Friday, February 27, 2009
Flowers Overloaded Bentos
This is Kimberly's bento.
It's rice balls secured with yellow and orange lunchsheets strips and topped with turkey spam.
Those red flowers are the red filament off the crab sticks cut outs. I topped them on top of the spam for contrast.
The red flowers were done the night before when I added crab sticks to stir fry vegetables.
I secured each spam topped rice ball with a foodpick so that the food stay in its place.
Since Kimberly likes lettuce, I lined the bento box with lettuce and opt for simplicity instead of cluttering the box with sliced zucchinis or other fruits.
I am actually suprised to learn that more kids than less don't really like lettuce. Most of my friends' kids do, and for the longest time ever, I am so used to seeing children nibbling on raw carrot sticks or steamed asparagus for snacks (as with both my kids when they were toddlers). Whenever we dined out, Kimberly and Ashley would pull the lettuce that lined the chicken or pork dishes out from the chicken/pork pieces and nibbles on them.
However, those with kids who don't touch lettuces or green, fret not, I rather think it is because kids are alos creatures of habit. There was a time when I did not introduce lettuce into their daily meals and for a time, they did not take to lettuces. But fortunately, after re-introducing greens back into their daily meals, they are now back to greens again. You may want to start with raw crunchy vege instead of cooked or steamed ones cos most kids like to crunch.
Anyhow, this here below is hubby's bento.
Hubby is not one for bento but he would obliged if I fix him one for breakfast. He would say "no" to a lunch bento, though. He rather eat out with his cronies.
Hubby's staff actually phoned me to exclaim over this one, haha, because I normally don't do ornamental touches for hubby. This is normal for us bento-er but non-bentoers are usually fascinated by those little details. haha. That goes to speed bento packers like hubby's staffs too, who also pack bento meals most days for their lunch.
Anyhow, hubby's bento is fried mee hoon with spams. The little green leaves are zucchinis. That's a boil egg in the divider container.
In the other divided container, there's 2 slices of oranges, 3 slices of apples and 2strawberries.
Over on the far left, that's 4 steamed shiu mai for added protein. They were supposed to be for Ashley's lunchbox but I have decided to give Ashley some soy braised kampung chicken for school instead.
Ashley's lunchbox nowadays are just protein food (seafood or poultry) packed in lettuce so I dont think it qualify as a bento, and did not take pictures of those.
For Ashley's breaktime food, I packed these for her.
It's also..*grin* what else? spam ! Yea, spam for the whole family that day.
Ashley has star shaped moulded rice on the bottom, star shaped spam in the middle and pink and white kamaboko , cut out .yea..haha..in star shaped to top them off.
I didn't put a foodpick over hers to secure them cos the food hit the roof of the bento box when I strapped it up. So I know they won't be jiggling about.
I didn't have time to take picture of Ashley's packed bento meal though, cos I had need to go to court for a decision and I was already late. And hubby was already out of the door with AShley in his arms. He took Ashley to kindy that day.
So hope this long post made up for the long absence *grin*.
I should be free of heavy datelines 2 or 3 weeks later and hopefully, can post more bento posts by then, and/or hopefully, can revert back to my earlier daily posting by then. Haha.
Ena and those waiting for CD posts,I will be uploading them at the next post. My apology for the delay.
So, Happy Bentou-ing ! And to those who cloth diaper their babies, Happy CD-ing too !!
Have a great week ahead !
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Flower-Power Car Bento
So Bento #117 is a Flower Power Car Bento.
It's a cheese sandwich at the bottom. And since it's home made bread, I sliced them thick to fit the height of the bento box.
Added 2 floral ham at the wheels position for Kimberly so she have more protein.
The yellow base is made of egg. I whisked some salt and pepper into them and dunked them in the microwave oven. Those white wheels are made of the white part in the hard boiled egg. The rest of the hard boiled egg goes to my breakfast. Good thing this time one egg makes 2 wheels. This is a larger egg. Most times it's 2 eggs for 2 wheels. *grin*. Most bento leftovers are my breakfast, and I guess this is the norm for most bento-ing moms.
