Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bento (173) - Three-Topping Bento with Roasted Pineapple

Sorry for the slew o' posts.  As you can probably tell, I fell behind in posting (if not in making :P) my bentos over the last two weeks.  It's the return of the three-topping bento accompanied by roasted pineapple/dried cherry salad, sweet simmered mushrooms, and mini-mochi!

 For J.'s bento, I used tomato salad mixed with chopped basil and shiso leaves. Since I ran out of peas for the three-topping portion, I substituted chopped zucchini.

My bento supplies were running low which forced me to use the two yellows (pineapple and eggs), but I think using the dried cherries to "break up" the color scheme helped slightly.  You laugh, dear bento reader . . . but I actually do think of my foods in color groups.  :P

Bento (172) - Spaghetti with Pepper Stars

The morning I made this bento, I woke up exhausted and told Goose he was going to have to take a Lunchable, because mommy was too tired to bento.  He looked at me with wide eyes and said "But, Mommy, I don't have any Lunchables."  (Of course, now I'm wondering if I should admit to occasionally feeding my child Lunchables on a bento blog . . . . but ::shrug:: I guess the damage has been done.  No one is perfect interwebs.  No one.  :P).  Long story short, I was overjoyed to find Olive Garden leftovers in the fridge . . . and for a five minute bento, I must admit this one came out quite nicely.

I used a small shaped veggie cutter to punch out the sweet pepper stars.  Upper right is more pepper stars and a cup of mini-mochi.  Lower right is grape/blueberry salad.  I take no credit for the spaghetti.  Olive Garden makes awesome spaghetti.  Oh!  One nice bento tip . . . lining the container with lettuce leaves nicely protected the white plastic from spaghetti stains. :)

Bento (171) - Egg Salad Sandwich Bento

This bento was a twist on the ham sandwich bento I discovered this summer.  Instead of a ham sandwich, I creatively used egg salad.  Ok . . . ok . . . it may not win any awards, but give the lady an "A" for effort!  :)

Upper right is blueberry/raspberry salad and lower right is chopped pickled garlic and an orange sweet bell pepper.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bento (170) - Panko Encrusted Chicken Bits

Behold!  Artfully arranged leftovers from a teriyaki bowl dinner.  :)    I gave Goose some white rice, steamed veggies (zucchini, squash, and broccoli), and panko encrusted chicken bits that were fried in oil for extra yummy goodness.  The piggy sauce holder has teriyaki sauce to be poured over all the aforementioned items.

Top right is cooked carrots with a cheese star (gouda . . . if I'm not mistaken), and bottom right is grape/blueberry salad.

I am sad to announce the loss of one of my panda food picks.  He lived a good life, but suffered a run in with the garbage disposal.  He will be missed.  :(

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bento (169) - Egg Foo Yong

Today's bento was Egg Foo Yong.  What it lacks in cuteness it makes up for in FLAVOR!  ::drool::  It's basically eggs, artificial crab, green onions, and pea pods (or if you're a super-lazy bento artist like me . . . . peas run under cold water to defrost them), soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar all scrambled and poured over rice.  Top right corner was raspberry/blueberry salad and bottom right corner was sweet potato and apple salad (both are boiled in sugar water until soft and then lightly glazed with honey or maple syrup).  Yum!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bento (168) - Lemon Pepper Tilapia and Noodles 'Cause . . . Leftovers

Sooooo. . . . since I've determined to stop whining about my cruddy week -- I was gored by a hippopotamus, and I'm very very very sorry this post is late :)

Goose had ham sandwich bento (yes, it has become a staple) with strawberry/grape salad, cooked carrots, and a mini-cupcake holder of mini-mochi.  YUM!  He actually ate the ENTIRE THING!!!  (Except the sushi grass . . . because that's not edible.)  O.O

J. and I had variations on the same theme . . . except instead of "ham sandwich" we had lemon-pepper tilapia leftovers over noodles.  I should have stuffed a lettuce leaf or some cilantro between the fish and noodles to add some greenery . . . but I am still clinging to this silly idea that getting to work on time is a good idea . . . :P

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bento (167) - Lemon Pepper Tilapia

Believe it or not, I've been trying to make this post since Monday.  O.o  The interwebs briefly deserted my home, but a new wireless router has once again opened the floodgate to more adorable food!

Monday's bento was lemon-pepper tilapia fillets on a bed of lightly pickled (a/k/a rubbed with salt and left alone for five minutes) cucumber slices and brown rice.  Upper left is cherry tomato/pickled garlic/sweet bell pepper salad, and upper right is strawberry and grape fruit salad.  Of course, using tomatoes and strawberries made my bento rather . . . red . . . which is why I added a solid line of yellow bell peppers to make things a little more appetizing to the eye.  :)

Goose has a chickie sauce holder filled with ranch for dipping his bell pepper slices.  :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Bento (166) - Imitation Crab and Avocado Bento

Friday's bento was imitation crab and avocado chunks lightly tossed in lemon juice.  Goose even ate his avocado.  O.O  Since Goose is normally not fond of green things, I included a helping of brown rice to make sure he would have a little extra variety.  Upper right is miniature mochi-bits (I'm pretty sure all the white dusting is solid preservatives :P) with a soy-soaked quail egg to add extra protein.  Bottom right is pickled garlic and and a whole sweet pepper.

