The Weekly Bento Planner

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The Weekly Bento Planner is a simple one-page form that I use to plan out my week, bento-wise. I don’t really bother to plan out my other meals, but since time is at such a premium in the morning when I’m assembling bentos, I spend a few minutes on the weekend writing out what I intend to make for bentos during the upcoming week. continue reading...

Bento no. 14: Vegan bento with baked miso-tahini-nut carrots

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(click on image for a bigger view)

Bento contents:

  • Baked carrot slices with miso-nut topping (230cal)
  • 3/4 cups white rice (130cal)
  • 1 Tbs. edamame (20cal)
  • Broccoli with wasabi sauce (10cal)
  • 1/2 cup Pepper and onion confit (60cal)

Total calories (approx): 450 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 30-40 minutes total (20-30 the night before or earlier, 10 in the morning)

Type: Japanese, vegan, mostly make-ahead continue reading...

Bento box of the week: Henohenomoheji

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This week for a change the bento box featured is one you can buy easily online on eBay. I’ve chosen it not because the bento box itself is special, but for the design on top, which makes me smile. continue reading...

Making food for your bento that tastes good cold

One barrier to bentos for a lot of people might be the whole idea of eating cooked food that’s cold, or at room temperature. The basic bento in Japan is meant to be eaten at room temperature, and is still very tasty (insulated/keep-hot bento containers are not that widespread in use, despite the efforts of manufacturers). Aside from some food that’s designated otherwise, we are geared to thinking that food that’s cooked should be hot. It’s true that food that’s meant to be eaten hot can taste blah when cold. There are some tricks to use when making food that you intend to eat in a non-heated bento though. continue reading...

Bento no. 13: Mixed-noodle pasta with pepper confit and wiener flowers

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(click on image for a larger view)

Bento contents:

  • Mixed capellini (angel hair) and shirataki noodles, about 1 cup cappellini cooked + 1/2 cup shirataki (220 calories)
  • Sweet pepper and onion confit, about 1 cup (120 calories)
  • 1 1/2 wiener sausages (200 calories)
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste (25 calories)
  • Broccoli florets (negligible)

Total calories (approx.): 565 calories (how calories are calculated)

Type: Japanese, novelty continue reading...

Bento decoration: Gerbera-like wiener flowers

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(See the Bento Decoration master page for my general thinking on decorations.)

Japanese people love wiener sausages. They appear quite often in home cooking recipes. Wieners are the Play Doh of the bento making world since they are colorful and easy to manipulate.

I don’t like to use wieners their relatives very often, though living in a Germanic area of Europe we can get pretty good ones that aren’t dyed a bright pink and actually contain real meat. But once in a while they do appear in my bentos. continue reading...

Bento decoration techniques

This is the master page for the Bento Decoration Techiques section. While decorative techniques can be time consuming, they can make your bento box a lot more fun to open. continue reading...

Sweet pepper and onion confit

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This colorful, healthy yet tasty all-vegetable mixture is a great refrigerator staple for using in your bentos, and is very adaptable. Depending on the flavors you can add later, it can taste Italian, Japanese, Chinese, or whatever suits your needs.

It’s a mixture of thinly siiced onions, sweet peppers and a little garlic, sautéed over a fairly low heat until it’s quite limp. It’s only seasoned with salt, so that it’s fairly neutral. You can then turn it more Mediterranean by adding some basil and oregano for example, or Japanese by adding soy sauce, or add some oyster sauce. continue reading...