Monday, December 20, 2010

Bento (118) - Mish Mash Bento

Applebees tequila lime chicken leftovers meet stir-fry vegetables and sweet potato/apple salad in a random bento madness. This bento proves the importance of food picks in adding cuteness to random configurations of food. Kawaii!

Bento (117) - Kamaboko Bunnies Meet the Apple Barricade

Top left is kamaboko bunnies with sesame seed eyes, green objects are apples, blue kitty is hanging out in sweet potato/apple salad, and the bottom is udon noodles with carrot and onion. A few broccoli pieces were tossed in for extra color and to keep the kamaboko bunnies from falling over sideways - since they weren't being very cooperative and were doing rude things with their ears. Sauce container has soup base for extra flavoring. MmmmmmmMMmm.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bento (116) - Flower Bento

I gave myself flowers for lunch. Om nom nom!! Top level is edamame, carrot slices, soy bunnies, and a kiwi/mandarin orange salad. Sadly, my cheese was sporting green fuzzies, so the ears are actually carved from fishcake - which wasn't quite as nommy as swiss cheese. ::sniffle::

Bottom level is udon noodles with sauteed onion and carrot, and a kamaboko flower with carrot center. The kiwi sauce holder has more udon soup base.

I also discovered that the prior fuzzy photos were due to *cough* Goose fingerprints on my camera lens. Nothing like downloading photos from your camera and discovering at least 12 pictures of your child squinting at the flash. LOL!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bento (115) - Teriyaki Chicken

Now that I know how to make teriyaki sauce, I eat it entirely too often. No regrets! None! The top level is my lovely panko-encrusted chicken accompanied by kiwi/blackberry salad. The bottom is stir-fry veggies, rice, and a pickled plum.

There is no sauce holder since I prefer more of a teriyaki soup and needed a large container :P

Bento (114) - Impulse Bento Box

I visited the Pacific Mercantile to replenish my soy sauce supply (try saying that three times fast!) - when I noticed a new shipment of bento boxes had arrived. Needless to say, I lost all willpower and found an absolutely kawaii (cute) bento box in my basket at checkout.

It's not the best photo . . . I blame the halogen lights at work. Plus, the box is a deep mahogany and highly reflective.

I immediately went back to the office and my co-workers got a unique chance to watch me talk to myself while scouring the fridge for any items I could add for color (unfortunatley, I didn't find any :( not even ketchup :( ). The colors may be a little bland, but it's not bad for a non-planned five-minute prep bento!

Top level is blackberry and kiwi salad, and the bottom level is noodles and beef with sweet soy broth. I threw a blackberry with kiwi "Leaves" on the noodles for a little added color. Really, I would have liked some red or yellow (maybe a scattering of corn?) - but it seemed a little too much trouble to photoshop it in :P

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bento (113) - Random Cranberry Art

My HR Manager begged me to participate in this year's potluck at work. Not having much energy or time (still caring for a sick kitty!) I decided I could handle bringing cranberry gel. Yes . . . the canned kind :P :P :P

However, my sadly neglected bento skills cried out with a sudden vengeance . . . and somehow my alphabet and flower cookie cutters slid into the bag . . .

Apparently everyone was afraid to eat the letters, so at the end of the potluck, someone helpfully rearranged them to read "Pinkish hat nog."

Happy Pinkish Hat Nog, everyone!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bento (112) - Halloween Cupcakes

Okay - these probably don't qualify as bento . . . but I wanted to show them off anyway. I managed to scrape together enough energy to make some cupcakes for the potluck at work. I'm glad I didn't try the werewolf cupcakes I was thinking of - I would have been up until 2 am instead of 11 pm :P :P :P

Close up of the bat:

The bats would have been much cuter if I could "notch" their wings. However, the type of cookie I was using crumbled with alarming frequency . . . so after destroying 14 sets of wings by trying to add further detail, I gave up and settled for cutting the cookies in half.

