Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rice Parcel

Darling son KW had diarrhea twice last night. It was 10pm when he went the second time, and he fell asleep almost immediately after he returned to his bed.

Although he seemed alright this morning, I was not keen to give him any dairy products for breakfast or lunch. He had a slice of plain bread with a cup of Milo, instead of the usual cereal in milk. As for lunch, no cheese cut-outs. Just a simple rice parcel, with nori strips attached, and a jeweled food pick to brighten up the parcel =)

In the bento, there are blanched florets of broccoli, sprinkled with a little sea salt, a couple of "Hanbagu", which I put on paper kitchen towel to soak up the oil, and the rice parcel! I'm just keeping my fingers crossed, that my boy will not be having diarrhea again today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Skunk, from The Green Stack

Yet another character from DCWV The Green Stack ... the Skunk!

It's the usual for the boys, as I'm running out of ideas as to what to cook for them for lunch, not to mention everyday dinner. In the bento, they have their usual florets of broccoli, chicken karaage (their all time favorite), and rice sprinkled with a little furikake. They just need to have rice in their lunchbox, or they will go hungry very quickly. Especially now that the school hours have been extended by another 20 minutes, to make up for the three days of school closure due to significant staff absences during the week of protests. The boys are now released at 3.40pm, and they need the carbohydrates to last them through the long day. I call them "my little 小饭桶" . Translated, it means "Little Rice Buckets" (affectionately).

Here's the fellow from DCWV The Green Stack. Skunk, he may be, but a very cute and adorable one!

Time to surf the internet for new recipes!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beaver-ing Around?

What's in the lunchbox today? Beavers!

These bento beavers were inspired by the beavers in my cardmaking stack, DCWV The Green Stack. I love that it's 70% recycled paper.
And I got them at sale price. at 40% off. Sweet!

Here's the cutie that appears everywhere in The Green Stack.
Don't you just adore him?

Here's another sheet from the stack.

To my friends back home ... you will be receiving a beaver card soon!
So what's for lunch today?

In the bento, we have a beaver sitting under a tree .... blanched florets of broccoli, oven-baked chicken thigh fillets and rice. The chicken thigh fillets were deboned, and seasoned with a little sea salt, garlic powder and paprika.

The boys had been biking to school, with their lunchbox hanging on their bike handle. The bag swung violently as they went up and down slopes. I had to use a butterfly food pick to attach the two pieces of chicken on the left, so they would not move to cover the beaver. Another clover food pick to pick the foot and tail of the beaver to the rice. I don't want a broken leg beaver when the boys open their lunchbox in the afternoon =p

Monday, March 28, 2011


A big smiley to chase the Monday blues away!

I was at the Asian Mart yesterday, doing my weekly grocery shopping when I found myself staring at this huge bottle of ABC Kecap Manis. All possible dishes using this sauce came to mind. I don't want to buy a big bottle of sauce which I don't use often. However, the bottle I was staring at was too big! It was a deal when I spotted another smaller bottle down the aisle.

With some rice left over from last night's dinner, I decided to do a non-spicy version of Nasi Goreng, using Kecap Manis! The recipe was adapted from The Perfect Pantry. Thank you, Lydia, for sharing all the wonderful recipes at your blog!

1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
1.5 cup Lettuce Trio
1.5 cup Cold Cooked Rice
1 cup Chicken Thigh Fillets, cubed
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp Kecap Manis
1/4tsp Sesame Oil

  • Heat up wok and add oil.
  • Add minced garlic and fry till fragrant.
  • Add uncooked chicken cubes.
  • Fry till cooked and lightly browned.
  • Add shredded lettuce trio and fry for 1min.
  • Push the chicken and lettuce to one side.
  • Add beaten egg, cook till just set.
  • Add rice, stirring egg and rice together.
  • Add kecap manis and sesame oil.
  • Stir to mix all the ingredients in the wok.

I omitted the shrimps and chilli, since Darling son KW would not eat shrimps, and both boys could not take spicy food. The lettuce shrunk so much after frying, I could hardly see any vegetables in the plate of fried rice! I felt uncomfortable not seeing any greens in the rice. So I blanched some broccoli florets and mixed them into the plate of fried rice =)

The fried rice was sweet, and tasted as good when cold (I tried the little leftover in their lunchbox after school). Instead of telling me how they liked the fried rice, they ended up telling me how the rice covered the smile. I was not surprised, since their lunch bags were swinging violently on their bike handle as they biked their way to school this morning =)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bee-sy Week

It had been a "bee-sy week for me! And I'm glad it's Friday!

