Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chicken Cutlet Bento

Leftovers are AWESOME for bento. It saves time in the morning and you get something really tasty for lunch. Last night I made panko breaded chicken cutlets for me and hubs, so today the leftovers are in my bento box.

In the small container is lime cumin coleslaw. In the black bento box: frozen edamame (they look like the rooftops did this morning, all frosty!) baby carrots, a small container of dipping sauce for the cutlets (mayo + ketchup + sriracha), slices of chicken cutlet, and slices of fuji apple. 

Tomorrow I am going to the farmers market. It seems like forever since I have been to the market and I really miss it. 

Lime Cumin Coleslaw
1 baby carrot, grated
about 1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1 pinch ground cumin
juice of 1/4 lime
drizzle of olive oil
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients. Let flavors meld for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes enough for 1 or two bento sized servings. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Snowman Bento

We have not really had typical winter weather here in Sonoma County. Today we got a bit of rain, but we rarely have snow. And it has actually been quite warm here for December. So the only winter I can see is the one in my bento box!

In the yellow box: a snowman onigiri (rice balls) with nori dried seaweed features. I used a fun face punch for his facial features. Also in this box: baby carrots, and tamagoyaki omelette. He's resting on some cabbage leaves. In the smaller pink box: quick pickled cabbage with black sesame seeds (recipe from Maki of Just Bento), edamame, and chicken with broccoli stir fry. 

Here are the two boxes with their lids. I got these are Borders (boo hoo, I am sad they closed) from their awesome collection of Paperchase items. 

Happy Monday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Blustery Day Bento

Last night we had quite the wind storm, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour. It gave me a headache all day and kept me up at night. Grrr! So I decided if there is chaos out in the air, I would add some chaos to my lunch! The wind blew the cheese leaves from the inside of my sandwich to the top of it! ;-)

In this bento: a tuna fish sandwich topped with Havarti cheese leaves, broccoli spears, a radish, baby carrots, and dried apricots. 

Sorry I have been MIA for a while bento buddies! I have really gotten into my nail art designs and they kind of took over for a bit. I hope to find more balance now between my bento and my nail art. :-) Good news, though: all of this practice I have been doing with my nail art landed me a prize from the Muppets and OPI brand nail polish! See my award winning Fozzie manicure by clicking here. :-) Happy December!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sloppy Jack Bento

Today I made a sloppy joe with some leftover ground beef from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market. Yup, you can get local ground beef at our market! I had a little of it left after making sliders for my family this weekend, so I cooked it together with onions, peppers from Triple T Ranch, garlic from The Patch, seasonings, sugar, salt, pepper, and tomato paste, and voi la: Sloppy Joes! I cut out a jack o'lantern face from a piece of habernero cheese and used the rest of the slice under the bun. Delish!

I took this pic in the sun, and I am not sure if I like it so much, but the bento sure was colorful and very tasty. Also in this bento: a delicious pear from Orchard Farms, two shades of cauliflower from Ma and Pa's Garden, a slice of armenian cucumber from Redwood Empire Farms, baby carrots, and champagne grapes from Schletewitz Family. 

I added this to Shannon's What's For Lunch Wednesdays blog. Take a look for more great bento ideas! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Halloween Colors Bento and Giveaway Winner!

Hi bento friends! Sorry I did not post this sooner, I got distracted by something shiny. LOL. So here is a quick bento filled with lots of great Halloween colors. I was so thrilled to find the two shades of cauliflower at the Farmers Market this weekend. They rock! And they taste good.

In this bento: purple and green steamed cauliflower from Ma and Pa's Garden, tamagoyaki omelette slices, leftover emerald chicken curry from California Thai, a yakionigiri rice ball from Trader Joe's, a cherry tomato, steamed edamame, and champagne grapes from Schletewitz Family.

