Bentos after a Break

It has been quite a while since my last bento.  In the meantime, I have had a baby - a beautiful little boy.  As you can well imagine, there was another adjustment necessary (what a year for change!). We went from a teenager just about to graduate and go to college to not just 3 but 4 children under the age of 5!   :) The pregnancy was not an easy one but I am truly grateful to have our littlest boy safely delivered and thriving.   Just because I can, here is our latest little bundle of joy:

I think I have finally figured out a schedule that works and am back to making bento.  Here's one:

This is a new bento that I bought from Tuesday Morning.  It was originally made by  It is a cute oval shape and has handles on the top for easy carrying.  I'll post a picture of the closed bento when DH comes home from work. 

The top layer of bento holds a cucumber and tomato salad, tamagoyaki, some pepper slices cut in the shape of flowers, and nuts.  I think it would have been nicer to put a layer of lettuce beneath the tomato and cucumber salad but I didn't figure that out until after the fact.

What are tamagoyaki?  They are a lovely Japanese folded omelet.  I've tried two variations this week and both have turned out well.  This one is rather plain: egg, water, a little pinch of salt, and some sugar (1/2 tsp or so).  This doesn't really make the tamagoyaki sweet but does amplify the egg flavors nicely.  To make this, I blended 2 eggs with the salt and sugar in my magic bullet (you get a really uniform mixture and it seem lighter that way than if I do it by hand).  I cooked half the mixture until the egg was just barely set.  Then, I rolled it over itself.  I then cooked the other half of the mixture and placed the first role on one edge and rolled the second around it.  I then transferred it to a cutting board and allowed it to cool.  DH and I nibbled on pieces as I was making the rest of this bento.  You could easily get 2 or 3 bentos out of one tamagoyaki.  If you had a smaller pan, you could easily make it with 1 egg instead of 2.

Since I haven't been making a lot of bentos lately, I haven't kept a lot of staples in the house.  To make matters worse, I didn't go grocery shopping this week.  I had enough food in the house that we just tried to eat ourselves down a bit.  It means that my usual cheeses and tidbits are nowhere to be found and I've had to improvise a bit to fill things in.

 This bottom layer is the result of making it up as I go.  On the left is sautéed cabbage, leek, and carrot with dill.  The two onigiri are very western: flavored with red wine vinegar (from my own vinegar pot) and stuffed with roasted red pepper.  There is a stuffed tomato on the right.  The filler on this layer is the protein: sautéed shrimp.  The shrimp are made with garlic, salt, pepper, white wine, tomatoes, and parsley. 

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