Monday, November 4, 2013

Bento - lost and found

I never published this picture but it must have been from around Chinese New Year because of the moon cake. Dumplings, soy beans, oranges, and grapes are all pretty standard though. Well, here it is anyway, the lost and found bento. 


Leftovers make lunch so much easier. I think everything is self explanatory here. I've noticed over the years that round carrot chips or carrots cut with cutters tend to get eaten more than carrot sticks. It's only Nissa today, Annie's off school and raring to go do something. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

It's today, it's today! Finally, halloween is here. I told Nissa that this was the last halloween bento and she asked why. "Because today is halloween", I said. "You can just keep making them", she told me and I giggled. I suppose I could, but I won't. It'll be all leaves and thanksgiving after this. So in this lunch there's a Nutella ghost sandwich, two little quail egg ghosts, soba & carrot noodles, and a special treat, a Frankenstein Kit Kat bar. I don't put candy in their lunches often but halloween requires it! Her snack is the same it's been all week but she says she still likes it. She also has a thermos of chicken little soup to warm her up on this cold day. Happy Halloween Nissa!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

One Day More Part II

Nissa doesn't care for the pumpkin puffs or the zBar so her lunch is smaller. As much as I worried about if she has enough food, Norby reminded me that the pie in and of itself is a full meal for Nissa. Guten appetit kleines m├Ądchen!

One Day More

It's almost the big day! Costumes are chosen but not done. Plans are made but not confirmed. Excitement is coming but not quite here, well maybe a little but not completely. Here is Annie's last halloween bento of 2013 and, because I love these lids, a picture of the lunch closed too. It has another homemade veggie pot pie with a piece of cornmeal battered fried fish that Norby cooked up last night, soooo yummy. She also has popcorn, pumpkin puffs, cinnamon apple sauce, and a halloween minty chocolate zBar. Skull head approves.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Here Kitty Kitty Kitty

Nissa has the exact same lunch so as I described it to them, Nissa asked why I would put a kitty in a halloween lunch. I guess at halloween I need to be more specific. It's a cat Nissa, a cat to which she replied, "ohhhhhhhhh", silly kid. She also gets a snack for their afternoon snack time which I don't usually photo but I kind of liked this one today!


Bats come out at dusk so I should probably change the title but one of Annie's favorite episodes of Who is Midnight so I think I'll leave it. She's getting a home made veggie pot pie with soy sauce/sesame oil dressed soba & carrot noodles with a few pumpkin puffs. On the other side are some more roasted pumpkin and bat sweet potatoes, pumpkin puffs and apple bites with a Nutella bath. Oh halloween, you come and go so fast nowadays.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm ready for my close up!

Just for fun...

Halloween Week is Here!

Roasted sweet potato pumpkins and bats, quail egg ghosts, soba noodle land and carroty skies with a broccoli tree all say happy halloween! I posted two pictures because I forgot the faces on the first one and then couldn't decide which I liked better. I still don't know. I think I'm in love with the purple sweet potatoes though!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Ghosties are invading! A Nutella ghost sandwich, baked sweet potato pumpkins, apple crunchy straws, cheesey potato pumpkin poofs, and a ghostly container of applesauce make this slightly spooky guarded by gargoyles lunch. I also included a thermos of Annie's raviolis to fill it out on this super cold fall day!

Scrounging Again!

Sometimes I swear we are completely out of enough food to make anything resembling a lunch and then, I scrounge. Luckily, we had enough odds and ends to make this Nutella, pickles, mini bread, frozen strawberries, and dumpling bento. I'm so glad Nissa changed her mind about Nutella. I can maybe make that munchkin a sandwich now.

Here Comes Halloween!

I used Norby's homemade whole wheat mini loafs of bread to make two mini salami and Jabari sandwiches. They fit so well that I'm going to have to badger him to make mini loafs every week! Simple easy lunch of sandwiches, pickle, and carrots. Halloweeny bentos down the lane I hope!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ode to the Parks

Tree carrots and flower picks with a "mountain" pot pie remind me of the national parks, all closed today due to a crazy government shutdown. It's interesting to be an observer of the reactions on all sides of this latest event, which are, expectedly, extreme. That aside, these are the lunches for the girls. There are cucumber carrot packets. I used a potato peeler to make strips of cucumber that I seasoned with salt and dill. Then I rolled the carrots into them and secured them with flower picks. The pot pies are stuffed with leftover vegetable stew from dinner last night and finally, there are slices of kiwi and carrots.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rescue Me!

