Last night we had heard about the massive earthquake that shook Chile and knew that there was a potential for a tsunami. Then at 6 am this morning we were awoken by the sounds of the Civil Defense warning siren blaring. That loud wailing siren immediately jolted me out of bed and sure got my heart racing! Mark on the other hand was still asleep and I had to wake him up. We could see the ocean from my in-laws house and there were hundreds and hundreds of ships dotting the ocean trying to get out to sea to avoid the tsunami. The pictures I took below don’t do it justice, it really was an amazing sight. Thankfully it turned out to be an uneventful day and everything is slowly getting back to normal. Thanks to everyone for their well wishes and concern this morning, I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Because all of our plans got cancelled for today, I got to fool around a little and made this Girl’s Day sandwich for Paige’s lunch today. I used vegan bologna (made of soy) for the first time and I thought that it was pretty good. The vegan bologna is from Whole Foods and they the have tons of vegan alternatives which I thought was pretty neat. Obviously we are not vegetarians or vegans, but I like to try out new foods in the event that someone asks me for other alternatives to the food or ingredients that I normally use.
Hope you all have a great weekend!
Last night I was finally able to pick up my computer! Woohoo! This morning I made Paige a super quick and easy chicken nuggets bento with musubis. I used a nori punch to cut out the nori and found a cute pick to go along with the puppy theme.
Speaking of puppies, Macky and Sean have become best buddies. Macky quickly learned the rules of the house and has just about stopped with the jumping and play biting. As a result Sean has really enjoyed playing with Macky and continually gives him a lot of loving.
Another Girl’s Day bento from last year!
I am still without my computer so I have been using my very old laptop for the time being. Uploading any kind of picture takes an eternity and the screen is so small, compared to my other computer, that I am sure I will go blind soon. It really makes me appreciate how far technology has come. LOL, I remember the days of using dial-up internet and how painful that was.
Anyway, March 3rd is Girl’s Day so I decided to make a bento to commemorate the occasion. The bento includes shrimp shumai, sliced roasted chicken (hidden below the shumai), veggies, and a few slices of pear.
This was one of my Girl’s Day bentos last year.
Last week was one filled with one computer problem after the other. It all started off with me spilling an entire cup of coffee on my keyboard. I thought- Wow, I was really lucky that it didn’t get on anything else, especially because the printer was stored right beneath the computer table. Then a few days later my very old printer dies. That was to be expected and fortunately I had a spare keyboard and printer to replace the old ones! A day later, my computer has problems reading the brand new keyboard and only sometimes works when it feels like it wants to be nice to me. I had to take it in yesterday to get fixed therefore I am resigned to using my old laptop which is infuriatingly slow. I have missed visiting everyone’s sites and look forward to that when I get my computer back.
On the bright side, most of my files were backed up and hopefully when they are fixing the computer my newer files won’t be lost. We also managed to housebreak Macky! Woohoo! I think we really lucked out with him because he is such a good puppy and really smart. He learned a bunch of tricks like sit, shake hands, lie down, and turn around too.
Paige’s bento today- green tea soba, vegetable gyoza, cucumbers, carrots, green onions, and a cherry tomato.
Today in the Taste section of the Honolulu Advertiser, there was an article titled “Bento!”. Wanda Adams wrote up a great informational piece on decorative bentos and I was lucky and thankful to be a part of that. Thanks Wanda!!! She also featured Pikko of Adventures in Bento Making who shared her astoundingly massive collection of cool bento boxes and bento gear!
For today’s bento I made another simple one pot (rice cooker) meal similar to the Chicken and Shiitake Mushroom Rice one that I posted about earlier. This time I used very thinly sliced beef, shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced aburage, asparagus, garlic, shoyu, sake, and oyster sauce. I made the bear using an egg sheet, kamaboko, and fish sausage.
On another note, this morning I went to the Kahala Times and bought this massive bento for $6.99. It wasn’t the best bento that I have had but it was good enough for me and Sean to share and such a stellar deal at that! I particularly liked the salmon and unagi with rice.
Finally, remember the pledge that I made back in December to donate $1 for each post that I make? Well I made two donations today! I kept good on my promise and with 40 posts to date, I have donated $20 to the Hawai`i Food Bank and $20 to the World Food Programme!
