Minggu, 25 Juli 2010

Bento #23 : Kitty kitty Miaow

I remembered that "cat" is the first animal word that Cinderella spoke. I often take her out for a walk around our housing complex, and she sees so many cats along the way everyday. I think that's why she likes cat so much.
I think I've been making this kitty theme for 3 times during these two weeks. It's so easy, I only need scissors to cut the nori (Cinderella loves to eat the nori scrap, as a plus), and I don't have to shape the rice (just use a round lunch box is enough). And moreover, she always thrilled to see kitten face in her bento.

In this picture : salmon teriyaki, diced tofu, carrot and green beans wrapped in zuchini, broccoli

Oh yes, I submit this bento to join What's For Lunch Wednesday. Anyone who also wants to submit her bento can submit it to this link :http://bentolunch.blogspot.com/search/label/what%27s%20for%20lunch%20wednesday

Rabu, 21 Juli 2010

Bento #22 : Grumpy Bear

I am a bit bored with the cheery, smiley bento faces that I made before. So, just for fun, I made this grumpy bear. I have so much fun making it. I also made the usual "shocked" face for Cinderella since she loves this kind of faces before.
By the end of the day, when I pick her up at school and look at the snack box, Cinderella left the grumpy bear. And she said to me that she didn't like the bear. Hee hee.. I guess because it looked so grumpy.... The bear reminds me of Badz Badz Maru.. He is so cute (and also so grumpy). I think I would want him in my bento someday.
Inside the bento is two mini buns which was sliced in the middle and stuffed with shredded cheese, butter and sugar.

Selasa, 20 Juli 2010

Bento # 21 : Flower in the garden (spoiled Cinderella)

I guess these several weeks with her Mom making her cute bentos, has made Cinderella rather spoilt. She knew exactly, which one is done with considerable effort and which one is not. Well, i guess it shows on the result, doesn't it? Cinderella ate this bento half heartedly. >_<
I didn't put too much effort for this bento. I just used the flower onigiri shaper and put flowery carrot on top of it and arrange it in lots and lots of veggie, just like in the garden...
Ah well, live and learn....

Bento # 20 : Froggie Bento

Ah well.. I guess almost everybody has made this froggie bento. I would just have to add more veggies to Cinderella's diet since she refuses to eat fruit nowadays. So, I guess froggie bento would be just right to make her eat spinach without knowing it.
She loved it. Took a peek, and said, "Mommy.. froggie froggie... " She ate most of her lunch. I wonder with that many things in her tummy, where does it go? She is so skinny for her age, although her height is average =(
In this bento : grilled beef teriyaki, fried tempeh, asparagus, carrot and green beans wrapped with zucchini, broccoli

Senin, 19 Juli 2010

Bento # 19 : Mission to get Cinderella eat Strawberry

Cinderella hates fruits for these two months, I don't know why. She would rather let herself starving and refuse the fruit as snack and wait for her big meal to come. She used to love drinking her fruit smoothie but now she will shout," No Mammaaaa.... Nooo" everytime she sees me approaching her with the juice glass. I tried several method, changing the glass, bribing her with TV (which used to work wonders for months before), pretending to enjoy the drink soooo much to make her want it ("Mmm... juiceee.. yum yum.. This is Mommy's not yours....) None of them will work.
Today I tried to put the strawberries into bento, for hope that she will happily eat it. Notice the colourful toothpicks that I put on the strawberries on purpose. She looked interested at the first time. I felt the tense as she was putting it into her mouth.Would she love it? Would she eat the whole strawberries? She took a bite and then split it out. Then she pointed the rabbit ears and said ,"I want cheeeeseeeeee..." Arrrggghhh............. Mission failed.
In the bento : minced pork katsu, green beans, strawberries, broccoli, asparagus wrapped with ham
I include this bento for joining What's For Lunch Wednesday. This is my first time to join fellow bento makers. I am so excited. Check out her cool web http://bentolunch.blogspot.com

Sabtu, 17 Juli 2010

Bento # 18 : Grown up bento

Well, I run out of idea for Cinderella bento this time so I decided to make it simple and clean. It turned up to be a grown up bento to me. Cinderella didn't like it too much. She likes to see the character she knows of, at the least, animals that she can name....
In this bento : mini burgers, carrot and green beans wrapped in zucchini, broccoli.

