Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hinamatsuri Girls Day Bento

March 3rd is Girls' Day, which falls on Sunday this year, so I made this bento for my TinySprite to enjoy tomorrow. See some of my other Girls' Day bento here and here and here). Along with her favorite shoyu chicken and furikake rice, there's a broccoli tree, the current double obsessions of pickled cucumbers and red onions, and some carrot sticks in the big stainless steel-lined cutie pie box. The smaller, divided box holds her hard boiled egg Hello Kitty girl (decorated with radish ears, nori eyes, carrot nose and soba whiskers), strawberry kimono, radish "fan", tomatoes and carrots. Next to her are a pile of blackberries and blueberries. It's a celebration of cute girlishness and I think she'll love it. Happy Girls' Day to all the girls out there! ^__^

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chili LunchBots Bento

Chili LunchBots Bento by sherimiya ♥
Chili LunchBots Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Chili! I scooped it into the LunchBots Trio over a layer of spinach leaves to keep the juices contained. But as TinySprite said, I probably should have used a container with leakproof sections (or a thermal food jar). The other thing I could have done is packed rice over the chili. Some people also do that in a thermal jar to keep the chili from mixing into the rice until you're ready to eat. But then she wouldn't be able to enjoy the cheddar sun and rays that I decorated! Anyway, she was pretty careful and it didn't spill out of the box; yay! She also finished it all, along with the pickled red onion and cucumbers, carrots, mandarins, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Tree Grows in Jooklyn Bento

Get it? Get it? Did you read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? Okay then. I know it doesn't look like a tree, but this tree is stylized. (Look at the other jook tree I made). This means that you must utilize your imagination for it to take shape. I made brown rice jook (see my method and recipe here) and decorated with char siu, cilantro and scallions. You can use chicken broth to flavor the soup, and add in aromatics like tiny dried shrimp. I also sometimes use shiitake mushrooms, leftover chicken, or even fish. It's also great to make your own broth using chicken or turkey bones. I packed this bento for MisterMan in his Lunchbots Thermal jar. A side box holds: satsuma mandarin, strawberry, blueberries, house pickled cucumbers and house marinated sweet baby bell peppers.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Gyoza EcoLunchBox Bento and a Spelling Bee

Gyoza EcoLunchBox Bento by sherimiya ♥
Gyoza EcoLunchBox Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Hello again! Sorry I've been a bit negligent about posting bento here for a week or so. The day after Valentines Day, MisterMan participated in his school district Spelling Bee again this year. Last year he took home the top prize, and this year he snuck into 4th place. He was the only returning placewinner from last year. This year's competition was fierce, complete with 21 4th-grade spellers from 5 schools, multiple elimination rounds of off-list words, tie-breakers, and even parent protests. It was a nail-biter, I tell you! In the end MisterMan was tripped up by "scalene", but when he stood onstage with his ribbon he looked just as pleased as ever. I'm glad he likes words so much; I think it's quite a nice hobby to have. We're so proud of you MisterMan! To celebrate, we spent the long weekend checking out some dinosaur exhibits and cool kid museums. And yes, there were frozen desserts involved too! ^_^

Today's bento is packed in my super awesome EcoLunchBox two-tier set, with homemade pork gyoza (see my method and recipe here) in the lower part and a variety of refreshment in the upper part: baby satsuma, a smattering of grapes, strawberry, blueberries, and house-pickled cucumbers. Gyoza are guaranteed kid-pleasers, tasty with or without dipping sauce, easy-to-eat finger food, and made for bento. I made my filling with pork and chopped baby bok choy, because I'm wild like that. You can use almost anything you like: even mushroom, scallions, water chestnuts (for crunch), bean sprouts, whatever. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Snack Bento

Valentine Snack Bento by sherimiya ♥
Valentine Snack Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Yesterday I made sugar cookies, impressed with a heart image (using my mini heart cutter) and sprinkled with home-dyed pink sugar. I made 40 for the two kiddos to take to their class Valentine parties, plus a few extra to sample. ^_^
TinySprite pronounced them cute. Chocolate almonds (her favorite treat) and a little cup of yogurt with raspberries complete the sweet afterschool snack. I hope you all had a wonderful Valentines Day! Wishing you lots of love, hugs and kisses today and every day :D

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Eggplant Curry Without Okra Panda Bento

I packed eggplant curry for this TinySprite bento (see my method and recipe here), although I had to omit the okra (my favorite element) because I couldn't find any. Perhaps it's out of season. It was still tasty, just without the added special texture that okra brings. It's topped with chopped cilantro. The top tier of the panda bowl holds strawberries and blueberries, a baby satsuma mandarin, grapes, pumpkin seeds, and a tomato with some carrot curls. We have a short week due to the Presidents Day holiday and other activities, so after Valentines Day parties and fun we'll be closing in on the weekend. Woohoo!
Added to What's For Lunch.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Breakfast For Lunch EcoDippers Bento, Pt. 3

