Friday, April 30, 2010

No bento lunches.

Sorry everyone! We're getting our home ready for a caseworker's visit. We've never had one want to come visit our home before, they were always just going to hand us the baby. Its a big deal and I haven't been making bentos. Lunch on a plate is just not as interesting.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My bento lunch

Well we're still waiting to hear about the foster baby. In the mean time I'm having a horrible time focusing. I made hubby a big tiffin and forgot to take a photo of it. Thankfully I already have another photo.

On the left I have turkey cheese sandwich, carrots, grapes and ranch. On the right I have pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, granola and raisins.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My lunch Bento

Hummus carrot sandwich, grapes, carrots, and chicken strips with a ranch cup.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fruit and Veggie bento

I often use bento boxes to hold my side foods if I'm eating a sandwich. Something about the box makes me want to stuff it with fresh, healthy items.

Grapes, ranch, carrots, and strawberries.

Simple Dinosaur bento

Hubby and I had some outlet shopping to do out of town. We would be gone all day so I wanted to make sure we had a hearty lunch.

Hubby's Bento
Strawberries, turkey dino sandwiches, cheese, grapes, nuts, yogurt covered raisins, and carrots under the dinos.

My Bento
Grapes, strawberries, raisins, turkey dino sandwiches, yogurt covered raisins, and carrots under the sandwiches.
I liked having the carrots below the sandwiches because it was a space saver. However the bread was a little soggy and next time I'll add a plastic wrap barrier between the carrots and bread.


We received another foster-to- adopt call and it always throws me for a loop! We said yes to the child and have been waiting to hear back for several days. I find it so hard to function while waiting, I have a hard time doing anything at all. But I'll have a new post up with bento goodness in a little while.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tiffin Dinner for husband.

I love to use the tiffin when we need a pack a lot of food. Bento boxes are excellent but when its bulky things or a big lunch the tiffin comes in very handy. Last time hubby needed a dinner tiffin I did not pack enough food. This time I may have gone over board! :)

Top left bowl holds hubby's 'UnLunchable' Carrots, turkey, cheddar, and a lion cup with crackers. Top right bowl has turkey spinach roll ups, carrots, and chicken kabobs. The bottom bowl holds raisins, strawberries, grapes, and yogurt covered raisins. The side cup has crackers. And there is a yogurt container to fill out the meal! :) That is a lot of food.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My lunch Bento

I thought it was time to use my old strawberry shortcake box. It was one of my first boxes, from the Dollar Tree no less! As you can see my bento fruit for this week is strawberries, and grapes. I added half a spinach wrap, and two cutie animal picks. I adore these picks! So cute!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My lunch Bento

Popcorn chicken, carrot, hummus, and pretzels. The bottoms has cheese, carrots, raspberries, and raisins. Easy but very delicious.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New bento equipment! Imported!

I did a bad, bad thing. Okay so it wasn't bad, but it was extravagant. Now ya'll know I don't think special equipment is necessary to bento. I love it, but you can totally do without it. I desperately want a special bento box made to hold sandwiches, but so far am baulking at the price. I was hoping my newest purchase would work for sandwiches. Since i was already importing items from Japan (how cool is that my first imported box of stuff!) I figured I'd buy some items I couldn't find locally.

I was so excited to see this awesome box on my door step when I came home! Look at all those stickers!

Open it up to see:

And finally, everything I bought.

The panda box is made specifically to hold Onigiri, and did not work for sandwiches. Guess I'll be making more onigiri! I've been trying to find nori face punches for months! I'm so excited to have these! And the shape cutters that are super common for bentos. The other item I've been looking for is the picks on the right. You can make balloons, flowers, umbrellas, so cute! The seller included the picks on the left. They are very useful picks, and also super cute! I'm SO happy with my order!

Friday, April 16, 2010

My lunch Bento

Top tier holds carrots, popcorn chicken, and ravioli. The bottom has carrots, sugar snap peas, cheddar, raspberries, and cucumber flowers. I had a ranch cup for dipping.

My bento lunch

Yummy! Leftover fried rice in the top tier. Bottom tier holds carrots,hummus, raspberries, and cucumber.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bento food: Fruit.

