Saturday, December 12, 2009

Elephant sandwich bento

Hubby had a thermos of homemade chicken soup to go with his bento. His bento has elephant sandwiches(pulled a piece of cheese out to show you), sunflowers, pineapple, almonds, goldfish, pretzels, carrots, and mango.
Dh said the bread was soggy when he went to eat it. Next time i'll toast it.
On a side note I feel like I'm in a rut, i need some new stuff to add to lunches. One problem is I haven't been able to get to the store. And we need more fruit! But honestly I feel like i'm just stuck in a rut. Not that hubby cares, he'll eat almost anything we have in the kitchen lol.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Quick snack bento

Dh and I each had a bento. We ate maybe half of each.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More walgreens!

Dh and I hit 4 different Walgreen's stores in a big loop today. we were running other errands as well and decided to take advantage of the last sale day. Two of the stores were almost totally cleaned out, we were not able to get as many items as we hoped for. But we did get all this! Total for all these things? $13.75! At least $8 of that was on filler items. Dh wanted the coke, the wii candy toy will be a present for my fil and $4 for the children's items. The kids' items will go to the giving tree. If we were blessed to have children, the 2 coloring books, puzzle, 3 cars, 4 pencils, 2 packs of markers and a chocolate snowman would fill a stocking. For a grand total of $4.50!

Yesterday's and today's Walgreen's buys came to a total of $32.25 with a savings of $101.41. We ended up buying:
1 pack of Soleil razor blades
5 bottles Johnson body wash
5 bottles Infusium conditioner
5 women's Dove deodorants
2 right guard deodorants
2 bottles Nivea shave cream
1 pack crayons
2 packs markers
2 coloring books
1 puzzle
3 toy cars
1 candy
4 pencils
1 toy wii mote
1 coke.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bento for foster care training.

Last week Dh and I had an all day foster training in an unfamiliar city. I packed a lunch so we wouldn't have to spend money, or look for a place to eat. The training building ended up having a cafeteria, which is where most people ate. I looked at their menu. A plain old boring sandwich and fries cost $5. Food for dh and I would have been $10. We would have had less time to eat. Instead of a plain sandwich we had:

The first tiffin bowl has goldfish, chocolate almonds, trail mix and dried cantaloupe. The second bowl has carrots for both of us, hummus, ranch and turkey. The third bowl has broccoli, and 3 pot stickers. My bento has goldfish, almonds, chex cereal, and mango. The other level has pot stickers and turkey.
I wanted to do something special so i made us raspberries covered in white chocolate. Its important to keep lunch interesting!
Our lunch looked far more appetizing then the plain jane sandwiches. I was laughing because a lot of people starred with interested eyes at our lunch but no one would ask us a question.

Black Friday

Do you shop black Friday? We went out for Walmart's 32" flat screen. Since we were already out we stopped at Walgreens for their deals. I didn't use coupons, I'm way behind on coupons. We went at 6 am and they were totally empty of people with all the deals in stock.

Without using coupons we spent $18.50 on all of this. Dh and I did a total of 3 transactions. The first one was the shave cream, a deodorant, body wash, and conditioner. I used $7 in register rewards. Total came to $11.96 with a total savings of $11.20. Dh and I went to a different store several hours later. He bought the razor blades, crayons, and conditioner. He used $10 in register rewards. His total came to $1.70, with a total savings of $16. I bought the 2nd bottle of body wash, and the second deodorant for $4.84. I used $6 in register rewards. Total savings was $6.50.

Before sales total would be $52.20

we spent $18.50

Saved a total of $33.70

Ended up with $16 in register rewards.

We could have saved more with coupons but I'm pleased with our savings. Dh and I both love having a stockpile of cheap goods! The crayons will go to someone on the giving tree, we're even stockpiling good deals for that! lol.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Travel bento full of snacks

I made a bentos for my sister in law and mother in law. They were taking a 2 day road trip and i wanted to send them snacks. Plus, i wanted to introduce them to bentos! The snacks had to be dry goods. I sent peanuts, chocolate almonds, mango, pretzels, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, wheat things, and cashews. My mother in law loved the treats, she said they were super cute and fun.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bento for the road

I love the large box for travel. Having all the food in one level makes it way easier to eat in the car. It holds plenty of variety, and is easy to use. Using the tiffin in the car is super difficult! Its hard to tell but the sandwich halves are stacked on top of each other. There is also mango, yogurt almonds, more mango sunflower seeds, chocolate almonds, and ritz crackers. Yummy, easy and great for the car!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Sorry to be gone so long!
This bento has raspberries and sugar in the elephant, carrots and ranch in the bear, Cheetos and mango in the bottom with peanut butter roll ups on the side.

