Today's bento is an example of a non-cute healthy bento that is all-age appropriate. I didn't take extra time for cuteness, but I think the variety of colors and textures in this one make up for it. Everything was cooked in the same pan: chicken sausage, yellow capsicum, and swiss chard / enoki. The chard and enoki got pan-fried in the sausage drippings, and then sprinkled with garlic powder. Pretty simple and tasty. I added some steamed sugar snap peas and a purple / pink carrot skewer for quick decoration. In the fruit sections I placed sliced kiwi and plum, a strawberry, blueberries, blackberries and another tiny plum that I thought looked so cute! Everything sealed up nicely with the translucent cover. Isn't it colorful?
Today's bento is another quick one with a minimum of cooking: fried rice. For this batch I used mixed brown rice and pan-fried along with Chinese sausage (lup cheong), shiitake, chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and onion. Drizzle with shoyu for flavor and crack an egg right on top. I let the egg cook for a bit and form eggy rice clumps before tossing to complete cooking. Finish with sesame oil, and you can also sprinkle sesame seeds. I added chopped green onion on top, as well as another hand-molded quail egg -- this time decorated as a bunny with radish ears and a summer hat. I just realized that the last time I made fried rice, I also added an egg bunny. How coincidental. Anyway, I scooped the fried rice into a thermal container which has a top tier that sits right under the screw-top lid. I put grapes, cherries, plum, a strawberry and some carrot stars in there. All done! Told you it was quick :)
More hot weather means we need another cold (and non-cook) lunch for relief. I love eating out of an icy stainless tiffin, so that's what I used to pack today's bento. He gets chasoba on a bed of crispy lettuce, accompanied by shiitake, krab sticks, ocean salad and green onion. I packed the soba tsuyu in a separate squeeze bottle which I lay in the top tier. The top tier also contained a clementine and a variety of fresh summer berries. I used an ice pack so it all stays super cold for him in this heat. No cute details in this bento, but the variety of fresh colors and flavors should serve to bring out his appetite :)
This Bay Area heatwave we've had for a couple days is just what summer is supposed to be like, finally! But soaring temperatures means I don't feel like cooking. Luckily there are ways to pack a bento without cooking. This one contains sushi made with mixed rice and sardine furikake, topped with decorative carrot flower shapes. On the side I filled a lined cup with ocean salad and krab. I added pickled ginger to the little side section. On the other side of this double sushi box I placed steamed broccoli, some Okinawan sweet potato slices (with a radish slice face), grapes and nectarines. There's a slot in the center to hold a pair of chopsticks. I hope MisterMan finds this lunch a cool one that's fun to eat. Hope you're all keeping cool this week too!
Can it be yet another chicken and egg bento?! Well, in my defense, I have seen several chicken and egg bento recently, on various blogs around here...so maybe the idea just sank in, or I thought it was an idea we were passing along? Oh all right! We just like chicken! And the little quail eggs are just so cute; I can't stop using them. I just learned you can hand-shape quail eggs into a round shape, so what do you think I did today? It worked, and it doesn't take that long, either. Just a minute or two. Today's egg was so small that when I made it into a sphere I thought it looked just like a little pearl. I put it between the chicken pieces like a ... pearl in a shell. But if you don't buy that, let's just put a face on it and call it a cute egg character. I also added some sweet corn with edamame detail and my standard carrot flowers. Fruit cups hold strawberry, cherries and grapes.
And by the way, Sonoma Bento has uploaded the bento interview we did on Monday. If you'd like to listen, it's at her blog HERE. Thanks Michelle!
Teriyaki chicken, broccoli and carrots make up the main part of this bento, and I added a quail egg for fun. I didn't plan to make a chick, but as I was peeling the shell, the thin white part of the egg tore while leaving the yolk completely intact. That has never happened to me, and I had always been too nervous to try to make this egg chick in the past because I thought it would be too hard to cut the white without ruining the yolk. Sure enough, while I was trying to cut the zigzag part of the white, I cut into the yolk several times. I think my knife isn't sharp enough. Anyway, I think you get the idea! I added nori eyes and a carrot beak, and several chick and fowl friends. I used my EcoLunch box for this bento, which includes a separate lidded container for foods that might leak. Into that round container I put cottage cheese and fresh berries sprinkled with wheat germ. I also slipped in some plum slices in the last remaining gap. There! Chicken and egg bento :)
The first day of school! MisterMan started 2nd grade today, and to commemorate the day, he's bringing an "apple" to school. Okay, it's not really an apple; it's a radish with sesame seed and edamame detail. It sits atop a 4-bean spinach salad in a silicon cup. There are flower-carved carrots on the side. Sliced roast chicken in a lettuce leaf fill the next section, and the fruit selection includes grapes, cherries and a strawberry. A simple bento that contains his favorite foods is sure to give him energy to get through a full school day. And a bonus: this bento qualifies for the B.O.M.B back to school theme at Hapa Bento. Don't forget to enter! Have you started school yet? If you're still enjoying summer, lucky you!
