Howl's Bento - Contest Entry

-Turnip-head salad (spinach, radishes, purple carrots, baby bellas, provolone, nori and dressing)
-Baked and piped sweet potatoes
-Rice with Furikake

This bento is for a Miyazaki contest.  I figured more people would want to do Totoro or Soot Sprites, but I wanted to challenge myself and make my favorite two characters from Howl's Moving Castle!  This was incredible to make! 
Turniphead's head is actually a radish, not a turnip (I thought it was kinda funny).  Everything was carved and cut out from hand.  All of his features are dyed using black food coloring paste (it was the only way I could get them to show up).  His hat is a baby bella mushroom cut to shape and with nori stuck to it for a dark color.  His suit was done similarly, but with cheese (the blue parts are dyed cheese!)
Calcifer is sweet potatoes that were baked, blended and piped.  His eyes are radish slices with nori cut-outs.  He's sitting on top of the only Thanksgiving left-over I bentoed with, turkey!  I just tossed it in a pan on high heat to get it to black up a little.  It gave the effect I wanted!

Contest Bento - American Goldfinch

So, one of my deviantART groups was hosting a Creature Contest.  Initially, I wasn't planning on doing it - convinced that I was just, too busy.  However, one of the very sweet ladies in the group asked if I would be entering, so I decided I would and started looking for a creature to bento. 
Originally, I was just going to do a penguin.  I've done them before, and I can make them pretty easy and quickly.  However, somewhere along the way, I decided to bento my SECOND favorite bird (penguins are my favorite): The American Goldfinch.

I'd been getting ready over the weekend, knowing Monday was the only feasible day for me to do this (because it's pretty much the only day that Husband works and I don't.
Prep, sort of, started on Saturday.  I ran to the grocery store to get soba noodles, noodle sauce and short grain rice.  However, the store only had soba noodles.  So, Sunday I had to get all the rest from the Asian Market, and some lotus root, too (which was a last minute decision to add in).  Then, after Husband left for work, I made my purple egg sheet (for making a flower).
This morning, I got up around 5:45am (not really a big deal since I went to bed 1 1/2 hours early).  I set my soba water to boil and cleaned up the dishes that got left out last night and the counter. I finally got the rice started around 6:00.  While that was going, I sauteed my lotus root slices.  Then got the broccoli steaming.
One of the main semi-irritating things about this is that I was making a male and a female and they are different colors.  As such, I couldn't dye the rice while it was cooking (which saves me a lot of time).  Instead, I had to do it as the rice was cooling (yellow food coloring for the boy, soy sauce and a very little bit of yellow for the girl).

Here's my onigiri making station!

Once the rice was dyed, everything came together very quickly!  So much, in fact, I was slightly floored when I looked at the clock, after taking my final photos, and it was only 7:14am!  I figured I'd be working on this until, at least, 7:30!!

September 13th, 2010 - Bento Contents:
Lower Tier
-Soba Noodles with Onion Chives
-Female Goldfinch Onigiri (filled with tuna)
-Seasoned Broccoli
-Noodle Sauce
-Cherry Tomatoes
Top Tier
-Seasoned Broccoli
-Purple Egg Flower (I was trying to make a Thistle Flower...)
-Male Goldfinch Onigiri (filled with tuna)
-Wasabi Soynuts

I'm very proud ^-^


September 1st Bentos!

Holy crap!  And no, I'm not messing with you!  These are Husband and my bentos from today (September 1st!)

