Friday, July 30, 2010

B.O.M.B (Bento of the Month Bento)

Hapa Bento organizes a B.O.M.B challenge each month with a different theme. I very hardly join contests but this was very easy as the theme for July is 'picnic'. It so happened that I had made a bento for a recent picnic, so it was a matter of leaving a comment and linking my post to it.

I checked 2 days ago but there were no results yet, and just an hour ago, Angeleyes sent me a message to congratulate me on being the winner. Total happiness, not that there was any prize involved, but the mere fact that I actually won a contest!

This was what I submitted. You can check out Hapa's blog here.

Squirrel bento

Princess came home with 2 slices of chocolate bread from her playdate yesterday. They were so pretty I had to do something with them. I recently got hold of a set of cookie cutters and have been wanting to use the squirrel one. I think it is perfect. So pretty, although it kinda looks more like a skunk now haha. The bit on the nose was there by chance. Didn't realize I had cut off a bit of the chocolate part of the bread thus it worked really nicely for the nose. I punched the nose and mouth out of nori and just placed them on. Dragonfruit was cut for yesterday's bento so putting this all together was easy peasy. A piece of Sirotan cake fits nicely into the little section on the top right. I also included an apple in case the bento is not enough for her.

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

3 bears bento

We planned a playdate after school yesterday with a kindy friend of Princess', since she didn't have to stay back for extra class. I offered to make bentos for the kids and though exhausting, having spent 2hrs on preparation, I'm glad I managed to complete them on time. It is my first time making these bears. I had a tough time at first, coming up with a theme. Planned to make a boy bento and two girly ones, but in the end, decided that bear was the best for all. It made things easier for me seeing that these two mums made them recently, so I chose to use theirs as guides. Angeleyes made a teddy while Lia Chen made doggies, but they are generally the same shape. Thanks to them, it made my job all the more easier.

The 3 bentos contained mostly the same things except Princess' one had some fried breakfast noodles to cover up the gap, and T's one did not have mangoes as the box was too full. There is a cocktail bear each in the boxes as well as dragonfruit, carrots, cherry tomatoes, chicken and some sweeties.

We had a fun time at their house and the kids couldn't bear to part with each other. It's been a long time since they'd played together. We used to go over to their place for playdates but since going to primary school, this is the first time it has happened. We also hope to plan a sleepover but that will need proper planning, and having to find a time most suitable to both parties. Look forward to more playdates in the future. Thanks J!

My breakfast bento

I haven't been feeling all that well the past couple of days. A bad ear infection was keeping me awake most nights and the pain was so intense in the left ear that I could only sleep on one side. I don't usually like to visit the doctor but am glad that I made the trip to the clinic this time, even though I had to stand outside waiting an hour to see him. I never like to sit in the clinic knowing there are all kinds of germs in there. The anti-biotics helped a lot in clearing the infection out, but even though most of the pain and swelling is gone, there is still discharge so hopefully it will dry up soon.

There was a breakfast date yesterday with 2 mums, which was cancelled at the last minute due to an impending storm, thus I ended up having breakfast at home. Of course, the storm didn't really happen in the end but we were treated to light showers instead, despite the sky being a scary black, with lightning blazing across the sky at 6am while I was up and getting ready for school.

I decided to prepare a bento for myself with chee cheong fun that I had bought the day before. While that was steaming in the wok, I made a sealed floss sandwich, packed some biscuits in, and made a cocktail bear and used a cherry tomato to fill up the gaps. The Pooh bear biscuit was bought at school fiesta while the star-shaped shortbread was a gift baked by a friend. If I am not wrong, this is only the 2nd or 3rd bento I have ever made for self. Was very pleased with the end result even though it was simple. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rilakkuma wanna-be

To be very honest with you, I didn't do my homework before setting out to attempt this Rilakkuma bento. Everything else worked out fine except for the nose and mouth bit. I should have taken out the oval cutter I needed before starting work on it but as I did not and later could not locate one, I ended up with a weird-shaped piece of cheese instead of Rilakkuma's oval mouthpiece. Oh well, lesson learnt.

In the bento are a pair of mid-joint chicken wings (I had cut them in half so it's easier to eat); two-tone rice, the pinkish part was mixed with some tomato sauce to achieve the desired colour; some cherry tomatoes; apple donut with carrot in the middle; dragonfruit; and two small onigiri with spam cutouts of rabbit and car; and Rila's face is made from Japanese fishcake.

