Monday, July 21, 2008

Pokémon: Chikorita!

I finally prepared something the night before!  I'm trying to re-do my summer/school routine.  I now take showers in the morning, after a quick jog.  This leaves me with a lot less time.  The complete body of Chikorita was done the night before, as a result.
I decided to buy some whole wheat couscous.  I don't notice any difference between regular plain and whole wheat.  Not that this is a reliable observation; given a mystery-flavored lollipop I couldn't even begin to guess what it tastes like...

Ingredients: Whole wheat couscous, Blueberries, Cucumber, Spinach, Tortilla, Pepperoni, Mozzarella cheese

Tips:  REMEMBER YOUR UTENSIL! I forgot a spoon and I was in summer school, which means no cafeteria.  If it wasn't for the summer school nurse I would have starved.  This is a stupid tip...I feel obligated to make another.

Tips:  Use the edge of the cucumber.  Around the outside circumference area you get less seeds.  This may not seem like a big deal, but seeds actually looks really stupid in characters that are supposed to be plain.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sanrio: Chibimaru!

The last day of Sanrio week!  It's been crazy.  I'll probably have another one in the future, but I'd like to check out some other paths Pokemon and Nickelodeon...
I've been thinking about doing character themed weeks.  I absolutely love seeing something cute in my lunch.  The discovery of food markers will definitely help this.  As seen with Chibimaru and Cinnamoroll, it is indeed possible to create ten minute character bentos.  Yaaaay!

Ingredients:  Rice, Apples, Wheat bread pita, Food Markers

Tips:  Wake up early and plan ahead.  Some people make theirs the night before.  I'm a morning person.  This definitely wasn't my best.  Poor quality food marker characters are the product of me sleeping in and not planning my bento out at all in advance.

Sanrio: My Melody!

This bento did not get finished in time for lunch time yesterday.  It's still sitting in my fridge, actually.  I was running really late.  Kinda like I am today.  So this will be quick.

Ingredients:  Rice, Tortilla, Cucumber, Nori

Tips:  Don't buy cheap nori.  I got 50 sheets for $7, which seemed like a great deal.  My dad usually buys the nice ones from Wegmans.  I picked up some from an asian market, all proud of my super-awesome savings.  As it turns out mine smells terrible and falls apart really easily.  *Sigh*  I'll still use it all though.  Waste not, want not!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sanrio: Cinnamoroll!

Yesterday I discovered that we have food markers.  I then was giving the task of making a bento in 15-20 minutes.  This was the result of these two things.
I.  Love.  Food.  Markers.

Ingredients:  Rice, Pepperoni, Tortilla, Food markers (do they count?)

Tips:  If you have no time and want a character bento, create a stencil, cut out the food, use food markers.  Tortilla works.  :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sanrio: Keroppi!

It feels like Keroppi was the easiest of my character bentos, which means one of two things:
1. I'm getting better and FASTER!
2. It was super simple.
Not sure what to say, so I'll take questions.  Doubt I'll get any, but whatev.

Ingredients: Rice, Cucumber, Pepperoni, Mozzarella cheese, Tortilla, Nori

Tips: Stencil, stencil, stencil. I didn't cut my stencil out of the paper today, but having just the drawing there was good for side comparison.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sanrio: Purin!

I woke up bright and early this morning with one plan: make a lunch with a yellow Sanrio character.  I went to the Sanrio website and found that Purin, at the left,  is the only remotely yellow one.

In today's update I'll outline what I actually do to create my flat egg characters.

1.  Scramble 2 eggs together in a bowl.  This is usually too much, but I'd rather have too much than too little.  I use the extra for the rest of my lunch anyway.

2.  Create a stencil.  Some
times I blow the image up on my computer before tracing.  I also note any dark areas on the stencil so I know what portions need to be nori.

3.  Cut out egg and nori.  Nori is dried (toasted?) seaweed.  It's black/green, so it makes good shadows and details.

It could be better, but I was proud of it since the whole lunch took less than an hour.  45+ minutes, I believe.  I the oval hole punch my mom bought from her friend to create the eyes and circle part of the nose.  This definitely cut down on time.  :)  Thanks, mom!  There's a sandwich support Purin, by the way.

