low-carb

Ham and swiss lettuce wraps (Bento #365)

12_4_13


Wow, it’s been a long time since I posted a bento! Between the holidays, school, looking for a job, and the ‘cat in a tree’ incident, I have just been too busy. To elaborate on the ‘cat in a tree’ incident, my sweet baby was chased up a tree by the neighbor’s dog that escaped. It was horrible. To make a very long story short, the dog didn’t get her but she really hurt her paws and ripped out some of her claws during the climb. She was a good 50 feet up a pine tree. At the very top, as high as she could go. It took a good 3 hours before she calmed down enough to begin her descent. Poor girl, she was so brave coming down. Every jump, she would look at us on the ground, motion towards the branch, cry, and wait for us to cheer her on before making the leap. Broke my heart. She slept for 2 days straight. She’s still healing but she’s back to being her crazy self.

Since things have been so stressful here lately, I wanted an easy no-fuss bento for today. Just simple ham and swiss cheese lettuce wraps, a boiled egg, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and an apple wedge.

The big store sale is still going on. I think I’ve decided to shut the bento shop down, so I’m looking to get rid of all of the inventory. Right now everything is marked down by at least 10% and I’ll continue to put things on clearance and mark them down further as time goes on. So if you’ve had your eye on something, now’s the time to get it because I won’t be restocking.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Added this bento to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Breadless egg salad bento (Bento #357)

10_8_13


Every now and then I get an unbelievable craving for egg salad. I’m not sure why. I don’t even really like eggs all that much. But, sometimes, I just have to have them! I decided to package my egg salad a little different today, and avoid all of the extra carbs that go along with bread, by putting the egg salad in a hollowed out tomato and decorated it with sunflower sprouts. Pretty cool huh? Tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad and chicken salad are awesome as well.

In the bento: egg salad stuffed tomato, carrots, broccoli, ham sticks, cucumber, apples, and orange slices. I used the pink flower shaped silicone cup to hold the oranges and the green bear and frog silicone baran to keep the ham separated from the broccoli.

Today’s random Japan photo is of a stunningly beautiful tree in Kamakura. If I remember correctly, this tree stood watch near the entrance of Hachimangu Shrine.

kamakura tree


Happy Bento-ing!

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Ham and cheese omelette bento (Bento #352)

9_12_13


Who says you can’t have breakfast for lunch? Not me! The bulk of this bento is a ham, onion, and provolone omelette resting on a bed of sautéed kale and onions. Yum! I ate each piece with a bit of spicy home-grown sprouts and it was awesome. The rest of the bento is filled up with a small arugula, walnut, and cranberry salad, raspberries, and sweet potato flowers. Here is a link to the sakura punch I used along with a video of how to make the 3D effect (I used the large one).

This bento box is one of my souvenirs from Japan. My husband and I traveled to Nikko and took a bus up the mountain to Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji. It was a wonderful break from the heat and hurry of Tokyo. The weather was beautiful and cool. Along the streets were a lot of shops selling wood bowls, carvings, etc. I found this sweet little bento box there and the shop owner carved my name in Katakana and the date on the bottom. ^_^

So, today’s not-so-random Japan photo is of Kegon Falls.

Kegon falls


The town and the street are level with the top of the waterfall. To get to the bottom, you have to take an elevator down through the rock and walk through a long cold tunnel to the viewing platform. The scenery down in the ravine was stunning! I wanted so badly to touch the water! I know it’s super cold, but I wish I could have gone down and put my hand in the pool or the stream after the falls.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Low-carb baked chicken bento (Bento #349)

8_30_13


Is it really Friday? This week went by so fast for me. There were so many more things I was supposed to accomplish, lol. At least I managed to get dinner cooked last night. I was in the mood for something simple so I baked a couple of BBQ seasoned chicken breasts on a bed of onions. They were so good! There was only a small piece left over for this bento so I had to add a lot of extras to fill it up. In the bento: baked chicken breast, soy beans, raspberries, blueberries, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, and some sweet little apple bunnies.

I get a lot of emails asking about the bento products I use and whether they are in the store. So I’m going to try to be disciplined and give the links in my blog posts. This bento was made in the Lunchbots Uno and I used the cute green silicone baran from the bear and frog set.

And now it’s time for a random Japan photo! Yay! -_^ I know, I’m a dork. This is a path we walked at Ryoan-ji in Kyoto. It took us to and from a small island in the middle of the lake. Trivia time!!! Without Googling it, do you know what Ryoan-ji is famous for?

Ryoan-ji


Happy Bento-ing!

