Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pokemon and Flowers

A mix made just for Annie, a sweet little flower who loves things like Pokemon. Don't ask me which Pokemon are on the eggs but there they are with a couple of olives tucked in between. The middle tier is kind of obvious but just in case you don't know, those are mandarin oranges. And the bottom tier are some tomato cream cheese flower and leaf bites also with a few olives snuck in around the edges. This bento happens to have a small extra space under the lid just big enough for two midel ginger snap cookies. Thanks to Norby, I was able to sleep in yesterday and he made her lunch (he made it the day before too, I forgot). So here is Annie's bento for picture day at school which means no uniform day. Annie looked super cute heading out the door!

Marathon Bento

This past weekend, my 79 year old father-in-law and younger sister-in-law, came in to town and ran the Twin Cities Marathon. Very exciting. We ended up with 5 extra Kuchenmeisters staying at our house and it was a lot of fun. On Friday morning, grandma and Gretchen looked on as I made this bento. I completely left out a protein but since we were picking up Annie early from school to go to the renaissance festival, I knew she'd get plenty of protein there. So we have Soba noodles with flower and heart cheese bites (so there is a little protein in this), little bear apples and cucumbers with a few olives and cherry tomatoes and one more cheese heart to finish it off. And off she went to have the final class with the visiting poet she loved so much, that given the choice to stay home or go to school, she went to school! Such a good kid!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sweet and Savory

Bear part II! Norby has been good enough to get the eggs in the molds for me the past few days and I think he likes the bear. :) Also, some new fruits and veggies (I know, I know, technically tomatoes are a fruit but I still think of them as veggies). The bear egg is surrounded by grape tomatoes and kalamata olives. I went easy with the same grilled Wisconsin trout and cream sandwich bites I did yesterday in the other tier but added, yum, strawberries! I'm dying to eat the leftover strawberries but this gestational diabetes bit has me holding off on fruit until after lunch so I guess I'll just have to wait (I can do it, I can do it!).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Honey Eating Bears

I can always tell what groceries I have by looking at the Bentos I've made. So, I obviously bought oranges recently. Good thing Annie loves them sliced. These are the goopiest oranges I've ever bought and darn near impossible to peel. So one tier has the orange slices, the middle ones are pressed egg bears. Annie says they are honey eating bears. The final tier are grilled trout and cream cheese rolls with little bears trying to gobble them up. It's Wednesday which means the Kuchenmeisters come tomorrow to run the twin cities marathon this weekend! Love this new tradition!

Friday, September 24, 2010


I love the color orange, so playful! It's running through this bento, from the orange slices, to the orange soy decorations on the eggs (which have some kalamata olives tucked in around them), to the orange carrot hearts that are loving the orange carrot flower on top of the seasoned udon noodles. Because of my gestational diabetes diagnosis, I couldn't eat the udon right now so I'm just loving them from a distance. Maybe, if I get these blood numbers under control? Anyways, looks yummy to me!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Snacking Bunnies

There seem to be almost as many rabbits running around the neighborhood as there are squirrels this year. As a gardner, I know I'm supposed to think of them as pests but as a person, I just love them. I blame the book Watership Down for that! :) On to the Bento! The apple bunnies are snacking on carrot and white cheddar cheese flowers. Somehow they missed the flowers adorning the Pad Thai noodles and mini pitas stuffed with vegetarian organic (actually everything in this is organic and mostly local - I'm not a big fan of pesticides, added hormones, preservatives, gmo's and the likes) refried beans (or as the girls call them, melted beans) and more cheddar cheese. Go ahead little rabbits, snack away!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shades of Pale

There are colors in this one but they are a bit faded looking, like a memory just on the edge of disappearing. I finally have a sandwich of sorts in Annie's lunch, pita wedges with cream cheese, cheddar cheese and Canadian Bacon. Next to those is a container of sugar snap peas and multicolored carrots. Bottom tier is teddy bear apples and mounds of kiwis. I meant to organize them a little more but the pesky little bears kept playing with them! Oh well, can't mess with the bears!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Bento

Couldn't come up with a descriptive name so I went simple and to the point, Thursday Bento. I made shrimp fried rice for dinner but forgot the egg and used frozen shrimp and veggies (from frozen, I might add). They were pretty good but darn mushy so I've learned my lesson. Annie has shrimp fried rice with white cheddar cheese and nori decorations in the bottom tier. In the top, she has more mellon balls and organic strawberry fruit chews. Quite simple today but Annie still called it fancy. Gotta love her!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bonjour, Les Fleures...

