Guest Post : Carrot Butterfly

Today’s guest post is written by one of my BBF (Bento Bloggers and Friends) friends.

She’s a lovely lady called Grace and she’s also from the UK! Yay UK bento makers!!

Take it away Grace 🙂

Hi, I’m Grace from Eats Amazing, and I’m delighted to feature as a guest poster on the Oh! Bento Blog today! I’m going to share a tutorial for one of my favourite edible decorations in this post; a carrot butterfly, which can be used as a cute little embellishment for a bento, or any other food. Be warned, this isn’t quite as easy as it looks, and may take several attempts to get right; I’m happy to admit that the first one I made took me 5 attempts!

All you need for this is a decent sized carrot and a sharp knife.

Start by cleaning and peeling the carrot, then trim one side so that it is flat. Cut a triangular groove into the carrot opposite the flat side, as shown below.

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Lay the flat side of the carrot on the chopping board, then cut into the carrot as if you are cutting a thin slice, but do not go all the way through.

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Make another cut next to it to slice the whole thing off. You should be left with a double slice which is joined at the bottom.

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Make two cuts all the way through your piece of carrot as shown below.

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Cut a small triangle from the other side as shown.

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Now comes the tricky part! Open out the butterfly ‘wings’ and bend up the the bottom of the antennae section until you can pop it between the wings. This should hold them open. This step is where it usually went wrong for me, so good luck!

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If you aren’t going to use the butterfly straight away, put it gently into a glass of cold water and pop it in the fridge. This will keep it fresh and also help to stiffen it up a little. When using my butterfly, I mounted it on a piece of cucumber to hold it more securely. You can do this by cutting a slit into the cucumber and gently pushing the bottom of the butterfly into it

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Here is the finished butterfly before it went into the lunchbox. You can use this in any way you can think of; it doesn’t have to be put in cucumber. You could also try using radish instead of carrot for the butterfly.

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I’d love Keith to give this a go, so here’s a little challenge for you Keith; upon your return I want to see a bento featuring a carrot or radish butterfly!

Thanks for letting me take over the blog for the day, I’ve loved being here!

Grace

Well I’ve got to say I love a challenge!! I’ll make sure to practise when I get back!! Hope I don’t let you down!!

Did you know there is a valley in Turkey called Butterfly Valley!

Don’t forget to check out Grace’s amazing blog by clicking the button below!

Keith

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Guest Post: The Refashionista Bento

Today’s guest post is written by my friend Sheri who shares one of my other passions, sewing! Take it away Sheri 🙂

Hallo from Berlin fellow Bento Fans! I’m Sheri, the Refashionista behind the Blog Awesome Sauce & Asshattery and I am thrilled to be sharing my very first bento attempt with you. As I’m a definite sewing geek I was more than a wee bit surprised when Keith proposed this fab’ guest posting opportunity but having spent 6 lovely years in Tokyo (yet having never made a bento) I figured I simply had to give it a whirl…enjoy!

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As I’m a Refashionista a clothing-themed bento was spot on (& super fun to create)!

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My quirky little upcycled bento box contains: a shirt & skirt spicy chicken salad onigiri complete with homemade furikake, Korean-style chicken strips, stir fried sesame garlic veggies & a bouquet of fresh carrot & bell pepper slices
…wait a minute…an upcycled bento box?
Yep, you read that correctly…as I had never made a bento before I was sorely lacking any kind of cool bento gear, so, being a clever little Refashionista, I created my own out of some bits I had lurking about the house. Here’s the quick how-to:

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1. Grab a standard sized (30x45cm) bamboo or heavy fabric placemat, coordinating paint, two (12x6cm) pieces of wood or thick cardboard & a glue gun.
2. Paint the wood (or cardboard) to match the placemat.
3. Lay the placemat flat. On each side measure 10cm from one end to the center & stick on your wood blocks using the hot glue gun.