Ingredients:  Egg, White toast, Turkey, Lettuce, Plum

Tips:  See above  :P

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Substantial Summer Lunch

I went shopping yesterday.  This is the beautiful, and very filling, result of that.  2 mini PB sandwiches, rice, 2 stalks of celery, and a fortune cookie.  My fortune said something about me having good friends.

Beautiful news, my friends. BEAUTIFUL news.  2 of my washable square cupcake holders fit perfectly into the tootsie roll container.  Althought it does open easily if overfilled.  This morning it jumped out of my lap when my mom made a turn and my chopped up black plum exploded everywhere.

Ingredients: Rice, White bread, Peanut butter, Celery,  Plum, Fortune Cookie

Tips:  Use the small containers lock&locks come with to control sizes in partitioned containers.  This is handy whether or not you plan on using them.  I like neatly divided lunches.

Summer School Snack

First day of summer school was yesterday!  It's exciting; I have ALWAYS wanted to take a course during the summer.
Having a snack for a four hour class (7.45-12) seemed like a good idea.  I threw this together in 5-10 minutes Wednesday morning.  Luckily the school I'm in is air conditioned, so i don't have to worry about anything spoiling.  This snack helped sustain me a little, but I learned that I would need to bring something more substantial for myself, which means THERE WILL BE BENTO UPDATES ALL SUMMER LONG!  :]

Ingredients:  Rice, Blueberries, Celery

Tips: Heat. The. Rice. Up. First.  I personally find rice extremely disgusting if it's been moved from a fridge to room temperature and eaten hours later.  If I pop it into the microwave for maybe 20 seconds first, let it cool for a wee bit (it'll steam up the container if it doesn't), and then package it up, it tastes so much better.  It could just be the brand of rice I use though.

Snack Containers

While in New Jersey I found this store called Five Below, or something like that.  They had a number of less expensive very desirable things.  (Like my $5 Hello Kitty iPod speaker pillow.)  They surprisingly had a decent selection of lunchboxes, but not many metal ones.  This was a bit saddening, as I am a fan of metal lunch boxes.  I have one with G.I. Joe decorating the outside and another with a Dr. Pepper theme.  Oh; I'm digressing.  Anyway.  I found these 3 gems over in their lunch area.  3 plastic snack containers in the shape of the candy printed on them.  They're relatively small, but fantastic for desserts or other small snacks.  Yay me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Adventures in COUSCOUS!

Couscous is possibly the simplest warm dish to create, right?  WRONG.  It's wrong for me anyhow. I think it's finally time for me to chronicle my journeys with this food:

1. I bought couscous, of the instant sort, a few months ago.  One box.  Plain.  I've been told it's stupid to buy it plain because it really needs flavoring.  The first time I made it I was pretty content with it. It looked pretty cute in my lunch though. 0w0

Ingredients: Couscous, Nori Face,  Celery, Cherry Tomatoes, Carrots.

Comment: I bought a bunch of scrapbooking punches from my mom's friend. It's hard to tell but I have a pair of nori lips and 2 nori oval eyes.

2.  I decided to make fruity couscous.  Only with artificial fruit flavorings and no experience.  While the water was boiling I put some red kool-aid, sugar, and pink country time lemonade mix into it.  Unfortunately I hadn't decided to make it fruity until I'd already put some butter and salt in.  This couscous didn't taste 
particularly good.  I brought it to school and ate it anyway though.  Waste not, want not.

3.  Just the other day I decided to make flavorful couscous.  To me this meant a flavor that was moreso spicy than sweet.  So I opened up our cupboard of spices and started sniffing around.  Things like nutmeg and cinnamon go the no-go pretty quickly.  I didn't want my meal to be sweet, not after Adventure in COUSCOUS #2.  I eventually ended up grabbing I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, Salt, Garlic Salt, and Chili Powder.

On another note- I usually put a little more water into these than suggested.  I realize that the companies take evaporation into consideration, but for some reason I usually find myself adding a bit more.  In this case I opted for the 1 cup suggested for 3/4 cups of couscous.  I definitely did not have this much couscous, as you can see in that picture up there.  My theory (shaky justification of my temporary lack of foresight) was that those little pellets would absorb as much as they normally do.  After that they would just stop and the water would roll right off 'em.

The final product of this couscous was a sticky mass with a slightly spicy aftertaste.  I should have had more garlic salt in relation to the chili powder and a LOT more of both overall.  Too much water made it waaay to sticky.  I ate it all, of course, but it was definitely a fantastic learning experience for me.