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Chili Bento, Moo Cards, and Pickled Mango

I received some exciting news from the publisher of 501 Bento Lunch Boxes. The book is now available to the UK and Europe at the Graffito Books website! Publication in the US will be in early June, so keep an eye out for the book’s current page to be updated on Amazon US with ordering information! I should be receiving my advance copies soon and I ordered a few extra to give one away in a contest. If you haven’t pre-ordered one yet, then keep a look out for that soon!

Since there are only a couple more days to enter my drawing for a Zojirushi Mr. Bento, I thought I’d better pack a lunch in my own Mr. Bento to demonstrate how awesome it is.

Chili Bento

I’ve got a lot of food today, which I’ll eat mid-morning, pre-lunch, late lunch, then afternoon snack. Keeping myself full with smaller meals was always a really key thing for losing weight when I was on Weight Watchers. Speaking of that, I was 142.8 this morning. Woohoo!

Before I get started, I just have to gush about my new bento business cards from Moo.

Are those awesome or what?? You’d totally agree if you had one in your hand. They’re thick, vibrant, and feel smooth to the touch. On the back I have my little AIB avatar plus my info. I guess I should have turned one over to show it, huh? I ordered a pack of 200 and got to pick 50 images from my Flickr photostream. Whee!!

On to the bento… In the soup container I crammed in a can of Alphabet soup, which I love and haven’t eaten in such a long time. I’ll put it in a bowl, add the water, and heat it up at work. The rice has Zippy’s chili underneath it. If I wasn’t late I might have cut out the Zippy’s ‘Z’, but it wasn’t meant to be. The salad is made from my moth lettuce, tomato #3 from my garden, corn sliced off a cob, and sliced green beans. In the fruit bowl I have pickle mango and blueberries.

It’s supposed to be called “pickled mango,” but in Hilo us country bumpkins (as my old college friend always used to tease me about) call it “pickle mango”. Just like how it’s “ice shave” not “shave ice”. Of course, now that I’m a snooty Honoluluian I call it “shave ice”. It’s either that or nobody knows what I’m talking about. (unless they’re from Hilo too) That reminds me. Jenn and I started a Facebook page called “You know you’re from Hilo if…” so if this is you, become a fan and start adding your own sayings!

I bought five pounds of green common mango last week at the Kam Swap Meet for just five bucks. I looked online for the tart/sweet/salty pickle mango recipe I remembered from childhood and found this one on the Star Bulletin website.

I was a bit scared that I was about to make the crappy super sweet li hing mui pickle mango that all the seed shops carry. I cannot stand that kind! I’ve actually bought on several occasions at seed shops here and every time I have to spit it out and give away the rest. The recipe sounded about right though, so I took a chance. First, I peeled them all.

Peeled Mangoes

One was rotten, bummer! I made sure to leave lots of underskin cause I love that part. I’m the kind of mango-eater that scrapes her teeth against the skin just to get every last bit of mango off.


I didn’t have enough red food coloring, so I just threw in what I had left. It looked like a blood broth for a bit. Eek!

Cut Mango

Next, I sliced the mangoes in half, then removed the seed. The outer seed covering is that hard, hairy part you encounter when you eat ripe mangoes. When it’s green though, you can slice right through it and it pickles into this really great crunchy part. That’s another of my favorite parts! I cut the halves into slices.

Ready for Pickling!

I didn’t have any sterile jars, so I just put it in a flour container I’m not using right now. I eat it so fast, I figure it’ll be fine. It’s more than half gone already…

Pickled Mango

Last step, I added the sauce after it was cooled down. I was worried I wasn’t going to have enough room, but the mangoes fit and actually, they shrank down to where I could probably have stuffed a couple more pounds in. I don’t think I packed the sugar in tight enough as it’s a little on the sour side, but it still tastes how I like it, so I’m pretty happy.

I mentioned playing mini golf on Memorial Day. Buddy apparently forgot all about it. He brought home a page of scribbles and his teacher had written on it, “On Memorial Day I colored stickers at home.” Uh… thanks for making her think we didn’t do anything except color stickers! WTH? I don’t think he even did that. Oh, toddlers.

I haven’t pitched a bento blog in a while, so today I’m going to mention Lyanna’s blog, Lyanna Does Bento, which is another Dutch bento blog. If you can’t understand the language, the pictures of course speak for themselves. She’s got some great bentos and a very nice blog, so go check her out!