lunchbots

PB&J rolls (Bento #355)

10_1_13


Have you seen those gorgeous PB&J roll-up photos online? You know, the ones that look like perfect pinwheels? They have distinct and perfectly separated layers of peanut butter and jelly, no smearing, no goopinees, no squishing, they’re perfection! Yeah. I can’t make those. I tried cutting them with floss, used different ratios of peanut butter and jelly, tried sawing through them with a serrated knife, etc. I’m just going to have to accept that they just aren’t in the cards for me.

Despite all of my best efforts, my PB&J rolls always look like a mess. I tried to hide them by distracting you with bright fruits and vegees :) In the bento: PB&J rolls, tomatoes, radish star, carrots, cucumbers, nectarines, and a hard boiled egg.

Today’s random Japan photo is from the Waseda University campus. Between the bus stop and the Waseda garden, there is a beautiful tree covered brick walkway. As you go down the path, this guy is sitting right outside the garden watching over the walkway.

Waseda


Happy Bento-ing!

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Rainy day rice bento (Bento #354)

9_25_13


It has been raining here for three days straight! I wish I could skip work and curl up on the couch with a bunch of blankets and watch movies with my cat. But alas, I can’t. Since I had to go to work I made a super simple furikake rice bento. Furikake is basically dried bits of seaweed, dried vegees, spices, sesame seeds, salt, etc that’s made to sprinkle over plain white rice. It comes in endless different flavors and varieties. I brought this colorful one home with me from Japan, it’s so tasty! There are a lot of different dried vegetables and flavors in there. Along with the rice I have a small salad with avocado and sweet peppers, a cup of raspberries, and a hard boiled egg.

Today’s random Japan photo is from one of the streets we walked down while wandering the Gion district in Kyoto. Gion is one of the most famous geiko (or geisha) districts in Japan. We weren’t lucky enough to spot a geiko or maiko, but walking the quiet back streets was worth it even without a sighting.

Gion


Happy Bento-ing!

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Ham wraps bento (Bento #351)

9_10_13


Sometimes, the simple, everyday foods can be the best. I made this ham wrap bento for my husband and he loved it. The wraps have black forest ham, romaine, arugula, green onion, cheddar, and a little mayo wrapped with a whole wheat tortilla. On the side, he had green olives, cucumbers, nectarine slices, and tomatoes.

When I left Japan, my amazing lab mates threw me a going away party. This Waseda University and Hello Kitty towel was one of the gifts they gave me. It’s so cute!

Today’s random Japan photo is from Nijo Castle in Kyoto.

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The details on the outside of the castle are beautiful. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the highly polished gold and black in the front and the weathered wood and copper(?) in the back.

Added to What’s For Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Super fruity bento (Bento #350)

9_3_13


I’m still catching up on all of the fruit I missed over the summer. I almost added grapes to this bento too but I couldn’t find room. Haha! In the bento: sautéed vegee pasta with shaved parmesan, a cup full of raspberries, soybeans, broccoli, and dragon fruit. The pasta is separated from the rest of the goodies using these kawaii reusable silicone baran.

Today’s random Japan photo is a view of the moat surrounding Matsumoto Castle. Matsumoto Castle is also called the crow castle because of all of the black on the exterior. When we were there, the city of Matsumoto had begun a restoration project on the moat. Over the years layers of sediment have built up to the point that the water in the moat is only a couple of feet deep. After the project is finished, the moat should be a few meters in depth.

Matsumoto Castle mote


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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Cuban sandwich bento (Bento #344)

5_21_13


I totally cheated and bought a pre-made Cuban sandwich for lunch yesterday. I only ate half of it and the rest made for a perfect bento. In my Lunchbots Eco: Cuban sandwich, papaya chunks, strawberries, cucumber, and tomato skewers.

In case you missed it, I posted a radish star tutorial video yesterday. I really appreciate all of you watching the videos and for the great feedback :) Any requests?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Vidalia onion pasta bento (Bento #343)

5_15_13


I now have less than a month before I leave for Japan! I’m excited to go but I’m also a little nervous about the flight and working with new people. I’ve been extremely busy getting everything prepared, filling out a bunch of paperwork, getting a place to stay, trying to communicate with my host professor, getting the house and bills ready, making sure the cat is taken care of, trying to get my papers published before I leave, finishing up last minute research, etc. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit stressed the last couple of weeks.

I forced myself to stop all of the millions of errands and chores and take the time to make a nice lunch. I have a fridge full of vegetables that I haven’t had the time to cook or eat. And all of this stress, anxiety, and take-out food is taking a toll on my body. :(

The grocery store had a ton of Vidalia onions and they are so sweet! I made this pasta full of sautéed Vidalia onions, garlic, broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes. I could’ve just eaten the sautéed onions plain, lol. The rest of the bento has an arugula and pineapple salad (thanks for the idea Mom ^_^) separated from the pasta by a row of cucumbers.

Here’s to the rest of the week being easy and stress free! :)

Happy Bento-ing!

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Sunflower sprouts (Bento #340)

4_29_13


I have a really good batch of sunflower sprouts growing in the kitchen. Have you tried them before? They kind of remind me of raw spinach leaves, but with a little bit more of a flowery taste. This morning I tried to sautee them, thinking that they would get bright green, but it failed miserably. They don’t get brighter, they turn brown and icky. Yuck! Looks like raw is the way to go!

In the bento: rice with pickled plum, sunflower sprouts, tomatoes, brats leftover from dinner, strawberries, and carrot flowers.

I’ve been getting a lot of people asking how to make these 3-d flowers. I found a Japanese video that makes them without a cookie cutter, but I can’t find a good video that makes them the way I do. My goal this week is to make a flower tutorial video. I figure, if I promise it here then I’ll absolutely have to get it done and I can’t procrastinate, lol!

Until next time…

Happy Bento-ing!

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Couscous and simmered portabello mushrooms (Bento #339)

4_23_13


Have you seen Ochikeron’s videos on Youtube? She’s amazing! Everything she makes looks so delicious and yesterday I saw one on simmered mushrooms and bonito chunks. I only had baby portabellos but I decided to simmer them using her method and they are wonderful.

In the bento: couscous, simmered mushrooms, orange slices, home grown green beans, carrots, celery, and daikon radish flowers.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Ham wraps (Bento #338)

4_22_13


Every now and then, a Monday rolls around where my body and brain absolutely refuse to wake up. I think I need another Sunday :) I knew work would be miserable without bringing a bento so I forced myself out of bed and put this ‘no cook’ lunch together.

In the bento: ham and avocado wraps, a variety of home-grown tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, a baby portabello mushroom, mango, and some of the biggest blueberries I’ve ever seen! The blueberries are huge! And they’re sweet to boot. A couple of weeks ago I went to Wish Farms’ strawberry fields and they told us about their bluebbery farms and how big the berries were. I found these beauties in the grocery store this weekend and they weren’t exaggerating. Yum!

Maybe I’ll make blueberry pancakes for dinner tonight….. or I might take a nap ;)

Happy Bento-ing!

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Meatloaf, potato casserole, and big news! (Bento #337)

4_19_13


There is so much news to tell! I’m really excited because I’ve been given a summer internship at Waseda University in Tokyo! I get to spend the whole summer in Japan! (Insert the appropriate amount of squealing here ^_^) It’s going to be 10 incredible weeks!!! I’m still having a hard time believing that this is actually happening. Visiting Japan is a dream for me (and to be honest, a bit of an obsession, lol) but to be able to live, work, go to the grocery store, sight-see, and spend over 2 months getting a taste of life in Japan is beyond what I ever could have imagined. Anyway, I’ll post more details about the trip, JSPS, and the EAPSI program in a later post because I’ve got to get back to work. :)

Today I really wanted to take a salad so I have 2 bentos. The salad is pretty run of the mill except those cute little yellow pear tomatoes are home-grown. The other bento has potato casserole, meatloaf, broccoli, mango, and some lemony green olives. These olives are awesome! They’re from a company called Oloves and I instantly fell in love with them. I want to try their other flavors too.

Well, I’ve got to get back to work. Have a good weekend and…

Happy Bento-ing!

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Soboro and home-grown salad bento (Bento #336)

4_16_13


I know everyone is still trying to recover and regain some normalcy after the terrible events in Boston yesterday. So I’m going to keep this post short and sweet.

In the bento: rice topped with ground beef, onion, and mushroom soboro, apple bunnies, cucumbers, and a home-grown salad of black cherry and yellow pear tomatoes with green beans.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Early morning sun (Bento #335)

4_10_13(2)


Good morning! It’s nice to have a bento again :) I’m still planning out my super strawberry bento, but in the meantime I have this one to tide me over. In the bento: rice with a pickled plum, strawberries, leftover Mongolian Beef from our Chinese take-out last night, cucumbers, and some yellow sweet bell pepper slices.

As I was taking the photo of this bento in the wee early hours of the morning, the sun decided to come pop over the top of the fence. I usually don’t like food photos with hard lighting, but for some reason I thought this one was pretty. :)

4_10_13


Just curious, which one do you guys like better? The super sunny or the traditional? I had to show them both because I can’t decide, lol!

I hope your day is just as sunny and bright!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Sakura bento (Bento #334)

3_26_13


My bento postings have been few and far in between lately. It seems to be the rule of life that everything happens at once. So I’m trying my best to get one thing done at a time and not go into total panic mode, lol. But, that means less bentos :( Sigh. But on the bright side, it’s sakura season!!! Unfortunately we don’e have any sakura in Florida, at least not where I live, so I have to make my own!

In the sakura bento: salted sakura onigiri wrapped in a preserved sakura leaf, sakura shaped carrots, soy beans, tamagoyaki, strawberries, and a tomato. An of course, I couldn’t resist using these new silicone sakura baran!! They’re my new favorite bento accessory :)

In bento shop news, I just uploaded 4 new silicone baran, including the sakura one above and two new adorable snack bentos.

Until next time...

Happy Bento-ing!

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Pork tenderloin and barley (Bento #331)

3_13_13


Barley with vegetables is one of my favorite side dishes. It’s so easy because I saute up whatever vegetables I have on hand, toss in some cooked barley, a little Vegeta for seasoning, a bunch of cracked pepper and it’s done. Simple and delicious. For last night’s dinner I sliced up a pork tenderloin and browned the ‘medallions’ in a pan with olive oil and served it with the barley and some low fat cole slaw made with greek yogurt. Lunch consists of the dinner leftovers along with a few strawberries, blueberries, and a couple of cucumber slices.

The robotics competition last weekend was a blast! I truly had no idea how much fun it would be and I’m getting excited about next year. Our team didn’t make the finals but we did pretty darn good. Especially for being a rookie team! Here’s a video I took of one of our matches. Our bot is #4769 on the red team (at the start of the video, we’re the ones closest to the camera). The first 15 seconds are autonomous mode and the robot has to find the target and throw the frisbees without human help. Yeah, we nailed that! Then the kids get to take over and load the bot with frisbees, shoot the targets for points, and repeat. You could also get points by climbing the tower but our bot didn’t climb, they focused on shooting.



Do you know a FIRST robotics team? If so, I’d love to check out their website :)

Happy Bento-ing!

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Blueberries, robots, and rice (Bento #330)

3_6_13


What do blueberries, robots, and rice have in common? Well, for me, a lot. I’m going with my husband and his school’s robotics club to their first FIRST Robotics Competition which starts tomorrow! So help me out in rooting for Team 4769 - The Electrodes! This is the first year that my husband’s school has had a robotics club and it has been a lot of work! They only get 6 weeks to design and build their robot for the competition and they have done a fantastic job.

We leave tomorrow, and by the time we get back from the competition, that container of blueberries in the fridge will probably have gone bad. And since we ate up all of our perishables, knowing we would be out of town, rice was the only thing I had in the house to make for lunch. See, blueberries, robots, and rice go together perfectly.

In the bento: rice with furikake, blueberries, a tomato, avocado slices, and carrots.

Happy Robot-ing!

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The sad 'no fruit' bento (Bento #327)

2_25_13


This poor bento is fruitless! I hate making a fruitless bento but we ate all of our apples and oranges over the weekend. I didn’t even have any bright red tomatoes to throw in there for color. Looks like there’s an epic grocery shopping trip in my future.

In the bento: rice topped with zucchini, broccoli, and onions simmered in tikka masala sauce, grilled chicken, broccoli, a hard boiled egg, and cucumber slices. Even though it’s not that colorful, it’s still healthy and delicious.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Spiral pancake brunch bento (Bento #326)

2_20_13


Mmmmmm brunch! Who doesn’t like brunch? I got inspired to make a brunch bento by a rerun of How I Met Your Mother where they were talking about how awesome brunch is. Apparently it really got to me because next thing I knew I was making a brunch bento. :)

In my Lunchbots Eco: spiral pancakes, strawberries, sausage, spinach tamagoyaki, cheese, a salad with a homegrown tomato and sakura cut cucumber, and a strawberry milk whoopie pie! I spent my evening baking whoopie pies instead of actually making dinner, but it was worth it!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Tuna rolls (Bento #325)

2_18_13


I haven’t actually been cooking very much lately. Between my crazy schedule, the house getting torn apart because of a pipe leak underground, and my husband working super late nights and weekends with the robotics club at his school, there just hasn’t been much cause to cook dinner. And if I don’t cook dinner, that usually means I don’t have a bento. :( Doug really needed to take lunch with him today so I took the easy way out with tuna sandwiches.

In the Lunchbots Eco: tuna sandwich rolls, a small salad, broccoli, and orange slices.

I’m determined and stubborn today and I’m cooking an awesome dinner whether there’s anybody here to eat it or not! :)

Happy Bento-ing!

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Grilled chicken bento (Bento #323)

2_5_13

I almost didn’t make a bento this morning. I was super tired, getting sick again (aarrrrggghhhh!!!!!!!), and really feeling lazy. Not to mention the snoring kitty snuggling on me. But I forced myself out of bed, kicked my butt into gear, and made lunch. And it was totally worth it. This is much better than campus food!

In my Lunchbots Eco: leftover grilled chicken from last night’s dinner, leftover potato salad with a little shichimi togarashi (a Japanese blend of chili peppers, sesame seeds, and spices), blueberries, tomato slices, carrots, cheese, and a radish.

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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Omurice bento (Bento #320)

1_28_13

It’s been a long time since I’ve had omurice but I ran into Cooking With Dog’s omurice video and guess what happened next? My ketchup bottle went a bit crazy on the top, lol, but it tastes wonderful.

In my Lunchbots Eco: omurice, tomato and snow pea salad, cheese, radish, cucumbers, blueberries, and strawberries.

In the meantime, in the bento store...

food cup sale_edited-1

Happy Bento-ing!

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Tuna sandwich bento (Bento #319)

1_22_13

Coming back from a long weekend is tough on the bento making routine. I really didn’t feel like making one this morning but the thought of having to eat on campus was worse than my laziness. So, I made one of the easiest things possible, a tuna sandwich. To jazz it up a bit I added some dried cranberries and almond slivers in the tuna salad. I have to admit, it was pretty darn good. Well worth the effort!

In my Lunchbots Eco: tuna salad sandwich, cucumbers, carrots, golden and red grape tomatoes, and a nectarine.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Browned butter and parmesan pasta (Bento #316)

1_9_13

I woke up this morning realizing that I had nothing for lunch. No leftovers, no sandwich fixings, nothing. The only thing I could find to cook was some pasta and of course I had nothing to go with it...

Until I remembered the awesome parmesan cheese I had stashed in the fridge :) I tossed the noodles with browned butter, onions, garlic, and a ton of parmesan and cracked pepper. It’s simple, unbelievably delicious, decadent, and extremely bad for me.... lol. To counteract all of that buttery, cheesey, carby goodness I filled the rest of the box with fruits (blood orange, cherries, strawberries), vegees (broccoli, sugar snaps, daikon radish), and some more homemade pickles.

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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Tuna and macaroni salad (Bento #309)

11_30_12

This is going to be a ridiculously speedy post. Why? Because I’m off to the land where dreams come true! Tonight me, my mom, my aunt, and my cousin are doing our annual girls weekend at Disney and going to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! I’m only a little bit excited, hahahaha!

So, quick and dirty... my bento for today (I had to work this morning... :( boo, hiss, boo) has tuna macaroni salad, blackberries, tomato, black olives, celery, asparagus, cheese, cucumber, and a seckel pear.