Close up of the spider:

The spiders were fun and easy to make . . . except for applying 8 little sprinkle legs to each. Yikes!

Close up of the starry sky (with full moon!):

Easy to make - and great as a background for other things (like bats!). I bought blue decorative sugar and a shaker of "pearls" - mixed the two together in a bowl, and gently rolled a frosted cupcake in the mixture. Press on a yellow M&M for the moon and - voila! starry sky!!

Unfortunately, this has been a bad year for the fuzzies . . . much of my absence from blogging is due to caring for sick kitties. My apologies and hope to be back on schedule within a few months. I miss my bentos more than anyone else! LOL! So does my middle - I think I've gained a few pounds :P :P :P

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bento (111) - Mama Bunny and Radish Flowers!!

I always thought that radish flowers would be difficult. Turns out, they're one of the easiest things ever!! You simply cross-hatch the top with a paring knife and then make two straight slices on each side (all four corners . . . if radishes had corners . . . ) then soak in cold salted water until they open. Whee!

I also decided to try the usual treatment I give my miniature quail eggs on a full-size chicken egg - which is how I got Mama Bunny. Mama Bunny was delicious - but also took half a cup of soy sauce :P Might have to figure out some use for slightly contaminated soy so I'm not throwing out all the sauce . . . hmmmmm.

Bottom level was fried noodles with sauteed onions and carrot flowers. And the lettuce garnishes provided a perfect salad at the end of my meal!

Om nom nom.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bento (110) - Panko Chicken!

What is panko? Panko is breadcrumbs. Just breadcrumbs. But super-nummy-fluffy-crunch-fried chicken breadcrumbs. I will now always have a box of panko hiding somewhere on my shelves.

I decided to add more veggies to my diet, so a forest of stir-fry veggies replaced some of the space I normally use for rice. And I used leftover veggies to separate the fried chicken pieces. Fruit is strawberries with cheese stars. I brought my teriyaki sauce in a separate container, since I like more of a teriyaki soup, and the standard sauce holders weren't quite big enough.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bento (109) - Soy Bunnies in a Field of Edamame

Soy bunnies! Edamame! Not as much protein as I would like in this bento, but it was super nommy. Top level was the standard apple/sweet potato salad and some leftover noodles (and sweet soy sauce). Bottom level was a trio of soy bunnies and edamame in the shells - topped with carrot flowers. I didn't have time to take the photo as I rushed out of the house - so I took a photo at work (which is why the background is a mahogany table . . . :P). And I just noticed one of the bunny ears wasn't straight. Too late to fix it now!

Bento (108) - Noodles N' Beef

Top level is beef in sweet soy sauce (why yes - it is one of my favorites) garnished with lettuce and accompanied by noodles and a kawaii pink bear food pick. >.< Bottom level is apple/sweet potato salad and yogurt topped with mandarin oranges.

Bento (107) - New Kitty Welcome Bento

No - I have not forgotten about my blog. I finally decided to get a new kitty (after losing my small black tortie in February). Unfortunately, new kitty came with kennel cough, antibiotics, and a thicker instruction manual than the one that came with my cell phone. Her presence did inspire me to try making a black kitty charaben. Not too bad for my first try . . .

Objects above the kitty are a boiled egg cut in half and topped with carrot stars. Kitty is made out of nori and cheese. Top right is apple/sweet potato salad. Bottom right is avacado dipped in salt water to prevent discoloration and a container of rice vinegar with a dash of salt to soften the flavor.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bento (106) -Panda in a Cucumber Forest

What can I say? I liked how the title sounded - even if it isn't quite accurate . . . but I may have to try making a cucumber forest shortly! Top left is slices of cucumber and slices of roast chicken. Bottom is rice topped with cucumbers and accented with a panda soy sauce holder. Top right is grape/kiwi salad topped with cheddar jack cheese stars, and bottom is potato salad with pickled plum. YUM!

