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.ย  I could eat this with celery and peanut butter or maybe some walnuts and some chunks of cheese.ย  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

Peacock Bento

Peacock Bento
Peacock Bento

We had a fantastic day out at “Wildtierpark Poing” in Munich (a wild animal park) on Wednesday! peacockWe were able to stroke some rabbits and guinea pigs, and feed antelope, goats, ponies and donkeys! We also saw some huge bears. There were random peacocks wandering around the picnic area as well as chickens and ducks.

Here is a bento that I made inspired by the beauty of the magnificent bird, the peacock! I also wanted to try out the sealed sandwich idea that Lia from Bentolicious blogged about.

Just Bento CookBook
just bento cookbook
Taiyaki maker
taiyaki maker
Chokotto Rice Cooker ~ Compact Cooking
Chokotto Rice Cooker ~ Compact Cooking
Penguin Gummy Candy Maker
Penguin Gummy Candy Maker

I don’t have a bread mold / sandwich shaper (apart from the toastie maker) but after rummaging through my plastics box which is mostly full of old baby bottles and lids, I thought I would try using a large teat ring and a smaller one, that seemed to nest inside each other quite well. I made some chocolate spread sandwiches from brown bread and pressed the larger ring onto it to get my first circle, then I turned it over and used the smaller ring to seal the sandwich. I was pretty impressed because they came out quite neat and tidy considering the improvised tools for the job!

These are the teat rings from the old baby bottles that I used to make the pressed sandwich with sealed edges.

rings for sealed sandwich shaperrings for sealed sandwich

And then I put coloured cheese peacock decorations on and carved the same design into a red apple. You don’t get a zoomed out photo today seeing as this was only a snack experiment bento and there isn’t really much else in it apart from some cucumber slices, but someone has been messing about with my fridge settings and the cucumber was frozen solid so it does not look how it is meant to, and I don’t have any other salad or fruits to do much bentoing with. But I’m a big believer in making do with what you have got, so here it is!

The rest of the bread offcuts went into a bread and butter pudding, which I am told was delicious, but I didn’t try it seeing as I am trying not to have any empty calories. ๐Ÿ˜€ I have lost 4lbs so far since I started doing my daily exercise and watching my portion sizes, using the weight loss tips on this blog post and I have proudly marked it on my progress chart on my wall! only 22lbs more to go! ๐Ÿ˜€

I recently placed a couple of orders with Cake Balls UK to have a box of Gluten Free coffee and walnut cake balls and a bag of chocolate and orange cake balls sent to my relatives in the UK as birthday gifts. As agreed the balls were sent out for delivery before the recipient’s birthday and I’m told they are really delicious and came packaged really neatly too. PippaD from A Mother’s Ramblings recommended Cake Balls on her blog and that’s where I got the idea, so thanks Pippa, and thanks Anna from Cake Balls UK for delivering the fantastic birthday gifts! You have my recommendation too!

You can follow Anna from Cake Balls Uk, Pippa from A Mother’s Ramblings and Lia from Bentolicious on Twitter and their Blogs.

I have never placed a bento items order before, I still consider myself a beginner seeing as I only started making bento in January 2010, and I have never bought any “proper” bento tools, preferring to try to make the best use of what I already have such as cookie cutters for shaping rice or cutting cheese or vegetables, craft punches for the nori seaweed and my craft needle pen for cutting the cheese. There are definitely some basic items that I would suggest could be bought as a bento starter bundle if you don’t already have any tools for making your bento. And I am very tempted to order them myself very soon too! The items I think would be the most useful are the nori face punches, the egg moulds, theย  onigiri presses, the flower shaped vegetable cutters and the the decorative food picks.

Have fun and happy bento-ing!

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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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!)ย  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 theย  main meal instead of my usual big plate
  • Salad without Mayo or dressing
  • Tea and coffee without sugar
  • Pumpkin seedsย  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.ย  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!ย  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.ย  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! ๐Ÿ˜€

While we’re on the subject, I had my first ever negative comment recently! ๐Ÿ˜ฎย  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.”ย  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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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! ๐Ÿ˜€

Manga / Anime bento

manga anime bento
manga anime bento

This is from weeks ago – must have forgotten to click “published” as I found it in my drafts… weird

I’ve been a fan of the manga / anime style for a few years. I learnt how to draw a basic manga face from a “How to Draw Manga” book, a few years ago. I haven’t drawn or sketched in a long time, but I decided to see if I could refresh my memory and make a Manga style cartoon character out of cheese for my bento. So I had some fun this afternoon, with my parchment pergamano perforating pen, and of course lashings of food colouring. I made a caulifower in cheese sauce to sit at the right hand side in a scooped out green pepper (not having any lettuce again, and having run out of broccoli… sigh! ) Then there was not much room for much fruit, just a few apple segments. Today nothing went right really, because the dishwasher wouldn’t work – Put it on last night but it just sat there defiantly refusing to wash the pots, so this morning I had to either wash everything by hand (not my style!) or wait for it to get fixed…so the pots are still waiting to be rescued from their filthy state, and I have to keep going in there to get a spoon or plate or whatever to wash it by hand… I suppose I will have to eventually get the whole lot out and do it. Can’t someone else do it?! And then my camera kept taking fuzzy/blurry pics… yeah I know a bad workman blames his tools…but I can’t understand why I have been able to get crisp photos in the past and now I can’t. Winge over! I must remember to be grateful that I have the priviledge of hot running water, a luxury that I often take for granted. In some countries, they have to wash their pots using water pumped from a well, if they even have access to water that is. It makes you wonder doesn’t it? Maybe I WILL go and wash those pots now and stop being so ungrateful! ๐Ÿ˜€

Cupcake Bento

Cupcake bento
Cupcake bento

It’s not a real cupcake – it’s a slice of apple in the shape of a cupcake with cheese on top! ๐Ÿ˜€

There is tuna-mayo underneath the cupcake, and to the side are some rice ball mushrooms / toadstools.

I was really scratching around for ingredients today to be honest. The radishes have gone and the black olives had an incident this morning at 8am – they got yanked out of the fridge and ended up all over the kitchen floor (not mentioning any names but watch my eyes! *Looks over at baby*) ๐Ÿ˜€

So I ended up putting some digestive biscuits in there to fill in some space – they are at the back, which you cannot see in this picture, but you can in the full, zoomed outย  photo.

Cupcake bento
Cupcake bento

Don’t forget to have a look at the Contests page and the Bento Book Shop

I have been collecting Bento tips, tricks and tutorials and have put all the links together on one page, for your easy reference.

In addition, there is now a Bento Articles Page and the Badge is now easier to grab.

Have a great Anti-Procrastination Day! ๐Ÿ˜€