Bentolicious #052
This is my last sushi theme bento but it doesn't mean I will not make it anymore. I will, perhaps not so soon after 1 week of sushi theme I think my kids and all of you got sick already hehehe ... :) I made kazari maki sushi (fancy rolled sushi) and unagi sushi for the kids' snack box today. This is my first time to make kazari maki sushi, I hope I can do it better next time with another pictures / characters for the kids bento. Inside the box : baby corn + crab ball skewers, 2 colors cabbage salad (separated the salad dressing in the small sauce container - not shown in the picture) and 2 kumquats. It's Friday already, how fast ... wish all of you a great weekend!!

Bentolicious #051
Day 4 of sushi theme bento. I chose futomaki sushi and I want to make a confession that I didn't use my sushi mat to make the futomaki :p but I used my futomaki sushi mold. You can find this mold at Daiso or many online stores and ebay. Futomaki sushi is a thick sushi roll that my kids usually called chubby sushi instead of futomaki. It has bigger size than the usual sushi size (usually around 3-4cm). I put tobiko, crab stick, avocado, lettuce, tamago and cucumber for the fillings. You can put other fillings too for the futomaki. Inside the box : pea pods, edamame, small orange, crab stick ball skewers, carrots + cucumbers, noodle shapes konyaku jelly and decorated quail egg. Outside the box : rice crackers. The crab stick balls are usually used for salad but I think they are also good in bento. They taste like the usual crab stick only different in shapes. Tomorrow is the last day to make the sushi theme bento, any idea what type of sushi should I make? And is there anyone who can notice 1 mistake that I made on this bento?
Bentolicious #050

After Inari Sushi and Tamago Nigiri, I decided to make Chuka Wakame Sushi for the kids' snack bento on day 3 of my 1 week (actually only 5 school days) sushi theme bento as promised. I added some small flowers made of carrot, takuwan and cucumber because chuka wakame (marinated seaweed) only has the green color on it. Chuka Wakame is available at Japanese supermarket in small pack. This is one of my kids' favorite sushi and I love it too. Mold the rice by hand and put the nori around the rice and Chuka Wakame on the top. Sometimes I bought Chuka Wakame and put it on my salad, it has light rice vinegar and sesame oil taste. Inside the box : fried kani roll, small Korean apple, seedless grapes and small grapes. 

If you mold the rice by hand, don't forget to wash your hand cleanly with anti-bacterial soap or you can prepare one small bowl of water with some drops of vinegar and put your hands into the bowl for a few seconds to kill the germs.
And if you ever wonder how I crafted some small flowers on the apple, it is pretty easy. I just pushed my small flowers cutter on the apple skin and then used my decorative knife which I just found out is called 'Exacto Knife' to peel the apple skin. If you remember my Tips #005 post, then you can refer to the Red Tool shown at the picture. And if you can't find this Red Tool then don't worry because you can find it at your local art & craft supplies store . It is available at Daiso too. This exacto knife is usually used for Paper Tole craft.

Bentolicious #049

I'm blank today ... But I still keep my promise to my kids to continue my sushi theme bento for this week, I made tamago nigiri for today's snack bento. There are many types of nigiri sushi but I chose tamago nigiri because it is simple to prepare, plus the kids love tamagoyaki.  Inside this box : ebi soosu, carrot + pea pod, raspberry + kumkuat and enokitake. Well, I think nothing spectacular for this bento :)

Bentolicious #048
Too much fun since Friday! Back to the new week again ... I made these inari sushi from last night, so this morning I just have to decorate them with cheese, nori, carrot and crab stick for the faces. I didn't put too many things for today's lunch because the kids had a big portion of noodle for breakfast this morning. They wouls have their snacks from the school catering and I thought their tummy would be too full if I prepared too much. Inside the box : 2 heart shapes chicken nuggets, steamed corn, small cucumber + edamame, and cherry tomatoes + kumquats. The kids has been asking the sushi theme bento from last week, so this week I will be trying hard to make their wish come true hehehehe ... :D
Bentolicious #047
Today's bento was prepared for school event called 'sharing with your friends'. The kids were asked to bring healthy snacks and share it with their classmates. And each kids will just have to bring 2 portions of snack for this event. My kids got this large Pooh bento box from my sister. My girl got the pink one and my boy got the blue one but with the same picture included the bag. So I thought it will be perfect to use this box. No cooking for this bento. I just threw in some fruits ; tiny oranges, strawberries, grapes, star fruits. And put some Indonesian traditional cakes. I want to introduce our traditional cakes as many of you will not familiar with them :

* The smiley yellow one (which I added nori on the top) is called 'Bika Ambon'. This cake have a fascinating form of small holes in the surface and if the cake is cut, the texture appeared as a fine fiber bars. Taste is very delicious with aroma of fresh lemon leaves.
* Sticky rice with chicken meat filling and wrapped in thin slice of egg sheet is called 'Semer Mendem'.
* Sweet rice pudding with pearl sago and corns is called 'Tako'. This is similar to Thailand's traditional cake too. Maybe because Indonesia and Thailand are both in South East Asia, so some of the traditional cakes are similar.
* Green flower cakes is called 'Putu Ayu'.

