Monday, June 30, 2008

Friday and Today


Last Thursday I didn't make bentos because I had other plans. I didn't make a breakfast one Sunday either because I had breakfast at home.

I did make bentos Friday though, and have no idea why I didn't make a post about them!

So here's Friday's bentos:

Top tier: I had left overs chicken and salsa I made the previous night. With that I put in steamed broccoli.

Lower tier: Spicy Barley Pilaf and a mix of black beans, chickpeas and fresh tomatoes. In the little container I have guacamole.

Here's my husband's box:

He has close to the same thing except that I didn't put in the bean mixture (he's not too crazy about beans or tomatoes so..) so instead I put in a big cup of melon. I added guacamole to his box after I took the pictures.


Today I didn't have anything thought up for the boxes, so the morning was interesting. Here's what I packed:

Top tier: I have steamed broccoli with salt, pepper and cumin. On top of that I have a container of cilantro pesto. In the middle I have deli turkey on cutsy animal skewers. On the right I have sauteed (on high heat) zucchini half rounds with salt, pepper, cumin and sprinkled with fresh basil after cooking.

Lower tier: I have 1 1/2 hard boiled egg, salted and peppered. On the right I have a rice ball (the last of them!) and finally a little cup with blueberries.

My husband has the same stuff it's just laid out a little differently cause his box is different:

I hard boiled 3 eggs since I was making turkey skewers, I thought 1 1/2 egg was plenty. My husband has a bigger Onigiri and a little more veggies because he's 6'2" tall. Something tells me he should have a little more food!

I need to make Onigiris and Oyakis (been a while!). So that's my plan for the week!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Simplicity Bento

Today I got a slow start which resulted in my husband going to work without a bento. Now I feel all guilty!

I was going to skip mine too, but realized I was going to be out of the house for lunch. I need a bento!

So here's what I put together:

I didn't feel inspired really, so I used the rest of the Tabbouleh (finally!), steamed broccoli and chopped a tomato to mix with it.

I didn't have any protein leftover, so I made a wrap* with Canadian bacon and a carrot stick! I used my cute little skewers to keep the pieces together and put it in the top tier of my little bento.

* The tortilla isn't part of the "free foods" on my food plan, though it IS allowed. I just have to account for it.

I'll have a banana with that for dessert! There you go, it's my Simplicity Bento! Sometimes simple is wonderful!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday - Tuesday

Once again, two days in 1 post!

Sunday night I made a yummy meal, and we had leftovers for the bentos!

Here's what mind looked like:

Clockwise starting at the top: Tabbouleh (with a flower to decorate it!), Beef and vegetable kebabs (minus the skewer obviously!) and steamed broccoli with a little container of Baba Ganouj.

My husband has the same thing, except that his kebabs didn't have mushrooms in them:

Last night, my husband was the cook, and he did great! Again we used left overs to fill the bentos today. Here's mine:

Top tier (not divided): Chicken Provencal, it's chicken breast and the veggies it was cooked with. I added mushrooms that I cooked the morning in leftover juice from the chicken recipe.

Bottom tier (divided): First 1/3 has steamed broccoli, and the other 2 have tabbouleh (from Sunday night).

Here's my husband's box:

He had Chicken Provencal and steamed broccoli in the top tier, and Herbed whole wheat couscous in the bottom tier. Since the couscous was rather plain looking, I added flowers to liven up the whole thing.

So there you have it! It's leftovers week. We decided to cook every meals (instead of a lot of quick fixes, so we have tons of leftovers!

Happy Bento everybody!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

It's catch up time! I've been bento-ing (love that word) but not posting in here. I'm trying to cut down computer time as I do have a husband, a dog and a cat, and well... You know...

Also it's HOT in Northern California! Offaahhh gimme a snowstorm somebody!

So, today I don't have a box, neither does my husband. He wanted to go out with the guys, I don't know where I'll be. Might still make one, but so far (7:19am) none made or planned.


I used my red Donburi box. We had various left overs, and I used that with Bulgar and steamed veggies.

Here's what it looked like:

Lower tier: I had leftover veggies sauteed from Saturday night that I wanted to finish up in a hurry, so I served that over Bulgar.

Top tier: Leftover BBQ chicken thighs (my husband's secret sauce, they were just SO GOOD) with steamed broccoli and peas. I love to use peas because I use them as dividers.

