Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What's the deal?

I've noticed lately that a lot of people use cream cheese on their bento sandwiches....but WHY??? Other than the fact that it keeps the sandwich from flying all over the place, I really don't see the point! The only time I ever eat cream cheese is on a hot, toasted bagel. But...on a sandwich? With meats like bologna? BLECH! How can that possibly taste good? Can somebody please explain? Why not just use peanut butter? Personally, I think peanut butter can hold a sandwich together much better than cream cheese can. But seriously...the thought of even putting cream cheese in a sandwich makes my stomach turn. I've never had problems with my sandwiches falling apart. Even when I have bologna, American cheese and spicy mustard...the mustard holds the top of the sandwich together while it lays flat on the other side.

IDK, I guess I'm ranting now. But can anyone explain to me why cream cheese seems to be a staple in bento sandwiches?

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the most recent picture of my gorgeous 6 month old daughter, Miya!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Arrrgh! No time to make Bento!!!

I've been so incredibly tired and busy lately that I haven't had time to pack a nice bento for myself! Every morning I have time to throw together a quick snack bento for mid-day, but that's it. It's been grapes, block cheese slices, and strawberries for a snack for three days now. I don't have time to make anything better and it sucks.

Things have just been really hectic at home and with my marriage and everything so...most of the time I don't even think about food. I think I've lost a few pounds this week because I'm barely eating. And we really don't have much food in the house, at least nothing I can throw together in a box. If I had time this morning I would have taken some of the leftover pan-fried chicken strips we made for dinner last night, but I was rushing so I forgot. Bleh.

I want to start experimenting with more bento recipes, but I really don't know where to start. My hubby got me a book of bento recipes as part of my wedding gift, but 98% of them are made with stuff that I don't like! As you can probably tell by my bentos, I'm quite the picky eater. I always have been. I don't like tomatoes. I don't like peppers or onions. I don't like celery, beets, sweet potatoes, etc. Hell, I didn't even drink soda until I was 12 because when I was little I tried it and the bubbles went up my nose so I freaked out, apparently, and never touched the stuff again...until I was 12. But, back to the subject of bento recipes...can anyone give me any recipes that they use in their bentos? I'm tired of every bento I make looking exactly the same as the last.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bentos #4 and #5

I made these two on Sunday night for Monday's lunches for me and my hubby. I'm so insanely jealous of his bento box. He said it got it while he was in Tokyo but...the thing is huge! And there's different little built-in compartments for almost everything! Alas, I use my trusty Lock & Lock boxes. -_-;; BUT I have two more bento sets on the way!!!

Onto the pics...

This was hubby's bento. The top tier has rice with nori in a checkerboard pattern and a small side salad of shredded lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage. The bottom tier has sauteed tri-color peppers and onions, tamagoyaki, pomegranate seeds, 4 meatballs, 2 strawberries, and 4 jelly cups.

And this one was mine. White rice with two Pokemon nori cutouts and nori "confetti", teriyaki chicken, tamagoyaki, a hardboiled egg shaped like Hello Kitty (I'm still attempting to find the right sized egg for all my molds, lol), two strawberries, heart shaped cucumber slices, a few baby carrots, and a pink lemonade powder packet for my water.

I think I can honestly say that I'm getting better at this, and now that the next newbie contest is up and running, I'm going to start drawing out my ideas!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My third bento: Beautiful Morning Breakfast Bento

Again...this was a learning experience. I focused too much on being artistic and again, didn't have enough protein. That seems to be a bit of an issue with me for some reason. Am I going vegetarian? I hope not! I loooove meat, but unless I cook it the night before, I just don't have the energy to cook something up at, you know, 5am when I wake up. However, this bento won 2nd place in the last newbie contest, so I guess I can't say I'm entirely disappointed!!!!

Here's the description I sent in for the contest:
Right side: White rice mixed with blue food dye to represent the sky. Nori/edemame is used for the grass. Edemame pods are used for the flower stems and there are carrots used for flowers. I used a miniature breakfast sausage for the tree trunk and broccoli florets for the tree top. The sun is a slice of hardboiled egg yolk, and part of the remaining egg white was mashed up and used for clouds. I cut some nori to look like faraway flying birds...and there's a little bunny poking his head out from behind a flower!
Left side: Four Hello Kitty character chocolate chip waffles, red grapes, apple slices, more miniature breakfast sausages and a few cheese cubes. There is a little sauce inside the bunny bottle for the rice.