I didn't make these traditional cakes by myself. I just went to the cake shop early in this morning and made a quick arrangement in the box.
Tips - Bento Decorative Set
I didn't prepare any bento for the kids today as they had lunch from their school catering. So I just took some pictures showing one of my bento tools ; a set of 3 decorative knife, stainless steel. These tools are very fancy, come in 3 different colors and a cover for each tool. Size of the pen makes it easy to hold.
Each tool have 2 different types of knife on the left and right edge :
*) Yellow Tool >> 2 sizes hole maker, 7mm and 5mm.
*) Green Tool >> U and V shapes knife.
*) Red Tool >> Sharp knife and melon baller.
(please click on each picture for bigger image)

This time I will just be focusing on the Yellow Tool and will do some tips on the other 2 tools later.
As this yellow tool is fancy to have it but you can replace it with straws to make eyes, cheeks and others. I am using cheese to show you that medium and big straws can replace the yellow tool.
You can see that medium and big straws are exactly same diameter size with the yellow tools.
Yellow tool has some advantages like can cut something hard and is easy to release because it has the switch button as shown below. While for the straw, the release will be using the toothpick. As shown on the pictures below, just cut the straw about 2cm. After punch it to the cheese for example, the cheese will stick inside the straw. Therefore you can use toothpick to push the cheese out from the straw (use the unsharp edge of the toothpick).
But to punch something soft like cheese, ham, half cooked carrot, crab stick, kamaboko, etc. ... the straw also have an advantage because we can have small diameter size that is not available on yellow tool.

Hope these tips can be useful and you can have more great ideas to have fun with your bento!
Bentolicious #046
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Please shine down on me ..... *singing kids song*. It has been raining a lot today, really a lot. Dark sky again for today. FYI, we only have 2 seasons in Indonesia, the rainy season is usually hitting the peak rainfall between January and February. So no wonder if the sun was hiding and reluctantly to come out today.

For today's bento, I made 2 chickens from rice ball molded with hand. The rice ball stuffed with cooked chicken mince meat. Forgot to stock some crab sticks in my fridge and couldn't find pink-white kamaboko at the supermarket. It leaved me with no choice but to use red egg sheet for the cheek of the chickens. I used two layers small bento box this time. And as you can see the other box filled with 3 fried chicken balls and carrots on the top, a small Korean apple, 2 tamago, and sausages. I also put some pea pods to fill the empty room in the box. I found the small Korean apple is perfect for bento. It is so small, so we can put it inside the bento box. My daughter love this apple a lot but unfortunately this apple is imported and will be hard to have it for all seasons.

Please check on BENTO CENTRAL for more information about bento. You can even submit your bento there. Have fun with your bento!!
Bentolicious #045
As usual for Monday's bento, you will find I just created a quick and simple bento. This morning I had been very busy driving here and there with a bad traffic jam, typical for Monday morning. It is not getting better but it gets worse every year. Anyway, today's bento just contained 2 molded rice wrapped in cucumber layer with nori decoration, flower shaped carrots, 2 tamago, half of cherry tomato, mushroom with teriyaki sauce, and roasted duck. The cucumber layer was soaked in vinegar and sugar water for few minutes so it got sour sweet taste. I really want to join Debra's B.O.M.B with this month theme is 'roasting'. But since I didn't roast the duck myself but was take-out from a restaurant then I changed my mind to participate. I didn't do roasting a lot for our home meal, anything roasted will be from a restaurant hehehe ... (I was ashamed to admit this). Nothing really special for this bento, let's see what will I come up for tomorrow's bento.
Bentolicious #044
It's Friday again! Day-by-day goes by so quickly ... And cheese cake bento was made for this Friday. I was thinking to buy some cakes later at the bakery so the kids could have some too for this afternoon. The 'cheese cake' was made from 2 rice balls stuffed with tuna curry inside, egg slices on the top for the 'cheese' with a half of sweetened red cherry. And the other foods inside this bento : cherry tomatoes wrapped in ham, sausages, cauliflowers, broccoli, and carrots.
Anncoo gave me 'I Love Your Blog' award. She has a wonderful blog for her passion in cooking and baking. I enjoy her blog a lot. Since this award has no rules, I would like to give this award to all of my wonderful blogger friends. I will notify all of you on your blog and please pick the award up here.
Bentolicious - Rice Mold Set
This morning was totally dark and it was so cloudy that I had to play peak-a-boo with the sun. So I tried my best and please forgive me if the pictures are not very good in white balance. I made a simple snack bento with my flower shapes rice mold. This time I didn't use cheese for the cheek but I used white boiled egg. And please read Just Bento's Blog about natural ways to coloring foods for bento. Inside the box : sausages wrapped with thin slices ham, chicken karaage, decorated quail eggs, pea pods, and cauliflowers.

