Bento Challenge Week 2: My report

My Week 2 in a nutshell: I was fairly happy with my bentos. I’m progressing at bit on my fitness goals - at least I did some exercise! And on the one day when I didn’t have bento, I really felt it.

Bento Challenge Week 2, Day 1 (Jan 19 2009) Bento Challenge Week 2 Day 2 Bento challenge Week 2, Day 3 Bento Challenge Week 2, Day 4

I think I am really back in a nice bento-making groove now. Except for Friday, when I had to go to a restaurant for lunch, I made bentos every day for The Guy as well as myself.

I finally did get in some some exercise (3 WiiFit sessions). But, I realize now that I really don’t enjoy exercising indoors very much, even though WiiFit does make the time pass faster. (I’m partial to the boxing.) As has been suggested by several people in the Couch Potatoes Unite discussion, exercise is great if it’s fun, as in sports or other activities, or you do it incidentally, such as walking or bicycling to commute, go to the shops, and so on. It’s only about a 5 minute walk for me to go to the bus stop, so that’s not much exercise. Plus, I don’t commute every day - there are days when I never leave the house. I’m looking forward to warmer weather when walking outside will become a pleasure. (And, I’m really thinking about where to move to (I have som leeway due to the nature of my job)…a place where I could go outdoors all year round without freezing would be really nice. OK, I am quite a chilly type person - I’m usually complaining about being too cold for about 60% of the year.)

Healthier bentos?

I think that I was already making some fairly healthy bentos, but this week I really tried to get in as much vegetables as possible. Next week I might try making all, or most, of the bentos vegetarian or vegan…just to see if I can do it.

The bentos

Click on the images to get to the flickr page where there are notes.

Day 1: This bento is described in detail here. I made enough extra of the chicken tenders that I have enough for 2-3 more bento rounds, or 4 to 6 bentos. Total calories: about 390.

Bento Challenge Week 2, Day 1 (Jan 19 2009)

Day 2: This is a vegan, rather macrobiotic bento (again, see the notes on the flickr image). I made a new batch of gomashio (sesame salt), using white (brown) sesame seeds. It is so good! Of all the furikake recipes I’ve posted here so far, this is my favorite one, and I make it more than all the other recipes combined because it’s so versatile and tasty! Total calories of this bento are about 550.

Bento Challenge Week 2 Day 2

Day 3: Another vegan bento, trying to take advantage of the nutrition-richness of épeautre (spelt in English, dinkel in German; whole-wheat grains, similar to farro). I cooked the épeautre in a pressure cooker the night before, sautéed them with the vegetables, and added the canned borlotti beans at the end. I wish I hadn’t used the canned beans though - they were very mushy, and made the dish rather pasty. Next time I’ll use home cooked or frozen beans. Total calories: about 450.

Bento challenge Week 2, Day 3

Day 4: Back to being an omnivore. This bento was really tasty I must say, and almost all the components are from my freezer stash or leftovers. The only thing I made fresh was the tamagoyaki, but the stewed hijiki I mixed in (about 1 Tbs. of hijiki per egg) was from a freezer stash. Total calories: about 520.

Bento Challenge Week 2, Day 4

On Friday as I mentioned earlier I went to a restaurant for lunch. While it was great, I felt very bloated and sleepy in the afternoon - probably because of all the salt in the sausages I had! (This is Zürich after all, where the sausages are really good.) It really made me realize anew how good a healthy bento makes me feel.

A sausage lunch at the Zeughauskeller restaurant in Zürich

(I know I should have chosen something a bit healthier…but hey, I rarely eat sausages any more, and the ones at the Zeughauskeller are so good. And I was so healthy the rest of the week! I don’t dare to think of the calories though…)

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Re: Bento Challenge Week 2: My report

I really like you 2nd bento ! ^^
Not only there is plenty of gomashio in it, which can never be bad (and I thank you for the recipe : fresh home-made gomashio is so much tastier than the industrial kind! Plus, it smells divine when it cooks...), but it will probably help me to eat up the pack of hijiki currently sitting in my pantry. I can only eat so much of plain simered and sauteed hijiki with carrots before feeling greasy... did you cook the hijiki mixed with your rice, or in a separate dish ?

(Ah, good sausage... reminds me of why I'm not a vegetarian. I find the bacon-wraped one especially cute, in a I'm-bad-for-your-arteries-but-will-be-so-happy-in-your-tummy way.)

Re: Bento Challenge Week 2: My report

You reminded me of the first time I visited Zurich, as a teenager, and I got served this GIGANTIC platter of I forget what it was, but it came in two parts, the second platter being kept back for when we were all done with the first. At a traditional place up in the mountains around the city. I could hardly move the next day!

Re: Bento Challenge Week 2: My report

I'm at a meeting right at this moment (for my Amateur Telescope Making club), and the picture of the sausages is making me drool, which is going to draw comment any second now. They look So Good! Calories be damned, I reckon, when you indulge only every now and again. Yum! Also, I'm very curious about those donut-shaped kurima-bu --is there a brand of this wheat gluten available here in the states, or is it practical to make it from scratch? Also, how did you prepare it? It all looks great!

Re: Bento Challenge Week 2: My report

The wheels look to me like kuruma-fu, or wheel-fu. Here's a random article I found about it.
http://food.recentrunes.com/?p=1379
It's quite easy and cheap to find here in Japan, a big bagful for a couple hundred yen or a few bucks. I'm sure you could find it in a Japanese grocery in the States like Uwajimaya; not sure if it can be found in other Asian groceries. Fu also comes in other shapes, not just wheel: like blocks or little chunks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_gluten_%28food%29#Japanese

Re: Bento Challenge Week 2: My report

There is also this comprehensive post about fu right here - or well, on sister site Just Hungry:

http://www.justhungry.com/fu-mother-seitan

Re: Bento Challenge Week 2: My report

Spam for me and sausages for you! I wouldn't pass up a plate of sausages like that, and is that a lovely, golden, huge potato pancake I spy behind the sausages? Mmm...Looks delicious! Which kind of sausage was your favorite?

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