Lunch for the boys' today .... Sushi Egg Roll. You don't need to be an expert to roll it. As for the egg sheet, dissolve half a tablespoon of cornstarch in one tablespoon of water, and add the cornstarch mixture to a lightly beaten egg. Fry in a pan till cooked.

The wings of the bee looked kind of strange. Well, I didn't have time to redo another pair of wings, as I spent too much time trying to arrange and put everything into the small lunchbox. This little bee will look better the next time I make it =)

Thursday, March 24, 2011


The sun is finally out from behind the clouds! It was a cold but sunny morning. Give me a sunny morning, be it cold or warm, and I'm happy.

Two aliens ... one each for the boys. Darling son KW came into the kitchen to leave his cereal bowl in the sink and saw the nori strips. Asked if he could have one of the strip and when I said YES, he quickly grabbed one strip and pop it into his mouth! He said he liked it when I put a big nori sheet in his lunch, haha.

The chicken thigh fillets were oven-baked. Yes, again. I just love to use the oven to cook the meat in the morning. The chicken fillets were deboned beforehand. Before sending them into the oven to bake, I seasoned them with a little sea salt, ground ginger, and sprinkled some dried parsley flakes. Placed them on a sheet of parchment paper lined in a baking tray, I baked the fillets at 400F, till the skin browned and the meat was cooked.

Remove the fillets and placed them on a paper kitchen towel, to soak up the oil. When cooled, cut into strips and placed them in the lunchbox.

Will it be another sunny day tomorrow?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away

It's another day of rain and wind. The sun had gone into hiding again. Needless to say, the temperature had dipped. I dislike it when it rains, especially when the wind is blowing crazily. The biting wind gets through the gloves while you desperately hang on to your umbrella. The umbrella will turn upside down if you don't hold onto it tightly.

In the bento, we have florets of broccoli, and panfried cubed chicken thigh fillets. The cubed chicken fillets were coated with cornflour before frying. In the cornstarch, I added some paprika, dried parsley flakes, onion powder and sea salt.

Let's hope the weather warm up soon!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Owl" Are You?

Hoot, Hoot! "Owl" are you?

Owwwwl .... Not too good for me.
I'm seriously sleep-deprived.
It's a rainy and windy day. Where did the sun go?
It felt like bedtime, even though it's only ten in the morning .... ZZZ.

I bought some clear stamps from HobbyLobby while shopping there last week. There are a couple of owl stamps and they are "Oh so adorable"!
Since I'm seriously sleep-deprived, I decided to include an owl in the kids' bento, to remind them that "Mom is TIRED".

It was not that difficult to assemble the owl. The big round eyes were cut using the base of a piping tip. Perfect circles for the eyes. The black round eyes were cut from a facial nori punch. I cut out a template of the owl using a small piece of parchment paper, as I wanted the two owls to be of the same size. If I'm only doing one owl, I will probably just cut the shape from the slice of cheese directly. And all these cutting were done while the Parmesan and Panko coated chicken thigh fillets and cauliflower were baking in the oven =)

How about the words? Hoot, hoot! I had fun cutting the words from cheese, with my new toy, the alphabet cutter!

Like my boys used to sing when they were younger "Rain, rain, go away", I'm waiting patiently for the thunderstorms and rain clouds to move away. I'm missing the sunshine.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Ferb, from the cartoon Phineas and Ferb. My boys used to love watching this cartoon. Why Ferb, and not Phineas?

Well, I love that Ferb has green hair! All I needed to do was to trim the floret of broccoli and stick it into the rice! And he's got a bigger and longer face than Phineas. Just the right size to cover the rice partially. The face was assembled while the chicken was baking in the oven.

In the bento, there is ovenbaked Rotisserie Chicken Thigh Fillets, ovenbaked baby corn, rice, carrots and broccoli. I love using the oven to bake the chicken thigh fillets. Minimum cleaning up. This bottle of McCormick Rotisserie Chicken seasoning is a must-have in my pantry.

  • Debone the 2 chicken thighs, clean and pat dry with a paper kitchen towel. Do note that the cooking time will be longer if you can chose not to debone the chicken thigh.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of the chicken thigh fillets.
  • Place the fillets in the tray with the skin side up.
  • Spray a little cooking oil onto the skin of the fillets.
  • Bake in the oven at 400F for about 25 minutes.
  • Coat the baby corn with some oil.
  • Season with a little sea salt.
  • Place the baby corn into the tray of chicken fillet, 15 minutes into baking the chicken thigh fillets.
  • Remove the tray of chicken fillets and baby corn from the oven when done. Let cool and cut chicken fillet into strips before putting them in the lunchbox.

