Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Barnyard Bento Bonanza

For Barnyard Bonanza week at The Little Gym, I made farm-themed lunches for all three days that we needed a packed lunch. Since I already showed off two of hers in my Lunchbox Love Notes giveaway post (ended,) I decided to "round up" all of our lunches from that week into one post.

Tuesday, 8/21/12 - She had asked for a cow-themed lunch, but I couldn't find my cow sandwich mold, so I stalled and made a generic barnyard theme.
Strawberries, SunButter-jelly sandwich, CoJack cheese, green beans
I chose my rooster cupcake pick for the strawberries, mostly to add color! For the sandwich, I chose the pig from my Tovolo ice cream sandwich molds set (because it was the only one I could find! Natch!)

Above the cut green bean "grass," I used my mini cow and pig cutters on some cheese. The mini llama came with some farm set, but I'm not finding it online, so it may have been taken out of the set.
And those animals are actually cleverly stacked cheese shapes, so all together they almost equal a whole slice of cheese!
Mama's Lunch
Lettuce salad w/carrots, raisins, and Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing;
black-and-blueberries, Special K Crackers w/cheese scraps
My little dressing container was a gift from Karen at What's In Our Lunch Bags? She also gave me a purple one! I've seen them in 4-packs hanging in various aisles at several grocery stores (including Target and Wal-Mart.) They fit in the EasyLunchboxes, and don't leak, but they're a little big for my purposes - I don't quite need THAT much dressing! But it matched the pink fork (Dollar Tree baby section,) pink heart skewer, and pink muffin cup! It would be the perfect size for holding raisins and almond slivers though, to keep them from getting moist.

Thursday, 8/23/12 - I needed to get my rear in gear and showcase my Lunchbox Love notes for the giveaway, so I went with a chicken theme next, to match one of the Fun Facts, instead of making her a cow lunch.
Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt, TJs jellybeans, grapes, cinnamon,
Sunbutter-Honey and Biscoff sandwiches, strawberries, green beans and broccoli
For a fun treat, I put a few dye-free Trader Joe's jellybeans in the little chick-shaped Easter egg I found at Target on clearance after Easter. In the chick sauce bottle is cinnamon to sprinkle onto her Chobani Greek yogurt.
I used my mini barn cookie cutter to make a SunButter and honey sandwich, and used a steak knife to cut a door and window in, just to give it some detail. My mini rooster cutter made a little Biscoff sandwich, as a fun treat.
To add some fun chicken-y details, I chose my long chicken skewer picks for the grapes, and a hatching chick pick and chicken head pick for the strawberries.
The yellow chicken spoon is for mixing in her cinnamon, and the Cool Straw (outside the box, on the right) is for slorping up her yogurt.
Mama's Lunch:
Lettuce salad w/blueberries, carrots, cauliflower, raspberry vinaigrette;
1/2 tomato, broccoli and green beans w/hummus

Friday, 8/24/12 - Still couldn't find my cow sandwich mold, so I gave up and used a regular cow cutter.
Grapes, Co-Jack cheese, chocolate, hummus, WowButter-Honey sandwich, green beans
I added my cow cupcake pick in with the grapes for fun, and used my mini cow cutter again for the cheese.

The chocolate tractor was a freebie in one of my organic produce boxes that I have delivered in the Winter. It's from Theo Chocolates, which is a veeeeery fancy chocolatier in Seattle, and one of only, like, 10 chocolate makers in the US (not to be confused with chocolates makers, who take chocolate and do things with it. Chocolate makers actually make the chocolate from the cacao nibs, and there are not many worldwide. Most companies get their chocolate from the same company, then add their fillers to lower the quality, and thus the price.) It was a hard call giving her this, since it's such good quality, and she isn't very discerning. But she's worth it! Plus it totally fit the theme. How could I not?

My cow cutter was from a thrift store, and is an older version of the current Wilton cow cutter. Mine's also a little warped. But I made it work! I used tiny bits of raisin for the eyes and the hint of a swishy tail, and glued them on with the WowButter.
Mama's Lunch
Lettuce, cabbage, and purple cabbage salad w/yellow crookneck squash,
blueberries, peas, carrots, and raspberry vinaigrette dressing w/nutritional
yeast added for protein. Special K crackers, cheese scraps, 1/2 tomato
I added some nutritional yeast to my dressing, to try and increase my protein intake. It tasted fine (don't get me wrong - I could taste it. It just wasn't too weird for me to handle) but thickened up my dressing too much. I love the vinaigrettes because I can use less dressing (I usually use roughly 1 Tbsp,) since they're so thin they spread and coat the whole salad really well, with very little tossing on my part. Because it was so thick, most of my salad went dressing-less, which wasn't as yummy. Next time I'll store the yeast separately and sprinkle it on after the dressing, or just put it on the salad when I make it.

I would like it noted for the record that I specifically designed these lunches to be nut-free to be school safe (even though she doesn't eat lunch at her school yet.) Mine are nut-free too (except the Special K crackers probably have cross-contamination warnings. So not safe for an allergic person to ingest, but usually safe to be around.)
I made sure to use SunButter, which she has been enjoying for a while, and hasn't noticed that I'm subbing it in for PB randomly, and we tried WowButter for the first time as well. Contrary to the claims on the jar, it does not taste "just like peanut butter." It tastes like dried soybeans. Not bad though.

Tools of the Trade
     Japanese Bento Box Accessory Long Food Pick 30 pcs Heart   Japanese Bento Accessory Food Pick Duck Family 3D food picks 10 pcs Japanese Bento Food Pick 10 pcs Japanese Bento Cute Long Food Pick 30 pcs Japanese Bento Accessories Mini Fork Spoon set of 8 Japanese Bento Box Accessories Soy Sauce containers with Funnel   Japanese Bento Accessories Silicone Colorful Food Cup 6P  


  1. WE almost went to that Chocolate place when I was there a couple of years ago. How could I not with it being my son's name?! But unfortunately I got sick that day :(

    However, I didn't know there were so few stores like it!

  2. Great themes! I love them. I especially like how you added detail to the barn and the cow.


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