Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

2010 was pretty event-filled for me. I went to Japan twice, after many years away, for a total of nearly 5 months, re-acquainting myself with my roots. Both my parents went through serious illnesses and operations. I moved into a new (old) house in a French village, then promptly got a serious infection and was hospitalized for weeks. And last but certainly not least, I finished a little book that so far has been way more popular than anyone anticipated.

2011 is the Year of the Hare or Rabbit (usagi) according to what’s commonly called the Chinese Zodiac in the west (in Japan, the 12 animals symbolizing the years are called eto 干支). That will make me a toshi onna, or woman who was born during the year of the bunny. (If you’ll be 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, etc. next year, you too will be a toshi onna during the Bunny Year, or a toshi otoko if you’re a guy. And of course, babies born next year will be Bunny Year Babies.) Being a toshi onna (or otoko) is not necessarily considered to be all good; you may have good luck, but you may be in danger of running into bad luck too. Either way, if I am to believe such things, it may turn out to be an even more interesting year than 2010.

I know that we can make resolutions at any time of the year, but New Years Day is really the perfect time to shake off the past and make a promise to oneself to start something new, or continue a good thing. I’d certainly like to shake off the bad things about 2010, and arm myself with some good intentions and plans for 2011.

Bento-wise, I’m interested a accomplishing number of things: exploring some traditional Japanese foods more deeply, researching the world of ekiben further, using bentos as a continuing tool towards keeping my blood sugar in check (it’s working well so far in that respect, barring some lapses such as extended mochi testing sessions) and improving my decorative food cutting skills. But above all, I want to continue spreading the word of bento around the world, and introducing people to the fun and versatility of the portable meal in a box.

So, how about you? Do you have any bento-related resolutions for 2011? Share them with the world right here!

A hidden bonus giveaway

One of the people who share their bento related resolution in the comments here will get one precious advanced copy of the 2nd printing of The Just Bento Cookbook, signed of course. The book is sold out on Amazon.com right now, and getting scarce in other places until they can receive new shipments, so if you didn’t get one in your Christmas stocking, now’s your chance. Your resolution/comment must be posted here (and it must be a comment, not an email reply if you’re reading this by email) by the end of 2010 - that is, until 11:59:59pm of December 31st CET (Central European Time). Good luck, and let’s ring out the old year with a bang!

(Comments are now closed. The winner of the book will be announced soon! Happy New Year!)

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution will be to bring a bento to work once a month.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to start making bento to bring to work. I will try to do it at least twice a month.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Resolution is to Bento three days a week. OK, so my packing skills are not yet up to Bento quality, but I shall be packing small boxed lunches three days per week. Recently diagnosed with diabetes, I will have to work on finding rice alternatives!

Cheers

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution for 2011 is to lose enough weight to do some seriously intense cosplay for Halloween! I still haven't decided who I want to go as, but it'll probably be a character from Kazuya Minekura's "Gensomaiden Saiyuki", Jun Mochizuki's "Pandora Hearts", or Shirow Miwa's "Dogs: Bullets and Carnage". XD I will, of course, be achieving my goal through more frequent exercise and monitoring my food intake with as much help from Just Bento and Just Hungry as possible. I love cooking and I'm going to make the extra effort to make the recipies I've bookmarked! :D

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to do more make ahead and freeze bento fixings. We ordered fabulous bento boxes from Japan a couple years ago and love, love, love eating bento style. I just want to make it easier on myself!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I will plan a proportionally healthful bento twice a month to bring to work.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My husband and I are lucky enough to work in a school with a (believe it or not) great cafeteria, so most of the year we don't need to make bentos. But, when the cafeteria is closed for break, a bento lunch is a great incentive to keep us from running out to buy a lunch. This year was the first year that I tried making them and, similar to Theresa, I also want to try to do more make ahead & freeze items to speed up packing in the mornings.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution is to make sure that I prepare my bentos the night before as much as possible. Usually I make my bentos in the morning, which leads to a lot of rushing and not necessarily the prettiest or healthiest bento.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to make bentos more often. I will be starting work soon and I think it will be a great opportunity. I want to explore the options and create good bentos to fit my taste and style!

I also want to make bentos for my S.O. to take to lunch!

My bento resolution for 2011

YESH, I have a bento resolution!

I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian and in January I'll be having myself a little 100% veggie pilot in which I won't eat ANY animal products for 10 days. I mean to start eating less eggs and dairy and this is my kickstart, hoping it to become easier to think of 100% plant-based foods.

So. Bento-wise it means I want to make more vegan bentos in 2011 without them loosing taste or appeal!

