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That I don’t have many occasions these days — nor the energy — to make bentos, doesn’t mean I can resist the occasional splurge on nice gear! So when I saw this modern tumbler at Bento & Co during their Golden Week discount, it took me only seconds to click the right buttons. ;) I bet my fellow bentoïsts can relate?!

Insulated 'Wallmug Porter'

"Microwave safe. You can reheat juicy food to enjoy them deliciously."

I’ve been wanting an insulated mug to bring along soup or noodles for ages, so I’m glad I can now cross that “WANT” off my list.

But I didn’t stop at that! Remember I’ve been doing without a picnic bento since my cute rabbit box broke during Hanami two years ago? What better than to get myself a real cherry blossom bento? I love my sakura, and I won’t say ‘No’ to a spray of gold-dust either. ;) Don’t you think this Hakoya box is lovely?

New Sakura picnic bento box for Hanami

And then there’s the “OMG they killed Kenny!” bottle (a.k.a. Wallmug Sulo) that made me giggle. It can be used for either hot or cold drinks and the snazzy insulation jacket makes it weigh less than a thermos.

"OMG they killed Kenny!" bottle

You can imagine that receiving these nice new stuffs made me eager to throw together a bento a.s.a.p. Well.. today’s the day! And heeeeeeere’s:

Pastel Bento (#142)

Pastel Bento #142 - Thermos with pasta

The tumbler contains pasta with black olives and white asparagus. I’ve made this recipe twice now, both when I had omnivore dinner guests coming over, and it certainly won’t be the last time. I microwaved the leftovers this morning and although the mug felt warm to the touch for quite sometime, I was a bit disappointed to find it had cooled down at lunchtime. I guess I’ll need an insulation bag to go with it. Or a microwave at the office. ;)

Pastel Bento #142 - Hakoya box with spring colours

Upper tier

  • Salad ingredients: oak-leaf lettuce, spring onion, radish & radish sprouts, parsley, croutons.
  • Miso-dressing.
  • Piece of corn on the cob.

Lower tier

  • Rhubarb compote.
  • Fruit dessert of pear and kiwi with coconut cream (you’ll be hearing more about that when I talk about rhubarb in another post).
  • Pickled red onion.

I hope I’ll have another bento to share with you soon!

Pastel Bento #142

Find more bento lunches at Shannon’s What’s for Lunch Wednesday  (week 52).

Stats: 1578 views on 18 March 2010

Such a coincidence. Before I even read about the new Blog Improvement task to promote members of ‘my group’, I had already plugged vvb32reads blog to an online friend via Twitter — deciding she would definitely love it. I’m a “credit where credit’s due” kind-a-grrl so I usually do a lot of linking and recommending anyway. Well, hear this: it’s good for karma!

Yesterday Graasland was talked about in one of Holland’s trendy newspapers: nrc next. The topic was bentos (of course ;) Good thing I got my bento butt kicked last week! Although my latest lunch — the one that everybody is going to see first — was erm… not one I’m really proud of :\ Oh well, these things happen. Hopefully they’ll have a look at my complete Bento category. And I got plans for a great bento stash this weekend: poppy seed scones! So I hope to stun you again with my next bento, #95 :P

I heard that columnist Janneke Vreugdenhil got a tip about my blog from a tweeter (twitter person). How cool is that? And I wouldn’t have known about the column at all if another tweep hadn’t mentioned it to me. Was there ever a life before Twitter? ;)

Thanks to the article, stats went up yesterday to an awesome 1578 views! Aw. #faint

Here are some cute new bento goodies to look at while Gnoe is recovering ;)

An early taste of Easter: bunny marshmallows and cute onigiri makers

Or, you can hop over to Bento Babe who wrote a nice post about my newly acquired fame ;)

Remember I vowed to get an iPhone to go with the gorgeous maki-e (gold-detailed) koi stickers I won in Dolce Bellezza‘s giveaway? Well, the time has come!

I love having a personalized mobile phone with beautiful fishies — did you know my Zodiac sign is Pisces? :) And that the initials of my first and last name can be linked together into half of the Yin-Yang symbol (which looks like a fish to me too)? I’m one happy grrl!

My own personal iPhone!

(Oh, and did I mention I turned 40??? ;)

I really, really, really am such a lucky grrl. First I received my present from dolce bellezza for admitting quotes from I Am a Cat in the Japanese Literature Challenge November giveaway.

I love these colourful  maki-e stickers with gold so much that when I entered the ‘competition’, I vowed that I would go buy that longed for iPhone should I win… And I’m one to keep my promise! Don’t you think my mobile will look great with those gorgeous koi fish? Accessorize, Personalize! Better start making plans for a shopping trip ;)

The lucky cat phone charm is called Maneki Neko, which can be translated in ‘beckoning cat’. It is asking you to come in, because you’re welcome! It is believed to bring good luck. This cat has his left paw raised — some say to bring customers in, while having a raised right paw brings wealth and good fortune. Well, I’m lucky anyway! ;)

Because, as I wrote in yesterday’s Sunday Salon, I also received a whole box of goodies from vvb32 reads. Look at it!