A beautiful Monday

It is a very beautiful Monday morning and we couldn't ask for better weather. The breeze that is blowing into the flat is so chilly. The rain is not heavy thus is perfect. Unfortunately the night wasn't so good and I was awoken by an irritating car alarm that just went on and on for approximately 10mins. Hubby got me to call the police and while I was on the phone to them, I could hear a man down the road on the phone as well, informing, I would assume the police, the address here. Looks like we were not the only ones irritated by it. The time was 3.20am, and after that I couldn't fall back to sleep for over an hour as I nursed a terrible aching left ear as well as a blocked nose. I'm not having a cold or anything. It's when the air quality is bad that I suffer from it. Thank goodness it is not bento preparation morning. I did pick up some cutters over the weekend and am excited to use them. I'm also on a roll after fixing so many bentos last week which got me started on a bento frenzy. Spent the weekend going through my bento books from cover to cover. I just love browsing them, not just to get ideas, but also to marvel at all the wonderful creations by talented ladies out there.

I'm waiting for the doctor to open so I can get my ear and nose treated and hopefully sleep better tonight. :/

Susan got me excited about Pillsbury Buttermilk biscuits and I spied a couple of bottles at Cold Storage last week but as they were near the expiry date, I didn't pick one up. I failed to see them yesterday when I went again. Instead they had everything else like pizza dough, crescent rolls (which I got), cinnamon rolls, and breadsticks. From Susan, I learnt that the biscuit dough is very versatile and you can prepare lots of stuff with it. Hope they bring in some stock soon. Meanwhile, I will just make some basic crescent rolls aka croissants and see if they taste good.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Brownie Bear on a picnic

A good friend from out of town gave me a packet of instant brownie mix when she was here recently, after 10 years of being away. I am so glad that she visited as she had been a very dear friend and I missed spending time with her. We even got to meet her 6-yr-old boy for the very first time. :)

I have not baked in ages and just couldn't get the engine going. But I had to start somewhere, and what better to bake than instant something. I have another 3 packets of mixes but this one was calling out to me, and I've also been wanting to make use of these bear silicon cups, no they are not new, just thought they'd be perfect for the brownies. I made two of those, one for Princess and the other for her bff, the one I've been making bentos for lately. It's finally Friday and I can take a break from bento-making, yippee! While I was at it, I even made cheese cutout biscuits. What a fulfilling day it was. :D

The main character in the bento was the bear so all I needed was to place everything around it. Princess' box had a lot more food items compared to J's. There was golden kiwi, blueberry, baby corn sticks and cherries. They both had apples, chicken nugget, homebaked cheese biscuits, a snail made from mantou for the body and half a cocktail sausage for its head, a Daim chocolate and a small container of tiny sweets below the bear's head.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mini Onigiri bento

The idea behind this bento started here. While Angeleyes made little apricots and cut her bread using her round cutter, I didn't bother with mine. All I did was to cut the skins away. I did a trial run last evening for the princess and discovered that they turned out to be more triangular in shape than round. I guess for a round shape, I really have to use the cutter.

These are pretty cute and they are the perfect shape for onigiri. Don't be fooled by the size of them as they are equivalent to 2 slices of bread even though they are tiny. Princess' onigiri breads are filled separately with nutella and peanut butter (she doesn't like the floss) while J's ones had nutella and seaweed floss (she doesn't like peanut butter). Haha. These little breads took almost 20mins to prepare. From cutting the skin, to spreading them with filling, to forming them and decorating with seaweed. They took up the bulk of my preparation time but thankfully everything else was easy to put together. They were worth the effort as they turned out super kawaii.

I have included meatballs, seaweed chicken, fruits, hamburger biscuits and some little seaweed star puffs (which are kept in the little container). I hope the girls like their bento today. :)

Princess has a chat session with her form teacher at recess today so hopefully she gets enough time to eat. That was her reason for requesting a bento for today. I must be in a bento making phase and it's all thanks to J's mum who has inspired me. Let's see how long this will last, me waking up at 5.30!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The wheels on the bus go round and round...

A hastily thought up bento made with mashed banana and chocolate rice sealed sammie, kueh lapis acting as the windows of the school bus, hamburger biscuits for the wheels and an assortment of fruits.

My initial plan was to make a simple, non-decorative bento and just dump everything in the box, all boring. But just as I lay the sammie down to rest and placed the 3 pieces of lapis on top, a sudden thought of a bus came to mind.

Placing the fruits was easy enough, but had to rack my brains on what to use as the wheels. Saw some hamburger biscuits nearby and decided to make use of them. I did think of making cheese animals but as it was already 6.05am, I didn't have time on my hands. Looking through my latest sets of picks, I found these animals which worked out perfectly as the bus driver and passengers on my school bus. Decided to spell out the word bus using smoked cheese.