Also, I've just thought of a small resolution especially for you, which I'm going to keep a secret a short while longer. ;)

\\\///\\\///\\\///
Come visit at Graasland!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to explore the ekiben world (since I'll be travelling to Japan in May 2011), and also try making some more traditional Japanese food (because there are more and more Japanese products available in Poland). *^v^*

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to use bentos to help my husband and myself loose some pregnancy and sympathy weight gain from 2010.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Last month I started making onigiri occasionally for lunch, but this coming year I'd like to make a more elaborate bento lunch once a week. Must get a bigger lunch box. :)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution for 2011 will be to actually make more bentos for work. Once I get this done, I'll work on the actual quality of my bentos ;)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Thanks for the giveaway! I missed my chance to get your book and can't wait to read it. (By the way, what's the best way to order your book in a way that benefits you?)

My Bento Resolution: Make an attractive "lunch packing station" in the kitchen and start packing bento regularly again! I got so busy this year that Bento took a back seat. I know many of this year's bento recipies/inspiration will come from your book and blog.

Happy New Year!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Ordering from Amazon or Barnes and Noble using my affiliate code (embedded in those links) benefits me the most financially. Thanks for asking that! ^_^

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I'm always drooling over bentos, and finally got some bento boxes for myself for Christmas. So my resolution is to make my first bento, and, of course, try to make some down the line. I think it will help me greatly in terms of eating a more balanced lunch.

Bento revolution resolution

I started reading this site a few months ago when I discovered how awful the canteen was at my new work (potatoes, pork, potatoes and occasionally potatoes... this is Germany). I've only just scraped the surface of your site but today I ordered some amazing boxes (and picks and balan and... well, I may have gone overboard a bit) from Bento & co and I'm really looking forward to next years lunches now.

My resolution in the bento revolution is to pack a beautiful healthy bento at least 3 days a week. I'm going to leave the extreme decoration until I'm more adept at bento-ing while still half asleep ;) but I'm resolving to do good by my palate and health for the next 12 months.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I think I've got two resolutions. The first is to work towards stainless steel and other non-plasticware for my bento boxes and accessories and to be more proficient at make ahead or assemble from stash bentos that both my kids and my husband will eat. Bentos always bring back good memories of living in Japan so I naturally have more excitement about a bento lunch. For my family it's a meal so I want to work on making it a good experience for them too.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I'm a homemaker, and prepare my husband's lunches during the work week. My resolution is to be more creative with his bentos. Lately, I've been very lazy and have been preparing him way too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I know he would love some kind of meat in his lunches such as chicken karaage, but I've kind of been too afraid to try.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution? *ahem* Um... make some bentos? Seriously, I love the concept, the idea, I love japanese cooking and I've started to learn the language recently, but the inner sloth wins out almost all the time. I wished for a bento box for Christmas, hoping it would give me a motivational push, but parent santa didn't agree. So, you know... *shrug* make some bentos... the same resolution as last year. What can I say, new year resolutions don't work well for me!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I started out so well in 2010 with having bentos 3-4 days a week, but I have gotten out of the practice toward the end of the year. My goal is to start packing a bento at least 1 time a week and by February to be bringing bentos 3 times a week at least.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

After falling off the bento wagon for most of last year (and resorting to rather atrocious eating habits when I did manage to eat lunch at all), this year, I resolve to pack a balanced lunch every day for work, and to make it a bento I will really enjoy, culinarily and artistically, at least two days a week.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to make a Star Wars themed bento!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Since I moved into my new house, I seem to have difficulties finding time to pack bentos. My resolution for 2011 is to stack a series of staple (low-carb food, protein and vegetables) in the freezer to allow for quick bento packing when I'm in a rush.
I still don't understand why I feel so disorganised, while I have the chance to work part-time! I think it's time to go back to your organisation posts.
I'm a bunny woman too... funny since I have fallen in love with 4 real bunnies that share my life since 6 years...
Let's see how 2011 will turn out!
Happy New Year!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I plan to use more of your recipes to build bento stock items in the freezer. I've noticed that with staple items in the freezer, I'm more likely to bring lunch to work, and that is the single most effective thing (in conjunction with exercise of course) that helps keep my weight and body fat in check.
I believe according to your description above, that I will also be toshi onna in 2011, and I hope it will bring better fortune than 2010!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I will use the Bento I bought a couple years ago for my now ex who didnt ever use it.

in 2011 I will....

My bento resolution is to wash my bento at work right after lunch, rather than carry it home dirty. And I will not (self, do you hear me?) -- WILL NOT EVER -- leave a dirty bento sealed up on the counter for a couple of days until it is vile and nasty inside.

I know the rest of you are better people and have never done this, but it is my bête noire.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

To continue developing a new blog on low-carb cooking and regularly feature low-carb bentos, since I love bento-ing but have been doing it less lately because it just doesn't seem the same without the rice! I know I can do it though, I just have to get over that :)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento related resolution is to stop buying bento supplies until I can prove to myself that I can use them more effectively. I just buy buy buy stuff because it's cute, but then it sits in my cabinet, forever unused. I am going to dig through my supplies and start using them! (Then maybe I can buy more stuff (: ).