That's a cut out quarter from a circle of ham tucked underneath the car's white windows.
Those red flowers are made from the red parts in crab sticks. It would be prettier to use pink but those kamaboko comes by in RM9.90 for only that little bit of pink at the top portion of the kamaboko. So it doesn't make sense to use them so often. For those who doesn't have access to pink topped kamaboko, you can dab a minute speck of pink or red into egg whites instead of using kamaboko.
The red flowers were pre-cut from previous bento packing when I had leftovers crab sticks, and stash frozen in the deep freezer. I took them out thinking I could use these instead of my pre-cut pink kamaboko flowers.
Packed them into this transparent Tomica Bento box that I got from NST. Not clearly seen from the above pic, yea?
This is an easy peasy bento, isn't it? So, let's power up, Bento mommas!!!
Now who was that who says girls don't get car bento? *ducking from bento boxes thrown*. Haha!
This car bento could be made prettier if you use a larger bento box and added some greens or some lettuce at the side to divide them from the fruits, and add some red based (tomatoes, strawberries, water apples) or orange base fruits (kumquats, carrots, yellow cherry tomatoes) for side dish and for colours.
But because I wanted to spend some girl-time with Kimberly when she get back that Friday, and take her out for lunch, I didn't pack a big bento meal for her. I know that I have been neglecting her for Ashley who needed more attention from me, and Friday is the only time I could make it up for her.
I am just going to get those after trials submissions out of the way first, so, will try to load more bento meals next post.
Have a great day today, guys,and happy bentou-ing !!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
busy weeks !
Have a great week ahead, guys ! And happy bentou-ing !
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Flower Girl Bento
Kimberly likes the little flowers in the bento so much that I did this over and over again for her through the next week. So you will probably be overwhelmed by little flowers in the forthcoming posts.
As usual, speed is of issue. Even in kyaraben bentos.
Since I have always wanted sprinkle my bento with little flowers, I had those little flowers cut out and stashed in the freezer for when I need them quite sometime ago. I know Kimberly would absolutely love them. Each morning, I forgot to make use of them. And when I do remember to , I can't find them in the huge deep freezer. So when I found them again, together with my frozen stash egg sheets, I store them in the freezer in the refrigerator instead of the deep freezer for easy access.
So Bento #116 is peanut butter sandwiches with kamaboko flowers. I filled the gaps with grapes and heart shaped weiners.
The peanut butter sandwiches were cut out from a kaiser circle cutter.
On top of the peanut butter sandwiches, I lay a slice of cheese so that the Flower Girl can stay in place.
I made use of CP's cutters used below used on the bento below to make a cheese face.
Kimberly did the hair on the girl *grin*. She calls it "Flower Girl".
Instead of the cutter's regular hair shape and cloud-bunches ponytails, she had wanted to give the girl a flower tiara.
The flower tiara doesn't work cos the cutter was too big. So we added bunches of flowers at her nape to even out the space and hope that it could pass off as her hair. Kimberly was a tad clumsy with the tweezer and I helped position them back into place.
BTW, if you didn't know already, the flower hair were made out of CP's orange lunchsheets. Even with the kamaboko flowers ready made, I found that I took a good 20 minutes with this bento too, because I had needed to cut out the flowers from lunchsheets and place the flowers carefully on the face with a tweezer. That took time !!
That cutting out of little cheese heart to adorn the heart weiner took a little time too.
To keep the little pieces of floral hair in its place, I dab some mayonaise on them and also cut out a mini square shaped food grade plastic to lay it on top of the Flower Girl.
I tested it by taking the mini clear plastic sheet off again to see if the flowers still sticks to the girl. Satisfied that it, I strap the bento box up.
