Archive | September, 2011

My Nori Punch Collection

29 Sep

Nori Punch Collection

I have a rather simple nori punch collection.  I feel like I have a lot, or at least it takes up a lot of space.  But, I’m sure there are bento bloggers out there that have a lot more than me.  🙂  You may wonder why I need so many punches, but each one serves a different purpose.  I started my collection with the ones on the top.  They are great for larger onigiri, but if you try to make a small onigiri, the faces are too large.  If I want smaller features on my food, I’ll usually go for the quail egg punch (the bottom row, third from the right), or the green and yellow, multi-purpose punch (the bottom row, third from the left).  These are great punches that punch out smaller features. I do have a preference for punches that use metal cutters because the cut is cleaner. The Hello Kitty punches are cute, and I use them, but they are made of plastic.

For tips on how to care for your nori punches, visit Bentolicious‘ blog.


Plain To Cute With One Bunny Baran Sheet

28 Sep

Which is cuter?

This morning I made a quick leftover bento.  This bento took les than 10 minutes to make.  The teriyaki chicken and rice was from last night’s dinner.  I threw the carrots and broccoli in the microwave for a quick steam, cooled them in the freezer before putting them in the bento.

The picture on the left was the bento I was about to put in Ms. Little Bubbles lunchbox.  But I felt something was missing.  So I put a cute bunny baran food partition next too the carrots. I think it adds a quick bit of cuteness, that required little effort.  🙂  What do you think?

Contents: Teriyaki chicken, rice, carrots, broccoli, and strawberries

I Love My LunchBots Bento Box

26 Sep

Love My LunchBots Bento Box

Last week a blog reader asked me if I had any suggestions for bento boxes that are BPA free.  One of my favorite bento boxes that meets this need is my LunchBots box.  I love this box as it is stainless steel and comes in various sizes that are divided or not divided.

After reading this comment, I was inspired to use my LunchBots box for Ms. Little Bubbles lunch.  This particular box is divided, but you can’t see the divider because it is covered by lettuce.  If you decide to use this box, I do want to offer a bit of advice – although there is a divider, each section is not completely sealed. Therefore, don’t put food that contains water or sauce on one side thinking that it won’t run to the other, because it may.  To be safe, if you have food that contains sauces or are a bit juicy, such as watermelon, you should use bento cup liners and/or silicon cups.

For information on the BPA levels in other Japanese bento boxes, please visit Just Bento’s Blog.  She’s wonderful and offers a lot of information.

Contents: Yaki soba, grapes, ginger cookies and strawberries

Another Bento Must – Vegetable Cutters

25 Sep

Vegetable Cutters

I feel like it’s been awhile since I made a bento post.  Last week the family took turns passing around a cold, so I decided to go the easy lunch route and packed food in Ms. Little Bubbles thermos.  Fast and easy, but homemade.  On Thursday, she asked if I was going to make her a “pretty lunch” that day.  I ended up make her a quick sandwich bento, but didn’t have the energy to make it fancy.

While I took a one-week hiatus, a reader asked me how I added star carrots to my bento.  The picture above shows a few of my vegetable cutters.  They are stainless steel and have plastic tops that can be taken off.  The plastic tops are great because if you are trying to cut a raw carrot, they allow you to cut them without hurting yourself.  Each cutter came in two sizes – small and large.  Below is a picture of how I store them. I take off the plastic tops and store them in a stackable container. The flower cutters in the middle of the container are actually cookie cutters.  And although they are pretty, I rarely use them because they can’t cut through vegetables.  I have used them on cheese and softer types of food, but it won’t work on vegetables.

I purchased my cutters at a local Japanese grocery store.  However, if you do a search online, you’ll find numerous stores selling them. It’s probably easier to find cutters that don’t have the plastic tops, which is okay.  I just like the added convenience of the tops.  🙂

Vegetable Cutter Storage

Ten Minute Hello Kitty Sandwich

14 Sep

Hello Kitty Sandwich

Just like the day before, I had no idea what to make this morning.  😉  Thus, another sandwich day for Ms. Little Bubbles.  Making this Hello Kitty sandwich is really fast and easy (you just need the right tools) and requires little brain power at 5:30am!  I did watch the clock and it only took me 10 minutes to make this bento.  My brain was a little fuzzy, so I added the additional hearts without really thinking about the “layout” and feel like it might be a bit too much.  But that’s okay…. 🙂

