Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pandas in Hoodies

Brrrrr!  It was 27 degrees last night.  That's cold, y'all!  A-chan was desperately hoping for snow but the powdery white stuff did not make an appearance in our area.  Still - really cold.  And I thought these cute pandas could use some snuggly hoodies to keep warm in.

In the bento:  Panda inari zushi, an apple bunny, steamed broccoli, a carrot musical note, tofurky slices and cream cheese rolls,  and lovely chunks of plum.

The panda's faces were punched from nori and provolone cheese.  I used a tiny bit of ketchup for their cheeks, but not enough to affect the flavor.  The plum bits were arranged in a silicon container so that the juice didn't mix with everything else.  One of A-chan's new fav snacks is soy-turkey and cream cheese rolls.  They look so pretty in a bento!

I can't believe it's so cold already.  Stay warm out there!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Lovely Little Mushrooms

We all get stuck in a rut sometimes and feel like we don't have any creativity to pull out of our hats, right?  When that happens I ask A-chan what she would like in her bento for the next day.  Rarely has this backfired but in this case...yeah.  She asked for mushrooms, one boy and one girl.  What the heck?!  That was really no help, but thanks.  So now I needed to come up with an idea for 'shrooms and I had nothing.  Really.  Zip.  Ah, but I have books.   Inspiration found, I thought, and pulled out all of my charaben books.  They are all in Japanese which I can't read to save my life but hey, I can still look at the pictures and get ideas! mushrooms.  Gah.  In desperation I turned to Pinterest.  And there a beam of light came down from on high to illuminate one of AkinoIchigo's bentos with some cute mushrooms.  I loved it and had a great time coming up with this bento which is totally inspired by hers. Crisis averted.

In the bento:  Rice with homemade furikake, blackberries, carrot leaves, tofu and broccoli stirfry, feta chunks and an apple bunny.

The mushrooms were made from provolone cheese and a pink egg sheet that I distressed a bit with a toothpick to look more 'shroomish.  They have nori faces, more pink egg sheet for cheeks and the girly mushroom has a bow cut from carrot.  I think they came out really well.  More importantly A-chan loved them!

We are having a blast at the NanoWriMo challenge.  A-chan has around 450 words out of the 900 word goal that she set for herself.  I can't believe she's already half way there!  My word count is around 17,000 out of a total 50,000 to meet the challenge.  The biggest surprise so far has been the fact that my grammar and punctuation skills are not as good as I'd thought they were!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tofu Totoro Musubi

A few weeks ago I ran across this fabulous YouTube video on how to make Spam Musubi Totoros.  It inspired me to try making them with slabs of extra firm tofu instead and this was the result!  Except...I didn't have enough nori left to make the bands of the musubi.  But I loved how the Totoros turned out.  I made four of them and since only two would fit into A-chan's bento I got to eat the leftovers for lunch.  Yummy!

In the bento:  Tofu totoros, rectangular onigiri (hidden under the totoros completely), raspberries, steamed broccoli, pineapple, carrot acorns and some frozen blueberries.

To make the totoro shapes I traced the bento box on a piece of paper, then divided it into two rectangles.  I drew a rough totoro shape in each rectangle.  With a piece of saran wrap between the drained slices of tofu and the paper template I used my handy dandy exacto knife to cut out the totoros. They were then cooked in a skillet with a mixture of sesame oil, soy sauce and mirin as I tried to get a spam-ish color from them.  The white parts were all white egg sheet, the black details were nori (of course) and the whiskers were uncooked soba noodles.  Getting the soba noodles to stick up at the correct angles was actually the most difficult part.  Tiny egg sheet flowers were stuck to the steamed broccoli with more uncooked soba.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall is here!

Apparently Halloween ushered in the proper fall weather and now it's time for us to pull out all our sweaters and gloves.  There are at least seven different colors of leaves in the trees around our house.  It's the perfect weather to sip coffee and ruminate.  I decided to post a bento of mine today, clearing the bento palate from the glut of Halloween cuteness.  My absolute favorite part of this bento was the tiny purple flowers!

In the bento:  Rice (haha, like you didn't already know that), tonkatsu-ish tofu slices, broccoli sprouts, tiny purple potato flowers, apple, potato salad, checkered cucumber slices, snap peas, a veggie gyoza and carrot leaves.

In other news, A-chan and I have joined the ranks of crazy people participating in NaNoWriMo!  If you haven't been clued in to what that is:  National Novel Writing Month.  Yes, that's right.  We're attempting to write a novel in a month.  Two of my very best friends have been participating for years and this November I decided to throw myself into the frenzy.  A-chan got all excited about it and wanted to sign up too.  It's been three days and so far we're both keeping up our daily word goal.  For me it's just a fun challenge.  I'm hoping that for A-chan it will be a great time-management learning experience as well as fun.