This one has peanut butter roll ups, carrots, grapes and mango.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


We had to say no to the little one. The child had far more medical needs then we were originally told. Way beyond what we could handle. Back to waiting!

Bentos-Mom still has my camera. I can't believe how naked I feel without it!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Adoption News

The little 1 year old foster baby was not placed with us. We don't know why, his worker just stopped calling. Very annoying!

Our adoption fund has been bumped up to $1,400 with the addition of $1,000 from hubby's bonus. That was such a nice jump! :)

We do have another possibility on the line. This adoption would be a private adoption, for a little baby with high medical needs. Pending a few medical details, dh and I are ready to move forward. Cautiously of course, every time we get close to a baby something happens! This little one is a month old and in a totally different state. If we go forward and baby is still in the NICU I will be flying out immediately, the thought of the baby alone there breaks my heart! Needless to say I'm quite nervous/churned up and can't wait for Tuesday!

Where are the Bentos?

I apologize for the lack of bentos this week. Unfortunately my camera was forgotten at my mom's house. I don't think bento posts work without a picture. I did have an opportunity to make bentos for my parents when we visited. Both of them really enjoyed them, even my mom who despite my efforts will not consider making bentos herself. She did tell me I'm allowed to make them for her whenever I want. Thanks mom! :)

Bento gear: last night at World Market I found a set of silicone mini muffin cups for $2.50! What a steal, they are far sturdier then the silicone cups from Dasio. I snapped up a set in green. So excited my poor husband was looking at me in shock. What can I say? Muffin cups get me excited! I also bought a new bento box that is super cute.

Once my camera is back I will be back to regular posts!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Backlog of Bentos

I can not remember when this was but this was my lunch. carrots, sweet peas, crackers, cheddar and ravioli.
J had fried rice and gyoza in a microwave safe box. Bottom is apple sauce, yogurt
almonds, carrots, and cheddar.
J's fruit cup. Mine was the same but in a different container.

Hubby's lunch

Hubby's lunch all packed up. He likes a separate fruit cup and i try to accommodate him.
He has chicken, cheddar, cheddar, broccoli, carrots, and sugar snap peas. The top has something covered in coconut I'm not sure what! Bottom fruit cup has half and orange and strawberries.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Foster care

The reason I haven't been making bentos is last friday we received a placement call. First call in our age range in almost a year! The placement would be a foster placement not adoptive which we're fine with. M has a lot of medical needs, that is intimidating. But we want to help him, and I think it would be fun. Its been back and forth for over a week now and I think we're on the cusp of meeting/bringing him back home. But its hard to know for sure! I'm been a bundle of anxious nerves for over a week and its not going away any time soon. I hope we have the honor of caring for him, at least for a little while.

Bento for Big and Little

Life has been crazy here the past week, and I haven't made many Bentos. I'll get to the reason later. For now my Hubby had his first activity with his 'little' from big brother. The two of them are going Frisbee golfing. Its important that the activities stay 'cheap' at first. That way the little doesn't expect/want pricey activities. We already own Frisbees, backpacks, and bento gear for lunch. We did buy a $7 water bottle for D because we weren't sure his parents would think about it. I was VERY excited to pack their lunch, I get to use my bento gear on a kid! I have no idea what he likes so I packed a variety of stuff.

Peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread cut into dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are standing on chocolate covered almond 'boulders' and broccoli 'bushes'. Behind them is a 'bamboo forest' made from pretzel sticks. And carrots lol!

Two ranch cups and animal crackers to share. J's fruit box grapes and peaches.

D's fruit cup, grapes and peaches.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bento dinner

Pretty bentos all ready to devour:
This bento was for dinner last night. We were running errands in the evening, i made dinner in a bento so we didn't eat fast food. J found me a new brand of dry ravioli, I still like Costco's much better but we can't find it. I swear every time we go and can't find it I add another bag to the bags I plan to buy when its in. Right now I'm up to 4 bags! Yum! We did find a 3 pound container of chocolate almonds for $9. I don't care for the yogurt variety, the chocolate will act as a gap filler for me.

