Category Archives: uncategorized

Kindergarten bento – Sandwich disaster (21/Sep/17)

I hardly pack sandwiches for my daughter’s lunch. I have a reason for it; I’m afraid of overfeeding bread for our girl. Having a Dutchman in our household, we have bread for breakfast, almost everyday. We eat thin slices of bread and/or buns, with accompaniments such as cheese (preferably Gouda), ham, jam, unsweetened peanut butter, and this heavenly chocolate sprinkles called “Hagelslag” that the most of Dutch people love. If I have time I’d serve fruits and yogurt, but my husband is happy as long as there is bread on our breakfast table.

Anyway, as a very rare occasion I ended up buying sandwich slices at a bakery nearby yesterday, since all the other bread was sold out (anyone from Central Tokyo, you may want to check out this tiny but beautiful bakery called Panetteria Kawamura). And this made me think of making sandwiches for lunch for a change. I thought it would be easy and quick, and I could even save some time in the morning.

The part of making sandwiches was easy, how can it not be, but the real problem was with packing. I cut the sandwiches into quarters so that it would be small enough for my little girl to hold it with one hand and is also visually appealing. But the sandwiches kept falling apart when I tried to pack them while attempting to hold them up vertically. I’ve seen it many times in various bakeries where they are packed nicely and standing straight in a plastic sandwich box. I didn’t realise how hard it was to pack bread in a neat manner. There must be a trick for it, but I couldn’t figure it out today.

As a result, instead of saving time, I totally ran behind schedule and had to rush like a headless chicken to get ready to walk my daughter to school.

Menu: Sandwiches (fillings: Ham, Cheese & Appelstroop,  Scrambled egg & Cucumber, and Strawberry jam), Mashed pumpkin with chicken soboro, Sausage, Steamed broccoli, Cherry tomato

Japanese Nashi pear for dessert

Kindergarten bento – Tanabata festival (7/Jul/17)

Menu: Grilled salmon mixed in rice, Boiled egg, Boiled asparagus, Corns & cucumber salad

Grapes & banana for dessert


Today, 7th July is the day to celebrate Tanabata festival, where traditionally we put up our wish on a piece of rectangle paper and hang it on bamboo branches along with other colourful decorations made with Origami papers. It is the festival to celebrate a once-a-year rendezvous of this married couple, Princess Orihime & Prince Hikoboshi, who were derived from the stars (Vega and Altair) and separated by the Milky Way.

At our daughter’s school, they celebrated it by singing a Tanabata song and eating watermelon, one of the seasonal fruits in summer and very typical for summer festival, after their bento lunch. I totally forgot about it and packed grapes & banana for dessert… Oh well, lucky her to have extra dessert today!

Click here for more details about Tanabata, from Wikipedia.

Here is my daughter’s wish. It reads: I WISH TO BE A PRINCESS AND TRAVEL TO SPACE

Kindergarten bento – Carbo overload? (16/May/17)

For my daughter’s dinner the evening before, I cooked macaroni in tomato sauce with sea bream. She loves pasta, so I cooked bigger portion which she couldn’t finish.

Making the most of it, I fixed macaroni salad with the leftover macaroni. Usually in Japan, macaroni salad is made with mayonnaise, but since non of us really like mayonnaise in our household I just seasoned it with olive oil, salt & pepper. Healthier anyways.

When I packed bento this morning, I noticed there may be too much carbohydrates in the container. It’s quite common in this country to eat multiple carbos in the same meal (Japanese are carbo lovers), and my daughter most likely will develop her culinary preference in that direction. Whether it’s a good thing or not, the bento box came home empty.

Menu: Macaroni salad, Grilled salmon & wakame seaweed sprinkle mixed in rice, Boiled egg, Boiled green beans
Apple bunnies for dessert

Kindergarten bento – Accident (Thursday, 13/Apr/17)

Menu: Steamed pumpkin & chicken soboro, Omelet, Tomato, Boiled okra, Wakana rice with shirasu (baby sardine) on too
Grapes & strawberry for dessert

My daily bento making resumed this morning for the new Japanese school year. I got up early, set the rice cooker, made omelet, took out other ingredients from the fridge I had prepared the night before, packed them nicely, got dressed while the rice was being cooked, packed rice, all nice and neat in the bento box, right on time, and everything was going perfectly.

I was about to sit down at the breakfast table when I heard this “pshhhh” sound. My husband opened the new can of Illy coffee with which he makes his espresso every morning. By the way, this Italian brand does great coffee with excellent flavour, and we both love it. It comes in this vacuumed packed, beautiful aluminum cannister. Anyway, looking over the kitchen counter to see if there’s anything I should take with me to the dining table, I noticed there was a spray of black pepper-like powder all over the place, including our daughter’s bento. Looking at each other’s faces in horror, we realised my husband’s coffee spilled out of the can with the air pressure and landed all over on the food. Oh…

My husband told me this had never ever happened before. Yeah sure, but how about the bento? I wanted to scream but held back… (got whiny instead). He then innocently told me to just wash it off and wipe a little. Yeah right. How can you wash omelet or rice or soboro pumpkin with water… How convenient if you can do that! To my dismay, I had to repack everything. As for the omelet I chopped off the top part (hence shorter than the original), for the shirasu rice I scraped off the top and added the leftover (thank goodness I still had some left next to the rice cooker not on the kitchen counter), and for the soboro pumpkin I had to put them in a separate bowl, carefully remove the ones with most coffee on them and put the rest back (I’m pretty sure some coffee was still hiding inside but at that point I couldn’t care less).

Voila, here is my daughter’s repacked bento for the first day of this school year’s bento making. I’d say it’s a great start!

* We love Illy coffee and recommend it to anyone who likes espresso. Just do not open the new can next to your food 😉

Kindergarten bento – Chicken shio-koji (31/Jan/17)

Menu: Stir-fried chicken thigh marinated in shio-koji, Boiled egg, Steamed broccoli, Cucumber sticks, Cherry tomato, Rice with goma-konbu 

Apple for dessert


In the busy morning, this clever shio-koji can help you save a significant amount of time. Just sprinkle a spoonful of shio-koji on the bite size chicken thigh, quickly toss everything and stir-fry them in a frying pan. No oil needed, as the fat of the chicken thigh gives enough grease, and once brown add tiny bit of water (a tea spoon) and cover the lid and steam-fry for a minute (this leaves the chicken nice and moist).  This whole process takes only 5 minutes.