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bento #61: summer totoro September 11, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - ghibli (totoro, etc...).
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5 comments

I made kyaraben the day I left for PAX. It had been awhile since the last time I made one… but the weather was getting no so summery, and I wanted to make something before the summer was over.

Bento #61: Summer Totoro
Created and eaten on: 9/3/2009

I knew I was going to make a summer themed kyaraben. Since I really didn’t have new character I wanted to make, I picked Totoro. I did a rough sketch, but since I’ve made so many Totoro bento no matter how I change the composition, it’d look like something I’ve already done… But I always try to stay optimistic. I figured that I’d come up with some magical plan to make this bento awesome while I was making it.

As usual, I put sauteed renkon (lotus root) at the bottom of the bento first. I had meatballs which I had made and frozen so I put them in a line with broccoli. Meatballs are great for Makkurokurosuke. It’s round and dark brown, so all you have to do is to put cut out cheese and seaweed for the eyes.

Cheese eyes are more stable than fish cake.

Then I started making Totoro with rice. I mixed rice with black sesame seeds with a little bit of salt, put it on plastic wrap and molded it into a Totoro shape. Then I realized that Totoro was the only rice part in this bento… which meant that I had to make a HUGE Totoro. Since I was using the bento box sideways and there were Makkurokurosuke at the lower part of the bento, there wasn’t much space left for Totoro. I tried to squeeze him in, but there was no way his ears would fit in. T_T Oh well… I just made the white part on his stomach with plain rice, put it on his stomach and moved on.

Look how round Totoro is!

I wasn’t sure if Makkurokurosuke meatballs were enough for my boyfriend, so I made asparagus wrapped with bacon and put it on the side of Totoro. I was worried that it was already getting very crowded… But I wanted to make sunflowers to make the bento summery. So I made an egg sheet (see “how to make egg sheets”) and made sunflowers. I put sunflowers in and tried to put cooked asparagus as its stem and snowpeas as its leaves. But because Totoro was so big, there wasn’t enough space for the leaves. Then I made mini-Totoro with a hard boiled quail egg (see “how to make mini-Totoro”), and squeezed him into the bento.

I peeled the outside red part of fake crab meat, cut it to a crescent shape with a round cutter, and put it on a snowpea. Then I put black sesame seeds on the crabmeat to make it look like a watermelon.

I liked how watermelon came out.

I originally wanted Totoro to have his mouth open, but I realized that he was too small to have an opened mouth like Sleeping Totoro or Flying Totoro, so I ended up making him smile. Since there was no space for his ears, I cut dried sea kelp for the ears and stuck them in his head. I cut out fish cake for his eyes, seaweed for his eyes and nose, and cut dried sea kelp for his whiskers.

Poor Totoro's head is squished.

I was in a rush, and it shows. T_T

At this point, I noticed that there was a big empty spot on the top left part of bento. Since I didn’t put lettuce underneath the renkon, you could see the bottom of bento box, which is a big no-no for kyaraben. So I quickly made a dragonfly looking thing with cheese and fishcake and put it there to cover it up.

I wasn’t that happy with this bento because it looked very much like something I’ve made before, and I didn’t really like how Totoro looks in this bento for some reason. I really need to get back to my bento routine. Now that I have no more business trips planned for this year and the weather is getting cooler, nothing can stop me from bento-ing like crazy! I hope. 🙂

Totoro:
– rice mixed with black sesame seeds and plain rice
– fish cake, seaweed, dried sea kelp
– snowpea, fake crab meat and black sesame seeds for the watermelon

Mini-Totoro:
– quail egg, fish cake and black sesame seed

Makkurokurosuke:
– meatballs, cheese and seaweed

Sunflower:
– egg and sausage
– asparagus, snowpeas

Dragon fly:
– cheese, fish cake

Other food:
– renkon
– broccoli

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

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bento #58: sitting totoro July 14, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - ghibli (totoro, etc...).
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3 comments

Since my previous bento was a big failure, I needed to make something I’m more comfortable with. And nothing makes me feel better than this guy.

Bento #58: Totoro sitting on a tree
Created and eaten on : 7/14/2009

There’s a very popular picture of Totoro, where Totoro, chu-Totoro, chibi-Totoro, Satsuki and Mei are fishing while sitting on a big branch over a stream. I really like it (and I’m sure my boyfriend does since it’s Totoro!), and wanted to create the scene. Since I don’t make people for my kyaraben, I was going to make the three Totoro. But when I was drawing the sketch, I realized that I couldn’t fit chu-Totoro in the bento… So I decided to make only Totoro and chibi-Totoro as usual.

First I sauteed sliced renkon (lotus root), and laid it on the bottom of the bento box. I mixed rice with black sesame seed with salt and molded it into the shape of Totoro using plastic wrap, and I placed it on the renkon. I also made the ears and feet with the same rice, to put them on later. (see “how to make Totoro with rice”) Then I boiled broccoli, seasoned with salt and put it around Totoro.

Then I made chibi-Totoro body with a quail egg (see “how to make mini-Totoro with eggs”), and put it on Totoro’s head.

The night before I had made hamburg (see “how to make Japanese style hamburg”), and I also made a lot of meatballs to freeze for bento and dinner. So I used the meatballs and put the hamburg sauce for  the Makkurokurosuke, and put them on the broccoli.

For the branch I wrapped asparagus with bacon, cooked it, and put it under Totoro’s body so it’d look like he was sitting on the branch. I made water lily leaves with snowpeas, and background grass with string beans.

