Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lunch with Santa and Rudolph - Holiday Ho Ho Hop!

Happy Holiday Season Everyone! I do this yearly I see; really get into the swing of things with my postings, then fall off the map around the Christmas holidays! Well, thanks to my buddies at Bento Bloggers and friends I have just the kick I need to get back into the Christmas Spirit motion with a wonderful Ho Ho Holiday Hop!

 I'll start off with the Gingerbread School House I made at the beginning of the month. It was my first try at making a gingerbread house and I guess it turned out OK,( if I say so myself!) It's a facebook competition, and if our school gets the most votes we'll win 1,000 euros for toys! If you're a member of facebook please swing by  this link here: and give the little red school house (for Wendy House School) a vote!! ^-^

Now on to bento! Last year my mother sent me three of the most adorable lunch boxes, (I think they're actually cookie gift boxes,) but she bought them from the dollar store in Atlanta and they are just the cutest! Thank you again Mom!! ^-^

I love the retro look of them !

For today's hop I picked Santa and his buddy Rudolph to make into a fun Holiday themed lunch.
The boxes are pretty tiny, so with only half a chicken breast sandwich and a pop tart I filled the whole box.

Here's a closer look at Santa and Rudolph!

Santa is made from cut Gouda cheese slices and colored with Wilton gel food color. Rudolph is my favorite medium of marzipan!

All closed up and ready for school! I have to thank my mother-in-law for sewing me the most lovely kiddie Holiday napkins! I love them!

Poor baby Sunshine thought this little bento was for her, but I'll whip her up a tot friendly bento later today! (You can really see the boxes scale in this picture.) She was so happy in this before photo... I will not show you the after though!

Here's one final photo!! This is my second try at a gingerbread house...I bought a house stencil, and boy did that make all the difference in the world! I'll do this every year now!

 Happy Ho Ho Holiday Everyone!!!
                                              Love Kiki!

Now continue on with Holiday cheer to my amazing bento buddy Daisy at here delicious blog Daisyselalu!!

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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Witchy Hello Kitty!

It's Halloween Day and I've enjoyed all the spooky, creepy, and cute holiday spirit I can take!! I had one last Halloween lunch in me for this year, using my favorite fall back. Meaning,  when all else fails and I run out of ideas, turn to my cutest buddy to help me out: Miss Hello Kitty! Look, Kitty's been playing in her Halloween makeup and today she's feeling witchy!

In this muffin tin lunch the girls had:
  1. A pumpkin chicken nugget with carrot and pea flowers
  2. A green Hello kitty witch, made with rice and pea puree. Her dress is cheese with nori detail and shes wearing a witch's hat pick
  3. A small salad of tomato wedge and curly lettuce.
  4. ketchup for dipping
  5. fruit cocktail
Here's a look at Witchy Kitty!

I used this fun bento set from Bento USA .( Check out my bento buddy Jeejee's site for all your bento tools, bentos and more!!! It's Heavenly!) Anyways, this is the fun tool I bought to make this paper doll like onigiri.

I used the bear shape and pinched the rounded ears pointy. I also flattened out the Bear's snout to have the flat surface for Kitty's face. Cant wait to play with this!

For the girls sweet tea snack I made more green Witchy Kittys!

This time Witchy Kitty is green marzipan on a plain pancake. They also had a few grapes underneath the pancake. I served this with a container of ice cold milk! Yummy!

So that's it for Halloween 2012! So glad you spent it with me, see ya next year Witchy Kitty! ^-^

Linking these meals to Muffin tin Monday. And What's for lunch Wednesday, week 127.

A Creepy Halloween Lunch for Isi

No cute lunch today for Isi; I tried to bring the full on creeps for Halloween lunch today! Brawww-ha-ha-ha...OK, I'll stop. ^-^

In this Halloween creep-tastic lunch he had:
  1. His favorite Indian take away menu, Paneer Kofta Curry (veggie balls in a tomato based curry gravy, delicious) homemade in the crock pot last night, added the plastic skeleton hand this morning.
  2. Couscous, topped with nori and a cheese skull decoration. I drew the skull with food safe pen.
  3. Taranchula salad, with spider picks, orange cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers, carrot and Indian onion relish
Hope he doesn't frighten his work colleagues too much today! Ha-ha-ha!..

Everyone have a safe, fun and fabulous Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

 It's the day before Halloween and while I've enjoyed playing with the Halloween seasonal toys, I'm just about tapped out of any new ideas! Luckily I was saved by this super cute tutorial I found on
dash It shows you how to make these super easy kooky bats treats,but I made a couple of healthy changes for my version.

