Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bento 296

This morning at 6.15a.m. I flicked through the pages of Yum-Yum Bento Box for ideas. Okay, so it wasn't the best time to be browsing a Bento book of pictures looking for bright ideas to strike!

I had sushi rice left over and normally, I would mix sakura denbu and Kewpie mayo together with the sushi rice and pack it into a box for #3 to bring to school.

After yesterday's excitement over her bento box, mummy had to rise to another challenge today to pack a cutesy bento. Page 72 of Yum-Yum Bento Box struck my eyes!

I have some rice molds too and I could get out of my (lazy) comfort zone and begin using them...*wrinkles face*

I stuffed the rice with some tuna, chopped onions, mayo and freshly ground pepper. Topped each one of the different shapes with some sakura denbu. #3 kept nagging me to make an extra one for her to try, which I did and that resulted with Ooooo....s and Aaaa.....s. *so nice! so nice!* she exclaimed!

I used the triangle pocket bread mold to mold some tuna sandwiches. After yesterday's tonkatsu 'face' balls, it's starry eyes and a smiley face sandwich. *grins*

You would notice that there are no greens, that's because #3 doesn't eat any greens and anything green in the bento box would be a waste (at this time anyway). I filled the gaps with cubes of watermelon and stuck a skewer for her to use.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bento 295 and Yum-Yum Bento Box review

Last week, I received a copy of Yum-Yum Bento Box for review from their publisher
- Quirk Books.

Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches, by Crystal Watanabe (Adventures in Bentomaking) and Maki Ogawa (cuteobento).

I've posted close to 300 bentos in this blog over the last three years and seldom do you find charaben in my posts. No, it's not that I have anything against charaben but limitation of time, effort and creativity does douse any enthusiasm. Imagine trying to be creative at 6.00a.m. in the morning or close to midnight the night before drawing and plotting a charaben bento for the next morning.

I am a practical, no frills bento box packer and it's almost come to the end of my journey packing for my second daughter who is in her first year of college. All was well until she had her braces fitted and it's made her even more selective of what she eats. Of course each new semester welcomes a new and more active timetable, sometimes with classes back to back from one end of the long corridor to another.

I now have another begin packing for my 11 year old girl. She's picky and selective about what she puts in her mouth. This year has been a little better because she's learn to eat a few new types of food besides her regular fish, soup, rice, tuna sandwiches and fried drumsticks. She's eating hamburgers, hot dogs, "bak kut teh", lasagna, chocolate muffins, bacon sandwiches and one or two more variety. She's okay with some fruits and some biscuits. With all the limitations, it's been really difficult to even think of beginning to pack for #3!

I think Yum-Yum Bento Box comes as almost an answer to my prayer. It's got a whole variety of cutesy display of food in colors, shapes, sizes and flavor. I doubt I will replicate any bento exactly (limited by food choices) but I should be able to use the authors ideas and variety to pack some 'eye candy' bento for #3.

I found this cute Ladybug Picnic bento on page 64 and I started out making it since I had some sushi stuff left from last night's dinner.

Hehehe! It didn't quite end up there though. I thought that punching twice using the eye and mouth puncher from 100 Yen would suffice instead of working with all the Lady bug spots and Nori accessories. So, I got something different and I'm just as happy because for me it was easy and fast.

Inside the pink balls (sakura denbu) of sushi rice is some chopped Tonkatsu and Mayo. There are two chocolates and a sliced orange.

Instead of cutting the sausages into Tulips, I simply used some cute skewers (which are usually in a drawer somewhere) to enhance the aesthetic view.

I worked on another bento box for #2. Usually, I would just chop up all the ingredients and mix it with the sushi rice to make it a "Chirashi sushi" style.

This time it's sushi balls filled with chopped Tonkatsu and Mayo surrounded with the various fillings for sushi. There's sliced simmered mushrooms, some edamame beans, sliced tamagoyaki, some skewered kyuri and carrots and left over Tonkatsu.

Picture taken with the box closed with a clear cover.

Food tastes better when they look good!

Yum-Yum Bento Box even appeals to a non charaben bento packer like me because I see that it provides me a variety of ideas, options, easy or detailed, to expand the way I want to with the availability of food and colors which appeals to my growing child.

I'm not sure if it's available locally at the major book stores but I'm sure you can order via or Kinokuniya at KLCC.

#3 came home ecstatic about her first 'charaben' bento today. LOL! She said that she wanted the same bento for dinner. *faints*

Other reviews or information found here:
Hawai'i's Bento Box Cookbook
Maisie Eats Bento
Mothering Corner
Yum-Yum Bento Box

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bento 294

I was at the supermarket yesterday when I decided to make gyoza. I quickly picked up the necessary ingredients and went home to begin.

First I made the dough and set it aside. I don't have a formula for this but it's come out right each time and it makes me happy just like that.

Then I set out to make the filling which comprise of chopped leek, spring onions, Chinese cabbage, minced pork, ginger juice, sesame oil, salt, pepper and corn flour. I don't have a standard recipe for this either. I just put together what ever which is available and what I remember. So you can imagine, the taste of the gyozas do vary from time to time. LOLs!

I made about 60 pieces of these babies.

Testing time...boiled gyoza...yum yum!

I made today's bento from last night's leftovers again. Clockwise: Sliced oranges, some tonkatsu and some fried gyoza. Finally a small portion of clay pot rice.

A fulfilling meal indeed!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bento 293

This bento is basically put together from last nights leftovers.

I made a delicious beef stew in the crock pot. I didn't use any recipe, just saute the onions, carrots, button mushrooms, celery, beef chunks and put everything into the crock pot with basil, beef stock and a can of chopped tomatoes. To finish off, I flavored it with salt and freshly ground pepper and then I added a small box of cream - that did the magic!

Clockwise: Mixed veggies in sesame sauce dressing, some cut apples, pieces of baguette and awesome-mest beef stew.

Bento 292

The food in this bento is completely store bought except for the extra cellophane noodles (tang hoon) which I added to the soup and the ladies fingers.

All the ingredients are made out of tofu and fish cake so there are fish balls - both boiled and fried, stuffed tofu and tofu skin and delicious soup to complete the meal.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bento 291

This is my lunch today. It's a huge bento with a full silicon cup of rice. Ladies fingers again and some chili fried aubergines/eggplant/brinjal as we call it locally.

Fried tofu is oyster sauce and some sweet sour pork. A hearty meal for a busy mother.


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