Lunch for Friday, April 29, 2011

By special request here is a list of ...

Things I wish I had bought first
Single tier box
Decorative picks in animals shapes and flowers, not just any generic shapes I could find
Nori face accent punches

Things I have purchased that I probably have too much of
Silicone cups, really how many do I need? Baking ones come in packs of 12 so I have so many extras.
Nesting bento boxes, yes they are cool but most are too deep/shallow to be of any real use.
Plain picks, I ended up purchasing cocktail picks at a craft store in the beginning and have more than I need.

Things I see used but I doubt I would use
Rice shapers, I usually use the plastic wrap method and shape rice with my hands.
Pocket sandwich cutters, I have a large round one but you have to use such fresh bread or it will fall apart
Sausage cutters, not only are the sausages available here too large but I was able to recreate this with just a knife at one time.

I finally purchased a bento set that I have had my eye on for some time.  I kept looking at it online but the price was way more than I felt comfortable spending.  So I went to searching for it on eBay.  And finally a few weeks ago it showed up.  I was very happy that I won this and I paid about half of what the retail price was including the ridiculous amount the seller charged for shipping.  Score!  And I am unable to find it online now as well.  It came in on Monday this week and the minute I opened the outer box all I could smell was cigarette smoke.  Gag!  So I pulled everything out and started washing all the components and sprayed the bag down with Fabreeze.  Gross but things can be washed.  Then I started playing with the bag and noticed that the drawstring button didn't look right.  I looked in the bottom of the box and saw an extra piece.  It was the button and it was beyond repair.  Oh well, this still did not affect the containers.  I finally gave feedback to the seller and gave them a neutral rating.  Yes it stank, yes it was broken but I still was happy with the purchase.  The seller commented that my neutral rating was unfair and that I should have contacted them.  Really, unfair?  I could have given negative feedback like my co-workers suggested.  And what could they have done if I did contact them?  Apologize?  It still would not have fixed the item and they don't have another one.  I felt I was being more than generous with what I gave them.  Ok stepping off soapbox now.

So here is said bento set...

Beautiful isn't it?  I fell in love with the bag.  I knew I wanted to add a thermos type bento to my collection and all the other bags that they come with just didn't do it for me.  It seems the thermos types are mostly the same inside but it's the bag that stands them apart.

Inside my thermos I have leftover spaghetti from last nights dinner that I heated up this morning.  I will see how warm it stays at lunch.  In the smaller container I have some strawberries, honeydew melon and a grape.  The larger container I have a mini sweet pepper, grape tomatoes, portabella mushroom, a Babybel cheese, broccoli and some baby pepperonis.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  And all of you and your kids that are not feeling well get better.

Lunch for Thursday, April 28, 2011

Today is my one year Bento Blog Anniversary. A little over one year ago I was reading an article online about cute stackable lunch boxes, tiffin style. Then I did some research and found a whole other world. The bento world that is. Some of these lunches were so creative and fun, I had to learn more. After finding some websites and blogs, I was hooked. I started buying some supplies, then more supplies, then more supplies. There are things I have bought that I found I don’t use as much. And there are things that I see that I feel like I should have bought in the beginning. I have a long wish list of things I want. And I have purchased many books as well to help me with ideas and recipes.

I have to say one of the best things about this journey has been the friends I have meet along the way. There are so many people out there to help guide, encourage and enable you. Less than two months ago I joined Flickr to share my bento pictures and shortly after that I joined Twitter. Between these two social outlets I can see what everyone is making or get inspiration for future bento. I was starting to get in a rut and no new cleaver ideas were coming out. Now I have a notebook with at least a month’s worth of bento ideas in it and I add to it almost daily.

My first bento is embarrassing to look at now. Just like with any hobby you get better with time and practice. I know I still have a ways to go to be at the level that some people are at. At first my friends thought I had lost my mind. I even had someone ask if I was a kindergartener. Most people now have come to accept my strange new hobby. They ask what my lunch looks like every day and of course I get pleasure in showing them my creations. It’s so much fun to play with your food. Grocery shopping has become fun again as well. I have begun to look at foods in a whole new way.

For today’s lunch I am using my very first bento box I purchased. When I bought it I thought that having all the dividers, bag, matching chopsticks and case was necessary. It is not necessary at all. And actually some people use a system of boxes that resemble my ziplock containers that I used for my first bento. If you want to see all my boxes click the “My Bento Boxes” tab at the top. I have them listed in the order I purchased them.

