Monday, November 30, 2009

Bento (40) - Freezer Burn Survivor Bento

Over Thanksgiving, my fridge decided to try life as a freezer and introduced massive amounts of ice into my produce. Grrrrrrrrr. And as I didn't make it to the store over the weekend, this morning's bento was put together from freezer burn survivors. Freezer burn. In the FRIDGE.

Goose got a boring PB&J - though I used a cookie cutter to make it into a cute little flower shape and then cut the flower in half so it would fit in the box. The grapes survived their arctic tour - (as long as you didn't look too close) . . . . and the mandarin oranges were still floating in liquid instead of acting like frozen jello . . . so they made up the fruit salad. Luckily - chicken nuggets already live in the freezer, and I rounded out his box with fresh made potato salad with a ketchup flower (in the hopes that the ketchup would entice him to at least TRY the potato salad. It didn't >.< ) For myself and T. I raided the freezer and discovered I still had bacon-wrapped scallops. YUM! In retrospect, I would have flipped the fruit salad and the potato salad to better balance the white . . . but *eh* T. needed to bolt out the door.

It's amazing what a few pea and corn flowers can do to brighten up rice! And the bacon and potato salad were excellent together. I'll definitely have to make a note to make this combo again!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bento (39) - Las Vegas Slot Machine!

In honor of going to Las Vegas tomorrow (no new bentos until next week :P :P :P unless I get REALLY creative (and bored) over the Holiday) - I just had to make a slot machine bento!

It turned out surprisingly well - the only thing I would change is to cut the quail egg cherry in the lower right in half to make it look like it was appearing "on screen." Otherwise, the top is blueberries and mandarin oranges with two sauce holders filled with soy (my dumpling ran out . . . grrrrrr). The yellow accent and the yellow lemon are both cut from an omelet, the "cherries" are quail eggs dyed red with celery stems, and the dark lines are nori, topped with provolone cheese cut outs.

Goose had a rather boring bento - but as my refrigerator is on the fritz (double grrrrrrr) and froze half my ingredients, I was working with what I had. Goose got rice shapes, blueberries, peas, quail egg cherries, and mandarin oranges. Yum!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bento (38) - Potluck Soy Bunnies

This week was a little light on bento lunches - with a heavy bento session at the end! We had our Thanksgiving potluck today, and I decided to show off my mad bento skills and make soy bunny/edamame cupcakes and somen chickie swirls. Thanks to an HOA meeting, I started boiling eggs, etc. last night at 9:40 p.m. LOL! I got the somen swirls and edamame done last night, but had to get up at 5:15 a.m. to prepare the rest. Good news: I got lots of compliments - Bad News: hardly anyone tried them! (I had 14 out of 24 left!!!). Apparently people fear quail eggs. Fear the chickies! FEAR THEM!!!!

Close-up! The orange things in with the bunnies are carrots. The chickies were accompanied by somen, spaghetti sauce, peas, and corn.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bento (37) - Free Form Kitty Bento!

I decided to pull out all of Goose's compartments and attempt a free-form bento - and I was inordinately pleased with how it came out! Kitty bento!!!

The kitty ears and nose are ham, the eyes are provolone cheese and nori hole-punches, and the mouth is two nori smiles from my happy-face punch. The yellow and orange above the kitty's head is sweet potato/apple salad, the yellow heart is a commercial jelly, the green is edamame, the red are tomatos, and the bunnies to the right are soy bunnies with provolone ears and sesame seed eyes. I included a fish sauce holder filled with dumpling sauce for the rice.

And for me . . . I made my own bird nest bento! Yay soumen swirls!

The upper left is leftover fried pineapple rice from Tuk Tuk. The rest of the ingredients should be fairly recognizable. I received a lot of compliments on the chickies! Who can resist baby chickies?!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bento (36) - Soumen Swirl Bird Nests

I love Japanese noodles!!! These were awesomely easy to cook - and taste WONDERFUL. (Of course, I haven't sampled the finished product - I was just "testing" the noodles to make sure they were done before I attempted the "swirl." The actual recipe for this showed the noodles being topped by omelet cut-outs and cucumber. However, I had an excess of quail eggs - which got me thinking about chickies - which made the soumen into bird nests - and the next thing I knew - TA DAA!!! Soumen Swirl Bird Nests!

I filled the noodles with pre-cooked spaghetti sauce (mmmmMMMMMMmmmm) and topped with a few peas to add color. The upper right corner are dinosaur chicken nuggets (commercial) and the bottom right is kiwi. I ended up tossing in a piggy sauce-holder with ketchup right before sweeping out the door to Goose's school.

T.'s bento is a little to "free form" for my taste - but I only planned the first level - and then filled the second level with leftover potato/hamburger/corn casserole! The white slices to the right are banana - and then I threw in the carrots for color (and with some idea that they might add a little organization to the chaos.

I repeat - not all my ideas are good ones. LOL!

I LOVE how the bird nests turned out and plan on making my own bird nest bento tomorrow. MmmmmMMMMMMMmmmmm.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bento (35) - Sandwich Solutions

Alrighty . . . it's 10:30 at night, and my typing skills are going down-hill fast . . . so here was today's lunch.

T. had egg-salad sandwiches with grape fillers, kiwi/strawberry salad - and the ever unappetizing looking green bean casserole. Most of the crispy french onions have disintegrated into the cream of chicken soup at this point - making a nasty looking but extra-tasty goop!

Goose had PB&J sandwiches with carrot fillers, strawberry/grape salad, and a fishie egg.

I had chicken with mango salsa (I found the manga salsa at Sams) and green bean salad, followed by egg-salad sandwiches, strawberry/grape salad, and a single sad little carrot. I like how "slanting" the sandwiches turned out.