As today is Racial Harmony Day in Singapore, I had planned to make a bento in that theme, but didn't plan it well enough. However, I think it worked out pretty well with the animals. They are showing racial (species) harmony by living together... a panda, rabbit, lion and elephant? It doesn't happen in the real world, but we could always make believe.

This is how I filled my sammie. My initial plan was to spread nutella over the slices and add mashed banana, but had totally forgotten that I had run out of that. Thankfully, thinking on the spot, I remembered I could use some chocolate rice, and it worked out fine. Still a chocolate banana combi at the end of the day. The scents were so yummy it made my tummy rumble.

Happy Racial Harmony Day! Remember to wear your orange ribbon for the month of July. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bento for the girls

I have to admit it's been a pretty long time since I woke up to make bentos early in the morning. When the alarm went off at 5.30am today, I pressed the snooze button once (buying myself an additional 9mins of sleep), and that was the most number of snoozes I allowed myself. Any more, and I'd be in trouble. I was responsible for 2 girls' meals today and no way was I going to fall back to sleep. J's mum had so kindly offered to make my girl a bento yesterday and knowing that she is tired from waking up early in the past weeks preparing bentos for her girl, I offered to prepare 2 bentos for her girl this week. With eyes half-closed, I made my way in the dark to the kitchen and turned on the toilet light so some light would come through while I went about assembling the ready items in the bento, such as the yummy chocolate croissants and sushi.

When my eyes got accustomed to the light and I had awaken a little more, I put a pot of water to boil while I cut the legs of the octopus on the cocktail sausages. Ever since friend pointed out that I should not give the girl too much sausages, I have cut down a lot on that. :) However, just last week, Princess asked for octopus sausages, so I decided to give them one each here. I stored both in Princess' box as the box for her bff is pretty small. They contain mostly the same stuff except J gets more apple while my girl gets a combination of cherries, blueberries, strawberries and apples. They have a piece of Laughing Cow cheese each and to finish their meal on a sweet note, there are 2 milk bottle gummies each, as well as Hello Kitty chocolate balls, not forgetting a mini pack of Milo.

I hope they both enjoy their bento, and look forward to doing them another each on Thursday. :)

A quick and simple breakfast

This bento took me a few minutes to put together. Even so, it wasn't quick enough for a very hungry girl one morning. While preparing it, I had to give her a small bowl of cereal as she waited, impatiently. I love the effect of the jam peeking through the heart. I've seen it for years on blogs, but just never did it. Such a design is most likely inspired by jam-filled cookies. Using my egg cutter with the cracked shell imprint, I drew Hershey's sauce on it, picking the idea up from a friend. I really admire her for drawing on the details of Anpanman and his friends at 5plus in the morning. I had trouble enough doing these few zigzags. ;) Egg-shaped sandwich has nutella in it. There was also flower ham and custard cake and some mini hamburger biscuits. They could almost pass off as macarons. Rounded it off with a glass of milk.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Domo Kun

This mummy did a boo boo today. :( In my excitement at dressing my girl up for school, I actually forgot to give her pocket money for recess. Was expecting a call from her and indeed she did call me but at 10am, when recess was over, to say, 'mummy, I got no food to eat'. Oh, oh, I had realized my boo boo earlier in the morning but what could I do? If she had called me earlier I could have told her to borrow some from her teacher. All I could do was tell her that I would make her a big lunch. She said ok and hung up the phone.

The school had a dancing competition today and they were to perform line-dancing. I woke her up earlier than usual to do her hair, tied a bandana round her neck and put a cowboy hat on her. They were to go to school in jeans and PE tee. I think it's fun for them to dress casual to school once in a while. There is another dressing up day next Wednesday. It is to celebrate Racial Harmony day.