Today's lunch has bologna under some rice under a red egg sheet decorated with a provolone cheese ribbon and bow.  I was going to have a bologna sandwich but someone ate all the bread in the house.  So this was a last minute change.  In the other side I have a mini sweet pepper, broccoli, grape tomatoes, strawberries, a Babybel cheese, a baby portabella mushroom and a Double Chocolate Banana Nut Muffin.  I had intended to make these for the #twitterchocolateparty but since I got sick it had to wait a couple of days.  This was a new recipe that I tried.  I found it on The Sisters Cafe blog.  This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Lunch for Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I had planned for this lunch to be yesterday's lunch but when I woke up I felt horrible.  I think I have a cold.  So I stayed home from work and slept all day. 

In today's lunch I have the Google Android made of green egg sheet on top of white rice.  I think the Android is super cute and it was a good idea for Google to come up with mascot instead of just a logo.  Great marketing on their part.  In the rest of the box I have veggie gratin, red wine vinegar chicken, a mini sweet pepper and a strawberry.

Do you think my iPhone is mad or jealous?  I do love my iPhone and for this moment in time I would not trade it for anything.

Lunch for Monday, April 25, 2011

I actually had an inner dialog about making a tomb bento.  I really wanted to celebrate Jesus' resurrection but then I also felt odd that I would be eating the tomb.  In the end, faith won.  I know everyone has their beliefs and I respect that.  I personally do believe that Jesus, son of God, died for my sins and was resurrected. 

Again I feel strange even saying what is in this bento.  I even contemplated just posting the picture and no explanation.  But... Lord please forgive me for making a tomb bento using leftover taco meat and refried beans.  The tomb is made with soy paper, nori and a chicken nugget on some white rice.  Under the rice is taco meat.  Also I added some refried beans, a mini sweet pepper, grape tomatoes and a strawberry.

Lunch for Friday, April 22, 2011

This year it just so happens that Good Friday is also Earth Day.  In years past I always got off work for Good Friday but we have been purchased by a different company and instead of giving us this day off we have two floating type holidays called diversity days that we can use whenever we want.  I decided to come to work today since my son had school.

I decided to make an Earth Day themed lunch today.  My earth is made of blue and green egg sheets, cut then placed on white rice.  I did leave some continents off my earth.  I am not trying to imply that North and South America are more important.  It was just easier to cut like this.  In the other container I have the rest of the leftover potato salad, red-wine vinegar chicken, carrots, grape tomatoes, broccoli, a mini sweet pepper and a mushroom that I carved a recycle symbol into using an x-acto knife.

I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend.

Lunch for Thursday, April 21, 2011

While at a craft store recently I saw a package of embellishments that had monkeys in them and their faces were so cute.  I knew I could recreate that in food.  So I took a hamburger bun and cut away some of the top.  I then added baby pepperoni cheeks, cheese nose and eyes and a nori mouth and eye detail.  I was going to pop the ears out but when I cut they kind of broke off so I made ears with cheese and more pepperoni.  Also in this box I added some homemade potato salad leftover from last nights dinner, grape tomatoes, a mini sweet pepper, strawberries and a mushroom that I cut a banana shape into the top.

Lunch for Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There are so many cute Easter bento ideas out there, like this (Happy Little Bento) and this (Not A Brownbag) and this (Adventures in Bentomaking).  And there are many more, I wish could link them all.  My favorite idea that I have seen repeated a few times is baby chicks.  So simple yet so cute!  So that is what I made today is two baby chicks on a bed of lettuce.  After seeing Heather's (Ohayo Bento!) salad a couple of days ago I have been craving salad.  Lucky me we went to the grocery store last night and I stocked up on lots of fresh fruits and veggies. 

While at the store I picked up a bag of the small mandarin oranges and my boyfriend started to put them back and grab a bag of large oranges.  I asked him what he was doing and he said those are too small, wouldn't I prefer the bigger ones.  I just laughed and said no I prefer things bento sized.  I got a funny look on that one.  But the small "bento sized" oranges came home with us.

In my bento I have a spring mix salad, baby pepperoni's, grape tomatoes, mini sweet pepper, shredded cheddar, my baby chick eggs and a small apple.  I stole a couple of these apples from my parents house this last weekend.  I have not been able to find them so small where I live and these were just sitting on the counter.  tee hee hee  I decorated my baby chicks using small pieces of nori, a piece of carrot and one got a bow pick.  When I cut the egg I noticed part of the yolk was pointed and it kind of makes the chicks look like they have that extra baby chick hair on top.

I also made a small breakfast/snack type bento.  Sometimes I'm hungry when I get up and sometimes I'm just happy with a cup of coffee.  Today was a hungry day plus the coffee.  In this one I just have strawberries, cheese cubes and pretzels.

