kids

Opposing cut or chigai-giri: The easiest ever decorative cutting technique for bananas, cucumbers and more

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A couple of people asked about the twist-cut banana slices that were tucked into a corner of the scotch egg bento. This is actually a very simple decorative cutting technique that can be done in a couple of minutes, even if you are a beginner. I learned how to do this cut back in my first year of middle school (7th grade in U.S. school terms, or when I was 12-13) in home economics class. It’s usually called chigai giri (違い切り) or ‘opposing cut’ in Japanese. I also call it the ‘twist cut’, since the business end of the cut looks twisted to me.

There’s more than one way to do this cut, but here’s the way I learned how to do it. It still works best for me. continue reading...

Bento box spotlight: The Goodbyn lunchbox

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When I saw this unusual looking lunchbox via the delicious bento tag stream, my first thought was, “Wow, that looks so cool”. The Goodbyn™ Lunchbox is a one-piece, molded plastic container with fitted lid, that looks like an odd/cute (or in anime parlance, kimo kawaii) space alien or animal. continue reading...

Fun with Japanese egg molds

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Something fun from the archives, in keeping with Easter. Incidentally, I haven’t been able to update Just Bento this week due to a sudden change of plans, but I’ll be back next week with frugal bento recipes and more. So until then…enjoy your weekend!

Egg molds are a fairly easy way to add some cuteness to a bento box. They are meant for kids’ bentos, but there’s nothing to stop you from using them for yourself of course. I usually can’t be bothered to make molded eggs for everyday bentos, but for picnics and parties they are quite a lot of fun.

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Egg molds are offered by various online sources such as J-List and eBay merchants (see the left sidebar for some listings), as well as at 100 yen stores. There are two types of egg molds: one has a simple clamshell shape with a fastener, and the other has a inner half-shell. You can use the latter kind without the inner half-shell too. Either way, be sure you get one that has the clamshell shape and the closing fastener - these features are what make an egg mold work properly. continue reading...

Apple Bunnies and More: Decorative Apple Cutting Techniques

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Apples are such great fruit - available almost any time of the year, inexpensive, and handy. While simple apple slices or even a whole apple are welcome additions to a bento box, if you just spend a few minutes cutting the pieces in decorative ways, they can really perk up your bentoscape, as Tracy showed us in the last post.

We sort of grow up in Japan knowing how to do some fairly simple apple cutting techniques. (Or at least, I remember my mother and aunties doing this sort of thing when I was little.) Here are some that you could use, from the basic to the more complicated. continue reading...

Get Started Bento Challenge: Week 4

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Welcome to Week 4 of the 5 week Getting Started Bento Challenge! This week’s focus is: Making bentos for others. continue reading...

Quick tip: Easy cute bento components with stickers

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No patience or time to make cute bentos? How about using stickers? continue reading...

Bento no. 52: Special Occasion Omuraisu (Omurice) Bento

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Bento contents:

  • Fried rice made with 2/3 cup brown rice and assorted chopped vegetables, 250 cal
  • 1 1/2 wiener sausages, 200 cal
  • Omelette made with 2 eggs, 230 cal
  • Broccoli, 20 cal

Total calories (approx): 700 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 20-30 minutes

Type: Japanese, kyaraben-ish, special occasion bento! continue reading...

All natural vegetable based green, pink and orange rice

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Previously, I showed you how to make orange colored carrot rice. The make-in-a-few minutes microwave method was especially popular. So, here’s how to make pink (or purple) and green colored rice just as easily. The best thing about them is that they are colored just with vegetables - no hard to pronounce ingredients in sight.

I’ve used white rice for color clarity, but you could use regular or sprouted brown rice instead. I used leftover rice from the night before; you could also use defrosted frozen rice. continue reading...