If you’d like to, tell me your wish and I’ll drop a penny in the water at It’s a Small World and make the wish for you! My wish from last year hasn’t come true yet....... but I’m going to wish for it again and I know it’ll come true someday. :)

Happy Bento-ing!

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Ginger chicken bento (Bento #303)

11_5_12

Last night was the annual Night In Tokyo hosted by the USF Japanese Club. They graciously let me join in the festivities by setting up a booth educating people about bento. I had a couple of premade bentos and a bunch of different styles of boxes, baran, food cups, punches, picks, etc. to show everybody.

This ginger chicken bento was one of the ones I brought. It has rice, a pickled plum, ginger chicken, tamagoyaki, cucumbers, and rambutan.

I’ll share lots more about the event later, but for now I’ve got to run!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Tamagoyaki and a sweet little pear (Bento #301)

10_29_12

Do you see that sweet little pear in the top right corner? Isn’t he cute?!?! I found these little seckel pears over the weekend and they’re perfect for bento. I needed to make this bento really quick this morning, so I couldn’t do much cooking. In my smallest pan I made some tamagoyaki (rolled omelette) with colby jack cheese, quickly rinsed the pan, then sauteed some butternut squash. Everything else only needed to be washed and sliced.

Simple and easy doesn’t have to be boring!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Beef stew and 300 bentos! (Bento #300)

10_23_12

I just realized that today I hit 300 bentos! Wow, I can’t believe 300 have passed already. It’s been so much fun sharing all of these lunches with you. Thank you for stopping by to see them!

It’s finally starting to cool off and I thought we should celebrate the new temperatures with some beef stew for dinner. For the bento, I drained the liquid off and just packed the meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions. Even without all of the stew liquid, they still taste delicious.

The rest of the bento has yellow squash slices, asparagus, zucchini ribbons, grapes, one of the rubiest ruby-red grapefruits ever, and a tomato, black olive, and parmesan salad. Seriously though, that grapefruit was amazing!

Thank you all so much for hanging out with me for 300 bentos! I hope you hang around for 300 more :)

Happy Bento-ing!

Comments

Sakura rice (Bento #299)

10_16_12


This is definitely a “me” bento! Hubs would be so disappointed if he saw that much rice in his bento. Haha! I love it though! Especially because I brought those nori sheets with me. I hate soggy nori so instead of making nori wrapped onigiri I made little crispy nori, rice, and beef ‘burritos’ at lunchtime. Yum!

In the bento: rice with preserved sakura and green onion, bulgogi marinated beef, apples, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and the tiniest little tomato.

I am happy to say that after two Rapidweaver crashes yesterday, I finally was able to upload a whopping total of 20 new bento boxes to the store! I’m really excited about this batch because they’re super cute. My favorite is a tie between Rilakkuma and the grey polka dot bento. Too cool!

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Happy Bento-ing!

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Simple star soboro (Bento #298)

10_15_12

I know this bento seems super simple, but that’s what I love about it. All it has is brown rice, soboro, scrambled egg, apples, cheese, and snow peas. Like I said, super simple. But, insanely delicious.

Along with a super simple bento comes a super simple post. Have a great Monday!

Happy Bento-ing!

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More ham sandwich love (Bento #297)

10_11_12

We’re trying to eat up all of the black forest ham I bought at the store, so here is another ham sandwich bento. I’ve tried to make them look a little different every time, so we don’t get bored (see the bread-less ham sandwich and classic ham sandwich bento posts). Even though the basics in our lunches are the same, small changes here and there make a big difference.

Along with the sandwich I packed some snow peas, a Babybel cheese, yellow squash slices, cucumbers, grapes, and a few little mushrooms.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Classic ham sandwich (Bento #295)

10_3_12

Oh this poor bento. As soon as I went outside to take it’s picture it started pouring down rain. Luckily I ran back in before everything got soaking wet, lol!

In my Lunchbots Eco, I packed a ham, cheddar, lettuce, and mayo sandwich, cucumber slices, apple bunnies, radish slices, broccoli, a Babybel cheese, and a little leftover chicken with garlic sauce that we had for take-out the night before. I haven’t made a sandwich for myself in quite some time, so it was a nice treat.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Pork chops and pickles (Bento #292)

9_24_12

I have to make a confession. I love vinegar. I mean, really love vinegar. All types of vinegar. I also love excuses for eating a lot of vinegar, such as french fries dripping with malt vinegar... and pickles. Ohhhh pickles! My husband always yells at me for drinking the pickle juice before the pickles have been eaten and they get all dried out. Anyway, the point of this story is to say that I made pickles! I really need to make them more often because I love them!

This batch of pickles has cucumber, daikon radish, and carrot slices. I marinated them in a combination of seasoned rice vinegar (love this stuff) and ume vinegar. Ume vinegar is the leftover super salty vinegar from making umeboshi (pickled plums). I also added some preserved sakura (the pink thing on the cucumber in the photo) to give a little bit of extra flavor. Thank goodness I made a big batch because I can’t stop eating them!

Hubs isn’t the biggest pickle fan so I only put a small cup of them in his bento. The rest of the bento has bok choy, sticky rice, pork chop, grapes, a monster cheese, a cracked egg, and plum slices.

The sticky rice was a combination of Sheri’s recipe on Happy Little Bento and this Ochikeron cooking video. My version has brown beech mushrooms, carrots, corn, and onions and the rice cooking liquid has temari and mirin in place of some of the water. If you haven’t made Sheri’s sticky rice or any of the flavored steamed rice dishes from Ochikeron, you should! It’s a wonderful dish!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Mini egg salad sandwiches (Bento #291)

9_18_12

I’ve been seeing a lot of sandwich bentos floating around the internet lately and it gave me a horrible craving for egg salad sandwiches. Eggs and I have a love/hate relationship. Typically I’m not a huge fan, but every now and then I get a craving and go all egg-crazy for a day. Yeah, it was one of those days.

I’ve been a bit sick for the last few days and I’m using it as an excuse for not having any pretty decorations in this bento... and the last one really. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! In the bento: mini egg salad sandwiches, zucchini spears, sprouts, and nectarine and orange slices.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Two for Tuesday (Bento #288)

9_11_12

Usually if I make a bento, for either myself or the Hubs, the other gets stuck with an ugly mess of random leftovers in a box. But, yesterday I had the energy and the motivation to make nice looking lunches for the both of us. Hubs has the larger Lunchbots Eco on the left and mine is the smaller Steeltainer bento on the right. They’re packed with mostly leftovers, as per usual: beef kabobs, vegee kabobs, corn on the cob, and homemade potato salad. Then I added some fruit and cucumbers to freshen it up a bit.

Now that the weather is starting to cool off I’m looking forward to grilling more. I dearly love grilled kielbasa. I mean, LOVE grilled kielbasa. What are your favorite grilled foods?

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Just a tiny bit of pasta (Bento #286)

9_3_12

I know Hubs wants low-carb, but it’s just a tiny bit of pasta, lol! It was really good too so it’s worth a little cheat. I tossed the pasta with sauteed onions, chorizo sausage, tomatoes, and garlic. Everything in moderation right? The rest of the bento (packed in my Lunchbots Uno) is pretty healthy though: seared zucchini, spicy baked chicken breast, hard boiled egg, cucumber, and some grapes.

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I went to the farmer’s market this weekend and picked up the last bag of kale. I swear, this bag is big enough to feed an army! Last night we had a giant pan of sauteed kale and onions, and I barely made a dent. I think I’m going to do some kale with mushrooms for my bento tomorrow and one of these days I hope to try my hand at kale chips. Do you have any favorite kale recipes? I could use some inspiration!

I’m really excited right now because my first tomatoes are starting to ripen! They’re so bright, they look like they’re lit from within, that photo isn’t a camera trick, that’s what they really look like. I swear, I go outside and check on them like 5 times a day. It’s a little rough on tomatoes in the FL heat, but so far they’re surviving!

Happy Bento-ing!

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A little self-indulgence (Bento #285)

8_29_12

I really didn’t want to go to work today. Really, really didn’t want to go. Everybody has those days every now and then and today was mine. To top it off, I hadn’t made myself anything for lunch and would have to eat on campus. Bleh. So, to make my day better, I took some time this morning and created a wonderfully self-indulgent bento. Going to work is suddenly starting to look a little brighter.

In the bento: sakura rice (rice mixed with preserved cherry blossoms), cucumbers, salami, zucchini ribbons, tomatoes, a radish, carrots, celery, nectarine slices, and dry roasted almonds. I packed it in my Lunchbots Eco and it’s a ton of food. This is actually two and half meals, lol. The nectarine slices and almonds are for breakfast and I’m saving the carrots, celery, and half of the salami for an afternoon snack.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

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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A little bit of everything (Bento #280)

8_9_12

This bento has a little bit of everything: barley, mac ‘n cheese, plum, chicken sausages, ham and chipotle cheddar rolls, and zucchini pasta. Phew! That’s a lot of food! I haven’t used my Lunchbots Eco in a while and I forgot how big it was. I almost didn’t have enough stuff to fill it up.

Hubs’ daughter is heading back home today, so last night I thought I’d treat her to her favorite blue box of mac ‘n cheese. My intellectual side kept screaming “Noooooo! Stop! Don’t eat it!” but the kid in me kept on munching. It even made it into the bento! Sometimes I have no self control.

On the healthier side of things, I made some delicious zucchini! I cut it into tiny little strips and just barely boiled it to make it more flexible. Then tossed it with onions, garlic, and tomatoes that had been sauteing in olive oil. Topped it with some fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and a ton of fresh cracked pepper and it was good. Real good!

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I had seen a tweet about zucchini pasta and just winged it when I got home. Luckily it turned out really nice. I think this is my new favorite zucchini recipe. You should try it!

Today is the last day of the Back to School Bento Sale!!! Prices will go back to normal tomorrow.

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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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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The lazy cook: ham sammy bento (Bento #271)

6_27_12

I admit it, I’ve been a lazy cook since summer started. I’ve even only managed about one bento a week! Well, I’m ready to get back in the kitchen and eating my own homemade food. The problem is that I don’t have any groceries, lol. This bento is the very last of most of my produce. Luckily we always seem to have sandwich fixings or we’d be going hungry!

In the bento: ham, cheddar, and greens sandwich, tomato and cheese salad, soy beans, cherries, raw sugar snaps, and carrot sticks.

Even though I have been lazy in the kitchen, Hubs and I have been crazy busy! On top of all of our regular work we are rearranging and spring cleaning the entire house! We’re moving Hubs’ desk and books out of the “office” room and I get to take the whole room as a craft studio! I’m so excited! It wasn’t even my idea, it was all Hubs’ idea! I knew I married the right guy :)

Right now my room is a giant mess because everything is being moved around. Once it’s all finished I’ll share some photos. I’ve never had my own craft room before so I’m beside myself with excitement!

In the meantime.... anybody want to come over and cook for me ;)

Happy Bento-ing!

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Korean BBQ leftovers (Bento #270)

Yesterday was Doug and I’s two year wedding anniversary! I can’t believe it has been two years, time goes by so fast. I was lucky enough to marry a guy who is always willing to try new foods and for our anniversary dinner we went out for our very first Korean BBQ. Oh my heaven! I fell in love all over again... with both Doug and the food, haha!

As I said, this was our first Korean BBQ experience and it was our first time eating at Rice Restaurant and Lounge here in Tampa. We had so much fun trying all of the different side dishes and sauces. They gave us 10 different banchan, side dishes, to try with our rice and meat. Just look at all that food!

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Along with the banchan we were each given a bowl of rice, 2 different dipping sauces, a plate full of lettuce leaves for making wraps, and a bowl of soup. She even gave us different soups so we could pass them back and forth. I was in “new taste” heaven!

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For the meats we chose pork belly and beef galbi. Both were fantastic! We must have tried every combination of meat, sauce, and vegetable. One of the best parts about the whole experience was our waitress. She was truly a gem. We never felt uncomfortable asking what things were and she helped us choose interesting combinations of flavors and was always available with a story and quick with a joke to make us laugh. It felt more like dining at her house than being in the middle of a restaurant. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

To top it all off we were each given a cup of cold sweet rice tea for dessert.

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There was so much food so, of course, we took home some leftovers. Most of the banchan were gone (the kimchee was the first to go, it was so good) but we had enough leftover pork belly, a few pickled vegetables, sweet black beans, and marinated hot peppers to make a bento for lunch today.

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I have fallen in love with Korean BBQ! I can’t wait to get the chance to go back to Rice. In the meantime I’m going to try to expand my culinary skills to include some of the wonderful Korean foods we’ve been lucky enough to try.

What is your favorite Korean dish?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Simple baked chicken and brown rice (Bento #269)

6_15_12

The weather here has been dull, grey, and rainy for two weeks straight. Combine that with Hubs being out of school for the summer and my bento making has nose-dived, lol. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break but I miss bentos. Since I knew that I didn’t need one for lunch today, Hubs and I are going out to lunch together, I made this one for dinner.

It’s about as simple as it gets: baked chicken, carrots, brown rice, yellow tomatoes, raspberries, lychees, and a mini Babybell cheese.

I’ve been quite busy the last few days getting paperwork together for my qualifying exam on Monday. Yay! It’s nothing hard and there aren’t any tests but my PhD committee has to sit down and go over all of my coursework and my Master’s thesis to make sure I’ve done everything. My worst fear is having to take another class, lol. I haven’t taken a class in four years... I’m not sure I remember how! :)

Have a great weekend and Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Spaghetti love (Bento #267)

6_5_12

Oh, forget the spaghetti, do you see what else is in there??? Lychees!! Yay! Lychee season has finally hit Florida! I’m only a little excited. Tee-hee-hee. There are actually 2 lychees but the second one is underneath. Not only do we have lychee but I also found some gorgeous cherries and blueberries. I love this time of year.

After all this fruit, everything else seems boring in comparison, lol. The salad has cucumber, tomato, black olives, and palm hearts and the ham is rolled with raw spinach leaves and pickle spears.

Happy Bento-ing!

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May Foodie Penpals and a quinoa pasta bento (Bento #266)

It’s time to finally get to reveal the amazing Foodie Penpals package I received this month! This is my second month participating in FPP and I’m loving it. Each month you get paired up with wonderful foodies and exchange foodie gift boxes. What could be better? If you want to participate next month, you need to sign up by June 4th.

This month I was unbelievably lucky to be sent a box from Sylvia from Frolic Through Life. She said that she loves quinoa and wanted to do a quinoa themed box. Oh my heaven! She didn’t just send me quinoa. She sent me four fantastic foods made with quinoa! I had no idea these items even existed.

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I mean, wow! Where do I start? Hubs and I immediately ripped into the quinoa clusters. They’re fabulous! The chocolate didn’t last long either, lol! The thin cakes tasted a lot like plain rice cakes. I ate them with the nut butters as afternoon snacks. Everything in this box was good. I was spoiled!

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I’m definitely going to be getting more of these great quinoa products. This is why I love FPP!

I was so excited to try the pasta that I made it the same night my package came. Patience? What patience? I don’t even know what that word means. ;) While the quinoa pasta was cooking I sauteed onions, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, and snow peas. Once it was all finished, I tossed it all together with fresh cracked pepper.

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The pasta has the texture of the whole wheat pastas I’ve tried and it was good! I dearly love vegee pasta and this hit the spot. For lunch the next day I packed it with a grilled pork chop, Korean melon slices, cheese, and a kiwi and blueberry fruit salad. Looking at this picture makes me wish I still had some.

If you’re interested, hop on over to Carrie at Family Fitness Food to see what I sent her.

Happy Bento-ing!

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What's in your stash? (Bento #265)

5_29_12


So, what’s in your freezer stash? A good freezer stash is essential for a bento on the go. Whenever I have extra rice, meatballs, patties, etc. I always freeze them in bento sized portions for a day like today. I pulled two Morning Star Farms vegee patties, rice, and soy beans out of the freezer and quickly defrosted them in the microwave. In seconds, half my bento was finished!

I also cut up some strawberries, leftover steamed multi-colored carrots, leftover steamed green beans, and made a cucumber, tomato, and palm heart salad. This bento actually ended up having a bit too much food in it, I couldn’t finish it all!

What do you keep in your freezer stash?

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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DIY taco bento and giveaway winners (Bento #261)

5_15_12


To do tacos or burritos in a bento, they almost have to be DIY. I’ve tried making them ahead of time, but by the time lunch hits, the tortilla is soggy and just falls apart. Yuck! Plus, I think it’s fun to have to assemble them at lunch. Yeah, I know, I’m a dork. :)

These tacos come with seasoned taco beef, refried beans, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and some homemade avocado salsa. I love making this salsa! It’s so simple and wonderfully delicious. I’m going to try my hand at posting an actual recipe for it at the bottom. Cross your fingers for me!

