They smile at me, then I eat them.

Snowman Bento #5 Plus a Giveaway! January 8, 2012

Filed under: cute,onigiri,Vegetable — applerabbit @ 11:18 am
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So normally I don’t consider myself a charaben maker.  They’re adorable but I’d feel a little silly opening one up at work.  My daughter wasn’t really looking forward to going back to school after break, so I thought now would be the time to break out the “cute” skills and try my hand at a bento that might cheer her upon her first day back.

If you like charaben and haven’t checked out Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches I’d recommend it.  It’s a great way to get started in learning how to form characters and it includes step-by-step instructions to make all the bentos pictured in the book.  My only complaint with it is the lack of a recipe index.  There’s a short recipe section in the back but doesn’t include all the recipes in the book.  For example,  if you want the miso chicken recipe you have to flip through the whole book to find the bento that included it instead of having some way to look up what page it’s on.  Other than that minor problem though, I love this book and use many of the recipes for sides in my daily bentomaking.

There’s a supercute snowman bento in the book and it seemed like a good choice for a chilly winter day.  My daughter detests nori so I dad to try to come up with something else to make the snowman’s features out of, so I went with some sesame seeds.  The scarf is made from fruit leather, and the little bells are made of cheese with sesame seed eyes.  I snuck nori mouths onto them to see how it would go over, and I didn’t get any complaints so I think I may try more nori bits in her bentos for decoration in the future.

The bento box came back completely empty and V told me how happy Frosty made her, so I may have to make charaben a more frequent choice for her lunch.

I’m having my first giveaway!  Recently I had a chance to sample Madhava’s Organic Coconut Sugar through the Mom’s Meet program and really enjoyed it. We were concerned it would make everything we put it in taste like coconut, but it just tasted and had a texture similar to turbinado cane sugar.  It was great in coffee and for baking; the only application it didn’t seem suited to was mixing up powdered drink mix, it gave it an odd flavor.  So my readers can try it too, I’m giving away a 5.5 oz. shaker to two readers.  All you need to do is comment on this post and let me know what you’d like to see in the future, and include your email address.  One entry per person please!  If the winner happens to also be a twitter follower I’ll include a little something extra as a thank you gift.  I’ll accept entries until Noon on Sunday, January 15th.  Good Luck!


Spicy Crab Bento #4 November 29, 2011

Filed under: Fish — applerabbit @ 10:12 am
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Contents: Spicy crab mix, honeyed carrots, cucumber and wakame pickles.

Pardon the mess surrounding this bento, I took this photo once I got to work.  My job is helping to set up and maintain the undergraduate physics demonstrations for the college I attend.  I absolutely love my job and the people I work for, but our shared workspace tends to be a bit on the messy side of things.  Also, there had been a few rice balls in with the honeyed carrots and pickles, but someone, er, um…. okay, I was hungry and couldn’t help myself!  I make the spicy crab mix myself to replicate the goodness that normally gets stuffed into a spicy crab roll, but don’t believe for  second that there’s any actual crab in this.  The crab (and this is the same most likely for the crab in your local sushi restaurant’s roll) is actually surimi, which is a cooked fish paste that’s been colored and shaped to look like crab.  Nothing wrong with it though, it has a long history in Japan and while I would never compare it to real crab it’s darn tasty stuff.  I prefer to buy the kind labeled shredded for my mix, but you could use flake or lump depending on the texture you’re looking for.  You can even buy “leg” style, slice it into thirds, and brake it up to make your own shredded surimi.

Spicy Crab Mix

  • 1 80z package shredded imitation crab
  • 1/2C mayonnaise (Kewpie if you have it on hand)
  • 1/4t rice vinegar (white vinegar is alright, just use a tad less as the taste is stronger)
  • drizzle of sriracha chili sauce OR a liberal sprinkle of nanami togarashi

This is dead easy, just mix everything but the chili sauce together and then add the spicy stuff slowly until the mix has the heat you like.

Also if you’d like to be (super) lazy you can usually buy a little cup of spicy mayo in the sushi case at your grocery store if they have one.  One average size cup is enough for an 8oz package of surimi, but you forgo the ability to control the spicyness of the mix.


Frittata and Gyoza – Bento #3 October 24, 2011

Filed under: Egg,Vegetable — applerabbit @ 3:30 pm
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I love eggs. Such a versatile and tasty protein, they’re beloved in our household for every meal.  An often used bento recipe for me is an old standby from, Biggie’s Stovetop Mini Frittata is a great use for veggie scraps or when you’re at a loss for a protein.  Instead of cooking them in a frypan I typically toss them in the toaster oven at 325° for about 5  minutes or so until they’re set.  These had some leftover broccoli tossed in, but really they’ll hold  just about any veggie or meat just dandy.  Toss in a couple of gyoza and carrot sticks and this is a lickety-split bento for my little hedgehog kidlet.