Thursday, March 31, 2011

bento #57

NOODLE!  Yum, comfort food.  I have no idea why I always think of it in the singular, but I always call this dish Noodle for some reason... no matter what it contains... as long as there are noodles!

- whole wheat noodles cooked in mushroom broth... with chicken, mushrooms, green pepper, and onion
- half orange
- skewered grapes
- snow peas

I don't know what I'd do without soy sauce.  Yum!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

bento #56

Leftover day... why yes, this does look almost exactly like yesterday's food.  The good thing about bento is that I can put it in a different container and make it look different, too!

- teriyaki chicken and onions
- leftover ww noodles with a little teriyaki sauce on top.  I was going to eat this cold and thought they'd taste better than rice.
- more squash
- and more orange
- and snow peas!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

bento #55

I was worried that this background would be too dark, but I really like the way it looks!

- teriyaki chicken and onions.  I use onions a lot... a cheap filler!
- rice
- half orange
- green pepper strips
- used-to-be-frozen squashes

I know, it's mostly yellow, orange, and green... running toward the end of my vegetables even though I just bought a week ago!  I need some red sometime!

Monday, March 28, 2011

bento #54

If you noticed that my number of bentos just jumped... well, that's because I decided to combine my "normal" bentos with my breakfast bentos.  By the way, I've created a group on flickr for breakfast bento lovers... check it out and add some pictures!

I started a new job last week... 30 hours a week, 5 days a week.  It's just for a month or two, though, but I've been packing a snack bento to take almost every day.

Thought we were done with the Mediterranean leftovers?  not quite!
- 3 dolmades
- 2 kibbeh
- apple slices
- snow peas

Now we're done with the Mediterranean leftovers.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Yum-Yum Bento Box

I had some extra Amazon cash, so I decided to pick up this book:

Yum-Yum Bento Box by Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa (click their naems to visit their blogs).
I'm a regular visitor to Pikko's site (Watanabe), but I hadn't visited Maki's before. 

This book is based toward kids, but even I don't mind a little kawaii in my lunch occasionally.

What I liked:
- nice introduction to bento at the beginning if you're new to the world
- very colorful and bright pictures and sturdy pages
- their "food pyramid": 4 parts veg, 3 parts protein, 2 parts carbs, 1 part fruit/dessert.  Yay for healthy!
- each bento has several recipes with it, and they're all easy to mix-and-match
- while this is a charaben book (character bento), none of the ideas are too complicated (usually involve some cutting and/or punching)-- all the ideas seem very feasible!

What I didn't like:
- there's no index.  I remembered seeing a bento that included macaroni and cheese, went to the back to look it up, but nope, no index.  And, when food is sometimes disguised, it makes flipping back through challenging.
- yes, that's all!

While I haven't put together any of the recipes/bento yet, I do have a few planned, so stay tuned!  I never was interested in charaben until I looked at this book, actually; while I enjoy looking at photos of others' charaben, I never had much of a desire to put cute faces on food... until now!  Too bad I don't have any face punches!

I also won Just Bento in a giveaway last month, so I plan to review that as well in the next few months or so.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


This is what I have piled next to my sink... I haven't done bento dishes in a week!

I started a new job this week, and with almost two bentos a day... well, good thing I have a wide variety to choose from!  There's almost nothing left in my bento cupboard.  (yes, some of those are piled two and three deep). 

Friday, March 25, 2011

bento #39

Well, that Mediterranean food I made over the weekend certainly lasted me!  You'll even see it in a snack bento at some point... 'cause there's still a little left!

- three dolmades (didn't use any recipe, just a compilation... but it includes rice, ground beef, garlic, onion, and dill. fairly simple)
- two mini kibbeh.  I overbake mine a bit because I like them crisp. 
- apple half with fancy ... or not-so-fancy carving.
- carrot sticks and pita with hummus... in a squished penguin  ;)
- my version of tabbouleh with feta on top.  I didn't have lemon, so used red wine vinegar instead... and more bulgur than parsley.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

bento #38

The last of the tikka masala.  :(  I gave some to my brother as well because he hadn't tried it before.

