July Foodie Penpals reveal

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This month’s Foodie Penpal box was a lot of fun! I was sent a box from Dawn of Bare it all Fitness. I love that she sent me spices! I’ve used the herb seasoning on grilled chicken and I’m using the sea kelp delight on a roasted chicken tonight!

The liquid aminos are coming along with me in my next bento. I’ve been wanting to try liquid aminos for a while now and I’m excited to get my first taste.

Dawn actually sent me 3 packets of blue agave nectar but I used one in some iced tea before I took the photo. Loved it! Also sweet were the organic lollypops. They’re sooooo good!

I had never had these biscuits or Indian snacks before and they were an interesting flavor. The biscuits had almost a salty cinnamon flavor, and the snack mix is truly a little too complex for me to describe, lol! It has all kinds of crunchy bits, nuts, and dried peas and it’s coated in a seasoning that is just impossible to compare to anything else. It was so much fun trying it because it was so different than the flavors that I’m accustomed to.

I sent my package to Kelly over at Cupcake Kelly’s if you want to see what she got!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Grilled kielbasa bento (Bento #278)

7_30_12

This poor bento seemed doomed from the start, the only decent fresh food I had in the fridge was a giant bag of cherries, lol! Not only did I need to make a bento, but I had to find enough food for dinner. Luckily we had a frozen kielbasa in the freezer so I cooked some brown rice and threw together the last dregs of brussels sprouts, corn, peas, carrots, capers, and bacon together for our vegetable.

Dinner was saved!

The Back to School bento sale is going strong! Sale prices will be valid until at least August 7th!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Easy soboro bento (Bento #277)

7_27_12

I love soboro! I love how easy it is, how filling it is, and how tasty it is! Mmmmmmmm soboro. I never follow an exact recipe when making it, but if you’d like one, there’s a great recipe over on Just Bento. Seriously, give it a try, you won’t regret it!

For dinner last night I made the soboro, brussels sprout and bacon hash, brown rice (under the soboro), and spicy green beans with tomatoes. For lunch I just packed up the leftovers and added some grapefruit slices. I also got to pack it in my brand new Steeltainer full size bento box! If you haven’t heard, I’m giving away one of their snack bentos.

August is fast approaching and I’ve been seeing all of the ‘back to school’ gear in the stores. So, I thought I’d do my part and today I launched the Back to School Bento Sale! :) Going back to school shopping with my mom was always one of our favorite pastimes, so much so, that even though I’m well beyond ‘back to school’ age, we still go sometimes! What are your favorite ‘back to school’ memories?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Steeltainer snack bento review and giveaway!

7_25_12

A few weeks ago I was sent a couple of snack bento boxes from Steeltainer to review and give away. I think the time for review has come! I’ve actually used this little box quite a bit over the last few weeks. Sometimes I made a bento (such as the take-out bento and the ham roll-up snack bento) but I also made a bunch of quick snacks and just threw the box in my purse to take with me.

After using it for a while I can say, I love this box! Dare I say it’s my new favorite? Yeah, I’m in a daring mood. I’ll say it. This is my new favorite snack bento box!

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The snack sized box holds 320ml of food and is perfect for on-the-go snacks. What makes these boxes unique is that the bowl and divider that your food sits in are stainless steel but it has a leak-proof locking lid and outer plastic tray to hold everything together. By the way, the plastics are BPA and phthalate free. A lot of other stainless containers don’t have this outer shell (or leak-proof seal) and over time tend to get all scratched up on the bottom.

The only drawback to this is that you have to have all three pieces for it to work. The lid latches onto the plastic casing and the rubber seal fits over the stainless bowl. So, you can’t use it without the bowl or without the casing. For me, this isn’t a problem but you should be aware of it.

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Another great feature is that the lid fits above the food area. If you’re a bento maker you probably know how frustrating it is to make a beautiful work of art and then have to squish it down because the lid fits below the rim of the box. No fun! ^_^ These lids fit above the rim of the box and latch down for a nice tight fit.

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Inside the box there is a stainless steel divider that fits into any of the three grooves. I love that the divider isn’t permanent! I’ve used it in different positions and taken it out all together.

Perhaps the best part of this box is how solid it feels. Because of the latches and outer casings it feels really sturdy in your hands. I’m not afraid that if I drop it my food will go flying. I also just like the way it looks. I like that the lid is clear and I can see my food. I like the hints of color in the lid and bottom. I also like that when it’s open you can see the rim of the steel and the rim of the plastic. It just looks pretty to me and makes for a nice frame for the food.

I’ve been putting the stainless parts through the dishwasher and hand washing the lid and outer shell. I found that I don’t need to clean under the rubber seal very often, but when I do, I have to use a pair of tweezers to pull it up. It’s not the easiest thing to remove but it can be done.

If I could change anything I would move the notches for the divider. There’s one in the center, which is good, and one to either side. The outer notches are the same distance from the center. It makes the box symmetric so putting the divider on one side is exactly the same as putting it on the other side. It would have had more functionality if they were different distances from the center notch, but I’m probably just being picky.

