Challenge Week 3 Talk

Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 2 days ago.

The Week 3 Challenge details are live! Week 3 officially starts on Monday, January 26th.

Don’t forget to wrap up your Week 2 before tackling Week 3.

The third week of anything is the toughest, so hang in there!

I’ve seen that a few people are feeling a bit overwhelmed. I am repeating myself but please, remember that this is for you, it’s not a competition against other people. We are here to support each other and share our experiences. Just do as much as you feel you have the time and energy for, and don’t stress over it! Also remember that most things are much harder when you are just starting out. The more you do it, the easier it gets! When I started making bentos for myself again after a very long blank period about 2 or so years ago, I was taking ages to do anything, and I almost gave up on it. But I kept doing a bento or so a week, then more, and soon I could whip up a simple bento in a jiffy. (And then I got the idea for the Just Bento site, which has Taken Over, but that’s another story. ^_^;) You will probably experience something similar…just hang in there!


The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

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Joined: 14 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 6 years 47 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

I'm aiming to maintain my 5 for the week and concentrate on calorie counting this one properly. I'm also aiming to get the wii fit time up this week as much as possible.
I'm also aiming this week to get my speed on bento making up. This has as much to do with daughter, who takes ages to make up her mind what she wants in her box! Planning is out, as what she wants at 7pm on one night might not be what she wants at 8am on the way out the door to school!


Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 37 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

I've already started out well on this week's challenge - before I even knew what it was too. I made a big batch of baked falafels for the freezer last night, using the well-past-it broad (fava) beans I found still attached to the plants I was pulling up and composting yesterday morning. How frugal is that? And baking the falafels rather than deep frying them makes them a lot less fattening, and much nicer cold too.

On the other hand, I don't often have leftovers from my dinner (except for salads) because I mostly eat portions of things I make in bulk and freeze anyway. But we'll see how I go.



My blog is Food and Shoes

Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 23 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

My bentos are all ready very economical, I am extremely thrifty by nature so I will not be concentrating on that portion of the challenge. I was figuring out that it usually cost me less than $1 per lunch [good, cheap produce is available year-round here in California].

I just got some new smaller containers today, because I noticed that I was feeling just a tad too full. So I will try making smaller bentos for next week, which will probably force me to make them more compact and still filling. My calorie count was fine before, so I am not sure if I will be able to fit all the calories in but I will try.

And again I will be packing 7 bentos this week, two for the days I have class. And I will continue walking to public transit 3 days this week and I will try to get the hubs to walk home with me at night to increase my mileage [walking home alone in the dark is probably not the best].

Eleven Clovers
Bento-ing from: Warsaw › Poland
Joined: 7 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 38 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

Hmmm... well I dunno about the cutting cost thing.

Before, I used to pay about 4-5bucks for lunch and snacks (bit iffy about the exchange rate). Now most of the stuff I bring is leftovers, and anything else that already was in the pantry/fridge/wtv. So in a sense, I suppose I'm not really spending more money. Well, my mother is the one who does the grocery shopping anyway but I'm not aware of there being more shopping done - my fridge is as stacked as it has always been (we have trouble emptying it!). I think the only thing I bought extra these week were oscypki (Polish goat cheese, yummy). This aspect of bento making will probably affect me more when I'm in college and most probably perpetually broke, much like a good friend of mine, so at the moment I won't be tackling the Going Deeper part of the challenge. Or the Weight Loss for that matter, I'm don't deal too well with vegetarian ;)

For this week:
-Keep up the pace of last week, 4-5 bentos.
-Consistently keep bento preparation time short
-Exercise of course. It's also getting warmer now, so I might get some walking in.
-Use previous week's calorie counts as a sort of guideline to keep bentos under 500cal (Mondays and Wednesday excluded, because I know I need extra food when I stay behind for rehearsals).
-Resist the temptation to snack on toasties! They're not even that good >.<


"A common way to tell if it is well cooked is to throw the sausage onto a hard surface; if it bounces, the sausage is good."

My bento photos w/ detail and my blog.

Bento-ing from: Berlin › Germany
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 6 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

My goals for this week:
- making four bentos
- making them look better
- making more and more interesting veggies

read in more detail:


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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 2 days ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

My goals for this week are:

- A healthy, frugal bento every day.
- Try to use up the vegetables in the fridge before buying any more!
- Stop The Guy from making unauthorised grocery purchases! (he likes shopping for groceries...what do I do with a big bagful of tamarinds?)
- Exercise longer and more frequently!

