Monday, December 19, 2011

The Nutcracker Suite Bento

We're all done with the school bento for the year, but there is one more Christmas snack bento that I made for TinySprite to celebrate her ballet performance in her company's Nutcracker Suite ballet production. Here's a minute or so of their performance, if you're curious to take a look. For her bento, I made a little sandwich decorated with a Nutcracker and a Little Fairy (or Sugar Plum Fairy), with a few carrots, tomatoes and broccoli snuggled in there as well.
She's still in pre-ballet (as she is only 4 years old still), but she really, really enjoyed dancing the Little Fairy role again this year. And she has matured and become more graceful this year. (Okay, okay... but you should have seen her last year to appreciate that statement :) I don't dance ballet, so I'm not sure where she gets her passion for the art, but she loves this show a lot. She can watch it endlessly, and she knows all the dances, which she will perform whenever she hears the music. And I've had to watch and listen to it so many times that I think I can dance them all myself too! (Just kidding) ^_^
Thank you to Maki of Just Bento, for adding my quail egg snowman bento to her yearly Christmas bento roundup. If you're in the mood to see some creative and festive bento ideas, do take a look!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lil' Quail Egg Snowman Bento

Quail Egg Snowman Bento by sherimiya ♥
Quail Egg Snowman Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
The last two quail eggs in the batch have become TinySprite's winter school term's last snowman bento! Yep, I did make an inordinate number of snowmen bento this season. MisterMan doesn't get a bento because his class is having a Christmas luncheon. I made inarizushi for his class, and I'm hoping the kids like them. As for my girl, she also gets chicken, one of the inarizushi, Okinawan sweet potatoes, crabapple, carrots, oranges and blackberries along with her happy snowman. The Christmas themed bento have been a lot of fun to make this year. Hope you had a chance to make something fun and festive in your lunchboxes too. ^_^

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ninja Snowman Snack Bento

This one is a snack bento for TinySprite, to keep her busy after school while her brother finishes his homework. He has a biography due, and he's chosen Leonardo da Vinci. What an interesting person! But back to the bento. I squeezed a chicken egg into a snowman shape and decorated it with nori as a ninja. He's wearing a red pepper and cheese Santa hat for the occasion, but I bet he's not too happy about it. The rest of the bento contains carrots, edamame, cucumbers, Okinawan sweet potatoes, orange chunks, a blackberry and a crabapple. It should be just enough to keep her occupied (and quiet) for a half hour or so. ^_^

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Santa Pucca Portuguese Bean Soup Bento

Since we're on a roll with the thermal bento food, why not continue with Portuguese bean soup? I was reminded of this Hawaii cold weather staple by a twitter pal who tweeted a photo of her pot simmering away. I get lots of meal ideas on twitter: foodie folks are always posting recipes and photos - just a quick scan through my stream brings up a whole bunch of options. One of the best things I love about twitter. This recipe is adapted from Sam Choy, except with lots of extra added veggies and stuff. Here's my version (method and recipe here).
I used kale, cabbage, carrots, zucchini, celery, onions, potatoes, lentils and kidney beans. There is Portuguese sausage too, of course, but the best part of the soup is the addition of ham hocks to the soup base; it adds a delicious smoky salty flavor. Along with the thermal jar of soup, I packed a side box with orange slices, broccoli and grapes, plus a little Pucca dressed for winter in her santa suit. Her face is a quail egg, her dress is red pepper, the trim is radish with a cabbage ruffle hem. Her hair is blackberries and her features are nori and sriracha. ^_^

Monday, December 12, 2011

Heat Miser and Hermey Mac 'N Cheese Bento

Okay, I'm almost too embarrassed to tell you about the mixed-up bento today. Almost. But it's done, and I didn't even think about checking the facts until afterwards. So confident was I! Anyway, I woke up wanting to make Mayor Burgermeister Meisterburger (remember him?) from the animated Christmas TV Special Santa Claus is Comin' To Town. It's a great one, right? But then I remembered the Heat Miser, and started singing his awesome song. You know the one: "Friends call me Heat Miser, whatever I touch - starts to melt in my clutch! I'm too much!" So then I decided to make him. But then I remembered the little misfit elf dentist-wannabe from the Island of Misfit Toys, and.... I think you may be starting to get the picture that I have TOTALLY mixed up all the stop-action Christmas TV Specials. But did that stop me? Noooooo. Never mind that Heat Miser was from The Year Without A Santa Claus, and Hermey the elf was from Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. They are both going in my bento; so there! Luckily the Mac and Cheese is a definite hit. I made it the way I did last month (in this bento), mixing in broccoli and diced kabocha to boost the nutrition. I also crumbled in some soyrizo, which is a chorizo soy substitute which adds spice and flavor. Super good. I packed it in my cute apple-shaped bento bowl, with the top tier holding the grapes, grapfruit, carrot, broccoli, and two quail egg Christmas characters who have NEVER ACTUALLY MET before this very day in MisterMan's bento. Pretty incredible day for them, I'd say. Wonder what they'd talk about? ^_^

