Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hawaii's Bento Box Cookbook ~ A Giveaway!

You may have heard about this new bento cookbook by Susan Yuen. It's brand new, and filled with lots of useful tips, information and recipes for any bento maker -- from novice to pro. I should know; I've got a copy myself!
Susan has been such a great bento pal and source of encouragement and support to me. She's always happy to share from her experience, and this book is a perfect example of that generosity. If you've ever admired her bento and wondered if you could ever learn to make such cute charaben, I can tell you that you'll learn tons of her techniques in this book. She shares a lot in here! I love it so much I want to share it with you. Well, one of you, anyway! I have a brand-new, autographed (by the author, not me) copy and I want to give it away! Maybe to YOU!
All you have to do to qualify for the random drawing is leave a comment below by 12:00 midnight PDT Saturday, telling me something you've learned about bento since you've started bentomaking; or if you're new to bento, why you're interested in starting. Or, feel free to share anything else you'd like. I'll also throw in a surprise bunch of bento goodies to get you going, too. Can't show you because I don't have it yet, but I'll go shopping this weekend. Good luck!

66 comments:

  1. Really amazing giveaway. This comment may sound ridiculous but I am really bas at figurative and kawai bentos, that is why I am so interesting in having this book :). Since I'm into bentos for at least one year (even if I don't use them every day), I have learnt that bentos need a minimum of organization (and time if you want to make them pretty). More pratically, I learnt how to use sausages in a funny way, makis, flowers in egg sheets, onigiris... But still, I would say I need to learn how to use nori to make cute characters (even without punchers) and how to make prettier bentos ! Thanks again for the giveaway (I'm sure I won't win :P).

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  2. Hi,

    I have discovered that my daughter will eat bell pepper and cucumber if it is in a cute looking bento lunch.

    I love reading your blog.

    Cathy

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  3. Thanks for the giveaway! I find that the colors and appealing arrangement of bentos are making both my daughter *and* me eat healthier, so I am always on the lookout for inspiration!

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  4. Your blog makes me so happy! I'm a second year (almost third year) medical student and food is one of the few enjoyments I still make time for. We're constantly studying at school or the library, and having a fun, happy, and nutritious lunch is exactly what I need. Grabbing lunch at the hospital is not always the healthiest and certainly not aesthetically pleasing. I'd love to have this book to make delicious, pretty meals when I'm on rotations in a few months. Keep up the good work!

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  5. I am new to bento...researching now and gathering ideas. I love the cuteness! I love the pictures. I like the creative process of it all. I look forward to making these lunches for myself :)
    I have a small Hello Kitty bento box a friend gave me when I first mentioned my interest. I haven't bought any supplies or books yet. I found your blog a week ago and I am inspired even more. thank u for this opportunity, I think this give-away is an awesome idea and perfect for someone like me! Thank you!

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  6. What a great give-away, Sheri. :) Here's something I've learned in the year I've been doing bentos:

    -Fresh foods make a better bento. I'm not sure what it is -- the color, the texture, the taste, or something else -- but when I use fresh foods in my bentos, it always looks and tastes better.

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  7. I have been making bento for a few years now, and the most important thing I learned is to plan ahead. Nothing fancy, just think about what box you are going to use and what foods you are going to include before you start cooking. If you are making something cute or a character, sketching it first helps too. It definitely saves a lot of time.

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  8. I am just starting to get into bento making, and have been inspired by your blog as well as susan's blog. I am interested in starting to make bentos because I want to make beautiful and healthy lunches for my future husband and kids (ok, and myself too) :)

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  9. Another chance to win this cookbook, amazing! Even though I don't regularly make bento myself, I enjoy reading all of the bento blogs and have learned so much. Only 8 months ago I had no idea about the online bento culture, the "charaben" style, or all of the cute accessories (nori cutters, toothpicks, vegetable cutters...). Seeing other people's bento has taught me to be creative with my lunchtime fruits and veggies. In addition to all of this, I think I've learned some food photo tips from your blog Sheri. Thanks for your bento inspiration : )

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  10. The first thing I learned was, that sandwiches for lunch are boring :D And that I feel much better if I have vegetables an no or just a little meat for lunch. And that cooking can be pretty much fun :)

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  11. EÊê, minä minä täällä! (=it´s me here!)

    Sheri, you are so amazing to be making this giveaway! We are so lucky you were lucky :P (isn´t it nice when it is "win-win"situation?)

    First of all, thank you so much for your blog and everything. (and I should thank Maki from JustBento that I found you). It has been such a pleasant experience, making friends in the #bento community and seeing such great bento art almost everyday. It is a feast for the eyes.

