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A quick travel bento for my Mom :D

Just a little Bento I packed for my mommy for her drive back to WV when she visited in July :) - and now she has this (and another) bento set for packing them for herself :) I didn't want anything that she'd have to worry about spoiling and that would be easier to eat if she wanted to snack while driving.

She has a Fruit salad in the thermal container in the center
Side cup 1 - Sundried tomato hummus, peanuts and cashews w/ a melon gummy on top
Side cup 2 - Dried banana chips and dried papaya
She also had pita in a sandwich bag for the hummus


A backlog of bento!

Wow, it's been a while since I posted :o All I can say is it's summer and Bento packing has suffered for other activities! Even this week, I haven't packed one bento for Rob and only a few last week. So just so my blog is more complete, I am going to post the mostly lackluster bento that have been packed in July and so far this month :)

Next week we will be going camping, so it'll be another sparse bento week :)

Aug 6 --

Bottom Tier: Mixed greens w/ the usual ham turkey and swiss pinwheels, carrot flowers and hearts and a star shaped boiled egg
Top Tier: another Mitsuwa snack cake, sundried tomato hummus, macaroni salad w/ naruto kamaboko and yummy peach wedges (I ate the rest of the peach - it was a good one :)pita in the lid for the hummus
I have been getting lazy w/ the bentos - haven't been packing as regularly and have been getting bored w/ the same old things - need to change it up a bit!

Aug 4 --

Bottom Tier: Same ol' chef's salad w/ pumpkin shaped boiled egg - I'm getting a little tired of packing the same things all the time, but that's what Rob likes - lol
Top Tier: Mac salad w/ naruto kamoboko on top, baby carrots, snow peas and strawberries
2 Japanese snack cakes from Mitsuwa in the lid

Aug 3 --

Top Tier: Cucumber slices, carrot sticks, kiwi flowers and cherries
Bottom Tier - Mixed Greens w/ baby carrot flowers and cherry tomatoes from our garden, ham turkey and swiss pinwheels and a bunny shaped egg that I just couldn't get to show up in the picture very well - I still need to get around to making that light box...
Some sort of japanese cake thing from Mitsuwa market and a mango gummy in the lid

July 29 -- Perhaps the fastest bento I've ever packed...
Tier 1 - leftover antipasta salad from Little Italy
Tier 2 - Baby carrots, Strawberries and cherry tomatoes from our garden, mac salad, black bean corn salad stuff Rob made (leftovers) and seafood salad, topped w/ naruto kamaboko

July 24 --

Tier 1 - Macaroni Salad, Snow peas, Seafood Salad (also packed crackers in his bag for this), Pitted Cherries, Kiwi flowers and Strawberries
Tier 2 - His usual Chef's Salad of Mixed Greens w. Ham Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels and a sliced boiled egg in a star shape this time and cherry tomatoes from our garden
Hidden Valley Ranch Light for his salad and peas

July 23 --

Tier 1: Macaroni Salad w/ nori decoration :), cherry tomatoes from our garden :), snow peas, cucumber and red pepper
Tier 2: Kiwi flowers, strawberry slices, blueberries, plum slices, Asian jelly treat, peanuts w/ chocolate covered sunflower seeds and cashews w/ mor sunflower seeds
Side Car: Mixed Greens w/ car shaped boiled egg, ham turkey and Farmer's Gouda pinwheels, red pepper and another cherry tomato from our garden
(he was at a dealership that day too - up in CT so I made his lunch a little large knowing he wouldn't be home until late)

July 21 --

Bottom Tier: Mixed Greens w/ car shaped boiled egg, ham turkey and farmer's gouda pinwheels and carrot flowers
Top Tier: Mac Salad w/ Cucumer and carrot flowers, strawberry and melon gummies and greek olive hummus
Side Car: Pitted Cherries (love the cherry pitter Kat got me for Mother's Day - or was it Xmas?), Pineapple, strawberries, plum, Kusagi Peanuts (I think I'm remembering right - I love these things, but the bag's gone to double check...) and a babybel light
He also had a piece of pocketless pita in the lid for the hummus

