Tuesday, December 18, 2012
OMG, it's only a week away! How many bento items are on your list to Santa? I've asked the big guy for quite a lot of bento gear. Christmas is very different for us this year and A-chan is having a rough time. We're trying to do our best to be jolly and enjoy the season and that includes making Holiday bentos. I love using red bell pepper in holiday bentos. It's the only time of year that A-chan will accept them in her lunches. Note that she doesn't actually eat them - she just allows me to put them in to make Santa hats. And in the background is part of the Advent Calendar that I made for her this year: cupcakes!
In the bento: Lots of rice, eggsheet, veggie hot dog, red bell pepper, lemon, black olives, steamed broccoli and raspberries.
Santa's face is made with pink eggsheet with nori for the eyes and nose. There are hotdog slices for his cute cheeks and a huge piece of bell pepper for his hat with some lemon peel and nori for the bells. I am delighted to have found some liquid food coloring recently. It gives a much more even color to eggsheets than the gel food coloring. The pink turned out very nicely! I wish now that I there was more definition between Santa's hat and his hair.
The amazing Karaimame of Acquiring Taste inspired me to start doing creative advent calendars a couple of years ago. (Hers are incredible!) This year I decided on a cupcake theme. There just happened to be a mini cupcake stand in my cabinet that had never been used. I wanted to do something with it. Getting tiny gifts that would fit inside the miniature cupcakes was an extra challenge. Making it was so much fun and it's very cute sitting on our kitchen counter. The cats thought it was a great game to knock the cupcakes off the stand so in the end I taped them all on.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Are you ready for Christmas? We're 75% there. I'm pleased to report that our three kittens (five months old) have been ignoring the Christmas tree completely. We were convinced that it was going to be climbed/knocked over/otherwise devastated within minutes of putting it up. But with that worry out of the way I can concentrate on Finals (ugh) and Holiday bentos, yay!
In the bento: Peanut butter and jelly sandwich balls, frozen raspberries, a checkered apple, carrot stars, steamed edamame, half of a steamed Japanese sweet potato, cucumber holly leaves and pomegranate seeds.
The sammies were created using Lia Chen's technique which she posted a tutorial about and for which I am very thankful! Each present has three eggsheet strips: two wrapped around and one for the bows. I pinned them onto the sammies with small pieces of uncooked somen noodle, one piece in the back for the wraps and one for the bows in the front. The cucumber holly leaves were cut with my exacto knife.
I hope that you guys are having a great December! Good luck to everyone struggling with Finals like me :D
Monday, December 3, 2012
Getting into the swing of Christmas with Thanksgiving leftovers. Cinnamoroll is made from a veggie sausage roll that was leftover on T-day and frozen for use in bentos. There is also sweet potato casserole and corn on the cob that were frozen. I love using pomegranate for holly berries. It's one of my favorite things about Pomegranate besides the yum factor.
In the bento: Veggie sausage roll, carrot slices, cucumber slices and holly leaves, pomegranate seeds, sweet potato casserole, a checkered apple, carrot flowers and corn on the cob.
Cinnamoroll's ears were cut from Provolone cheese. Her eyes and mouth were nori and her checks were cut from pieces of gari.
Underneath the bento is one of the cloth napkins that we tie dyed for Thanksgiving dinner. (It's a tradition to make cloth napkins for T-day every year!) There are also some chestnuts on the side. I haven't been brave enough to try and cook them yet, so for now they are just being decorative. The lady at the grocery store was scandalized that I only bought 3 of them. She gave me a good ten minute lecture on how to cook them and made me promise to buy more next time. (Apparently they take a loooong time to cook and it's a waste of effort to only cook 3. Now I know!)
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Once again I deceived myself into believing that I would have a smidgen of free time during the Thanksgiving break. Wrong! On the plus side it was a fabulously fun week. These bentos were eaten at Zoo Atlanta while we sat and watched the Gorillas have a snack. I kept them plain and without characters since I would be carrying them through the zoo for a few hours before lunchtime. This turned out to be a great plan since I got very excited about the Red Panda who was incredibly adorable. There apparently was some jumping and squeeeing that could potentially have destroyed any characters.
After lunch I was excited to talk about bentos to the Japan Society of Georgia Perimeter College, woot! I really, really love to talk about bentos. This was the second time that I had trouble remembering the name of a Japanese recipe, though. It was Tsukune! Next time I'm going to have it tattooed on my hand, I swear. Thank you guys so much, I loved it and enjoyed meeting you all!
In the bentos: Yaki soba noodles with sauteed tofu, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots was the main part for both of us. A-chan had an apple bunny, baby corn and some black olives on picks. I had the apple pieces that were cut off to make the bunny and some cucumber slices.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
These guys were supposed to be Octopi. They were great Octopi. Until I put them in the box and then they became mountains? Octopi are all about the legs apparently and if you can't see the legs...well, you know. Oh well. They were still fun to make and A-chan enjoyed eating them so they are still a success, right?
In the bento: Inari zushi, steamed broccoli, blackberries, baby tomatoes, mashed kabocha and veggie hot dogs. On the side is a container of ketchup for the hot dogs.
The Inari zushi mountains/octopi have hot dog cheeks, nori eyes and mouths with sesame seeds liven up their expressions. On the inside of the inari was rice mixed with furikake.
Have a great Wednesday!
Monday, November 12, 2012
I love how expressive faces can be on bento characters. This rabbit's face expresses exactly how I feel. How can it be Monday again already? I will conquer the Monday, mwahahaha! A-chan made sure to notify me that the ears would get squished when I put on the lid, but I laid them flat on top of the veggies and fruit to fix that problem.
In the bento: Cheese sandwich, strawberries, kiwi, blackberries, corn on the cob, steamed broccoli steamed cauliflower and carrot bunnies.
The bunny's ears were cut from the heel of the bread and provolone cheese. His mouth is another piece of bread cut in a circle with an x of nori on top. It is held to the sandwich underneath with a pink pick. The white parts of the eyes were cut from (you guessed it) provolone cheese. The green parts are zucchini peel and of course the black is nori! The little carrot bunnies have mouths cut from tiny slivers of zucchini peel.
I'm experimenting with using more veggies to decorate with instead of nori. It helps to use up some of the scraps that are created from making the charaben, so it feels better to me. Plus it adds more color which is always a good thing! The zucchini bits used in this bento were saved from the scraps that I cut out from another bento. They were saved in an airtight container in the fridge.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Tomorrow is my little girl's Eighth birthday. The first week of her life was in the hospital and the second week was in a hotel because I couldn't climb the stairs to get into our house because I had a broken ankle and a c-section! She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. She still is and I am so very lucky to have her in my life.
Today was pizza day at school so I made her a fruit bento to go with it. It needed to be simple because I had a huge job ahead of me in order to make her class cupcakes. Apparently she'd been telling everyone at school that her cupcakes would be 'amazing', lol. I hope that they lived up to the expectations!
In the bento: Orange slices, kiwi slices, an apple circle with a wobbly 8 cut out, pear chunks and blackberries.
Here is a shot of the school cupcakes. They were red velvet cupcakes inside jack o'lanterns carved from oranges with almond-butter frosting and chocolate stems. I made a huge mess of the kitchen making all 36 of them! The extra special bonus was the 3 liters of fresh squeezed orange juice that came from making the lanterns.
The idea for these came from something I'd seen when trying to find heart healthy Halloween foods for the Cardiac Rehab program that I'm volunteering for this semester. The original was a jack'o'lantern fruit cup. My decision to change it into cupcakes might have inadvertently created the messiest cupcakes known to humanity.