Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mini Pita Bread Pocket Sandwich Bento

These little mini pita breads are just so cute; have you seen them? But they are pretty tough to fill with stuff. I had to make 6 of them for TinySprite here. These are sardine-yogurt-pickle relish-filled (hey! Don't knock it till you've tried it; it's pretty good with hot sauce too). I put tiny lettuces in there for color, and topped off with grape tomatoes and a couple turns of fresh cracked pepper. The other side of this cute orange polka-dot bento box contains blood orange sections and steamed Okinawan sweet potato. I think I got this box at Daiso a long time ago - they came in different shapes, sizes, and colors.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shoyu Chicken Bento

If it seems like deja vu, it probably is because I've made this bento many, many times. It's a kid favorite and a guaranteed hit in our house so that's why it's on constant rotation. It was my favorite as a kid, so I can understand it! I made shoyu chicken and crispy potatoes for TinySprite, in a lettuce cup. I didn't cut the chicken this time; let's see what she says. There's also a broccoli tree, blood orange wheels, a couple of grape tomatoes, and some fresh cut pineapple. All packed up in our Sistema Bakery container. So perfect for this girl of mine. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Salmon Salad EcoLunchBox Bento

A non-cutesy bento, after the deluge of cute ones from last week. This is the kind that I normally make: with a focus mainly on the nutritiousness and deliciousness of the food iteself. If I have extra time, I'll add a cute detail. But sometimes, I just don't. Like today. This one is just a basic salmon salad with halved tomatoes and a few red onions. MisterMan doesn't like added dressing, but you could easily send some along with your kid if you so desired. The lower tier of the EcoLunchbox Three-In-One serves well for this type of bento. The top tier is shallower and will hold a selection of grapes, blood orange segments, and carrots. The third box has a lid and I packed some yogurt (you could also use cottage cheese), sunflower seeds, and fresh pineapple chunks. This one will keep my middle-schooler satisfied, even without the food faces! ^__^

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lunar New Year Dragon Bento

I know it's not the Year of the Dragon, but I'm making a dragon bento because 1) it represents the dragon dance that is typically performed in the Lunar New Year parade, and 2) I wanted an excuse to use my very cool dragon cutter. I've shown it to you before (see it here) -- it is very intricately designed and of very good quality. I've used it on tofu (see that here) and even dragonfruit (look here!). It's a little tricky to get the cheese out of the small crevices, but it can be done using a toothpick or small tweezers.

I used cheese for the dragon in this bento, and I dyed it red with beet juice. He is chasing a baby orange tomato "ball." This tomato is from my garden -- my plant from last summer is still producing fruit. I know, I know... weird. But we've had a very mild winter here in California and everything is out of whack. Underneath is lucky sticky rice, made in my rice cooker (see my method here). Those baby yellow chard are also homegrown from my garden; I have several chard plants and they are all producing leaves, but they don't get much bigger than this. Just right size for bento, I guess! There's also a lucky mandarin, some blueberries, and a grape tomato. I hope you enjoyed the first day of the Year of the Sheep, and that it portends a grand year ahead. ^__^

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Year Of The Sheep Bento!

Gung Hee Fat Choy! The Lunar New Year begins tomorrow, and it will be the Year of the Sheep. To celebrate, I made a sheep riceball with rolled ham horns to accompany the gyoza (see my gyoza method here) for TinySprite. She also gets Okinawan sweet potato, grape tomatoes, edamame skewers, and a carrot. She'll also take an orange, which signifies good luck. The firecracker craft is one she made in school. Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year!

Added to What's For Lunch.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Puppy Pancakes Bento!

In celebration of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, and National Pancake Day, we're having pancakes for lunch today! We've had breakfast for lunch recently in the past, and it was a big hit then, so I suppose it can't hurt to repeat with pancakes instead of waffles this time. I tried to make puppies, and I'd say the results improved with each successive pancake, so I put the early ones in the back. I decorated the face with cheese and nori, and even gave the lil' guy a mozzarella bone. TinySprite also gets some all-natural chicken sausages along with some ombre blood orange segments, blueberries, and a grape tomato. Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bunny Eats a Rainbow Bento!

This one is just a fun snack I threw together for the kiddos to take advantage of all the colorful fruit and veggies slowly starting to appear in the markets these days. I can't wait until we are in full spring fruit season! This one, packed in the "Zen" box from Bento & Co, contains a rainbow of goodies: strawberry, satsuma mandarins, tamagoyaki (okay, not a fruit or veggie, but the egg contributed such a bright sunny effect here), kiwi, blueberries, and Okinawan sweet potato. I added a cheese bunny holding a mini fresh garden carrot too. Don't fear, spring will be here before you know it!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mama Bird Loves Her Baby Chicks Valentines Day Bento!

I didn't think I would be able to get around to a Valentines Day bento this year, but I just made it! I know I should have put more hearts in it, but you get the picture. I think I made a similar bento last year too, to show my babies how much I love them. That's me, with my MisterMan and TinySprite! That's what bentomaking is all about! 

I used a hen's egg for the mama bird, and two quail eggs for the babies. To get the eggshell effect, use a small paring knife to make zigzag cuts all the way around the hard-boiled egg (not too deep, or you'll scratch the yolk). Then, gently pull the top white part off. These eggs are sitting on a nest of soba noodles, with two grape tomato hearts. The upper tier holds a colorful variety of other stuff: Okinawan sweet potato, kiwi, blueberries, blood orange, carrots and a strawberry. I put a container of tsuyu sauce (not shown) too. Hope you guys all have a fantastic Valentines Day with your loved ones! Muah! 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Kitty Has a Fish Sandwich Bento!