    I am not actually a "bentoist".. well, at least, I dont need to make it in regular basis. But I enjoy doing them. I used to make bento for my hubby sometimes , not any spectacular design.. just food :).

    Otherwise, special occasions and picnics are always a good excuse for making some here ;).
    Now with my girls I am bit by bit trying to make more. Mostly because it is a good way to give them nutritionally balanced meals with the fun! :)

    Well, anyways. I might share a tip (and stop this blablabla). Some people might ask what to do with the veggie scraps that come from cutting the designs. (doesn´t work for all veggies, but mostly.. even peels.. and obviously, you can always EAT them with the youngsters :P). The tip is to keep a "scrap" bag in the freezer. You can always make vegetable broth or yummy soups from them!

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  12. Aw Sheri, what a nice giveaway!
    I have learned so much while doing bento!
    The most annoing and on the other side interesting experience was to cut nori. I love it, but it's so time intensive.
    And what I never thought of before was planning my lunch. But now I think about how to put together or make nice motives on top of rice.

    And the best thing is: I think I'm still a novice ;)

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  13. I started to make bento in the fall of last year, and I still feel like a novice, especially when it comes to making cute faces and animals. I have learned a lot from my Flickr friends and all the bento blogs out there, and this book looks like a lot of fun!

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  14. i started making bento last month. i love that it saves on plastic baggies and other wrapping waste. and it saves money by not having to buy lunch every day!

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  15. My best advice is to set every out the night before and pre-cut anything that will last over night in the refrigerator. In the morning every thing is in place and life is more pleasant

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  16. I think since starting bento-ing, I've developed a better eye for color, and now I look out for colors in every single meal!

    And lesson 1 in bento making; Pack it tight, otherwise it will all end up in tears!


    PS: This is such a fabulous giveaway!

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  17. Relatively new to bento, I find it an incredibly fulfilling outlet for my creativity. It's also fairly guilt free creative time! Because my children and I get to eat beautiful, nutritious lunches through the week as a result. Something very special that I've discovered about making bento for myself and two children is that it connects us every day. While they are at school and I am in my office, when lunch time comes around and I look into my bento, I know they're doing exactly the same thing, and enjoying what they find!

    I have learned a valuable bento planning method from Pikko of Adventures in Bentomaking and that's to draw them beforehand. I use a corner of my diary page for each week and list ingredients I may need before sketching a bento for reference later. It saves lots of actual making time, because I have a clear idea of how it should look and fit together! Thank you to Pikko and also a big thanks to the rest of the community for sharing great ideas and stories every day.

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  18. Eee! I am just getting started with bento, but I have loved them a long time. Here are my reasons for getting started...:

    dietary restrictions are a big number one. I am not able to have any dairy or things derived from dairy, I do not eat meat, and I am partially gluten free. this makes eating food I didn't make very hard! bento gives me a fun, cute way to pack my own food and feel good about what I am eating.

    healthiness is the next reason. for both my fiance and for me, our workplace cafeteria doesn't have good options. with bento I enjoy making lunch for us both, and I know it's healthy.

    cuteness! I love all the cute boxes and cutters and so on, I'm not going to lie.

    and lastly, trying new things. I have learned to make so many new things since I started learning more of bento and it's exciting. I love cooking and I love broadening my horizons!

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  19. I am excited to start packing bento for lunch next semester when I live in a place with a kitchen! I want to eat healthily, cutely, and happily! I have learned that it's okay to put different food items in a box together in little paper cups or with dividers and such. I am also learning more about good foods and recipes for bento too! :D I also love cute bento boxes and egg molds!

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  20. Man, I love bento making. I wake up at 5am in the morning to make bentos for my dad each day. although its hard work, i enjoy it too much. your website have given me much inspiration, so thank you!

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  21. I have learned a lot about bento since I started, but I was really amazed that a full calorie meal could fit into bento boxes, and has helped my family be more aware of serving sizes. I also love cute bento it makes me look forward to my meals, and I find I am fuller and enjoy my food more than when it was jsut slapped on a plate with no colors or thought put in.

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  22. I hope to get this book some how, some way! Even if I have to ask for it for Mother's Day. I have learned to stuff little things in the empty spots to fill it tight and add the much needed pop of color! Color placement is a struggle for me, but I'm still learning that. And I've learned to make an egg sheet! Now I have to learn to cut out nori faces /^|^\ there is still so much more to learn....Thanks!

