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how to make Totoro peanut butter sandwich March 15, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in how-to (all), how-to - characters (Ghibli, video game, Wall-E).
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My boyfriend loves eating peanut butter sandwiches as a snack. He eats one before he goes to kung fu class on Saturday or late afternoon on Sunday. I was thinking there’s gotta be an easy way to make his plain peanut butter sandwich cuter.
Easy and cute = Totoro!
So I was looking around the house, thinking what I could use to make a sandwich cutter for Totoro… a soda bottle!

Please be careful with the sharp edge and a knife when you start cutting up a soda bottle. I’d feel horrible if anyone cut themselves doing this.

[How to make Totoro peanut butter sandwich]
– two slices of whole wheat bread
– a slice of white bread or cheese
– peanut butter
— a plastic bottle
— knife and scissors
— paper clips or tape

1. I washed an empty 2 liter soda bottle, and cut a strip about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch wide. Trim the one side and make sure that it’s straight. (I wouldn’t make it any wider, though. It’ll be harder to push it down on bread) I left the label on when I cut it. It’ll act like a guide to cut a straight line.

2. Take the crust off the bread. You’ll use the crust later, so don’t eat it yet.

3. Put the plastic cutter on the bread, and decide how big you want your Totoro to be.

4. Put paper clips on the both ends of the cutter. (If you don’t mind making another one later, you can use a tape to put this one together.)

5. Try holding it like an egg or oval shape (or circle if you find cutting an egg or oval shape is hard) over a single slice of bread. I tried doing two slices of bread at once, and it didn’t work. My laziness has proven that it’d be a lot easier to do one by one.

6. Place your palm over the cutter and press it down, and hold it for a little bit. Be careful not to cut your hand.

7. Take the paper clips off from the plastic cutter, and make the round shape smaller for Totoro’s stomach and put together with paper clips.

8. Put the cutter over white bread (or cheese), and place your palm over the cutter and press it down, and hold it for a little bit. Be careful not to cut your hand!

9. Cut the crust into diamond shapes for Totoro’s ears, triangles for Totoro’s stomach, thin strips for Totoro’s whiskers, and a small square
shape for Totoro’s mouth.

10. For eyes, you can use a round plastic cap to cut out white bread (I used a cap for insulin syringe. My cat is diabetic, so I have bunch of them.), or you can squeeze bread to make a ball and squeeze it flat. If you have a really big straw, like the one they use for Chinese bubble tea (boba tea), that would probably be the best. Or you can use cheese.

The top ones are squeezed bread balls, the bottom ones are cut out with a plastic cap.

11. Use a straw to cut out crust for Totoro’s eyes.

12. Put peanut butter on wheat bread, and white bread and put them together, and stick the ears between wheat bread. Then place all the face parts and you have a Totoro peanut butter sandwich! (You can use peanut butter to glue the face parts on bread)

My boyfriend wasn’t too interested in putting cheese on his peanut butter sandwich, but if you like cheese, you use cheese instead of white bread. It’ll probably be a lot easier to handle. (especially for the eyes)

I tried to make this sandwich with the least variety of food, so making the face parts with crust may be tricky if you aren’t too crafty.
And of course, it doesn’t have to be peanut butter sandwich either. I used it because I always have it in my house, and it’s easier to use it as glue than jelly.
I think you can easily replace the face parts with different kind of vegetables, or chocolate in a tube. Hmmmm chocolate… I think I’m gonna have to try it next. 😛

How to make Totoro peanut butter sandwich on my flickr

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.

If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!


how to make Doraemon onigiri March 10, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in how-to (all), how-to - characters (Ghibli, video game, Wall-E).
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I was pleasantly surprised that I got such reactions on Doraemon onigiri. I really didn’t think anyone would know who it was. But I was wrong! It made me want to spread love for Doraemon, so I decided to do a how-to.

When I made it for my boyfriend, I didn’t really prepare anything for it, and as I was making it, I realized that a couple minutes of preparation would’ve saved me a lot of trouble. Also, cutting seaweed for the face and putting it on weren’t as easy as I thought it would be… So I came up with a foolproof method to make this Doraemon rice ball. This way, you don’t need to deal with sticky rice getting all over your hands, or worry about ripping seaweed!

