Totoro Revisited

img_1057The Totoro marathon continues…

Easy bento day at the O’Neill house.  Prepared rice noodles with food coloring in water to turn noodles grey and prepared pork gyoza which we had on hand in our freezer from Costco.  (it is a much better deal to invest in the larger quantity and my kids love them)  Tried a new smoothie recipe with sweet matcha,  canteloupe from our garden and freshly pressed almond milk, but all in all, cooking was light for today’s bento. Tomorrow’s Totoro is more involved, so a break early in the week is called for.

Today Totoro is made from rice noodles, squid and nori and is garnished with edamame.   Sides/snacks are pork gyoza, organic strawberries and blackberries, leftover coco Soot Sprites (recipe posted yesterday), hot chili salad Pretz and at the last minute I decided to throw in some rice rollers.  Tiny bottle contains soy sauce to use with noodles or gyoza.  Thermoses contain Green Tea Smoothie.

Pretz is a fun Japanese savory snack by the makers of Pocky and while the original salad Pretz is probably our favorite, Hot Chili Salad is a much better deal on Amazon.  Once I am driving again, I can visit Pacific Mercantile or H Mart and compare prices.  I know Pocky is a better deal from those vendors, but Pretz is a recent discovery of ours and I have only purchased online.


Green Tea Smoothie

1 medium banana sliced

1/2 c almond milk (we make our own)

1/4 c baby kale (garden)

1 cup honeydew melon (garden) cubed

2 Sierra Honey plums sliced

1 tsp sweet matcha

Combine all ingredients in 24 oz Nutri Ninja cup.  Press Auto IQ-extraction and run for 30 seconds.  Fills 3 kittycat thermoses.

Almond Milk

1 1/2 c slivered almonds

4 1/2 c water

1/2 tsp sea salt.

Place ingredients, in order, into 48 oz extra capacity Nutri Ninja.  Press auto IQ-extraction.  When complete, pour through a fine mesh strainer to produce milk.  Can be kept chilled for 3 days.  ( we will be using the rest of the week in smoothies to consume)

I have evidence that the creative energy my mind is using to create bentos is beginning to seep into other parts of my consciousness.  Connor and Finn are raising money to go to West Virginia for the BSA Jamboree next summer and the pre-trip makes stops in New York City, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.  So the amount of money they need to raise is significant.  We are participating in all of the traditional BSA fundraisers,  but we are also selling piggy banks decorated with a variety of maps; We are using geographical, composite and standard maps of Colorado, road maps from a county in Iowa and of upstate New York, a map of bicycle trails from a city in Wisconsin and a map depicting French roads and battlegrounds. (unusual addition, I realize, but Connor is a history buff and is currently enrolled in French 1 ) The pigs are being decoupaged over bisque ceramic and are going to good homes for a donation of $20.  So this is a project I have brainstormed and to date, it has brought in $60 in support of the boys.  Our goal for pig revenue it $400.00.  My method may not raise as much money as selling popcorn or selling Mother’s Day baskets, but it certainly is an example of thinking outside the box, something I was incapable of before bentos.

Wisconsin bicycle trails

I have three Viewmasters sitting in my closet that I purchased last year in preparation for the launch of an end-of-the-year Anime project that never happened.  My kids’ original Viewmaster and reels were long ago passed down to my niece, so I am inspired to make gifts of these retro toys..  I am scanning photos from when they were small and taking new pictures of interesting/clever art displays, favorite vinyl covers, pages from favorite books, etc. and uploading them to a service that creates personal Viewmaster reels.  The kids have “On the Day You Were Born” photo books of baby memories, but most records of their childhood are in boxes with no order or on the computer with limited access.  I can’t afford to do very many reels, probably technically I can’t afford any, but I am trying to choose wisely and create a childhood montage for each of them.  These are the kids who have no idea what to ask for for Christmas because they have everything, so maybe this will be something they don’t have; Maybe these reels will show them how important and interesting and fun their lives are. One more idea sparked from my mind’s creative exercise with bento boxes; evidence for improvement of post-concussive symptoms as well as two new projects that connect me to my kids.



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