Touch of Nectar

{September 30, 2011}   Mine and Hers – very different

First, the kidling’s.

She likes simple foods in her lunch and I’m always trying to sneak more veggies in there. This is one of MY boxes, so that is why it isn’t crammed all the way full. I’m expecting a few of the little pickles and maybe the tomatoes to come home.

The wraps are ham and cheddar. She loves those!

Now mine. I like “weird food”.

On the left is chestnut rice, steamed spinach, pickled daikon and a piece of lotus root.

On the right is sweet bell pepper kinpira, baked tofu, kabocha squash, snap peas and a really cool looking tomato. 

The recipes for the chestnut rice, pepper kinpira and the squash are all from the Just Bento cookbook. 🙂


{September 29, 2011}   Dinner Leftovers Made Pretty

We had pesto salmon, roasted fingerling potatoes and green beans for dinner last night. Hubby inhaled everything, but there was just enough leftovers for my bento today.

From left to right: pesto (homemade from home grown basil, tyvm) salmon, green beans on top of steamed garlic spinach, yellow bell pepper slices, grape tomatoes, roasted fingerling potatoes and apricots.


{September 15, 2011}   More Leftovers

The kidling has only had three homemade lunches and already she has favorites.  She’s decided she loves the grape tomatoes and tortilla wraps. Okay. That’s easy enough. And I and put just about anything into a tortilla wrap.

Today’s wraps are ham and cheddar. There is some pineapple under the “circle cheese” and three boiled quails eggs under the tomatoes. I also included a little piece of chocolate for a treat. The flower cut out of the cheese made her extra happy this morning.

My lunch is slightly more traditional. Or something.

More leftover rice with krab and cucumber, the last of the egg cake and mushrooms. Lots and lots of mushrooms. Filling out the box is veggies, pickled green beans and boiled quails eggs. I tried to make it at least a little pretty.

{September 15, 2011}   Just a Little Dumpster Diving…

Well sort of…

My husband does building maintainence for several buildings and has first dibs on things people have left behind. Yesterday he called me at work to ask if I wanted a new storage unit (for my bento goodies). Sure! Bring it home. If it doesn’t work out we can always give it to someone else.

Ohhhh… He has no idea what he’s done!  I have room for more goodies now. Muwahahaha… 

First of all the little unit is cute. Nice little drawers and the whole thing is on wheels. It fits perfectly where I wanted to put a storage unit.

The drawers are nice and deep. I moved my furoshikis out of the storage in the living room and put them in the new one.

And the bento boxes fit in the drawers! That was what I was most concerned about.  He’ll be happy that the boxes aren’t sitting out “cluttering up the kitchen” now.  I’m happy to have an organizational system for my bento boxes, rice molds and other goodies.

Yay for being organized and Double YAY for free stuff!!

{September 14, 2011}   Re-Worked Bento Leftovers

There is this great little bento restaurant near my work where we often get lunch. I always order the same thing; the bento special. It comes with four pieces of California roll, two goyza, rice, salad (with an amazing miso vinaigrette dressing) and teriyaki chicken. It is way more than I can eat for lunch. Today I re-worked the leftovers in to my own homemade bento.

The rice got tossed with diced cucumber and krab sticks. Nori and black sesame seeds for a little added flavor and color. I have soy sauce packets in my desk at work if it needs a little something more.

The rest of the bento was easy. Some pickled daikon, leftover teriyaki chicken, egg cake (from H-mart), grape tomatoes and snap peas.  I even have a little leftover teriyaki sauce for the chicken.


{September 13, 2011}   Back to School Bentos

A couple of kindergarter bentos from this week. She is sooooo excited both about her lunches and her new school. Win win.

First, a simple wrap bento. Tortillas with ham, cheese and lettuce. apricots, grape tomatoes and carrots fill out the box. The kidling loves “circle cheese” so I tucked one of those in for her as well. I let her pick which cute little animal pick she would like to decorate the box.  A frozen juice box keeps everything cold.

