Monday, May 31, 2010

Bento for a friend and contest winner :)

This bento was packed for a friend of ours visiting from California (he used to live here in Jersey, so he had lots of folks to visit!).  Having me pack a bento for him was one of the things he said was on his 'to do' list while he was here - I was happy to oblige; especially since it allowed me to finally make onigiri myself.
Kat makes it for hers fairly regularly, but believe it or not, this was the first time I've made it (I think... lol)

Inspired by Pikko and Maki's new bento book Yum-Yum Bento (links to Pikko's 500th bento where she also has a link for the book; seems wrong to link to my own Amazon affiliate account...), I decided to go with the frog onigiri - It was a debate between the walrus, the tigers or the frogs :)  I also debated between keeping it simple and just using food coloring or mixing white rice w/ green furikake - since I was unsure how green it would get w/ the furikake, I decided to just go with the food coloring and just added a few drops to it before starting the rice cooker.  By the way, have I ever mentioned how much I adore our Zojirushi NS-DAC10 Zutto Neuro-Fuzzy 5-1/2-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer  :) 

As I read in the book and have also seen on Pikko's blog and others, I used one of our bear onigiri molds and the ears then became the eyes.  I noticed after taking the picture that when I put the left eye of the top frog back on after knocking it off twice I put it back on upside down, so the pupil is lower - funny how you see things in the photos that you don't notice live.

I never really map out the bento before I start them; sometimes I wonder if maybe I should start doing so - it would probably save some time as I dig around for what else to put in...  I can't draw to save my life, so I figured it would be a futile effort to try and draw it out ;P  haha

I am still playing with the lighting for my portable photo studio - I have 3 lights here because one of the lights from the smaller one we already had burnt out. I think I will look at replacing the bulb with a higher wattage.

I still think, even with the shadows, it looks better than with the flash - at least the detailsof the egg aren't so washed out...

In the top tier we have the 2 little green frog onigiri, a bunny shaped boiled egg, 3 Aidelle's Chicken Meatballs in the Pineapple Teriyaki flavor from the freezer stash, grape tomato ladybugs, lettuce leaf lining the box, and for fillers, a grape tomato, baby carrots cut in half lengthwise and then in half at an angle widthwise and mini yellow pepper strips.

In the bottom Tier are 2 strawberries sliced, blueberries, carrot flowers as a divider and then 2 bunny mini peanut butter and fig preserve sammies; I forgot to color the edge of the press with the food markers first and tried to do it directly on the bread - does not work as well with these icing/foodmarkers.

All in all I'm happy with this cute bento - sure, it may not be appropriate for a grown man, but I think he liked it anyway - lol.  It helps that he'll be at another of his friend's homes today who has young children to see it :)   

I decided to just go with this plain bento box rather than a cute one so that if he chooses to, he can use it to pack himself bento later.  The bag is one I just got, and I think is really meant for a single tier as it was a tight fit; it is also thermal lined and has a velcro closure.

Another awesome friend in San Francisco did some shopping for me for bento sets for our upcoming workshop at the AnimeNext convention here in NJ.  This bag was in the stuff she sent, but I have a couple extra drawstring bags we'll use in place of these, simply because we thought it would be easier for the attendees to carry bags with strings/straps around the convention :)

Wow, I really have just rambled away today, haven't I?
If you've stuck with me this far, it's time to officially announce the 50 Followers Theme Bento (links to the post w/ the pics of all entries) contest winner - although you can see in the poll who won :) 
Congratulations to Angelene w/ her "Best Friends Forever" bento who won this bento set:

Angelene, please send me an email at with your shipping information :)

Thanks to all of you who entered and voted!
Look for another giveaway once I reach 100 Followers :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kat's Bento for today...

This is the bento Kat packed for herself today.  She had a job interview at Six Flags today to do Caricatures and was going to be stuck there while Ahmetia worked her shift, so she took a bento rather than pay the outrageous theme park prices for bad food.

In the top tier she has edamame, a sliced boiled egg and pink rice; she used the juice from the jar of umeboshi to color the rice.  She wanted to try the little pink lamb that the new Yum-Yum Bento Box book has on the cover, but she was running late and didn't have time to do it.  She also has a bottle of soy sauce.