Today's Lunches Include:
-Fried Rice (rice, egg and carrot with garlic chive garnish)
-Honeydew Melon
-Tomatoes (slice Mr. Stripey for Husband & Cherry Tomatoes on Kanzashi picks for me)
-Sliced up String Cheese
-Fresh Broccoli
-"Home-Made" Edamame with Salt and Pepper

I remembered this morning that I had half a Glad-ware container of rice left in the fridge, so I decided to throw together some fried rice this morning.  I pre-steamed the carrots, while frying the eggs and rice.  I'm not sure how long it took, but I know it was less than 10 minutes.
The most time consuming thing, this morning, was actually preparing the broccoli.  Normally, my mom soaks and cleans the broccoli before giving it to me (her insistence, not mine).  This last time, she didn't have an opportunity, so I had to.  I let it soak while I got dressed, and it took, at least, another 10 to pick through and get all the worms out.
I teased husband that, maybe, a butterfly would come out of the garbage can, again, in a few days.  However, when I drained the water, they all slipped through the drain trap.  (Truthfully, last summer I threw a broccoli worm in the garbage can (thinking it was dead.  Apparently, it crawled up onto the lid of the garbage can, and made a cocoon there - thus escaping having the garbage taken out.  About a week later, I opened the garbage, and there was a cute little cabbage butterfly hanging to the lid.  I took him outside and put him in the bushes near our apartment.)

I posted on deviantART this morning, that this lunch made me feel very humble and lucky to have the wonderful parents that I do.  Every single vegetable/fruit pictured came from their garden (I picked the carrots, tomatoes and soy beans myself yesterday).  

Many Apologies! (Very Image Heavy)

Right after getting back from Origins 2010, I was transferred at work and given more hours.  Granted, I'm living closer to work than I used to, but I've been busy with the extra shifts which includes weekends (which is killer due to working 1pm-9pm Fridays and opening Saturdays).
Since my last post, I've been to GenCon 2010 (again, working), been spending what time I have with family, making cupcakes, getting more involved in lolita fashion, and (of course) bentoing!

See!  Here's me in my white Fan+Friend dress in Hime Lolita!  This was a practice run for an outfit I was going to wear at GenCon, and my husband took the picture!

This is me in the outfit at GenCon!  The picture is with a random attendee dressed as Howl, from Howl's Moving Castle ( my favorite Miyazaki movie) and Calcifer!!

And here's some cupcakes!  The taco ones were for a fiesta!

As far as bento, I've made a lot.  If you're interested, please check out my DeviantArt page They're in my food stuff folder.  I'm planning on trying to get this updated again, I just don't know when.

Stupid Computer >0

Well, my laptop has decided to stop loading Windows, once again.  This is the third time since I've gotten it...  As such, I only have access to my husband's really old computer and his really old hand-me-down laptop.  I'm pretty sure I'll crash them if I try to upload pictures on to them, so posts will be sparse in the future.  I'll only be able to do mass updates when I'm at my parents' place (so I'll probably have one tomorrow).  So, I'm looking at only once or twice a week at the moment.

June 30th Bentos

Bento Contents:
-Flatb Bread Sammies (Turkey for me, Ham for Hubs)
-Small Salad (Feta and Dressing for me; Feta, tomatoes and dressing for Hubs)
-Red Rice Sesame Crackers
-Bing Cherries
-Sugar Snap Peas (for Hubs)
-Orange Slice (for Hubs)
-Dried Apricot (for me!)

This was a very special bento day, for me.  This is the first bento I've made for myself in almost a month.  I'd been eating normal food (post teeth pulling and partial placement) for about a week but this was kind of special for me. 
In both bentos, the sandwiches were cut in half and stacked on top of each other.  That just made more room for everything else, even if the sammies squished a little.
Also, my lunch is in a new "bento" box.  I found it at Gordman's for a few dollars.  It's really nice, since the lid is a freezer gel pack!  So it was perfect for a salad and sammie!!

June 29th Bento

My first bento since I got back from my week away working!  It was so therapeutic!!
Bento Contents:
-Baked Ravioli (garnished with Parm & Grape Tomatoes)
-1/2 an orange, cut in wedges
-Steamed Broccoli
-Bing Cherries
-1 Dried Apricot (we really ration those things)
-A Hello Kitty Candy (under the apricot)

When we were out in Columbus, OH, one night we went out to a FABULOUS Italian resturant called Bucca di Peppo.  If you've never been to one, and live near one go now, tonight!  Anyway, we had amazing baked ravioli, and that inspired me to try my own when I got home!

