Bento #28 -29: Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are two thanksgiving themed lunch and snack boxes that I made for the girl.

#28: Gobble, gobble, gobble!

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I made this strawberry & ham sandwich turkey with slices of kiwi fruits snack for the girl last Friday. The sandwich design comes from “Cute Food for Kids“. This is really easy to create, using very few tools and ingredients.

#29: Count our blessings.

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The turkeys are made of quail eggs and pieces of carrot and celery strips. They were all last min creation that I made this morning. I wish i had planned a head and had enough time to trim the carrot and celery to correct proportion, these turkeys look like they are malnourished with those fans! LOL.

For the past few months, we have been talking to the kids about counting our blessings. We hope the kids (and ourselves too!) learn to be more grateful and appreciative of the people and things around us, learn to embrace a less-is-more philosophy and continue to develop empathy and gain a better appreciation of other people’s needs. This is year I especially want to focus on what is special about our lives that we often take for granted and try to count my blessings at a more regular basis.

I’m ending this post with a few quotes that I like…

“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” ~ Bob Talbert

“Life holds so many simple blessings, each day bringing its own individual wonder.” ~ John McLeod

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. ” ~ Willie Nelson

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! πŸ™‚

Bento #26-27 : Angry Birds

Angry Birds, the popular mobile game, has taken the world by storm. I must be “IN” too to make Angry Birds themed bentos, just like the other bento moms did. LOL.

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Content: Babybel Cheese Angry Bird, strawberries and grapes.

The angry bird in this snack box is made using Babybel Cheese. I saw the design from Cute Food For Kids. What I like about this design is that it uses very few ingredients and takes less than 5mins to create the bird. The babybel cheese is very easy to work with and with just some imagination, u can transform the babybel cheese into anything! But too bad, the girl isn’t very fond of the taste of this cheese, so I don’t think I will be getting any more. πŸ™

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Content :
Top : Cream cheese sandwich in White Angry bird design, grapes and blueberries
Bottom : Cream cheese sandwich, half hard boiled egg, grapes

For the white Angry bird, I created it using American White Cheese, nori and dried mango strips.

Bento #24-25: Halloween!

The bentos that I made for the girl for the past two weeks were all Halloween or Autumn themed. I remember taking photo of all of them but I could only find these two in the folder. πŸ™

Anyway…
Here’s the lunch and snack box that I made for the girl yesterday.
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Both lunch and snack boxes are identical. We have simple egg omelette sandwich, orange slices and apples. I’m happy with how the carved apples turned out. The carving was done with just a carving knife without any templates. Ya, I’m quite proud of myself! LOL

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These supposed to be “Mummies” bento. Some friends of the girl said they looked like “ninja”!! LOL
Content of the lunch and snack box:
Cheese and strawberry jam sandwich, orange slices, grapes.

For moms who are into packing lunchnotes for your kids like me, here are some links to Halloween jokes that you can use!
Squigly’s Jokes & Riddles for Kids (LINK)
Halloween Jokes from Kaboose (LINK)

Bento #23 : Back to School

I know I have been away from blogging for way too long! It is as if this blog was on hiatus! LOL.

Honestly, when I try to think of why I’ve been away from blogging for so long, I don’t really have a good reason. At first, it was due to my laziness (what’s new?) but as I procastinate more and more, I suddenly lost the inspiration and motivation to blog! I’m not sure if I am suffering from “blog burnout” or I have finally lost interest in blogging (*gasp*), but since I *still* love my blog, I’m going to give myself and this blog another chance. πŸ˜‰

So, here I am! A short post about the bento that I made for my little second grader on her first day of school, early September this year.

For my long time readers (if you are still around!), you would know that my girl has some kind of insecurity issues since young. She was a little nervous about the first day of school and so to welcome a new school year and calm her anxiety, I made her a special snack and lunch boxes (see below) and wrote her a little lunchbox note.

