Thursday, September 11, 2008

Egg Salad Bento

Hello everyone! Yay! Another school year!! I hope you all had a terrific summer!
I have been taking a bit of a break over the summer from making daily bento lunches, and I didn't photograph very many at all : ( But now that school is back in session, I will really, really try to be more dilligent at posting on here!
This bento is egg salad sandwich on crustless wheat bread- which can be be purchased with the crusts already cut off, how great is that? That way I don't feel wasteful when I don't use the crusts : ) Plus, it's a great time-saver, bonus for me..
Also included is an ice-cream cone shaped egg which I dyed with food coloring, mini grapes, potato salad and blueberry wafers. Oh, and orange natchan of course ~_^ It's the cutest little can of sugar water ever!
I didn't have room in the carry bag for the can, so I rolled it in the placemat and tied a handle for the daughter to carry, and hopefully try to keep it cold.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Curry Rice Bento

Well, this bento is actually from a couple of weeks ago, I just never had a chance to post it. I have still been making bentos a couple of times a week, but I have been so busy I haven't been photographing them. I promise to try & post more often. (^_^)
This particular bento was my lunch, it is curry fried rice in the lower tier, and in the upper tier broccoli with kewpie mayo, curry-filled nan bread purchased from a street vendor-it is sooo delicious, I buy it whenever I see the vendor set up (which is rare, and most of the time it's sold out by the time I get there :(
In the divider cup, lower half has karaage and fried green onions, and the upper half is fresh strawberries dusted with "strawberry cream" flavored powdered sugar. I love the ideas they come up with here in Japan, especially when it is related to food!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Octodog Bento

I was up at 5;30 am again.. and not it wasn't the baby waking me up, it's springtime in Japan so the sun rises at 5 am. And it's so bright I always think that I've overslept. So, ever bright-eyed and bushy-tailed(??!) I set about making this for the daughter.
I started by cutting the octodog, which are actually very easy to make, if you own a knife.. You really don't need any special tools for this job (think plastic octopus cutter) All you really have to do is cut a hotdog in half at an angle, then cut "tentacles" by making 3 or 4 slits at the bottom of the hotdog. When you cook it it turns into a nice octodog. I happened to overcook this guy slightly, but daughter didn't mind. I actually think they taste much better "blackened" Like over a campfire.. ah, the childhood memories..
oh. sorry. the. bento.
The other half of the hot dog and egg are positioned under the pretty, decorated ones. Like so many who stand in the shadows of their famous siblings.. no makeup & slightly burned. I put some ketchup into the orange case for dipping, and stuck some fruit and veggies in there for nutrition, daughter seemed to like it.
On a side note, my bento addiction is getting worse by the day.. I got the most adorable Jelly Belly shaped bento the other day, it is supposed to look like a banana jelly bean. It is adorable, and by far the most expensive bento I have purchased. I will be posting a picture soon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bento Kawaii Giveaway

I am having a contest for the awesome customers of my store, visit my store blog for details on how you can win all this!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cinnamoroll Bento

I love Cinnamoroll, (s)he is so cute! And so easy to make too! I just molded some sushi rice into her shape, then added sakura denbu for his cheeks and colored string cheese for his eyes and mouth. Lots of fruit today, since this is my lunch and I love fruit. Mandarin oranges, cherry, and kiwi flowers. That is leftover pork roast in the star shaped paper cup and steamed asparagus rounds it out. Yum!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monokuro Boo Bento

Monokuro Boo-literally "monochromatic pig" This is daughter's favorite San-X character. The white pig is a California roll, and the black pig is a cucumber roll. There is a little crab & avocado salad up in the corner, and steamed veggies and strawberries.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sandwich Bento

This was a quicky bento made with my 4 design bread cutter, below. The sandwich is apple butter and peanut butter. The lower tier contains a cabbage salad with honey mustard dressing in the HK container, cheese wedge, and a new flavor chocolate mushroom- choco-raspberry! Yummy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Kuromi-chan & My Melo Bento