My husband had the same thing, just in a different box. Here's his lunch for Tuesday:


Wednesday I was teaching at Altamira. I wasn't too sure about breaks, and snack time and such, so I filled my box more than I usually would. I also made the boxes the night before, something I rarely do. It worked well, but I didn't have any fresh veggies (other than the cucumber flowers) so that's different.

Here's what it looked like:

Top tier (divided one): I have a lentil curry that I bought at the Farmers Market, vegetables that cooked in the crock pot with chicken the day before, and the chicken itself.

Lower tier (not divided): Herbed couscous, a little cup of lentils (steamed from TJ) and cucumber flowers made with my little cutters I bought last week.

Again, my husband had the same thing, in his faithful little blue Urura box:


Thursday I didn't make myself a box. I had an attack of just "making up something" so I made myself a scallop soup. I did put together a box for my husband. He had forgotten his box at work, so I put it in my own yellow box.

Here's what it looked like:

In the top tier he has steamed lentils, and strawberry-mango salad.

In the lower tier he has couscous and a vegetable dish I made in the crock pot the day before. I don't quite remember what was in it, it was a case of "Ok, what do I have to use before it goes bad?"

So that's my catch up post! 3 days of bento in one post! If I decide to make one today I'll post it... today! ;op

Happy Bento everybody!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Some yummy leftovers!

Today I had an easy time putting together the bentos. We had a BBQ last night, so we had plenty of leftovers. Since we had several different dishes, I thought it was the perfect day to try out my new Lock and Lock set.

First bad news... the bottle leaks. So, so much for the water bottle. It DOES give me enough space to put a bigger ice pack in there. So, my lunch will stay cool longer! AH!

Here's what my box looked like:

It's a two tier box, each tier is 350 ml. The first tier is divided, so there's no need for cups n stuff, the second tier is not divided.

Top tier, left to right: BBQed chicken thighs, diced; Left over vegetable casserole (from Saturday night); Sauteed red and yellow bell pepper and onion.

Bottom tier: Plain bulgur, with just salt and pepper; a little bear shaped cup of lentils, to add to the bulgur, grilled zucchini slices, cucumber flowers. The bottom tier isn't full because it's a little big... gives me "decoration space".

My husband has the same thing in his regular box. That one is not divided so I just used sushi grass in the top tier. Here's what it looks like:

He has the exact same lunch, looks like more because his box is slightly smaller than mine. He did bring a banana to eat with it.

So that's today's bento fare. I'm pretty happy with it, it was yummy yesterday and I'm sure it's going to be yummy again today!

Now I need a "manly colored" Lock and Lock. I keep thinking that my husband's box is too small for him, but he seems happy. Oh well!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Added note: I just ate lunch and this has to be the best tasting bento I've had so far. Really... Mmmmmm!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Breakfast Bento

I decided to start bringing my breakfast to work again on Sundays so I can Weigh in before I eat. Neurotic a little, but I claim the right be my "neuroticity"! So there!

This morning I didn't have much time, so my husband boiled eggs while I was in the shower, and then I put the rest together. I halved the eggs, chopped a few strawberries, sliced cucumber (shaping a few slices with my new veggie cutter, and added a little heart shaped cup filled with steamed lentils.

Here's what it looked like:

I was nothing outstanding, but it was enough to get me going for a whole meeting. I had lunch only at 2pm, and I was starving by then. I would not have survived without my little breakfast!

So, there we are, a new week, a new bento.

Tonight we BBQed and I did some yummy side dishes, so tomorrow's bento will be interesting. I plan on using my new Lock and Lock set. I can't wait to show it off!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Friday, June 13, 2008

My new toys and shopping report!

So, as promised, I took pictures of my new boxes, and my new goodies I bought on my trip in San Francisco yesterday! I'm trying to remember where I got everything and how much I paid for it. I hope I don't make mistakes! I also included a listing and my own review of my favorite spots.

First is my Lock and lock set! I've been wanting one of these for a while, but I wanted a neat color. I found a red one at Super Tokyo in the Richmond district . I paid $13.50 for it, it might be a little cheaper at Kamei but I didn't want the color they had.

The set includes a water bottle, with a cap that can be used as a glass, a divided top tier, and an undivided bottom tier. Being a lock and lock set, it's microwave safe, dishwasher safe AND leak proof. That has to be the most practical set I have.

