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What is BentangBento?

We all know what a Bento is. It is what Japanese call their packed lunch. And most of the time it’s pretty and some are even artistic. We all know this already.

If you aren’t Filipino, though, you might not get the wordplay in the term BentangBento. So here goes an explanation:

Benta is a Filipino word that generally means sales or something for sale. Many of our words take on different meanings or tense like a conjugation in the Romantic languages.

nagbenta – Sold something.

binebenta – Selling something.

bumenta – It was sold. Mostly used in describing abstract things like an event or a joke.

bumebenta – Selling [(like hotcakes)]. People are presently buying it.

bentang-benta – Is the superlative of bumebenta

Thus BentangBento is a wordplay which implies the bento is raking in sales; or that the bento made was supremely enjoyed by the person the bento was made for. The bento is bentang-benta. BentangBento.

More than a business, BentangBento shares a vision: To Instill healthy eathing habits, one packed meal at a time.

 

 

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A Week of Good Stuff

Let’s all rejoice and squee for a week of complete BentangBento days. This only means Kulay is healthy and was able to attend all his days in school this week.

Mangos are sort of in season. Well, they started sprouting in the market and it looks like they’re going to be a bentangbento staple as the Kuya Kulay loves them.

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Grainy Tuesday is a special request of hot porridge for his bento. Good thing I just got this soup bento that’s not really great at keeping things hot but keeps them from leaking and is tiered for toppings and what-not. My arroz caldo is a home grown recipe which I cook whenever somebody gets sick. It’s a lot like the Westerner’s chicken soup except it has rice in it.

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Pork rinds aren’t exactly the healthiest things in the world but I only added a few bits of it, uhuh. (hides head in shame)

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Rambutan is this sweet, fleshy and juicy fruit that has a really hard seed in the center, which has a tendency to peel off and ruin the joy of eating this fruit. However, the kids love them. I included the skin (that red hairy thing) so Kulay would know immediately what it is and not mistake it for candy.

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As much as I include a lot of veggie sticks in Kulay’s bento, I don’t think he eats enough of it. So occasionally I would whip up a pureed veggie soup which the kids absolutely enjoy. The noodles here are optional as the soup is good enough without them. But I’m fattening up Kuya Kulay since he’s been catching viruses here and there.

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Let me know if you’re interested in trying out any of my soup recipes, I’d love to write it down and post. Well, I may just do that soon.

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Bento boxes in the big good world.

Kuya Kulay was terribly sick on Thursday last week. Although he was well by Saturday, on Sunday night an unknown leak in the ceiling have caused his bed to be soaked and that didn’t do his health any good. He was battling with cough and colds and a little fever until last Wednesday. I would’ve sent him to school on Thursday but didn’t want anymore kids to catch his virus (he got it in school, by the way). And naturally I also got it by Wednesday night. There was a BentangBento  this morning, only I was too groggy to take a photo.

Since there isn’t any BentangBento to show for this week, lemme show you some of the drool worthy products out there. These are products I hope to carry in our shop someday soon, if they would let us…

source: bentonbetterlunches.com

Goodbyn lunchboxes. These are the most adorable lunchboxes ever. The big size even fit a designated water bottle. These are like an updated hard lunchbox from my childhood. I don’t see how a kid wouldn’t love this plus the partitions make for good portioning and making sure  food are contained in their own separate area.

They also come in various sizes depending on your needs and can most definitely grow with your kid. The snack size is perfect for the toddler’s meal pack. There’s the sandwich or salad size which for course is named for the size and not really to constrict you with your imagination of its use. Then there’s the small meal size. The perfect size for my little preschooler except, why stop there when you can put the water bottle in their flagship Bynto.

Have I mentioned that they come with see-through cover? How cool is that?! And the colors are to die for, so much cute in one little pack! Great innovations on the way we pack our kid’s meals. (Downplaying this, because I feel I’ve exhausted all my squees for the entire entry. NOT! SQUEEE!!!!) Also, there are stickers which your kid can change up, which are non-toxic, which adds more personality to his lunchbox.

They have more stuff, be sure to check out their store for more options and possibilities. The insulated bags are also crazy cute. There’s also a page on the website dedicated to recipes.

Packing meals for the littles can be tiring at times but you can make this a happy adventure by adding color and cute in your life as a mother. You don’t have to be all gleeful, cheery and stepford-y about bento making, because some days you may run out of it inside. Things like these are the little squees. I honestly would pick my own preferred color over my son’s still changing color preference if it’ll add a smile to my morning.

Life is all about perspective, certainly Goodbyn products can give you a cool and colorful view of things.

Watch out for more bento boxes in the big good world posts.

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hmmmm professional…

To take a break from the usual posts, here’s my happy squee for the day:

hmmmm professional...

We have a spanking new logo!!! This is designed by my graphic artist friend, Rovie dela Cruz, who was mortified by a fiverr rendition of the job order I gave them.

MommiRovi, thank you for taking time off your regular television designing gigs, as hectic as they get, to do this for me.

As a bonus, she made me imagine how this could look as a bag design:

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Now, can you imagine it on a shirt? Makes me really connect with the vision of BentangBento. This isn’t just a shop. We are a game changer; a lifestyle; a new approach; a vision. Come, share it with me.

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Old and New.

I have some more realizations:

1. That fruitfuldays can look very dull and unappealing even if they are the tastiest things ever created. Case in point, this photo here: 

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That is an atis, really sweet and grainy like sugar but also full of seeds in every clove. Atis is one of my favorite fruits, I will have to reintroduce this fruit to Kulay in another time. This came back as is. Good thing though there’s the new sauce cup in the form of a car that’s full of peanut butter and some crackers to dip in the PB. That part of the box was emptied.