On the left side hubby has peanuts, cheese cubes, avocado, sunflower seeds, broccoli and half a chocolate covered granola bar. On his right side he has the cooked ravioli.

Top tier has cooked ravioli. Bottom tier has avocado, sunflower seeds, cheese, broccoli, half a granola bar, two yogurt almonds.

Bento Backlog

Yummy lunch!

My lunch from a few days ago, 1 cup fried rice in the fruit box. Pot stickers, grapes and a babybel. Fruit cup with applesauce and grapes. I LOVE this brand of pot stickers so fragrant and delicious!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New box style

Man I'm behind! I've been working on setting up an online bento store. I'm surprised by how much work that is! When we were in dasio I found a bento I haven't seen before. I bought one to sell in my online store, and I figured I'd better try one myself! Total volume is 470ml.
The blue section seems quite water tight. I filled it with water and shook it around, only a few drops escaped. It can sit lid down in the yellow compartment or snap lid up on the yellow section. Definitely need a belt to hold everything together but I like it. Its weird to be sure. But I like the options.
Blue section snapped lid up on the yellow section.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weekend Bento

This is the first time J and I used the tiffin my dad gave us. It works well for wraps. This tiffin is a bucket with a small metal shelf on the top.

Yesterday Hubs and I packed up a lunch. My wrap had rice, salmon, cucumber and a sesame dressing. Hubby made himself a turkey thing.

The tiffin's shelf holds a good bit of grapes, and a few Babybel cheeses.

More grapes, banana muffins. Bottom has goldfish and 2 granola bars cut into pieces. Not pictured is the box full of carrots.

Some of this was lunch, the rest became a snack on the way home.

Bento backlog

This is Thursday's lunch. Hubby took his lunch money to use, and I was not feeling well. I prepared a super simple lunch for myself.
Top tier grapes and a banana muffin. Bottom tier crackers, swiss, cheddar and half an avocado.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yesterday's bento

All packed up and ready to go

Ready to eat!

J's blue top tier, 2 pirogi, hard boiled egg, 2 chicken nuggets and some cheddar. Bottom tier banana mini muffin, carrots, and cheddar. Bottom box holds broccoli, ranch, grapes, blackberries and pineapple. My pink top tier has 3 chicken nuggets and cheddar. Bottom has ranch, carrots and a mini muffin. Bottom box holds grapes, blackberries and pineapple.
I really like my Cheshire cat box. The white cups come completely out for cleaning. It makes a great fruit box! Plus its cute.

Major thrift store score!

J and I have been casually searching for a living room chair for several months. We sat in millions of chairs and he declared every single one that did not recline, uncomfortable. Now that is impossible.Every single chair is not uncomfortable. But he really wanted a recliner and I really did not. I find them rather ugly. We kept looking. Yesterday we went to out local market for their stellar produce deals. Right next door is a little faith based thrift store I love. Sitting out front was this baby.
For $100. WITH TAGS. Brand spanking new! J waited in the car while I asked the owner the price. He said he could tell from my face I wanted the chair, but I also didn't. $100 for a brand new recliner is a steal. And it would please my husband. But it would ruin the look I wanted in the living room. hmm. I'm a sucker, and its an easy thing for me to give up to make him happy. The chair came home with us. Of course I had to re-arrange the ENTIRE living room, that i had JUST re-arranged the day before. By myself because hubs has back problems right now. Now I have back problems too! lol. I keep telling J that is the last recliner we'll have in the living room. He looks at me with a twinkle in his eye and replies 'we'll see.' Mmmhmmm.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yesterday's bento

My lunch

My lunch Top tier: Pumpkin seeds, garlic triscuits, cheddar and 2 pierogi. Bottom: Carrots, blackberries and banana mini muffin.
J's after work snack
J eats his lunch far earlier then I eat mine and is usually starving when he gets home. We were heading out to do some errands so I whipped up a quick snack. Banana mini muffin, carrots, generic ritz, turkey and cheese. This box works well for a car snack. Its one tier, and about 500ml.

Frugal baking pans.

Two days ago I made some banana bread. Because:

1. Weather was cool enough I wouldn't melt in my very hot kitchen.
2.We had some bananas that needed to go.
3 I was able to use my new pans.

The mini muffin pan was mention here. The pan I haven't talked about I found at a yard sale for $1. Its a Nordic Ware very heavy lemon pan. Our specialty kitchen store carries it for $30! So pretty!

