I think it is safe to say that around 60% of my bentos are made using leftovers in some form or another. In the bento pictured above, eveything was from dinner the night before. When I find myself with enough leftovers to fill an entire bento, I do try to add a little something special to make things a bit more interesting. Sometimes it can be something as simple as adding a little dessert, but in this case I needed something a little more to get me excited about eating the same food over again. With the simple use of a fondant cutter (purchased at my local Michael’s or AC Moore craft store in the cake section), I was able to dress up the veggies a bit more so they felt more special. I also sprinkled on some black sesame seeds for contrast. With only 5 mins or so of extra work, I managed to make myself a pretty decent bento for the next day.
A note about food cutters:
There was a time when all I wanted was the special food cutters made just for bentos. I spent lots of time on ebay and trolling various bento communities looking for an opportunity to swap. While I am happy with the things I bought from those times, I also found myself spending a lot more money than I really wanted to. I was making bentos to save money, not to spend it all on accessories when I could find perfectly good alternatives state-side. My advice, the japanese stuff is great for certain shapes and can be pretty easily found on ebay. If you can’t find it, check out the options whenever you find yourself in a craft or kitchen store. Just because something is labeled as being for clay or fondant, that doesn’t mean it won’t be able to cut though a nice soft piece of cheese.