This round bento box always seems to call out for flowers, for some reason. It's also my favorite "box", because the food seems to look nice with minimal effort at arranging.
MisterMan has chicken lettuce wraps, red (Bhutanese) mixed rice with furikake, sweet potato maple leaves, purple and gold cauliflower, romanesco, yellow pear tomatoes. Fruit section has satsuma mandarins, strawberry, blackberry and raspberries. The lavender flowers are steamed purple potato with steamed purple carrot centers.
These purple potatoes seem to be different from the black-skinned purple potatoes I get from the farmers market in that the flesh is much lighter in color. Both types taste just the same as regular potatoes (to me), and perhaps next time I'll cook both together to compare. Maybe you have noticed that I like purple hues... if there is a purple food to be had, you can be sure I will be determined to obtain it :)
Mushroom onion spinach omelet in whole wheat tortilla wrap with spring greens and avocado. Other veggies include: cucumber, sweet potato, purple and gold cauliflower, tomatoes, peapods, romanesco and satsumaimo. Fruits include tiny strawberries, blackberry, satsuma mandarin, and black grapes.
I was so happy the wrap fit so perfectly in this box, yay! Too bad the skewers had to come out, but the lid pressed down on the wraps very securely so they wouldn't unwrap before lunchtime :)
I always forget how useful and versatile eggs are. Besides hard-boiling and shaping into cute molds, or spreading as egg salad, they can be cooked into a healthy and filling omelet by adding your choice of veggies and / or meat. Here, I should have added tomatoes or red peppers for a nice color. Adding a tortilla and turning it into a wrap makes the omelet neat and easy to eat for little ones. I personally really like the wrap idea, as it can be used with lots of different fillings; cream cheese, smoked salmon, leftover chicken or other meats, cold cuts, even PB&J or other traditional sandwich spreads. The only limit is your imagination!
I made yakisoba for this bento, with (store-bought) spinach noodles, baby bok choy, mushrooms, chicken, carrots, garlic and green onion. A huge batch, for dinners and lunches - yay! Cucumber baran, yellow carrot skewer, peach (!?), star radish, purple potato slices, strawberry, blackberries and raspberry. MisterMan will love this bento; he had thirds for dinner!
Yakisoba is a great go-to quick and easy meal (I have lots of these; have you noticed?) especially when you use readymade noodles. I use spinach noodles for the nice green color. You simply toss in whatever veggies you have available (sound familiar? It's the same with fried rice!). We're running low on the fresh fruit, but I can still find a nice strawberry here and there. Not sure where this peach came from, but it is definitely past peach season! I'm happy to still have purple potatoes around, for that jolt of color. It'll be a challenge to keep the bento "happy and fresh" throughout the coming winter months. We'll see if I can manage it :)
And finally, thanks to Lia of MyBentolicious for passing this award to me! Lia's blog is full of cute and adorable bento ideas. She never seems to run out of sweet little touches to make the bento look nice. I get lots of ideas from her. I would like to pass on this award to some other fun and happy mamas:
In MisterMan's bento: Shiso-honey pork with broccoli, sauteed green beans and little "cupcake" onigiri with furikake and tiny cherry tomato. Satsuma mandarin, grapes, kiwi and strawberry for dessert.So happy with the satsumas these days!
For this recipe you can use pork chops, but I used thin pork slices since it's easier for kids to eat this way. For 1 pound of meat, make the following sauce and marinate the meat 4 hours or overnight. Reserve 1/4 cup for basting.
1 cup honey
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup finely julienned shiso leaves (recipe calls to marinate in it, but I opted to add mine later)
1t. kosher salt
1t. fresh ground black pepper
Brown the meat on the grill or pan, then add reserved sauce. I added shiso at the end, cut into little pieces with kitchen shears. It has a nice sweet taste with sharp contrast of shiso. I forgot to take pictures, but you can see my boy's bento here. I forgot to add the shiso to his portion, oops :)
I found these baby eggplants at the farmers market last weekend, and they were so cute! I picked up a bunch so I could make eggplant with pork. It's supposed to be a spicy dish with chili peppers, but I call it Eggplant with Pork because, as you'll see, I omit the chili.