Lunch for Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today Portal 2 is released.  I will have to wait to play it since the kid has not been saving up his money like he normally does for games.  I will not pay for games unless I am the main person playing it.  And since he hogs the Xbox... that means he will have to pay.  I really enjoyed the first Portal game.  And I am sure I will enjoy this one too.

For this lunch I have the Portal 2 logo made of egg white sheet dyed blue with food coloring on top of some white rice.  I also cut the Aperture Science logo into a mandarin orange.  The rest is chicken nuggets, egg yolk tamagoyaki, carrots, red beans and carrot/cucumber salad.

Lunch for Monday, April 18, 2011

This last Saturday my family and I went to Dallas for the day.  While there I stopped in at Shop Minoya in Plano.  This store was suggested to me by a fellow food blogger.  They had lots of Japanese foods and plenty of bento boxes.  The one I am using today was purchased there.  The man working there was very nice and helpful.  I wish I lived closer so I could take advantage of all the great things they had in the refrigerated section.  The prices were very reasonable and I found they had Re-ment miniatures.  So I bought one to start my collection.  I also found these cute chopsticks at the Grapevine mall.  It was a good day.  I hope everyone else had a good weekend.

For today's lunch I have a chicken thigh that I cooked in soy sauce and garlic, two rice bunnies, veggie gratin, red beans, carrot & cucumber salad, a Babybel cheese and some rice crackers.  The bunnies were shaped using a cookie cutter.

Breakfast for Friday, April 15, 2010

It's going to be another day that I go out to lunch with a co-worker.  SO that means breakfast bento time!

For today's breakfast I made French toast using a mini baguette that I found at my local grocery store.  I soaked the pieces in my egg mixture and then pan fried.  Also I cooked a spicy sausage patty and cut it up, added some cheese cubes and tomato.  In the last part I added some diced peaches.  I wish I had strawberries but peaches will do.  One thing I love about this bento is I can add jucier stuff and it doesn't leak... well too much.

Lunch for Thursday, April 14, 2011

This weekend we have decided to take a trip to Dallas and while there I hope to visit a store suggested to me by Shannon of What's for Lunch at Our House.  I hope to find some cute picks and other misc supplies.  I did a little comparison shopping online yesterday and looking at prices it seems eBay has the best prices for picks.  As far as boxes... if you want quality, you have to order from nicer places like Bento & Co or CasaBento.  After buying so many stackable sets, etc. I think I'm ready to start buying nicer ones.  But that means I need to set a budget or it could get out of hand.  I already have a habit of buying a bento if I see it while shopping.  They are rare and hard to come by in my area.

For today's lunch I made a roll using soy paper.  I really like the soy paper I just wish it came in a dark color.  I had intended to use my last piece of imitation crab stick but I guess I let it go for too long.  I opened the bag I had it in and almost gagged.  I need to clean out my frig!  So being resourceful, I used some of the leftover turkey.  So in this roll I have turkey, carrot, cucumber, avocado, wasabi and green onion.  The kid taste tested the ends I cut off and he declared it good.  He usually gets to eat the ends and scraps as I'm making my lunch.  Possibly because he is hovering over me instead of watching for the bus.  He wants to eat the school lunches but he makes sure he sees what I am eating.

In the other container I have a tomato that I halved, purple potato, mochi and a lemon wedge for some color and to add to my tea at lunch.

Lunch for Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I feel like my lunches this week have been boring.  I have a whole sketchbook full of ideas I keep writing down but I seem to be failing at executing any of those ideas.  Today's lunch is just leftovers.  We had deep-fried a turkey at Thanksgiving and it was so delicious we said we would do it again before the next Thanksgiving.  So that is what we did last night.  It was actually suppose to happen on Sunday but when we went to start the fryer we were out of propane.  The sides I made with the turkey were baked mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, corn and baked beans.  Almost everything is a dull color but that is what was requested when I asked, so that is what I made.  I had to add props to my photo just for some color.  I sure hope tomorrow is a better bento day for me. 

Lunch for Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I have seen many pictures of dragon fruit lately thanks to Lia of Bentolicious.  She had posted pics on Twitter and I wanted some myself.  But as much as I would like to try this fruit I am unable to find it where I live.  So I made mock dragon fruit using white rice and black sesame seeds.  I took the rice, added salt and the seeds and then formed them into balls. 