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oops! Santa Bento

Oops! Santa Bento by sherimiya ♥
Oops! Santa Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Today I packed cheesy enchilada casserole topped with cheesy snowflakes. I don't have a mini snowflake cutter; can you believe it? But since no two snowflakes are alike, I took some liberties and just created some using the flower and star cutters I already had. Looks like Santa is heading into the snow-covered chimney! I saw this idea as a cupcake somewhere, and decided to make a bento version. The snow is cottage cheese, Santa's pants are apples, and his boots are grapes. I held them together with dried spaghetti, which will soften by lunchtime. In order to close this Lunchbot box, I moved the silicone cup to the center between the orange slices. Ho ho ho! I hope he makes it okay! ^_^

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Jack Skellington Chicken Bento

Today's menu is tebasaki (grilled - or in my case broiled - chicken wings with sea salt). See the method and recipe I used here. When I make it, I always have to make several pounds (yes, you read that right) because I tend to snack while cooking. To monitor quality, of course. I sprinkle mine liberally with shichimi togarashi (Japanese red pepper mix), which makes it totally addicting. Even though the kids eat theirs plain, they are very tasty just with the sea salt. They can eat 10 or more wings each, and I packed their bento as full as I could, while still including pan-fried garlic kabocha, tomatoes, and Okinawan sweet potato. The fruit cup contains grapes and grapefruit, and a quail egg Jack Skellington wearing a mini sweet red pepper and radish santa hat. I was going to make Sally too, but after cutting out all those tiny features for Jack, I was done! I'm really not one for itty bitty nori cutting. She would have been very cool-looking though, so I'll have to make her another time for sure :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hello Kitty Santa Curry Bento

It's time for curry again, with the nighttime temperatures dipping into near-freezing range these past few nights. You'll probably be seeing quite a bit of the thermal bento jars on this site over the next few months. Like last time (see this bento here) I used a ton of vegetables, but I also used ground pork, which made it very substantial. This batch contains onions, celery, carrots, sweet mini peppers, potatoes, and broccoli. I packed (and served it at dinner) over hot brown rice mixed with pearl barley. This combo results in a chewy rice batch that I really like. The little side car contains oranges, grapes, broccoli, Okinawan sweet potato flower shapes, and a little quail egg Hello Kitty santa with a strawberry hat and suit. Aww! ^_^

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Tree Salmon Bento

So here it is, two more weeks left of school (and school bento), and I'm running out of new ideas for Christmas themed bento. Luckily, my friend karaimame posted a Christmas bento that is so cute, it begs to be stolen imitated. It's a broccoli Christmas tree. I remember I made one a couple years ago (see this bento), and now that I peek at that one I see that last time I used the tree trunk pick and made the ornaments look like strings of lights (much cuter). Sigh. Maybe I used up all my festive idea brain cells on Halloween this year. Anyway, this bento contains crispy butter shoyu salmon, which means I pan-fried it with butter, then drizzled shoyu after I turned the heat off. Super good. Besides the tree with colorful pepper ornament cutouts, I've got baby grape tomatoes, Okinawan sweet potato stars, carrots, crabapple, strawberry, orange and grapes.