In this lunch and snack bento we have:
  1. Two kooky meatball bats (instead of donut balls) Bats are made from meatballs, tortilla and nori glued together with mayo, cheese eyes and sunflower seed fangs.
  2. Two bat chicken nuggets 
  3. A container of extra mayo.
  4. (Orange) cherry tomato with pumpkin pick
  5. Grapes and green apple wedges
In the snack bento there was :
  1. Same style bat (this time) made with homemade mini pumpkin muffin and homemade ginger snap cookie wings. Wilton candy eyes and almond slice fangs
  2. Grapes with bat bento picks
OK, that's all for today's food. I hope all my blog buddies and family in the US East coast are safe, dry and warm! We'll see you tomorrow on Halloween Day!!  Whoo-hoo!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Sweeties

I tried my hand at making some fun candy corn shapes today for Missy Lulu's snack bento. I love candy corn and my lovely mother sent me some just for the fall season; the bright colors just make me think of the upcoming holidays and seem all the more festive having them around.

In this snack bento there was:
  1. Two candy corn sweeties (marzipan rolled over baked croissant rolls)
  2. One cherry tomato
  3. sliced pumpkin shaped chicken nugget
  4. Grapes and clementine orange wedges
I decided after taking the photograph that I would remove one of the sweets; Missy Lulu had a large lunch and I want to try to ration the all the sweet things in store with each day approaching Halloween day. And of course today she came home with an empty bento.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Keep it simple Thursday

Keeping things simple today. Still full of Halloween spirit but have almost reached the end of my Halloween idea bank! Today I decide to buy time with some simple picks and the cute stickers already on my little one's bento box and containers.

In this bento box there was
  1. Turkey rolls with mozzarella on  long pumpkin sticks...was a big hit from yesterday!
  2. Small container of peach yogurt with the pumpkin sticker on top.
  3. Grapes with ghost pick on top.
  4. Orange juice to drink

Nothing too spectacular, but still in the theme of things and destined to come home with an empty box! I like that well enough!! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

M-W Halloween Lunches

Wow it's so easy to get behind these days!! It seems like the rush for the holidays starts right now, and there's a ton of activity right up until New Years! I'm still cranking along with Halloween themed bentos though, I hope to make it right up to the 31st! Here's the lunches from Monday through today!

In this bento lunch there were
  1. Frankie's Boy Monsters...spinach pancakes garnished with nori and cheese.
  2. A small container of passion fruit yogurt (In love with these tiny reusable containers  I bought from !!Super tiny and the lid snaps on tight!! Score!!!)
  3. Grapes and sliced apple with ghost pick.
  4. Box of milk

Tuesday's Bento:

In this bento lunch there were
  1. Costumed kids as bunnies...Ham wrap sandwiches with cheese lettuce and mayo.
  2. Mini pumpkin pie pockets...made with homemade pumpkin butter! Yummy!
  3. O.J.
I got the idea for the tiny trick or treat holders from the wonderfully amazing Rina of Bento School lunches!! See here for her super adorable teddy bear bento version! (I love her wonderful ideas as much as her beautiful personality!!) She's such an inspiration and motivator for me!

Wednesday, October 24 Bento Lunches
I love making arts/ crafts and baking with my girls. Today was or bake day and we made pumpkin butter drop cookies for her snack bento today.
  1. I made owl like eyes with a carrot nose from the cookies
  2. Turkey rolls  with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella on a long pumpkin pick.
  3. Cucumbers with dill dipping sauce in the tiny container.
  4. Boxed milk to drink
Little Miss Baker!
The delicious results!!!!
Like tiny mouth fulls of pumpkin pie!

Daddy's Lunch for today...
In his bento he had
  1. A scary Krusty the Clown hogie sandwich. Krusty is made from cheese, tortilla, nori and food safe marker over bologna.
  2. Sides of olives, cherry tomatoes, wasabi almonds and marinated onions.
  3. Sliced tomato for his sandwich.

That's it for now! Whew!!

Linking these lunches to What's for Lunch Wednesday week 126!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Skeleton Jack- O'- Lanterns

Yesterday Isi brought home a bag of lovely lihapiirakka or savory pies of yeast dough or puff pastry filled with cooked and seasoned ground meat; mixed with rice, and onions. The yummy pies can be rewarmed in the microwave, or eaten just as they are from the bakery; which is how we usually eat them. But today, I have on my Halloween season glasses!!! I saw skeletons when looking at the flaky, savory pies...

In this bento lunch the girls had:
  1. The Lihapiirakka fashioned into happy Jack-O'-Lantern Skeletons; with carrot arms and a pumpkin (clementine) head.
  2. Cherry tomato with a witch hat pick
  3. Mozzarella ball ghost on a ghost party pick
  4. Grapes with bat picks
  5. Moon cut cucumbers
  6. Individual fruit jellies (from my local Asian market)
We all sat down and ate this little meal picnic style. We gobbled everything up including the lettuce! I barely had to wash the bento boxes...but I did ha ha! ^-^  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!