Friday, May 21, 2010


I'm not sure who is more scared here, the oni meatballs or the soy bologna monster. I love doing the monster bentos! The nori outlines are challenging but the overall fun is fantastic. Originally this guy was a doodle that I drew to entertain several 4 and 5 year old girls.

This bento has more of the feel of a traditional bento: one tier has mostly rice and the other tier has a variety of ingredients. I failed on the five colors though, since the only green in this bento is the lettuce used for a separator. Oooohhh, maybe that's why they look so scared - there's no broccoli!

Left: 2 veggie triangle gyoza separated by steamed squash and cucumber slices. Baby tomatoes, carrot star, 2 vegetarian greek meatball oni with mozzarella and nori eyes, corn in the cow container.

Right: Jasmine rice with soy bologna and nori monster with mozzarella eyes, tooth and toenails. Sweet gherkin, baby tomato, carrot star and more steamed squash.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monkey Face

A very simple bento in one of our smallest boxes. This is actually the very first bento box that I purchased way, way, way back when. It's still one of my favorites.

For this bento A-chan had requested fried tofu. I knew that I wasn't going to have much time that morning so I decided on a design the night before and had all the ingredients grouped together in the fridge.

Top to bottom: Clear piggy soy sauce bottle, flower onigiri with a sugar dot center, baby tomatoes, heart shaped container filled with corn, steamed broccoli, a black olive, mini tater tots (one of which has a monkey pick in it), fried tofu with monkey face made from soy bologna, mozzarella, nori and sugar dots for cheeks. There is a 'banana' cut from a babybel cheese round.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ni Hao! This Kai Lan bento was a crazy thing for me to make. It was for a family picnic at my daughter's school Earth Day festival. I thought about making something more earthy. But I had been wanting to do a Kai Lan bento for a long time and decided to go for it as a surprise for A-chan! the steps to making the face go like this:

Step 1: Trace the bento box on a piece of paper. This makes sure that your design isn't larger than the space you have available to put it in.

Step 2: Draw the character/picture inside the tracing of the bento box.

Step 3: Cut out along the entire outer edge of the drawing.

Step 4: Put the paper on the food that you are going to use, in this case a slice of mozzarella cheese. Holding the paper and the cheese in one hand, cut around the design with scissors.

Step 5: Take the drawing and cut out the next large feature - in this case it was the hair. Trim around the outside edge to make it a little smaller than the original cut.

Step 6: Holding the paper hair design and a large sheet of nori together, cut out a square block of nori around the entire design. Then proceed to trim and cut around the paper.

Step 7: Put them together and see if they fit, trim as needed.

Special tips:

Do not use lined paper!! The blue lines will transfer onto cheese or meat slices.

Cut the nori absolutely last thing if you live in a humid area. Humidity in the air will make the nori curl up and you'll have to cut another section out. (Trust me, I've had to do that and it was frustrating!)
Top tier: Morning star farms chik nuggets sliced diagonally to provide an interesting corner piece. Large cherry tomato, steamed broccoli,1 waffle fry, an orange slice, black olives on animal picks, Ni Hao in carrots, flower bread. (Flower bread: steamed buns that are rolled up like cinnamon buns. They are very yummy!)

Bottom tier: Japanese curry (potatoes, carrots, onion, peas, tofu, sultanas) in a bed of jasmine rice. Carrot and snap pea hearts. Kai Lan is made from mozzarella cheese, nori, and soy ham.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fairy bento bag and band

Ta-da! Finally got pictures of another bento bag. I made it especially to fit my smaller one-tier bento boxes. The fabric was chosen by my daughter. She wanted a "frilly" band to go around the box and I sewed together a small flower out of felt to decorate it. It is very simple but sturdy and much safer to use with the tiny boxes that need more support.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Totoro with leaf

This bento was both a big hit and a huge mistake. A-chan loved the totoro (who wouldn't love a totoro in their lunch, right?) but because of the sprouts she absolutely refused to touch any of the food on that side of the bento. Another bizarre preschooler roadblock that I should have anticipated but didn't have a clue. She ate everything on the other side. And once she got home and I picked off each and every tiny sprout for her, she duly inspected the totoro and curry before commencing to eat every bite. Ultimately I guess I can count this one as a win :)

On the left: Jasmine rice that is completely hidden by Japanese curry. Over the curry is a soy bologna totoro with mozzarella belly and eyes, nori accents. Spicy sprouts and a small leaf cut from a larger leaf of lettuce complete the design.

On the right: One Mantou bun (a plain steamed chinese bun, very yummy!), chickpeas on animal picks, babybel cheese, steamed broccoli and a huge strawberry.