30 Days of Vegan Bento Season 2 Day 18

Today’s bento was tasty and looked pretty cute! I tried out a variation of Lunch in a Box’s Speedy Fried Rice using vegan ingredients, sans sesame oil. I’m a bit afraid to add extra oil to my bento foods because it’ll make my bento greasy and stinky. Anyway, the food was yummy, although I question how yummy it would have been if I wasn’t able to microwave it before eating it.photo(2)

In this bento was bunny cucumbers, slices of a fresh heirloom tomato(snatched from my parents’ garden of wonder) topped with tofurky, vegan speedy fried rice with sweet brown rice, peas, carrot slices and Gardein chick’n.

That said, I made a huge mistake including the cucumber in the bento, it absorbed the flavor of the fried rice, ewwwww!

I was also a bit concerned about the whole refrigerating the heirloom tomato slices overnight, chilling makes tomatoes lose flavor fast. That said, I nuked the bento for 30 seconds to take off any remaining chill and the tomatoes were perfect. Maybe heating them up like that restores some flavor? I don’t know, but it’s an experiment I feel like I should try with various kinds of tomatoes(fresh heirloom ones are super rich in flavor).

 

A few hours ago, I was on the phone with a friend today and he was talking about bento and wanting advice for making healthier meals. He was talking about going for the bigger Monbento(because of the sale they’re currently having) and I mentioned that the regular is rather large in and of itself and should suit his needs just fine. I’ve noticed a lot of people that don’t get to see my Monbento in person seem to think that this box is rather small. I decided to take a picture of both my small bento box and my Monbento in my hands with me, so you can all have a size comparison. Remember that your stomach is supposedly about the size of your fist. Also, try out exercise number 2 on Just Bento if you’re unsure of how big a bento you’ll need if you’re just getting started.

 

From JustBento.com:

Assignment no. 2: Packing in the third dimension

This leads us to your 2nd assignment. Sometime in the next few days, take a meal – lunch or dinner – that you have arranged on a plate. Pick a meal that has mostly stuff that you might pack for lunch (as per your Assignment 1 list), that isn’t very liquid like soup or stew for this purpose. Take any empty food container you have and measure its capacity by filling it with water and emptying the water into a measuring cup (see how to determine the holding capacity of a bento box again). Now try packing your meal into the container, as compactly as possible, using the third dimension or height. If your chosen container was too small, just leave the food that didn’t fit on the plate. If your container was too big though, pack the food compactly anyway to see how much space is left over. (And of course you should eat the meal after you’re done playing with it.)

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Monbento on the left side of the photo, the nameless one on the right side. Side note, do you like my cheeky shrug?

Each Monbento tier is about 500mL, which when packed in accordance with the standard Japanese bento packing, equates to 500 calories(half rice, 1/4 veggies, 1/4 protein). If you go by the recommended standard American 2,000 calorie intake, one Monbento is half your calories. Account for 500 calories at breakfast and two 250 calorie snacks and BOOM. 2,000 calorie day right there. That said, if you often pack lunch for two people for a whole day(like you have a kid or two in tow), I can see getting the double-wide, or if you prefer to eat fluffier things, like salads.

30 Days of Vegan Bento Season 2 Day 17

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Today’s lunch was slightly lazy and very, um, interesting, shall we say.

So last night I made a bunch of the ketchup onigiri from the mini recipe I saw on Lunch In A Box. The only difference was that I used my sweet brown rice because when I made that Food Lion run Sunday, they only had long grain white rice! That’s no good for onigiri! And the little Japanese store in town only had larger bags of sushi rice.

Anyway, they were SOOOOOO yummy! I had a hard time stopping myself from eating them straight out of the pan! Then I packed a few for my bento today!

I opened my box at lunch time and boy was I hungry! I hadn’t eaten anything all day(save for that Starbucks drink I got for myself that morning) and I had worked out just earlier too! But the taste of the less than 24 hour old ketchup onigiri was less than amicable. I was able to finish it, but I will have to try it with white rice next time.

Anyway, the other goodies. Vegan cream cheeze with cucumbers, and tofurky rolled up and filled with that vegan mayo. It reminds me of Nayonaise, but a bit more like I remember animal based mayonnaise. I wonder if I could make a vegan egg salad with this! :O I’d imagine mixing up some silken tofu with the tofu scramble mix, mashing up extra firm tofu and mixing those together with mustard and the “Just Mayo” vegan mayo could work. Hmmmm.

Regardless, I’d recommend you try it, it’s in Dollar Trees nationwide right now, so it’s only a buck to try a small jar of it. If you don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world. You can give it away or mix it into your dog’s food somehow, or better yet, compost it.

New goal! When it’s time to replace my sack of rice, I’m opting for white sushi rice to give that a go. I just wish they had smaller bags than ginormous. If worse comes to worse and I find it awful compared to my brown sweet rice, I’ll season it to death until I use up the bag.

