Friday, May 29, 2009

Even a Bento for myself today :)

The last couple days I have been craving a boiled egg - sure, I could have just made myself one and that would have been the end of it, but what fun is that?

So, as I was preparing to pack Rob's bento for today, I started 2 eggs boiling instead of one for his salad (I often do a second one for use in the next day's bento, but being the end of the week, only one would have been needed).

As usual, his bento was packed last night for him to grab from the fridge and take to work. On days he's in the office, he has a fridge available and just places the whole thermal cooler bag he uses into the fridge. Days that he is in a deaslership, he adds an ice pack to the thermal cooler to ensure it stays cool, so I don't worry too much about the foods I pack. It should be noted, however, that if you're not refrigerating your bento or using an ice pack, you may want to take a little more care in choosing what to pack in your bento.

Kat, however, does not refrigerate her bento and should probably be more conscious of what she packs and does add an ice pack if she takes something like seafood salad - although that is typically purchased at Sam's and does at least contain some preservative... Still, I want to point out that if you are packing bento for yourself, be sure to keep food safety in mind.
Biggie, over at the infamous has a great article on the subject at

So on we go to the bento!


His bento is probably a bit big for today, but it is mostly veggies and fruits and we have a tendency to eat later on Friday's. Tonight I am making miso sake marinated salmon - yum! Been a while since I made that :D

May 29 --
Bottom Tier: Mixed Spring Greens 'chef's salad' w/ ham. turkey and swiss pinwheels, cucumber and carrot flowers and a pumpkin shaped boiled egg

Top Tier: Macaroni salad w. carrot flowers w/ cucumber stems and black sesame seed 'ground', sundried tomato hummus and strawberry and melon gummiesSide car: Pineapple slices topped w/ a dried kiwi slice, pitted cherries, baby carrots and cucumberLight ranch for his salad and veggies

He also has a few triscuits in his bag in case he wants them for the hummus - I would use it for the cucumber and maybe the carrots myself, but he tends to use the dressing for that and like crackers or pita for the hummus - unfortunately, my pita was moldy when I pulled it out - I hate when the weather turns humid - whole wheat goods just don't fare well in this weather...

So, since I already had a boiled egg shaped like an onigiri for myself, I decided I needed to pack myself a bento today :) I love steamed dumplings and almost always have a few bags in the freezer, so that was an easy choice for me. Kat's last little bit of spinach namul also sounded delicious and made a great addition to the bento - it was so yummy - I think I'll get another bag or two of spinach and get her to make it again over the weekend :) She loves to cook and this recipe came from her Nintendo DS Light Cooking Coach game.

Here is my finished bento:

I decided to pack myself a bento today - I'm still always surprised how much food the little boxes hold...Top Tier: Chicken Cabbage and Pork Leek steamed dumplings and the Spinach NamulBottom Tier: Onigiri shaped boiled egg w/ nori face, cucumber, baby carrots, celery, pitted cherries and pineapple

Since I was eating this at home, I was able to use an open cup for the dipping sauce. I don't measure anything when I make it, so I can't tell you amounts, but I make it with say sauce, rice vinegar, hot sesame oil, minced ginger and garlic. I buy jars of each at the Asian grocery for timesaving and because I don't have to worry about it going bad - especially as the weather gets warmer!

And finally - Kat's bento for today (reminder - she packs hers herself :)

May 29 -- Top Tier: Umeboshi (or it could be pickled ginger) onigiri, kimchi, raspberries, corn on cob slice, kamoboko

Bottom Tier: Cherries (pitted), baby carrots, imitation crab and spinach namul

Bird's Eye View:

And finally, where I got the boxes :)

Rob's bento is in a Hakoya box from and the side box came from Pikko over at -- every so often she sells a box on her blog :) Thanks Pikko!!

My bento is packed in a Hakoya box from, but is another one that sold out fairly quickly - if you see a box you like on there site, snap it up, they often sell out fast!

And finally, Kat's box also came from and is also sold out - there is no longer even a category for clickety click boxes. I see them on ebay every now and again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Garden - No Bento today...

I had a splitting headache last night and didn't end up packing Rob a bento for today - Bad wife! ;P

So, I thought instead that I would post a few pictures of the little garden we have. We still need to get another bag of mulch, and one type of flower didn't make it and they need replaced, but otherwise the garden is going well enough :) Not all the flowers were photographed, but there are lots of rose pictures (I'm not even posting all of them!)