And now for the winner of the simple recipe contest... there were 18 different entries. And the randomly selected winner is...

mommypants! mommypants sent in a great recipe for a simple pasta salad. This would be a great addition to any bento and the fun thing is that you can make endless variations depending on your tastes and what you have in your cupboard/refrigerator. Thanks mommypants! Be sure to check out her blog for more fun parenting ideas. 

Mommypants Simple Pasta Salad

2 cups pasta cooked al dente (I like bow-ties or ziti)
2 cups fresh diced tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
6-8 oz fresh mozzarella (can be diced, or those tiny balls from store)
1/8-1/4 cup low fat balsamic dressing 

Just mix them all together in a bowl, and let it marinate. I like to bring some extra balsamic with me to add a bit of freshness to the salad.

Goes great with a piece of bread and last night's Chicken Parmesan (I always make lots of extra breaded chicken to go along with lunches).

Thanks to everyone who entered and for sending in great recipes for bento lunches. I will have the rest of the simple recipes up on its own page on Sonoma Bento soon. Thanks! Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Leftovers Bento and Last Chance to Enter Giveaway!

You still have a few hours to put your name in the hat for my bento giveaway! I would love it if you want to contribute a simple recipe to the contest, but you don't have to in order to enter the contest. All you have to do is be a follower of Sonoma Bento! So hurry and get your name in the drawing. :)

I made this bento with leftovers from a meal I made for my mom and dad who were here this past weekend for a visit. We had pork loin with apricot/apple chutney and an orzo pasta salad with cherry tomatoes and padron peppers. I used apples from Twin Peaks, padron peppers from Beet Generation, and cherry tomatoes from The Patch in these recipes. Also in this bento: baby carrots, and an apple rabbit (who has his own little piece of carrot to munch on. :)

I've included this bento in Shannon's What's For Lunch Wednesdays blog. Check it out for other great bento ideas. Come back tomorrow to see who the winner of the contest will be! It could be YOU!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Recipe Contest Bento

Hi bento pals! Sorry I have not posted in a while. I got sick last week and am still trying to get over the sniffles and cough that are SO annoying. This is my 160th bento post, and that means another donation to Redwood Empire Food Bank! Every 20 posts I make a $20 donation to Redwood Empire Food Bank. They provide meals to literally thousands of hungry people in the North Bay every day. As a food blogger I have the luxury to buy the foods I like and take time to make them look pretty, as well as share my bento lunches with my friends. For some people in my community, lunch may not be an option every day. They might have to pay the rent instead of buy groceries. This is my way of helping my community feed itself. I encourage YOU to make a similar commitment. Find a charity you can get behind and let your blog help those who need help the most!

Ok, now for the fun part. It's GIVEAWAY time!

Here is my bento for today: slices of garlic rubbed steak, a kalamata olive, roasted baby potatoes, broccoli spears, orange cherry tomatoes from The Patch, a small gala apple from Twin Peaks Orchard, and a few baby carrots. I decided that for this bento giveaway, I would encourage you to share a recipe for a simple bento ingredient. Your recipe should have no more than five ingredients, like the roasted potatoes in my bento. I will share my recipe for the potatoes at the end of this post. Here is what you can win:

The bento prize pack has a green two tiered bento box, a handmade bento box strap (the little fishy made by me!), two punches for cute nori designs, a set of vegetable cutters, and a cookbook!

Here is the bento box you will win. It has two tiers and the upper tier has a fitted lid so you can add saucy items and they won't spill on everything else.

There are two fun craft punches: one is a frog shape, and the other is a smiling face shape. These are great for punching little details out of sheets of nori (dried seaweed) and adding interesting details to your bento box lunches.

I love these vegetable cutters for adding quick cuteness to bento box lunches. There are three flower shapes in this set of cutters.

Here is the cookbook you will win. It is filled with great, simple recipes that will work in bento lunches. The recipes focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients. I really like this cookbook and have a copy that I use at home quite often!