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Tuna salad and vegees (Bento #347)

7_10_13


It finally happened! I actually made my first decent bento in Japan. I’ve brought my lunch to work a couple of times, but they weren’t worthy of photos, lol. I’ve been collecting a few bento supplies little by little and I think I have enough boxes to start regularly making bentos. But, even with the right supplies, making bentos here is difficult for me. My apartment only has a 1-burner stove! Do you know how hard it is to cook with only one burner? I’m spoiled at home with a standard American 4-burner so I’m finding it a little bit difficult. Yay for one pot meals!

This bento, luckily, didn’t require any cooking so it was easy to prepare. In the bento: tuna salad with green onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, baby corn, carrots, and cucumber slices.

You may notice a complete lack of fruit in this bento. Well, fruit in Japan is really expensive. I mean, really expensive. For example, my grocery store has watermelons right now. They’re small by US standards, about the size of a basketball, and they’re going for $20. No joke, $20. Don’t even get me started on the cherries! Not only is the fruit too expensive for me to purchase, the selection is very small as well. I did see a small ‘farmers market’ looking place that I want to check out. Hopefully they have some good produce.

Keep in mind, I’m living in the middle of Tokyo where everything seems to be a little more expensive. I’m not sure if this is typical all over the country. And, the fruit I’m seeing may be out of season, I’m not sure. But, next time you see a beautiful bento made in Japan and it has fruit, think about the $20 watermelons and give it some serious respect ;) …

Happy Bento-ing!

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Oh I've missed Okra! (Bento #333)

3_21_13


I’ve missed okra something fierce. I don’t know why we haven’t had it so long, but I got a big pack of okra the other day and pan seared it with onions. Oh okra, where have you been? Fried okra is may favorite, but pan seared does the trick. Yum!

In the bento: baked chicken topped with avocado salsa, okra, carrot flowers, tamagoyaki, cucumbers, yellow squash, nectarine slices, and tomatoes.

The baked chicken was pretty fantastic too. In a baking dish I put a layer of ginger and lemongrass, then a layer of onions, then a layer of carrots. The chicken went on top with some salt and cracked pepper and the whole thing baked at 350. The ginger and lemongrass smelled like heaven! And all of the flavors permeated the chicken but weren’t super strong. When topped with the salsa (avocado, lime, cilantro, tomatoes, celery, green onions, salt, pepper) it was a healthy tropical paradise :)

Well, I’m sick for the 5 millionth time, so I’m going to go back to bed. Have a great weekend!!

Happy Bento-ing!

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The lost hamburger patties (Bento #322)

2_4_13

I found this photo when I was rummaging through my computer the other day. This was a bento I made last year and never got around to posting. I don’t remember the reason why I didn’t post it. Perhaps because it just didn’t make for a pretty picture. Even though I’m not a big fan of it’s looks, it’s the what’s under the skin that counts, right? I do, however, remember that it tasted fabulous!

In the old lost bento: hamburger patties with Bull Dog sauce, roasted broccoli and sweet potato, white dragon fruit, a Babybel cheese, hard boiled egg, grapes, and a wee little tomato.

Happy Bento-ing!

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A 'no-cook' bento and the cutest apple ever! (Bento #312)

12_11_12

See that sweet little apple? Is it not the cutest thing in the entire world?!?! It’s called a lady apple (awwww) and I’ve never had them before. I’m super excited for lunch today because I can’t wait to try it.

This is one of the easiest bentos in the world to make because it didn’t require any cooking. The hardest part was keeping the lettuce where it was supposed to be. In the bento: tuna salad topped with home grown sprouts (alfalfa, radish, broccoli, and mustard sprouts), tomatoes, snap peas, a little salad of black and green olives with green bell pepper, and of course the lady apple.

I’m almost finished with the new bento store which will be launched this week. ^_^ And, to celebrate we’ll be having a sweet coupon code! I’m also introducing $7.95 flat rate shipping to anywhere in the US no matter how much bento awesomeness you get! Until everything is up and running...

Happy Bento-ing!

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Breadless ham sandwich (Bento #296)

10_8_12

Simple. Low-carb. Healthy. These are the qualities I’m striving for in Hubs’ lunches this week. I think this one hits the mark, but I am a little concerned about it not being enough food. It has to be enough to keep him from going hungry, but not so much that he’s stuffed. Today he has: ham, lettuce, and pickle rolls, cucumber slices with hummus, a hard boiled egg, a grape, and apple slices.