First, make the sauce with the following:
2t. minced fresh ginger
2t. minced garlic
(crushed red pepper, to taste)
Then, cut the eggplant into 1 inch slices. Heat oil in a frying pan until hot, and add the eggplant and fry until tender. I kind of browned mine a bit, but it's okay. Remove from pan and blot excess oil. Then add 1/2 lb. ground pork to the pan and cook, remove and drain oil. Heat the sauce in the pan, then add back the eggplant and pork. Mix together until thoroughly mixed.
It would look redder if I added the chili! But with my kids, I have to leave it out, and add it to adults' portions later. Serve over rice. Yum! See it in my boy's bento today.
Vinegar Chicken and Rice Bento, originally uploaded by sherimiya ♥.
A simple yet brightly colorful bento lunch for my boy. Red wine vinegar chicken (recipe from maki at JustBento.com), 2-color carrot skewer, roasted tomato & artichoke with feta, brown rice makizushi with 2 color sweet potato detail, peapods and a tiny yellow pear garden tomato balloon. Fruit side has dinosaur egg plum, black grapes and blackberry.
If you ever find yourself out of ideas to beautify your bento, perhaps you can take a tip from me: sometimes just a small flower or leaf cutout is enough to draw the eye to a corner and bring a sense of nature and serenity. I will often not take the effort to cut any fancy characters or themes, due to lack of time or energy! But I think the bento still looks nice this way. I also like the contrast of an organized skewer of vegetables amidst the general randomness. You may notice that many of my bento look similar to this one. I think a simple presentation shows a calming kind of respect to the natural beauty of the food. Just my opinion.
I received this award from Lia of Bentolicious. Thank you Lia! She has a wonderful blog showing the adorable bento she makes for her kids and teaching us tips on how to use her ideas. I love it!
This award came with requirement to state 7 things about myself and after that I will have to nominate 7 others bloggers.
7 Things about myself:
1) I am a diehard swimmer. I like to swim every day, rain or shine; I alternate my favorite strokes: freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke. It's where I can relax and think about the day's bento.
2) My favorite comfort food is ramen, esp. miso ramen with kim chee. Or, sansai soba.
3) I get altitude sickness at relatively low elevation (around 7000ft). Once when I visited my brother at the telescopes atop Mauna Kea (14,000ft), I had to use their oxygen tank. (Embarrassing!)
4) I don't have a fear of heights, though, and I love roller coasters and gravity drops. One really good one is GhostRider, a wooden coaster at Knott's Berry Farm, if you get a chance. I love coasters on boardwalks (esp. Santa Cruz and Jersey shore) too, for the view and the nostalgia.
5) I love animals. Before having kids, I used to foster baby orphaned puppies in my home, playing with them and house-training them until they finished their vaccinations and could be adopted by other families. It was very hard to give them back after all this bonding. The dog I currently have was one of these pups.
6) I was born and raised in a small town on Oahu, Hawaii, went boogie boarding as a kid in my backyard, and kept a saltwater aquarium the simple way -- using a bucket to fill with water and catching the fish/crabs/eels by hand. I can still bait a snail on a hook to catch a blenny.
7) I have been personally targeted by birds 3 times in my life, which I've heard is supposed to be lucky, though it didn't feel like it.
There are lots and lots of recipes for fried rice. The one I use is highly dependent upon whatever happens to be in the fridge at the time :) You don't have to be traditional; you can use whatever you like. Today I decided to make fried rice with the day-old rice I had leftover. First I sauteed chopped onion, mushrooms, and baby bok choy. Perhaps that sounds strange to you, but I like this vegetable -- it's so cute!
After the vegetables get nice and soft, remove from the pan.
Then, I add the cold rice into the pan and fry it up, breaking up the clumps with the spoon. Some people fry the egg separately, but I just add the fork-beaten eggs directly onto the rice and scramble it all together. Then I add the secret ingredient.
