Nov 6

1-2-3 Bentos

Posted by Nanc

I’ve recently started on a new (to me) craze: bento lunches. You can read up about bentos here and all over the web (there are some fantastic blogs). Simply put, bento is a packed lunch.

I’m not trying to create authentic Japanese meals, but I am enjoying breaking out of the sandwich+chips mold. I’m using fresh ingredients and try to give myself something good to look forward to for lunch. Bonus if it’s cute!

I was spurred on to start making bentos after sitting in on a Maker Faire talk about bentos and then getting my friend Chris eager about it too. Between the two of us and the interwebs, we found a lot of great information and got even more excited.

A trip around Dallas provided a few tools, but I think the internets will be frequented for more items. You don’t need these things we bought, but it sure does make it fun.

My first bento was a basic lunch with an eye for fresh ingredients and small portions. Of course, looking at – there was still a heck of a lotta food!

Leftover wild-rice stuffed chicken breast and roasted root veggies, snap peas, jicama, and alternating cucumbers and carrots, seaweed salad, mini cheese, spinach dip, grapes, and Halloween M&Ms.

My second bento, made using cutting tools and different ingredients, was fantastic! I can’t tell you how delicious it all was. Of course, there was still too much food. But I’m getting better.

Left side (top): mini cheeseball, crackers, and tonkatsu sauce, grapes and pomegranate fruit with a cucumber star, cherry tomatoes and cucumber and jicama stars, and more grapes and M&Ms. Right side (bottom): rice with furikake sprinkles and nori stars, left over beef roast, and seaweed salad. And yeah, this is my new, kid’s bento box. I’ll try to get a better picture.

This second bento took a full hour Monday morning to make. Yikes, that’s not gonna happen every day! Some prep work at night and freezing rice should cut down on the time, leaving the packing for the morning.

Bento #3 (todays) took less time, but I’m still not down to under 20 mintues. I defrosted some plain onigiri, wrapped a bit of nori for my finger holds, and placed halved cherry tomatoes in the center. This mimic traditional onigiri, which has a umeboshi (salty pickled plum) and represents the Japanese flag.

L-R: Cucumber, jicama, and carrot ‘flowers’ with snap pea ‘grass’, seaweed salad, two onigiris, cherry tomato and feta skewered on a bed of fresh basil, fruit salad (apple, grapes, clemintine, strawberries, and pomegranate), mini cheeseball with a carrot ‘flower’ & crackers, tonkatsu sauce, and M&Ms (from yesterday – I never ate them). The small container in front is filled with furikake seasonings.

I can’t wait until lunch!

Some great links, if you’re interested:

  • Instructables – This is the person that gave the talk at the Maker Faire. She’s very nice.
  • Cooking Cute – This site hasn’t updated in a while, but their links page is full of goodness.
  • Just Bento – A great, fairly-new sister site of Just Hungry; it has a very clean style and is uber informative.

4 Responses to “1-2-3 Bentos”

  1. Jen Da Purse Ho Says:

    OOOOOOOOOOH BENTO!!!!!!!!! i shuld show you some of my cutesy Hello kitty bento boxes. 🙂

  2. aubyn Says:

    those look wonderful. i may hit you up for some info when i start back to work.

  3. Liz G. Says:

    These are adorable!! And where do you get the soy sauce fish??

    Hope to see you at Kid N Ewe this weekend – our idea of “Camping at Canyon Lake” is in a timeshare condo…have a feeling y’all are going to be roughing it more than that. 😉

    Drive safe – and watch out for deer – they were EVERYWHERE when we were down there last week. (Of course, now it’s hunting season – so they may be hidden out right now.)

  4. botgurl Says:

    MMMmmmm. When can I put in my request for my lunches ?