Bento # 17 : Pig Bento (again)

Cinderela has allergies since she is still a baby. She will develop rashes on her skin when I eat the wrong food. The skin rashes is much lesser now, but it is now changed into runny nose and coughing. She is allergic to chicken, a bit of milk, and I suspect, of chocolate. And it's very hard to find to eating out for her. Chicken menu is everywhere, although I can actually order beef for her. But since I thought it will be safer for her, I usually bring her lunch box, even though we are eating out.
This bento was made for Cinderella to eat while we were eating out. I know, it is so sad. I wonder when will she be able to ask why she's not having the same thing with the rest.....

In this picture : monster meat ball, broccoli, corn, carrot and green beans wrapped in nori

Bento # 16 : Bee bento

Cinderella was enjoying her school more and more, which made me feel relieved. I used to have 2 hours of me time before picking her up at school. Usually I used it for watching cable and just sit on my couch. Ohhh..... the joy of having the TV for myself. Since Cinderella started to like watching TV, the channel is rotated between Playhouse, Nickelodeon, and Baby TV. I rarely watch TV because of fear that the content will not be suitable for her. Or.... when Daddy comes home from work, it's his turn to watch ESPN sport. I was so happy to be able to watch my favorite serials again, Desperate Housewife (well, I AM quite desperate to watch TV), Now, the two hours free time is missing, because I will be busy making her bento for lunch. But hey, I am enjoying this new hobby that I forget about TV... Hee hee... OK, I admit, I still watch the TV while making the bento. But bento things take over my mind more than TV

In this bento : beef stew, carrot, green beans, and cauliflower

Kamis, 15 Juli 2010

Bento #15 : Chinese Girl

This smiley Chinese Girl was created out of frustation. I usually dropped Cinderella at school at 09.00, rushed to get home for making her lunch. And then will get back to school around 11.00 to bring her lunch. But today, it was raining hard. And in a city that I live in (a.k.a) Jakarta, rains mean traffic jam. It took me more than one hour to get home, rather than the usual half hour.
I actually wanted to make Cinderella a Hamtaro bento. But no time for that. So I just cut one big circle and two smaller ones from cheese. And use the two smaller circle as the girl's hair bun.

In this picture : beef stew, green beans, carrot and cauliflower

Bento #14 : Super Lazy Bento

I have a tendency to become very very lazy in the afternoon. I feel that my energy gets the lowest around 5 p.m. It also happens that I have to create a bento for Cinderella around that time for her dinner. I usually get too tired to think a new bento design, that I only do super easy bento. Luckily Cinderella doesn't mind at all. She keeps shouting, "Birthday cake! Birthday cake!" To her, it looks like a birthday cake. So she happily ate the meal. =)

In this picture: meatball soup and

Rabu, 14 Juli 2010

Dorayaki Fun Fun Fun

I love to cook with Cinderella. And by that I mean : I cook while Cinderella sits next to me, mixing water and flour into a dough. Sometimes she asks for sugar and salt, and end up slurping the dough.
She has learn how to stir and mix a dough and seems to enjoy copying her mom. She was thrilled to learn that she was just like Special Agent OSO in the pancake making serial. I also have the secret mission : to teach her to learn how to cook. So that she will cook for me someday. Hee hee.
And so, this morning, I made her Dorayaki. Hmmm dorayaki... It was the first Japanese food I've heard, thanks to Doraemon serials. I remembered sitting nicely in front of TV every Sunday morning, waiting for Doraemon serial. It was just incredibly funny. Well, who wouldn't want a robot cat who rescue you everytime you are in trouble? Doraemon loveeeee Dorayaki so much that Nobita used it as a bribe so many times.
I found this Dorayaki recipe in this link : http://www.food.com/recipe/Dorayaki-Sweet-Filled-Pancakes-120221. It turned out to be quite close with the Dorayaki I expected, except that it is not thick enough.

