Spice Up Your Life With a Taste of Japan

Spice Up Your Life With a Taste of Japan

*Fun Bento Box**Cute and Natural Food From California*


Dollar Store Bento Items

Nectarine BBQ Sauce Chicken Bento 

Watched the Disney movie "Ratatouille " and got inspired to make a mouse bento.

These are skillet shaped measuring spoons.
Received this as a souvenir from Japan!
I had seen some moms put it in bento boxes, so I was excited when I got this.

Got Dutch Oven shaped salad containers and sauce containers at a dollar store called Seria when I visited my family in Japan early this year. How cute these are!!!!!
Daiso is well known Japanese dollar store here in California, but Seria is as mush popular as Daiso in Japan. Must go to store when you visit Japan! They have tons of cute and quality items.
Oh, the white bento box in the top picture is from Seria too! And mini grilled pans and a mini measuring bowl..

I colored quail eggs with plant based food coloring from Whole Foods Market.
Just put a couple of drops of blue and red in a glass and add water to make a nice purple color.
Soaked cooked and shelled quail eggs for about 30 minutes to color the eggs.
I used to use vegetables like beets to color eggs, but not anymore.
These are made with vegetables. I can use this food coloring without guilt.

We got tons of nectarines in our backyard.
Made jams, pies and BBQ sauce. I marinated chicken with the BBQ sauce and grilled it for dinner.
It was yummy! Used the leftover for the bento.
Recipe-> Peach BBQ Sauce (Replace peach with nectarines)


Cute Colorful Plastic Wrap

Super Hero Rice Balls

Found these colorful plastic wrap in Japan!
Available in blue, pink and yellow. You can make more colors by layering different colors.
Blue + Pink = Purple
Blue + Yellow = Green

You can make cute lunch to go really quick with these.
Shape cooked Japanese rice in a piece of plastic wrap to create round shape.
Cut chalkboard stickers to make masks.


Beets Pink Curry and Lama Shaped Rice

Lama or Llama...? Not sure which one is correct, but this is rice lama and beets pink curry!
Made white curry and added beets puree to make cute pink color.

Pink Curry Lama

about 150g Cooked Japanese Rice
Pink Curry (See recipe below)
2 Quail Eggs, boiled
A piece of nori seaweed 

1. Make Pink Curry

½ Onion, Sliced
1 clove Garlic, chopped
1tsp Grated Ginger
Vegetable and Protein of your choice
2tsp Curry Powder
2tbs  Flour
300cc  Milk or Soy Milk
1tbs~  Mashed Beets
Salt  to taste

Heat oil in a skillet over low heat. Saute onion, garlic , ginger and vegetable, protein of your choice until soft. Stir in curry powder, flour and cook for another minute or so.  Add milk and cook over medium-high heat until it thickens. Add about 1tbs of mashed beets and mix well. Add more beets until it reaches your desired color. Continue stirring for another minutes or so, Adjust taste with salt.

2. Shape rice into lama on a plate. 

3. Carefully pour pink curry around rice.
4. Cut quail eggs to create ears and nose of lama.

5. Place the ears and nose on the rice. Create eyes and nose by cutting a piece of nori seaweed and apply on the face.

Featured on Japan Up! Magazine June 2019  :)


Owl Rice Balls

Owl Rice Balls

170g Cooked Japanese Rice
1tsp Soy Sauce
Filling of your choice
1slice of Yellow Cheese
1slice of White Cheese
A piece of Nori Seaweed
Corn Kernels

  1. Place 150g of rice in a small bowl. Also  prepare 2 piece of plastic wrap and put 10g of rice on each. Make flat round pieces with the small rice balls.  This will become owl’s stomachs.
  2. Add soy sauce in the bowl of rice and mix well to add color. Divide into 2 on plastic wrap.
  3. Add the filling in the center of the rice.
  4. Shape the rice in plastic wrap to make oval shapes and press with your finger to make space for the white rice stomach.
  5. Place  the white stomach on the brown body and press  together, wrapping tightly with plastic wrap.
  6. Cut almond in half and create ears
  7. To create eyes, cut out slices of cheese, using 2 different size of round shapes. Use a small flower shape to create feet.
  8. Cut a piece of nori seaweed to create eyes and put all the parts together.    

Featured on Japan Up! Magazine March 2019  :)


Patriotic Bento Lunch Box

4th of July is just around the corner!
What are you planning to do on the holiday?
If you going on a picnic, how about taking these cute bears with you?😍

I created mini burgers with mini tomatoes, basil mozzarella cheese!
Yes, these bears are vegetarian😉

For dessert, I made  Blueberry Bran Muffins and packed with strawberries and cherries that I bought at a local farmers market.

Cornbread Bear Bento

Cornbread (2 full squares and a slice)
Thick Chili Filling of your choice
A slice of cheese
A piece of nori seaweed

  1. Prepare 2 squares of cornbread and slice them in half. Scoop out center area to create a small bowl. Stuff chili filling inside.
  2. Place the top half back on top.
  3. Cut out leftover cornbread slice to create ears and hands for bears.
  4. Apply them to the cornbread to make bears.
  5. Cut out from a slice of cheese and a piece of nori seaweed to create eyes.
  6. Optional: Slice mini tomatoes in half and make tomato, basil and cheese sandwiches!


3 colors Animal Bento

My 3 colors Animal Bento was featured in Japan Up! Magazine June issue!

3 colors Animal Bento

30g Beef Soboro*
30g Scrambled Egg (About 1-2 eggs. Cook with a pinch of salt and sugar)
30g Blanched  Spinach (drain well and sprinkle a little soy sauce)
Decorative pieces (radish, carrot, cucumber, a slice of cheese, a piece of seaweed)

*Beef Soboro

150g Ground Beef
1tbsp Soy Sauce
1tbsp Sugar
1tbsp Mirin
1tbsp Sake
1/2tsp Grated Ginger
-Heat a non-stick pan and cook beef, breaking up into small pieces.
-Add all the seasonings and cook until most of the liquid is gone.

How to assemble bento

  1. Prepare soboro, scrambled egg and blanched spinach.
  2. Place 50g of rice in each cup
  3. Put about 30g of the toppings in each cup
  4. Prepare face parts by cutting and slicing vegetables and cheese.


Picnic Bento

I visited my family in Japan a couple month ago. I was looking for a cute lunch box for picnic use and found this at Afternoon Tea shop in my hometown.!!

Afternoon Tea Online Shop
I like the color, size and quality of this. They change the design seasonally, so would love to purchase different one next time I go to Japan!

Packed cute teddy bear rice balls and panda chocolate sandwiches, egg sandwiches, fresh vegetables and fruits! 


Edible Flower Crown Bento

Purchased edible flower mix at Seedgeeks a while back.

Planted in spring and it has been blooming non stop lately!
It's really beautiful and inspired me to make this bento. (Curry and Rice)

I wrap with them with wet paper towel, place in a ziplock container and store them in fridge.
It lasted about a week!

More bento idea with edible flowers to come:)