Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A "Bee-utiful" Spring Lunch

[This post contains affiliate links.]
Pin It
Tuesday, 4/2/13 - I had seen a bunch of little cheese and nori bees in bentos on Instagram all within a few days of each other, so I figured I would give it a try. It was harder than expected to work with the nori (any tips on getting it to stick without having to dip them each in mustard?) and it's pretty brittle and breaks easily (grrr!)
Plus the slightest breeze as you move an arm can cause your tiny pieces to float off into the nether. *sigh* And apparently they're so thin and small they just leap right out of the tweezers as you're bringing them to the food. I had to punch out quite a few extras. (I kept all the extra bits that I wasn't using in a small baggie in the larger zipper bag with the nori sheets. Save myself the hassle of punching those ones next time!) I just saw a tip to keep a small container nearby to store the small pieces in while you work, so you can cover them in between to prevent flyaways. Genius!

But the cheese was no problem to work with!
Organic strawberries, GF ham and cheese with mustard sandwich, boiled organic carrot strips, GF pretzel rings
Pin It
Reusable cloth napkin from Red Poppy Crafts on etsy.

Straw-bee-ries: I used some silicone grass baran to separate the strawberries, to help prevent them from making the sandwich soggy, and added a small daisy pick just for fun.

Rosy Bee: I attempted to make pretty carrot roses in the scalloped flower cup (mine came from World Market. They have orange and pink sets, 6/$3.) I used this carrot rose tutorial to make them, but they just look more like carrot rolls. The "tutorial" was not very helpful in describing how to make them look nice like theirs. Bah!
This one from Meet the Dubiens looks more doable, and really pretty, once I get that tool...

Not even the cute bee pick could redeem it. These were deemed unworthy by my ungrateful little 4-year old. *sigh* But steaming them a bit enabled my 1-year-old to nibble them a bit. She doesn't like cold cooked veggies much though. [Note: When typing the word  "veggies," be sure to double check that you didn't typo in an "a" instead of the "e." Just sayin'.]

O, Say Can You Bee: These bee muffin cups are only available at The Christmas Tree store, and sometimes on eBay if someone buys them there to re-sell. An easier option is to get this muffin pan and carefully cut out the insect shapes. Unless you have a friend who lives near one and is willing to ship to you. *Muah!*

The gluten-free Ener-G pretzel Os here are actually a new garlic flavor that may only be available locally so far, since the company happens to be local. I found them at my local natural grocery, and they came in plain foil bags with plain white printer-sticker labels and stated that they were new. They are quite tasty, and were popular with both my girls and me. VERY crunchy though. Much... firmer? Harder? Something. Much more difficult to bite through versus wheat-based pretzels, but so far all the brands I've tried have been like that.

Happy Bees: I used a large flower cookie cutter for the Udi's gluten-free bread, uncured ham, and cheese sandwich, and used mustard to "glue" everything together. I put one ham flower inside the sandwich, with the cheese, and the other on top to give more contrast for the bees.
The wings are organic mozzarella cheese cut with small tear-shaped cutter (but a small heart shape for the two wings will do as well!) The bodies are organic cheddar cut with one of the mouths from a singing animal head cutter set.

The nori (seaweed sheets - available at Asian groceries) details were a leeeeetle more complex. I used a girl nori punch and used the bow and the triangle mouth, and I cut one of the eyes in half for the girl bee. I'm not sure where I found the cutter for the boy bee eyes, but this is the closest one I can find online. The girl's smile came from one of the punches in this set. It was hard finding shapes small enough that the faces didn't look too crowded!
The stripes I cut by hand. With large kitchen shears. Not the best tool for this. I will be buying stainless steel manicure scissors (the kind with the sharp point at the end!) for the future.
Pin It
This lunch went over really well. Other than refusing to eat the "cute" girl bee. And the "those aren't flowers. They're boring old rolls" carrots, of course.

Baby's Lunch
String cheese "flowers," uncured ham and cheese scraps, GF PBJ, organic sugar snap peas and grape tomatoes,
boiled organic carrot chunks, organic brown rice and quinoa
I made an attempt at string cheese flowers for Baby, which also met with failure. And she refused to eat them too.
The tomatoes are a little wrinkly, but they're easier for her to bite into and eat when they're like that. Otherwise she bites in, sucks out the guts, and tosses the carcass over her shoulder or into my lunch.

Since I was microwave boiling Big Sister's carrot strips anyway, I cubed up the rest of the carrot and tossed it in the mug of water along with. She has a hard time eating raw carrots, and normally cooking them is too much bother for me.
Instead of dumping the carrot water after, I drank it (carrot tea! Haha!) You could also freeze it in an ice cube tray and toss the cubes into smoothies, if you use ice cubes for that. Same with any water used to boil or steam veggies! Free vitamins!

Tools of the Trade
             Red Poppy Napkins
Food for Thought


  1. I adore your bees, and the carrot roses are just beautiful. I've never made those before, but I think I will soon! I have found that the more I work with nori, the more I get used to it and get into a groove with it. Sometimes I get a toothpick wet and use that to place my nori. It sticks better, but is still easy to place.

  2. I LOVE this lunch, absolutely gorgeous!

  3. Ooo the curler that Jill has in her post is the one I bought last month! We are loving it so far! :)
    PERDIFUL Lunch Mama!!


Go ahead! Tell me how awesome I am. Or ask a question. Whatever.

(Please note that I had to disable Anonymous comments. Too many spam comments coming through the filters.)