Dorayaki (Sweet Filled Pancakes)






Prep Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs

  1. 1 For the bean paste:.
  2. 2 Soak adzuki beans in water overnight.
  3. 3 Heat adzuki beans in a pot with one cup of water. When they come to a boil, add two more cups of cold water. When they come to a boil again, drain the beans in a colander.
  4. 4 Return the beans to the pot, add three cups of new water, and cook over high heat. When the beans begin to jump around after the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer until the beans are soft, about one hour. If necessary, add water so that the beans are always covered. Fastidiously skim off any foam that appears on the surface.
  5. 5 When the beans are soft enough to break between your fingers, drain them in a colander.
  6. 6 Return the beans to the pot again and mix in the sugar.
  7. 7 Mash the beans continuously over medium heat until almost all the water has evaporated and a paste has formed, about 35 minutes.
  8. 8 Add the salt and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes more.
  9. 9 Remove from heat and transfer the paste to a container so that it can cool.
  10. 10 The paste may be kept in the refrigerator for three days and then frozen. (Makes 2 cups).
  11. 11 For the pancakes:.
  12. 12 Whisk eggs with sugar and honey in a mixing bowl.
  13. 13 Add sifted flour and baking powder.
  14. 14 Slowly add water while whisking until smooth.
  15. 15 Drop small ladlesful on a lightly oiled fry pan or griddle to make pancakes that are about 3 inches in diameter. When bubbles start to appear, turn over the pancakes and cook briefly on the other side until golden.
  16. 16 Spread about two tablespoons of adzuki bean paste on one pancake, then cover it with another to make a sandwich.

I use meatfloss (mmm... yummy) and Cinderella wants "only cheese, momma" inside the dorayaki.

Bento # 13 : Yellow Rice Bear Bento

It's the second time in this week that I cook Cinderella yellow rice. The first succesfull attempt for giving her yellow rice makes me spirited. Yellow rice is one of my favourite food, and I'd like to have it more often on my dining table. =)
This week, Cinderella also begins her school again after one month of holiday. On day one, she shred her tears for a minute and then forgot totally about her mom. On day two, she was totally ready for school. No whining in the morning at all. Oh, and yes, this time, Cinderella officially brings her bento to school! After several weeks of having bento at home, now she can have them at school.

In this picture : yellow rice, meat floss, tofu tempura, carrot and green beans rolled with omelette, cucumber and broccoli.

Selasa, 13 Juli 2010

Bento #12 : An Pan Man

This is my 2nd kyaraben, and the easiest one, too! I loveee to look at those beautiful, freehand made kyaraben, but don't think I would have the time, more over the skill to do it. But I still want to create some character bento. An Pan Man is the easiest one I've ever made. The face was made using orange rice (rice cooked with shredded carrot) and the nose and the cheek were made using sliced carrot. The eyes, eyebrows and mouth were made using nori freehand.
In this picture : carrot rice, beef korokke, and veggie

Senin, 12 Juli 2010

Bento # 11 : The Fail Big Bird

I flipped through my bento book and found this Big Bird bento. Well, he's not actually the number one character that Cinderella loves. She loves Elmo the most! But, I dreaded the red color of Elmo's hair. I don't think I want to use too much food coloring. And since Elmo has the redest red hair, I guess I will have to use quite a lot colorings. So I guess I can play it safe with Big Bird. I use shredded omellete for his feather.
But the end results turns out not too good. It looked like a huge chick to me. Tee Hee.... Anyway, Cinderella doesn't seem to matter. I used yellow rice under the shredded omellete. (Cinderella used to hate yellow rice very much). But this time, she finished them all. Yayyyy!!!!