2. You can be driven by yesterday’s fail. Dissatisfied with the reaction to my fruitful adventure, I gave the grainy day added pizzazz:

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There’s nothing more glorious than the perfect sweet mango and sticky rice bite. Let me just say that while I wipe off the drool that formed in my mouth as I recall this speshul combo which I can only consider as made by gods. And as an aside, I added MnMs for Kulay to share. 

3. Looks can be deceiving.

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That’s cucumber with thousand island dressing on the right; candies to share; a glaring cheese sandwich; and the most inconspicuous cookie butter sandwich. Enough said. 

4. All these meals above are power packed enough but I’ve always had an issue with the size of my bento box. When I started with the smaller circular lock n lock (which I had in the cupboard), I was only trying it out. And Kulay loved it, however the size and shape proved to be a big restriction to bento making. It makes for creative portioning tough. So I switched it up to the bigger rectangular one which comes with it’s own dividers. This lock and lock was something I love so dearly, lost one to a friend when I lived in Boracay and immediately replaced it when I had the chance. I digress. However, it’s too much for Kulay and I tend to pack so that it’ll look okay but it’s either too much for the kid to consume or it looks too empty as you may have felt in the first photo.

Good thing I have these:

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It’s a 340 ml aluminum box with a plastic divider and a garter to keep it covered. This is the perfect size for my preschooler. The garter is an important aspect. This only means it’s not a snug seal so soups and sauces are a no go. Although that can be remedied by a sealed disposable plastic cup. When packed it fits the right amount of food and the size and shape is a great canvass for creative bentangbento-ing. 

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That’s crunchy sweet potato fries on the divider; Rolled eggs with cheesy bowties and ketchup in the piggy sauce bottle; and chocolate crinkles for a treat. This is easily my least expensive bentanbento. Hmmmm. Certainly, looks can be deceiving.

And to add more cliche into this post, I’m not gonna say “out with the old and in with the new.” Having new stuff is fun but being able to have options is even better. :D 

  Did my weekly post today because Kulay caught something in school and wouldn’t be going tomorrow. poor babe. 

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The birthday Bentangbento

the birthday Bentangbento

I was ambitious. I wanted to make the noodles look like locks of hair and the bread a profile of the face while the piece of chicken a side view or the shoulders. Suffice to say, I quit while I was ahead. I just put together everything I had for the bento in the cleanest and hopefully cutest way I could.

Also, I had to make 12 of these. AMBITIOUS. The Dadee even had to rush to the nearest Andok’s chicken to grab another because the one I bought wasn’t cut well. Somehow I still managed and the kids definitely adored the food they had.

I was also surprised that they all were munching on their carrot sticks, which I only added for the freshness/good eats factor. Apparently, Kulay’s BentangBento are a bit of a hit among his classmates and they’ve been keen on the idea of eating carrots. (heart warmed. indirect compliment was very rewarding.)

Overall, I give myself a pat on the back for trying and banking the experience into future bentangbentos.

 

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Bentangbentoing with a weak finger

So last weekend I broke my right pointer finger and by Monday it was still too weak for me to make it useful. I couldn’t even zip my own fly much more bike to the market to stock up on supplies. Luckily the vendors dropped by early and I had enough time before Kulay had to leave for school. 

For Monday, I put together nuts, cheese sticks, and puto and kutsinta. Puto and kutsinta is another Filipino delicacy made with rice. Puto is a lot like the Chinese mantao, it’s basically steamed bun shaped like a flat cupcake. Kutsinta has a more jelly like consistency. Honestly I have no idea how it’s made to think it’s one of my favorites. Hrmm, will rectify that soon and report back about the adorably nommy kutsinta. 

 

 

 

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It was the same fare for Tuesday. I know B-O-R-I-N-G!!! This is why I had to cut the puto into stars to make it a bit different. 

 

 

 

 

 

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I had made it to the market by Wednesday. And had purchased stuff for Thursday’s big event and some fruits. These are what they call cherry apples. The kids love them! They reminded me of mansanitas (tiny apples) which I used to pick back when I was a kid and spent summer at my grandparents’. They come from the gated subdivision, although sometimes the guard would let us in and pick out the fruits that have fallen. Until they decided to be industrious and pack them in plastics to sell to us.

These particular cherry apples taste a bit weird to me. They’re not to sweet, a tad bit sour, and (pardon me for not knowing the translation) mapakla. Also, just a recent discovery: Polishing apples make them look really really shiny and attractive. 

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Another fruit for Friday: Lansones. These are seasonal fruits that are sweet and have bitter seeds when you accidentally bite into them, which can happen fairly often. I thought he’d eat them even if I didn’t open them but yes they came back from school with him. They aren’t rotten (although they look it) in fact this is the best time to eat them. Personally, I love eating the tiny ones so that there wouldn’t be any bitter seeds.

The cloud9 chocolate is much like snickers, poor man’s snickers. Only, I really love them and sometimes crave them instead of the snickers which are a bit too sweet for me. 

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Sapin-sapin espesyal

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In light of yesterday’s suman (sticky rice) bento, I decided to put more focus on our native desserts called the kakanin. These are what you’d normally find in a sapin-sapin, a set of kakanin put together usually in the round. Here is a sample slice of that round: 

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Kakanin is basically desserts made of rice with variety in terms of ingredients added in. Sapin-sapin is like the buffet of kakanin, usually served during family gatherings or fiestas. The photo below isn’t mine but just so you see it in it’s circular glory — the way it’s served. Click the photo to take you to a blog post on that. :D 

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There are many other kakanins. What you are about to see is just a few of them. In some photos you’ll find a few lost items like chicken sandwich and hotdog waffle. (hehe) These kinds of specialty stores selling native items at the wet market have also taken into selling other ready-to-eat goods.

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