Now for the promised roasted potato recipe. I used a spice blend from Savory Spice Shop in Santa Rosa, but feel free to use whatever spice blend you would like to flavor your version.

Roasted Baby New Potatoes

1 to 2 pounds of small new potatoes, washed and scrubbed
olive oil to coat potatoes
1 to 2 teaspoons of Vietnamese Sweet Lemon Curry
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange potatoes in a baking dish in one layer. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle potatoes with seasonings and then gently mix the potatoes around in the oil and spices to coat all potatoes. Place baking dish in the oven and roast for 40 mintues to 1 hour until potatoes are cooked through and their skins are a bit wrinkled. Cool before adding potatoes to bento. Can store in the refrigerator for 4 days.

NOW it's your turn! :-) I would love to find out your simple recipes for bento ingredients! To enter the contest, simply fill out the form below. Please try to keep your recipes to 5 ingredients or less (salt and pepper do not count as ingredients) so that the recipes will be easy for anyone to try. You can also enter the contest simply by being a follower of this blog. You don't have to send in a recipe, but I would love to see what you like to prepare in your bento lunches. You can get extra entries in the contest by following me on facebook, twitter, and by following my new nail art blog at sonomanailart.blogspot.com. That makes a total of five possible entries per person. And yes, this contest is open INTERNATIONALLY! I will select a random entry from all entries on Wednesday, October 5th, 2011 at 6pm Pacific Time. And I will share all of the recipes sent in on a special page on this blog, so everyone can enjoy your ideas and try them out.

Thanks so much for following my bento adventures and GOOD LUCK!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eat This Bento, You Will

Yoda in a bento! This Star Wars bento is in honor of the Blu Ray release of the movies today. While I do not have a Blu Ray player, or the cash to shell out for these movies, I do love the original trilogy. And I think it is hilarious how fierce Yoda is in the second trilogy (episodes I, II, and III). He got soft and weird with his old age. Still a kick ass Jedi though.

I made Yoda out of two different colors of fruit roll up. His eyes are provolone cheese. Yoda is resting on a PB&J sandwich made with crunchy peanut butter and Dry Creek Peach Jam. Also in this bento: broccoli spears, baby carrots, a cherry tomato from the Oakmont Farmers Market, and slices of nectarine.

May the Force be with you, young Padawan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sweet Potato Stars Bento

I used some slices of okinawan sweet potato for this bento. Locally I buy this purple fleshed potato at Asia Mart on Guerneville Road. It tastes like a regular orange fleshed sweet potato, but look at that color!

Also in this bento: steamed edamame, a piece of steamed corn from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, shishito peppers fried in olive oil and tossed in salt from Beet Generation Farms, a slice of Gravenstein Apple from Walker Apples, an orange cherry tomato from the Oakmont Farmers Market, and a yakionigiri rice ball from Trader Joe's.

I am coming up on another milestone and another donation to Redwood Empire Food Bank, so get ready for a fun giveaway. I'll probably do it sometime next week!

I started a new blog for my nail art, so if you like seeing nail art (mostly hand painted, although I will do some stamping as well), then check out sonoma nail art, my new blog! This is a little crow picking at a shiny ribbon. I like how it turned out. :)

I also included this lunch on Shannon's What's For Lunch Wednesdays. You'll find a great collection of bento lunch ideas on her blog every Wednesday. Happy bentoing!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tamagoyaki Bento

Tamagoyaki is a japanese style omelette that is often found in bento boxes. I love having this convenient bit of tasty protein in my lunches. Sometimes I add herbs or wilted greens to it, but often I keep it simple like this one. I do season it with salt and mirin, and sometimes a bit of soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. I use a special pan for making tamagoyaki, but really you can make it in any pan you'd like. It is simply a rolled omelette.

Also in this bento: yakionigiri rice ball from Trader Joe's, steamed edamame, slices of armenian cucumber from Redwood Empire Farms, a mini apple rabbit made with a Pink Pearl apple from Triple T, grapes, orange cherry tomatoes from the Oakmont Farmers Market, and a few baby carrots.

