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Friday, January 23, 2009

Bento Challenge Week 2 Recap

So, it's Friday already! It's been quite the week, ending on a low note of sorts: I had a horrible, throbbing headache all morning that made me queasy and forced me to skip out on teaching my afternoon class today. Slept all afternoon, woke up still feeling horrible. When M. got home from work he made me some jook/okayu, the best convalescent food, with umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum), and I took an ibuprofen. Feeling a little better now after a second nap and lots and lots of water - the lights aren't making me queasy anymore!

Friday means that it's time to re-visit my goals for Week 2 of Maki's Just Bento challenge, with the theme "Healthy Bentos." I made bento lunches on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. Following are descriptions of the contents of each:

Sunday 01.18.09 Kimbap snack bento

-Korean-style sushi with leftover bi bim bap ingredients: ground beef, pea shoots, egg, carrot kinpira, kimchee

Tuesday 01.20.09 Obama Inaugural Bento

-spam musubi with broccoli trees (4 for M., me, and S. to share)(pictured)
-tea eggs on top of steamed broccoli, carrot kinpira, and pea shoots (not pictured)
-celery sticks (not pictured)
-assorted candy (not pictured)

Wednesday 01.21.09 Back to Work Bento (made two: one for M. and one for me)

-leftover Indonesian-y "mee goreng" stir-fried noodles with cabbage and carrot, seasoned with shrimp paste and ketchup and etc., topped with ground peanuts
-steamed broccoli trees
-half of a tea egg with black sesame seed garnish
-red grapes
-snack mix: wasabi peas, peanuts, and raisins

Thursday 01.22.09 Kidney Beans to the Rescue Bento (no picture)
-More mee goreng noodles
-salad of steamed carrot chunks and canned kidney beans, seasoned with bottled Pietro sesame dressing
-one orange, sliced
-wasabi pea, raisin, and peanut snack mix, again

Friday 01.22.09 Orange All Over Bento

This bento was prepared entirely the night before, and it still tasted good the next day (although maybe I shouldn't trust that judgment since I wasn't in the best shape at lunchtime...)
-Kimchee chahan (fried rice) prepared by M with spam chunks, kimchee, and egg
-Simmered vegetable medley: green cabbage, carrot, and reconstituted wakame, in a broth of water, soy sauce, and Japanese cooking wine, with black sesame seeds and gomashio (This gomashio was made and given to me by a coworker as a holiday gift - a very nice one, I might add!).
-Cheese chunks and red grapes
-The same orange from yesterday (not pictured)

As far as meeting my goals for this week, I did fairly okay.

1. Healthy - My need to honor the President with spam musubi was greater than that of rising to the "healthy" part of the bento challenge, and much spam was consumed this week, so I'm not sure how well I did on that score, but I did try to balance out the salty processed meat with simmered or raw veggie side dishes with minimal flavor enhancers (if any). I succeeded in including at least one veggie in every bento - frequently more.

2. "Beefing up" the bento with protein fillers - This worked really well, especially when I stumbled across the idea for the trail mix. I felt much fuller, and was also able to eat a bit of my lunch at lunchtime and save the rest for later in the afternoon, which helped prevent hunger pangs.

3. New recipe - Didn't get to it this week, with all the craziness. Maybe next week! I did purchase some shirataki noodles and konnyaku at our neighborhood Japanese market yesterday that I plan to use soon.

4. Make large portions of something to freeze - There is leftover beef soboro in the freezer. Didn't get to make gyoza, though, although I will be making a bunch of gyoza this coming week for Chinese New Year (jiaozi).

5. Making onigiri - If the musubi counts, then yes. Otherwise, no.

6. Looking at bento supplies online - Yes, I have started narrowing down my choices for actual bento boxes for us. I am partial to the tiffin-esque stainless steel bento boxes like these (Japanese page) because of their clean, timeless look and durability. I also looked at accessories, though I haven't purchased anything yet.

I also started using Maki's meal planner, which worked well for the lunches but was neglected for the other meals (and might have come in use, had I utilized it! We ended up going out to eat last night because we couldn't figure out what to make with what we had at home and didn't want to spend the time shopping and then preparing).

Two weeks down, three to go!

1 comment:

Anastasia said...

Your bentos look delicious! I've been using my adorable bear bento box a lot lately - it got a chuckle out of someone the other day. Also... glad to hear you're doing better! I'm eating a jook breakfast right now. It's pretty amazing in this snowy weather.

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