[How to make Doraemon onigiri (rice ball)]
– rice
– salt
– seaweed
– kamaboko (fish cake) or cheese
– carrot

1. On a piece of paper, draw a Doraemon head. (I used a glass to draw it)

2. Cut the inside part of face out. The paper shown is 5 x 5, and it makes a big-ish rice ball.

3. Put #2 on seaweed (cut to the same size as the paper), and cut the face part out.

4. Spread *warm rice about the same size as the seaweed, sprinkle salt over rice, and put the seaweed on the rice. (*The rice must be warm, otherwise the seaweed will rip. If it’s not warm, microwave it)

5. Put a plastic sheet over it.

6. Flip it, and take off the plastic sheet from the rice side, sprinkle salt over the rice, and slowly make it into a ball.

7. Put a little bit of rice in the center of the rice ball.

8. Put whatever you want to put inside the rice ball in the middle (I used tarako/cod roe for mine) and put a little bit of rice over it. I found it easier to do this with the rice ball in a small bowl, so you don’t have to hold the rice ball in one hand and put stuff in on the other hand.

9. Just keep making it into a ball and twist the ends of the plastic sheet.

10. Slice a thin layer of kamaboko (fish cake) or cheese and cut it out for eyes. I have an oval shaped cutter, but I think you can just use a round one.

11. Slice a carrot, and use a straw or a small bottle cap to cut out his nose.

12. Cut seaweed for his whiskers, the line below his nose, and mouth. Cut seaweed using a hole puncher for his eyes.

Sad face

Smiley face

13. Slowly put the plastic sheet you used over the face. Make sure the plastic won’t shift the face parts.

14. Twist the back of the rice ball, and tape it or tie it with a rubber band.

Like I wrote in the beginning, this rice ball is pretty big. You can either shrink the paper size or use less rice and pull the seaweed all the way back so they touches each other in the back at #9. The best thing about this rice ball is that you can just carry it as is and it will still look adorable. When the weather gets warmer and nicer, make bunch of small ones and take them to a picnic!

How to make Doraemon onigiri

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.
If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

how to make soboro March 1, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in how-to (all), how-to - decorations/basic stuff.
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You may know this by now, but my boyfriend eats pretty much anything I put in his bento. But still, I usually try to put rice, veggie and meat or fish (protein) in his bento. I also try to save some time by cooking food that I can make a lot of and can be kept for a long time, and that’s why I use a lot of meatballs and hamburg. Soboro is a simple yet convenient meat recipe I often use. I didn’t really think soboro was anything special, but my boyfriend thought it was a very simple and useful food. As matter of a fact, I used soboro for “real rice cake” last night! It totally saved me.

Traditional soboro is made with ground chicken, but I usually use ground beef because I get left over ground beef when I make meatballs and hamburg. You can also make it with ground pork or even a can of tuna!

[How to make soboro]
– 1/2 lb of ground beef or pork or chicken, or *2 cans of tuna
– 2 tbs of soy sauce or *3 tbs if you’re using tuna
– 1 tbs of sugar or *2 tbs if you’re using tuna
– 1 tbs of cooking sake or white wine or *1 tbs of mayonnaise if you’re using tuna

Cooking sake, soy sauce and sugar

1. Cook meat. Break up big chunks while you cook.

2. When the meat is cooked, set the heat to low and put all three ingredients in.

3. Mix it well and cook it until all the fluid is gone.

That’s it!

In fact, it’s so easy that I wasn’t sure if I could call it a recipe, but you can use soboro for many dishes, including bento, so I thought I’d do a how-to anyway.

Soboro has sweet & salty flavor, and it might taste a little too sweet or salty by itself, but you can sprinkle some it on rice or use with other food.

The most common way to use soboro is “Sanshoku-don.” (three colored rice bowl) You put rice in a bowl, and put soboro, sliced thin omelet (or scrambled eggs) and some green vegetables (such as scallion, spinach, etc…) on rice. I made “real rice cake” with the same ingredients, but with a different presentation.

I also use soboro in left over potato salad to make croquettes. You can just put it in stir fried vegetables too. Since the meat is already seasoned, you don’t have to add too much spice to veggies. That way, while vegetable tastes like vegetables, the meat will have a flavor.

For bento, I use soboro to create “ground,” such as in Bento #22: Farm bento left, and Farm bento right, Bento #31: Totoro snowman bento, Bento #32: Where the Wild Things Are bento left side and right side, and Bento #35: Tingle bento.

Since the meat is already cooked, it’ll last for a couple of days in the fridge too. Also you can also freeze it.

There’s a vegetarian version of soboro which uses tofu, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll make it someday and if I think it’s good, I’ll put a recipe on my blog.

How to make soboro on my flickr

For more pictures of my bento, visit Bento! set and Bento details! set on my flickr page.
If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!