Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bento (49) - Sams Sandwich Wheels

Once again, I would love to take credit for the beautiful sandwich rolls, but they come from Sams Club. However, I will take full credit for the lovely corn/pea pathway and pineapple/blueberry salad. The pink bunny is, as usual, filled with dumplig sauce (restocked! YAY!). I also used the premium rice that I received as a gift - but since I didn't make my own bento, I still don't know how it tastes!

Tomorrow I'm hoping to try a new item from Kawaii Bento Boxes (korean barbeque lettuce rolls - YUM!) but we'll have to see if I can drag myself up in the morning - as I'm currently on vacation and the temptation to sleep in is . . . tempting. Guess I'll find out tomorrow!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bento Booty

Apparently my new hobby has inspired co-workers, friends, and family as well. Nobody meant to coordinate gifts - but I had a very merry bento-themed Christmas! I guess nothing brings out the best in folks like an interest in food - because really, in a way, cooking is spiritual . . . and magical. Why else do we have such a fascination for good food? And good food is made better by sharing with good friends - so THANK YOU to everyone for the gifts! They were very thoughtful - and will be put to good use!

From the bento ring (it's probably closer to a sushi ring - but still SO KAWAII >.< !!! To the premium rice (grown in California - oddly enough), gourmet soy sauce, black laquer bento box with chopsticks, and special peeler (I always wondered how in the heck folks were getting such thin "stringy" veggie strips - my carrot peeler just wasn't cutting it . . . literally) -

To the beautiful sake set . . .

To the matching place settings for a fabulous dinner table!

Minna-san, ARIGATOU!! Kore ga dai suki desu. (To everyone, THANK YOU! I LOVE THEM!) I couldn't have asked for better gifts! Now I just need to buckle down and get back to my fabulous bento creations . . . because I have a feeling it will take a heck of a lot of work to fill that black lacquer box . . . but I'm going to try!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bento (48) - Return of the Aquarium Bento

After a week of light bento, it was time to challenge myself and do Take 2 of the hot dog crabs. This time I boiled the little critters . . . and they came out much much better! I'm still not happy with color, so I'll have to experiment with a different type of sausage/hot dog. But overall, these bentos turned out great! My last aquarium bento looked great . . . but tasted iffy - so this time I tried to include more quail eggs (fishies) and other yummies.

The purple fishies came out darker than I intended, but the carrot fis and tails worked perfectly. Grapes and strawberries were a kind of fishie egg nest . . . and carrot and cucumber stars were used for more color variety and accents. The little spiky urchin is a sugar candy that I found.

The fishies are decorated with nori strips (still not sure I like seaweed . . . I know! Sacriligeous!).

Goose starts winter break this week - and as he is going to a different BASE program, I think it is safest to send him with disposable lunches, since I'm not all that sure the bento boxes an such will return to me. Therefore, it may be a light bento week - we'll see how the mood strikes. Bento bento bento bento.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bento (47) - PB&J Monster

LOL! In the non-cute but sort of horrifying category . . . more cold PB&J! Don't ask. It started as an artistic arrangement - then I thought it might look better if I added eyes - and then it was too late to redo anything and I had to take Goose to school. PB&J Monster!

I used corn and strawberries as space fillers. The eyes are grape slices, and the white is leftover pepperjack cheese bits. The upper right is a handful of chedder and pretzel goldfish crackers (which Goose claims he likes but has never touched :P :P :P). Bottom right is strawberries and a grape.

My lunch was a chicken/avacado salad, strawberry/grape salad sprinkled with chedderjack cheese, accompanied by corn, a chicken leg, and mashed potatoes and gravy (the penguin is filled with extra gravy since I like . . . well . . . gravy.

T. had a similar bento with chicken/avacado salad and a small section of strawberry and chedderjack cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy topped with corn, and strawberry/grape salad with corn sprinkles for color. Oddly enough, T. forgot his bento . . . twice. Then I found it in the fridge and took it to work today (I ate the penguin bento yesterday). A co-worker asked if I would like to join her for lunch (prime rib at the Broker . . how could I turn that down?) - so I gifted my bento to another co-worker. For the first time in 14 years, the Broker ran out of prime rib (how's that for bento-karma?! :P :P :P I deserted my bento, so it wreaked food-havoc revenge!!!). However, the co-worker who got my bento became a bento convert (and may even get her own box for Christmas!) - so how's that for a happy ending?!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bento (46) - Kitty Food Picks!

I purchased some pre-made frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for goose (called Jams) which you are theoretically supposed to throw in the kids lunch, and by the time they eat the sandwich at lunch, it is supposed to be thawed and yummy. Goose has informed me that he doesn't like cold PB&J. :P :P :P Well I bought a whole box - so cold PB&J will continue to make an appearance here and there!

I also decided to try throwing in a handful of trail mix - which went over fairly well. Predictably, he ate all the chocolate and raisins - and most of the nuts. The rest of this bento was corn (easily identifiable yellow stuff) and chopped apple.