Back to School Bento

Snack box (top) : hard boiled egg (half), slices of oranges, Cheese and Ham sandwich
Lunch box (btm): Baked terriyaki chicken, broccoli florets with rice and slices of orange

And of course, she had a great start of the new school year and is totally enjoying school now! πŸ˜‰

Bento #22 : Angel hair pasta

bento #22 : Angel Hair pasta

We love pasta. All kinds of pasta. If I run out of ideas to cook for the family or running out of time, I would usually just cook simple pasta dish like this fried Angel Hair pasta with beef and peas and carrots. It is so easy that it only took me less than 30mins to cook, assemble and pack into all our lunch bags. πŸ™‚

Do you see some patterns imprinted on the bun? My friend, LilyAnette, gave me some baking tools a few weeks ago and one of them is the fondant mould. After filling and shaping the dough of the buns, I pressed the mould with some pressure onto the buns to create the patterns. It was really fun, easy and make the buns look more interesting, don’t you think? πŸ™‚

Contents:
Lunch bento : stir-fry angel hair pasta
Snack bento: homemade bean paste bun and apple.
Total time used : 30mins

Bento #21: Carrot cake

Bento #21: Carrot cake

Either my hubby is seriously deprived of the carrot cake (Chai tao kway or 菜倴粿, and not this sweet Western carrot cake) or he is a easily contented person. According to him, this simple carrot cake bento is one of the best lunch I’ve made for him. LOL. Hmm… or is he implying that the food i normally made for him… sucks? πŸ™„

Fried Carrot Cake

For the past few years, I have always used radish (daikon) to make my carrot cake. Since I was in experimental mood, I replaced the radish with shredded carrots this time. Comparing with the daikon cake, I don’t find there is much difference in taste except that the steamed cake made with carrots is slightly sweeter and the texture is a little firmer than the daikon cake.

Anyway, here’s the carrot cake recipe that I have been using.
This recipe can also be used for steamed yam cake or steamed pumpkin cake. Just replaced the carrots/radish with cubed yam or pumpkin.

Ingredients :-
Group A : 1200ml water
350g rice flour
20g tapioca flour

Group B : 2tsp minced garlic
50g (or 2 sticks) Chinese sausage, finely chopped.
50g dried shrimps, soaked and finely chopped
150g carrots -peeled and shedded

Seasoning : salt, soya sauce, pepper, chicken stock granules (optional) to taste – make it slightly more salty than u normally like becos the mixture in A has no seasoning.

Steps :
1. Grease the baking tin and prepare a pot of boiling water for steaming.
2. Combine Ingredients A and mix well.
3. Heat 1 Tsp oil in wok and stir fry dried shrimps until fragrant, then add minced chinese sausage and garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
4. Add shredded radish (or diced yam) and seasoning. Stir fry briefly.
5. Add Ingredient A and stir constantly until you feel that the mixture is thickening (or glue-like).
6. Pour mixture into baking tin and steam over high heat fopr about 40mins.
7. Remove and let cool.

There are many ways of eating the carrot cake. For this bento, I just fried the carrot cake with chopped preserved radish, minced garlic, eggs, and Chinese fish sauce. I hope to try the black version, called the char kway one day. If I’m successful, I will share with you the recipe. πŸ™‚

Bento #20: Hello Spring!

Made this simple bento for the girl to celebrate the first day of Spring a few weeks ago.

If I remember correctly, instead of having a warm sunny weather, it was a flurry snow day. Oh well… nothing should really surprise me already when comes to New England weather. If it can snow on April Fools’ Day, it can certainly snow on the first day of Spring. *shrug*

Bento #20

Content:
Lunch box: A flower-shaped egg omelette and cheese sandwich, kiwi and blackberries
Snack box: string cheese, kiwi, blackberries and Japanese fruit jellies.

Total time to make this bento: 15mins

Bento #19: Sending Irish Luck to Japan!

St. Patrick's Day Bento
Bento content: Sushi (hot dog, spinach, carrot) arranged in Shamrock pattern, Quail Eggs leprechaun. Kiwi, Strawberries, cookies.

