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21  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Re: Across the Atlantic scarf on: July 10, 2008 11:33:42 AM
How beautiful! Its so lacey and delicate! I'm sure your friend will love it!
22  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: For Bento-enthusiasts and newbies! (kind of long) on: July 10, 2008 11:25:23 AM
Thank you for the intro! I'm starting to get into bento too. I have a lot of supplies but can't seem to get started in actually making any bentos.
I know me too! it seems so overwhelming... but if you just start out simple and work your way towards the really ornate stuff its not so bad!
23  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: For Bento-enthusiasts and newbies! (kind of long) on: July 10, 2008 11:24:15 AM
Oh I forgot to mention the tools fo the trade!

there are a lot of sites that sell bento boxes and related tools. jbox.com is one. Ebay is awesome for these kinds of things. If you are lucky enough, some asian markets sell these items.

so there are of course bento boxes. There are also onigiri shapers. Traditionally onigiri (rice ball) is shaped by hand, but its sooooo hot! your hands are red by the end of it. Onigiri shapers are great and come in a variety of shapes, not just triangles!

wiener cutters (giggle)- wiener cutters are kind of what hey sound like. You put the hotdog inside and they cut them in such a way so that after they've been cooked they look like different shapes. Some common hotdog shapes are, crabs, octotpi, flowers, prawns,etc. (many people just cut these designs by hand with a small knife)

mini soy sauce bottles- they're great! Just enough soy sauce for one meal and they fit right in the box with the food!

cocktail spike/toothpicks- cute plastic ones oftenhave characters on them.

egg shapers- I believe someone else has already posted a pick of the end result. They are soooo nifty. You peel a boiled egg while its still hot, plop it in the mold and let it cool inside. When you take it from the mold it has assumed the shape of the mold! I just bought two!

egg shapers and wiener cutters

dividers- these come in so many different shapes and styles! many people use muffin-tin cups as a more affordable options. dividers are just meant to keep the flavors of the different food from mixing.

There are tons of other tools that bento-ists use..but I'm too lazy to type them all out. If
24  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / For Bento-enthusiasts and newbies! (kind of long + now with pics!) on: July 10, 2008 11:13:11 AM
erm. Hello! Okay so I realized that there is growing interest in bento-making here is the non-asian dominated world. Since 1)I know a lot about bentos and 2)you could search forever on google for bento info and not get all the info you are looking for, I decided to put together everything I know here on craftster! So, here we go!

Bento (pronounced Ben-like the name and Toe-like the appendage) is a Japanese form of lunch making/packaging. It originates from the japanese ideal that everything you encounter in your day should be beautiful. It is called bento by women and obento by men, I believe its a gender-language thing, so you might find it referred to as obento.

there are many different forms of bento. You will see mainly regular/adult bento and kara-bento also called chara-bento. Regular-adult bento are very neat looking and nicely arranged with some shaping, but not too many frills. Kara or chara-bento are character bentos. These are those extremely cute looking bentos with animal, cartoon, etc. themes. These very simple all the way to extremely intnse works of art. Kara bentos are mainly aimed at children.

regular bento

kara bento

A lot of working-class japanese citizens in japan take the train to work. At each stop there are obento stores/shops. Each stop has its own unique bento and some are very popular!

Bento conatiners range from the disposable kind that store-bought bentos come in to cute character bento boxes to beautifully ornate laquer boxes. They can be any mixture of small, multi-tiered, wide, or single-layered.

a multi-tiered bento box showing its contents

Bentos should be prepared the morning of the day they are to be eaten. I believe this is due to the fact that the main part of any bento is the rice and Japanese rice can't go in the refrigerator. (it hardens. ew.)

Bentos are often composed of left-overs, but freshly prepared food is also a part of bento.

The bento container should be filled all the way. There should be no empty spots and you should not be able to see the bottom or too much of the sides of the container. This is for aesthetic reasons.

You might hear of bentos being balanced or not balanced. This refers to the ratios of the  food. Ideally a bento should contain 4 parts rice (I believe pasta might also suffice), 2 parts veggies, 1 part meat, and 1 part dessert/fruit. (Meat and fruit are highly expensive in Japan, thus the small proportions. I often switch it to 2 parts meat, 1 part veggies, 1 part dessert/fruit.) I have also heard of the 4:3:2:1 ration of rice to meat/fish to fruit or veggies to pickled vegetables.

Bentos are not just food to fill your belly, but also food for your soul. A mother, wife, or girlfriend (and/or men too ^.^) carefully prepares each bento to express her love.  Its a beautiful thing!

**By the way: these are all pretty much just guidelines. Rules are made to be broken. A lot of the established ideals of bento-making are based around japanese culture and their economy. (honey-dew melons cost around $100 USD ...each! amazing!) So by all means do what you will and have fun! This was in no way meant as a critique or a lecture!**

oh and btw non of these lunches were made by me....I need more practice.
25  GLASS CRAFTS / Glass Crafts: Completed Projects / Re: anthropomorphic jars :) on: July 09, 2008 02:08:58 PM
you're all wrong! I have 5 cents down that they are bronchiosauruses ( what is the plrual for that word? O.O)

Those are pretty damn cool!

I want one...or both.
26  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: Hand-Painted Posh Penguin Puzzle on: July 05, 2008 05:43:51 PM
haha. This is made of the awesome!
27  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Refreshing Japanese Milk Tea on: July 05, 2008 05:00:45 PM
Funny thing is I've been making this for months now, My husband is malaysian so they call this Teh tarik. I just bought the tapioca balls at the Asian market and plan to add them to this recipe Smiley

oooh tapioca balls...I hadn't thought of that...We have tons of them at my house already!
28  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Summer Reading Swap-Signups:Closed; Sendouts:7/30 on: July 05, 2008 02:26:04 PM
buahahaha! I am sooo lucky! My library is one of the largest in the country and its having a book sale in a week! 25 cent paperbacks and 50 cent hardcovers!...

I am so excited!

I am almost done with my first project. I'm kind of in love with it. Hope riario likes it!
29  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Refreshing Japanese Milk Tea on: July 04, 2008 03:11:43 PM
sounds yummy!!
I put milk, powder creamer, or liquid creamer in my tea sometimes... so this is definetely something i'm going to try.
(and this way.. no one else will drink my tea now!!)

have you tried flavoured teas? like maybe raspberry or green tea, etc?

oooh flavored teas...I hadn't thought of that...might be interesting ^^
30  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Refreshing Japanese Milk Tea on: July 04, 2008 09:52:57 AM
So, I am in love with Japanese milks tea. But is costs around $2.50 per individual serving bottle when I buy it from the japanese food store by me. So I decided to figure out how to make it myself!

Its really simple! See how tasy it looks:

The recipe for this nice treat is on my new blog!


Tell me what you think!

edit: sorry about the link mix-up! I didn't know the rule about blog entry links.  Embarrassed

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