Rubiks Cube Bento

Rubiks Cube Bento Food Art
Rubiks Cube Bento

As featured on Whats for Lunch Wednesday

Hello! Long time no see! Here is one I have been wanting to make for ages, but never got round to it until now, due to not having any food colouring left!

Not having lettuce in is another excuse but I think maybe my perfectionism was trying to get the better of me so I got some new colours and finally just jumped in!

This is a “musubi” type bento – inside the cube is tightly pressed boiled rice and in the centre of the rice is some chopped meat, cucumber and remoulade sauce. The cube of rice is then covered with nori seaweed sheets and decorated with coloured cheese squares. Surrounding the centrepiece are grapes, orange segments, tomatoes and cucumber slices.

Did you know I am a big fan of the Rubiks cube? I have the 3x3x3, the 4x4x4 and the 5x5x5 ! I learned how to solve the 3x3x3 from Dan Brown on his YouTube Channel (user name PogoBat)

I have not forgotten about my Scaredy Cat Challenges! I have given up smoking Praise God! And I have been able to colour in 10 little squares from my weight loss chart – yes each square is worth 1 lb in weight! So gradually very gradually the weight is coming off!

We are currently fasting for the muslim holy month of Ramadan from dawn until sunset.  I am trying not to over eat when we break the fast and drinking plenty of water, and although this has helped me to be able to colour in 3 more squares off my chart, I must expect that my weight will go back up slightly after the fasting is over, unless I seriously start to do more exercise. God willing, in October my son is starting Kindergarten so that will be at least 30 mins of exercise per day walking him there and back every day!

For more Scaredy Cat Challenges visit Diane blogs about life in Denmark, the good things in life and the FlyLady system.  She’s currently planning ahead for Christmas, using Flylady’s techniques.  I have already started making a list of people who I want to buy presents for, for Eid, birthdays and Christmas.  Yes, me! It’s not like me to be this organised LOL (BTW if you ever wondered why there are a lot of birthdays in November, it’s because Valentine’s day is in February!) I have even placed a couple of online orders with Ebay and Tesco. Tesco have already got the huge tins of Roses and Quality Streets in on a Buy One Get One Free!

Oktoberfest is starting here in Munich on the 18th September. The gingerbread hearts are so cute. I think it’s just given me an idea for some more food / cheese art – Watch this space! (Though I don’t know how I would do the white writing – so let me have a think about it!)oktoberfest gingerbread hearts

Another Scaredy Cat Challenge that I have set for myself is to get a YouTube video done. This means finding the battery charger for the camera and learning how to use video-editing software, and sorting out the lighting. I might be able to use my phone but I think the image will be grainy and not up to much. God Willing, I’ll be able to get something sorted out and achieve another Scaredy Cat Challenge Goal!

How have you been? 🙂

Kiwi Fish Bento

Kiwi Fish Bento
Kiwi Fish Bento

Today’s bento is a fancy tailed fish made from a kiwi, with apricot fins and radish gills, in a “tank” of blue cous-cous, and I made the clam shell / oyster shell from a piece of apple.

My Scaredy Cat Challenge is to lose 26lbs and get fitter. This bento contains not a trace of fat! I was absolutely amazed at how much this filled me up – I ate it with the rest of the radishes, the apricot and apple, and some garlic cloves in chilli-oil.  (ok so maybe trace amounts of fat LOL) You can get an idea about how small this bento box is from the size of the kiwi – it’s not a particularly large kiwi!

The lettuce came out looking not too bad, even though it was on its last legs! I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying playing with and eating this curly lettuce and the price of it has gone down now so it would be more than justifiable to buy 2 of them next time!

I know, I know, I need to get some protein – I might have some scrambled egg on 1 slice of toast later, if I have room! 😀

I am wearing my “thin” jeans today! Ok, they are a bit tight still, but I am really pleased because I found an old abandonned “Weight Loss Plan” from August 2009 where I was 186lbs (count ’em Diane!),  and now I’m 170lbs, so it means I have already lost 16lbs since then! Woopee! I am tempted to add more boxes to my weight loss chart, just so I can cross them off, to spur me on! 16lbs sounds a lot more encouraging than 5lbs! (Is that cheating?!)

I went on my cross trainer again today and burnt another 100 cals, and did 50 sit-ups today and yesterday.

I am eating lots of low fat things as snacks to keep my metabolism up and to prevent my body from going into “starvation mode”  so I’m having popcorn and cereals / cereal bars, yogurts, apple, carrots. I know when I hit my plateau, these will be the last things to go, but I imagine that’s still quite a way off, seeing as I still have 21 more lbs to go before I reach my goal, God Willing! Well there’s no time limit and I don’t want to get unrealistic because I have a trip to England coming up and I know there will be a mandatory Fish and Chips (with mushy peas of course!) washed down with Dandelion and Burdock, and an Indian Takeaway (Chicken Tikka Korma with a Peshwari Naan please!) washed down with Red Bull and Grenadine Syrup… Ah bliss!


