Saturday, March 22, 2008

Introducing... Kyarabenn artist Mitunatumama

Lately I've been enjoying pictures of wonderful kyarabenn lunches. Where have I found these inspiring images, you ask? Japanese blogs. Makes for quick reading, since I don't recognize one character on the screen, right? But it is worth it to see the amazing lunches these Japanese moms are creating.

I received permission from one such kyarabenn artist to showcase some of her lunches, and point you in the direction of her blog where you can see much more. Her name is Mitunatumama. She has been creating bentos for her two children (a boy and a girl) for about two years. Here are some of her lunchtime creations:

Aren't they amazing? Click on any of the photos above to visit the original blog post (in Japanese). Enjoy, and...

Happy Bento!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Already There

In two days we are flying out of town and will be taking a cruise of the Western Caribbean. So bentos and baking haven't exactly been the top things on my mind lately. Instead I have been thinking about food like this:


And this:

In my head:

Therefore, in my lunch:

My favorite part is the palm tree (made of pea pods and beef brisket):

Here's the whole thing:

Bento # 96 contains:

  • beef brisket
  • pulled pork (under the beef)
  • grapes
  • white rice
  • pea pods
  • instant mashed potatoes colored with...
Thanks again, Mom and Dad, for the food coloring!

*cruise food photos by taminator, and cruise ship photo by nicolernorman

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Another Disney bento for Bento Challenge, this morning I made Wheezy the penguin from Toy Story 2. Here is bento #93:


  • spaghetti
  • olives
  • carrots
  • sausage
  • snap peas
  • red lettuce
  • white rice
And here is a close-up of Wheezy:

Wheezy's accents are made up of nori, carrot, egg-white and red gum drop.

Happy Bento!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

They like me, they really like me!

Well, at least Madeline over at Whitterer on Autism seems to. She was kind enough to give me this award (my very first bloggy award!):

Wasn't that sweet of her? If you haven't read her blog yet, you really should stop by. She has such a way of telling their daily stories, and it is full of funny and touching dialogs between herself and her children (two of whom have autism). She is a Super Woman, to be sure - finding enough time to blog in the midst of all the attention her family requires.

I would like to pass this award on to:

Sher at What Did You Eat, because I truly believe that everything she cooks over there is gorgeous. Go take a look, but try not to drool on your keyboard, k?

Ooh... and to Ree at The Pioneer Woman Cooks. If you aren't reading her yet, you should be. She is funny and her pictures are delicious... I mean fabulous.

Also, to Melanie at Blogging Basics 101. She and Shannon have built a great resource for beginner bloggers. And if you don't find the info you need in their archives... email in and they give great answers backed by lots of experience.

Thanks again to Madeline for passing this award on to me!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pluto Bento

This week is a Disney theme over at Bento Challenge. So I thought long and hard, and settled on Pluto. I found an image I thought I could recreate, and this morning I got to work.

It wasn't long before I had to actually print the picture out and go find first an Exact-o knife and then tweezers. Now I know I have truly gone off the deep end, right?

But I am pleased with how it turned out. I give you, bento #91:

Bento Contains:

Pluto consists of:
  • scrambled egg cooked crepe-thin
  • hard boiled egg-whites for the whites of his eyes
  • ham for his tongue
  • lettuce for his collar
  • nori accents for ears/nose/mouth/pupils
Happy Bento!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Bear Bento

Hello everyone!
This weekend, I spent a lot of time looking at Japanese bento blogs. I learned that what I like the look of most is called charaben (which is short for "character bento"). If it has a face, I'm excited about it. So here is the face I made for my lunch today:

Contents of bento #90:

  • brown rice
  • grilled chicken
  • sausage
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • corn
  • nori and ham accents
And here is the whole thing all together:

Happy Bento!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Oven-roasted Red Potatoes

Potatoes. Is there anyone that doesn't like them?

