Bento #10: Turkey Sandwich Maki

Today is another day for experimental foods. We have:

  • Carrots
  • Orange wedges
  • Pita
  • Laughing Cow cheese wedge
  • Turkey sandwich maki (what?!)

Once a week or so I make fresh rice and freeze it, and today was the day so I wanted to make use of the fresh rice on hand. Using Soy Wraps instead of nori I made maki with sliced turkey, american cheese, and cucumbers. If I'd had more turkey sandwich veggies on hand I'd have used them too. Sprouts seem like they'd be good.

I also attemtped to make banana maki (not pictured) with a soy wrapper, rice, and banana. It came out pretty bland, so next time I may mix purchase viagra in australia some peanut butter up with the rice before rolling it.


Bento #7: Quick Lunch

Mostly levftovers today, except for my attempt at some veggie stir fry with zucchini and mushrooms.

  • Leftover pasta and meatballs in marinara sauce
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Half an orange
  • Mushroom and Zucchini Stir Fry

A bunch of people have said to me, "I could never find the time to pack a lunch every day, much less make it look nice." But I promise you, you can. This lunch took me less than 10 minutes, and that includes the time to stir fry the veggies. Making it look nice isn't really much harder than throwing it all together haphazardly.

Granted, the cute rice shapes (and really fresh rice in general) take a while, but most of the time I just throw leftovers in a box, decorate with some spinach for color, and throw in whatever fruits/veggies are handy. Since I do viagra buy now it every day, I can cut extra on days when I have time and save them for the next day.

Really the best thing about this is how many veggies we're using. I think this is the first time in a while we'll get to the end of the bag of carrots, rather than having to throw them out because they're old and gross. Veggies are way less intimidating when you can just tuck them into the corners of your lunch. Somehow figuring out how to use 1/2 a carrot is way easier than figuring out what to do with a bag of them.

We have a lot of leftovers, so I'm trying to think of things besides carrots to dress them up with. Hmm…


Bento #6 My First Maki

Today was my first attempt at making maki. I thought about documenting the process itself, but decided there are enough online instructions that no one needed to see me flail about trying to make maki.

I think they came out pretty well. It took about an hour to put both our lunches together, most of which was the time it took to cook the rice. I am saving up my pennies for a rice cooker, let me tell you.

After some internet research, it turns out what I thought was a cucumber was zucchini. I of course found this out after packing the lunches and sending Chris off with his. Oops. I'm still learning this whole vegetable thing.

In this lunch:

  • Slightly messed up California rolls (rice, nori, avacado, imitation crab, zucchini)
  • Banana
  • Carrot slices
  • Edamame

Both of us got the same lunch today, Chris's is just a little bigger. The blue container with a dog on it contains soy sauce, which I left out of mine. I didn't have any pickled ginger or wasabi, oh well.

As you can see we now have offical bento boxes. The tupperware still works best for certain foods / shapes, but the two-tier bento makes separating foods much easier and travels a little better. Chris's even came with an insulated bag with a handle to carry it in.


Bento #4: Real (frozen) Japanese Food!

Today's lunch features some actual Japanese foods, purchased frozen from a local grocery store.

It contains:

  • Heart shaped rice balls
  • Gyoza filled with pork, chicken, and veggies
  • Edamame
  • Half a banana
  • 2 female viagra jelly Chips Ahoy cookies
  • Baby spinach used as a divider

Today was surprisingly one of the longer morning prep times, despite using mostly frozen foods. It took about 15 minutes, so far the only bento which took longer was when I was cooking the rice fresh. These rice balls have been frozen in the freezer since them, I just zapped them in the microwave for about a minute to soften them up again. Having to cook the edamame and gyoza on the stove took a while.

Kitchen efficiency is something that's going to take practice. I have an electric kettle, but forgot to turn it on until about 5 minutes into the prep, after I'd already started the gyoza cooking. Because the edamame was frozen it took a while to bring the water back up to a boil, and I still had the burner on medium heat. Despite the fact that the gyoza takes 10 minutes and the edamame takes about 5, I was waiting on the edamame to finish the lunch. I'll get more streamlined as I get more used to cooking.

I should mention that before this lunch experiment, I pretty much never cooked anything. Even now I'm not doing a ton of actual cooking; mostly I'm just reheating leftovers and frozen foods. But it's still the most time I've spent in the kitchen since I moved in.

I'll only be gone for a few hours today, so I packed myself a mini lunch with some of the leftovers from Chris's:

Unless I come up with an awesome bento idea I'll probably take a day off from lunchmaking tomorrow and start again next week.


