Bentolicious #063
Today, I only made a very simple snack bento for the kids. And the San-X character that I made today was Amagurichan. A little incident was happened in the kitchen while I was preparing this bento. I spilled the sesame seeds on the floor. And have to vacuum the floor because the sesame seeds was in everywhere, what a waste! We will have long weekend because Friday is a public holiday, so no bento for tomorrow.

AMAGURICHAN is a little sweet chestnut. He doesn't have a very patient character. Mukigurichan is a little peeled chestnut. They always appear together.

Inside the box : strawberries, mini oranges, crab stick rolled with egg and steamed chayote. Amagurichan was made of rice mixed with sweet soy sauce and Mukigurichan was made of rice mixed with light soy sauce.
Bentolicious #062
If you are following my blog entry then you will know that I'm making cute characters from San-X for this week and next week bento. I have chosen Homekoro for today's bento.

HOMEKORO is a cute and fluffy pomeranian who is good at compliments and his favorite food is croquette. Uttori (little bird) is Homekoro's best friend who is enchanted and riveted by praise. Apparently the pink hair is Uttori's pride. Homekoro always gives Uttori a lot of praises.

Inside the box : carrots, broccoli, corns, medallion pork cooked with mushroom and oyster sauce, and flower shapes sweet purple potatoes & potato. Homekoro was made of rice ball shaped by hand, covered with hana katsuobushi. Uttori was made of quail egg.
Bentolicious #061
Today's San-X character that I chose was Tsuginohi Kerori. As you can see I colored my rice again because I need to make two colors Kerori. For the light green rice, I mixed rice with blended edamame. I put some salts into the rice-edamame mixing, and my kids love it. I bought some plastic glasses with San-X characters last week. And one of them was Kerori. I just put it on the back in this picture.

TSUGINOHI KERORI can change colors to green or white depending on his mood. He turns green when he is sad and turns white when his happy.

Inside the box : fishballs & carrots, baby corns, stir fry soya ginger chicken, sweetened red cherries, steamed baby corns, takuwan falling stars and flower shapes carrots.

And I would like to thank Sheri that has given me an award. I feel honored to receive it. Thanks for being such a good bento buddy all this time. Sheri is a great bento maker. All her bento are colorful, cute, and pretty. I learned a lot from her. You can visit her blog at Happy Little Bento. The hard part of passing the award is that I want to give it to every blogger friends, but I should not greedy and should play by rule. Only one friend at the time, I am sure we will be having fun passing this award. So I choose Jenn from Bento for Kidlet. Jenn is also a great bento maker. She is so good with all his cheese drawings and checkered apple. She is a loving mom who always prepares bento for his son.
Bentolicious #060
Last week was a busy week and the kids ended up eating lunch from school catering. But starting this Monday until the end of the month, I will make bento for the kids with a variety of characters from San-X. On the weekend, the kids and I had been browsing to find some of cute characters that would be applied for bento. They seeemed excited and so did I.

MIKAN BOUYA was the first character that I chose to make this morning. Mikan Bouya is a cheerful Orange Boy and he has a lot of friends. He and his friends enjoy so much hanging out together, having a tea party, cooking, going to picnic or just cleaning up the house. They always have fun together. I also made Pichirou (Peach Boy), one of Mikan Bouya's friend.

Inside the box : strawberries, baby cucumbers & tiny flower shapes carrots, crispy fried chicken skins, kamaboko, baby corns & edamame skewers. Hand molded rice with the shape of Mikan Bouya and Peach-Rou. The orange color was from tomato sauce mixed with rice and the yellow color was from egg mixed with rice.
Tips - Furikake Bottle
I love to collect all kinds of bento related stuffs and one of them is furikake bottle. They are very useful for storing furikake in small amount to take out with bento box. Very handy and cute small bottles. But these cute bottles are the most possible 'asked-by-friend' item from my experience. Whenever the kids brought this furikake bottle to school, their classmates will ask to have it or trade it with other stuffs. Luckily, my kids know that all bento accessories must be brought back home so until now none of their classmates succeed LOL :D
> Every furikake bottle will have a hole on the lid so furikake will come out easily by shaking the bottle. Turn the lid left or right to open and close.
> To fill furikake into the bottle, first open the lid.
> Then use a small spoon or funnel (might come with the furikake bottle or not) to put the furikake inside the bottle. Don't worry if the furikake bottle doesn't come with funnel because almost every bottle come with a large neck so it's easy to fill.
I usually sprinkle the FURIKAKE on the top of the rice and onigiri. But it tastes really good almost on anything. It comes with many varieties, for example (picture below) green furikake : seaweed, red furikake : bonito, yellow furikake : egg, pink furikake : salmon. I love to buy small pack with cartoon characters for the kids. The small pack usually contains 20 packages inside with 4 or 5 flavors. Kids love it and it's very handy, I just need to put these small packages inside the lunch bag and just let's the kids have fun to sprinkle their rice at school and I don't need to put it on the furikake bottle too. Furikake also come in big pack, glass bottle, or plastic container. You can definitely find it in Japanese supermarket or Asian grocery store. Try it and you can have fun with your bento and your foods ;)

