Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to School Bento Basics & Blooming Bento

If you asked me for a tip about packing bento lunches, I'd probably tell you ...
You don't need to spend a lot on bento tools & accessories - spend some time playing around with what you have on hand first! You may discover you already have more bento-worthy tools than you thought - and the most important tools - your creativity & ingenuity - are free ♥ 

But I know you want the fun bento stuff anyways, so be sure to do the Bento Bloggers & Friends Bento Basics Giveaway Blog Hop! 

I skipped the bento picks & went back to basics to make this simple flower-filled EasyLunchboxes bento. I made the cheese sandwich flowers with a cookie cutter from the Wilton 101 Cookie Cutters set I've had since I began making bento.  I've gotten so much use from this set! It has the complete alphabet, numbers, animals, vehicles, sports, seasonal & holiday shapes, flowers, hearts, stars, & more... a little of everything. I also cut some carrot blossoms, arranged grapes in a flower design, & filled a Tupperware Smidget with candy-coated chocolate sunflower seeds for a colourful treat:


The small blossoms are organic rainbow carrots! They came in a bundle with the usual orange carrots, plus yellow & purple ones (which have gold centers!) They're so pretty  They all taste pretty much the same to me though, I don't think I'd be able to tell them apart in a taste test :) To make the carrot blossoms, I sliced a couple of rounds from the end of each carrot & cut it into a flower shape with a vegetable cutter.

 

To make the grape flower I arranged a few on their sides in a silicone baking cup, nestled one in the center of them, & filled the surrounding space with grapes of another colour. Cherry or grape tomatoes work well too :)


Before I put the lid on the EasyLunchbox, I added a colourful cloth napkin to the main compartment. Tip: use a cloth napkin to fill space & keep food from shifting. Lastly, I tucked in colourful Lunchbox Love note, to brighten my sproutlet's lunch & day :) And I did remember to put the lid on the Smidget!


Most of the stuff I used to make this lunch: 
 

      

So, going back to my beginner to bento tip...  to help you get started building your bento toolbox from what's already in your kitchen, I've made a list of items that come to mind :)

Bento Tools & Accessories Already In Your Kitchen!
  • A sharp paring knife is all you need to make striped cucumbers, checkered apples, & carrot stars.
  • Drinking straws can be used to cut out tiny circles, ovals, & crescents for details & features.
  • Tweezers are handy for placing tiny details where they go. 
  • Cookie cutters can be used to cut sandwiches, cheese, lunch meat, & some fruits & veggies.
  • Cookie stamps can be used to make impressions in bread, and even some fruits, like watermelon.
  • Cupcake picks make awesome bento decorations! Save some from all the parties you give & go to :)
  • A melon baller makes fun fruit shapes, & tiny rice balls (onigiri).
  • Vegetable crinkle cutters can be used for more than veggies :)
  • An empanada (dumpling) press makes fun filled mini-sandwiches.
  • Cocktail picks & drink stirrers make great skewers.
  • Bottle caps & medicine cups do double duty as circle cutters.
  • Play dough cutters & accessories make brilliant bento tools! 

I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting, too. So while all those cute bento picks & themed cutter sets are fun to collect & use, you can take your time acquiring them while you use what you have. As you develop your skills & discover your style, it'll be easier to decide which items you really want  :)

      

And hey, maybe you'll be a winner in the Bento Bloggers & Friends Back To School Bento Basics Giveaway ... the Grand Prize is a $70 gift voucher to BentoUSA ... what a bento shopping spree that would be!

Even if you don't win a prize, you'll get valuable tips from the Bento Bloggers & Friends that will make the blog hop worth your while - it'll be a bento learning experience :) Now, pay attention, here's how to enter: 

Take note of the letter & number on the blackboard puzzle piece below. Next, click the button beside it to hop to Lunches Fit for A Kid to see what tips Astrid has for you & get the next piece in the puzzle. Keep hopping & collecting puzzle pieces until you get to the Bento Bloggers & Friends blog, where you can enter the Giveaway! You'll need to put all your puzzle pieces in numerical order to spell the answer to a mandatory question in the Rafflecopter widget, then follow the instructions there to get more entries. Good luck!

Take note of the letter & number!    
More details about prizes & stuff in the Bento Bloggers & Friends blog post. Now go! Hop!

6 comments:

  1. Love your colorful rainbow organic carrots. Amazing produce and cute lunch!

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  2. Beautiful blooms! Love the tips too - never thought of using a melon baller for rice :-)

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  3. Awesome! Great Tips, I'm just starting out with Bento Boxes. My youngest is an Aspie and won't touch anything that isn't crunchy, I'm hoping to inspire him to try.

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  4. I keep seeing these carrots in people's lunches and I'm so envious! Are they from Trader Joe's? I'm planning a trip there this weekend and I hope to find them!

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    Replies
    1. I got these at our local commissary, and though I've seen them online, it's the first time I've found them locally!

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