Saturday, September 17, 2016

Charabens for Picky Eaters

A while back I posted about the lunch box club that my daughter and her friends wanted to start doing.  Since then I have made a few charabens, which usually always went uneaten as my daughter is a picky eater.

For those who don't know, a charaben is a lunch box meal prepared to look like a character from a popular t.v. show, movie, comic, etc. You can search charabens on Google or Youtube and find some amazing works of art. However, most of those use ingredients that my daughter won't touch, let alone eat.  So the question came up, how do I make cute bentos or charabens with ingredients that she will eat?

Here is a Totoro themed charaben I did last week. A few things to note:

The brown rice on Totoro is colored with soy sauce and not fish flakes. This means that the rice isn't very sticky and doesn't hold its shape very well. I left the Totoro pieces in the fridge for 30 minutes. However they still fell apart when I tried to piece him  together in the lunchbox.

The flowers are made out of salami. To make the flowers, simply cut a piece of salami at one end, continuing in a circle motion, until you get a really long piece. Then roll it up from the center out. It's the same technique for making fabric flowers.

The Soot Sprites are made with nori wrapped around rice balls.Then I sprinkled with white shredded cheese to give the sooty, fuzzy feeling. The eyes are American cheese.

I cut all my pieces by hand as I don't have any shape punches, but I can see how those would be really handy.  It would cut the process time down by quite a bit. So if you are interested in making Charaben regularly, I would suggest looking into and getting some tools of the trade, so to speak.

A few other Charabens I have made with picky eater approved ingredients:

The Little Mermaid

This is basically spaghetti with green beans, olives, shredded cheese and bologna. 

Sleeping Beauty

Beauty is made with bread, olives, bologna, Pepperoni and American cheese. She is resting on white rice. 
If you can get your little one to eat nori, it is much easier than cutting olives for facial features.

Have you made a charaben before? Perhaps a bento for a picky eater? I would love to see it. You can add a picture to the comments below. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hunt for Random Acts of Kindness not Pokemon

In my area, a new craze has caught on. Instead of catching Pokemon (which I'm not ashamed to say I do also), the big thing is to paint and hide rocks. Kind of like a scavenger hunt. At this point you're either thinking, "What?" or "Sweet. we play to", but hear me out. The point of this game is to spread cheer and joy within our community. You don't have to be a great artist to play and there's no age requirement. The rules are pretty simple:

  • You can paint rocks, or not
  • You can hide rocks, or not
  • You can find rocks, or not
  • You post hints to your rocks, or not
  • You can share your designs within the social media group, or not
  • If you find a rock:
    • You can keep it
    • You can take it and re-hide it somewhere
    • You can leave it
    • You can share it with others
    • You can add rocks to it
    • You can replace it with a different rock, or not
There are a lot of these groups around if you such local media for them. Type in your city and "rocks". Again, the point is to spread joy and cheer with others. In my area, people have said that this has helped them become closer as a family as they will now paint and hide and search for rocks together. Several others have also said its helped them with depression and anxiety. I know several families who have said its helping their autistic children communicate more.  And I think that's the best part. That this one simple activity by many random strangers is helping so many people in so many different ways. I am really glad and grateful to be a part of this. 

As such, I wanted to share it with all of you. Maybe you have hidden rocks or other treasures in your area. Maybe this is the first time you are hearing of it. Either way, I would love to see any rocks and/or treasures you make if you decide to play along with us in your own areas. 

Here are a few I have done and sent out into the world :)
I post more on my Instagram, check it out. :)