Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Simple Slider Bento #10

Today's bento begins with a mini slider, a sirloin steak burger with American cheese, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and a side a of mixed vegetables. The blue box has mini whole wheat toast, laughing cow cheese wedge and grapes for my afternoon snack. When I saw the mini burger buns in the store around the 4th of July I immediately recognized the bento possibilities. I threw a few mini burgers in the deep freezer several weeks ago when I realized that I had defrosted too much beef for my supper. Voila a meal in a bun in a little box. How bento.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Target Autumn Bento #9

This bento is lunch today. I was looking for a little pick me up since I have been in bed two days with the flu. BOO, HOO. The bento is filled with rice, cheese leaves, miso glazed eggplant, ginger teriyaki pork, and a pumpkin filled with purple grapes. The little pumpkins and the cellophane party bags are from the dollar spot at Target. The ghost tins are from the Halloween party supply section (approx. $2.00). The package has 24 tins. I'm thinking Halloween brownie ghosts. I should have bought two packs. Now I'm thinking rice molds, jello molds, fruit cups the possibilities are endless.
Special note to my vegetarian friends, the miso glazed eggplant is really good as a main dish with rice as a complement. Who needs the meat...Have a great day, and stay flu free.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

I had no choice

When I first saw this box in the freezer section of the grocery store. I had no choice. I felt compelled to try out the soup made famous on The Seinfield Show. The Soup Man soup with a reputation for the best soup ever. There were several different flavors all sounding very good but most high in calories per serving. The Italian Wedding Soup had 6 grams of fat per serving which seemed like a low fat choice compared to the others. The soup was very good but expensive, over $3.00 for two one cup servings. The Soup Man must have a very small family. I like Italian Wedding Soup, one of these days I have to whip up a batch for my family. I bet I could do a good job for less than $18.00 a pot. Maybe it's expensive to make that box.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Grilled Chicken Meatballs cooked on bamboo skewers

Grilled Chicken Meatballs:

This recipe is found in Greatest-Ever Sushi and Japanese Recipes by Emi Kazuro and Yasuko Fukuoka.This book listed for $7.99 in the bargain bin at Borders two weeks ago. I then got a discount of 40% with a coupon!!!
I don't want to sacrafice a sale for these authors so I'll just give a quick synopsis of the recipe.
11 oz ground chicken, 2 eggs, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. cornflour, 6 tablespoons bread crumbs, 1 inch piece of grated ginger root.
In a nutshell, mix all ingredients but ginger. Make small meatballs, drop into boiling water with grated ginger added to the water. Boil the meatballs for 7 minutes until cooked through. Drain on a paper towel. Place onto bamboo skewers. Broil or grill until brown, top with Yakatori Sauce (ingredients below). Brush sauce on to meatballs and regrill several times to make them nicely coated. You can add shichimi togarashi or sansho to spice them up. These are red pepper blends. Yakatori Sauce is like Japanese BBQ sauce, basic recipe-4 tbsp sake, 5 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. mirin, 1 tbsp. sugar, boil the ingredients gently for 10 minutes then add 1/2 tsp cornflour blended in 1 tsp water to thicken. Good Luck.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yakatori Meatball Bento #8

Today's bento is composed of last night's cooking experiement. I made Japanese chicken meatballs with Yakatori sauce on bamboo skewers. The recipe called for creating tiny meatballs with ground chicken and other fillings. Then the recipe boils the meatballs. Very interesting, the boiling caused these little meatballs to puff up and I believe release most of the fat into the water. End result puffy, tender meatballs that were not greasy. Before finishing the recipe the meatballs are then towel dried, coated with Yakatori sauce and broiled for browning. Lots of work but they were good.
This bento contains one skewer of meatballs with cherry tomatoes, banana slices, green beans, white rice, yakatori sauce and furatake. Pretty fancy for a simple lunch. Have a great weekend.
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Naturally Bento

I received this carambola (star fruit) as a gift from a student the other day and it hit me. Some foods are naturally bento ready. No cookie cutters or special tools necessary. Just slice and go. These little stars are one of the many backyard beauties that people grow in South Florida and share. Have a great day!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Autumn Bento #8