Last of the new boxes! It was cute but I was a bit uninspired this morning. Maybe it's the baby boy constantly moving in my baby belly but I'm just wiped lately. Or it could also be Nissa starting preschool and gymnastics, Annie continuing Tai Chi, and both girls adding ballet all in the same week. Oh and not to mention switching the girls to a new clinic and all the phone calls that entails and to top it off, having a visit from a fence company to give us a quote and try to sell us a fence (nice guy and actually, we called him) but I digress from Bentos. Turkey meatballs, white organic cheddar hearts and a couple of beets on the right side. On the left are some herbed cream cheese rolls and mellon balls. Annie asked if, after learning how to do a mellon ball if she could make some Bentos after the baby music to my ears!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Spoils of Tomadachi

Here is one of the new boxes I got yesterday plus the new silicone teddy bear cups and my new set of mini cutters! Nothing like supplies to get me going! Last chance for spaghetti in this bento and it's covered with a neighborhood picture of cheese. The top tier has teddy cups with multi colored carrots surrounded by dried blueberries and organic fruit chews. Annie was fine with a second day if spaghetti (phew) and excited about her new box! Nissa, who yesterday said she didn't want to leave preschool, this morning (due, I believe and hope, to tiredness) said she didn't want to go back! It's only for two days a week so let's hope it all works out!

Papa's Preschool Bento

Nissa started preschool yesterday when I did these lunches! I made Annies rushed bento and since I was at it, made a rushed one for Norby too. The morning was really more focused on Nissa and nerves (hers and ours). He got spaghetti and cheese with wine grapes and roasted root vegetables. Well, he had this bento but after we dropped off Nissa, it was a little harder for us than we thought. So instead of a half day, Norby took a whole day and we saved this bento for today. How did we spend the day keeping our minds off preschool and our aging daughter? Why shopping of course! We even made it to Tomadachi which meant more bento supplies for me, including two more boxes! Ah! But, in my defense, we had to throw some out so I'm just replacing them, right?

Elephants and Pigs

I got a new bento and a few new supplies!! But, I was lazy and did this bento in the morning which means very rushed. Spaghetti with a cheese pig, wine grapes, mini plums and some apple pigs in this rush of a bento. Annie loved the new box and the new carrying bag (oh, I need to get a picture of that too sometime, very pretty!).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Last of The Summer

It is so fall like here already and no matter how much the weather forecasters try to tell us it'll warm up in a day or two, it just isn't. I love it! Cold weather makes me happy. As I look at the garden, a few flowers are hanging on in the dirt so this bento is inspired by that. The bottom tier is fried rice with Kamaboko flowers decorated with nori centers. Surprise, Annie loved the wine grapes from yesterday so she gets more of them today in the middle tier along with some pear slices. And the top tier has a few of the leftover cherry tomatoes, the last of the sugar snap peas and, because she loves it so much, more kamaboko in the shape of flowers with nori dots. Just an aside, Norby couldn't help but comment on the lack of fairness when I sent Annie with her bento and him with a paper bag of Chinese containers of leftovers. Seriously, it doesn't mean I love you any less papa! :ox

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Crunchy, Not Crunchy

You know, I forgot to warn Annie about the wine grapes in this bento. She has been asking and asking about them ever since they showed up at the coop so I finally got some to surprise her. I had Norby try them since I'm in the middle of a three hour glucose test that required I fast last night and he warned me of the seeds and slightly sour taste. I only put a few in but hopefully she'll survive. So that's the middle tier, local organic wine grapes and strawberries, "not crunchy". The top tier has Annie's Homegrown Sour Cream and Onion Bunnies and some Baked Snap Peas, "crunchy". The bottom tier has Kamaboko (pressed fish) slices, "not crunchy", with carrot and cucumber leaves, both "crunchy". I have to say, I really like these three tiered Bentos!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Herby Booboo

Annie would cringe a bit at me using her old nickname but I can't help myself, I'm a mom! So this has exactly the same herbs, contents and decorations as Norby's minus the sobas and chives. I like the mix of dark and light colors. Now that it's nearly freezing outside, I wonder how much longer my herbs will last.