So I made this roast in my crock pot yesterday and it failed...miserably! It had yummy ingredients, seasonings, wine, etc. I just don't really know why the meat cooked so quickly while the veggies were still hard. Just when you think you've got this cooking thing down I tell ya! But alas, with Norby's help, it was rescued. I took the veggies, reseasoned them, and roasted them in a hot oven for 45 minutes. Yum!! Norby put the meat back in the crock and added a couple of beers. A few hours and some sauciness later, we had some amazing shredded beef. Which brings me to lunch. Annie has the roasted wine veggies (beets, potatoes, carrots, and onions) and shredded beef with carrot butterflies in one container. Carrot sticks and apple slices in the other. She tasted it all first and approved. I guess some mistakes really can be rescued.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Baby Mice in a Nest

Both girls requested the pork & cabbage steamed bao (bun) and Soba noodles with carrot ribbons. I threw in the quail egg baby mice for a little more protein. The soba are dressed with my usual dressing of two parts soy sauce to one part toasted sesame oil. I added some chopped up chives from the garden too. My garden is all but destroyed due to the puppy Snow who, I think, believes her purpose is to dig up the entire yard. I'll need to fence off from here on out. In the other tier, I threw in a blueberry cereal bar, carrot sticks, and grapes. I think Nissa will have enough for a leftover snack. Tired morning today, not much in the way of humorousness. 

First Day of School

Annie made her own bento for the first day of 7th grade, she's got the bug. Both girls have Norby's leftover dilled beef stroganoff, mandarin oranges, and carrots. Annie also has some tomatoes, pickled herring with a pickle, and a cheesy girl. Nissa has carrot, nori, and cucumber people, raisins, and some sunflower seeds.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

3, 4

I'm just posting pics right now and shall return with details at a later date and time.

1, 2,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

At the Zoo

So Nissa did not want the mustard greens. Instead, she gets a homemade onigiri, some orange wedges, and leftover pasta. I threw in a granola bar too just in case this wasn't enough. After school though, she told me that the animal pictures stuck to the cover of the bento and "scared" her friends! That made me laugh, I'm not even sure what she means but she doesn't want the animal decorations anymore, silly kid.

Mustard Greens

We picked up a huge gigantic bag of mustard greens at our local grocery store and this is the last of them. I have to say, I thought I'd be sick of them by now but I'm really, really not. They are so amazing. Norby prepared them in much the same way as a wilted spinach salad except that we had no bacon so used ham.

So he simply sauteed up the onion and ham in the wok. Once the onion was just getting caramelized, he threw in enough greens to fill up the Wok and seasoned them with a good amount of soy sauce and a little sushi vinegar. That's it, soooo amazing!

I threw in some cheese hearts on top to remind Annie of how yummy these are but she doesn't need the reminding. She loves them too. In the top tier are oranges and leftover pasta in a marinara sauce from dinner with another cheese heart and a few trees.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesdays Lunch

I'm really tired today. We finally had the windows open last night but all the crazy sounds, even the small ones wake me up. So I'm trying to explain why I'm being brief on this one, I'm tired and lazy! Three homemade onigiri, flavored rice balls, tomatoes, carrots, and two little containers of sunflower seeds. That's all folks!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Forest Where The Wild Things Are

For some reason, the carrot and cheese trees in the top tier made me think of Where the Wild Things Are. I loved the movie adaptation even if it was panned. Cried through most of it, but like the girls say, that's nothing new. Underneath the trees is leftover turkey mushroom stroganoff, yum! The other tier is just some oranges, dilled cucumber slices, and carrot rounds. Annie's still loving the new school, yippee!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tamale Too

Just for fun, here's Nissa's snack. She's got a tamale too as well as oranges and strawberries.

Hot Tamales

The main item in this bento are Norby's homemade roasted corn tamales. In-cred-ible! I'd give the recipe if I knew it but I was doing laundry when he made them. I think that was his plan all along! Anyway, they are decorated with carrots and noried cheese shapes. The other side has oranges, dilled cucumber slices, and turkey pieces decorated with cheese birdies.