Autumn in Miami is a very tricky thing. The ambient temperature yesterday was about 99 degrees in the shade. Despite our forcast signs of plastic pumkins are starting to appear in the stores-Halloween is huge here. All we need in Miami is an excuse for a big block party. This bento is my attempt to get into the seasonal mode. The lower tier is filled with golden curry (chicken breast, potato, calabaza,dried cranberry) plus a sliced apple. The top tier contains rice with scallions and pumpkin picks. I used the curry and the calabaza for the first time last night for supper. I loved it, although it could have used some salt. I couldn't sell it on another soul in my house. Too many vegetables for one child, too orange for another and too bland for my husband. The truth is I cook most of the time for them and sometimes just for me. Last night was my turn.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Double Dip Bento #7

This was yesterday's lunch packed for my daughter and myself. I think I am getting use to many different styles needed to pack different shaped boxes. I tried to pack this one super tight to avoid slippage. It worked well. The lunch on the left is composed of carrot sticks, cherry tomatos, snow pea pods, smoked turkey rolls, whole wheat mini toasts, apple slice and Japanese Mango Jelly. The box on the right is basically the same with mandarin oranges instead of jelly. I cannot sell the little jelly pots on my kids which is funny since it is a product made for children. Oh well...
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lonely little box %25 off

Keep your eye out for bento bargains in the clearance racks of Back to School Sales. I found this little Sanrio bento in the %25 off rack of a Hallmark card shop. The box was part of the store's back to school selection now being replaced by Halloween goodies. The box holds 550 ml. All of the information regarding care and use is in Japanese so your guess is as good as mine for instructions. I personally handwash all of my bento to keep them safe. List price was $5.95 (USD) originally.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Now that I have become infected with the Bento virus everything looks like it is Bento-worthy to me. These ceramic crocks are made by Corning Ware and sold at Target. I recieved one as a teacher gift and the other I purchased for about $7.00 USD. They are oven safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and the lids are vented for the microwave. What more could you want. I am sure you could fill them with a cold salad but I am thinking soup in the winter time. All you need to do is micowave them in the break room at work.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Food Bento Lunch #6

This lunch time bento is made up of vegetarian potstickers, english peas, soy sauce and carrot sticks in the largest container. Diced cantaloupe in the medium container, mini toasts and laughing cow cheese wedge in the smallest container. I used the smallest container as my afternoon snack after school. I love my happy food container set. I went crazy trying to find a set over the summer to no avail. I even emailed Paperchase customer service in England and pleaded for a set but received no response. Then one day when I was shopping for back to school required readers for my girls, there it was smiling back at me. What luck!
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Riblet Laptop Bento #5

This bento was lunch two days ago and it was tasty. The box contains diced papaya, morningstar riblets (soy substitutes), edamame, a very tiny box of granola cereal, raisins and a hello kitty candy. This was too much food and I never got to the dessert box in the right corner. The little fish bottle has fat free Asian silk salad dressing to add to the peas. Word of caution, the ribs should have been packed in the top container. The sauce leaked all over my outer container and the bag. The top container has a lid...opps. The good news is that the entire case and bag are washable and cleaned up nicely with a damp cloth. Lucky for me. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another view of the Halloween boxes

I haven't learned how to post two photos in one post, so here is Halloween bento boxes part 2. I thought you might want to see what the insides look like. If you double click on the photos you can see the detail of the faces even better. Any suggestions on how to post two photos? Please advise.
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Halloween Surprize at Michael's Arts and Crafts

Look what I found at Michael's Arts and Crafts Store over the weekend. They are Halloween snack containers that look like they will work as bento boxes. The bat holds 200 ml of water and it seems to be slightly smaller than the others. They are not water tight but they are super cute and if kept upright the tops are secure enough to hold food and things that are moist. The best news of all is that they cost $1.oo (USD) each.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Laptop Lunch Bento #4

This bento lunch was part of last week's menu. It is filled with all of the components for an antipasto salad with fat free italian dressing. The top container has hearts of palm with marinated mushrooms,
the lower container is filled with lettuce and salad dressing. The mini container is filled with sun dried tomato. The other smaller containers are filled with mini whole wheat toast, laughing cow cheese and sopressa salami. All in all the lunch was delicious and very well suited for the laptop lunch container.
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

