Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea Bento Lunch. Part Deux

Last week I did bento lunches and edible fruit arrangements for her two drop-off preschool teachers (plus the other four teachers at the school.) I had wanted to do the same for her two teachers at our co-op preschool as well. But our co-op class is only on Mondays and Wednesdays, and one of the teachers only works Mondays. Which means if I wanted to feed them both at the same time, it would have to be on a Monday. But last Monday was a field trip to the beach. (We ended up missing that because I had a raging migraine. I still got everyone up and ready on time, but when I asked Z if she wanted to go, she said no. I wasn't going to fight her, so Baby and I went back to bed and I fell into a drug-induced stupor in between baby-feeding sessions. But it worked! Migraine went away!)
So I conferred with the teachers and we decided to bump it to the week after Teacher Appreciation. After all, it's the thought that counts! Plus it happens to be our last week of school for this class (the drop-off one runs through mid-June.)

I did another pair of fruit bouquets, since I still had half a honeydew and a quarter of a cantaloupe left over. I also had a few kiwi, plus the mango flowers I had forgotten the first time were still good. I had bought another mini seedless watermelon and fresher strawberries, and had found some kumquats at Trader Joe's to try a fun idea. Had planned on getting another star fruit, since I wasn't going to bother with another pineapple for just two bouquets. Plus it was a major pain to work with. But I forgot the star fruit anyway. Booo.
Because I didn't have any "featured" fruit (like the star fruit,) I did 11 skewers per bouquet, instead of the 10 on the original ones.
Strawberry "buds," mango, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi,
and watermelon flowers with grapes.
Since I was only making two lunches, I decided to be more ambitious. So I decided to make my Rainbow Curry and Crisps. Only this time, I doubled the rice, water, and seasonings, and added a cup of assorted lentils (1/3 cup each red, yellow, and green split peas.) I also chopped up the last of a head and stalk of broccoli. I cut the stalk into really small pieces, in case of toughness. For the crisps, I was inspired by Bobbi's Bentos' taco bowls, but I didn't want to pack too much curry or have the crisps take up too much space, so I made really mini ones.
Since the curry has a kind of Moroccan flair, I thought that including this tasty Broccoli with Peanut Sauce would kind of tie in with an Asian theme. I used sunflower seed butter instead, which gives it even more of an Asian flair... almost a sesame flavor. And since my first batch was too vinegar-y for my tastes, I halved the amount of vinegar for the teachers' batch. (And only used 1.5 Tbsp of soy sauce. Figured I could always add the other 1/2 Tbsp if needed. It wasn't.) I also didn't steam the broccoli, since I prefer mine raw. And then they'd have to heat it up, which means they'd either have to eat everything not to be heated up out of their EasyLunchbox first, then heat the rest, or else they'd have to remove the other stuff and have to set it somewhere while the warm foods were cooking. I hate setting my bentos up like that, since I hate making another dish or area dirty. Or setting my food on an unsanitary surface.
I still had two Secret Recipe granola bar hearts I'd saved from the batch for the other teachers. I was sorely tempted to make mini apple crisps instead, so I could gobble them down myself, but I resisted. It was hard. Really hard.

I did up another batch of Minty Green Tea Lemonade as well. Only this time instead of sending over the whole pitcher, I got them each a little BPA-free re-usable drink container. They were on sale at Fred Meyer. This way Z and I get the rest of the drink. Yummm.

After I was all done with the teachers' food and bouquets, and packing lunch for Z and myself, I was digging through my Trader Joe's bag and found the kumquats. Doh! Almost forgot! For these little babies, I went ahead and opened the cellophane bags back up to add some kumquat butterflies. I got the idea from some kumquat bees I had seen in a magazine once. To make them look less like fat flies and more like fat butterflies, I used a heart cutter to make wings out of the peel from another kumquat. They fell out overnight, so I used half a toothpick to skewer them through before packing everything into the car to take to school. Then one wing fell off each butterfly on the way to school. Argh!
But they looked crazy stinkin' cute for a little while at least!

I was worried that my curry wouldn't be up to snuff, since for some reason it was really bland. I doubled the rice, but I also doubled the spices! Oh well. Maybe the lentils sucked out all the yum. But the teachers said they really enjoyed their lunches.
However, they also tell us they enjoy being trapped in a room for two hours with our little monsters, so they are clearly accomplished liars.


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