And not at all connected to the Challenge but:

- Speed up the packing/sorting!
- Try to pull out all my hair.
- Remember to sleep horizontally, vs. crashing in an odd position on the sofa.

Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 7 years 46 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

This week I intend to pursue these goals:

• Five bentos for the week, plus any impromptu guest bentos
• Eat soup for at least 3 dinners
• Plan & make a vegetarian bento
• Use some back-o-the-pantry items in bento lunches
• Continue to tweak the balance in my bentos: I'd like to include a bit more non-starchy veggies
• Use the LIVESTRONG iTouch app as my food diary, exporting to a spreadsheet program each evening
• Get the rowing machine uncovered. That's it: just uncovered! (eyes self warily)

Thrift is a central fact of my life, and I've come to enjoy the clever bits we all figure out in order to live happy & well. I love finding a good bargain, and I've learned over the years to look before I leap. Sometimes I see something that seems like a fantastic, crazy, too-good-to-be-true deal, and generally it is.. too good to be true :-) I got burned a few times, and now I try to be alert to marketing nonsense.

I'm also an inveterate gleaner, so I know where good apples can be picked (without getting chased), when the fish truck arrives at my local coop, and what time the hoggy restaurant guy arrives at my green-market. This last is super important if I want to get some of that day's delivery. He always buys up all the bokchoy!

Anyhow, I guess I'll approach the thrift part of this week's goal by trying to use more of what I already have :-)


Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 17 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

Here are my Week 3 goals:

* sort bento boxes according to volume they can hold
* identify bento boxes that suit caloric intake per meal
* pre-plan the bentos and other meals for 7 days ON PAPER OR AT LEAST ON THE PC
* refine mise en place according to meal plans
* make at least 4 bentos and photograph them
* post here and write a report on my adventures!



~ Begin by knowing you have already arrived ~
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Bento-ing from: Warsaw › Poland
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 14 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

Well, first would be motivation. I failed so much with this weekly meal planner that this week it's quite empty and I just bought some veggies which were cheap on the market and put a few outlines of meals.
I'll make only two bloggable bentos. I forgot to take today's bento in photo but it's only sandwiches and some salads, beetroot cupcake and lentils and nut cupcake. Quite similar to those I had lately.
I have another problem: as I can't blog as fast as I do my bentos, I don't really like to put them in advance on the net, as then, who would want to have a look at my blog when at last this bento comes up...Cannot figure out how to do that.
Is there a way that let's say only just bento sees my photos? Or that they can only be visible here?
Think I didn't get that this challenge was just to continue as I did before with one or two pretty bentos and ordinary ones the rest of the time. I asked myself too much the two first week.
Well, well, go for basic challenge and a bit more sports. For money saving, this is true, but I think this task is one of the reason why I'm bentoing.
The healthy part is also what I try to do usually (first main reason). For the vegetarian part, well, I'm happy that Maki is advertising this way of eating. Advantages: health, money saving, and maybe...ethical reason too for some of us...
Thanks for having put slightly easier tasks this week!


Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 36 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

Well, this week we have an office lunch (happens frequently, 2 times a month or more) and this weekend I was bad and didn't do my plan in advance. I am not going to be sporting a bento today, sadly, just restaurant leftovers... So, my goal is to make 4 bento (at which I will fail, I'm ok with that), increase my bento stash (gyoza!), make my meal plan *tonight* and wash/use a new bento box I just got.

On the other hand, I already do most of the "living on the cheap" things that I can. Living in MN, fresh fruits and veg are hard to get at a great price and often seem to go bad too quickly. So I buy frozen! I also make my own "frozen meals" that I can pull out in a pinch--I currently have three bento (fully packed and ready to go) in freezer safe "bento" boxes, for weeks when I know I'll be pressed for time. When I can get fruit/veg for free, I do--5 gallons of crabapples this summer became crabapple jam and butter, after a long day’s canning. I make my own higher quality curry powder from bulk spices I grind myself and whenever we have an extra anything, it goes in the freezer--or, this week, the garage, as it's negative holy heck out. I make use of my (cheap!) crock pots at least once a week and even though we are a two person household, often make enough for lunches to be made out of leftovers from dinner, avoiding getting sick of the leftovers by putting them in the freezer for next week. Sometimes this means I'm doing more work to save money at the outset, but I find I often save time, too, later on. Having become a near-vegan this year, I've reduced many of my grocery bills, and I've always been good at finding food sharing programs and stretching the very last little bit of things to go further. Heck, I'm even ready to stop buying store bread. Heck, knowing all this even helps with emergency preparedness, as my partner points out.