My girl has been asking for curry rice and since I have not cooked it in quite a while, I decided to do that to make her happy, hoping it will take away my guilt at causing her to suffer from hunger. ;)

Fridays leave me with limited ingredients that I can work with, but digging in the freezer, I found one lone fish nugget which I decided to use, and a box of Sea Shanty's which was perfect to make a Domo Kun. And what could be easier than Mr Domo, which by the way, is the first time I am making him. The sea shanty is a perfect shape for it and all I needed was the red of the crabstick for his mouth but unfortunately I didn't have that, so I cut out the pink of the two-toned kamaboko instead. The teeth were also very easy to do. Below Domo kun lies a flower-shaped white rice and surrounding that is broccoli florets. I made the fish scales using young corn which I cut into sections and then in half. Fish eye was cut out of white kamaboko and eye ball punched out of seaweed. There is pasta tossed in butter and tofu fishcake below the fish, and some cherry tomatoes on a pick. The orange container holds the curry sauce and I also gave her a treat of prawn crackers on the top left. Apples complete her meal. She enjoyed everything and wiped the box clean. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My first 3D bento

Feeling very inspired by fellow bento-ers, I decided to try out a 3D figurine. I'm not a very organised person and for the fact that I do not have a lot of storage space for my bento stuff, I keep them in a shelf in boxes and sometimes, when I feel like making a bento, I do get lazy thinking of having to dig into the big pile. So, more often than not, it's the latest bento accessories which are near at hand, that get a chance at being in the limelight.

My newest gadgets are stored in a container on my dining table so that I have quick access to them. I decided to make a sealed sandwich with seaweed and sesame seed pork floss that I picked up from Bee Cheng Hiang. I'm waiting anxiously for my little pocket sammies mould to arrive. This mould was a gift from a friend who knows that I love to bento and who follows my blog quite religiously. Thank you for your support, dear friend. I am also happy to know that she has started making pretty bentos for her girl to take to school.

I gave her a set of cutters recently and if I'm not wrong, they were the bear set and the one I used today is the rabbit one. I hope that it gives her an idea as to what you can do with the cutters if you can just be a little creative. I think I did quite ok considering I'm not a terribly creative person. :) I'm still learning every day.

I used the big pink cutter for Miss Bunny's body and cutting off the ears from the head of the bunny, I made them into her legs. The oval cutter was used for her paws and the round blue cutter for her nose. I put the tiny pink round cutter in the photo by mistake. The red stick helped when I needed to remove the cut cheese from the cutters.

My initial plan was to use the sliced cheddar as her head and body but found it to be too light in colour. Decided to use the smoked cheese to make those instead so that it would stand out from the white of the bread.

We attended a birthday party on Sunday and part of the day was spent at Lilliput's indoor mini golf and the second part was spent at The Icing Room at Tampines Mall where the girls got a 4" cake each to be decorated in any way they liked. This is my girl's creation. She did it all by herself. :D I think she did a great job.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Viva Espana

I made a bento today based on the theme of the World Cup. Spain, having won the Cup, was my inspiration behind this bento. And of course Paul the octopus couldn't be left out of it. Finished this within an hour.

Here you see Paul overlooking the pitch with the name of the country he predicted would bring home the Cup, and it turned out that he was right after all. The Spanish flag sits atop a tofu fishcake. Paul can be seen holding the cherry tomatoes together. The soccer player (can that be Torres?) is made from kamaboko. I tried to decorate the football but did not have enough time to get my act together. Thus, it ended up as the dot above the 'i'. There are 2 slices of fishcake beside the cherry tomatoes. I made the Spanish flag using a printout of a picture I got from the web and with double-sided tape, stuck it onto a pick.

The grass of the football pitch is made with seaweed flakes and under the pitch is a slice of teriyaki spam sandwiched between two layers of white rice. There are blueberries, golden kiwi and apple to complete the bento. The word SPAIN is spelled with salami.

I had a lot of fun putting together this cute bento and my girl loved it. :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A pool outing

Teriyaki chicken rice balls for the kids, sausages with kyuri and cherry tomato skewers.

Two rice portions for the adults with the addition of baby corn which I was clearing from the fridge. I steamed some corn on the cob and packed them together with cherries, grapes and blueberries. Everything was done in 5 portions, one for each of us.

Wassants divided by sea-themed animal barans. Seeing that we were having a swim date, it kind of tied in with the water theme. :) Below are spoons with identification 'tags' so we wouldn't get confused.

The second week of the new term school term began with the Youth Day holiday for all school-going kids in Singapore, or rather most of them, since some private kindergartens don't practise that.

We made a date with the godma and the godbrothers for a morning of swimming at grandpa's condo pool. The weather was really good to us and we didn't get too tanned even after almost 4hrs spent in the pool.

I prepared some food and the godma brought along buns from Breadtalk. I'm glad that our date was delayed by an hour, and that allowed me to make a more elaborate bento. Really love this picnic bento set from friend for my birthday. Have used it twice and am sure will find more opportunities to use it in the future.

We had a wonderful day, which ended with a trip to Scoop of Art for some ice-cream and artwork.