Here it is all closed up ready to put in the cooler bag that came with it:

Here the picture is a little bit blurry, but that's the best one I got of the set all open:

The next set I got at Daiso*. It's a neat little 3 tiered box that I got for $1.50! I used it today and it's working just fine. The box is microwave safe, but not dishwasher safe. I would not "over-microwave it" if you know what I mean.

Funny detail, the plastic is see-through, so you can see the food through the box. Kinda cool and kind creepy at the same time.

*I bought the brown belt at Ichiban Kan.

Here it is all closed up:

Here's the set all open up:

The final box I got is more of a snack box. It's tiny, and to be honest, not overly practical... but it's so freakin' cute! I got it at Sanko for about $8.50 (I think, around that).

It's a 2 tiered box (140 ml and 240 ml) with a cute little bear on top. It came with a bag, and a little hide-away fork. I don't know if it's microwave safe, but I'm planning on using it as a snack bento anyway so no worries.

Here it is all closed up:

Look, the fork hides between the 2 tiers:

Here it is all opened up:

If I remember right, I got the little containers, and the silicone cups at Daiso ($1.50) and the little ice tray at Ichiban Kan ($1.25):

Now the picture just below this:

The two nori punches are from Ichiban Kan ($1.25 each), there's a heart and a star.

Now for the vegetable cutters, it's complicated. The two big ones and the 3 small ones at the bottom (heart, star and bear) are from Daiso ($1.50 each set). The 4 little cutters just below the punches, are from Soko Hardware (5 dollars-something for the set of 4).

The picks are from Ichiban Kan ($1.00), there was two of each, but I put one of each to take the picture:

Yes, I know some of them don't seem... kid appropriate, we've been laughing at that all evening. I'm thinking what's more appetizing than a koala humping a strawberry? Muaahahaha

So that's my shopping yesterday! I went all over town, walked from the Richmond to Japantown and back and then some... it was a good day!

Here's the stores I talked about in this post:

Super Tokyo
On the corner of 4th St. and Clement St. in the Richmond district. It's one of those store where you get anything, from toys, to dishes, to food going around by incense and then some. It's a cute little store that I like to run around in. It's not always good deals though. You might want to stop by Kamei and check the prices before you buy at Super Tokyo.

It's on Clement St. between 7th St. and 6th St. Kamei has everything for the kitchen. It's basically a restaurant supply store. You won't find the fancy bento stuff in there, but it's practicality central. It's generally cheaper, but not always... do your homework. Also, know what you're looking for, their English is... limited.

It's across the parking lot from the Serramonte shopping center. Daiso is my absolutely favorite store. They have everything plastic! I bought everything I needed to organize my stuff at my new meeting for $8!

Plastic boxes, notebooks, dishes, bento boxes, bento gear, cooking gear... 95% of it $1.50! Lock and lock Tupperware EVERYTHING... can you tell I love that place?

Ichiban Kan
It's located in the Miyako Mall in Japantown. It's my second favorite place... was first until I discovered Daiso. It's a dollar store, they have a good bento section, and a lot of knickknacks! The advantage of Ichiban Kan is that they are right in town.

ALSO, Ichiban Kan now have a great website that you can order from ( That's a way to get bento boxes and bento gear without paying the Ebay outrageous prices. You won't find fancy stuff, but they still have some cool things like egg molds and picks.

Soko Hardware
On Post St. right across from Miyako Mall. This is a hardware store that has a great kitchen stuff section. They aren't always cheap, but you can find good deals. Their supply of bento boxes is limited and pricey, but they often have things like vegetable cutters, and sauce bottles when everybody else it out!

They also have the absolute nicest staff in San Francisco!

Last but certainly not least Sanko is on Buchanan, between Post and Sutter (in the little stone paved part of Buchanan behind Soko Hardware). It is like the fuffy bento spot. While Ichiban Kan and Daiso will overwhelm you with cheapos stuff, Sanko is the place to find the little things that you can't find anywhere else. They are pricey, but sometimes it's worth it.

Also, if you go often you might get lucky and get a good deal like I did on my bear box! I try not to stop at Sanko too often because it always cost me more than I want to spend, but the stuff is so cool I can't resist it!

There you are, that's my shopping report from yesterday in San Francisco! I bought stuff that I absolutely don't need, but that I could not resist! I will use it all, as soon as I figure out where to put it all! AH!

Let me know if you know other good spot to go bento shopping in San Francisco, I'm always game for new adventures!

