Puppy love bento

February 7, 2012

Puppy love bento

February has arrived! And inspired by a sweet Valentine´s card my girls received today from their great-grandparents, I made a bento with the love theme ^_^.

Contents: Iri-dofu (tofu scramble), mini plum tomato, steamed broccoli, nectarine slices, mandarine orange and a cute cup (ありがとう M!) with carrot sticks and red grapes. The brown puppy is made with rice mixed with shoyu and the white one is a plain onigiri with nori details. *SMOOOOOCH*

Puppy love bento

Pikkusiili said I should have put more ketchup on the puppy´s cheek, because it was too “pale”. Did she mean no blushing enough? XD

***

Taikataikina - no cook salt play dough

Ah yes… some friends have been asking how are we doing with all the news about the severe winter in Europe. We are doing fine :), there is indeed plenty of snow and some very cold days… I guess we are used, it doesn’t bother us so much.

When the girls can’t go outside to play we try to do some activities at home. They got mini baking equipment toys on Christmas from my in-laws and grandmother taught them to make salt play dough to use with the stuff.

I made the dough again, it is a very easy no-cook recipe. So simple but surely delivered a few hours of entertainment to my daughters! Our “fake bakery” was a success then ^_^.

Taikataikina / no cook salt play dough

adapted from here . Taikataikina means “magic dough” also called suolataikina in Finnish (suola=salt, taikina=dough)

  • 6 dl wheat flour (about 3 cups)
  • 3 dl salt (11/2 cup)
  • 3 dl warm water (300ml , warm enough to dissolve the salt)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • food coloring if desired

Combine the salt and flour in a mixing bowl. The coarser the salt, the more the granulous effect.

Make a well in the dry mixture and gradually add the water, kneading until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Add the vegetable oil and combine everything again.

For the colored dough, I divided the neutral dough into 4 pieces and added food coloring (red, blue and yellow) to each, kneading until getting an even color. For the other colors, I just let the girls mix the basic balls and have fun with the discoveries.

While playing I recommend covering the unused dough with plastic because it tends to dry very fast.

The salt dough can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Taikataikina - no cook salt play dough

Happy week friends!

This post was written by karaimame exclusively for Acquiring Taste. All writing, images and other materials in this blog remain the property of Acquiring Taste and cannot be used without permission.

Little chicks bento

April 18, 2011

Little chicks bento

Wow! Another “monday bento” ! I said “wow” because my mondays are usually so busy I don’t even think about making any bento to the girls…

But this time was special. I promised myself I was going to make an Easter-theme bento this year and I had to hurry to make it today. We will be traveling for the Easter holidays and week will be short… not sure when I’ll be having time, I made an effort to post something today.

My girls went all “aaws” “ooohs” when they saw their meal ^__^! “Pääsiäistipu!!” (Easter chick in Finnish) … Luonnonvoima added also that the girls look like them :)

By the way, to make the chicks I used the same design from a felt magnet I crafted years ago, when my youngest daughter was born.

Little chick magnet

Inside the boxes: romaine lettuce, homemade chicken meatballs braised in yakisoba sauce, tofu with caramelized onions (under the meatballs), steamed asparagus spears (briefly fried with the meatballs), raw baby carrots, pearl tomato, grapes and clementines. Onigiri “chick” made with rice, soy wrap, nori, cooked carrot for the beak and a little ketchup for the cheeks.

That´s it! Have a great week friends!

 

PS: my Bento Box Toy set is still being auctioned! Please check the eBay page ;)! Happy bidding!

 

 

This post was written by karaimame exclusively for Acquiring Taste. All writing, images and other materials in this blog remain the property of Acquiring Taste and cannot be used without permission.


 

Sunday evening. Nobody was really hungry and I wasn’t in the mood to cook anything difficult.

I had a small package of aburaage (fried tofu) in the freezer and I wanted to make something “soupy”. What came to my mind? Kitsune udon!

Kitsune means fox in Japanese, so the dish translates to “Fox Udon”. I don’t have any idea why it´s called this way… maybe because foxes like aburaage ^_^? Or… because aburaage reminds the color of a fox? Oh well… belongs to the unanswered questions in life… (ahaha)

If you have time, please make the soup with a homemade dashi stock. And… if you can, use fresh udon. It is a simple meal but tastes very good with quality ingredients :)

The recipe is written with approximate amounts. I’ve learned how to make traditional udon soup/broth with my mother and as far as I remember, she never relied on exact measurements :P.

Kitsune udon

Kitsune Udon

Serves 2 hungry adults (was enough for 2 adults and 2 children here ^__^)

  • 250 g dried udon noodles, cooked and rinsed according to the instructions of the package
  • 1L dashi stock (I used instant dashi powder mixed with water but added a small piece of dried kombu seaweed when simmering the soup)
  • 2-3 tbsp of soy sauce (I used reduced sodium organic shoyu)
  • 1-2 tbsp of mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 tsp sugar (or less, I don´t like too sweet soup)
  • salt (adjust according to your taste. Remember that ready-made dashi stock and shoyu are already salty)
  • 4 aburaage (deep-fried tofu), cut into triangles
  • thinly sliced spring onions or scallions
  • Shichimi togarashi – “seven flavor chili pepper”  to serve (optional)

Put the aburaage in a bowl and pour hot water on it. Drain the pieces and put aside. This will remove some excess of oil from the fried tofu.

Heat the dashi stock in a medium pan, add the soy sauce, mirin, sugar and the small piece of kombu.

When the liquid starts boiling, low the heat and add the pieces of drained aburaage. Cook for about 10 minutes. Adjust the flavor by adding salt.