One of the things I love about bento lunches is the box encourages me to eat fruit and vegetables I might otherwise skip. I'm fanatical about vegetables for dinner, but have had a harder time adding them to lunch. And fruit has always been a snack to me, not a meal component. Bento helps me with both of those issues.

I see a lot of bento makers add apples, banana, and oranges to bento. While those are commonly found in our home, I don't particularly like them in my bento. I like to buy 1-2 'special' kinds of fruit for the Bento. Something we don't eat constantly that is more of a treat. Our treat fruit includes: mango, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries (we don't BUY those lol) pineapple, grapes (if not in season) clementines, blueberries, and cherries. Because we're also a frugal family I pick the fruit by what is on sale. Last week I was able to get raspberries buy 1 get 1 free. Those have been in my lunch all week. The week before it was strawberries. Buying 1-2 special (depending on dh's current food loves, right now its not berries) kinds of fruit keeps our bentos interesting and different without breaking the bank. Plus that is about all we can use up before they go bad! And wasting food is never frugal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I love this box!

The Happy Noodle box is SO CUTE! Unfortunately, its also too small. I'd have to pack something else to go with it. But I'm willing to do that. And eventually it will probably be a really nice box for my (unborn, not yet adopted) daughter. :) In the mean time I used it for my lunch.

Top tier has raspberries, cucumber flowers, sugar snap peas, soy nuts, granola and raisins.
Bottom holds a chocolate bunny, cheese, raspberries, cucumber, ranch, and a few more sugar snap peas.

So cute!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Awesome blog giveaway @ Adventures of Bento Making.

Pikko on Adventures of Bento Making is doing an amazing giveaway! Usually I read her blog in bloglines and hardly ever comment. But I had to comment today! She also mentioned she had a book coming out, I'm not sure how I missed that but am looking forward to seeing it! Go check out her blog and leave a comment!

Dinner Tiffin

Hubby had to work one of those funky shifts where he is gone for dinner. I packed him what i thought was a ton of food but apparently he started eating a lot sooner then I planned on.

Top bowl has a trail mix with almonds, raisins, chocolate chips and coconut. I put cottage cheese in the small container, and half an orange. The next bowl holds two eggs, a biscuit sandwich, and a small purple container holds pickles. The bottom holds leftover stir fry in a silicone container so it can be microwaved, baby carrots, and a bottle of soy sauce.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quick snack bento for car trip.

I threw together a super fast snack for a car trip. It ended up being quite handy as we were in the middle of no where!

Yogurt covered raisins (theses things are good! Just a few is enough for me they are quite sweet) regular raisins, pretzels, and some raw almonds.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I use coupons. I stockpile good deals. I'm one of those ladies, the one with a fistful of coupons and a coupon binder. I don't talk about coupon use here very often. Mainly because a lot of my really good deals come from Money Saving Mom. In fact most of my Target deals came from this post. I'm very thankful for all the hard work Crystal does there, she has helped my families' budget a ton! I thought i would take a minute to show how much of a difference coupons make to my family.

Now my stockpile is quite low. I have not done a serious coupon trip in weeks. And when your a stockpiler, getting down to one bottle of conditioner can make you uncomfortable. I don't want to pay full price! It was time to get down to business.

Target trip. Total before coupons and sales?$30.46

Total after coupons and sales? $8.68 + $2.05 in sales tax = $10.73 If you ignore the sales tax i paid less then a 1/3 of the items full value.

This purchase was made at Petsmart. It can kind of hard to plan coupon deals ahead of time, I matched coupons in store.

Total before coupons and sales? $18.96 Total after sales and coupons? $4.25 +$1.14 sales tax = $5.39 Less then 1/4 of the original price.

This is all the items. The cats are stocked up on treats for awhile!
Total spent $16.12. Total saved $35.35.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Picnic bento

I had my heart set on a picnic after this post. When we were blessed with a rare day without rain I asked dh to picnic with me. It was pretty nice weather at our house so he agreed.

Our picnic all packed up, and ready to go! I had my favorite Salmon wrap. Hubby had a turkey cheddar wrap. There was a lot of room left in the bottom of the tiffin still. I tucked baby carrots around the wrap halves to help stabilize them. There is also a bear cup full of ranch.

Top tier had oatmeal cookies, raisins and these creamy chocolate strawberry Japanese candies.