Bentolicious #059
My kids was having Chinese New Year Celebration at school today and will be going home early at 12pm. They brought some cakes for sharing with their friends and today will be no-lessons, only celebration. Some activities has been prepared by school from lion & dragon dance, mini bazaar, competitions, etc. Today's bento was actually prepared for my kids' snack but they were more excited on the cakes for food sharing. So this snack bento ended up for breakfast. Inside the box : baby carrots, chicken nuggets, steamed broccoli, and Minnie Mouse shapes rice.

And I would like to thanks Ann, blogger friend from Singapore who sent me her homemade cookies. She is great in baking. The cookies arrived on Saturday (CNY's Eve). I managed to take a picture of her delicious cookies.
Bentolicious #058
Prepared quick and simple bento for this morning. Didn't want to do so much details for today's bento. I'm still having headache although the fever is going down. Too much fun on Saturday or maybe because too tired for being a host for CNY's Eve Dinner at my home. So excuse me to just put little words for this post. Inside the first box : rice balls, mini oranges. And inside the second box : sweet sour fried shrimps, tamago & baby green bean, chikuwa & asparagus, cherry tomato, chikuwa & sausage.
Bentolicious #057
Another Chinese New Year bento for the kids. This time I made one boy and one girl from rice molded by my hand. Since the CNY is also the same day with Valentine's Day this year, I put sweetened red cherry with heart food pick and decorated the lucky money envelope with tiny heart too. Inside the other tier box : fish balls & flower carrots, cucumber pot with corns mayonnaise, tomato cherry, flower shapes satsumaimo or Japanese sweet potatoes, and chikuwa fish stuffed with asparagus. I finally managed to use my hong bao (lucky money envelope) for the background. I've got this fancy hong bao with bell and it can stand up too, cool right!
(Happy Chinese New Year!)
(wishing you a prosperous new year)
(may you always get more than you wish for)
(peace all year round)
(good luck in the new year)
(wish you longevity and health)
(may fortune smile upon and favor you with many blessing in the coming year)
Copied from China Travel

Bentolicious #056
Ok ... don't laugh at this bento! I know that I really messed up with the colors. I wanted to use CNY red and yellow (gold) colors for the red box but I would say that this turned out so oldie :p Some of you might already know that the red color in Chinese culture means good luck and yellow or gold color symbolizes wealth and happiness. And I completely forgot that I already prepared Hong Bao 红包 (Small red envelope to put lucky money, that usually will be given to small kids during CNY. The amount of money should be even number but should not be given in fours as four signifies bad luck in Chinese culture.) Instead of using the Hong Bao as the background, I ended up cutting my chrysanthemum flowers for the background wuahahaha :D

As guess what? I spilled my coffee this morning and missed out the toll road exit on the way home after picked up the kids from school. I think today just one of my messy day . Inside the box : (Red Box) rice stuffed with pork mince and small diced carrots, decorated with egg sheets on the top. (Pink Box) beef coconut, pea pods, quail eggs, fried vermicelli, and strawberries.

