I was recently contacted by the Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Quirk Books and she asked if I would be interested in receiving a review copy of Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches, by Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa. I quickly wrote back and let her know that I would love to receive the book BUT that I wanted to offer that book to one of my readers as I had already purchased a copy, loved it and wanted to share the love. I have been a long time follower of Crystal's blog and a more recent follower of Maki's blog and as I can't get enough of their bento ideas and instruction on how to make super cute, fun and nutritious bentos, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the book.
I was thrilled when my book arrived (the one that I ordered and actually paid for!) as it is filled with over fifty photos of completed bento boxes, each with an ingredients list, step-by-step directions and even recipes. The pictures teach the reader how to simply craft their food into an array of fun shapes from chicks, octopi, caterpillars, walruses, cars, and frogs to flowers, princesses, angels, bumblebees, kitty cats, ladybugs and even Little Red Riding Hood and bears. There's a wonderful section on the boxes, tools and accessories needed and used to make the bentos as well as a shopping guide. One of my favorite little things in the book is a two page spread on the ingredients for happy faces. Basically it's pictures and descriptions of ingredients, shapes and what to use to create the heads, eyes, noses, mouths, cheeks, ears, hair and even accessories for all the adorable food people and animals anyone might want to add to their bento.
Crystal and Maki put together a great book for anyone who likes playing with their food, wants to learn how to make adorable lunches for both children and adults and even those who just need some new ideas and inspiration. I think one of the best features of the book is that it's simple, well laid out, with plenty of step-by-step photos and you don't need to be a cook or an artist to re-create the bentos.
* For one entry, leave a comment on this post along with a way to contact you. (One comment per person please.)
Ways to get extra entries for the book giveaway:
* For one additional entry, become a follower of Maisie Eats Bento. Please leave a separate comment letting me know that you became a follower.
* For one or two additional entries, become a follower of one or both of my two other blogs: Moments with Maisie and/or Cook Lisa Cook. Please leave a separate comment letting me know that you became a follower and of which blog(s).
* And finally, you can get 2 extra entries by creating a new blog post on your blog about this giveaway with a link back to this blog post. Again, please leave a separate comment letting me know that you created the post and include in the comment a link back to your post.
As I said, easy-peasy and a possibility of 6 chances to win!!. I will be verifying all entries and removing any that don't follow the rules.
Today was Maisie's first day of regular gymnastics camp and since she'd be at the gym from 9am-3PM she needed not only her lunch but a snack too. Her best buds K & A are attending camp this week with her so I had to include some extra treats for them too, thus the two extra marshmallow ice cream cones.
Snack today consisted of raisins and Whales. For lunch Maisie had cheese pizza, grapes, jelly and a marshmallow ice cream cone. The additional marshmallow ice cream cones were for K & A.
Maisie ate all of her lunch except for a bit of the pizza crust. For snack she only ate her raisins but said that Coach Lenny shared some of his crackers with her so she didn't eat her own. She started eating the Whales on the drive home but she was tuckered out and fell asleep. She had an awesome first day of camp and can't wait to go back again on Thursday.
Another day of Elite Gymnastics Camp so a snack and a bento. Snack consisted of peanut butter crackers & raisins and lunch was a grilled cheese on wheat flower sandwich with a peanut butter, marshmallow and fairy sprinkle center as well as grapes and a jelly.
Maisie finished everything but about half of the crackers and she said that she really didn't care for them.
Today Maisie attended her gym's Elite Team Camp so I had to send in her lunch bento as well as a snack. Her snack was the bag of Whales and the raisins. Her lunch included cheese pizza, mango jelly and a marshmallow ice cream cone.
Maisie finished every bit of her lunch and snack, she was one hungry little gymnast!
Today was a two bento day, the first was for lunchtime at school and the second was for Maisie's gymnastics practice. Her practices are now three hours long so they take a break for a snack and Maisie has said that she's been hungry and wants more than I was giving her and asked that I pack her a bento.
Mac & cheese with a ham & cheese flower with a broccoli center, grapes, an I love you chocolate and a jelly.
Maisie did well with all this food, returning home with only about two tablespoons of macaroni uneaten.
Peanut butter on wheat heart sandwich, fig bar & raisins,
Maisie said that she enjoyed having a bento at gymnastics but said that she didn't have enough time to eat. She's not the fastest eater and she loves to talk so we talked about in the future having less talking and more eating. Maisie did eat half of her sandwich and the fig bar and then in the car on the drive home finished everything else and then ate dinner too!
After a week of spring break followed by our wonderful two week transatlantic cruise, it was time to get back in the groove of packing bento for Maisie. Unfortunately my good camera is back in the shop so I'm using my point & shoot but I'll make due.
Today Maisie had chocolate peanut butter on wheat heart sandwiches, raisins, half of a clementine and a strawberry jelly.
Maisie is not always fond of citrus and sure enough only one segment of the clementine was eaten but she did well with everything else, finishing all the other food.
Today Maisie's class celebrated Easter so I did a bit of an Easter themed bento with a bunny shaped grilled cheese on wheat sandwich, carrot sticks, broccoli, lite ranch dip in the Hello Kitty container and even a double helping of treats with a gummy bunny and chick.
One piece of broccoli, a carrot stick and about two bites of her sandwich returned home uneaten but overall she ate well.
And just because she's adorable, here's my little over excited bunny at her class party eating one of the bunny cookies that we made for the party.
Mac & Cheese, quail eggs with gim faces & broccoli hair, strawberry jelly & grapes.
