Yummy Bento!

Yummy Bento!

It’s been a while and I’ve been slacking. But being snowed in has given me time to make more bento!

Karage chicken: I made karage chicken the night before and made sure to add one extra piece to the recipe so there was some for the bento. I use Runnyrunny999’s recipe from his hiyashi chuka video. It’s my favorite way to make any kind of fried chicken.

White rice: My personal brand of choice for rise is Nishiki. Why? Because it was the first one I tried that wasn’t Uncle Ben’s, I really enjoyed it, and it’s available at several local grocery stores. On top of it is umeboshi furikake (plum seasoning). Furikake is seasoning that can go on top of rice and comes in LOADS of different flavors. You can find some at your regular grocery store, but there will most likely be more variety at the Asian market.

Curry broccoli: Not sure why, but I’ve been on a broccoli kick lately. There are always 2 or more bags of the frozen florets in the freezer at all times. If you plan on eating this bento soon enough where you don’t think they will thaw in time, then toss them in the microwave a bit to give it a head start. Otherwise if this is a bento that will sit for a while, you can probably opt to leave them frozen (it will keep the celery cool!). Sprinkle on your favorite curry powder, maybe some sesame seeds, and you’re set!

Celery: Not much to say here. Just celery hearts out of the bag. I personally prefer the more tender celery hearts. Not nearly as stringy (almost none) than the darker green regular celery. Only catch, it’s more expensive.

Seaweed salad: I can eat this stuff all day and all night long. Any bento can benefit from this. it’s healthy, and requires zero effort. Place it in a cupcake wrapper, small container, or a silicone cup (as shown).

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Another H-Mart Haul

Another H-Mart Haul

This is only my second trip to H-Mart and I honestly don’t know why I don’t go there every single week.
Oh wait, probably because I’d gain a ton of weight and have no more money.

This trip was special though. I had one item in mind: a Zojirushi rice cooker! I’ve been wanting one of these (and water boiler, but that’ll have to wait) for literally over 10 years. Why did I wait so long? I received a rice cooker from my mom as a moving gift that did the job. But it was honestly way too big for just the two of us and over its 8 year life span, the rice was starting to burn on the bottom. BONUS, the one in H-Mart was on sale! Cheaper than Amazon!

So while I was there, why not stock up on a ton of goodies. 🙂
(not everything is included in the picture)
Fresh fruit and vegetables, candy, snacks, LOTS of bakery items, super delicious lychee juice boxes, Rilakkuma note book and Hello Kitty pen (was going away for training and wanted something fun for note taking), Korean sheet masks, curry, and an adorable stuffed animal.

Not much else to say except if you have an H-Mart anywhere around you then it’s well worth checking out. You could purchase most of these items online but it will cost more (many H-Mart grocery items are cheaper than the regular grocery store) and you’ll most likely have to pay shipping. Also the fresh items are very fresh and you can to choose the exact one you want. Bring some friends and make it a field trip! As I mentioned in a previous entry about this store, there is a decent size food court, which alone is well worth the trip.

“Two” Ingredient Cookies

I’ve been looking for a healthy and filling breakfast for a while. Something that’s not loaded with sodium, carbs, and chemicals.

After seeing Bubz’s Instagram photo of her cookie, I headed over to where she got the idea. I was instantly hooked! A great way to use those bananas that are a bit too brown for straight up eating.

1 banana
1 cup oats

Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes
(15 minutes for a softer cookie, 20 minutes for a crispier edge)

That’s it!

This is titled “TWO” ingredient cookies because the base of it is really just two ingredients: banana and oatmeal. But you can twist this up however you like!

Here is some info based on my own trials with this:

~ These are very bland without any salt. Not terrible though. I would recommend either a pinch of salt or at least some kind of sweetener (raw sugar, for example).

~ Add fruit! Either in the mix or on top after they are cooked. The original recipe showed fresh cranberries. There were none available at the store so I used dry ones. They added a nice tarty-sweetness and some chew.

~ Smash the banana first! It’s much less messier this way. I use a potato masher to smoosh up the banana before adding the oats.

~ I personally use a mix of steel cut oats and old fashioned oats for texture. 1/2 a cup of each.

~ The bigger you make the cookies, the easier they will fall apart. Unless you are using a small banana, try to make at least 3 cookies. I’ve found that they hold together nicely.

