Yesterday I met with Sachiko Uchida who hosts the popular Japanese radio show on J-wave called the Colors of Hawai`i, as well as OC 16′s Doko Ga TV. We recorded a short interview for her Colors of Hawai`i show talking about how popular charaben bento has become in Hawai`i, as well as in the US and abroad. Even Paige got to answer a few questions and was thrilled to be on the radio. Thanks so much to Sachi and Chiho for letting us be a part of your show. :D
Girl’s Day is tomorrow! We picked up a few boxes of baked rice crackers from Marukai for Paige to share at school for Girl’s Day. The boxes are really cute and if you pull on the tab their eyes change. :D
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. :D 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!
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!!! :D 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. :D
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! :D
Altogether now, say- “Phew, thank goodness Susan didn’t make another tiger bento!”. :D 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. :D
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
Okay football fans, here is my Super (Bento) Bowl tribute to the Indianapolis Colts! If you use your imagination and maybe squint just a little, you will see the mascot for the Colts with his mane made of parsley flowing in the wind. The two football spam musubis also double as the bottom of the colt’s hooves as he’s galloping towards his game day victory. I also gave him a shiny red apple to eat, just in case he gets hungry. The bento also contains buffalo chicken bites with extra buffalo sauce, made with Frank’s Red Hot sauce, stored in the side container.
In truth, I am not a huge football fan but was inspired to make this bento for two reasons. First of all, Mark is cheering for the Saints. So in order to make things interesting and fun we usually pick opposite teams, with the exception of UH games in which we always cheer for our home team! :D Secondly and actually the main reason for the bento is that our friend, Clayton from KITV , suggested to Pikko (Adventures in Bento Making) and me that people might be interested in seeing a Colts or Saints bento. Pikko was brave and took on what I couldn’t do. I opted for the Colts thinking it would be pretty simple to make a horse, but alas it was not as easy as I had hoped. Don’t forget to check out Pikko’s bento! In any case who are you all rooting for?
All of a sudden, Paige’s eating habit have been changing. Her favorites have been replaced by other things and she’s being a little more adventurous in trying new foods. For instance some of the things she would never eat and now love are raw broccoli, salmon, hard boiled eggs, and egg salad sandwiches. I was cooking a few hard boiled eggs last night and Paige just so happened to ask me what my favorite sandwich was when I was a kid. I told her that I loved egg salad sandwiches when I was her age and so did her Dad. She was curious enough to try it and so I made her one for dinner. Lo and behold she loved it and declared it to be her second favorite sandwich ever! Yay, I love it when Paige tries new things!
Paige’s bento today has sesame chicken, mini chive dumplings, veggies (including raw broccoli!), and a musubi stored in an onigiri box. I got these nesting boxes at the Ward Marukai Zakka Avenue store because I thought they were too cute to pass up!
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Pikko of Adventures in Bento Making and I are hosting a fundraiser for Haiti. Please visit her site to read more about the fundraiser and about the prizes that can be won! All of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross for their relief efforts in Haiti.
On to today’s bento! Paige’s bento today was super simple and consisted of whole grain Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets that I baked in the toaster oven, hot rice in the thermal container, a cutie, and a few veggies. To make it “cute”, I just added in a few picks and some fun dividers.
This is a bento I made for myself a few days ago from leftover mapo tofu that I had at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Little Village in China Town. The food is so delicious and I could eat there everyday, no kidding! My favorite dish is the steamed dumplings (pictured below) served with a spicy peanut sauce. I never do this, but once I tried to finagle the recipe for the peanut sauce from the waiter but he wouldn’t tell me. :( Yes, it is that good.
Lastly, I just got the advertisement paper from Marukai and I wanted to share a few things that caught my eye. First of all this sale doesn’t take place until January 18. I wouldn’t want anyone going there this weekend and not finding these products. Anyway, the first pic is of these really cute nesting pig family musubi container set. So cute! And for those of you who can’t decide whether or not to use a chopstick, fork, or spoon here is the ultimate solution- the three way chopstick! LOL.
This next item is for my husband who eats bread with peanut butter and jelly practically every morning. One of his favorite things to eat is melon pan and now they have melon pan spread in a tube! Mark loves to eat sweet stuff in the morning and I remember that when we first got married he always ate frosted pop tarts and had a glass of Ovaltine everyday.
Finally, if you have have mochi left over from New Years or if you just love mochi period, here are some inventive ways to eat it! I am intrigued by the spam mochibi. Hope you all have a good weekend! :)