Packing low-carb isn’t easy, but I’m trying! :) Do you guys have any low-carb staples that are good for bentos?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Low-carb and full of color (Bento #287)

9_5_12

I’m doing my best to put all of this kale to work, lol. Thank you all so much for the fantastic kale ideas and recipes. Today’s bento has kale sauteed with shimeji (brown beech) mushrooms, onions, and garlic. I love the look of these mushrooms! The rest of the bento (packed in my Steeltainer) contains an array of different colors and flavors: ham and swiss rolls, cucumber, kiwi, tomatoes, a radish, green beans, and blackberries.

Even though it’s still as hot as the surface of the sun... it smelled like fall yesterday morning. I love it when all of sudden, bam, it’s fall! My husband claims he can’t smell fall, and he calls me crazy, lol. Can you smell the change in the seasons? I know I can’t be the only one!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Spicy ginger beef skewers (Bento #284)

8_28_12

Well, we got lucky again and Tropical Storm Isaac shifted away from Tampa. Even though we aren’t getting the brunt of it, we’re still getting a ton of rain. I like rainy days, but they sure wreak havoc with taking bento photos. In a, very brief, moment of sunlight I ran outside to snap this pic. So, please excuse my crazy looking hand, it was still raining, lol!

I’m trying my best to keep Hubs’ bentos low-carb. Even though this one has a lot of fruit I think he’ll like it. In the bento: a no-lettuce salad, spicy ginger beef skewers, an egg, salami, nectarine slices, and some grapes.

In totally unrelated news, I got a sudden desire to make some cute amigurumi, or crochet, animals. The thing is, I didn’t know how to crochet. Haha! I went out, bought some yarn, taught myself how to crochet, and made a little bunny rabbit. Awwwwww.

IMG_7601

I used this pattern from All About Ami. There are a ton of mistakes, lol, but I’m getting better. Right now I’m working on a Totoro then making some gifts for friends. Have you ever made any amigurumi? What is your favorite craft?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Low-carb salad bento (Bento #283)

8_22_12

My dear sweet husband has presented me with quite a challenge this year. He requested that I make his bentos low-carb. Not zero-carb, but he doesn’t want rice and bread every day. It’s a lot harder making bentos this way, for me at least, because I find myself out of ideas for things to keep him full. I’m going to have to get quite creative here soon, lol.

This bento wasn’t too bad because of the salad. I think using these peppery and nutty greens are a little more satisfying to eat than the standard romaine lettuce, so I’ll probably be relying on them a lot. Along with the salad he has leftover beef stir-fry, pluot and plum wedges, grapes, a hard boiled egg, and a mini-Babybel cheese.

I’m looking forward to seeing how well I can keep up with this challenge. If you have any low-carb bento ideas, I can use all the help I can get!

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.

key west

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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Tamagoyaki and killer pickles (Bento #264)

5_25_12

I know these pickles look a little strange (bottom of container on the right) but they are heaven! I have almost perfected my pickle recipe. As soon as I give it a few more tries I’ll share all of the nitty gritty details with you. The pinkish color comes from the use of ume vinegar. Ume vinegar is the vinegar leftover from making umeboshi (pickled plums). It’s intensely salty and has a very unique flavor. To make these pickles I’m using a combination of ume vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar, and red shiso leaves. I can’t get enough of them!

I was very tempted to just eat pickles for lunch but I forced myself to pack some other food. I wasn’t really in the mood to cook, after all it was 6AM, so I made the simplest thing I could think of, tamagoyaki with cheddar cheese. It got a little browner than I like but, as I said, it was 6AM. I filled the rest of the bento with corn on the cob, a radish, steamed colorful carrots, a mini Babybel cheese, and blueberries.

I finally sent out my first newsletter! Yay! Yeah, I know, I’m a nerd. ^_^ If you’d like to start getting them the sign-up box is over on the right. Also, I got in a few new bento boxes and posted them up in the store. They’re perfect for a summer picnic!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Take me back to the islands (Bento #262)

5_18_12

It’s almost summer and I’m getting the itch to go back down to the Keys. Hubs and I are planning a diving trip off Key West and I can’t wait to go! This bento reminds me of the islands a little with the flowers and all of the greenery. I sent it to work with Hubs today and I hope it takes him on a mini vacation.

In the bento: ham, greens, and pickle rolls, a hard boiled egg, corn, strawberries, jicama flowers, snow peas, cucumber, a carrot rose, and a sprig of boxwood basil.

What wonderful things do you have planned for the summer?

Happy Bento-ing!

