Amazing Women Series: Coretta Scott King Bento


For this week’s Amazing Woman, I chose Coretta Scott King. Yesterday being MLK day, I thought Coretta was an appropriate choice, as without her, there would be no MLK day (she is the one who lobbied and won national holiday recognition for her husband). Also, Coretta was a leader and an activist in her own right and not just in reference to her husband. She did a world of good and I thought she was an amazing woman for the kiddo to learn about.

In today’s lunch, I put in a note about Coretta Scott King:

Coretta Scott King was a person who fought for all people to be treated equally. When she was young, she went to college to study music and then she became involved in peacefully protesting against those who wanted to separate people by the color of their skin. She married Martin Luther King, Jr. and with him, she changed the world we live in.

I’m still looking around to find a good book to continue the conversation with the kiddo about this amazing woman (so if you know one, put it in the comments, please!)

In this lunch:

Main PB&J with a portrait of Mrs. King in edible dough (this is a very thin piece) painted with food dye. It’s not visible here, but I have some luster dust in my decorating cabinet, so I put a tiny bit on her pearls for a bit of shine/contrast.
Sides Blueberries with mozarella music notes (to reference her music studies); a clementine with a peace sign written in Sharpie.
Also included but not pictured Yogurt and another clementine for an extra at snack time.

Today, I used:

Amazing Women Series: Sacagawea Bento

Amazing Women: Sacagawea |

For our second week of the Amazing Women series, I chose one of the most interesting of native women: Sacagawea (with a hard “g,” apparently). A girl, really, because she was only sixteen when she joined the Lewis and Clark AND a pretty kick-butt girl because she had a baby in the midst of the journey. In most lore, she is said to have lead the party but through a little research, I found that while she did lead them at times, she was mostly a skilled negotiator with tribes they encountered along their exploration, a good communicator having spoken several different languages, and a knowledgeable naturalist that could provide the party with wild plants that were edible or medicinal. She had a short life (25 when she died) but she had a great influence on American history.

This week’s book? Who Was Sacagawea?

In this lunch:

Main A cream cheese sandwich topped with a piece of mozzarella painted with her portrait (loosely based on her $1 coin) painted with food dye
Sides Goldfish (representing the fish-heavy culture of the Shoshone people, to which Sacagawea belonged) and an orange with wing food picks (as her name translates into “bird woman”)
Also included but not pictured Yogurt

Today, I used:

Bento USA

The Chicken Cake

The Chicken Cake | So my husband took up a hobby, errr, obsession this past year. He became a (sub)urban farmer. He’s actually always been a farmer at heart (having grown up on a farm) but this year he took it to the next level and volunteered to take care of some chicks temporarily while they were old enough to go to a friend’s flock. Well, temporarily became permanently as he cared for  his chickens. Their names were “Toasted Marshmallow” and “Salt and Pepper” when we got them, but I re-named them Red and Crazy Eyes (ala Orange is the New Black). I’m not terribly fond of chickens in real form (although they’re quite the egg-layers), but I am in edible dough form. So… a Chicken Cake!

I’m not going to claim to have made this cake though. Seriously, the day was ultra-super-packed with things we had to do (the night before as well), so I bought this tiny cake (couldn’t have been more than a 6 incher) which was blank on top (except for the cake dust on the sides) and put my edible animals (and eggs/nest), since they were fairly quick to make (one episode of a House re-run to make all of the stuff on this cake). The letters I made with fondant. This buying of cake and decorating it in the way that I want is what I call the Middle Party Way. Some may call it a cop-out, but I call it making it work ;)

The Chicken Cake |


For this cake, I used:

Amazing Women Series: Marie Curie Bento

Amazing Women: A Marie Curie Bento |

Kickin’ off the new year with a girl empowering bento! My kiddo has gone into full-on science mode lately. We are in the middle of science fair and its her favorite subject. So to kick off my Amazing Women series with a Marie Curie bento!

Admittedly, thinking up stuff for this bento was a little hard. I did a little research on Marie Curie and she’s a hard person to do in a bread portrait! But then I figured out the wonders of painting her on the bread (with food dye and a brush!). It took a little time (about 15 minutes for the portrait), but it was a fun little project after the kiddos have gone to bed. Also, how do you explain the discovery of periodic elements to a second grader? I decided a quick post-it note would do the explaining:

Marie Curie was a great scientist who discovered two chemicals, called Radium (RA) and Polonium (PO). She also invented a portable x-ray machine that could be taken out to where it was needed. Marie Curie won two very important prizes in science. Her help and work helped future scientists with their work for a better world.

For fun, I bought her an age-appropriate book on Marie Curie, called Who Was Marie Curie? Hopefully, we can learn more about this fascinating woman.

