Making bento for the first time was tedious, but fun. I can't think of any other word to describe how our Better Me session went yesterday -- it's just pure fun! My girl would agree with me too. The bonding activity was something different, creative, exciting, and pretty edible! =) I'm too eager to share with you how we crafted our first #OreoBento meals, so here's a simple tutorial with tips and tricks I picked up from the workshop.
What is a Bento?
Bento roughly translates to box lunch, or baon in Filipino.
According to Wikipedia:
A single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine; traditionally holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.
Bentos can be elaborately arranged: one style is "kyaraben" (character bento), typically decorated to look like popular characters from Japanese cartoons (anime); another bento style is "oekakiben" (picture bento), decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or flowers and plants.
Why make a Bento?
- Create and assemble a balanced meal that is visually appealing and delectable as well
- Meals that are playful and creative for kids to enjoy eating
- Helps introduce a wider and healthier selection of food especially for kids
The Oreo Bento Together Workshop was hosted by Oreo, and conducted by the talented Bento Mommas. Each participant received a complete kit to make our bento.
What you need to Bento:
- Bento box - food container
- Silicon cups, or paper cups (coated paper cups better)
- Grass barans, or food dividers
- Food picks, decorative plastic picks
- Small sauce bottles or containers
- Rice or onigiri molds
- Deco cutters, cookie cutters
- Nori punchers
- Hand-held tools - tweezers, carving knife/cutter, scissors (to be used for food only)
- Condiment pens and squeeze bottles
- Cling-wrap plastic
- Clear, reusable sandwich bags
Don't be overwhelmed with the list above. If I am going to make or re-create the Oreo Bento we did yesterday, I think I will just need some basic materials to start with:
- Nice square or rectangular food container (better with built-in dividers)
- Small scissors and/or small utility knife
- Clear plastic bags (sandwich bag / Ziplock)
- In lieu of decorative cups and dividers, slices of carrots, lettuce or cabbage leaves to double as garnish and food divider.
We made two Oreo Bento meals yesterday - a rice bento and a sandwich bento. It took quite some time for us newbies to finish -- I'm guessing almost half an hour on each bento! =)
The ingredients and tools were all prepared and laid out for us by Oreo and Bento Mommas, including cooked Japanese (sticky) white and brown rice, broccoli, fried chicken, corn, fruits, nori strips, bread slices, candy toppings, and of course, assorted Oreo cookies!
If you want to re-create these, feel free to use whatever tools, ingredients and combo you like. Just have fun and "play" with your food! Here are the steps in making our lunch and snack bento:
RICE BEAR & OREO BENTO
- Head - Scoop palm-sized ball of brown rice in a sandwich bag and mold, press and compress, make a rounded top and flat base (like a siopao), place on lower corner of the container
- Ears - Scoop and mold 2 small balls of brown rice and place on top of head.
- Face - Scoop white rice and mold small circle and place on the lower third of the head.
- Punch or cut out circles for eyes, nose, mouth with nori strips (Japanese dried crispy seaweed), use tweezers to place on the face
We eventually changed the nose and copied the heart-shaped nose that they showed at the demo, then added "freckles" on the cheeks. Kaye, from the Bento Mommas, used a small drop of ketchup to spread as "blush" on the bear cheeks. Nice idea!
- Position 1 or 2 small chicken pieces on the top or side of the rice bear
- Use grass baran dividers for the veggies and corn
- Place cookies and fruit slices on separate coated paper cups
- Fruits like pears and apples can be carved on the skin side -- stripes, checkers, or even your name
Tadaaa! Our very first Oreo Bento rice meal! Check out the personalized apple slice. =)
More tips from the Bento Mommas:
- Keep bento tightly packed - to maintain the arrangement intact
- Gradually add and build your collection of bento materials
- Be inspired by other bentos and use your imagination -- get ideas from the kids too and use their favorite characters
- Use Japanese rice or similar sticky rice for easy molding
- Use your clean hands - they're your best tools (option to wear disposable gloves)
- For special designs, start with a sketch and plan your ingredients
- With more practice, preparation, and planning, creating bento will be faster and easier
Our next challenge is an animal sandwich bento. Whoever can creatively incorporate Oreos in the bento will win. Tina's bento won, and so well deserved. Here's our own snack bento creation as directed by my girl:
TIGER SANDWICH & OREO BENTO
- Head - "Glue" the sandwich with a preferred spread or filling (peanut butter, cookie butter, or cream cheese, etc.)
- Using a round cookie cutter, cut circles from chocolate bread sandwich
- Insert one corner of the triangle in the sandwich head
- Peel off Oreo Action Fruit Berry filling and cut out circles for the second layer of the eyes, and triangle for the nose; use knife or cutter or large straw to punch out
- For pupils of the eyes, use 2 chocolate chips and press the pointed tip into the center of each eye
- Cheeks/whiskers/pattern, cut out triangles from Oreo Action Fruit Berry filling and place on the sides of the face
- Position tiger sandwich on one corner
- Use food pick to skewer grapes
- Add pretzel sticks as bed for the grapes and use grass baran divider between fruit and sandwich
- Place cookies and fruit slices on separate coated paper cups
- combine orange wedges and apple slice in one cup, Oreos in another cup
This was our peg, and our final sandwich bento. So, how do you like our Tiger-Oreo Bento? =)
My girl and I feel so accomplished after completing both projects. Our Oreo Bento Together Workshop just proved how versatile this well-loved sandwich cookie is. Look how it fits perfectly in each bento! Learning and making edible works of art with an #OreoBento is a fail-proof creative bonding experience for the whole family, as well as with friends and among children. It can be a fantastic party activity too!
A big, big thanks to our sponsor, Oreo, for making this #BetterMe session happen for the SoMoms and our children. For 102 years, OREO has been spreading cheer and delicious delights to kids and adults alike. My family loves Oreo, and just like the millions of Oreo lovers around the world, we eat and enjoy our Oreos in different ways. How do you eat your Oreo? =)
It was such a pleasure for me and the girl to be trying this out for the first time! This Oreo Bento Together Workshop allowed us to discover a new craft and gain new skills together, and inspired us to appreciate and enjoy the simplest food like rice and bread. Making the #OreoBento taught us how to present our meals in a more fun, healthy, and very creative way. We have to credit the Japanese for their ingenuity with their bento.
|Repost from @mommanmanila IG. Thanks Mish, for taking our photo! =)|
Have you tried making bento before? Go create your own #OreoBento now with the family! =)
Here we are, all happy and accomplished moms and kids. View more photos during the workshop here on Facebook: Oreo Bento Together Workshop
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