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“Vacation” #bento for my nephew

19 Jul

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We are visiting my in-laws for the week and I promised my nephew a bento while I am home. Luckily my sister-in-law had the panda molds and punches. I used leftover dinner meats and yummy cherries and carrots for the bento. The container is a reused takeout container, making it easy for him to recycle it at the park.

What kind if bentos have you made for the summer? 🙂

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And the winner gets…. a Panda Bento! :-)

30 Apr

Last month a mom in Ms. Little Bubbles class bid on my bento for our school’s silent auction.  Every Monday and Friday in May I feel honored to make her daughter a bento for lunch.  I love seeing how excited she is to receive her lunch and it makes me energized to make them. And I think it makes my Ms. Little Bubbles appreciate them a bit more too.

Today’s bento was a fun panda bento.  My sister-in-law surprised me with a panda mold and punch, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them!  What a wonderful surprise. They are really easy to make, all I had to do was put rice in the mold, and punch the ears and facial features out.  And ta-da!  A panda!!  To compliment the panda, I made shoyu (soy sauce) hot dogs, added strawberries and blueberries and steamed carrots.  I’m happy to report that both girls ate everything.  Humm… now that I think about it. Ms. Little Bubbles didn’t even have a blueberry in her bento left.  I wonder if she ate them or gave them away?  For the longest time she REFUSED to eat blueberries.  hummm….

 

Oh the Bento Goodies!!

8 Nov

Love this book!

October was a CRAZY month.  It passed with a blur and I can hardly believe it’s November.  I sadly didn’t have time to make bentos for Ms. Little Bubbles and by the end of the month she was asking when she would have pretty lunches again. This, of course, brought a smile to my face.

 

At the end of the month, Christmas came early for me!  I’m excited to say that I got the best present ever… a box filled with bento making books, accessories and other fun stuff!  Oh, I’m in heaven!  The book above is so inspiring and it came with the cutters that are on the right.  The book tells you how to use the cutters and it’s just awesome. I must say, the packaging was absolutely ridiculous and absolutely not green (the cutters came in a box the size of the book, of course wrapped in plastic), but I love this book.

Below are a few other goodies that came in my goodie box!  Ahhhh….. I don’t need anything else for the holidays.  🙂

Below is the best bento bag ever!  It’s so cute!  I haven’t used it yet, but I can’t wait!  So cute!!

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.

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

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

How Many Bento Boxes Do You Have?

25 Aug

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This is my “small” collection of bento boxes. I consider it small as I know know there are some bento makers out there that have more. But I’m limited in space and I’ve only allotted myself this much space and refuse to outgrow it.

In this space, I have some some single tiered bentos and two tiered, some fancy and some that are plain and simple.

When I have a chance, I’ll try to take a picture to show you what they all look like. I also need to show you my bento accessories. And the accessories is really out if control.

Colored Rice Makes This “Pot of Gold”

18 Aug

Okay, so this bento took more than 15 minutes, but I wanted to do something special for St. Patrick’s Day for Ms. Little Bubbles. The colored rice in this bento was made via little packets that I picked up at Marukai. The colors are a bit pastel, but that’s okay. I don’t use this food coloring often, as I don’t have a lot of packets and they are sometimes hard to come by. But for other ideas on how to color food, check out Just Bento’s Blog.

As for the rest of the bento, I was at a loss on how to make the “pot”, but I remembered I had bologna and cut it by hand. The “gold” is made from cheese, again cut by hand. The second tier is made of leftover food. Although, I really liked how the flower kamaboko turned out. The swirls add a bit of color.

Contents: Colored rice, kamaboko, noodles, tofu, steamed carrots, grapes, apples.

#1 Bento Tool to Have – A Nori Punch

16 Aug

A Pair of Happy Bentos

Little Ms. Bubbles doesn’t have summer camp or school for the next few weeks, so I’ll be posting some old bento that haven’t made it to this blog yet.  The above bento was made for Little Ms. Bubbles and her Cousin T.  I usually don’t include a cupcake or super sweets in my lunches, but Cousin T was visiting and I wanted to give them a special bento for their picnic.

The pair of bentos above illustrates a perfect example of why everyone needs a nori punch.  If there is only one bento making item that you need to get, please make it a nori punch.  I promise, a nori punch will make any lunch look cute instantly.  Yes, the picks add cuteness too, but the nori face gives the bento a personality.

I purchased my nori punches online.  I did a quick search for “nori punches” or “nori cutters” and stumbled across a few sites.  In a future post I show you which punches I have.

BTW, this bento uses a fake lettuce foil instead of real lettuce.  I found it at Daiso and thought it was kind of unusual.  I generally don’t use it, but if I don’t have any real lettuce on hand, it’s a nice stand-in.

Contents: Ham and cheese sandwich, orange cupcake, carrots, kamaboko and apple stars.

No Frills Bento – Just a Cute Hello Kitty Bento Box

13 Aug

Hello Kitty Soy Nut Butter & Jelly Sandwich

 

Yesterday was a rough morning for me.  Little Sweet Pea got up at ~4:30am, which is insanely early for me.  I tried to get him back to sleep but then Little Ms. Bubbles woke up with the noise and then everyone was up.  Whooohoo.  🙂

When it came to putting together Little Ms. Bento’s bento, it was thrown together with little thought.  I like this bento box because it’s an easy standby that requires little decorating of the food because the box is so darn cute.  I made her a soy nut butter and jelly sandwich, cut off the edges and placed it in half of the bento.  The other side is strawberries cut into slices and carrots that I cut with my vegetable cutter.  Another reason why I really like this bento box is that it comes with a divided container section.  Therefore, I’m able to put “wet” stuff on that side and the liquid won’t run into the other section.  By no means is it leak proof, so I won’t put soup or anything it it.  But if I had tofu, it would have been perfect for that.

Contents:  Soy nut butter and jelly sandwich, strawberries and carrots

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