July 16 --

Bottom Tier: A color lacking salad w/ ham turkey and swiss pinwheels and a car shaped boiled egg that had a big air pocket at the top - grrr
Top Tier: Cherries, Greek Olive Hummus and Macaroni Salad



July 15 --

Bottom Tier: Mixed Greens w/ grilled chicken tenderloin, grape tomatoes and carrot hearts and flowers
Top Tier: Pasta Salad in lettuce cup w/ carrot flowers, blueberries, kiwi and cherriesMango and strawberry gummies in the lid

July 14 --

Tier 1: Pasta salad w/ baran divider, blueberries and cherries
Tier 2: Mixed Greens w/ ham turkey and swiss pinwheels, carrot flowers and car shaped boiled egg
My new bento box that I just LOVE ♥ It is even lovelier than it looked online when I ordered it when I placed my final order from the now closed Ichibankan web store - there is a texture to the flowers that the photo just didn't pick up:


July 2 --
Top Tier: Strawberries and pineapple, cherries and pineapple, Mac Salad w/ Naruto Kamaboko and wakame flowers and black sesame seed 'ground' :)
Bottom Tier: Mixed Greens w/ ham turkey and swiss pinwheels, car shaped boiled egg (what a surprise :P) and grape tomatoes

Naruto Kamaboko! :)

Yesterday we went to Target for some things (I got the new Dean Koontz book yay! :), then had dinner at the Muscle Maker Grill, so I didn't feel like spending a lot of time on today's bento.

The egg was already boiled, shaped and in the fridge from the night before - As I've mentioned, I often boil 2 eggs to save time the next day. I would only boil one extra egg for this as the shelf life for peeled boiled eggs is much shorter than that of an in shell boiled egg and that is shorter yet than raw egg in the shell as boiling removes the protective oil coating from the outside of the egg. On one web source I perused, a responder claimed that coating the boiled egg (unshelled that is) in oil or parafin would keep it fresh longer - not something I have ever tried...

June 30 --

Bottom Tier: Mixed Spring Greens w/ star shaped sliced boiled egg, carrot flowers, radish slices and ham turkey & swiss pinwheels

Top Tier: Macaroni salad w/ kamaboko & green onion flowers, sundried tomato hummus, blueberry mochi, green tea candy and chocolate covered sunflower seeds

Side car: Pickled veggies (Giardiniera) in lettuce leaf 'cup', pineapple and blueberries

He also had some rosemary garlis triscuits in the lid for the hummus and of course his light ranch dressing.

I happily managed to use 4 of the items I picked up at Mitsuwa last week, though they were all small contributions :) I started to use the carrot flowers on the macaroni salad yet again and then remembered the naruto kamaboko and seeing it used as a flower on an onigiri in my review copy of Kawaii Bento Boxes :) It does make a simple and pretty flower, doesn't it?

This evening I plan to get back into walking with my neighbor when she walks her adorable dog Beau, so we'll see how much time I feel like spending on tomorrow's bento after the walk (it's been at least 2 weeks since I was so sick). Hopefully the thunderstorms will have all passed by then (though I do love a good thunderstorm!)

You've seen this box before, but again, it is from VeryAsia.com and is one of my favorites and the single tier came from Pikko - she sold it on one of her blog posts a while back :)

Happy Bento-ing!


