happy squirrel bento

7 03 2010

another quick one tonight, relying on my punches and cutters to do the work for me.

the squirrel is cut from vegetarian ham and cheese, with nori-punched facial details.  he’s surrounded by some cheese and vegetarian ham medallions, topped by flowers punched with one of my “paper shapers” punches.

the fruit and veggie section has a big plump strawberry, some kiwi slices, some clementine slices, pea pods and cucumber baran, roasted sweet mini peppers, a pierced tomato heart, and one edamame shumai.

hope everyone had a fantastic weekend — we had beautiful spring-like weather here in NYC, and i hope it was sunny wherever you were, too!

[as seen on stdandme]





ume ladybug bento

4 03 2010

a pretty quick and simple one tonight, since dinner was leftover bibimbap and for tomorrow’s lunch i had to make do with the extra rice and some stuff from my freezer bento stash.

my ladybug is an ume pressed into the rice and decorated with nori.  the ladybug is headed for a big carrot blossom, and the non-rice section of the box has a tamagoyaki slice, an edamame shumai, some sliced vegetarian chicken nugget, a tiny orange pepper, pea pods, kiwi slices and  half a strawberry.  i had some ladybug paper, so i used that as a background to compliment my ume ladybug.

i used a sesame leaf as a natural baran, laying it in the box, pressing my rice in, and then folding the edge of the leaf back over the rice.  don’t forget to enter your natural baran ideas into hapa bento’s BOMB (best of the month bento) comment thread!

[as seen on MSN japan]





lioness bento

1 02 2010

another quick bento tonight, since i got back from a completely bananas movie pretty late and (shamefully) ate pizza and popcorn for dinner, thereby producing no leftovers for bento purposes. what do you do when you have no leftovers? grilled cheese to the rescue! and what makes a grilled cheese better? fried egg!

recently a sweet bento pal sent me this cool nesting onigiri set with a family of lions on the lids (thanks again, you-know-who!). i’ve seen susan of hawai’i’s bento box cookbook use this same set beautifully, and i thought i’d try my hand at a lion kyaraben. using susan’s technique, i cut the bread with the medium-sized onigiri case, making perfect sized sandwiches for the larger case. i used lucky sundae and pikko’s toothpick technique for cutting the lioness’ cheese muzzle; then i used manicure scissors to cut her nose, and a nori punch to cut her whisker holes and eyes/eyelashes. i added a fringe of yellow baran to simulate a mane!

filling the medium and small-sized onigiri cases i have a simple assortment of fruit and veggies: roasted butternut squash, pea pods, and grape tomatoes in the medium case, and blueberries, grapes, kiwi slices and clementine segments in the small one. i added a sunshine baran to cheer the fruit section up a bit. as props, i have a doily i received from another bento pal (aren’t my friends the best?!), and one of the pieces from this lego utensil set.

ready for another contest hint? well, i was starting to worry about what kind of bento withdrawal i will experience on vacation, and so i did a little research to see what my japanese takeaway options would be in the city i’m visiting. turns out i can get some simple sushi-based bentos to go, and they’ll run me from 990kr to 1480kr, depending on the size.

keep guessing, bento friends — i’ve so enjoyed the bento links you’ve shared, but so far nobody has guessed the correct destination!!

[as seen on i’d eat that, lego express, sticky brain, jeenious, bento box love, and lin loves]





garlic birds bento

31 01 2010

my bento for tomorrow’s lunch was a quick and easy combination of leftovers from tonight’s nice dinner.  for an entree, we had whole wheat pasta with vegetarian meatballs and tomato-garlic-mushroom sauce, and on the side, we had toaster-roasted butternut squash.

sometimes brownish-red chunky entrees don’t photograph well, so i tossed the leftover pasta in the back of the box and topped it with some grated parmesan and parsley, as well as a few halved baby tomatoes and two yellow music note food picks.  in the front of the box, i fanned a few pieces of the butternut squash, added three crinkle-cut cucumber slices, a food cup with blueberries and kiwi flowers, and a few pea pods to fill in empty spaces.

for a fun accent, i made a family of garlic bread birds.  the birds are cut with cookie cutters from a pita flat that i brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with garlic powder, and then toasted; after the cut shapes had cooled, i added cheese wings.  have you noticed that i’m practically obsessed with birds lately (see exhibits A, B and C)?  not sure why that is… but birds sure are cute in bento!

all in all, this bento only took about 15 minutes to put together — no fancy cutting, no application of nori with tweezers, just a simple and easy work-night option.

by the way, the boxed beverage in the background of this picture is banana ooyoo (바나나맛우유) — banana milk.  it tastes like what’s left in the bottom of your bowl after you finish a heaping portion of sugary cereal with banana slices on top; in other words, it’s awesome.  you can become a facebook fan of banana ooyoo here (the fan page informs me that “girls generation are banana milk drinkers”!), and the company’s crazy webpage with tons of widgets is here.

my contest post is all queued and set to publish at 8:30am EST tomorrow… so check back then if you’re interested in participating!





nugget bears bento

15 11 2009

bento 41

just a quick and simple little kyaraben tonight, it’s been a long weekend and it’s going to be an even longer week getting a brief out the door by friday…

veggie section:  kiwi slices (with a pinwheel food pick), snow peas, strawberry slices, tamagoyaki slice, red grape tomato, reddish-purple grape, broccoli, purple cauliflower, yellow wax beans, and baby carrots.

main section: more leftover indian food (spinach and mushroom with basmati rice layered over it), with two soy chicken nugget “bears” (nori and cheese eyes/nose, umeboshi ears).





h’ors d’oeuvres bento

8 11 2009

bento 35had a friend over for a mini-cocktail and scrabble party on friday night, so now i have goodies for tomorrow’s lunch.  clockwise from left center:  marinated artichoke hearts in a silicone cup with a food pick, cornichon pickles, wedges of gruyere and gouda cheese, vegetarian “meatballs” and tomatoes on bamboo skewers, stuffed grape leaves with a cucumber flower, carrot sticks and yellow wax beans.

the top tier is not pictured, but has sesame and poppy seed crackers, pomegranate seeds in a food cup, kiwi slices, blackberries, and a leaf-cut plum.





lemongrass-chili tofu bento

5 11 2009

bento 34

reason #147 why i love this bento box (a gracious gift from hapa bento):  it makes all food look pretty, even when i work late and bring home leftovers from takeout.  (the takeout was yummy, btw – from xe lửa vietnamese restaurant.)

top left:  golden plum fan with kiwi slices, pomegranate seeds, blueberries, a blackberry, and grape halves.  center hole:  vietnamese spring roll.  top right:  lemongrass-chili tofu and a container of hoisin sauce for the spring roll.  bottom left:  vermicelli with sriracha sauce, bean sprouts, and a sweet potato and purple potato flower.  bottom right:  sauteed veggies (broccoli, carrot, cabbage, and celery) with snow peas and a grape tomato.