I've been struggling with making the girls bento box lunches lately. Mostly it is lack of ingredients when I have the time or energy or lack of time and energy when I have the ingredients. Bleh. It is very hard to be creative when I just want to sit down. But I must persevere!
Here is one of my goodie baskets that helps me prepare my bento boxes.
Starintg at 12:00- mini-cupcakes liners (I really want some silicone liners so I can reuse them but they are SO expensive) these are great for separating little things like nuts or raisins from a sandwich or rice.
1:00-4:00: plastic forks, spoons, and knives- these are great because they are flat and can fit in the lid of the box.
5:00- more mini-cupcakes liner.
6:00- honey sticks, blue food coloring, fortune cookies.
7:00- chocolate coins- make great eyes or half moons.
8:00- toothpicks- perfect for making little skewers of grapes or sticking raisin eyes on an apple bunny. 9:00-10:00- cookie cutters- I have a huge bucket of these that I bought years ago because I needed ONE elephant for a party, just one damn elephant shape! Now I have 100 animal cookie cutters and use about three...anyway, the skinny pig makes nice narrow sandwiches that fit in the boxes great. Also I have a set of metal star and circle cutters from Wilton, they make cool shapes out of fruit strips, sandwiches, cheese, etc.
11:00- baby food containers- great for storing sauces, Nutella for dipping or little fruit salads but they don't ift in the bento boxes.
In another box I have medium length skewers from the Asian market, little maple syrup bottles for sauces and dips, more little cookies, single-serve Nutella from the World Market, and some other non-interesting things.
I also try to keep on hand: cheese, natural peanut butter, mini bagels, turkey, broccoli, carrots, apples, ranch, soy sauce, dries cherries and raisins....These are mainstays.
I use a lot of leftovers, too. Chicken from the night before, pasta and sauce, rice and veggies, etc.
Now, if I could find some leftover time.