies from a US company. There are other places, too. But this is my favorite.

To read more about the bentos and the history of bentos, visit these sites:


This is my bento corner of the kitchen. I store all of my Bento supplies on this baker rack. It is quite full...I might need to find more space soon :)

This is one of my latest finds. Of all places, I found this "bento box" at Old Navy for $5.00. Will have to go back to get another. It is great for Bella but also for Morgan's lunch, as it is not cutsie and I can pack a 13 year old a lunch without using baggies!

And yet another Bento find. I bought two of these "Bento Boxes" at Target in their summer clearance. It isn't very deep but could be used for flatter items. Also like it for dinners for Bella, since I have to resort to Bentos for dinner sometimes, too. I think I paid like $2 something for it.

Here are some of my past bentos. I will be posting regular pictures on the blog from now on but wanted to catch you up if you are new to my bentos.