The Ghosts of Quail Egg Past
Now that I’ve got Bento 400 and my contest entry out of the way, I can get started on Halloween themed bentos. Ever since I got this cute postcard from the kids’ dentist with little Halloween drawings on it, I’ve wanted to do some spooky bentos. Keep your eyes here for some great Halloween bento ideas for your kids!
To start, I have a bento with three little quail egg ghosts with sweet potato tombstones. I’ll also be doing a product review sponsored by J-List on one of their new Gel-Cool bento boxes. J-List carries several types of Gel Cool boxes, but this particular one is their polar bear one from the Maruyama Zoo. Buying one means money will be directed to protecting polar bears in the wild.
I started this by boiling three quail eggs. I peeled them and cut them in half, putting them tip side down so that my ghosts didn’t have pointy heads. I used my mini Carla Craft punches to make the faces from nori and then cut the jagged bottoms. Mr. Pikko said that I should dye them next time and make a Pac-Man bento. Not a bad idea!
I put the rice in first, then some leftover Beef Tofu that Grandma J made. In the upper left corner I put some broccoli, a baby roma tomato sliced in half, sugar snap peas, and a blanched baby carrot cut in half. To put some “dirt” in my rice graveyard I added some Katsuo Mirin furikake.
For the tombstones, I used Okinawan sweet potato. I cut them into rectangles, then cut off a piece of a very fat straw. I cut this piece of straw open so that I could stretch it out and that’s what I used to cut the curvy top. I placed little alphabet pasta letters on for the words. As a final touch, I put two leaf pasta on the broccoli.
The bento box is a 250 gram size (400 mL), but the cover, which contains a gel cool pack in it, is rather fat, so I don’t know if they took this into account when determining the size. It came with a divider which I quickly lost in my sea of bento box dividers. I’ll put together a search party some other time. The lid snaps on from the bottom with two clips on the ends. There is also a smaller 150 gram box available, which might be a better size for my little picky eater on her next field trip.
I ended up putting too much food in and had to cover my little ghosts with plastic wrap before squishing them down with the lid. I stored it in the fridge overnight and took it out just before we left the house. I opened up the box two hours after removal from the fridge and my ghosts, tombstones, and broccoli were all still very cool to the touch. Since Baby Girl would eat lunch at about 3.5 hours past leaving the house, I’d guess that the food would still be slightly cool, but not so cold that you wouldn’t like it if you don’t like eating cold food. My little 2-hour mark test left me pretty satisfied that her food would be safe to eat without a separate ice pack. J-List says that the box is microwave safe without the lid.
The catch here though, is that you need to have the entire bento cold when you take it out. I tested this out on a box of soba noodles where all I did was freeze the lid and added my ice-chilled noodles and popped the lid on. At the four hour mark, the noodles were not cold at all, maybe even a little warm. Therefore, for the best results, pack your bento in this box the night before and store the entire thing in the fridge, removing it only just as you’re leaving the house.
I’m not all that into the box cover design. I wish they’d drawn the outline of the bear’s head instead of just putting the face on the cover. The box costs a rather hefty $28.90, so unless you really want to help polar bears and like the cover, I’d look into the other Gel Cool boxes available such as the slightly smaller plain white box ($25.00) or the large two-tier box ($45.00). The two tier box is really pricey, but comes with two 500 mL boxes for a total of 1000 mL, so this might be a great box for a guy, especially since it’s white and blue.
I have another piece of cool news! My Miss Octopus bento entry at bentolunch was included in the LiveJournal Anthology! I got the book yesterday and was very excited to see that I’m one of four bento lunches featured in their bento section on page 32!
The book is printed by Blurb, a site where you can self publish photo books and what not. I had thought about doing a coffee table book of my blog photos, but since I could only look at the stats of the book online, I wasn’t sure. After getting in this lovely book that LiveJournal was kind enough to give me in exchange for permission to use the photo, I’m definitely going to look into doing that. The print quality is beautiful and the book cover was very nice. You can’t see in this photo, but one additional bento not featured inside was used in the little collage of photos.
In this photo, you can see my bento and my entry. On the opposite page, you can see a bento by jewelmaker, who entered that bento in my 200K Bento Contest earlier this year. One more photo, where you can see my LJ username, pikkopots:
Eee, so happy!! I remember when I first got into bento, bentolunch was the community I loved browsing through the most. Right now, it’s basically the only one I post in anymore, so to be able to represent bentolunch in LJ’s anthology is a real thrill. 🙂