In the bottom tier she has coconut jelly, a baby yellow pepper filled with hummus, sundried tomato and a spinach, artichoke and garlic saute she threw together this morning.

Rob didn't need a bento today.

Yesterday for lunch, Kat took an Arnold Sandwich Thin and made a veggie pizza out of it - since she took a picture of it, I thought I'd go ahead and share it :)

Doesn't that look delicious?! Too bad she didn't make one for her poor old Mom, who was so busy working yesterday that I just threw pizza rolls in the toaster over to scarf down at my desk for lunch :o

She used a wonderful all natural pasta sauce I got at Sam's Club for the sauce and topped it with mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, capers and onion -- I think that was it...  Looks so yummy!

Well, back to enjoying a Friday night Strawberry Margarita! :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Club Sandwich 'Sushi' Bento :)

A while back - like probably 6 months ago - a friend sent me a link to a page where someone had done a similar club sandwich roll, but with avacado instead of lettuce and tomato.  I've been meaning to duplicate it for quite a while, but just hadn't gotten around to it; and I may have been a bit intimidated by it, considering I have never even rolled sushi before and the one I had seen did not include how to roll it :o

Last night the girls weren't going to be home for dinner, so I decided not to marinade and grill the chicken we purchased earlier in the day for dinner - incidentally, we're not having it tonight either; I just ordered pizza after a very busy workday...

So, anyway... I decided to cook up the package of bacon I had in the fridge and make Rob a club sandwich  - Something fairly simple that I knew he'd be happy with.  Plus, I could finally do the club sandwich roll :)

For the club sandwich roll, I took a soy sushi wrapper - Kosher Soy Wrappers - and placed a folded slice of turkey on one end, folded the wrapper over it and stacked bacon on top of the turkey and soy wrapper, then folded it back over the bacon, added another folded slice of turkey and folded the last part of the soy wrapper over that layer, sort of accordian style.  I then topped that with strips of lettuce and a slice of tomato cut in half, end to end and rolled the whole thing in another soy wrapper.
I lightly toasted two slices of bread and rolled it around the roll I had just made and finally rolled a sesame soy wrapper around that whole thing and then used a little mayo to seal it, sliced it (I ate the ends and was happy with the result :)

I probably should have used more lettuce and tomato, but live and learn right :)

In the top tier he has macaroni salad topped w/ baby carrot flowers and pub mix - my strawberries weren'tlooking so fresh and after so much time spent on the rolls, I really just wanted to get it packed.

In the bottom tier he has salad under the club sandwich rolls and some carrot and baby carrot flowers.

I finally ordered a larger (12x12) portable photo studio and am trying to figure out the best way to use it.  I find the lights that came with it son't seem quite bright enough for this size - they seem to be the same lights that came with the smaller (8x8) one we already have that is too small for my bento photos (unless it happens to be a single tier...), so for this one, I used all 4 lights and set it up so the back was the bottom and the top was open so I could get above it and take the photos.  I still need to play with it a bit to figure out the best setup and maybe try and find a place where I can leave it set up so I don't have to drag it out each evening.

This was yesterday's bento and the first time using the photo box, but with only the two lights it came with.  As you can see, there is quite a bit of shadowing - especially at the back - and not quite enough light - but at least the egg isn't completely washed out as happens with the flash...

In the top tier he has macaroni salad w/ yellow pepper, celery and cilantro flowers, hummus topped with a small piece of sundried tomato and strawberries.
In the bottom tier - surprise! ;P - he has salad w/ a bunny shaped boiled egg, baby carrot flowers, yellow pepper bits and the usual ham, turkey and swiss pinwheels.

If you haven't voted for your favorite bento in my 50 followers bento contest, please do so before Saturday midnight :)

Thanks for reading and happy bento-ing! :)

EDIT: I found the post that inspired the rolls - at the risk of showing how lame mine are in comparison....  lol:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Voting Time!!

Below are the entries for my 50 Followers Theme Bento Contest.
Please vote for your favorite in the poll on the right - Poll will run through May 30 (set to close at midnight EST).  Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to vote!

Also, see below the entries for the bento the winner of my previous 25 Followers drawing packed in her prize :)

Entry 1


And the theme is... not hearts. You thought it was gonna be hearts. I know. But it's not. It's Rosemary.