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A bit of everything (Bento #247)



Hubs and I went out to dinner last night and I didn’t have any leftovers for today’s lunch. So, I basically packed the fridge, lol. I have a scrambled egg, green beans, cucumber, soy beans, tomatoes, fresh Florida strawberries, ham and muenster cheese rolls, and a veggie burger patty. I really need to get more vegee burgers, they’re so good and perfect for bentos!

Hope you all are having a great week! Time for me to get back to work! :)

Happy Bento-ing!
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Off to San Diego: in-flight bentos (Bento #243)



I’m leaving for San Diego tomorrow! I’m presenting my research at the Biophysical Society meeting, but since my brother lives there my parents are coming as well. They’re going to drop me off at the conference for 3 days then we are going to Palm Springs! :)

The three of us are flying together (I even managed to get the seat next to them too) so I packed three simple in-flight bentos. I repurposed some washed blueberry tubs that I’d saved and they all have basically the same thing: ham and coleslaw rolls, string cheese, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a giant olive.

The boxes have little holes in the bottom and lid so I lined it in plastic wrap to keep everything fresh. I also placed a paper towel between the wrap and the lid. Hopefully this holds us over as we travel across the country.

I will be out of town until March 3rd which means I can’t ship any orders from the store until the following Monday (March 5th). I’m going to do what I’ve done in the past and offer a free gift with all orders placed until March 3rd and all shipping will be done on the 5th.

I’m really looking forward to tying some new restaurants on this trip. If you know of any good ones please share!!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Frittata and snacks (Bento #241)



I had a ton of eggs leftover from my marathon macaron making session for Valentine’s Day (pics below). Hubs and I aren’t really big egg eaters so I was scratching my head trying to figure out what to do with all of these eggs. And then it hit me, frittata!!

It’s a pretty simple frittata full of shredded zucchini, yellow squash, and onion with some cheddar cheese on the top. For lunch I packed it with a bunch of vegees and made some fresh onigiri before I left the house. I stuffed one of the onigiri with bonito flakes and the other with pickled plum. Katsuobushi, or bonito flakes, is skipjack tuna that has been fermented, smoked, and shaved. It has a fishy smell but doesn’t taste fishy at all, at least not the brand I got. It’s smoky and savory. I even sprinkled some over my hot frittata and added some to a pot of sausage and vegetable soup. Yum!

I’ve been working on my macaron making and decided that they were halfway decent enough to give away for Valentine’s Day. I’m such a nerd and I love giving away treats to everyone at work so I made 4 batches of macs: almond, pistachio, Nutella, and strawberry. I’m in love with the pistachio ones!



The macs still need some work, I’m plagued by the occurrence of hollow shells most of the time. I think I’ve figured out the problem so I’ll be making some more here soon. Some of my buds at work said that they would take care of any practice batches that I need to give away. :)

Happy Bento-ing!
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Lunch and then some (Bento #229)



I have microscope time all day today, which means I won’t be leaving the lab for a good 8-10 hours. So, I needed a bento big enough for lunch and an afternoon snack. To accomplish such a grand feat I broke out a Lunchbots Eco and filled it to the brim with: pan seared tofu with teriyaki sauce, carrots, blueberries, cucumbers, a Babybel cheese, tomatoes, lightly sauteed zucchini, and a hard boiled egg. I have a feeling that I won’t go hungry, lol!

I’ve been having a bit of a hard time with my experiments at school lately, so wish me some luck! :)

Happy Bento-ing!

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Chinese take-out done up bento style (Bento #218)



I was rummaging around in the kitchen yesterday trying to figure out what to make for dinner but just couldn’t decide. Hubs even came in to help look around. Then, as if it were destiny, we both turned around and in unison said, “Lets do Chinese take-out”! Brilliant!

I always get the spicy mongolian beef (our fav restaurant does it brilliantly, it’s truly amazing, but it’s been kind of gross at other places) and Hubs got the spicy Florida orange chicken. This is a picture of Hubs’ bento with his orange chicken, a krab rangoon, radish, egg, kiwi, tomato salad, Babybel cheese, and some brussels sprouts to fill in the gaps.

I threw my bento together this morning and completely forgot to take a picture. D’oh! Oh well.

Have a great day!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Hodge-podge (Bento #207)



Last night we had a fantastic dinner of roasted kabocha squash, steamed yu choy seasoned with soy sauce, and some super tasty chicken sausages. It was a great dinner. It was so good in fact, that we ate pretty much everything I cooked which left nothing but one tiny chicken sausage for this bento.

