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!