Friday, June 12, 2009

Two Weeks of Post Vacation Bentos

I am back from vacation!  Well, I've been back for two weeks, at least physically.  I'm still trying to get back into a routine and mindset to make my bentos daily and then blog about them.  I have taken pictures, though!


Pita chips and roasted red pepper hummus in the back bento.  Bell pepper slices, cucumber sticks and an apricot and strawberries in the front.  Sitting on my new picnic-style furoshiki!  (I did not make this one, just bought it at the craft store in the bandana section for $1.)


Furoshiki all tied up and ready to go to work with me.  I love this because once I opened it at work, I just used the furoshiki as a napkin instead of wasting a paper towel or something else and threw it in the wash when I got home!


This was my dinner bento.  Pita chips and roasted red pepper hummus on the left.  Kalamata olives, mozzarella cubes, cucumber slices, strawberries, bell pepper slices and an apricot in the stainless steel container. Pocky in front, and Dry Valencia Orange Grown Up Soda.


Lunch bento.  Spinach salad with cucumber slices, bell pepper chunks and mozzarella cubes.  Side container of strawberries and an apricot.  Pocky and more Grown Up Soda!

Joe Cocker Concert

On Tuesday, my boyfriend and two friends of ours went to the Joe Cocker concert at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  It was pretty fun.  We took a picnic lunch which was sandwiches, some macaroni salad and fruits and veggies (above).  I think it's funny now how I scoff at the idea of just taking a store made veggie tray - even though that's what I bought, I still had to arrange the veggies bento-style in their own container.  I loved that I was able to make a rainbow of fruit, without even intentionally trying to get all the right colors!

Hopefully next week will be lots better with the bentos. =)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quickie Post

Just a quick post before I have to get back to packing!

My bentos for the past week were even worse than last week - I made two, but that includes a snack type bento I had for myself on Saturday.  I was trying to use up all the food I had in the fridge without buying anymore, so it was a little difficult.  Also, it was easier most of this week to just get lunch - and I had two planned lunch dates so that really kills bento overall.

On to the pictures!

05/16/09 Bento
Saturday snack bento. There's a hole where a carrot should be because I started eating it before I took the picture. The blue cup was also filled with a lot more olives to begin with. hehe.

05/20/09 Bento
I originally had the carrots all on the bottom of the bento and covered by the grapes, strawberries and egg. But that provided no color contrasts whatsoever, so I rearranged everything and was pleased enough with this even though the addition of some greens somewhere would have been really nice.

Next week I'll be in London on vacation so no bentos until June 1st! But after that I should be able to get back on track and hopefully start getting into kyaraben and themed bentos.

Friday, May 15, 2009

05/11/09 Bento through 05/15/09 Bento

This week's bentos felt pretty sparse, in and of themselves and also because it feels like I didn't make that many (though two is okay, it's below what I would prefer, especially considering my dinners were crap).

On Monday, I tried out an egg cutter I bought a bit ago. I had been wondering how people halved their eggs with the great edges, but didn't realize there was a tool for it until I saw it at the store. Of course I had to have it. It was a lot of fun and a lot easier to use than I expected. I wonder if making deviled eggs like this would work out? I'll have to try it sometime.

05/11/09 Bento

On the very bottom are carrots, which you can't see in the picture because the box is so deep. Then a ring of grape tomatoes, green grapes, red grapes and green again. I edged it with clementine slices, to try to fill up more of the empty space on the sides. I really like the stainless steel bento box. I feel like I can fill it full with veggies and fruits and even without rice or noodles, it'll be a satisfying lunch. (Or dinner, even.)

05/15/09 Bento

Today, I'm using my new containers that I picked up at Borders in their Paperchase section. The set of four was just $10 so I had to have it. The large container has rice, with some sakura nori punches sprinkled on top with seasoning packet for ochazuke. Counterclockwise from there is a container of carrots on the bottom, an egg and a cheddar Babybel. I didn't have time today to cut out something cute from the wax on the cheese, but would like to at some point. I put more of the sakura nori punches on the egg for decoration. Then there are strawberries on top of green grapes, which you can't see. In hindsight, I should have had at least some of the green grapes on top for better color variation, especially considering my containers are red, too. The littlest container has the last of this batch of grape tomatoes and half an egg. I didn't know what else to put in it, because I need to go to the store, so this was my mid-morning snack (and the other half of the egg was part of breakfast) which was tasty.