On an unrelated (or sort of related) side note - I went to Applebees with Goose - and when it came time to tuck our leftovers away, I realized they had given me a small white box and pretty food. SQUEE! So I attractively arranged my leftovers :P :P :P And other ways to annoy family and friends. Heh.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bento (105) - Beef Bowl!

Okay - maybe this doesn't exactly qualify as a bento - but while staring at the scraps in my fridge, it suddenly dawned on me that I had the ingredients to try making gyudon (beef bowl) - except for dashi. But since dashi generally makes me nauseous, I thought I could try substituting soup broth and see how it came out.

In went my leftover teriyaki sauce, 3/4 an onion, my substitute soup base, and some thinly cut rib-eye steak . . . and then I remembered the leftover carrot stars in the fridge. Tee hee!

Om nom nom!

Yes. I need professional help.

Bento (104) - Teriyaki Chicken - Complete with Yellow Monkey

Why yes - the golden raspberries and carrot/cucumber salad look awful familiar. . . .

But LOOK! Is that a monkey?! Squee! Seriously - nothing improves your day like opening your lunch and finding a cute yellow monkey staring back at you.

Right side was teriyaki chicken and rice with carrot toppers. The kiwi container had additional teriyaki sauce for the the rice.

Bento (103) - Ponyo Likes HAM!!!!!

Why yes, I did actually say "Ponyo Likes HAM!!!" when making this bento - which was fabulously tasty and super-easy! I highly recommend scribbling this one down for your 5 minutes or less bento list.

The top left is golden raspberries and a single cherry tomato. Top right is chopped up cucumber and carrots (I used the scraps from when I cut out stars earlier this week - I think I got three or four side salads out of 1 carrot and 1 cucumber >.<) I soaked them in a salad dressing that was mostly vinegar, mirin, and salt (if I remember) - so they had a slightly pickled flavor by lunch. YUM! Bottom was cubed ham and two cherry tomatoes, separated by lettuce leaves to make it prettier.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bento (102) - Golden Raspberries

I was walking through the supermarket when a package of golden raspberries caught my eye. Squee! They had to come home with me.

Today's bento was beef with sweet soy broth (with spinach garnish), udon noodles, commercial jelly surrounded by golden raspberries, and a carrot/cucumber salad with vinegar dressing - on a bed of spinach.

Om nom nom!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bento (101) - Egg Fu Yong

Bento experiment Egg Fu Yong . . . verdict . . . success! It may look a little odd, but more than made up for it's bizarre scrambled egg appearance in sheer tastiness! I shamelessly experimented on a co-worker, and the verdict was unanimous. Top level is imitation crab over avacado slices with a side of sweet potato/apple salad and ever cute blue kitty food picks. Bottom is egg fu yong over rice topped with fishie soy containers. What's in egg fu yong, you ask?

Glad you asked - gives me a good reason for the close-up! Egg, imitation crab, green onions, pea pods (sliced up), soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar. And don't forget to garnish with a green giraffe. It's hard to find a substitute if you don't have a green giraffe . . .

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bento (100) - HAPPY Fishcake Flower

It may not be spectacular - but somehow, I was VERY pleased with my 100th bento. It made me smile just after I created it . . . and when I opened my bento at lunch, I was suddenly transported to a place of supreme joy and tranquility. So it may not look like much . . . but I loved it anyway >.< YAY!

Left is a piece of naruto fishcake and a peapod, split in half, on rice. The three red items are cheese stuffed tomatos . . . although the little white chunks in the middle one are leftover naruto from a failed slice. Upper right is corn-drop eggs with one of the tomato tops and some leftover pea slices for leaves. Bottom right is grapes and a manufacture/store bought mini-jelly (JELLO).

