Bento, Bento, Bento

If you’ve been following me on my Facebook page, you know I’ve been posting pictures of my darling little lunchbox full of good things.

I’m on Day 5 of my Bento Challenge (self-imposed, not announced, for fear of shame and humiliation), where I see how many work days in a row I can get up and make my lunch.  I’ll write a page about it later, but long story short, I knew there was more to life than PB&J sandwhiches and pre-made meals full of sodium and preservatives.

I have to get healthy. It does me no good to spend time at the gym getting all sweaty with boob dew, only to chow down  on crap at lunchtime and  graze through dinner.  

Hence bento boxes – Japanese-style single serving meals, served in a pleasing arrangement (the definition in a nutshell). This is way better than standing in front of a microwave reading a box that has the same instructions as the box that held the microwavable lunch you had yesterday. It means standing in front of the stove in the morning, knowing precisely what I’m having, and feeling pretty good about it.

 Today’s lunch was a little more challenging, if only because the eyes are bigger than the box. Also, I only have two small saucepans, so  juggling fire with boiling water for five separate items made being awake very important.

Since we had lovely NY Strip last night, I opted for lighter fare for lunch today. I only have 2-Cup saucepans, so  it was more of a hooker bath than a deep fry – 2 spring rolls, and 6 crab dumplings (three of which were enjoyed among myself, D and the cats to “test for doneness”). The other sauce pan gave splashes of boiling water to edamame, green beans, and the quail eggs, which I opted to do morning of. I could have microwaved everything but the eggs, but I’m still wary of standing in front of the thing while it runs and the kitchen is only so big.

The defrosted rice was shaped into little balls and rolled in sesame seeds.  The brick of rice in my little box was becoming depressing and I crave variety. I could have wrapped them in nori, but sometimes that taste seeps into everything else. I’m going to keep looking for an alternative to furikaki or nori to season the rice/rice balls (other than frying) to make it less bland. I’m a fire sign, and tasting the sea in every bite doesn’t appeal to me. I am open to suggestions that don’t involve salt or MSG.

On to lunch:

It looks so good, your eyes will leak with jealousy

Clockwise from the top: Shelled Edamame, Vegetable Spring Rolls, Green Beans, Rice Balls rolled in Sesame Seeds, Crab Dumplings, Quail Eggs (2), Grape Tomatoes.

Or:

  • Shelled Edamame .25  Cup (approx)
  • Vegetable Spring Rolls (frozen, Nissui) (2)
  • Green Beans .25 Cup (approx)
  • Rice Balls (.75 Cup) rolled in Sesame Seeds,
  • Crab (Shumai)  Dumplings (frozen, Ajinomoto), (3)
  • Quail Eggs (2),
  • Grape Tomatoes (call it 7)

Now, I’m not going to lie to you Marge. Calorie-wise, this one is about 650 calories. It has to do with a bad combination of me being very new at this, seeing what I can cram into a little box, and speculating as to how hungry I might be in 4 hours.

I am almost never right.

Americans are stuck on the idea that we need to eat all of the things. More is more, and that’s a scary mentality. It’s no wonder some of us are tubbing out all over. I see one little dumpling floating in hot oil and I think, that’ll never be enough, so I add two more. Of course, I’m not counting the six other things I’ll have in that box.

My little box is about 600ml, or a bit over 2.5 cups. I’ve got a lot in that little box today and I can tell you post-lunch that it was too much. I only needed one spring roll, and a 1/4 Cup less rice.  Also, I really don’t need 2 eggs. Also, edamame are really good, but loaded with calories. Those will have to be a sometime food.

The little waxed-lined paper cups I’m using to separate the food are really coming in handy because I know I have too much when all of the things don’t fit. I’m working on that.

Smaller things and not as many things (the standing green bean fence is a cute but impromptu fix to TOO MANY THINGS).

Tomorrow’s lunch, I’m planning a chicken stir-fry.

2 thoughts on “Bento, Bento, Bento

  1. Green bean fencing, indeed. You should just run up to Noble fish or One world market, and pick up a pack of those artificial grass separator things.
    Failing that, you can’t go wrong with Cyclone fencing.