winter quiche bento

24 01 2012

hi bento pals!  it feels like years since i’ve had time to do a bento post… lots of changes in my life, but the one that’s most relevant to this blog is my diet… in the 1+ year since i got married, i somehow put on more than 15 pounds, and after my last doctor’s visit (during which the weight the scale showed literally alarmed me), it’s time to focus on healthy and balanced eating again. Read the rest of this entry »





happy snail bento

5 04 2011

tomorrow’s lunch was inspired by a snail bento by the talented lucky sundae – how cute, right?!  i love her work.  my snail is a little bit different, but with the same “shell” — i used white cheese, yellow soy paper, steamed carrot and fish sausage.  i gave my snail little fish sausage cheeks, too!  and my snail is crawling on a sesame leaf.

the base for the snail scene is omurice — a thin egg crepe wrapped around fried rice (i fried mine with kimchi and tofu).  in the back section of the box, i put the last of the leftover broiled salmon, some steamed brussels sprouts, purple cauliflower, romesco, pea pods, takuwan, a plump vine tomato, and a carrot butterfly.

bento4japan european raffle winners have been chosen, but you can still donate, and there are still charity auctions to bid on!





egg flowers bento

20 05 2010

a quick bento tonight, with may’s BOMB theme in mind:  two flowers made from hard boiled egg slices (i topped the yolks with yellow cheese so that they would be more consistent-looking), with sesame seed eyes, nori mouths, and gochujang cheeks.  i used edamame for leaves, and the flowers are on top of rice mixed with ume powder, which is layered over kidney beans for extra protein.

behind the lettuce baran is a steamed broccoli floret, a vegetarian meatball in a paper food cup, two pea pods, a tomato and some takuwan slices, and some kiwi slices with a blackberry and a raspberry.

have you entered your flower-themed bentos in the BOMB?  and have you entered my new apartment giveaway?  i’m loving all of the links and ideas people have shared with me so far!





“before and after” bento

26 04 2010

one night last week, i was tweeting with some bento pals when debra of hapa bento showed us the first bento she had photographed and posted online, a full year ago. we all dug up our first bento posts, and remarked on how fun it was to see the evolution of our bentos. then debra had the great idea of us all doing a “before and after” post, to show how we would use the same ingredients from our first bento in a different way.

my first bento was pretty simple — some homemade kimbap rolls (with tofu, carrot, egg and spinach in them) laid over a leaf, with a separate tier of kiwi slices and a checkered apple and takuwan flowers. the checkered pattern was one of the first decorative techniques i learned, and the soy sauce bottle and flower cutters the extent of my bento equipment! here’s a picture of that bento:

to revamp the same ingredients this time around, i chose a similar box (unfortunately my original box suffered an unfortunate dishwasher incident; this one is also slender and pink, though), and filled it with slices of a simplified kimbap roll (just egg inside) over some shiso leaves. modifying an idea from hawai`i’s bento box cookbook (“hotdog sushi bear,” p. 35), i used the eggy centers of the slices as the bear’s muzzle, and added nori details for eyes, nose and mouth. then i cut takuwan ears and attached them with toothpick ends.

instead of a checkered apple, this time i have some apple “coins” with teddy paw-prints carved into them. to use the other ingredients that were inside the kimbap roll in my first bento, i breaded and fried two tofu chunks, and topped them with steamed carrot flowers and washi-tape flag picks. i filled the empty spaces in the box with some more takuwan, and my final original ingredient, kiwi (this time in wedges instead of slices).

what do you think? nori, rice, egg, carrot, tofu, takuwan, apple, kiwi, and leaves — all there. my arrangements have gotten slightly neater and more character-focused, but i would like to think my bento “style” hasn’t changed that much.

check out some other great “before and after” bentos from some of my favorite bento artists:

if you ask me, these ladies were just as talented then as they are now, and their “before” bentos show how accessible this hobby/art form really is… if you are just starting out, you don’t need a ton of fancy tools to develop your own signature style, just some practice and imagination!





kimbap bee bento

15 04 2010

tomorrow’s lunch is leftover kimbap from tonight’s dinner… mmm, i LOVE me some kimbap!  my boyfriend is great at rolling it, and it’s such a tasty and healthy treat, especially on warmer days/nights.  my kimbap is vegetarian, with egg strips, takuwan, sesame spinach, and spicy tofu.  the kimbap slices are separated from the rest of my food by a zig-zag-cut carrot strip baran, an idea from one of lia’s awesome bentos.

i’ve also got some steamed broccoli, purple potato flowers, a big fat strawberry, some grape tomatoes, two vegetarian chicken nuggets, and a few pea pods.  hovering over the broccoli, about to collect pollen from the potato flowers, is a cute bumble bee.  i’ve seen a bunch of cute bees lately, from akinoichigo’s to lucky sundae’s to mombento’s, and this is my take on the theme:  a turmeric-dyed quail egg with nori strips and facial features, and white soy paper wings.

tomorrow’s friday — i’m hoping for an apartment-hunt-free weekend for myself (still waiting to dot the last Is and cross the last Ts on the apartment i found), and a fun and sunny weekend for all my bento pals!





flowered omurice bento and contest winner!

15 03 2010

a simple one tonight, since last night’s was so involved.  i find that omurice is a great way to use up scraps from bento projects, like the leftovers from cutting flowers.  the filling of this omurice has, well, rice (duh), fried up with some leftover sweet potato scraps, a chopped vegetarian hot dog, some chopped leftover steamed broccoli, one of my last baby sweet peppers, some scallion and gochujang.  i decorated with some simple cheese, sweet potato and purple carrot flowers, with pea pod “leaves.”

the fruit and veggie section is also simple — a few grape tomatoes, a piece of broccoli and some more pea pods, some clementine slices and blackberries with a food pick.  easy, breezy lunch in less than 20 minutes (compared to last night’s 3 hours!).

[as seen on iyoupapa]

— ♥ —

i so enjoyed reading all the contest participants’ GRE vocabulary sentences — you guys came up with really smart and creative uses for those tough words!  i wish i could award extra prizes based on my favorite sentences, but it’s a recession y’all!  so for the winner, i turned to the random.org site, which generated a number between 1 and 67 (there were 67 entries):

the winner is… tami!  some of you may know her as ABQ bento mama on flickr — she does really fun work.  tami, holler at me with your address so i can get this prize package out to you!





mushroom turnover bento

4 11 2009

bento 33

top, from left:  red grape tomato with a leaf food pick, twist-cut kirby cucumber, takuwan and purple potato flower, sweet potato mushrooms (on top of simmered lotus root in a food cup).

middle of box has mushroom turnovers (from the frozen section at trader joe’s) with pasta hair bows and nori faces.

bottom, from left: cheese and egg sheets wrapped around snow peas, plum fan, pomegranate seeds, blackberry, and yellow wax beans.

[as seen on “cute food – the adorable, edible art of kawaii cooking” and japanisches allerlei (all things japanese)]