Quick Vegetarian Bento

Quick Vegetarian Bento

Make this vegan by avoiding the dairy products (use pimento or garlic stuffed olives and omit the Babybel cheese). This is a pretty boring bento compared to what is out there, but I’m feeling under the weather lately and just don’t feel like doing anything mega fancy or cook anything.

Seaweed salad, feta stuffed olives, celery stuffed peppers, carrots, cheese, cucumber salad, marinated beets.

Seaweed salad: Picked this up from the sushi section at the local grocery store. Starting to see it more and more lately. The Asian market has this as well. It’s a very tasty, healthy, quick, and easy addition to any bento. This is sitting in a cupcake liner that has a foil outer layer.

Feta stuffed olives: You should be familiar with these by now. I am actually starting to get tired of them. Going to try another flavor once this jar is finished.

Celery stuffed peppers: These are mini sweet bell peppers that come in a bag. I was getting a bit bored of eating just the pepper so decided to stuff them. It’s pretty yummy! Normally I would stuff these peppers with cream cheese but wanted to be slightly healthy here.

Carrots: These are organic baby carrots straight from a bag. Quick and easy for any bento.

Babybel cheese: This is the light variety. It comes in many flavors. I wish they weren’t expensive (compared to the rest of this bento). But they are a quick grab and you can even cut the outer wax layer into fun shapes.

Cucumber salad: Sprinkle salt on sliced cucumber (this is a small, pickling cucumber) and let sit for about 10 minutes. I usually do this step first then make the bento. This draws out the moisture from the cucumber giving it a softer texture. Then I rinse them (to remove the saltiness) and drizzle some vinegar. Then it’s stopped with scallions and black sesame seeds. You can use regular sesame seeds, but I like the color contrast.

Marinated beets: These are addicting! Recently found these in the produce section of the grocery store. It’s called Love Beets and comes in a few flavors. I honestly do not remember the price, but it wasn’t awful. Beets are super tasty and healthy but I HATE having to cook and clean them. Very messy. With this, I just open the container, stick a knife in to cut them in half, then use a toothpick to take them out and place into bento box. No touching involved! These WILL stain everything it touches so just use a utensil to eat them. But oh my goodness they are very delicious!

Filling Bento

Filling Bento

left: kiwi, avocado, cherry tomatoes, beets, cucumber, bell pepper, swiss chard with sesame oil and seeds.
right: pork patties with katsu sauce, kabocha (buttercup squash) simmered in dashi stock, rice with scallions.

I know I know, another HUGE bento. This is my lunch, dinner and snack. Fresh from grocery shopping. I was inspired to try things I have never tried before. Thanks to the hubby for this awesome bento book. The new items for me are kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and collard greens.

Kiwi slices: just as you see.

Avocado: topped with salt, pepper, and shichimi (somewhat spicy pepper found at the Asian grocer).

Cherry tomatoes: once again, have these on hand if you are making bento on a regular basis. They are fantastic, pretty, and healthy space fillers. Also they go great with the avocado (think guacamole).

Red bell pepper slice: just filling some space here with tasty stuff. I  made stir fry the night before and didn’t use all the peppers. Bento bonus!

Whole mini cucumber: my newest addiction. I keep these in the fridge and snack on them all the time!

Beets: pre-packaged marinated in balsamic vinegar. These are very tangy, almost sour. Great texture and delicious.

Collard greens: recipe from Just Bento. Something I’ve never had before and it’s pretty tasty! Very healthy and I like being able to make it as spicy as I want.

Chicken tofu patties: my personal favorite, as you can make these in advance and freeze them. Recipe is from Just Bento. Sitting on top of a piece of romaine lettuce. I personally recommend putting anything oily or coated with sauce on either a piece of lettuce or cabbage leaf. Not only to keep things from dripping and sliding around onto your other food, but i honestly like eating it. Make a little pseudo lettuce wrap by putting a few leaves underneath. They are fantastic on their own, or you can pack a little sauce of soy, katsu, or sriracha.

Kabocha: I was really surprised to find this at my regular grocery store. It’s a winter squash, so you might see it pop up as fall arrives. It has a sweet flavor and a very nice texture. Not fibery or too squishy. I used the recipe from Just Bento.

White rice: Nishiki brand white rice with scallions and black sesame on top.