Bentolicious #055
This week will be dedicated for Valentine's and Chinese New Year theme. As the Valentines's Day and Chinese New Year will be in the same day this year on 14th February, 2010. I made this 'love' bento to start this busy week. And love in the box is for all my bento friends. Unfortunately we do not celebrate Valentine's Day anymore in the 'special day' sense. We celebrated it everyday in our 13 years of marriage :) just had the Wedding Anniversary last week. But thanks to my husband's job... he left me alone with a big flower bouquet, a card, a new Magic Mouse and two kids ... LOL :D He had to travel last week, something that we can't avoid. Inside the box : (1st box) rice with a lot of hearts at the top from carrots, cucumbers and egg. (2nd box) pork sausages wrapped with beetroot noodles, broccoli with heart shaped sprinkles from crab stick, corns, strawberry and veggie pastry.
Tips - Care For Your Puncher
Puncher is one of the most useful bento tools and is durable in making bento. It comes with many shapes, sizes and colors. I love to collect puncher not for handicraft purpose but for my bento hobby. My husband just got surprised with the number of punchers I have now when I took them out to shoot the pictures for this posting. Psssttt ... a lot more punchers not shown in the pictures hahaha ... bento addict!! I just want to share what I do with my all punchers. I put them in the box with divider and store them in a dry place to avoid rusting and always making sure to clean them after used. My favorite puncher is from Carla Craft. It comes with very good box / puncher cup / individual box (as shown in the pictures below); and not to mention a very good quality too.
The other brands of puncher might come with box or no box at all. You can find some boxes to store them. I found the divider box from an art & craft store that actually is for storing beads but since the size is perfect for the puncher, I bought some, very convenience to store all my punchers and keep them organize.
Some tips that I've got from the art & craft store that sell the punchers : To sharpen the puncher, we can punch through a couple of layers of aluminum foil (shown in the picture below). I don't know if this actually working or not because I haven't got any dull punchers so far. But since this is recommended, I think is worth to try. Don't assume that every new puncher will come in good and sharp condition. Recently, I just bought my new face puncher (light green-light yellow-pink as shown at the top picture) but some of the face part like mouth on light green and pink punchers did not punch perfectly. I have tried everything to get a perfect cut but no good result. Anyone have this problem too? I don't know what exactly happened to these new punchers because all my other punchers working very well.
And if you ever curious on how I clean my puncher ... These are what I do, as shown in the pictures below :
* Wet a kitchen cloth with light soap and water then wipes the puncher.
* After that, wipes the puncher again with wet kitchen cloth without light soap, only clean water.
* Dry the puncher with hair dryer. It is very important to keep the puncher dry so it will not get rusty and dull quickly.
* Double check whether the puncher is really dry or not using kitchen tissue.
Bentolicious #054
I prepared snack bento for the kids this morning and remembered Debra's "Red Challenge" for this month BOMB. You can participate and read more for this challenge at her website HAPA BENTO. Yesterday, I bought some cute Hello Kitty strawberry chiffon cakes at one of the bakery and still have some fruits in my refrigerator. Because the chiffon cake is already cute itself, I thought no need to over decorate it. No cooking required for this bento so it was easy to prepare. I just put the Hello Kitty chiffon cakes and berries inside the box and decorated with some heart food picks. Inside the box : strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and small pear.
Bentolicious #053
I was not making any bento yesterday because I couldn't sleep well on Sunday night. I slept around 2 AM and woke up around 5AM. 3 hours sleep really made me 'crazy' on Monday morning, so decided to just asked the kids to get lunch from the school catering. This morning I was really tempted for not making any bento but finally I made this quick Dear Daniel & Hello Kitty bento for the kids. I left the face parts on the kitchen table which I actually planned to decorate it after I took my camera from upstairs. The kids asked me whether they can decorate the parts of the face while I was preparing my camera. Because of the magic word 'please' then I let them to decorate the face for both Dear Daniel & Hello Kitty. Tadaaa ... this bento was our sweet collaboration ;) Inside the box : pan fried dori fish with Indonesian basic yellow spices, cherry tomatoes, and slices of cakwe (Chinese doughnut), and pea pods.

Basic Yellow Spices is easy to made and can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 months.
If you want to cook, take a little extra seasoning and add bay leaf, pandan leaf, or orange leaf.
100 grams pecan
150 grams garlic
500 grams onion
25 grams turmeric
20 grams ginger
20 grams galangal
1 tablespoon ground pepper
2.5 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
150 ml oil for the blend
50 ml oil for sauteing

>> Blend all ingredients except sugar and oil for sauteing.
>> Heat the oil for sauteing, stir-fry spices till fragrant.
Add sugar, stir-fry briefly, remove and let cool.
>> Put it in jars, ready for use.