Happy New Year to everyone!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to use your meal planning matrix to make healthy meals that make use of the bento. I have a goal to eventually drop somewhere close to 80 pounds...so retraining my eating habits will be a part of that. My portions are out of control, and I eat far to little veggies and far too much meat.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution for the New Year is to make a bento for lunch to bring to school every two weeks. I also resolve to make bentos for my friends this year. :)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Last spring I was doing very well with packing bento for myself, this year I fell off the wagon a bit -- I think because the day of the week I most needed a packed lunch, I knew I would be surrounded by Japanese people while I ate it, and somehow that made me very shy. Also, at home our cooking habits changed a bit, so that most of our leftovers were bulky foods that couldn't be packed into my small bento boxes, needing large tupperware instead.

My resolution for 2011 is therefore multi-part:

1. I would like to pack myself a lunch in one of my two lovely bento at least once a week. (I'll be working from home a lot, so more often might not be necessary)

2. I would like to try to cook one meal a week that has bento-friendly leftovers: relatively dry flavourful items that can be packed in small quantities.

3. When I have bulkier leftovers, I want to nonetheless try to incorporate them into a bento with some variety. So rather than filling a single tupperware with a mixed pasta, my goal is to think about adding a cooked vegetable, or mixed salad, or something, on one side.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I'm a toshi onna too, Maki.

I'm getting into another phase of my life, adulthood, next year. Meaning a job, car loan, study loan and a whole lot of headache. I have a feeling it's going to be a challenging year for me (I guess that makes two of us). My bento resolution: using bento to improve my health, make myself feel better about my body and get innovative in my teaching career. Here's to life ^-^

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I'm pretty consistent re: bringing bentos to work *when I have dinner leftovers*, but fail miserably when I don't. So my resolution is to figure out what staples I can make ahead, keep in the freezer, etc. *that I will actually use* when I'm in need of lunch materials.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Amy: Sauerkraut and kimchi have saved my life, or at least my lunch, in this regard. I always have those in the fridge, so if I have some crackers and a couple of cheeses, it's a perfectly fine lunch, esp. if I can gussy it up with any odds-and-ends.

Make a bento resolution for 2011

Hi Maki!

I'm a new commenter, but a long time follower of Just Bento and Just Hungry. I love, love your recipes! The picky eater in my house wanted me to tell you that he loves them too :) I'm looking forward to amazon getting your book back in stock.

Like many of the other commenters, my bento resolution is to have bentos more often. I'll shoot for consistently bringing one a couple of times each week.

I hope buying another bento box counts as a resolution, because that's on my list too!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to start making bento for school. I spend waaaay too much money on food to eat and since I'm a college student, I rather not spend money like that >.<

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution for 2011 is to take a bento to work 3 times a week. Since I am a new student of the art of bento, but enjoy cooking very much. I am awaiting your book as so many are today. I know it will make my new endeavor benefit not only your spreading the word about Bento to the World, but to make me a healthier person.

Keep up the great writing.

Best Wishes for the New Year!

*^v^*

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to get in the habit of making bentos for my fiance and I to take to work, and of course to help me get to my goal weight in time for the wedding! :-)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

Well, I plan to take bentos to work at least every second day, and to always have enough staples, so I can't use their lack as an alibi for not making a bento ^__^

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution is to lose some weight, and I want to bring a bento-like lunch to work at least 3 times a week to keep an eye on quality and quantities!
Happy 2011 !!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution for the year 2011: to spend time on weekends to make some cook-ahead-and-freeze bento staples and to bring bento to school at least 3 times a week :D

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

For 2011 I would be able to compose beautiful and delicious bento for my boyfriend and, for me, I would use the bento for weight loss.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

I thought long and hard about this, and I'm going to be realistic: One bento, once a week, with a good balance of foods. Anything else is kind of a pipe dream for me at this point...unless I win a certain book that will make it easier. ;)

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution for 2011 is to explore and learn to make more recipes so I can expand my bento-making repertoire, especially with Japanese food. My kids are generally pretty receptive to interesting foods so I'd like to take advantage of that.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My bento resolution is to get back in the bento habit! I started out well bringing my bento lunches to work earlier in the year, but have just gotten lazy about it in the last few months. I plan to bring bento to work at least three times a week, preparing as much of it as I can the night before so I have no excuses in the morning!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution for 2011 is to build up my johbisai stash in the freezer, and to include more fresh veggies in my bentos.

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

The New Year is almost here, and as a toshi onna (1987) i look upon it with glee, because its also my golden year! ^_^ This upcoming year I will:
1. Make bentos at least 3 times a week.
2. Make healthy low-carb bentos for 4 months.
3. Use leftovers from home cooked meals to make said bentos.

These resolutions will help me save money, eat healthy to lose weight, and hone my bento skills. Congratulations on the success of your book Maki, I would loove to get my paws around it!

Re: Make a bento resolution for 2011 (with year-end bonus)

My resolution will be to find a way to make my wife embrace the bento as a tool for weight loss. She's already joined Weight Watchers, so now I have to find new recipes to "bento" that will work for her, as she's not a big fan of some Japanese ingredients (such as nori).

Thanks for giving us such a great site and inspirations!