I have been watching the news closely over the past week with sadness and anxiety as Japan was hit by a massive earthquake and its resulting tsunami. πŸ™ There is really nothing much I can do to help, other than to donate and sending some positive vibes to Japan.

I am urging you to please consider donating to one of the relief organizations listed below.
Really, no amount is too small, every amount helps!
With the current catastrophic crisis, Japan needs our help more than ever.

For those who wish to donate using your Paypal account, please go to :
Donate with Paypal

Relief Organizations:
American Red Cross

Save the Children

GlobalGiving

Salvation Army

International Medical Corps

U.S. Fund for UNICEF

AmeriCares

Bento #15~#18 : “Mr. Bento” lunch

I have been packing lunch almost every weekdays since early 2003. At that time, packing lunch for DH and I seemed like the right thing to do (still holds true till now) because western food just can’t satisfy our Asian palate and it is more economical, convenient and most importantly, healthier for DH to bring homecooked food to work.

Since DH isn’t a big fan of Japanese food and partly also because I actually prefer to eat warm food for lunch, our usual stable food is actually more towards Southeast Asian-style. I know I may have given you the impression that I often make Japanese-inspired bento for my family because almost all the bento photos that I have posted so far seems to suggest that. However, the truth is I probably only make sushi or even sandwich bento once a week. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, the following bento photos will give you an idea what we usually have for lunch. As you probably can tell, we are big fans of Mr. Bento food jar!! πŸ™‚

#15: Tomato sauce Sardine fish, stir-fry broccoli and rice

Mr. Bento Lunch

#16: Braised pork meat, Ham and Yuchoy egg omlette and rice

Mr. Bento Lunch

#17: Stir-fry broccoli and cauliflower, packed with tomato sauce tilapia fish fillet and pieces of roast duck (both were leftovers from chinese takeout), sunny side up egg and rice.

Mr. Bento Lunch

#18: Fried Bee Hoon

Mr. Bento Lunch

Bento #14: Salmon Onigiri & Dr Seuss-themed

I have some Japanese rice molds that are very underutilized. Recently, my friend LilyAnette blogged about her rice molds and that reminded me of one of our favorite picnic food, Korean Jumuk-Bap, which is basically ground beef sushi rice ball.

Since the beginning of the year, I have started my own version of “food revolution”. I hope to cook more balanced and healthy food for the family and cut down our intake of red meat. So, for today’s bento, I replaced the ground beef with pan fried salmon steak (flaked) to favor the sushi rice. πŸ™‚

Here’s the man’s bento.

Salmon Onigiri bento
Bento Content:
Salmon Onigiri, quail eggs, kiwi, apple slices, (and blackberries – not shown).

Obviously, I was in good mood because I even decorated one of his Onigiri with seaweed face! πŸ˜‰

Here’s the girl’s bento.

Dr Seuss bento lunch

Bento Content:
Salmon Onigiri, sunny side up “Green Egg & Ham”, “Cat in the Hat” apple slice.

Slightly different from our bento because she requested for another green egg and ham for her lunch today. Apparently, her “Green Egg and Ham” bento was the talk of the school yesterday. One of her classmate couldn’t believe that she had green eggs in her lunchbox and challenged her to get another one today. Even though the girl did say that she doesn’t really care much about the challenge, I know deep inside her, she wanted to win the challenge. Of course, being a good mom (ahem!), I had to re-create the “green egg” again for her.

To make the lunch more balanced, I also included a quarter slice of apple, decorated with a carved “Cat in the Hat” picture. This simple apple carving took me 2 practices and about 20mins to do. Not shown in this post is her snack box, which consist of the other “Hat” apple slice, some blackberries and 1 fruit jello treat.

The boy and I get to share this bento…

Salmon Onigiri bento
Bento Content:
Salmon Onigiri, quail eggs, apple slices, blackberries, Fruit Jello treats.

Normally, we get the leftovers or those that don’t pass “Quality Control” (i.e. ugly) ones. But since I used the rice molds to mold our rice balls, there really isn’t any ugly ones! That’s why I am willing to share this photo too. πŸ˜‰

Total time to make these bento boxes: 1.5hr