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May 31, 2007

Princess Bonbon Bento

This week, the bento challenge is "game characters". At first I thought, hey I can do Pikko! But after some thinking today I decided she was too hard and obscure to boot. So Pikko got dumped and I began to brainstorm for an easily recognized game character. Wanting to stick with something Final Fantasy, I chose the ever lovable chocobo! This bento is dedicated to my little chocobo chicky, Princess Bonbon. I raised her from an egg and reserved from my garden the precious cupid worms and vomp carrots that were so valuable at the time. Eventually she was retired to the stables in Windurst.

The body, legs, and beak are made from bell pepper cut with an X-acto knife. The toes and eyes are made from thinly sliced cauliflower stem! I was going to use cheese at first, but decided it would be too soft and difficult. I learned my lesson from cutting out Elmo's eyes! The black lines didn't come out how I wanted it to, creating a blurry black "glow" around the lines. Still, it did it's job. It's made out of nori carefully inserted into slits in the pepper. side view/close-up

The entire thing rests on a bed of somen noodles, which came with several colored noodles. Isn't that cute?? I love it! I found it at Daiei. I wasn't going to use it tonight, but my ever wonderful daughter decided to chew on the package, crushing a bunch of the noodles and puncturing the packaging. As for the "KWEH?"... hahaha!!! I made that with nori using my Quickutz dies for scrapbooking. Bet the Quickutz team never envisioned someone using their product for making lunch!

The pictures came out pretty bad; obviously I haven't yet found time to make my lightbox. Originally I thought putting it into a yellow container would be nice because it matched the chocobo, but instead it made her hard to see. :( I'd move it all to another container and re-take the pictures, but that would require energy that simply doesn't exist in my poor weary body right now. This bento took me a whopping 2 HOURS to make. Good thing the kids knocked out early!

The bottom layer of the bento consists of salmon flavored onigiri, Aidell's chicken meatballs (teriyaki pineapple), carrots, and edamame.

This bento is kinda nuts points-wise, costing me 7 points. I can knock off half of that by exercising tomorrow. I just have to remember to do it! Currently I weigh in at 133.4 lbs, which I'm very happy with. Five months ago I was 155. Scary... +_+

May 30, 2007

Big Bambucha Bento

Since today's bento contents pale so much in comparison to my onolicious steak stir fry yesterday, I tried to make up for it's lameness in size. There's no way I can eat this all for lunch, so I'll probably just snack on it occasionally all day.

In the top right corner I put some slices of baked Okinawan Sweet Potato. Next to that are rows of broccoli and cauliflower, leftover from Monday's dinner. Baby carrots and half an ear of corn surround the main part of my meal, lomi lomi salmon. If you've never heard of it or never eaten it, you really should! It's an all Core dish, very easy to make, and is full of taste! Do a Google search on it and you'll find tons of recipes. You basically just chop up salted salmon, tomatoes, sweet onion, and green onions then massage all the ingredients together. Extreme close-up!

In addition to all of this I'm taking a small bento of chopped watermelon. They were finally on sale for 19c a pound at Foodland and I was able to get a nice big seedless Sugarland watermelon for about $3.50! Too bad the darned thing comes with bazillions of little white underdeveloped seeds, which apparently qualify the melon as being "seedless". Wuteva!

May 29, 2007

Rib eye Stir fry

As I mentioned yesterday, we ate at Outback on Sunday night and I got the very tasty rib eye steak but only ate half of it. I'd ordered it with broccoli and so took all of that home for today's leftovers bento! I sliced some red bell pepper for additional color and stir fried it all with a bit of Pam. I didn't cook it long as I wanted to preserve the "medium rare" state of the meat. EXTREME CLOSE-UP! Whoaaaa!

If I've learned anything from making bento it's that with a Costco 5 minutes away I need two fridges. I picked up blackberries, strawberries, and cherries. The cherries were so expensive I'm surprised they didn't have someone sitting next to the little suckers offering financing. The good news is everytime I bite into one I'm glad I dished out 13 dollars for a pack. Ok, maybe not glad, but it tastes at least moderately worth it.

I wanted to take watermelon, mango, and lomi salmon today too, but snapped out if it when I was trying to find a third bento box to take with me. Making up for what I ate yesterday will include extra stairclimbing at work this week.

May 28, 2007

Meatballs & Spam Won Ton

Today we had quite the adventure attempting to go to the beach with the family. We ate at Outback last night and decided on an attempted arrival time at Ko Olina of 8:30 am. Running late, we got there at 8:45 only to find out that all the beaches were full and were turned around at the guard shack. The other half of our party had managed to get in only to find car lines at the parking lots of at least 10 cars. Last time we had 4 cars ahead of us and waited over 45 minutes for a spot and that was at 10:30 when it was actually possible people might leave the beach.

We headed out onto the freeway looking for a possible alternate beach but eventually decided that we did not want to end up on the 6 o'clock news as "Local Japanese family of noobs killed on deserted beach in Nanakuli". Eventually we got an "in" at Ko Olina and headed back for some free parking goodness. This picnic was a great excuse to finally use my big 3-tiered bento box!

My contribution to our way too huge spread of food was corn, Aidell's chicken meatballs, watermelon, and some old pupu type food that my mom used to make years and years ago. I'd read about the meatballs on Lunch in a Box and had seen them at Costco before. When I went to buy them yesterday it just so happened that they were giving out samples of them and though I didn't get to try them, I'd gone specifically to get some. Due to the sampling almost every box was gone and I got the second to the last one. Go me! They were super easy to prepare. All I did was dump them into a bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes!

These lovely things are probably on the Top Five Foods You Should Never Eat list for Weight Watchers: deep fried won ton with spam and kamaboko! Oh so good though. Unfortunately I was unable to keep them crispy until lunchtime. I'd eaten one in the morning and wow they were full of win. Despite the sogginess, everyone loved them!