Maisie didn't eat the eggs but ate the gim faces and she also left most of the broccoli. No reason given and she didn't want to eat any of it later on. I think it was just the day as she really didn't eat much at dinner time so I'm guessing just a not-all-that-hungry day.
I can't believe that I've now photographed and documented 200 of Maisie's bentos. I know that I've missed many along the way but getting 200 up here, to me, is very cool.
Ham & cheese flowers with quail egg centers and gim faces on a bed of gim. Cashews, jelly, grapes & dry roasted edamame.
After all the extra sugar in yesterday's bento I was extra careful in what I packed today. Maisie really enjoyed this bento and ate everything but a few kernels of edamame and a couple of the cashews as she said she was full up.
Peanut butter on wheat girly monster sandwich with banana Pocky hair, raisin eyes and fairy sprinkle nose & lipstick, red grapes, marshmallow kitty, jelly and raisins.
Maisie was excited to have this bento as she hasn't had Pocky in ages and she LOVES the stuff!! Today her bento returned home with just a couple of grapes and raisins remaining in the box. I know that today's bento contained more sugar than I usually give to her so tomorrow I'll really have to watch and be better about what I give her.
Maisie's school closed early today due to snow so she ended up eating her bento at home. She gobbled up the quiche, raisins, jelly & marshmallow but after just a few grapes she was done and said she was ready for a nap. I'm sure that once she's up she'll finish off the remaining grapes as she always enjoys eating them as a snack.
Cheese quesadilla, roasted broccoli, lite ranch dip in the Hello Kitty container, grapes and orange jelly.
Maisie just wasn't very hungry today as she only ate the quesadilla and jelly at lunch time and though at dinner she did finish all the broccoli and grapes, she ate very little else. Just one of those days I guess.
Spinach quiche, carrot sticks, lite ranch dip in the Hello Kitty container, grapes, strawberry jelly and cashews.
Two grapes, two carrot sticks and a few cashews returned home uneaten so a good eating day for my girl.
I've had some new questions asked lately, here are the answers:
"Great blog! My daughter will start 1st grade next year eating lunch there everyday - just wondering, what do other kids eat? How do they react to the bentos? Is it okay to not use an ice-pack? My daughter asked for a thermos for pizza - have you ever seen such a thing? How does Maisie have time to eat so much food? Does she leave her leftovers for you to inspect or does the school ask the kids to do that so the parents know how much the kids ate? Thanks!!! "
Thank you for following along with us. The other children in Maisie's class eat a variety of foods ranging from purchased lunches, to sandwiches or Lunchables. Maisie is the only one who brings a bento and the other children (and the teachers) love to see what Maisie has each day. Maisie's school has pizza day every week and I have offered to purchase pizza for her but Maisie just wants her bento as she tells me that she loves her bentos and that the other children have boring lunches.
I sometimes use an ice pack for Maisie's lunch but generally her insulated bag keeps everything at a good temperature. Also I personally have never seen a thermos for pizza but I've never looked. Maisie is happy eating all her food at room temp, even pizza and noodles.
I list everyday what Maisie is able to finish from her bento during the allotted lunch period and most days she has no problems eating most if not all of her meal. When Maisie finishes eating she just always closes up her bento so I know what she has and has not eaten. Her teachers and school don't ask the children to bring home their leftovers for inspection by the parents.
"Hi - wondering if Maisie eats the ham roll-ups with her hands or a fork. Thanks."
I include a fork and spoon in Maisie's bento but I think that she eats the ham roll-ups with her fingers.
"I loved these ice-cream cones as a child but can't find them anymore! Can you confirm the allergy info on these and where they are made? It didn't say on the website. Thanks."
I do not manufacture the Marshmallow Ice Cream Cones and thus can NOT confirm any allergy information. The brand that I purchase for Maisie has allergy information listed on their website but whatever brand you choose to purchase, it's your responsibility to investigate the allergy information.
Cheese quesadilla, lite ranch dip in the Hello Kitty container, carrot sticks, raisins, grapes, clementine wedges and melon jelly.
When Maisie got in the car after school she told me that she loved her bento and that quesadillas are delicious. Maisie finished everything but three of the clementine wedges. She's never really liked oranges but since they've been so sweet and delicious lately I've tried to get her to like them with only limited success. Overall a very successful bento for my girl.
Maisie only attends school Monday - Thursday so today they celebrated Valentine's Day and had a party at school. To keep with the holiday theme I packed her a Valentine's Day bento loaded with some extra sweets but keeping it healthy too.
Marshmallow frog prince holding a heart, heart shaped cream cheese sandwich on wheat with fairy & heart sprinkles, red grapes, strawberry jelly, steamed broccoli and lite ranch dip in the Hello Kitty container.
Maisie just adored her bento today and though there was a lot of food packed in there she did well only leaving behind one little bite of broccoli and about 5 grapes.
Heart shaped pasta with homemade marinara sauce, steamed broccoli, grape heart shaped jelly, clementine sections, grapes and lite ranch dip in the Hello Kitty container.
Maisie asked to have the pasta again after she missed out on most of it yesterday as it fell on the floor as she was opening her bento so I obliged. She did real well eating all the food in her bento returning home with only two sections of the clementine remaining uneaten.
Popcorn, raisins, string cheese wrapped in ham, cashews and pineapple jelly.
Maisie enjoyed and ate everything in her bento but I desperately needed to go grocery shopping before packing this meal as I was scrambling to find healthy and interesting things for her this morning. Thankfully that won't be a problem for tomorrow as grocery shopping has been completed.