Voting has begun for Hapa Bento's Back to School contest. You can visit her facebook fan page to vote and also get more great ideas for packing your own bento. Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hapa Bento Back to School Bento

Debra of Hapa Bento is having a Back to School contest with an adorable Elph bento box up for grabs. And the cool thing is that you can enter with any bento you'd like! It doesn't have to be a cute bento, or themed for school. Any yummy bento can be entered into the contest. Click here to go to her page and find out the details.

Here is my entry: a drumstick that I baked and then coated in a spicy (perhaps a wee bit too spicy) sauce, orange cherry tomatoes from the Oakmont Tuesday Night Farmers Market, fresh mozzarella balls, a sprig of basil from the garden where I am house sitting, slices of armenian cucumber from Redwood Empire Farms, and red grapes. The bento box I am using is from the house where I am bunny sitting/house sitting this week. It's not really even a bento box, just a glass container with a locking lid! Think outside the bento box. :)

Sorry I have been MIA, bunny sitting does not make for easy bentoing. I also included this bento in Shannon's What's For Lunch Wednesday. Check it out for great lunch ideas.

And.... I have a new blog! It's called Sonoma Nail Art. I figured that since I have got a bit of practice under my belt and better nail art tools, I would start a blog just for my nail art. Take a look, and let me know if you have any suggestions for designs. Have a great week bento pals!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mochiko Chicken Bento

A lovely visit to the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market yesterday means I can now fill my bento lunches with local veggies and fruits. This bento has items from a few different local farmers.

In this bento: lime mochiko chicken, a hard boiled quail egg, slices of armenian cucumber from Redwood Empire Farm, orange cherry tomatoes from Ridgeview Farms, padron peppers and a mini Pink Pearl apple from Triple T Ranch and Farms, and a yakionigiri rice ball from Trader Joe's.

I was super excited to try these gorgeous apples from Triple T Ranch and Farms. The interior has a bright blush of pink extending from the skin towards a white interior. Larry of Triple T helped me pick out a few small apples perfect for bento. Some of the apples in this photo have apple scab, which is just an outer flaw on the apple, it doesn't extend into the rest of the fruit. These are tart, juicy little apples. I just love them!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pasta Bento with Lychee

I made this pasta dish last night for dinner, and the leftovers are perfect for bento. You'll also see something I rarely include in bento: fresh lychee fruits! I found them at Trader Joe's. Yum.

In this bento: pasta salad with red onion, tomato from The Patch, basil and armenian cucumber from Redwood Empire Farm, carrots, and shredded chicken. Also a hard boiled quail egg, a mini Gravenstein Apple from Redwood Empire Farm, edamame, and lychee fruit.

Monday, August 22, 2011

European Food Store Bento

My hubby and I stopped by the European Food Store in Santa Rosa yesterday. I've been curious about checking it out, as I heard it has various Russian, Polish, and Eastern European food stuffs. I bought some delicious sunflower seed bread, some tea and coffee, and this fun bottle of mayo-mustard spread from a company called Zakuson. Upon closer examination, it looks like the company is based in Toronto. But the label just cracked me up. The guy looks totally crazy! The spread is pretty mild, nothing special, but it works well on this sandwich.

In this bento: baby carrots, a mini Gravenstein Apple from Redwood Empire Farms, and a sandwich with sunflower seed bread from the European Food Store, slices of tomato from The Patch, sopressata, mayo-mustard spread, and butter. Насладитесь вашей едой!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bruschetta Bento

I realized that despite having a farmers market open almost every day of the week in Sonoma County (it's true!), I wouldn't be able to attend one until Sunday. So yesterday, I swung by a farm stand in Rincon Valley. Redwood Empire Farm has their own farm stand on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and so I scooted out there for some zucchini, armenian cucumber, basil, and mini gravenstein apples. It was fun to see Jeff and his sister Theresa selling their products right next to where they are grown. Here's my bento made with lots of local produce.

