Nothing is better than a visit to the zoo and the greenhouses to bring some warmth, flowers and colours into those grey, cold and windy February days.
I have to admit than unlike the kids I like the greenhouses far better than all the animals. We are lucky to live close to the Wilhelma in Stuttgart which not only has lots of animals but also lots of greenhouses and landscaped gardens.
As Germany does not boast a tropical climate we have to resort to the zoo and greenhouses to enjoy some of the flowers that for some of you in South East Asia are nothing special at all.
The orchids were in full bloom and I was really happy that I got the kids interested in the flowers and plants by letting them choose the one which they find most beautiful. All the sudden they were really attentive and enthusiastic pointing out all the beautiful flowers.
The kids and me particularly enjoyed watching the Koi in the huge Koi pond in my favourite greenhouse. The shimmering colours of the Koi and their elegant movements kept us fascinated for a long time. Watching those Koi makes me so relaxed and tranquil-I could watch them for hours.
This one was my favourite one:
The Camelia were also in full bloom
When we left the greenhouses we stumbled upon a peacock
I have been rummaging through my old pictures and found some from February(I have added more boxes and gear by now) featuring some of my bento gear and am wondering: how does your bento shelf a look like?
Sure I am not the only one addicted to collecting colourful bento gear and Asian bowls, plates...?
It has been a long time since I last blogged . By now winter and even spring have passed and it is already summer . I have had some very hectic and busy months having to work and do my full time internship at school during my university term break instead of having some time off. To top it off I also to do some teacher training seminars and still go and work and my part time job as well.
At the end of March I was looking forward so much to my Easter holidays with 10 days off before uni started again, but guess what I did on my last day of school? I broke my toe and was bound to my bed and later to my sofa all through my free days. I had planned some fun activities for my Little Princess and also some short trips, so instead of ten days of relaxation I had more than six weeks of hobbling around with a giant and monstrous orthopaedic shoe.
But luckily I had a week of Whit sun holidays now: no uni, only two days of work and at least two sunny days and I am already feeling much better. I am going back to uni today but won't be working till Friday and my Little Princess is still away until Saturday with grandma for a holiday on a farm.
So I decided that I have to slow down the pace and take time for myself again and take time to enjoy life and food -of course. So I will take enough time to relax, sleep well, read nooks that are not for uni and cook myself fresh meals every day . This was the first bento in ages that I did with no time pressure at all and it was fun and yummy.
So this bento features my lunch from yesterday: tagliatelle dressed with feta cheese(the real one, made of goats milk not the one made of cow milk they sell everywhere), my last green asparagus from my garden, blanched and chopped into small pieces, fried courgettes with oregano and olive oil had to use up the veg from my fridge and I always buy far to many courgettes in summer cause I simply love them) and to balance it all a fresh sweet and sour cucumber salad and a strawberry. Oh, in case your wondering, the flower is not only decoration but edible. It is from my garden and I simply love its very rich and exotic smell-it always reminds me of the powerful perfume of flowering trees in Asia.
As I had a question on the edible flower: The flower is a Lemon Day-lily and is frequently used in the Chinese cusine. And regarding the green aspargus. It is easy to grow it yourself, but you need some patience, because you are not supposed to harvest it in the first two years.
The box actually is new and is one of the reduced spare parts that I ordered from Bento&Co. It is a single layer of the Fresco box in turquoise, but with a black Fresco lid. Now that I have seen how great the turquoise Fresco box looks I really regret not having ordered it before it was discontinued.
Spring is in the air. After endless weeks of grey skies, snow and mud the first spring blossoms are making their way through. And we had a bit of winter sunshine that made me feel like spring is in the air.
So today I decided I want a bento with a spring feel to it: the perfect occasion for another premiere: my brand new Bento Colors box that I won at the Casabento giveaway.
I just love the layout of the box. it is very slim and rather deep compared to my other boxes. It is also the first time I actually used my egg molds. Even though I have had them for over a year, somehow I always avoided using them because I thought it would be too complicated. Also I am not a fan of hard boiled eggs. But hey, it was really easy, even though my eggs were slightly too large. Now that I know how easy they are to use I am going to use them much more often. thinking of egg molds, i only have two. Maybe I should get some more?
It is also the first time I used orange slices and kiwi for my bento, i just love the joyful colours they add and their vitamins make me feel even more like spring.
this brand new box is too complicated to handle for my little one, so I have it all to myself. That is all that bad either , isn't it? :-) I like that I can pack so many different things and separate them all and close them tight.
Spring bento: On the first level there is my very first egg bunny, some caramelised sunflower and pumpkin seeds and some lovely blueberry yogurt(I just love that colour!). On the second level there is some spring quark with some fresh chives, heart shaped bread cutouts with cheddar cheese and someone is riding on a turtle. The this level is my vitamin level with blueberries kiwi and orange slices. this time i am really happy with my bento. So how are you celebrating the first small signs of springs approach?
There is something sneaky and forbidden about this bento, can you guess what it is?
The bento features cheese feet, carrots, cucumbers, mandarin wedges, little sausages and two forbidden items. Actually it looks more colourful than usual. How did I achieve that? I sneaked some blueberries into the box. I was hoping she might at least try them and that I could find some new fruit that she eats besides apples and mandarins-but I miserably failed. When I opened her box in the evening she had eaten up everything,but not the blueberries they had died a lonely death-mushed up in her box all by themselves.