Today I met with TinySprite's preschool teachers to go over her first semester progress. Everything was as I expected until I asked whether she was well-behaved and polite. Well.... perhaps sometimes during circle time when they are asked to share, she'll burst into song... and sing a verse or two, and on, and on, and on. Maybe she could sing a little less. (Sheepish looks from teachers). What?! I guess I should be happy she's not busting out the dance moves too. Wait, I forgot to ask about that...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mabo Tofu Snowman Bento

Mabo Tofu Snowman Bento by sherimiya ♥
Mabo Tofu Snowman Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Today's mabo tofu elicited this comment from MisterMan: It's not REALLY mabo tofu because it's not spicy. Wellll, technically I suppose that's true. But the adult batch is certainly spicy! I always split the batch into two so that the kids can eat the bland half while the adults can enjoy the red spicy chiliness of authentic mabo tofu. We love it hot hot hot! Woot! I also made their version kind of dry so that it's more bento-friendly. I layered it over rice in a lettuce leaf before adding a tofu snowman on top. I used oval cutters to make the body, cut the hat free-hand from Okinawan sweet potato (and yellow carrot), cut purple carrot buttons, orange carrot nose, and nori eyes and mouth. The hands are those handy bone picks again. Told you these were versatile. Other side contains grapes, raspberries, strawberry, carrots, broccoli and baby crabapple.

Oh, and in other news, I was just notified by Stuart Reb Donald (Wannabe TV Chef) himself that I was awarded the 2011 WTVC Food Blog Best Niche Site Award. Wow, thanks Stuart! Will wear the badge proudly! Check out his site for interviews and commentary on all kinds of food-related TV and celebrity news and shows. Happy December friends! ^_^

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quail Egg Santa Bento

Quail Egg Santa Bento by sherimiya ♥
Quail Egg Santa Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Tomorrow is the first of December! Are you ready? I guess we'd better start with the Christmas themed bentos now. Only 2 and a half weeks of school to go! Did I already mention that yesterday? Yes, we're pretty excited here. For this bento: along with some shoyu chicken, I decided to put a layer of black rice (over more chicken) in one section of the round three-section bento so that I could have a canvas to put my santa. It's a hard-boiled quail egg with a radish hat, nose and beard. I cut the beard with a standard flower cutter and used several "petals" for an extra fluffy beard. I don't have any cute Christmas mini cutters, so most of my decorations have to be hand-cut. I'm not one to spend a lot of time doing them, so you know that whatever I make has to be quick and pretty easy. In the last section I've added another cute crabapple, some grapes and a few carrots. My girl loved her crabapple so much she saved the seeds, brought them home carefully wrapped in a napkin, and told me she wants to plant them in the yard and grow an "apple bush." Well all right then! ^_^

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Minestrone Rudolph Bento

Minestrone Rudolph Bento by sherimiya ♥
Minestrone Rudolph Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
The recent cold weather has put me in the mood for hot soups and stews. The heavy fog that we woke up to this morning stuck around all day long, which doesn't usually happen. It felt like 6pm all day. So everyone was very glad to have some hearty warming minestrone soup to take the chill off. Just as I always do, I threw in a lot of colorful vegetables to make this soup chock full of vitamins and nutrition. There's also some smoked andouille sausage in there for a little bite. TinySprite loved it so much, she asked for more again tomorrow. In her side dish I gave her the cutest little baby crabapple, steamed broccoli, carrots, grapes, a strawberry, and my first attempt at a Christmas character - Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. He's made from a shoyu-dyed hard-boiled quail egg, with nori eyes and mouth and a baby grape tomato nose. Are you in the Christmas mood yet? We've just put up our tree and are in the process of decorating it now. The kids love this part ^_^
Added to What's For Lunch.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Delicious Zucchini Bread Recipe

Zucchini Bread side view by sherimiya ♥
Zucchini Bread side view, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Have you recovered from the Thanksgiving weekend of feasting? I'm having a bit of a delay in getting back to the bentomaking. But I'm enjoying the memories of the good eats we had over the past few days. Here's a little bento-break special interest food item I thought I'd share with you. I made this zucchini bread for both MisterMan's and TinySprite's class Thanksgiving Luncheon parties (minus the nuts and chocolate). I love this bread because it's very cake-like, moist and delicious -- and yet it's packed full of zucchini. Muahaha! You might sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top to make it more festive (for say, Christmas parties?), but it's really not necessary. Really. You can even ask a bunch of 8- and 4-year olds.

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1C vegetable oil
1C packed brown sugar
2C grated zucchini (about 3 small zucchinis)
2 tsp vanilla

Mix the above ingredients together in a large bowl.

