Howl no Nyanko's Vegetarian Bento Blog!

Howl no Nyanko attempts to cook! Here is the sorid tale of Nyanko's attempts to create vegetarian bento every day! No, Nyanko is not a vegetarian! Eat, eat! Meat, meat!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

April Bento

Well, it's been a while since I last posted, I see :P Bad me. Bad me. Maybe I'll start introducing some bento goods instead? I got a lot of neat ones from Japan *mini-happy-squee*. I think most people here haven't seen them before. I know I hadn't! If only they didn't cost so much *cry*...Bento hasn't been too inspired of late...

4.05 Bento: Have a Berry, Curry Couscous
If you have never had Mediterranean Curry Couscous, you are SO missing out! The box had been sitting there for a while, and so I figured, "Okay. Will do." and it was GREAT! The rest is blackberries? (Eh, I don't know what they are S.U. picked it up.) and strawberries with heavy cream and sugar (in the green bird tupper). I put in the sugar and dribbled a bit of hot water to melt it and mixed it with the heavy cream *heavenly*. This is the new bento box I got S.U. for Christmas. S.U. didn't wash it. I did. The other boxes are still in the garage. So like does mold start merging with the plastic after awhile or something? I don't even want to know...and I'm sure you don't either.

4.19 Bento: More Krazy Kouscous
Yesh, magnanimous me washed out his box to make him another one. This is plain couscous with parmesan and veggie-tarian broth (I also put in pepper, pine nuts, butter, raisins and veggies chopped up in the food processor). The white hearts are pepper jack cheese. The red things on top of them are just mini-bell peppers. Mini bell peppers are SO cute :) Then those blackberry? things and some nice bananas. This time the "sauce" is made with half and half since we no longer have cream in the house (that was a one-time dealie. I should have used some for me! S.U. used it all for S.U's coffee...except for the bit I used to make some bread pudding).

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

January Bento

Well, um, it's been a while. It's not easy trying to work a regular job and consult at the same time...but I can't give up either, so :P The Man Bento Man is not cleaning out his bento boxes...so as per the Agreement (Though shalt not have bento if you don't have a clean box) he didn't get many bento in January. Only two times to be exact....and whoa...I haven't seen those bento boxes...so they are:
  • still at work?
  • in the garage?
Either way, there's NO way I'm touching them now! Yucky!

1.03 Bento: Creamy Ribbons
I love creamy sauces. I forget what this was really. I had nothing in the house, so it was just whatever I could find in the cupboards...uh...what was that red thing? OH! That was my eggplant rollatini! We had some eggplant, some cow cheese, some tomato sauce and pine nuts (I HAVE to have pinenuts in the house at ALL times. They are so delectable!). I tried to copy something I had a a restaurant. I stirfried thin, flat strips of Japanese eggplant...and then put some strips of cow cheese on the top and let them melt and then I added the tomato sauce (it was some kind of jar sauce to which I added honey, butter and roasted pinenuts). and then I rolled it all up. I was supposed to bread it and fry it, but I got too tired. They tasted really good :)

1.05 Bento: Onions, Yams, and Broccoli. Oh my!
Tee hee, this took me HOURS! You'd think it'd be easy to bread up something and fry it, but this dinner took me forever! "Dinner?" you ask? Yes, it was dinner and I used the leftovers to make a bento :) That's some furikake stuff on the rice with a Hello Kitty seaweed cut out on it :) Whee! This was also from the Bento Store on eBay... Hey! She's back :) Assuming it was a she...hmm...anyway, whee! The Bento store wasn't open for a long time. Yay! I wonder if they do special orders...there are some Torune brand bento goods that I really want...and can't get because I'm in the US and not Japan *pouts* Oh well. Erm, back to the bento. It's breaded stuff...with sesame seeds :) Yummy...breaded is better with sesame seeds! I did yams, broccoli, onions, carrots and eggplant :) The onions went really fast :P

I've got deadlines, deadlines and more deadlines...so no bento until next month probably :( Well, there's a wedding in a different state to go to, too...so busy, busy, busy me! Not that anyone's reading this, but *shrug* You never know...and it's cool to see all my bento creations in one place like this :)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bento Backlog

So I've finally found something to make my pictures smaller with :) Oh, I put a lot of links in here, but it doesn' t mean I endorse them. I've never bought anything from Maruwa online (just from their store when they were in Japan Town), so I have no clue as to what their service is like...but they have pictures of the things I've used and that's why I've linked to them.