30 Days of Vegan Bento Season 2 Day 15

So I went grocery shopping today and picked up a few goodies. Remember how I was talking about my budget last night? All this was about $13!

The vegan mayo is something my mom picked up for me at the Dollar Tree, but everything else was from Food Lion! Everything but the red pepper found its way into my bento today(I have plenty left!). I may have to pick up a couple of small things later in the week as I use things up, but I have a ton of food still in my “cupboards”. I found myself more tempted to buy some miffin mix than I’d have liked. Apparently Duncan Heins has vegan-friendly muffin mixes now, so that’s a bit weird!
That said, you’re probably shocked that that’s all I got for about $13, What really killed me here was the Tofurky and the Earth Balance. I’m trying to wean myself off the faux meats(they’re easy to make and tasty) because they’re expensive. That was $3.49(-$.75 because of the coupon I had) and the earth balance was about $4! It probably would have been cheaper at Walmart, but would have cost the price of the tub itself in gasoline and EB lasts me about a month to a month and a half. I’m not terribly worried about it. The cucumber was $.79, the tofu, $2.50, the carrot $.09, corn $.33, and pepper $.06.
I am no good at cooking beans and canned ones make me incredibly gassy, so I try to avoid beans overall. I wonder what animal and faux-meat free foods I could use as a good protein source in my bentos?
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I also made myself some watermelon roses! Super cute and I even made the first ever Bento Buff Youtube video as a tutorial! Hehe:

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As for my bento today, I went a bit crazy and had a ton of fun! I used a slice of Tofurky, several slices of cucumbers, and strip of fruit leather to make a bunch of bunny faces with my decoben cutter! The top tier is mashed potatoes with a few of those bunny faces from the Tofurky, then below we have a cucumber slice along with more bunny faces behind it from the ones in tomorrow’s bento box, raw corn off the cob, pan cooked tofu, sliced carrot, a couple of leftover black olives, a single bunny face made of fruit leather and a watermelon rose. It’s packed full of variety, methinks, and it was quite yummy!

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30 Days of Vegan Bento Season 2 Day 14

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Today’s lunch was the same as yesterday’s. I was at my boyfriend’s house, so I ate this when we were watching Sailor Moon(his recommendation, haha).

In case you missed yesterday’s bento, this one has the last bit of Gardein beefless tips, a couple strips of Gardein chick’n strips, scrambled tofu, sweet brown rice, sauteed onions, black olives, and green beans.

Tomorrow is my budget rollover, so yay! I get my allowance of $35 from myself to buy food and have fun! And I even have a little bit left over! Not bad for having taken a trip with my mom to Whole Foods in Annapolis this past Sunday!

If you’re having trouble sticking to a budget, this may help.

I used to go pretty crazy on eating out and buying stuff when out with friends, so now, every Sunday, I give myself a cash “allowance”. I trust myself to only use my credit card for gasoline and my debit card for emergencies or things like car insurance, so it’s not like all I have in my wallet is just that $35. I felt like I needed to send myself back to high school a bit, where money is so much tighter and you save every penny you get for what you want. I never really got an allowance (I was constantly getting grounded despite actually trying to do my chores right, after a point I decided I would never get them right, I’d still get yelled at and my allowance taken away, so what was the point of trying? I like being an adult and working to earn money, people don’t yell at you for messing up, they tend to use inside voices) so I knew how tough money was to obtain back then. Now I have to save my weekly self-allowance if I want to do fun stuff, and boy, it’s a challenge, but I’m kind-of enjoying it so far.
I might post tomorrow a photo of the things I buy with $20-$25 to get me through the week while still having about $10 leftover for fun stuff. Hmmmm, could be fun!

30 Days of Vegan Bento Season 2 Day 13

Today’s bento was awesome! Even my BOSS complimented it!

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Today I had more gardein chick’n strips, one of the last two beefless strips, scrambled tofu, rice topped with sautéed onions, black olives and green beans! Super yummy!
I used the Monbento box because I had a hard time last Saturday with my bento, so I have another meal(basically identical) packed up for tomorrow’s brunch(we usually wake up way too late for a real breakfast).
Sunday I have no idea what I’ll be doing, but I imagine I’ll be raiding my parents’ HUMONGOUS garden for a staple vegetable. It looks like eggplant might be a thing for next week but I need to find a way to make it keep for that long.

Side note, Monbento is having a CRAZY sale right now! Since I don’t have extra cash right now, I won’t be ordering anything, but I forwarded the sale information to some family and friends as holiday present ideas. If you are thinking about getting a bento box and want something heavy duty, I super recommend Monbento. They’re designed in France, however. One of my BFFs was so excited to get hers and then she was a bit disappointed to learn it wasn’t actually a Japanese product.