Herby Papa

Chives, dill and basil make this a very herby papa bento. Annie's is nearly identical minus the soba and chives. The top tier has strawberry slices, sugar snap peas, tomato roses with cheese hearts in fresh from the garden basil leaves. The bottom tier has some dilled new potatoes and two tomato roses on some more fresh basil leaves next to two pork dumplings adorned with basil flowers. In the insert are some soba noodles with the sesame oil and soy sauce dressing accompanied by chives and a cheesy heart. Such a lovey dovey bento but then again, I kinda love the big guy!

Flowers and Leaves

It turned fall like here almost overnight and I have to say, I'm loving it! Can't wait for fall colors and then the snow. Of course, I also can't wait for it all this year because the baby boys due date is in the fall, but that's another story. Leaves and mums are inspiring me today so tomato flowers and cheese hearts decorate everything. Top tier has leftover pork roast bites (with flowers and a leaf) accompanied by cucumber pieces (with flowers and leaves). The second tier has apple and pear wedges topped with strawberry slices (with leaves). Finally, the bottom tier has soba noodles dressed with sesame oil, soy sauce and scallions (with flowers and leaves). Bring on fall!

Friday, September 3, 2010

To Speak Or Not To Speak

Apparently, only large eggs fill my egg presses completely so one half of the poor bunny has been silenced today. Each bunny half decorated with oyster sauce is lying on a bed of sugar snap peas and being encouraged by nori-ed cucumber hearts. The bottom tier has apple, peach and pear slices with muenster hearts. And it's the return of the now 100% Buckwheat (thank you United Noodles for stocking them) Soba Noodle Salad, also accompanied by three (because as everyone knows, three is THE lucky number) muenster hearts. As I'm looking at this bento, hearing Annie and papa take off on his motorcycle, I realize I forgot to put chopsticks in her lunch! D'oh!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hearts and Flowers and Bears and Leaves

First I have to tell on my girls a little. In the mini bear onigiri are little bits of pickled herring. When I brought the jar out, the girls started chanting, "herring, herring, herring!" and came out of the kitchen with forks. How could I say no to a 4 and 9 year old asking for herring? They finished the entire jar! So anyways, the top tier has carrot flowers and salted cucumber leaves surrounding hearted fresh mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes. The bottom tier has the mini pickled herring bears on a bed of nori with some carrot hearts and organic fresh berry chews. A little hodgepodgey when I usually do the hyper organized Bentos but I still like it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to School

Tomorrow, Annie is officially a 4th grader! Yikes and yay at the same time. Of course if it's back to school, it's back to Bentos. After she picked out her uniform pairings for tomorrow, she said, "okay, lets make a bento. I'll help by tasting." Three tiers for the first day. Top tier has herbed goat cheese, organic bologna and muenster cheese pinwheels with nori flowers surrounded by sugar snap peas. Middle tier has the hot pink finger staining yummy dragon fruit slices and checkered apple piece. The bottom tier has one of Annie's favorites, caprese salad with basil from the backyard. After tasting pretty much everything, this bento was officially Annie approved.

Papa Bento

So Norby has been discussing bentos at work and thought he'd con me in to making one for him. Little does he know, I loved doing it (okay, so maybe now he'll know if he reads this!). The bottom tier has udon noodles tossed with steak strips in a spicy sauce adorned with scallions, sesame seeds and togarashi (Japanese seasoning). The top tier has hot pink dragon fruit (at least that's what the girls call it, Norby thinks it's more of a purple) and checkered apple pieces with a container of sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes. Here you go papa (I wonder if he's planning this on being a habit now?).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Annie Loves Annie's

We buy a lot of Annie's Homegrown organic products at our house. It's
a great company that brings us some of the old American favorites that
are normally very bad for you turned much healthier. Top tier, sour
cream and onion bunnies and a packet of gummy bunnies (both organic
with real ingredients). Middle tier has tomatoes and some slices of
kamoboko (pressed fish) and the bottom tier is all fruit with
blackberries and grapes. One more bento this week and, good news, the
morning sickness has greatly improved and will hopefully make a
complete exit by the the weekend (first trimester ends for me


Hooray for leftovers. We met some friends for dinner (could the
morning sickness finally be gone???) and the had Alfredo on the kids
menu. And it was a huge serving so Annie has lunch today too. Also,
there are some blackberries, raspberries, and the return of the cherry

Simply Sweet and Salty

My tamagoyaki failed miserably this morning so I used an old standby,
dumplings! with a few carrots and some slightly salty sobas with a few
more carrots and my usual lately, chive flowers. The sweetness in this
bento is watermellon.