I know, it's really untraditional. And we don't really eat a lot of soy "meat" products. But this tastes really good, and gives a nice spicy flavor to the rice. And, it hides the bitterness of the choy, which is a plus for getting the kids to eat it. If you wanted to make it Mexican rice, you might skip the mushrooms and choy and instead use cilantro and green onion, and you could garnish with avocado. We have done that, too. Soyrizo is also great with scrambled eggs or macaroni and cheese. But today it was fried rice.
Yummy! Kids ate it all up. See its use in my boy's bento. ^_^
MisterMan gets a tigerrrr, since this pumpkin sage ravioli (from Costco) is ready-made with stripes and everything. Facial details are cut from red lettuce using tiny scissors. He also gets roasted asparagus, sweet potato and new potato sun and clouds, & steamed broccoli and peapods to add to the jungle effect. Fruit side includes green plum, rasp- and blackberries.
MisterMan gets bunny-shaped zucchini-squash 10 grain pancakes, vinegar chicken, little rice "cupcake" with furikake and red pepper "cherry", colorful cauliflower and romanesco, peapods, cucumbers. Fruits include grapes (underneath), strawberries and tiny sugar plum.
For the veggie pancakes, I used Bob's Red Mill 10-grain mix, and added wheat germ as well as quick-cook oats. I shredded one zucchini and one yellow squash, and added this to the mix along with an egg, 1T oil, and some milk. I use only enough milk to moisten the batter; this makes the pancakes fluffier and cuter... Also, easier to form into shapes :) I tried making bears too, but the bunnies looked better to me.
It's a veggie pancake, and I didn't serve it with syrup (or anything), but the kids still loved them, ha! For packing, I had to rearrange the ingredients slightly. But I think it still packed okay. ^_^
MisterMan's bento has tortellini and sausage leftover from an Autumn Party with friends. Roasted sweet peppers, purple potatoes and beet-dyed cauliflower. Yellow pear tomatoes and peapods. Fruits include clementine, blackberries, and raspberries. November is made for roasting stuff, I think!
I have been tagged by Susan of Hawai'i's Bento Box Cookbook to discuss what I do with bento leftovers after packing. Well, for me, the decorative touches are often minimal, so scraps do not always occur... the most likely leftovers for me would be after making cutouts from veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, radish or cucumber. My method is simple: I almost always eat them myself! But I'll also put them in the bottom of the bento too. They'll add height to other items in the box.
1) Bread –I don't often make cute cutout sandwiches, but if I do, I'll put the extra bit in the bento too-- underneath. My girl will eat all kinds of bread bits.
2) Nori seaweed – Probably like others, I keep the sheets I use for cutouts in a zipperlock bag, and reuse them until gone. No extras there!
3) Cheese – I usually only use cheese for my girl, and leftovers go in with the box of grated cheese that is always in the fridge. I'll use cheese from this box throughout the day for quesadillas, pasta, sandwich melts, omelets, etc.
4) Cold cuts or cooked ham – Don't use this often, but very easy to simply eat up!
5) Fruits – Eat them myself, or save for kids' snack after school.
6) Vegetable or fruit peels – We compost these, or sometimes give to the dog (he really does like them! :)
Gonna tag Karina of Bunches and Bits next and ask her to share what she does with her bento leftovers!
Once you accept the tag, the rules are simple.
Please link back to the person who tagged you and add your name to the ‘tagged list’ below.
When you have answered the question (which can be in any style/format you like), nominate another (one will do) fellow blogger (who is not already on the list) and pass the tag to your nominee.
If you (the selected nominee) has already answered this question in an earlier post (well done), then your job is very easy - just link the tag to your earlier post and pass the tag on as per item nos. 1 and 2 above. Alternatively you can update it (if you wish).
Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, and kids are home from school to honor those who served our country. I made a little snack bento for TinySprite ~ a peanut butter and jam mini sandwich with a girl in a kimono. The kimono is made of sweet orange pepper with peapod as the obi; her face is swiss cheese and hair and eyes are red lettuce. Her hairbows are sweet red pepper. The flowers are cheese and purple potato. Underneath are black grapes, with raspberries and blackberry as well. Here is the inspiration for this girl:
This is one of the designs of greeting cards that my mom and I have made. This one was made by my mom and it's called the Shy Girl. Though TinySprite does not epitomize "shy" by any means, I thought it would be a cute one for her :)
Teriyaki salmon for MisterMan, lightly steamed peapods, plus 2 kinds of carrot skewers: purple & maroon, and yellow half-moons. Sweet potato oak leaves. Dinosaur egg plum, strawberries and blackberries. New potato flower detail.