Amazingly enough, everything (even the turtle pick!) returned! Yay kid!

And today she doesn’t have school, but she is hanging out at work with me, so I packed both of us a bento lunch.

Very simple, but it should keep her happy. PB&J sandwich, veggies and tomato-ham-cheese skewers. Goldfish crackers for an afternoon snack.

{September 9, 2011}   Simple but Delicious

Today’s bento contains… cherry tomatoes, turkey meatballs, lemon-dill-feta-garbanzo-orzo salad, shiitake mushrooms, pickled green beans and fresh papaya chunks. YUM!

{September 8, 2011}   Deconstructed Salad Nicoise Bento

I got the Just Bento cookbook last year for Christmas and this is one of the bentos featured in it. Also one of my favorites.

The box that I’m using today was a gift from my friend’s kids. They brought it back special for me from Japan. 🙂  And it is PERFECT for this style of bento.

This doesn’t follow Maki’s recipe 100%, but her’s is a great jumping off point. On the left are salad greens and my Zydeco green beans.

On the right is olives (I didn’t have Nicoise olives. Sad), tuna tossed with vinegar and Dijon mustard, a few capers. 

In the larger compartment is boiled egg, cornichon pickles, cherry tomatoes and boiled potatoes (from a can – a new bento staple!).

Sprinkled over everything for a touch of color is parsley.

When lunchtime arrives I’ll top the salad with the tuna as a sort of dressing.Not too shabby for just cleaning out the fridge! And it’s pretty! 🙂

For dessert I have a few fresh figs. That seems appropriate to go with this bento for some reason.

{September 8, 2011}   More Bento Stash for the Freezer

I often find ground turkey on sale for either 50% off or buy one get one free, so inevitably, I almost always have a pound or two in the freezer.

I pulled a package out to thaw the other day, then almost immediately forgot about it! Oops. Quick! What do I do so the meat doesn’t go bad? 

Meatballs of course!

This is something I like having on hand for both bentos and fast dinners. I freeze the meatballs in ziplock bags and take what I need out.

For dinner, just boil some pasta, and heat the (frozen!) meatballs with the sauce and toss it all together. Easy!

For bentos, I use 2-3 meatballs per lunch. I add them to the bento still frozen, and they are perfectly thawed by lunchtime.

I don’t have an “official” recipe for meatballs, but this is what I did this time around.  Hubby “doesn’t like” a lot of vegetables, so I sneak them in wherever I can. Meatballs are a great way to do that!

1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1/3 cup (about) crushed saltine cracker crumbs.
1 zucchini, finely shredded
Grill seasoning to taste (I like the 21 herb blend from Trader Joes)

Mix with hand until well combined. Form into walnut-sized balls and bake at 375* for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool before storing.

To freeze: place the meatballs on a tray, not touching. Freeze until solid before placing in ziplock bags (label with type of meatball and date made).

{September 7, 2011}   Fridge Stash Bento

This is sort of what it looks like when it is time to go grocery shopping for veggies!

For this bento, I am using a few bento staples. On the left is an onigiri seasoned with teriyaki bonito furikake. I make a large batch of sushi rice almost every week and use it throughout the week.

I pulled krab sticks from the freezer a couple of days ago. You will see them in bentos later this week too. The carrot and daikon are a water bath canned pickle. Great to have a jar in the fridge!

Boiled eggs are great for bento! I do about a half dozen at a time.  I actually broke out the punches today. Pretty little nori flowers.

On the right is more staples. Zydeco green beans. More water bath canning. I’m already through my first batch of these and had to do a second batch! I may do a third, just so I can have enough to get me through the winter. They are that good!

The bento was a little dark, so I brightened it up with cherry tomatoes, which I almost always have in the fridge, and some pickled cocktail onions.

A new to me bento staple is dried shiitake mushrooms. Makiko, from Just Bento, suggests keeping a jar of them soaking in water in the fridge. Brilliant!

Also in this box, for a touch of sweetness, are fresh figs. I saw these at the vegetable market the other day and couldn’t resist.

et cetera