I’m back to making easy bento lunches. Sure, they take a bit more effort but I’m positive my daughter is eating healthier because of it.
In line with the buzz surrounding the new Peanuts movie release, I popped into our La Jolla VONS for ingredients to make a Snoopy bento box lunch. Much to my delight, a few items—like ready-made Japanese rice in the Asian section and star fruit in the produce section—made the project a lot easier than I had anticipated.
Tip: It’s always easier to have the right bento box. Read how to choose the best bento box for kids.
How to Shape Rice
Shaping Snoopy’s head is a breeze.
I’ve recently learned how to better shape rice using—wait for it—plastic wrap. Roll a warm (but not too hot otherwise it will stick) heap of rice into a sheet of plastic wrap and wad it up tightly.
Shape the wrapped rice how you like. Unwrap the shape. You may need to press a few kernels back into place.
Or, wet your fingers and hands so that they do not stick to the rice. Begin shaping. Remember, Japanese rice when made properly is stickier than other rice. I pressed Snoopy’s head together with wet fingers.
Of course, a number of gadgets will help shape the rice into perfect rectangles, triangles, and more but for the sake of a kids’ lunch, these probably aren’t necessary.
Cutting Snoopy’s Features from Nori and More
A pair of kitchen scissors will do the trick. To make the small eyes, I used a special nori (dried seaweed) punch but other people use metal straws or anything around the house that could cut into seaweed with a little twisting.
These bento vegetable cutters are specifically-made for vegetables (though I use them for cheese, too) but any metal cookie cutter—with a little force—can slice through raw carrots.
(Mostly) Simple Ingredients in the Snoopy Bento Box
Included items were totally based on my daughter’s preferences. She wanted:
- Crackers (don’t let these touch the rice otherwise they’ll soften)
- Flower-shaped cheese
- Flower-shaped carrots
- Kale (kale or lettuce helps separate food and add flourish… they are a bento must-have)
- Heart-shaped Japanese egg omelet (see note below)
- Tangerine with celery in it to mimic a pumpkin
- Snoopy rice ball with a nori face
The One Advanced Ingredient
Small confession: I am obsessed with my new Japanese Tamagoyaki pan. I can roll multilayered Japanese omelets to perfection. The traditional recipe might not suite a kid’s taste but you can just use pure egg instead. The omelet rolls into an oval shape that we slice in a diagonal. The halves are repositioned into a heart. This website features an excellent tamagoyaki recipe and helpful video.
Eggs are one of the ways I insert protein into my daughter’s lunches these days. Another idea is to buy bento egg shapers to turn them into hearts, bears and other shapes.
As you can see above, some of these products can make excellent additions to a Snoopy or other fun bento box lunch!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.