Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Study in Color

Here are two bento pictures that have bad background color choices.  The yellow is overpowering in the top one, and the red overpowers the bottom.  Even though these are not great pictures, I still like the bentos!  The top bento was one of mine while the other shows a bento for myself and one for A-chan that we recently took for lunch on a long trip.

In the top bento: Half a golden plum, sugar snap peas wrapped in soy turkey, carrot flowers, colossal black olives, Korean sweet potato slices and two curry filled onigiri.

The curry filled onigiri were an experiment.  I wasn't sure whether they would be too messy, but they turned out quite perfect!  A tiny taste of curry and vegetables in the center.  You can see the curry gravy barely peeking through the rice on the sides.

In the bottom bentos: Rice mixed with tofu soboro, apple slices, grapes, carrot flowers, raspberries , black olives.  My bento has a wonderful ribbon of sriracha hot sauce.

Normally the tofu soboro would be layered on top of the rice.  But since there was a good likelihood of eating in the car I wanted to try and prevent as much mess as possible.  

It's been a while since I've posted and I apologize.  Last week was crazy!  I did pass my huge test and the great news is that I have officially been accepted into college!  I'm both a little scared and a lot excited.  I can't wait to get started, it's going to be a great adventure.  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tic Tac Toe

Whoa!  A bento post on a Saturday?  Yep.  I'm feeling guilty that I haven't had time to post the last two days so I decided to post today.  What have I been doing that I've been too busy to make the all-important bento post?  There is a huge bellydance event coming up next weekend where I'm performing with an awesome group of women.  So rehearsals are in full swing, plus I'm a staff member helping to pull off this incredible weekend of dance and a tiny bit of panic has started to set in.  Then there's the math test next week.  If I'm on the computer right now it's almost guaranteed that I'm practicing math.  Wheee!

In the bento: Rice with a nori, pea and carrot tic tac toe board, one Morningstar Farms chik nugget cut in half, a half slice of corn on the cob, raspberries, steamed broccoli and two grapes on a pick.

I set up the nori game grid before A-chan came to see her bento that morning.  Then gave her the carrot x's and we played.  It was a fun way to start the morning and it didn't take very long!  She was thrilled that she got to play a part in decorating her bento.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

4 Star Inarizushi

A-chan is staying home sick today.  She woke up with bright red cheeks and a fever.  I suspected something was amiss last night when she didn't feel like finishing her Valentine's Day pancake at dinner.  That has never happened before!  Her bento had already been made so she gets to eat it at home.

In the bento: Carrot ribbons, a piggy containing feta cheese, steamed broccoli, a bunch of grapes, a container of raspberries and four inarizushi with carrot stars.

Carrot ribbons are one of the fastest, easiest ways to pack carrots in a bento.  They fit into whatever space is needed and they just look cool.  I love looking at the fabric reflected on the contours of this box!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Magic of Love

Hello Kitty wishes for everyone to have a Happy Valentine's Day!  She is using her magic wand to create love wherever she goes.  A-chan thought that it was a pretty bento but she couldn't tell what was going on without a little narration.  I was so excited to use my lovely gold sugar again that I sprinkled it quite liberally.

In the bento:  Peanut butter and sugar sprinkle sandwich with Hello Kitty on top, carrot flowers, tofu heart, black olive, apple with hearts cutout and a huge chocolate heart.

Off to the side is a glimpse of our Valentine's project yesterday.  A-chan cut paper, stamped stamps, punched heart shaped holes, cut ribbons, made chocolates and tied them all up together.  She was so excited about giving them to her schoolmates today.  They are not as fancy as she wanted them to be, but we managed to get them all made in one afternoon!

Hello Kitty's dress and the magic hearts were all cut from a new product that I found at Hobby Lobby, called Sugar Sheets.  It was very stiff and wouldn't work with cookie cutters but the exacto knife did a great job.  I love the color, especially since my pink egg sheets don't seem to stay pink in the pictures that I take!  The rest of Hello Kitty was cut from Provolone cheese, as were the letters.  Her face was punched from nori and her bow cut from carrot.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Two hearts

A very simple Valentine's bento for today because I'm getting prepared for a massive candy making spree this afternoon.  There are going to be tons of chocolates in our kitchen to bag and wrap and give away tomorrow.  This is the one and only time of year that I actually like chocolate!  Somehow I've got to quietly make, sneak and keep secret a huge Hello Kitty chocolate for A-chan.

In the bento:  A layer of rice with furikake, two small heart onigiri with provolone and nori decoration, a checkered apple, fried tofu, carrot hearts, half or a colossal black olive with a heart pick, sugar snap peas and a container of sesame carrots.

We are also going to make Valentine's cards for A-chan's class.  It's a little scary because we waited until the last minute this year.  I hope we can get them all made in time!  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pink Panther

 A-chan is a huge fan of the Pink Panther cartoon.  I haven't determined whether it is because of all the pink, which is her favorite color, or because it's funny.  Today's bento going was to be Pink Panther themed no matter what.  The only question was what method to use.  I decided upon an artistic challenge to balance out all the math study I've been doing.  Instead of using egg sheets I wanted to try an icing painting which seemed like fun!

In the bento: Miniature eggo pancakes, peach slices, corn on the cob, steamed broccoli, huge black olive slices and a container of tiny carrot hearts.

Using store bought icing I mixed three variations of pink.  The lighter pink was made by mixing together some pink strawberry flavored icing and some regular white vanilla icing.  The middle pink is the strawberry icing while I mixed some red food coloring with more strawberry icing to deepen the shade for the darker pink.