Week 2 at the new school and alls well!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Annie loves her new school! The kids are awesome and she loves her teachers. Yay! A simple but still fun bento to celebrate. Tiny oranges, crackers, and carrots with a cheese/nori stamped heart are on the top. On the bottom are nori decorated tomatoes, sugar snaps, and leftover creamy potato turkey bake. I cannot say how excited I am for Annie!!

Monday, April 15, 2013


Nissa's snacks just got a whole lot better since Annie gets bentos again! It's the extra sobas from Annie's lunch and some oranges. She's happy!

A New Start

Annie starts a new school today. We already knew we were going to switch schools next year but were worried since we were on the wait list for the new school. Low and behold, a space opened and she was able to start immediately. This all happened in the span of three days and Annie couldn't be happier if not a but nervous too. So today called for a "real" bento meaning some old Asian inspired standbys and decorations.

Soba Noodles
-Cook Soba Noodles according to package. I throw in carrot strips I've peeled with a potato peeler to add more flavor and color.
-Rinse noodles/carrots with cold water until the gooeyness (it's a real word) is gone. I really have to wrestle it with my fingers for a while until their just smooth.
-In a bowl, blend 2 parts soy sauce (or alternative) and 1 part toasted sesame oil until they've emulsified. Mostly my parts are tablespoons unless its a huge batch of sobas. I usually use a chopstick to emulsify but I think that's only because I saw a video of this somewhere and that's what they did or maybe that was a dream?
-Toss the noodle carrots until they are coated. Here, I usually like to add some chopped scallions but I don't always have them on hand so I sadly couldn't do it this time. It's still delicious though, I promise.

Dill Tamagoyaki
Really this is just a sort of rolled omelet. The Japanese version calls for some dashi and sweetener (usually sugar) to be added but I'm pretty sure there are tons of variations. My kids get enough sugar elsewhere so I usually don't add it.
-blend one egg thoroughly until its smooth.
-add a tiny amount of salt, 1 teaspoon dill, and pepper to taste.
-heat a pan (I have a rectangular Tamagoyaki pan but I just used any old pan before) to just above medium heat.
-add a generous amount of your oil of choice to pan and "mop" with a paper towel. You will use this paper towel inbetween rolls to oil the pan so keep it handy.
-pour 1/4 of the mixture into pan and spread around thinly
-when it us nearly cooked through, fold it over on itself twice. If it breaks a little, you can cover it the next roll.
-pour another 1/4 into the pan and be sure to lift your folded egg enough to flow the new pour under it. Once it's nearly cooked, fold the old folded egg twice and repeat.
-It took me a while to begin to do this and I still struggle with it but the girls love it!

The other foods in this bento are sugar snap peas, orange/apple slices, and cheese shapes decorated with seaweed (nori).

Good luck sweet girl! Can't wait to watch your spirit grow!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bao Bao

Two steamed cabbage bao (buns) and carrot sticks on one side with kamaboko, honey roasted sunflower seeds, and a mini deep dish cheese pizza in the other. I'm not sure they'll like the cabbage in the buns but they'll eat the outside I'm sure. That's why I threw in the pizza too so I knew they'd have something to fill their tummies. I also included my homemade granola bars and an orange so they should be good.

Back to Basics

It's the return of the soba noodles, kamaboko, and quail eggs. And now that I think about it, kiwi and oranges are a part of that return. These are all my "go-to" bento foods. I even decorated a bit, but just a bit. Nissa's month of no school lunches is almost done. It's been fun making lunches for her again but it's always a little tough since her food likes are significantly less than Annie's. These are all favorites, so it's all good!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Nothing too fancy but still full of love for Love Day. Edamame, Chocolate Chips (can't be valentines without chocolate can it?), carrots, meatballs and bread hearts with a felt valentine as my card snuck in there. I threw in some apples and oranges for Chinese New Year on the side too. Might as well cover all my bases!! Happy Valentines!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Annie's Work

Annie put this together herself. I made the Onigiri but she is learning. So the Onigiri are rice balls seasoned with Furikake (mixed seasonings, this one hade seaweed, fish flakes, salt & pepper, and some other seasonings but those were the most prevalent.) and surrounded by chocotrees. I'm curious how those will taste being so close to each other. The other container has a green tea mochi treat, a slice of ham (I told her she needed to have some sort of protein), a wedge of cheese, some kiwi, and finally, a handful of raisins. The little container on the side has more furikake seasoning for extra flavor and crunch. Way to go Annie and this allowed me to watch Downton Abbey!! Yay!