Off to the movies

There is a backlog of posts, for the simple fact that it's back to school and on top of that, the fact that hubby was away in Spain, left me with less time to come online. I spent the week cleaning up my entire house very thoroughly, dusting the books and bookshelves, changing bedsheets, and finishing up my laundry to make space on the laundry line for hubby's dirty clothes when he got back.

We visited the cinema a few times during the school holidays and on one such trip there, we smuggled in some snacks of our own. We weren't stopped at the entrance and nobody even asked to see our tinbox.

I love this Hello Kitty tinbox which reminds me of the time when I was a kid. The HK on the box is the original 1970 HK which we grew up with, and is the one closest to my heart.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sundry man is back

There is a wet market a 2-minute walk from my home and it's where I go for most of my fresh produce such as seafood, meats and vegetables. Since the school holidays, I haven't been cooking much. However, after hubby left last week, I started preparing more bentos for the girl. For my own meals, I just eat whatever I can find in the house if I am too lazy. As such, I still have frozen food in the freezer and haven't been patronising the stalls. After the girl was picked up yesterday morning, I took a stroll over to pick up the Straits Times as well as to get breakfast for myself. Walking past my regular chicken stall, I was greeted by the lady who asked what I needed that morning. Told her I wasn't buying as I have not been cooking. Further along the way were a row of shops selling dry goods such as the usual cooking condiments, garlic, onions, canned food etc. I was really surprised to see that my favourite sundry shop was open. It had been closed for months and the rumour had it that the owner wasn't going to set up shop anymore as he was suffering from ill health and had just had an operation. Of course it was with much regret and sadness when I heard the news.

When we were young, my grandma used to visit this market as we lived very close by. Thus, there are many shops and stalls here that remind me of my childhood days. Although the area has undergone lots of changes, I still remember some faces and places of old. One of them was the pork seller. My grandma used to buy from his father, and I now buy from him. Same goes for the fishmonger. And, last but not least, is this particular shop where we used to get whatever dry goods we needed for the home. During the old days, it occupied a much bigger area than it does now, and they used to sell not just food stuff but cleaning agents such as laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, toilet rolls etc etc. It was also where we kids would pick from the many varieties of biscuits from the tins. So you can imagine my joy when I saw that the shop had reopened. I had to go and say hi to the man and ask after his health. It was really good to see him again. I didn't really need more ikan bilis or garlic, but well, just to show my support and for an excuse at starting a conversation, I did just that. I really wish him well on his road to recovery and I do hope that he continues to open his doors for a very selfish reason... to allow me to live through the memories of my childhood and time spent with my favourite person in the world, my grandmother.

Bento in a jiffy

The rain has dampened my plans, so am stuck home this afternoon while I wait for it to stop. Swim class might even be cancelled due to the thunderstorm raging outdoors. The plan was to make a trip downtown the minute the girl got home, to have lunch and pick up some brochures, as well as to exchange a toy at Toys r Us.

I don't mind staying home, but the fact that I did not prepare lunch for the girl was a bit of a headache. It wasn't till I was downstairs awaiting her arrival did the rain come down in huge torrents. The minute we got home, I had to quickly think of things to prepare for her to eat. Two days ago, while at a Japanese supermarket, I spied these packets of Ume Soumen. Of course the only reason I got one was for the pretty colour. Who can resist pink noodles?! Well, I quickly put a pot of water to the boil and cut out some carrots, kamaboko, sausages and the soumen. The fishfry went into the oven while the rest of the items were cooking on the stove. There were a lot of empty sections in the bento box which was too big for that amount of food, so I added a piece of Sirotan custard cake and a mini donut, as well as cherries and blueberries. Glad that I did it all within half an hour.

My girl is having a bad breakout of cold sores all over her bottom lips. Really pity her when I look at it. It must hurt and she has had many school friends and some teachers asking her about it. Some of it is bleeding but it is part of the heeling process, unfortunately. The minute I spied those bubbles, I had applied Zovirax cream, but there is little else I can do now that it has dried up. I have been using Vaseline to soften the scab and hopefully that will help it to fall off. She was alright throughout the holidays, save for the 1st week when she had a small breakout of it. My heart dropped when I saw the bubbles forming the night before she was due to return to school. It's healing very slowly and doesn't look like it's going to get well anytime soon. So meanwhile, I have told her to keep away from messy food such as pasta in tomato sauce; food which will dirty her lips and if she doesn't clean it off, will aggravate the condition. Keep having to remind her to wash her mouth after each meal. That is also part of the reason to serve her cold food as can be seen in today's lunch bento.