Overall it was an okay beach trip, even with two kids afraid of the water and one afraid of sand. It rained. A lot. I pigged out on spam musubi, fried chicken, a huge onigiri, meatballs, won ton, corn, and watermelon. I'll have to be really good all week and exercise cause man did I eat like 30 points today. I lost .5 lb last week! A good slow-down rate that I am perfectly fine with!

May 25, 2007

Miso beef w/ potatoes

I'm going to have to do a monkey bento soon. My two kiddos have been watching so much Curious George lately that I can't get Will Ferrel's voice out of my head. Maybe a monkey bento will help. Haha yeah right...

I decided to try the miso marinade again with beef this time. I dumped all the ingredients into a ziplock bag with a round steak and let it soak overnight then broiled it this morning. It didn't brown on the edges as well as I liked, but since I was cooking in the morning I had no time to re-broil them. The marinade is from my bento box book:

4 oz steak
1 1/2 Tbsp miso
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sake
1 tsp mirin

I added in a boiled red potato chopped into cubes with garlic salt sprinkled on top:

The picture isn't the best, but you can still tell what it is right? :) Maybe this week I can go buy the stuff I need for a homemade lightbox at last. For the other layer I put tofu sprinkled with red shrimp flakes with a strawberry soy sauce bottle and some broccoli and cauliflower with carrot stars. This photo came out terrible too, but that's what happens when one falls asleep early when they should be making bento!

Since I didn't have time to eat much breakfast I packed a side bento to eat earlier in the day that has baby carrots, cucumber kim chee, and ahi poke. I'll probably eat this around 10:30 and then eat lunch at 1 or 2.

A miraculously all Core meal! There is sugar in the steak, but so little that it doesn't count since the bento book says to scrape off the marinade before broiling. Obviously I couldn't find time for a pirate bento, but I'm fine with this since I still haven't even seen Dead Man's Chest.

May 24, 2007

Inarizushi with veggies

Ok so I realized just now that Flickr is resizing my 1000 pixel wide shots to 500 pixels, so there's no real point in uploading a big size and a small size if the big is only 100 pixels wider. If I have time I'll upload the big files to my Swapsonian domain later.

Due to an extremely busy television night with two 2-hour finales, (one which cut off right after Ryan Seacrest said, "After a world record 74 million votes, the American Idol 2007 is...") I could only make another small bento. As for the finale, it would be an understatement to say that I was pretty upset had to go look online to find out who won. That's twice in one month mah TiVo let me down!

This one is pretty simple with just two cone sushi (inarizushi), the last of my cucumber kim chee with some leftover diced carrots that I put into the sushi rice, and three grape tomatoes on the brink of death. Not sure I'll eat the tomatoes... When I was growing up we always called inarizushi "cone sushi" because sometimes people make it by cutting the aburage diagonally and then stuffing it, making it look like a cone. But anytime I see this kind of sushi I just call it cone sushi cause that's what I'm used to.

This doesn't look like much, but quite a bit of rice can fit into those tofu skins so it comes out to 1/2 a cup of rice in the whole meal. I'd bought a package of already cooked, already simmered, already cut aburage so all I did was rip open the package and stuff the skins. The instructions were all in Japanese so good thing there was little need for them.

So much for my all Core lunches, ha! I knew it wasn't going to fill me up, so I also brought along baby carrots, watermelon, a fuji apple, and some grapes. Contrary to what I said earlier this week I'm now thinking of toning down my diet and losing weight at a much slower rate so that I'm able to keep my healthy eating mentality longer. I don't want to suddenly fling myself off the diet in anticipation of all the missed rice and bread I've been thinking of this whole time. I won't be in my friend's wedding for another 7 months, so that's quite a long while for me to lose the last 14 pounds considering I lost 16 in just under two months.

May 23, 2007

Corned beef hash

I made just a small bento this morning because I fell asleep last night while watching The Good Shepherd and didn't have much time to make a bigger one. We had curry last night plus corned beef hash. I'm a real sucker for corned beef hash so I chose that for lunch. I'd washed my two bento boxes at MIL's house and put my lunch portion into the Doggie Woogie container to arrange later. I woke up this morning and saw the Doggie Woogie box on the stove and thought, AUGH!, then sheepishly removed the empty Putifresh box from the fridge. I'd put away the wrong box... Since it was rather cool last night I decided to risk eating it anyway.

I cut the patty in half and added some sesame seeds and an ume to the rice. For color and filler, I added takuan cradled in a little pocket of aluminum foil then put a piggy bottle with ketchup in for the hash. That pig was pretty hard to fill with ketchup and I wasted quite a bit before deciding to use my sunflower bottle filler for it. The key was to open a new bottle of fresh ketchup because the old one in the fridge was too thick to suck up into it!

May 22, 2007

Chicken tofu

Contrary to what I said about not losing weight this week, yesterday morning the scale informed me that I'd lost 2.5 lbs, making me exactly 134.0 lbs! I passed my 10% weight loss goal and have officially lost 16 lbs since the end of March. ^_^ Having very low point days is a good thing. The bad part is that since I had 4 extra points tonight, I decided I could have a cupcake. I did decapitate the frosting, but still, bad habit! In other news, my success has inspired two of my Allakhazam co-workers to join up with Weight Watchers! Wewt!

Last night we had a pretty yummy dinner, MIL made chicken tofu with long rice. I nuked one of my frozen packets of kim chee fried rice and added it in to help keep this lunch all Core. I'm still thinking about what to do for a pirate bento and am now considering sitting this one out. It's a pretty hard theme and not one I'm all that excited about. I do have some ideas for pirate ships. We'll see! Anyway, here is the top layer. It was quite dreary, so I added the parsley and tomato. Not that it helped all that much.