Also in this box I skewered mild Italian sausage, carrots, colby-jack cheese cubes, red beans and tomato.  Not sure why, but I felt like stabbing everything today.  lol

Lunch for Monday, April 11, 2011

Nothing real cute for today's lunch.  I am needing a trip to the grocery store and when I think about all the things I need, my lunch suffers.  I probably have plenty of things in the frig but it's all of the wants that keep me from making a cute lunch.  For today I have chicken potstickers.  I haven't made these in a long time.  I knew I had just a few in the freezer and I might as well use them all before they get freezer burnt.  I separated them with slices of cucumber, added a few baby carrots on top (the last of these as well), made a tamagoyaki, threw in a couple of tomatoes and a container with sad looking grapes (thankfully all that is left) and a Babybel cheese.  I love grapes but buying a bag of them for my lunches means eating them everyday and some go bad before I can eat them all.  Why can't they package things in smaller quantities?

Dessert for Sunday, April 10, 2011

I have been craving Lemon Meringue Pie since my birthday in February.  I kept putting off making one and even thought about just buying one.  But on Sunday I made a pie and some mini pies.  Originally I was only going to make the mini's but there was so much filling left in the pan I had to quickly bake another shell and put it in.  To make the mini's I took a mini muffin pan and cut the pie crust using a small circle cutter and pressed the crust into the mini pan.  I baked the mini shells for 5 minutes, let them cool then filled with about a Tablespoon of filling.  I just added the meringue with a spoon.  Mmm, so glad to have satisfied that craving.

Lunch for Saturday, April 9, 2011

A friend and I decided to try Sushi Train in Tulsa, Oklahoma for lunch on Saturday.  We had never been before and it was fun.  The food is placed on the train and it goes around the bar.  You can also sit at a table and then get up and retrieve your sushi if you would like as well.  I was very hungry by the time we got there and I forgot to take photos of the sushi I ate.

It was a neat experience but even thought I ate seven plates worth of food I didn't find it to be as tasty as other sushi restaurants in Tulsa.  Most of the rolls seemed to have a common ingredient, cream cheese.  I am lactose intolerant and this was a disappointment.  I ate some anyway since I can get by with a few ounces of cheese without too much discomfort.  Also there wasn't too much raw fish I noticed.  Here is a list of some rolls my friend and I ate and their ingredients.  I can't remember them all and some were not labeled on the train.
Bayou Roll - Catfish, blackened shrimp, carrot, jalapeno, cucumber w/ spicy sauce
CK Roll - Spicy Tuna, shrimp tempura, cream cheese, green onion, avocado on top w/ 3 sauces
Crunchy California Roll - Crab salad, cucumber and avocado deep-fried
Scorpion Roll - Calamari tempura, cucumber and avocado topped w/spicy shredded crab
King Roll - Crab salad, avocado, asparagus, cucumber, carrot, cream cheese and shrimp tempura deep-friend
Lucky Roll - I don't remember all that was on  it but it was wrapped in green soy paper
Perfect Tan Roll - Shrimp tempura, crab and cream cheese topped w/ avocado, tuna, salmon, or white tuna
Dumplings - These I don't see on their menu but they were on the train.

Surprisingly my favorite one was the Bayou Roll.  It was nice and spicy and had good flavor.  But again it was cooked fish.  My friend's favorite was the King Roll.  I had a piece of it and yes it was good but what isn't good when it's deep-fried?

Most of the plates had 4 pieces on them and at first I thought $3.55 for the most expensive plate was not bad.  Then I realized that most of the ones that looked appetizing were the more expensive one.  My seven plate meal including my free water was around $25.00.  Not too cheap for one person but then again I have spent upwards of $35.00 for a few of my favorite rolls before.  My friend was able to get away with around $10.00 with her free water but she had also been to a brunch that morning and wasn't that hungry.

So overall it wasn't too bad.  My friend proclaimed she would be back.  The novelty of it would bring me back, not the food.  I guess I am just a sushi snob, I prefer others sushi.  But so many people have said wonderful things about this place.  You might want to give it a try.

They deliver *(918) 747-9931* between certain hours of the day or you can visit them on the southeast corner of Harvard and 51st Street in Tulsa.

Lunch for Friday, April 8, 2011

Tonight we are going to a Minor League baseball game. The Tulsa Drillers are playing the Corpus Christi Hooks. I had signed up at work to receive tickets and my name was one of the ones drawn. The company buys season tickets and does these drawings for the employees.

Inside this box I have a baseball rice ball made with white rice, filled with teriyaki salmon and decorated with ketchup. I also carved a bat from a carrot. This was very easy to do using a paring knife and a peeler. For the rest of the box I have tamagoyaki, deli ham, grapes, mini sweet peppers filled with the rest of the salmon and a piece of broccoli. This was my last piece of broccoli. I was wishing I had more, I would have made a playing field with bases, etc. It is really nice that my hat picks have a "T" on them and are blue. That way they can stand for the Tulsa Drillers who's team colors are blue and white.