As bento-ers are aware, with the Halloween, there will be an onslaught of halloween themed bentos from Japanese bento bloggers, and with Christmas, snowman and Santa themed bentos. Now that the moo cow craze is over, I see some Japanese sites featuring Valentine bento contests with bento meals complete with a loving couple (a girl and a boy, Mickey and Minnie, you name it) and lots of hearts. Now let's see if I can up myself to get into the spirit of things by fixing a Valentine bento as well.
Anyhow, that wrapped up last week's bento. Now for this week's bento. I am far from catching up, aren't I? *grin*
Have a great day today, guys, and Happy Bentou-ing !!
P.S. Edited to add this picture.
Milly asked me which cutter I used for the girl's hair. It's a cookie cutter. It's an old one. I probably got it from one of the cake supplier store in town.
It's the white one at the bottom far right.
It's the same as the one I used for the green flowers in the Tulip Bento below.
Hope that helps.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Tomica Car Bento
I probably did this bento in about ten minutes in total, excluding the time I left kitchen to tend to other things. These speed bento works for me when I don't have time to spare, as with most of my bento meals of last year.
As some of you may know, last year (and the year before last) was a hectic year for me cos I was maidless since Atin left. To top it, Ashley as a younger baby was clingy throughout the wee hours in the morning cos she has eczema and wants to be nursed for comfort all the time.
I can rightly guess that most bento moms around here, as with myself, have learned a lot of ideas from those Japanese bento moms, but no time to implement them. For me, it could meant that the bento box may not get to school in time with Kimberly.
On that note, kudos to bento moms who took so much time to plan their bento and to go through such tedious intricate details. It's admirable. But I guess at 6am in the morning, sometimes I have other priority than kyaraben bentos. Plus, if you need to go to court that morning itself (or perhaps for some moms, a meeting or a presentation?), you probably rather run through the the issues and the facts on hand in your head rather than which size nori puncher for eyes and nose goes better than which size teddy bear cutter..*grin* I know I did.
Definitely, there are certain days where speed bento works better for me. I like kyaraben but on the practical side, I prefer to look out for pretty effects in the shortest time span possible i.e cutters rather than the intricate time consuming ones.
Cutters and punchers are the fastest tools that I know of *grin*. It sure beat tracing back the picture in the wax paper onto the cheese and then cutting out the picture meticulously with a toothpick, like this tutorial by this famous Japanese bento-er here . Lots of bento moms in Japan follows her ideas diligently. You would probably see her ideas popping up at every other Japanese bento blogs *grin* .
By the way, that tutorial link is also the link that you wanted for the bat, Brenda . Hope you find it useful !
I probably won't attempt this "wax paper trace on cheese with toothpick to cut" method unless I am free, especially since time expanded in fixing bento meals usually includes retrieving the right size tools from the drawers. But for those who doesn't mind the time, this is a good site to learn from.
And no, I am not going to wake up earlier than 6am, thank you. Ha ha.!
However, I will still do kyaraben when I can afford the time for it. Since my little girl took such delights in little girls and flowers and everything pink.
So, Bento #115 is simply prawn fritters (the last of the lot in my deep freezer, carrot stuffed kamaboko and apples.
As with most of my speed bento, I had needed to multi-task (ie run in and out of the kitchen to check). Someone I met at One Utama who read my blog (sorry I didn't catch your name, dear) asked me how I make it in time with getting to work and getting the kids ready for school particularly last year in my maidless days since I also need to clean up the kitchen.
I'll run through what I did with this bento on how I cover the shortest time possible for myself instead, okay?
Hope that will help !
With this bento box, after getting myself ready with all my files and stuff readily stowed away in the car, together with Ashley's school stuff, I put those frozen prawns in the fryer. Those were ready coated before frozen by MIL. Then I dumped the kamaboko in the pot over the stove and scoot upstairs to wake Kimberly up and get her ready for school.