Bento number two: Flowers, Bunnies and....Pokemon? Oh my!!

This was my second bento, I entered this one into the newbie contest but sadly, lost. I did have much more worthy opponents though so I was very happy for them. Again, it was another learning experience for me.

I liked this one much better because there was a lot to it. More colors, a wider variety of foods, though I realize now that I was lacking protein. Oops! The big box consisted of rice with Pokemon nori shapes, corn cob thirds, broccoli, carrots, apples, grapes, and a bunny shaped hardboiled egg. The smaller box contained star shaped onigiri with nori punch faces, mickey mouse cheese snacks on a pick, two flower shaped peanut butter sandwiches and two Hello Kitty sauce bottles. The Hello Kitty bottle up top held strawberry Kool-Aid and the round container had ranch dressing for the veggies. You can tell this was after I got my first order from obentolunch4kids! This lunch was insanely delicious and really filling to the point where I had leftovers to munch on for the remainder of the day!

My first ever bento

This was the first time I ever tried to make a bento. After checking out the bento lunch community on Livejournal and discovering these things called Lock & Lock boxes, I went out on my next payday to my local Walmart and picked up a bunch of them. They're a little pricey but boy do they hold up. I've been making my bento in them ever since.

This was my first attempt, and it came out nowhere near as good as I had hoped for. But, I see it as a learning experience!

First off, I know there's WAY too much empty space in the box. I used a piece of a box for a separator...jeesh. Lol. I tried to make it cute by arranging carrots into a face on my veggies...I think it just looks creepy. There's swedish meatballs in mushroom sauce, the veggies, egg noodles with butter, and four onigiri rolls. It was filling but...definately not too great. Kind of looks like I just threw a bunch of stuff into a box (or two) and left it at that. I swear, I got better after this! lol

Welcome to Love For Obento!!!

My name is Megan. I'm 21 years old, live in the heart of New York State, and I just recently discovered the wonder that is the japanese obento lunch. For the longest time I've been fascinated with these adorable and even artistically put together lunch boxes and wondered how I would be able to get in on some of the fun! Well, thanks to an awesome website called http://www.obentolunch4kidz.ecrater.com/, run out of Okinawa, Japan, I was able to start building my bento supply collection with cute stuff like assorted food picks, dividers, portion cups, precut nori designs, and a ton of other stuff. Katy always has a wonderful selection of bento boxes/bento sets on her site as well for really good prices, most of which include free shipping! I make at least one order a week (though now I'll have to keep my eye out for the 2nd and 16th of each month, because that's when the re-stocking happens!). She's been holding "newbie" bento contests on her blog, roughly twice a month, and each one has a theme to it. I came in 2nd place in her last contest (YAY!), and I'll continue to enter them until I've been bento-ing for too long to be considered a newbie T_T. Maybe if I really get into it, I can start holding contests for more experienced bento-ers...though that would require me to have prizes to send out...maybe Katy would help? ^_^

Anywho! A little more background on myself. Like I said I live in New York State (not the city, which is where most other people in the world think EVERYONE in New York lives. I can't tell you how many times I was asked if Albany was within NYC. Jeesh...they fail at geography.) I just recently got married to my high school sweetheart *October 24th, 2008* and we have a beautiful 5 1/2 month old daughter. I work for the government of New York State as a data enterer (sp?) and a receptionist. I've been here for almost 2 1/2 years now and hey, it pays the bills and gets food on the table. Aside from learning more about how to prepare the perfect bento lunch, I'm also trying to learn how to crochet (which is posing a bit of a challenge as of right now, not quite sure why), and I have to say I enjoy playing video games, especially on our Nintendo Wii and my Nintendo DS. Can't go wrong with Nintendo!

So, that's pretty much the short story of my life. In this blog I'll be posting picture of each obento I've made so that you can all see the progress I make. I'm going to post the past bentos that I've done as well. If I am using a bento that I've made in a contest, I will not post the photo until after the contest ends.

Sit back, take a peek at my bento, and enjoy! If you do bento as well and want to make comments as to how I can better my bento, please do! I want to learn as much as possible!