I also include the bento making step by step :

Step 1 & 2 : Half a quail egg as eye balls. Put nori as the eyelid and the pupil

Step 3. Form rice into half sphere. Put shredded omellete as the feather.
Step 4 : Use cheese to cut two triangles as the beak and ham/sausage as the tounge. Put the vegetables in groups (carrot with carrot, green beans with green beans). I found that grouping makes it look better.

Step 5 : I cooked coconut stewed beef (empal daging) to compliment the yellow rice. Yellow rice is never a complete set without it. And while it was certainly delicious, the look of it, brown, a bit oily, was not really appetizing. So I put the flower carrot to decorate it a bit. I use a cutter to get the smoothest shape. Well, I must say that this cutter really helps me a lot.
Step 6 : Serve it with a big smile and a lotsa of enthusiasm. Kids pick up our feelings!

Minggu, 11 Juli 2010

Bento #10 : Timmy Time Bento

My little brother was coming to Jakarta. He knew that I had been making bentos these days and asked me to make one for him. I guess not only girls like cutey stuff.
Cinderella likes Timmy Time a lot nowadays (although Cinderella is still definitely her number one idol). And since I don't think I can set up a Cinderella bento (just to think about it make me cry >_<), I decided to create a simple character bento (kyaraben), Timmy Time. The character was so easy to copy. The head and ears was cut from nori. I also add the hands (still from nori). Done! Yipppeeeee my first kyaraben.... Cinderella recognized the bento immediately (fiuhhh) but my brother thought it was Shaun the Sheep. Well, they still belong on the same sheep family, so I was quite satisfied. Hee hee..... Cinderella had really fun time eating her bento with Uncle Pepen. She still remembered the time when she was having the Timmy Time bento with Uncle, the days after. She kept asking, "Mama, Mama, where's Uncle Pepen? Want to have Timmy Time with Uncle Pepen." It's so sweet, isn't it? By the way, my brother didn't finish everything. He left the veggies, while Cinderella ate all the veggies. Shame on you! Ha ha!

In the above picture : beef rollade, veggies

Cinderella was enjoying her lunch with Uncle.

Cinderella with her favourite veggie, broccoli. On the left bottom side was her uncle's bento. Can you see something blue on the right side of the picture? That was her Cinderella's dress, her favourite toy ever.

By the way, can you see the picture was sooooo improved? Yup, that was taken by my brother, a professional photographer. He made the food looked ten times yummier. Hee hee...

Bento # 09 : Snail Bento

Beef rollade is one of my favorites food to cook. It is so easy and nutritious, besides Cinderella loves it, too. A snail bento is a perfect one to expose the rollade, and it's very quick to prepare too. I must admit that this snail is imperfect. Do you notice that it doesn't have the antenna? My in law said it more resembles to a turtle. Haha! I run out of spaghetti for the antenna. But I guess Cinderella didn't mind at all. She finished everything. She is quite an eating monster these days.... =)

Kamis, 08 Juli 2010

Bento # 08 : Best Friend Bear

I remembered back then in high school I was so much in love with Forever Friend Bears. They are cute and huggable. Well, this bento is far from the famous FF bears. But these two bears are best friends. Look, how sweet, they are holding hands together.
I had darkest days in my life. And it was only because of my friends that I can stand still until now. They stood by me through my teary days. So, this bento is dedicated to my best friends : Monna, Valerie, and Xiao Yan.

