Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bento #10-Lentil Salad

Number 10! My first milestone! I'm very happy about it ^_^ though it sure has been a long time since I've posted, or even made, a bento. Yesterday I was finally able to make one but by the time I got home I was too tired to post it so without further adue here is yesterdays bento:

Inside this lovely bento we have: Lentil Salad, Shoyu Chicken, Hard boiled egg and various frozen fruit.

The lentil salad is the star of this bento despite the fact that they are in the background, you see though the lentils are delicous they are not pretty nor are they photogenic.

This was my first time cooking, or really even eating lentils, I may have over cooked them a tad but they were still very yummy.

On a side note: I am making a sister blog to this one, that will be more of a food blog not really about bentos. I am trying to live a better lifestyle and that means I need to eat on a more consistent basis (see previous post for more information.) So I believe that cooking will help me accomplish this and I want to share my journey with others who may be in a similar situation-or who really like food ^_^

I feel that this blog is not the right place to do that so I have started a seperate one but I will be keeping this blog, and updating it with all bentos, and bento items, that I make!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Note:

I wanted to post this as an apology for not posting much of anything recently.
Something you must know about me is that in July 2009 I had Gastric Bypass Surgery which drastically reduced the size of my stomach, and thus the amount of food I could take in. However, even shortly before the surgery I did not have much of an appetite and I am sorry to say that this continues even today. There are many days where I realize that all of a sudden it’s three in the afternoon and I haven’t eaten all day simply because I’m not hungry. I know that this is bad, and my surgeon would probably yell at me (along with my dietician). I do want to make clear that this is in no way done on purpose; I just do not possess much of an appetite most of the time.
I know that this needs to change and so I am making a promise here and now that I will eat regular, full meals every day. I will try my best to make these meals as healthy and well rounded as I can. I am going to try and do some more cooking to help me in this endeavor and also to help expand my culinary abilities. I am also going to try to stop snacking; I admittedly have a fondness for Animal Crackers.
Thank you for reading this and for reading Akai Bento ^^

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bento # 9- Project Pink Bento

I know its been quite awhile since I've posted anything, and to be honest I just haven't been making bentos lately. My appetites been off and I've been eating at school so there was no need for bentos but today I made one for an excellent cause!

October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and so today's bento was created in honor of all those who have battled breast cancer! In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month many bento making friends are making pink themed bentos.
Here is my contribution:

Whats inside: Stir-fry broccoli, roasted beets, frozen mango, grape tomatoes and a red beet egg. Beet pasta with beets and stir-fry cabbage.

I went a little beet crazy but I really like beets and they are in season now!

Raising awareness about cancer is very dear to my heart, though breast cancer has not had a significant role in my life, other forms of cancer have been found in people that I love and hold dear to me. I believe that Susan G. Komen and Relay for Life are doing excellent work in striving to find a cure for this horrendous disease. Don't forget that regular visits to your doctor are very important, it is not something you should skip to save time or money! Early detection can make a huge difference in your life! You only have this one body so please take care of it!

Here are some other Pink Bentos:

If you are on twitter and see hashtags saying #thinkpink and #projectpink you will find more to raise awareness about Breast Cancer

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bento # 8 Sandwich Bento

It had been my intention to make a bento today, though when I woke up-after going to bed at four a.m- I really wasn't feeling like it but after my first class I decided I really wanted to do one ^^

So here is my Sandwich Bento!
Tada! I feel this is very colorful -no thanks to my food haha-

Inside the bento: BLT Sandwich featuring spinach rather than lettuce and mozzarella and pesto. Pasta salad, Tamagoyaki, Apple with the containers holding peanut butter and nutella for the apple ^^ and grape tomatoes

I've never tried a BLT with cheese on it, I can't say that the mozzarella added much to it but it was still delicious!

The designs for the apple pieces is actually way easier than it seems, I may do a tutorial for that someday if anyone wants one

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bento # 7 Salad Trio

Its been awhile since i've done a bento to be honest I just haven't been feeling well this past week and I didn't feel up to cooking at all. But this week I'm feeling much better and so I made myself a bento today with a Trio of salads!

Inside the box: Chicken Salad with spinach on whole grain bread, Pasta salad, Grape tomatoes. Tamagoyaki, an assortment of frozen Fruit and a chopped Caprese Salad.

