Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ha ha ha!

Last week I was told by my principal that one of my students might be late to kindergarten because her parents were going out of town. So during free time I asked Evie about her parents being away. I said, "Evie did your parents go away?" "Well," said Evie, "they are still on this planet!! My mom just had to go with my dad on a business trip to Her-Ami!" Get it? The mom had said she was going to Miami (my-ami) Kids just say the funniest things! I love my job!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wednesday and Thursday Bento

Okay, so maybe I am a little obsessed with Mediterranean inspired bentos. Wednesday's bento was steak gyros, kiwi, caprese salad, green beans, and strawberries. Thursday's bento was Greek pasta salad, tomato, mozzarella, and green bean salad with Balsamic dressing, and grapes.

Here's the recipe for the pasta salad which is SUPER yummy!

You'll need:
chopped garlic
olive oil (to coat the fry pan)
1/2 box of pasta- I used whole wheat rotini
3 chicken breast-chopped
3/4 cup of Feta cheese
2/3 cup of tomatoes-chopped

In a pan simmer chopped garlic and olive oil. Add chopped chicken and cook throughly (about 6 minutes). While you are cooking the chicken in a pot boil water. When the water is boiling add pasta. I used whole wheat rotini. Cook the pasta al dente. (If you don't know how to cook pasta-CALL YOUR MOTHER!!!!) After the chicken is cooked at the feta cheese and tomatoes and cook until the cheese is melted. While it's cooking add dill. I LOVE dill so I add a ton. After, it's all done squeeze some lemon juice over your chicken creation. I am a weekend cooker-meaning I cook on the weekend for the rest of the week-so I let it all cool down and popped in the fridge. Since there is no sauce with this, you'll need to eat it hot. If you want to eat it cold I suggest tossing with Greek dressing or making a sauce maybe with Feta cheese and tomatoes, and a tiny bit of Greek dressing. Enjoy!

Field Trip Bento

So on Tuesday my class took a trip to the Orlando Science Center. This was to correlate with our unit on Space. Since I was going on a field trip and would have no morning snack and no water I wanted a lunch that was healthy and hearty. I made the most WONDERFUL salad-grilled chicken, apples, golden raisins, and walnuts topped with a poppy seed dressing. I need to find a low fat recipe for poppy seed dressing because the label has a little too much fat for my liking. Added to the salad were a blood orange, kiwi, and strawberries. YUMMY!!! This was the perfect field trip bento and provided me with the energy I needed to chaperone energetic kindergarteners. In my 5 years of teaching I have learned that on a trip the teacher is the only chaperone, no matter how many parents come.

Time out for a tip from a teacher: If you are a chaperone please remember that the teacher has spent a lot of time planning this field trip so your child can have an active learning experience. A field trip is NOT a time to chat with the other parents. Please conduct your socializing at happy hour, play dates, birthday parties, ect.

Though the science center is no MOSI it was my first time experiencing it with kids since I was a kid. It was really awesome. They have a really fun place for ages 3-8 called Kids Town that has a lot of really neat stuff that is totally kids sized and interactive and not over their heads. There was also a sports area that has the science of sports, but is totally interactive and fun. We had an awesome lab with a super instructor and 4 hands on space demonstrations. She even had a mini projector (about 2 feet in diameter) of picture number 4 so we got to learn a lot about all the planets in a 1:7 experience.

Picture one:
They had a really awesome robots exhibit based on the movie robots. The best part of this exhibit for kindergarteners was make your own robot. My boys totally loved it.

Pictures two/three: They had a dinosaur exhibit. What 5 year old doesn't get blown away by seeing huge dinosaurs. They had a place to "dust" for fossils. Surprisingly, my girls loved dusting.

Picture four: A brand new exhibit is about the Gas Giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune). This Earth is actually a 6 foot projector that shows surface images of all the planets. They have bleachers you can sit on to watch and learn. SO amazing!

I would have to say that my kids favorite was probably the sports room, petting a baby alligator and the hurricane experience. They have a cylinder that around 3-6 people can go in and experience 77 mile an hour winds. Since we live in hurricane central the kids really related.

Teacher tip: If you live in the Orlando area and are planning a field trip make sure you go the beginning of the week and arrive at 9. For an hour and a half we had the whole place to ourselves (OSC opens to the public at 10, but hardly any people were there until after lunch)

Monday's Lunch

This is an Indian bento...and I mean Indian like Diwali day, Mumbai, and Bollywood type Indian...It's kinda an Indian flag or at least in Indian flag colors and order.

Contents of bento: star Nectarines, Tandoori chicken (hence the India theme), kiwi covered in coconut to keep the colors of the Indian flag, and peas.

The Tandoori chicken was pretty good. Here's the recipe:

In a crockpot put in the chicken breast ( I did 3) . In a small bowl add olive oil about 1/4-1/2 cup... then add 1/4 teaspoon of the following spices: tumeric, cinnamon, ginger, and paprika. Then, add 1/2 teaspoon of the following spices: curry and red pepper. Mix well then pour over chicken in the crockpot. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just a little note

Tomorrow you will see three lunchboxes...i'm too tired from my field trip to post tonight :(

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Italian Bento

I guess this bento has kinda an Italian flair to it. Whole wheat pasta with garlic chicken, green beans, caprese salad skewers, kiwi, Clementine orange, nectarine stars, and pasta sauce in the puppy.

Overall this was pretty yummy! Although it's hard to mess up leftover pasta! Have a great weekend see you on Monday!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

So my Valentine's Day at school was totally exhausting! In preschool we passed out valentines, make chocolate chip cookies, I received BEAUTIFUL tulips, and they finished their Valentines to their moms. It was so cute. It's picture number 5 and it's a bug and it says I'm your lovebug! Happy Valentine's Day. My Japanese student made those awesome dog origami Valentines all by himself and he's only 3!!! He's so sweet and amazing. Then, they passed out their Valentines and everyone got a TON of candy!!! In kindergarten, we made pizza, mini chocolate cakes for their moms, played outside some, and passed out Valentines. Everyone made their own Valentine keepsake book and they glued their Valentines in those. It was such a fun and fast paced day, but I am totally exhausted :( It was totally worth it when "Elle" came up to me and gave me a hug and said this is for all your hard work! AWWW!!! I also got some really sweet gifts...LOTS of candy, pretty pink towels, pretty pink mixing bowls, "pearl" earrings that are pretty cute, a nice smelling soy candle, and heart shaped post its. It was a great Valentine's Day!

Glass Container!

Originally uploaded by thebentogirl

I found this glass "bento" (it's really Pyrex) at Walmart for just under $4! I am so excited! I just eat my cold stuff first and then microwave and feel safe. And it is exactly the recommended bento size for a woman! I am SO excited. Sadly, I still haven't visited the asian stores, but I did get my big ebay box :)

Valentine Bento

Originally uploaded by thebentogirl

This is a super healthy bento! Flax seed whole wheat waffles, fat free organic Stoneyfield yogurt with mango, pineapple, kiwi, organic chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were from a mix I bought at Whole Foods. They were some of the most disgusting cookies ever. At least they looked cute in the bento! Happy Valentine's Day!

Mexican Bento #2

Originally uploaded by thebentogirl

This is Wednesday's bento and it was SUPER yummy! Mexican soup I made in the crockpot. Kiwi, mango, grapes, banana, caprese salad skewers with mozzarella bunny cheese, and green beans.

The soup is so easy. In a crockpot combine salsa, chicken broth (I prefer Pacific brand, organic, low sodium), corn, chicken breast (I put it in frozen), cumin, red pepper flakes and chili powder. How much you add of each will depend on how many people you are making it for. If you put in 32 oz of broth (which is one Pacific box) then I would do around a cup and half of salsa, 1/2 cup to 3/4 of a cup of corn, and one or two chicken breast. Then, add spices to your taste. I think I cooked it on high for around 6 hours. I know it's done when you can easily shred the chicken with your hands.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I copied the owl from this bento. Hers is much better :) I don't eat eggs so I had to be creative with the eyes and my temporary bento is square and hers is rectangle. The "nest" is udon noodles and chicken, the eyes are mango, nori wings. In the bunny is organic peanut sauce. The other side is kiwi, Clementine orange, grapes and blueberries. My prep time is like 10 minutes. I cook all my meals for the week on the weekend. I have a rotating schedule so I don't eat the same thing for lunch and dinner in the same day.

I've also been really trying to expand what I eat. My first experience with udon noodles was NOT good at all. I got some from the Asian Super Duper Market (as it is called by my Asian students) and they were horrible. I found some organic udon noodles at whole foods and mixed them with peanut sauce...MUCH better!

On another note, one of my favorite bento blogs posted today about glass vs plastic. I'm glad she posted some ideas because I don't microwave my plastic. I am stopping by one of the Asian stores by work tomorrow to see if they have some glass containers (I was going to stop today but didn't want to get caught in the rain). Hopefully, they'll have something for cheap :) I don't even like to put my plastic in the dishwasher.

Tomorrow's clue: USA meets Mexico

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bento Means Cram It In There

Okay after looking at a lot of different bento blogs my brain finally got it. Bento means fill every available space. So hopefully, today's bento is more bento than my previous bentos (if that makes any sense). Today's bento has mango, kiwi, grapes, rice, green beans, soy sauce in the bunny and the best steak I've ever made, but sadly forgot the recipe.

Also EVERY single container here was purchased at the dollar store!!! I am still anxiously awaiting the opening of Ichiban Kan website in April. So I can buy bento stuff for cheap, cheap, cheap! I have two more stores I am going to check out this week to see if I can find one scrap of bento stuff in Orlando.

Tomorrow's bento clue: Konnichiwa

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Celebrating Chinese New Year

One of the things I love about working at a secular private school is that 1. I don't have to worry about teaching to a test and 2. I get to introduce my kids to a variety of cultural experiences.

Chinese New Year is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. And every year the students really get into it. The little dragons are my preschool class. Aren't they the cutest little dragons ever? We had a lot of fun having a parade playing drums and saying Gung Hay Fat Choy...which sadly is the extent of my Chinese.

The other two are my kindergarten class who had a two day celebration (in China it's 15 days so I didn't think 2 days was too much :) ) The first day was more scholastic based...making a mini book and learning about the celebration. Day two was pure celebration. We had a chopstick race, where they had to move counters from one bowl to another, made the dragon (picture 3), made their own dragon masks like the preschoolers, and had a Chinese feast (rice, tea, mandarin oranges, ramen noodles and fortune cookies. I am really proud of the kids they tasted everything and most of them discovered they really liked it, especially the noodles and oranges :)

Every year I made a dragon dancer and every year after the parade the kids play with the dragon for almost an hour. Proving once again that handmade things go a lot farther than technology with kids. And what is better than kids playing and laughing outside? Nothing :)

Happy Year of the Rat

chinese bento
Originally uploaded by thebentogirl

In honor of Chinese New Year I had Sesame Ginger Chicken Salad with oranges (dressing in the bunny). I made a rat with nori and banana, some oranges, and topped it off with a fortune cookie...which I know are not Chinese and more Chinese-American.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Mexican Bento

Meixcan Bento
Originally uploaded by thebentogirl

This is a Mexican Bento...adobo flavored grilled chicken (one is a bunny :)) homemade pico de gallo...bunny and chick cheese...homemade "mexican rice" flavored with chili pepper, red pepper and cumin...pretty kiwi, orange, and pineapple. It was VERY yummy :) Tomorrow's bento: Gung Hay Fat Choy :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My first bento part 2

Originally uploaded by kelleyirv

I forgot to add that there is also rice-(basil and something else...i forget) yes I am making myself eat rice because it's very Japanese and very healthy. Now all I need is some nori so I can make my rice into cute faces.

My First Bento!

Originally uploaded by kelleyirv

Okay I hope my mom has my baby book out because here is my very first bento! I spent WAY too much money ordering bento stuff off ebay but it's coming from Japan so while I wait I am using stuff I picked up at the dollar store. This bento has a Mediterranean theme. Caprese salad (cute little mozzarella bunnies) inside the pink bunny is the dressing. Then, some not so Mediterranean fruit-kiwi and bananas. Part two is dill chicken for the chicken gyros, hummus with pita triangles and bunny pitas (so cute!!! i could just eat the little boogers...oh wait i did :) ) and gyro sauce. Hasta manana (that's also a clue about tomorrow's bento)

What is Bento?

Bento is a Japanese word. Basically, bento is a home packed lunch or take out box. But like a lot of Japanese things bentos are more artistic and aesthetically pleasing than typical American brown bags. This is my journal of my attempt at bentos. Since I am not a seafood eater, my bentos will contain more "American " food, but I hope they are just as pretty.