This past Friday, the kids and I received an early Valentine’s gift from Mark! We have been wanting a dog for what seems like an eternity and we finally were able to get a puppy! Macky is a Lab mix and he is very, very sweet in nature. He also can be very rambunctious and will chase and tackle Sean whenever the opportunity presents itself. Needless to say, Sean is not pleased with Macky when he does that. Also Macky is the very reason that I have not been posting or on the computer very much. My days are now filled with housebreaking and trying to train our puppy to not eat Sean. I may even need to rent the complete collection of the Dog Whisperer.
With all of that being said, until I get Macky house- and Sean-broken, I have to pack very simple lunches, like today’s one. I used a hamburger bun for the ham and cheese sandwich and packed pretzels and a mini pear in the box. To decorate the bento I also added in a reusable cupcake butterfly pick.
Last week I picked up these fun Hamutaro and Pokeman ochazuke (hot tea rice) packets. All you have to do is add hot rice, hot water, and one of the packets to have a hot mini meal. Paige is not a big fan, but Sean loves it. I grew up eating ochazuke with ume as a kid, so this is like comfort food to me!
For good luck, here’s a little bit of Chinese New Year Gau for you all! There is a great article from the Hawai`i magazine that explains what Gau is if you are unfamiliar with this tradition. My “gau” pictured here is made of a PBJ sandwich with whole wheat bread and a fruit roll-up for the red wrapper. Have a great Lunar New Year!
Yesterday I got a cool bento tool from a fellow bento enthusiast that just made my day! My first thought was of course- “I can make tigers out of this! Yipee!”. I made PBJ sandwiches today and with the help of my nifty cutter, I made all these wonderful tigers and a sweet heart too. I used chocolate sprinkles for the stripes and really big sugar eyes that I attached with a little bit of icing. After arranging them in the bento box, I thought that they really did look like cats of prey- crouching and getting ready to pounce to their next meal.
Isn’t it a beauty!
Altogether now, say- “Phew, thank goodness Susan didn’t make another tiger bento!”. I took a break from the tigers and made Sean and myself a super simple chicken and shiitake mushroom rice bento. In addition to the chicken and shiitake mushroom, there was lotus root, carrots, and peas in the rice too. It was very easy to make because I just threw everything into the rice cooker and let it do all of the work. In the side compartment I also packed a clementine for Sean and a few veggies for myself.
Chicken and Shiitake Mushroom Rice Recipe
- 2 cups rice washed and drained
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 6 ounces raw skinless chicken tenders or thighs cut into small 1/2 inches pieces
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced and julienned carrots
- 1/4 cup lotus root thinly sliced and chopped
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
In a bowl combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar and mix well until all of the sugar has dissolved. Add liquid mixture to the washed rice. To the top of the rice add in the chicken, mushrooms, carrots, and lotus root and pat down until covered with the liquid, but don’t mix in. Cover and turn on rice cooker. When finished cooking add in the frozen peas and mix the rice to distribute all of the ingredients evenly. Vegetarian option: use thinly sliced aburaage, hijiki, or edamame (about 3/4 to 1 cup) in place of the chicken and vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.
Geri from Northern California asked me for tips on organizing bento gear so I decided to post some pictures of my collection. I use sterilite drawers to hold my musubi molds, divider cups, sauce containers, cutters, and other miscellaneous gear. As you can see, it’s not very neat but I can always find what I’m looking for. Next to the drawers on the right, I have my nori punches, picks, and smaller cutters stored in see-thru plastic containers. See-thru is key when you have a ton of stuff because it makes things easier to find.
My collection of nori punches. Although I really only use the top left green punch and the small smiley face punch on the bottom. I also use my scissors a lot to cut out other things like ears, mouths, or stripes.
Here are some pics of the fishing lure boxes that contain my picks and miscellaneous small cutters.
Filed under bento, chicken, rice
Can you guess what is same (besides the tiger theme) with today’s bento and the one that I made yesterday? I’ll tell you at the end of the post! Paige’s lunch today contains two tiger onigiri which I made using the red colored furikake that I posted about last week. The tigers don’t look too red because I doubled the amount of rice to the one packet of red furikake. I added in gyoza, a lady apple, and some veggies too. I think my tigers qualify as red so I’m going to enter this one in Hapabento’s “Red” themed contest. Don’t forget to get yours in by the 15th!
Okay, so if you look closely I used the same apple in both bentos. Before you gross out, after I took the picture of yesterday’s bento, Sean said he didn’t want the apple so I took it out and saved it for today. :D