Thursday, September 30, 2010

September Bento Week 5

September has come to an end and Miss E completed her first month of 1st Grade! It was a bit hard during the first 2 weeks but now everything is smooth sailing again with her trotting to school every morning with the biggest schoolbag (empty),a lunch pack and fashion of the day. Now that everything is a routine for her and having met her teachers, I am all settled down emotionally and ready to start homeschooling my little son, Prince D. I would love it if it was a repeat process but my son is a different species all over and needs a bit more intervention in everything from writing to pronounciation of words. Boys are always so challenging and yes, mommy has to do it no matter how hard!

This week's Bento comprised mostly of rice. Now that the weather is cooler, Miss E needs something more substantial and being Asian, rice is a staple. For the rice balls, I used Japanese short grain rice while everything else was jasmine rice. As Bento is a Japanese idea, I tend to follow and use Japanese ingredients in most of the Bento for my girl. For Curry's Bento, I tend to pack more on Asian and Chinese dishes. When the weather gets colder in the last 2 months of the year, I am looking forward to use the thermo flask to pack for more warm and hot soups and also stews.

Day 17
Turkey Bacon & Carrot Strips Roll are very easy to make. I just cut up some slim sticks of carrot and used a slice of bacon to roll and wrap them up and then pan fried. As turkey fat has less fat than the pork bacon, it cooks drier and will not be soaking greasy by the time of lunch. The egg was hard boiled first and then carved out with a knife to create the jagged rims to mimic the sun. I also packed left over minced pork fried rice in soy sauce, decorated with cut out carrot flowers and corn.

Day 18

I made 3 Bento Boxes today, one for each of my family members. And I get to eat any left overs. And I believe all Bento moms do the same thing as me, just scoop up the left overs of carrots, rice and meat and throw everything into the pan and just mix it and proudly eat it! Instead of carrot sticks, I used celery sticks for the Bacon Rolls. My kids can eat both raw carrot and celery without dipping and I think that is very good of them. The celery stayed crunchy and crisp after the pan frying with the bacon. I tried to make Panda shapes for the rice balls and only realized the ears part were too small! Now I know how to accentuate the features next time, by adding a smaller rice ball on the nose and ears part... next time maybe! Prince D had a playdate and I packed the same Bento as Miss E's with some little extra so I can nibble along too. For Curry's Bento, I used left over braised pork meat with potatoes from our dinner last night. All I had to do was stir fried the celery with carrot in black pepper and salt. I haven't made a Bento for Curry for a long time as I was still juggling on how to complete 2 or more Bentos in the morning. I think left over stews or dishes will make packing Bento for an adult quicker as compared to the kids ones as they are more picky and only easy to eat food types can be packed for them to eat within a very short lunch period.

Day 19

Egg sandwiches for Miss E today. Before she started school, I always thought hard about everything. Since we are Asians, the stigma of different cultural clashes will always be present in my mind. Although I must say so far, living in the East Coast of USA hasn't been bad at all and people are open minded and accepting to different cultures, practices and also palates. My concern about the school's food got to the point that I even thought of getting the list of what they serve during the month and make the same thing for my daughter to bring to school on that particular day, just so she blends in well with the other American kids, eating the same type of food and yet I have the peace of mind that I prepared it myself! Talk about extreme motherhood, I qualify in every sense! But luckily I ditched the idea and just pack whatever she wanted and most of the time, she prefers home packed lunch. Until she realized that every Friday is Pizza day and she told me that she was giving me a break for the week and will get her food from school on Fridays only. Despite my craziness in Bento, I do let my kids have rooms for choices if they can make sensible selections. And Miss E certainly has it and I am happy.

Day 20

Anyone wondering how long I can do this Bento blogs? With the sky more gloomy in the autumn mornings, I have difficulties in getting my pictures the way I want. But the interest of capturing each and every Bento I packed during the whole week has not wavered a bit. Sometimes my energy level drop in the mid morning and all I can thank is the bliss of power napping in the afternoon to keep me going. I do not whine for having to do this as all I care about is I have done my best for the day as a mom :). Today's Bento are plain sushi rice with pan fried turkey burgers. We are still harvesting baby tomatoes from our little patch despite the cooler weather which dampens the reddening of some of them. Fresh strawberries and blueberries are dwindling in supply and apples, bananas and oranges are back and fully stocked at all stores. I never bothered to add lemon juice to the cut apples as I think the kids don't see the difference.

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