I've decided to make larger versions of my bentos available, so from now on you can click each image for an enlargement.

The pupu layer consists of the rest of the ahi shoyu poke, kim chee crab, and some baby carrots. The top carrots are actually sliced in half because it wouldn't have closed with two layers of carrots.

I'll end with one last bit of exciting news. My friend is currently on a trip in Japan and I had asked him to keep an eye out for these nori punches. He emailed me to say he was able to find them with ease and will be carrying them home for me! The best part is I have avoided the $17 shipping fee I saw on eBay. Good thing I have cast iron will and an amazing resistence to making impulse purchases online!

NOT! I'm just cheap...

May 21, 2007

Pork w/ ong choi

I weigh in today but I probably gained this week due to eating out last last Friday, last Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, and yesterday. Evil, evil week!! So this week I'm going to try hard to concentrate on pure Core lunches. The bentochallenge this week is Pirates and that's a tough one, so I'll probably have to debate that one all week before deciding on something.

Last night I made pork with ong choi, which is very easy and all Core. I slice some lean boneless pork chops into thin strips (all fat removed) and marinate in a little soy sauce. Fried it in olive oil then removed it from the pot. Next I cooked some minced garlic in more olive oil and added the ong choi, which I chop into shortish sticks lengths. Added the meat, then some oyster sauce to taste and it's done! I had to take my lunch portion as soon as I was done cooking so that I could take the picture immediately because it cooks as it sits and goes from a nice green to a dark brown. Even green though, it probably doesn't look too great, but it tastes good! My mom got the recipe from some swap meat vendor selling ong choi and I added in the pork eventually after eating it at a Chinese restaurant.

My bottom layer is my "pupu" (pronounced poo-poo, meaning appetizer) layer with cucumber kim chee, edamame, and ahi shoyu poke.

I packed a second bento made of all fruits in the top dish of my Doggie Woogie set. It has raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, and tuscan melon.

I've been flaking out on logging my points this week because of the eating out and such, so this week it's back to strict points tallying and more Core meals! I'll doubly challenge myself and try to come up with an all Core pirate bento. Arrr!!

May 19, 2007

Elmo snack bento

Years ago when I used to do decos (mail art, viewable at Swapsonian Gallery link to the right) I always favored the color themed decos. That particular fancy of mine has carried right over into bentomaking and so since the bentochallenge theme is Red I needed a good excuse for making another one. Kids make great excuses for bentos and as luck would have it, I've got two on hand.

I'd been brainstorming about this bento for a few days and Ms. Nexasaurus was kind enough to supply me with the wonderful idea of giving Elmo some balloons. This turned out great, so give yourself another great big hug Nexa! Here's the lil' guy:

His face is made of bell pepper, as are the balloons. I put the back side facing out for his face for texture and the shiny side out for the balloons for... shinyness. I did this with my Exacto knife I use for scrapping (washed and dried). That sucker may give me headaches cutting cardstock, but it's no slouch when cutting veggies! I cut up a mini Babybel for his eyes and punched out some dots for his eyeballs. I cut the mouth and balloon strings with a scissors and used a knife for his nose, which is carrot.

It's funny how things work out. His nose was a teeny bit too big and that meant part of it was the clearer carrot center. This really bothered me, but I decided carrot was a better looking orange than Kraft cheese. In the picture, the carrot center makes the nose look textured and lumpy, kinda like Elmo's nose! Anyway, here is the whole bento:

The other side contains raspberries, sliced watermelon, and a Japanese strawberry milk candy. I put in a food pick to add more red too. Before I did this I had seriously contemplated using plain toothpicks with little printed out flags with Dorothy (Elmo's goldfish pet) on them. A couple minutes into Googling Dorothy images I snapped out of my crazy spell and fished out a regular pick. "Fished out", haha!

Obviously this isn't much of a bento food-wise. After I placed Elmo I decided it was just too small for fitting enough red and meat too, so I decided a snack bento would be the best way to go. We're going to a softball game tomorrow, so it seems as if I'll have the opportunity to scare some family members.

Next week I'm going back to regular "nicely arranged" bentos. This is too much stress!

May 18, 2007

Hello Kitty onigiri w/ gyoza

I joined a LiveJournal community called bentochallenge where they post weekly themes and you have a week to post entries for it. This week's theme is Red and I've been wanting to do something for it all week. I finally had the time and plan for it last night! I hope to do another one tomorrow for Baby Girl in the shape of Elmo. (still brainstorming all the details)

This was the first time I was able to use my Hello Kitty onigiri mold and I'm pretty happy with the result, though I'm not sure why the mold has little indentations for the eyes and bow and stuff cause there's no way it would show on the rice. Maybe this is an ice cream mold and I'm just a total dork. Here she is:

I have no shame in asking for showers of praise for this entry because I had to cut all those little nori whiskers, eyes, and nose by hand with a scissors and then apply them with a pair of tweezers! Feel free to hand out ooohs and aaahs for that red pepper ribbon too cause it took me (I swear) 15 minutes to cut with a knife. D: Miss Kitty has ume (more red) in the middle.

Also included are two pieces of Ajinomoto brand pork gyoza, which are basically little dumplings of heaven. They cost 1 WW point each, so that's why I only packed two. Next to it is some finely chopped bell pepper fried in the leftover juices of the gyoza (which doesn't require oil to fry, just water). I added a tomato shaped soy sauce container for the gyoza.

The bottom layer was quite the adventure to make as well. I bought a section of watermelon at Safeway and finally cut up that tuscan melon I bought at Costco. As I expected, the tuscan tastes wonderful! Anyway, I still had some galia melon, so I cut out flowers from all three melons then carved out a little center from each one with a plain ole drinking straw and exchanged the centers with other colors! Inside the bear cup is some fat free, sugar free instant pudding with a raspberry nose and blackberry eyes. Added the Babybel and strawberries for more red. I had to rearrange the strawberries and cheese to close it up, but it didn't look much different.