1C flour
1C whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1C chopped walnuts
1/4C wheat germ
1/4C mini chocolate chips

Mix the 2nd group of ingredients together in a medium bowl, then add to wet ingredients in the large bowl. Pour into 8x8 baking dish and bake at 350F for 1 hour.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chili Rice Panda Bowl Bento

,Chili Rice Bowl Bento by sherimiya ♥
Chili Rice Bowl Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
This was the result of my last crockpot meal: turkey chili with beans and vegetables. And this bento is MINE! I packed the two kids' lunches in their thermal jars in the morning, and didn't feel like taking the time to snap a picture. I don't know when the last time was that I made a bento for me, but I am going to start doing it more often. I used the cute panda bowl bento set, which is perfect for rice bowls. When I was a kid growing up, my favorite thing to get at Zippy's was chili rice. That's how you order it: chili rice. I loved it for a long time until someone told me you get a lot more chili if you order chili cracker instead. I can see the logic there. After all, there's only so much chili you can pour over a giant scoop of rice. So I switched to chili cracker, but I always loved chili over rice. So I made it for myself. This chili is so jam-packed with healthy stuff you practically get younger after you eat it. There's tomato, carrots, zucchini, kidney and black beans, ground turkey, onions, sweet peppers, and kale. I topped mine with grated cheddar and a sprinkling of cilantro. Really hits the spot on a brisk fall day, don't you think? And I prepared a fruit tier for myself too: fall pluots, cantaloupe balls and three raspberries. And I cleaned it all up!

Slow-Cooked Turkey Chili

1lb. ground turkey (or whatever meat you like, or you can omit this entirely)
2 cans kidney beans, black beans, white beans, or other beans of your choice
1 32-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 bunch kale, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
1 tsp. chili powder (or 2 tsp, if you like)
salt, pepper

Brown the meat in a skillet and drain. Add to slow cooker along with all the other ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Garnish with cheese if desired.

Added to Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deconstructed Pork Carnitas Tacos Bento

Remember the slow-cooked ono pork roast from last week? This bento is an example of repurposed pork leftovers. I sliced some pork and fried it to get nice crispy edges, then packed it with tomato-onion-cilantro salsa and rolled tortillas for him to either build a taco at lunch, or eat separately as he chooses. I decorated with Okinawan sweet potato stars, and added late-season pluots, black grapes and raspberries. Yes, I know I'm using the same three-sectioned LunchBot Trio as I did for the original pork bento, but it's because this box is so ideally suited for deconstructed meals like this one. I've used it numerous times already, and it's still in great shape -- maybe a little scratched with tiny dents, but the lid still fits securely and the welded partition seams have held up without fail. Love it.
Added to What's For Lunch.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mackin Cheese Thermal Bento

Here's another time-saving meal that I really should make more often. Who doesn't love mac and cheese? And it doesn't have to be plain and boring; you can feel free to add all kinds of interesting and fancy ingredients. It's your meal and you can make it however you want! So here's an "interesting" twist on this batch. I usually make mac and cheese on the stovetop and finish it in the oven and under the broiler (like here and here), but I just didn't have time for all that this time. After mixing the macaroni with the milky, cheesy, creamy sauce, I had an urge to make it more nutritious (surprise). I was going to throw in some steamed broccoli florets (which I sort of did, as you can see), but then I had a genius idea. What about kabocha? Since everything was already basically cooked, I steamed the kabocha separately, just enough for it to keep its shape without getting mushy. Then I diced them and gently tossed and folded them in. Since the squash is orange, it blends right in. Not that I was trying to hide it or anything. But I was so pleased with myself that I waited until the kids had finished licking their 3rd bowls before I casually mentioned that I had added "like, a half a kabocha" in there. TinySprite wasn't phased. She was the one who, when I asked whether she wanted mac and cheese, responded "Sure! I love cheese. What's mackin?" But MisterMan's head snapped right up and he said "What?!" That's right, buddy! Muahaha!! Okay, maybe their taste buds aren't all that discriminating. Or maybe there was just so much real cheddar in there that they totally missed it. But I am inordinately happy that my kabocha passed itself off as cheddar so easily. I really love this squash, if I haven't mentioned it already. ^_^
Added to Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ono Pork & Sweet Potato Fries Bento

Ono Pork Bento by sherimiya ♥
Ono Pork Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
This year the kids seem to have a lot more after-school activities than last year, but maybe it's just the scheduling that makes it seem more hectic. Even with only one activity per kid, there are some afternoons where we seem to be rushing from one place to the next, changing uniforms in the car, and squeezing homework in between somehow. After a few very late nights, I've wised up: I dusted off the slow-cooker and plan to use it on those days when we don't get home until 6:30pm. Here's the result of the most recent slow-cooker night - My Mom's Ono Pork Roast (see my method and recipe here). The 3-pound pork shoulder should last for more than one meal, and there are lots of things you can do with the leftovers. We've shredded and fried the meat and made tacos, which are really good. To go along with the sliced pork here, I've added Okinawan sweet potato, baked sweet potato "fries", and roasted brussels sprouts. The fruit section contains a late-season plum, grapes, and raspberries. In my favorite LunchBot Trio!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Calzone Rollups Bento

