When my bento blogging buddy Li Ming Lee of www.bentomonsters.com asked me to review her first bento book Yummy Kawaii Bento: Preparing Adorable Meals for Adorable Kids, you can bet that I was more than thrilled! I've always been so amazed by the incredible works of "food art" that I often see in her Instagram feed that I jumped at the chance to see how she actually makes it all happen.
It's a beautiful hard-covered 240+ paged book filled with tons of gorgeous jaw-dropping bento lunch photos, along with a list of essential tools, techniques, tutorials and best of all, delicious recipes. For me, it was all the delicious yet simple recipes that I was most excited about! She takes traditional Japanese-style bento lunches and puts an adorable and fun twist on them, making meals kids of all ages can enjoy. Such a variety of lunches too, including soups, sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta, rice, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, vegetables, special occasions, you name it! It's all in here. The step-by-step tutorials, complete with illustrations, are all very clear and simple to follow.
My girls and I enjoyed flipping through the pages together and picked out some fun things to try. The really cool thing was that they were tracked out, so we had time to really go all out on our lunches AND I got to see their reactions when they ate 'em, for a change.
Here are a "few" that we just HAD to try. I sometimes had to improvise, I as I didn't always have the exact tool on hand, but I was able to make them all work with things I already had in my kitchen. One thing I can't believe is that I do not own a small circle cookie cutter. I own teeny ones and large ones, but not smaller sized ones! Oh well, I made do with flower cutters instead. :)
1. Puff Pastry Soup Bear. Mine was made with tomato soup with alphabet noodles that got way bloated and soaked up the soup, but that didn't seem to phase the girls. They gobbled it up and asked for seconds. Nevermind that mine looks more like a lion cub than bear. I'm thinking the flower cutter is to blame.
2. Penguin Sandwich. Once again, no small round cookie cutter, so flower cutter it is. I added a teeny little bow tie to mine. The girls were tickled by it.
As you can see, Big Sis likes taking pictures of her food, just like her mama, but she has very little desire to actually make it herself. That's where Little Sis steps in. She loves to help cook. Together they make a perfect me.
3. Bear Pizzas: The next day, I couldn't wait to make these cuties for my cuties. Once again, no small circle cutter! That's where my scalloped biscuit cutter came in handy. And I was happy to see that pepperoni make cute and yummy eyes and noses, too!
4. Animal Tortilla Chips: Little Sis has been on a serious koala-loving kick and when she saw these she just HAD TO HAVE THEM.
So have them she did, in her taco salad lunch on her first day back to school.
5. Pesto Pasta Frog. I was psychic when I made this. Little Sis came home from school and said she was really in the mood for pesto pasta, so I lead her to the kitchen table where this was already made and waiting for her. Sadly, the frog didn't last 5 mins. lol.
6. Ice Cream Buddies. This here is an adult favorite and I made this lunch for myself! lol. The cone is made out of pork patties, a delicious, DEELicious, DEEELICIOUS recipe from the book. I can't stand how good these were and my hubby certainly agreed. SO simple and easy to make, too. My ice cream buddy may not be as fancy as Li Ming's but she sure was DELICIOUS!!
So whaddya think? Does it look like I had some fun with these? Suprisingly enough, each lunch didn't require a huge amount of time or effort, especially if you don't try to make more than one at a time (lol) and do a little planning ahead. I enjoyed making these fun, cute lunches vs. the simple lunches I've been making and I definitely foresee myself making more for my girls. It's a great book and I highly recommend it!
Thanks so much, Li Ming, for asking me to review your book. It was an honor! And thank YOU for stopping by and please feel free to make my day by leaving me a comment, joining my blog in the top right corner or liking my on Facebook at MyEpicureanAdventures - the more the merrier! :)
Christine, aka happyvballgirl :)
My favorite Bento supplier @ All Things For Sale. Just click on the pix to view/purchase now! :)