In this picture : Primavera Pasta (see the previous posting for the recipe), spinach omelette, zucchini

Bento # 07 : Spinach Fried Rice

Ok, this is far from what we can call as bento. But hey, can the little flower on top of the fried rice count? Tee hee hee......
This one was made during a late morning wake up. Cinderella put on her sad face and said,"Mommy... hungry hungry." Who can resist those cutey eyes? I figured that she might be very bored with bread as breakfast so I manage to create the second most speedy breakfast for her, fried rice. I use spinach instead of the usual frozen veggie. I think it would be just different to have green fried rice rather than the usual thing.
It turned out that Cinderella loved this fried rice. (Or was it may be because she was too hungry?) Hee hee....
The food decoration is very quick. Put cooked omelette in a small bowl, put the fried rice on top of it. Prepare the plate and put it on top of the bowl. Flip the bowl until the bowl is now on top of the plate. Voila, now you get an omelette mountain with fried rice inside.
I then remembered Thai Fried rice in the restaurants, and decided to make mine look like one. Use scissors to make a cross on top of the omelette. I would then only have to cut cheese using flower cutter. Done! Another quick bento decoration. No more than 4 minutes.

Recipe for Spinach Fried Rice:

Ingredients :
1 cup of cooked rice
chopped spinach
garlic and shallot, diced
ham or bacon
worchestershire sauce

1. heat oil and toss the garlic and shallot until it is fragrant
2. toss the ham or bacon and worchestershire sauce
3. add cooked rice and taste with salt and pepper

Sounds too easy? Believe me, it is....

Bento # 06 : Panda Bento

I saw this Panda Bento in my bento book. Thought it was so cute and it looked like quite easy to follow. But it turned out that shaping rice is harder than I think (maybe because Japanese rice is more sticky). The rice keeps falls off and they refuse to stick to each other. I found out later that using hot rice is better than cold rice since it still has the moisture to make it glued.
The rest of panda rice is actually very easy. Cut nori to shape like panda ear and for the rest I used nori puncher. This bento capacity is very small. The rice in the bento is only half from what Cinderella was actually eating.
By the way, I still hasn't found the reason of why Cinderella seemed like to choose bento in plate rather than box? Hmmm.... strange....

In this picture : beef croquette, diced carrot and green beans.

Bento # 05 : Bento Bunny - super lazy bento

I still feel extremely lazy after going from Bandung trip. I want to fix a bento for Cinderella without too much effort. In my fridge lied several store-bought meatballs that I could use. So I just throw the meatballs into frozen beef stock plus the veggie (cauliflower, mushroom,green beans, and carrot).
It really took me minimum effort to do this bento. I just had to cut ham into circle and ready shaped bunny ears. I also use the flower cutter for the carrot and mushroom. If you notice, the flowers on the left and right side of the bunny, you can see that the white one is actually the remaining mushroom that was cut in the middle. I slip the flower carrot in the middle of the mushroom. And viola, there you go... quite pretty compared to the usual bare flower carrot.
I also put fruity picks on top of the meatball and the flowers. This whole bento thing only took me 30 minutes from food preparation until done.
Oh yes, the bunny has no facial expression since I ran out of nori.


Rabu, 07 Juli 2010

Bento # 04 : Primavera Pasta Bento

I found this terrific pasta recipe from my good ol' pasta book. I admit that I have a bad habit of piling recipe books without sometimes not trying any recipes from the book! But that time, extremely tired after the family trip to Bandung, I need to find something quick to cook. And pasta is my choice.
The most beautiful thing about pasta is : you can throw almost everything in it. Just like fried rice (which is on my top list of being comfort lazy food). The same thing happens with this pasta. I opened my fridge and found the basic veggie : carrot, green beans, and peas plus minced pork and ham. I still had meat stock and I hadn't use my heavy cream (it's almost expired).
I flipped through the pages and found this Primavera Pasta (i thought the naming was quite grande. hee hee). The original recipe contains only veggie. But since I thought my lil baby need protein, I decided to add meat. A decision that I never regret.
This pasta turned out to be sooooo delish. The decoration was also very simple. I use pork ham as the pork face. Cut two small triangles as the ear, one oval as the nose and put two holes with straw. The whole decoration took me no more than 5 minutes. The best part, Cinderella ate almost the whole thing.