In today’s bento:

Main A Marie Curie PB&J! :) As mentioned before, I painted her portrait with food dye and a (food safe) brush.
Sides Black and green grapes (hinting at individual molecules) and the PO and RA are made out of cheddar. A half apple with a beaker carved into it.
Also included but not pictured Yogurt

Today, I used:

Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch Bento

I’ve been thinking about this bento for a while… I love How the Grinch Stole Christmas! It’s such a fun movie. My kiddos, however, are not so crazy about it. They watched the freaky live version (allowed by their dad NOT their mom) and now my middle kiddo calls it the “scary Christmas movie.” I can’t allow that! So today, to promote my love and convince the middley kiddo to watch the animated (TRUE!) version, I made her this bento yesterday for lunch.

Today we are also part of the Bento Bloggers and Friends’ Eat, Drink & Be Merry Holiday Hop! See the link below to check out the next lunch in the hop!

In this lunch:

Main PB sandwich of Cindy Lou Who with edible dough antennae ;) You can’t really see it, but I supported them with some toothpicks for presentation. The kiddo was eating at home, not at school, otherwise, I would’ve supported them some other (less fragile) way. Little bow food picks.
Sides A little Grinch made out of a green grape, a slice of banana and a strawberry (with a little bread ball pom pom on top), all skewered with a toothpick. Also, a carved apple of Max, the Grinch’s dog. The dog was a pretty intricate carve and I wish I had had a knife that made more slender cuts, but oh well. One thing that I advise when making a more intricate design on an apple is to draw it out with edible marker and then cut along those lines. MUCH easier than eyeing it.
Also included but not pictured Graham cracker bunnies, peanuts

Hop on over to the next blog on our Holiday Hop!

An Advent Bento: 9 Days until Christmas!

An Advent Bento: 9 Days until Christmas |

Time for another installment of the Advent bentos! After yesterday’s debacle and not getting it together (lunch money was given), I had a little more time today to make an Advent lunch. It was simple, quick but I think the kiddo will like it, given that she’s been asking for a special treat in her lunch for a bit now.

And today’s advent surprise? Mini candy canes!

An Advent Bento: 9 Days until Christmas |

Main PB&Jam triple stacked tree with blue sixlets for ornaments and (a bit hard to see) snowflakes.
Sides A mandarin orange on the bottom and a carved apple on top with large non-pareils for snowflake-y accents and two mini candy canes.
Also included but not pictured Graham crackers and yogurt

Today I used:

A Nutcracker Bento


This week we did some fun mom-kiddo bonding and I took the eldest kiddo to a truly beautiful production of the Nutcracker ballet. It was a Girl Scout event and it was really fun. She loved it, I loved that she loved it, and it spawned a really fun bento this week.

In this lunch:

Main Triple decker PB&J. For the red coat and a black hat and hair, a thin layer of edible molding dough, on top of the sandwich. A star sprinkle for a button and festive holly sprinkles adorn his hat. A graham cracker for the “fireplace” (with drawn-on flames) and a hanging cupcake topper stocking.
Sides Green grapes and a strawberry Mouse King with candy eyes (lids drawn on with edible marker) and almond ears, along with a licorice whip tail and sprinkle nose.
Also included but not pictured Yogurt, graham cracker bunnies


Gingerbread House 2014: Arendelle is in Deep Deep Deep Deep Snow

Sometimes it feels like I’m living in a perpetual winter. We are on year 2 of the snow queen’s domination over both Arendelle and my home. What can I say? The movie is beloved here… watched all the time. As an artist, I often take inspiration from my surroundings and as many of my followers can attest to, Frozen is in my surroundings A LOT! Also, I thought my kiddos would get a kick out of this next project.

Every year some friends and I plan a get-together to make gingerbread houses. Everyone brings tons of candy (and leaves their kids at home for some much-needed mom’s night in). Each year, I try to use the opportunity to learn a new skill. Last year, it was to practice piping :) This year, I wanted to sculpt and work gumpaste. So my gingerbread house was the setting I used for the snow queen.

Upfront, I’ll mention that I always use a gingerbread house kit. We don’t eat ours and I find that I’d rather spend my time on decorating rather than baking. Since I wanted a house with an Arendelle look/feel to the whole thing (long tall roof was a necessity), I chose Trader Joe’s Hexen House kit. (I realize that the Hexen House is actually German and not Scandinavian, but it was the closest I could find without actually making my own).

