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Gingerbread Man Bento (420)

Last night I was jotting down ideas for this month’s bento and decided on a poinsettia bento for today, but then the kids started drawing (after flinging about 200 crayons all over the living room) too and Baby Girl drew a gingerbread man and started saying, “Run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!” This made me want to start sketching a gingerbread man bento, both as a children’s tale and a Christmas theme. I’ll use today’s bento as an example of why bento sketching can be such a great benefit for serious decoben makers out there.

Gingerbread Man Bento

The gingerbread man didn’t come out as smooth as I’d wanted, but I guess that’s just what happens when you use brown rice. As you can see, I’m trying to do a little more with props and if you keep reading, I’ve got a pic of some of the Christmas props I’ve bought for bento backgrounds so far.

Before that though, back to the topic of sketching. A couple years ago, my art triumphs were limited to being able to draw on the Etch-A-Sketch and have the kids recognize the apples and funny looking cars I drew. I took art in intermediate school, but usually everything decent I did in the way of drawing was from completely copying something else. My bento sketches are pretty crappy looking, with me needing to label everything with words so that I can even understand what it was I mean that little lump to be.

Gingerbread Sketch

During the big bento project I’d talked about a couple months back, I started to put a lot more effort into my sketches and the above is one done in my “new” way of sketching. I start off with pencil and carefully get all the lines down, erasing the really bad ones. Eventually, I go back over with a black pen and then erase all the pencil marks. If I’m feeling particularly artistic, like last night, I’ll color it with crayons or pencils. These sketches are pretty time consuming, but make for really good “I’m freaking bored out of my mind” time fillers but the other benefit I’ve found is that I’m much more likely to follow through with the bento afterward. It starts to feel like a real waste if I don’t. The best part is that I finally found something I can draw decently and I can finally add something to my Deviantart!

It’s also a great way to set your bento plan, something that’s vital for cutting down the time it takes to make a bento.

That being said, the final bento ended up turning out slightly different. For one, I used a bigger box than I’d originally planned, so I tried to make the onigiri bigger too and ended up with a rather tall man instead of the short and stout guy I drew. His buttons are made from thin slices of red bell pepper cut out with a thick straw, his face is made of nori, and his nose is cut from a tiny slice of cooked baby carrot that I cut with a squeezed straw.

Gingerbread Man Bento Closeup

I surrounded him with broccoli that I brought from Grandma J’s house, then put in 3 halves of cream corn croquette that I fried as soon as I got up. On the sides are two pieces of “Christmas Tamagoyaki”. There isn’t much to it, but I’ll jot it down for people anyway:

Christmas Tamagoyaki

  • 1 egg
  • small piece red bell pepper
  • 6-10 edamame beans, skins removed
  • 1/4 tsp dashi granules
  • 1 tsp water
  • dash of salt

1. Mince the bell pepper.
2. Mince the edamame beans. By beans I mean the actual beans after you take them out of the pods. Peel the outer skin off the beans first before chopping. Add bell pepper and beans to a small bowl.
3. Dilute the dashi in the water and add to bowl. Season lightly with salt.
4. Add egg and scramble well, adding a dash of soy sauce if desired.
5. Heat tamagoyaki pan (or skillet) on medium low heat and add olive oil, using a small piece of paper towel to spread it around evenly.
6. Add egg and roll when top is almost cooked through.

With only one egg, you probably won’t need to do more than one pour of mixture, I know I didn’t. You can use anything red or green, like broccoli tops, green beans, or imitation crab. I use this tamagoyaki panfor my egg rolls and it turns out beautifully as long as I don’t insult it by adding egg substitute.

I made this last night and let it chill in the fridge overnight in some saran wrap. This morning, I overboiled the Snowman pasta (from The Pasta Shoppe) and when I wasn’t looking, Buddy came and touched them all, making some of the nicer ones fall apart. *sob* I managed to salvage 2 snowflakes and a snowman. To add more red, I put in another halved shriveled tomato. Cutting your old tomatoes in half is a great way to mask their age, provided you’re willing to eat them in that state.

This bento probably would have looked a lot better if I’d had some green leaf lettuce on hand, but all I had was romaine and I find it to be EXTREMELY frustrating to work with if you only have hearts. Always go with green or red leaf lettuce for bento lining, otherwise you end up with uneven, strange lettuce lining like mine. Green leaf lettuce has beautiful ruffles and the rib isn’t as gigantic as romaine. The bento box I’m using is a red Hello Kitty one that I bought in October and forgot about until it almost hit me in the face while I was trying to pick a box. Yesterday I suffered a bento box avalanche and today was no different. My collection is really out of control……..

Anyway, what good is a bento about the wily Gingerbread Man if there isn’t someone there to chomp him up in the end?

Gingerbread Man Bento Buddy

I was setting everything up with Buddy watching and he said he wanted to be in my bento photo, so I lined up his face, told him to make like he was going to eat it, and snapped away. He actually took the first bento photo, since I was using my new wireless remote.

The background I’m using today is actually my tree skirt, which is made from the same material as Santa hats. I’m loving how it looks and so I may have to make my tree have a plastic skirt this year, mwahahaha!

Christmas Props

I got all of these things (except the doily) at Price Busters. The stockings were only 99 cents and the fake flower stuff was only a couple bucks too. The little globe was maybe 2 dollars. But the moose. Oh man I was pissed. My total came out to be a lot more than I’d thought, so I checked the receipt as I was leaving and was surprised to find that the bag of 12 moose was 9 bucks. Oh well, they’re still cheap, but only four were unique, so the rest were given to the house animals (the kids).


The Santa moose is my favorite. 🙂