Added this bento to What's For Lunch here. You can add yours too!
This was the last field trip bento of the summer from last week. Now that school is starting already, it feels like such a long time ago! Anyway, this is another installment in the char siu bao character bento. Lest you fear my boy is tiring of char siu bao, don't worry. He would ask to eat them every day if I let him. My daughter is the same way. I don't know what the big deal is about them. Something about the sticky sweet bun, soft white bread, and sweet pork filling, I guess. Anyway, back to the bento. I've seen lots of people make Totoro out of sesame seed-tinted rice, which makes a nice gray color. Well, my kids aren't big rice eaters, so I guess this is the closest I'll be able to get. After you cut the belly circle, you can cut the ears from that part. The hardest part was cutting the "v's" and sticking them onto his belly. His eyes are radish discs and blueberries, and his nose is a grape. That's it. I also stuck in some carrots, broccoli, cherries, grapes and plum. Happy end of summer to you, bento friends!
This simple snack bento for TinySprite contains a hard-boiled egg panda made with nori facial details and quartered grape ears fastened with rice sticks. There are carrots beneath him, and a piece of broccoli. She has turkey dog/yellow tomato skewers, which I pan-fried for a few minutes before skewering (those were so good I ate a bunch out of the pan). In the fruit section she gets a half plum and some cherries. Still have a few more eggs left for a few more ideas before summer's over...
Oh, and there are still a few hours left to enter the LunchBots giveaway here. I'll draw from the eligible comments tonight!
This bento is posted at What's For Lunch. See more here!
Along with Astro Boy we also get Kai-Lan, for TinySprite's bento. Yes, it's another hard-boiled egg! But it's perfect for Kai-Lan's oval face. I used grape quarters for her buns and flower picks just like she wears. All her facial features are hand-cut from nori and mozzarella cheese stick (for eye detail). Very time-consuming for a noncharaben artist like me! But I guess it turned out okay. I even had picks for her friends --tiger, monkey and koala (no rhino though). How about that? I made sushi with mixed rice, shoyu sardine furikake and krab stick, tucked in with some broccoli. Fruit side has grapes, various plum varieties, kiwi and strawberry. I decorated with carrot flowers for contrast. If it weren't for the nori cutting, this bento would have been really quick. I should make sushi more often; I can add pickled vegetables as well, and it's easy for my 3 year old to pick up and eat. This is the cute "Daytrippers" Paperchase bento box with the girls on the cover. I should have shown it; really sweet!
One more day to enter the LunchBots giveaway here!
Yes.... it is field trip time again! Even though MisterMan's summer program provides lunches and snacks, they still require a "brown bag" lunch on field trip days, so I get to try my hand with fully disposable bento and the oft-revisited char siu bao. I almost went with sandwich thins since I have smoked salmon and cream cheese in the fridge, but when TinySprite and I went to the deli to pick up lunch they gave me this perfectly domed bao. Wow, how could I resist? Last week, in anticipation of the field trip bento, I borrowed an Astro Boy dvd so I could see what he really looks like. It really surprised me when Chantale posted an Astro Boy bento the very day after! What are the odds of that? Well, so maybe I was inspired by her cutie just a little... hehe! I cut his hair from red cabbage, and guess what? He ate it :) His eyes are radish and nori, all stuck on with honey, and his mouth is a berry fruit leather. I know his hair isn't exactly pointy (or black for that matter), but cabbage will only take on the shape (and color) it grows in -- so you'll have to use some imagination! Fruit and veggies went in the other box: grapes, cherries, broccoli, carrots, strawberry and plum.
Oh, and LunchBots giveaway is still open! Enter here!
