Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My First Bento...Tightwad American style

I found out about Bento a few weeks ago. Remember my shameless plug for a contest? I didn't win. But I did spend some time learning about Bento. In my past life, before three additional kids, I created wedding cakes. Bento cannot be compared to cakes, but some of the tools and creativity overlap.
Since I didn't win any bento supplies, I had to start a Bento hunt, tightwad style. I raided my kitchen drawers and the playdo box, it held about 20 years of cookie cutters, rock hard playdo and gouging tools.

Then I did what every tightwad does when they begin a quest for more information. I checked out amazon.com. I decided not to part with the bucks. I ordered the book from my local inter-library loan. After an interesting discussion with the volunteer at my library, I was able to peel the book away from him. He will parting with the bucks and ordering it from Amazon for his daughter-in-law, who lives in Japan.

I took notes. I knew LittleGuy was not going to eat seaweed, kimchi or any other oddly textured vegetable that I could not pronounce. After I created my list of ideas stolen gleaned from this adorable little book, I planned on spicing up his lunches. 

First I needed cute containers. I searched the web for bento boxes. My zeal for Bento started to fizzle. He already owns a great lunch box, I cannot possibly buy a custom one for anywhere from 9 to 60 dollars. 
Pottery Barn for Kids did carry a really cute inexpensive one for only $9. Thankfully, they were out of stock until October. That just saved me $9. By then Bento would have been a lost word in my vocabulary.

I had to do it soon.

Hmmmm... I need a new plan.

Here comes the song...........Don't you just love a bargain?  
Yes, I found myself in the Christmas Tree Shop scouring the aisles for all things Bento, after a tip from my buddy Christina, who already serves pretty food to her boys.
I was excited to find a plain 2 tier container for a mere $1.29. 
It could hold a sandwich and it had 3 different compartments. 

Tightwad Wisdom Quote # 573...When something costs less
 than the price of a cup of coffee, unless you are at a thrift shop, chances are it is not worth much.
 I ignored my urge to rip open the package and really check it out. 
I bought two.
Bento here I come!

I assembled my tools. Note the wax paper at the top. I showed the Gman my new Bento box. He said "What about the BPA's?" You know the plastic strong chemical off gases that poison our kids? I smelled the box, they were probably there. I'll fix that, I put the box in the dishwasher. The smell faded a little, the box warped some more. I decided to line the box with wax paper. I must protect LittleGuy from the chemicals.

Inside of my warped box was a peanut-butter and ricemello fluff sandwich, two carrots, a homemade  chocolate cookie(Feingold approved), Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, and  English cucumber slices.

This is the Bento before I closed it. I am going to have to work on stuffing them or finding fillers. I did show LittleGuy what it is supposed to look like.  After I had shut it and reopened it, this is what it looked like.

 I had cut the monster's smile from a cucumber slice and used a straw to cut the eyes out. This left me with a small alien face, I tried him on the cookie, not so cute. 

 I tucked him in with the two dinosaurs.

My quick take on Bento. Yes, I will keep working on it. No, it doesn't take too long to pack. I spent about 10 minutes making and taking the pictures. But I may remain a rookie for a while and I am o.k. with that.
 After all, I am accidental homeschooling mom. 

Failures challenge me. 
How about you?
Have you tried something new lately?

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at accidentallyhomeschooling@gmail.com.


Kelly Polizzi said...

awesome. you did a great job. I love the christmas tree shop. I went there too the other day and got a few bits for bento-ing. So addictive! lol

Unknown said...

Great photos! This looks like fun. Little Guy's lunches are going to be the talk of the cafeteria....all the kids will want them. You may loose some of your popularity with the other moms over this, Terri, but keep it up. What a great way to show your love. LIttle Guy will remember and appreciate this....when he is older.
Can I have that book after you are done with it?

Anonymous said...

As soon as I read the words "chocolate cookie(Feingold approved)" it's like there was a neon sign in front of my face that read "You have to comment and make a new friend!" (I'm a habitual blog lurker. Hardly ever comment.)
This is the first time ever that I have seen the words "Feingold approved" on any blog anywhere, except my own. I'm so happy I found your blog today! I'm looking forward to reading more here.