Unfortunately while it was nice at our home a few miles away it was windy and freezing. We ate maybe half the lunch before leaving. I was cracking up. Poor hubby gets dragged to a picnic in 50 degree windy weather. I keep his life interesting! :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Easter bento box gone wrong!

Remember this bento box? I dont know what happened to it but I could not get the lid back on. I used it once, total waste of money. Don't buy one!

My first Dasio purchase, what we use and what we do not use.

I went to Dasio for the first time in August of 2009. About 8 months ago. Dasio is an inexpensive store that has a good selection of bento items. When I first started making Bentos I was so excited and sure I'd need every bento tool available. That wasn't the case. I thought I'd review my first Dasio purchase to tell you what was a great buy, and what should have been a pass.

Upper left hand corner blue 3 tier box. Hubby uses this one pretty frequently, its plain so its a nice box for a man box. Below we have 2 egg molds. I use this infrequently but I still consider them a good buy. Next to those is a green side car. We used this box a lot but seem to have lost it. Below we have 2 onigiri makers. I hardly ever use these because J likes the one that makes small cubes. The jungle picks are below. These are fairly long picks and come in handy. Top row is a 2 tier pink box that snapped closed on the sides. It was cute and I liked it but eventually the lid broke. Next is a pink 3 tier box I hardly ever use, I'm not really a pink person. Below that is the blue one tier box I love but have not used recently. Still a good purchase. Now the cups I use almost every time i bento. Those things were an excellent buy! Next to those is the chopstick case for my dragonfly bento. I never use this, I prefer the small chopsticks that sit in the bento. Below that is small plastic sauce bottles. We use these occasionally but both J and I prefer the bigger ones we've acquired since.

Out of all of that just a few things are being frequently used today.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Let me show you our Bento supplies.

I'm re-organizing my bento gear. I'll show you how I organize everything in another post. For now I'll share my 'eye candy' for bento lovers. lol. I Actually have far fewer accessories then i would have thought. Some of these items barely see the light of day. Others are used almost every day.

Like the bento fork? I had completely forgot about that. Along with the wiener cutter.

This picture shows almost all of our bento boxes. I think J's blue two tier is the only one missing. 18 boxes for two people? A little excessive maybe, but i can assure you the number will go up before it goes down. There are so many different types, and designs of boxes that I can't resist. I have my eye on a sandwich box as a matter of fact. The $10 shipping is keeping me away so far.
But it won't forever. I comfort myself with the fact that my hobby is useful, if a little big of a splurge.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Safari Tiffin

I was hoping hubby could take off for a picnic with me, but alas he had to work. I'd already started using our wrap tiffin before he confirmed it was no go, so I went ahead and used it for my lunch. This tiffin works wonderfully for wraps. I have no clue where it came from. My dad had purchased it for hiking and when he found out I was into Bento, he gave the tiffin to me.

The top tray holds pineapple strawberry kabobs, cucumber slices background, carrots, ranch cup, and sharp cheese.

My wrap has smoked salmon, cucumber, sushi rice, wasabi salt, and toasted sesame dressing. It was good! The wrap could have used a little more dressing and a bit more wasabi salt.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

His and Her lunches.

I picked up a bottle of Spectrum Malay Asam Marinade and grill sauce. It was $1.50 for a bottle of organic marinade. I usually make my own marinade but I'm getting tired of the same old flavors and wanted to give it a shot. I loved it. Hubby was a little less enthusiastic because he doesn't love sweet flavors on his meat. The only issue i had was the meat started to caramelize on the outside before the middle was done. Next time I'll use a lid on the pan. I set aside a portion of the chicken for lunches the next day.

I had also made banana muffins that day. I used my mini muffin pan and a cake pan for the rest of the batter. Hubby loves banana muffin batter in a cake pan, he calls it banana cake. I used the mini muffin pan because it packs nicely in the smaller tier of a 3 tier bento box.

Using the two ingredients i wanted to include for both (muffin, and chicken) i came up with two different lunches. My bento has strawberries, hummus, carrots, and the marinated chicken. Bottom holds muffins, raisins, a oatmeal cookie split in half, and I used part of a granola bar to stabilize everything. Hubby didn't want any strawberries, this batch is a little tart for him.