Anyway, enough of the taco talk already! We have giveaway winners to announce! In total, there were 244 entries in the Happy Birthday giveaway! Wow! I’m so impressed! I had so much fun reading all of your comments. Thank you all for entering.

The winners were randomly chosen by Punchtab (the program that organized the giveaway). And they are........ drumroll please.......

Lori and Evelyn!

Yay!!! ^_^ You’re packages will be heading out soon!

I had a few people email and ask if they could purchase the giveaway as a bundle if they didn’t win. Unfortunately I’m super low on some of the inventory, but I did post the bundles in the bento store if you’d like to pick one up. I also added a couple of Open Box items to the clearance section.

Printable Avocado Salsa Recipe
Printable Avocado Salsa Recipe w/o picture

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Happy Bento-ing!

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Ginger beef with brussels sprouts (Bento #260)



Who doesn’t love ginger? Freshly cut ginger always smells so fresh, crisp, and clean. I’m half tempted to rub it behind my ears. ^_^ But, for as wonderful as it smells, it can get a bit overpowering when you use too much. This ginger beef had just the right amount of ginger flavor but without too much of the ‘heat’ that fresh ginger gives. The trick is cutting the ginger in large chunks and cooking it in the pan with everything else. Then, just before serving, pull the ginger pieces out of the pan. If it isn’t quite enough flavor, do what I did, and put those cooked juicy ginger chunks through a garlic press to extract the juice. It’s like liquid gold.

Hubs is still on his “I don’t like rice” kick. *sigh* So I paired the ginger beef with wild mushroom couscous. But please, don’t let anybody know it came from a box. Haha! For lunch, I added blueberries, a plum tomato, and marinated mozzarella.

I’m so impressed with how well the Happy Birthday giveaway is going! If you haven’t entered yet, you still have 5 more days to do so! Here is the giveaway link. I’m raffling off 2 bento starter kits! Oooh it’s so exciting!

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend. Do you have any special plans?

Happy Bento-ing!

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Sweet and spicy shrimp (Bento #259)



I made this bento for Hubs last week and he said it was his favorite bento of the year! Awwww! Don’t tell him, but, it was also one of the easiest. I’ll keep it my little secret though. It has spinach and ham rolls with parmesan flakes, pickles, sweet potatoes, cucumber and tomato salad, a mini-Babybel cheese, and sweet and spicy shrimp.

The shrimp were unbelievably easy to make. I keep a stash of cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp in the freezer for a quick snack or appetizer. Usually I just serve them with cocktail sauce but I didn’t think that would translate too well to a bento. I needed a sauce that would coat the shrimp and not leak all over the place... honey. I mixed some tupelo honey with Sriracha and a dash of salt and tossed it with the warm shrimp. The taste was surprisingly complex for such a simple sauce and the heat didn’t hit until the very end. I’m definitely going to be making this again!

Don’t forget to enter the Happy Birthday giveaway!

Happy Bento-ing!

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Breakfast for lunch? Please and thank you! (Bento #258)



Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? What about breakfast for lunch? Sounds good to me! I didn’t plan on making breakfast for dinner last night until I saw that Whole Foods’ cheesy bacon maple sage breakfast sausages were on sale. Whoever decided to put bacon in a sausage needs the Nobel Prize.

To go along with the delicious, fatty, heart clogging sausages, I made carb-cakes. I mean pancakes. :) Hubs can’t have breakfast without them. All of this bad-for-you food guilt caught up with me and I opted for a nice and healthy frittata full of mushrooms, onions, and spinach... with just a little cheese on top.

All of these “stick to your ribs” foods desperately needed the aid of fresh fruits and vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes, and grapes). I also added some ham wrapped pickles for a little acidity.

Pay no attention to the slice of sour cream pound cake in the corner. I assure you, it’s just a figment of your imagination.....

Happy Bento-ing!

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Snack bento for the Hubs (Bento #256)



Happy Monday! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. I had one myself because I was lucky enough to attend TECHMunch in Tampa on Saturday. I’ll talk more about it later, but I had a great time and got to meet some amazing people.

Poor old Hubs was going to end up with just a ham sandwich for lunch today. As I was staring at the sandwich and bag of chips my guilt kicked in. Next thing you know I’m over at the stove cooking up a tamagoyaki with cheddar cheese in one pan and zucchini in another. He still got the ham sandwich, but he also got this snack bento instead of a bag of potato chips.

In the bento: tamagoyaki with cheddar cheese, zucchini, blueberries, campari tomato slices, a mini-Babybel cheese, carrots and celery.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Chicken and lotus root stir-fry (Bento #254)



Hubs and I were overdue for some good fried rice and stir-fry. Mmmmm comfort food! The stir-fry has chicken, lotus root, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini and the fried rice has onion, carrots, peas, corn, and scrambled egg.

Speaking of scrambled egg, I made another tamagoyaki. This one was a bit more difficult because I added a layer of ham and it made it a little tough to get the roll going. But, it turned out pretty and delicious in the end. I filled up the rest of the Lunchbots Eco with caprese salad, a Mini Babybel cheese, and orange wedges.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Feels like summer (Bento #253)



Yesterday was a wonderful day to cook out on the grill. It was so bright and sunny that I couldn’t bear being stuck in the kitchen for too long. So, Hubs and I trekked out the back door and grilled some pork chops and corn on the cob for dinner. I did manage to stay in the kitchen long enough to make a caprese salad and green onion tamagoyaki.

This is probably the best tamagoyaki I’ve ever made. Izumi from Soul Soup Soap posted a video on how to make tamagoyaki. And... it works!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Octo-dogs to the rescue! (Beno #251)



I had the craziest craving for octo-dogs yesterday... and I don’t even like hotdogs! I don’t know what it is but as soon as you turn a hotdog into an octopus it suddenly tastes better. Along with the octo-dogs I made some quick spicy cucumber pickles, a hard boiled egg, steamed asparagus, tomatoes, orange slices, and rice with furikake and a pickled plum. Yum!

In other news, I opened up an Etsy shop! I only have a few things up so far. There’s a link in the sidebar to the right or you can click here to check it out. So far I have a couple of quilted bento bags that look more like purses than lunch bags, lol. But, I’m working on some more traditional bento bags that will be a lot less labor intensive, and thus a lot cheaper :)

Anyway, if any of you have an etsy shop or profile let me know because I would love to friend, like, circle, love (or whatever the proper Etsy term for it is) you!

Happy Bento-ing!
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It's about time! (Bento #250)



Wow, one week without bentos feels like an eternity! I spent all of last week volunteering at a conference on campus and didn’t have the time, or the need for that matter, to make myself lunch. It’s nice to be back to bento.

After reading Makiko Itoh’s posts on sakura, I’ve been wanting some preserved flowers and leaves. OK, want isn’t the proper word. I think obsessed is more appropriate. I’m going to make a pilgrimage out to our local Japanese market to see if they have any. If not, the online hunt continues. If any of you know where to order some preserved sakura blossoms and leaves please let me know.

In the meantime I had to satisfy my sakura fancy with a cookie cutter. For today’s bento I have sakura shaped honey glazed sweet potato, flower shape ham and swiss sammies, a hard boiled egg, cucumber, asparagus, and a strawberry and pineapple fruit salad.

Added to What’s For Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Gotta love bangers and mash (Bento #249)



Whole Foods had bangers on sale yesterday and I couldn’t resist an excuse to eat more Branston Pickle (the dark goopy stuff on the mash). I would probably eat nothing but pickles if I thought I could get away with it, lol. As delicious as bangers and mash are, they don’t lend too much in the way of color. In an attempt to make those 50 shades of brown look more appetizing I sauteed a pan of kale, onions, and garlic just until wilted and still a bit crunchy and added a tomato salad, carrots, cucumber, and strawberries.

Have you guys heard about the TechMunch conferences? Apparently there is one in Tampa this year and I was thinking of buying a ticket. If you’ve been to one, let me know what it was like. And, if you’re going to this one I would love to meet up!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Baked coconut chicken and couscous bento (Bento #248)



I really don’t like frying things. Not just for health reasons but I hate the way it makes the house smell. So, when I got a craving for coconut chicken I was curious whether I could get it crispy enough in the oven. Well, it worked! To get it super crispy I cut the chicken into 1/2 inch strips, dredged it in flour, eggs, and a 1/2 panko bread crumbs and 1/2 coconut flakes mixture. Then I baked them at 475F flipping them halfway through. The high heat made them crispy and brown on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. Yum!

The rest of dinner consisted of couscous, steamed broccoli, and toasted chick peas. We ended up eating all of the chick peas but I had enough of the rest to pack for lunch. I rounded out the rest of the bento with kiwi and tomatoes.

Last weekend Hubs and I went to the Morikami Japanese Museum and Gardens for their annual Spring Festival. The gardens are truly beautiful. We enjoyed walking along the paths and experiencing all of the different views.



My photographs don’t do it nearly the justice it deserves. The museum was wonderful as well. We spent quite some time looking at all of the art on display.



Our favorite part of the festival activities were the Ronin Taiko drummers. They were phenomenal. That was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to experience drummers in person. It was amazing! I wish I could go back and see them again.



To be honest, I expected more Japan oriented vendors and food choices. The Japanese food options were pretty standard fare and easily available anywhere (yakitori, teriyaki chicken, miso soup, etc.). I was really hoping to see some hard to find foods like okonomiyaki, taiyaki, mochi, takoyaki, dango, etc. but there wasn’t any. It seemed that most of the vendors weren’t Japanese related unless they were selling bonsai. I did find some beautiful washi paper though! I was also a little surprised to not see a Japanese snacks or bento box vendor. Maybe I should apply for a spot next year!

All in all, it was a beautiful day. We really enjoyed our time there and hope to go back next year.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

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!
Comments

Rice indulgences bento (Bento #246)



Hubs and I have been trying to cut back on our carb intake lately, but I couldn’t take it anymore! I needed a big bowl of rice! I’m sure my lack of resolve had nothing to do with the awesome new furikake that I found. I got so lucky this weekend when I found a Japanese specialty market! It’s everything I thought it could be, lol! If you’re ever in Tampa check out this shop. It’s called Kotobuki and the woman who runs it is fantastic.

To go along with my new furikake I packed scrambled egg, a giant strawberry, and some leftover beef and broccoli that we had for dinner.

This weekend Hubs and I are heading to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for their Hatsume fair. I can’t wait! I hope they have lots of foods to try! :)

Have a great week!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Happy Friday bento! (Bento #245)



This is a super quick bento that I put together for Hubs. It has whole wheat shell pasta with tomato sauce, a cucumber, jicama, and tomato salad, grapefruit, an egg, and a few slices of purple sweet potato.

This has a to be a super short post, so have a great weekend!!!

Happy Bento-ing!
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5 Minute refrigerator bento (Bento #242)



This last week has been hectic and crazy. I’m leaving for the Biophysical Society Conference in San Diego on Friday so I’ve been running around trying to get everything ready. I don’t even want to remember the number of loads of laundry I’ve done, lol! Plus, Hubs doesn’t know how to feed himself. ^_^ So I’m trying to plan for easy things for him to make.

I needed to make myself a quick lunch today so I pulled all of the easy and pre-cooked things out of the refrigerator and tossed them in a bento. It has some spicy cucumber and carrot pickles, carrots, strawberries, leftover roasted brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and leftover lemongrass chicken and brown rice.

I just joined Pinterest (as Ohayobento, yeah I know, real creative ^_^) So if you’re on or know of anybody fun to follow let me know! :)

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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Quinoa guacamole and salmon (Bento #240)



It was supposed to be a gorgeous quinoa salad with chunks of fresh firm avocado, tomatillos, tomatoes, lime, and papaya. But, my avocado was a lot riper than I thought, so instead it’s a quinoa guacamole! :) I pretended to Hubs that I did it on purpose, tee hee hee.

Along with the quinoa we had pan seared mojo salmon and mushroom couscous. I filled out the leftovers with the usual fixings of fruit and fresh vegees.

Stinker was very happy we had salmon last night, lol. I told you, spoiled kitten!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Mmmm mochiko chicken! (Bento #239)



Sheri over at Happy Little Bento had a gorgeous and delicious looking baked mochiko chicken bento the other day. It looked so good that I just had to try her recipe. Mine didn’t turn out quite as pretty but it tasted darn delicious! Along with the chicken I have rice cooked with some vegees, half of an egg, zucchini slices, a Babybel cheese, and grapefruit segments.



For the last couple of weeks my unbelievably amazing mom has been making Stinker a new cat tree (Can we say spoiled kitten??). Stinker thoroughly enjoys the new tree and I got lucky enough to snap this wonderful shot of her looking all pretty for the camera. :) This tree rocks! I need to get a picture of the whole thing but it has platforms, a hiding box, and a braided hanging rope. I wish I was small enough to play on it, lol!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Afternoon snack (Bento #238)



I made a ham sandwich for lunch today but I knew that I would need a little something in the afternoon. This little snack bento should be perfect to get me through until dinner. The vegee side has olives (under the cucumber), broccoli, cucumber, zucchini, and a radish while the fruit side has strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and papaya.

I’m having one of those days where you just want to skip out of work and go do something fun... Who’s coming with me?!?!?!? Remember Senior Skip Day in high school? I’m thinking we need a grad student skip day! ^_^ But, until then... it’s time for me to get back to work.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Meatless Monday (Bento #237)



I couldn’t stop craving the miso sauce I made for that vegee pasta last week. I wanted to do something a little different with it though, so I used it to coat some pan seared tofu. Hubs has decided that he doesn’t care for the texture of tofu. :( Oh well, I tried.

Along with the tofu we had fried rice and pan seared okra. For lunch I packed the leftovers with some carrots, cheese, cucumbers, a tomato, and a fruit cup. Simple and tasty!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Miso vegee pasta (Bento #236)



I’ve been trying to stay away from pasta lately but I was in dire need of some comfort food. We lost a dear family pet this week. My bird Pretty Bird passed away after being my friend for 24 years. The last few days have been hard, to say the least.

I’ve made vegee pasta a few times but this is the first time that I added a miso sauce to it. My vegee pasta will never be the same. Right before serving I tossed it with a sauce made from miso paste, mirin, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and a touch of sesame oil. Oh my deliciousness!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Finger food madness (Bento #235)



Hubs and I haven’t decided if this bento is going to be his or mine... a serious game of rock/paper/scissors may be in order. :) It’s a pretty simple bento full of easy to eat finger foods. It has an egg, black olives, cheese, roasted brussels sprouts, ham/provolone rolls, a radish, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, a strawberry, blueberries, and cherries. Phew, that was a lot!

I was so excited this weekend because I made my first successful batch of macarons! I really want to make some to give away to friends at work for Valentine’s Day. I want to have a couple different flavors but not anything too hard to make. Here are my ideas so far... lavender cookies with chocolate ganache filling, strawberry cookies with chocolate, strawberry cookies with cheesecake, almond cookie with cheesecake, pistachio cookies with chocolate, and hazelnut cookies with Nutella.

Any suggestions??

Also, for those who are interested, I just added a ton of new stuff to the store! Mostly bento bags but a couple of new silicon cups. :)

Happy Bento-ing!
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Must love spinach (Bento #234)



Mmmmmm spinach! I think spinach is probably one of the most polarizing vegetables. You either love it or hate it. Me? Oh, I love it! We had a big batch of spinach last night that was cooked with a ton of caramelized onions and garlic. I just hope it isn’t so much garlic that everything else in the box will end up tasting like it, lol!

The rest of the bento has a tiny pumpernickel, turkey, and cheese sandwich, tomatoes, blueberries, cherries, celery and some ham, cheese, and celery rolls.

My New Year’s resolution this year was to learn how to (and then get good at) making macarons! Why? Because they’re awesome, hard to find here, and expensive when you do find them. I’ve decided that I want to make a few flavors for Valentine’s Day so I need a few practice batches... oh darn. I’m all excited because I’m going to try my first batch in the next couple of days. If you’ve made them and have any tips I would love to hear them!! Wish me luck!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Colorful breakfast (Bento #232)



I made a tuna sandwich for lunch today so I decided to make a bento to take to work for breakfast. It’s pretty and colorful but very simple. I cooked some spinach with soy sauce and sesame seeds, steamed some asparagus, and boiled an egg. Other than that, everything else (mango slices, strawberry, cherries, and blueberries) came straight out of the fridge. Easy peasy!