Given the lack-of-cooked-food circumstances I just threw a turkey sandwich, nuts, a banana, and a tub of leftover fried rice in Hubs’ lunch bag and figured that I would eat out today. Then 6:30AM hit and I started feeling guilty for not making a bento. Combine that with the fact that I would rather spend that lunch money on more fabric and I threw a hodge-podge bento together at the last minute.

Most of this bento is pretty obvious except for maybe the soy beans, tuna salad, and big chunks of aged parmesan. I could snack on parmesan chunks all day!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Green food rocks! (Bento #201)



This week has been crazy busy and I don’t think it’s going to slow down for a while. It seems that everything I need to do happens all at the same time. The good news is that I’m almost finished writing my dissertation proposal! Yay! It’ll probably need to be edited and revised a few times but at least the first draft is almost done.

After Hubs left this morning I decided to make myself some lunch to bring to school. Since I was only cooking for myself I didn’t make any meat. Nor did I pay too much attention to making it a balanced meal (it was 5AM, at that hour I’m excused from making healthy choices, lol) I sauteed some lotus root with mushrooms and seasoned it with a little leftover homemade teriyaki sauce I had in the fridge. The yu choy was steamed and tossed with a little soy sauce and sesame seeds. The rest of the bento was easily thrown together: edamame, kiwi, grapes, and carrots.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Husband and Wife bentos (Bento #187)



I got sick and tired of having bentos without much color and seeing all of Sheri’s gorgeous, bursting with color, bentos didn’t help. So here is my carnival of color! If I dare say so... I love these bentos! All of the bright rich color makes me smile. I think today is going to be a great day!

Hubs and I have matching bentos except that I added some pita chips to his. I’m sending some hummus on the side as well. Packed up all nice and tight are grilled pork chop slices, carrots, corn, pluot slices, sprouts, and a little salad. The salad has golden cherry tomatoes, regular red tomato, and snow pea slices tossed with a little lime vinaigrette dressing.

Happy bento-ing!
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Ginger lime chicken (Bento #141)



I decided I wanted to make some ginger lime chicken and of course I had to make it from scratch. Well... most things I attempt turn out pretty good so I was due for a dud. I don’t know if I put too much ginger, or should have added something else, but it was just “meh”. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t un-edible either.

I served it on a bed of shredded cabbage, to keep the carbs down, and topped it with chopped tomatillos and mango. The topping was really good!

For lunch I packed hubs the chicken, orange slices, and vegees (green beans, radish, jicama, and tomatoes).

After last night’s dud I’m hoping that the gyozas I’m planning on making tonight turn out good. *crossing fingers*

Happy Bento-ing!
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Spring bento and a spring boat trip (Bento #133)



Now that spring has arrived I’m trying to add a lot more fresh fruit and vegetables in our diet. This bento has orange, grapes, tomatoes, olives, and tuna salad in a cucumber cup all packed in a Lunchbot. I couldn’t help myself though and I also made a miso stuffed onigiri to bring along. ^_^

There were giant cucumbers at the store today so I cut them into logs, hollowed them out, and filled them with tuna salad. Makes for a healthier alternative to bread.



The cup above is from Hub’s bento. I put it on my pink Himalayan salt block, which I keep forgetting I have, lol! I need to use it more often.

Last Friday we took the day off and went to my parent’s house to spend the day out on the water. It was a gorgeous afternoon! Hubs and I really enjoyed seeing all of the family. It was us, my parents, both of my sisters, and my nieces and nephew. We boated all around, had a picnic, and walked along the beach on a little island.

It had been so long since we enjoyed the Florida weather and scenery. I can’t wait to go back out! Here’s a little peek into our day, hope it brings you a little of the serenity it brought us.







Happy Bento-ing!
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Kielbasa and cabbage (Bento #120)



Well, this is definitely a hubby bento, there’s no rice! Hubs is very much a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

Once again the main portion of this bento is leftovers. We had this kielbasa and cabbage for dinner last night. I browned the sausage and a ton of onion in a pan, then threw in some garlic and the cabbage. It’s so basic but I think that’s what makes it so good.

For the bento I added some strawberries and blueberries and a hard boiled egg.

The egg isn’t just a plain old egg, I made it suing this idea from Just Bento. Once they cooled in the soup I put them in the fridge to continue marinating. I don’t know if they were good or not yet. Hubby loves hard boiled eggs so I’m sure I’ll hear all about it if he doesn’t like them.

I’ve been eating my twitter cookie party cookies all day today. They were good last might, but today, they’re fantastic! They got insanely chewy! So good!

Happy Bento-ing!
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