Thursday, January 30, 2014

Year Of The Horse Chinese New Year Bento 2014~!

Tomorrow is Chinese (Lunar) New Year! So today TinySprite brought a horse bun to celebrate the Year of the Horse. I didn't bake it (only decorated with cheese and nori for the face), but she was pretty excited. There's a hot dog in there, and it fits diagonally perfectly inside the EcoLunchBox Solo Cube. I packed some satsuma, tomatoes, and pickled veggies, plus a little cup of sunflower seeds in case the horse gets hungry. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014 Bento: Year of the Horse!

Happy New Year! And Happy Chinese New Year too! This year the Chinese (Lunar) New Year falls on the 31st of January, and will be represented by the Horse. To celebrate, I've made a brand new bento with a horse theme! This one is for me. I used my super kawaii red goldfish nesting bento box because when you turn it on end, it has a horse shape. Can you see it? I made kabocha curry yesterday, so I packed some curry and rice in the big box with a cucumber separator. I decorated the rice with broccoli and cucumber to create a horse face, and added grape tomatoes for nostrils. The baby fish box holds Greek yogurt with raisins, a tiny satsuma mandarin, some carrots and a cheese nori face. This one is a pony. Awww! I hope this upcoming year brings you and your loved ones much happiness and good health. Kung Hay Fat Choy!
Added to What's For Lunch.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sticky Rice Panda Bento

I made sticky rice today, which I love to do on extra busy days because all I do is throw everything into the Zojirushi and walk away. This batch is made with half white half brown glutinous (sticky rice) which I presoaked overnight to make sure it got nice and soft. About midway through cooking I tossed in finely chopped baby bok choy, sliced shiitake mushrooms, sliced lup cheong, and cubed kabocha. Yes, the kabocha goes really well in this dish! You won't hear any complaints about it. I guarantee it. After cooking, sprinkle some green onions on top for a fresh look. The top tier of the cute panda box holds strawberries, grapes, and persimmon from a neighbor's tree. I know you are excited to hear about the winner of the ECOlunchboxes Tri Bento -- the winner has been chosen! I'm waiting to hear back from her, and if I don't get response (or if she is located outside the U.S.), I'll have to pick another. Check your email! Maybe it's YOU! Stay tuned!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gyoza in the ECOlunchbox Tri Bento and LAST DAY TO ENTER GIVEAWAY!

Yes, I'm still having fun with this ECOlunchboxes Tri Bento! I made gyoza for dinner, which turns out to be a perfect option for next-day bento lunch because gyoza is so much fun for kids to eat! It packs well and can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature. I packed as many as could fit in the lowest round (I think 8), which allowed me to keep the veggies separate in the next round (pickled cukes, tomatoes, and steamed purple sweet potato), and fruit in the top (grapes, mandarin and strawberry). I love the separateness, and I bet your kids will dig it too. Everything snaps together tightly with two simple pressure latches. The stainless steel is sturdy and I am impressed with how it's holding up to the extended use I've made of it in the past month or so.

If you'd like to enter for a chance to win a Tri Bento just like this one, courtesy of the generous folks at ECOlunchboxes, all you have to do is leave me a blog comment below, telling me what you'd pack in your Tri! (if you've commented on one of the other giveaway blog posts in the past week, that's fine).
Then, click the Rafflecopter entry to leave your name and email. U.S. only please. This is the last 24 hours to enter; contest ends Tuesday at midnight PST!
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Herby Chicken and Potatoes ECOlunchbox Tri Bento (Giveaway still going on!)

Yes, it's the ever-popular herby chicken and potatoes! I think the kids prefer it over the traditional local-style shoyu chicken and rice. Aww. The ECOlunchbox Tri bento serves the purpose well here: I put the chicken pieces in the bottom along with some steamed broccoli, then the potatoes and roasted tomatoes in the next tier, followed by the fruit section containing sliced peach (where did I find a peach? I don't even remember), strawberries and little strawberry guavas given to us by a friend. Are you interested in winning a Tri Bento for your very own self? All you need to do is log an entry into the giveaway, and I'll try to pick your name! U.S only please. Thanks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Added to What's For Lunch.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Duck Fried Rice Bento and an ECOlunchbox Tri Bento GIVEAWAY!

I have some exciting news (well, for me): I got a brand new bento box set, and it's a very cool one!
It's called Tri Bento and it's made by ECOlunchbox.

This tiffin-style set is made of high-quality, food-grade stainless steel and features three interlocking round tiers that fit one on top of another. They all clip together with two latches that are easy to fasten. When the set is clipped together, it stays together tightly with no chance of accidentally opening. There are no gaskets, so I wouldn't recommend sauces or liquids, but I have not experienced any leakage during the past month I've been using this set with "dryish" foods like the bento I show above.

I packed duck fried rice for MisterMan in the lower tier: rice, with a fried egg mixed in, and sliced chopped roast duck, steamed bok choy, and chopped scallions. The middle tier holds some steamed purple sweet potato, corn off the cob, and a few grape tomatoes. The top tier contains sliced Asian pear, cara cara oranges, a strawberry and some grapes.