In this bento: bruschetta with tomatoes from The Patch, basil from Redwood Empire Farm, and fontina cheese, a fresh fig, a hard boiled quail egg with nori face details, slices of armenian cucumber from Redwood Empire Farms, a mini Gravenstein Apple from Redwood Empire Farms, and two baby carrots.

Here is the face punch that I picked up at Daiso on my recent trip to Seattle. I do like it, but I still want to get the awesome face punches for sale on J-List. Sigh... we'll see.

Here's a pic of the cucumbers for sale at Redwood Empire Farm stand. There's a mix of both slicing cucumbers and armenian cucumbers (which are actually an asian melon). If you can find the aremenian ones, give them a try!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Waking Up At 8:30am Bento

I've named this bento after what happened today, which after the last month, really seems like a miracle. :-) For almost a month, I have been covering for one or another vacationing co-worker on the morning news show. That means rolling out of bed at 4am, being coherent enough to write news stories at 4:30am, and then having enough brain power to talk without stumbling over my tongue at 5:30am. And I also had to do my own regular job in addition to covering the morning show. Ouchie. So this is really a celebration of the fact that I got up at a reasonable time today, and had the energy to actually make a bento. This is a small one, but I need to take baby steps while getting back into bento.

In this bento: yakionigiri from Trader Joe's, slices of peach jam-glazed pork (peach jam is from Dry Creek Peach and Produce), a fresh fig, baby carrots, and slices of Early Girl tomato from The Patch. I'm going to Party on the Plaza in Rohnert Park tomorrow, so I will have time to do more market shopping then... gotta restock for delicious summer time bentos. I missed you, bento buddies!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fake Strawberry Bento

I am playing with your mind in this bento! What looks like a strawberry is actually a slice of watermelon radish! Moohoohahaha! I guess it would have been even more subversive if I had cut it in the shape of a watermelon, huh?

In this bento: corn from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, bbq pork from G&G Supermarket in Santa Rosa, slices of armenian cucumber from Redwood Empire Farms, the crazy strawberry shaped watermelon radish slice (from Orchard Farms), tamagoyaki omelette made with an egg from Hector's Honey, a bit of Violet Queen Broccoli (so pretty and tasty) from Orchard Farms, and lightly steamed green beans from The Patch. Super local bento!

And here's a look back at the bento I made a year ago today. Quite fun, it's got an ant made from olives and nori, plus teeny tiny deviled eggs made from hard boiled quail eggs. Tee hee!

Sorry I am not posting so much right now. I am covering the morning show again for coworkers, so my bento making is not happening as often (if I tried to make bento at 4am when I have to get up, they would be very ANGRY bentos), and when I do make them, it's mostly leftovers. Not so inspiring. Only 3 more weeks of covering the morning show! Zzzzzzzz....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Airplane Bentos

I just got back from a nice long visit to see my family in Washington State. This was the longest vacation I have had in over 5 years, so it was really nice to not be rushed and have the time to relax. Of course, it was also a great reason to make airplane bento box lunches!

My first bento for the trip from Santa Rosa to Seattle contained falafel from Trader Joes, a few kalamata olives, cherries from the Neufeld Farms, caprese skewers, and spinich bolani made in the Bay Area.

Of course, while I was in Washington State, I had to go bento shopping. I found some fun bento boxes for my sister in law, my brother, and even baby sized bento boxes for my little niece. My bro decided to make bentos for us for a picnic to a local winery. I have to admit I got a little bossy and assembled my own bento, so he was kind of peeved. But I really do like his bento, it's the larger black one with the sandwich wrapped in wax paper. Our bentos had either eggs or egg salad sandwiches, radishes, cucumber, carrots, apples, bell pepper slices, and broccoli. Very healthy!