The recipe came from the Betty Crocker cookbook. My go to manual. I did make a few changes, instead of 1/2 a cup of butter I used 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup of applesauce. I'm out of whole wheat flour. Instead of using the whole 2 cups of white flour called for I filled the measuring scoop half way and added several spoons of wheat germ. I can't tell there is applesauce and wheat germ in there. Neither can Mr J, and he's picky.

Pretty bread!

I am pretty impressed by how well the bread un-molded. I did grease it VERY well, but still. Many a baker knows the sadness felt when a hot delicacy falls apart on your kitchen counter. Coming out wonderfully? Priceless! (lol) It is hard to see the design, I wonder what would show better in the pan. Cake maybe?

The mini muffin pan works great. The tiny muffins fit perfectly into our bentos. I'm defiantly going to look for another pan.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My bento for yesterday.

Yesterday's lunch

Honey turkey, swiss sandwich on wheat. Yellow box has carrots, ranch, and goldfish. Fruit box holds kiwi and grapes. I finally decided I just don't like kiwi often, I cant get myself to eat it. This was a large amount of food, I ate slowly and snacked for awhile. I don't plan to buy deli meat often, its expensive and not healthy. Its a treat and we're enjoying it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Background story: fast food addiction

When J and I first started dating we would eat every single meal at a restaurant. EVERY SINGLE MEAL. We both gained a ton of weight. Eventually we slowed down, and after awhile when money was tight stopped eating out. A few years ago money quit being so tight and we started eating out more, but at fast food restaurants. There is a lot of reasons why, some are even valid. But we kept getting bigger. (mine is partially due to medical problems, I can't blame bad eating habits for everything) When we started using the envelope budgeting system we tried to cut it down by budgeting $20 for fast food. Even so we probably ate fast food 3-4 times a week. The funny thing is I try and cook healthy at home and am always trying new foods and healthy ways to cook. But in the car? Calories on wheels! It was ridiculous and i couldn't seem to stop it. Ever since I started using bento boxes I have a solution. Bento is a fun way to pack food, and its working for us.

A few weeks ago I told my dad we'd only had fast food once the past week, and he looked at me amazed. That is how bad our habit was! We've cut back so much on the greasy burgers going into our mouth it is wonderful! However we slipped. Sunday's schedule was all funky from J's shift and we found ourselves in McDonald's for breakfast/lunch. It made BOTH of our stomachs angry. I think we were just used to what fast food tasted like. Cause its not good folks! Its almost like our bodies have detoxed from all that junk and they couldn't handle it this time.

We will still need on the go meals, but i hope they come from my kitchen not a drive through. As a compromise I've let up on myself when it comes to the meals. Not everything has to come from scratch, its ok to have a few convenience items on hand. Mainly pot stickers, lumpia and the occasional chicken nugget. I hope this continues to work for us. I've always said I don't want my children eating the way we do. Why is it all right for us then?

Boring Tiffin lunch

This morning I took a few minutes to try and convince J (who has the duty of waking his wifey) that it really wasn't time to get up. He'd be fine letting me sleep but I've asked him to make sure I get up, because I really do hate morning. But it was time to get up and make a boring lunch!
At least its boring to me, to J its a very very good lunch. He bought 1/2 pound of garlic bologna for his lunches. BLECH! He thinks its delicious and its only $5 a pound, but yuck. The bread is the softest and fluffiest wheat I've ever seen. And it was a markdown! J's lunch is a garlic bologna, provolone sandwich. I slid some goldfish down next to the sandwich. J loves goldfish. Then he has broccoli and carrots with ranch. Bottom tier is apple sauce, grapes, and kiwi. See what I mean? Boring! But to hubby this is one gooooood lunch.
I made myself a small sidecar of fruit but I have not photographed it yet. I'll have a HONEY TURKEY sandwich and some veggies for my lunch. I'll try to remember to photograph it later.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tiffin for husband

J has to work a terrible shift today. All night long, on a Saturday! Our schedule is all out of whack. (I try and move my schedule around to be with J, MAN am I tired!) Even though I fed him dinner about 7 pm he wanted a bunch of food to help keep him going. Normally his lunches sit in the car for a few hours before going into the fridge. I use the bento boxes most often because they fit into our insulated bags. But J likes the tiffin, and since his lunch is going right into the fridge it works fine. Plus it holds a ton of food.
Top left bowl carrots, ranch and bbq chicken. Top right peach slices, grapes and apple sauce. Bottom is Yogurt with blackberry sauce and honey, mini babybel cheese, fortune cookie, and sunflower seeds topped with chocolate chips and napkin.
I ran into a problem when I tried to pack it all up. I had put the yogurt in the bottom bowl, and the container was too large to allow everything to pack like its supposed to. I had to re-arrange everything so that the yogurt was on the top tier. The lid is domed just enough to allow everything to close.

