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Bento 86: Dino Love!!!

September 29, 2010

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I came home today to a large box. I love receiving things through the post, even when I already know what’s inside. It’s like packing a bento, I already know what’s inside but yet I get excited about cracking it open. Today was extra special because it was really a gift to myself….from me, love me!!

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Look what I got!! *giddy with joy*

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It is a common misconception that you need to import cute little accessories from Japan to get started in packing bentos. This is so far from the truth, it’s in a different state. There are LOADS of boxes and accessories that are sold in regular retailers in the UK that can be turned into bento making tools. I collect cookie cutters with a passion, and am always on the look-out for regular bog-standard things that can be used to create bentos. Just take a look at all this stuff that is out there already, ready to be turned into adorable bentos.

So my objective with this shopping spree was to find items that can transform a regular meal into an appetizing and healthy bento. No magic needed. The only thing I added were some picks as I had forgot to add them to my shopping basket *smacks head*. Yep, CSN Stores even sell picks! I would’ve loved the flamingo picks. Because it is in the UK as well, I saved myself a pretty penny by not paying for international shipping – in fact, shipping were free!!

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I will be using the other items that came in the post in the next few bentos, but for today, I am featuring the Dino Dip Snack Box and the Dino Sandwich box! These are just perfect for children and adults alike, the sandwich box fits a bog standard sandwich, although I did have to slice the bottom crust off (my loaf is massive). I really regretted not getting the Dino Sandwich cutter– these would have de-crusted my sandwich and fitted perfectly with the dino theme! Other than that, the only ‘tools’ I used were a small round and some flower shaped plastic cookie cutters that bacon have had for ages. Probably for about 10 years. I wanted to prove that you don’t need complicated tools to make good looking bentos, it is a nice to have rather than a must-have.

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Today’s bento is not actually for me – this is for the husband! Yep, the one that does not do cute. Heh. He’ll be so impressed with this, especially since he will be eating it during his lunch team meeting . So much for not doing cute. He couldn’t be bothered to make himself lunch, so agreed to take this bento with him for lunch. I’m sure his work colleagues would be so jealous šŸ˜‰ .

I made him his regular cheese/pickle sandwich, but with a twist. I ‘glued’ flower cut outs on the sandwich with little dabs of peanut butter – this helps the cheese decals from dislodging. Using two varying coloured cheese, I cut out a larger flower for the middle of the sandwich. Keeping with the no-specialised-tools theme, I made a smiley face out of black sesame seeds, with a dab of ketchup for rosy cheeks šŸ™‚

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In the dino dip box, there is more food! I made a small side salad and topped it with more flowers, this time made out of carrots and olives. You can easily find flower cutters in specialty baking stores (or online) .In the middle ‘dino’ bit, I stuffed the bottom full of chopped gherkins and olives which he can mix in with his salad. The top part of the dino is filled with sliced strawberries. On the other side of the box is the mini rockit apple that I first featured here , slices of oranges, more sliced strawberries and the bottom part of the mini-apple sliced off. Heh. The apple, mini as it is, does not really fit into boxes unless I slice a bit off at the bottom. I’ll still buy it though, as it is soooo yummy!

I think I am actually in love with the dino snack box – even though the middle dino bit is made for dips, it works perfectly in dividing food up, acting like a baran and small container at the same time. The cover has a lip that actually keeps the dino completely seperate from the rest of the box. Reviews of this item had said that it is not big enough, but at circa 550ml (I measured it myself) I think it’s pretty sufficient for a bento lunch if you filled it substantially and not only with veggies & fruits. Or as a snack box, fill it with fruits, nuts, yoghurt dips for your mid morning & mid afternoon snack. I can imagine filling this box with a variety of different things, nuts, dried fruits, small treats, salad dressing, mentsuyu ….the list goes on! Watch this space, I will definately be experimenting with this box!

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Here is how it looks all packed up! I tied them together with a bento band just to keep them together for easy handling. I like how the flower is peeking through the dino window with a smile :). Hopefully this ‘experiment’ proves that you do not need any special equipment to get started on bento making – all you need, really, is a sandwich box!