Happy 100!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bento (99) - Leftover Casserole

I mean really . . . there is no way to make casserole "cute" - so I went with "appetizing" instead. :P :P :P And then I dressed up my asparagus spears with two quail egg chickies. Tee hee! The chickies are sitting next to a mango/cherry salad (courtesy of my frozen fruit bag), and I used the remainder of the asparagus to add a little color to my leftover potato casserole. Add half a cherry tomato for garnish . . . and voila!

I've been racking my brain for what to do for my 100th bento (since it seems a tradition to do something spectacular) . . . . and sadly . . . I haven't been able to decide on anything. Bento 100 may not be all that spectacular . . . . but if so - a belated 100th bento will make an appearance - as soon as inspiration strikes. Jaa mata!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bento (98) - Sweet Soy Beef - An Offering to Prevent Interoffice Conflict

I guess many folks have been wondering what my bentos taste like. When I gifted Coworker A with a bento on Wednesday, Coworker B was so excited for her, I had to surprise Coworker B with a bento on Friday. Of course . . . Coworker B got soy bunnies . . . . so now I think Coworker A is jealous. And thus, the vicious inner politics of bento-ing in the workplace. LOL!

Top level is strawberry yogurt topped with blueberries and soy bunnies sitting on carrot/daikon radish salad. (More about that below . . . ). Bottom level is udon noodles and sweet soy beef, with extra sweet soy sauce in the sauce holder. I topped the beef with half a grape tomato.

I kept wondering why my bento had so little room for the noodles - and then I realized I had messed up the order and filled the smaller top with beef and noodles instead of the bottom - which already had bunnies and yogurt. LOL.

Confession regarding the carrot and daikon radish salad . . . . this was my first time using a kinpira peeler - and I think I failed. For some reason, my vegetables came off in large square strips with "indents" that I could tear apart . . . but I had to separate them strand by strand. I think this is akin to someone being idiotic enough to fail using a carrot peeler. There really is no other way to do it . . . so I'm not sure why it didn't work. Or maybe it's supposed to work that way - only I have a hard time imagining professional restaurants producing mass quantities of veggies and pulling apart their strands one by one. Further experimentation will be necessary! Onward and downward!

Bento (97) - Teriyaki Beef

Gommenasai ne! I've decided to cancel Comcast and no longer have Internet at my residence - which means I am forced to make many trips to the local coffee shop and will have to update my blog in batches. >.<

Wednesday's lunch was teriyaki beef with fresh-made teriyaki sauce. I had enough leftovers to make two bentos - so I did! And bestowed my second bento upon a co-worker. She told me it was very tasty, but she could have eaten twelve of them. Lol! Guess I've just adjusted my stomach to bento-size portions. One is enough for me! Top level is sweet potato/apple salad accompanied by blueberry/strawberry salad. Bottom level is teriyaki beef, rice, asparagus, tomato, and teriyaki sauce (in the sauce holder).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bento (96) - Turkey Rolls Accompanied by Green Giraffe

The giraffe was probably overkill, but I couldn't resist since I finally found a bento where he seemed to fit in. Tee hee. Today's bento was peach yogurt with blueberries, tomato and turkey skewers, apple and sweet potato salad (nommy!), and rice with pickled plum. Green is a lettuce separator. I ran out of honey and used maple syrup on the apple/sweet potato salad for an American touch. It worked out quite well. I will definitely do that again!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bento (95) - Fishcake Bunnies!!

Another five minute bento! Top left is kamaboko bunnies with black sesame seed eyes. The orange sauce container is holding soy for the rice and bunnies. Top right is frozen mango and cherry salad (I've found using the frozen fruit helps keep them "in stock" - and as they thaw, the juices flow down and mingle the flavors.) The rice is topped with cheese flowers and peas for some quick decoration.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bento (94) - Corned Beef

And at long last - I advance to bento level 3 . . . now that I have conquered the art of attractively arranging meat! MU HA HA. Okay . . . I probably can't consistently reproduced the cuteness, but I did at last finally get an attractive meat-bento!

