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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#56 moving day totoro July 2, 2009

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

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. 😛

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

Chu-Totoro:
– potato salad wrapped with lettuce
– kamaboko, seaweed and konbu

Chibi-Totoro:
– quail egg
– kamaboko and seaweed

Makkurokurosuke:
– meatball
– kamaboko and seaweed

Wagon:
– potato

Mushroom:
– radish

Flowers:
– 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.