We were gearing up for a busy week this second week of February. Besides the tight-rope balancing act of time and patience between motherhood, housekeeping and career, my dog was going in for knee surgery. (Yes – my blog is a bit out of order, since according to my blog, Spencer has returned already… )
I watched her stiffly limp onto her dog bed, and scratched her stomach. She reclined, and she closed her eyes. I told her, “We’ll get you up and running again, soon,” and she was in dog heaven.
I then wracked my brain to think of a healthy, colorful lunch my daughter would be more inclined to finish. It was hit-or-miss these days, with some days better than others. I couldn’t figure out whether the lunches were too filling, too boring, or too time consuming. I admit – her lunches aren’t masterpieces of bento art, nor did they include cookies, candies and chocolate – but I had to somehow figure out what she liked.
I asked her what she wanted for lunch on the ride back home. Based on our conversations, I started packing accordingly.
We had a miracle on Tuesday!
Monday’s lunch was:
Boiled Quail Eggs – these are most likely conventional
Blanched spinach with ponzu dressing
Steamed carrot slices
Steamed multi-grain rice with black gomashio
Tuesday, I packed:
Turkey meatballs with flax seeds, oatmeal, minced: carrots, ginger, onion, celery, garlic and ginger
Sliced conventional Persian cucumbers
Steamed beets in heart shapes
Boiled quail eggs
I pulled into my daycare parking spot, walked into the facility, and was greeted with a beaming smile of “Mama! I finished ALL my o-bento!!”
She and her sister enjoyed a scoop, each, of vanilla frozen yogurt– each last bit of the sweet treat was spooned away, slowly, after dinner.
Wednesday, we had a continuation of the meatball lunch:
Turkey meatballs and blanched broccoli
Steamed beets cut into stars
Steamed multi-grain rice with black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds
This bento was almost a success – with the exception of a small portion of the rice and a rogue tomato.
Thursday – we’re in the homestretch towards the weekend. I allow one school lunch of a slice of pizza on Fridays – after one incident where she looked at her bento, and at her peers eating pizza, she turned to her teacher and said, I don’t want my lunch today. It’s not my first choice in food, but hey – one slice of pizza is OK in my book, if it keeps the peace.
Steamed beets cut into hearts
Turkey mabo-tofu with scallions, zucchini, ginger and garlic, seasoned with a little miso, a little white pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil. I then thickened with a katakuriko slurry. This was the topping of multi-grain rice.
Boiled quail eggs
A humorous tale of the quail egg. My younger daughter, who is two, learned the convenience of the step-stool. I find various things misplaced, transplanted and reorganized throughout the house. I find her grinning on the living room couch as she has an inch of my favorite lip balm jutting out of the tube, as she carefully outlined her mouth in a shiny, greasy line – as though preparing for the next Joker role….
Needless to say. As I was preparing the older one’s lunch, I found her stool against the kitchen counter, while she faced the wall. I asked her “What are you doing…?” and turned to see my daughter guiltily covering her mouth, while her left cheek bulged. She then sat on the floor, and she popped out of her cheek pouch, a boiled quail egg pilfered from her sister’s bento box.
“Mama, ‘mago*!” she cheerfully said. She then popped it back into her mouth, and chewed her prize. (*Tamago is the Japanese word for egg)
I laughed when I realized she must have stood on her little stool, and blindly reached over the edge of the counter and grabbed whatever goodie she could touch. I realized she must watch me show my older daughter her bento every morning before putting it into her lunch box, and she also wanted a taste of whatever I packed for the day.