Here's the lunch all packed up and my miso soup in a red soup Tupperware to make my red meal complete. (and to help fill up my tummy)

This is a pretty naughty lunch. The gyoza are 2 points, the onigiri 1 point, the Babybel 2 points for a total of 4 points for lunch. But this should be ok since yesterday I had a relatively low points day. I may end up skipping the cheese though, as eating them again and again doesn't seem to change the fact that they don't taste too good. :(

May 17, 2007

Kabuki Leftovers

We went out to eat at Kabuki last night and hubby ended up at home sick, so I packed up my leftover food for him to try eating when we got home. I thought being sick and having a nicely arranged dinner would make him eat slower, but he inhaled it Mr. Pikko style anyway.

As predicted, salmon ended up being the best choice for me. I got their Teishoku A, which is salmon shioyaki, tempura, and sashimi. Hot damn was that sashimi good. I haven't had it in... I dunno, it's been a long time. Probably that blissful month between ending breastfeeding Baby Girl and finding out I was preggers with Buddy.

This leftovers bento has rice, salmon shioyaki, teriyaki chicken (from the kids' plate), shrimp tempura, takuan, mac salad, and tsukemono. I tried to take this photo when no one from the family was watching, but a couple raised eyebrows made it through anyway. Unfortunately, they were way too far away and assuring them of my sanity would have required yelling across the room. "IT'S FOR MY BLOG!"

This means I don't have a bento for today, but that's fine since I only ate half of my bento yesterday. Eating a fist size chunk of tofu before your lunch really fills you up, who would have thunk it! I'll be bringing some miso soup I made for Mr. Pikko to eat with my leftover leftover bento.

May 16, 2007

Grilled salmon w/ asparagus

Last night me and the kids went out to eat at Big City Diner with my mom and brother and he very nicely treated us! This being my 3rd time eating out after switching to Core, I can understand why I was so overweight before. Portions are huge, everything has butter, and most things are fried. After closely examining everything I settled upon the salmon (as usual) and following WW advice, asked if they were willing to grill it for me. Thankfully, they were happy to do so and the miso sauce it came with was a nice compliment. I'd upgraded to their garlic mashed potatoes, which turned out to be insanely yummy, but very buttery. I made myself count this meal as 5 points.

Digging my old bunch of asparagus out of the fridge, I was sad to find mold on the bottom of the stems. But ever the food optimist, unlike my husband who will issue death sentences to apples with the slightest spot, I simply picked out all the ones that were still crisp at the top and snapped off the moldy end. Should I die in the very near future, please attempt to contact my next of kin and point out that it's likely I stupidly ate myself to death with some old asparagus. The spinach is arranged a certain way to cover up the parts of the fish I'd already eaten and I added the lemon, tomato, and parsley for decoration and color.

I'd mentioned before about some bento cloths I found at Marukai for wrapping my box. Well I finally got to use it! Here is the box all packed up in a bunny rabbit cloth with my matching color bunny rabbit chopsticks.

We're going out to dinner AGAIN tomorrow for a special occasion. It's likely I'll end up eating... yep, salmon. *sigh* I re-packed (from MIL's containers) Buddy's dinner to make it prettier. I have a Pokemon cloth I can take it in for him. :) Here is the top layer:

It has half brown/half white rice, stewed baby carrots, and chopped cucumber kim chee. I used one of my "Whale of a Punch" scrapbooking punches for the stars.

The bottom layer contains the stew. I'm so demented with bento obsession that I actually took the piece of carrot out, washed it, sliced it, and made them into sakura carrot flowers. The extras I shoved underneath the stew for him to eat. The parsley was really cheap at the market and is a really handy decoration for bento. I'm an instant parsley fan!

Tomorrow will be a really bad day in points... damn restaurants!

May 15, 2007

Meatball w/ tamagoyaki

My photos today came out terrible. -_- I don't know why but my camera just would not focus properly and I was in a frantic rush because once again I did not make my bento last night like I should have. My aunty commented yesterday that my portions looked huge in some pics and though these bento boxes are actually quite small, she was right about the fried rice portion. I'd had no idea I packed so much in that one box! I ended up only eating half of it and took the rest home for today's bento. I chose my new banana putifresh box and the veggies in the rice had taken on a rather drab color, so I added some carrot flowers.

See what I mean about the picture? I can't stand it!! Grr. Must read camera manual... if I can find it. Feba commented that I should get a lighting box, what is that?? Anyway, here is the other layer:

The tamagoyaki is actually why I was so late. Now I know to cook all my bentos the night before! It's just too stressful in the morning right now!! It was a little rough making the egg because I'd only done it once before and I hadn't done it with my tamagoyaki pan before. (rectangle shape) There are 1.99 pans at Marukai, but the pan I have looks of much higher quality and cost me $25.00 at Shirokiya. The egg wasn't folding too well, but it could be due to using egg substitute rather than real eggs. But my eggs were expired, so I had no choice. The meatballs are actually a teri hamburger patty from MIL's dinner last night cut into small pieces. I stuck in some of my Hello Kitty food picks, which cost me the equivalent of an arm and a leg at Sanrio. >.< I added in a chick soy sauce bottle for the fried rice and another carrot flower for color. Notice the yellow sushi grass? I love it! ^_^

This was only one patty and so I'm counting it as 1 point due to the mostly core ingredients. The only thing in it of concern is the whole wheat bread and though the amount is really small, I feel kinda weird calling it Core, thus the point. The tamagoyaki had 2 tsp of sugar in it, but since 2 tsp of sugar counts as .5 points and I only packed 1/4 of the egg that I cooked, I'm not going to count any points for it.

