Homemade shumai dumplings

It never fails that when I become infatuated with a food the stores are bound to quit selling them.  My recent letdown has been from Trader Joe’s who stopped doing their vegetarian/edamame shumai.  I loved these little things but all good things must come to an end, even if they continue making their pork and chicken versions!

Well, thanks to Maki over at JustBento, I found an awesome recipe for vegan shumai dumplings.  She made them look so easy to make and all the ingredients were easily found at the asian market, so I decided to give it a go.  You can find the recipe on her site here.

I took her advice and got all my ingredients together and sat in the living room making them on the coffee table.  Forming them took a bit of time to get right, but once I had the technique down it took me no time to make a total of 20 dumplings.

Once I was done forming the dumplings, I opted for the pan fry/steam method of cooking them.  I added oil to the bottom of the frying pan to heat, then added my shumai.  I let them fry on the bottom for about 3 minutes then added boiling water to the pan to cover the dumplings halfway then covered to steam for 10 minutes.  They came out perfectly.

We enjoyed these in bento boxes for dinner along with stir fried noodles and vegetables, inarizushi and dragon fruit grenata (so easy, find my recipe here!)  It was a nice and refreshing dinner and we had plenty of shumai left over for snacking on!

Feeling inspired again!

I’m starting to feel inspired again to start back on the blog.  I have no real reason for ending things the way I did except for feeling overwhelmed to come up with ideas and I kinda got burned out.  I stopped into the Asian market yesterday and realized how much I missed the whole bento creation.  I plan on starting back soon, so if I do still have any followers I’d love to hear from you for motivation!  In the meantime, watch this space!

Bento #40 – Tortellini Salad

Oh my.. this was so good!  Thanks for bentolunches (Flickr) for the cute picks and the yummy candies.

Finally went grocery shopping the other day. Trader Joe’s now has gelatin free gel cups! WIN!

(I didn’t iron the fabric…. Fail.)

Box 1:  Cheese tortellini salad  Box 2: Strawberries and carrots, Cottage cheese.  Side items:  No gelatin gel cup and strawberry choc candy

Box 1: Cheese tortellini salad Box 2: Strawberries and carrots, Cottage cheese. Side items: No gelatin gel cup and strawberry choc candy

Bento# 39 – Mini quiche with kimchi and noodles

Discovered a new favorite today.  Kimchi and noodles.  I bought the cabbage kimchi in a jar and thought I’d use it for something.  I had left over egg noodles from dinner last night so decided to do cabbage and noodles (one of my fav things from childhood anyway).  Just sprayed the pan with olive oil, added the cold noodles and the cabbage and stir fried until brown.  EASY!  We likey.

Top box:  cherry tomato, mini quiche with low fat cheddar and spring onions, kimchi and noodles.  Bottom box:  apple, carrots, grapes, cucumber, celery, greek yogurt with mango, kiwi flowers and a strawberry

Top box: cherry tomato, mini quiche with low fat cheddar and spring onions, kimchi and noodles. Bottom box: apple, carrots, grapes, cucumber, celery, greek yogurt with mango, kiwi flowers and a strawberry

Bento #38 – Indian Flare

Curried black beans and tomatoes, naan strips, brown rice.  In cup:  cottage cheese, pinnapple, low fat cheddar, black sesame seeds and almonds

Curried black beans and tomatoes, naan strips, brown rice. In cup: cottage cheese, pinnapple, low fat cheddar, black sesame seeds and almonds

Bento #36 & 37 – Cleaning out fridge and freezer

I need to try to stop buying so much stuff at once. I have ideas in my head of things to make for dinners that I don’t end up making and get stuck with strange ingredients in the fridge. Today’s bentos are a testament to that. A mish mash of ingredients and items from the freezer. This is ok for bentos, because in my opinion different tastes and textures are key. But they also end up making my bentos look sloppy. I’m never going to be one to make awesome charaben (character bento) like some of the amazing talents of the ladies I’ve become friends with on Flickr. Their bentos are win! At the same time I want to try to have a bit more of a theme and consistency with mine. I’ll get there, but for now it’ll probably be a bit more of “I but in my bento whatever is in the fridge” kinda thing!