Recipe for my Baked Ravioli!
-18oz. Bag Ravioli
-8oz. Bag Shredded Mozzarella
-3 Good Sized Roma Tomatoes Chopped
-4oz. Can of Mushrooms (drained)
-6oz. Can of Tomato Paste
-1/2 of a large onion chopped
-2-3 cloves of galic
-Approx. 1/4 fresh oregano finely chopped
-Palmful of dried parsley
-Seasoned Salt & Pepper to taste
-1-2 T. of olive oil
-Parmesan Cheese (preferably pre-shredded)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
Follow instructions for preparing ravioli and set aside. 
Heat a large skillet and add olive oil.  When heated, add onion and garlic and reduce heat.
When onions start to become transparent, add mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, oregano, parsley, salt & pepper. 
Once heated through, mash the tomatoes (with potato masher or fork), then add tomato paste.  *You may need to add a little bit of water to keep sauce from burning*
Spray your baking dish with cooking spray (I used a 9x9 glass pan).
Layer ravioli, sauce, and mozzarella/parm (in the 9x9 it made two layers)
Bake, uncovered, until the cheese browns, and enjoy!


June 18th Bento

-Peanut Butter Oreos
-Milk Candy
-Onions Crackers
-Grape Tomatoes
-Baby Carrots
-Tuna Salad (goes with crackers)
-String Cheese

This is one of those "I'm out of everything" sort of deals.  However, it worked out since tuna and crackers is probably my husband's favorite meal.  The tuna is in a super cute silicon mold I found in the seasonal department at Target.  I was just thrilled to finally use it.
No bento this morning, though.  I wasn't feeling well and Hubs had to leave really early (and I didn't know).

I had my teeth (symmetrical, second from the back lowers) pulled Saturday and am still getting used to it.  My partial bridge is just really uncomfortable and still making it hard to chew (damn thing pinches). 
I'm leaving for Ohio Tuesday morning, around 1:00am.  It's all work related and I hate the drive, but I could use the extra money I'm going to make.  Hopefully, by the time I get back (around 3am the following Monday) I should be up to making myself real food again.


June 16th Bento

-Potato Curry with Rice
-Lemon Tea Bread
-Steamed Broccoli
-Tomato with Panda Pick
-Cheese Curds
-Baby Carrots
-Milk Candy

Just a quick left-over bento.  I needed comfort food last night, so Hubs got left over spicy curry.  The tasty lemon tea bread is from my mom, she keeps making tasty things that are soft for me to eat ^-^  All together (minus my laying on the bed procrastinating) this took about 20 minutes to pack.

June 13th Bento

-Sweet Potatoes (with brown sugar and butter)
-Grape Tomatoes
-Thank You Berry Munch cookies
-2 PB&J Sammies (one with grape one with raspberry)
-Cheese Curds & String Cheese

Hubs doesn't normally work on Sundays, so I was not motivated to do this (partly because it's one of the two days a week we get to spend together).  I just wanted to do something quick, and use up those wheat rolls.  Took about 20 minutes, mostly due to lack of motivation and waiting for the sweet potatoes to cool.

On a side note, this is what I got to do yesterday!

I got to play photographer!!
All things considered, so did my sister and my mom.  This is my brothers two children (the older two) and my sister's little Bean.  My dad hinted at pictures of his grandchildren for Father's Day (and there's a set I'd like to frame and give my brother) so we all got together and made impromptu studios. 
In the first picture, those are beige sheets draped over an old radiator and the floor.  The lighting is almost all natural (I think this may be the picture I manually brightened, though).  My sister lives in an old Victorian house and the parlor windows are INCREDIBLE!  Perfect for a studio (I suggested she keep investing in different colored inexpensive sheets). 
For the second, my brother-in-law set up some hay bales for us by the barn.  My mom had the awesome idea to drape the blanket over the bumbo and press it in before setting Bean in it.  We used the same method in the first picture (but the hay picture was taken first).