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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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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. 😛

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

– quail egg, kamaboko and black sesame seed

– 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#56 moving day totoro July 2, 2009

Posted by AnnaTheRed in bento blog (all), bento blog - ghibli (totoro, etc...).
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Like I mentioned in my previous blog post, my company has been in the process of moving for the past week, and because of this we had July 1st off. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make bento until next week, so I decided to try making a “stay-home” bento. When I decided to make a bento to eat at home, I realized something. “I don’t have to close the lid of the bento box!”

Bento #56: Moving day Totoro
Created and eaten on: 7/1/2009

I’d been thinking about making a moving-themed Totoro bento and even did a sketch of it, but it looked very similar to “Totoro Parade.” But I realized that I could do some crazy stuff with this “stay-home” bento, I decided to make the bento completely 3-D.

First I put rice for the road, and sprinkled shiso leaf seasoning over it. Then I put sauteed renkon on the rice, and put boiled broccoli (sprinkled with a bit of salt and dashino-moto) in the spaces on the two corners of bento. To make grass I cut snowpeas with a diamond shaped cutter and put it between the broccoli and the road.
I was going to put meatballs in the bento, but I didn’t think there would be enough meat, so I made asparagus wrapped with bacon, and stuck it in broccoli.

Then I started making Totoro. I mixed rice with black sesame seed and salt, and just shaped it like Totoro using plastic wrap. To make Totoro’s body hollow I put my finger inside from the bottom, and put tarako (cod roe) inside to make Totoro a big rice ball. Then I made the white part of the stomach with plain rice and put it on his body.

I wrapped potato salad with microwaved lettuce and made chu-Totoro (medium Totoro), and made chibi-Totoro (small Totoro) with a boiled quail egg. (see “how to make mini-Totoro”)

I wanted Totoro to be pulling a wagon, so I cut potato for the sides and bottom of a wagon and fried them. This didn’t turn out to be as crispy as I wanted… I had a very hard time trying to make this side stand up. I made Totoro’s hands with a small piece of rice, and made him hold the wagon handle. For the wheels, I sliced carrot, made holes with a straw, and put them on the side of the wagon. I also made a bunch of sausage flowers and put them in the wagon with radish mushrooms. (see “how to make a radish mushroom “)

I took out the mini-meatballs from the freezer and carrot flowers I had made and frozen before, and microwaved them, then I put them around the bento. (see “how to freeze carrot flowers”)

Then I started making face pieces. This is where things get really tedious. I didn’t want to make eyes in different sizes for all the different characters, so I decided to make them all the same size. I sliced kamaboko (fish cake) into circles with a plastic bottle cap. Then I took a small piece of uncooked pasta, and pinned each kamaboko onto each Makkurokurosuke, chibi-Totoro, chu-Totoro, and Totoro. I usually don’t have to do this for a regular bento, but since the characters were standing up, I had to make sure the eyes wouldn’t fall off. I also made sweat drops with kamaboko, and put them on Totoro and chu-Totoro.

Look how serious he looks.

Looks like Chu-Totoro is worried about Chibi-Totoro falling.

After the eyes were on everyone, I cut out seaweed using a hole puncher for the pupils, and konbu (dried kelp) for Totoro’s ears and whiskers. Then I started putting seaweed onto the eyes. This was a battle against time. The seaweed was getting all wrinkly faster than I expected. I think because it was a very humid day, and seaweed was not put onto horizontally. This drove me nuts! When I was done putting the last pupil on eye, the first one I put on was getting wrinkly! T_T

Soooo many eyes!

Even while my boyfriend was taking pictures, I had to replace some eyes because they got very wrinkly. Also, chibi-Totoro on the wagon didn’t want to stay still, and fell off the wagon.

This was probably what I looked like while making this bento.

I like how the bento turned out overall, but I wish I didn’t have to rush my boyfriend to take pictures. I guess the Katamari Damacy bento was kind of similar to this one. But this was waaaaay more difficult and stressful compared to the Katamari Damacy bento. I had fun and learned some stuff making this completely 3-D bento, but I don’t think I’d be making another one anytime soon. 😛

– rice mixed with black sesame seed and salt, and tarako inside
– kamaboko, seaweed and konbu

– potato salad wrapped with lettuce
– kamaboko, seaweed and konbu

– quail egg
– kamaboko and seaweed

– meatball
– kamaboko and seaweed

– potato

– radish

– sausage and carrot
– carrot

Other food:
– rice with shiso seasoning
– renkon
– broccoli
– snowpeas

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. 🙂

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

– quail egg, black sesame seed on kamaboko

– broccoli, black sesame seeds, cheese and snow peas

– 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.