Calzone Rollups Bento by sherimiya ♥
Calzone Rollups Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
It's a calzone bento, kind of, except this time I rolled up the dough with the fillings inside (salami, pepperoni, cheese, spinach), then baked and sliced into little bite-sized pieces for fun. Yeah, I'm having way too much fun with the calzone-styled foods. It's such a convenient, sandwich-y way to pack a school lunch bento, with so many filling possibilities. The rest of the bento contains roasted red kabocha, steamed Okinawan sweet potato slices, and a cup of grapes and raspberries.

Monday, November 14, 2011

4-Section Mochiko Chicken Bento

4-Section Assist Bento by sherimiya ♥
4-Section Assist Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
I packed this bento in my adjustable 4-sectioned Assist box which I found at Ichiban Kan. This is only the second time I've used it (see my other bento here). It's a nice shape and size, and the lid fits tightly with a rubber gasket and matching strap. Not sure why I don't use it more often. In one section I packed some pseudo-mochiko chicken in a lettuce leaf. This recipe is very tasty, even if it's not exactly traditional. The veggie section contains broccoli, carrots, roasted kabocha, and steamed Okinawan sweet potato. The two fruit sections contain raspberries, grapes, and cinnamon-sprinkled honeycrisp apple chunks. It might look a little big for a third-grader, but the box is on the shallow side. Also, the separate sections ensure that the foods don't mix, so it's not necessary to pack each completely full. And, everything stays put even when it's tossed around in the lunchbag. Great, right? I think it's an ideal box for a kid or an adult.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sticky Rice Panda Bowl Bento

More panda and more! I found this ultra cute panda bento bowl set recently, and yes, even though I have several panda bento boxes already, I had to get this one because it's a bowl set, which makes it perfect for things like donburi (rice bowl meals) or... sticky rice. I don't usually pack donburi because my kids aren't big rice eaters, but they do like sticky rice. Go figure. This batch (see my basic recipe and method here) contains regular white sweet rice mixed with koshihikari short grain brown rice. I added char siu, lup cheong (Chinese sausage), shiitake, baby bok choy and small chunks of kabocha. I made sure to add the choy and the kabocha at the very end of the cooking cycle; maybe 5 minutes before the end. You want the squash to be firm and not mushy. I topped this rice bowl with chopped green onions - doesn't it look nice? The top tier has a nice stylized divider, making it perfect for the berries, oranges, Okinawan sweet potato butterflies and a tiny sprig of broccoli. And look at the cute panda face on the lid! It clips securely, and even came with the little fork and spoon, which have tiny heart-shaped cutouts in the handles. Naturally I couldn't resist. ^_^
Added to Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Crab Linguine Bento

Crab Linguine Bento by sherimiya ♥
Crab Linguine Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
A simple crab linguine pasta bento for my TinySprite. I tossed the noodles with spinach, roasted baby tomatoes, crabmeat, olive oil, pepper and parmesan. The top tier contains dragonfruit balls, raspberries, sliced persimmon, a bit of steamed broccoli and some Okinawan sweet potato flowers. It probably took 10 minutes to put this bento together, but it still looks bright, fresh and tasty. You don't need to spend hours making an artistic piece of edible art in order for the bento to look good. Colorful, seasonal foods will help you ensure you've packed a healthy and balanced meal that will provide nutrition for your active learner. And most importantly, my little girl gobbled it up. Yay!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Cooking Channel Bento Commercials!

