This week Bento Blog Network has a Totally Vegan theme link-up. So I wanted to give it a whirl. I've learned a lot from my friends at Bentoriffic (vegan) and Veggie-Bento (vegetarian.) And still I managed to flub it up!
Soft Kitty, Vegan Kitty
|Red grapes, carrots, apples, PB w/flax seeds,|
Kale Chips, frozen hummus, tortilla chips.
Grape Escape: I was shocked and amazed to note that there is very little in the way of kitty bento picks. I have a few kitty cupcake picks, and some Hello Kitty picks, but this wasn't a Hello Kitty-themed lunch, and I wanted kawaii-cute cats, not just kitty-looking cats. Preferably ones that wouldn't distract from the adorable tortilla chip cats! Plus I was kind of hoping for longer skewers for the grapes. So I just scrapped the cat pick idea and went for some longer bow picks.
14 Carrot Gold: I normally only bother with one vegetable, but since I was aiming for a vegan meal here, I wanted to be sure and include a wider variety of colors and vitamins, since I don't know what I'm doing. I used a v-shaped blade to slice Vs down the sides of a small carrot to make the coins look like flowers.
Apple Dippers: Since she informed me that she doesn't like "cookie spwead" (WHAT?!) I opted for peanut butter for her apples. I loooooove dipping my apples in peanut butter! Plus it gives her some extra protein. And this particular peanut butter happens to be Trader Joe's Valencia Peanut Butter with Flax Seeds. Ooo fawncy!
Kale to the King, Baby!: 1 cup of cooked kale has 9% of your daily recommended calcium, so Kale Chips were a no-brainer choice for a dairy-free lunch. These ones were tossed in olive oil and have Lowry's Seasoning Salt and extra garlic powder.
Something's Fishy...: I got the idea to make frozen hummus shapes from Veggie-Bento. I used a fishy-shaped ice cube mold from IKEA - since kitties like fish! Especially veggie-based fish! This hummus is actually a Tuscan White Bean Hummus from Trader Joe's, rather than a chickpea-based one. I'm not a fan of store-bought chickpea hummus. It has a strange tang. I prefer my recipe (which was published in a cookbook! Toot toot!)
This white bean one is pretty good too, although very kalamata-olive-y. It thawed fairly quickly.
I attempted to use black sesame seeds for eyes, but they didn't stay in place very well when I added more hummus. Oh well.
The silicone fishy cup came from Christmas Tree Shops... which I don't have around here. But I did a Daiso run and my friend Michelle from Creative Food did a Christmas Tree Shop run and we arranged a hostage exchange!
Soft Kitty, Yummy Kitty: I used my new CuteZCute (you can call it "cute-z-cute" or "cut-ez-cute" - your call!) on a tortilla to make as many heads as I could (five,) then used the kitty face cutter to punch out the features from each one. I tore up the larger tortilla scraps to make a few boring ones for myself.
I spritzed them with olive oil cooking spray, and sprinkled on some salt and Italian seasoning. (Since Parmesan cheese isn't vegan, under no circumstances did I unthinkingly sprinkle some on. Doh!)
The recipe I found online said to bake at 350 F for 8-10 minutes, but mine were closer to 15-20. I checked every 2-3 minutes after the first 10 though.
CuteZCute cutter set is now available online at Amazon and BentoUSA (allthingsforsale)! Check this link out for more CuteZCute lunch ideas, and link up your own! You can link from sites like flickr, even if you don't blog!
Z had just eaten a large breakfast (a bowl of granola with milk, plus a large bowl of Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt,) so I was surprised when she wanted to start working on her lunch when she saw me finishing it to take outside for photos. (Yes. I am frequently seen in bare feet on my back porch, armed with EasyLunchboxes and scrapbook paper, taking photos around a large plastic cooler chest!) And yes. She wanted to eat the hummus frozen. She was quite excited about it, in fact.
I had bought some Silk Almond Milk boxes in assorted flavors for fun alternatives to try at preschool snack, before remembering that almonds are nuts. Doh! But one would be perfect with her vegan lunch!
Sadly, I grabbed a Horizon Organics box instead, like the scatterbrained ninny I am, and didn't notice until she had already started on her lunch. So no do-overs... Had I any photoshoppery skill whatsoever I would have just edited in the almond milk box and looked super awesome, but I can barely crop and watermark my photos using MSPaint. Oh well.
So the moral of the story is: if your child is vegan, clearly I cannot be trusted to feed them. Act accordingly.
After rearranging her lunch so the "big sister and little sister" grape skewers were nested under a bed of kale leaves, resting their "heads" on carrot pillows, she ate at least half of her lunch. Not bad for her second meal in less than two hours! Those poor kitty chips didn't stand a CHANCE!