- tikka masa with rice.  had to have a few nori stars with my Indian food.  :D
- half a banana
- green pepper slices... and a mini reeses' cup (which I didn't eat, so you'll probably see it in another bento)
- orange slices

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

bento #37... mediterranean leftovers

My brother stopped by to visit last week, I cooked dinner, and made Mediterranean foods from various countries.

These are the leftovers: more on the recipes specifically later, when I present a more complete bento... this was more of a quick snack one.  In fact, I think it was my fastest bento yet: 5 minutes!

- in the front tier: tabbouleh with a few chunks of feta
- three dolmades and half an orange

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

bento #36

More Indian food!  When I was in MI visiting family, we went to an Indian restaurant... it's so good.  However, I think my chicken tikka masala is better than the restaurant's!  I made enough for a few leftovers this time, so you might see this in a bento again.  ;)

- chicken tikka masala
- naan
- half an orange... duh
- onions with tumeric and mustardseed... but a little TOO much tumeric came out of the jar!
- green pepper strips.

The mild green pepper and orange worked well to tone down the heat of the chicken.  And, it was all SO GOOD!

Monday, March 21, 2011

bento #35

I needed both a snack and lunch for Friday...

- two of the rolls were my snack, two lunch.  Two had ham and mustard, two ham and mozzarella.
- half an orange... what else!
- sliced cucumber.  I like to snack on veggies while I'm driving.

Oh, and I'm using my new purple box from my flickr February swap.  It's a Fit'n'Fresh box with an ice pack in the lid.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


There are many relief efforts being established to help Japan.  A group of bentoists have set up bento4japan... you can donate money, buy bento supplies with the profits going to help Japan, or you can add something to auction!

Check out bento4japan!

I never knew much about Japan (or was very interested in it) until I started learning about bento and watching anime.  Now that I'm very interested in the culture, the tragedy has hit hard.

Friday, March 18, 2011

breakfast bento #14

I was at a different grocery store than I usually shop the other day and excited to run across these:

They remind me of Slovak rožky, the yummy rolls I love, except they're longer and thinner.  So, of course, I had to make Slovak breakfast sandwiches. 

- two sandwiches with ham and cheese
- I put the green peppers on the sandwiches when I ate them
- the ever-present orange half

If you want to read more about rožky, Slovak cooking posted about them a few months ago, along with a recipe.  I tried it out, but they didn't taste like the real thing.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

bento #34

Well, I have chicken in my freezer, so I might as well use it!  I was visiting my family last weekend and my mom gave me some leftover cut-up veg; that's why you see broccoli in my bento!

- brown rice
- quickly sauteed yellow peppers and broccoli
- teriyaki chicken
- cherry tomatoes and green beans
- half an orange and raisins in the pig cup
- and what's that peeking out of the lid?  Yes, it is chocolate  :D

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

bento #33

Yes, more mushroom risotto... my new comfort food.  Or, just favorite food in general.  And a vegetarian bento.

- mushroom risotto with a cherry tomato
- sliced cucumbers and baby carrots
- ranch dressing

Fairly simple overall, and very easy to put together!  Sorry the picture is so dark!  It was night and I couldn't get good lighting.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

bento #32... fried chicken

Everything in this bento tasted great at room temperature, although I probably only ate it three hours after I made it... lunch tends to come early for me when I'm hungry!  I had "picnic" in mind for the theme.

I used my two "natural lunch" green boxes, 480 and 560 mls, but didn't fill them completely.
- cucumbers and baby carrots
- half an orange
- two deviled egg halves
- fried chicken breast, sliced (pan-fried)
- potato salad, and two red cherries for garnish

Monday, March 14, 2011


At the grocery store the other day, I found a package of somen noodles on sale... a dollar!  Yay, now I get to try some new food.  There was also a package of soba... an instant type, like ramen, but it will be fun to try anyway.

I've also bought some soba noodles... didn't quite like the texture.  One of my favorite quick meals is to boil some wheat spaghetti noodles, add mushroom bullion and some soy sauce with whatever meat and veg I have on hand, and I think spaghetti noodles will still work best for this.

Okay, from what I've read, most Japanese noodles (like somen and udon) are made from wheat flour... but why aren't they brown like wheat noodles or soba?  Are they made from bleached flour? and doesn't that make it white flour anyway?  Does anyone know?