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  23. I've never had a traditional bento box, but since I started reading this blog, I've learned that putting together a "fusion" bento box can be very easy, healthy, and delicious!

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  24. I became interested in bento because it seemed liked a fun way to eat and a fun way to help your children eat good food. It has also helped me to expand my cooking skills and my desire to learn more about cultural foods and customs.

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  25. I started making bento lunches for my six year old just this fall, so I'm still really new at it. But I've learned so much from all of you pros. I've discovered some self-confidence as a mother doing this. I feel like I'm actively doing something every day to make my daughter's life more healthy and fun. I feel like she has a part of me with her every day when she opens up her lunch. I feel like I'm teaching her something about spending a little time each day to make someone else's life better.
    And it's all from a little lunch.

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  26. I just recently started making bentos. I am mostly housebound while recovering from cancer. I started a blog about my life and in it I started posting my hubby's lunches. I am a real beginner but I am learning the tighter you pack things, the better.

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  27. What a great give away!!!! I have been wanting to get Sunsan's books for a long time but it is always out of stock (1st book) and I so wanted her signature on her 2nd book! I am even contemplating of asking bentoists from Hawaii if any of them is kind enough to help me get a copy! :P

    Well, I love everything small and cute and when I discovered the kawaii-ness of bento for kids, there has been no turning back! Initially my boy was so excited when I presented him with all these kawaii bentos but lately he has not been eating a lot as he rather play than eat (some growing up phase I think!) and I hope my persistence in continue to pack cute bento for him will help bring back his appetite!

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  28. Ooo yaya! I have been wanting this book :D I have learned so much since I began bento! It has been wonderful to have so many awesome bento bloggers out there to learn from. The biggest lesson I have learned is to just go for it! You never know what you are capable of doing unless you give it a try!

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  29. Technically, I have never made a bento or used any bento accessaries but I try to make the food cute, colorful, and healthy. I am a crafter/potter and would love to have this! My daughters would love it more probably.

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  30. Since starting bento a few months ago, I've learned that there's something that is inspiring enough to convince me to wake up even earlier in the morning!! ^_^ I already was waking up around 5:30am for work, but I wake up at least half an hour earlier to get my bento ready (and sometimes one for my boyfriend) because I love it so much and it makes my sad little half-hour break at work something to really look forward too. Love you blog!! Cheers!

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  31. Thank you for offering this contest! It looks like a fabulous book. I'm sure many of the things I've learned about bento are from your blog ;-)

    I have learned as I go along that I would rather let the ingredients be the centrepiece than go all-out with charaben, although it's fun on occasion. I've also realized making a colourful bento is a great way to make sure I'm eating lots of fresh veggies and fruit.

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  32. Yeayy!! Another chance to get this awesome book! Won't miss it absolutely hehe. Well, I've learned so many things through bentoing. Honestly, I started learning bentoing with no special tools, only a knife, scissors, and a round paper puncher. But, sometimes I don't believe myself that I could go that far with that simple tools (it sounds like narcism actually hehehe, but I found something special inside of me for bentoing :D). Through bentoing, now I love to consume healthier food too, more veggies and fruits :D. I also got so many friends from all around the world that is a real pleasure for me. Keep happy bentoing, folks! :D

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  33. The first thing I learned for bento was how to make delicious tamagoyaki!

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  34. I haven't done a ton with bentos, but I do have a little box from a Japanese exchange student who stayed with my grandma, so I would love to learn how to fill it and do it justice! :)

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  35. I just started to prepare bentos this week...
    and I LOVE it!
    I especially like to make vegetables look nicer.
    At the moment, my favourite way is to make little red tulips from halved cucumber slices (as leaves) and halved radishes (as bloom) on a toothpick.

    I love reading your blog and it would be so great if I won this book!

    Greetings from Germany,
    kleiner Tiger

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  36. I've only recently started getting interested in bentos. Probably because some friends who also are at dreamwidth started to talk about in their blogs. For diverse reasons it picked my interest and I'm following yours and some other bento blogs for now... about 3 weeks, I think. My first step was to try out to do some onigiri. (I've had the chance to go to Japan last summer and miss the konbini where you could get at all time some onigiri...) I did some onigiri last week -yumm! happy me- and with my boyfriend we also tried to do maki at home. (Without fish, since we do not know how to know it's fresh... so it was tricky to find substitutes. But very oishii nonetheless.)
    The part in bento that intrigues me is meat. Like, eating cold one. I'm not a huge fan of meat already, just like my boyfriend, and wonder if eating it cold... well, I don't know. (Wiener are no problem cold, though. Hm, broaden your horizons, isn't it?)
    I digress, so maybe I should stop here and hope you'll have lots of fun and interesting entries for this drawing!