Kuromi is my new favorite Sanrio character, I mean seriously, how can you not love the leader of a tricycle gang?! Plus she is just so cute. And I think deep down, she just wants to be liked :)
She is made with rice which I shaped into a ball with my hands, slightly wet w/ water, otherwise the rice sticks. I cut the nori to fit her face and cut the eyes out freehand. The mouth was done using my nori punch. Her nose and skull are dyed hard boiled egg (and nori)
My Melo is a hard boiled egg made using an egg mold, and she has nori details. Her nose and bow are made with food markers. Broccoli and homemade general tso's chicken on the top, and a strawberry on the bottom. The flowers on the top are baby corn, sliced thin.
You can sorta see the new kinkachu bag I made to match the new kuromi bento box I ordered last week. (yay it should be here next week!)
Tell me the truth, is it lame to love a cartoon character at 31 years of age?
I didn't think so either...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bento Kinkachu Tutorial

s I made this kinkachu bag for my son to match his Pokemon bento box. It's a fairly easy pattern so I thought I would publish instructions for anyone interested in making their own. I took a few pictures to go along with the instructions, but if you have any questions, please ask!

First you will need a piece of folded fabric. The fold should be on the bottom. Cut this into an 11 x 11 inch square.

when unfolded it is an 11 x 22 inch piece of fabric

Ok, on the top and bottom of the fabric you need to make a 1/4 inch wide fold that is 1.75 inches long. Do this on all four corners. This is part of the drawstring section. Sew the 1.75 inch section.

On both ends of the fabric fold the top of the fabric down one half inch. Press with a warm iron. Then fold down again 3/4 inches and press again. It will be folded down to where the stitches end. Don't sew this part yet.
The next step is to fold the fabric like it was when you started, expect inside out. Sew the outside seams together, starting at the bottom and ending 1.75 inches from the top(where you sewed that part down before) then press the seams flat.

This picture shows the seams pressed flat, you will see that it makes a point on the top.
You can see that I serged the edges of the seams, but that isn't necessary, I only did because this fabric likes to fray.

Next measure 2 inches from the point of the fabric and draw a line with a pencil. Then sew across that line. Repeat on the other side.

If you turn the bag inside out at this point, this is what it looks like. Sewing the points makes a nice square bottom for the bag.
Ok now remember how we pressed the top down before? Now is the time to sew that down. You can press it again if you like, which helps if the 2 sides aren't matching perfectly, now you can adjust it and press it so it matches.
Just sew the top edge down as shown, there will be an opening on both sides where you will thread the cord through.

Cut 2 lengths of cord, each 25 inches long. Fold the end over and secure with a safety pin. (You can use a bigger one, this tiny one was all I could find today)

Ok, start by threading the cord thru the pocket you have made. You will reach the other side where there is another opening, just keep going until you reach the point where you began. Then repeat this process beginning on the other side. When you finish you will have 2 cords hanging out of each side of the bag. Well, it's actually one cord, the beginning & end of the same cord.

String both ends thru a bead and knot the end. Cut the cord close to the knot and pull the cords to close the bag.
Voila! Kinkachu bag! Now go pack a lunch to put in it!
Like I said before, if you have any questions, ask and I will do my best to explain how I did something. I have never written instructions for a sewing project before, so I hope you can follow them ok. This is a pattern that I came up with after looking at how one of my kinkachu bags was made. I thought, hey that looks pretty easy! It took me about an hour to make this, but that was including time to take pictures. So maybe 30-45 minutes. Let me know if you make one, and how it turns out. Thanks!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Hello Monkey!

This is Hello Kitty dressed as a monkey, although my darling husband said that he thought it looked like a mouse. Mouse, monkey...who can tell the difference anyway... ;) Kitty chan is made of inari zushi and colored bell peppers. Her face is detailed with nori and yellow bell pepper.
All she needs now is a banana..or possibly some cheese..

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hanami Bento

We took a drive to Hakone today, a town very near to Mt. Fuji. We had a picnic next to a lake with a gorgeous view of the mountain. In my family size bento, I packed the following:

Sesame Sakura Onigiri

Plum Sakura Onigiri

Steamed Broccoli and Simmered Carrots

Teriyaki Chicken

Beef-wrapped asparagus

Pork Gyoza

Simmered Pumpkin

Apple Rabbits


Pickled Daikon

Hard Boiled Quail Eggs

It was delicious, and a beautiful day! Here is a picture I took today of Mt Fuji.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Veggie Pizza bento

mmm..veggie pizza is so good
This is made with broccoli, cucumber, carrot, tomato, avocado and cheddar cheese on a crescent roll crust. Yummy.
Macaroni and cheese I made the day before and baked in silicone cups and froze for later use. This is made with a velveeta and cheddar roux.
Hard boiled egg cut with my handy dandy flower egg cutter/slicer.
Apple, tangerine sections and kiwi

