DIY BENTO PICKS/CUPCAKE TOPPERS AND TUTORIAL #2

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I’m sure you know by now that I love making my own things. I will try my hand at making almost anything but clothing and bento goodies are my favourites.

I have already made a Bento pick tutorial post and a DIY baran tutorial, but it’s about time I did another DIY bento pick tutorial.

This time I got the amazing idea to use ShrinkyDink (the pack I bought was called Shrinkles) from Licious Lunches

Onto the tutorial

First draw a circle around 2 inches across ( or 6.28″ circumference) and add a 2″ long, 1/2 an inch thick “stick” with a point at the end.

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Then trace this onto the sheets. I managed to get 12 onto one, just slightly smaller than, a4 sheet.
In my set was 6 sheets and cost me £4.95. That’s 72 bento picks for less than £5. Not bad aye!

Cut out the shapes and then draw whatever you want onto the rough side. Or you can cheat like me and trace 🙂

When you’re happy with the designs put them smooth side down in a baking tray lined with foil and put into the oven.
I put mine at the bottom of the oven and left for around 4/5 minutes but times may vary.

Once they have laid flat (or as flat as possible) remove them quickly from the oven, lift out the foil and place a heavy book on top of the picks to flatten them out and stop them from curling while cooling.

Et voila.

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Mine came out with the circle being about the size of a 20p piece.

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Oh!Bento’s New Year Top 5 rundowns!!

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I cannot believe that a whole year has passed since I last did a New Years Top 5 rundown post!

But here it is again! The time for new beginnings, making plans and resolutions.

So to start off I want to say a huge thank you to all of my followers, those who read my blog and my great big bento family.

Onto the rundowns!!

My Top 5 Favourite bento

1. Lumpy Space Princess

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2. Vegetarian Bento20131230-234257.jpg

3. Fajita Bento
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4. Winnie The Phantom Bento

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5. Pink Bento20131231-000405.jpg

>My Top 5 Favourite lunchbox designs

1. Black+Blum Sandwich on board

2. Monbento Original

3. Easy Lunch Boxes

4. Rosti Mepal

5. Frozzypack

This post is a lot shorter than I thought it would be, mainly because I remembered I did a large rundown a few months back! Sooo if you want to check out the Top 5 tools, brands, stores & hints and tips click here.

How to make Tsukemono (Instant Pickles)

One of my favourite side dishes, for bento and other meals too, is tsukemono or instant pickles. This is not the kind of pickle you spread in sandwiches with meat but the sort akin to pickled eggs but with vegetables.

Below are two methods in which Tsukemono can be made

Press-less method

This tutorial uses a cucumber for demonstration purposes but you can use almost any vegetable using the same principles.

Step 1:

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Cut lengthwise through the centre of the cucumber, the cut should be 2 inch deep per person. So for 3 people the cut should be 6 inch deep.

Step 2:

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Cut the cucumber into thin rounds, the cut through the middle makes the cucumber into crescents.

Step 3:

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Using about 1/4 teaspoon of salt per 2 inch, massage the cucumber with the salt until limp.

Step 4:

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Put into a freezer bag and shake up the cucumber to make sure the cucumber is evenly coated in salt. Now put the freezer bag in the fridge and leave for at least 15 minutes. Instant vegetables taste best if left overnight.

Pressed Method

Follow previous method but instead of putting the pickles in the fridge in a freezer bag you can use a press to further extract more liquid making the pickles better.

You can purchase Japanese pickle presses online but they can be quite expensive, a great alternative if you only want to make small batches is the Eddington’s Egg Cuber.

You simply put the pickles in the body of the Egg Cuber and screw on the lid pressing the pickles and releasing it’s own pickling liquid.

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Then put the Egg Cubers in a bowl/tub and put in the fridge.

TIP!!

The salty juice left from the instant pickles makes a great tangy salad dressing!

Bento Box Alternative: Moon Dough

Today while our shopping I found this:

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It’s Moon Dough! Now I’m not bothered about the actual Moon Dough but rather the box. I really liked the shape of the box and for 99p from Home Bargains I thought I’d take the jump and buy it.

This box will make a great and cheap alternative to expensive bento boxes. It has a snap on lid that feels quite secure. Obviously this box isn’t meant for food so it may be wise to use bun cases etc so that your food doesn’t touch the box itself. Also I very much doubt this box would survive in a dishwasher so hand washing would be best.

Either way a very cool, 300ml bento box for less than a pound, I’m not going to complain!

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Bento Tip #4 : Ice Cream Bento Box Alternative

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What can you do if you’ve just gotten into bento making but you have yet to buy a bento box or maybe you just want a larger bento box but don’t want to spend £20+ on a lunch box?

I’m sure everyone has had ice cream, so why not repurpose the ice cream tub as a bento?

The kind of box you’ll want to use is the oval type of box made of plastic. A cardboard tub is probably not going to work.

All I did was scratch off the labels, this would be made easier and neater by using sandpaper.

If you do this you will have a large bento box for the price and joy of a tub of ice cream ( My tub was 900ml, the size of most large bento boxes). You may need a band to keep it together although most have tight fitting lids so should be fine if kept upright.

Bento Tip #3 : Sandwich Rolls

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So you’ve seen looking at bento and you want to try it for your child/ loved one but you don’t have the tools or mate they’re picky and refuse to eat anything but sandwiches, what can you do?!

Sandwich Rolls!
They’re a simple way to make sandwiches more bento friendly, you’ll want to start with bread that’s fluffy and not too thick, putting the bread in the microwave ( turned on ) for a few seconds will make the rolling easier.

Then simply put the filling on top of the roll, leave a little, tiny gap around the edges then cut off the crusts.

Roll the bread and filling like you would roll a newspaper and et voila you have a sandwich roll. Now cut into halves of thirds, depending in the hight of your bento box.

This is also a great way to get more than one sandwich in a box 🙂

(please excuse the sorry state of my rolls but this is the first time I’ve done it and warm bread + chocolate spread = runny mush )

Bento tip #2 : bento veg!

For all those people who worry about buying fresh vegetables for their bento… STOP!

If you want a variety of vegetables in your bento but don’t want to keep spending multiple pounds every day or two there is a very simple solution!

Iceland! Now I know Iceland has had some bad press but in all honesty their frozen vegetables are amazing!

You can buy huge bags of frozen veg, including but not restricted to; peas, mixed oriental vegetables, floret mix and mixed roasting vegetables. These start at £1 and the most I’ve seen is £2.

£2 for a bag of veg that can last months? bargain!

Also Iceland have a great range of “party food” which are great for bento as they are essentially tiny versions of normal food!!