Reheat your cooked udon by putting it in a colander and pouring boiling water over. Another option is to add the noodles to the simmering soup (I prefer like this so the udon can “absorb” some flavors just before serving)

Divide the noodles into four bowls. Pour the hot soup over the noodles and top with the aburaage and spring onions. Sprinkle shichimi togarashi if desired.

Notes: I also topped with a piece of nori because Luonnonvoima likes it a lot. Kamaboko (fish cake) slices are good too. My daughters´ portions didn’t have shichimi togarashi but I like with it.

Alternatively for a stronger flavored topping, simmer the pieces of aburaage separately in soy sauce, dashi, mirin and sugar (resembling the method for making inarizushi skins).

Puppy bento

November 25, 2010

Puppy bento

When I was a child I loved to eat fried minced meat on japanese rice. I could eat tons of it. Another combo that I enjoyed was Japanese rice, Brazilian cooked beans and fried minced meat on top. ^_^   So good!

Today´s bento features fried minced meat. Not exactly a meat “soboro”, but quite close. Hubs said that it was almost the filling of “lihapiirakka” (a sort of Finnish meat doughnut) that he loves =). Lihapiirakka looks like a rissole but the pastry is made of bread dough, deep fried. Insides, a mixture of cooked porridge rice and fried minced meat with spices.

Hmm, “mmmkay” … should I get back to the subject :P..?

Contents of the boxes: fried minced meat with spices, on top of  cooked rice with mixed grains, cucumbers, pan fried tofu cubes with sesame seeds, turkey roll with steamed green beans, cherry tomato, carrots, lettuce and green apple slices. Little puppy made with cheese, nori and steamed carrot.

Girls liked the dog´s “bone” but they commented on the fact it was “fake” :D ahahahha. They pulled it out from the “ground” and added “hey mom, this is wrong, there´s no other edge! This is NOT a bone!” . All that remained me to say was “oh, SO sorry!” ^_^

Puppy bento

Udon-suki

November 22, 2010

When I started the blog I didn’t have a well-shaped idea of what it was supposed to be or look like. The tagline for the title pretty much explains how messy my blog is  ^_^.

So… when talking about food, I don’t necessary mean I am going to write and post the recipe for it. Some of the recipes I make use ingredients that are somehow “exotic” or difficult to find… or sometimes they are just food we eat without any further ado. :)

I decided to create a new category for the blog. It will be my “Food memorandum”. With that, I can keep track of what I am cooking (or eating!) and refer back to them when I run out of inspiration.

Shall we begin?

Udon-suki with white shimeji mushrooms

Udon-suki

I’d been thinking about shimeji mushrooms for long… I am a dedicated mushroom-lover ♡♥… eeeehehe and could do anything to get them for my recipes. Yes, total truth.

Couple of years ago, when the big supermarket nearby opened its doors I was amazed and happy to find out they carried shimeji mushrooms in their selection, along with the so called “normal” usual mushrooms (small shiitake and button mushrooms). To my disappointment they had it just for the opening event and soon after the mushrooms disappeared.

I am not sure where else I could find shimeji here but the other day I was reading one of my recent discovered blog and was glad to hear  a place downtown would possibly have it on its shelves (kiitos – ありがとうございます ^_^  Sari!). Took me a bit to have time to go there but I finally bought one box! Yay to me!

Having a box of “bunapi-shimeji” (white beech mushroom) I just needed to decide what to make with these little cute white shrooms ^_^. Soon after we were having a comforting Udon-suki to warm us up in a cold saturday night :).

About the Udon-suki. Basically it is a sukiyaki, a Japanese hot-pot where meat and vegetables are cooked in a shallow pot filled with sukiyaki broth, with highlight on the udon-noodle. I´ve made it like this because my girls just love udon and they could share the meal with all the family.

You see, nabe (hot pot) style food has a very special meaning to me. It was when we all sat together at table around the pot and shared the meal together. It is something I really appreciated and remember from my childhood. My wish is to pass ahead the same experience to my girls ^_^.

Mushroom-love ♥

Little giraffe bento

November 17, 2010

Little giraffe bento

Oh gosh… It has been more than a week since my last post. Yes, I am cooking and doing stuff but I am not taking pictures at all. I am having problems on making good photographs because of the winter darkness (we celebrated Father´s day in Finland last Sunday, I baked a cake and everything… but hey, sorry guys, no pictures ^_^)

Anyways… it is already middle November and I tend to get very busy (and desperate! ahaahha) in the end of the year. Craft projects, baking and cooking ideas… I hope I can cope with everything and share something in the blog.

Today I made a bento for the girls, mostly because Luonnonvoima was not eating much lately and I was a bit concerned about her behavior. When I showed the boxes to them they yelled “Kirahvi!!” (kirahvi is the Finnish word for giraffe) =).

To shorten the history, Luonnonvoima ate everything! I was so glad….

Little giraffe bento

Contents of the boxes: rice, furikake, steamed broccoli, cooked carrots, tamagoyaki (omelet) with spinach, braised tofu in tonkatsu sauce, MSG-free sausage, cherry tomato, clementine wedges, red grapes. Giraffe made with cheese, carrot and nori; her horns with dried somen noodle and cooked carrot cut with a straw.

Little giraffe bento

A tip about the spinach. I don´t know from where they’ve heard “spinach is a no no” but when they asked what was the green thing inside the omelet, instead of saying “it is spinach”, I said “it is a nice leaf”. They replied “just like basil?”… I said “yep” and they ate everything nicely. Uh… kids are so tricky! :D