Week 1 Staying Classy- Introduction and Covering the Syllabus

Every week a new post will go live with an embedded version of the current week’s video.
Every week there will be a call to action at the end. If you are following along with the week’s homework, you will comment at the bottom of each week’s post.
If you come to the class later than the start date, feel free to go at your own pace. My goal is to have this be a really detailed beginner class that you can go through in an afternoon or two.
Class materials:
Computer or mobile phone with internet connection
Digital camera of some capacity(webcam, mobile phone camera, regular digital camera)
Measuring cup
A Minimum of $40 for your box and all your accessories if you don’t have anything bento related yet.

Week 4 is the week you will purchase your bento box if you don’t already own one. I am recommending waiting on your purchase because even if you know what box you want, what about the silicone cups and such that fit inside? Some boxes can’t handle taller cups, so it’s important to keep in mind. It also helps to prevent impulse buying, which I have been a victim of, and I want to help others from falling into that as well.

Practice safety when packing your bento! If you are unsure of how to safely pack a more Japanese style obento, pack foods you know are safe, but sized for your bento box.

Food is a touchy subject for many people. Criticizing of anyone’s eating habits is forbidden, including passive aggressiveness. I won’t be rude to you for eating animals or their excrement, I expect you to not be rude to me for only eating plants. If I see you talking to anybody in a mean manner/bullying another “student”, you will be banned from my site’s comments… PERMANENTLY. I’m not a public school in Maryland, I’m a blogger and I have zero tolerance for bullying. If there is someone on the site breaking this rule, don’t break the rule yourself and be mean back, immediately contact me and I will remove them.

30 Days of Vegan Bento Season 2 Day 22

photo(3)Dare I say that this is the best bento I’ve ever made?

I bought sushi rice today when I did my grocery shopping(Wal-mart this time), so I tried out that rice! It was super duper yummy, but I didn’t have any sesame seeds to top it with, so I used black pepper to get that contrast. Then in the other tier are bits of cantaloupe, fresh raw green beans, a small tomato sliced up, a Gardein meatless meatball, and some scrambled tofu that’s more like an omelet!
The tofu omlette was made with my usual scrambled tofu mix, but I used soft tofu(Walmart was out of silken) and blended it really good with the mix. I also added some more water so it would spread out in the pan and not be such a paste(the water evaporates when cooking). It was super yummy too! I am also pretty stunned with how nice this bento turned out in terms of appearance! I’m digging it!

That said, in a few short hours, I’ll be launching my Beginner Bento Class on Youtube! There will be a new post here when the video goes live!

http://thebentobuff.wordpress.com/beginner-bento-class/

30 Days of Vegan Bento Season 2 Day 21

Tomorrow I’ll be releasing the syllabus for a YouTube Mini Class I will be doing on bento!
https://thebentobuff.wordpress.com/beginner-bento-class/

Anyway, today’s bento, I didn’t load up on snacks but I was still feeling a bit peckish, so all that’s in it is peas, fresh garden tomato slices, and mashed potatoes. There was actually a thicker layer of potatoes on the bottom bringing the tiny silicone cup up to the top of the container. It looked nice, albeit simple.

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30 Days of Vegan Bento Season 2 Day 20

Wow! 2/3rds of the way through!
That said, I’m not excited about today’s bento terribly much- I was tempted to go out and pick something up but then I remembered the past few times I’ve gone out to eat on my lunch break and it’s a NIGHTMARE out there. So I’m eating my bento. It’s not bad, just not great.

Today’s bento has tofurkey siced with vegan cream cheeze, sweet brown rice flavored with Bragg’s liquid Aminos, and a side of corn with peas.

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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.)

monbento, bento

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.