Category Archives: Bento

The Just Bento Cookbook 2 is out! – Plus where to find me (for now)

The Just Bento Cookbook 2 is out! – Plus where to find me (for now)

The Just Bento Cookbook 2 is out! If you are here because you bought the book – hi there! read moreMore

EVENT: Cheese Drawing and Cute Sandwich Tutorial at Kaimuki Public Library

EVENT: Cheese Drawing and Cute Sandwich Tutorial at Kaimuki Public Library

If you live in the Honolulu area, I’ll be doing an event this coming Sunday at the Kaimuki Public Library from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The demo itself will be pretty quick. I’ll show people the basics on how to cut out and make characters with cheese, then apply nori. After that, it’ll mostly be a hands-on, have-tons-of-fun session where you get to make your own! I believe the event will be in the downstairs meeting room, but I’ve never been down there, so if you’re not sure either, it’s best …More

Cheesy Lion Bento

Cheesy Lion Bento

Yesterday I taught two bento classes for a company here in Honolulu, which was fun, since it had been a while since I taught a class. It’s intensely stressful when prepping for things like this because I have to plan, design, shop, cook, wash, cut, and pack every single thing I may need. It’s exhausting, but the class itself is fun, simply because people love seeing how cute bento come together. We made two bento—one for adults and one charaben—and after the last class, while my students were making their charabens, I played around with my cutters and made a lion, then picked at the leftover food to make this impromptu bento. Packed in …More

Announcing Yum-Yum Bento Box All Year Round

Announcing Yum-Yum Bento Box All Year Round

Can you guys believe it’s September already? Everyone on the mainland has been posting first day of school pictures of their kids and so you know lots of bentos are being made once more. Some exciting news, which I’ve been waiting to post for weeks now: the sequel to Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches is titled Yum-Yum Bento All Year Round: Box Lunches for Every Season. The book will be released in late December, just in time for people to start the new year. 🙂 Isn’t the cover so cute? I’ve been wanting to do a…More

Ramen at Home

Ramen at Home

My ramen eating habits have evolved over the years, starting with my family dubbing Sapporo Ichiban brand ramen as “saimin” and eating it almost daily for my entire childhood. Occasionally, my Oahu cousins would come to visit Grandma and I’d see them eating S&S Saimin, which was their noodle of choice. Sometimes I’d order the saimin at Satsuki in downtown Hilo when my parents took the whole Kodani Florist crew there to eat a late-night dinner. That was probably the closest I ever came to the “real” Japanese ramen that I have regular access to today. Now that I live on Oahu, where ramen shops are everywhere, I&#…More

Homemade Takuan, Take 1

Homemade Takuan, Take 1

The last time my dad came to visit, he brought a little plastic tub of purple takuan he had made himself. He’s a farmer, and one of the things he grows is daikon, including purple daikon. Well, apparently he can’t sell the crooked ones, so he ends up with excess of the giant roots and started making his own koko because, well, why not? Anyway, I tried it, but he’d added a slice of hot pepper, so it was quite spicy and scared away most takers he offered it to. He forgot to take it home, and me …More

Event: Demo and Book Signing at Kodomo No Matsuri

Event: Demo and Book Signing at Kodomo No Matsuri

I feel awful for once again disappearing into the blog void after coming back last Halloween, but I have a good excuse, I swear! That excuse is… A new cookbook! Yup, that’s right! Maki and I are teaming up again to do a sequel to Yum-Yum Bento Box, and right after Halloween was when we started working on the book. We were on a really rough timeline, and with work and the holidays, I just lost all my time to blog. The book will hopefully be released by the end of the year, and I’m super excited about this one, as Maki and I have tons of great new designs …More

Tutorial: Halloween Cuties With Painted Cheese Part 1

Tutorial: Halloween Cuties With Painted Cheese Part 1

Today I’m going to be going over a couple of cute Halloween characters you can make with painted cheese. I tried to make these as simply as possible to reduce the amount of tools needed. If you don’t have them, these are essential tools that I feel can be used over and over, and you’ll get more use out of them than oodles of molds and cutters. Things you will need: Swiss cheese slice Small piece of nori Scissors (I recommend Fiskars micro-tip) Food coloring (I used neon green, red, yellow) Toothpicks (pointed or flat or both) Nori punches The punches I used were a Carla Craft one (which…More

Halloween Sammies Bento

Halloween Sammies Bento

I’ve got a bunch of Halloween Cuties just sitting in my fridge, so of course my kids check the lunch menus and proclaim that the rest of the week consists of school lunches they actually like. Figures. I went grocery shopping yesterday and actually found purple taro bread, which is perfect for Halloween, so I was thrilled. For local people reading my blog, I got this at Foodland. It’s the Bale Japanese taro bread. If you have a bread machine, you can simply add food coloring to your favorite white bread recipe. I’ve done this to make pink bread before, and it’s really easy. Anyway, without anyone to make this…More

