Spice Up Your Life With a Taste of Japan

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


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:)


Fun Animal Sandwich Bento

I use rice for 90% of my bento, but today's bento is bread!!
Just cut out slices of bread with cookie cutters and place them on beautiful color veges.
(Cookie cutters are from Daiso)
I used a bear shape one to make a frog.

What you need:
4 slices of bread
Tuna Salad (or filling of your choice)
Zucchini (for bunny backdrop)
Tomato (for heart backdrop)
Cheddar Cheese (for star backdrop)
Basil (for frog backdrop)
A piece of nori seaweed

  1. Slice off edges of 4 slices of bread . For 2 top slices cut out with cookie cutters as shown. (I used a bear shape cookie cutter to create a frog. Available at Daiso )
  2. Place 2 bottom slices in a bento box and add filling. (I used tuna salad)
  3.  Place vegetables and cheese in locations shown for character backdrop coloring.
  4. Add cut-out top slices.
  5. Use a thin strip of zucchini and cookie cutter to create hands for bunny.
  6. Create remaining fun face and body parts using yellow cheddar cheese, white cheese, seaweed, radish, etc. 


Unicorn Vegetarian Bento

Got beautiful rainbow chard at farmers market and inspired to make unicorn bento.
I've seen cute unicorn cakes on Pinterest and had been thinking about making unicorn theme something.

Just cut off stems and pickle with similar color ones for about one hour.
Then just thinly slice and use it for unicorn mane.

For the purple flowers that I put on the unicorn's head, I boiled purple cabbage with water and place sliced radishes in it to color it into purple.  The cabbage water is blue, but if you marinade about over one hour, the pink color of radish starts blending in blue water and create nice purple color.

Menu: black bean and tofu patty, boiled egg, carrot and sweet potato kinpira, sauteed sugar peas, blanched broccoli, zucchini and radish (flowers on head) -> I seasoned with salt to make it wilt and easy to shape them:)

I'm not sure if you can see it, but I put the video ↓ :)

The full step-by-step recipe will be on JapanUp! August issue;)
Will post here when I get the artwork from them!


Bento Side Dishes

Got a lot of beautiful, colorful and yummy vegetables at farmers market last Sunday.
Since not party plan for the memorial day, I made a lot of side dishes for my bento for this week.

1. Roasted beets with honey and lomon
2. Salmon patties
3. Japanese-style sesame rainbow chard
4.Marinated baby heirloom tomatoes
5. Peperoncino cabbage
6. Hoeny-Lemon braised sweet potato and carrot
7. Sauteed yellow mushroom and zucchini
8. Pickled radishes
9. Kinpira carrot and sweet potato
10. Cream braised radishes

Also I made vegetable soup with excess vegetables.
Oh, and chocolate cream with cauliflower;) It's my favorite healthy farm-fresh dessert!
(recipe here)


Fun Train Ride Bento

Easy and fun bento using a bear shape cookie cutter from Daiso!
I love Daiso so much.... I think I go there every week:)

I made Japanese omelet to create a train, but you can use whatever...
Just cut them into rectangle shapes.  ex, vegetables, cheese, tofu, etc..

***Fun Train Ride Bento***

What you need:
Cooked Rice
Japanese Omelet
Nori Seaweed 

1. Fill a bento box half with rice, half with protein and vegetables.
2. Cut a piece of nori seaweed into a thin trip and place on the rice as shown
3. Add short cuts of  nori seaweed as shown to create rails.
4. Create a Japanese omelet and slice to get 2 rectangle shapes. 
5. Cut out a sliced carrot with a bear shape cookie cutter.
6.Place the egg and carrot on the rice. Also placed sliced olives to create wheels.
7. Cut a piece of nori seaweed with a scissors or a seaweed puncher and create the pace parts. Also make small squares for windows.


Android Bento

Celebrating the soon to launch Tanoshi kids computer! 
'Tanoshii' means Fun in Japanese.
They offer Fun + Safe + Educational computer for school-age kids!
Follow them on twitter @TanoshiKids


Vegetarian "Fish" sushi bento

Tomorrow is Chilidren's day! I made koinobori bento for Japan Up! May issue.
Vegetarian 'Fish' sushi bneto :P

Koinobori is Japanese colorful carp windsocks.
Carp is a symbol of strength and success in Japan.
Japanese hang these windsocks outside for Children's Day (May 5th) to bring good luck to their kids health and success.
One set of the windsocks usually comes with 3 sizes. The big one symbolize father,
the medium one mother and the small one child.