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  37. i just made my 2nd bento yesterday & even though i didn't take pics (my 1st 2 have been brightly coloured with lots of veggies & fruit, but ugly...lol) i'm really proud of myself. i fill every nook & cranny with baby carrots, grape tomatoes & tangerine slices & a little chunk of dark chocolate (antioxidants! yes, i'm rationalizing chocolate, lol). i'm crazy in love with cute little japanese things and the idea of making cute food is awesomesauce & i can't wait to put faces on my food! just this evening while reading a blog, i learned how to turn my grape tomatoes into ladybugs by 'glueing' nori to them with olive oil...i cannot wait to try this! i'm going shopping tomorrow & i hope to find nori & maybe a flower cutter so i can make carrot flowers. i'm hoping to make my 1st onigiri tomorrow and i had a great idea to use a skull muffin pan i have with nori to make a halloween onigiri (wrong time of year, you say? not for me, i <333 halloween, think it's the best!) i only have internet on my phone so having this book would be a tremendous help! good luck to all of us with all our bento exploits!

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  38. I'm really interested in getting into bento, 1 for weight control/maintenance and 2, because I love art and food and love being creative.

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  39. Oooh, what fun, I'd love to get a closer look at her work! Let's see...I've learned I can put together a cute and fast lunch in 10 minutes from next to nothing. And I've also learned that when I spend 3 hours on a beautiful bento I want the rest of the family to eat it when I'm not looking! LOL

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  40. I've start makin bento since last year and hope to improve my skill. I've search a lot of bento blog to learn as in my coutry, bento makin is not yet popular. so, it's hard for me to get any bento books. What I've learn via bento makin are:

    (i) makin bento trains me to be patient, as you know makin a bento require time and creativity as well.How it should be placed or arrange and tools that need.

    (ii) I love and appreciate the time spendin on bento as this is what I can afford (I'm still a student,haha) I enjoy makin bento for my love one and this is a way to show your love and care to them.

    (iii) besides that, via the process,from nothin to somethin, I find that I'm kind of success or I can say self-confidence(think that I'm talented)=)

    (iv) In addition, it helps to foster people's relationship especially between my nephew and me.He likes my bento very much as I do lot of designs such as smillin burger,bear and rabbit sanwiches,sausage man and etc.

    Thanks for offerin this golden opportunity for us to win this bento book. I hope that I can be the winner to take away with this book =) Thanks again as this contest really give me a space to share my bento makin experiences.May god bless everybody here ^-* (we've the same interest)

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  41. Hi Sheri! Thanks so much for an opportunity to win this book!

    I got into bento just 2 weeks ago, after seeing your bento on Tastespotting.com. I have since been to San Francisco Japantown and now have 6 bento boxes and lots of fun supplies to make cute bento.

    In my vast (ha ha) experience with bento, I have come to appreciate the variety that bento encourages. I think about the 5 colors, cooking techniques, the 5 tastes, and of course calories when I plan my bento. I love that bento is a creative outlet and a healthy one as well.

    Thanks for all of your inspiring ideas!

    michmarq (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  42. I'm new to making bento, but I first saw it when visiting my mom's classroom at a private school. There were a few kids in her class that always had a well made bento box. They were so adorable and I was surprised at the things the kids would eat!

    I started looking for bento recipes/tutorials on Tastepotting and found your site. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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  43. First off hello!

    I am new to bento making, and I have learned alot! I am 17, and it has first off made me more conscious of my nutrition. I have been getting more whole grain, fruits, and veggies since starting this, and less fats and prepackaged junk. I have also replaced about an hour a day of being brainwashed in front of the tv, with reading and cooking and creating art! Bento art lets me have fun being crafty like I loved to do as a child, while achieving something at the same time. And finally, it has given me something better to do online. haha I mean, I used to just go on social sites and be nosey and such, but now i come on blogs and view beauty from all around the world, such as your blogs :)

    Thank you much!
    -Patience

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  44. Thanks for the opportunity. I use bento as my secret weapon to get my 1st grader to eat a variety of foods. What a treasure this would be to get an autographed copy!

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  45. I got interested in bento to try and get my kids to eat more fruits and veggies. After watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, I am determined to have kids that know how to eat healthy foods, not junk, and I want them to have an open mind about foods from other cultures. Now I just use small plastic boxes but I just purchased some rice molds online! A cookbook would be awesome!