This time I don’t have to go overboard – I will still enjoy the food, but maybe just have half-portions instead of the full lot.  Even more calories to be saved! 😀

Another Scaredy Cat Challenge (in other words a big job I have been putting off for far too long) was to get my computer desktop de-cluttered, and my disk de-fragmented using De-Fraggler, run the Disk Cleaner and CCleaner and back up some precious photo files.  So I have been working on that this week (seeing as I have finished watching LOST series 3 now!!) and now it feels like my computer is not as slow as it used to be! Either that or I’m becoming more patient in my old age LOL 😀 Who am I kidding?! I am still DYING to see LOST series 4!!!

By the way, The Kawaii Bento Club has got a Summer School Program and a cool Rock Your Bento Contest – Looking forward to seeing everyone’s entries! I have already seen Susan’s KISS bento – it is totally amazing, you have to check this out!

Wishing a great weekend to all my friends, family, bento buddies and FlyLady gal pals! Mwah! 😀

Fruity Bento

Fruity Bento
Fruity Bento

I’m not having mayonnaise these days, due to trying to slim down, so I couldn’t put a ball of Tuna Mayo, my staple bento-ing food in this one.  I could eat this with celery and peanut butter or maybe some walnuts and some chunks of cheese.  Though I imagine this will be quite filling as it is! It has rice balls with nori stars, radish, strawberry, cherry tomatoes, a baby apricot, kiwi, grapes, and carrot decorations. I am one third of a pound away from losing 5lbs now.

Fruity bento
Fruity bento

3 cool dudes bento

3 cool dudes bento
3 cool dudes bento

I’ve been really trying to stick to my FlyLady Routines recently and my house is looking better than it has in a long time! I’m doing Room Rescues, Hot Spot Fire Drills, Using a “Do It Now” approach, taking babysteps, beating perfectionism, just “jumping in” and using my FlyLady Timer and Feather Dusters!

My Scaredy Cat Challenge with the Twisters (Twitter Sisters!) is to lose 26 lbs (about 12kg). I have been trying to get into the habit of using the Weight Loss tips listed here, and I’m finding it’s not too hard to stick to! 😀 I’ve had a couple of challenges this weekend though, like when DH and DS3 were eating bubbled cheese pretzels, but I managed to keep temptation at bay, whilst focussing on watching Lost Season Two!

Without boring you with the details of what I’ve eaten over the last week, I’ll summarise!

  • Instead of eating 2 or sometimes 4 slices of toast (It’s a small loaf!)  I’ve only been having 1, and leaving out the butter and having Marmite instead of jam.
  • Brown instead of white bread
  • Kid’s sized portions of the  main meal instead of my usual big plate
  • Salad without Mayo or dressing
  • Tea and coffee without sugar
  • Pumpkin seeds  as a snack
  • I’ve resisted chocolate bars, pretzels, sweets and biscuits!

And the main achievement is that I have been on my cross trainer for 3 days in a row now, burning 100 cals each time!

To make this bento, I added some curry powder to the rice while it was cooking, to get this sunny yellow colour for my charaben cool dudes.  This is a mini bento (compared to the other bento box), and to give you an idea of the size of the rice balls, they are smaller than a golf ball, more like the size of a table tennis / ping-pong ball.

I have a new method for cutting the carrot flowers, seeing as I don’t yet have the vegetable cutters. I will try to post a tutorial later. And the apple design is new too, which is done using tubes of apple and carving away a cross shape out of the skin. I forgot to mention in my previous bento that I discovered it is possible to use the craft punch on red apple skin too! Check out the red apple skin hearts here.

I used some sliced courgette in this bento, and I only put half a teaspoon of oil into the pan just to finely coat the bottom of it, and then (almost-)dry fried them, til they got this nice charred look! They were really tasty!  The other ingredients in this bento are green and yellow peppers, some sandwich beef, carrot, apple and lettuce. The faces on the rice balls are hand cut from Nori seaweed.

This is the zoomed out pic:

3 cool dudes bento This is a new box that I got from the local supermarket “Penny” for 1 Euro! It holds about 300ml. I’ve read that if you prepare the bento in the “correct or guideline proportions” (some say it’s 4:3:2:1 and others says it’s 3:2:1) then the bento should equate to approximately the same number of calories as the number of mls of water it can hold.

Well I’m no maths whizz but 4 parts of carbs, 3 parts protein, 2 parts veg and 1 part of something else means 10 parts altogether, so that means 40% rice or noodles, 30% meat or fish, 20% veg and 10 percent dessert or pickles.

If, however, the rule is 3:2:1 then that’s only 6 parts, but 3 of those would be the carbs, so that’s 50%, then 33% protein and only 17% veg.  So either I’ve misunderstood what I’ve been reading, or there is some mis-information or contradictory schools of thought on this issue.

