Spicy chili tofu (Bento #107)



The other day hubby and I were pouring hot sauce all over our toasted subs when I realized... we love spicy food but I never cook it! To be honest, I’m not really sure how to cook with hot sauce, I usually use it as a topping. The only spicy food I know how to make is chilli. So I gave myself a challenge and decided that I was going to make some spicy tofu!



I made a dinner that was big enough to have leftovers for bento. The dinner had the spicy chili tofu (recipe(?) below), steamed turnips, snow peas, and sweet potatoes all on a bed of rice with a ball of miso butter.

No, I swear! I didn’t plan this meal around what I could put miso butter on..... I promise!

For the bento I added seaweed salad and apple slices.

I am a total noob at writing recipes, so please, bear with me. ^_^

Spicy Chili Tofu

Ingredients:
(I don’t really measure so these numbers are estimates. You can use them as a guideline but make the sauce according to your own tastes.)

1 package of tofu, cubed
1/4 onion, chopped

for the marinade:
1/4 cup sriracha chili sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 chopped garlic clove
1tsp grated ginger

for the glaze:
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp brown sugar
more soy sauce to taste

1) Cube and drain a package of firm tofu. I wrap mine in a super clean kitchen towel to wick out extra moisture.
2) Mix the sauce together in a tupperware container and add tofu. Then add enough water to cover the tofu and mix it up really well. You want all of the tofu submerged to marinate.
3) Let the tofu marinate in the refrigerator for about an hour.
4) Strain the tofu out of the marinade reserving all of the marinade to make the glaze.
5) Heat a pan on medium high heat with a little oil and fry the tofu cubes until they are brown and delicious. Just before they finished cooking I added the onion.
6) Remove the cooked tofu from the pan and pour in all of the reserved marinade. Yes it will hiss and boil, this is a good thing.
7) Let the marinade simmer for about 5 minutes to remove some of the added water.
8) Add the ketchup and brown sugar and let it continue to simmer.
9) The sauce should start thickening pretty good now. Let it simmer until you get the desired thickness. I added a few more dashes of soy sauce at this stage.

When I made my plate I put the tofu cubes on the rice then drizzled the sauce on top.

So, what did hubby think??? “This would be really good..... if it was chicken”. Lol! He loved the sauce, thought it was fantastic! The tofu? Not so much. He just doesn’t care for the texture, he needs something to chew on. Definitely going to try this with chicken!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Simple and super (Bento #106)


Why this bento is simple: turkey patties, rice, seaweed salad, and apple chunks.

Why this bento is super:
1) The rice was mixed with miso butter. I got the idea from Mils over at Not a Brown Bag. Miso mixed with butter is wonderful! I licked the spoon clean too!
2) The steak sauce is homemade. I’ve made lots of gravies and sauces but I’ve never made one with such a simple recipe that tasted so delicious. I used the recipe from Shirley at Lovely Lanvin. This stuff is better than A1, seriously, try it.
3) The turkey patties were made from frozen leftover turkey gyoza meat mix. Why is this super? Because it already had ginger, garlic, chopped green onion, and egg. All I had to do was mix it with panko and patty it out. So easy.

Hubby took a bite of the rice, turkey patty, sauce combo and paused, closed his eyes, and said mmm....... yeah..... that’s gooooood! Lol!

Once again, this bento is in one of our Lunchbots, this one is the eco. I really am going to try to make a point to use more of my bento boxes. Is it bad that I feel a little guilty for neglecting them? Lol!

Just added this bento to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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From dinner to bento (Bento #105)

Please forgive me for the blah-ness of this bento, I was so tired this morning when I threw it together. I didn’t do much of anything but throw leftovers in a box and call it bento, lol!



So, how do you un-creatively go from dinner to bento? Like this! Above we have the bento... and below we have the dinner.



Can I still call it a bento when it is just re-packaged dinner? Hmm, I’m not sure. The bento photo is a little disappointing today, it came out really yellowy, even after a lot of photoshopping the colors just aren’t right. Oh well.