Lunch for Thursday, April 7, 2011

I saw this t-shirt on ThinkGeek yesterday and it made me giggle.  So that is my inspiration for today's lunch.  Ninja Kitty!  I cut the kitty out of nori and added a cheese face.  The throwing star is made from carrot.  I really hate that I let my rice cool for a long time and the nori still shriveled up some.  And I was going to use a smaller container for the rice but ended up using a larger one so the kitty is not as large on the rice as it should be.  And I know I don't like nori so why do I keep using it?  Does anyone else have alternatives to nori that have a nice dark color that can be cut easily?  I'm just complaining today, aren't I?  sigh  I'll try to get happy... after my coffee.

In the other container I have chicken nuggets, broccoli, carrots, mini sweet pepper, tomato, grapes and blueberries.

Lunch for Wednesday, April 6, 2011

While cleaning out the kids room this past weekend I found a pencil box he had.  There was a bunch of junk in it and stickers all over.  I took all the stickers off, cleaned it up and thought how great it would be for my lunch.  That is what I am using today, a pencil box.  The lid is hinged and is detachable.  I love it.

Inside my pencil box I have the rest of the pork ribs from Monday nights dinner.  I thought Mr Man was going to take these for his lunch yesterday but he said he wasn't going to.  So I pulled the meat off the bone and added it to my box.  I also drained off the rest of the baked beans and put them in as well.  The remainder of the items are my usual's plus a piece of honey wheat bread.  Yummy!

My girl flying her kite is made from bologna, cheddar and provolone.  The string of the kite is made from soy paper.  The bow and her mouth were cut then soaked in water with red food coloring and her eye and the kite were cut and soaked in water with blue food coloring.  I cut her dress to look like the wind was blowing behind her and it was billowing out.  We have been having wind gust of 20-35 mph lately and I am feeling wind blown myself.  And with the wind comes allergy problems.  I feel in a haze too from the allergy medicine.  Maybe I should have covered the entire box with a piece of rice paper to make it look cloudy.  haha  Happy Wednesday to you all.

Lunch for Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Last night for dinner Mr Man made BBQ Pork Ribs on the grill.  They were sooooo good.  And as sides I made baked beans and mashed potatoes.  I took a scope of the mashed potatoes and placed them in a silicone cup and put them in the frig.  It wasn't until this morning that I thought about turning them into Hamtaro.

To make Hamtaro I used carrots, orange soy paper, nori, beef bologna and provolone cheese.  Other items in this bento are Italian sausage, baked beans, grapes, Babybel cheese, broccoli, mini sweet pepper and a tomato.

Lunch for Monday, April 4, 2011

This past weekend I took most of my Saturday and made the kid clear out his room, go through clothes he can't wear anymore and thin out the toys.  We also moved his room around.  It was a very productive day since I was able to still get all the laundry done, clean the rest of the house and read a couple hundred pages of one of my books.  So of course Sunday I didn't do anything but nap and watch tv.

For lunch today I wanted soup.  My allergies are acting up since it has been warm and windy and a hot soup is just what I need.  So I made a mixture of fried egg that I sliced up, green onion, garlic and condensed chicken base.  At lunch time I will dump this into the top portion of my bento and add hot water.  In the other section I have teriyaki chicken, carrots, grapes, sweet mini pepper, tomato and a few blueberries.  The middle section has white rice with a broccoli tree and bread crust for the trunk.  I tried adding some sesame soy wrapper for a hill but it kind of blends in.  In person there is more of a contrast than this picture.  I also added a couple of nori birds I cut out.  And of course I have my mandarin orange.  There were so many in a bag of those!  I have one more for tomorrow then I am out.  I sure hope they have some when I go grocery shopping again.

Lunch for Friday, April 1, 2011

It's April Fools Day and I really hope no one tries to make a fool out of me.  I love playing tricks on people and don't mind when I get it back.  But sometimes it irks me if I start to feel dumb about things.  I try to be tough but... I am a girl.

For today's lunch I had not planned on anything cute.  I made fried rice last night and made sure I left some for my lunch.  It was just going to be a leftover day, other half of the carrot/cucumber salad mix, rest of beans, last of the tomatoes.  Then when I was getting the mini sweet peppers out, one of them just looked like a fish that was kissing.  So I split it in half, added some picks and some sugar eyes then cut a heart out of provolone and Voila!  Kissy Fishy.

I received my Bento4Japan items yesterday and WOW I can't believe that great things I got.  I used two of them for this bento.  I used one of my new picks and one of the heart cutters.  I really wish I could afford to do more but thankfully the bidding is going very well over my budget.  Sad for me but great for the cause.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!