This year we planted olive tomatoes (I assume the same as grape), basil, rainbow mixed peppers, sugar snap peas, cilantro and one garlic chive plant - and there is oregano, that even though Rob insists is an annual, has come back for the third year in a row... I rarely use oregano, so it's a bit of a waste...

I wish we had the space for squash and cucumbers, and we have planted them before, but they take over too much of the little garden.

Rob has a system all set up to automatically water the garden each morning - it's really nice not to have to worry about that - especially if we go away for a weekend :)



Mixed Rainbow Pepper:

Sugar snap Peas - you can also see a little of the watering system Rob has set up for the garden:

Olive Tomato:


Garlic chives:


And just for fun, here are a couple of the flowers and some roses on the rose bush that was supposed to stay small according to the guy at the flower farm where we purchased it...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A very familiar Bento

Today I got the official email notification that our Bento workshop at the AnimeNext convention has been accepted - woohoo! It's a lot of work and $$, but we enjoy it :) We charge a $5 fee, but they get a little bento starter kit to keep and to fill it at the workshop :)

Last year we did the 2-tier bento boxes, but this year I decided to save the extra $1 per person and go with the single tiers. They also get the bento bag, an egg mold and a mini onigiri mold to keep and a sauce bottle or two and a pretty pick or two :) I still need to pull out the box of what I already ordered for it and figure out what we still need. I really can't remember if I already ordered the picks and sauce bottles :o I think we'll do that when Kat gets home from school today :)

So far my plan is to boil the eggs ahead of time and place them in the egg molds in the fridge so when they get their egg molds, they get the egg for their bento at the same time :) Last year I purchased an egg cooker to do it on the spot, but it was a bit too messy with the egg peeling etc.
We did the octodogs and crabs ahead of time last year and will again this year. I will also slice carrots and then they can use our cutters on them for flowers etc :) I am hoping to borrow my sister's rice steamer so we can do two batches at once - That combined with the smaller onigiri molds this year will hopefully solve that problem from last year (the rice cooker didn't like doing a new batch immediateky after the first).

I'm still thinking through the rest, and trying to remember what else we did last year. I'm open to suggestions! :D

Now on to today's bento!

Yesterday I started walking with my neighbor when she walks her dog. I had to quickly finish this when after I got back as she arrived right after I began packing it :)

May 27 --

Top Tier: Mixed Spring Greens w/ sliced grilled southwestern chicken breast (still leftovers :), carrot flowers and a few grape tomatoes

Bottom Tier: Raspberries, bold chex mix, macaroni salad w/ cheese flowers and an out of place star, edamame and snow pea stems :)

Kat's Bento:

May 27 --

Top Tier: Mixed spring greens, baby carrots, macaroni salad w/ cheese star and corned beef

Bottom Tier: Raspberries, dried kiwi and edamame

The butterfly bento box was ordered from but I have also seen it on ebay often :)

The leaf box, I believe, came from ebay also.

The star cutter came in a set of cutters from pampered chef and the flower cutters were from AC Moore and are by Wilton :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Simple Bento after a long weekend

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Weekend (if you're here in the States :)

We had the In-Laws visiting for the weekend, so Rob didn't need a bento for Thurs or Fri and Kat didn't need one Fri. They arrived Thursday and left this morning. It felt like we did nothing but eat all weekend - lol.

In all the running around we did all weekend, we did stop at AC Moore (craft store), where I bought a couple of new cutters - they can be seen in the photo with Rob's bento - haven't used them yet, but plan to soon! :)

For Memorial day, we bought the best hot dogs I have ever tasted in my life :) We also decided to grill chicken breast, which I marinaded in a southwest marinade. I knew we'd have leftovers that I could use this week in Rob's bento on his salad - sure makes it fast and easy to pack :)

This bento only took me maybe 15 minutes :)

May 26 --

Bottom Tier: Mixed Spring Greens w/ southwest marinaded grilled chicken breast left over from Memorial weekend, carrot flowers and a few grape tomatoes

Top Tier: Cole Slaw left over from Harold's Deli over the weekend w/ carrot flowers and cilantro, bold chex mix and fresh raspberries

Light ranch for his salad and strawberry and melon gummies in the lid

Kat's Bento:

Kat says she is going to start following the Weight Watcher's points program online. She has Prom on June 18 and is hoping to lose a couple pounds by then.