I don't think it's any secret how much I like the egg molds :)  Most often I use the car mold for Rob - it just seems appropriate since he consults to dealerships on a regular basis :) But today I decided I wanted to do the cute bunny - hehe :)  He likes his egg presliced on his salad for ease of eating, so it sometimes causes the shape to go a little askew, but it's still cute :)
I just couldn't resist the close-up above - below is a picture of the salad tier and the full bento box (minus the sides) taken in Rob's mini portable photo light studio - Unfortunately, it really isn't big enough for my needs (really only big enough for a single tier bento...) - A web search for a larger light studio brought me to this post on making your own, so this will be my next project I think :):  http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html


And below is the entire bento w/ sides taken as I usually take it with a flash - which makes getting a good picture of something like a white egg a challenge - I usually take 10 or so pictures and hope for a good one - Hopefully a photo light box will garner me better photos :)


June 29 --
Top Tier: Pineapple, baby carrot sticks, kiwi flowers, pitted cherries and a few blueberries to fill in
Bottom Tier: Mixed Spring Greens w/ ham turkey & swiss pinwheels, carrot flowers, radish flower and sliced Bunny shaped boiled egg
Side Car: Macaroni salad w/ nori and sesame seed face
Also has light ranch in a container and muscat and mango gummies and a green tea candy in the lid

And here is the new bento box all closed up :)  I mentioned the new box on Friday, but hadn't posted a photo - It is still out of stock on VeryAsia.com - Again, this was purchased at Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ (595 River Rd - is it scary that I have the address memorized? ;P hehe)

My oldest daughter, Ahmetia, has been volunteering in the NJ Renaissance Kingdom, which just wrapped up yesterday.  Kat also decided to attend yesterday and they each packed themselves a bento:

Kat's bento:

June 29 --
Bottom Tier: Umeboshi onigiri on lettuce leaf bed, naruto (spiral) kamaboko, quail eggs, spinach namul, soy sauce in bottle, corn cob slice, baby carrots and edamame
Top Tier: Blueberries, Bean Sprout Namul, Blueberries, Takoyaki on lettuce leaf bed/divider, Wakami salad and chocolate covered sunflower seeds

And here are bird's eye views of each tier:

And Ahmetia's Bento:

June 28 --
Top Tier: Teriyaki Chicken Bun (steamed) w/ nori face, toasted onigiri
Bottom Tier: Pineapple fruit jelly, kiwi and mixed spring greens w/ grated carrot
Ahmetia doesn't pack bento very often, and will even less for summer, but when she does and actually takes a picture, hers will be included also.  They are both off school for the summer, so there won't be many from them.
Happy Bento-ing!

Getting Back in the swing of things :)

I managed to pack a bento for Rob for Tuesday and Today, only to find out they were ordering Sushi at the office today and he didn't need a bento - Grrrr... :) Hopefully it holds up for tomorrow (maybe I'll send him with extra bread cut into flowers in case it has dried out...)
Tuesday's bento isn't all that pretty - the egg did not want to peel and then I think some of the membrane was still on it and caused the egg slicer to catch and make it even worse, so I tried just putting it yolk out, but it's still kinda ugly... For today's, I went back to letting the water get to a light boil first, then added the egg and let it simmer for 10 minutes - Once again, it peeled more easily (though not as easily as when the water was at a full boil when I added the eggs) - I think it just works better for fresher, harder to peel eggs. I have also read that adding a little baking soda, salt or vinegar is supposed to help, but I haven't tried that yet.
Want to peel an egg without 'peeling' the egg? Rob got this to work twice - lol - check it out :) -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN2gYHJNT3Y

I would have liked to have added red pepper or grape tomato roses to the salad for more color, but I didn't have either - it wasn't until today that I realized I could have used radish again - Oh well...
The flower sandwiches are held together with cute picks - you can kinda see the green one, but the orange one is hidden by the cherries.  There is an elephant pick holding together the center pinwheel on the salad since it was not 'anchored' by the side of the container.