May 14, 2007

Kim chee fried rice

I lost 2.2 lbs this week even though I ate like 4 lbs of food at yesterday's buffet. Very bad... I did my best, avoiding the battered fish and the chow mein but I utterly failed when it came to the crab salad. It was extremely win and I ended up eating two servings. I also ate a piece of cake and a slice of custard pie.

Anyway, I had no lunch, so after watching the Survivor finale I decided to make some kim chee fried rice using the immense bag of brown rice I bought at Costco. When hubby saw I bought this he flipped out because not two months ago we gave the bag of brown rice that he had bought from Costco to his parents. When I told him to go buy rice he came back with brown and I screeched about how I hated brown rice. But I'd seen someone's picture of brown fried rice and I thought, hey, I think I could live with eating that instead of straight up brown rice.

I had no idea what I was doing or if I even liked kim chee fried rice, but I started the rice and after about 20 minutes decided to start cooking the veggies so that when the brown rice was done I could just toss it in and finally go to sleep. It was shortly after 12 am now. Starting with the half head cabbage I had leftover from my tsukemono, I fried that in olive oil then added pepper and some chicken bullion. Next I added onions, onion powder, kim chee, leftover peas, Costco chicken (breast meat, no skin), and some of my pre-chopped bell peppers for color. As previously mentioned, I had no idea what I was doing and was actually just tossing anything I thought might taste good from the fridge. It was 1:15 am by the time I was done with this and the stupid rice cooker wasn't even steaming yet. I couldn't tell if it was even cooking and I was dying to open it up to see!! Hubby was just laughing at my dilemma cause he knew how badly I wanted to open the cooker but how bad it would be to do so mid-cooking, should it actually BE cooking.

Giving up at last, I went to take a shower. When I came back out I pressed my ear to the cooker and could finally hear bubbling inside. I watched an SVU. I put the veggies away. When I was just about to go to bed at 2:15 am, THE FOOGIN' RICE COOKER FINALLY BEEPS. So lesson learned here is: when cooking brown rice, anticipate it taking like 2 hours to do so. *mutter*

Anyway, I had to cook it this morning and I added some soy sauce as well. I was tempted to add ketchup too but figured dousing it in 4 condiments was probably making the brown rice feel pitiful enough. Since I hadn't used it yet, I packed today's lunch in my new 3-tier Doggie Woogie bento box from Morning Glory. This box was pretty expensive at $13 so that's the last big one I buy for quite some time. The fried rice:

I really don't like how my pictures turn out by the sunlight, so I think I'll stick to the kitchen. The fried rice doesn't really look that colorless and drab. My veggies layer has tsukemono, takuan, grape tomatoes, tofu and carrot sticks. I used one of my new carrot bottles! :)

Fruit layer has mango, blackberries, strawberries, and some of this new melon I saw at Costco called a Galia melon. It's not as good as I was hoping, but they made up for it by having Tuscan melons in stock the last time I went. Those are way sweeter than cantalopes btw!

Though this meal looks like it contains a lot of points cause of the rice, Weight Watchers Core actually lists brown rice as a Core food. This is why I chose to make brown fried rice of course. :) This entire lunch is happily all core. Which is good because I forgot to eat breakfast and ended up eating at Jack in the Box for breakfast. +_+ Their menu is repulsive! I ended up getting the grilled chicken sourdough with no cheese and no mayo, then I took out the bacon and only ate one of the slices of bread. The chicken fillet was really juicy and the lettuce and tomato they put on were very fresh and thick, which was nice. It was the best I could do, since I wasn't strong enough to just go without breakfast! You should have seen the monster cane spider I saw at the drive-thru though. *shudder*

My throat is almost all better, so it really must have been that I just burned my throat and not something more serious. Considering the pain and discomfort I went through this past week, you can bet I won't be overheating my tea water again!!

May 13, 2007

Buddy Bento

I forgot I took this photo on Saturday. Buddy fell asleep right before lunch and didn't wake up until we were leaving to watch my niece's softball game. His lunch had been waiting for him for two hours so I had to pack it up in a flash and take this photo in secret because we were already very late and I'd have been so busted if hubby knew I was in the house snapping a quick picture. :D

It's a very simple lunch due to the time crunch. I'd made them shoyu vienna sausage (a favorite of the kiddos) with rice and so I cut it up and mixed it with rice for one half then added some more of the mini strawberries (sliced while still whole) and some raisins. It's a lot plainer looking than I would have liked, but I really didn't know I'd be making a lunch bento for him to eat at 2:30 pm!

I've decided to put all my bento pics on my new Flickr account so that I can use the tags to sort them. My domain came back up finally and lots of pictures were missing, so I had to re-upload some of the ones I hadn't changed over. They should all be displaying properly now.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!!

May 12, 2007

Bento Box Mania

I had a chance to go back to Marukai on Ward yesterday and I was able to find more bento boxes and I went kinda... crazy. I bought 7, yes, seven new bento boxes. None of them were more than $1.99, which is of course why I went so shopping crazy. I actually found the "putifresh" boxes that I've been looking at on eBay for quite some time and so it's a good thing I went back and found them. I took pictures, but my domain is down for maintenance atm, which is why none of the past bento pictures work. I'll edit this post to put the pictures in when my site is back up.

I took a great picture of all of my bento boxes. I have 24!! I think I can cool it on the box buying for now. (click picture below to enlarge)

It was very difficult to get the collection photo as Buddy apparently loves bento boxes. I had lined them all up and was about to snap the photo when he took a flying leap into the midst of them and started going crazy flipping them all over the place. +_+ I tried this several more times but couldn't get the picture until he was distracted elsewhere.