Remember that interview and video shoot we did for the Cooking Channel back in the spring? Well, guess what? Our clip didn't end up on the cutting room floor after all. They ended up using it for a series of commercials that started airing a few weeks ago. If you get the Cooking Channel, you might have seen it - maybe without realizing it was us! We don't get that channel, so I had to get the DVD copy. I posted it here and on my flickr so you can see it too. After three hours of filming, bento-making, and talking, I was surprised to see a coherent 1-minute segment that made us look pretty poised and respectable. What a great editing job! I have immense respect for all the folks responsible for the work and production that goes into making an interesting and cool-looking promo. We found it amazing that it looks like a beautiful sunny day when in actuality it was around 8pm. All those hot spotlights really make a difference. I wish I had a setup that like to shoot my bentos at night and have it look like the brightest naturally sunny day ever. Also, if you have a 4-year old like mine, you know that after 3 hours of ANYthing they're usually either bouncing off the walls or having a meltdown or (yikes) both. But as you can see, my TinySprite was a perfect ANGEL. Hahahaha! (see previous comment about stellar editing job). Besides the solo 1-minute ad, there are also two other ads we're in which are comprised of two 30-second segments. Our segment is the same in both of these short versions but I've included them both so you can see the interesting other pieces (one's with a BBQ dude and the other is with a couple that runs a bowling alley restaurant). The cool thing about the Cooking Channel that makes it different from the Food Network is that it seems to focus more on the "everyday" regular person rather than celebrity chefs or reality contests. Folks like you and me. Thanks for taking a look! ^_^

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Curry Dia De Los Muertos Bento

Today I decided to make vegetable curry, but wanted to try a new recipe. I used Nami's Keema Curry recipe at her popular blog Just One Cookbook. If you haven't checked it out, you really should! She has a lot of great recipes here, and always includes photos and step-by-step instructions. I chose this one because it looked delicious, and it seemed quick and easy (my forte!). I was right on all counts. I omitted the ground pork and added a lot of veggies I happened to have on hand: kabocha, zucchini, potatoes, carrots and onions. I made extra for bento, and it was a good thing I did because the kids inhaled it. I made it mild and added some applesauce too, and they loved it. I packed it into a thermal bento, along with a side container of cinnamon-sprinkled apples, grapes, broccoli, Okinawan sweet potato, and a colorful quail egg Dia de los Muertos skull. Happy Wednesday friends! Shared at Allergy Friendly Lunchbox and What's For Lunch.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wonton and Dragonballs Bento

Wonton Dragonballs Bento by sherimiya ♥
Wonton Dragonballs Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Wontons! That's what my kids shout when they find out I'm making them (see my recipe and method here). The excitement is just as high as with the gyoza. I love packing wontons because I don't have to bother to present them nicely. They're just wrinkly dumplings so all you have to do is squeeze them in however they fit. I think I put 10 in the bottom of this round stainless steel tiffin, along with broccoli, corn, carrot, and a little Okinawan sweet potato flower. In the top tier I arranged some grapes, strawberries, honeydew melon and dragonfruit balls. A few friendly faces make it a happy little bento. Don't you think? ^_^
Shared at What's For Lunch.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monster Fingers Bento

Monster Fingers Bento by sherimiya ♥
Monster Fingers Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
The last Halloween bento of the season! Monster finger calzones with almond fingernails. One of them even has a bloody wound, which was unintentional but actually looks pretty real, right? There's also carrots, broccoli, strawberries, raspberries and "diced" dragonfruit. Get it? Happy Halloween from the conflicting forces in our house! Hope you had a safe and scary night with lots of goodies in your candy haul!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Skull Quail Egg Bento

Skull Quail Egg Bento by sherimiya ♥
Skull Quail Egg Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Continuing on with the skull theme, today I made a quail egg skull on black rice to accompany some shallow-fried panko chicken, broccoli and roasted kabocha. There are also carrot flowers, corn, strawberries, grapes and honeydew melon. All packed up in my supercool slim double decker Zen box from Bento & Co. I love this box so much it was hard to entrust my boy to take it to school with him, but it's proven quite sturdy and impervious to normal 8-year-old boy wear and tear. So far. You all ready for Halloween? One more day...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Skull Sandwich Bento

Skull Sandwich Bento by sherimiya ♥
Skull Sandwich Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
We're taking a break from jacks today because I just found this skull and crossbones cutter that a dear friend sent me last Halloween. I should have marked out the skull and bones shapes to more clearly delineate the image, because when MisterMan saw it he said "Oh, a gingerbread man!" Whatever! Come to think of it, I guess skulls and crossbones are more pirate-y than Halloween-y. Oops. I lightly pressed the cutter partially through the sweet potato bread top slice of his sandwich, which fit perfectly in one side of my Sistema box. The other side is just right for a selection of colorful fruit and vegetables: carrot, corn, broccoli, Okinawan sweet potato, strawberries, honeydew melon and grapes. I used a few grapes to cut out the face for the skull, which I sealed in place with plastic wrap. Scary or not?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Baby Jack Snack Bento