This was my first time making pork tonkatsu and it was wonderful! It reminds me of wiener schnitzel. It’s topped with tonkatsu sauce in the dinner but I put the sauce on the side for lunch so it wouldn’t make the crust soggy. Since it was leftovers the crust was soggy from being in the fridge so I revamped it by putting it under the broiler for a bit.

The pasta was amazing! I just tossed it with a marinated artichoke salad that my mom got me. Yum!

There’s also some miso cabbage in there too.



My snack today is just more of the same but with some soy sauce simmered lotus root.

I had a cool idea for a bento treat this weekend. I’m hoping to do some recipe testing in the next couple of days and write it up. Hopefully there will be some more interesting things to come!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Lunchbots sale and new clearance

I have become completely obsessed with Lunchbots. I rarely pack our bentos in other containers any more. I almost feel like I’m neglecting my other boxes! Lol!!

So, in celebration of the awesomeness of Lunchbots, this week’s featured product is the Lunchbots Duo.



The Duo is the medium sized LunchBots box with an interior divider. It is the same size as the Uno. The box measures 6.25" X 4.5" X 1.75". The photograph shows the color as close to red but it’s really more of an orange.

This box is originally $14.99 but is on sale 10% for $13.50 until Sunday January 30th.

Also, I created a clearance section of the store! The clearance section will contain discounted bento supplies that have been opened for photographing but not used for food. So far there are only 2 items, but I’m sure there will be a lot more to come!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Yay for lotus root (Bento #104)


Look what I got!!! Yup, that’s right, I got some lotus root! It’s such a strange experience because it tastes exactly like I thought it would! For those of you who haven’t tried it, it tastes like water chestnut to me, has the same texture. I simmered these in a mixture of soy sauce and a little garlic teriyaki. Yum!

All of these lovely goodies are sitting on top of a thin layer of rice. Our toppings include the lotus root, steamed zucchini and carrots, sauteed mushrooms, and my version of a beef soboro.

The beef was cooked with grated ginger, chopped garlic, and chopped green onions. After cooking and draining the fat I added soy sauce and mirin.

We had all of this for dinner last night, the bento is just made up of leftovers. This is really the first time that I’ve done this style of dinner and it was a huge hit. It was really easy to make because I steamed the carrots and zucchini in the steamer basket of the rice cooker so the only things I really had to worry about were the meat, mushrooms, and lotus root. I meant to make some scrambled egg for the color, but I totally forgot once I was in the kitchen.

I’m happy because today was another “new to me” food success! Yay for lotus root!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Nothing crazy (Bento #103)


Today’s bento is the “nothing crazy” bento. No new foods, flavors, or prep styles. Just regular old food. Sometimes the basics can be the best though. ^_^

This is hubby’s bento up top: rice, grilled chicken, steamed sweet potato, celery, nectarine slices, and grapefruit segments.

I steamed the sweet potato in the steamer basket of my rice cooker. I really wasn’t sure that it would cook all the way through but it came out perfect! They were fully cooked but not mushy at all, wonderful!

We’ve been eating a lot of grapefruit lately because they had a 5lb bag on sale at the market. Luckily there are only 2 left! I love grapefruit but peeling out the segments to put in a bento is a royal pain in the you know what. Lol.



I have a smaller version of hubby’s bento for lunch and the snack pictured above. I’m still trying to get into the groove of losing weight but I’m not doing a great job at it yet (see the whole left hand side of the snack bento). So for a snack I have unhealthy cheese and jello along with healthy nectarine slices and carrots.

I am experiencing a new phenomenon: craving a food that I’ve never tried. I’ve seen so many blog posts using lotus root and I can’t stop thinking about it. Usually I get excited to try new flavors but this is different. I think I’ve seen it so many times that I feel like I know the taste already. How cool is that?!?! I hope that the real thing lives up to my expectations!

Added this bento to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Tuna patties (Bento #102)


While packing this bento I realized that I really needed to go to the grocery store! Lol! I was actually hard pressed to fill this one up, I’m just out of food.

The bulk of today’s bento are some tuna patties adapted from Pikko over at Adventures in Bentomaking. Basically you combine canned tuna, mashed potatoes, eggs and spices, then patty and fry them up. They were so good! For these I added some chopped carrot as well, it gave a nice texture variation. They tasted fantastic with Sriracha chili sauce.