I’m a little surprised at how much I enjoy this box. I hope you like the looks of it because I’m going to be using it a lot! Lol! I currently have a shipment of Steeltainer bentos on the way and am going to be adding them to the Bento Store later in the week. I can’t wait to get my hands on the large one!

In the meantime, Steeltainer was kind enough to give me this blue snack bento box to give away! Yay! There are plenty of ways to enter and they’re all spelled out in the widget below.



Happy Bento-ing and good luck!

Disclaimer: Two snack bentos were provided for me, free of charge, from Steeltainer for the purposes of review and giveaway. I have not been monetarily compensated and the review and opinions expressed are solely mine.

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Quick take-out bento (Bento #276)

7_20_12

To me, the best part about going on vacation is being excited to get back home again. Nothing beats sleeping in your own bed and being surrounded by your own things. Why is it that no shower in the world is ever as good as the one at home?

After driving all day, neither Hubs nor I wanted to cook. Hello Chinese delivery! For lunch today I packed some leftover vegetable lo-mein, Mongolian beef, a tomato, grapes, a radish, carrots, and asparagus spears.

I’m looking forward to cooking my own dinner tonight! The unfortunate part about Key West is that 80% of the restaurants have basically the same menu. There are only so many blackened fish sandwiches I can take! So, tonight is grilled pork chops, barley with vegetables, asparagus, and a big salad. Yum!

What foods do you miss the most when you’re out of town?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Brown bag lunch and images from Key West (Bento #275)

7_13_12

Last week I had to go to a meeting during lunchtime and the email said to bring a brown bag lunch. I’ll give you two guesses as to what I brought, lol! Being that I was going to be in a meeting with a good 15 other people I wanted to pack foods that were easy to eat. The only thing that required a fork was the avocado salsa, everything else was easy finger food.

In the bento: ham and pickle roll-ups, white nectarine slices, cherries, avocado salsa, cucumbers, tomatoes, and grilled pork chop slices.

My husband and I are fortunate enough to have spent the last few days in Key West for our summer vacation. Every year we come down to the keys to dive, sight see, and relax. We have to go home tomorrow but I know that we’ll be back next year! Whenever I think of Key West certain images always come to mind. Chickens roaming freely through the streets, hot fresh conch fritters, coral reefs, and beautiful old-Florida style cottages.

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Clockwise from the top left: Duval Street, Truman Annex, conch fritters, chickens, and Fort Zachary Taylor.

Happy Bento-ing and Happy Summer!

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Ham roll-up snack bento (Bento #274)

7_12_12

Now that it’s officially summertime here in FL the weather thinks it’s necessary to give us a thunderstorm every afternoon. I normally love thunderstorms, but not when I need to take photos, lol! I did manage to run outside between lightning strikes to show you this ham roll-up snack bento.

In the bento: ham, spinach, and pickle roll-ups, a cherry, tomatoes, white peach slices, and brown rice with an umeboshi.

Notice anything different? Yup, that’s a new bento box! The amazing folks over at Steeltainer sent me a snack sized bento box to try out and review. I’m going to use it for a couple of weeks to see how it holds up before giving my official word. ^_^ So, stay tuned because not only will there be a review but I also have one to give away!

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Happy Bento-ing!

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Teriyaki chicken skewers and onigiri (Bento #273)

7_9_12

Every year Bento & Co. holds a bento contest and this year it was worldwide! You could make a bento out of anything but it had to have at least two onigiri. All in all there were over 200 entries! The top 10 were chosen and now they’re up for vote! If you get a minute go and cast your vote :).

I entered this teriyaki chicken bento but was not chosen as a top 10 finalist. The entries that they chose are amazing and they definitely made the right choices. I was blown away by the quality of the bento photos submitted! Wow! Next year... it’s all about next year ^_^ I’ve got to step up my game! But, in the meantime, I now have a gorgeous bento to share with you guys! Yay!

Along with the teriyaki chicken I have two onigiri (one stuffed with miso and the other with umeboshi), green onion tamagoyaki, cheese, multi-colored radish slices, cherries, cucumber, tomatoes, sugar snaps, broccoli, and a carrot flower.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Bulgogi beef lettuce wraps (Bento #272)

7_2_12

Yesterday I opened the refrigerator and staring right at me was a top sirloin filet, bulgogi marinade, and a big jar of kimchi. I’m not sure how it happened... it definitely wasn’t on purpose or anything. -_^ If truth be told, I totally winged it. I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t know the proper way to make bulgogi beef, but what I ended up with was amazing!

I sliced the sirloin into thin strips and let it marinate for about 8 hours, laid the strips on a baking sheet, and cooked them at 400F in the oven until they were cooked and the leftover marinade on the meat got nice and thick and sticky. Mmmmmmmm!

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I’m eating them wrapped in a lettuce leaf along with a few pieces of kimchi and chopped green onion. This is how we ate our meat at the Korean BBQ a few weeks ago and I loved it!

The rest of the bento has mushroom couscous, cheese, a ton of fruit, and a tomato and jicama salad.

The 4th of July is coming up and I haven’t made any special food plans! I’ve been so distracted with the house that I completely forgot to plan a cool recipe for Wednesday. Help!! Do you guys have any simple, festive, easy to make favorites?

Happy Bento-ing!

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