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Bento 30 and 31

16 Apr

Bento #30:

pasta with sausage, beef, green beans

Bento #31:

Leftover chili, carrots, hummus, salad

Homemade hummus is so good. To bad the picture got washed out. Don’t those carrots look like cheetos? I promise you they were carrots!

Both these meals left me hungry in a few hours. I need to work on packing more carbs to keep me full.

Bento Battle Winners

16 Apr

Japan Society finally announced the winners of the Virtual Bento Battle!

Here’s the link for the winners: http://www.japansociety.org/j-cation_virtual_bento_box_battle

I didn’t win but congrats to all those who did! They were really great entries and total pros who know what they’re doing. Unlike me. 😉 My personal favorite is the Mt. Fuji one. Go take a look, it’s amazing.

Here‘s a link to an article written about j-Cation, the event that hosted the Bento Battle.

Let’s hope that I will get better with practice.

Quinoa Bento (29)

12 Apr

I finally made another bento. It seems like it’s been so long since my last one.

Quinoa bento

Quinoa with crimson raisins and toasted walnuts. It would be vegetarian except that it’s cooked in chicken stock. Sweet pepper strips, cucumbers and strawberries round up the box. I think there’s too much green in this box, some darker green lining would have worked better. Or a different item instead of cucumbers. Yummy meal but it wasn’t filling enough. I should of added protein even though the quinoa has protein, it wasn’t enough.

Bento challenge wise: I don’t seem to be able to make cute bento boxes often. Sure I can make them appealing looking but I can’t seem to be bothered with adding in a cute cheese cutout on top of that quinoa. It takes too much time to think of a theme and then draw it and cut it out. Otherwise, good day today.

Bento 28 and Garden Update

5 Apr

The bento challenge is going pretty well.  I have a meatloaf bento stashed in the fridge which I will transfer to the freezer soon. I haven’t eaten anything past 9pm since the challenge though I will kind of break that today by having some hot chocolate later.. not really breaking anything considering I had class today and didn’t get home till after 9pm to begin with.  The meatloaf recipe as well as the earl grey tea muffins I made were new recipes so that’s meeting another challenge.

The seedlings have been growing nicely.  Some plants didn’t grow yet so perhaps those seeds are dead.  Seems like the tomato seeds from Campbell’s tomato soup and my pepper seeds from last season have not sprouted yet.  The bean plants grew like crazy so I had to transfer them to a bigger pot already.  I’ve been putting everything outside during the day to get some nutritious sunlight and supplementing with artificial lights while they’re inside.

They're growing!

I am reminded of this scene in my favorite Miyazaki film, My Neighbor Totoro. I could only find it in Russian(?) but it doesn’t really matter. Skip ahead to 40 seconds. I wish I could do that to my plants!

Spring is here and I celebrate by splurging on my favorite flowers.  I spent a good 10-15 minutes at the plant store because I never knew there were so many variations of hyacinths.  They were not labeled as being different but you can tell by the flower shapes, petals and most importantly, their scent!  They all smelled slightly different, which is pretty amazing to me.  Even though these pink ones were not in the best shape, they smelled the most familiar to me as what hyacinths should smell like so I got a pot of those.  When the flowers die, I will plant it in my front garden so it’ll regrow every spring.

Smells heavenly.

Here is my bento for class today.  This was a good bento because it didn’t smell and I could easily eat it without people looking at my strange food.

Ham sandwich with lettuce, tomato, mayo on wheat Italian bread. Strawberries, crimson raisins, earl grey tea muffin.

And here’s a picture of Bella enjoying the sun outside.  They love to roll around on the warm floor! Horrible for me because they pick up so much dust that I have to wipe off before they’re allowed inside again.  She’s leashed because I’m afraid they’ll run away.. cats don’t follow commands well.  Ringo got her chance after Bella returned inside.  I only have one harness and leash unfortunately.

Bella enjoying the sun outside!

Bento Challenge

3 Apr

Hi all,

I’ve decided to participate in the 30-Day Bento Challenge hosted by Not Exactly Bento.  I’ve been pretty good at cutting fast food like McDonalds out of my regular diet, stopped drinking soda and sugary drinks, and I try to eat more fruits and veggies. Been going great so far! I used to count calories but I don’t have time anymore due to school. Unfortunately, I quit one of my jobs so I will be packing much fewer bentos.

Here are my goals for the month of April:
1. Pack cuter bento boxes rather than my laptop lunch box so I eat smaller portions and so I can practice making pretty bentos.
2. Make a small bento freezer stash (small because there’s not much space in my family’s freezer).
3. Try more bento recipes.
4. Continue to not buy unhealthy snacks because I won’t eat it if I don’t have it laying around! I’m also trying to clear out the junk food stash.
Edited to add:
5. Not eat after 9PM UNLESS it’s Monday or Wednesday because my classes end ~9pm and I don’t always get to eat before class or in class.

I know April is going to be a super busy month with final projects due so this will definitely be a challenge. I included four different goals so I can work on at least one of them daily since I won’t be packing a daily bento. I purposely didn’t put exercise more because I really don’t know if I will be able to do so at the moment. That’s always been my biggest challenge and I’m still lacking the push to accomplish it. Updates will be posted on this blog as well as on the challenge page. I’m hoping to win the laptop lunch box prize (winner randomly chosen). Wish me luck!

Ease of a laptop lunchbox (Bento 27)

3 Apr

I was really tempted to eat out for dinner today since I only had 30 minutes left before I had to leave for work. Eating out would have been a bad idea since I had Burger King yesterday.. that will probably be the last time I go to BK for the rest of the year. I’ve managed to cut a lot of crappy fast food out of my diet. Excuse for going to BK? My brother wanted to go and they had a BOGO coupon. =/ Sucked in by marketing! *Fail* At least I didn’t fall for getting fries from Popeyes.. mmm best fast food fries ever.

bento 27

Anyway, I love having a laptop lunch box because it is so easy to throw leftovers and whatever else you have on hand into it. What comes out usually doesn’t look horrible and is so much faster to put together than making it all fit into a bento box. Plus it fits more food than a bento box without having all the food mix together. Basic rules I try to follow: include at least one vegetable and one fruit or two veggies + one carb + one protein. Try to make it colorful which means a variety of foods to eat, therefore, making the meal interesting. Done! I usually eat my dairy at breakfast but I should try to include more calcium rich foods. Being a female Asian who doesn’t do strength exercises = at risk for weak bones. Boo.

Our (U.S.-Japan) Neighbor Totoro Bento (26)

31 Mar

I rushed to make a bento today so I could submit it to the Bento Battle put on by Japan Society. I made it in an hour, took photos, emailed it, and ran to class with moments to spare. I got home only to see that the deadline has been extended to April 5th! I was working so fast that I didn’t realize one of the soot sprite eyes were crooked when I took the picture. This is only my second character bento and was so much harder than the previous one because it had so many tiny pieces. Maybe I will submit another entry.. any ideas?

Here’s the flickr set with all the entries.

totoro and neko bus bento!

Totoro made following anna the red’s tutorial, which uses ground black sesame seeds to color Totoro. Neko Bus is made from an inari zushi wrapper, he actually has little feet but it’s hidden in the broccoli. If I had more time I would have cooked the broccoli. The little soot sprites are just rice balls wrapped with nori. All the little nori pieces kept going all over the place. There must be a secret to making them stick to cheese!