Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Children of the World -- Africa

I am running my own children of the world theme with my girls this week; and Monday we explored the continent of Mama Africa! We watched a video about African dances and read two of the children's favorite books, Owen & Mzee, and  Looking for Miza. I found an adorable coloring print out of African children here, and we had a nice few minutes coloring with markers and crayons together. The printout was the inspiration for their dinner bento which they shared with Isi for Monday night's dinner.

In this dinner bento the girls had:
  1. Nigerian Jollof rice.(Recipe to follow) The Two African children are made from pancake batter with Wilton brown gel color. Their clothing is purple egg sheet, but the purple doesn't show up well in the photo. The children's details are cheese and nori pieces.
  2. In the small round dish is a traditional African Peanut Stew. (Recipe to follow)
  3. Mini fufu balls. Another traditional African staple. Its simply boiled cassava (a starchy root, almost like potato) and lots of butter.
  4. Beef meatballs
  5. Carrot salad with a cherry tomato
  6. Sliced cucumbers and diced fresh mango fruit.

Jollof Rice:
  •  1 cup rice (long grained or medium variety)
  •  1 tsp cumin 
  •  1 tsp curry powder
  •  1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  •  1 onion 
  •  2-3 cloves of garlic (as per taste)
  •  1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated 
  •  1 tbsp tomato paste
  •  2 large tomatoes,chopped finely
  •  1 cup frozen peas and carrots 
  •  3 1/2 cups water vegetable or chicken stock (I like the glass bottle stock)
  •  cilantro or parsley to garnish
 Saute cumin, (I used the whole seed not ground) crushed garlic, and chopped whole onion, in garlic infused olive oil. After garlic and onions turn golden, stir in ginger , curry powder and nutmeg. Next stir in rice, tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Mix stock by adding to taste bottle stock to three and a half cups of water, pour into mixture and stir in well.Turn down the heat to low and cover with lid. Let let the mixture soak up most of the liquid till rice is soft. Add in frozen peas and carrots and let mixture come to a quick bubble again till peas and carrots are warm all the way through. Ready to serve!

 African Peanut Vegetable Stew: (Vegan friendly)

  • 3 tablespoons water for sauteing 
  •  1 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  •  1 medium onion, chopped
  •  3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced 
  •  2 cups of mixed beans, Black beans, chili beans, and Pinto 
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch squares 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes or 2 fresh tomatoes, diced 
  •  1 chopped medium sized zucchini
  •  1 cup smooth natural peanut butter (crunchy works great, too)
  •  2 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  •  1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  4 cups vegetable stock 
  •  1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  •  Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
 Heat the water in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Stir in the peanut butter, and distribute it evenly throughout. You may want to thin out the peanut butter first by mixing it with some water in a small bowl before adding it to the pot. It will make it easier to incorporate it into the stew. Add the TVP, sweet potatoes, beans,chopped zucchini and tomatoes, and stir to coat. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt, if necessary. Serve in individual bowls, and top with chopped nuts and cilantro, if desired. Both of these recipes are really easy and tasty! I hope you can try an African meal today!!! ^_^

 I have to apologise about being so slow in my Children of the world posts. I have a huge project assignment from my daughter's school. Missy Lulu's snack bentos have been noticed by her teachers and school administrators. Monday, I was asked by a school board member if I would enter a gingerbread house contest. The winner of this contest wins a 1,000 euros worth of toys for the school! I said "Sure, I can!" I mean, how hard could it be? Oh, and the house is due in complete with photos on the 3rd of December....(yeah, I'm an idiot)

Anyways, will keep you all posted with all that, and do a catch up post hopefully by Sunday! Everyone Have a beautiful Thanksgiving, and a wonderful weekend!!! Love Kiki ^.^

Monday, November 19, 2012

Native American Girl Bento

 This was the bento for today:

 I'm starting a children of the world theme this week.  Today, in step with Thanksgiving, I remember the people of Native American heritage. I talked with my girls about the Native Americans in America and their many contributions to the country which I am from.  Here is a Iroquois Thanksgiving Prayer I read to them.