They are a staple at our dinner table, that's for sure. So when I saw the Spuds-We-Like post over at Passionate About Baking I was happy to see a new recipe for a beloved ingredient. I was surprised to find that 2008 had been named the "International Year of the Potato" by none other than the United Nations. Amused by the Ode to Potato event going on over at Monsoon Spice, I decided to do my part and spread the spud love.

I chose red potatoes prepared our favorite way... oven-roasted.

First start with a generous amount of red potatoes (I usually prepare about three per person, depending on the size - of the potato, not the person) rinsed. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl.

Slice them up...

...into bite-sized chunks.

Place them back in the bowl. Stick them in the microwave for 6-9 minutes, and gather your favorite spices. These are what I use:

And parsley. But if you've run out of parsley from the shaker, just run out to your garden and cut some off. That's what I had to do. (Crazy that a fresh herb in my mind is a substitution rather than "the real thing.")

Chop it up.

Now add a little olive oil and toss the potatoes in it until they are coated.

I added the parsley at this point too. But you can wait if you want.

Spray your baking sheet with non-stick spray, and put the taters on there in one even layer.

Pick up one of your favorite spices and start shaking.

Starting to look good, but they need more. Grab another spice and go for it!

How about some onion flavor, yum! (Just don't tell Bryan I'm adding onion.)

Now we're talkin'!

Now, stop staring at your spuds, and preheat the oven to 375* or something.

Put your tray of potatoes in there and be prepared to be patient. The microwaving will have softened the middle a bit, so if you are in a hurry you can rush them a bit by using the broiler after they've only baked for 10 minutes or so. But if you have the time, leave them in there 20 or 30 minutes.

When they are hot and crispy-brown like this, they are ready to eat.


Odds & Ends Bento

Today I slept in till the absolute last moment, and when it came time to throw together my lunch, I still didn't have any cute ideas. So, I started pulling my left-overs out of the fridge and heating them up. Oven-roasted potatoes? Check. Left-over rice? Check. Sausage... well, you get the idea. That pretty much took care of my top tier.

Oh, and I'm so loving my new little veggie cutters. I wanted it to be a little more interesting, so I threw a couple carrot flowers in there. Why flowers? Because that was the only cutter that wasn't in the dishwasher. ("You wash your cutters in the dishwasher?" Yeah, I'm just that lazy.)

For my bottom tier, I microwaved a heart shaped onigiri that I had previously made and frozen, surrounded it with pineapple and sprinkled sesame seeds on top. Then I made a foil box to keep my brownie safe, and filled in the gaps with raisins. And, wa-la! Bento #89:

Happy Bento!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bear Bento

It is such a beautiful morning! The frost melted away as I made lunches for Bryan and I, and by the time Dioji and I went out for a walk, it was sunny and gorgeous. The birds are singing, the trees are flowering... and I just got to thinking that I am so happy that Easter is early this year. Because I don't know if I could wait much longer to celebrate His resurrection! Everything seems to be coming to life around me.

Whew! Without further twitterings, here is bento #88:

The bear sandwich is peanut butter and (what else?) honey. It is surrounded by trail mix. On the other side of the divider are some left-over oven roasted red potatoes, ample ketchup to enjoy them, and a Rice Krispy treat for dessert. Not pictured is an apple.

I got my inspiration for this bear sandwich here. Want a closer look?

Well, have a great day everyone! (If I come home feeling half as perky after work as I am now, I will feel truly blessed.)

Happy Bento!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Microwave-friendly Wednesday

Bento #85 was really a team effort. Bryan grilled the chicken this morning, and I steamed rice and packed his bento box:

I added a bit of carrot, some Lawry's seasoning salt, sesame seeds for texture, and finally some little nori flowers:

The sun was shining by the time my bento lunch was ready to have its picture taken. Here is bento #86:

I have the same rice, chicken and sesame seeds in my bottom tier as my husband had.

My top tier, however, reminds me of one of those fruit drinks you buy from a vending machine. "Tropical Blast" it says - bring it on! Then you start reading the ingredients... pineapple, kiwi, carrot!? Oh well, it's pretty tasty anyway.

And no, by the way, I did not microwave the top tier.

Happy Bento!