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Toys

This is my newest bento, coveted for a couple months and then finally purchased yesterday. Here in Japan there is a store called Off House, a second hand store. I occasionally go in to see what sort of bento supplies they have, because most of the kitchenwares are brand new. (I just don't think I want a second-hand bento..) Most of the time, the boxes are maybe $3 at the most. This particular one was $6.50, it's funny because I wouldn't think twice about spending 3 times that for a nice bento at a retail store, but because this is a second hand store,I thought $6.50 was a bit . But anyway I finally broke down and bought it yesterday. It has a really cute removable divider in the upper tier. And I really love the design on the lid. And because I got a great deal on another box and bag set for just $1.50(!) it averaged to only $4 a box. Whatever it takes to justify my addiction. Wait, did I say addiction? I meant collection. I am a collector of bentos...and bento accessories..
I bought these yesterday too...I can't resist cute chopsticks!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Bento

Well, this is the best I could attempt at 6:30 am Monday morning...

The rice just wasn't cooperating, it kept falling apart for some reason. We dyed the quail eggs when we colored our easter eggs, they took the dye pretty well. Everything is on a bed of lettuce, and the flowers are hot dogs(Japanese hot dogs, daughter says they "tasted funny" hmm..) She also had half a pb&j and a mikon (tangerine). I am hoping to be a little more creative and a little more pulled together in the future...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Bento

Today is the daughters big 13 th birthday! Honestly, how did that happen?! So to commerate the occasion, she has received the "crown pancake" bento lunch. This is an idea I saw in one of my bento books. I made 2 pancakes, then filled them with blueberry jam and piped marshmallow fluff on the edge so the crown points would stick to it. To make the crown points, I put the pancake batter (bisquick mix) into a pastry bag with a tip and piped it into the pan, in one long piece. It is pretty pliable when warm, so just curl it around the pancakes, sticking it to the marshmallow fluff(frosting, whipped cream, whatever you have handy..) I put some little "edible bbs" on the points as decoration, and put a 13 on the top in blueberries.
Sausage links, mini hashbrowns and fruit on the side. There is maple syrup in the little container. (as if jam and marshmallow fluff isn't enough sugar)
o o
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y K I D !

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Bento

This one was made for my husband, since daughter wanted pb&j today. I made the shamrock out of bell pepper hearts, it's sitting on a bed of buttered egg noodles with fresh parsley. Breaded teriyaki chicken breast with carrot flowers. Upper tier contains scotch eggs, steamed broccoli, tomatoes, steamed pork dumplings, and quail eggs fried in bell pepper rings. Husband said it was delicious. :) Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Gadgets

I just can't seem to resist anything "New!" or cute for bento-making. Here are just a few of the new things I bought yesterday. On the far left are music picks for the daughter(she plays clarinet) In the middle are plastic food dividers in cute fruit shapes, they are shown whole, but they are perforated in the middle so you use a half circle. Then on the right are some new hot dog/mini sausage cutters. I have hot dog cutters already, but these are "New!" and "Cute!" Haha. The yellow one make 2 little penguins, the middle one makes a fish. and the smallest is a crab. Hopefully soon they will make an appearance in an actual bento!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sugarbunnies Bento

We were running a little behind this morning, so not as much detail as I'd like in this bento. The Sugarbunnies are made of wheat bread with ham and cheese, and nori details, and the other is white bread with pb & banana. The details on this one were painted on with two chocolate pens.
I will eventually redo this one with the detail I wanted :(
Daughter loved it though :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bear Bento

This is the first bento I've made for daughter this week, since the darling baby son has been waking up every night at 3 am, I have been too exhausted to make anything too cute in the mornings. I don't understand it, he has been sleeping all night for months, and now decides that 3 am is fussy time!
^ ^
I made the bears out of onigiri with nori faces, the girl has a little sakura denbu to give her rosy cheeks. The star shaped things are chicken nuggets, oddly enough one of the nuggets was heart shaped. Cheese, strawberries, and hard boiled quail eggs fill the rest of the box. Oh and the koalas are a new flavor, Pancake and Syrup! Bar b q sauce in the kiwi container.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fox and Hen bento