Wow, that was long... Sorry!


My bento blog:

Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 7 years 46 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

Hey Basil! I like hearing how other people manifest their thriftiness --it's where I get new ideas, so thanks. Also, I want to chime in and support the idea of frozen food. We both live in places where fresh veggies aren't locally available for much of the year. I happen to have a fair amount of time on my hands (no kids or partner, working (for some value of `work') at home, so I do lots of my food gathering in late summer and fall: freezing, pickling, and preserving. I generally have a good winter's worth of various fruits and veggies, plus enough to give away as presents to friends & family. I don't have my own chest freezer, but I have a shared one in a garage up at my mom's place --big help! I also do a lot of lacto-fermentation, basically low salt brine pickling --the method used for sauerkraut & old-fashioned dill pickles. I really like this method as it keeps the food live, or probiotic, so that I keep a good, healthy, active gut-flora garden. That sounds a bit odd, but it's the principal behind the idea that yogurt with live cultures are good for you. Same thing! This year's big fermentation experiment used whole green tomatoes --it's been a great success; those tomatoes taste so bright and fresh, either as a pickled side dish or chopped up into soups, stir-fries, etc.

Still, I do want veggies in the winter that I haven't grown/gathered, and with some exceptions I find frozen food to be a good choice. I look for sales on organic frozen veggies & fruits, and here is what I consider to be the main advantage: well manufactured frozen food is harvested at the peak of it's goodness and processed quickly, preserving much of the nutritional value & flavor. The vegetables in bins at my local markets, on the other hand, are too often picked early so they'll transport well, before they are at their peak nutritionally & taste-wise, and then they're shipped on trucks, boats, and airplanes from far away, often in strange gasses to get them to ripen artificially.. so, they often taste blah, and I'm not happy with the carbon footprint of lots of these veggies either.

I'm a big fan of frozen veggies & fruit!

Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 41 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

Week 3 Goals:

* 4 bento
* weekly plan
* refine calorie count
* exercise 3-4x
* make use of at least one grain from the pantry that isn't brown rice or quinoa
* use up that kohlrabi and those radishes
* oh yeah, and stop eating everything in sight before and after my bento lunch!

My bentos are usually leftover-heavy and I'm already a full-time vegetarian, so I don't need to put too much effort in that direction. However, the exercise and using up some things that get pushed into the back of the pantry/frige will require some effort and planning.

Bento-ing from: Melbourne › Australia
Joined: 9 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 7 years 32 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

This week my main goal is to not go grocery shopping at all (except for milk). I bought a tonne of food to make sure I ate over the busy weekend (which didn't work so well) so there is no _need_ to buy anything else. I love grocery shopping like Maki's husband does but this week I'm being stern with myself.
So that frugality is definitely going to go ahead. Plus, I was given 2 dozen eggs by the butcher on the weekend because we'd bought soooo much stuff from him. This is seriously going to help with the vegetarian bento concept! AND I got a free pineapple from a radio station giveaway van last week.

My biggest goal this week I think is to try and put some pretty into my bento. Since my box has fixed dividers in one half, I don't need to have edible barriers to stop foods from mixing, which seems to be the primary method of adding decoration to bento. This week I shall attempt at least one "pretty" bento.

Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 39 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

This week I'll:

1. Make three bentos.
2. Try to use as many leftovers as possible.
3. Try to use up food I already have instead of buying new ingredients.
4. Work on presentation skills.

Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 30 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

I think that this is the week that I just *maintain.*

I do have a nutrition goal, I'm trying to get more protein into my mornings.

Joined: 8 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 39 weeks ago.
Re: Challenge Week 3 Talk

Hope you sleep well Maki - the work you've put into this Challenge is amazing!

My goals for this week are:
-Make the same amount of bento, with one vegetarian
-Use up as many leftovers as possible (so many leftovers @_@)
-Eat more fruit
-Eat enough protein so I can sprout some muscles
-Exercise enough so I can grow some muscles
-Keep on working on cutting out sugary carbs from my diet - maybe replace sugary carbs with...protein-packed carbs?

On that note, I've done six flights of stairs (20 stairs each flight) and ~30 minutes of strength training today. I've also had one small cookie, a few nibbles of a chocolate blueberry bar and a few nibbles of a slice of ponderosa cake. I'm sure I've also had a bit of candy - it's quite bad, but I still have regular sugar cravings. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

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