I thought I'd make an all-fruit snack bento for TinySprite before the summer is completely over. When these beautifully colorful fruit finally go out of season, I'll miss them and the pretty effect they had in our bento. Strawberry, kiwi, grapes, cherries, plum, pluot and nectarine all appear in this bento, as well as a tiny purple carrot flower. Admit it; didn't you have at least one all-fruit meal sometime this summer? When it was so hot you just didn't feel like cooking and couldn't bear to eat anything heavy? Summers are made for fruit. And did you notice the ultra cute Moomin utensils? I got them as a gift from a sweet bento friend and I love them to pieces! Today was overcast and cloudy but this bright bento helped perk us up ^_^
If you haven't already, don't forget to enter the LunchBots giveaway here. Contest is open til next Wednesday!
Guess what? It's time to think about Back-To-School. I know: ugh! But to help ease the transition, Jacqueline Linder of LunchBots is kind enough to sponsor a giveaway of their awesome lunch boxes on my blog. Since I am already a committed fan of these boxes for my own bentomaking, I thought it was a perfectly fitting idea!
First off, let me tell you a bit about them. The company is California-based, and the material they use is the highest quality 18/8 stainless steel, which does not leach chemicals like plastic does. Both the box and the separate lid are made of stainless steel. Some styles include a fixed divider which is also stainless steel. I have both an undivided (Uno) and divided (Duo) style, which I use equally. The thing I like best about these boxes is the simplicity. There are lots of fancy, decorated bento boxes widely available, with multiple tiers, complicated latches and integrated carrier handles. I know; I own several of them. I love them! But on a daily basis, you just can't beat this basic non-reactive, non-staining stainless steel style. The ones I have are sized just right for my second-grade son, and I can pack a complete healthy bento very easily. The lids slide on without hooks, clips or latches; hence, nothing to break or fall off during wild lunchbag swinging. The quality is very good; the metal is thick and solid to withstand dents and dropping. The depth is such that you can add silicone or metal cups to separate foods or flavors if necessary; which I have also done. And to top it off, the shape and colorful lids are quite esthetically pleasing. You would be just as comfortable packing a man's lunch as you would a child's. I can recommend these LunchBots highly. There is a smaller size available for younger children or for snacks, and a larger size for bigger appetites. One caveat to be aware of is that since there are no plastic or rubber components or latches, the box is not watertight. Any soup, stew, dressing or gravy would be better packed in a separate thermal or tight-sealing lidded container. I have never had any problems with leakage of normal, non-liquid foods, and my son has never had a problem opening and closing the box.
Okay, now for the fun part! LunchBots has kindly offered to send one LunchBot of your choice to one lucky winner. All you have to do is look at their product page, tell me which one you'd like -- Uno, Duo, Eco or Pico -- and just for fun, what you'd pack in your first LunchBots bento! I'll keep the contest open for a week, and pick the winner (US only; sorry!) at random a week from today. Don't forget to leave your contact info in your comment so we can get in touch with you if you win! If you don't win, don't worry. Jacqueline is giving you a coupon code so you can still stock up for less: use BACKTOSCHOOL for 15% off your purchase at LunchBots.com!
Today's snack bento is made extra delicious with homemade kalua pig from Charlotte, who sent us home with leftovers from their potluck last weekend! Thanks so much Pat and Charlotte! The kids (and everyone) loved the kalua pig. Its salty goodness goes really well with rice and a bunny-shaped hard-boiled egg. I should have dyed the egg for better contrast, but of course I never learn my lesson about the washed-out egg effect. I must be doing something wrong with the white balance, or I should be fixing it in Photoshop somehow. Hmm. Anyway, the rest of the bento contains carrots, romanesco, tomato and grapes. The sweet cherries get a teeny little box all to themselves. Even though I only filled a silicone cup with pork, I bet TinySprite will be asking for more. It's so yummy! I have an exciting post coming up soon, so stay tuned....
Okay, we're done with Hello Kitty for awhile. For this bento I used the brown / red rice combo that looked like it would make a nice walrus. I mentioned in my review of Yum-Yum Bento Box that one of my favorite characters is the cute walrus onigiri on page 53. Well, mine doesn't look quite so cute, does it? When TinySprite saw it she asked "What is it? Oh, waris? Oh. Waris. Yeah!" So she didn't exactly let on that it wasn't a great example of one, but it was pretty obvious that she had no idea what kind of animal I was talking about. Oh well! Along with the walrus, which had nori eyes and freckles and radish tusks, she also got roast chicken, golden cauliflower, carrot sticks, strawberries and cherries. And in keeping with the marine theme, I used dolphin and fish picks, and my iridescent mermaid figurine that I got from gamene. Thank you megan! I love her! Can't imagine why the mermaid would remind her of me... can you? ^_^
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 13yo (8th grader) son & my 10yo (4th grader) daughter 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 ^-^!