J already had this bento at work. He didn't need a huge meal. I packed the chicken, cheese and grapes in the bottom section. The top section has two muffins, sunflower seeds, rasins, and almonds to stabilize the lunch.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Smoked Salmon bento.

I splurged on some smoked salmon. $5 for 8 ounces is pretty pricey in my personal book but a decent price for smoked salmon. Its a splurge because I'm the only one who will eat it. I have some salmon wraps planned for it. Yum! In the mean time I added some to my lunch to eat with cheese and crackers.

Extra sharp cheddar cheese, (I'm lactose intolerant and this cheese does not upset my system) Wheat thins, (stocked up when on a good sale) salmon, strawberries, carrots, and a ranch cup.

I ate this bento right after I made it. If I was making it a head of time I'd have to use a different box. The Salmon has a strong smell I wouldn't want to flavor the other items.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Bento Box

J and I went to borders in search of new bento gear. They had 3 boxes. I fell in love with this box, its SO cute! It doesn't say how large it is so I'll have to do a water test. I can feel a difference in quality from my Dasio boxes. I still like Dasio becuase they are so affordable. But this box is TOO CUTE!

View of the box closed.

When you removed the top lid, we see this cute lid.

Here's the whole box, plus the red belt it came with.

This box cost $8.99. There was a line of silverware, bowls, and stationary with it.

When I was checking out the cashier told me how quickly they had sold out before. Then she asked me a surprising question. 'This is SO cute. What do you put in here? Noodles?' I was a little stunned but i chuckled and told her no, bento is a fun and sometimes elaborate lunch. I told her to google 'Bento' and 'Lunch In a Box' the cashier seemed pretty excited so maybe we'll have a new bento fan.

I wish the weather was better! I really want to pack my new bento box, in my new lunch bag.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I have a lot of bento gear from selling on Ebay. The items moved easily but after Paypal's fees, and Ebay's fees I was not making any money. I think I will try listing it on my local Craigslist. In the mean time I made a bento starter kit for my friend.

I gave her a simple 3 tier box to start with. Its basic and easy to learn on. Two silicone containers to keep her food separated. One hard plastic container. A dip jar. Two sauce bottles. Five different food picks, and a small fork and spoon set. Super basic stuff to get started.

The fun thing about buying (or being given a gift) from a seller if you get a variety of stuff.
If she had bought these items she would have purchased 1 pack silicone cups, 1 pack hard cups, 1 pack dip jars, 2 packs of sauce bottles, 1 pack silverware, 2 packs of food picks. And she will be the only one making a bento. That a lot of stuff for one person. My way she gets a variety kit, instead of a bunch of the same item. Of course her set was a gift. Now i need to help her use it!

Friday, April 2, 2010

My first dyed egg for bento.

I don't normally make J's lunches anymore. But i have all week because there have been items I wanted him to pack that he wouldn't take himself. I made a big batch of hard boiled eggs to use my new egg molds. And I went ahead and dyed them (which I've never done) for some reason this one came out bright pink even though the water was orange

It has broccoli, carrots, and car shaped egg. Bottom has M&MS (grocery outlet purchase) raisins, cashews, and dried mango.

This bento was packed as a sidecar/snack to some leftover pasta but J decided not to pack the pasta. It was not designed to be a whole meal but hey its his choice. But as it turns out this lunch was delayed a few days and will hopefully be eaten today with another smallish bento. All worked out fine.

Quick Snack

I threw together a snack for the husband super fast.We were rushing to get a passport and he was apparently starving. He made himself a hot dog to eat on the side.

Strawberries, carrots, almonds and raisins.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New lunch bag.

How pretty is this baby?

Target has a line of very pretty lunch bags. I examined them, walked away and thought about the bags. Came back another day and did it all over again. Finally I said enough! I spent $7 of my spending money on a bag I adore! Its Raya by Thermos. The lunch bag has not be road tested yet, weather in the Pacific Northwest has not been great lately. But i can't wait to give it a try!
This bag will fit two double decker bentos.

It will also fit a two tier bento, and side car with a little extra room.

Hubby has a small super cheap ($2) lunch bag he uses most days. We also have a large soft sided thermos bag we tend to pack when we're both bringing lunches.