nutritious and fun bento box ideas and photos, healthy recipes and tips for making your own bento box lunch

hapa bento

Forbidden Rice with Salmon and Egg Bento 15

Posted on August 31, 2010 by Debra

I couldn’t decide what to name this post and was going to start numbering the bentos like some blogs do.  And in hindsight I think it was a very smart move on their part.  Read the rest of this entry →

How to Pack a Bento #2 7

Posted on June 20, 2010 by Debra

Continuing our video/slideshow of “how to pack a bento” with this quickly made bento lunch using leftover pancit (Filipino fried noodles) from a party!  I also reached into my bento-stash of hardboiled eggs  to provide extra protein.

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Caprese Blossoms Bento 16

Posted on June 04, 2010 by Debra

The other day I posted a bento featuring tomato jellies for a caprese salad and I  wrote that I had regretfully cubed the jelly instead of cutting out flowers.  Well I made up for it with today’s version.

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Sampler Bento 18

Posted on May 26, 2010 by Debra

Today’s featured bento is a “hodge-podge” of  items.  A  sampler of  bento-stash,  fresh fruit,  and bento staples. Read the rest of this entry →

Elph’s Bento Box 14

Posted on April 13, 2010 by Debra

Look what arrived in the mail today!  This awesomely cute “Elph’s Circus” bento box from Japanistic!

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Boiled Egg Hum Bao 7

Posted on April 06, 2010 by Debra

Here’s my other idea for using up those  leftover Easter Eggs.   Steamed hum bao!   

Yep, this was  a stretch for me not only because of my “fear of dough” — I didn’t have any white flour in stock.  Oh oh…

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Olympic Mascot Miga Bento Box 19

Posted on February 12, 2010 by Debra

We are looking forward to these Winter Olympic games up in beautiful Vancouver BC, Canada and are seriously thinking about attending one of the events.  We’re just a mere 3 hours away from the closest venue so we figured “why not”?   However,  after initial investigation of hotel rates etc. our grand scheme may not come to fruition.  Our favorite hotels up north have tripled their charges!  

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Salmon Soboro Bento Box 3

Posted on December 28, 2009 by Debra

Today’s bento box features salmon soboro over rice, (yes it’s the White Rice) roasted delicata squash and shoyu wasabi boiled eggs. I almost always have a bento stash of salmon patties in the freezer. Either homemade or store bought. They are easy to reheat for immediate consumption and perfect for a bento box. For today’s lunch I crumbled one of the patties and made a soboro. 
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Partridge in a Pear Tree Bento Box 10

Posted on December 24, 2009 by Debra

Today’s featured bento box is vegetarian and depicts…(let’s sing it) “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me… a partridge in a pear tree”.

The tree’s leaves are cauliflower and broccoli steamed with garlic and sea salt. The trunk is cut from “Field Roast”, a vegan meat substitute.  Tomatoes are disguised as pears and the partridge is fashioned by  a quail  and hen’s egg (is that ironic?) . White rice and white asparagus fills the rest of the box.

Hope everyone has a safe and peaceful celebration.  Season’s greetings!

Nimono Bento Box 8

Posted on November 22, 2009 by Debra


Today’s featured bento boxes are filled with nimono, or Japanese simmered dish.   I don’t think there are hard rules on what foods can be placed in nimono, but it’s safe to say that items must hold their shape or in other words, not disintegrate during the cooking process.  This nimono batch contains some basics such as carrots and eggs and depending on your own geographic location, the other items may or maynot be a bit more exotic.  These are renkon (lotus root), satoimo (taro), bamboo shoots, black fungus and shiitake.  This particular nimono was made with vegetarian dashi–that is, no fish was involved in the making of the broth.   If this meal was specifically for Saba Man, I would of use a bonito based dashi, but my intention was to make a large batch that would feed both of us for a couple days.  And I’m not embarrassed to say that I have a stash of commercially prepared vegetarian dashi packets just for these occasions.   :) Read the rest of this entry →

The Forest Floor… 3

Posted on October 29, 2009 by Debra
Forest floor is littered with leaves and.....a caramel apple?

Forest floor is littered with leaves and.....a caramel apple?

Thought I would post another view of the bento box.  Thanks for all your encouraging comments!  Read more about this bento box.

Misplaced “Caramel Apple” Bento Box 10

Posted on October 28, 2009 by Debra
 A lost "Caramel Apple", now found by the ants...

A lost "Caramel Apple", now found by the ants...

A few years ago our office held a pumpkin carving contest and the winning entry had been transformed into a whimsical vignette of a dropped candy apple being nibbled on by rats and such.  This Halloween bento box is  inspired from that memory.

Here’s how I made it. 

One hard boiled egg wrapped in a pomegranate stained soy paper.  The original paper color was orange which I found too bright so a few minutes of soaking toned it down.   I placed this in the bento box that is filled halfway with  brown rice (cooled).   Top the rice with chopped cooked tofu.  Use extra firm tofu that’s been fried, cooled and chopped up.  Then back in a pan with garlic, soy sauce, minced onions and cook until it gets crumbly.  Again, cool this mixture before scattering around the “apple”. Be sure to leave some room for steamed broccoli.  Oh, before I began readying the box for the autumn leaves, I had placed red, orange and yellow bell peppers in the oven for roasting.  I just topped them, cut them in half and placed on a roasting pan with olive oil for about 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.   When these are done the skin peels off very easily.  The peppers cut cleaner without the skins.  Now the fun part… cut a variety of different leaf shapes and pepper colors then carefully score the surface of each leaf with the knife tip to “draw” in the veins.  I arranged the leaves, ate the rejects and placed some black sesame seeds for the ants.  Finally,  a re-purposed wooden coffee stir stick  is a perfect prop for the caramel apple.

Originally I planned for a candy apple but could not achieve the needed bright, shiny red color.  I tried pomegranate juice and red pepper skin, but it was no good.  So caramel apple it is!  I hope you like it.

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