Happy bento everybody!

Trying out a new box

Yesterday I took the day off and went to San Francisco. The idea was to wander around and relax, and I did that. Of course, relaxing in the city means retail therapy.

I didn't have much money to play with, so I hit Daiso first and then Ichiban Kan. Since I was in Japantown, I also stopped at Sanko and at Soko Hardware.

Finally I went back to the Richmond, my home base in San Francisco, and stopped by Kamei and Super Tokyo. I got all sorts of goodies of course, and I also got 3 new boxes. Like I needed more!

Today I decided to try out one of my new boxes. I got this one at Daiso for a whooping $1.50. It's a 3 tiered box that simple stack up on top of each others. the text is in Japanese so I don't know how many ml each tier is, but I'll figure it out!

Here's what it looked like today:

On the left, I have ground turkey cooked with vegetables. In the middle I have steamed broccoli and snow peas with garam masala and hot chili powder, and finally in the tier on the right I have vegetable curry.

The presentation isn't overly original, I was trying out the box, and seeing how much stuff it can take. Surprisingly a LOT. The tiers are small, but there's 3 of them.

I'm surprised how much I like this little box. A white background doesn't do it justice, I'll take pictures of all my new boxes on a darker background!

So that's my bento-ing for today. I was very satisfied with it, didn't need a snack or nothing!

I'll be showing off my new stuff soon!

Happy Bento everybody!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Yesterday's Fare

This is a crazy week! Today I didn't make any bentos, I didn't have time for one thing, and I really wanted a veggie-full lunch. Not enough space in a bento box for that!

I did make bento lunches yesterday but never had time to post. So here are yesterday's bentos:

Both are exactly the same.

Lower tier: Steamed broccoli and peas, I made a little divider with the peas. In the middle I have cut up strawberries, and then cucumber slices. I used little skewers to eat the strawberries with, mine are la little duck and a little chick. My husband's are veggies.

Top tier: 2 Onigiri, I have a heart and a bear, he has a star and a bear. In a silicone cup, we have the rest of the chicken dish my husband made Sunday night. Very good, very spicy, no clue what's in there. Maybe that's a good thing heheheheheh

That was out bentos yesterday. Today I'm starting a new meeting in a new location, I've been up to my ears in that for a week now, FINALLY it's getting started! I'll be able to breathe!

I'm out of Onigiri, and haven't had Oyakis in weeks! So that'll be the cooking plan this week. I'm also planning a trip to San Francisco tomorrow or Friday so, though I really don't need more boxes... I'm sure to stop by Japantown.. hehe

Happy Bento Everybody!

Monday, June 9, 2008

For the love of food...

Today I had left overs to work with, and I wanted to see how I could make food look good, just with food. With the exception of one little container, I tried to make an attractive looking lunch, by mixing the colors, the textures, and even the size of the foods I put in there.

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out! I used my red Donburi box because I like how there's a "bowl tier" and a "flat tier". It inspires me for some reason!

Here's the bottom tier:

In this tier, I have rather plain couscous in which I dug a space to put a plastic/paper cup that I filled with leftover chicken and vegetable dish. Don't ask me for the recipe, my husband made it up as he went, it was very spicy, but delicious. To add a pop of color, I diced some avocado on top of the chicken dish.

Here's the top tier:

In there I have a large silicone cup filled with diced strawberry to which I added a container of Greek yogurt. Around that I have halved, sliced cucumber, sprinkled with diced avocado. The idea was to have colors complement each others. The silicone cup and the yogurt container are both yellow which I think adds to the effect!

That's my little bento adventure for today. I'm planning on a different box tomorrow, but I sure am starting to really love this one!

Happy bento everybody!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Shaped Eggs Bento

Hello there!

I have too many eggs, so I went ahead yesterday and boiled a bunch of them. I used my egg molds to give them shapes but my eggs were a bit small for the molds. The shapes aren't as clear as they should be! Oh well.. still taste yummy! Fresh eggs!

Both boxes are put together exactly the same way. I made them in chain, adding each elements to each box at the same time.

Here's my box:

Top tier: I have a little heart shaped cup of lentil (left), mini-cucumber slices with my little duck skewers (love those!) to make them easier to grab, and a vegetable curry I had in the freezer.

Lower tier: I have 1 1/2 hard boiled egg, one bunny shaped, and one bear shaped (that one's only 1/2 egg, that's why it's kind of sunk in). With that I have 2 star shaped Onigiri, and red bell pepper pieces for color, and to fill the gaps.