If you bake the chicken fillets long enough, the skin will be crispy. Do not spray too much oil onto the skin, as oil does come out from the chicken during baking. You don't want your chicken fillets to be soaking in oil when cooked.

Time to search for more ovenbaked chicken recipes!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rice Cooker Chicken

Since it was just me and the kids eating lunch today, I took a shortcut and used the rice-cooker to cook the rice, and the chicken! It's a fuss-free meal with minimum washing up =)

The chicken pieces were already cleaned and cubed. I took the bag of chicken cubes out from the freezer to thaw in the fridge yesterday. This morning, all I needed to do was to take the bag out of the fridge, marinate, mix with some mini sweet peppers, put them on a foil and send into the rice cooker to cook!

2 pcs Chicken Thigh Fillets, deboned and cubed
2 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Mirin
4 Mini Sweet Peppers, cut into thin strips
1 cup Chicken Stock (Approximate amount)

  • In a bowl, marinate chicken cubes with soy sauce and mirin for about 15 minutes.
  • Cut the mini sweet peppers into thin strips.
  • Transfer chicken pieces onto a big piece of aluminium foil.
  • Add the peppers.
  • Fold the sides and pour enough chicken stock to slightly cover the chicken pieces.
  • Make sure the chicken pieces are spread out, for even cooking.
  • Seal the package and transfer onto the steamer.
  • Place steamer into rice cooker and press the button to start cooking the rice and the chicken.

The steamer has holes that allow the steam (from cooking the rice) to pass through, hence helping to cook the foil bag of chicken pieces. Alternatively, if you do not have a steamer that comes with the rice cooker, you can place the foil bag on the rice itself. Whether you are using a steamer or placing the foil bag on the rice directly, this cooking method works for small amount of chicken.

Me and the kids love the sauce from the chicken! The boys asked for an extra helping of rice and sauce. They love the sauce over their rice and blanched broccoli. I could taste the sweetness of the peppers in the sauce. This is going to be the "Must Have" dish when hubby is not having his lunch/dinner with us =)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ben 10 Alien Force

If you are a fan of Ben 10, you will be familiar with these aliens ... EchoEcho and Chromastone. Darling son YW has been a fan of Ben 10 all along, but not Darling son KW. Recently, KW became a StarWars-turned-Ben10 fan. I guess the fact that Ben can transform into different aliens is far more interesting than the droids, clone and storm troopers. Even I'm in love with these colourful aliens in many different forms, heights and shapes!

So the boys had been drawing ... aliens after aliens. They never get tired of drawing. They cut the aliens out and stick them on their bedroom wall. Now I have a gallery of aliens. Sometimes, two of a kind, since both of them draw the same aliens, but the same alien looks different.

KW being a little older and started drawing at an earlier age than his little brother, had drawings which looked more like the cartoon characters. He is however, encouraging, when his little brother feels discouraged that his drawings are not as "nice and real" as his gor gor's.

When I saw the above three drawings by Darling son KW, I couldn't resist taking photographs of the drawings! You know how hard copies tend to curl at the corners and the ink starts to fade after a while? With the digital copy, I can keep them for ages and show him when he is older.

For the little boy, he likes to draw combos of aliens ... that is, he likes to create his own alien, using the different parts of many aliens. And he was one happy boy when we agreed to let him stick the drawing of his combo alien on our bedroom door, erh, to protect us.

This is one powerful alien, as stated in the footnote of his drawing:
With Ben Ten Ultimate Aliens and regular ones also.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bye, Mr Polar Bear

What is Mr. Polar Bear looking at? Is he saying "Bye" or "Welcome"?

Mr. Polar Bear is looking at Ladybug!
He must be saying "Welcome, Ladybug!".

The weather has warmed up, and the biting cold outside is gone. We welcomed the warmth with open arms, and the boys were more than happy, as they could now ride their bikes to school every morning.

In the bento, we have Japanese-style meat patty (Hanbagu), florets of broccoli, and rice sprinkled with some furikake.

Bye Mr. Polar Bear ... see you at the end of the year!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chain Chomp

Yet another Mario character ... Chain Chomp! I always get "bitten" by this fellow when I play the game. Looking like an oversized bomb, but is attached to a long chain, he jumps out and tries to bite you as you pass him.