I don't know why but all my pictures aren't showing up...I get a different combination of them everytime I click "refresh." Hmm...guess Blogger is having problems...

12.09 Bento: Crunchy Veggie Stuffing Cubes
Whee! This one came out pretty good and I got to use some of my new cool bento items! So we have some Cow Cheese, some corn with a bit of unsalted butter (the flower is veggie bologna), edamame, a pucchi tomato, and stuffing cubes. I made Stove Top stuffing (Homestyle Herb flavor) with extra mushrooms, carrots, onions and spinach and then used my Onigiri Cube (P-2542) to make it into cubes which I toasted until they were crunchy on the outside and mealy on the inside. Yes I do realize there is some chicken powder in Stove Top stuffing, but because he is not a vegetarian because of ethics or allergies. it's okay.

12.08 Bento: Hello Kitty!
Yes, I tried the bento stencils again. I think it came out better this time. I used "Omusubi Yama: Shiso" this time instead of sesame seeds. I think Shiso is some kind of leaf...? Anyway, the purple stuff is that shiso stuff. I also took initiative and bought some Morningstar Farms Chick 'n Nuggets. I got the idea from the "Vegan Lunch Box" :) The carrots and asparagus are lightly stir-fried. Mommy says that cooking carrots briefly and eating them with a bit of oil helps the body absorb more vitamins from the carrots. I like the way that veggies get brighter (and happier looking) when I cook them a bit :)

12.06 Bento: Tenpura Time!
My first try ever at making tenpura (You know there's no single "m" sound in Japanese...so how can it be "teMpura"? Especially when it's a "n"?). I used Nisshin Tenpurako Age Jyouzu mix. It's supposed to be light. There's some asparagus, bell pepper, shiitake, eggplant and carrot tenpura in there. The round pastel green thing has home-made tenpura sauce in it. I guesses. I used soy sauce, sugar and mirin....tee hee, then I added a bit of hot chili oil (La-Yu because it didn't taste right...that made it work!). I also used some onigiri seasoning on the rice to make it look "pretty."

12.02 Bento: Pinwheels and Inari
Nijiya to the rescue! I put inari sushi from Nijiya in the top layer of the bento box, and pinwheels, corn, a pucchi tomato and a mini roll cake (from Nijiya, I forget what brand...sorry) in the bottom layer. Yesh, it was an easy bento. It's because I had a deadline :p That and he has not been taking care of his bento boxes...the Man-Bento has been in the garage for some time...GROSS! That's why there are so many days in between bento. I don't have a clean bento box to put it in. If I have to make it, he's got to bring it home and stick it in the dish washer. It's the least he can do right? I'm not going treasure-hunting looking for where he left his bento...or nagging at him to bring it home. He just doesn't get any when he doesn't do his part. Fair, right? It takes 1 ~ 2 hours to make this stuff, you know?

11.23 Bento: Mac 'n Pinwheels
This bento is full of lightly stir-fried carrots and broccoli, Chef Boyardee Nacho Cheese Twistaroni (couldn't find a picture :p) , and pinwheels (see below). This time I added spinach to the pinwheels. I think the more healthy veggies I can stuff in a bento, the better. Especially since this vegetarian doesn't really eat veggies. I guess there isn't much to say about this bento. *sigh* It was another "quickie" bento...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I found a Vegan Blog?