Left side is rice, lettuce, corned beef (cut into slices - and attractively arranged >.<) with carrot, cabbage, and cilantro flower. Far back right is kamaboko stuffed with pickled plum (will have to carve out more room for the pickled plum next time - but this was nommy!) and lower right is mango, kiwi, and half a cherry.

Om nom nom nom om.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bento (93) - Fried Soba and Other Things that Make Me go Squee!

What can I say? I love cute food! The only thing I would change in this bento was adding cilantro "trees" where the wasabi peas were filling some awkward holes by the sauce container. Unfortunately, I didn't have cilantro. LOL!

Bottom level is soba noodles (fried with onion, carrot, 2 Tbs of Hon Tsuyu soup stock, and 2 Tbs of water) topped with red kamaboko slices. The top level is cucumber and carrots cut into flower shapes, and a small silicone cupcake holder with mango and a red cherry heart (slightly mangled). The red watermelon container holds additional Hon Tsuyu sauce, and I used wasabi peas to fill the extra space.

And in other news . . . I dropped by Pacific Mercantile to pick up some Pocky and other treats for a get-together with some friends . . . and found . . .


Little chadango erasers! SQUEE!!! I tried to resist the compulsion to buy . . . but the tea cup . . . look at the tea cup! Kawaii!! >.<
I'm not sure what the two items wrapped in leaves are (one is a dark green leaf around something white - the other is a light green leaf around ham/spam(?) with sweet bean filling (?)) . . . if you know their name, please let me know! I'd love to try them sometime.

Yes. I need professional help.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bento (92) - Fun with Rainbow Mochi . . .

MMmmmmMMMMmmmmm. I love rainbow mochi. My recent bentos have been missing their "cuteness factor" - so I decided rainbows and pink bunnies were in order, with a side of soy bunnies and a fishie egg. >.<

The fishie is being protected from two frozen cherries by a barrier of flower-shaped cucumbers. I'm not sure why the cherries turned out black on film - they were actually a brilliant red.

The edamame were slightly wrinkled, but they were also the last of my edamame. ::sniffle:: I sense another trip to the Pacific Mercantile approaching rapidly!

Bento (91) - Gyoza

This bento becomes much more impressive when I mention I put it together in under 10 minutes. The bottom is still lacking . . . color. A few furikake sprinkles or chopped up carrots would have helped! Oh well. Top level is imitation crab over avacado with a kiwi/rasberry salad. Bottom level is rice with a Japanese pickled plum, 3 gyoza, and a penguin sauce holder propped up with a raspberry.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bento (90) - And Now for More Crab and Avacado . . .

Helllloooooo, Bento Blog! I promise I haven't forgotten you. With the first day of summer, Goose decided to fall and break his arm. :( Luckily it was only a hairline fracture. The cast is off and he is back to normal, but there were a few trips to the doctor that were quite necessary. There were a multitude of other time eaters . . . a trip to Las Vegas included . . . but now I'm back! I promise! (Though I keep sleeping through my alarm . . . which is not good for bento making).

Yesterday's lunch was crab and avacado, kept separate by artificial sushi grass. Top is rasberries with swiss cheese flowers. Don't ask me why the swiss cheese is reflective. I ate it anyway. >.<

Bottom is carrot stars with a silicone cupcake holder of balsamic vinegar. Not as color coordinated as ranch, but much better for me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bento (89) - Chicken Fingers from Black-Eyed Pea

Is it frightening that I built my bento out of 1/8 of my dinner? I love Black-Eyed Pea - but they give you five chicken fingers, two sides, rolls, cornbread, and dipping sauce. My bento is half the rice, once chicken finger (cut up), a few stir-fry veggies added from the freezer, and a mandarin orange/cherry flower. The kiwi sauce holder has leftover honey mustard dipping sauce. MmmmmmmmMMMMMMmmmm.