I also found some great new accessories that weren't there the first time I went, so obviously new inventory comes in all the time. I found those super cute animal soy sauce bottles I see on eBay all the time, the green/yellow/pink sushi grass, and some nice bento cloths to wrap my boxes in. I cleaned out a drawer and arranged all my bento accessories nicely! (click to enlarge again)

I went to the doctor yesterday for my throat and he said something terrifying:

"Maybe you're allergic to mangoes and strawberries."

*GASP* I have chosen to ignore that suggestion for it's ridiculousness. All joking aside, he said it's too soon to do any kind of testing, so I'm going back next week if it still hurts.

BTW, I got sick of waiting for my domain maintenance to be over and opened a flickr account. >:(

May 11, 2007

Kaolian's Bane

In celebration of the arrival of my cute lil' Urara bento box set (box, strap, chopsticks, case, and bag!) I decided to make it color coordinated. This morning I fried up some asparagus and bell pepper (chopped last night) in olive oil, garlic salt, and toasted sesame seeds. On the bottom tray I put in the last of my kim chee crab, the last of the ahi shoyu poke, and some small cubes of tofu. I packed some soy sauce in one of my piggie bottles with the cap exchanged from the red piggie. The tofu expires today, so I'm bringing the rest of it in a separate container. I call it Kaolian's bane because he can't stand tofu and despises asparagus.

Top layer:

Bottom layer:

Fruits will be mango, strawberries, and blackberries. All Core meal! ^_^

May 10, 2007

Oyako donburi

Lots of bento pics today! I took the day off yesterday because hubby's eye was so red that I needed to drive him to the eye doctor. Later I was supposed to pick up the kids at my niece's softball game and since it was at 5:00 I figured, what a great excuse for making bento! I decided on Oyaku donburi, which is always a hit with the kidlets.


2 skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 pink kamaboko, julienned
1 handful chopped green onions
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1 Tbsp sugar
5 eggs, scrambled (I use FF egg substitute)

Fry chicken till half cooked and set aside. Fry onions until translucent. Add green onions and kamaboko, fry for 1-2 minutes. Add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Simmer 5 minutes, then add scrambled eggs. Simmer until eggs are cooked. Serve on hot rice.

It's quite easy and very yummy! I chopped all the ingredients much smaller for the kid's version. For the other half of the bento I defrosted edamame (frozen, pre-cooked from Costco) and shelled them and added mandarin orange slices for them both and added raisins for Buddy. They both look exactly the same, but I took pics of both anyway.

After the game I came home and cooked for myself. Hubby had eaten a big lunch and declined dinner, so I was able to add onions to this dish for the first time in like, I dunno, 10 years?? Usually I drown it with onion powder. As expected though, he kept going to the pan after I was done and eating food out with his hands. >:( Anyway, here is tomorrow's bento:

Top dish is rice and oyaku donburi.

Bottom dish contains some ahi shoyu poke from Foodland, shelled edamame, and some won bok kim chee.

I'd made miso soup to take for lunch too, but then we started watching Lost and by the time I remembered the soup it had been reduced to goo and had been sitting out too long and I didn't want to risk eating spoiled soup. Fruits are mango and strawberry.

My throat still hurts. In fact, it feels worse. The cotton feeling is gone and instead I feel like I have a marble going down my throat everytime I swallow. *sob* 3 Points meal. 2 for the rice and 1 for the kamaboko.

May 9, 2007

Beef broccoli w/ tofu

My super duper MIL made two dishes last night, one being gluten-free (beef broccoli) and the other being not (mapo tofu). I took a lil bit of both along with some white/brown mix rice. It looked pretty plain color-wise, so when I got home I added some chopped kamaboko, furikake, and an extra carrot flower I couldn't fit into yesterday's bento. It looks basically the same as yesterday, but I'm ok with that. I sure am eating a lot more rice than last week. >.<

Yesterday, I either had an allergic reaction to something I ate or I burned my throat really badly while drinking my tea because my throat has been swollen ever since I ate lunch. I don't know whether it was cause I microwaved the bento box, cause I cooked my food on that grill, or if the musubi mix in my rice had mushrooms in it. I'm thinking I must have burnt my throat because usually my reaction to mushrooms goes away by the next day. Whatever it was, it's very uncomfortable and I feel like I have cotton in my throat everytime I swallow. -_-

May 8, 2007

Teriyaki chicken & fish egg!!

I went to the Post Office yesterday and after a lame joke about a $5.00 late fee for picking up a box after hours from the mail clerk and a snarky remark about "another eBay gift", I got my new $2.00 bento box and my egg molds!!! Wheeee!!! I was so thrilled that as soon as I got to MIL's house I boiled one of her eggs for Baby Girl to eat. You're supposed to use a large egg and she only had medium, so the bunny rabbit didn't come out too good, but she was tickled and so was I. When we got home we boiled 3 eggs and made a fish, a car, and a bear. I soaked the bear in soy sauce so he'd be brown (so cute!!) and the fish in red food coloring. The coloring makes it much easier to see the pattern on the egg. She ate the car.

We had chili for dinner so I didn't take leftovers. When I got home I couldn't think of anything to make, so I ended up pulling some frozen chicken thighs out and after defrosting them, shoved them into an almost empty jar of kim chee with teri sauce to marinate. I didn't make my bento last night because I wanted to see if I could do it in the morning, sort of like a test.


First off, my Buddy alarm decided to sleep in. He usually wakes me up at around 6:15-6:30 am with a combination of hissing, laughing, screaming MAMA in my ear, or razzing my stomach. Well he decided to play around the house quietly until about 7:20, so I had to light a fire under my ass to get everything done. Next thing to go wrong was that "strange Japanese grill" I bought at Shirokiya last week. It was not in fact a stovetop grill as I thought. The circular grooves on the bottom made me think they were for putting on the stove. Makes sense right??