PS: These products have been sent to me by CSN Stores for my honest review. I will be doing a giveaway with CSN Stores late next month where you can win yourself some vouchers to spend either in their US or UK store…so if you would like to win yourself some of this fabulous gear, stay tuned!!!

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2010 9:08 pm

    How flippin CUTE! I love dinosaurs. You totally scored.

    • September 30, 2010 6:44 am

      Thanks so much! Sometimes the cuteness is inside the box, sometimes its outside the box and sometimes it’s just the box itself šŸ™‚

  2. September 30, 2010 6:17 am

    Pretty and cute combination bento! And I love the dino! Always so excited to receive a package of bento stuffs. And I agree that a lot of shop actually provide many cute cutters and boxes for bento. I love to do hunting at our cake supplies store. They have tons of cute cutter that we can use in bento making šŸ™‚

    • September 30, 2010 6:48 am

      Hi Lia

      Yes I agree!! Cake supplies shops are excellent to shop for cutters ect. People tell me that it’s too hard/too expensive/takes too long to make bentos, but in reality, you can get good and cheap tools which will turn bento making into a quick and fun activity šŸ™‚

  3. September 30, 2010 9:07 am

    Everything is just so cute…the boxes, the cutter and of couse the sandwich. Very nice. I am sure your husband’s colleagues would be jealous for having these nice & yummy bento. šŸ™‚

    • September 30, 2010 9:32 am

      Thanks Emily! I hope so too….At least the sandwich is still ‘bread shaped’ and not in heart shapes or anything..heh.

  4. September 30, 2010 11:05 am

    This post was just what I needed to see: I am a new bento-er with no fancy tools at all, just a few cookie cutters, a few boxes for the bentos, and lots of ideas. This morning brought some frustration at not being able to bring my imaginings out in the lunch, but seeing this post gives me hope šŸ™‚ I love working with different colors, and seeing how you put this bento together, well, it just made me feel better. I hope you keep on showing things like this every so often, it really helps.

    • September 30, 2010 6:58 pm

      Aww thanks so much, you’re too nice :).

      I used to make loads of excuses for myself and put off packing bentos for the longest time. I think as long as you keep it nutritious and colorful, the cuteness elemet is really just a plus šŸ™‚

  5. Athena permalink
    September 30, 2010 2:41 pm

    Not only do I think it’s great that you’re demonstrating that the sky is the limit when it comes to how to pack the bento, but what you use to pack it and the tools to make the food, but this is a great example of a combination of cute and functional! =D I love that the “box” has a lot of things that don’t require a lot of prep, where the majority of the time-work will be on just making the sandwich really cute. That little cheese face is just too adorable! Very sunny and bright, and even if he doesn’t dig the cute, I agree that I think his coworkers will be quite jealous. =P

    • September 30, 2010 7:04 pm

      Athena! *BLUSH*

      Thank you so much – I used to cook mini portions of things for lunch separate from my main meals because I thought that is ‘the way it is done’. Now I just do whatever I like – and most of the time it’s ‘lazy’ :). I find having foods of a wide variety of colors an easy way to make food visually arresting šŸ™‚

      • Athena permalink
        October 1, 2010 3:11 pm

        I’ve done that before–the sort of “short order cook” method of bentos. But, it’s so much effort and work. D= And besides, combining colors, textures, shapes is what bentos really are about. Everything else is just the bells and whistles that make it sometimes go from cool to awesome. Besides, I think you do a great job of mixing practical with cute.

  6. September 30, 2010 5:33 pm

    Yay for a daddy bento I bet he loved it and the new boxes are so cool!

  7. dreymer permalink
    October 1, 2010 7:04 am

    Oooh so pretty!!!

    • October 1, 2010 11:42 am

      The flower is – too bad bacon like his cheese INSIDE the sandwich…:(

  8. October 1, 2010 5:17 pm

    I love gifts from me! They are the best!

    The sun is so cute!

    • October 5, 2010 8:21 pm

      eheh…me too..its always exactly what you want šŸ™‚

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