I really like these containers and I'm thinking of packing them with delicious snacks for the plane and my layovers next week so I don't have to spend ridiculous amounts of money for relatively unhealthy airport food.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

05/08/09 Bento and 05/09/09 Snack Bento

This week has been crazy and then just as I feel like I can get back into a routine again something else crops up and I don't. One of these days!

Last Friday, I made myself a very light bento because I had eaten quite a bit at dinner the night before (and had a lot of soda, too, since we had gone to the movies to see Star Trek, which was beyond fantastic - we've seen it again since then and will probably see it at least one more time in the theater).

05/08/09 Bento

You can't see them, but I lined the box with long slices of cucumber, just to cover up any bright pink that might want to show through.  Clockwise from top left is a boiled egg, clementine slices, blackberries, bell pepper slices, and grape tomatoes all ringed with cucumber.  This Hello Kitty box is a little hard to get used to because there is a place for silverware at the top which dips into the box itself, squishing things sometimes.  I'm not used to that quite yet.

Over the weekend I made a snack bento for Kyle to take to work on Saturday.  He said it was delicious and definitely helped him get through his very long and tiresome day.  (He took a Rumbi Rice Bowl to work for lunch, so that didn't need a bento.  Though I was tempted to try to make it one he left too early in the morning for me to function efficiently enough to do so.)

05/09/09 Snack Bento

It's fun making bentos for him because he'll eat some things that I won't, like cauliflower.  And it's nice to be able to use that from time to time.

I brought in a bento on Monday which I will post later tonight or tomorrow but failed to bring one in yesterday or today.  I'll try to get back on track soon!  My routine is not helped by the fact that I'll be going on vacation next Friday, so I'll probably flounder a little the rest of this week and next, but once I come back (on the 1st of June), I should be able to settle back into things pretty easily.  That's my hope at least.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

05/07/09 Bento

I didn't have the time to make a bento on Wednesday morning, which is good because I probably would have gone out to eat anyway since I was kind of stressed with work and my car having run out of gas as soon as I pulled into the far end of the parking lot at work.  That was tons of fun!  (I've got a good friend that I work with so I was able to get to a gas station later and get enough gas in a can to make sure my car could get to a gas station on its own after I got off work.)

When I finally did get off work last night it was an hour later than usual and I was still feeling stressed.  I wanted junk food, but nothing sounded good.  So I stopped by my local natural/organic grocery store because they have a good deli section and good bulk candy section.

I bought a sushi party tray with a mind to use it for my bento lunch today.  I also picked up some flavored honey sticks (wild watermelon and sour cherry) and Australian green apple licorice, which will make an appearance in tomorrow's bento.  I picked up a 4-pack of oogave cola, too, since I'm a sucker for cola and local products.  They are quite tasty!  Unfortunately I forgot to grab one to have with my lunch today.  

(For the time being, this is just a cell phone picture.  I can't upload pictures from my digital camera at work and won't get to my computer again until tomorrow morning sometime so instead of waiting a day to post, I figured I'd put up a cell phone picture instead.  I was going to replace it, but I started eating the bento before I took a picture with my camera. Oops!)

05/07/09 Bento

Most importantly, I have a new bento box!  It's just a stainless steel lunch container and I'm pretty sure the manufacturers did not have bentos in mind when they made it, but I love it.  I like the kawaii boxes I have, but they're all plastic which makes me nervous sometimes, even though I don't use them in the microwave and very rarely run them through the dishwasher.  I got it at the grocery store and might pick up another one for whenever I make Kyle more bentos since it's very cool without being too cutesy for him.  It's also a good size.  Almost too big for me since there's a lot of empty space, but I bet it'd be a perfect size for him.