I still tend to the kids myself despite having a maid now. Feeding, bathing, cooking, dressing etc. Most maids nowadays aren't reliable. With mine, something is bound to go wrong or omitted or damaged or not done safely or hygenically. So it's way faster and safer to tend to those things myself.
After dressing and tying Kimberly's hair, I went back down the kitchen to dish out the prawns fritters from the fryer and the kamaboko from the stove. Took out a carrot and cut it into strips and stuffed them inside the kamaboko, raw. If you like, you could heat it up in the microwave with a bowl of water and it would soften somewhat.
Then I took out a whole apple, cut two thick slices out and press out car shapes with the Tomica cutter. Stuff everything into the bento box. Easy Peasy.
These Japanese are so smart. They can come up with such convenient tools for creating visual delights in mere seconds. And those Japanese bento moms are so creative! Some of them even post tutorials on how to cut out cute characters, complete with pictures of the specific cutters and punchers they used, or suggest alternative tools like using straws instead of cutters, toothpicks instead of knife, tweezers instead of fingers. Unfortunately I don't have time to surf the net often, although I very much like to.
Well..haha...so much for a quick post....yea yea...I know... as usual, my short post tend to go on and on. haha !
Okay, pen off now. Have a great day today, guys, and happy bentou-ing !!!!
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
This is probably the last bento that I made before CNY, cos I can't locate any others in my laptop * sheepish grin* save for those I made after CNY.
So will post this first.
This is a speed bento.
I cooked the baked egg in the oven. It's really simple and quick. Just beat up an egg or two with salt and pepper and place them in a ceramic bowl and bake till cooked through. If you intended it to go with bread instead of rice, you may want to add some cheese or cream in them.
This was Kimberly's bento for Friday. Ashley stays in daycare till 4pm or 6pm most days but Kimberly is back by 12.30 on Fridays, as Fridays are half days. I went home to wait for her, picked her up and brought her to work with me. She ate this on the way in the car, as with most Fridays when she has to go in with me.
If you are wondering if Ashley is missing out, actually, she is missing out on regular bento, since her teachers wanted her to be part of the lunch crowd. They also mentioned that they wanted to avoid the teeny weeny little ones (Ashley is in a class of 3 to 4 years old kids) feeling dissapointed that they didn't get the same bento meal as her. I totally understand, cos I would be sad too if my kid wanted something that her mom doesn't have a clue about what the child is trying to tell her.
However, I do try to pack a bento meal for her every now and then, to remind her that her mom is thinking of her while she is spending those long hours in daycare. To be honest, my heart often feels a pinch whenever I am reminded of my 3 year old having to stay back in daycare while the other little ones gets to go home. That's why I often try to pick her up by 4pm and then set my alarm at 3am to finish up the workload.
I also try to make sure that Ashley isn't missing out on her nutrient and try to make it up by packing her to school with a protein food or two to go with her lunch.
It's usually a dual combo mix of either mincemeat balls, chicken chops fried with breadcrumbs, braised drumlets, honey & soy steamed chicken drumstick, carrot stuffed kamaboko, fishball, or whichever protein food I happened to pack for Kimberly on that day.
Anyhow, will stop digressing now.
Kimberly's bento is a simple lunch of rice, spam and egg.
I lined the bento box with vegetables first, in this case, lettuce. Then I pack the rice in.
Topped the rice with a slice of spam cut out in equal size to the bento box. As you may have noticed from my old posts, I usually use the bento box itself to cut out spam or bread to fit the box. But in this case, the lettuce took out some space so I used the circle cutter to trim down the sides to get the spam to fit.
Then I got the baked egg in.
To get the baked egg in , I turned the ceramic bowl that the egg is baked in, upside down over the bento box and stuff it to fit the bento.
Ashley has the same lettuce, spam and omelette as Kimberly, but minus the rice, packed to school with her so that she can have them to go with her lunch.
There is an uneven patch over the middle of the baked egg, so I cut a circle out of the egg lunch sheet I got from CP to cover it.