In the bento ... florets of broccoli, ovenbaked charsiew chicken thigh fillet and rice wrapped in nori. Since the oven did the cooking, I had plenty of time to cut Chain Chomp's set of teeth, eyes, and to wrap him into a nice circular ball.

Are you ready to fight Chain Chomp?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Sing!

Has Spring arrived? The weather had gone from a high of 1 degree Celsius last week, to a sudden jump of 14 degree Celsius today! A group of noisy geese flew over us while I was on my way home with the kids yesterday. Just last week, from the kids' bedroom window, I saw two different species of birds perched on the tree branches. The fatter one sat very still on one branch and went "COO!", while the little one was busily hopping from one branch to another. I love Spring! I love watching the birds fly back into the woods, and I love watching the buds sprout from the branches, and blooming into pretty, colorful flowers. Ok, I don't love the rain in Spring, but Spring is beautiful when it's sunny, cool, with clear blue skies.

And to welcome Spring, I included a tree and bird in the kids' bento today.

For the kids' bento, we have florets of broccoli, chicken karaage, rice, a tree cut from a sheet of nori, carrot flowers, and a bird made from a slice of cheese!

Hubby dear's lunchbox .... chicken karaage (yes, I fried a big batch of it this morning), rice with nori sprinkles and cheese letters (cut using my new toy), and fried beans (his favorite).

Let's hope the weather stays this way ... sunny and cool.
I'm ready to embrace Spring!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Meet the Bob-omb, the living, moving mechanical bombs in Super Mario Bros! They walk around with a red flashing light at the top of their head, and eventually, explode.

Daring son KW had been asking me to include the Bob-omb in his lunch. He likes his rice wrapped in nori. And he likes the Super Mario Bros. Since he had been coughing and sniffing away these few days, I decided to do a no-cook lunch (again?). Yes, again. When you are not feeling too well, you have no appetite. But for him, he will eat ham anytime, sick or not sick. Feeling tired, and not eating enough will not improve his resistance to the many virus going around the school now. He should be eating enough to last him through the day in school. As you can see, I also included many florets of broccoli, a super-huge strawberry, and two slices of Japanese fishcake.

The little one saw the lunchbox this morning, and exclaimed "Bob-omb!". And he ran to his elder brother and told him about it. It's nice to know that the contents of the lunchbox can get the boys excited, even before they eat their lunch =)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Banana Muffins

This recipe is meant for banana and chocolate chips, from My original plan was to sprinkle the mini semisweet chocolate morsels onto the top of the batter, instead of mixing it with the batter. I didn't want too much sugar in the muffin, since it already contained half a cup of butter. However, in my haste to send the muffins into the oven, I completely forgot about the mini chocolate morsels! So I ended up with Banana Muffins instead. It was not so bad. In fact, I liked it this way, without the sweetness from the chocolate morsels. The top was crispy, and the inside, soft.

Instead of 12 muffins, I had 8 muffins, and 22 mini muffins. There was a tray of mini muffins sitting on the table top, awaiting its turn into the oven when i remembered the chocolate morsels. So I dropped a few morsels onto the top of these mini muffins, just to make the boys happy. In fact, they like the mini muffins, with and without the chocolate morsels! All 22 mini muffins were gone on the day they were baked =)

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2/3 cup Sugar (I use slightly less)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Mashed banana (I had a little more than 1 cup with 3 bananas)
1 Large Egg
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
1/4 cup Milk

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line muffin trays with 12 muffin cup liners.
  • Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  • Melt butter, let cool.
  • In a medium bowl, mashed bananas.
  • Add milk to the bowl of mashed bananas. Mix well.
  • Add melted butter and the lightly beaten egg. Mix well.
  • Stir the banana mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients just until blended. Do not overmix or you get tough muffins.
  • Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filing each about 3/4 full.
  • Bake 30 minutes or till the top are golden brown, and a pick inserted comes out clean.
  • Transfer muffins to a cooling rack.

The next time I make this batch of banana muffins , I would happily omit the mini chocolate morsels again. I would replace some of the flour with whole wheat flour, and replace some butter with grounded flaxseed. My next kitchen experiment!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Parmesan and Panko Chicken Thighs

On days when I am feeling exhausted, the oven does most of the cooking.
It saves me the hassle of having to wipe the stove top, to wash my big frying wok, to wipe the oil splatter off the side table .... the list goes on. All I need to do, with oven baking, is to wash the baking tray!

The recipe for Oven Fried Chicken Thighs with Parmesan and Panko was adapted from I made some changes to the recipe. The original recipe can be found here.