This bento is great because its really quite healthy and very tasty and best of all almost all of its ingredients are things I always have on hand, so I would qualify this as a 'Pantry' bento!

I always try to keep an assortment of frozen vegetables and fruits on hand at all times because they really come in handy when I'm cooking, and especially when I'm making bentos.

I used frozen vegetables in the pasta salad and frozen fruits in the bento (and most other bentos I make)

The frozen fruits are especially wonderful because they keep your bento cool and are thawed by lunch time. I do admit that they lose a lot when it comes to their texture but that doesn't bother me personally.

This bento can easily be turned into a vegetarian bento by switching the chicken salad with egg salad which would also be delicous!

This bento was easy to put together though it took a litle bit of time because I had to assemble the caprese salad and make the tamagoyaki-which I admittedly prefer hot and fresh out of the pan to cooled.

When I was eating I ended up putting some of the caprese salad into the pasta salad and it was great! The mozerella really adds a lot of flavor, as does the basil and the tomatoes add a lovely acidity

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bento #6

Wow, at six already? I'm very happy about it! Today's bento theme is: Pandas! Its for my sister who loves pandas ^.^ Also this bento is in Celebration of my new bento box! (and other new bento accessories)
The cloth in the background is a Furoshiki, used to wrap bento boxes.

In the Panda bento: Rice, Cheese Wheel, Grape Tomatoes, Hard boiled Egg, Cornbread muffin with a Nori Panda Face and mini cabbage rolls (delicious!)
Strawberries, Mango, Kiwi, Carrot Kinpira and stir fried Broccoli! (Extra yummy!)

Admittedly there isn't as much of a panda theme as I was hoping for but I was a little tired ^^'
But because my camera has an amazing zoom function I did a little collage of my new panda picks since the above photo does them no justice. ^.^

Also here is a photo of my new box, closed:
The words on the top read: naseba naru, nanigotomo which translates as "All things in life go as they will, so don't worry about them." I bought this box for the reading on the top, I truly believe that this saying is something that we could all think of more, I know I could.

And just for fun here's my box wrapped in the Furoshiki and my cutlery wrapped in a faux furoshiki mini towel featuring Fran!

Kawaii ne?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bento # 5

I'm back! No bento yesterday because I didn't have class. Todays bento was thrown together while I was very tired so its not the best bento ever ^^ but I did get to try out my new mini cookie cutters and baran!

I really love my new cookie cutters they are so adorable! I got a 'Noah's Ark' themed one and a Halloween themed one! I can't wait for Halloween, its one of my favorite holidays, I love to get dressed up!

Here we have left over Lo mein (bought as lunch yesterday, I really want to learn to make my own though) with Chicken Tsukune pieces and Carrot Kinpira. Stir-fried vegetables, grape tomatoes, Cheese wheel, Strawberries and kiwi chunks and finally Tamagoyaki! Oh and cheese cut outs ^.^

Sadly my tamagoyaki never ends up yellow but that's probably because I use Dark soy sauce and I only use one egg as opposed to the original recipe which calls for four eggs. I just can't eat that many eggs in any one sitting.

As for the stir-fried vegetables I really have to say that this is my favorite way of eating vegetables, and if you have picky kids, try this. Its really simple and quite healthy. I made mine using very little oil (I use sesame to give a little more flavor), a sauce that I like to make and soy sauce. Add the vegetables and sesame seeds for color and that's all there is to it! I used frozen vegetables and it only took me a few minutes to make last night. If you want some heat you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

The sauce that I use is really quite simple and it goes really well with just about everything, chicken, vegetables and pasta-I like to pour some on cheese ravioli with peppers and onions.

This recipe is not mine and it comes from the Williams-Sonoma Asian cookbook but here it is:
  • 2 tbsp of Water
  • 2 tbsp of Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp of either Tomato paste or Ketchup
  • 1 tsp of Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp of Sugar (I use Splenda)
  • 1/4 tsp of Cornstarch (to help thicken the sauce)
Combine and whisk together to dissolve the Sugar and the Cornstarch.

I usually double this recipe and keep it in a squeeze bottle in my refrigerator because it goes so well with everything.