Halloween Cuties With Painted Cheese Part 2

Halloween Cuties With Painted Cheese Part 2

In the past, I’ve referred to my daughter as Baby Girl, but since she’s now eleven years old (whaaaat?) she’s kind of outgrown the name. A while back we came up with an online name for her, which is Mikia. Going forward, references to Mikia mean my little baby girl, growing up too fast. Yesterday when I picked her up from school, I thought we’d end up painting cheese in the afternoon, but it turned out she was too tired from staying up late the night before and she zonked out on the couch until dinnertime. After we ate, she was totally ready, so after I put…More

Tutorial: Carrot Jack-O-Lanterns

Tutorial: Carrot Jack-O-Lanterns

I’m sure many bento enthusiasts can agree with me that mini cookie cutters get to be a sickness after a while. And they’re such a pain in the butt to clean, especially out here in Hawaii where everything rusts so quickly (practically overnight, I swear!). I tried out something new with a pin, seeing if I could do this without needing a cutter. Turned out pretty good! I started off by thinly slicing a carrot (which was chosen for being particularly fat) and then putting those slices in my vegetable steamer with some water. I suppose mine isn’t technically a steamer since it’s just a bowl with a lid and some holes, but it does the job nicely anyway…More

Pou Bento

Pou Bento

A couple months ago my kids started playing this really weird Tamagochi-like game called Pou, which is — and I’m not even joking here — a game where they raise a little poop and feed it and take care of it. It’s really bizarre. Even stranger, I’ve seen ads for this game on Facebook, meaning other people than my odd children play this raising a pile of doodoo game. There appear to be oodles of versions too. Buddy stayed home with a stomach ache today, so that made him my likely victim for a bento today. I’ve got the itch back, so I’m definitely making use of …More

Tutorial: Making Cheese Eyeballs

Tutorial: Making Cheese Eyeballs

Yesterday I posted my Bloody Eyeballs Bento and was able to make some delightfully round eyes to gross my kids out. Now I’m going to tell you how I did it. In a previous Halloween year I tried using mozzarella balls, but they come rather hard and aren’t truly round, so they don’t make very good eyes in my opinion. Plus, they’re huge, so they’re not really good for using in bento. For charaben, I’ve always used straws to cut my eyes out, but they still have that flat cut-out look to them. Applying this method to smaller eyes for charaben will make them look better for sure. I used American swiss cheese slices. Use a toothpick and cut…More

Bloody Eyeballs Bento

Bloody Eyeballs Bento

Last week when I was making the Pou Bento, I thought to roll the cheese I’d cut out with a coffee straw to make rounder eyeballs, which of course led me to thinking about making bigger eyeballs for a really gross Halloween bento! The result: Yeewww, right? They turned out delightfully disgusting! The rotini pasta only adds to the look, as it looks like the eyeballs are resting on guts! Muahahaha! The eyeballs are made out of cheese and nori with food coloring drops for creepy effect. Obviously this is a great way to make eyes for cute character too though, so I’ll definitely be using …More

Halloween Kitty Cat Sandwiches

Halloween Kitty Cat Sandwiches

Last night, I was trying to figure out something to make for today, thinking back to my past Halloween bentos. Eventually, I settled on black cats, as I don’t think I’ve ever done them before. The result isn’t a bento, but it’s a lunch all the same. I was in a bit of a hurry–my tummy was rumbling–so I just put them on a plate. I took tutorial pictures, so I’ll do that next week sometime. They turned out cute, though, don’t you think? I used taro bread to give it a nice Halloweeny feel, cut the edges off, and made a grilled cheese sandwich. Hopefully when the baby is older and able to eat bigger kid foods…More

Tutorial: Making Halloween Kitty Cats

Tutorial: Making Halloween Kitty Cats

Last week I posted some Halloween Kitty Cats on grilled cheese sandwiches, and so now I’ve got a few tutorial images to share. I used an American Swiss cheese slice for the base, but obviously you can just use yellow, especially since you’ll be using yellow for the eyes. I started by cutting out some cat heads from nori. I made them uniform by folding the nori in half. That way I didn’t have to worry about having two differently shaped kitties. I cut it freehand, but if you want a specific cat shape, just print something out, cut it out (you don’t have to cut the shape out of the paper, just around it), and lay it over the…More

Making Mini Breakfast Mummies

Making Mini Breakfast Mummies

Halloween is almost here and I’ve got a to-do list a mile long! I think I have to accept the fact that only about 80% of what I have planned will actually get done. I made a Halloween food plan, but have since added two extra dishes–guacamole with bat chips and haupia ghosts. If I leave anything off, it’ll be the ghosts and poisoned apples. I have to make the fondant today because cupcakes are on my must-do list since I bought these really cool spider web cupcake liners. I’m dying to use them! Today’s post features little mummies made out of Crescent …More

VIDEO: How to Make a Star Pizza Bento

VIDEO: How to Make a Star Pizza Bento

Note: This post was written forever ago and I never published it, so here it is! Back in January I packed a lunch for Buddy with leftover pizza slices by cutting them into star shapes with a cookie cutter. I took a video of myself making the bento for you guys to watch and see how I packed it. It’s a nice, easy way to turn leftover pizza into a nice bento lunch the next day. The leftovers were stuck into the toaster oven and eaten for breakfast. Note: There is a rating embedded within this post, please visit thisMore

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