The three tiers look identical at first, but they must fit together in a specific way. The one with latches must go on the bottom, obviously. The middle one doesn't have an indented rim for the lid like the top one does, which you (or your child) will realize once you try to put the lid on. It's not hard to figure out. I love this set, and I think it will be able to take a bit of abuse from a lunch-swinging kid (a bonus in this house). Each layer holds about 1 1/2 cups for a total capacity of about 4 3/4 cups of food. Because it's such a large set, it would be well-suited for an older child with a bigger appetite, or an adult, or to separate snacks from lunch.

In sum, I recommend this bento set very highly. It is composed of the same sturdy stainless steel as the other ECOlunchbox sets I own (Three-In-One, Oval, Solo Cube, Solo Rectangle, and ECOdippers), resistant to dents and scratches, and strong enough to withstand everyday use. The set fits in our lunch totes easily, but the company also sells beautiful bags designed specifically for the round tiffin.

And now for the exciting news for YOU! ECOlunchbox is giving away a Tri Bento set just like this one to one of my Happy Little Bento readers! Yay! All you have to do is enter my giveaway below and leave a comment telling me what you'd like to pack in your very first Tri Bento. I would love to get some ideas from you! Restricted to U.S. only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: ECOlunchbox provided me with a Tri Bento to review. I was not compensated and the opinions I expressed are my own. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mac and Cheese, Broccoli, Kabocha and Soyrizo Bento

With the cooler weather upon us, I'm thinking about warm foods. And that means more thermal bento. Today I made TinySprite's absolute favorite food of all time: mac and cheese. I used whole wheat elbow macaroni, with cheddar cheese, grated kabocha, ,minced broccoli, and crumbled soyrizo. Oh so good. There's a smiling mozzarella cloud there to greet her at lunchtime when she opens up her Thermos Hello Kitty thermal food jar. The side container holds the reds: sugar plum, tomatoes, and strawberries. Stay tuned next week for an exciting new product I'm reviewing, and a giveaway to boot!
Added to What's For Lunch.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Char Siu Fried Rice Panda Donburi Bento Bowl

Welcome to November! The passing of Halloween signifies the beginning of the hectic holidays which seem to take over the next two months. Are you ready? We are starting the month with a rice bowl. This one contains sliced deli char siu atop homemade fried red rice with egg and shiitake mushrooms, steamed baby bok choy, and sprinkled with scallions. TinySprite loves this kind of donburi, and it's easy to pack in her little cute panda bento bowl. The top tier holds a few strawberries, and assorted pickled veggies, including baby orange bell peppers. I'm hoping I can sail as easily through the rest of the season...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spooky Skull Cheese and Chili Halloween LunchBots Bento

It's heeeere! Halloween is today! For the final theme bento, I send the kids to school with thermal food jars of homemade chili (Thermos Funtainer brand for TinySprite, and LunchBots Thermal food jar for MisterMan). I decorated his with a mozzarella cheese and nori skull, and hers with a tiny baby bell pepper jack-o-lantern. The side boxes contain a variation of strawberries, grapes, plums and steamed purple sweet potato. With the weather getting cooler, they're welcoming the thermal bento more and more these days. Are you planning to go out trick-or-treating tonight? Have a great time, all you goblins and ghouls! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jack Skellington and Salmon LunchBots Halloween Bento

One more day until Halloween! Can you stand it? I don't usually pack rice for my kiddos, but I made an exception here so that I could fashion a creepy Jack Skellington riceball for TinySprite! The Lunchbot Quad also allows me to keep the salmon and brussels sprouts separate from the roast potatoes and carrots, and the teeny baby strawberries in their own little corner. Happy Halloween Eve!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jack-o-Pepper Egg Salad Halloween Bento

For TinySprite I made egg salad, but instead of a pocket sandwich (which I usually do with this type of filling so that it doesn't fall all over the place) I packed it inside a carved orange bell pepper. I found a pepper that looked pretty pumpkin-like, but was so much easier to carve than a real pumpkin! (Although this is a regulation sized bell pepper, you might like to view my tutorial on carving a mini bell pepper here) I lined it with a spinach leaf to keep the filling from oozing out of the eyes and mouth. I didn't send along the top (although it might have been handy for ensuring safe travels). Along with the jack-o-pepper egg salad, I sent a cup of pickled veggies, some grape tomatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe. Happy Halloween week!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Frankenstein Sandwich LunchBots Bento

I made TinySprite a couple of mini ham and cheese sandwiches on sandwich thin rectangle breads. And what to do with brown sandwich rectangles? Well, besides the obvious: Domokun. That's right; Frankenstein! I decorated his face with olives (for eyes, ears and scar) and cucumber (for hair). Oh yeah, she'll love it. There's also some plum, pickled stuff, strawberries and grapes. All packed into the LunchBots Trio. Done!
Added to What's For Lunch.