I guess I 'm not the only one....The Veg Blog ! Except, gee, I thought vegetarian was hard! Try Vegan! Well, I'm sure I'll get some great ideas from her blog :)

Tee hee, I have a bento to post (yesterday's...he didn't clean out any of his bento boxes :P so he gets no bento until one is clean...he stained my Tare Panda bento box that way! Grr...) but I had to change computers and now everything's a mess and I'm not sure I can find the pic just yet... .o0(Do I need to install drivers to download stuff from my camera...uhh...)0o.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fourth Set

11.15 Bento: White Stew
I think this is one of my better bentos. It's the first time I ever made stew. I used Kokumaru Creamy Stew rue. It was really creamy and good. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I only had onions, carrots, potatoes and broccoli in it, though. We didn't have any other veggies. I made mini croissants out of Pillsbury Cresent dough :) They came out really cute. Then there's some cow cheese in there. Ever since I was a kid I've always called that and the cubed and wedged version "Cow Cheese." It's silly, but :P

11.16 No Bento:
We went out for lunch :) We went to Fidels. It was pretty good. I ordered a Milanesa Torta...but they brought me the Milanesa plate...and I ate it anyway. The fries were really good. Hey! Did you know fries taste SO good when you eat them with tartar sauce? I didn't until I got bored of the ketchup at the Fish Market.

11.17 Bento: Success! Yaki Onigiri II
He likes yaki onigiri. I think it's the sauce. I whipped out the onigiri mold and voila! There is an onigiri star, bear and heart. Cute, eh? It was from Marukai, I think? This time I used a non-stick pan at a medium-low heat and it crunched up just like it should. I used Hello Kitty nori cut-outs top decorate the top (click and a larger version of the pic will open). That's Boca Smoked Sausage there (veggie, but of course). The green things under the yaki-onigiri are edamame. The bag said "lightly salted in pod"...but they were SAL-TY! Wow! Next time we're getting "unsalted" for sure.

11.18 Bento: Pretty Pinwheels
I wasn't feeling very creative, so this is what came out. I call it an "American style" bento because the first time I ate these pinwheel things was at a New Mexican restaurant. I just got a mini tortilla and slathered on Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Garden Vegetable flavor) on it, and rolled it up with cut carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and sunflower seeds. The green stuff at the top is cucumber cut out in star shapes with a bit of carrot and sunflower seeds. The white stuff at the bottom is Ruffles French Onion dip. The red stuff on top of the pinwheels is pakrika...so that it's prettier...and of course, veggie bologna stars! When you're making vegetarian bento, veggie bologna is your friend (like seriously! What else can you use those cool shape cutters with when you're making vegetarian bento? Kamaboko? I think NOT!)!

Third Set

More Bento! Yes, I'm still making bento...and purchasing a lot of goods to make bento look pretty...but I notice I haven't used many of them yet :( Nevertheless, I think I am getting better at cooking. Maybe a yummy bento is better than a pretty bento? This time the pictures are bigger...well, if you click on them...they will get bigger...whoa... I'm trying to take better pictures of my bento, too. You may notice that some *gasp* are actually in forcus (more or less now). I figured out how to use the "Flower" setting on my camera.

You know, I think I may be the only Vegetarian Bento Blogger (VBB) in the US? Haha...maybe not, but I can't find another one.

11.10 Bento: Tenuki Guma
Well, you see, this was deadline week and I didn't really have time to make bento (or cook at all). So I took a pouch of korma from Tasty Bite. Then I took my new bento stencil and some sesame seeds...and found out you need to pack the rice down well, so it's very even for the stencil to work very well...so it came out a bit wierd. Oh well. It was my first time with the stencil. We'll try harder next time. He liked the bento though. I found out he thought I made the curry...yeah, right! Indian curry tastes great, but I think it's the hardest thing to make! Japanese curry is really easy to make, though...

11.11 Bento: Eggroll Ecstacy
My eggrolls finally look like eggrolls! Yay! They didn't rip open in the oil, either. The trick was putting less stuff in the eggrolls and rolling them up tighter. Next time I'll challenge spring roll wrappers. I think they are harder to work with. I think I won't use itogonyaku in them anymore, though. The onigiri were supposed to be yaki onigiri...but I failed. They stuck to the bottom of the pan and then fell apart. So I gave up and stuffed the rice back into the molds. He liked them, though. I'll have to try yaki onigiri again. Maybe I just needed to pack the rice in the mold tighter and use a non-stick pan or something.