Recipe :
50 gr minced beef or pork or chicken
2 slices of ham
diced carrot
diced green beans
frozen peas, thaw
whipped cream
stock (beef/pork/chicken/vegetables)
onion, diced
garlic, diced
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. boil the pasta according to the direction. meanwhile prepare the sauce
2. heat butter and olive oil. Toss the onion and garlic, then the minced beef/pork/chicken, and ham. Next put in the vegetables and stock. Let it simmer until the vegetables are soften. Last put in the heavy cream. Add more stock if the sauce gets too thick
3. Salt and pepper to taste
4. Toss the sauce to the boiled pasta.

Super easy and super tasty!

Bento #03 : Bee bento

I made this as a lunch box for our trip to Bandung. My hubby's cousin was having a wedding party in Bandung. Of course we would have to attend the wedding. The journey was actually only 2 hours by car. But I guess I need to bring her lunch box. Just in case, there was traffic.
This was by far the most complicated bento I made.
When I saw the bee bento picture in the bento book, I thought it would be quite simple to create. But boy I was wrong. The egg sheet was too thick and made it hard to roll the rice in it. The experience of stuffing a lunch box until packed was also quite difficult. Luckily I had some broccoli to fill the gap. I used monster meatball, smoked ham, rolled omelette and steamed veggies as the filler.
Cinderella's cousins were also coming with us in this trip. And they were so amazed to see the bento. There was "Oohhh" and "Ahhhh.. cute!" Cinderella was very proud. She ate everything.
The only thing that was a disappointment was the melting cheese. Anyone knew how to prevent the cheese from melting?

Bento #02 : Doggy Bento

My second bento was using the same food as bento no 1, but with different decoration. I also liked the simple bento. I would only have to cut a circle cheese (even that was done by puncher) and stick sausage as the dog ear. How I love doing something almost effortless but with big impact. Cinderella definitely thought this dog was cute. But she kept asking, "Mommy, where is the bear?"
Obviously she was quite impressed with the first Bento. Hee hee.

Bento # 01 : Beary Cute Bento

There's always the first thing for everything. This was my first bento. I am very excited about it. I bought 4 bento book from Japan and I can't stop drooling over the books. I want a bento that is not too complicated for several reasons:
1. I am a bento beginner
2. Cinderella is still the most important thing in my life to me. I don't want spending hours and hours of bento decorating and neglect my baby girl.
But still, the bento has to look cute to catch her attention.
Thus my choice for the very first bento lies to this Beary Cute Bento. It is soooo simple to make (with nori puncher on my hand). I would only have to make two burgers, one is bigger (as the head) and one is smaller (for the ears). I loveeeee the simplicity.

Please pardon my photograph. I really need to learn how to take picture beautifully. This is done by a pocket camera with minimum lighting.
On the left : beef burger with hidden carrot. On the right : Veggie fried rice (carrot and peas)
Cinderella was so thrilled to see her first bento. She ate everything! The food decoration only took me 10 minutes. Everybody was happy =)
Oh yes, I must admit that this is not a real bento, since I used plate instead of lunch box. Still, I think the art of bento can be applied everywhere, not only for lunch box. Won't you agree? =)

Bento obsession

I have to admit this bento obsession has taken over my life. Haha! Well, it's the second thing that rules over my brain, next after my baby girl, Cinderella (she wants to be called like that).
I started to collect bento accessories when Cinderella is one year old and she can eat table food. She (just like most toddlers in the world) was picky eater. I can eat my hat out of frustation of wanting her to eat good, healthy food. I tried to decorate her food when she was one year, just to found out that she was more interested in playing with the food and leave it at the table. Or she might take one snap look and decided that her toy train was more interesting than a plate full of healthy food.
Not until recently that I bought a set of bento accessories (including the nori puncher that I dreamt of) from a family trip to Japan, did she begin to appreciate the beauty of bento arts. Hee hee.
It takes me by surprise that she's now even willing to eat the whole broccoli and peas that she hated, given that it is decorated nicely.
And so..... my bento journey begins.....