June 24 (now for June 25) --
Side Car: Mixed Greens Salad w/ ham turkey and swiss pinwheels, a bear shaped boiled egg and carrot flowers
Bottom Tier: Macaroni Salad w/ carrot and green onion flowers and edamame
Top (Onigiri) Tier: Flower shaped ham turkey and american cheese sandwiches, baby carrot sticks, pitted cherries, a ringding in the center with foil to protect it from moisture and some blueberries tucked in the spaces

June 23 --
Botom Tier: Mixed Spring Greens w/ ham turkey and swiss pinwheels, radish slices and a boiled egg that was car shaped but the egg slicer kinda mangled it :(
Top Tier: Macaroni salad w/ carrot and green onion flowers, blueberries and apple and melon gummies As always for his salad, he had a container of light ranch also
The first bento is packed in an Onigiri box by Hakoya that is no longer available from the soon to be gone ichibankanusa.com and the salad is in a food storage box from seventh avenue: http://www.seventhavenue.com/Kitchen-and-Entertaining/Food-Storage/Food-Storage-Set.pro?fpi=25115&catCd=DI
The second bento is in another Hakoya box purchased from VeryAsia.com
Happy Bento-ing!

I'm back! Did ya miss me? ;)

I apologize for the little hiatus on the blog, but I have been sick - caught something at the AnimeNext convention. It started with a tickle in my throat on Sunday at the end of the convention and by Monday I had the sore throat and my ears hurt - then the chest congestion, then the sinuses, then Saturday I woke up with my eyes sealed shut and gooey (yuck!). That was enough to finally send my butt to the Dr.

I am slowly improving on the antibiotics and am trying to get back into the swing of things - in the meantime, I have two bento for Rob and one Kat packed the week of the convention that I didn't get a chance to post with all the preparations and I, of course, have to tell you how the bento workshop went :)

Rob's bento:

June 9 --

Top Tier: Pitted cherries, snow peas, baby carrot sticks, blueberries, macaroni salad w/ carrot and green onion flowers and black sesame seed 'ground'

Bottom Tier: Mixed Spring Greens w/ grape tomatoes, radish slices and carrot flowers, car shaped boiled egg and asian fruit jelly

June 10 --

Top Tier: Mixed spring greens, carrot flowers, ham and swiss pinwheels and pumpkin shaped boiled egg

Bottom Tier: Pitted cherries, Blueberries, Macaroni Salad w/ carrot & cilantro flowers

And Kat's bento:

June 10 --

Top Tier: Kamaboko, Cherries, kiwi, blueberries and tamagoyaki - a little broccoli filler

Bottom Tier: Radish, baby carrots, onigiri

Once again, we forgot to take pictures during the workshop :o It gets so hectic doing a workshop, this time with 37 people, that we didn't even think about it until we were done cleaning up and were on our way back to the hotel room :(

I did the eggs in the egg mold the night before and we ran to Shoprite and got the rest of the produce the afternoon before. I had bought a hotplate so that I could do the eggs in the hotel room, which was a real pain - the water did not want to boil and the eggs were horrible to peel - it was impossible not to tear off pieces of egg while trying to peel them, no matter how carefully we tried :( On the second batch, Rob thought to use a carefully placed hand towel over the pot and we were able to get a good boil going. Even though every boiled egg tutorial will tell you not to place the eggs into already boiling water, we did it anyway. And although the eggs cracked a bit while boiling, they came out great and were a breeze to peel :) Batch 3 was more like batch 1 but not quite as bad as we tried putting the eggs in and then covering - the water just took too long to reach a boil, so for batch 4 we made sure to do them as we did on batch 2 and again they were much easier to peel. I was just happy when all 4 dozen were done (minus the unusable eggs - we needed to have 40)

We were lucky enough to have plenty of time for setup and having the sign-up sheet ahead of time made things so much easier this year - and we learned a few things yet again to change for next year to make it even smoother :)

Kat gave her presentation while Rob and I put out plates of produce etc. on the tables and rice as soon as the rice cookers were done - we put the hot rice into plastic disposable bowls and put a bowl to about every 4-5 people - and then we got to packing bento! We handed out various ingredients and gave a few quick tutorials on things like making a grape tomato rose as everyone was packing the food into their bentos.