Next I wrapped and taped three henna cones, two of which can be seen in the background, filled them with the icing and proceeded to 'paint' the pancake.  Small cuts of nori became eyebrows, eyelid and whiskers.  I am completely delighted with the way he turned out!  A-chan was thrilled.  I don't think I've surprised her that well in ages.

Thank you all so much for the kind thoughts and support!  I appreciate it very much.  You guys are the best!  And your sweet comments help me feel a little braver :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's the Circus!

This bento was completely unplanned.  When I woke this morning and realized that I'd put not one second's thought into the bento for today, there was a moment of panic.  I rallied with the first cup of morning coffee and managed to pull together a few ideas. Since I had no plan, I decided to try and use some picks that I don't often get to use.  The loveliness of the veggie hot dogs is something of a miracle but I am rather pleased with them!

In the bento: Bowtie pasta sprinkled with feta cheese, black olive slices and carrot stars, veggie hot dogs, steamed broccoli, chunks of peaches, a black olive and carrot circle.

The seal balances three circus balls made from slices of the largest black olives that I have ever seen.  A-chan chose the can labeled 'Colossal' and they do indeed match that description.  Carrot stars and nori star centers make for a neat decoration.  Balancing happily, the elephant is on top of another circus ball made from carrot and black olive.

My husband recently let me know that he does not wish for our marriage to continue.  It was quite a shock and I'm still shaken.  I will be continuing to make bentos, of course, and to post when I can.  My posting might be a bit erratic for a while as I adjust to a new schedule.  I'm embarking on an adventure and going back to school!  I have only just applied and still have to be accepted, and I also must take a placement test in two weeks.  Demonstrating good study habits will be good not only for myself but also for A-chan. Plus,  school gives me an excuse to make more bentos for myself.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Moroccan Yumminess

Arrrgh!  No matter where I positioned the butterfly or what angle the photo was from, this butterfly just looked awkward to me.  It's still a nice butterfly and A-chan liked it a lot, so why am I worrying about it?!  I shouldn't, right?  Today I made myself a bento too.  It was yummy!  Have you ever been to a Moroccan restaurant?  If you haven't, drop everything and go now.  Yes, I mean it - now!  Both of our bentos have leftovers from the Moroccan feast that I cooked the other night.  Not only is Moroccan food delicious it makes a ton of leftovers which just tickles pink the freezer stash lover in me.

In A-chan's bento:  Garlic and Basil couscous, Moroccan chickpeas, carrot butterfly, strawberries, steamed broccoli, carrot hearts, veggie hotdog flowers with green pea centers, and a container of feta cheese.

In my bento: Garlic and basil couscous, Moroccan vegetable stew, pan seared tofu and a perilla leaf.

The sweet Julie Moore got me thinking about couscous recently, making me realize how long it had been since I'd made Moroccan food.  I am grateful - I love this stuff! Go have a peek at the post I just made with the couscous, stew and tofu recipes.

Unfortunately A-chan does not share my relish in Moroccan cuisine and totally refused to eat the Vegetable stew.  That's why her bento has only the chickpeas, each one individually picked out of the stew to go into her bento.  Yep, that's how much I love my girl :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Puppy Bling

What puppy doesn't deserve a little bling?  I picked up the gold colored sugar crystals a while back and have been itching to use them.  They do rather perk up the puppy's collar, I think.  A-chan's reaction was precious. "Mommy, where did you get the gold?"  There was almost a reverent echo to the last word.

In the bento:  Steamed rice with a puppy on top, fried tofu, carrot ribbons in a heart shaped container, sugar snap peas and a halved strawberry on heart picks.

The puppy was cut from soy turkey slices using my food scissors.  Her collar was cut from provolone cheese, as was the spot around her eye.  The facial features and collar stars were punched from nori using three different punches.  A carrot flower with provolone and sugar dot center completed the absolute cuteness.

Our kitty is recovering perfectly!  He is back to his normal self and doing all the kitty things that he should.  Thank you all so much for the well wishes for him.  I am so grateful to the vet who pulled off the miracle surgery!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Two Bentos for the Price of One

One of our kitties has been very ill.  He had surgery to remove the tumor yesterday after two days of everyone freaking out in panic over it.  In celebration of his recovery you get two bentos today.  That's right, you get two bento pics today!  I've been away for three days - but I'm not giving you three pics at once, let's not get crazy here.  

In the top bento: A cherry tomato, steamed zucchini slices, pan fried tofu and green peas on picks, an apple bunny, blackberries, carrot stars, rice with furikake and cute little icecream cones.

The cones were cut from soy turkey slices with a triangular shaped cutter.  The icecream scoops were cut from apple peel and provolone cheese with a ufo shaped cutter.  Tiny circles were cut from strawberries with my food scissors and tiny leaf shapes were cut from lettuce with scissors as well.  Their faces were punched from nori.  The special cutters that I used are from the space cutter set and were bought from Ohayo Bento's store.

In the second bento:  Sesame carrots, steamed green peas and scrambled tofu on a bed of steamed rice, blackberries, starfruit and a huge cherry tomato.

Both of these cherry tomatoes were cut in half after the pictures were taken.  Dangerous school lunch eye injuries can be avoided by prudent tomato cutting techniques!  Tomato juice at high velocity is never fun. 

Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope that you have a fantastic weekend!