Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Go Bento!

In my research about bentos over the past several weeks I've found links to many stores that sell bento supplies. It's been challenging to find stuff from one store that has reasonable prices. I did come across Ichiban Kan in the Bay Area which is a sort of Japanese dollar store. Turns out that my sister lives near one of locations and she was planning on visiting us this week. So I sent her an email asking if she's willing to go to the shop and purchasing bento supplies to bring to us. She did a SUPER job and got everything on my list + some extras. She said that the prices were awesome, with many things under $2. She's arriving soon and my daughter & I are anxious to get our hands on the bento supplies. We basically have NOTHING right now so this will really help us to get serious about making bento. My daughter starts Kindergarten in 4 weeks, so we should get some good practice in. I'll post soon about our new supplies.

In the meantime I have one of our bentos from this week to show you.
The bug is a Babybel with heart pick eyes, grass is green beans, mushrooms are made with half strawberries on a carrot stick stem, and the rest of the space is filled with blueberries and diced hot dog.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dino Bento

My daughter found leftover package of dino (& shark) fruit snacks and said she wanted a dino bento. I flattened 2 pieces of whole wheat bread with a rolling pin and cut each with a dino cookie cutter. I put a little bit of peanut butter in the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften it up. It went on the bread like glaze. Eyes were a half of a raisin. The rest of the bento was decorated with shredded cheese, edamame, cherries, and the fruit snacks. My daughter's face lit up when she saw it!
This lunch is featured at:
Zoe's lunchbox

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hi! I am Diana and I am an internet TV junkie!

I feel like I am making a confession here. It's been a low-key summer. We don't have much going on and I've been a little stressed out about a few things. I haven't been sleeping as well as I usually do and I've been filling the time with my blog design biz and watching TV shows online. HULU & YouTube have become my buddies lately. I've found some full seasons of some reality shows that I've been watching back to back to back. I love it that commercials are cut out by the people who post shows on YouTube! An entire season + no commercials = instant gratification. Gratification if you like the outcome!

I watched America's Next Great Restaurant this weekend. I checked Wiki afterward and found out that the winner's 3 restaurants have already closed, which is a bummer. The show was not renewed either. I found it interesting how people were pitching their ideas and competing.

I've been getting into other cooking shows and have MasterChef marked on my HULU subscription. Whenever a new episode is posted it goes into my queue. I love this feature at HULU~ you can favorite a show and then the new episodes show up. I don't even pay attention to when a show is on TV...I just catch it online! I have several shows marked, including Love in the Wild and Love Bites. I liked the first 2 episodes of Love Bites, but the show has not been good since then!! The winner of the first season of MasterChef recently appeared on this season, but I am still enjoying watching season one on YouTube.

Do you have fancy cable channels or do you catch shows online? What shows do you like?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Buggy Bento

I haven't been putting much time or thought into this bento thing. I just try to come up with something off the top of my head when I am making my daughter's lunch. My daughter was wearing wings today when she asked for a bento, so I thought I should create some food with wings.
I call it the Buggy Bento! I started with a heart shaped peanut butter sammich that I cut in half. Wings were made with thinly sliced peaches and the eyeballs were blueberries. Ants on a log (raisins on peanut butter on celery) were surrounded by bugs (almonds) and ladybugs (strawberries with sunflower seed eyes). Walking stick is actually part of a beef stick with celery leaf garnish and part of a 2 colored cheese stick is some kind of flying bug. Can't forget those carrot sticks...big orange grubs?

