I make up a big batch of brown rice and quinoa each week or so for the girls and I to supplement the gluten-free breads and crackers and such, since many gluten-free items are higher in starches and don't have whole grains. I crammed as much as I could into a reusable container, but there was some left. For some reason, I decided I would rather try and form an untested pile of cooked grains into onigiri for the next day's lunch than find a larger container or get a separate smaller container! Haha! But it worked!
I was trying to remember if I knew how to use egg molds to mold rice, or did I have a bunny rice mold... and then I remembered a bunny onigiri from Bento, Monsters that had looked doable, so I took my inspiration from there. I don't really know what I'm doing, but so far have had amazing luck making my onigiri turn out nicely.
|Organic strawberries, Naturebox Lemon Pucker Pistachios, gluten-free tamari sauce, organic brown rice and quinoa, organic carrot details, organic purple broccoli and sugar snap peas. Not shown: Stonyfield organic yogurt tube|
I packed everything in my stainless steel Lunchbots Uno because
Pucker Up: I put some Naturebox Lemon Pucker Pistachios (her favorite!) in a mini silicone bento cup (my carrot one was found on eBay.) She loves pistachios, and really loves these flavored ones. Plus she can mostly open them by herself now. And I needed a little more protein that would fit in the little cup without ruining the look of the lunch!
Bunny Garden: I needed something for the bunny to be peeping up from behind, and decided that the sugar snap peas would be a good option. I had to pile them in two layers to make them thick enough for the bunny's hands to rest on.
I was so excited to see purple broccoli in my weekly organic farm share the week before. I hadn't even known it existed! This is too exciting to waste in soups! I didn't think she'd actually eat it though, so only put a few stalks in, like tall flowers.
The rest of the space was filled in with strawberries. And a little bunny sauce bottle with some gluten-free tamari sauce to use to flavor the rice.
Easter Bunny: I was quite excited that the rice and quinoa mix actually worked for this. I know it's hard to do onigiri with brown rice. You need short-grain rice, which this happened to be. And you need to rinse it well first, which I did, since I was rinsing the quinoa anyway. I figured I could try and make rice balls or something with some of it.
I basically spooned rice onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrapped it tightly to squoosh it together and then mashed it around until I got the shape I wanted, before unwrapping it. Same principal for the ears and hands, except smaller and more annoying, since I was trying to make things that were the same size as each other.
I broke off bits of uncooked (gluten-free) spaghetti noodles to help secure all the parts to the head, which was more annoying, as bits of the face would "crack," and I'd have to smoosh it back together again. So not as easy to work with as white rice.
For the ear decoration, I used a carrot cut with a sakura flower veggie cutter stuck onto a bit of uncooked noodle. I cut the little carrot free-hand, and used a noodle to secure it as well. The "stem" is a tiny leaf from the broccoli.
The bunny's face is nori (I bought a pack at an Asian grocery near me,) and I used bits from two different nori face punches. I wet my finger and wiped it on one side of each piece to help glue them down.
Keeping It TogetherI warned her that her lunch might be all jumbled up, since I wasn't sure how the onigiri would hold together in her backpack. But that she could see the pictures when she got home.
To prevent stuff from shifting around too much, though, I used a folded-up cloth napkin from Red Poppy Crafts to help fill the space. It did the trick, since she brought it home mostly uneaten, which I had expected. Not because she didn't like it, but because she likes to suck on the Lemon Pucker Pistachio shells first, then the nuts, and then eat them. Which used up most of snack time. She had eaten an ear and half of the sauce too.
But everything had stayed in place when it came home. Where she ate everything but one strawberry, a few grains of rice, the broccoli, and the empty sugar snap pea pods (she only chews enough to get them open and eat the peas out - I feed Baby the chewed pods, or chop them up and toss them into soup. Hey. We're all family here.)