Saturday, December 4, 2010

Casual Snack Bento - and a boat trip

A quick post of a fun little (I should say "tiny") bento. Jasmine rice with some furikake, pickled plum with a pick, and basil flowers. Oven roasted chickpeas sprinkled with chipotle powder and sea salt, grape tomatoes, sliced persimmons, tiny eggplant, fresh rosemary, and baby romaine leaves tucked in.

I try to fit in a few bentos here and there. Most of them are just functional and really not photo

Here are a few shots of Maranda's birthday outing last weekend. She invited a few friends for a boat ride. We went down the inter-coastal waterway from Turtle beach in Sarasota to Venice, where we stopped for lunch.

She got to open her gifts on the was a little overcast, but plenty warm.

I actually got a chance to get a close up photo of a dolphin friend who peeked up to see what was going on.

He was swimming right next to us...I'm sure looking for food, but just got some hellos, and ahwwws instead! We often will see dolphins, but I usually will catch the tails or fins in the photos. They move so fast you have to guess where they'll pop up next. He hung out pretty close to us for a little bit, but it's still hard to photograph because the boat moving too.
I am adding him to this weeks Camera Critters.
Lunch at the Marker Four restaurant in Venice Florida...

I didn't bring this bento along this was from the day before! Just wanted to share the whole weekend with you all!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bento Gadgets, and Molded Eggs (not moldy) :D

Someone had asked me how my molded eggs turned out. So I thought I would re-post this one from The Tiny Skillet and show you what I did with my bento gadgets that I have. I am going to try out my egg molds! I got a set from Ann at Anncoo Journal and Wendy from Wendolonia. I have already tried and used my picks and rice molds, and they work great and Maranda loves the rice balls anytime, for lunch or snacks!

For the rice balls in this bento I used a rice and grain blend, that I got the idea from sherimiya at Happy Little Bento. She had some red rice and white rice mixed with a few other grains. So when I found some red rice I decided to try it, especially since I've been buying several new rice and grains to try. We had this for dinner and I used the leftover for the rice balls. I really liked it, but Wade thought it needed a little more flavor...okay that's easy enough to do.

Back to the egg mold. One set was all in Japanese and I can't read that yet. The other had instructions in English too. I also checked the great directions that Maki had on her Just Hungry
blog, she also has a Just Bento blog that has a wealth of information if you want to start making bento box lunches.
First thing is to boil and peel the eggs. I hate peeling fresh eggs, they are so hard to peel! Ack!
Then place the warm peeled egg in the mold. (it looks all beat up) I placed it in warm water right before using the mold.

Okay... now I used a large egg in a large mold. I think I need an extra large egg here. These molds should work well for rice balls too, which is what Maranda wanted to use them for. Looks like this one will become egg salad!

The next mold is marked large too...but this was from the other set. A much nicer looking egg.

Close the lid and snap it shut, and put it in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
Ta-Da!! This one worked! That was fun!

I had these cookie cutters that will also leave and impression. I found that Publix brand wheat bread is soft enough to use for this. Usually you would have to use white bread, so this was nice.

I found this little boiled egg holder. They had a sheep too, but we don't always sit down and eat boiled eggs much so I just got one for photos. It did remind me of my childhood when we use to use egg holders.

Martha from Seaside Simplicity had once said that using ice cube trays are a good way to keep extra lemon, and key lime juice. I ran across these (on clearance of course $2). This will be perfect when our lemon tree has all those lemons I don't want to go to want it to go to waste. Also you won't have this happen to you when you get it mixed up with something else!

Then I picked up these handy storage trays half off at Michael's that work great for my food picks. The other one was for my baran (food dividers).

Best of all it fits perfect in the tiny drawer that I have for my lunch making supplies. I have a few more silicone cups and picks since the photo was taken, but it's nice to have a place to put things.
Ho hum...too much for you?
I think that's enough busy work for for now. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Popcorn Bento

You know how I am about naming my lack of a better one...this one's called popcorn! Now this isn't just any popcorn, it's Ladyfinger Popcorn, this is the smallest of the hulless, and I made it stove top. If you want to see how I made it, you can check my food blog The Tiny Skillet where I posted my grandpa's secret to make the most of the kernels pop!

A lovely persimmon takes center stage, with a grape tomato and green grapes gathering close by. Basil flower want in on the fun. Kalua pork is here and there, and showing off my new silicone cups, in green is my orzo pasta salad with spinach and feta, in red is POPCORN :D All on a bed of baby greens!