This is my "fox in the henhouse" bento, made for the daughter. She just loves the little quail "hatchlings". The fox I made using a star shaped onigiri mold with 2 color rice. The orange rice is made by mixing in a packet of powdered coloring/flavoring. The flavor is very subtle, this one is miso. The hens I made using my handy dandy rice cube tool, it makes perfect little cubes, I love it! I added carrot beaks and feet and the eyes are nori. The tomatoes are halved and filled with a slice of mozzarella cheese stick(string cheese is the perfect size for this) and held together with a baby chick pick. What you can't see in this picture is the mini meatballs I added this morning. I was going to add little star shaped chicken nuggets but that just seemed wrong...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Red Bento

This includes sandwiches made of strawberry jam and peanut butter, and jam & cream cheese. Blood oranges, cheeses, and fruit snacks. Note the koalas dressed up as Hina dolls! Although they appeared a day late..
This wasn't meant to be such a monocromatic bento... This is actually the first bento made for the daughter since she criticized my bento obsession last week as being "lame"
Note the following picture of what her lunch looked like last week...

she's very sorry she criticized her bentos, I suppose she's forgiven.. ;)

Hello Kitty Bento

This bento is from a couple of weeks ago, made for my daughter. Hello Kitty is made of a molded pudding mix that I bought at the 100 Yen store. Daughter said that it is more of a "fluffy jello" than pudding. She said it was good anyway.. strawberry flavored. The bow is strawberries, and her eyes are blueberry skin. I was too pressed for time to define her whiskers that morning.. sorry kitty-chan! She is surrounded by sliced strawberry, tangerine sections, and fresh blueberries.
Sliced tonkatsu pork on a bed of steamed rice, and shredded cabbage and carrots round out the rest of her lunch.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Star Pancake Bento

This is my Saturday "brunch" bento. I made the star pancakes out of 2 different sized cookie cutters. The pancakes are filled with blueberry and strawberry jam. I had a little container of maple syrup underneath the pancakes. Also in the lower tier are 2 maple sausage links, and tangerine sections.
Upper tier contains star shaped potato patties, fresh strawberry and tangerines.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fishie Bento

This is what I had for lunch yesterday, there is also another tier which consisted of some sauteed mushrooms, fresh blueberries, and some leftover homemade General Tso's chicken that we had for dinner the night before. That's one thing about living in Japan..the Chinese restaurants here are nothing like the ones back home. Here there's no such thing as a Chinese buffet with lots of greasy fried things.. The best Chinese restaurant here is called Bamiyan and it has a great set menu where they keep bringing you tons of food for about $30. Not bad, but still no General Tso's..

This picture is the bottom tier, it is made up of steamed short grain rice with a layer of black sesame furikake sprinkled on the bottom for (gravel, sand?-maybe this is Hawaiil) :)

The coral is made up of thin strips of imitation crab, and the water plant is the tops of some flat green onions. They were actually the inspiration for this bento, I saw them and thought of the ocean.. The fish are carrots cut with my little fishie veggie cutter, and if you look close, you can see the air bubbles which are made out of a thin crepe-like egg omelet. I used a little piece of a straw to make the tiny circles. My wonderful husband made the eyes of the little fishies out of nori. He cut them out by hand.

*Helpful tip*

Use a cut 1" length of a plastic straw to make perfect circles (works great for eyes!) out of cheese or egg. Some restaurants have the bigger size straws, so you can make different size circles. So grab an extra straw next time you are out for lunch!

-Wait, who goes out for lunch anymore?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

First Post!

Hello! This is one half of the bento lunch I made for my daughter last week, it consists of 2 different kinds of rolled sandwiches- blueberry jam and cream cheese, and jam & peanut butter. I also added a pink onigiri made with one of my rice molds and nori punches. Fresh blueberries on a Hello Kitty pick. Romaine leaf and plastic yellow baran accents.
The sandwiches are made using thinly sliced crustless bread, spread with the filling and rolled up jelly-roll style. I then wrap them up in plastic wrap, twist the ends and stick em in the fridge overnight. (they seem to hold together alot better that way) Then in the morning just slice them and voila! This also works great with egg or ham salad sandwiches.
I am excited about posting new bento pictures and instructions, and I look forward to meeting new people who also love bento!!