Sunday, February 13, 2011

A bento full of love....

As many of us are now doing, I frequently pack bento-style lunches for my angel.  For this Valentine's Day, I have packed a special bento for the occasion.  It includes ham and crackers with a side of fruit. I have also included a little Cranberry Squeeze that may use as "icing" to decorate their lunch.  How fun is that?!  This bento is the perfect way to remind your angel much they are loved any day of the year.

What you'll need:
a small box for packing a tight bento (Glad,
 Rubbermaid or Lock and Lock work well)
a mandoline
a paring knife
a heart shaped cookie cutter
a small plastic bag
small melon baller
Magic Bullet
small, circular bento liners or cupcake liners

Onion Garlic Brown Rice Snaps
Thick Sliced Honey Ham
Dressed-up Cranberry Sauce, 2 T
Canteloupe, whole
Broccoli tops, fresh
  1. Ham Hearts:  Using the heart shaped cookie cutter, cut hearts out of the slices of ham.  Cut enough hearts so that when they are stacked, they fill the depth of the packing container.
  2. Cranberry Squeeze:  Open a jar of the Dressed-up Cranberry Sauce that we canned recently or make a new batch of Dressed-up Cranberry Sauce.  Place 2 T in a Magic Bullet and blend until smooth.  Pour the sauce into the small plastic bag.  Squeeze the sauce into the corner of the bag and tie a twisty tie around the bag to form a cone.  Cut off the extra bag leaving the cranberry sauce in a small, sealed, cone-shaped bag.
  3. Canteloupe Hearts:  Cut the rind from the entire canteloupe.  Don't worry about the seeds on the inside, you can clean those later.  Cut the ends from the canteloupe.  If these ends are too thick, cut them in half to creat 2 thin, large, circles.  Using your heart cookie cutter, cut hearts in the canteloupe circles.  Cut enough so that when they are stacked, they full the depth of the packing container. 
  4. Steamed Broccoli:  Cut broccoli head into small pieces.  Bring an inch of water or less to boil in a pot.  Throw the broccoli in and cook until just soft.  Remove and dip in ice cold water to stop the cooking and perserve the green color.
  5. Packing the Bento:  A bento must be packed tight to prevent the foods from shifting during transport.  So, your bento will pack differently than mine, varying based with the size and shape of the box.  When packing your bento, you want to make an attractive, tightly packed box using the small bento liners to help keep ingredients separate.  There is no right or wrong way so just start packing.  If you find that you have extra space, go to your fridge or cabinet and pull out some small fruits or candies and tuck them where needed to complete the meal.
NOTE:  Because my angel can only have limited amounts of cranberries, I decided to put Cherry Jello in the corner of a sandwich bag and seal it to make a little cone.  It turned out to be a cute way to include a little something sweet in her bento. 


  1. I'll say it again. You are an AMAZING mom!

  2. Thanks. I don't think that I am amazing. I am just a mom hoping for the occassional, amazing moment!

  3. I love this one and can't wait to make it for my guys!

  4. Oh, do let me know how it goes and what they think!

  5. Got to tell you all that I substituted the Jello for the Cranberry Sauce and I think that excited my angel more than any of it. It was great fun squirting that jello out the end of the cone! Only problem.....gotta re-think how to seal the cone and open the end.... oops!