Everyone made onigiri in the mini mold each received and each received an egg inside the egg mold to keep, along with their bento box, bag, some picks etc. We even drew names for prizes - we were originally going to vote for the best, but since not all the eggs came out great, I felt that would be unfair...

They all seemed happy and the only question we had at the end when we asked was "Why are you so awesome?" - That, of course, made my day :)

I would have preferred to post about it while everything was fresh in my mind, but that just wasn't going to happen while I was so sick.... Hopefully the bento posts will get back on track!

Happy Bento-ing!

Kat finally did a Charaben :)

Just a quick post today. Rob's bento was packed pretty late and quickly, so it's nothing too special...

By the time I got back from my walk w/ my neighbor last night and finished watching Slumdog Millionaire, it was getting late and I really just wanted to pack a quick bento. I was going to make pasta salad since we're out of his usual Macaroni salad, but I changed my mind and just threw in the deli spirals from Sam's Club.

June 8 --
Top Tier: Pineapple, Snow peas, baby carrot sticks, deli spirals

Bottom Tier: Mixed Spring greens, ham and swiss pinwheels and grape tomato balloons
Strawberry and melon gummies in the lid
Edit - forgot to list the bear shaped boiled egg - must have been my subconscious since it didn't turn out that great - the egg was a little too small (and I buy large eggs!)

Kat finally did a Charaben! :D This is Deady, from a comic by Voltaire.

June 8 -- Top Tier: Spinach Namul, Bean Sprout Namul, quail eggs, kamaboko, baby carrots and coconut gel w/ strawberries (which she said was yummy together)

Bottom Tier: Rice w/ furikake, Sugar snap peas blanched & tossed w/ a little olive oil and salt & pepper, broccoli and Deady made from Nori, cheese and roasted red pepper

And a close-up :)


Rob's box from VeryAsia.com - Kat's from HappyMall.com

Balloon picks from a set of picks from ichibankanusa.com - I have also seen them on jbox.com

Happy Bento-ing! :)

New Bento Toys Make Me HAPPY!

I got the new bento toy I ordered from jbox.com, so we had to try it out!

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this new bento tool :) It was like Christmas when it arrived, along with new Hello Kitty Mayo cups for Kat and a set of cute small silicone food cups.

Next time we'll know we need to spray the reservoirs w/ cooking spray because they stuck a bit when we tried to get them out. I love new toys!

Planning still continues for next week's Bento workshop at AnimeNext. I realized 2 nights ago that I forgot I had ordered silicone cupcake cups for the bento sets too, so I ordered some heart shaped ones and hope and pray they arrive in time - but I am not holding my breath. I have yet to receive a shipment notice and have found this company to sometimes be a bit slow in getting things shipped, so if it hasn't shipped by Monday, I may have to cancel the order and either leave them out or pay more for them somewhere else... :(

My neighbor knocked on the door earlier than expected last night for our walk, so I just stuck the bento in the fridge until I got back and then just threw in the last bits, so it isn't the prettiest bento I've ever done...

June 5

Top Tier: Bold Chex Mix, Sundried tomato hummus and macaroni salad

Bottom Tier: Mixed Spring Greens, ham and swiss pinwheels, grape tomatoes and egg slices w/ fun yolk shapes :D

Side Car: Strawberries, pineapple and checkered apples

June 5

Top Tier: Strawberries, Blueberries, spinach namul and apples

Bottom Tier: Crab sticks, Egg slices w/ fun yolk shapes :D, baby carrots and rice w/ furikake

And where we got our boxes etc!

Rob's main box came from veryasia.com and the side car came from ichibankanusa.com

Kat's box was purchased at Mitsuwa in Edgewater, NJ

And that awesome Egg Yolk shaping 'toy' came from jbox.com :D

Happy Bento-ing!