The top layer is Rosemary Lemon Pulled Pork (with tomato garnish), Rosemary Garlic Potato Wedges (in not-wedge form), and Rosemary Steamed Spinach.

The bottom layer has Rosemary Tomatoes, Grapes, Kumquats, Kiwi, and a Strawberry.

Entry 2

"Children's Hideout"

This is my take on a little kids hideout. There are two bear onigiri, with a fish filling. Their treasures include grapes, carrots, walnuts, corn, and a few deviled eggs. There's also bell pepper leaves.

Entry 3

"Best Friends Forever"

A simple bento packed with loads of tender, loving and care for a beloved friend!

Entry 4


Spring always brings life and love. i tried to put all these in a box. so there are newly grown spring vegetables (lettuce, green onion, radish) along with off-season vegetables (pepper, cucumber). and, as a symbol of love, i also placed some heart shaped egg rolls and some heart shaped ham sandwiches in the box. i made it as a breakfast for my love. and he was delighted with it.

Entry 5

'The Bluebird of Happiness'

The bento consists of home-made tuna fritters, paprika stir fried mini corn, sliced radishes, cucumber sticks and humous. The little bluebird and the nearby tree are cut from mild English cheddar and rubbed with food colouring. The bluebird is seated amidst the colours of a garden beyond the cucumber fence. In the fruit layer are strawberries, grapes and kiwi

Entry 6

"Hello Kitty"

boiled fish cake, thin french beans, cherry tomato, broccoli, carrot. hk is made from chicken ham. their dresses, ribbons and flowers from yellow and red pepper. hk mama’s chef hat made from fish cake and bento bowl , ham

Entry 7

"Weanie Dog"

I made this bento to look like my weanie dog, Deanie Weanie. It contains a nori dog with a red pepper collar and cheese face on top of white rice. The other container has shoyu chicken with steamed broccoli, raw carrots, and grape tomatoes. :)

Entry 8

"Pet Treats"

The sandwich is leftover from Panera's. It also has cucumbers, green apple jelly, a few pickles, goldfish and Colby Jack Cheese. The goldfish represent kitty treats and the cheese is for the dog bones.
We have 4 cats and 1 dog.

Entry 9

"King and Queen Aliens"

The bottom portion contains rice and has a King and Queen Alien made out of green colored egg sheet and decorated with nori cutouts.

The rice is bordered with asparagus and rolled steak slices. Top portion contains lettuce, carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, raisins, strawberries, and cheese.
Entry 10

"The Strongest Link"

This bento contains 2 onigiri pressed rice balls with nori seaweed hearts, some apple and carrot, and chicken dippers with lettuce.

I was going to call this bento “The weakest link” seeing as I made some carrots all linking together in a chain and it was the first phrase that sprang to mind, but after thinking about it, “Weakest” sounds a bit negative and today has been a really positive and jolly day, weatherwise, moodwise and mental health wise!

Entry 11


Cheese boy and girl over tiny pesto bowtie pasta (the hearts mean they're in love), cheese hearts on bruschetta with mini toasts, frozen cherries and carrot sticks. Simple but loving!


And because I didn't get it posted before I had my computer crash and recently got the pictures again, here is the bento packed by my last, 25 followers, bento contest, Rebecca Frank :)

The Sandwich box was not part of the prize - I love the way she packed it :)

In the bottom tier is left-over shrimp fried rice that I made for dinner, it has some cauliflower stuffed in as a filler.

The top tier has a hard boiled egg cut in half with the yolk pulled out and mashed with some garlic dill mustard in the yellow cup. The blue cup has pasta salad I made a few days ago, it has orzo, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, fresh mozzarella, and onion splashed with lemon juice, olive oil, and dill.

And if you were curious, the sandwich box has roast beef, spicy cheese, lettuce and mustard roll ups. Also 2 tomato provolone 'sandwiches' and a little bottle of balsamic vinegar for the pasta salad.

Here is what she won in my last contest:

Friday, May 21, 2010

The 3 minute bento...