I pretty much just used some white candies and piping do the front. The front took a few minutes. I wanted the roof to look laden in snow so I used some mini-marshmallows cut diagonally and laid on top of one another. This part was TEDIOUS. It took me more than an hour to hand set these tiny tiles, but it was while talking with my friends and constantly laughing so it wasn’t so bad ;) I then piped icicles coming down from the roof. As you can see, I had tiny little pieces of frosting speckling the house, and I decided that it was an authentic representation of snow rather than the breaking off/smudging of the frosting. Perspective. It’s all about perspective:

Elsa and Arendelle Gingerbread House |

It was rather difficult to pipe with the house all set up, so if I were to do this again, I would probably pipe the pieces flat and then put the house together to do the roof.

Sorry that I don’t have many process picture but it was hard to hold the camera in one hand and my sangria in the other… perspective and priorities, of course.

I do have a pretty decent aerial shot though, that shows one of my favorite parts of the scene, the “expanding” ice ring, made with melted blue candy (Ring Pops!), rock candy “crystallizing” the edges of the pool and then the blue (and white, which are a bit hard to see) Sixlets that I used to try to give the idea of expansion:

Elsa and Arendelle Gingerbread House |

And now onto Elsa.

I created the gumpaste Elsa after the party because she herself took quite a bit of time. It was a fun challenge because it was a different kind of 3D work than I’m used to. I looked at a few tutorials and some fondant Elsas on Pinterest for reference and all of it was hand sculpted (although molds might have been easier, especially for the body which is pretty standard). Here she is right-side beauty shot:

Elsa and Arendelle Gingerbread House |

And here is her left side: Elsa and Arendelle Gingerbread House |

All in all, I’d say the gumpaste was a little different than working with fondant in that it hardens quickly (which is good in this case). A few tips for making the Elsa figure:

  1. The best tutorial I found (and the one I referenced the most) was this one: Yungjung Cake, although my Elsa was a mix of many different ones that I found, this had some good directions.
  2. Make the body in parts. Lower half, torso, and then head. I tried to make the body all one piece and it wasn’t working at all.
  3. I used a toothpick for the body structure. It went through the whole body and up through the neck and gave the head a secure spot to sit.
  4. Use what you have on-hand. I was going to make custom snowflakes, but used some snowflake sprinkles instead to put in her hair.

All in all, I’m happy with the way it came out. It’s so fun to see it come together and hanging out with my friends and crafting is always fun. Can’t wait for next year’s get-together :)

Today I used:

Advent Bento: 17 Days until Christmas!

Advent Bento |

Time for another installment of the Advent bentos! I got a tell you the truth, Mondays are hard lunch days for us. I usually buy groceries during the week, so by Monday, I’m usually at the end of the loaf of bread, or using up fruit before it goes bad, or making it a snacky lunch. Today was a day for snacky lunch! A do-it-yourself Lunchable, as it were… but still healthy and fun :)

And today’s advent surprise? A dulce de leche owl that we got from our Girl Scout fall nut sales :)

Advent Bento |

Main Round butter crackers, cheddar cheese cut into stars, little rounds of turkey deli meat.
Sides A Clementine orange and a surprise dulce de leche owl (from the Girl Scouts!)
Also included but not pictured green grapes and yogurt

Today I used:

Advent Bento for the Holidays

Advent Bento |

After doing bento for a few years, it’s hard to come up with new themes every year, especially for the holidays. There are some things that MUST be done for certain holidays: Santas, trees, reindeer, etc. are a must for Christmas (since we celebrate it), turkeys are for thanksgiving, clovers are for St.Patrick’s day… And in a way, it’s instant theme, but on the other hand a bit limiting. Well, every year I try to think of a new Advent activity for the kiddos, and I thought it would be a good idea to bring it into lunch :) So this year I’m doing advents bentos! I’m not going to be doing special bento every day, but I had the idea to do one every Monday, and for the lunches in between, I would give the kiddo one snack that would equal the number of days until Christmas. So for example, tomorrow she might get 23 goldfish crackers… I’ll send her a little note to count them!

But anyhow, for today, there are 24 days until Christmas and I thought it would be fun to have a little area with a surprise. So I just cut out a little piece of paper and taped it on top of the small section of our Easy Lunchbox. I had some extra Santa hat stickers from a kid craft we did, so I just stuck it on top to be festive. Can you tell what the surprise was? A little hard to tell, but I found some small coal-shaped pieces of chocolate for fun. I was going to put in a different treat, but honestly, the kiddos were acting up this morning and being difficult (it’s hard for everybody to get back into the swing of things after a week-long vacation), so I thought this was appropriate ;)

Advent Bento |

Main PB&J sandwich stamped and numbered cutouts. The holly decoration are just sprinkles.
Sides A mandarin orange and a half arranged like a wreath and coal chocolate pieces.
Also included but not pictured I thought this lunch was kind of light, so I included some bunny cheddar crackers, a mango fruit pouch and yogurt.

Today I used: