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Cat Sandwich Bento with Hummus, veggies, and fruit

“Mommy, I like cats,” my daughter told me the other day. Since she changes her mind as often as her socks, I quickly made use of the sandwich cutters I won on an online competition a while back.

Cat Bento with fruits and veggies

I used my favorite leaf bento picks for the tomatoes and cut up some carrots into hearts, and added some halved grapes (she is only 3.5). I then cut carved the apple into a flower (and placed it in some lemon water to prevent it from turning black overnight) and carved the cucumber as well.

For the flower: I cut out small triangles from the top to make the top of the flowers, and then made small cuts on both sides to create leaves. I pulled them out a bit to stick out.

For the cucumber: I cut a chunk of cucumber that would fit into the mold. I then made straight lines vertically and removed the skin every other line so that the cucumber was striped. Once I finished, I sliced the cucumber, placed it into the mold, and then moved every other slice so that a square without skin was always next to a square with skin, which is what caused the checkerboard look on the cucumbers.

The sandwich mold I used is by CuteZCute and you can buy it on eBay here. It has 4 molds: The cat, a bear, a frog, and a pig.

Back to School Minion Bento

Happy first day of school! After a long summer, the kids are finally back at school and we can finally breathe! Sort of, I mean, you know, preschool is only a few hours the first days, but at least we had a few hours! Back! To! School!

I wanted to do something a bit different for my daughter, and since the Minions are all the rage nowadays, I decided on a really easy Minion box:

Minion Bento Box

The Minions are made of an omelette that I folded while still on the stove. I then cut it in two. The eyes, hair, and glasses (?) are made of nori (seaweed), and the eyeballs are made of cheese. Everything else is really self-explanatory.

Happy back to school to everyone! Just one more week until Rosh Hashanah!



The Very Hungry Caterpillar Bento – Rice, melon, tomato, and olives

The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Another classic that we read at home, and another source of bento inspiration.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Bento Box

The caterpillar is made of Israeli pasta again (ptitim), and the face and dots on its body are made of nori.

In the pink dish I had cut up melon pieces into hearts and shaped the mall as a four-leaf clover, added some tomatoes, and then a tiny dish with an olive to fill up the whole.

The whole box was lined with lettuce just to keep things in place and also give the illusion that the box is fuller than it really was. Since this mean was to be eaten at home,  I wasn’t’ as strict with the tightness of the box.

Bento Cups

Bento picks

Bento baran/dividers

Bento cutters

Bento boxes

Tu Be’av / Valentine’s Day Bento – rice, egg, fruit, and vegetables

Happy Tu Be’Av! The Jewish Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so to celebrate my love for my awesome daughter, I made her a loving bento.

Tu Be'av/Valentine's Day Bento

This isn’t my most beautiful bento, but I wanted to give you a bunch of ideas of what you can do, so without further ado, here are the explanations:

1) Heart-shaped egg. I used an egg mold. You can’t really tell from the angle of the photo, but its a heart.

2) Heart-shaped melon – I used a small cookie cutter

3) Heart cut out carrots and cucumbers – I used a small cookie cutter to cut a heart out of each veggie and then just switched the insides. Very simple.

4) Heart cut out apples – Same as above. I cut out small hearts from each apple wedge and then switched them out. Very easy and very cute.

5) Heart cherry tomatoes – I sliced 2 tomatoes at a 45 degree angle, flipped on side over, and then attached with a pick.

6) Pink heart-shaped rice – I used some beat juice to color the rice pink (all natural) and then an egg mold to shape it.

Here are links to buy the different accessories on eBay:

Bento Cups

Bento picks

Bento baran/dividers

Bento cutters

Bento boxes

Top Nine Ways to Use Your Bento Leftover Scraps

When I hold bento workshops, I am often asked about the scraps – all the leftoever pieces of vegetables, for example, after I cut them with a cutter. I generally use 90% of the scraps, if not all, from any given bento.

Here are 9 ways you can use the leftovers from your bento box so no food goes to waste:

bento leftoers salad1) Vegetable scraps – Chopped salad! You have pieces of cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, maybe even cheese if you used cheese to decorate. That’s one delicious side salad! Sometimes I put the salad in the box and sometimes I eat it on my own. Adults need to eat their veggies as well! If it is winter, you can also use them in soups, fried rice, and lasagna.

2) Use as decorations – Did you cut out a flower from a cucumber slice? Put the circle with the cut-out flower in the box as well = it’s also beautiful, like a photo negative.

3) Deli meats – Put them over a salad, in an omlette, a sandwhich, etc.

4) Sliced cheese – Use them for quiches, omelettes, over salads, or make a melted cheese sandwich.

5) Hide them – Especially in the deeper boxes, sometimes I make a layer of the less-beautiful food under the pretty part. I put them in a food cup and put the designed food over them.

An2jAEAbgwUzFCx3DHw46OeoWZf_upIsvnlmZlDv8oFa6) Bread crusts and leftovers – Make croutons! If croutons aren’t an option, we have tons of birds at the promenade by our house and sometimes my daughter enjoys feeding them the leftover bread. It’s usually only the crust, but sometimes there are other parts as well. You can also grind them into breadcrumbs instead of using the store-bought kind. Or, my new favorite (in the picture): French Toast muffins!

7) Hide them in molded rice – Traditionally, molded rice (onigiri) usually has small “surprises” in it – put half the rice in the mold, place some chopped leftovers in the middle, and then add the rest of the rice. When your kid eats the rice, s/he will have a big surprise!

8) Save them in the fridge for later – This is obviously related to many of the other tips here, but instead of eating or using immediately, save them in the fridge for snacking or foods that you will cook at a later date.

9) Snack on them – This is what I usually do – for me, it is usually vegetable scraps, and those are zero points on Weight Watchers, so it’s something I can easily snack on. It’s also healthy, so win-win.


Owl Bento with Fruit Flower and Broccoli

As I read The Gruffalo to my daughter for the eleventy millionth time, the owl caught my eye and I was inspired to try an owl bento.

Owl Bento Box

I don’t have an owl cutter, and having failed Cutting and Coloring in kindergarten, I had to be a bit more creative since I couldn’t cut out ears.

This cheese sandwich was cut into a circle by a large, round cutter. However, you can place a mug or glass on the bread to cut it and cut around it.

I then cut out two eyes from the leftover cheese with a small cookie cutter, made two eyeballs made of nori (seaweed that is used for sushi), and a nose from a bit of the carrot that I cut up for the branches. The feet are also made of leftover cheese, as are the wings.

In the top right corner, I placed a layer of grapes at the bottom of the flower cup and on top I placed the rest as a flower, with a cherry as the middle. Finally, I used some leftover broccoli from the couscous that my husband made to fill in the gap and also to give her a bit more health.

This is one of my favorite bentos so far!

A Very Summer Bento – Flip Flip Sandwiches with Watermelon

It’s summertime! My husband and I took the kids to the beach on Friday afternoon for a sunset picnic, and omigoodness, is there anything cuter than tiny feet in flip flops? So I made a flip flop meal for my 3.5 year old:

flip flops bentoFirst, I used a foot-shaped cookie cutter that I don’t even remember where I bought, but I have had it longer than I have been with my husband, so I was very happy to put it to good use! I had to cut each slice of bread and cheese individually and then assemble the sandwiches – when I tried to cut a whole sandwich, it wouldn’t go through well.

I then took two small pieces of carrot (from a carrot salad my husband made this weekend) and cut out a piece of leftover cheese for the top of the flip flop and placed both in the box.

I then cut up some watermelon into star shapes and placed it in one of my new favorite food cups. I then made a couple of fruit kabobs with leftover watermelon stars and grapes, and added 2 cherries to fill up a hole that I had no idea what to do with.

Finally, to cover up the last gap, I added a couple of little sheets of baran. This was actually the part that took me the longest because I couldn’t find a sheet that fit well so I ended up using two small ones.

I can’t wait to see my daughter’s face in the morning when she sees her bento box!

Quinoa, Thai Chicken, and Salad Bento

Sometimes you need to get creative where creativity is lacking. Such was this bento box. I had leftover quinoa and Thai chicken. Both delicious, neither had any color (even though the quinoa had a bit of tomato sauce).  When the going gets tough, the tough use a lot of accessories to beautify the box:

bento 16

On top of the quinoa and chicken, I used a regular cookie cutter to cut out a large piece of red bell pepper into a heart-shape and used a couple of picks to make it look like arrows going through the heart. Then, I used small cutters to create flowers (to which I attached stem picks).

Finally, I cut up a salad out of cucumber, carrots, and kohlrabi in all kinds of shapes, which was really the main color added to the meal.

When assembling your bento box, don’t forget the 5-color rule: Have at least one food of every color to make sure you are getting as many vitamins and nutrients as possible. While I don’t always have 5 colors, I really try to have at least 3, both for the health and for the natural colorings of the box.

This was actually a box for me and everyone at work asked me to make them lunches going forward – bento isn’t only for kids!

Kiddie Bento – Molded Israeli Pasta (Ptitim) and veggies – Recipe included

People often ask me how I have time to bento when I have 3 kids who are 3 years old and younger. My answer: I do it in 5 minutes.

Obviously it takes practice, and this is something I point out more than one time at the workshops I give, but the more you bento, the faster you get. You learn your boxes and learn what the best way to fill them is, and you learn how to plan ahead.

This is a bento dinner I literally through together in 3 minutes for my daughter:


Kiddie Bento

The Israeli pasta (ptitim) was left over from the night before (I am a big fan of leftovers for bento), so first I heated it up and then I put them in the rice molds. I was very happy to discover that ptitim mold just as easily as rice – don’t forget to wet the rice mold before you put them in!

Once I had the ptitim in, I decorated them with nori punches, added some veggies and hummus, and a couple of strawberries for dessert. Of course, she ate the strawberries first!

I threw in a few cute picks, and of course – she was excited and pretty much ate it all. 🙂

My recipe for Israeli pasta (ptitim):

  • 200 grams ptimtim of any shape
  • 230  ml water
  • Chicken soup powder
  • Pepper
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Hot paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp oil


In a pot, cover the ptitim in the oil, only until all covered. Add the spices, mix, and then add the boiling water. I like to mix the tomato paste into the boiling water before putting it in the pan. Bring to boil and then bring down to medium heat. Partially cover and mix periodically until the water has evaporated. Turn off the stove and cover for 5 minutes.

Bon apetit!


A sick bento for a sick kid – a rice bear in bed

Oh, no – Sophie was sick! Poor girl was in pretty bad shape.

So what do you do when you need to get food in her belly even though she doesn’t want to eat? Why, bento, of course!

Sick bear bentoIn the box: Lots of white rice. To make the head yellow, I added a bit of turmeric. For the blanket, I added a bit of tomato paste. You can also add ketchup, but we don’t actually have any at home.

The hair is obviously made of scraped carrots, the face of nori (sushi seaweed), and the flowers on the blanket are made of cheese.

I carved an apple to look like a checkerboard and added a few cherry tomatoes, which she usually loves, and also used small cookie cutters to cut up some red bell peppers.

All in all, she ate a large chunk of the box, which is no small feat considering she was sick.

Happy bentoing, everyone!

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