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4. Apply glue to the ends of the wood & carefully fold the placemat up onto your blocks. The end of your placemat should overlap the top of the wood, simply stick it down with a dab of glue.
5. Repeat the above step to attach the placemat to the back of the wood blocks.
6. Add a simple closure by tying a bead to the front of the lid & a loop to the front of the box.

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That’s it! Go line your fancy new bento box with some plastic wrap & load it up with your delicious lunch! *A bamboo placemat combined with wood block sides is surprisingly sturdy!
A huge domo arigatou gozaimashita to Keith for suggesting I try my hand at creating a Bento! I’m definitely hooked & shall be investing in some proper gear soon!
On a side note: This weekend (Friday August 30 – Sunday September 1/2013) I’m offering absolutely free downloads of my second refashioning tutorial book, Confessions of a Refashionista: Bewitched Bedsheets! Further info & your local Amazon download link can be found here: http://awesomesauceasshattery.com/confessions-of-a-refashionista/

Wow! Now I have to admit I’m blown away!
For a first time bento this is amazing! And the fact Sheri made her own bento, lets just say I’ll be having a go at that!! Thank you Sheri!

Guest Post : Apple Bento

Today i will be going to Turkey ^.^
Some of my wonderful friends have provided some great guest posts to keep my blog going while I’m away 🙂

Today’s guest post is written by the lovely Kathy from Eclectic Lamb. Her bento is so adorable! You have to check it out below!

Take it away Kathy!


Hi, I am Kathy from Eclectic Lamb. I am so happy to guest post today for Keith! My husband and I have 9 nephews and 3 nieces ranging in age from almost 2 years to 16 years old. We live in a rural area of New York State, United States. The main focus of my blog is cute vegetarian lunches that I make for my nieces, nephews, and my husband. (Sometimes I share lunches I made for myself.) I also enjoy and share crafts and party planning.

Apple Bento

It is now apple season in my area. I enjoy going apple picking and make many fun things with the fresh apples. My 14 year old niece ate this bento. She requested the homemade mini apple pie (cradled with a Boston Lettuce leaf). I made a rice pilaf with vegetable broth, toasted almonds, and diced apple. It is garnished with an apple covered in cinnamon and a cheddar cheese apple. The broccoli is supposed to be apple trees. I cut apple skins for the apples. I was told that it was a delicious lunch.

Kathy.

See, wasn’t her lunch so cute!
Did you know that in Turkey you can get apple tea? It’s delicious!

Oh!Bento goes to Turkey!

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Yay!!! In six days I will be sat on the beautiful beach of Bitez in Turkey!

This does mean I will not be making any lunches anytime soon as I will be preparing for the holiday, but before you scoot off, there are some amazing guest posts lined up to go live while I’m away!

And so with a HUGE thank you to my bento friends who have contributed guest posts, I bid you farewell!!!

Very tasty, very quick pasta bento

I haven’t made a bento in so so long!!

I had a quick scan of the fridge and managed to come up with this.

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It contains:
• Spicy pasta.
• Cherry Tomatoes
• Corn-on-the-cob.
• Carrot and cucumber slices in chicken roll.

It was so simple, all I had to do was put the pasta on boil and stick the corn in the oven. While they were cooking I cut and rolled the carrot and cucumber in the chicken roll.

I then mixed in some chilli ketchup and chilli mayo into the pasta and packed in the box with my DIY baran.

Want to make your own baran? Here’s a tutorial.

Top 5 Back to school Rundowns!!!

As it is approaching the “Back to school” season I thought I’d do a run down of the “Top fives” to help your children eat healthy in style!