December giveaway from velvet

Didn’t I get spoiled? The first thing to notice is Snow Country, by Kawabata Yasunari. I guess velvet noticed I fell in love with the author last year, while reading The Old Capitol in the Japanese Literature Bookgroup. I still need to review it, but I claimed it to be my 2nd best read of 2009! The other two books don’t trigger any memories, except that I know velvet read Gail Carriger’s Soulless, and loved it. I quote:

this is a fabulously fun Victorian romp involving supernatural creatures and others

I’ve decided against rereading her review because I prefer to know as little as possible about books before I begin — as I’ve said before ;) The Christmas Quilt by Thomas J. Davies hasn’t popped up anywhere on my radar yet, but it seems a cosy read for this year’s Holiday season. Let’s just hope there aren’t any zombies in it — can’t get comfy with guests like that, can I? :\ Then again… Why would I need brain flavour zombie mints when not expecting any living deads ?! :-o Boy, they must have bad breath… You think I could scare them away with the Christmas Cracker in the right-hand corner? Because I’m saving that until December as well! It has a cute wooden ‘Nutcracker’ toy on it.

Still, the box is not empty yet. There’s some stuff to get myself organized in the new year: a cool sushi bar calendar (stickers) and a monster heart pencil. I hope velvet doesn’t mean to suggest I need to stop blogging and start writing a personal diary? :P Nooooo, it’s probably to take notes while buddy reading Sei Shonagon’s The Pillowbook with her!

I’m open to suggestions on how to use the calendar stickers btw… The wrapper hints to putting them on my personal computer, but somehow that doesn’t seem such a good idea to me.

Superior Scribbler Award Happy 101 Blog Award

And then I got some more awards. You know by now I don’t pass these along, but I do APPRECIATE THEM very much! So many thanks to velvet for the Superior Scribe Award and to Sherimiya for the Happy 101 Blog Award! They both make me really happy :) But the one I like ‘bestest’ was passed on to me by the ever faithful velvet: the Zombie Chicken Award. (Yesh, velvet likes her zombies ;)

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words.

I rest my case. Let’s scatter those mints for the chicks and any other zombies Maneki Neko brings in. Then I can wallow in my wealth :)

The last of my new furoshikis arrived this weekend: a cool blue & white dragon-fly design. I think it fits summer as well as winter :) I couldn’t say it better than Rusillio who tweeted:

i like the natural theme of the pattern, delicate but lively

The orizuru (crane) was made by my mother-in-law; I haven’t done any origami myself in a long, LONG time ;) But that might change in the near future when I’ll try this edible origami crane! Great bento dish :) But I guess I’ll need to practise first! ;)

Bento #67 is quite full of carbohydrates. That’s good: half of a bento should consist of these, but I usually take less because I also bring one or two sandwiches to work. Not today though :)

What foodies are you looking at? Beet & potato salad, fennel & tomato salad, leek pie, roasted sunflower seeds to go with the baked zucchini and last but not least: Neapolitan white beans — I think they tasted even better cold than they did hot! :) What am I saying? It was all really very good :)) And I made each of these dishes myself from scratch. (*Gnoe pats her own back* ;)
For dessert I had some mango.

BTW do you like the look of my new divider grass ?! I do I do I do! :)

Woot! De buit is binnen! :)

ARIGATO GOZAIMASU Katie & Anita! Jullie hebben me erg gelukkig gemaakt met mijn grass dividers en sauce containers helemaal uit Tokio :)) Ik ben blij dat jullie ze niet overboord hebben gegooid omdat er geen plek meer was in de koffers!

Elma keek nogal raar dat iemand blij wordt van zoiets, but hey — mij zul je weer niet met 2 honden in een kano zien..! Natuurlijk ook veel dank aan deze grrl voor het spelen van koppelaarster annex koerier :)

Ik moet maar vast gaan nadenken over de inhoud van mijn volgende bento!

A simple bento accessory I would like to have is a packet of grass dividers. Dividers are used to prevent different bento dishes from mixing too much. You can cut these strips of plastic grass in the right size. I have only two that came out of Japanese takeaway meals — and I seem to rather cherish then use them LOL. Grass dividers come in all sorts of colours but I prefer them ‘natural‘, i.e. plain green. They are really not expensive, but… adding shipment & handling from Japan or the US, the price suddenly goes up quickly :(

Now I’m keeping my fingers crossed because friends of elm@ are visiting Japan (hi Katie & Anita!) and maybe, just maybe they’ll have a chance to buy me some… That would be great! :) Then again, they’re really busy shopping for Lolita clothes etc. so it might be that they won’t have a penny erm.. yen left! I’ll just have to wait and see ;) But hey, the anticipation is exciting as well!

Anybody else going to Tokyo soon??? ;)

This is good. After my first reflections on what I need for my bento and what dressing containers I like, I decided to go into town to try and find some. I had seen a picture of small jars from Xenos at Liessa’s lunch blog, so I had to check that out as soon as possible!

Well, they were in stock but… still too big for my bento’s! :\ Luckily I soon spotted a travel kit of bottles and boxes that seemed the right size :) So here they are! Actually, there really are three more but again: they won’t fit ;)

And yes, I like it that they’re plain! Although I might personalize them someday when I feel exceedingly creative ;)

Not only do I have future plans about what to put in my bento, like all bento-ers I also have a wishlist of bento goodies!

On top of my list — since day 1 of bento-ing — are small sauce containers. Because I couldn’t find any store bought containers that were small enough for my bento boxes, I have been using the ones you get with take-away food. That’s not ideal because you are not supposed to reuse them :\ So they break easily.

Of course there are a lot of bottles and boxes to be bought for this purpose, but I’m afraid I often find them too childish… Hey, I like kawaii stuff, but I’m not 12 anymore ;) Two of the few I do like you can find at Adventures in Bentomaking. Look closely at the pictures to spot a simple blue bottle and a cute orange & blue jewel-like container.

I’ll let you know soon what other accessories I would like to have..!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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