For my bento, I created a corn/pea/rice landscape with tangy chicken, the rest of the chopped up apple, and most importantly - blue kitty food picks! Those little food picks made a drab bento "pop" . . . and when I opened it at lunch, I couldn't help but smile. I love my food picks!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bento (45) - Ribeye Onigiri Kitty

Or at least it was supposed to be ribeye onigiri balls. I cut the ribeye into itty-bitty pieces to mix with the rice - thinking I would then moosh it all together to make cute little onigiri balls - but my rice refused to stick together! ACK! After 40 minutes of crumbling rice balls I just gave in and mooshed them into sort-of-shapes, then tacked on all the other goodies. Still . . . I'm proud of how they turned out.

Onigiri kitty (I think it looks vaguely Siamese - don't you?):

The left is frozen peas, pink heart jelly, tomatoes, and mandarin oranges. The right is egg corn-drops, frozen peas, and a holder with sauce (soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar).

I made a cute little bear for Goose - who took one look at the "meat" and promptly said: "I hate that." I forced him to eat a piece to ensure he hated it - which he spat in the trash. So, deciding the fight wasn't worth it - I let him have a school lunch today. I'll probably eat his bento tomorrow . . . heh.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bento (44) - Fancy PB&J

This was my idea for a well balanced meal for Goose today. It has protein, fruits, and vegetables - though I don't know why I bother with the veggies - since he won't touch them - no matter how cute they are! :P :P :P

I surrounded his PB&J with corn, peas, and tomatoes. The salad is mandarin orange/kiwi, and the little alien looking thing is half a boiled egg. After I dropped Goose at school I had to throw together my bento in 10 minutes or less . . . so this is what I came up with:

The main portion was thawed tangy chicken accompanied by rice and pea/corn flowers. The bottom level was leftover crab/avacado, the second half of Goose's egg with sesame seed garnish (my garnish skills are still sadly lacking), and mandarin orange/kiwi salad. The green leafy separators are, as usual, kale. (I ate the piece that had the crab/avacado salad, since it had been "contaminated" with lemon juice. Yummy! Side salad anyone?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bento (43) - Flower PB&J

So I've apparently been bitten by the bento lazy-bug (though as near as I can tell, anyone who plans to do daily bento for any length of time figures out how to cut corners and do it in 15 minutes or less - or they give up). I guess you could say I'm over the "honeymoon" stage - and now we find out if I have what it takes to be a real bento-mom!

Take this morning. I hit snooze a few times. Then T. finally got up and I mumbled something like: "What do you want in your bento? Crab? Soy beef? Popcorn?"

To which he replied: "It's a moot point, I have to leave in 6 minutes."

I sprang out of bed and had his lunch done in 3! HAH!

I didn't say it was spectacular . . . just that I got it done on time. (And maybe it really took 6 minutes, since I had to chop the avacado . . . ). The top level was mandarin oranges, edamame, and a car-shaped boiled egg, while he bottom is just avacado/crab salad drizzled with lemon juice and a kale garnish.

And Goose got a creative sandwich arrangement!

He was supposed to have a fishie-egg in the lower right-hand corner, but sadly - when I opened the fishie-mold, the fishie split into two halves, both of which had sealed themselves to the mold like superglue . . . and the yolk fell out. So rather than try my hand at reconstructing egg-salad fishie, I threw in some of the leftover soy beef. The rest is mandarin oranges, edamame, and a commercial fruit jelly.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bento (42) - Sams Club Surprise

I finally made it to the store . . . and the bento kitchen has been restocked. YAY!!!! >.< The main protein in this bento was Sams Club General Tsao's chicken, which is accompanied by a pink bunny filled with soy sauce, rice with decoraive edamae, and a kale seperator. The bottom is kiwi, tomotoes, and a new idea - artificial crab and pepper-jack cheese squares skewered by yellow fish and dolphin food picks. NUM!

You can make out the crab/cheese skewers better in T.'s bento. He has a cute turtle and a snifty purple and pink sea-snail pick.

And Goose actually requested a bento today. For the first time ever! YAY!!! Then again . . . maybe that means he likes storebought Sams Club food better than my cooking! Heh.

Bento (41) - Desperation Bento

This was the very last of my bento food supplies (okay - not really, I remembered later that I had some spaghetti sauce and frozen tortellini that could have made an appearance - but as I totally forgot about them, I don't think they count).

Leftover potato salad, Sweet Soy Beef (which I made last minute from a ribeye steak I meant to cook for dinner but didn't get around too), last of the rice, and edamame flowers (no corn for color . . . ::sigh::). The penguin (in mine) and the green kiwi (in T.'s) are holding a special sauce for the beef. The beef was marinated in oil, sake, and soy sauce and then the dipping sauce is made from sake, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. MmmmmmMMMMMMmmmmm.

Terrible, isn't it? I debated not posting . . . but it shows the importance of having a good variety of foods and color to work with . . . YIKES!