Tuesday, November 9, 2010

WFLW - Nursery Rhymes, Rub-A-Dub-Dub

Don't forget to enter my ECO-Lunchbox giveaway by the 15th for one of these dishwasher-safe metal bento boxes!

I wanted to do something cute for Tuesday's after-gym lunch, since there are so many great bento artists out there, and I really need to step up my game. I had a vague idea of doing another Goldilocks theme, with some leftover spiral Mac N Cheese and 3 little cheese bear cut-outs on top, but I couldn't figure out how to incorporate carrot flowers, since that's pretty much all I can make with carrot coins. But I couldn't get "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?" out of my head when thinking of carrot flowers. So I sat down and brainstormed some nursery rhyme titles, to see what I could do with them.

Nursery Rhyme Time!
Simple Simon (apples,) Little Bo Peep (sandwiches,)
Little Miss Muffet (candy spider and cheese curds,)
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary (veggie flowers) 
Simple Simon: It's my weakest idea, but I was rushed for time, since I was just starting to plan and make this an hour before we had to be at gym class, and I needed to incorporate a fruit somehow. So. Apples. Apple pie. Weaksauce, I know. 
Simple Simon met a pie-man going to the fair. 
Said Simple Simon to the pie-man "May I try your wares?" 
Said the pie-man to Simple Simon "Do you have a penny?" 
Said Simple Simon to the pie-man, "No I have not any."

Little Bo Peep: I had a large sheep cutter from a Martha Stewart set, and I thought I had a mini one from one of my two mini cutter sets, but apparently not. I found a llama though. I think this one was supposed to be a dog, but maybe a sheep. It looks like some kind of sheep/dog mutant hybrid. Good enough! I managed to squeeze all 3 out of one PH/honey sandwich.
Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep
And doesn't know where to find them.
Leave them alone, and they'll come home
Wagging their tails behind them.

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary: I used a small veggie cutter on some larger carrot coins from the top of the carrot. I was pleased that this carrot was wide enough that the coins were still intact after popping out the flower shape. I sliced some of the broccoli stalk and punched flowers out of them as well. I put broccoli flowers into the coins just for fun, and cut up some broccoli florets to make smaller bunches.
The scraps all went into my EasyLunchbox for my lunch! [I had Ranch and hummus for dipping, plus half a sandwich left over from breakfast - she asked for a PBJ.]

Mary, Mary quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle sheels,
And pretty maids all in a row.

The kids after gym class thought that the broccoli-stalk cross-sections were bunnies, and they were very popular!

Little Miss Muffet: Ah. My crowning achievement of this meal, but also kind of a failure. At first I was thinking I'd use Mac N Cheese, since I didn't know what curds and whey are, but then I remembered! And my husband had just brought home cheese curds the night before! Now for the spider... I had bought stuff needed to make these choco-caramel critters for Halloween, but never got the chance to do any.
I vaguely remembered the concept of the recipe, and didn't have time to look it up, so I started out microwaving 7 chocolate chips for 10 seconds. Newp. 30 seconds. Not a chance. Okay. A minute. Gah.

Chocolate Caramel Bugs
24 wrapped caramels
3/4 c semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips [preferably not ancient, whitish, crusty-looking ones]
licorice laces [I used toffee laces from Ikea]
assorted candy, sliced almonds, sprinkles, etc. to decorate
(Makes 12)

Step 1: Unwrap and flatten 2 caramels (separately) into circles. I just used the plastic wrapper and the cutting mat rather than wax paper to keep them from sticking to my rolling pin. I was lazy clever and used a small biscuit cutter to make circles.

Step 2: Microwave (or otherwise melt) chocolate. 60 seconds in the microwave, stirring halfway through. [Times vary for smaller quantities, and utterly failed for the ancient crusty-looking ones that I used.]
After over 1.5 minutes of cooking. Not. Melting.
At least they look brown again.
Step 3: Cut laces into legs and wing divider bits. 1/2" for short legs. I wanted longer ones for my spider [and yes. I know spiders don;t have wings. It just looked good, okay?]

Step 4: Lay desired number of legs on each side of the bottom circle and press other circle down on top to seal. [Didn't work for me. I even pressed it between each leg, which stopped them from shifting, but they still slid right out at the slightest touch. maybe they'd stick better if glued down with some melted chocolate?]
Step 5: Spread the top of each bug with melted chocolate. [Since my chocolate failed, I used chocolate frosting I found in the fridge... left over from April. It smelled fine.]
Step 6: Decorate with sliced almond wings, M&M eyes, whatever.
Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider, who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

I re-used the caramel wrappers to keep the spider off the cheese.
They also helped  it from sticking to everything it touched at the table.

Lunch brought over a lot of little looky-loos. Surprisingly, the plastic grass baran separating the apples from the sandwiches was the most popular, seconded by my broccoli stalk scraps with the flowers cut out of them!
She ate almost all the cheese curds. Then asked for the spider. After prompting, she ate most of the broccoli, all of the carrots, and tried a carrot/broccoli flower coin. Then, when awarded with the spider, she ate the M&M eyes and pulled out a leg and said that it was plastic! After picking off and discarding the almonds, she licked and poked off all the chocolate frosting. She tried the toffee lace legs, but I ended up eating most of them. And I polished off the caramel rounds at the end. She didn't touch the sandwiches or apples, but she ate the apples up later at home.

Bonus bento!
Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Bento Lunch in the Tub!
Monday at preschool, there was flour at the sensory table. We had a classroom full of dusty ghost-children! Z enjoyed running back to wash off her hands at the sink, then back to the flour. Water. Flour. Water. Flour. her arms were caked with flour paste up to her elbows by the time we cleaned up for snack!
After snack, when we were outside, she started complaining that her arms hurt. As I flaked off the flour, she said it was itchy and I told her we could wash it off in a bath after school.
So instead of a plate, I used an EasyLunchbox, which kept things contained better.
Clockwise from top left: PB/Pumpkin butter sandwich on round bread; Ranch;
carrots, green pepper, sliced cherry tomatoes; hummus; apple slices, cut-up string cheese.
Lunch in the tub was a big hit! She tried a tomato quarter, and had 1/4th of the sandwich, but refused to try green pepper. She ate lots of the carrots and hummus though. And had me get 2 more string cheeses after polishing off the first one. I think the apples were ignored. I just had a few left from a previous lunch that I tossed in, so I didn't have high expectations.
I ended up eating the green pepper, even though I don't like peppers. And I got the rest of the ones I had sliced up for the pizza-playdate, since they were getting old and ate them too. The Ranch really mellowed them out. They were only slightly unpleasant, and I set a good example for my wee one.
The bath did the trick and washed off all the flour. There were a few tomato seeds and carrot nibbles floating around by the end, but all-in-all, a success!


  1. Such great ideas! Thanks for sharing.


  2. This is so cute~ Having her lunch while taking a bath was a great idea.. I love all your ideas and think it's a great way of getting children to eat their vege's.

  3. Lol, I just love your candy spider! It's soooo cute!! :)


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