I like that these patties contain both starch and protein, makes packing the bento a lot easier.

To fill up the rest of the box I added seaweed salad and candied almonds ... again. I also threw in a couple of slices of cheddar cheese.

I fed the hubby some miso again last night ^_^ This time I used some miso broth to cook baby spinach leaves. It was definitely a success but he still likes the miso cabbage the best.

I’ve been busting hump trying to catch up at work from having the flu and there’s so much to do I feel like I just keep falling farther behind. It seems like to catch up on one thing I have to neglect something else. What I’ve been neglecting for the last few weeks is blog reading. I’m so sorry I haven’t had a chance to leave comments on your blogs, I promise I’ll catch up soon, I miss you all!!!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Sausage slop (Bento #101)


Once again, we have my favorite bento food... leftovers! We had, what I call, sausage slop for dinner. It doesn’t look too pretty but it tastes pretty good. The rest of the bento is candied almonds, seaweed salad, and grapefruit.

To make the sausage slop I sauteed kielbasa and onions, added 2 cups of uncooked rice, a can of tomatoes, ketchup, hot sauce, and enough beef broth to cook the rice. It’s pretty good.

After I took the photos I realized that I shouldn’t have put this much red food in a red box ^_^ Lol! Oh well, live and learn.

My hubby never ceases to surprise me. I made gyoza a few weeks ago and made 2 versions: one released from the pan and steamed with beef broth, the other with a miso broth. He totally refused to try the miso broth one! Usually he’s very food adventurous but something about the miso just put him off.

Flash forward to last night. I wanted to use the miso again so I steamed chopped cabbage in a spoonful of miso mixed with water and a little fresh cracked pepper. He took one bite of the cabbage and started waxing poetic about how amazing the cabbage tasted! He said it was the best cabbage he’s ever had! I was told to write down exactly how I cooked it so that I could do it again, he could eat it everyday! Lol!

I started cracking up laughing and told him that the great flavor he was in love with came from miso. Then I told him about all of the wonderful miso gyoza he missed out on before. I was afraid he would stop eating it, but he ate the whole bowl! Looks like miso is on the menu!

Happy Bento-ing!
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100 already?!?!?! (Bento #100)



Have I really made 100 bentos already?!?!?! Where did the time go? I’ve been so out of it from the flu, I didn’t even realize I was at bento 100. Looks like doing something special will have to wait for bento 200. It’s been a wonderful ride!

I started looking through some of my old bento photos and boy has my bento style changed! I got a lot better at the photography aspect and I don’t have as many disasters now, but I’m also not as adventurous. I tried a lot of new things really quickly but then settled on a less decorative style. It’s kind of cool to see the evolution. I wonder what 2011 and 100 more bentos will bring?

The top picture is actually today’s snack bento but I thought it was prettier than the lunch one so I put it up first ^_^ It has grapefruit slices sprinkled with a tiny bit of sugar, jasmine rice with an ume, and a little salad.

The full on lunch bento Is kind of a repeat of yesterday’s bento with jasmine rice, stir-fry chicken, corn, and pickled cucumbers.



Added to What’s for lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Back to the living (Bento #99)


I am finally back to the land of the living! Sorry for my absence over the last week or two, I spent an entire week battling the flu. I think it’s become a New Year’s tradition to get super sick. Bah humbug! But, I’m finally back to the land of bento!

This is hubby’s lunch for tomorrow: jasmine rice with plum sesame seeds, chicken stir-fry, tamagoyaki with tons of cracked pepper, and some quick refrigerator pickled cucumber and onion with fresh chopped ginger.

I’m not really looking forward to going back to work, but I am looking forward to getting back in the bento game. ^_^

I hope you all had a great New Year!!! Did you do anything special?

On another note, the nori face punches in the store are completely sold out!!! I am so excited at how popular they are! Don’t fret, there is a new shipment on the way and they will be back in stock before the end of the week. I’m also putting a new item on sale tonight... one of our cute new boxes!

Happy Bento-ing!
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