Hello Kitty Bento Kit

Contents:  Ham and cheese sandwich, Swiss cheese for the Hello Kitty, strawberries, kamaboko, crackers

Simple Cheese Flower Brings A Smile To This Hamburger

13 Sep

Hamburger Bento

This is a perfect leftover bento.  This past weekend we had some friends over and BBQ’d.  We have so much left over I don’t even know what to do with all the food.  I will probably have to freeze a bunch tonight, and am officially over hamburger and chili.  🙂  This is a bento I made yesterday for Ms. Little Bubbles.  It has a small hamburger slider, made with a Hawaiian Sweet Bread Roll.  The hamburger my husband made was really moist and good – he for the most part followed this recipe.  As I mentioned in another blog entry, the apples in the bento were dipped in salty water to keep them from browning.

For this bento, I have a simple tip – cut out a cheese flower, put a cute face on it (made with my quail egg nori punch) and tada – a simple cheese flower that will make your little one smile.

Contents: Hamburger slider on sweet bread, apples, carrots, strawberries, all fruit gummies.

Super Quick and Easy Sandwich Bento

9 Sep

Soynut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

I woke up this morning and prayed that I had bread in the house. LOL. I had no leftovers to put in a bento and hoped I at least had bread to make a sandwich. This bento is my super quick and easy bento. I didn’t even have lettuce, so I used gai lan (Chinese broccoli) to cover the divider. I used three cute food dividers to make the bento a little cuter, but other than that… it’s a no frills bento.

Contents: Soynut butter sandwich, cheese stars, crackers and a plum

Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Bear Egg

7 Sep

Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Bear Egg

This bento features another hard boiled egg.  But rather than using an egg mold to decorate it, I dipped it in shoyu.  This idea was inspired by Sheri, a fellow bento blogger.  I rolled the hard boiled egg in shoyu and then let it sit for a bit in a bowl as it dried.  I don’t think I let it sit in the shoyu long enough as my brown bear is not as dark as Sheri’s.  But I love the idea!  The ears are part of another hard boiled egg that I attached with tiny hard spaghetti noodles. I read in a bento book that they will get hard as the day goes on. But I’m not 100% sure. I’ll have to ask Ms. Little Bubbles if they were soft when she ate them.

BTW, the strawberries were recently picked when we went to an organic strawberry field.  They are so ripe and juicy!!  Love them!

Contents: Shoyu hard boiled egg, fried rice, carrots, strawberries and crackers.

Remember the Rule of Odds (and I love my egg molds)

6 Sep

Fried Rice and Eggs

I have this quirky habit when I’m making my bentos – I try to follow the Rule of Odds. Basically, the rule states that to make a painting, picture, composition, etc. more interesting, you should have an odd number in the composition. I try, when feasible, to follow this rule. As you can see from my bento above, I tried to do it with most of the items, but the largest and most obvious item, the egg, is only in two. 🙂 My daughter doesn’t like the yolks of the eggs, so I cut it in two to take out the yolk. However, I did add FIVE carrot hearts to balance out the two eggs. LOL!

Speaking of eggs, these eggs were made using my egg molds. Another simple and easy must for any new bento maker. To make the eggs, I hard boiled them, peeled them while they were warm, placed them in the mold and put them in ice water for 8-10 minutes. And voila… heart shaped eggs. Super cool huh!

Sample Egg Molds

Contents: Hard boiled eggs, fried rice, carrots, pluots, pretzels, crackers

HapaBento – You Inspired Me!

3 Sep

Salmon Musubi

This bento was inspired by a fellow bento blogger – Hapa Bento.  Hapa Bento created a back-to-school bento contest with a similar Elpha Bento Box as the prize.  I saw her post and it inspired me to put a similar bento together for Ms. Little Bubbles.  This bento was super easy to put together and I did it in a flash.  No really… I did.  And BTW,  I love this bento box!  It’s the perfect size for two onigiri and can hold a lot, yet it’s so tiny.  🙂

For Ms. Little Bubbles, I made her two onigiri and placed salmon in the middle.  My mother-in-law made the salmon with honey, mayo and furikake.  I know, it sounds strange, but it was soooo good!  Even my Little Sweet Pea ate it!  The bottom tier contains fruit, carrots and Japanese biscuit sticks.

Contents: Salmon onigiri, plutos, strawberries, carrots and Japanese biscuits

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