Now that it's fall, I will have less color in my boy's bento :(
In this one, I like the bright yellow of the carrot skewer. I wish I could find more of these carrots for that focal punch! But often I will rely on a small cutout floral (or other) detail as a last resort as well. Even a tiny bit of effort will go a long way toward beautifying a "plain" bento :)
I don't usually make much of an effort for my own lunch, but sometimes I am inspired to make something happy and fun. I happened to have some teriyaki salmon leftover from yesterday, and some fresh rice, so I decided to make a yummy musubi for myself.
First, I started with hot, fresh rice. To make a rice ball, I use wax paper, or sometimes plastic wrap. The rice shouldn't be too hot, or the wax will melt. Place the rice in the middle of a small piece of wax paper.
Use the paper to mold the rice into a ball shape.
Flatten it out a bit and make an indentation for the filling. Today, I used teriyaki salmon. Put the salmon, with its yummy sauce, in the rice ball. Don't heat the salmon, just put it in cold.
Add more rice to cover it and form a ball.
Decorate if you like. I decided to make a bunny, one of my favorite kyara! I used cucumber for ears, nori for facial detail, and a plum hairbow. Also, every bunny needs a carrot. :)
I ate him right away. If I had stopped to take a photo of the inside, you would have seen that the salmon was just heated enough to spread flavor to the rice, and create a delicious handheld meal. You can use any filling you like; salted salmon is excellent too. But sadly (or happily, I suppose), I ate it quite too fast, and forgot the pic ;)
Bun Ga Nuong is a Vietnamese dish consisting of rice vermicelli with barbeque chicken, carrots and cucumber. Carrots cut as maple leaves. Green zebra tomato with olives, feta and vinaigrette. Yellow late-season garden pear tomatoes. Red plum, strawberries, raspberries and blackberry. Purple potato flowers to balance the color scheme.
Welcome to November! A summer-like November, at least right now :)
To make these sushi sandwich rolls (idea originally seen in Lunch Boxes and Snacks by Annabel Karmel), cut crusts off a slice of bread and roll flat with a rolling pin. Obviously, white bread is preferred, but all we had was whole wheat so it had to suffice.
Spread with salmon salad (or tuna salad).
Place shredded carrots and sliced cucumbers as shown.
Roll tightly and press ends together to seal.
Here's how it looks on end. Slice and place on end to enjoy! See these at work in MisterMan's bento. ^_^
I haven't made a mini bento in awhile, but here is one from the archives that I hadn't blogged yet (I think). This one was a lot of fun to imagine and prepare. :)
For this snack bento I made for TinySprite, I used real chicken yakitori on rice stick skewers drizzled with real teriyaki sauce, "miso soup" in a blueberry bowl with cheese "tofu" cubes, cream cheese and red lettuce "onigiri", and real tiny broccoli florets. All on a swiss cheese plate.
The hardest to make was the onigiri, as the tiny bit of cream cheese melted very quickly. The trick is to freeze it first, so that I had more time to shape it into the traditionaly triangular form, and then add the lettuce and press to stick. There really isn't any liquid in the blueberry bowl, but I could have added water for realism. Even tiny bits of wakame, too for that matter. Next time, perhaps. The rice sticks worked very well as skewers, and by the time my girl ate them, they had softened up enough to chew easily.
The rest of the bento includes a red plum, carrot sticks, raspberries, cherry tomatoes, peapods and pea sprouts.
I am a former research scientist turned stay-at-home-mom of 2 who got started with bento in an effort to help my kids learn that eating healthy and nutritious foods can be fun and cute. I make a bento lunch for my 9yo (4th grader) son & my 5yo kindergartener girl every school day, and post the pictures on my sherimiya ♥ flickr photostream. Here in this blog is where I describe each bento, and you'll also get a peek inside our family adventures. Thanks for taking a look, and please let me know what you think ^-^!