Just something to wind you down a little...
Enjoy the rest of your week! I hope I can. Tomorrow we are have our annual Tiger Trot fund raiser, at the elementary school I work for. The kids run as many laps as they can. Lots of loud music, running, laughing and scraped knees...that's where I come in!
I will try to remember to take some pictures!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Old Bento #4

This was first posted on The Tiny Skillet im May of this year.
I found out about this give away that Wendy was having at her blog Wendolonia. I was on
I was thrilled that I was selected, because being fairly new to bento making (although I've been looking into it and checking out everyone bentos for awhile now). I really didn't have much bento gadgets. I had some lunch boxes that would work. I even got a large bento for Christmas from a co-worker, but it's so large for lunch. Anyway when Wendy contacted me and asked what I would like...I told her anything would be great! So this is what I won...

Two egg molds, a bunny and a bear. Now I have to learn how to use it. Rice molds, heart, star, and bear. A nice neutral bento box, that I could even use for my husband. Some dividers and "I tried something new" tags.

Then at I found these cutters clearance at Home Goods! I like when that happens.

They have small shapes that would work well for many things. Bonus, it has little chocolate molds too. Who knows what I could come up with with the letters!

I made some saffron sticky rice and I thought I would give the mold a shot. When Maranda saw it she said "Oh cool can I have one?" and popped it in her mouth. I guess that will work for her lunch. I did this one real quick this morning, just so I could use the bear. Didn't get the nori out to cut yet, but did use the star cutter on a spinach leaf to the star onigri under the bear onigri. She still likes to have sandwiches in her lunch.

Too quick on the photo, didn't get a clear picture, but you get the idea. She even said she like her lunch all on her own without me asking.

Thanks Wendy! You helped my bento box making a little easier and a little more fun! Next...I'm tackling the egg molds!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finally A Bento!

Not much new in the bento, but I picked up this cute little pear, so I had to make sure it made it in a bento. I found some silicone scalloped cups in nice bright colors, I used purple for this one.
Look how the pear is half red and half green! A Cesar salad on the bottom and I sent along some dressing and croutons. Almonds and walnuts, grape tomatoes, steamed snow peas, and some crab stick that she can eat in her salad. Yaki soba noodles with dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, tahini, ginger-garlic sauce, and sesame oil topped with black sesame seeds.

I picked up some Durian candy at the Asian market because I have never tried durian before. I have heard plenty about it and really would like to try it. I am one who seems to like strong flavors or different things that many don't care for, like Marmite, Dutch salted licorice, strong Cuban coffee, and all types of blue cheese.

Some of those you either love it or hate it not much in-between. Well when I first opened the bag I was surprised at how bad the smell was even though I knew it smelled bad, but I thought in candy you might not get the bad smell. I did like the taste, and it reminded me of something even though I couldn't tell you what. I did keep tasting it throughout the day though. I would still like to try the real thing!

We've been having such clear dry weather lately, the sunset on Monday night was so peaceful and (they seems so early now). I couldn't get over all the gulls that were there watching it too! :D Every once in awhile we will see this.
Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Old Bento #3

I know it's pretty lame to post all my old bentos from my other blog, but the way my days have been lately I'm lucky to get this out. I have to now take some classes (forced to from where I work and don't get paid) after work for 2 hours 3 times a week for eight weeks! This is after I have worked all day, so if really digs into my cooking, bento making and blogging time. I sure miss it!
I made some Chicken Katsu last night for dinner and I had enough left over for Maranda and my lunch today. I packed my "tropical Bento box" it came with a cute cloth tote too. I love it. It's glittery too. This one you can even use in the microwave if you need to. Inside the large section I have rice with furikakae, chicken katsu, kumquat and green beans. The fruit side has pineapple, grapes and a strawberry.
I packed Maranda one too. I figured I was safe with it and she wouldn't mind eating it at school.

This is what came home, but in her defence I did pack her a chicken and cheese half sandwich too.

I made the chicken katsu a little different than usual, because I cut the chicken breasts up before frying them. I thought it would be easier. I don't know if that was the case though.

Panko bread crumbs with flour and grated parmesan cheese.
After dipping in egg beaten with spicy mustard and garlic ginger paste. Then dredge in the panko mix. I pan fried mine in a little grape seed oil. You can store extras in individual servings in ziplock bags and freeze. Pull them out when you need it for a lunch or snack.
When we went for sunset I saw these kids playing in the water. I just missed the shot earlier when they were both facing each other squatting down looking at the shells and treasures they found.
I couldn't resist. My daughter wears the same size shoe I do now!