The second forbidden item actually isn't on the what Little One doesn't eat list, but on the contrary is really yummy. I managed to sneak something sweet into the box that looks quite unsuspicious: I caramelised some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pine nuts and am proud to say that none of her classmates nor the teacher detected it. So I at least got something new for her box. I have never really liked her teacher's "nothing sweet in the lunchbox" rule. I mean I agree with no chocolate spread or chocolate bars, but Little One eats lots of healthy foods and has lots of fruit and vegetables in her box every day. And anyway, nuts and seeds are really healthy and give lots of energy. Don't you agree?
I really like my caramelised seeds, I also use it as a snack at home or as a crunchy topping for my muesli.
So now that I have unveiled the forbidden ingredients can you tell me something else that is new in this box?
Finally I got to use some of my baran. They came with some cutter sets, but somehow I never used them. But as Little One lately has been having problems finishing her bento and her bento looks quite empty these baran worked just perfect and I just love their more traditional loook.
Little One doesn't have enough time to eat in school she says. So I have been reducing the amount of carrots as they take forever to eat and also the apples.She just loves carrots and apples and she used to take a whole sliced apple to school and finished the apple but didn't have time for the bread anymore. Healthy vitamins maybe but I don't think that only fruit and vegetable without any bread can give her the energy she needs for studying.
So the bentos I am making for her now always look a bit empty, but at least I don't need to throw away any unfinished food anymore. I have got a whole box with cutters and haven't even tried most of them yet. It is difficult to see what they actually are meant to be because our wholemeal bread isn't as regular and smooth as toast is.
Can you guess what the three bread cutouts are meant to be?
For a long time I have only had one bento bag: my lovely Kimono Murasaki bag. But as Little One is claiming it as hers by now, always taking it to school I desperately needed a new bento bag to protect my dear bento boxes. I have been wanting and drooling over the gorgeous Ojyu bento bag from Bento&Co for over a year and now I finally had a perfect excuse to get it :-)
Actually I had been hesitating to order this drawstring bento bag because the picture on the Bento&Co shop made the the red drawstring and print look far too bright and off key with the red of my Ojyu box. And actually looking at my own picture it seems the camera never does the bag justice. But I needn't have worried: the red is much prettier and less bright than the pictures might suggest and perfectly matches my boxes.
I also was pleased with the quality of the bag: it is thick cotton and it also is bigger than my Kimono bag.
My Kimono bag measures 15x9cms but the Ojyu bag measures 20x10cms and perfectly fits my large Ojyu as well. Actually i wanted to take a picture of my kimono bag, but someone onec again has taken it to school:-)
I have quite a few furoshiki and I love them for taking pictures, but when it comes to safely carrying my bento in my really messy backpack I stiff find myself preferring bento bags.
After all I don't have an isothermal bag yet and I don't have a bento bag without any pattern yet. I really need to get a black or pink one to match my boxes. Oh, and I need a white one for sure.
The colours and pattern are gorgeous-I cannot decide which line I love more the Kimono Murasaki one or the Ojyu one. But thing is for sure: I am madly in love with the whole Ojyu range. Maybe I should also get the round : I have already got the large Oyju box in red and the small Ojyu box in black and call it greedy, but I really feel that I need to get the large one in black as well. Oh bento boxes. Once you start there is no stopping you.
How do you carry your bentos? And what is your favourite bento bag or furoshiki? I need some inspiration as I am already thinking of what bento bag to get next.
I am still busy with studying for my exam and haven't got much time to cook. So after a look into the fridge I opted for a quick stir fry: mushrooms, Oyster mushroom, peppers and bean sprouts with a garlic, sesame oil, Chinese five spice and oyster sauce and some fresh coriander. I also added some tofu and today's tofu was particular good. My local Asian supermarket produces its own fresh organic tofu, but its texture and flavour varies from time to time. This time it was incredibly soft and was melting on my tongue. More often than not I find myself cooking Thai and not Japanese food. After my time in Thailand I seem to be hooked on Thai jasmine rice and Thai stir fries. I only cook Japanese rice for sushi or if I prepare other Japanese food.
Doesn't my bento for tomorrow look really yummy?
This is actually another premiere: it is the first tie I am using my new White Circle Box. I started with a Pink Circle box and always regretted not having bought some more colours when Bento&co quite selling it and was really glad to find Casabento selling it. I picked the White box as it is much more flexible and can go with any furoshiki. And guess what? I am already thinking about getting another one. I don't have a turquoise on yer, nor a yellow one.Taking about turquoise boxes, I always wanted to get a turquoise Fresco box, oh, and I definitely need to get a White slim box. Oh, but first i need to get one of those bagel boxes.
Someone stop me-I cannot stop wanting more and more bento boxes. I am obsessed with bento boxes.
And here a little teaser: guess what I got today:
Yes, another Bento&Co delivery. More details coming up soon :-)
I still have so many new boxes and bento accessories that I haven't shown you yet. Maybe it would be the best if I just take some snapshots of my Bento shelves: First I only cleared parts of my book shelf for my bento stuff, but by now my bento stuff already has taken over half of my bookshelf.