I only had one extra quail egg, so I left it out of my bento.  For J.'s bento and my bento, I added a split boiled chicken egg (also soaked in soy sauce!) and added leftover fajita vegetables to help hold the egg in place.  Bizarre bento tips for folks . . . the more you chop something up into smaller bits, the easier it is to stuff in small spaces and arrange.  I actually had quite a bit of difficulty attractively arranging the pickled garlic since the pepper is a firm item and doesn't exactly . . . . squish.  :P


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bento (165) - Alien Sheep-Cakes


I didn't even intend to make a bento this morning.  Then I realized I had brown rice . . . and two quail eggs . . . and ten minutes . . . and I thought to myself I can do this in ten minutes!  I'll be honest -- it took fifteen.  :P But if you're wondering why the horns are a little sloppy and there are no mouths on my fluffy brown rice sheep . . . now you know the sad sad truth.  The sheep-cakes are brown rice with a quail egg pressed in the center.  (I soak the quail eggs in soy sauce to make them brown.)  The horns are cheese (hand carved in a hurry) and the eyes are punches of nori.  Yes, I do have the little smiley face hole punchers.  :P  In retrospect, I probably should have gone with simple circles to keep them from looking like little aliens, but what the hey!  Upper right is a Del Monte fruit cup deposited directly from the can into my bento.  The pink is a mini-cupcake holder with an umiboshi (pickled plum) in the center.  Bottom right is the last of the leftover sweet simmered mushrooms topped with carrot stars.  I ended up using the mushrooms to flavor the brown rice . . . so it turns out I didn't even need the piggie holder filled with soy sauce. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bento (164) - Three-Topping Onigiri Bento

Today's bento was onigiri with three different toppings: sweet simmered mushroom, salted cucumber, and shrimp stolen from a pre-made cocktail platter (MU HA HA!).  The shrimp onigiri almost looked like little hearts . . . though the flavor was a bit bland.  I will probably add a drop or two of cocktail sauce in the center next time.  The cucumber onigiri was a pleasant surprise.  Salty and vinegary, crisp and refreshing.  Highly recommended.   Bottom level was a mandarin orange/dried cherry salad, and a soy bunny on edamame.  (Soy bunny is a quail egg soaked in soy sauce and topped with cheese ears and sesame seed eyes).

Since Goose has been showing an aversion to green things, I left the cucumber onigiri out of his bento.  Oddly enough, today he ate the onigiri and the mushrooms, but left the fruit, carrot stars, and edamame.  O.o  I have an odd kid.

My bento was the same as J's, but I tore up a shiso leaf (a Japanese strain of mint) to use as a separator.  I'm not sure whether it significantly added to the overall cuteness, but when one of my rice balls crumbled, it made a handy wrapper for the excess rice.  :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bento (163) - Return of the Blue Kitty Food Pick

Today's bento is beef marinated in sweet soy broth (leftovers!  :P) accompanied by rice topped with sweet simmered mushrooms, carrot flowers, and sprinkles of cilantro.  The top level is more sweet simmered mushrooms, edamame, and a mandarin orange/dried cherry salad.

I sent Goose to summer camp with a ham sandwich AND a blue kitty food-pick.  ::squeee:  You knew it was only a matter of time before the return of the blue kitty food pick.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bento (162) - Steak Marinated in Sweet Soy Broth and Topped with Cilantro

Monday's bento was steak marinated in sweet soy broth (which is also poured over the noodles as a yummy sauce), then topped with cilantro taken from my herb garden.  All the sauce containers (including the piggy) have additional sweet soy broth (no cilantro for Goose, since he has that weird genetic thing that makes it taste like soap.)  Top level is store-bought potato salad with an umiboshi (pickled plum) and bottom level is grape/blueberry salad.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Bento (161) Sweet Simmered Mushroom Rice Balls

One week into bento revival and I've already fallen behind on posting.  :P  Friday's bento was largely a compilation of leftovers.  The rice balls are "shiny" because I was experimenting with using saran wrap to help shape the rice balls and hold on toppings.  The left is sushi rice topped with a sweet simmered mushroom cap, the right (with the little animal face) is rice stuffed with leftover soboro.  Middle is grapes cut in half and bottom is a lovely salad J. makes that uses peppers, celery, and cucumbers instead of lettuce.  The sauce holder has Italian dressing. 

On reflection, I realized this bento didn't have much protein.  I didn't find myself getting hungry mid-afternoon, but I probably should have filled the grape-cup with scrambled eggs (which would have added some great color) - and then squished grapes in the empty spaces around the rice balls.  Ah well.  Live and learn.  J's bento was slightly different with a pepper and blueberries instead of grapes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bento (160) - Three Topping Bento

This is a fairly traditional soboro-type bento with ground hamburger (flavored with soy, mirin, sake, sugar, etc.), snap peas (to replace greenbeans, since J. isn't all that fond of green beans), and eggs (with sugar, dashi, and salt to add flavoring) all over a bed of rice.

The top level is sweet simmered shiitake mushrooms (::droooooool::), a mini orange bell pepper, and grapes that have been cut in half and sprinkled with dried cherries.  Goose had pretty much the same thing, only his pepper was chopped into sticks and I put his mushrooms in the pink flower-shaped cupcake holder. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bento (159) - Ham & Swiss Sandwich Bento

Wow.  It's been three whole years of watching my culinary skills turn to dust in a corner--years spent avoiding the reproachful stares of my bunny-covered bento boxes and cringing every time I accidentally came across a plastic fish-shaped sauce-holder.  The time has come.  This summer, Goose is enrolled in a a summer camp that doesn't provide meals--which means I'm blowing the dust out of the cupboard, washing my silicone cupcake holders, and trying to find where in the world I left my artificial sushi grass.  In short . . . Hi!  I have new pictures of adorable lunches.  :)

This bento box has always been one of my favorites (and surprisingly, is one of the first I ever purchased off of Amazon).  The three cup organization makes food separation simple.  Today's lunch was half a ham & swiss sandwich cut into thirds and separated by sushi grass.  The upper right corner is a miniature bell pepper and pickled garlic.  The bottom right is blueberries with an elephant pick.  Not only was this a quick 10 minute bento--it's even cute with the lid on!