After all the characters were made, I made a bunch of eyes by slicing and cutting out kamaboko (fishcake) using a small plastic bottle cap. For chibi-Totoro and makkurokurosuke’s pupils I put black sesame seeds, and seaweed for Totoro’s. For his nose, whiskers, nails for his feet, and whiskers I cut out seaweed.

At this point, I realized that it looked nothing like the drawing I did… In the actual Totoro picture, chibi-Totoro has a fishing pole and he’s got a flower on the hook, but I didn’t have anything I could make a fishing pole with, so I decided to forget about it and put in carrot flowers I had frozen previously (see “How to freeze carrot flowers”).

Since I made Totoro pretty big, and also had to fit Makkurokurosuke in, Totoro got a little skinny. Also you don’t usally see his feet or bottom of the feet like this, so that’s why he looks a bit more like a bunny. 😛

Totoro:
– rice mixed with black sesame seed and salt
– kamaboko and seaweed

Chibi-Totoro:
– quail egg, kamaboko and black sesame seed

Makkurokurosuke:
– meatball with sauce, kamaboko and black sesame seed

Other food:
– asparagus wrapped with bacon
– renkon
– broccoli
– snowpeas
– string beans

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

bento#52 rainy day totoro June 4, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - ghibli (totoro, etc...).
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I wasn’t planning on making a bento this morning. I didn’t do any drawing the night before and I woke up late. (the time I usually wake up when I don’t make bento) I looked outside and it was raining. Again. So I decided to make a bento to cheer my boyfriend (and me) up.

Bento #52: Rainy Day Totoro
Created and eaten on: 6/4/2009

I picked Totoro for this quick bento (of course), and I even did a sketch in the kitchen as I made it. once I decided to make Totoro bento, I started boiling an quail egg for mini-Totoro. First I put sauteed renkon in the bento box. I know if you’ve been reading my blog, I almost always put sauteed renkon at the bottom. Renkon has a lot of holes in it, and when it’s sliced and put on the bottom of the bento box, it can act as breathable foundation. You can put rice and something a bit watery in the same bento, and the bottom of the rice will stay dry. Also renkon has a crispy texture, and even if you put food on top of renkon, it’ll stay fairly crispy.

I cooked chicken teriyaki the night before, so I put it at the bottom part of bento. I put broccoli I had boiled the night before, and used it to separate the chicken from the bento box to prevent the teriyaki sauce from getting all over the edge of the bento box.

I mixed rice with black sesame seed and salt, molded the rice into the shape of Totoro’s body and ears, using plastic wrap. (see “how to make Totoro with rice”) Then  made the white part of his stomach with plain rice. Then I sliced kamaboko (fish cake) and cut it out with a plastic cap for his eyes.

I didn’t want Totoro to get teriyaki sauce on him, so I put snow peas (boiled and cut with a cookie cutter) between Totoro and the chicken. For the rain, I removed the string beans I had cooked with chicken teriyaki, and put in in the background. Then I made mini-Totoro with a quail egg (see “how to make mini-Totoro”), and placed it on string beans.

I hadn’t decided what I would make the frog with, so I looked inside the fridge and realized that I had sliced the stem of the broccoli to use for later. So I microwaved it, cut it out with an oval shaped cutter for the head and body of the frogs, and cut snow peas for the legs. For the eyes I cut out cheese with a straw, and put black sesame seed for the pupils and nostrils.

I wasn't 100% sure what "typical cartoon frog" should look like...

When I made the “Animal Orbs bento” before, I really liked how the snail came out, so I decided to make the same snail. I sliced a sausage, boiled it, rolled it, and pinned it with uncooked pasta. I cut fake sausage (fish cake) for the face and put it on the other end of the pasta. For the eyes I cut out cheese with a straw.

My boyfriend especially liked the facial expression of this snail. He thought the snail looked 'worried.'

It didn’t look colorful enough, so I made carrot flowers using a diamond shaped cookie cutter (see “how to make vegetable flowers”) and put them in.

I cut seaweed for Totoro’s nose, put it on cheese, and cut the cheese around it. Then for Totoro’s whiskers I cut konbu (dried sea kelp). For the patterns on Totoro’s stomach and the mouth for Totoro, snail and frogs I cut seaweed. Then I cut out seaweed using a hole puncher for the pupils of Totoro’s eyes. For mini-Totoro, the frogs and snail’s pupils I put black sesame seeds using tweezers. To finish the bento, I sprinkled sesame seeds all over in the bento box to create a rain effect.

After I made it, I realized that none of the characters in this bento was smiling. I should’ve made at least one character smiling, especially since I decided to make this bento to cheer my boyfriend up. Still, I think this wasn’t too bad considering the fact I hadn’t planned this at all in advance. 😛 The only reason I could pull this off was because it was a Totoro bento. Not only does Totoro makes people happy on rainy days, it is great for the spur of the moment kyaraben as well. Totoro always wins. 🙂

Totoro:
– rice mixed with black sesame seed, and plain rice
– seaweed, konbu, and kamaboko

Mini-Totoro:
– quail egg, black sesame seed on kamaboko

Frogs:
– broccoli, black sesame seeds, cheese and snow peas

Snail:
– sausage, fake sausage, seaweed, black sesame seeds on cheese

Other food:
– renkon
– chicken teriyaki
– string beans
– broccoli
– snow peas
– carrot
– sesame seed

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