Well, I turn the heat up and start placing some chicken on top the grill. First thing I note right off the bat was I should not have sprayed it with cooking spray. Second thing I note is that the house is quickly filling up with smoke from the sauce dripping down and sizzling on the bottom tray. I was a little alarmed at this because I didn't get why there was so much smoke for a little sizzling sauce. It all made sense when I finally just shut off the stove and tried to scrub it down to start over. It was then I noticed that the circular grooves were not just grooves. They were grooves with slits!! You're supposed to put this thing on a real grill! Durrr!! The stovetop had charred sauce all over the burner, hence the assloads of smoke. lolnoob

I ended up shoving it into the oven with foil on the bottom rack to catch drippings while it broiled. Turned out fine and of course, there were no drips. Typical. The lesson learned here is that I must do the following to make morning bento:

1. Set my alarm.
2. Cook my breakfast in bulk so I can just nuke a portion.
3. Not be a complete idiot and play with new tools while in a rush.

And here it is:

Despite all the hangups, I like how it turned out. I had cooked rice last night and this morning, mixed up some with a musubi mix packet, which I think is ume flavor. Fried two stalks of asparagus in olive oil and garlic salt and added the fish egg, which still looked cool. (Baby Girl claimed the bear) I cut out a couple carrot flowers to add too. I'd learned that you have to blanch them so that they don't look dried out at lunch, so to be fast I just heated some water in my Pyrex measuring cup and threw them in for maybe 30 seconds. Nice and quick. Added a shoyu fish for the egg and some sliced takuan. The rice will cost me 3 points, but I didn't bring any cheese today, so I should be fine.

May 7, 2007

Salad kit

No bentos yesterday as I simply didn't have the time. At 9 am Baby Girl saw hubby watching "Mittsbusters" and since it involved a pool, she suddenly wanted to go swimming. Took us like an hour and a half to get ready and when we finally go there and get into the water the first thing out of her mouth was, "Ok, let's go home now." O_O

Poor Buddy had been completely heartbroken that we left him home (hubby can't go outside because of an eye infection) and so I let them play in the yard with the water pool while I pulled weeds. I am slowly but surely winning the war against those deeply rooted suckers! There's a whole 3' x 2' plot of gravel completely weed-free now! Before I knew it, it was 11:45 so I just defrosted some of the leftover turkey lasagna from Saturday night and they all ate that. I had some chicken salad.

For dinner I made Chinese style steamed fish and though it was the first time I'd done the sizzling peanut oil thing and the first time I'd used my fish poacher thing that had been hibernating on top of the fridge for two years, it turned out great! I'd planned on taking some for today's lunch, but the kids enjoyed the fish so much that they ate half a side of the fish by themselves! :D So after some thinking during Amazing Race (yay my team won!) and Sopranos I decided on what I'm calling a salad kit.

The lettuce bowl looked pretty zzZz so I put some momi nori on it. The back of the package says to put it on salad, so I'll see how that tastes. Seems wierd, but you never know! For toppings I went kinda nuts, adding chicken, tomatoes, and carrots. I also finally found the leftover avocado after almost needing to put out an APB on it. If Baby Girl had been awake while I searched the fridge, I guarantee she'd have said "I tink the avocado ran away from home, Mommy." She says that about everything I can't find. It may be a sign of things to come so I must note this down onto my "things I must remember when my daughter turns 13" list along with "bar her windows". Anyway, not sure I'll eat the Babybel as that would add 2 whole points to my all Core lunch.

Fruit bowl has blackberries, mango, strawberries, and kiwi. The goal of the salad kit was to fill it with lots of tasty things that would negate the need for salad dressing. I've tried all the Kraft Free ones like Ranch, Catalina, and Italian Caesar. They taste like how you'd expect fat free salad dressings to taste like: ass. They're so bad I'd much rather go without em.

Forgot to mention, one of the things I did today with Baby Girl was to start a tomato garden (obviously Nexa wishes to infect me with another hobby as revenge for getting her into bentos). Of course me being me, I did first and read instructions after and found out I'd done it completely backwards. We'll see how it goes. I couldn't find a good pot variety of tomato anyway, so maybe it's best this way and I can have another go next week. While at Lowes we ate shave ice with ice cream. *gleep* Since it's pretty much syrup and ice cream, that's probably like a 15 point item or something ridiculous. I weigh in tomorrow, so I'm crossing my fingers.

May 5, 2007

Children's Day!

Today is Children's Day! Excuse me... Boy's Day. I'm not sure when Boy's Day became Children's Day, but the poor guys got their holiday sniped from them, no idea when. When I was growing up I only knew of Girl's Day and Boy's Day. Anyway, as a treat for the kiddies I made them each a bento. I started off making the same one for both of them, which featured peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but as I was pbing the third slice of bread I remembered that Buddy isn't supposed to eat nuts until he's 3. (wtf 3)

Realizing I had to make two completely different lunches, I decided to make them very specific to each of their likes. Baby Girl got peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into circles, then cut in half. One half looked ugly so I ate it. (ha!) Four pieces weren't going to fit anyway, so that worked out. There was some empty space, so I filled that with Okinawan sweet potato. The other side had cubed mango, a cheese wedge, and 4 reduced fat Triscuit. I tried to find her tiny little toy food knife to pack, but I couldn't find it. I even looked under the couch and in the process I discovered 5 books, miscellaneous toy utensils, a watercolor set, a packet of cooking chopsticks I really could have been using before today, and one icky roach. :(

Anyway, she loved it and miraculously ate everything. She especially loved using the pick to eat the mango!