My bento:

Box 1:  Spicy tofu and veggies, radish, tomato, grapes, strawberry, cheese wedge, caramel rice cakes  Box 2:  Onigiri, veggie dumplings, sweet potato patty

Box 1: Spicy tofu and veggies, radish, tomato, grapes, strawberry, cheese wedge, caramel rice cakes Box 2: Onigiri, veggie dumplings, sweet potato patty

The Hub’s bento:

Box 1:  Chicken dumplings, cherry tomato, radish, onigiri  Box 2:  Spicy tofu and veggies, grapes, strawberry, cheese wedge

Box 1: Chicken dumplings, cherry tomato, radish, onigiri Box 2: Spicy tofu and veggies, grapes, strawberry, cheese wedge


Bento #34 – Total randomness

Yesterday’s bento, a bit of randomness but I think it came out pretty cute still.  Tried a couple new things and tried to use up some stuff in my fridge too.  I keep buying stuff to make bento lunches then get too lazy to do them!  I need to get myself back into the grove!  This was my first time for quail eggs.  Tasted like, um… eggs!  xD  Kinda freaked me out first bite, although I’m lacto-ovo-veg some eggs and milk still gross me out after my 6 months of being vegan.  All in all, tasty lunch!

*One small complaint – The strawberry tofu pudding was bought like this.  “Nayosa” brand has a new line out of dessert tofu and I picked up both the chocolate and the strawberry.  The chocolate was great.  Tasted exactly like chocolate pudding would.  But the strawberry was very strange.  The texture was weird, the taste was very sweet and it has a very unappealing after taste.  I’ll stick with my homemade recipe of just whipping fresh strawberries into soft tofu, it works out much cheaper and a whole heck of a lot better tasting!

I also played around a bit more on this pic with the light studio and Photoshop.  Think it came out decent, added in the watermark too.  I still need to sort out some new backgrounds.  I have fabric bought, just need to get it all put together.

Box 1:  Okinawan purple potatoes with cinnamon, mini babybel light (cheese), quail eggs, Vegetarian turkey slices with green olives, radish on top of left over brown rice with green radish seasoning.  Box 2:  strawberries, apple, kiwi, strawberry tofu pudding

Box 1: Okinawan purple potatoes with cinnamon, mini babybel light (cheese), quail eggs, Vegetarian turkey slices with green olives, radish on top of left over brown rice with green radish seasoning. Box 2: strawberries, apple, kiwi, strawberry tofu pudding

Things to do today: Bento organization – Done!

Bento boxes and supplies have taken over my life in the last couple of months. Any shop I go to these days I’m looking for accessories. I’ve orders stuff on sites and have a few things coming in from Ebay. I’m officially, without a doubt, 100% addicted. Needless to say, my house has been over run by all of this stuff! Last night I went on a mission to find something small to store all of the gear in. I came up with this little cupboard from Target. This is from their Itso line. I’m pretty happy with it. It’s not going to last forever, but it was a good price and will work for what I need it for right now. Once I out grow it – I can always use it in the office or one of the bedrooms. It was super easy to put together too, I did it all by myself (which if you knew me – you’d know that never works out well!).

Closed, it looks very sleek. You’d never guess it was full of crazy bento gear!

When you open it, I have the boxes on the top shelf. On the bottom, I got two green storage containers for the smaller cups and cutters, etc. Then on top of those I bought a fabric cube that stores bags, chopsticks, etc. Everything is easily accessible. Now I don’t need to look in 2 different cupboards and 4 different drawers to find everything!

mosaic1635737

Portable Light Studio and Bento #33

Hubby bought me a portable lightbox kit and I am in love with it! The backgrounds suck so I’m going to have to get to the fabric store and sort something else out, but I love not having to use the flash on my bentos. I just need to play around with the lighting a bit more since the one box is showing up a bit dark. Bento #33 was made using an Indian tiffin box.

Box 1:  Spring onion tamagoyaki, strawberries and grapes, cheddar cubes.  Box 2:  brown rice with sushi vinegar and radish green rice seasoning, mixed veg kinpira

Box 1: Spring onion tamagoyaki, strawberries and grapes, cheddar cubes. Box 2: brown rice with sushi vinegar and radish green rice seasoning, mixed veg kinpira


Happy Easter! Bento #30, 31, 32

Kinda a lame Easter this year.  No kiddies around, no family to go to for Easter dinner.  I had to do something to make me not be so homesick!  I decided a couple of Easter bentos would do the trick.  These were fun ones to do!

My dyed eggs this year - Kawaii Faces

My dyed eggs this year - Kawaii Faces

    Bento #30 & 31   ----   Garlic Veggie Stir-fry, Spring Onion pancakes, carrot flowers, dyed eggs

Bento #30 & 31 ---- Garlic Veggie Stir-fry, Spring Onion pancakes, carrot flowers, dyed eggs

And for dessert…..

    Bento #32   ----   Chocolate tofu pudding, grape and brie kabobs, kiwi slices on top of pound cake muffins

Bento #32 ---- Chocolate tofu pudding, grape and brie kabobs, kiwi slices on top of pound cake muffins