TheBoy's parents took us to a wonderful Chinese restaurant the day I arrived in California. The atmosphere was lovely, but the food was better. The four of us (TheBoy and I + two parents) shared three meals and that left us with plenty of leftovers -- perfect for bento.
So, that's what we did. The next day's bentos consisted of all three meals: two-flavor shrimp ("aromatic," which tasted kind of like buttered popcorn and "savory," which was more of a barbecue flavor), spicy broccoli (vegetarian and amazing), and the final entree, chicken chow mein (not remarkable, but packed with perfectly sauteed veggies).
What really worked for me was the versatility of each meal: a few pieces of the excellent broccoli worked as a filler for The veggie-hating Boy, while the same greenery filled a large portion of my box. Similarly, he got a huge helping of the shrimp, while I only wanted a teaser (though I did snag one of two of his "savory" shrimp when we sat down to eat). We used the leftover brown rice as a good carb complement and I gave TheBoy the remaining chicken from the chow mein leftovers and only took the greens for myself (he's a growing boy who needs his protein!)
As an added protein for me, I rolled up two slices of deli turkey and included them in one small compartment. I rounded out our boxes with cherry tomatoes as fillers and color-complements and then snuck in some cookies: his in the tiny area at the top of his box, which I can only assume is for secret cookies. I wrapped my cookies in plastic wrap and stuck them on top of my meal -- the lid sits a centimeter or two above the main food compartments, so I just took advantage of that space.
TheBoy was really pleased with how everything turned out -- he loved how compact everything was and how much space is saved by his "brick of food."
Because we had a long drive, the whole bento package shown here has a third, smaller box that contains a snack for us. Look for the next update to detail that snack (he liked it so much that I made a clone of it for one of TheBoy's long shoot days).
FYI: this bento experience comes, chronologically before the Laguna Beach bentos, but that one had such pretty scenery that I had to post it first.
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