I almost didn't even bother to post this one since it's ugly, uninspired, and probably really doesn't qualify as a bento; other than being packed in a bento box ;P lol

I made baked ziti for dinner last night - it was probably my best ever.  When I asked Rob if he wanted a bento or just leftover ziti, he said 'ziti is fine' - so, since this box is microwave safe, I decided to just pack it in it.  Hopefully, being cheesy, it doesn't ruin the box (but if it does, I'll just have to replace it - the lid is starting to fade a bit anyway, even though it is supposed to be dishwasher safe :P  As you may have noticed, I use this box a lot!)

In the bottom tier, he has a salad w/ a couple halved grape tomatoes, a piece of wheat garlic bread and some strawberries.  I see a lot of red, beige and green - definitely no 5-color bento here!

We have a friend visiting from Cali who has requested a bento while he's here, so hopefully there will be something much better to post in the next week! ;)

Happy Bento-ing!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reminder! Contest Deadline is Saturday :)

Just a quick post to remind you that the deadline for entering my theme bento contest is this Saturday!

Happy Bento-ing!! :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Flowers! :)

So, tell me, do you all prefer the larger pictures I have been using the last couple days, or do you prefer it smaller?  Not that it will necessarily change my mind - lol

This was a fairly quick bento, but I felt like doing a little more to it, so I did the grape tomato roses on his usual salad, with a car shaped egg this time and the usual ham, turkey and swiss pinwheels and a few carrot flowers.

The other tier contains the last of the chipotle macaroni salad and is topped with cucumber, carrot and grape tomato flowers, hummus w/ some black sesame seeds - I tried using a small flower cutter as a stencil, but it just looks like a circle.  Then he has a couple strawberries cut up and topped w/ an extra carrot flower.

We both took the day off tomorrow as we have a friend visiting from California, so there will likely not be a post tomorrow.  How often do you get to know that in advance!? lol

Don't forget to enter my theme bento contest!
It must be the time for giveaways and contests; If you haven't noticed it yet, I added a little list for other contests, challenges and giveaways on the side bar :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

What is this thing? lol

Here is Rob's bento for today.  The 'design' in the center didn't quite work out as I had envisioned, but at least it was something a little different - lol

I cut the ham into wedges and placed them in a circle into the centerof the salad to make a cup - stuck in the swiss cheese, also cut into wedge shaped, filled in the middle of the ham 'cup' with turkey cut into strips and topped with egg slices andtopped those with flower shapes cut out of nori.  Then I stuck in a few grape tomatoes :)

The top tier has the chipotle macaroni salad I made the other day, topped with smaller flower shaped nori cutouts, cucumber slices, strawberries and blackberries.
I had planned to put a couple baby carrots in the bento, but when I opened the bag of the organic baby carrots my daughter picked up the day before, they felt all slimy :(  What a waste!

Don't forget to enter my theme bento contest - only 3 entries so far, so chances are great so far!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another day, another bento :)

Last night for dinner I made guacamole - I think I may have mentioned before that we like to sometimes just have guacamole and chips (baked) for dinner.  I must say, I do love my guacamole :)
I make mine with avacados, chopped onion, chopped tomato, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, salt and a little hot sauce - soooo nummy!  I use plenty of lime juice and it keeps it from browning so it works in Rob's bento for the next day - if there's any left :)

For today he has a little hummus, a little guacamole, baby carrots, cucumber slices, blackberries and strawberries in the top tier.
In the bottom I used red leaf lettuce to make a cup for the chipotle macaroni salad, then used more torn up for a small salad w/ a star shaped boiled egg and ham, turkey and swiss pinwheels.
I then slivered some green onion to make it at least a little different and added the carrot flowers :)

Happy Bento-ing! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The usual... And don't forget to enter the contest!!

There's really nothing new in today's bento, but here it is :)

He has blackberries and strawberries - I'm so glad to see them on sale and looking so nice right now - yummy and healthy - and colorful! :)  Berries are a bentoists best friend - one of many! lol
I also made another batch of the chipotle macaroni salad, but I may need to add more dressing to the remainder before I pack it in another bento.  Since I actually had some red leaf lettuce, I lined that section of the tier with it before adding the macaroni salad - it does add something to it, don't you think?  Then there are the familiar carrot flowers w/ green onion stems and black sesame seed ground.

In the bottom tier is his usual salad with a bunny shaped boiled egg, carrot flowers and turkey, ham and swiss pinwheels.  As you can see, I still need to work on my photography - especially ith those white eggs...

