Thursday, March 29, 2012

Horse Bento

This is a simple bento with a special cheese cutout!
Starting from the top, this bento has green bell peppers, leftover chicken strips, leftover carrots and onions Lyonnaise, leftover pasta, and a cheddar cheese cutout in the shape of a horse.
This little cutout was one of the more challenging cutouts I've made. Because I draw the templates for most of my cheese cutouts, this drawing took a bit longer. Even though this cutout didn't require lots and lots of tiny little detail work, there's a lot of little areas that need extra attention. This cutout also has an inside cut near the horse's neck. which isn't something I've ever done before.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Bento with Pho Salad

This cute bento has Vietnamese pho noodles!
Under the giant cheese (cheddar and swiss) Easter egg, there are pho noodles. I also have jalapeño pepper slices to the right of the pho. In the little pink cup is chicken and peas. I have some herb salad mix, balsamic salad dressing in the little piggy, and a lime.
Not familiar with pho? Pho is a Vietnamese soup, with thick, flat rice noodles. Most of my bento is leftovers from a "make your own pho soup" dinner. Soup doesn't pack well in this bento box, so I made the pho into a salad.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reptile Bento with Pasta

This is a simple reptile-themed bento that I made to practice my cheese figures.
This Bento has a cheese turtle and a cheese snake on a bed of penne pasta. Also in this bento are leftover carnitas (Mexican pulled pork) and cucumbers. In the cute little tomato bottle is salsa dressing.
I've tried to practice as much as I can with the little cheese figures. I've gotten better at carving the figures. I actually use a double-ended grapefruit knife to cut them. It has really small blades that help with detail.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring-themed Bento

Spring is finally here, and we've actually had some rain! The first big storms of the year, or of the colder half of the year, really, are here! To celebrate the end of the dryness, I made a cutesy little Spring-themed bento.
This bento has a cheddar cheese bunny and a cheddar cheese flower (both hand-cut, no cookie cutter used) on a bed of chopped up naan bread. I also have two meatballs, crinkle cut cucumber slices, a mini orange, carrots and onions Lyonnaise, and some leftover cauliflower (it has a bit of cheese on it).
The naan bread is the same as the naan used as the crust in my pizza a few posts back.
I think I've gotten a bit better at cutting shapes out of cheese. No limbs have fallen off while making this bento! Practice has certainly helped me.

Pasta bento with Meatballs and a New Bento Box

This bento features a new bento box!
 In the top tier: bell pepper, cucumber, cheese, almonds, and some jalapeño chutney.
In the bottom tier: meatballs, homegrown organic snow peas, meatballs, and some pasta (hidden underneath it all).
This new bento box has two tiers: the top tier is 200 ml and the bottom tier is 300 ml.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bird themed bento with cheese cutouts

I've been dabbling a little bit in making my bentos cuter. I wanted to make a bird themed bento, so I cut my own shapes out of sliced cheddar cheese.
This bento has the cheese birds on a bed of leftover noodles. Also in this bento are leftover carrots and onions Lyonnaise, leftover homemade meatballs, crinkle cut cucumber slices, two Medjool dates (stuffed with slivered almonds), and two spicy chili peppers
I cut the birds by hand. They were really annoying! This would have been so much easier if I had a cookie cutter to use. Instead, I drew out a template for the birds on scratch paper, cut it out, and used it as a guide for these cheese birds. The bird at the bottom was not cooperating at all; His legs fell off!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lentil Bento with Sausage

This is a simple bento that I made the other day using only leftovers. I didn't have to cook anything new for this bento :)
From left to right: Crinkle-cut cucumber slices, leftover kielbasa slices, leftover carrots with marmalade, and leftover lentils (there's a little bit of cheese in there somewhere)
I have a special knife that makes crinkle cuts very easy :)
This was one of my fastest bentos ever. No cooking, no reheating, no cuteness, just a little bit of slicing and arranging.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pretty spaghetti and meatballs

Most of the time, I don't add very much decoration to my bentos. Sure, they're organized in a way that makes them pleasing to look at, but I don't put cute faces on every rice ball or make cartoon characters out of seaweed. The simple approach also is a lot faster. But sometimes I want a little bit more decoration in my bento.
This bento has leftover spaghetti and meatballs for the main dish. I also included some jalapeño monterey jack cheese, a checkered apple slice, some cucumber slices, some baby carrots, some basil-infused olive oil for the spaghetti, and a little container of peach jello.
The jello is decorated with a grape flower with cucumber-peel decorations.
I felt like making jello for my bento, so I made up a quick batch, pouring it into various tiny containers. I used the regular directions, which worked OK, but I would recommend using the "jigglers" recipe. Not only would it be more sturdy and hold up better in transit (although this batch was sturdy enough most of the time), but the jiggler recipe makes less jello! For several weeks I've had jello, jello, and more jello! Because I'm the only one eating the jello, I wish I had made less!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cornbread bento with sausage

This bento was basically all leftovers. I liked that I didn't have to make anything from scratch for this bento.
In this bento, clockwise from upper right: green bell pepper strips, leftover kielbasa sausage, leftover cornbread (freshly made from a boxed mix), Medjool dates, peanut butter granola bar, and spreadable cheese triangle.
The dates are one of my favorite parts of this bento. You can't see it in the picture, because I did a sneaky cutting job, but I removed the pit of the dates (there's two in there, stacked on top of each other) and stuffed the dates with slivered almonds. A bit of a surprise, biting into a date expecting a pit and finding almonds! Also, that is an easy way to get some more food in the bento without taking up much space.
The granola bar is cut into triangles because I needed something to fit that space so the contents of the bento wouldn't slide around. I ate the scraps of the granola bar as I was making my lunch :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pasta bento with random meatballs

I always have lots of homemade meatballs in my freezer, so I can pull out however many meatballs I need for my bento. No meat in the fridge? No problem! Meatballs to the rescue :)
 This bento has, clockwise from left, leftover pasta swirls (Maybe some kind of Fusilli?), homemade meatballs from the freezer, leftover veggie mix (peas, carrots, broccoli, and water chestnuts), and two chocolate coins.
This bento was very easy to make, with only four things. The little inner dividers that the box came with really helped make packing easy. While the meatballs were defrosting, I packed the rest of the box. The divider for the meatballs was a nice placeholder, so the meatballs didn't have to be ready to pack the rest of the bento snugly.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pizza bento with a side salad

One night, I found myself looking at a nearly-empty fridge. There wasn't any leftovers besides some whole-wheat naan bread. I usually try to avoid making things from scratch for my bento, but this time I had to improvise if I wanted a nice lunch.

I made a little "pizza" with some naan bread as the crust. Naan is a type of Indian flatbread. I spread some tomato sauce on the naan, and added various shredded cheeses, pepperoni, and onions. I baked my "pizza" in the toaster oven until the cheese looked melted. I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top. The picture doesn't show that there are actually two layers of pizza in the bento box.
I also made a little side salad to eat alongside my little pizza. The salad is just some bagged lettuce, topped with cucumber slices and some feta cheese. The little container has some balsamic dressing for the salad.