The rice mold that I used were from my 'Arnest' rice mold collection. They came in 5 different sets which you can buy separately for each set. I took some pictures below to show what they look like. The yellow-green-pink sets are similar in size that I call it small size, then medium size for the red set, and large size for the orange set. I believe many of you already know on how to use rice mold, but I managed to take some shoots for easy guide on how to use the rice mold. No hand model on the weekdays, so my both hands were used ... and I was using timer on my camera and the tripod so the pictures will not blur.

(1) Prepare rice mold that you want to use.
(2) Fill the mold with the cooked rice using small spoon / teaspoon.
(3) Press down the lid so the rice becomes solid.
(4) Turn the mold and tap the hole at the back to release the rice from the mold.
(5) Now the molded rice is ready.
(6) Some of the molds will have a rough surface inside so the rice can easily come out from the rice mold. But some of the rice molds have smooth surface inside. If so, just apply small amount of water or oil on the inside surface before you fill the mold with rice.

Jenn from Bento For Kidlet passed me the 'Happy 101' award.
She is an amazing bento mom and is very talented in making bento for her son.
I love her skills in drawing cute characters on the cheese using food color markers. I'm happy to know her over the bento blogging.

In return, they are few things that I'm supposed to do, which are :
Copy the award image into a post ; List 10 things that make you happy ; Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day ; Put in a link to their blog ; Notify the award receivers ; Recipients should link back to the sender's blog.

So many things in my life that make me happy ... but here the 10 things (in no particular order) :
(1) Loving husband.
(2) Wonderful kids.
(3) Caring family and friends.
(4) Hommy home.
(5) Traveling with my husband and kids to the places we have never been before.
(6) Sleeping ... yes it's so precious to be able to have a good sleep every night.
(7) Doing bento - making the bento, shopping for bento, getting new friends from bento, etc.
(8) Drinking coffee & chit chat with my best friends.
(9) Playing with my gadgets.
(10) Singing in the bathroom hehehehe ..........

And I will pass this award to 10 wonderful blogger friends (who haven't received this award yet) :
(1) Rachel Hei ; (2) Vanessa
; (3) Tata ; (4) Anncoo ; (5) Kid's Dream Work
(6) Wiffy
; (7) Pepy ; (8) Lil'chan ; (9) Angi ; (10) Megan
Book #001
I love and enjoy reading all my bento books. I really learn a lot from my bento books. I don't mind to buy bento books even bento books in Jakarta are very expensive. Some of you will be surprised if I say that the price can be double from their actual price (Japanese Yen). Most of them I bought from Kinokuniya bookstore in Jakarta and Singapore. I forgot which one is my first bento book now. Although I can't read Japanese but all the pictures inside the books already tell a thousand words. My favorite Japanese bento books are from Akinoichigo, Mari Miyazawa, and Kaeren Mama. Recently, I bought from Amazon my first bento book in English by Susan Yuen. Hope I can get Crystal Watanabe and Makiko Ogawa English bento book too later. I believe that read and learn from the book never bring any harms. A lot of reading can enrich our knowledge (IMHO).

I never throw out my small handy books from bento tools. They are very useful for me,
so I still keep them along with my bento books collection.

Bentolicious #042
I made a farmer couple, husband and wife for today's bento. This was a spontaneous idea when I was in the kitchen this morning. No planning from last night because I was in the bed early with my sore throat and headache. I felt a lot better after long undisturbed sleep. The farmer couple was made from fish balls, decorated with red-yellow bandana from the egg sheet, and nori for the face. I grew some veggie food picks on the rice furikake soil :)

Inside the box : pork slices with pineapple sauce, cherry tomato, carrots & cucumbers, oranges, and egg flowers. Extra pineapple sauce were in the green bird sauce cup.
Bentolicious #041
Finally back to bento again!! I missed all blogger friends during the holiday. But now, everybody seems to be back again on posting the fabulous bento and cooking. I was supposed to be back to Jakarta on 16 January, 2010 but I decided to come back earlier since I missed home so much and my sister's twins would still be staying at the hospital until end of January / early February.

The kids were back to the school this morning after the Christmas holiday. My hands trembled a lot when preparing today's bento hahaha ... For regular Monday's bento, I chose quick and simple one. I made chicken noodle, quick to prepare for busy Monday morning. This time I used green noodle (green --> spinach), unfortunately the green color was not really clear in the picture but I swear it was green. Inside the box were : beef meet ball, choy sum & been sprouts, wonton, char siu, and champion mushroom. I made some decorations from fish ball (small flower shapes) and from cherry tomatoes (tiny tomato's head).

I hope this year I can learn even more about bento and also cooking from many great blogger friends. And my simple pray for my family and friends (including all of you of course) ... may God bless us all in this new year :)