Monthly Archives: November 2011

Torinoko Obento or~ How to make a Bento!

Torinoko Obento or~ How to make a Bento!
I never thought about doing a “How to make a Bento” tutorial because I couldn’t imagine it being of any help for other people. The last time I posted an Obento, NicNic suggested doing a tutorial and I pretty much fell in love with her idea. I love trying out new things and writing about how I compose an Obento is definitely something I haven’t tried yet. Since I stick to most of the Bento rules unconsciously it is difficult for me to tell you what to do exactly but I borrowed a little help from the internet, so here we go! A basic rule is that the meal should be balanced (a reasonable rice/vegetables/meat ratio) and arranged properly. I will show you a basic “How to make a Bento” instruction and then explain it to you on the basis of the Obento I did yesterday (although I don’t really like it :crying: ).

As you can see, the main component of every Obento is rice. Of course the rice can be prepared in many different ways and you can replace the rice with any other carbohydrate such as potatoes, pasta or bread. The carbohydrates should at least occupy half of the place. The other half is there to be filled with vegetables and proteins. As proteins you can use meat but also fish, eggs or tofu. And don’t forget about the vegetables! Even just a tiny little piece of carrot, broccoli or a piece of tomato can brighten up your whole Bento.

:sprout: Fill the bento box halfway with the main carbohydrate dish. In Japan, this is usually white rice, but you can substitute fried rice, noodles, potatoes or bread if desired. There are different ways of presenting the rice, some ideas are: sushi rolls, inari zushi, or onigiri. Pack your Bento tightly, there shouldn’t be any empty spaces or even small gaps! Contrasting colors, textures and shapes should be placed next to each other, but similar ones should be separated.

:sprout: Prepare one or more protein or meat dishes for the bento box. Use small pieces of cooked chicken, beef, fish, tofu or beans to add protein. Small sausages, chicken nuggets, fish sticks or meatballs are very convenient for Bento! The amount of protein should not exceed the amount of vegetables so make sure to leave an appropriate place for the vegetables.

:sprout: Cut up vegetables into bite-size pieces. Choose brightly colored vegetables and use them raw or lightly steamed or boiled so they retain much of their color and nutrition. The vegetables can also be used to fill up the remaining gaps between the different dishes.

:sprout: Use as many colors as you can (traditionally five), to ensure that the meal is both nutritionally balanced and visually appealing. If you are interested in reading about the Five Fives, click here. The colors are: red or orange, yellow, green, white and black or purple. For example, use carrots or tomatoes for orange or red, cut-up omelet or bell pepper for yellow, steamed greens for green, rice for white and seaweed for black.

:sprout: Cook dishes in at least two (traditionally five) ways to add variety to the bento box. If you fry the meat, then serve vegetables steamed. Varying the cooking techniques provides textural differences, taste differences and ensures that an unhealthy technique such as frying is served in a limited quantity. source

If you want to follow ねこちゃん to her kitchen and see how she implemented the rules above,read on!

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ねこちゃんの Blogging Sphere

ねこちゃんの Blogging Sphere
After almost one year of blogging I thought it was about time to share some personal blogging experience with you. I started blogging shortly after I had read the word “blog” for the first time. I’ve never heard and read of blogs or bloggers before and I don’t have one real life blogger friend but when I coincidentally stumbled over the blog of a girl Silvankun went to school with, I was so impressed that Silvankun thought it would be a good idea to start a blog myself.
I think what attracted me the most, is the opportunity to share thoughts, worries, memories, pictures and moments of joy with new people you don’t know you. Why share your life with strangers instead of friends? Because real life friends know you way to good to express their opinion objectively. I think most people show only one or a few facets at most of their life or personality on their blog, or at least that’s what I do. A real life friend knows you as the whole package with all your likes and dislikes but sometimes you want people to forget about certain sides of you and only share or let them see what you want.

