May bento’s last hurrah!

31 May

May dripped in with rain clouds, but is certainly leaving us with some glorious weather.

Memorial Day weekend zipped in – and I enjoyed some quality time with my girls during some much-needed time-off.

Saturday school had extended hours this week – I certainly grumbled that this took place during a three-day weekend; however, with the exception of a classmate who was sick, everyone attended school.

Parents were asked to send in a late-morning snack and a lunch – so I packed a snack full of “nibbles,” and a more substantial lunch.

Snack included:

Applegate slow-cooked ham on whole wheat bread, cut into hearts

Blanched broccoli, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks and blueberries

For lunch, I packed:

Boiled egg pressed into bunny – black sesame seed eyes and red pepper nose

Blanched asparagus wrapped with ham

Roasted beets cut in heart shapes

Onigiri with a grilled salted salmon (shiozake) filling made with the Kagayaki rice, wrapped with nori

Sliced red peppers

Sunday, we enjoyed a day at the local beach – the girls squealing as they splashed through the chilly water with my husband.  My husband and I took turns by the water – and on my turn, I found a good-sized starfish, as well as some baby snails that would roll with the tide.  The little one insisted on being picked up (“Uppie!” she would say with both arms outstretched) and she cringed when I showed her the starfish.  When I managed to pick up one of the little snails – they were about 1/3 inch long, and when I held them in my cupped hand, the little snail would slowly come out of its shell, and upright itself along my palm.  The shells would swivel slowly in my hand – and for some reason, the little one was not impressed.  Her eyebrows rose very high, and her eyes got big, and she pushed my hands away saying, “No more!”

I had the same expression when I heard the grating jangle of the ice cream truck as it pulled into the parking spot, and in front of the beach area.

Seeing the beach empty out of children was half amusing, but almost alarming.  I saw my older daughter point to my husband, giving her “daddy-pleeeease” eyes, and I saw him slowly stand to get his wallet (with a sideways glance at me, down by the water, while I crossed my hands in an “X” – but of course this is futile).

Call me a party pooper, no-fun, or uptight, but I despise this supposed iconic symbol of summer.  I resent their insidious jingle jangle that makes children drop all their activities – and in some cases, run across the street.  The wares they sell are full of sugar, food coloring, and preservatives, and don’t help with parents trying to maintain some sanity by providing healthy food options to their kids.

I pick up my little one who wraps her legs around me like a koala bear, and I make my way to the line – my older daughter hopping up and down, and my husband, cool as a cucumber as always – going over his choices.  I try to quickly pick through the enticing pictures, and try a compromise.

“How about a frozen fruit bar?” (Wishful thinking on my part?)

“That’s not fun…” my husband whispered back.

In the end, my older ends up with a Reese’s ice cream bar (I just found out that bar has 310 calories!!????) and my little one with a soft serve vanilla ice cream.  My husband “helped” with the little one’s, and I tried to “help” with my older one’s ice cream bar.  (Helping = consume or dispose of )

Personally, dairy does not agree with me, and a cloyingly sweet, ice cream does not appeal to me on a hot, humid day.  An occasional treat might be fine for the girls, but it seems they have been getting quite a few treats since we have been spending more time outdoors.  Additionally, knowing the amount of empty and fat calories in each serving further turns me off – yet, it’s an extremely lonely and difficult battle to fight when it’s just me against Turkey-in-the-straw-jangle ice cream truck who slowly makes its way down my block at 1:30 and 6:00 (or at the beach) being flagged down by Papa or the in-laws.

Thankfully, although (currently) he refuses to fully acknowledge the benefit of my (what feels like a David and Goliath/Herculean) battle with junk food  – my husband is (starting to be more outwardly) supportive of my efforts to try to keep healthy food choices a priority for our girls.

No wonder we have a childhood obesity epidemic in this country…  Hook ’em young, brainwash ’em, and create another generation whose Pavlovian conditioning will keep them running after the Pied Piper 

I’m off my soapbox for today on this issue.

On to bento for today!

I included:

Boiled corn on the cob – conventional, but from Trader Joe’s so I’m hoping they stay true to their store policy of non GMO.

Grilled chicken wing and drumette – marinated prior to, and basted during grilling with a soy-sauce, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, pepper and sesame oil marinade.

Blanched broccoli and grape tomatoes

Boiled quail eggs

Tuna salad (tuna, mayonnaise, minced celery and a crack of black pepper) on whole wheat bread

Hopefully she enjoys her lunch!

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