When two worlds intertwine

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The world of bento and blogs has become an obsession with me. No new news to any of my friends or family. I talk alot about what I have learned. Some are very interested or at least intrigued by the fact that I have put so much energy into this new obsession. Others are not at all surprised since bento boxes are not my only obsession. I am also a hard core scrapbook fanatic. I have been so for more than eight years. Last week when I entered the my favorite scrapbook haunt, these papers called my name. They are very "Kawaii". They remind me of a bento box I have been ogling over for months online that I can't bring myself to purchase since it is very expensive. For now I will just look at my paper and dream...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Open House Bento#4

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Last night was Open House at my daughter's school. Normally, I cook fresh food every night, but last night we were working in a survival mode. Five dollar pizza supper with bread sticks. Not very nutritious but I was really hungry. Today I was able to squirrel away two slices of pizza, bread sticks and a sliced plum in the Hello Kitty mini container. The bento box is a lock n lock style box from Sterilite called Ultra-seal. These boxes have a silicon ring to seal in fluids and a vent in the top for using in the microwave. The boxes are also dishwasher safe.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lady Bug Bento #3

Today's bento lunch is composed of egg noodles topped with cherry tomatoes and black sesame seeds in the bottom tier. The top tier is composed of steamed edamame, tori misoyaki (miso chicken) and red seedless grapes. The lady bugs are my attempt at art bento. I just can't imagine recreating lady bugs out of cherry tomatoes and sesame seeds at 5:30 in the morning. Maybe in the future I will muster the courage. But for now...bon appetite.

Dollar Store Bento

An inside view of the yellow box.

My first two bento boxes

These two little boxes were purchased at a dollar store near my home. The boxes were tucked away on the bottom shelf of an isle filled with school supplies. If you did not know about Bento boxes you wouldn't know what these little containers were used for. I think the store owner thought they were pencil holders. I flipped out. I paid $1.49 (USD) for each one. They are very basic, water tight and hold plenty of food (600 ml)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bento Lunch # 1

I made two bento lunches today, one for myself and one for my daughter. This is her lunch. It is much prettier than mine. Her lunch included italian style breaded chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, mozarella cheese stick,and mandarin orange slices in the top tier. The bottom tier contained more chicken and handmade spring rolls filled with steamed cabbage and ginger chicken.

Bento lunch # 2

This is my lunch. The top tier contains stewed eggplant and Italian style breaded chicken fingers. The bottom tier contains handmade spring rolls filled with steamed cabbage and ginger chicken. I added the jalapeno pepper picks for color but they proved very useful in eating the spring rolls delicately. Although my box was not very attractive it was tasty.

A Labor of Love

One of the blogs I follow involves the memoirs of a young woman in Japan and her labor of love. She cares for her elderly parents on a small farm in rural Japan. Her mother is ill with Alzheimer's Disease. What touches my heart about her life is how she honestly expresses the struggles she experiences and in the process teaches about rural life in Japan. She is a devoted cook and often provides information about Japanese cuisine. She has taught me a great deal by sharing her story. On this Labor Day she symbolizes those people who work day in and day out for the sake of others without sufficient retribution not because they have to but because they want to. Happy Labor Day!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Look what I won!

I was lucky enough to be selected the winner of the monthly giveaway. Beth Ann Bentley sent me this prize box full of Ecobag lunch supplies. I especially love the Mimi the Sardine Lunch Bag. It is the perfect size for Bento lunches. The bag is waterproof and washable. The silverware set is made of wood and include knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks and case. The water bottle comes with two different tops (one with a tightly fitted screw on lid and the other with a sport bottle spout). Now if I could only snatch up some monkey or jungle animal bento items to fill my bag.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Obession Began With a Pretty Little Box

New 2Bento
Originally uploaded by New2Bento

This bento was actually my third box after the obsession began. It is a two tier Skater Bento box from Japan that holds about 600 ml of food. Although the box appears small from "American food" standards, the 600 ml size is considered to be the correct size for a woman's meal. If I am not careful I can stuff this box and actually have too much to eat. I try to limit starches and supplement the box with lots of steamed vegetables and fresh fruit.

Not Simply Lunch

My obsession with bento began this summer when I stumbled across a reference to boxed lunches on a popular weight loss site. The idea of packing healthy lunches in small portion controlled containers appealed to me. The visual appeal of bento boxes and lunches fascinated me. Hours or should I say days later I had surfed every bento site I could find for information regarding this hobby, I now see it more as a bento brings me joy not simply lunch.