Iroquois Thanksgiving Prayer

We return thanks to our mother,
the earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and
streams, which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs, which
furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon
and stars,which have given to us
their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the
earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the
Great Spirit, in Whom is embodied all
goodness, and Who directs all things
for the good of Her children.
Iroquois Prayer, adapted
(Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace)

Linking this lunch to bento blog network's bento of the week Thanksgiving theme.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Scarecrow Bento

I love fall and all the wonderful symbols of harvest time.  One of my favorite fall symbols is the happy scarecrow. I think scarecrows are such a neat American icon, and seeing  pictures of them always makes me think of golden corn fields in the midlands.

In these bentos the girls and I shared:
  1. Rice formed into scarecrows, with salami hats and alfalfa sprout stuffing. The nose is carrot and the neck scarf is cheese and salami.
  2. A Sliced pork chop.
  3. Steamed broccoli
  4. Tamagoyaki (Japanese style rolled omelette) with American cheese slice.
  5. A corn dog muffin from our freezer stock
  6. Fruit of grapes, clementine wedges, and beautiful red currant berries.
  7. A cherry tomato
I shared this lunch with the girls, but it was too much food for us all; (I'm not eating rice or fruit, so I only shared the meat, eggs and a little broccoli.) So the leftover were our dinner meal too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rilakkuma corn dog lunch

Today I made the girls corn dogs for lunch. These corn dogs were super simple as I simply made a corn batter and stuck a cocktail weenie in the middle before I baked them! I thought these mini muffins were cute as they were, but I couldn't resist a little tweaking! So now the corn dogs are Rilakkuma corn dogs, joined by his buddy kiiroitori (yellow bird).

In these bento lunches the girls had:
  1. Mini corn dog muffins dressed as Rilakkuma.
  2. Quail egg soaked in turmeric water overnight to get the yellow color.
  3. Grapes
  4. Mango dices
  5. Ketchup in the Rilakkuma mini container
I used a mini Carl Craft cutter to make the bear faces. *Hint for bento makers* If you dip the tip of a tooth pick in water you can pick up and place your nori cut outs with ease! No frustration from stubby fingers!

Linking these bentos to What's for Lunch Wednesday week 128

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Autumn Squirrels

I love seeing the squirrels rush around in the fall, gathering acorns. They rush back and fork quite eagerly trying to prepare themselves for the long, cold winters that come all to soon here in Finland. Happily, the beautiful colors of the fall leaves, and warm, hearty stews of traditional Finnish foods make this season quite a welcoming time.

 Those thoughts inspired today's fall themed bento.

In these bento meals the girls had:
  1. Squirrels made of bread crust and tortilla. I painted in details with lingonberry jam and honey mixed with soy worked quite well. The orange leaves are thin carrot slices. The acorns are tortilla, honey and soy sauce.
  2. The squirrels sit on top of a serving of maksalaatikko, a Finnish traditional liver casserole. It's really delicious; containing liver, rice, butter, raisins and eggs. I serve it warm but it can be eaten cold. A condiment of lingonberry jam is the best combination for a enjoyable autumn lunch.
  3. Along with the casserole and ligonberry jam the girls had a serving of fall inspired dried fruit. Prunes,apricots and apples.
  4. I slipped in a crunchy, sweet apple bunny made from one of our home apples. 

This was today's snack bento:

Inside she had:
  1. Whole grain buttered raisin bread shaped as a brown squirrel. The eyes and teeth are cheese.
  2. An acorn treat...tortilla spread with Nutella. The top of the acorn shells is also Nutella.
  3. Dried fall fruits with a fall leaf pick.
  4. A few pieces of caramel popcorn. 
Welcome Autumn! It's my favorite season!

Linking these lunches and snack bento to bento blog networks,  autumn bento of the week!