Your real life friends know you the best! :swirlheart:

An other and much more relevant factor that made me want to start a blog is to share passions I can’t share with my friends because they’re not as interested in it as I am! Of course I’m talking about Japan. After six months there I felt like an alien when I arrived back in Switzerland. Many things seemed so different from the country where I had lived and traveled for the last six months.
I love my home country, my family and my friends but it was weird to come back so Japanese and meet all the old circumstances again. The only one who can fully understand me in relation to Japan is Silvankun who has been there with me.
So you see, I’m so glad that I can share this passion for a foreign country with you guys. This applies not only for Japan but also for fashion, cooking and makeup.
I can go to concerts, get wasted and have a great time with my friends but when we cook and I start cutting off the roots and the head of every single soya sprout because I read in a Japanese cooking Manga called Oishinbo (美味しんぼ, lit. “The Gourmet“) that the sprouts taste a thousand times better like this I can’t expect too much sympathy from my friends. And that’s why I have a blog, to share all my tiny, curious obsessions with people who share the same or similar interests.

I feel like I’m writing an essay at school.. :sleep:

Anyway, the pricipal purpose of this entry was to share funny and intimate blogging experiences so here we go!
Although I’m not good at this I decided to compose my own questionary…

To read about my blogging habits and see more cute pictures, read on!

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Fizzy Cupcake Bath Bombs ~

Fizzy Cupcake Bath Bombs ~
yaaay it’s sunday and all the stores are open because of christmas! But I have to stay at home and study.. :sigh: Yesterday however, I tried out something really fun! I made fizzy cupcake bath bombs. Although I loved bath bombs when I was a kid I have to admit that throughout the years, I forgot all about them. I like taking hot baths with nice scented bath foams and salts but only a fizzy bath bomb gives a bath its final fun touch, don’t you think so? I still have to figure out a better frosting recipe but I tried out one of the bombs and it really fizzes!

They look so adorable in the bathroom and spread a lovely scent. :twinkles:

There are several instructions on youtube but it isn’t exactly easy to find some of the ingredients here in Switzerland. Probably it isn’t easy also in every other country, that’s why if you want to make a really professinal one, there are some things you may have to order. The bottom basically consists of baking soda (Na HCO3) and citric acid (C6H8O7) and essential oils but there are some people that also add Bentonite (clay mineral to make it harder), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (a foaming agent) and other things but it also works just with the first three things. You can find baking soda in any supermarket or drug store but for the citric acid we had to go to a pharmacy. The frosting is composed of meringue powder, cream of tartar, powdered sugar and optionally Sodium Lauryl Sulfate again. Since my bank account was really plundered this month I’m happy to have found this cute idea! Wrapped in a cute way they could make a pretty christmas gift. :ichikeki:

The lilac flowers with the ladybug are artificial!

As you may know, my ability to strictly follow a recipe are moderate but this time it wasn’t out of weak will but because of a missing kitchen utensil that the frosting didn’t turn out as it should have. The meringue powder is supposed to make the frosting fluffy and light but for that you need a hand mixer and I haven’t one so my mixture tuned out having the consistency of thick tar. Probably I also did something wrong with the quantities..After I had used the icing bag, I couldn’t feel my hands anymore because the mixture was so hard I had to press like an idiot. The other frosting was the exact opposite. It was so runny that I wouldn’t keep its shape. Well, you see that it’s a rather chemical affair or let’s just say that it’s advantageous to know a little bit of chemistry or to at least have the ability to strictly follow recipes with the right untesils. :catexclam:
I think I won’t do the same mistakes again, the next time I’m doing these and I’m absolutely going to do these again because if they’re done right, they are so much fun to make and a really adorable and personal gift! For mine I chose lavender and cedar wood and the frosting is vanilla-scented because I the powdered egg white is actually a drinkable protein drink. :ghihi: But you can use any essential oil with the fragrance you like!
The fun thing about these self-made fizzy cupcake bath bombs is, that there is no limit to your imagination, you can change everything, the color, the scent and the decoration.

If it wasn’t for the glitter and the roses, I would probably take a bite of these deceitful cupcakes!

To see more pictures and links to instructions on how to make these little fellows, read on!

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