I personally usually try to make sure there are plenty of brightly coloured fruits or vegetables in there, and not go too mad with the amount of rice,pasta or bread that I’m putting in. I’ll also usually try to make sure there is some protein, with meat, fish or cheese. I’m a big believer in artistic license so trying to stick to guidelines or rules will usually play havoc with my creativity, so I don’t generally pay much attention to it, to be honest! 😀

While we’re on the subject, I had my first ever negative comment recently! 😮  I’d topped a sandwich with some coloured cheese, and a comment came in that it was a “lazy cop out” and not a real bento. The actual words were: “Using cheese in bentos at all is cheating. It’s a lazy copout.”  Of course, I was wounded to the soul when I read that! twisted

I suppose technically none of my bento are “real bento”, if I’m not adhering to the 4:3:2:1 / 3:2:1 law, (or if I am not living in Japan and using only Japanese ingredients if you like a bit of over-zealousness!) but I’ve never heard of cheese being condemned in such a way. Bad cheese! 😀 However if you are a hardened bento rebel like me, and you do indeed like to sneak a bit of cheese in your bento making, check out my Cheese Colouring Tutorial!

And talking of comments – I’ve been messing about with the site and you will probably notice the sidebars are looking a little different recently, and the comments section is temporarily not visible due to a “Hide / Show Comments” button that is not configured correctly. I think you can still post comments, if you would like, and they don’t all have to be positive, I was kidding with the sarcasm earlier, honestly, constructive criticism is welcomed! 😀 I’ll try to get the comments visibility problem fixed asap! Thanks to everyone who has ever left lovely comments for me, it really is a motivation and inspiration for me to keep trying to come up with new designs / themes or techniques to share! 😀

Bee and Butterfly bento

bee and butterfly bento
Bee and Butterfly Bento, with apple flowers topped with cheese

We had tuna, sweetcorn and pasta mayo today for lunch, and I made rather a lot, so I put the leftover into a bento for later or tomorrow. I put some of the macaroni tubes together in a row to make the body of the butterfly and gave it a tuna-mayo ball for a head. It started off Life as a Caterpillar and and then got its wings! That link there is to my new Twitter friend LesleyDH’s blog, which I have been reading recently and has pushed me to commit to using FlyLady babysteps and Jonathan Roche’s No Excuse Work Outs mentality to start getting fitter and healthier!

bee and butterfly bento
bee and butterfly bento

So although the wires keep getting ripped off my cross trainer, and I have already used masking tape to repair it 3 times this month, I will yet again repair it so I can go on and burn more calories whilst watching Ally McBeal tonight! Just finished watching season 1, so I can’t wait to get started on season 2.

Even though my efforts are being sabotaged! My DH is a feeder – Last night he brought  me a bowl of ice cream with actual chucks of chocolate on top, and before that he brought me a “bento biscuit selection”, which was some little teddy bear shaped savory biscuits arranged in a little dish, and this morning he made me a fried egg sandwich and then made me a second one with chips in it, even though I begged for only 1 egg. But I am not complaining – it is nice to be waited on sometimes! I have issues with wasting food, and you can’t really save a fried egg for later can you? So down the hatch it went. It was very yummy. I enjoyed it!  So the whole idea about this new attitude is to not get de-motivated by the sabotage. Just carry on, taking it day by day, and continuing with the babysteps and little things that over a long period of time will make a difference. Such as:

  1. Drink a glass of water before a meal, to help fill you up
  2. Get off the bus one or 2 stops before the usual stop and walking the rest of the way
  3. Take the stairs instead of lifts (cannot do this one because of the buggy, oops there I go making excuses LOL)
  4. Swap fried foods for grilled or poached
  5. Reduce the amount of butter, mayo and cheese
  6. Reduce portion sizes
  7. Try to eat little and often rather than big meals.
  8. Drink water instead of fizzy drinks and reducing the sugar in coffees
  9. Use low fat milk in the milky coffees
  10. Snack on apples and yogurts carrots and celery  instead of chocolate and crisps
  11. Never give up!
  12. Always eat breakfast
  13. Don’t reduce calories too much incase you go into starvation mode
  14. Kick start metabolism by always having a wholesome breakfast with plenty of fiber
  15. Eat before you get hungry so you don’t overeat.
  16. Drink water to keep the body functioning / metabolising efficiently
  17. Have a small treat (not a binge!) every now and again, otherwise you will get bored or de-motivated
  18. Aim to lose only 10% of your body weight at a time
  19. Elevate heart rate for 30 mins at least 3 times per week
  20. Consider it a lifestyle change instead of a diet

These are tips I collected and stored in my memory from various magazines (Rosemary Conley, Weight Watchers, Slimming World) years ago when I went through my Fitness Freak phase. They are very sensible tips and not too extreme, and helped me to lose 30kg (66lbs) over 2 years ALONG WITH going on my cross trainer for 30 mins 3 times per week. So I know it is possible to do. I just have to do it again (I’d be happy to lose half that amount this time!), God Willing!

I think the bento making is already helping me to snack more on healthy things like carrot, apple and salad, and the portion sizes are brilliant and I am not going hungry at all.

Patience, strength, motivation, determination, Can. We. Do. It? Yes! We! Can! :o)

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