For Buddy's lunch I sliced up the last piece of leftover teri beef and added julienned carrots. I had bought some onigiri flavor packets and so I made him some little onigiri with the salmon flavored one. The other side had sweet potato and the cutest tiny strawberries, which I found in the boxes of strawberries I bought the other day. They were so adorable, just like the ones you grow in your backyard! He ate everything in his lunch too, so both were very successful with the kids. ^_^

We stopped at Windward Mall and I managed to drag us all to the Marukai store there. I found some $1.49 2-tier bento boxes, veggie shaped soy sauce bottles, and more food picks. I was going to pack a salad for myself so I could have a Core lunch, but then I weighed myself and I'd dropped over half a pound from yesterday. So I ate at Arby's! *gasp* But I was good, ate a grilled chicken sandwich and when I saw there was mayo on the bun, I stopped eating the top half.

May 4, 2007


Hubby was home sick yesterday, so I had the car to myself. I had to stop at Price Busters to buy some gift bags for the goodie bags we're giving out for Children's Day and of course me being the total cheap ass shopper, I cannot enter a bargain store like Price Busters without inspecting every possibly good aisle for things I didn't know I needed, but suddenly wanted. In the kitchen section there were quite a few great finds!!

First, I saw the pink Hello Kitty box that I was using from the start of this bento blog for a mere $1.69! I ended up buying 4 things which included two Hello Kitty two-tier boxes in green and blue for $1.99 each. I also found these generic looking stackable containers with a neat handle! A great deal at $1.69 each. There were a lot of colors: white, yellow, blue, green, and pink. I got the green and pink. The last one I got was a set of little yellow cap containers, 6 for $1.49. When I have time, I'll make up a page showing the different boxes I have.

Dinner last night was one of my favorites, tonkatsu! (pork cutlet) I took only a small portion for lunch so that I could take some rice and packed it into the smaller container so that I could use the bigger top box for my fruits. The really mental part is that after I took the picture, I put the rice back into the rice cooker, lol. I want my rice to be nice and steamy in the morning so that it's got that lukewarm sweaty taste at lunch. All I have to do is remember that I took it out. Would be pretty hilarious if I opened my lunch to find a big empty half cause I was too gg to recall removing it.

For the fruits I did mango, kiwi, and some strawberries I bought yesterday. I have really bad luck buying strawberries, usually getting the nice looking ones that have no taste or the big ones that taste like they juice them to get strawberry lemonade. But these seemed to have a lot of potential, being firm and having the right "look" to them. I didn't try any because it was almost 11 and I have what I call my "gremlin time", meaning I can't eat anything after 10 pm. I finally got to use some of the cute food dividers I bought at Marukai. Stuck in a couple picks to use to eat with too. I packed some tsukemono and tonkatsu sauce in my new little yellow boxes. I don't like tonkatsu sauce so I make my own by mixing soy sauce and ketchup. Hubby hates it, but I could eat the sauce by itself, lol.

I'm so thrilled to finally have a two tier box. I keep wanting to buy the red rabbit and blue dragonfly box I see on eBay, but after finding out that the sellers probably bought those things for $1.99 I just can't bring myself to do it. And to think I almost bought the rabbit one from Jlist for $16.00!!!

May 3, 2007

Zaru soba & miso pork (again!)

Dinner last night was something new, a yummy pot of cream of mushroom chicken with potatoes and onions. Unfortunately, scared of the potential points value of the cream of mushroom, I did not bring some home with me. I took the leftover-less opportunity to make today's lunch zaru soba and the last of the miso pork, which was oddly frozen into the shape of Cro Cop's twisted foot. O_o?

The soba is thankfully a Core food, so I don't have to worry about that part. I cooked up some soba sauce from a recipe I found on I took a taste and it's quite yummy! The recipe made me enough sauce for probably the whole package of noodles, which works out quite nicely. I don't have any pretty sauce containers, so I didn't take a picture of the ghastly looking thing I used. (a First Years baby bowl, which purposely does not give you matching covers)

For some reason when we got home last night I wanted to splurge on something. I'd gotten away with a 3.5 point day, so I decided to spend my points on... rice. Haha! I'm indulging in rice. I can't wait to get to my goal weight so that I can finally eat all white rice again on a daily basis. I cooked one cup of rice and took half for my bento. The other half... well... that is going to into my sinful breakfast of egg rice with microwave nuked hot dog. 99% of you are likely thinking, what the hell is egg rice?

It's rice with egg, duh!

Select Hilo natives know wat I stay talking about. You take one bowl of hot rice an' crack one raw egg ovah em. Den you mix em up wit like one teaspoon shoyu an' den top wit one 15 second-nuked hot dog chopped into fours. Some ono let me tell you!

Ok the pidgin is over, my mainland readers can stop the head scratching now. Perhaps I'll post a picture of it later. I doubt any of you would try it and like it. Egg rice probably falls into the mainland "Ew they eat Spam" category. Anyway, the bento consists of miso pork, rice with ume, green beans, and sakura carrots. I put the meat into a foil like cupcake cup. Hopefully I won't repeat what I did with the meat loaf garden, which was to press "Reheat" and then walk away only to remember after 5 minutes of microwaving that I'd lined the bottom with aluminum foil. Oops!!

I have a ton of dishes tomorrow, 4 in all since I'm taking the sauce plus a fruit container. Sometimes it seems like I'm eating more than I ever was, but I'm finding that bentos are great to help with portion control and food group balance. Says the person who will be rice gorging today... With the two cups of rice being 4 points each, the hot dog, and a cheese wedge it's going to be a 10 point day after lunch. D: Oh btw, I bought a bag of mini Babybels at Costco tonight (after hearing Kaolian rave about em) and I have to admit the wedges taste a lot better. The Babybel is more sour. Good news is Baby Girl loves them. But then again, she's like Exodus and would eat a shoe if it had cheese on it.