28 April 2015

Cute Character Bento Contest

The cute character bento contest wrapped up in February.  The contest was co-hosted by The Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles and BentoUSA.  Bento enthusiasts were encouraged to make a generic cute character bento and enter it into the contest.  I entered my Lunar New Year bento in the contest & I was very excited to come in 5th place!!

I was able to attend the contest reception held at The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles on March 13th.  There I am posing with my giant bento photo hung in their gallery!  

The Consulate General of Los Angeles personally presented the 1st place winner, Natsumi, and myself with our certificates.

Here we are again, this time photoed with Naomi Takasu from the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

I was asked to give a speech.  In all of the photos I have seen of myself during the speech, it appears I laughed my way through it :D

I was also able to help during the live bento demonstration lead by Yoko Isassi of Foodstory.  Jee Jee from BentoUSA (on the far right) also helped out.  The hands on the big screen are mine!

See all 10 winners here.

It was so much fun to be able to meet and talk with other bento artists / enthusiasts in real life!  All of the communication I have had with other "bentoists" thus far had been online.  I met the owners of BentoUSA - Jee Jee & Mike.  They are so nice and down to earth.  It was such a pleasure to be able to meet them.  Nice to know I am supporting an awesome business as a blogger & customer.  A huge shout out to them for co-hosting this event and big thanks for taking all the reception pictures for me!  

And if you are curious here are the prizes that I received:

1.  Award certificate from the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles (pictured above)

2.  A book from Kinokuniya books store ~ I received a sushi making book.

3.  A huge box filled with bento boxes and accessories from BentoUSA & CuteZcute.

Other articles that I have seen about the contest:

Cute character bento competition results - written by Sheri Chen (Happy Little Bento), who won 2nd place.

If you have seen any other articles or blog posts online about the contest winners please let me know!

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22 April 2015

Earth Day Bento & Snack

Happy Earth Day everyone!  Take care of mother earth.  Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle!  Everyday we do our part by packing lunch in reusable bento boxes and decorating it with reusable bento accessories.

In this bento:  Vanilla wafer & banana sandwich cookies decorated with blue & green dolphin sprinkles.  English muffin cheese pizzas - 2 stacked on top of each other.  I recycled the plastic separator sheet that came in the cheese packaging.  I cut it a little larger than the English muffins and placed in between the 2 pizzas so they do not stick together.  The pizzas are topped with tomato sauce, oregano, and mozzarella cheese.  I cut the cheese in to the triangle recycling symbol then placed it in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes to melt it.  Steamed broccoli and strawberries complete the meal.

My son was born on Earth Day, so I am sending something a little fun for him.  Preschool has pizza on Wednesdays so I only need to send in some snack sized sides.

His snack is packed muffin tin style - heart shaped strawberries, vanilla wafer banana cookie sandwiches, steamed broccoli, and ranch for dipping in the snoopy container.

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21 April 2015

Brunch Bento

A bright & colorful brunch bento for my daughter, packed up in the new monbento tresor.

In this bento:  Watermelon flowers, red grapes with a butterfly pick, half of a homemade biscuit, butter for the biscuit in the monkey cup, and a heart shaped hard boiled egg - my egg was a little to small for the mold.

The cute little monkey cup has been discontinued for a few years now.  I was lucky enough to score it on eBay!

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16 April 2015

Simple Star Wars Bento

Today was a big day for Star Wars fans!  The annual Star Wars Celebration kicked off in Anaheim & the trailer for the new Star Wars film "Star Wars:  The Force Awakens" was released today.  The film is scheduled to debut in December.  In light of all the Star Wars activities, I made an easy Star Wars themed bento lunch.

In this bento:  Rice, bean, and cheese burrito - cut in half to fit into the lunchbox.  The bottom half is held together with a Yoda cupcake pick.  Star fruit, pineapple chunks, grape tomatoes, and a hard candy finish off this bento.

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14 April 2015

April 2nd is Autism Awareness day, I missed it since it was so close to Easter this year.  *But* the whole month of April is designated as Autism Awareness month.  So in spirit of this month I packed up a puzzle piece lunch for my youngest.

In this lunch:  Puzzle piece shaped fairy bread (bread, peanut butter, drizzle of honey, & sprinkles), cheese stick, watermelon puzzle pieces, rolled up ham on puzzle picks, and spring salad mix.  I also packed ranch dressing in a small sauce container, but forgot to put it in the box before I took the photo.


I just happen to have an extra Lunch Punch - Match & Munch set.  Since the puzzle piece is the symbol used to represent Autism, why not give this set away during Autism Awareness month.  This giveaway is open worldwide and ends on Friday 4/17/15.  Winner will be chosen using random.org.

To be entered into the giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment stating how you first found my blog (Pinterest, Google, Facebook, a friend?).  Check back here this weekend as the winner will be announced on Saturday.

L.A. Mama is the winner!!  Please email me at Anna@becomingabentoholic.com.  Congratulations!

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09 April 2015

Monbento Kids' Line Review

Monbento recently released their new kids’ line.  They sent the new Monbento Tresor and Gram to me for review.  My favorite feature of this new line is the outside latches, allowing kids to easily open these boxes without assistance.  The Tresor box is sized more appropriately for a child’s meal versus the original.  The Tresor is a multi layered box with three different compartments.  One larger compartment on the bottom which has a capacity of up to 450 ml for the main course and two containers on the upper level for sides, each container can hold 150 ml.  The upper containers are not leak proof, but when the box is latched closed the box lid keeps the inner container lids in place.  However, I would shy away from packing yogurt or apple sauce in these containers.  Both of the boxes come with five interchangeable circular tabs to decorate your monbento.  If you check out monbento's website, they have added an option to download and customize your own tabs and print them out at home. 

I packed lunch for my daughter in the Tresor.  It contains - crinkle cut cucumbers, sliced strawberries, and a bean, rice, & cheese burrito.  I decorated the burrito with a sheet of baran.

The Monbento Gram is a snack size box.  It holds a capacity of 600 ml.  Great for snacks on the go and small enough to tuck in to a backpack or purse.  It also works great as a Thermos accompaniment.

My son's lunch - leftover pasta, garlic bread, and apple chunks.

The new monbento products are sleek and modern in appearance as expected from it's predecessor.  They do not have the soft touch finish on the outside that the MB original has. The Tresor and Gram are available in four different colors:  blueberry, banana, kiwi, and raspberry.  They are BPA free and microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe.  We give the new kids' line two thumbs up!

Disclosure - I received free products in exchange for this review, no further compensation was received and the opinions expressed are my own.

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