And here's the bento I made for my plane trip back from Seattle. My sister and I stopped at a great asian market in Kent, Washington called 99 Ranch Market. We got some delicious roasted duck, which I included in this bento. Also edamame, carrots, rainier cherries, and cucumber slices.

Here's a video of the shenanigans I got up to playing with my little niece. I made shirts for the Aunties to celebrate Auntie Palooza 2011. Hee hee!

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Can't wait to get back to bento making now that I am all rested up. Have a great week bento pals!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Leftover Bento and Bentobird Visit

This is a bento I made with more leftovers from Sizzling Tandoor. I used both the chicken tikka masala that I ordered, and the leftover lamb vindaloo that my hubby ordered. Both were great with the rice, and I just turned the whole thing out into a bowl and warmed it in the microwave at work for lunch. Yum!

In the smaller container: a slice of tangerine from The French Garden, a cherry plum from De'Santis Farms, and a few flower shaped pieces of watermelon.

My friend Jenn, also known as Bentobird, has posted about her trip to the Santa Rosa Farmers Market! She also has some great photos and descriptions of a visit to Point Reyes. It is really fun to see your home through someone else's eyes, especially someone who loves color and whimsy as much as Bentobird. I encourage you to follow her bento and food adventures on her blog.

Speaking of adventures, I am about to head off to Seattle to go to my 20 year high school reunion (eeek) and spend time with my adorable and brilliant niece (she's learning German and French at 6 months old!) and family. I see an inflight bento in my near future!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Thank Goodness This Week Is Nearly Over Bento

Zombie Week is nearly over. I have been covering the morning show for one of my coworkers who is on vacation this week, and today was the last day I had to be up at 4am and in the studio writing news stories at 4:30am. Ouchie, my brain hurts. I am seriously considering a nap on my floor right now, because I still have to stick around for an interview at 11am, then come back to do an event from 3:30pm to 8pm. Then a broadcast tomorrow. I'll be a quivering pool of jelly on Sunday. :)

So I thought I would share two bentos with you today. One I made before our broadcast last weekend at the Sonoma Marin Fair, and the other was a bento I brought to work with me yesterday. See if you can tell the difference...
Yup, this is the one I made before the fair broadcast. There's leftover Aloo Chat from Sizzling Tandoor (aloo chat is a spicy potato salad served cold), carrots, edamame, a radish surrounded by arugula from Ridgeview Farms, steamed broccoli, and tamagoyaki omelettes with more arugula. I picked up the arugula and radishes while on a visit to the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market with Jenn of Bentobird.

And this is the less artistic morning show bento! I took this pic with my cell phone. Apple slices, more radishes from Ridgeview Farms, edamame, and leftover homemade chicken enchiladas. This bento is quite representative of my bentos this week. I made them the night before, often with leftovers, threw the frozen edamame in to fill spaces and up the protein content, and called it good.

Here's the arugula from Reenie at Ridgeview Farms. She had really tasty arugula and wonderful sweet peas.

And this is the bunch of french breakfast radishes I picked up from Reenie during my trip to the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market with Jenn of Bentobird.

See you next week after I get some sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.........

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crepes and Cherry Plums Bento

As I type this, the smell of bacon is wafting through the office. Our afternoon talk show host just finished talking to Duskie Estes and John Stewart of Zazu and Bovolo Restaurants, and they brought their own Black Pig Meat Co. bacon which they cooked up in the studio. I was able to sneak a taste, otherwise I would be crying as well as hungry right now. Duskie and John won the recent Cochon 555 competition in Aspen, so they are the official Queen and King of Pork! Woohoo!

Sadly, there's no bacon in this bento. But it was still tasty. This bento features items I picked up at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market yesterday when I went there with fellow bento maker, Bentobird!

In this bento: crepes with turkey, colby jack cheese, and wilted arugula from Ridgeview Farms. Also baby carrots, french breakfast radishes from Ridgeview Farms, a few broccoli spears, and cherry plums from DeSantis Farms. The cherry plums were a bit tart, but so cute and perfect size for a bento. It was really fun to show off my favorite farmers market to a fellow bento buddy.