We all love the crispy panko on the chicken thighs!
Darling son KW thought he was having pork chop, and was wondering why the pork chop was so thick.

4 Chicken Thighs
2 tbsp Butter, melted
1 tsp Honey or maple syrup
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/3 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese (I use grated parm. cheese)
1 1/4 cups Panko Crumbs
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
1/4 tsp Paprika

  • Heat oven to 400F.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Wash chicken thighs and trim excess fat and skin.
  • Pat dry and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine melted butter, honey and garlic powder.
  • In another bowl, combine panko, parmesan cheese, salt, dried parsley flakes and paprika.
  • Brush or rub chicken thighs with butter mixture.
  • Press all sides of the chicken thigh into the panko mixture to coat thoroughly.
  • Place on prepared baking tray.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or till juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.

I did not follow the amount stated for panko and the grated parmesan cheese. In fact, I had more panko mixture than required. It was a waste to throw it away, so I used the leftover panko mixture to coat florets of cauliflower! Yes, I send the tray of panko coated cauliflower into the oven to bake, even though I had already prepared a vegetable dish for dinner. It's good to eat more vegetables, don't you think?

  • Wash and drain the florets of cauliflower.
  • Pour a little olive oil to coat the florets of cauliflower.
  • Pour the leftover panko mixture into the bowl of cauliflower.
  • Mix well, transfer to a baking tray lined with parchement paper.
  • Bake the vegetables together with the chicken thighs.
  • The cooking time for cauliflower will be shorter than that of the chicken thighs, so keep an eye on both trays.
  • Instead of using two separate trays, you could, during the last 15 minutes of baking the chicken thighs, transfer the panko coated uncooked cauliflower into the baking tray that holds the chicken thighs. That is provided your tray is big enough to hold the chicken thighs and cauliflower, all in one!

Darling son YW obediently ate up his portion of cauliflower, and asked for more! He loved the panko crumbs, which fell from the cauliflower, onto his rice. Yummy, he said. I will definitely make this dish again!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bert and Bert

How do you like this family portrait of Bert and Bert? These two brothers live on Sesame Street and are good friends with Ernie =)

In the bento, we have blanched broccoli florets and oven-baked soy-honey chicken thigh fillet. What are those black strips behind Bert, on top of the rice?

I cut the piece of nori used for Bert's mouth, brow and eyes into small strips. Then I sprinkled them over the rice. No wastage =)

And I sprinkled some onto the rice in Hubby dear's lunchbox! What's in his lunchbox? Along with rice, he gets broiled chicken wings and stir-fried broccoli and mini sweet peppers.

Clean the wings and pat dry with a paper kitchen towel.
Generously sprinkle some sea salt over the wings.
Season with a little ground black pepper and paprika.
Transfer the wings to a rack with a drip pan.
Place the rack at least 6 inches away from the broiler.
Broil the wings for 10 minutes.
Turn the wings over and broil for another 10 minutes.
Each oven is different, so the broiling time may be shorter or longer.
Remove when done and let cool before packing into the lunchbox.

Add a little oil to a hot frying pan.
Add minced garlic to the oil.
Fry the garlic till fragrant.
Add the sliced mini sweet peppers.
Give it a quick stir and leave it to cook for a couple of seconds.
Add broccoli florets.
Add a little water. Just enough to cook the vegetables.
Mix well and let the vegetables cook.
When the vegetables are cooked, add some sea salt to taste.

I put the vegetables into cups, as I did not wish to have the sauce from the vegetables mixing with the chicken wings. Hence, I used only a little water to cook the vegetables. However, if you are cooking this dish for dinner, and like to have a little more sauce in the dish, then add more water/chicken stock to cook the vegetables. You can also use oyster sauce in place of sea salt.

The weather this morning was just gorgeous! The sun was shinning brightly and cheerfully, and the temperature was just above zero degree Celsius! Nice and cool weather! I looked out of the living room window and saw the shadow of the tree on the wall .... lovely!

And check out the shadow of the tree on the snow covered ground! Beautiful! I'm looking forward to the arrival of Lady Spring, although the 2 inches of snow accumulated yesterday remind me of how beautiful Winter can be.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


If you grew up watching Sesame Street, you would know him. Yes, that's Ernie. I was just glad that Ernie looked like Ernie this morning! Oscar was a mess yesterday!

So here's Ernie and his clone. In the Bento, there's blanched broccoli florets, and oven baked Shaoxing chicken thigh fillet.