I have a few great ideas I want to try - but I haven't been able to haul myself out of bed in time to try them. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Jaa mata! (See you later.)

Bento (34) - Tangy Chicken with Extra Chicken

Sorry for falling behind on the bento posts . . . for those who don't know, I participate in NanoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) every November - the goal being to type 50,000 words from midnight on October 31 to midnight on November 30th. Mostly it means that November becomes a haze of caffeine related hallucinations . . . and I'm kind of amazed I haven't done anything crazy - like stick a watch in my bento. Heh!

T. informed me his co-workers are highly disturbed by food that has eyes - so I made extra sure to add a cute little chickie to his lunch! Red stuff is tangy chicken (quick recipe - cut up 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts into bite size pieces, coat with flour and salt and brown in a frying pan, combine with the following ingredients in a deep sauce pan: 2 cups of water, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 cups of ketchup, 4 sticks of chopped celery, one onion, and pepper to taste - simmer for 40 minutes. It should make enough to feed a small army :P :P :P). Fruit is grapes ad strawberry. White rice is topped with corn/pea flowers. My bento was very similar to T.'s - so I didn't post a picture.

Goose also got Tangy Chicken . . . though he only ate the rice, carrot toppers, and fruit. All the tnagy chicken and peas/corn were left. ::sigh::

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bento (33) - Texas Roadhouse Take 2

Today was a sad sad day for bento. I don't have a picture of T.'s bento (which is probably good, since I basically mashed his Texas roadhouse leftovers into the box, filled the empty space by mashing in a dinner roll, and called it good :P :P :P).

And Goose's lunch looked wonderful . . . only he didn't eat it ::sniffle::. He told me he "forgot" his lunch and his teachers wouldn't let him go back to the classroom, so he was FORCED to eat a school lunch (does this story sound suspicious to anyone else??) So Goose's bento went into the trash (while he threw a hysterical fit). ::sigh:: Goose had a mini-hamburger (cut in half), peas, corn, and grapes.

I saved 1/3 of my prime rib from the Texas Roadhouse (it looked like such a tiny amount that I almost didn't save it . . . but when I got around to eating lunch today, I couldn't believe how much prime rib I actually had - it just goes to show that plate sizes can REALLY make a difference when measuring your food). Apparently I'm going through a neatness phase where I like my food in orderly rows . . . although the corn fiesta look I had going in the second layer made me smile. The green in the top is avacado - all the red stuff is strawberry, and the panda, as usual, is holding dumpling sauce (which I prefer over soy).

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bento (32) - Rolling with Sams Club

I would love to take credit for the beautiful sandwich wraps, but thought I best fess up right away that these are pre-cooked store-bought Sams club rolls. And they were as delicious as they looked - I highly recommend them! The chicken and peppers are also from Sams - though I chopped the strawberries and grapes myself - so that counts, right? The white fluff with a carrot top is my usual favorite potato salad (with cucumber, peas, and corn). Nummy!

Since I couldn't figure out how to best display the rolls in the boys' bentos, I finally turned to my handy food picks to add a little cuteness and color. I ended up pulling the blue kitties out of Goose's lunch after the photo and putting them in mine (Goose is only 5 after all! - and the kitties are the super-small picks. I don't think he would choke on them - but better safe than sorry!)

Then, in true bento madness style, I remembered one of my co-workers had mentioned that she would love if someone made her a bento sometime . . . and as I had a surplus of Sams materials on hand, I decided TODAY was THE DAY! Let's hear it for a FOUR bento morning!!!

And believe it or not - when she finished, she actually leaned back and said "I'm stuffed! How do you get all that food in that little box?"


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bento (31) - Dominoes!

Believe it or not - these bentos are essentially leftover Dominoes Pizza (surrounded by peas) and their trademark Chicken Kickers. The fruit is kiwi, and the brightly colored plastic things are sauce containers holding ranch and/or hot-sauce for the Kickers. The boys' bentos turned out so well that I decided I wanted to stick with a square format (versus my two oval two-tier boxes) - so I built mine in a square tupperware container.

It took me roughly 10 minutes per box . . . A NEW RECORD!!! I sacrificied a little pizza space to make room for potato salad - which was well worth the sacrifice. However, I think I actually managed to over-cutify my lunch. I had to stare at it for about 3 minutes before I could bear to eat it. And that little penguin stared right back! KAWAII!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bento (30) - Inside Out Sandwiches

Okay - these sounded a lot cuter than they turned out, but I think with a little weekend practice, I can still turn these into one of my best ideas. Here was my first shot at "inside out" sandwiches (i.e., the bread is in the middle). I took the bread, spread mayo and mustard on as usual, and then placed a piece of provolone cheese over the mayo/mustard before wrapping the whole of it in a slice of ham which had a shape cut out with a cookie cutter. I think the trick to these might be to adjust the ham slice to the exact size of the bread and then hold the whole thing together with a nori strip or some such . . . as I said - a work in progress! Of course, if the ham doesn't surround the bread, I suppose it's an "open face" sandwich rather than an "inside out" sandwich. Details! Details!

The sammiches were accompanied by mandarin orange/blueberry salad and ever-nummy cucumber/potato salad (which Goose didn't touch, of course!). T.'s bento has some bacon wrapped scallops for additional protein.

I finished up the boys' bentos and went to make mine . . . only the second container of ham had a distinct "past the freshness" smell to it! AAAARRGGGGHHHHH. So while I took Goose to school I frantically brainstormed a quick carb filler for me. Instead of sammiches I filled my bottom level with brown rice, mushrooms (sauteed in butter and wine), and a pink bunny sauce holder filled with soy sauce. The orange are the leftover outlines from when I stamp carrot stars - not the most attractive - but I was working to bento in under 5 minutes with scraps! I added two extra scallops to my bento as a consolation prize, and called it good.