Monday, December 6, 2010


I've been trying to change up Benjamin's bento lunches lately. For example, the above bento contains something new - sliced persimmons. Mmm! But it also contains two things that are found in about 90% of all of his bento: PB&J sandwiches and eggs. I began feeling guilty about how often I was sending him to school with PB&J, so I've attempted to healthy things up. Now, instead of PB&J sandwiches, I send him to school with...
PBN&FM Sandwiches!! PBN&FM = Peanut butter, Nutella, and flaxseed meal. So maybe Nutella is just chocolate in sheep's clothing, but it is healthier than jelly. And flaxseed meal is super-duper healthy! It's rich in fiber, lignans, and Omega-3 fats (don't ask me what a lignan is - I'm just copying what was printed on the flaxseed meal bag). Best of all, once sprinkled on top of peanut butter, it's virtually undetectable to picky preschool palates, so it goes down without a fuss. Everyone wins!
These two bento feature my new sandwich concoction. The one on the left contains banana chunks, cubed yam, cheese, and PBN&FM sandwiches. The one on the right has yogurt melts, a hard-cooked egg with a little ketchup on the side, and PBJ&FM sandwiches. Yup, that's right - peanut butter, JELLY, and flaxseed meal. You're catching on!
Eggs are a significantly less guilt-inducing food to feed your kid, but I still felt a little bad about packing it in Benjamin's bento all the time. Besides, I think he was getting bored of eating all those hard-cooked eggs. Many of them were coming back with one or two little bites taken out of them. If there's something a Chinese mother hates, it's watching food go to waste. Ai-yoh!! So to mix things up, I tried my hand at making tamagoyaki. Tamagoyaki is a Japanese bento and sushi staple made of a mixture of egg, soy sauce, mirin, salt, and sugar. It's fried in thin sheets and rolled up. The resulting product is slightly salty, slightly sweet, and totally delicious.
I had a hell of a time trying to make my first few tamagoyaki. You're supposed to fry it in a nonstick pan in an even, thin sheet. As it cooks, you roll it into a narrow little tube, add more egg, and repeat until all the egg is gone and you have a many-layered roll thingy. Well, my tamagoyaki wouldn't cook in a thin layer. Instead, I wound up with a fat, lumpy pancake looking thing. It probably didn't help that I added pureed carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower to the egg mixture in an attempt to squeeze in as many nutrients as possible.
Fortunately, even though my tamagoyaki looked more like a tamago-yucky, it still tasted pretty good. Benjamin polished it right off!
And so did Calliope! The success of my lumpy, veggie-filled concoction made me wonder what else I could hide in a tamagoyaki. Turkey? Tofu? More flaxseed meal? Who knows? The world is my oyster. Aha! OYSTERS!
.Persimmon slices, PBN&FM sandwiches, steamed carrots, and tamago-yucky - no oysters!
Stay tuned for more adventures in bento-making!


thecendredas said...

long time stalker here. found your blog on boobybrigade many moons ago. i'm a tribe fan so the name intrigued me and i've been a fan since.

we also BF, EC, CD, are non-CIOers and our kids are relatively the same age so your posts are pretty educational.

but i had to finally comment because these food posts have been so helpful. we're having the same issues with our preschooler and i've been pretty much packing her what you've been posting. #1 is also bringing back hard boiled eggs half eaten and so i'll have to try this tamagoyaki.

so just thanks and looking forward to more in the adventures of the chans. said...

Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm happy to hear that you've enjoyed reading my blog and SUPER happy to hear that you're actually finding some of the info here helpful. I think that kids like tamagoyaki because it's kind of sweet. Hopefully, you're daughter will like it, and half-eaten eggs will be a thing of the past! :)