The rice was seasoned with some ketchup, so that Ernie had some colour on his face and not looked so pale. I prepared the parts of Ernie's face while the chicken was baking in the oven. While the chicken was cooling, I started putting together the face, and packing it into the lunch box.

Maybe Bert can join in the fun tomorrow?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oscar from Sesame Street?

On way home from school yesterday ...

Me : Do you like the monster in your lunch today?
Son KW : I like his green hair. The green hair reminded me of Oscar. You know, the one from Sesame Street. Maybe you can use broccoli for Oscar tomorrow?

Since I was almost "brain-dead" after having baked two Japanese Cheesecake that afternoon, I decided to take his suggestion - using broccoli and turning it into Oscar from Sesame Street. All I needed to do was to prepare the eyes, brows and mouth, right? Simple. Or so I thought ....

I didn't have time to cover the rice ball with smaller florets of broccoli. Even if I did cover the rice ball with broccoli, the boys would end up having too much vegetables, and the box would be fairly empty, since most of the vegetables were "stuck" onto the rice ball. Moreover, the eyes and brows couldn't quite stick to the broccoli. I ended up using some grains of cooked rice to "glue" them to the broccoli. Sigh!

How about the one above? Does it look more Oscar? In my attempt to stick the brows to the broccoli, using grains of cooked rice, I accidentally broke his brows! Sorry, Oscar =p

Lunch for hubby dear .... Panfried fresh Shitake Mushrooms with minced garlic and oyster sauce, prawns cooked in salted water, and panfried chicken in black bean sauce. All the best for your presentation today, and hope that your guests enjoy the cheesecakes and cookies!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

There's a Monster in the Garden!

I woke up this morning with blurry eyes. I knew it was going to be a hectic morning. Hubby dear had to leave the house very early. I had to pack his breakfast and lunch, and was left with less than 40 minutes to cook and pack the kids' lunch. Getting the kids to have their breakfast and get ready for school fell into the 40-minute time frame as well.

Hence I settled for a no-cook lunch. Ham flower with a broccoli stuffed in the centre, Japanese fishcake bunny, and Japanese fishcake flowers. A strawberry that look like a flower, with a bee food pick attached to one of the strawberry slices. And lots of broccoli florets.

How do you like the monster's green hair?
Instead of a fierce looking monster, we get a friendly monster with green hair! Two bone food picks were inserted into the floret of broccoli so that the "wig" would not fall off the monster's head =p

The thought of having to bake another two Japanese Cheesecakes this morning was enough to make my hands shake. With blurry eyes and shaky hands, it was with no doubts that the photographs of the boys' lunch turned out ..... BLUR. This was the only one that was focused. Oh well, I guess I need my beauty sleep =)

Monday, March 7, 2011

3-Eye Alien from Toy Story

Meet the 3-Eye Alien from Toy Story! I'm in love these little green fellows. They are not the star in the show, but they are adorable.

To make the alien :

Blanch broccoli. Drain well.
Cut into very small pieces using a pair of scissors.
You can do this while the chicken pieces are being fried and the baby corn are being baked in the oven. Make good use of time.
There will be some chunky pieces of stems.
Remove them from the bowl, and use them as the ears of the alien.
Season with a little salt if you like a little flavor in your vegetables.
Add the rice in the bowl of broccoli and mix well.
Scoop rice (with broccoli) onto a piece of plastic wrap.
Shape the rice into a ball using the plastic wrap.
Remove wrap and put the rice ball into a cupcake liner.
Insert a jewel food pick on the top of the head.
Using a piping tip, cut 3 cheese circles, using the round base of the tip.
Using a punch of a pair of scissors, cut three nori circles.
Put the cheese and nori circles together and you get your three eyes!

Do I have too much time in hand?
Am I too free? No, I'm not.

It's a matter of choice. I choose to let my boys bring lunch to school, and I am thankful that I have this opportunity. Home lunch is definitely healthier than school lunch. And since I am already cooking and packing lunch, why not spend a little more time to "dress up" their lunch? So far, it had been great fun for me, and the boys had been enjoying the different bentos each day.

Hopefully, when they grow up and look back, they remember these bentos, and say "Oh, it was great fun to have them for lunch!". And that childhood to them is having the luxury of time to do what they like ... drawing, reading and outdoor activities. I definitely do not want them to look back and remember their childhood as having spending all their time on loads of school work! I choose to be a stay-home mom so that I can enjoy the boys' company, and for them to enjoy mine =)

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