Bento #3: Rushed Bento

This morning, about an hour before Chris usually leaves, I asked what time he was headed into the office. “About now,” he replied. Suddenly my plans of edamame, gyoza, and more heart shaped rice flew out the window. “It’s ok, you can pack a lunch tomorrow,” he said.

NONSENSE! I jumped to my feet and, viagra prescriptions in only slightly more than the time it took for him to sync his ipod, put together this lunch:

Bento #3: Last Minute Bento

  • Turkey sandwich wrap (turkey, cheese, baby spinach)
  • Naval orange
  • brownie
  • baby spinach for garnish (it looked kind of sad without it)

It’s not very densely packed, so it may be a little on the small side. If not a full lunch, it’ll at least be a nice snack.


    Lunch #2: Un-bento

    Chris stayed home today, so I didn't pack him a lunch. I still made him one, I just served it on a plate instead of cuddling it natural viagra pills all up in a box.

    In what I'm sure is an affront to all japanese cooking, I made something that can best be described as hot dog sushi.

    The lunch consists of:

    • Fresh red pepper slices
    • hot dog sushi: slices of hot dog on heart shaped rice balls wrapped in nori (seaweed)
    • baby spinach
    • a brownie

    Chris said the hot dog sushi was good, and unlike anything he'd eaten before. The texture of sushi doesn't generally anticipate the flavor of hot dog. But after the surprise wore off it was indeed delicious.

    I made Japanese rice for the first time today. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've successfully made rice of any kind. I washed it yesterday evening and let it soak overnight.

    I don't have any official rice molds, but I do have a silicone ice cube tray I got from Ikea.

    I greased half of them with some vegetable oil as an experiment. Definitely do this, it makes it much easier to get the rice out and maintain the shape. You can tell in the picture below which ones had sticking problems. I'll probably get some nonstick spray next time I'm at the grocery store, they're kind of a pain to grease by hand.

    I started packing with a wooden spatula, but eventually just pushed the rice in with my hands. Make sure your hands are wet or the rice will just stick to them hopelessly. I kept a bowl with a little water in it nearby.

    Oh, and what did I eat today? Yesterday's bento. After sending Chris off to work with his and blogging about it, I forgot mine at home.



    If you’ve been reading our humble local paper, the New buy cialis and viagra online York Times, you know that bento lunches are gaining popularity among yuppies. For the uninitiated, bento lunches are densely packed lunches that generally feature smaller portions of many things. Bento is most widely known in the US for super cute design, with Hello Kitty bento boxes and heart shaped rice molds. But it really is just any densely packed, well portioned, nutritionally balanced lunch.

    Now my boyfriend’s awesome new startup has an office and the guys don’t have to work from home, Chris is off to work every day for the first time in about a year and a half. In an attempt to cut lunch costs and eat more veggies, I’ve volunteered to pack Chris a bento lunch every day. It’s a good excuse for me to wake up earlier (if you knew what time I usually get up you’d lynch me) and uh, I could really use the practice cooking.

    While I’m super excited to send Chris off with adorably shaped rice balls and eggs in the shape of bunnies, I’m starting smiple with the tools I have on hand. Here’s today’s lunch, my first ever attempt at packing lunch for someone else:

    It consists of:

    • leftover Pokemon macaroni and cheese with beef and broccoli
    • half a banana
    • festively chopped carrots
    • fresh red pepper
    • a mini chocolate chip muffin for dessert

    To keep the banana from browning I dipped it in a little bit of watered down lemon juice. The internet promises me this will keep it from looking totally nasty by lunch. We’ll see if it’s true.

    As you can see, I don’t have a super cute hello kitty bento box. In fact, I just used a $0.25 plastic food tray I got from the dollar store. If I decide to keep up the lunchmaking I’ll invest in some better hardware. But the point of this is to save some money, not spend it all on adorable lunchboxes.

    Later this week I’ll try an actual Japanese style meal, with sticky rice balls wrapped in seaweed and some gyoza for the main dish instead of last night’s leftovers. I also saw some super adorable mini PBJs made using soy wrappers. I’ll have to go on a hunt for them in the city as I’m too stubborn to buy them on Amazon.

    There are a number of good websites for would-be bento makers. has a lot of beginner information, especially food safety and packaging tips. is a blog mostly about preparing meals for toddlers, but also has a lot of good information on food prep, speeding things up, and how to freeze things in a way that doesn’t leave them mushy and gross when you thaw them out.

    Oh, and because you can’t see them so well in the picture, here’s what I did with the carrots (shown on cucumbers):

    It’s really easy, instructions can be found here. I ended up only using one knife though, I didn’t want to dirty a second one and was concerned about dulling the knives if they hit each other. You just have to be a little more careful to not go through all the way.

    More bento pictures to come as I make them!