Friday, October 26, 2012

A Birthday Bento

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.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beware the Vampires

Beware, beware the vampire pair
who are dread and dire.
For both be filled
with the desire
to feed on necks so fair.

Spelling homework can stick in a parent's head, that's for sure.  Especially when the spelling words rhyme so nicely.  These vampire onigiri were a tribute to the Dacula High School Anime Club.  Thank you so much for inviting me to do a demo!  I had a great time and enjoyed meeting all of you.  

In the bento: Two vampire onigiri, steamed edamame in their pods, a carrot jack o'lantern, blackberries, a baby tomato, fried tofu and simmered kabocha.

The small ends of baby tomatoes were cut off to make the Vampire's eyes and were stuck onto the rice balls with tiny pieces of uncooked somen noodle.  I used scissors to cut the nori into shape and used leftover bits of carrot from the jack o'lantern for the Vampire noses.  White egg sheet made the background for my lovely bat which was cut from nori.  A couple of bone shaped picks liven up the veggies.

On Nov. 3rd I will be vending at the Athens Montessori Fall Festival!  A-chan might possibly be more excited than I am, but it's got to be a close tie.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Totoro for Fall

Autumn always makes me think of Totoro.  I'm not exactly sure why since the movie is all about spring and summer, but that's the strange association my mind has made.  It's got to be the acorns.  This time of year we have beautiful, huge acorns all over the yard.  In another week we will be walking on a carpet of acorns to get to the car every morning.  Acorns = Totoro!

This cute little guy was not my idea, though.  It was inspired by Anna the Red and her Totoro inari zushi tutorial.  I am quite a bit jealous of her mad bento skillz!  My favorite of her Totoros were the ones with the green ears. Since I didn't have any green beans I improvised with edamame shells instead.   Also, I forgot the whiskers but didn't realize it until I put up the link a moment ago, lol.

In the bento: One Totoro inari zushi, a couple of plain inari zushi, carrot leaves, baby corn spears, steamed broccoli, steamed edamame, a cherry tomato, blackberries, a piece of apple and some soot sprites.

A fit of bentoing madness overcame me as I contemplated what to do with the slice of apple.  The decision to cut letters into it with my exacto knife was crazy!  Those letters took more time than anything else in this bento.  I think they turned out pretty well, though,  and was very pleased with them.  Exacto Knife is good.  Good exacto knife.

The soot sprites were made from provolone cheese and nori.  The nori was cut into a circle and then randomly trimmed with scissors to get the 'poof' effect.  The eyes were smaller cheese circles and smaller nori circles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Colors

We noticed our first bit of Autumn color in the yard today.  Hurray for Fall!  This bento doesn't have anything to do with Fall.  In fact, it was made about two weeks ago.  However, it does have very happy onigiri in it.  And it has plenty of our new favorite food - edamame. It keeps ending up in all kinds of new recipes.  One might say that I have a crush on edamame, in fact.

In the bento: Two plain onigiri with happy faces and edamame decoration, baby tomatoes, nectarine slices, steamed broccoli and a container of stirfry that includes tofu, baby corn, carrots and edamame.

The onigiri eyes were punched out of nori but the smiles were hand cut with scissors.  Their cheeks were strawberry jam applied with a toothpick.  Tiny pieces of uncooked somen noodles help to attach the edamame to the onigiri.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Double Bentos!

Halloween, Halloween, Halloween is coming!  We got all of our Halloween decorations up over the last two days so I decided it was time to start Halloween bentos too.  I'm very late with them this year, but that's okay, right?  These were Tuesday's lunches.  Yes, I got to take a bento to school and I was very happy :)  The current Sonography students need volunteers to practice their skills on so I signed up.  It's incredibly cool and I've gotten some very interesting compliments.  Apparently I have a beautiful Aorta and Spleen.  My left kidney, however, is extremely uncooperative.

In the bento:   Sauteed tofu with garlic sauce, pear chunks, baby tomato, steamed broccoli, soba noodles and carrots.  Both bentos have pretty much the same ingredients.  The only differences are the apple in mine and that A-chan wanted her Soba noodles plain instead of with sauce.   The apple wouldn't fit in A-chan's bento so she ate it with breakfast.

The Jack O'lantern was cut out of carrot with a Wilton's miniature cookie cutter.  The face was cut out using my beloved exacto knife.  His stem was cut from part of A-chan's broccoli.

My soba noodle sauce was 1 TB soy sauce, 1 tsp. Mirin, 1/2 tsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp sesame oil.  They were all whisked together and heated in a sauce pan for 1 minute before adding the cooked and drained noodles.  I continued cooking for a few minutes until the sauce had reduced and was coating all of the soba.  

I had forgotten how much A-chan likes Soba noodles.  She came home from school saying I hadn't given her enough and could she have more soba for snack, please?  Love it!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Time just keeps slipping away

I have way too much fun with miniature pancakes.  You can do so much with them!  I'm way behind in my posts so I think this bento was from two weeks ago.  It is a good example of a Speedy Gonzales bento - under ten minutes not including the preheating of the oven.  While I wish that I had a small toaster oven for mornings like this one, I have no idea where it would fit in my kitchen.  Oh well, it's a dream for the future.

In the bento: Miniature pancakes, Morningstar Farms soy sausage links, edamame on a pick, carrot flowers and strawberry halves.  Hidden behind/underneath the bunny pancakes are more pancakes and more edamame.

The Bunny faces were made with nori and sesame seeds for the eyes (secured to the pancakes with a tiny bit of icing), pink icing and half of an edamame for the noses.  Small bits of uncooked somen noodles help secure the ears to the rest of the pancake.  The carrot flowers were decorated with mustard seeds.

I can hardly believe it's only been a week since Anime Weekend Atlanta!  It was a wonderful weekend and I'm so grateful that we got to go.  A-chan's favorite part was getting to cosplay.  Most of my favorite parts were the panels, although the Trigun manga that I found at the Super Happy Fun Sell was  probably the highlight.  (Huge Trigun fan, yep!  I have a crush on Vash.)

A-chan and I at AWA.  She was so cute with her angel wings! I wasn't very cute but I was wearing my favorite Purple Butterfly covered michiyuki with a matching butterfly hair stick.  I'm addicted to hair jewelry.