Hubs and I spent our weekend bottling our first batch of home-brewed beer! We brewed it and let it ferment for 10 days before bottling. Technically it’s beer right now, but we have to wait a few weeks for the yeast to create the carbonation for us. Even without the carbonation it was pretty tasty! I was really impressed, it was a lot better than I thought it would be, lol! Have you guys ever made your own beer?

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Turkey/tofu patties (Bento #231)



Hubs has decided that he wants to start eating more tofu! I’m so excited! I love tofu, but he hasn’t really been into it in the past, so I thought a gradual transition would be a good idea. For the first tofu introduction I made these tofu/turkey patties (basic instructions below) and pan fried them. Luckily... he loved them!

Along with the patties we had vegee pasta with spinach, mushrooms, carrots, onions, peas, corn, green beans, and garlic. I know we should watch our carb intake, but man, that pasta was good.

For lunch I paired our dinner leftovers with some cucumber and yellow squash slices, a Babybel, tomatoes, cherries, and strawberries.

For the tofu/turkey patties: scramble 1 block of drained firm tofu with a fork so it is all crumbles and mix with ground turkey, finely chopped onion and mushrooms, a little soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, and whatever other savory seasonings you like. Then patty them, dredge in panko, and pan fry. Easy peasy and delicious! A little hot sauce on top makes them perfect!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Happy New Year! (Bento #230)



Happy New Year!! I hope that 2012 turns out to be a fantastic year for all of you. Hubs and I had a great break. We spent most of our free time just hanging out at the house and it was wonderful. I’m not all that excited about going back to work but all good things must come to an end.

To cheer up my first day back I packed myself this bento and it has rice with a pickled plum, sauteed mushrooms with a little teriyaki sauce, a Babybel cheese, ham slices, 2 gorgeous strawberries, nectarine slices, and some greens seasoned with soy sauce and sesame seeds.

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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Chicken stir-fry bento and some Holiday crafts (Bento #228)



Yesterday was a pretty good day. I got a lot accomplished and, surprisingly, most all of it turned out pretty good! I spent the day finishing some little treats to give away at work and cleaning the house. I even managed to make a tasty chicken stir-fry dinner too!

Today’s bento has leftover stir-fry, a tomato and parmesan salad, blueberries, sugar snaps, carrots, a Babybel cheese, and one giant grape. It had to be a quick and easy lunch because my main focus was making sure the treats were done.



I must have made a thousand chocolate covered pretzels! ^_^ Just kidding! But it was a lot. Each little treat has 6 pretzels and a little paper ornament that I made. I hope everybody likes them!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Quick and healthy snack bento (Bento #227)



I decided to make myself a simple and healthy snack bento for tomorrow since my schedule is a little “up in the air”. I packed it in the Lunchbots Pico so I can easily take it on the run. The left side has ham sammy rolls and edamame while the right side has a ton of persimmon slices, half of an egg, and some giant grapes.

Lately, every time I get a spare 30 minutes I’ve been working on some giveaway crafts for the holidays. I got really inspired by all of the gorgeous washi tape at Omiyage. (I got some washi tape and stationary from them. I can’t wait to place another order!!) I’m making some paper ornaments and tags using pretty scrapbooking papers and washi tape. I have to admit, I think washi tape is going to be my newest obsession, lol!

Be forewarned, if I have your address you may get a random letter from me! I can’t wait to use this beautiful stationary :)

The crafting bug has bit me pretty bad this season. Oooh maybe I’ll use this bento as a mid-crafting snack!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Flower sammies (Bento #226)



I can’t believe it’s December already! I know everybody says that, but since I spent most of the month of November laying on the couch sick, I am really behind. It’s actually a little comical that I’m still sick, it just won’t go away, lol. I should say that I can’t wait to get caught up at work, but really, I can’t wait to get caught up with blog reading, responding to emails, and talking to all of my twitter friends, lol!

I made this bento for Hubs to take to work tomorrow. It has flower shaped sammies, a Babybel, peppers, carrot sticks, blackberries, brussels sprouts, and raw zucchini slices. I’m also going to send him a little container of ranch dressing to dip the vegees in.

I can’t wait to start checking out everyone’s holiday bentos!

Added to What’s For Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Rainy day blues (Bento #225)



It rained all day long yesterday and the sun refused to poke his head out of the clouds so I could get some good lighting, lol. Not only was it a gloomy day but I’m sick again. It feels like I’ve been sick this entire month. This one is the worst so far and it refuses to go away. I’ve been battling fevers, coughs, tonsils the size of golf balls, and massive headaches for 4 days now. I’m ready for it to go away, lol.

I managed to get myself to the grocery store yesterday for some essentials and picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner because I’m getting a little tired of chicken noodle soup. All I had to do last night was cook the brussels sprouts and cheesy potatoes. Then making a bento for hubs was super easy. I owed him a good bento for taking such good care of me while I’m pathetic :)

I’m going to drag myself upstairs and go back to bed.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Wrapped casserole and a salad (Bento #223)



I’m not sure I’ve fully expressed how awesome the printed wax papers Izumi sent me are! I used 2 strips to wrap up a not-so-pretty bit of casserole. Now I can just pull it out, put it on a plate, and throw it in the microwave without fear of messing up my salad. Brilliant!

Since the casserole didn’t really match the curvature of the box I threw in a Babybel cheese to hold it in place. The rest of the bento is pretty self-explanatory but I will say that I brought along a banana and a little bit of dressing.

I’m now on a mission to find pretty printed wax paper locally. Wish me luck! If you know of any place to get some please tell me :)

Happy Bento-ing!
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Sometimes, you just need some stripes (Bento #221)



Before I started making this bento I knew I wanted stripes and strips all over the place. Sometimes you just need some stripes! I have striped zucchini slices, a striped Babybel cheese, strips of carrot, strips of pork chops, and the pasta is penne so I’m counting that as stripes too.

This has to be a short post because I need to get back to work. I hope everyone is having a great week!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Slow cooking comfort food (Bento #220)



I love Sundays. During the week my dinners have to be fast and simple and I never have time to make something like kale. Today I was able to simmer this kale with a little browned bacon for a few hours before dinner. It doesn’t make the house smell the greatest (lol) but it’s totally worth it.

While I sent Hubs out back to grill the pork chops I made some mashed potatoes and we ate them topped with some Branston pickle. For lunch I packed up our dinner leftovers and added the most adorable little pear, zucchini slices, a Babybel cheese, carrot sticks and a few pieces of fresh fruit.

This is looking to be quite a busy week for me, but it will end will end great. Next weekend is our yearly family reunion and I always look forward to going. It’s full of family history, crafts, food, food, and more food! It will be a fun end to a hectic week.

Have a great week!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Warm autumn colors (Bento #219)



The cool weather is starting to crop up more and more often these days. We are still getting hot and humid afternoons but the nights and mornings are delightfully cool. Here in mid-south Florida we don’t see many fall colors. Palm trees don’t tend to turn orange and red, lol. So I’m getting my Fall colors bento style.

The majority of this bento is delicious fried rice. Hubs says my fried rice is one of his favorite things to eat. I think he must be buttering me up for something. Hmmm. I wonder what he wants? :)

Along with the fried rice is a cup of soboro, persimmon and kiwi wedges, a few celery sticks, and a cauliflower.

Have a great Friday!

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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Truly simple grilled chicken bento (Bento #217)



Can you tell I need to do some grocery shopping? My bento stash is running so dry that I resorted to adding a mini Hershey bar to fill up space in this bento! I am usually against adding dessert or candy because I eat too much of it as it is. ^_^ But, since this bento is for Hubs it’ll be fine. Tee-hee-hee.

The top half contains some unbelievable juicy grilled chicken, wild mushroom couscous, and sauteed carrots. The bottom half has a radish, Babybel cheese, a campari tomato, edamame, green olives, and of course the Hershey bar.

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! We spend ours at my parents’ house passing out candy and glow bracelets. This year we passed out a ton of glow bracelets! They are always a big hit with the kids. We saw some fantastic costumes, ate way too much food, and had a great time hanging out with all of the friends and family that came.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Finally made a Halloween bento! (Bento #216)



I finally made a Halloween bento! I wanted to be a lot more ambitious but I just ran out of time. I spent most of the day making mummy pops to give away at work. Isn’t he cute? I cut most of the stick off of this one so that it would fit in the bento. They are all over the internet so I’m not going to attempt a link to the original, lol. It’s just a double stuffed Oreo on a stick dipped in candy melts. The eyes are M&M’s.

Along with the mummy pop I made a really mean cheese with enormous teeth, a sweet potato Jack, meatballs with bones sticking out, carrots, checkerboard zucchini, a radish flower, and a tomato.

Last year’s Halloween bento is below. I like it a lot better. Anything with a black cat has to be awesome, right?



I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Simple vegee pasta bento (Bento #215)



My vegetable stash is a bunch of odds and ends right now. There wasn’t quite enough of any one thing so I threw it all together and made a simple vegetable pasta. I sauteed carrots and onions in a little butter and seasoned it with Vegeta. Once the carrots were mostly cooked I threw in the zucchini for a minute or two, then threw in the pasta. At the last minute I tossed it with some baby spinach leaves and enoki mushrooms. Once again, it seems that the simplest things are the most delicious.

For lunch, I packed Hubs the pasta with a chopped up tomato (his request), apple chunks, grilled sausage, edamame, raw zucchini slices, and a few enoki stems.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Chicken and the egg (Bento #214)



Yup, I have baked chicken strips and a hard boiled egg in this bento. The important question is... which came first? :)

I’ve decided that I need to get better at making sure everything looks right in my photos before the sun goes down. See the tabouleh in the middle with the lime wedge? See how it’s pushed away from the container on the top side? *sigh* I swear it didn’t look like that in person. As soon as the camera gets involved I seem to become a little disconnected from what I’m seeing. I think a tripod will help because most of my focus seems to be on keeping my hands as still as possible. Any other tips you guys care to share???

Photography issues aside, this is a pretty tasty bento. I have baked panko crusted chicken strips, an egg, tabouleh, yu choy greens, and some beautiful dragon fruit. I left the peel on because I couldn’t resist the color!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Spinach wrap burritos (Bento #213)



Look! It’s my first white dragon fruit! I was going to pass them up in the market until I realized that they were the white fleshed variety. They do taste a little different from the pink ones I’ve had in the past. They’re a little less sweet with a slight hint of lemon but still a very mild flavor.

I made a giant batch of taco meat and fixings for our friends this weekend and had plenty of leftovers for lunch. This time, instead of a regular tortilla I used Flatout’s spinach wrap. I spread the whole thing with a thin layer of refried beans then sprinkled on taco meat, sour cream, shredded cheese, and shredded lettuce.

Along with the burrito and dragon fruit I packed Hubs some enoki mushrooms, tomato wedges, zucchini spears, carrots, and a Babybel cheese.

Don’t forget to check out the Super Bento Box Sale! Every single bento box, including the Lunchbots stainless steel boxes, are 10% off.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Easy ravioli (Bento #212)



Yeah, I was lazy. I made frozen cheese ravioli with spaghetti sauce for dinner last night. I didn’t even make a side, lol! Honestly, it made for a pretty boring dinner, but after jazzing it up a bit with fruits and veg it became an exciting lunch.

In the bento: cheese ravioli with spaghetti meat sauce, orange slices, cucumber slices, green olives, mushrooms, carrot sticks, 1/4 of a hard boiled egg, and another pretty radish.

Today is going to be a busy day. I’m training 3 new people on the AFM (atomic force microscope) that I work with. I hope I have time for lunch! :) This week is just flying by, I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! There are so many things that I want to accomplish... better get to work!

Happy Bento-ing!
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First radish flower (Bento #211)



Sheri at Happy Little Bento had a bento the other day with the prettiest little radish flower. I’ve been meaning to make one for the longest time but never seemed to remember to buy radishes, lol! Then when I did buy radishes I would forget to make them into flowers. Sometimes my brain just doesn’t want to work. I promise that when you look at it straight on it looks prettier, lol!

Along with the radish I have a mini-Babybel cheese with a funny star cut out of the wax, steamed cabbage seasoned with a little chicken bouillon, half of an egg, cucumber slices, grilled chicken, and a little bit of mushroom couscous.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Papa Johns Pizza bento (Bento #210)



Hubs and I got a free pizza from Papa Johns for their million pizza giveaway! Free pizza is always a good thing! This morning, I almost threw the last two slices in a plastic bag and walked out the door. But, I couldn’t help myself so I made them into a bento instead.

I used a circle cookie cutter to cut out the pizza and added, cucumber slices, half of an egg, half of a tomato, a green olive, pomegranate seeds, plum slices, and edamame. I already had hard boiled eggs in the fridge so it really wasn’t time consuming to make this bento. Taking the photo took more time than actually putting it together, lol!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Taco soup and the poor crow (Bento #209)



What’s my favorite thing to cook when I don’t really feel like cooking? Taco soup! This one is a bit different though because I used kielbasa instead of ground meat. The reason I love it is that is so easy to make and always seems to hit the spot. This time I sauteed the sausage and onions, added a little water and a taco seasoning packet, two cans of diced tomatoes, a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, and a can of garbanzo beans. Then just let it simmer until the flavors come together.

For bento packing I put down a layer of rice and spooned the bits from the soup on top with just enough of the liquid to flavor the rice underneath. See that giant tub of spicy hummus with sesame seeds? Well, it was supposed to go with the little container of pita chips that I left on the kitchen counter this morning, lol. I ended up eating it with the cucumbers and tomato though, so it didn’t go to waste.

I decorated my desk at school for Halloween and decided that I was in need of a crow to sit above my cubicle and watch the rest of the room. Before I could take it to work Stinker kitty went inside a big paper bag, pulled out the plastic bag with the crow, got the crow out of the bag, and proceeded to kill it for me. I’m sure she thought she was doing me a favor so how could I be angry? Plus, I think he even looks a little more Halloween appropriate now. :)

Happy Bento-ing!
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Spicy baked chicken strips (Bento #208)



This was my first attempt at these chicken strips and I’m definitely going to cook them again. I used breast meat, which has a low fat content, because I coated them in a Sriracha/mayo mixture then dredged in panko. The fat in the mayo heats up and soaks into the first panko layer which lets them get really brown and tasty. I was impressed by how crispy they were on the outside because the inside wasn’t dry in the slightest. Plus, anything with Sriracha is goooooood!

We ate them with roasted carrots and sauteed polenta slices. For lunch I added the last of my dragon fruit, cucumber, tomato wedges, grapes, and nectarine slices.

It rained for the entire weekend so Hubs and I stayed home and had two full lazy days. It was almost like taking a vacation without leaving the house. I think it was just the break we needed because I’m starting this week with loads of motivation... until I think about all of the chores I didn’t do, lol!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Just plain good (Bento #206)



Spending most of the weekend away from the house made me behind on my chores. Yuck! So instead of cooking a big meal I picked up a rotisserie chicken and made some vegee filled fried rice to go with it. For lunch I wanted to add a little extra veg so I defrosted some frozen edamame and threw them in along with dragon fruit and pomegranate seeds.

I was afraid that the pomegranate wasn’t ripe, but it’s the sweetest one I’ve had in years! My mom picked up two of them for me this weekend and I’ve been eating them like crazy. I don’t think they’re going to last very long, lol!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Exploring Greece with spanakopita (Bento #205)



I wish I could say that I made this spanakopita (spinach pie) but I didn’t. Hubs and I spent most of the weekend at my parents’ house and the spanakopita is leftovers from last night’s dinner out. The salad is also leftovers and it has romaine lettuce, cucumbers, calamata olives, and huge slices of feta. My mom bought me some beets at the market and I couldn’t resist adding them to the salad.

I was lucky enough to find some more dragon fruit this weekend too! It reminds me so much of a mild kiwi that I thought it would be funny to have the two side-by-side. I know it’s a lot of fruit but I didn’t eat much fruit over the weekend and I have some pretty hearty vegetables waiting for me to cook them this week.

Since it’s officially October I decided to decorate my desk at school for Halloween. I only have a couple of little things so far. I am in dire need of some bats! Hopefully they inspire me to make some Halloween bentos!

