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Love is in the Bento (307 & 308)

Last night as I was giving the kids a bath, a small roach jumped down from the ceiling and viciously attacked us. I am extremely afraid of roaches, so my first instinct was to shriek to the heavens and call for Mr. Pikko. In the midst of my screaming, which Mr. Pikko insists went on for several seconds (um, no), I recognized that it was actually pretty small and really nothing to be afraid of (about 1/2 an inch). Unfortunately, I scared the ever-living crap out of Baby Girl and Buddy. The two of them flew out of the tub covered in suds and crying while Mr. Pikko ran down the hallway to rescue us from what his mind judged to be, by my screaming, a rat.

We’ve never, ever had a rat or a mouse or anything larger than a big roach in our house, but according to him my scream was one of sheer terror, “as if the wall had opened up and a demon was coming out” (his words), so after his brain discarded the notion that it might be a mouse, he arrived in the bathroom expecting a big disgusting rat. You can imagine his reaction when he saw the roach.

That thing had fangs and red eyes, I swear.

I made two bentos this morning for Valentine’s Day, one for me and one for Mr. Pikko.

You're Mine Bento

I’ve been such a good girl lately, doing a lot of prep work at night to make things easier in the morning. The biggest help for me has been the sketching. I had never realized just how much time I take designing a lunch in the morning. Having a firm idea of what I want cuts down on so much time for me.

I cooked two cups of rice last night with 6 drops of red food coloring. This means I have red rice left over, but I have a use for it, so this is fine. I didn’t want to cook one cup and then run out, so I was playing it safe. I also marinated some chicken thighs in a ready-made miso BBQ sauce that I found at Don Quijote.

Unfortunately, I have no bentorials because I forgot my camera at Grandma J’s house last night. I was so freaking mad at myself this morning. I remember looking at the camera on her piano thinking, “I better not forget that.” My self-cussing woke Mr. Pikko up since he’d fallen asleep on the floor next to my purse. He told me to use his cell phone and my goodness, it’s a good thing I did. His cell phone takes much better pictures than I thought it would!

I cut the chicken thighs into small bite size pieces and fried it in some olive oil. After adding green leaf lettuce, the two heart onigiri went into the center of the bento. I then added the chicken pieces to the top left area and alternating broccoli and cauliflower along the bottom. I sliced two strawberries in half and tucked them in the top right corner. After that, I cut some fish sausage hearts out and put them over the veggies.  For the lettering, I didn’t have time to use my QuicKutz, so I decided to try freestyle cutting them by hand. I was pretty surprised at how evenly sized they came out.

I was going to put the usual “Be Mine” message but then I thought, wait a tic, we’re married. So, I changed it to “You Are Mine” for some humor. I think he liked it. He seemed really happy I made him lunch, so yay!

Ume Hearts Bento

I’m not sure I’m going to be able to accurately describe how I made my own bento without a photo. I love ume maki, so I took some of the pink rice and mixed it up with a lot of ume paste. I took a white sheet of soy paperin a half sheet, which was already in the perfect rectangle size I needed. The wrappers also come in a full sheet size. This item is probably like gold for people who hate eating nori, but love sushi. The wrappers are made by Yama Moto Yama.

Leaving a space in the middle, I piled up lines of the rice on two sides, leaving a little empty space on the edges. I then folded each side in to the middle. It didn’t look like a heart yet, that came later. I cut the roll into pieces and then before putting each piece into the box, I pinched the bottom and rounded out the two tops to make the heart shape. The paper wasn’t as flush against the rice as I’d hoped it would be, but it still turned out okay. I added the chicken, veggies, and strawberries after that, then topped the veggies with hearts, just like in Mr. Pikko’s.

I’d thought about doing a scary ass bento for Mr. Pikko for Friday the 13th, but decided I felt more lovey than scary. People always tell me my food is too cute or pretty to eat, but I’d have a much harder time eating food that was giving me the willies. Roach bentos are something I’ll never do, that’s for sure.

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  • Darqflame

    I am still hoping for a scary/bloody one!

  • koolchicken

    I was wondering where you buy your soy paper. Can you get it at Foodland or Big Save? Or do you buy it from Amazon?

    I’ve tried buying food from them (gluten free drink mixes and cookies) and they said they wouldn’t ship food to Kauai. Will they ship to Oahu, I’m going there in a week and could have it sent to the hotel!

    Also I read that some of the colors are gluten free and some aren’t. Are they all mixed in the same envelope, or are they packaged seperatly?

    Thanks so much!

  • I got the soy wrappers at Nijiya Market at Puck’s Alley. They have it in their nori section. The papers are all stacked together, but I don’t know about the gluten content on them. I believe there are ingredients for each sheet on the package.

  • koolchicken

    Thank you so much, I can’t wait to go! My BF and I were just talking yesterday about how we should really start going to Oahu maybe once a month to shop. I know the flights can be expensive, but It’s cheaper than going to CA for a bottle of GF soy sauce (the only kind available to me here is $7-8 for a piddly 12oz. bottle). And mailing them didn’t go so well. ;]

  • I actually can buy soy paper here! I’ve used it a few times, and really have had a great result.

    I cannot believe that those are cell phone pictures! Great guy to keep around! If nothing else, he has a great phone! XD

  • Moontaj

    Love your Valentine bentos! At first I thought the little pink hearts were the little sugar ones (the ones with messages on ’em) and thought eww…they’re gonna melt. Totally amazed at the fish saussage stuff, I need to try it someday.

  • Very cute site. Nice pictures.

  • Ooh, those both look good and tasty. The “you are mine” one is the best Valentine’s Day bento I have ever seen. >^_^< .

  • val ahina

    What kind of nori do you use to cut your letters.
    I have a quikutz die cut stored away…finally a use for it to cut nori letters…will it work with different shapes?

  • I use nori from Costco, but I folded in a couple times so that it would be thick and cut well. I think I’ve tried shapes, but don’t remember. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.