Monday, July 25, 2011

Bento Supply Websites

From Japan with Love
Laptop Lunches
All Things For Sale
Eco Lunch

The Bento Box: plastic? metal? glass?

Many families using the autism diet or biomedical or homeopathy avoid plastics: which means no cheap cute bento boxes! I personally only avoid BPA plastic, which is banned from being used on surfaces that touch food in Japan. We do not microwave or put plastics in the dishwasher. Handwash all plastic, and do not put in the microwave EVER. In fact, get rid of your microwave.

Alternatives to plastic bento boxes include wood, glass, and stainless steel. Do not ever use aluminum. Here are some resources for finding plastic-free bento boxes to use:

Eco Lunchboxes
Pyrex Glass
Lock & Lock
Wooden bento boxes can be found in most regular bento sites.


First of all, candy is not necessary to be healthy.... but neither is bread! The fact of the matter is that humans need more than simply what is adequate in order to encompass the entire human experience, and so we have to ask ourselves what we're going to do about candy.

Children on the spectrum cannot have artificial ingredients, and some cannot have corn. Most candy is made with artificial colors and flavors and high fructose corn syrup. These things are unhealthy to begin with but for the autistic child it can lead to tantrums, frustration, and craziness.

At health food stores you can usually find organic candy, but they may still be made with corn syrup. If you are avoiding corn or sugar, you will need to go further to find candy your child can safely eat.

I do not have all the answers for candy. Check out the link below and the make your own informed decisions about what kind of candy your child can have, if any.

Indie Candy

Soy and Gluten Free Soy Sauce

You CAN get gluten and soy free soy sauce! If you are not avoiding soy, there is a gluten-free version that is not soy free.

Coconut Aminos

Kikkoman's Gluten-Free Soy Sauce

San-J's Gluten-Free Sauces

All of these sauces can be used teaspoon for teaspoon for regular soy or 'soya' sauce.

What to do with nitrite-free lunchmeat

The first thing you can do is make deli meat flowers. Once made, put a toothpick through the base and freeze, then you can take out the toothpick and store in freezer bags. Here is another tutorial on deli meat flowers.

You can use cutters to make shapes and designs. Anything you can imagine you can make. I like to cut them into circles and then freeze in stacks of three with wax paper in between for easy removal. Most bento shops have super cute cutters you can use to make animals, shapes, and other designs. Many japanese mothers put ham shapes on rice balls to make bunnies, pigs, or frogs.

I especially like using bento sandwich cutters that have little imprints in them. You have to remove the imprint part and use it separately from the cutter, but it usually turns out well. If you do a lot of them at once you can freeze them.

Of course you can always

Friday, July 22, 2011

Store Bought Noms to Make Bentos Faster and Easier

I only cook about half of my son's bentos, the rest come straight from pre-made products. Here's a list of my current favorites! You can always make your own and freeze it for the same effect (cheaper too!)

Ian's Natural Foods: a super wide selection of kid's favorites made gluten and milk free.

Mi-Del: Baked goods that are gluten free. But not all are milk free, check labels.

Udi's: Allergen free breads

Applegate Farms: all-natural meat products

So Delicious: shelf-stable coconut milk in small packs for lunches

All-Natural Candy: we buy these products at different stores, but this website allows you to order all at once

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bento 3

mini-onigiri with plum jelly, all-natural black forest ham flowers, vanilla mochi cake with peanut butter frosting and all-natural sprinkles, alphatots, a grape, two jelly beans

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bento 2

Four rounds of peanut butter sandwiches made on Udi's Sandwich Bread, 4 GFCF animal crackers, 3 grapes, and an octopus and crab hotdog.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vanilla Cinnamon 'Mochi Cakes'


  • 1 cup sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (make your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Mix together all dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls.
  2. Add wet to dry and mix with a fork, it should be a bit runny.
  3. Coat a mini muffin pan with coconut oil and fill each cup to the top with the batter.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. They are almost done once they ahve risen and the tops are cracking. Cook another two minutes after this happens. 
  5. Cool completely and enjoy!

First day of School

mini-onigiri with mango jam inside, a piece of GFCF chocolate, a hard-boiled egg, two chicken 'flowers', 1 mini strawberry mochi cake, a small tub of feingold-friendly jelly beans and dehydrated strawberries, and a cute container of coconut aminos, for the onigiri

My first Bento

Two chicken flowers, coconut aminos, a piece of fiengold-friendly candy, 1 mochi cake, and jasmine rice

Soy-Free Tamagoyaki

You can freeze these for up to a month if you like!

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw coconut aminos
  • coconut oil
  1. Whisk eggs, sugar, and coconut aminos together.
  2. Get pan hot over medium heat and add a small amount of oil to the pan (use a towel or napkin to make sure it coats the pan well)
  3. Pour enough egg int he pan to cover the bottom, but no more. Swirl the egg around and jab at it so that the egg doesn't bubble up.
  4. Using your spatula, grab the edge of the omelette and flip it over a little bit (maybe an inch of so, see the video for more explanation) while the middle of the omelette is still runny.
  5. Keep flipping until you're made the roll.
  6. Take it out of the pan and put onto a baking sheet or plate.
  7. Once they are all done, put them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes. In Japan the eggs remain raw because it is safe to do it, but in America our eggs are--frankly--awful and you cannot eat them raw.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Square bento box cover

Guage is not important, this pattern is customizable but requires some knowledge of how to crochet. Not a super great beginner project, but it can be done.

ch = chain
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch

R1: ch 4 and use a sl st to create a loop.

R1: ch 4, 2 sc in the loop,
    * ch 2, 2 sc in the loop, *repeat once more,
    ch 2, 1 sc in the loop,
    join to beginning of row with a sl st.

R2: ch 2, sc in next st.
    * sc, ch2, sc in the "corner" (where you did the ch 2)
    sc in the next two stitches
    repeat from * three times
    EXCEPT the 3rd time,
        only sc in one stitch, then join to beginning of row with a sl st.

R3  ch 2, sc in stitches up to the "corner"
    * sc, ch2, sc in the "corner" (where you did the ch2)
    sc in each of the next sc's, to the next corner
    repeat from * all the way around, as in R2, and join your row again.

R4 on
    Keep up this pattern until your square is a little bit bigger than your bento box. When you place your bento box on the mat, the sides should at least reach the top of the box, then you can move on.


R1  make a loop on your hook like usual, then insert the hook into the first sc stitch AFTER a "corner", yo, pull through, then insert into the second sc stitch, yo, pull through. Pull your hook through the first two sts, then the next two sts on the hook to do a sc2tog at the beginning of the row WITHOUT doing a ch 2 first.
    sc down the row until you have reached the second to last sc before the next "corner"
    do another sc2tog, then turn

R2  Once again, do a sc2tog WITHOUT doing the usual ch 2 first. This will make a nicer curve.
    sc down the row until you have reached the second to last sc before the next "corner".
    repeat R2 again

Keep repeating R2 until you've the wing reaches more than halfway over the middle of the top of your bento box when you place the bento box in the center of the mat.

Tie off this wing, and begin another one adjacent, but not parallel, to the first one.

To make the other two wings, find out where you might need a buttonhole on these wings and make a mental note as to which row you'll need to do them on.


Do the sc2tog without the ch 2
sc in the next st.
Ch 1, and do not do a sc in the 4th stitch (pass it over)
Continue down the row normally starting with st 5, until you have 4 stitches left.
Ch 1, sc, then sc2tog.
Tie off.

Add buttons in the appropriate place with whatever method suits you, then tie up loose ends however you like. I used a contrasting color to do a slip stitch boarder on mine, but it isn't necessary.

Have fun!