This is a guest post by Erin, who writes a frugal lifestyle blog in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, called The Cheap Chick.
My name is The Cheap Chick, and I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to online bento. It’s shocking, but true. Every day, sometimes two or three times a day, I log on to my favorite site and look at what other people packed that week for their lunches.
However, if there’s a 12-step program to help me stop, I don’t want it. Because not only did Just Bento (and its sister site, Just Hungry,) help change the way I cook and eat for the better, bento fits in perfectly with the ‘be cheap and fabulous’ gospel I’m trying to spread across the globe. What could be thriftier than packing your lunch and using the pantry items and leftovers you already have, rather than buying your lunch every day at a restaurant or fast food joint?
When Maki asked for guest writers for Just Bento, I knew it was time for me to join the world of bento makers. And I promised her I could make a bento that would be frugal, use many of the ingredients I already own or buy on a regular basis, and would look and taste delicious. Here’s how it turned out… continue reading...
This is a guest post by Iliana (aka Mosaica), who blogs about her daily life at The Daily Mosaica.
In life I often find myself embracing contradictions, and with regard to planning and preparing bento lunches, it appears that I am, at least, consistent. At times I am purely focused on taking a given recipe, often a Japanese recipe, and rendering it as authentically as possible given the constraints of my semi-rural existence in Vermont, a small state in the northeast of the US. For instance the bento from last week where I made inarizushi — this meal nourished me on a number of levels: it was completely delicious, it tied into a fascinating bit of cultural history, and it expanded my culinary repertoire. While I do miss the days when I was more of a globe-trotter, I’ve come to really appreciate how traveling via recipes from far, far away can give real pleasure —to my nose and eyes and tastebuds, as well as to my intellectual bits.
On the other hand, I’m also a bit of a fiesty girl, and I like to kick up my heels, as it were, in the kitchen, and for me this manifests itself as a willingness to play with food, to be led by my nose, or intuition, or a gut feeling that mixing this with that might just be yummy. That’s what this post is about: Taking ingredients which are traditional in Japanese cuisine and dressing them up in flavors from around the globe: Tibet, Denmark, Africa, India, and beyond. In addition, if you start from a perspective of your own preferred ratio of carb to protein to veggies and fruit, I encourage you to include entirely new ingredients to add fresh flavor and interest to your bento meal. During the five weeks of the Bento Challenge, I was inspired to see how many of us were using foods and flavors from our own backyards to create delicious new twists on the bento theme. continue reading...
“Go ahead, bake my quiche.”
Queen Magrat, Lords and Ladies
As a pescetarian leaning heavily towards full-time vegetarianism, finding the right protein for my bento is often a strain. I’m not a fan of soy meat replacements to boot, so often I look to eggs as a handy protein packet to put in my bento. Luckily, scientists now say that eggs are good for you again, so I’m not worried about cholesterol.
These mini-quiches are a tasty and healthy freezer staple for those times when boiling an egg or making tamagoyaki seems like too much effort. Each one of them contains about 1-2 tablespoons of egg-vegetable mixture, equivalent to about half an egg (plus a bit of milk).
Here are a few bentos I have used them in:
This is a guest post by Diana, who blogs about her healthy eating ideas at Soap and Chocolate.
Not everyone eats breakfast as well as lunch at the office, but for those of us who begin work at 9am after a whirlwhind of exercise, showering and primping, it’s convenient to be able to pack a bento-style breakfast the night before in order to cut down on the morning rush time. We all want to preserve those precious minutes of sleep before the alarm goes off! One of my favorite homemade to-go breakfasts is an omelette sandwich and fruit. This can be done with a myriad of mix-ins and spreads, but for the purposes of this post, I’ve gone with a Mexican theme, just to step out of the bento box a bit. continue reading...