There's the leftover sushi, skewered edamame (which was also included in the sushi party tray), cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, yellow and orange bell peppers and blackberries.  The flavored honey sticks are sitting on top at the back.  I also had a clementine on the side.

This was delicious!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

05/05/09 Bento

I barely had time to put together a bento today, but I managed and squeaked into work just before I would have been considered tardy.  I'm obviously still working on my time management skills, but I've always had a problem with them so I'm not expecting them to get better overnight.  

Putting together an ochazuke bento was the easiest thing for me to do this morning in my limited time.  

05/05/09 Bento

Bottom bowl has leftover rice and chopped bell peppers.  I topped this with the ochazuke seasoning and added hot water when I was ready to eat.

The middle container has a bear-shaped egg, green grape halves, baby carrots, blackberries and cheddar cheese cubes.  I also brought two clementines with me for a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.

Monday, May 04, 2009

05/03/09 Bento for Kyle and 05/04/09 Bento

On Sunday, I went to my mom's house for an early Mother's Day celebration surprise.  Originally Kyle was going to come over after he got off work, but he had to switch things around so he had to work later in the day and wasn't going to be able to come have dinner with us.  But!  With the leftover food I had from Saturday, I made him his very own bento.  He said it was delicious and he ate it as soon as he got to work.  I was more nervous than I expected making a bento for someone else, but it was a lot of fun, too.

05/03/09 Bento for Kyle

On the right is the main dish stuff; fried rice with stir fried bell peppers and onions on top; cream cheese wontons and a lion filled with soy sauce to go with them; broccoli, celery and cauliflower sprinkled throughout to munch on.

In the bottom of the nikyoro bowl is a bunch of fruit: grapes, pineapple, clementine slices, and watermelon shapes.  The middle portion of the nikyoro bowl has some ranch dressing (for the broccoli, celery, and cauliflower) in a silicone cup (covered with plastic wrap to prevent any spillage), grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese shapes and two chocolate caramel nut treats.  

He said it was perfect, which makes me feel pretty good about my bentomaking.

Today, though, it's back to work!  I ate so much over the weekend (mostly just at the BBQ we had for my mom yesterday) that I wanted to have more fruits and veggies than anything else today.  

05/04/09 Bento

(I apologize for how sucky this photo is. I must not have been paying attention to the settings on my camera. Oops!)

The bottom tier has strips of raw bell peppers (red, orange, yellow and green), two wontons and grape tomatoes for filler.  The top tier has cucumbers, baby carrots, fish-shaped egg and grape tomatoes.  I think I probably should have used a different bento box or lined it with lettuce because the red from the tomatoes and bell peppers kind of washes into the red from this particular box.  Good to know for next time.

The side box has blackberries, green grapes, red grapes and cubes of cheddar cheese.

The fish-shaped egg came out right this time, which was nice.  I tried to make shaped eggs when I originally got my egg molds but for some reason I couldn't get them to boil right at all.  Once they did finally firm up enough to be considered hard-boiled, I popped them in the molds, but they were too big so lots of cooked egg whites squeezed out.  I put them in the fridge overnight (which might have been my mistake) and the next morning when I tried to get them out of the mold, they were stuck in there pretty good.  I hadn't used any oil or baking spray to grease the mold first off which was also probably a mistake.  I ended up using them to make egg salad which was also delicious, just not very cute.

This time, I boiled the eggs perfectly (using my brand new egg timer, which I love), sprayed the molds with some cooking oil, popped in the eggs and let them sit in a cold water bath for 20 minutes or so (as I was doing other things in the kitchen).  The eggs weren't quite big enough, but they worked.  

I generally like to make whatever I can ahead of time to make things easier for me in the morning.  The shaped eggs, though, will probably have to be done the morning of so that the shapes are visible and good.  Storing them in a little container smoothed out the shape a little bit so it doesn't look as cute.  Still, I'm glad to know that next time I'll have very cute shaped eggs.