I'm still horrified. The entire bottom level was filled with ONE chicken finger. ONE. And they normally give you FIVE! For the curious - green is peas, orange is carrots, red is bell pepper and white is water chestnut. Not my best bento :) Not my worst bento :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bento (88) - All American Leftovers

Attractive arrangement of turkey leftovers - FAIL! If I have one bento weakness, it seems to be arranging meat attractively. ::sigh:: On the bright side, I chose to heat my turkey (and pepper jack cheese squares) in the microwave . . . and fresh roasted turkey with hot pepper jack cheese is NOMMY! Upper right is corn and peas with pickled plums in the center. Lower right is sweet potatoes drenched in melted marshmallows and sugar. YUM!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bento (87) - Jalapeno Poppers and Pot Roast

Desperation bento!!! Top level is strawberry/blackberry salad with jalapeno poppers (cut in half). Bottom level is pot roast with a side of rice and a pickled plum. Not sure how the flavor combination was on this one . . . but it certainly was filling!

Goose just graduated Kindergarten and I've almost completed my personal writing challenge (30,000 words in the month of May) - so with any luck, you'll see an increase in my bento output over the summer. Then again . . . warm weather, lazy days, long walks, and playing with Goose might actually mean a decrease! LOL! We'll have to see how it goes.

Bento (87) - Lasagna Leftovers

Yet another bento pulled together from random leftovers. I sliced the lasagna square in half and filled the gap with peas to make it a little more decorative. Top right is strawberry and blackberry salad. Bottom right is . . . vanilla pudding with a pickled plum (and a silicone cupcake holder to keep the flavors from mixing . . . because . . . because . . . ewww!).

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bento (86) - Blue Kitties Explore Frozen Rice

I've never been sure if freezing rice actually works. Part of me harbored the suspicion that when you unfreeze it, it retains some sort of undercooked texture. But today I took a deep breath, opened the freezer, and pulled out my experimental frozen rice.

Much to my surprise, the thawed out rice was wonderfully soft and still flavorful. YAY! Next time I make a batch of rice, I'll have to put it in 1-2 serving size ziploc bags. The rest of the bento is tangy chicken, lettuce divider, strawberry/blackberry salad, and peas and corn as toppers.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bento (85) - Mochi Chicks

And . . . fun with mochi continues! The left is a frozen Jams PB&J (and the most attractive presentation I've come up with for this yet! YAY!). Top right are two quail egg chicks sitting on corn and peas, and half a MOCHI! Lower right is two frozen cherries floating in yogurt. Oddly enough, Goose didn't touch the yogurt . . . hmmmmm.

Bento (84) - Mochi Madness

Today's bento was Pizza Hut leftovers meet soy bunnies and mochi. It's a cross-cultural experience >.< I sliced the mochi in half (mochi is a sticky rice ball stuffed with red beans - for those who aren't familiar with it). The white powder is flour . . . not powdered sugar! My Japanese teacher used to bring mochi in as a special prize. The first four or five times I had it, I wasn't even sure I liked it! Then after graduation I had the worst mochi cravings . . . and no idea where to buy it! Which is why I now indulge in my mochi habit whenever the mood strikes me. Soy bunnies are sitting on peas. Lower right is yogurt topped with banana slices (which have been dipped in lemon juice to keep them white).

My bento was almost the same - except I have Spaghetti Factory noodles instead of Pizza Hut. Now that I'm looking at the picture - I should have added some corn or carrot to the peas for a splash of color. Though that means we would have been yet another 5 minutes late to Goose's school. LOL!.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bento (83) - A Conglomerate of Leftovers

I would love to take credit for the lovely carrot/raisin/pineapple salad - but it came from Chick-fil-A. :P The rest of the top is filled with a boiled egg, sliced, on a bed of almonds. The lower level is pork lo mein leftovers, accented with edamame and asparagus, and garnished with a slice of naruto style fishcake.