My husband has the exact same box except that his skewers are vegetables instead of ducks, and his whole boiled egg is a little car instead of a bunny!

I don't think I ever really explained how to use the egg molds, or did I? I can't remember, and I can't find it! So here it is!

Here's the egg molds I use:

Those things are two sided, so there's the same shape on both side and they have little "clamps" on the side to secure them shut.

1- You hard boil the eggs like you would for anything else.

2- When the eggs are done, You break the shell all around and QUICKLY pass them under cold water. You don't want to cool the egg, just loosen up the shell.

3- You peel the eggs while still hot and put them in the mold. That's the sucky part really, but if you use a cold spoon to loosen the shell it helps.

4- Close the mold (make sure to clamp it shut), and put in the fridge for 10-15 minutes (until cool).

5- Carefully un-mold the eggs, and either serve (or put in a box), or color by soaking in water and food coloring for 10-15 minutes).

Et Voila! Shaped eggs!

The smaller ones I usually use whole, the heart shaped one and the star shaped ones make great shape for "halved eggs". You just slice the egg in two, and present it yolk-up. That would make awfully cute deviled eggs!

That's it for today folks! Keep the Cutsy curse alive!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tuesday and Today

Once again I'm catching up! I've been sick, so my bento making has lacked enthusiasm. I'm done with feeling sorry for myself! Back to cutsiness!

Yesterday I made a bento for my husband, but none for me. Here's what I put in his:

In the lower tier, he had 3 Onigiri (2 stars and one bear). I tried to make eyes, a nose and a mouth with cucumber pieces on the bear shaped Onigiri, See it? That's my cutsy curse move of the day ! I put the Onigiri on thin slices of cucumber, and put red bell pepper sticks to stabilize the whole thing.

In the top tier, I put the rest of the beef stir fry, cucumber slices, and a little container of Cilantro pesto (we both love that stuff!).

Today I made two bentos. I decided it was time to put aside my laziness.

Here's my box:

I used my 1 tier little box that I usually use as a snack bento. I wanted to see if I could fit a whole meal in there. I can! There's the same stuff in mine as there is in my husband's 2 tier box!

Top left corner I have red bell pepper and cucumber sticks; to the right of that I have a container of cilantro pesto; in the top right corner I have steamed broccoli and shredded carrots; in the lower right corner I have ground turkey cooked with vegetables and black beans; and finally in the lower left corner I have lentil curry.

I put two little butterflies made out of red bell pepper slices using my little cookie cutters to "cutefy" the whole thing.

Here's my husband's box:

He has the exact same lunch. Veggie sticks, lentil curry, steamed veggies, and ground turkey and veggies. Instead of butterflies, I put a dog bone shaped piece of pepper. I thought it would be more "manly". He thought it was hysterical! hehehe

I love to play with the color of foods, the orange/yellow curry and the bright green cucumbers. I love food, what can I say? I think that it's more a tool for creativity than just "fuel". Make it pretty people, it'll taste better!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mix n Match Bento!

I've been sick all weekend, and lets just say unmotivated. This morning I realized too late that I hadn't made a bento for my husband. I remembered that I had planned on having a cutsy curse week though, so I got my own box together.

It's very much a leftover bento, here it is:

In the lower tier, I have bulgur, a little cup of lentil curry (with a flower on top) and a container with Leek-Zucchini soup in it. * I used thinly sliced red bell pepper to decorate the bulgur, and with the flower I though it would look cute.

In the top tier, I have left over beef stir fry, thinly sliced red bell peppers, and a little cup of blueberries.

* I had to take about 35 pictures of the lower tier of my bento before I finally got a clear one. I took my box back out 3 times, to start over, and finally stopped removing the lid off the soup every time because it was messing the whole thing up each time I did. It was much prettier with the lid off to show the green soup.

The final picture isn't that great, but it's the only was that was clear enough to see what was actually on it. I'm planning on a new camera soon!

So that's my bento for today! I'm trying to add cutsiness with food, rather than add a lot of plastic decorations (yeah the flower is plastic, but that's just ONE thing.. besides, I like them!).

How are you practicing cutsiness with your lunches? Drop me a comment with a link to your own cutsy lunch so we can share our cutsy curse! ;op

Happy Bento Everybody!!!