11.14 Bento: He Made It
Last night he made dinner. I already ate my lovely Marie Calendar's Chicken and Dumpling meal, so I didn' t have any. There was some left over, so that's what he gets for bento. I put it in the bento box and made it look pretty, though. It's some kind of jar sauce with Buitoni Spinach and Cheese Tortellini and some teriyaki? broccoli with onions. This goes? ...and PBJ and bologna sandwiches don't? I don't get it. The white peaches in jelly from Mitsuwa is divine, btw :) I put a maraschino cherry in it for color.

Second Set

Kousan Jinan no Gyakutai Bentou?! Chara-ben is like the ultimate bento blog! I want to make bento like that someday...haha...so meager my beginnings... with this post I think I'm almost caught up :) Then I'll add bigger pictures when I'm posting only one bento a day. These were "catch-up" posts (ketchup...haha...oh, please...that is SO an oji-san gag!)

10.06 Bento: Mexican Fiesta
So I thought I could do a theme bento after the PJ & Bologna incident (see previous post). That way all the flavors would "match"...right? So here it is: two vegetarian chili burritos, "fiesta corn" (haha, it just has tomatoes and green onions mixed in), and refried beans with cheese. I used ketchup to draw on the burritos. It didn't come out that great. Vegetarian chili is pretty nasty...but he likes it, so *shrug*

10.12 Bento: Arabian Afternoon
This is another theme bento. I like couscous, but this lemon-spinach couscous wasn't too good. It was a bit on the tart side :P I cut whole wheat pita into stars. The pink stars are veggie bologna. Oh, and there are spinach leaves and cut carrots behind the pita stars. This was a pretty easy bento...seeing as I didn' t have to make the hummus. It's store bought.

10.14 Bento: In the Pink
Pink Tortellini is one of my favorite things to eat. I copied it from a dish they used to make at DiMartino's in Las Vegas. They're out of business :( I don't know why. Their stuff tasted SO good! The bottom-left partition is filled with Sargento Cheese "Moon and Stars" (those do not look like moons to me and most of the stars are a bit...strange, too. You wouldn't think it would be so difficult for a machine to punch shapes out of cheese!).

10.17 Bento: Mabo Eggplant
Someone forgot to bring home their bento box, so I had to use another one. Mabo (some people spell it Mapo) Eggplant is one of my favorite things. I love eggplant...only when it's sweet and creamy, though. So it's that on top of rice. I put some bologna "flowers" on top to make it look pretty. The oinarizushi is from Mitsuwa...or maybe Nijiya. I forget. I like Mitsuwa's better because they are sweeter. He like Nijiya's better. I think he didn't like this bento box for some reason.

10.18 Bento: Yucky Yakisoba
There was an "incident" in the kitchen and the pepper lid opened...you know the one with the big gaping spoon hole? So well, this yakisoba wasn't very edible. Still it looks nice. I didn't want to waste it, so it became bento...after no one wanted it for dinner (including me). Cucumbers work well for shapes :) These cucumbers are star shaped. The cucumber maki are from Mitsuwa. Someday I'll make cooler ones...

10.29 Bento: Sausage & Peppers
We had nothing in the fridge. So I took a Morning Star veggie sausage patty and cut it up, tossed in some bell peppers and onions and then poured some tomato sauce on top of it all and...voila! Sausage and peppers...only the sausages crumbled. Still he really liked his one and wanted more...but now we have no peppers :P The green stuff is broccoli and the red is a cherry tomato (Tommy Toh) Hahaha! Erm, you'd have to read Howl DJ to get that one :) ...I will get around to updating that blog...it'll just take a while. Oh, this is a new bento box for him! It's got a chidori on it. I got it from Japan_Kitty. It came with the box, and a matching napkin (really a furoshiki), matching bag, and matching chopsticks :) Whee! Only it didn' t come with a Bento Band...you really need one of those.