Top 5 lunch boxes / Brands

Easy Lunch Boxes – A great all round lunchbox loved by many. You don’t get to be top seller on Amazon for nothing! Check out my review here.
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Black+Blum – They have a range of lunch items and you’re bound to find at least one you love! Check out my review!
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Monbento – A fan favourite, I’m sure most bento enthusiasts dream of Monbento! Guess what, here’s a review!20130804-230428.jpg

Sistema – Sistema have a great range of lunch boxes and all at a very reasonable price! They have boxes for everything including salad boxes, noodle bowl boxes and even soup cups! Who would have guessed.. Another review! 20130804-230512.jpg

Rosti Mepal – While they may not have a large range they do have a few great lunch boxes! Bright, eye catching colours and a bold, sturdy design make Rosti Mepal a firm favourite of mine.20130804-230548.jpg

Other great lunch boxes / brands include: Valira, Aladdin, Muji, Paperchase.

Top 5 accessories

CuteZCute – A great versatile cutter with four face patterns that can be used to cut bread, sliced meat and cheese. And while there are only four faces that doesn’t mean there are only four designs you can make! Here is my review!20130804-230633.jpg

• Egg Moulds – Egg moulds come in a variety of shapes and are a great way to instantly add a decorative element with little preparation. Here’s a review of the Egg Cuber!20130804-230712.jpg

• Bento Picks – Possibly the easiest way to jazz up a lunch. Sticking a food pick in a tomato equals instant colour and fun. They also allow you to make tiny vegetable kebab!20130804-230753.jpg

• Bun cases / Cupcake liners – Some children don’t like certain foods to touch and even adults wouldn’t like their curry touching their desert. Cupcake liners add colour while keeping foods separate.20130804-230842.jpg

• Cookie cutters – I’m sure most people have cookie cutters meaning these may be the most accessible bento accessory. Use themed cutters to make tiny themed sandwiches! Cookie cutters come in many designs giving almost endless possibilities! 20130804-230920.jpg

Other accessories include FunBites, Baran, Ice packs, nori punches.

Top 5 Hints and Tips

• Vegetable medleys are life savers! You can buy frozen vegetable medleys from most places and if you don’t like frozen vegetables it is extremely easy to make your own. Just cut the vegetables into very small chunks. It can be added to rice, served as its own side dish or even used to just fill spaces while adding extra nutrients.

• Focus on packing healthy lunches but don’t worry too much about the look. After all a healthy, varied lunch with always be colourful and look great!

• Use leftovers! A great thing about bento is that you can use leftovers, that tiny bit of spaghetti bolognese that’s too small a portion to have as a full meal can be packed into a bento with some mixed salad and et voila! A healthy meal with no waste!

• Bento should be fun! If you’re packing lunch for your child, get them involved! Ask what they would like, let them cut out their own tiny sandwiches with their favourite cookie cutter.
If you’re packing the lunch for yourself, pack your favourite food and maybe even make a design that will make you smile when you open the lunch box later!

• Bento boxes may seem small but you would be surprised how much can be packed into them! A great way to practice is to make a lunch out of side dishes and some rice, put them on a plate using your general portion size and then try to pack it into a bento. And remember, really squeeze the food in there so it doesn’t shift around!

Top 5 Bento Shops

Casabento – Casabento has a huge selection of lunch boxes and accessories. They are based in France so are great for European customers! The delivery cost includes any custom charges which is a major bonus!!

All Things For Sale – ATFS has a massive selection of all things bento, which includes stuff I haven’t seen elsewhere! Combine this with the fact it is run by a wonderful lady and you can’t go wrong ordering from ATFS!

Bento&co – Bento&co also have a large selection of lunch items which extends to bento books and magazines for ideas and recipes!

Akazuki – Akazuki (Red Moon) has a great selection of bento boxes and accessories. They also have lots of other awesome Japanese items for around the house!

• eBay / Amazon / Etsy – Ok so this is a major cop out but these sites can’t be overlooked! Type “bento” or “lunch box” into either and you will be greeted by many a great item!

Don’t forget to check local shops, I’ve found lots of bento items in places I’d never expect!!

So they’re you have it, some basic run downs. If there is anything more you’d like to know just leave a comment and I’ll try my best to help you out 🙂

And it’s my first blogiversary!!!! Happy blogiversary to me!!!
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I can’t believe it’s been a year! I’ve made some great friends through my blog and here’s to many more!