Yesterday I received a whole bunch of bento goodies from a good friend who shares in my bento madness! Among all of the things which she gave me, were these awesome animal onigiri wrappers! I used the bunny one in celebration of Easter and Paige was so excited this morning when she saw it!
I also received these heart shaped cutters and put them to good use right away making chicken gyoza! They look more like raviolis because instead of pan frying them, I boiled the gyoza. To make them, I put a small amount of filling in the center of a gyoza wrapper, brushed the edges with egg wash, placed another wrapper on top, and then sealed the sides. I used a heart cutter (flipped over to the non-cutting side) to help form the filling into a heart as well as to crimp the edges of the gyoza. Finally I used a larger heart cutter (the next size up) to cut the gyoza. And there you have it- heart shaped chicken gyoza thanks to my bento friend!!!
Paige’s lunch today includes roasted chicken seasoned with smoked salt, pepper and garlic, colorful farfalle with pesto, and a Caesar salad with heart shaped garlic croutons. I had a few slices of bread that were a bit stale, so I cut them with a heart shaped cutter, tossed them in garlic butter, and toasted them in the oven until they became golden and crisp.
In keeping with the Easter theme, I made Paige yakisoba with kamaboko bunnies today for lunch. I made the yakisoba using a little bit of bacon, carrots, green onion, sweet onions, bean sprouts, yakisoba noodles and seasoned it with Otafuku yakisoba sauce. I’ve tried a few others but the kids seem to like the taste of the Otafuku brand the best. I also packed a side container of fruit and a rubber ducky cookie for her snack.
Hawai`i’s Bento Box Cookbook, 2nd Course, is actually available for pre-order online at Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. I’ll post more locations as they arise. If you want to come by and say hi, I will be at the following locations for book signings:
- May 1st- 12 noon at Barnes and Noble Ala Moana
- May 1st- 3pm at Borders Ward
- May 2nd- 10:30am at Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai`i
- May 2nd- 2pm at Borders Waikele
- May 8th- 1pm Borders Pealridge
- May 9th- 1pm Costco Waipio
- May 15th- 1pm Costco Iwilei
- May 22nd- 1 pm Barnes and Noble Kahala
Hope to see you there!
Today I received my advanced copy of my second cookbook! I posted a few pictures of of the book below and I also wanted to share a bento that never made it (click on the pics to enlarge). Now before you think that there are bentos like this in the book, let me first say that there aren’t any. I only made this huge one as a potential cover piece and as eye candy. Unfortunately, there were too many bentos/recipes and not enough space in the book for me to include this one. However, the Under the Hawaiian Sea Bento is a combination of four different bentos that are in the cookbook, so there are directions on how to make each individual sea creature that is featured.
Hawai`i’s Bento Box Cookbook, Second Course, will be available mid April in stores as well as online.
Today’s bento has rice with chopped teriyaki beef in the center, kind of like a rice with teriyaki beef sandwich. And since Easter is almost here, I decided to start with the Easter themed bentos! The bunnies are made of cheese, kamaboko, fish sausage, and nori for the eyes.
Coincidently, bunnies are also the theme for Hapabento’s monthly contest so this bento will be my entry.
I also wanted to mention that yesterday’s octopus bento was eaten by me and not the kids. They both refused to eat the octopus, but Sean was brave enough to give it a go. Unfortunately it came right back out.
Today’s bento is my entry to the Japan Society’s virtual bento battle contest. My bento is based upon on a Japanese print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi called Octopus Games. You can see more of his work at the Japan Society’s website. I found these little seasoned octopus, or chuka idako at Don Quijote this morning and then dressed them up with kamaboko eyes and mouths. I also made a headband for one of them using kampyo.
Check out the entry by Bento Zen who also entered a bento into the contest. Gamene’s “Woman in a Hilltop Teahouse” bento is absolutely amazing! There’s still some time left for you to enter the contest too!
Rachel from Coconut Crumbs interviewed me for an article that she’s working on about nutritious bentos. I happily included my two cents and also volunteered to make a couple of nutritionally balanced bentos. I have to admit when it comes to actual food group portion sizes, I had no clue! I had to ask Rachel for guidance and she provided me with great information as well as links to the USDA site and CDC’s fruit and vegetable calculator which I found extremely helpful. I always (well at least try very hard to) ensure that my kids eat a balanced meal but I wasn’t sure about the exact portion sizes recommended by the USDA. Along with a cup of milk per meal, this is the recommendations that Rachel gave me to prepare Paige’s bentos today:
1-2 oz of whole grains (1-2 slices of whole wheat bread, 1/2-1 cup cooked rice/pasta).
1/2-1 cup of vegetables
1/2 cup of fruit
1-2 oz protein (1 egg, 1/4-1/2 cup cooked beans, 1-2Tbsp humus or PB, 1/4-1/2 cup tofu) Note: Most meat/fish, if shaped like the size of a deck of cards, equals 3 oz.
For the first bento I made whole grain peanut butter sandwich bento which consists of:
- 2 ounces whole grain bread
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 1/4 ounce of cheese
- 1/2 cup of fruit
- 1/2 cup of veggies
- 1/2 pint low fat milk
My second bento was a veggie fried rice bento which consists of:
- veggie fried rice (1 cup brown rice, 1/3 cup of peas and carrots, and seasoned with a little bit of oyster sauce, garlic, pepper, and sea salt)
- poached egg flower (egg cooked well) with a small cheese circle
- 1/4 cup of veggies
- 1/2 cup of fruit
- 1/2 pint of low fat milk
I made the eggs using this flower silicone egg poacher which was awesome!!! It cooked the egg perfectly and the flower slid out of the mold without effort. I got this set at the Ward Executive Chef for $8.50! If you like eggs, I highly recommend you get one!
Please check out Rachel’s site, Coconut Crumbs for great recipes and nutritional tips! Also make an effort to check out this post of hers…I am on a mission to make a beautiful nutritionally balanced pizza like that! Thank you Rachel for teaching me a lot about nutrition!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Todays bento features two little orange-haired Irish boys with my local take on corned beef and cabbage- corned beef hash patties and Korean style cabbage. The cabbage is blanched and then seasoned with a little bit of sea salt, pepper, and sesame oil. There are a lot of fun St. Patty’s Day bentos out there and you can see some of them at Just Bento and Kid Eats on Flickr!
Since I’m part Irish (no kidding, I really am) I couldn’t let St. Patrick’s Day go by without making a green bento! The bento consists of an apple pan (bread), oranges, kiwi hearts, and grapes. The frogs are made from fruit roll-ups with small sugar eyes and crescent shaped cake decorations for the mouths. Since the kiwi and grapes were kind of tart, I included a little container of Sakura flavored sugar to sprinkle on top of the fruit before eating. I found the sugar at Nijiya market and it’s so pretty with the dried cherry blossoms and leaves. I thought that the Sakura sugar nicely complimented the flavor of the kiwi and green grapes, but the kids couldn’t tell the difference.
Paige and Sean are doing much better but I kept Paige home again today. I didn’t think her school would appreciate me sending her back with a hacking cough and runny nose. The kids were tired of eating so much soup this past week that they requested pancakes for breakfast this morning. After we made the star pancakes, we dressed them up a little with cheese and sugar eyes. Those icing eyes are great! They are so easy to use and make any lunch (or breakfast) a lot more fun. I bought these large eyes from the Executive Chef at Ward Warehouse and they also carry many different colors and sizes. TGIF!