Have a great Monday!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

A bit of a mess (Bento #204)



This bento looks a bit messy but it’s going to taste fantastic! The salad has some amazing parmesan and the broccoli and cauliflower were sauteed with sesame seeds and some nanami togarashi (a spicy Japanese chili pepper spice with orange peel and other flavors). To go with those amazing flavors we have grilled kielbasa and smashed sweet potato.

The bad part is that when I packed this up in Hubs’ bag I forgot the apple. Oops! I think I forgot the salad dressing too, lol!

I’m very forgetful and day-dreamy today. I think because I had such a productive day yesterday my brain took a vacation. :) Hopefully it comes back soon... and with a tan!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Exploring India (Bento #203)



I’ve cooked a ton of Chinese and Japanese inspired foods and I’m pretty familiar with most of the ingredients and techniques. I decided it was time to expand my culinary adventures and try out making some Indian dishes.

I blame it all on Natakiya from Bento Anarchy! She makes some of the most delicious looking curry. I was always intimidated and didn’t know where to even begin with curry but she kindly posted her instructions for us and I’ve managed to make some pretty decent curry, if I do say so myself. ;)

I’m still not to the point where I want to attempt making any Indian inspired sauces on my own. I like to get very familiar with the taste “as it should be” before I go changing things and attempting my own version. For dinner last night, and today’s bento, I made a dish using a jar of Calcutta Masala. Oooooohhhhh myyyyyyyy! It was delicious!

I sauteed chicken pieces, onions, and carrots until they were about 3/4 of the way done. Then I threw in zucchini, and roughly chopped cauliflower. I meant to add chickpeas but totally forgot them at the last minute (they’re still sitting on the counter, lol). I tossed everything around a bit then poured the jar of masala on top and let it all simmer until cooked but with the vegees still a little crunchy. We ate it with a side of cous-cous and it was wonderful.

I don’t know what my next India inspired adventure will be but I’m looking forward to it! What are your favorite Indian dishes? Any suggestions for must-try foods?

Happy Bento-ing!
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Protein, protein, and more protein (Bento #202)



This is a seriously protein packed bento. I didn’t mean for it to be, it just turned out that way. We had soboro for dinner so I packed it on a thin bed of rice with scrambled egg, apple slices, cucumber slices, some nuts for snacking, and a baby spinach salad with some amazing aged parmesan.

I made the soboro pretty basic but tasty by cooking the ground beef with tons of onion, garlic, and lotus root. The lotus root doesn’t add much of anything in the way of flavor but the texture is unbeatable. It was all cooked and seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, and a bunch of fresh ground pepper.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony for our new science building is tomorrow. There’s even going to be a tour and I think I might get to show off our lab. Speaking of which... I need to go clean the lab!

Before I go, I wanted to show off the new picks I put up in the store. I’ve never had the opportunity to have a good bento pick selection so I’m really excited about these. I hope you enjoy!



Have a great week!

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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Where did the time go?!?! (Bento #200)



I didn’t realize I was at 200 bentos! Wow, where does the time go? I started looking back through my old photos and... oh my. Some of them are really pretty, but others? Well, lets just hope that they get lost in cyberspace, lol!

Usually I take a picture of Hubs’ bento because it’s a little bigger and I have more room to play (I pack his in the Lunchbots Eco and usually take the Uno for myself). But last night I just couldn’t figure out how to pack it nicely without adding a lot of random things. Sometimes bigger is not better. So, I decided to take a picture of mine instead. I packed rice, a pickled plum, BBQ chicken, steamed snow peas, sweet potato medallions, kiwi, and grapes. I managed to control myself with the grapes this time! -_^

Happy Bento-ing!
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Spaghetti Napolitan (Bento #198)



Shirley from Lovely Lanvin posted a recipe for a Japanese pasta dish called Spaghetti Napolitan. It looked simple enough to make and the flavor combinations intrigued me enough to give it a try. I have to say it was pretty good. It’s definitely a nice break from regular spaghetti. Give Shirley’s recipe a try, you won’t be disappointed.

When I made Hubs’ bento he asked for extra ham on the top which is why you can’t see very many noodles. I promise they’re in there. The Napolitan turned out to be quite rich so I paired it with crisp cucumbers and carrots and some nice fresh mango and a cherry all packed in the Lunchbots Eco.

Happy Bento-ing!
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With a little help from Hubs (Bento #196)



I blame the randomness of this bento on Hubs! He came in the kitchen while I was making it for him... the extra block of cheese and olives? Yeah, they’re his fault, lol! Truth be told, I had some extra space in front of the pork chops and asked him what he would like to fill it with. Some of those grapes are his fault too. ;)

This bento wasn’t supposed to be so random. It started with just the mashed potatoes, pork chop, field peas, raspberries, and salami wrapped cheese. Then I went all wild and threw grapes into every hole I could find. Beware of the great grape temptation, it may get you one day! I’m still blaming the olives and cheese on Hubs though.

On top of the mashed potatoes is my absolute favorite new-to-me thing! Branston pickles. Oh wow, this stuff is amazing! It’s big chunks of pickled vegees in a thick balsamic vinegar sauce. I like them straight (bear in mind I’m one of those crazy people who likes to drink dill pickle juice) but they’re perhaps the best when paired with creamy mashed potatoes. Yum!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Curry love (Bento #195)



Happy Friday!

I decided to make some curry for dinner last night because I had the sauce and it was easy. What I didn’t realize was that I was craving it! As soon as the sauce started getting fragrant I was starving for it! Wow! I almost couldn’t wait for it to finish.

Hubs isn’t the biggest rice fan so I made some spaghetti noodles to eat it with. For lunch I packed the pasta, curry, cherries, sweet pepper slices, sugar snaps, and a fruit cup with plum and dragon fruit pieces.

Happy Bento-ing!
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With a little help from Mom (Bento #194)



Hubs and I went to my parents’ house for dinner last night because we have some of our favorite family members visiting from North Florida. We ate a huge Southern dinner of ham, fried corn bread, garden peas, green beans, homemade potato salad, sliced tomatoes, corn on the cob, and some of my Aunt Bonnie’s world famous sour cream pound cake for dessert. I think I’m still full!

My mom can never let me leave the house without taking a bag full of food and I probably wouldn’t have had a bento today if she hadn’t. Mom’s contributions are brown rice California roll sushi, cherries, and the orange sweet pepper. I added celery, sugar snaps, and that amazingly colored dragon fruit from my stash.

Today was the first day to smell like Fall this year. The temp was in the low 70’s this morning and felt fantastic. I can’t wait until the evenings are cool so I can leave the windows open. Plus, the open windows make the kitty happy :) She’ll sit in front of them all day barking at squirrels and lizards and just watching the world pass by.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Man food (Bento #193)



Hubs actually requested sausage and potatoes for dinner last night. I gave in to his “man food” cravings but made him eat a big salad first and a corn on the cob.

For lunch I packed us matching bentos but didn’t take photos mine. We both get a big box containing salad with green goddess dressing and a Lunchbots with sausage and potatoes, corn on the cob, an overripe nectarine, some celery sticks, and a tomato. I know we have tomatoes in the salad but I couldn’t find anything else to fill up that little space.

A little bit of store update: the insanely popular bright Color Life bento boxes are back in stock as of today! Yay! There are also a few brand new products that I’ll post up as soon as I get good photos of them. Once the new stuff is up I’ll change the sale item. Don’t forget, you can request an item to go on sale, just email or comment about it and I’ll put it on sale ASAP.

Things are finally settling down a bit in the new physics building. The lab is starting to run smoothly again and we even have our own desks outside of the lab! I’m going to spend the morning setting mine up. I’ve been really looking forward to having a quiet space, there are way too many distractions in the lab, to finish writing my dissertation proposal. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a lot of progress pretty quickly.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Ramen on the run (Bento #191)



Sometimes you just have to grab some lunch and run. I had a little time this morning but not enough to really cook anything and I used up all of the sandwich fixings making Hubs’ bento last night. I figured I could fill my belly with a little instant ramen, veg, and fruit so that’s what I did.

The box contains: beef ramen with green onion, a slice of fish cake, zucchini slices, grapes, mango, a raspberry, and a little tomato.

I once tried making ramen and transporting it in thermal jar. Once lunchtime came around the noodles had gobbled up all the soup and I was left with a carb loaded mush. So, to take ramen with me I cook the noodles and pour out most of the cooking water, leaving just enough to dissolve the packet. After swishing the noodles around for a bit and picking them out they’ve picked up just enough flavor.

Even though it is instant ramen, and a lot of carbs, it’s still better (and cheaper) than most of the fast food joints on campus. :)

Happy Bento-ing!
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Pastrami rolls (Bento #190)



I spent most of the day laying on the couch with a bit of a cold. Luckily, it’s already starting to get better. I didn’t have the energy to cook dinner so for Hubs’ bento I made some pastrami sammy roll-ups.

Along with the roll-ups I packed some salt and pepper cashews, carrots, raspberries, mango pieces, and grape tomatoes.

I’m going to run off to bed early. Have a great night!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Finger food Friday (Bento #188)



It’s the first Friday since school started so I wanted to make Hubs a really casual lunch. This one is packed full of finger foods for taking a quick bite, snacking, and leaving one hand free so that he can play some chess with the chess club.

I packed carrots, zucchini spears, and snow peas in the small Lunchbots Pico along with some spicy hummus for dipping. The other box has a fruit salad with pluot slices and honeydew next to 2 PB&J pocket sammies. I made the pocket sammies using the squisher tool here.

Wishing everyone in Hurricane Irene’s path a safe weekend!

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!
Comments

The cravings bento (Bento #185)



I actually stopped at the store on the way home from work yesterday because I was seriously craving some teriyaki-esque chicken and fruit. Mission accomplished! I made Hubs and I some teriyaki-esque chicken and broccoli over pasta for dinner. I’m calling it teriyaki-esque because my sauce didn’t quite turn out right, it tasted great though.

For lunch I packed the leftovers with slices of an amazing and crispy white flesh peach, golden cherry tomatoes, and sprouts.

Stinker the cat always comes out on the back porch with me while I take my bento photos. Usually she doesn’t leave the porch but all of a sudden she bolted off the porch and went chasing a lizard. She’s never actually caught a lizard before, so imagine my surprise when I look up to see her walking toward me with a giant lizard hanging out of her mouth! She had such a proud look on her face and I think she wanted to give it to me but I turned tail, ran in the house, and made Hubs take care of it.

Hubs made her let it go and surprisingly it ran away! I guess she just didn’t know what to do with him once she got him. My sweet little innocent baby girl has grown into a full-blown warrior hunter cat. Oh how time flies. ^_^

Happy Bento-ing!
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Almost didn't make it (Bento #184)



I almost didn’t finish this bento before the sun went down. The photo is a bit dark but all of my inside lighting has an ugly yellow tint to it. Yesterday was one of those days where I had to scrounge through the freezer for easy pre-cooked food. Between writing, or at least attempting to write, my dissertation proposal and moving the lab to the new building I was exhausted.

Luckily I found some cooked ham and a bag of corn in the freezer. Add a little rice and voila! Dinner! For lunch I tried to punch it up by adding a secret layer of heaven (miso paste) in the rice, pickled plum, some enoki mushrooms, cheddar cheese, and some super ripe cherries.

Time to get back to work...

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Welcome home bento (Bento #183)



I cannot believe the summer is almost over. I didn’t finish half of what I wanted, but I had a great time. Hubs and I just got back from a diving trip in the FL Keys. We went on 8 dives! It was truly an adventure and I wish I could do it again. We saw hundreds of fish, numerous coral reefs, tons of jellyfish, and even some remains of wrecked ships. Hubs even got to see a few sharks but I missed them. My favorite part was slowly gliding into a huge school of little fish. If you go slow enough, they actually don’t mind you being there and they swim all around you in a giant group. It’s such a surreal experience, it’s like visiting another planet.

For our last night in th
e Keys we decided to go see an old friend... Kitty! Kitty lives at a great B&B in Key West called the Casablanca. It’s actually on the same block as Hemingway’s house. We knew that Kitty, and her millions of extra toes, would be upset if we stayed anywhere else so we booked a room, picked up some salmon flavored treats, and headed South. After 4 days of diving, it was nice to have a relaxing final night.

I came home a little battered and bruised (thanks to a bunch of jellyfish stings and my fins tearing up my feet) so it’s taking me a little bit of time to get back into the swing of things. We took quite a few underwater pictures but I haven’t had the latest ones developed yet. I hope they turn out!

I couldn’t wait to make a bento so I threw this one together at the last bit of sunlight. I tossed some frozen vegees in the rice as it cooked and packed it with some purple cabbage slaw, soy beans, and cherries.

I hope you all had a wonderful summer! I can’t wait to catch up on everyones bentos!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Turkey taco soup (Bento #182)



You know what I love about taco soup? It tastes just as good cold as it does hot! I decided to take our turkey taco soup dinner to lunch by draining off most of the “soup” part and putting a ton of the goodies on a bed of rice. Yum!

I felt that the soup had enough red so I filled the rest of the bento with some kiwi and soy beans to bring in some fresh green. After filling in the little hole with cheese, my 5 minute bento was done! Quick, simple, healthy, and delicious. :)

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Spicy sausage fried rice (Bento #180)



Do you see it? That odd looking hairy thing on the right? It’s a rambutan! I’ve never had them before but they were at the market today and I couldn’t resist. I hope they’re tasty!

Paired with the rambutan I packed a nectarine and some edamame in the Lunchbots Pico. For the main part of the lunch I packed some spicy sausage fried rice with a little Sriracha on top for an extra kick in one of the long black 1-tier bentos. I find that my favorite bentos are the 1-tier ones with wide open spaces so I’m going to try to branch out and use some of my other boxes.

I’m so excited about trying rambutan for the first time. What’s the last “new to you” food that you tried?

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Chicken stir fry bento (Bento #179)



We made it home! Key West was fantastic. I haven’t had time to edit our photos, but I’m hoping to get to them soon. Hubs and I dove on 2 coral reefs 7 miles off Key West. It was amazing, I love being under the water swimming along with all of the reef fish. It’s such a surreal experience. I can’t wait to go back!

Now that we’re home I wanted some basic home cooking. I’m a little tired of fish and fried food so I made a simple chicken stir fry and rice. It was tasty, full of vegetables, and most importantly... not greasy. No matter where we ate it all felt a little greasy. Anyway, for lunch I paired it with cherries, a black plum, and some string cheese.

Starbucks has started selling bento boxes! They call them bistro boxes, but they’re really bentos. I haven’t tried one yet but they look OK. I keep telling Hubs that I’m going to graduate and open a bento restaurant. If Starbucks is getting in to it I better graduate soon, lol.

It’s good to be home, I can’t wait to get back in touch with all of you!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Bangers and mash (Bento #177)



Yesterday Hubs, LG, and I checked out a new frozen yogurt place and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they also had a little shop full of British foods. We were intrigued by the bangers so we got some and I made them for dinner tonight with some onions, mushrooms, and mashed potatoes. I will admit, I was a little scared of them at first but they actually turned out to be really tasty!

For lunch I packed them with a dried fruit and nut mix, a crunchy nectarine, and some broccoli.

It’s time to put something new on sale and I couldn’t resist these onigiri wrappers with rice mold. It’s a little hard to understand how neat they are so I’m thinking of making a video showing how to use them. They actually have a pocket for your nori so that the nori and rice don’t touch until you’re ready to eat. I’m in love because I hate soggy nori, lol.

On Friday we’re leaving for an extended weekend in Key West with a couple of friends. It’s been too long since we were in the Keys. Playing over and over in my head... trying to reason with hurricane season. It’s just one of those songs, gets in your soul. Key West, here I come!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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I finally get a bento! and a fig?!?! (Bento #176)



Aahhhh! A bento! I’ve been craving a bento for lunch but just haven’t had the time to make one. I was so excited about a big pile of sticky shiny rice that I couldn’t decide if I wanted it with miso or a pickled plum, so I decided to treat myself to both! With a lunch like this, tomorrow has to be a good day.

I was surprised to find figs in the grocery store today so I had to pick some up. I don’t think of figs as being a summer fruit, but they looked pretty good. The rest of the bento has raspberries, blueberries, a Babybel cheese, green beans, and a slice of ham.

This week is so short! We had Monday off due to the 4th of July holiday and we’re leaving on Thursday to go to Orlando for the weekend. Why Orlando?? We’re going to Disney!! I think I’m more excited than the little one! Lol! I love Disney :) My absolute favorite ride is Space Mountain. What’s your favorite???