Organization and Beautification

I really like the organized look of the checkered patterns. In this
bento, it's watermellon and blackberries that are checkered. In the
top tiers are cherry tomatoes, of course, and four tamgoyaki slices.
Tamagoyaki is a sort of rolled Japanese omelette that has some extra
ingredients (depending on your own recipe) like dashi (a fish stock),
soy sauce and sugar. Annie loves them as long as I add enough sugar,
that is! And finally, a tier of soba noodles garnished with chive
flowers (gotta use 'em while I have 'em). Oh and a little side note.
I've been typing these entries on my iPhone and sometimes it changes
my spellings when I'm not paying attention. When I get the chance,
I'll go back and correct those weird out of place words that pop up
here and there.

Pickled and Pinappled

Pickled fish, or as everyone knows it, pickled herring accompanied by
a couple of chive flowers and the almost requisite cherry tomatoes. A
whole container of pinapple with a strawberry kawaii. And finally a
Hello Kitty head of Pirate Booty, or as they are known at our house,


Super smiley bento. Maybe it's because Annie has decided she dies like
onigiri after all (those are the pressed rice shapes, traditionally
done in a ball or triangular shape but you can also get rice molds
that shape them into cute thongs for you!). So there are three plain
onigiri (meaning not stuffed with anything) over carrots decorated
with punched nori faces and hearts. On top is a pressed bunny egg
decorated with some hoisin sauce with a small bottle of soy sauce next
to it. And finally, one sliced apple with a kawaii bunny!

Red and Yellow

I know there's more color in here than that but I liked the way those
colors look. Just as a notice, the rest of the Bentos I make for a
while, may nit be nearly as creative due to major morning sickness.
But I'm pretty excited I'm getting them dine at all. :) After I looked
at this picture, I think I should have turned the orange slices up
instead of down but I think the probably stayed fresher this way. Soba
noodles dressed with soy sayce and toasted sesame oil is definitely
becoming a staple. Good thing Annie loves them! The egg has a few
little nori (seaweed) hearts. Yay, some decoration!

Sooooooooo Tired!

Forgot how tired I get when I'm pregnant (oh, by the way, surprise!
I'm pregnant and you don't have any clue how much of a surprise this
is, but in a good way). I seriously threw this bento together in about
2 minutes (well, more like 10 but in pregnant time, that's really like

Scroungers Bento

There was next to nothing in the house this morning so I had to
scrounge for anything. Stuffed Swedish Pancakes with a container of
powdered sugar, one pear, one kiwi, and one peach and that's it. Not a
single fruit left in the house!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nissa's Picnic

Nissa decided it would be a perfect day for a picnic and asked for a
bento. How could I say no?? We stayed simple with kiwi and carrots.
The monkey containers have peanut butter in them to spoon onto the
bananas underneath. And finally, being watched over by the yellow bear
are peanut butter and jelly Teddy bear sandwiches made on Norbys
homemade rye bread using the local organic rye flour I found at Cedar
Summit Farms. Then, she packed it all in her bike and off we went
around the block to the backyard for our picnic. Very fun!

Naked Bento

No decoration, no fancy cutters, no cute little dividers, just the
naked food. I've been waking up later (I'll blame that new little
bugger growing in my tummy!) so I've had to be quicker than usual. I
still like the orderliness of this one though (can you say, OCD?).
Watermellon, pear, turkey, cheese, sweet peas and tomatos. Can't get
much more naked than that!

5-Minute Bento

Since the pasta salad was leftover, the only time consuming part of
this bento was cutting the fruit and venison stick (I added it to the
pasta salad for se protein). Kiwi, Watermelon, Sweet Peas and Pasta
Salad. Über simple, über quick.