Today I made a pair of cute mini sandwiches for TinySprite using my kitty and fish cutters. Each mini sandwich is a triple-decker spread with sunflower seed butter (no nut butters are allowed at school) and raspberry jam. I cut matching shapes from cheddar and mozzarella cheese to decorate the tops of the sandwiches, using nori for the facial features and cucumber for the scales. I also discovered my tulip cutter doubles as kitty paws. Score! The rest of the bento contains: steamed broccoli, edamame, purple Okinawan sweet potato, strawberries, and grape tomatoes (underneath). 

I packed everything pretty tightly in this stainless steel box I bought ages ago at Palama Market, a Korean market in Hawaii that also sells lots of different varieties of kimchi. This box used to have a removable divider which got lost years ago, but the box still holds up great. The two latches are secure as ever, and the gasket in the lid keeps it leakproof. The quality is superb. I'd love to get another one, but probably I won't ever need to. ^__^

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Furikake Salmon and Potatoes LunchBots Bento

It's one of my go-to, super simple salmon preparations; today featuring kewpie and furikake. I also tossed some baby potato wedges into the pan since it was already hot, and sprinkled furikake on those too. You can't see it too well, but I packed the salmon over quinoa inside the lettuce cup for added protein. She also gets a tiny satsuma mandarin, carrots, and strawberries inside the LunchBots Quad. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Panda Rice and Chicken Bento

Just a little more of that unbeatable (for me) comfort food combo: chicken and rice. I used the Vietnamese Soy Chicken Drumsticks recipe that I've made several times before (you can see my version and the link to the original recipe here). So good. Sometimes I pack the drumsticks whole, but today I pulled the meat off the bones so I could arrange a cute bento in this enameled stainless steel bowl (from Daiso). I can pack a lot of food in here because it's pretty deep, and it has a translucent tupperware-type lid to keep everything secure. The advantage to packing a tight bento like this is that the food doesn't move around like it might in a larger box. Besides the chicken meat, this bento contains a mushroom-cut radish, steamed broccoli, a panda rice ball (with cucumber "bamboo"), carrots, grape tomatoes, and blood orange segments. Aren't those cute pencil chopsticks? I have a pair in 5 other colors. They don't really function as color pencils, by the way. ^__^

Just curious; I notice another bentomaker often photographs her bento on a pure white background, and it seems to make the food stand out. I tried the same, but I'm not convinced I like it better. Maybe I have too many shadows. What do you think?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Big and Small Ham & Cheese Sandwich Bento

We bought a delicious whole wheat sourdough round from b.patisserie last weekend, and we (everyone in the family) can't stop eating it. I thought it might last through the week, but it looks like it won't make it through tomorrow. I decided to make the kiddos a sandwich bento with this amazing bread, and then I wondered how fun it would be to make a mini version of it using the mini toasts I used to make the ever-so-adorable mini sandwich bento here. Turns out: really fun! The two sandwiches are identical except for size: grilled cheese breads stuffed with lettuce, ham, fried egg and sliced tomato. For the mini sandwich I used grape tomatoes. Isn't that cute? The rest of the box contains a half mandarin, carrots, and cucumbers. Happy Monday, friends!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Waffle Domo Breakfast for Lunch Bento

Who doesn't love breakfast for lunch? Or breakfast for dinner? I wonder what it is about breakfast food that sounds good all day long. My waffle maker is circular, but that didn't stop me from making a Domo, as you can see. Besides waffles (including blueberry eyes and an apple mouth), I've packed chicken apple sausages, a blood orange half, and some carrots. She'll also get string cheese along with her EcoLunchBoxes Solo Cube. Hope TinySprite's lunchtime is a happy one!

Added to What's For Lunch.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Heart Chili Riceball Bento

Another cold day calls for homemade chili (I used this recipe but with lots of extra veggies thrown in, because you know me) in the 17oz. Stanley thermal food jar; this larger size is great for kids whose appetite is bigger than the usual 12oz. jar can hold (like my MisterMan). I also like this jar because it's virtually indestructible; very heavy-duty and all stainless steel. To pack alongside, I used two EcoLunchBox Eco Dippers: one holds a heart-shaped shiso musubi with a nori face in a lettuce cup and a grape tomato. The other holds sliced kiwi, blood oranges, and fresh (yes, fresh!) pineapple chunks. He'll take the very practical combo spoon/fork/knife with him too. Happy Wednesday, friends!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Shoyu Chicken Round Bento

Remember this round bento? It was dubbed by some readers as the Magic Round Bento because it was this box that made me realize that the round shape makes everything look good with minimal effort. Try it; you'll see for yourself. With no beginning or end, no edges or corners, the meal looks perfectly balanced and artistic. Automatically.

Today I packed some shoyu chicken for TinySprite in a lettuce leaf, sliced for her ease, steamed broccoli and corn, carrots, blood orange segments and a couple tiny grape tomatoes. Nothing special or cute, except maybe a little flower cut from cheddar cheese smiling up at her through the translucent lid. You can't see, but there's a substantial crack in the lid now, which mars the view a little, but no matter. I'll use this magic round bento box until it falls apart.