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Does corn in my fried rice count? (Bento #175)



Tonight is the Twitter corn party! Yeah... I completely forgot. I love Twitter food parties but this one just slipped my mind, lol. There is some corn in my fried rice though... does that count??

I had a bit of a break tonight because Hubs and LG are visiting some friends and I have the house all to myself. That also meant that I only had to cook for myself! I made some fried rice with andouille sausage, corn, peas, beans, carrots, onions, and green beans and paired it with some steamed edamame. Yum!

The lunch portion is packed in the Lunchbots Uno bento and I threw some fruit into the Pico to take to work for breakfast. Pretty simple, but so delicious!

I’m off to check out all of the amazing Twitter corn party entries and you should too! There are some unbelievably creative corn dishes being made!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Simple chicken teriyaki bento (Bento #174)



I feel so out of touch with everyone online. Man, I don’t know how you all do it! We’ve had Hubs’ little girl here for less than a week and I can’t keep up with anything, lol! We had a simple dinner with chicken teriyaki, rice and broccoli (it was all I had energy for) so I added some fruit and a pickled plum to make it lunch.

I hope you all had a great weekend! We spent most of it at my parents’ house, which was a blast. LG got to see lots of her cousins, have 2 slumber parties, swam in the pool multiple times each day, do crafts, go clothes shopping, and generally get all around spoiled by Grandma! We were informed that Grandma’s house is better than ours because she gets chocolate milk before bed. If only everyone else in life were that easy to please, lol!

If anyone has any extra time laying around, I could use some! ^_^

Happy Bento-ing!
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Balanced schmalanced... this fruit is gooooood! (Bento #173)



Who can have the discipline of a balanced diet with all this amazing fruit? Not me, lol! Hubs’ little girl is here so we had some mac and cheese for the first time in a long time. We also had a rotisserie chicken and some corn on the cob but the corn didn’t make it to lunch.

The rest of the lunch is pretty basic: apples, grapes, strawberries, broccoli, and some cheese. Mac and cheese and a cheese wedge, I might be regretting that later. Oh well. All that fruit will make up for it.

Well, I spent my first kid night coloring, coloring, more coloring, playing with play-doh, playing restaurant with play-doh food, and taking a walk and counting all of the kitty cats we saw. The official count was 21 kitties! We love kitties in our neighborhood! ^_^

Tomorrow Hubs and LG are spending the day in the pool and I’m jealous because I have to work all day. Bummer! :( At least I have a bento!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Desperately in need of groceries (Bento #172)



We are desperately in need of groceries. I usually do my shopping on the weekend but we spent the whole weekend getting PADI Open Water Diver certified! The course was a lot easier than I expected it to be. Hubs and I are naturally comfortable in the water so we didn’t have any issues, just lots of fun! We’re already planning dive trips to the Florida Keys at the end of the summer. I can’t wait!

On top of all that, Hubs’ little girl (I don’t want to use her real name online so I’ll call her LG for little girl) is coming down for her summer visit tomorrow. We’re in the middle of spring cleaning so it’s a mad rush to get it done before she arrives. We have so many cool things planned once she gets here so we don’t want to have to spend any time on the house.

Today’s bento was a desperate run through the kitchen. I have a ham sammy with no mayo (we’re out) just some really awesome mustard, the last of the blueberries, two cheese wedges and pita chips. I decided to throw in some little crispy snacky things too. I don’t know what they’re called but they taste like peanut butter.

The bag is one of my latest bento bags. I think I’m finally ready to start making some for other people, lol. I have so much gorgeous fabric, I can’t wait to use it! I’m sure with LG here I’ll have little to no time to sew, but hopefully by the end of the summer I should have a few in the store!

This summer is turning out to be insanely busy but crazy wonderful all at the same time. I hope you’re all having as much fun as I am!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Lunch in a pinch (Bento #171)



When it rains it pours. Hubs and I have way too much going on all at once. I’m sure we’ll survive though. I had to throw something together in about 10 minutes before work this morning so this is what I get.

I packed a tuna salad sammy, cherries, lychees, and olives in the Lunchbots Eco. Then for a snack I packed some pita chips and a creamy cheese wedge.

Time to run and try and get something accomplished, lol!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Orange ginger tofu (Bento #169)



I am loving only having to make a bento for myself! I took Sunday afternoon to cook some rice and orange ginger tofu just for my lunches. This tofu is so good. Poor Hubs doesn’t know what he’s missing!

To make the marinade I heated the juice and zest of one orange, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, soy sauce, mirin, and some brown sugar in a small pot to get all the flavors to come out. I marinated the drained and pressed tofu slices in it for about 30 min, took them out and grilled them in a pan, removed the tofu, then strained the marinade into the pan, added some sesame seeds, and let it simmer to thicken up a bit. I strained it because I thought the ginger would get a bit overpowering.

It tastes great to me, but lately my taster hasn’t been right. Ever since I got really sick back in January, foods haven’t been tasting right. So who knows, it could be gross, but to me it’s great, lol!

The rest of the bento is pretty basic: rice with furikake, a pickled plum, cucumbers, grapes, and apple slices.

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Super fruity (Bento #168)



I know, I know, this isn’t really a balanced lunch. But what can I say? The fruit this time of year is so good. Plus, I still need to make up for the lack of fruit in the winter.

For dinner last night I made some chicken with a mushroom/red wine sauce so that is the bulk of the non-fruit part of today’s bento. The rest is pretty self-explanatory, except maybe the little red Babybel cheese.

Hubs doesn’t need a bento for the rest of the summer! Yay!!!! Now they’re all mine!!!! Mwuahahahaha! Poor old Hubby is going to have to fend for himself. He’ll survive... I think.

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Blah dinner means blah lunch (Bento #165)



I was not in the mood to cook dinner last night. Nothing sounded good, I haven’t been to the grocery store since last weekend so it was slim pickins, I wasn’t inspired, and I just didn’t feel like cooking. I should know better by now and not attempt to cook under those dire circumstances but I did it anyway.

I ended up making some baked lemon-pepper chicken, couscous, and zucchini fritters. The chicken was really tender but just didn’t taste very good. The fritters were bland, cakey, and horribly boring. The couscous was a boxed flavored mix that I tried for the first time, and guess what, it was kind of nasty.

*sigh*

The moral of this story... Takeout!

For lunch I packed the blah dinner with some green olives, fruit, nuts, a Babybel cheese, and some tomatoes. I suspect Hubs will bring home a box full of blah dinner but missing all the other stuff, lol.

Here’s to hoping for some good cooking ahead!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Soboro and snacks (Bento #164)



Michele over at Bento for the Picky Child made soboro and I couldn’t stop craving it! So last night I made soboro with onions and an egg scrambled in at the last minute. Ahhh craving satisfied!

For lunch I put the leftover soboro and some zucchini on a thin bed of rice and sent along a smaller snack pack with fruit, nuts, a Babybel cheese, and some dried cranberries.


I finally changed the sale in the bento store, lol! I think the last one was up for almost a month. Sometimes life just gets in the way. I’m also planning on re-vamping a few pages on the site... when I can find the time. Anyway, back to the sale, for a minimum of a week (tee-hee-hee) the really cute shaped sauce bottles are 10% off.

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Twitter Tofu Party Bento (Bento #163)



This month’s theme for the #twitterfoodparty is tofu! I decided to go pretty basic and make some teriyaki tofu squares. They are delicious! The teriyaki sauce was just a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, a little bit of garlic, and a splash of rice wine vinegar. I marinated the cut and drained tofu for about an hour, pan fried them, then reduced the leftover sauce until it was thick and sticky and coated the squares with it.

The one boo-boo I made was that I dredged them in a bit of mochiko and it just peels right off, oh well.

For the bento, I paired it with rice topped with plum flavored sesame seeds and a pickled plum, cucumber slices, cherries, blackberries, and some little tomatoes to fill the gaps.

Hubs isn’t a huge tofu fan, so this bento... is all mine!!! I can’t wait for lunch tomorrow!!!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Time flies (Bento #162)



Is May almost over already? It feels like it just started! Pretty soon Hubs’ school will be out and I won’t need to make him bentos for the summer. That means I get the whole summer for “me” bentos!! I’m trying to use it as an excuse to want to go to work, lol.

For today’s lunch I made Hubs a pasta salad with broccoli, bacon, and onions and packed it with celery, rolled up salami, an egg, tomatoes, and some green olives.

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Kitchen sink spaghetti bento and the giveaway winner! (Bento #160)



I’ve been on a weird spaghetti kick lately. I used to only make spaghetti with ground beef but over the last couple of weeks we’ve had it with all kinds of different things. Honestly, I think it is a lack of “cooking energy”, spaghetti is just so easy to make. Today’s version turned out really good though. Hubs said it tasted like a gourmet restaurant, to which I asked if he’d ever actually eaten at a gourmet restaurant. ^_^

To make this one I chopped up some chicken breast into bite sized pieces, seasoned with garlic and italian herbs, browned it in the pan, added the sauce, and let it cook for a bit to make sure the chicken was cooked. Then I added a can of drained and sliced palm hearts and about half a cup of toasted almond slices. I let it simmer for another 15 minutes and served it with some amazing parmesan.

So, the best part about this bento, ... what? You don’t want to hear any more about the bento? Why not? Oh! That’s right! I have to announce the giveaway winner!!! I was blown away with how excited everyone was about this giveaway. Thank you all for participating!



Congratulations Ecumeg!!!

“I "liked" you on fb...megan smith!  I have been looking and wanting to start doing some bento lunches.  My hubby takes his lunch most days, so I wanna do something different and fun for him!  Plus we have 2 children, so always looking for new and fun things to do with/for them!  Oh and I follow your blog:)“   

I will ship out your goodies as soon as I get your mailing address. :)

So, what did she win?



Only the most awesome giveaway ever! ^_^ Lol! Congratulations Ecumeg, I hope you enjoy your new bento supplies!

If you would like a copy of the list of entries or of the original PDF of the random.org page just email me and I will be happy to send them to you!

Happy Bento-ing!
Comments

Sometimes, you just need lunch (Bento #159)



Sometimes, more often than not, there just isn’t enough time to make a fancy lunch. Today was one of those days. It doesn’t mean it can’t be tasty though!

I threw leftover fried rice and grilled turkey sausage in a Lunchbots bento box along with a cup of fresh fruit.

After making it I realized that I picked up a lot of the colors from the bento bag I made yesterday so I threw it in the photo to make things prettier. I hope the rest of the week stays this bright! Happy Monday everyone!

Linked up to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Mama cat (Bento #158)



There are a lot of stray and feral cats in our neighborhood, most all of them have been fixed and released, and we keep a bowl of cat food by the door for them. A couple of them are friendly and you love on them but most will run if you get too close. Then there’s Mama Cat. The woman who traps and gets them fixed said she was the hardest one to catch. I don’t doubt it.

Mama Cat rules the roost. She doesn’t care who you are or why you’re here. Humans are so beneath her. She won’t let anyone get close to her but she never runs away, she just saunters away annoyed and waits for you to leave.

Over the last couple of years we’ve formed a relationship with her. She’ll follow us to the mailbox and back, she lets us know when the food dish is empty by staring in the window, and she lets us get about 5 feet from her before she starts to walk away. Trust me, 5 feet is close for Mama Cat.

So last night I went to go out back to take these photos and guess who was on the back porch taking a bath? I didn’t want to bother her so I stayed as close to the door as possible and took my photos. She sat there the whole time and just watched me. I’m sure she thinks I’m nuts.

The bento isn’t much to look at, but it will be delicious! For dinner I made spaghetti with pumpkin and toasted almonds. It was wonderful! It needed a little fresh parmesan, but other than that, it was really good.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Giveaway time!!! Oh yeah.. and a bento (Bento #156)



Here is Hubs’ bento which just contains a lot of leftover takeout: ribs, potato salad, coleslaw, pineapple, carrots, and some sugar snaps. He doesn’t know it yet but I completely forgot to put the BBQ sauce in his bag this morning... oops.

I cannot believe it has been a full year since my first bento! Time goes by so slow yet so fast. Boy has my style changed too. I used to try to make cute bentos but they never really worked. Eventually I gave up and just made bentos that came naturally, cute or not. Here’s my first one...

Ahhhh the “under the sea” bento. I even had blue rice. I can’t do colored rice... it creeps me out, lol. I feel so nostalgic looking back at my old bentos. I’d like to try to regain some of that excitement and creativity again. Maybe I’ll try for some cute this week. :)

But.... the best part? Giveaway time!! I think giveaways are more fun for me than everyone else, lol! In honor of my one-year bentoversary I’m giving away...






In this giveaway:
- a handmade cotton utensil pouch
- a Lunchbots Uno stainless steel bento box
- 6 soy sauce containers
- 4 silicon cups
- a tamagoyaki pan
- animal themed cutters
- cylinder rice mold

Due to the numerous inquiries about the safety of the bento products in our store I feel the need to say the following: none of the products in this giveaway or in the Ohayo Bento store contain radiation. These products were not even in Japan during the earthquake/tsunami disaster. All products from the Ohayo Bento store were in the United States before the radiation concerns and they all currently live upstairs in my office in sunny Florida.

The details: this giveaway is only open to US residents because I don’t know anything about international contest rules. All entries must be received by 11:59PM Eastern on Monday May 23rd. This contest is only open to people 18 years of age or older. The winner will be chosen at random using Random.org. Entries will be numbered in the order they are received.

I will keep a spreadsheet of all the entries as they come in. If you wish to see a list of the entries email me at heather(at)ohayobento.com and I would be more than happy to provide it.

You can enter more than once! Each of the following categories counts as a separate entry.
1) Tell us how your bento style has changed or, if you are new to bento, what kind of style do you think you will have?
2) Tell me that you are a follower of the blog or become a follower and tell me so!
3) Like Ohayo Bento on Facebook and tell me what your FB name is (if you don’t want your name public you can email it to me: heather(at)ohayobento.com). Or comment on the giveaway announcement post!
4) Be a follower of @ohayobento on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway. Super sweet friends from overseas will probably RT this giveaway for me :) so, after tweeting about it, send me a DM or come here and comment that you want your tweet entered into the giveaway.
5) Make any purchase at the Ohayo Bento Store. All orders received during the giveaway period will automatically be entered.

Added this bento to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Good luck and Happy Bento-ing!
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Hot-diggity-dog (Bento #155)



I was in a rush to take these photos and didn’t realize how close up I got. One should never be that close to a hotdog. Lol!

This is just a super simple small bento with octo-dogs, fried rice, kiwi, and black-eyed peas.

Last night we finally made it to my mom’s house and I gave her the Mother’s Day gift I made. I haven’t taken pictures of it yet but we’ll be back on Saturday so I’ll take some photos then. She had bought me a sewing machine for Easter so I thought it was only appropriate to sew her something. Before getting the machine I had never sewn so I made a bento belt and a utensil pouch then decided to make a 4 foot by 4 foot quilt. Yeah, I’m that brand of crazy. It actually worked though! There are a lot of mistakes but it’s not falling apart, lol. Anyway, I’ll try to post some pics of it this weekend.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Chicken/tofu teriyaki patties (Bento #154)



Yesterday Izumi posted a recipe for these patties over at Soul Soup Soap and they looked delicious! If you haven’t checked out her blog before... you are missing out! Anyway, I had a block of tofu in the fridge and as soon as I saw the recipe I wanted to make them.

I did a couple of things differently. I used ground chicken and mixed it with fork scrambled tofu, added scallions, and added a bit of Better than Bouillon chicken. They were so good! The tofu kept the texture nice and prevented them from getting dried out. Go check out her recipe and try them for yourself. :)

The rest of the bento was very basic. I made some quick freezer vegee pasta (frozen mixed vegees sauteed in a little butter then tossed with the cooked pasta and a little Better than Bouillon Vegetable) and packed it all with pineapple, peas, and carrots.

I have to admit, when I find a new ingredient I tend to obsess a little.... OK a lot! You’ll have to forgive me because right now my newest obsession is Better than Bouillon. I find myself adding it to almost everything to kick the flavor up. So far I’ve only tried chicken and vegetable but I’m going to try the others soon. Yum!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Speed queen (Bento #153)



Today calls for a super-speedy bento and a super-speedy post! I boiled some sweet potato pasta and I’m eating it with a pickled plum, tomatoes, and avocados. Then for dessert I have mango and kiwi slices.

Don’t forget about the giveaway coming up :) It’ll open on the 16th in honor of my first awful bento, lol! Until then...