My daughter has always snubbed her nose at almonds and picks them out when she eats trail mix. She gobbled them up first! She told me that she will eat more things as she gets older! LOL! She had so much fun playing & eating! I wonder if she will get through her entire lunch at school!?!!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

7/8/10 ~ A Whale of a Day

July 8, 2010 was one of the more memorable days in Alaska. Here is my post from our Alaska trip blog last year~

We woke early this morning to head down to the harbor. We had an 8am departure on the Kenai Fjords Tour. Last night we were unsure if we were even going to go since they were issuing weather warnings. That’s that the seas are high and that the boat might not be able to make it around the cape to see everything. If it turns back early then we get a partial refund. We had the option to get a full refund if we decided not to go. Since it had stopped raining and it looked clearer out in the bay, we decided to go. The water was rough and the weather never cleared so we didn’t get to go all the way out to the glaciers, but we did see quite a bit of sealife. One of the first sightings was a California Humpback Whale. It was amazing! It even got pretty close to the boat at one point and Dori got a good view of it. Not long after that we saw 2 humpbacks swimming together. They seemed to be showing off for the boat and we got some incredible shots. We also saw seals, sea lions, otters, puffins, bald eagles and lots of interesting birds. There were some Dall Porpoises at one point, but we didn’t see them. One of the crew members said that sometimes there are not any whale sightings, so we felt pretty lucky. Maybe he was just saying that…IDK. We were thrilled with what we saw and were fine with the cruise getting done early. I took a (less-drowsy formula) Dramamine before starting out and I never felt sick. I always get motion sick and the boat was really rolling at times. I think being outside in the (brisk) wind was very helpful. Just before lunch time all the guys were filling ill, but they took a Dramamine and had lunch. They felt so much better after that.

After the tour we went up to see the Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park. Once again Dori earned a junior ranger badge. She should have had 3 by now, but we never went back to the ranger station in Talkeetna. We bought her a National Parks Passport book and she is enjoying getting her stamps from each park. We had about a 2 mile hike round trip (with some pretty steep parts) to the edge of the glacier. There are year markings along the way which show where the glacier used to be. It’s receded a lot!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fruit & Flower Bento

Bento Lunch
Time for What's For Lunch Wednesday at BentoLunch.net. I just made my daughter this cute fruit & flower bento. It has a peanut butter sammich on whole wheat with an M&M for the middle of the flower and is decoratively surrounded by strawberries, blueberries, and carrot sticks. She is gobbling it up right now! She just told me it's better than a McFlurry! LOL!

Wordless Wednesday: Patriotic Pretty

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cookies on a Stick

I've taken on 2 new food hobbies recently. My last post was about bento lunches that I am just starting, but I started doing cookies on a stick back in May. Remember those 220 cookies I made for my son's graduation party?

They were so much fun and I got so many compliments that I decided to make them for special events.

About a week after his graduation party I created cookies for my daughter's dance recital. (Little Gym Show Week) I got all the names for the girls & teachers in the class and made them a giant heart on a stick. They were a big hit! Here is my daughter with a friend.We have 2 events this weekend that deserve some yummy cookies! Yesterday we went to my hubby's aunt & uncle's 60th bday party. I tried something new and spelled out names with the cookies. I fused the letter together before baking. I had a little troubles with them and had to use some toothpicks to help hold the words together, but for the most part it worked. I will try words again BUT if it's more than 3 letters they will not go on a stick! We had to travel 3 hours to the party so we just took the cookies on cookie sheets and put them into the bouquet when we arrived. They started to break apart, so I couldn't reposition them to make a good display. I think people really liked them though. In fact, probably a little too much because not many got eaten. I think people thought they were for show. I pulled them out of the bouquet and removed the toothpicks after a while so that people knew they were OK to eat.Today we are going to a 4th of July party. The male host of the party *LOVED* the graduation cookies and has continued to comment on them so I knew I had to make some for today's party. As you can see from the bday party above and the 4th party below I did not pipe the cookies at all. I decided to use sprinkles which is so much quicker! I like how they turned out. For the 4th I decided to only put a few of the cookies on a stick. I broke a few sticks in half and put mini stars on them. I took a round tray and put a small dip bowl in the middle with some styrofoam in it. I stuck in the 3 larger cookies and the 6 mini cookies then arranged the rest of the cookies on the tray around it. How cute did it turn out?My daughter loves to help out with making the cookies. She will push the cutters down on the rolled out dough and ice the cookies. She iced all the mini stars and the the sprinkles for today's display. Here she is icing the cookies for her dance recital!