I love the little fork and spoon sets we bought from Dasio. Four sets to a pack, and they fit nicely in bentos and tiffins! Cute cute cute!

Check out this baby:

To you it probably looks like a plain old boring muffin pan. But to me? Thrilling! I've been looking for a mini muffin pan at all the thrift stores (nada) discount stores (Nope) and regular stores we visit (yes). The cheapest price I'd found was $5. I don't want to pay $5. I want to pay less! Sure it was annoying waiting for the pan. I wanted mini muffins and I wanted them now! (insert screaming 2 year old voice) But I decided I was going to wait in till I found a good deal. Mini muffin pan is NOT a need, its a want. Finally i ran across this shiny little pan at our local thrift store for .45 cents! You may be thinking 'big deal its only $5, get a grip' Sure its $5 this time, but next time it could be $20. Or $50. The point is not only did it not harm me to wait till I found a very good deal, I had the thrill of the find as well. When I found this pan I quietly squealed and went scooting over to hubby to wave it in his face. Would you do that in Walmart? I hope not! lol.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Picnic Bento style

Good food all ready to go!

Today hubby was able to leave work early, after having a long week. We decided to take a picnic, and the corgi to our favorite park. I spent a bit more time making food for this meal then I would at 5 am when I normally make lunch. (I'm a zombie at 5 am) If I wanted these things in our normal lunches they would be made in advance!

J has garlic parmesan pasta salad, carrots, sunflower seeds, hamburger with provolone, cucumber, and grapes. The yellow dip container holds bbq sauce. My bento (in blue) holds 3 pot stickers, pasta salad, carrots, and swiss cheese cut outs. Below I have cucumber, grapes and a few generic nilla wafers. In the green and yellow container we have chocolate covered strawberries, grapes and ranch for the veggies. The chocolate covered strawberries look a little odd because I tried melting chocolate chips at first. They turned into one big glump. Instead of washing out the bowl I just added my melting chips to the bowl. Easier and still yummy.

J was eyeballing the chocolate strawberries when we went to the fair. Five chocolate covered strawberries would have cost us $5! PLEASE! He could not bring himself to buy them. I used the last of our strawberries and melting chips I already had. Far less then $5, and was hubby any less pleased? Nope! I made the pasta salad and the chocolate berries right before we left. J said the salad (butter, cheese, pepper, and garlic) didn't have enough flavor. Mhhm. I'll coat it in garlic next time! :)

Pretty soothing park, crazy corgi and yummy food. That is what I call a good time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is it me?

Or does this guy look like an alien about to eat me with his big yellow tongue?

My bento

This is yesterday's lunch. I didn't make lunch today, and I forgot to photograph dh's from the day before! I imagine I will forget to photograph J's on a regular basis. I'll try not to but I don't function well at 5 am! In fact I plan the lunches the night before, list and all. WAY too much food. I packed a smaller bento to go with the sandwich this time. Because my blue box was too much food. Apparently I need to go smaller still! The sandwich is stuffed with hummus and cucumber. Grapes between the slices. The top bento tier had grapes, strawberries, and blackberries. Bottom tier has carrots, ranch, swiss and generic ritz. Maybe I'll keep my eye for a sandwich box. . . ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today's bentos

J asked for a snack today, he was going to use his lunch money today. Normally his lunches go into the work fridge after a few hours. I use an ice pack and insulated bag to keep them cold. But this snack would be sitting in his car all day. No chicken, cheese or hamburger! I packed sunflower seeds topped with chocolate chips, peanuts, strawberries, carrots and grapes.
My lunch:

J's snack was prepared the night before so i could sleep in. I made my lunch right before I ate it. WAY too much food! Hummus cucumber sandwich with swiss cheese bunny and flowers. Strawberries cradling blackberries. Carrots, cucumber, and ranch. Generic Nilla cookies, cheese wheel, and chocolate covered gummie bears.