Happy Bento-ing!
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Sushi and salads (Bento #152)



I have 3 different salads in this bento: seaweed, crab, and vegee. The vegee salad has tomatoes, cucumber, and feta cheese all packed in the Lunchbots Pico with soy sauce fishes and pickled ginger.

The larger bento has sushi made with crab, cucumber, carrot, and avocado. On the side to fill the gap I added crab sticks, pan seared tofu, and shrimp. See the little cup of wasabi? I found a whole package of itty bitty silicon cups! They are about the size of my thumb and so cute!

This weekend was really busy. Friday night Hubs graduated!!! It was really nice to watch him walk across the stage, it’s about time! Then on Saturday we spent the day on the beach in Sarasota. A bonus to going to the beach in Sarasota was that I got to pick up some macarons. I HAVE to learn how to make them!!

I’m wishing all of you a healthy, happy, and fun week ahead!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Red spinach and chicken stir-fry bento (Bento #151)



I found the most gorgeous red spinach at the market today and I had to try it. The color is amazing and the taste... well, I didn’t like it. It wasn’t bad, just not really good. It looks really pretty though, lol.

The rest of the bento is pretty simple: rice cooked with peas, corn, and carrots, seaweed salad, and a chicken and lotus root stir-fry.

The 16th of this month is the 1-year anniversary of my first bento! Aaahh!! Am I really a year older?!?!?!?! Nah, I decided to stop aging, lol! But the blog is a year older so I think we need to celebrate! Hmmmm... I’m thinking...... GIVEAWAY!! Tee-hee-hee I love having giveaways! Anyway, stay tuned, it’s coming up soon :)

Happy Bento-ing!
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Snack time (Bento #148)



This is just a quick snack bento for me for tomorrow. Hubs is staying home sick so he doesn’t need a lunch.

On the fruit side: honey mango, watermelon, grapes, and cantaloupe. On the vegee side: pickle spears, zucchini spears, carrot, a tomato, and a ham flower.



Hubs always complains that his clean forks hang around the bottom of his bento bag .... yeah, he’s a germaphobe. So I made a utensil pouch! I told him I didn’t have any boy fabrics, lol, so this one will be mine when I find him a better pattern. I’m also working on some bento bags and straps too.

I’m not very good at sewing yet, so don’t look too close, lol! My awesome momma got me a sewing machine for Easter and I’ve been playing with it every free moment I get, which is never enough time. It’s been a lot of fun to play around and actually make something usable. :)



Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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A whole lotta frittata (Bento #147)



I had to help Hubs give an exam last night so I threw this frittata and bento together before we left. I have to say, it turned out pretty good. I used leeks, sweet potato, and a little cheddar cheese. Yum, yum, yum!

In the bento there are 2 stacked slices of frittata, a pickle spear wrapped with ham, seaweed salad, a tomato, and fruit all packed in the Lunchbots Uno. I’m jealous of this bento, lol! I want one too!

Have a great weekend!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Go Bolts!! (Bento #144)



I wanted yakisoba so bad today and all I had was somen, but I made it anyway. ^_^ Along with the noodles I packed an egg, seaweed salad, pickled plum, tomatoes, melon, and some frog eye salad.

Frog eye salad isn’t made from frog eyes, awww shucks, but from little teeny tiny pastas called acini di pepe. My mom made it so I’m not totally sure what all goes in it but it’s sweet and I know it has mandarin orange slices, coconut, and pineapple. Yum!

Last night Hubs, myself, and a friend went to see the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs! I really don’t know a lot about hockey, I’m much better at football, but it was still a lot of fun. The stadium was packed and I spent the whole night making tons of noise with my thunder clapper. Those things are louder than you’d think! We won 4-2 and I say it was all because of my extra noise, lol. We have to win the next game in Pittsburgh to go the next round of finals. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

It’s been hard getting motivated to be back to work today after the 3-day weekend. I just want to play! Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Added to What’s For Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Potsticker madness (Bento #142)



Can you tell? I missed my little window of sunlight :( It is definitely time to look at some lighting options.

I love potstickers (gyoza)! It’s been a while since we had them so I thought it was about time.

I made the filling a little different. I had the usual: ground beef, ginger, garlic, chopped green onion, soy sauce, and little mirin. But I also added some of those really fine clear noodles (the package doesn’t have any English and I can’t remember what they’re called, hahaha!). I really like the addition of the noodles, it broke up the meat chunks and added a good texture.



To go along with it I made some fried rice and attempted to make green beans. I had these gorgeous fresh green beans and decided to just heat them up in the oven with a little butter and salt (I like them super crunchy, not cooked, just a little warm). I checked on them when they were almost done, turned the oven off and made a mental note to take them out in about a minute or two. Half an hour later I opened the oven... Lets just say that they looked like they had aged 100 years, lol! All the water had been cooked out of them and they were dull green wrinkly sticks of bleh. That’s what I get for not just steaming them on the stove.

So, there isn’t any green in today’s bentos, *sigh*, but they are still really tasty. Hubs’ bento is the one in the Lunchbots Uno and mine is packed in the 3-tier sakura bento. They both contain potstickers, fried rice, orange slices, mango, and grape tomatoes.

There are only 2 more lunch days this week and I still haven’t made an Easter themed bento! I don’t even have any ideas... yet. I’m still waiting for the spark of inspiration. If you have an Easter themed bento and want to link to it in the comments I would LOVE to see it!!!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Grilled pork and salad (Bento #140)



My mom and I had a wonderful time visiting with family this weekend. Now it’s time to catch up with all of the house work that didn’t get done!

We had a quick and simple dinner of grilled pork chops, rice, corn on the cob, and a salad.

For tomorrow’s bento I added seaweed salad, tamagoyaki, oranges, and green beans to the leftovers. Once again I was able to take my photo before the sun went down. Yay! I love sunlight!

Time to go unpack! I hope you have a great week!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Chicken or the egg? (Bento #137)



Which comes first? The chicken or the egg? Seeing that this is hubs’ bento I’m guessing the egg, he loves hard boiled eggs. The cauliflower has that yellowy color because I cooked it with some Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base. That stuff is so good I could eat it on toast! Lol!

I didn’t take a photo of my bento because I got so frustrated with my little “photo shoot” that I figured it would be better to give up than to throw the camera out the window. I really need to try to make my bentos during the day, I’m in desperate need of natural light.

My bento was mostly fruit with an egg and a miso stuffed onigiri.

Speaking of miso... hubs is pretty good at trying new things but miso is one of those ingredients that he’ll only eat if he doesn’t know it’s there. Last night I asked him what he wanted on his rice and he said ‘whatever you’re having, I don’t care’!!! Tee hee hee! So I put a generous portion of rice mixed with miso butter on his plate and he, not only ate the whole thing, but he asked for more! Looks like we have a new miso convert. :)

Today is going to be a crazy day. My schedule has been all wonky for the last week so today is the first time where I get to play catch-up at work. Then maybe tomorrow I can attempt to play catch-up at home. Most importantly though, I really need to do laundry! No joke, my laundry pile is taller than I am! I am almost completely out of clean clothes. I keep promising myself that one of these days I will become one of those eternally organized, calm, and happy people.... one day.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Soup and sides (Bento #136)



The other day I enjoyed my miso soup lunch so much, that this morning miso soup was all that I wanted. I loved it so much, that this time, I made enough for two bowls.

The miso soup has the basics: tofu, miso, and green onion. But it also has some shredded cabbage and snow peas to shake things up a little. On the side I have an orange, mango, tomatoes, and snow peas.

Have a great weekend!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Meatballs and gravy (Bento #135)



Aahhhh meatballs and gravy over pasta. A classic! I used panko instead of regular breadcrumbs in the meatballs and added finely chopped broccoli. They were delicious! The texture, which I’m attributing to the panko, was so smooth and tender. Yum!

The rest of the bento has the basics: snow peas, tomatoes, mango, cucumber, and little bok choy. It’s all packed up in the Lunchbots Duo.

There’s a new sale going on in the store. The tamagoyaki pans are 10% off!

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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Grilled chicken and purple potatoes (Bento #132)



Can you tell this bento came straight from dinner? We had grilled chicken, purple potatoes, and baked beans. For the bento I added pickled vegees and kiwi.

Now that hubs has defended his dissertation we have to get all of the paperwork and formatting issues in order. I swear, this is almost as much work as the dissertation, lol. I think they try to make this process as difficult as possible, just for the fun of it.

Don’t forget to look at the Bento4Japan auctions! There are lots of new things being posted.

Today is the last day to buy something from the Ohayo Bento store where 100% of the profits go to charity! And, since this is the last day, I’ll throw in a free gift with every order received before midnight Eastern Time!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Simple tonkatsu (Bento #131)



Hubby is doing his PhD dissertation defense tomorrow morning. Hopefully by this time tomorrow he will officially be Dr. Hubs!! I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I had resigned myself to the idea of hubs and I being professional students, lol. But, he might actually make it out which gives me hope that I might actually make it out one day too. :)

Needless to say there is a lot of busy stress at the house. I needed a dinner that would be fast and delicious so I made some pork tonkatsu, zucchini, and rice. Of course I made enough for lunch too ^_^

Maki of Just Bento put a gorgeous megewappa bento on the Bento4Japan Ebay auctions. I wanted this one so bad, but the bidding is already over $200!!!! Maybe one day..... If you can’t afford a $200 bento box, check out the other amazing charity auctions!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Mango adventures (Bento #129)



I don’t remember what it was that I saw, but something made me want to make a tomatillo salsa yesterday. By the time I got to the grocery store it had morphed into a mango/avocado salsa with tomatillos, lol.

Getting these groceries was quite an experience. See, my mom is highly allergic to the oils in the skin of a mango. It’s not a food allergy, more of a poison ivy type skin allergy. So I was trained from a very young age to not touch the mangos in the store! For that matter, don’t touch anything next to the mangos in the store!

Poison ivy, holly trees, and all of the other plants that really effect my mom have never bothered me, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t allergic to mango.

I am so well trained at “Don’t touch the mangos” that there I was at the mango counter leaning over them and bending every which way, so that I could get a good look at which one I wanted... without picking it up. Lol!

I finally realized I was being absolutely crazy and people were starting to give me “those” looks. I held my breath, picked my mango, put it in my basket, and my heart was racing as if I just ran to the car.

I actually called my mom from the store to congratulate her on the effectiveness of her lifelong training and she laughed at me... I think she’s still laughing at me, lol!

I cut up the mango yesterday, so according to the mango allergy queen, I should find out sometime around tomorrow if I’m allergic. *crossing fingers*



The salsa turned out fantastic! This is my first time having fresh mango, wow that’s good stuff! The salsa was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. I think I found a new kitchen staple. I didn’t even put it on my tacos, just ate it by itself.

Here’s what I put in the salsa, all chopped: 1 mango, 2 tomatillos, 1 avocado, 1 plum tomato, a few nice sprigs of cilantro, and 1/2 of a lime squeezed and I pulled most of the leftover pulp out and threw it in too. Oh, and some salt. I cut everything up, put it in a bowl, and mixed it as gently as I could with my hands because I didn’t want to smoosh the avocado.

It was so good!

Hubs’ bento today is leftover yellow rice with taco meat and cheese, the mango salsa, kiwi, and grapes. I packed it in the Lunchbots Eco. Speaking of Lunchbots, there are some Lunchbots in the #Bento4Japan charity auctions! Go check them out!!

I was so excited about the new tamagoyaki pans so I made my first one yesterday. Then I completely forgot to put it in the bento! Go figure, right? I made this one using inspiration from Lia over at Bentolicious. I cooked 4 different egg sheets seperately, layered them on top of each other, then rolled it up. Awesome! The picture turned out really yellow, but I was too tired to shoot it again ^_^

Happy Bento-ing!
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Bento: 2 ways (Bento #128)



Hubs and I both needed a bento for today but I didn’t want to make 2 of exactly the same thing. So, I made 2 bentos with the same ingredients but they look totally different.

The bento at the top is for hubs and it’s made in the Lunchbots Duo. It has cucumber, steamed cabbage, ginger chicken, roasted sweet potato, and grapes.



My lunch is much cuter than hubs’! I’m not much of a cute bento decorator but a few sweet potato flowers every now and then never hurt anybody. For my lunch I used the 3-tier sakura bento, which is finally back in stock and at a lower price :) I cut the grapes in half because I could fit more of them in there that way. This box’s tiers are so small and cute that you can only fit one layer of whole grapes.

I check the Bento4Japan charity auctions every day and I continue to be amazed. Every day there are new items up for auction and every day more and more people come and bid, and 100% of all of it goes to Japan. I’m so honored to call myself a part of Bento4Japan and it’s not too late to join us!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Serenity (Bento #127)



Lately, life has been, well, a little crazy. There are so many things that need to be done just to try to catch up, that sometimes I wonder, why do I bother? Why do I take the time to make bentos day in and day out, when most of the time I’m so rushed that I don’t have the time to make them the way I want? Why do I keep disappointing myself with substandard photos, bad food color choices, and overall blandness?

This is why.

Every now and then, I manage to make a little box of serenity. Then in this one little box it all becomes worth it. I don’t know what the difference is. This bento is so simple, but at the same time, for me anyway, it’s perfect.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Super orange snack bento (Bento #125)



There are so many wonderful Bento4Japan charity auctions running right now. If you haven’t looked at them yet, I urge you to do so! This way, not only can you donate money to disaster relief efforts in Japan, but you will also get amazing bento supplies in the process! This is the link to the Bento4Japan headquarters. From here you can find all of the bento-centric ways of donating to Japan and get a list of verified sellers.

Today’s bento is just a 2 minute snack box. The coleslaw and pasta were leftovers so all I had to do was cut the fruit. The oranges we have right now are amazingly sweet! I could eat 5 a day! Lol!

I’d also like to announce price drops on the 4 round small silicon cups from $3.00 to $2.75 and the popular 3-layer cherry blossom bento will be back in stock Monday at a lower price of $5.00 (used to be $5.50), you can order it now but it won’t ship out to you until Tuesday March 22nd. We are also getting some exciting new items in on Monday including tamagoyaki pans!!!! Don’t forget that 100% of the profits from the Ohayo Bento store for the month of March will be donated to the Red Cross!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Good to be home (Bento #123)



After being away from home for a week, it’s nice to be back. Just being in my own space doing all of my daily tasks makes me happy. Having such a clear appreciation for ‘home’ makes watching the quake/tsunami aftermath in Japan even more heartbreaking. I was only away from home for a week, it’s hard to imagine not having a home to go back to.

There is a lot of misinformation and speculation flying around on the news here in the US. If you really want to know what’s happening follow @makiwi on Twitter. She is the author of the Just Bento blog and the Just Bento cookbook. I swear she stays up 24 hours a day translating information straight from Japan to English.

Back to bentos...

The bento at the top is mine, and the one below is for hubs. I’m also sending both of us with a banana as an afternoon snack.



Most of the bento is self-explanatory except maybe the sweet pepper, parmesan cheese, and the awesome plum flavored sesame seeds on my rice. Why the plum sesame seeds? Because while I was out of town hubs threw out my last 3 pickled plums. He claims that he thought they had gone bad. I say this is grounds for divorce, lol! It does give me an excuse for a mid-week trip to the oriental market though. ^_^

The meat is left over from dinner. It turned out pretty good and had an interesting flavor that we aren’t used to, I really liked it though. I found some Kikkoman Ponzu sauce at the grocery store and of course I had to use it as soon as I got home. So, I put a london broil in a baking dish, doused it with ponzu sauce, sprinkled with Vegeta (vegee bouillon) and sesame seeds, and added some chopped onion and carrot. I baked it with the lid on for a few hours at low temp.

When it was done I poured the sauce into a small pot, added some soy sauce and garlic, and thickened it with a little bit of corn starch. Then I sliced the beef and put everything back into the baking dish and let it sit in the oven for another hour to soften up the beef slices.

The ponzu sauce gave it a really good citrusy flavor. Yum!

Happy Bento-ing!
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The ultimate salad (Bento #121)



Hubs is a strange creature. He is such a meat-a-saurus most of the time but every now and then he starts craving salads. The other day I packed him a salad and he loved it.

So today, what we have is a big salad bento, the ultimate salad! I packed it in the Lunchbots Eco because it’s the biggest bento I have, and if all hubs has to eat is a salad, it better be a big one.

