A reader (Hi Linda!) recently wrote to me about the logistics of bento making. Well to begin, my day starts at 5:30 am. I wake up early because I enjoy having a cup of coffee, reading the news, and spending some time with my hubby while it is still peaceful and quiet in the morning. At around 6:15 am I start Paige’s lunch. Depending on what it is, Paige’s lunch will take me anywhere from 5 minutes (for sandwiches) up to 30 minutes for bentos that require cooking like the one pictured above. I keep things really simple and try to do as much prep as I can the night before. I also make sure that whatever I make for dinner that I save a small portion for Paige’s lunch the next day. For example the bento above contained misoyaki chicken, corn, rice, and watermelon. Since we had misoyaki chicken for dinner the night before, I saved some of the cut and marinated the chicken to cook the next morning. We also had watermelon and corn for dinner that night so I reserved a few pieces on the side for Paige’s lunch.
Sandwiches are much simpler and faster to put together since they require no cooking. I prep everything the night before (including cutting the carrots and the details for the sandwich’s face) so that all I have to do in the morning is assemble the sandwich and tuck it in a bento box. Really the key to an easy morning is to do as much prep as you can the night before and just do one simple cute thing for your bento.
Paige went on a field trip today so I packed her bento in a disposable container. After packing it (and taking the pictures), I realized that the box that I had chosen was too big! :0( The lid of the box pictured has a domed lid so there was quite a bit of space at the top. If I left the food in this container, it would have resembled a stir fry rather than a bento so I changed it to a smaller more secure container. Paige’s bento contains a musubi, mochiko chicken, sauteed Brussels sprouts, and carrot flowers. I cut the carrot flowers with my new and awesome Ateco cutters from the Executive Chef at Ward. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and the only downfall is that they were kind of pricey. Still, I am a sucker for all new and cute things that I can use in my bentos so of course I bought them.
Yesterday, Paige went to do some grocery shopping with me and expressed interest in trying Brussels sprouts. I’ve never made them for the kids before so I was really happy that Paige was curious about them! We ate them last night for dinner and Paige requested them for her lunch today too! The Brussels sprouts were lightly steamed and then quickly sauteed with a little bit of olive oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper. Paige’s lunch also included grilled chicken breast, a sweet potato heart, pineapple, and a musubi wrapped in a lion onigiri wrapper.
Quick post today! Paige’s lunch consisted of mandoo (pan-fried Korean dumplings), sesame spinach, carrot hearts, a sweet potato flower, and three tiny onigiri stuffed into a silicone pea pod container. Happy hump day everyone!
Paige’s lunch today consisted of two onigiri disguised as puppies, mochiko chicken, edamame, and a couple of heart shaped Okinawan sweet potatoes. I also packed her a small container of cantaloupe which I forgot to add when I took the picture this morning. The onigiri wrappers are from the Marukai store at Ward and they also had Hello Kitty ones too. It’s a fast and easy way to make any lunch cute!
Many thanks to everyone for all of the well wishes for Paige. She is back to normal and back in school. Paige’s lunch today is a monkey turkey sandwich with goldfish and fresh pineapple stored in the smaller container. This is my first, ooooops I mean Paige’s first Eco Lunchbox and I can’t tell you how much I love it! It’s very durable with an easy to open tight-fitting lid. The lunch box comes with a smaller container fitted with a plastic leakproof lid which I used to store Paige’s pineapple. I forgot to take a picture with the lid on but just visit the Eco Lunchboxes site to see all of their different products. It’s available at Whole Foods Kahala or buy it online!
Paige stayed home today with a cold so there was no bento today, but here is a fishy sandwich from last week! As you can see it was super quick and easy to make- all I needed was a few strategically placed pieces of cheese cutouts, a slice of olive, and a fun pick to make this sandwich look like a fish. Hope you all are having a good start to the school year and are staying healthy!