In case you missed it, I posted the contest Friday. 
I also extended the deadline to May 22 - wasn't thinking that we would have company for the first half of that week and I may as well give you more time of I won't have time to review them until then! :)
Once again, the contest is to do a theme bento - any theme you want it to be; the sky's the limit :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Contest time! :)

This is yesterday's bento and was packed pretty darn quickly after a few Cinco de Mayo Margaritas - lol :)

The top tier contains hummus, sliced strawberry and the chipotle macaroni salad I had made the evening before w/ carrot and green onion flowers.

The bottom tier is the usual organic spring greens with more carrot flowers and grape tomatoes.  I also put a bag of triscuits in his bag to go with the hummus.

So, now on to the contest!

Here is what I have decided to do this time - a bento theme contest!
Here's the deal - it can be any theme you want, let your creativity flow :)

I am asking that each person enter only once.  Entries can be emailed to me at and please use the subject line Theme Bento Entry - you may submit 2-3 photos if you'dlike, but only one will be used in the voting.
The deadline for entries will be Saturday, May 22 at midnight EST.
Please pack a new bento for the contest - The idea is to get everyone to get creative - Also please include a description to be posted with your entry - Thanks! :)

If I have 20 or fewer entries, I will place all of them in a poll to be voted on here on my blog - If there are more than 20, myself and my daughters will choose the 20 finalists and the poll will be among those entries.

The winner will receive the bento box, belt and bag set below:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I realized when I looked at the photos from the SD card that there really is no protein in today's bento to speak of...  Oh well, C'est La Vie!

I decided to give the macaroni salad a little extra kick for Cinco de Mayo and added some chipotle seasoning to it.  I thought it tasted pretty good :)

His salad is a little plain today as I just wanted to get it finished and go to bed last night - so lazy of me...  Making the macaroni salad was enough for me :P  So, I just cut some grape tomatoes in half and arranged them in flowers and added a couple carrot flowers.

In the other tier is sliced strawberries and the chipotle macaroni salad w/ carrot and green onion flowers w/ black sesame seeds for the ground.
He also has his gummies in the lid and I threw a bag of raspberry shortbread cookies into his lunch bag just in case he was still hungry :)

I plan to definitely post the 50-followers contest either tomorrow or Friday, so stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Last night for dinner I grilled chicken tenders sprinkled with chipotle seasoning, which we ate pretty much as it is in Robs bento for today.  I love when leftovers can be used in the bento for the next day :)

In the top tier, we have hummus, strawberries and carrot salad.
In the bottom tier, we have a mixed spring greens salad w/ cucumber, grape tomato and carrot with the chicken tenderloin sliced on top.

He also has gummies in the lid for a little treat and I packed him a few triscuits for the hummus and light ranch dressing for his salad.

This is Kat's bento for today.

In the top tier, she has an onigiri filled with spicy tuna, some broccoli, strawberries and Aidelle's Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs.

In the bottom tier she has the last of the carrot salad, japanese pickled cucumber, baby carrots and banana.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chewie is delicious!

I totally and unabashedly stole this idea from veganf at Disposable Aardvarks:

Rob loves Star Wars - he even has a curio in our bedroom full of Star Wars goodies - lol - so when I saw this, and realized I had soba and that Rob would probably eat them made into sesame noodles, I was excited :)

I made a sauce of peanut butter, a little sesame sauce/tahini, sesame oil, rice vinegar and say sauce - whisked it all up and mixed into my soba noodles.  I think my ratio is off and it could have used more sauce, but Rob said Chewie was delicious, so score! :)

I did my Chewbacca first, getting him shaped a little and then filled in around him with carrot salad.  I then added some parsley for foliage and cucumber flower halves and grape tomato slices were added.

The other tier has the usual organic spring greens mix, tuna salad in a food cup in the center with a grape tomato flower w/ green onion stems and sesame seed ground.  Cucumber and carrot flowers top the salad.
I also packed crackers in his bag to have with the tuna salad.

For some reason when I went to get the pictures off the camera, they weren't there! :o  Thankfully I had decided to get them off the camera to upload to FB last night and was able to get it back out and take them again - otherwise I would have discovered they were missing after Rob was gone with the bento :o