Pretty In Pastel

First I was going to say pretty in pink but there are way too many
colors. In the top are sweet peas (again), some sliced of Norbys
homemade bread, rolls of turkey and cheese to put on the bread and a
monkey girl and monkey boy container of mayo for the mini sandwiches.
In the bottom tier are interspersed slices of pear and apple
surrounded by kiwi with a pink flower pick. Yum!

Kiwi Hills

Couldn't think of a very creative name for this one but I still like
it. Kiwi and grapes on top. Venison sticks and sweet peas in the
middle. And pasta salad with kalmata olives and tomatos on the bottom.

Post Alice In Wonderland

Can you guess what movie we just saw? Loved it! Leftover hamburger
hotdish with carrots and tomatos in the bottom tier. Apples and kiwi
in the middle tier. And sweet peas with more carrots and tomatos in
the top tier.

Easter Egg

So, I used leftovers for this meal and didn't entirely take color into
consideration. If I'd been thinking better, I would have used the
orange egg. Besides the egg, there are olives, carrot hearts and

Seeing Stars

Star pressed egg decorated with tiny nori (dried seaweed) stars
accompanied by tomato and cheese skewers in the top container. Kiwi
with more nori stars and blackberries in the bottom container. Annie
liked this one but was still hungry when she was done.

Swedish Bento

Kiwi, blackberries, and cheese flowers in the top tier. Rolled Swedish
Pancakes stuffed with raspberry jam topped with blackberries and a
penguin container of powdered sugar, yum! And some wrapped pickled
herring, with tomato flowers and sweet peas coveredf with more cheese

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That

Turkey, Carrot Leaves and Apples in the top tier. Cheese Slices, Quail
Eggs, Carrot and Apple Leaves, and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies in the
middle tier. Leek Dumplings and even more Carrot Leaves in the bottom
tier. To keep my cut fruit from browning, I usually dip them in fresh
squeezed lemon juice. Annie likes the flavor too!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bumpy to Smooth

Some days are rocky others are easy as pie but I am choosing to love them all, so shows this Bento. Grapes and hearted apple bites; Cherry Tomatoes, Sweet Peas, and hearted Kiwi; Mini Onigiri and hearted Korean Pressed Pork.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Budding Beauties

The lilacs have started to bloom in the backyard! I've even seen some tulips popping their heads up. Hence the budding bento! Quail egg and carrot tulips over a soba noodle salad and a tomato olive salad too. Oh, and some grapes with their own little tulips. I like this one, but it's still not quite what I thought it would be in my head as I lay awake planning it this morning.

Blooming lilacs! Can't wait to see the beautiful purple flowers soon.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Norby's East Meets East Coast Meets West Bento

No matter what he says, I will always try to tale pictures of his Bentos! East = dumplings, Steamed Green Beans, East Coast = Crab Caked, and West = Everything Else. Looks like he can be super organized too!


Trying out some new angle shots. The top one is kind of cut off but it still shows everything. In the top are chikuwa slices stuffed with olives, strawberries and grapes. In the bottom are two broken tomatoes stuffed with a tomato basil cream cheese, more cherry tomatoes, carrot and pickle leaves, and tomato pickle skewers.


My brain must not be completely functioning because lately the Bentos I've been making look sooooo much better in my head, lol. Dumplings, Mochi bites, little bottle of hoisin and mandarin oranges on top. Carrots, cheese and turkey leaves and a couple little sandwich rolls on the bottom. Once again, she ate everything! That's most important really.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Can you spot the difference?

So I meant to use this picture. The differences between the two are very small but significant enough to me that I had to post both, lol.

Snick Snack

Each row is really filled with little foods, otherwise known as appetizers. Smoked turkey, cheddar cheese and kamaboko with flowers; fruit salad dressed with lime juice with flowers; and pretzels with flowers. It was so hot yesterday that I swear the flowers will be growing today! I should start using some other cutters but I really like the flowers!

Bento by Norby

Norby made his own incredibly creative bento. It's packed with yummies like salmon, soba, star/heart eggs, tomagoyaki and sun burst cheese slices, all dressed with oyster sauce and nori strips. Good job Papa!

Twin Bears

Bear head eggs with hoisin lines and carrots on top of a kamaboko salad. An "Alice in Wonderland" inspired fruit row and more soba noodles. We have all fallen in love with these. They are dressed with soy sauce, sesame oil, and scallions and that's it, but they are heavenly.