May 21 --

Bottom Tier: Babybel light w/ star cutout, Craisins, Walnuts, Baby carrots, raspberries

Top Tier: Broccoli, Fried rice, and 4 quail eggs w/ cute animal picks :)

May 26 --

Bottom Tier: Spinach Namul (korean recipe), tamagoyaki, steamed rice

Top Tier: Raspberries, baby carrots and fresh sliced mushrooms

I have been wanting to make a Frittata and bought the spinach and mushrooms mainly for that, but Kat's recipe for the Spinach Namul from her Personal Trainer Cooking Nintendo DS game took the whole bag, so I guess I'll just have to wait to make my Fritatta - and then hope Rob'll eat it in his bento!

The box used for Rob's bento was purchased from under the hakoya bento boxes, but I believe is sold out at this time.

Both of Kat's boxes in today's post came from Ebay.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ladybugs are Back!

I realized the other day, when I was doing the Simpsons bento, that I hadn't done the ladybugs again since I got the tiny hole punch - and I pretty much bought it to make those easier - lol :)

I also ran into Sam's Club on my way home from my lunch meeting yesterday, pretty much just to get the salad. They had such beautiful Raspberries, I just had to buy them :) Hopefully they get used before they don't look so good... Unfortunately, I was running late and ended up getting pulled over for speeding :( - thankfully, since my license was clean, the officer only gave me a ticket for an obstructed view for my GPS, but I was even later for my meeting and I can't stand to be late for things!

My boss asked me if Rob hides in a corner when he eats his lunch :P lol - I told him he likes my bento and shows them off, so there! lol

So, anyway, on to the bento!

May 20 --

Bottom Tier: Mixed Greens Salad w/ cucumber flower halves, ham turkey & provolone pinwheels, a star shaped boiled egg and 2 grape tomato roses :)

Top Tier: Macaroni salad topped w/ green onion & 2 grape tomato ladybugs :), Sundried tomato hummus, pineapple and raspberriesLight Ranch dressing in the container & melon and strawberry gummies in the lid

The grape tomato roses idea came from laurabento on the bento lunches community. She has a tutorial that can be found at
I tore the strip from the second tomato into 3 pieces instead of 4 though :)

Close-up of the ladybugs :) Made from grape tomato halved, nori and sesame seed eyes - honey for 'glue'

Kat's Bento:

May 19 -- Gotta love leftovers!

Bottom Tier: Broccoli, Tandoori chicken and Indian spiced rice (both leftovers from dinner)

Top Tier: Blackberries, Papaya and Pineapple

May 20 -- Japanese Curry, Rice (under the curry), Pineapple, Salad w/ cucumber hearts, craisins and raspberry vinaigrette in the bear bottle :)

The bento box for Rob's lunch is a Hakoya box and came from, but seems to be sold out at this time.

The bunny Hakoya bento box Kat used is from and the Hello Kitty box came from ebay I believe. I bought it because it's microwaveable and even has a vent for that purpose in the lid - too bad she doesn't have a microwave at school! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Simpsons!

I guess I'm feeling more inspired at the moment :) Too bad Rob doesn't need a bento tomorrow - I feel a Calvin and Hobbes coming on... (Been wanting to do it for a while since I keep seeing his Complete Calvin and Hobbes set - lol) - Plus we have the in-laws coming in this weekend (on Thursday), so I probably can't spend another 2 hours on a bento this week :o

May 18 -- Close-up!Not quite what I had hoped, but I stilll think it came out ok - took WAY too long - I had a hard time finding a cutter to use for the eyes that wasn't too big or small (except for Homer) - Finally it came to me - a straw! :) So I redid the eyes - then I redid the pupils with the division sign from my punch set - the dot puncher I had was a little bigger than I wanted - would still have liked them a little smaller, but they're ok I guess...

May 18 --

Top Tier: Asian Nut Mix, Pineapple, Mac Salad and The Simpsons! made from cheese, tiny piece of ham for Homer, nori, tiny piece of red pepper for Maggie's pacifier and a bit of tortilla for her bow - Marge's hair and Maggie's bow were colored w/ a food marker

Bottom Tier: Mixed Greens Salad w/ ham flower and turkey hidden underneath, red pepper flowers and car shaped boiled egg, sliced and used in halves for less height - dropped it as I was setting it into the box and messed up the layers a little - grrr...

Melon and Strawberry gummies in the lid and he has light ranch dressing for the salad :)

Kat's Bento:

May 18 -- Top Tier: Edamame, Fried Rice, corn cob slice w/ cheese star, broccoli and imitation crab stick

Bottom Tier: Mixed Spring Greens, Blackberries and pineapple and raspberry vinaigrette in the container