11.03 Bento: Kyou Kara Karage
Mommy is a good cook. I am not. I guess it's marrying young and not having much experience...but since Mommy IS a good cook, then I must have "good cook genes" in there somewhere...I just hope they manifest themselves soon...so I tried Karaage. I used the wrong powder. It was supposed to be flour not potato starch...doh! Oh well. I made the sauce myself, too :) Spicy :) I put in chili oil :) The rice on the bottom is supposed to have sesame hearts, but somehow the hearts didn't come out that well :*( I think I needed to pack the rice in more and then the surface would have been smoother...which would have been better for the sesame seeds. It's all veggie karaage, btw :) There's shiitake, kabocha and carrots. I wanted to do bell peppers, but I was too tired after all the other veggies and gave up :P I got this bento box at the local Mitsuwa :) Bunnies! Whee! He didn't like using it :P

11.04 Bento: Panda Kabocha
This is the MAN-BENTO box. It's pretty boring. Oh well. He likes it. Today I made KobochaNi. It came out good :) :) It's really hard to cut kabocha, though...otherwise I'd make it more often. I was going to make the whole thing...but I got too tired of cutting it. My knife would get stuff, so I'd have to hammer the kabocha with the knife stuck on it on the cutting board. This felt a little dangerous. I wonder if this is how Psycho felt? Not that that's a real person, but you get the idea. The yakisoba is from Panda . I thought it needed something "more" so I cooked hims some bell peppers, eggplant and a shiitake to go with it. The beans under the kabocha are edamame. Veggie-tarians need that protein, you know.

The First Set

Ahaha...so well, I'm trying to make bento for a vegetarian :P It's SO not the easiest thing...and well, I'm so NOT a great cook, but here is the first few tries:

09.30 Bento: Maple Leaves
This is the very first bento. Sandwiches cut into maple leaf shapes (for fall!) from wheat pita bread; inside is veggie bologna and mustard. They are sitting on top of lightly salted edamame. The salad actually has smaller maple leaf carrots in it, but they don't seem to show well. The onigiri is plain with a sprinkling of sesame seeds in it.

10.01 Bento: Purple Heart
The second bento was okay. This time I tried hearts. There's cream cheese, carrots and sprouts inside. The sandwiches are sitting on a bed of sliced cabbage (the purple kind). The white thing is actually refried beans inside a mini burrito wrapper thing...ugh, tortilla, that's it! The yellow stuff is corn with butter and a bit of carrot and bellpepper. I think the cherry tomatoes look so cheery in there, but he hates tomatoes. Well, I'M making the bento, so I get to pick what goes inside :P

10.04 Bento: Late Morning
I fogot to make bento! So I woke up early and made this...erm...lovely (yeah) peanut butter and jelly sandwich bento. I tried to make them all the same size like in the stores, but it didn't work. It was pretty ugly and the peanut butter squirted out when I tried to jam it in the box :P Oh, and the ones in the stores always have more than one kind of sandwich, so the second one is veggie bologna and mustard. I was told it was a nasty combination :*( The salad sits in the top right, with a bit of corn thrown in for color and some makizushi from Mitsuwa is jammed into the bottom left...some kind of hot purple pickle, a cucumber roll, and a takuan roll.

10.05 Bento: Couscous Flowers
Finally a pretty bento! Whee! Plum blossom veggie bologna (veggie bologna is like the BOMB if you want to cut shapes out :) ) ontop of veggie couscous. Then some fruit cocktail (straight from da can!). The pink stars are veggie hot dogs (for those who don't know, veggie hot dogs don't plump when you cook them, so you can't do the cute octopus hot dogs :*( Oh well...) in a bed of edamane.

Well, it's really hard trying to take pictures of food. They always seem to get blurry. I don't know why. Eh, the hubbie has a nice MAN-BENTO box now, but when I started out, I only had a bento box I bought for myself. I like the cute ones better than the MAN-BENTO box. The MAN-BENTO box is boring. It's not as much fun making bento in a MAN-BENTO box.

Somedays I forgot to take pictures :( Oh well. Some days he doesn't eat his bento (sacrilege!)...so the next day he had none. It takes about an hour to fix these things up! I didn't think to make extra dinner for bento back then. Now I do, so it's faster, but still. Bento takes time, so bento = love :)

So this bento blog has been inspired by the following bento sites :)