Just another day in the neighborhood...

I'm not happy about how the egg came out. The shell stuck to the egg and then the slicer caught and the egg was torn a bit more - Grrr... I think the egg is more difficult to slice when it has been in the fridge and is no longer as soft and pliable. Next time I'll slice it before I put it in the fridge when I do an extra egg for the next day and then place it back in the mold and into the fridge. I like to store the egg in the mold to ensure that it keeps its shape for the next day.

We are down to a week until we go up for the AnimeNext convention here in New Jersey. This is really for our daughters. Rob and I don't dislike Anime at all, but we're not Otaku either (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otaku) - lol. For the last few years, we have gotten a hotel room so that we can relax while the girls enjoy all the convention has to offer and not worry about us wanting to go home when they want to do all the very late night activities.

So, Kat and I are gearing up for our Bento workshop and trying to make sure we have a plan and everything we need, aside from the food we'll purchase next week. We're really getting anxious for it :D

This is one of the utensil sets I send w/ Rob's lunch each day along with the salt and pepper filled fish bottles :) Just thought I'd share :)

Top Tier: Mixed Spring Greens w/ ham and swiss pinwheels, carrot flowers and a car shaped boiled egg

Bottom Tier: Pineapple, Strawberries and Macaroni salad w/ carrot and snow pea flowers

One of the reasons I debated whether or not to start blogging, aside from the fact that I'm really just plain boring, is that the bento I pack for Rob are mostly very similar, except for those times that I get to feeling like I really wanna do something more fun - Like the Simpsons Bento :) Today's is one of the typical bento days...

And here is Kat's for today:

Bottom Tier: Umeboshi Onigiri, Baby carrots, bear shaped boiled egg, mushrooms, a little iceberg and broccoli for filler

Top Tier: Blueberries, strawberries and pineapple

Bird's Eye View of Kat's BentoCollapse )
And now for where I got the boxes :)

The utensil set and fishy bottles came from ichibankanusa.com

The butterfly box is from Happy Mall: http://www.happymall.com/japan/lacquer_lunch_box.htm

The bunny box Kat used for today is from VeryAsia.com: http://veryasia.com/bentobox.htmlThey also sell some Asian food items, rice cookers etc...

Happy Bento-ing!

For today, I wanted to use an example of a bento packed in a regular container. This one is very fruit heavy and a little light on protein I think, but very healthy w/ lots of different colors :) I read an article just the other day on phytonutrients and how different colored produce contains different phytonutrients (not that I didn't already know that, but it was a good reminder!). What I didn't know, or more to the point, realize, is that the darker and deeper the color, the more phytonutrients the produce contains - so always look for the darkest orange carrots, the brightest red strawberries and the greenest cucumbers :)

I don't use food picks all that often - mainly because I just don't think about them. Besides, Rob probably doesn't find them quite as cute as I do - lol :) But they are a fun way to add some cuteness when you don't have the time, or even just the energy, to do any other cute touches.

Tier 1 -- Pineapple, Blueberries, kiwi, Cucumber slices, carrot sticks and macaroni salad w/ nori flowers all decorated w/ some food picks :)
Tier 2: Mixed Spring Greens Salad w/ strawberries and walnuts - He has raspberry vinaigrette in a container for the salad

The outer design of the strawberries was lost as I did the inner flower design, but I didn't have the patience to redo it last night - I decided it would do as it was :P

Kat's Bento:

June 3 -- Top Tier: Cajun Catfish chunks (leftovers), rice w/ an umeboshi, spinach namul
Bottom Tier: Blueberries, Pineapple and strawberries

Bird's Eye View of Kat's BentoCollapse )

The box I used for Rob's bento came from organize.com and is a great value: http://www.organize.com/lunchbox.html

Kat's box is yet another from ichibankanusa.com from the Natural Lunch line: http://www.ichibankanusa.com/natural_lunch.asp

Happy Bento-ing :)