So, what’s in it? Everything but the kitchen sink: romaine lettuce, green olives, blueberries, purple cabbage, fresh raw green beans, sweet red and yellow peppers, imported Italian parmesan cheese, and potato and egg salad.

Don’t forget about the free birthday bento items with every order until midnight March 4th! Just mention Happy Birthday in the notes to seller.

The next few days are going to be insanely busy. Friday is my birthday and we are having a dinner at my mom’s and Saturday morning my flight to Baltimore leaves at 7AM. Between now and about noon tomorrow I have to do all of my laundry, pack, go shopping, finish my presentation poster, submit the poster to be printed, get my new fancy pants hemmed, finish about 5 hours worth of grading, and run up to school and get scantrons read. Oh yeah, I also wanted to pack myself an in-flight bento!

Phew, what a week!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Miso tuna patties (Bento #118)



Mmmm mmmm mmmm! These tuna patties were awesome! We ate most of them for dinner but I was able to stash a few away for today’s bento.

Along with the tuna patties, I’m sending hubs to work with couscous, mushrooms, seaweed salad, carrots, and some spicy ginger bok choy.

Miso Tuna Patties

Ingredients:
3 cans of tuna, drained
3 eggs
2 heaping teaspoons of miso paste
1/4 cup chopped onion
Italian style bread crumbs
fresh cracked pepper

1) Mix everything except the breadcrumbs together very well.
2) Add the breadcrumbs while mixing just until it comes together enough to form into patties.
3) Form the patties and coat the outside in breadcrumbs before frying.

Because of the miso paste I didn’t have to add any salt. They were so simple but so flavorful!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Bentos of necessity (Bento #116)

This weekend went by way too fast!I have decided that 2 days is just not enough! Hubs and I usually spend our weekends just trying to catch up from the week before. No joke, we work all day both days. I am ready for a break. Once the summer hits everything will calm down... I hope! Lol!

It’s crunch time for me at work right now because in 2 weeks I’m going to Baltimore, MD for the Biophysical Society annual meeting. I’m presenting a poster on my research so I’m trying to get as much data as I can before I have to design and print the poster. *sigh* Anybody want to come over and make me bentos? ^_^ It will be fun though, there is a big group from our department going so we’ll have some good adventures. The awesome part is that since I’m going to be up there already, my parents are flying in to Washington DC and I’m going to meet them after the conference. We’re going to be in DC for 2 full days to go to museums. Yay! Then we get to fly back home together.

Since my parents brought us a brand new fancy grill we have been grilling a lot. Last night we had grilled chicken breasts that I had soaked in some diluted soy sauce, worcestershire, and garlic. Hubs did a great job cooking them, they turned out awesome!



If it weren’t for leftovers, I wouldn’t have bentos! Hubs’ bento above has leftover grilled chicken, rice with cilantro, and miso onion spinach. Non-leftovers are a hard boiled egg, sauteed mushrooms, seaweed salad, and fruit.

Hubs is a meat-a-saurus and he doesn’t like a lot of rice. I’ve been trying to decrease the size of his rice portion because it always comes back mostly un-eaten. I think I finally got it right today, just a little corner of rice and a ton of protein. We’ll see how it goes. For me? Well, I would just eat rice if I thought I could get away with it! Lol!



I’m taking a small bento today because I’ll be coming back home early afternoon to work on my poster. It’s impossible to concentrate enough to work on it in the lab, too many distractions. So I just have some rice with cilantro and a pickled plum, seaweed salad, and fruit. I’ll probably end up eating it for breakfast when I get to work.

Here’s hoping for the start of a nice, calm, productive week!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Pork sirloin and spinach salad (Bento #113)



Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and hubby and I spent the day and evening ... mostly working. Boo hiss boo! We wanted to try out our fancy new grill that my parents brought over the other day but we were out of propane. We might have to wait until next weekend to break it in.

I needed to make something that was fast so I set up the rice cooker and used the steamer basket to steam some sweet potato wedges. I thought the pork sirloin I bought would cook pretty quickly on the stove but it actually took longer to cook than the 2 cups of rice. It was worth it in the end because it tasted fabulous!

I seasoned the sirloins with garlic, pepper, salt, and a little bit of a pre-made grilling seasoning. Since I am out of oil, *sigh*, I seared the meat in a pan with some butter, mushrooms, and onions. Once both sides were nice and brown I took them out and deglazed the pan with about a cup and a half of red wine. I left the mushrooms and onions in the pan to simmer, added a little bit of ketchup and a little bit of garlic then put the pork back in to finish cooking in the sauce.

I completely forgot to take a picture of our plates last night but I served it with a slice of feta cheese on top of the hot pork. The cheese got really soft and added a ton a flavor.

The rest of the bento is pretty basic: leftover sweet potato used as a divider and a spinach salad with blueberries and carrots.

Happy Bento-ing!
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Boneless wings (Bento #112)

Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate more spice into my cooking. Hubs and I both love spicy food. Well, hubs likes food so spicy it burns through the fork. The spicy chili tofu from last week came out great so I’ve been wanting to try spicy again.

I saw a beautiful Japanese bento the other day that had, what looked like, boneless buffalo wings. Ever since, I’ve had a huge craving for them so I decided to make some for dinner last night. All I had was frozen chicken breasts so I defrosted, cut them up, salt and peppered, then dredged them in corn starch and fried them in a pan.



I didn’t actually have any buffalo sauce, and to be honest, I didn’t really want the traditional heavily vinegar-ed sauce. I wanted something a little more special. Something with tons of flavor and good amount of heat. So I made my own. Lets just say that hubs actually handed me a piece of paper and told me to write down how I made this sauce, he loved it!



The ingredients for the wing sauce are very similar to the spicy chili tofu, but by playing with the ratios and adding a couple of ingredients, I got a completely different flavor. The basics are Sriracha, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger.

The first special addition is a little bit of a hot sauce called Pyro Mania. Pyro Mania is my favorite hot sauce of all time. It has a great smoky flavor and isn’t so spicy that you can’t use a lot of it at a time.

The second special addition is some super thick and rich coconut milk! The coconut milk completely changed the flavor and heat profile. Without it, the sauce was really good and had an immediate burn and you tasted everything at once. Trying it with the coconut milk, the immediate taste is a buttery slightly coconutty rich flavor. Then you start to taste the peppers and spices. Finally a slow burn creeps up and you get all of the heat.

I was really shocked at how much different the sauce was with the coconut milk. If you make this, try it before and after adding the milk and you’ll understand. If you don’t really like coconut, don’t fret, the flavor doesn’t come through very strong, hubby didn’t even know it was there until I pointed it out. But, the sauce is still good without it.



Naturally, I used out leftovers for today’s bento. The noodles are just pasta tossed with a little bit of tonkatsu sauce for flavor. I also re-purposed the leftover corn. The non-leftover additions are a cute little plum, seaweed salad, and some cucumbers to use as a divider.

Spicy Coconut Wing Sauce

When making this sauce I completely forgot to measure anything. Next time I make it I will update the recipe with the correct amounts, this is just a best guess after the fact.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Sriracha
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Pyro Mania or other smoky hot sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1 tbsp butter

1) Add the Sriracha, ketchup, other hot sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and water to a small pot and mix it up. Heat it on medium heat until it begins to bubble then turn the heat down and let it slowly simmer.
2) I let mine simmer for about 10 minutes to bring out the flavors.
3) Add the coconut milk and butter, stir, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

My sauce thickened very nicely. If it is not as thick as you like you can continue to let it simmer until you get the desired consistency.

I put all of the fried chicken pieces in a large bowl, poured the sauce on top, and tossed to coat.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Soboro and rice (Bento #110)



Yum, yum, yum! This is some of the best rice I’ve ever cooked. I had always washed the excess starch off my rice but I hadn’t really washed it until I saw this video today. I mean really, how much difference can rubbing the rice around make? A lot! I went from regular old rice to really awesome rice. Each grain is cooked perfectly, shiny, and doesn’t become mush. Seriously, go through the process once and you’ll never go back.

Back to bento. This is my lunch for tomorrow: rice, furikake, pickled plum, snow peas, soboro, cabbage, and the cutest little plum ever.

There are probably 5 billion soboro recipes on the internet so I’ll just say that this one has lotus root (newest obsession) in there too. Love the texture contrast! I also used a mixture of ground beef and ground pork.

To cook the cabbage I added miso, onions, and leftover chopped up cooked bacon to a little bit of water and let it simmer to meld the flavors. Then I threw in the cabbage and let it all cook together. Awesome!

Don’t forget, the nori face punch bundle is still on sale!

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Prosciutto crisps (Bento #109)



Hubs had to call in sick to work today so I didn’t have to make him a bento. This one’s for me! Yup, that’s right, it’s all mine! Mwuahahaha!

I have rice with furikake and orange bell pepper, prosciutto crisps (got the idea here), kiwi, blackberries, and a steamed piece of broccoli all packed into the Lunchbots Duo.

You have to try making prosciutto crisps, they’re sooooo good!

Happy Bento-ing!
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What to do with hotdogs? (Bento #108)

Yesterday was the Twitter Hot Dog Party! What is it? Well, the last Monday of every month has a theme (so far I’ve seen hot dogs, pancakes, tacos, and a couple of others) and anyone who wants to participate follows the #twitter”FOOD”party hashtag (this one was #twitterhotdogparty), makes a dish that fits the theme, posts a photo, and checks out everybody else’s photos too.

The hot dog party was a lot of fun because I saw everything from the most scrumptious hot dogs with amazing toppings to cute little hot dog sushi. If you aren’t on Twitter ... come join us!

My party addition is pictured below...



It is beer braised hot dogs with lotus root on a bed of sauerkraut with spicy sweet potato fries. This recipe is so easy, you have to try it! The hot dogs were super flavorful and the lotus root really gave a great texture addition.

So, how do I go from this dinner to bento?



I started by putting a thin layer of sauerkraut over about 1/3 of the bento (this is the Lunchbots Eco), placed the silicon cup and baran, filled in the open space with salad, filled the silicon cup with kiwi and blackberries, then added as much of the hot dog mixture that I could fit. I’m also sending a little side of salad dressing.

Beer Braised Hot Dogs with Lotus Root

Ingredients:
1 package of hot dogs, sliced (I used Hebrew National)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 cup of beer (I used Yuengling Lager)
about 10 slices of lotus root, quartered (You can substitute with water chestnuts and get a similar taste and effect)

1) Heat the butter in a pan on medium high heat. Drizzle the Worcestershire sauce over the sliced lotus root so they soak up the flavor. When the butter starts to bubble add the hot dogs, onion, and lotus root. Also add a little salt and pepper.
2) Continue to cook on medium high heat to get the hot dogs nice and brown.
3) When the hot dogs are almost finished add in the garlic (I like my hot dogs really browned so I use quite high heat to sear them which would burn the garlic if I added it at the beginning.)
4) Let cook for another minute then add the beer. Use your spatula or spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan right when the beer is poured in, then put the lid on the pan, turn the heat down so you get a simmer, and let cook for a few more minutes.
5) Serve over a thin bed of sauerkraut. If you don’t like sauerkraut, shredded cabbage (cooked or raw) would be really tasty.



Oven Baked Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:
Sweet potatoes
Vegetable oil
Salt (Kosher sticks better)
Pepper
Chili powder

1) Peel and slice into sticks as much or as little sweet potato as you think you will eat.
2) Toss potato sticks with a small drizzle of vegetable oil. If you get too much you can drain them on paper towels.
3) Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder then arrange on a cookie sheet.
4) Cook them under the broiler on high on the top or next to top rack of the oven. Watch them close, they go from brown and delicious to charred bits in no time! When they get nice and brown flip them over and get the other side brown as well.

These “fries” are good plain, with ketchup, or my favorite, a mix of 1 part ketchup to 1 part Sriracha Chili Sauce. ^_^

There’s a new sale going on! The nori face punch bundle is on sale!! Not only is it buy 3 get one free, it’s now an extra 10% OFF! Yay! Sale is good until Tuesday Feb 8.



Added this to What’s for Lunch Wednesday.

Happy Bento-ing!
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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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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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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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Green with envy (Bento #97)


Wow! It has been 2 weeks since I’ve made a bento! Time flies when your having fun! I’ve been seeing all of the gorgeous and tasty bentos online and was completely green with envy, so here is my green with envy bento.

The green: spinach, kiwi, and spinach noodles.

The non-green: gyoza!!

This is my first time making gyoza and I think they turned out pretty tasty. The bottoms are all brown and crispy/chewy and the filling is wonderful. I filled them with ground turkey, grated ginger, chopped garlic, pepper, chopped cabbage, and chopped green onion.

The darker ones on the left were steamed with beef broth which gave a lot of extra flavor. The lighter ones were steamed with a miso broth (miso paste and hot water). This is my first time buying and using miso, to be honest I was a little scared, but the miso gyoza were my favorites! The miso gave them a delicate salty flavor that I really just can’t describe as being anything but a miso flavor. Before cooking it, the miso smells like beer to me, but it didn’t taste like beer.

Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of the miso! I bought the smallest package they had but a little goes a long way. Any ideas?

I hope you all had wonderful holidays! We had a fantastic time hanging out with family. I’m dreading going back to work today, I’m liking my Christmas break a little too much! At least I have a bento to take with me though!

On a side note..... We got some new goodies for the store! They aren’t up yet, but I’ll give you a sneak peek!





Yup!!! We finally have nori face punches!!!!! Yay!!!! Sorry, I’m a little excited about them ^_^ I’ll let you know when they’re up in the store!

Almost forgot.... its Wednesday!!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Rabbit food (Bento #96)


Mmmmmmm I love rabbit food! Lol! Today’s bento is just a salad, but not just any salad, a super colorful yummy salad. It contains.... romain lettuce, yellow summer squash, green olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and purple cabbage. Sometimes it even comes with a little white and pink kitty cat!

I packed it in the Lunchbots Uno (these are totally our new favorite bento boxes) which is on sale this week. Also, every single order at the store gets a free bento gift! Woot!

Speaking of kitty cats, my little Stinker is growing up so fast! I got all sad about it this morning because for the first time, to my knowledge anyway, she jumped straight up onto the kitchen counter from the floor! There is no way she should be big enough to do that, I’m not ready for her to be grown up yet ;)

Are you all ready for the holidays? I’m not. I still haven’t even started! No joke! Not a single decoration, not a single gift, not a single cookie, not a single thing baked, not a single Christmas song, nothing, absolutely nothing except 3 walls of a gingerbread house. To be honest, I think we might actually skip having a tree this year, there is just too much going on and we work too much to have the time for it. Not to mention Christmas is only a week away now! Makes me sad, this is going to be the most un-Christmasy Christmas we’ve ever had. *sigh*

I’m not sure how many bentos I’ll get to make between now and the new year but it should at least be a few.

I hope all you have wonderful holidays! Don’t be stressed, just enjoy yourself and the company of your friends and family!

It’s Wednesday!!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Never enough time (Bento #94)


I never seem to have enough time to do any fun bentos anymore, life has just been too crazy. I still haven’t managed to make a Christmas one either! Lol! So once again I just have to throw lunch together, and this is what we get.

Sorry about the funky colors in the picture, my camera was going all crazy on me.

The grains are a store bought blend including brown rice, black rice, millet, oatmeal, and tons of other grains and a few lentil looking bits, I topped it with some chopped pickled ginger.


I made baran out of summer squash and cucumber to separate the grains from the apple slices, meatballs with tonkatsu, sharp white cheddar cheese, and blueberries.

My snack bento today is just a simplified version of hubby’s bento above but I added some chopped pickled plum. I can’t seem to eat enough of those! :)

I totally ran out of time this weekend and still haven’t started on my gingerbread house! Lol! That’s my life :) I’m determined to take some time this week and play with it, I need some good crafty time. The bad side is that I’ll have a giant candy billboard beckoning me to eat it!

I’m taking Stinker kitty to the vet for the first time to get her shots and the basic healthy tests done. Wish us luck!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Mixed noodle bento (Bento #91)


Today is my first LunchBots bento! I bought the Uno for me and the Eco for hubby. New bento supplies are always so exciting!

Lunch is a mixture of somen and noodles made from black rice. The black rice noodles color the cooking water so I cooked each batch separately then mixed them together. They each have a different flavor and texture so it should be an interesting combination, plus it looks cool ;)

The rest of the bento is pretty standard fare: cherries, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, an ume, and leftover chicken from Chinese takeout. I also threw in a soy sauce fish this morning but it didn’t make it into the photo.

Added to What’s For Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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