1. Make a Japanese omelet. Or you can use a store-bought one.
2. Make 3 different sizes of oblong shapes by slicing a cucumber, omelet and red pepper. Also cut right side end as shown to create tails for fishes.
3. Make 3 small rice balls in sizes that match up well with fish pieces.  
4. Make a long thin strips with a sheet of nori seaweed as shown.
5. Place fish piece on rice and wrap with seaweed strip.
6. Create round eyes by poking a slice of cheese with a straw and other parts by cutting from a piece of nori seaweed with a seaweed puncher or scissors.


Cherry Blossom Bento

Weather is getting warm and beautiful flowers are blooming everywhere!
I'm growing organic micro-greens on a windowsill in my kitchen.
They look so happy with bright sunshine.
I have purchased edible flower seeds mix at Etsy. I think it's time to sow it now:)

I colored rice with naturally colored tart plum sesame seeds and shaped into flower shape with a mold that I purchased in Japan.

When I use smaller bento boxes, I like to press rice with this mold into a compact rice cake.
It also makes a bento very pretty:)


Omelet Rice Bento

Sneak peak at the April issue of JapanUp! magazine.
Created bunny omelet rice bento just in time for Easter :)


3 Colored Rice Balls Bento

It's hanami season!
Hanami is a Japanese way of celebrating cherry blossom season.
It is common to have a picnic under cherry blossom trees with your family or friends.

3 colored dango is a popular spring food and often eaten at hanami.
Dango is a Japanese dumplings related to mochi.
It's usually pink, white and green and it is said that each color represents sakura (cherry blossom), sweet sake and leaves.

I made rice balls looked like 3 colored dango to celebrate the beginning of March!
I colored rice with naturally colored sesame seeds. (Pink: tart plum flavor.  Grenn: green tea flavor.)
As I mix the sesame seeds with warm rice, the seeds release the beautiful color and dyed the rice.
I like the colors and the fact that it's all natural!


Hungry Dog Rice Ball Bento

Made a dog-shaped rice ball with a tofu bone for Japan Up! magazine March issue.
You could put other food in his mouth too! (karaage, vegetables)


Sushi Donuts with Furikake

Sushi donuts have been very popular on SNS and I see someone posting their sushi donuts pictures on Instagram almost every day!
Here is my take on sushi donuts using Japanese furikake, "Umami Toppers"(sold as "Tiki Toppers" in Hawaii) and tiny rice crackers, "Tobikko Arare" from Azuma Foods.
Spread a thin layer of rice on a donuts mold and arrange avocado and spicy crab meat.
Put another layer of rice to cover the ingredients,
Take out from the mold and dip the donuts in a mixture of flour and water.
Coat with furikake and/or  tobikko arare and deep fry!

on the left: Wasabi Toppers and Tobikko Arare.
on the right: Granola Toppers. (mixture of oats, dried vegetable and fruit)
on the bottom: Jut fried after dipping on the flour/water. Sprinkle Tart Plum Toppers after fried.

All flavor of Umami Toppers are free of artificial colors and preservatives.
Tobikko Arare is gluten free and roasted unlike the regular fried rice crackers on the market.
I liked the crunchiness of sushi donuts and the nutty flavor of fried Tobikko Arare!!
Great portable food and I'm ready to take these cuties to a picnic!!!


Inari Bento

Created heart shaped inari and made it look like a fox:)
Please pick up Japan Up! February issue for more detail !! (available in LA and OC area)


Year of the Rooster Bento Box

My page on JapanUp! magazine got bigger and one full page from a half page!
January 2017 features "Year of the Rooster Bento".
Please pick up the magazine at Japanese grocery stores or restaurants if you live in LA or OC!!

2016 Best Nine ~Fun Bento Box~

Thank you so much for visiting my blog in 2016!
My word for 2017 is "Farm to Bento Box".
Looking forward to making healthier and more fun meal for my husband and me:)