Sunday, October 26, 2008

Itty Bitty Bentos

Sometimes, we don't need full meals, but aren't comfortable leaving the house empty-handed. In the past month, I've taken pictures of two instances of itty bitty bentos: 1. my first far away job interview (1.5 hour bus ride, each way even though the location was only 15 miles away) and 2. a trip down to Orange County to visit TheBoy's parents (1.5 hour drive on a small breakfast). The main reason we take snacks with us is because I get very cranky (to put it mildly) when I get hungry. Because I eat every two or three hours, I get hungry pretty quickly, but a small snack will set me to rights again in no time. So, small snacks/meals are really useful for us.
Situation 1, the interview, called for a fairly large snack, since I left too late to have time for a decent breakfast. I started with what we had on hand: tortillas. I spread some homemade hummus on the tortilla and filled it with sliced cucumbers, lettuce, and cheddar cheese. I had to cut the tortilla in half to make it fit in the little box, but that just made the meal easier to eat and made plenty of space for some yummy, colorful gap fillers out of cheery cherry tomatoes. This box is actually a child's bento box -- holding about 450 mL, translated to about 450 calories, with correct packing technique.
The second layer of this bento holds an assortment of snacks: babybel cheese (we bought a bag of 28 for $10 at CostCo... WIN), chili-lime almonds, salted peanuts, red grapes, and a small container of raisins and crasisin. This was a wonderful snack and made me calm and sweet for my interview. The other passengers on the bus looked at me a little funny when I pulled out a tiny burrito while headed toward Compton from Hollywood, but I'm pretty sure I don't mind the looks.

Situation 2, the long drive, had me and TheBoy ready for snacks. So, I made a very simple, very SoCal cheese and grape box. We used a little pink snack box to hold portions of chopped dry jack (best cheese, ever... dry and cheesy and ...just try it). TheBoy was driving and the bite size pieces made the delicious (and fairly pricey) cheese go further and made them very easy for him to eat while still concentrating on the road. The tiny chunks also went perfectly with the grapes -- we just ate a piece of cheese with a single grape... and it was so great! Combined with a great big Nalgene full of water, we had a fairly filling, healthy snack to entertain us all the way to the OC.

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