Friday, March 11, 2011

breakfast bento #13

More breakfast... I should have known better than to eat this much sugar for breakfast, though!  I didn't have that firm feeling I needed.  I used to never eat fruit for breakfast; now I can as long as I have plenty of protein as well, and a half cup of yogurt isn't enough.

- banana and orange salad; tossed with lemon juice, a little sweet marmalade, and honey
- blueberry yogurt and a little granola

For some reason, I decided to put the lids in the picture too.  I like the red heart.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

bento #31

A quick snack bento... nothing fancy.

- deviled egg... a change from plain 'ol hardboiled since I eat so many of those
- smoked sausage
- triscuits

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

bento #30

This past weekend I was at a board game convention.  I love to play strategy board games (heard of Settlers of Catan?  Ticket to Ride?  those kind of games), so we spent Friday afternoon/evening and all day Saturday gaming.  I, of course, being frugal, packed bentos to eat during the convention.

- chicken and veg dumplings (from Asia Mart) and a cherry tomato
- baby carrots
- grapes, with pandas for company
- meatballs, more protein!

If I were to rearrange this bento, I'd put the two dull-colored items on the ends and carrots in the middle.  Overall, not a very colorful bento.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

bento #29

This week is actually my spring break from teaching, but I still have plenty of bentos to post.

- pork tonkatsu
- potato salad... it was really good!  I guess I need to add more vinegar from now on
- cucumber slices
- cherry tomatoes
- baby carrots
- snow peas

I love the line of vegetables... they look so pretty!

Monday, March 7, 2011

bento #28

I wanted to use up some pork I hand on hand... just one pork chop.  The back tier of this looks so white, though!

- pork cooked in a Hungarian spice blend my mom gave me for Christmas (it's hiding up there in the back)
- potatoes also cooked with the same spices
- one scallion for garnish!  And, the only green in the bento
- half an orange, a few grapes
- baby carrots (sure have been getting that vitamin A!), a cherry tomato

Friday, March 4, 2011

breakfast bento #12

One dozen breakfast bentos-- and many more planned!

- eggs (two) scrambled with a scallion and mozzarella cheese.  red pepper butterflies on top
- two sausage links
- a wheat scone with honey butter
- the ever-present grape skewers
- coffee

The little stuffed panda is called tarepanda... tare means "lazy" or "droopy" in Japanese.  My stuffie swap partner on Craftster made it for me!  Right now he travels in my car with me.  Kawaii!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

bento #27

More noodles... comfort food.  I keep watching these anime films (like Ponyo on the Clift), and they'll be eating NOODLES, and I can't stop thinking about it until I eat some. 

Have I shown you the outside of this bento?  Yup, shaped like a hamburger.

- cheapo ramen noodle with a little ground beef and red pepper
- baby carrots, snow peas, grape skewers
- leftover egg bake, half an orange, one cherry tomato

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

bento #26

Tried a new vegetable today: raw, at least.  Snow peas!  They taste like grass.  But that's not exactly a bad thing... after all, lettuce and spinach have that grass-like taste too.

- egg bake (sausage, mozzarella cheese) in the lower right corner, with snow peas
- corn muffin, orange
- cucumber and cherry tomato with Italian dressing.  I love this salad!  My dad would eat it every day during the summer when neighbors were giving us their cucumbers and tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

bento #25

When I'm at home, my latest practice is to make a main dish, then prepare a bunch of veggies and/or fruit on which to snack all afternoon.  I LOVE to munch (potato chips are my weakness), hate sitting still, so veg provides a good antidote.

packed in my tomo tomo square bentos from Fitjp:
- soba noodles with red pepper, scallions, and a little ground beef.  The sauce is soy sauce, water, garlic, and ginger.
- hardboiled egg, bunny-shaped.  Needed more protein... and something yellow  ;)
- tiny tomatoes, cucumber, and baby carrots
- half an orange and grapes, of course!  My typical dessert.

You might have noticed that I've been eating more fruit lately... I've been craving it.  I figure that when I have a craving, it's an indication that my body needs more of whatever vitamins are in what I'm craving (unless, of course, I'm craving donuts or chips, which means I've been eating too much sugar or salty fats).  So, I'll indulge myself if it's healthy.