Here is the video I made of my recent adventures at the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Food Themed Nail Art and Bento

I entered a fun nail art contest on Leslie's blog called "Nail Polish Art Addiction" - an addiction I share, by the way. Her contest required entrants to make food themed nail designs, so it totally combines two of my favorite things: food and nail art! Here is my entry:

Trout Nails! These are actually fairly easy to do, so if you are a nail art novice, you could make these yourself without too much trouble. It's just a series of stripes for the base of the fishies, then some dots for the pattern and the eyes of the trout. If you have a second, I would love a vote in my favor this week. Here is the link to see all of the entries. There are some really creative ones, even some sushi nails!

And here is a bento I made recently with some farmers market supplies: cucumber slices, orange baby carrots, yellow carrot 'stars' from The French Garden in Sebastopol, a yakionigiri rice ball, tamagoyaki omelette slices, edamame, grapes, and a plum from Hamlow Ranch.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic Bento

Whew! I am wiped out, but really happy. This morning I was one of the announcers at the 21st Annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. I love this event so much. It was on hiatus last year because of improvements being made to Keiser Park, but I was thrilled to see it back this year. As one of the perks of being a part of the media, I was able to go up in a balloon on Friday. I will post a video of that soon. Today I met another bento buddy in real life: Bentobird!

Ok, so Jenn is a little camera shy, but I really did get my picture with her! She and her sweetie Jamison are in Northern California for a visit and they showed up at the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic this morning. I am so glad that I made this quick bento (at 4:00am this morning, YIKES) so that I could have a bento when I met another bento pal.

This bento, by necessity, had to be assembled really quickly. I had to be at Keiser Park at 4:30am this morning, yowza! It includes: leftover chow mein from The China Room in Santa Rosa, carrots, broccoli, edamame, and a few grapes. I used cheddar and colby jack cheeses to cut out quick balloon shapes and placed them on the chow mein.

Here is my bento with a giant balloon in the background. I think it would take approximately 1.7 million bento boxes to fill an inflated hot air balloon. That number is not exact. ;-) The balloon in this pic is called Planet Earth and it is based in Albuquerque, NM.

I hope I can see Bentobird again before her visit is over, and if I do, I'll share whatever bento adventures we might have. Sorry if you missed out on the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic this year, but mark your calendar for Father's Day Weekend 2012 because it will definitely be back, and I will most assuredly be there, too! Ok, now it is time for a NAP!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Butteryaki Salmon Bento

I have been meaning to make this kind of bento for some time now. I saw the simple recipe for butteryaki salmon on Sheri's site, Happy Little Bento. It is a very simple recipe, and I added a bit of grated fresh ginger when adding the shoyu at the end of the process. I ate this bento at home on a weekend, because my coworkers have real issues with fish at work. I would have eaten this cold, so I wouldn't have made the microwave all fishy with my meal, but still, I thought it best to avoid the wrath of my coworkers. They sure can raise a stink (pun intended)!

In this bento: steamed edamame, rice with furikake seasoning (my first time trying furikake and it is so good!), a few carrots, a radish, and a piece of butteryaki salmon with a nori star. This was a smaller bento, but everything was so tasty that I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shepherd's Pie Bento

Holy guacamole! It's been a long time since I posted. Can we call it senioritis? Lots of stuff has been happening behind the scenes: 20 year High School Reunion this summer, vacation to the Pacific Northwest soon, lots of web projects at work, getting ready for the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic, covering for coworkers who are having babies, covering for coworkers who got new jobs, covering for coworkers who are trying to get into the police academy... and so on.

But I have been making the occasional bento, I just haven't had time to post them. Here is a leftover remake: shepherd's pie!