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  46. I started making bento this year to inspire me to bring my lunch to work more.

    I have to say that it's working and also gets me to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. My co-workers have been commenting on how healthy and pretty my bentos look. Your pictures give me great ideas on colors in my food and how to jazz things up.

    Thank you for your blog!

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  47. I'm new to bentos, just a couple of weeks now. But I do know they help an extremely picky child with food allergies eat better and think his lunch is pretty cool! Bento's are fun.

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  48. I'm new to bentos, and your photos really inspired me to think more about the importance of pre-prepared meals for nutritional and taste (and aesthetic!) balance. :)

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  49. I'm new to bento but I love being able to make a healthy lunch that I look forward to eating each day. I'm going to make bento for my twins when they start school this fall. I can't wait to try making cute, fun lunches for them.

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  50. I've wanted to start creating bento for many reasons: they're cute, nutritious, and by planning ahead, everyone is fed...no room for the last minute fast food. Thank you for sharing all your creative bento boxes with us!

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  51. I am relatively new to bento (stumbled across it late last fall) and have not made many. A book with inspiration and techniques would be handy. I also need to work on preparing ahead of time.

    Have always been inspired by your creations. Always so colorful & well arranged. Thanks!

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  52. I just had my baby 11 months ago and I thought bento would be a fun way to introduce new foods! I love how balanced you can make them with the prefect amount of veggies, fruits, protein and carbs.

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  53. I've learned portion control!

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  54. I'm very new to it, but I've learned that giving my 5 year a small portion of several foods really does get him to eat more. I would love to learn more ways to make his lunches look appealing!

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  55. I'm very, very new to bentos, but I'm absolutely fascinated by them! The portion control, the emphasis on color and healthy fruits and vegetables, and the little things you can do to make them look incredibly cute? They've won me over and I am itching to learn more!

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  56. Hi - I'm so glad I found your blog. I love bento and can't wait to show them to my four kids!

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  57. I'm in grad school and working, so I am always busy. Making bentos for my boyfriend and myself has been my outlet. I love making healthy and cute bentos that also help us to save money. I've been learning how to incorporate new ingredients in fun and interesting ways!

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  58. (I get to stalk you now in return! /wink)

    I've learned that I like to use fresh whole fruits and veggies when ever possible over cooked items. It not only saves time, but I think it's healthier.

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  59. I'm not going to have a meal plan for school next year, which means I'll have to spend more time planning and cooking meals. I really want to do bentos so that I can save money, eat healthier, and avoid being tempted by eating out. I didn't quite gain the Freshman 15...but college has definitely taken its toll!

    Plus, I went to Japan last summer and got all these really cute bento accessories that I'm DYING to try out. :)

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  60. I've learned that making bento doesn't have to be time consuming. It's all about being crafty with what you've got on hand.

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  61. Hey Sheri, one of the biggest things I have learned from the time I have making bentos is making healthy, well balance and portion controled meals. Instead of just grabbing some left overs from the fridge and throwing it into a container for lunch I think more about what I am going to fix for my bentos. I think that is the biggest thing I've learned since I began making bentos.
    I know I said before that I purchased this book and was waiting for it's arrival but I just found out today that something happened to my order and it was cancelled so here I am and it would be really cool to have a signed copy from Susan. See please count me in for the contest.

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  62. I'm sort of new to the world of creative bento. I pack a bento for my daughter's lunch every day for preschool, but I have yet to do anything super creative or cute with it. I'd love to learn some new tricks and tips from this awesome book!

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  63. Well,

    I've been really interested in bento for a while, but just haven't quite started. I have some basic supplies but I'm missing some basic skills. I'd really like this cookbook to get myself on the right track/motivated to get started with it. I really think it a good way to help get balanced lunches and I want to be a pro when I get a kid so I can get them eating well if the school lunches haven't been improved my them. Plus it looks fun and I like creating things. Good luck to me.

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  64. Since I've started doing bentos, I've learned how to present food. I used to think that only chefs could present food in such a way that it was attractive. Ha! I can do it without years of training now!

    Thanks for all that you do :)

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  65. I just made my 1st bento for my girl's 1st school excusion last week. Though I spent quite abit of time constructing it as I am a novice, all time and efforts were well worth when I saw her eyes lit up with a sunshine smile and heard her let out a "wow!" when I opened the bento box cover :)

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  66. I have some fun bento stuff, but I've never really packed a bento that's cute. I think my favorite part would have to be making healthy food exciting for my kids. They already jump for carrots and cantelope, I really want to encourage that good food enthusiasim!

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