It gives me a little peace just to look at these! Thanks for sticking with me!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Old Bento #2

Here is another bento I had posted on my other blog The Tiny Skillet . I will bring them over to The Tiny Bento here and there, or now and then!
This is probably as "cutsie" as Maranda would let me get(for now). I got a set of six flower cookie cutters that range smaller to bigger. The watermelon radish is the smallest. I tried to cut the pickled daikon radish in a small circle for the flower center, but just could find anything to do it with.
Under the radish flowers is some steamed rice with furikake sprinkled on it. To the right of that are fried spam and cucumber flowers, broccoli could of been placed a little better. Strawberries and red grapes with the only small pick I have (for now). Baby carrots with circles (flower buds) of daikon radish (the smallest circle I could do for now).

This was one of the first container that I got with just bento in mind.
It is so hard to get much bento anything around here. I got the idea to use this from Target thanks to Debra of hapa bento. I had also bought an all blue one for Maranda . They work quite well for a bento lunch, just leave the spoon out. Sometimes I will use the smaller container and sometimes not. So there you have it. Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tropical Bento

I know everyone is into Fall and Halloween right now, but since we don't see any color change in Florida I decided to do what is close to home! I have a lot of shells and flamingos and even some palm trees in my decor. Okay I know, but it is coastal living! Next I am working on incorporating shells into a bento, besides shell pasta!

I found these adorable glass picks at a Florida inspired store. I can find a use for these palm trees and flamingos in many things. Just picture them stuck in some tropical appetizers sitting out on the lanai next to the pool!
Or stuck in an olive or lychee in a martini!

I have snap peas, tiny clementines, starfruit, large grapes, natal plum, and smoked salmon cucumber and goat cheese on whole grain baguette!
Bottom layer is saffron rice, smoked salmon and gouda butterflies, (thank you so much Jenn for the beautiful butterfly cutters) and sugar snap peas.

How about this background?
Just a glimpse, of what my husband picked up this weekend. He can fix most any watercraft. It's in rough shape, but he figured why not? For that price he couldn't pass it up. He is playing redneck with his brother (in the back) and good friend drinking beer in a boat that is now a lawn ornament. No offence to anyone!

I first caught them standing around our friend's vintage Bronco engine with the hood up! I had to laugh, because we would always drive by this house where they were always leaning over the bed of a pick up truck drinking every time we drove by they were out there doing this! I thought it was funny...
Ya'll have a wonderful weekend...ya hear!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Old Bento #1

I decided to bring over all my old bento lunches that I posted on my food blog The Tiny Skillet.

This is one I posted when I was still toying with the idea of making bentos. I had a lot of color to play with, but no real bento box yet. As you can see it was all fruit and veggie and I sent it along with a wrap for my husbands lunch.

Top row: kumquat, and watermelon radish
next row: strawberries on a wooden skewer
next row: cantaloupe, edamame, quick steamed asparagus, and broccoli
All on a bed of fresh spinach!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bento, Thrift Shop, and Farmer's Market

Our farmer's market is downtown Sarasota, and it's not too far for us to drive, but we don't go downtown too often. When we do go we like to stop at other places downtown, like Whole Foods and The Women's Exchange. So I will share my bento that has some of our farmer's market, and Whole Foods finds, (but not the thrift shop's)

The sandwich is wrapped in a black and white checkered deli wrapper, and fried rice in the pink cup, and carrots(my go to always have on hand color splash). All the rest is fruit. The tiny tangerines were so good and no seeds what-so-ever and the raspberries are almost as big! I have quenepa and muscadine grapes tucked in, all on a bed of green leaf lettuce!

The Women's Exchange is a large thrift shop that is non-profit. All the proceeds go to charities, and the workers are volunteers. Needless to say the shelves are loaded for a great cause.

All sorts of knick knacks, chotchkies, and trash to treasures colorful finds.

These two dishes are for baking apples. Clever huh? I've never seen this before and I grew up in apple country!
I love vintage dishes. I have a few sets of some from the fifties that I love to use. My mom gave me the set that we had when I was a kid, it has little aqua star bursts on it. Anyway a lot of these are just good china or basic everyday, nothing too exciting this time that I was interested in.

I like to see if I can spot a little piece here or there that I might be able to use as a prop for one of my blogs! I didn't have that much time because of the fruit in the car.

My farmer's market find!
I was thrilled to see some quenepa, or mamoncillo, also called Spanish lime.

You don't always see the dark muscadine grapes, mostly it's the green ones. I have never eaten one fresh before (they use it in wine a lot). You eat it sort of like you would a concord grape. It reminds me of the flavor but more earthy and not as tart. You don't eat the skins, they are a lot tougher, but I liked to chew all the goodness out of it.
Thanks for tagging along with me. More fun to come!