In this bento: cherries, radish cut with a star shape, carrots, cucumber, steamed edamame, and a mini shepherd's pie. I made this pie with leftover garlic mashed potatoes, leftover burger from a restaurant called Bruno's on 4th, leftover sauteed rainbow chard from Triple T Ranch, and leftover grated parmesan from the La Vera Pizza we ordered. I made 6 of these and froze the other ones. Bento stash!

Have a great day bento buddies! I promise it will not take me another 2 and a half weeks to post the next bento.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Miso Soup Bento

Hi bento pals! Today I tried out a trick that I first discovered through notabrownbag's website. It's portable miso soup! You can buy powdered miso soup packets, and I think I may even have one hiding in one of my desk drawers, but there is nothing like fresh miso paste and delicious cubes of tofu. Today even turned out kind of chilly with a few drizzles, so it's a perfect day for miso soup.

In this bento: steamed white corn, cucumber slices, cherries, my portable miso soup, and breaded pork cutlets leftover from last night's dinner. Portable miso soup is super easy: in the silicone cupcake liner I have a ball of miso paste mixed with a pinch of dashi granules, topped with cubes of tofu and sliced scallions. Dump the all of those ingredients into a bowl and top with hot water. Et voila: Miso Soup!

Note: I have tried making miso soup without dashi, and it just is kind of flat tasting. I found dashi granules at Asia Mart on Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa. It's totally worth it if you are making miso soup at home.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kung Fu Panda Bento

In honor of Kung Fu Panda 2, which is in theaters today, here is a bento with Po! Bwahahahahahaha! Ok, I have to let you in on a little something that makes Kung Fu Panda even funnier for me, and for all German speakers. The name of the panda in Kung Fu Panda is Po. Po is the word for 'butt' in German. So I really just start giggling like a 7-year old every time I hear his name. Po really knows kung fu! (Butt really knows kung fu!) See?!?! It's HILARIOUS! Ah Hahahahaahahah!

In this bento: edamame, cherries, baby carrots, slices of cucumber, and a bao bun filled with bbq pork. I decorated the bao to look like Po (snort) with nori and provolone cheese. I used a bit of mayonnaise to stick the nori onto the bao. Unfortunately none of the items in this bento are from Sonoma County producers, I just haven't had a lot of time to make it to the Farmers Market. Things are super busy at work. I hope to stop by the market this Saturday.

Here's Po in all his glory (giggle) with all of his kung fu pals! I can't wait to see the new Kung Fu Panda, he's such a great character.

This is also a fun bento because it is my 140th bento, and that means another donation to the Redwood Empire Food Bank! Every 20 bento posts, I make a $20 donation to my local food bank, Redwood Empire Food Bank. That's one dollar per post. They deliver 4 dollars worth of food for every dollar donated and have received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for their high level of efficiency. Redwood Empire Food Bank is a really inspiring organization, and I like to help them out in my small way. Bento bloggers are lucky to have the luxury of fun, cute, nutritious food everyday. Some people are not so lucky. I encourage you to make a donation as well, or to donate to your local food bank.

Have a great week bento buddies!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Fruits Bento

Bleh, Blogger weirded out on me, so check the next post to see who won my One Year Anniversary giveaway!
I picked up some spring fruits at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market yesterday. Yay! Neufeld Farms, who sell lots of dried fruit and are based in Tulare County, are one of the first vendors to have cherries and fresh apricots. I was a little wary to see if they were flavorful, but after trying a sample I was convinced! So nice to have this fresh spring fruit in my bento box!

In this bento box: pork patties from my freezer stash, clove scented jasmine rice with slices of garlic scapes from Middleton Farms on top, half of an apricot from Neufeld Farms, 4 cherries from Neufeld Farms, and edamame.

Beverage Pairing Suggestion: Pyramid Brewery makes a really yummy Apricot Ale, which is a hefeweizen flavored with apricots. The fruit flavors would mirror the spring fruit in this bento and also be a great contrast to the spicier pork patties and clove scented jasmine rice.