Breakfast for lunch day! (See BFL bentos 1 and 2 here) Woohoo! I was looking at my EcoDipper containers and happened to notice that they are perfectly sized for whole wheat sandwich mini thins. I took it as a sign to make a sandwich! The EcoDippers are ideal for sandwiches because while their lids slide on securely, they are not watertight. The food inside won't condense and get soggy with temperature changes, which is nice for the food I've packed today. I made a fried egg with shredded spinach in my cute mini round fry pan, which happens to be sized perfectly for both the sandwich thin and the EcoDipper. Is that cool or what? If I had some Canadian bacon, this would have been a cinch. As it was, I only had deli ham (nitrite-free), so I folded it to fit. I also toasted the breads with grated cheddar. I topped the sandwich with a jack cheese bear face and put that into one EcoDipper. I packed the other with a variety of treats: tiny satsuma mandarin, grape, strawberry, house-pickled cucumbers, and a couple of steamed Okinawan sweet potato slices. What a cute little TinySprite-sized bento set, don't you think?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Herb Chicken and Potatoes LunchBots Quad Bento

I used a new chicken recipe today on the kiddos: skinless boneless thighs oven roasted in olive oil and herbes de provence. But you can use whatever herbs you happen to like: rosemary or oregano, for example. I roasted covered for awhile, then removed the cover to brown. And since I had the herby olive oil, I decided to toss some potatoes and roast those too. I like them crispy and a little burnt, but I didn't pack those. The rest of TinySprite's LunchBot Quad contains: home pickled cucumbers, tomato, carrot, grapes and strawberry. Super loving the way my girl is growing into the Quad these days ^_^

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tacorice LunchBot Bento

Tacorice LunchBot Bento by sherimiya ♥
Tacorice LunchBot Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Today's tacorice isn't packed in a bowl for once; I thought I'd change it up, and the LunchBots Duo fits the bill perfectly. One side holds red and white rice topped with taco meat, chopped tomatoes and lettuce, grated cheese and a steamed Okinawan sweet potato heart shape. Other side is divided by silicone cups for: strawberries, pickled cucumbers, and blueberries. We ate this at dinner with tableside guacamole and tortilla chips. Yum!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Calzone Bear Bento

Calzone Bear Bento by sherimiya ♥
Calzone Bear Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Gotta love the calzone for the ease and fun factor, not to mention the fact that it's a no-brainer to pack. Especially when you have the Sistema compartmentalized bento box. I've come to think of this box as my calzone box since that is what I've been packing in the large open section; you can also fit a standard sandwich or even a burger. It's not practical for messy foods since the two halves come together and become inverted after closure, but it works quite nicely for breads. Can you see the bear? I added some facial details with extra dough, a party hat for fun, and filled out the other side with grapes, strawberry, broccoli, tomatoes, and cara cara oranges.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lemon Chicken LunchBots Bento

Lemon Chicken Bento by sherimiya ♥
Lemon Chicken Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Oh my goodness... can it be a bento that doesn't include a ... thermal?? Yeah, I'm kind of getting over the thermal thing right now. It's actually a lot more satisfying to arrange a traditional bento box for a change. Plus, I made lemon chicken, which goes so nicely with some rice and vegetablian accents. I used a LunchBots Clicks for the larger box -- it's slightly deeper and is practical for the main protein and stuff -- and along with the chicken and rice I added the usual broccoli tree, carrots and bear-shaped Okinawan sweet potato. I used a very similar box for the sides, and even though LunchBots does make the smaller Clicks for this purpose, the one I used here has the advantage of the removable, adjustable divider -- so fun and handy! Maybe LunchBots can come up with something like this? Hmmm? I didn't really need to separate the strawberries and blueberries from the satsuma and grapes, but well, why not! Heh. I think the lemon chicken wasn't as great a hit as I'd hoped. I think my kids are just way too stuck on shoyu chicken. I haven't tried a rosemary or other herb chicken though. Maybe I'll give something like that a try next. Anyway, the adults like lemon chicken because of the tart sour nature but my kids immediately blurted out "Is there lemon in here or something?!"
Lemon Chicken (from The Mom 100 Cookbook)

1 cup of fresh lemon juice (from 4 to 6 lemons)
2/3 cup of olive oil 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon of dried oregano or thyme
Coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 bone-in chicken breast halves with skin (2-2 1/2 pounds)
6 bone-in chicken thighs with skin (2 1/2 – 3 pounds)
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Preheat the broiler with the rack placed about 8 inches away from the heat source.

Put the lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano or thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a container with a lid and shake well to blend.

Place the chicken pieces skin side down on a rimmed baking sheet and salt them lightly. Broil for 15 minutes. Turn the pieces, lightly salt them, and broil them until the skin is crisp and golden brown and the juices run clear when the pieces are pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

Remove the chicken from the broiler, leaving the broiler on. Cut the breast and thighs in half, if necessary. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat.

Shake the lemon sauce again and pour it over the chicken. Turn the pieces over so they are evenly coated with the sauce, making sure all of the pieces end up skin side down.

Broil the chicken until it has browned a bit more, another 2 minutes, then turn the pieces skin side up and broil them until the skin is browned a bit more, about 3 minutes longer. Remove the chicken from the baking sheet, and if you’re using parsley, stir it in the sauce still in the baking sheet. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Penne with Meat Sauce Bento

Tricolor veggie penne pasta tossed in the thermal food jar, with meat sauce spooned over, and cheese flowers (which promptly melted, of course) on top. If you want your child to enjoy the cheese shapes, I'd recommend you pack them separately and let them put them on just before they eat. There doesn't look like much sauce in the photo, but it's in there! It's kind of based on the bolognese recipe I used here, but with slight variations. The side box contains: blood orange chunks (which I forgot that TinySprite does NOT like because they're not sweet enough), broccoli, strawberry and grapes. This is a quick and dry post because I have to tune into Hawaii 5-0 in a few minutes. Heh. See ya tomorrow!