Baby Jack Snack Bento by sherimiya ♥
Baby Jack Snack Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
This one is just an afterschool snack for TinySprite. I wanted to try making a mini jack-o-lantern from a ... quail's egg. I tried dyeing it in a mix of red and golden beet juice, but I guess I didn't let it soak long enough. I used luckysundae's shaping method but hers came out much better! In fact, my son asked if it was a tomato. Oops. This jack took way too much time for me. After hard-boiling, I had to squeeze with strings into the puffy pumpkin shape overnight, and then I had to soak in dye another few hours (which obviously wasn't enough). Maki uses turmeric and shoyu to get orange; I'll have to remember that for "next time." I tried a hen's egg too, but it cracked along the seams. Also in this teeny bento: strawberries, peapods, carrot and Okinawan sweet potato.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Persimmon Jack and Sausage Bento

Of all my bento boxes, this is the one I get the most email queries about. Unfortunately, it's not available online (as far as I know). I found mine in a dusty corner of a shelf in the housewares aisle of my local Asian grocery, where it probably sat for months. I love the way it looks; the trio of sections is somehow very aesthetically pleasing to me. It's also quite uncommon to find a bento box that includes three subdivisions. The only other one I have is the Lunchbots Trio, which I also love. Anyway, today I've packed chicken sausage with sweet pepper and mushroom stirfry, along with corn, steamed broccoli, carrots, and Okinawan sweet potato star shapes. The fruit section contains grapes, a strawberry, and ... a persimmon jack-o-lantern. Have you started seeing persimmons in your markets? It's not a favorite of mine, sadly. I'd like to enjoy it more, since it's so plentiful this time of year, and since the inlaws have a tree which bears a TON of fruit. Luckily the kids seem to like it though! ^_^

Oh, and I forgot to mention: has selected Happy Little Bento as this week's Bento Blog and Photo of the Week. Thanks a lot Foodista!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mini Burger and Cheddar Jack Bento

A fun bento that the kids totally loved: burger and fries. Woohoo! Okay, they were turkey oat burgers and oven-roasted fries but still. I also snuck in some roasted kabocha, a couple colorful carrot sticks, broccoli, and a cup of red fruit: pluots, strawberries and raspberries. The burger is topped with none other than our favorite smiling "jack" - I know, I should have used jack cheese! Sheesh. What was I thinking? One more week of jack-o-bento to go... I think I'm gonna be able to pull it off. Hey, maybe next year I should go for a whole month of jacks! Nah only joke..

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Candy Corn Quail Egg Bento

Candy Corn Quail Egg Bento, originally uploaded by sherimiya.
I strayed from the jack-a-day series today because I wanted to make a little candy corn quail egg, and it took so long that I didn't feel like trying to find another food to carve into a jack-o-lantern. First of all, I didn't shape it triangularly enough, and then I didn't have time to soak it long enough to keep the colors dark. But then, if you've dyed eggs before, you know that the color tends to fade pretty quickly anyway. To dye this egg I used golden beet and regular beet juice. I first let the egg sit halfway in a cup of golden beet juice, then placed it 1/3 of the way into a cup of red beet juice. I had nice sharp lines of color demarcation at first, but then they bled out and faded. I had made these cuties before (in the two bentos here) and I think they looked better then. Oh well! This bento contains butterfish misoyaki (see my method here), homemade oven roasted "potato chips", steamed Okinawan sweet potato, corn, tomatoes, carrots, and a fruit assortment (pluots, honeydew melon balls and grapes) -- all packed up in my favorite Lunchbots Trio. Have a sweet day!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Orange Pepper Jack O'Lantern Bento

I happened to find the most perfect pumpkin-shaped mini orange sweet pepper at the farmers market last weekend. It just begged to be carved, so how could I resist? I stuffed it with cottage cheese and sunflower seeds after seeding and carving it. This box is convenient for deconstructed fish tacos in that the cod can go in one section while the tomato-onion-avocado-cilantro salsa goes in another. Of course, you can put them together, but it's prettier this way. You can pack the tortillas separately if you wish. I put a fruit selection (strawberry, plum and grapes) in the last compartment, and topped with a purple Okinawan sweet potato bat. I think it looks fresh and colorful. And my boy really did eat the whole pepper, cheese and all ^_^