The Japanese moms advise that you should beat the egg and then strain it to achieve a smooth finish, but I only have ever done that for the Hatching Chicks Bento and the Field Trip Bento.
I thought that with the tulips covering the top, the eggs needn't be that smooth. Besides I haven't got the time.
So the baked egg were topped with tulips. Thats a spam tulip and a red pepper tulip. I sprinkle the gaps with some flowers cut out from the spinach lunch sheets.
I did warn you to expect liberal use of lunchsheets in forthcoming bento-s. Haha.
Anyhow, seeing that CP warned me that there may not be forthcoming orders of lunchsheet coming in, I had dump the last packet of lunch sheet in the freezer to preserve it longer.
Sigh.. I have found them so useful and would love it if CP would bring in more later. Those who purchase more than one lunchsheet packet from CP may want to consider doing the same, preserving them in the freezer till needed, cos you probably would have to sparing with them to make them last till she manage to get some more in.
The red pepper tulip atop the egg was cut out the day before when I cooked stir fry red pepper, tomatoes and brocolli for dinner the night before. I had left them in a lock and lock intending to use them the next day for bento. These little preparations can sure speed up a bento.
To pacify our Queen , haha, who complained about me not having tutorials, I posted here below tools I used for this bento instead.
I used that Kaiser circle cutter to cut out Ashley's egg into neat circles (since Ashley usually spend some time examining her bento box before eating) and to trim down the spam to fit the box. The green stems of the tulips were cut with the crown cutter. I laid a slice of cheese between the tulip and the stem so that the stems would stay in place. The small round cutters is to accentuate the spam's petals.
Hope that helps you guys too.
So that's Kimberly's bento rounding up bento posts from the week before last.
Now if I can just get out last weeks' bento posts, I will be well on the way to regularising my posts. Haha.
Wanted to post a few more bento meals together but this post is already too long, since I digress so much.
So, have a great day today, guys, and happy bentou-ing !!!
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I don't know if you guys are tired of cow bento. I know I am *grin*. Every Jap moms' blog I surfed the last few weeks has been nothing but cow bento-s. And they all look similar in one way or another. After all, a cow is a cow. Haha. I promise this will be the last cow bento for awhile Haha.
I think this was the bento made the Monday before Chinese New Year. My memory failed me, since I am all but 2 weeks behind in bento posts. haha. Its a moo cow again. A brown one this time.
This was Kimberly's breaktime bento.
It's a chicken sandwich tied up like a present and topped with a cow character.
I cut the cow shape with a round cutter and trim the sides so it doesnt look more like a pig than a cow. Haha. The cutters and puncher for the ears, horn, nozzle and eyes were the same tools as before .
Laid the moo cow on top of a round cheese which in turn is placed on top of the spinach lunchsheet for easy transfer.
Since Chooi Peng warned me that the expiry date for those lunch sheet is coming up, I have been liberal with them with the recent bento meals.
I tied the chicken sandwich with a strip of carrot lunchsheet so it looks like a box of present and bind those "ribbons" with mayonaise.
That green flower is also made out of spinach lunchsheet. I wasn't sure if Kimberly would be eating them but I thought I pretty it up for her anyhow.
Kimberly has not been eating much fruits over the last few days, so I thought I fill the rest of the box with fruits. But I have only green grapes and purple grapes left. Fill that in and hoped that it would do. I didn't want to stock up the fridge cos we would be spending a lot of time at FIL's over CNY. Kimberly ate all the purples and left all the greens.
And she ignored the spinach lunchsheet flower as well. haha. She opened it though. Probably just out of curiosity, cos I didn't stop to check on her after I left her bento box with her. I had needed to go to her school's registry to top up the money in her smart card, pay for her rythmic gymnastic and then run to work in time cos a client is coming to go through some witness statements.
So that's slowly catching up on bento posts. Will try to post as much as possible over the next few days to regularise the posts.
Have a great day today, all !! And happy bentou-ing !!!