Bento-ing Julian's lunchbox

9:44:00 AM

Due to some changes at work, my shift now starts at 9am. That may not be a life changing thing for many but for someone who's not a morning person, it turned everything upside down! So I reported to work with only a couple of hours of sleep for several weeks. Anyway, one good thing I liked about it is that I get to prepare our baon.

It's laborious, most of the time expensive, and time-consuming, if you're a newbie without a plan. Like in bookstores, I can wander in a grocery store and Japan Home or Daiso for hours and buy nothing. I love looking at all the pretty stuff I would've bought if I weren't so cheap and picky. So my first few weeks as a bento momma weren't efficient. Basically, I lacked proper planning so I ended up with heaps of stuff I didn't really need or food that went in the trash because I completely forgot about them.

First thing I knew I needed to sort out was the menu for the week and it really changed the game. The menu didn't only make sure no two items were the same, but it helped me iron out my grocery list, too. I was able to track if I was buying too much, too soon, or too few items. Imagine the money this list saved me. Making a menu isn't exactly a walk in the park. If you have no idea what to stuff in your kid's lunchbox, Pinterest is the perfect place to go. You'll get tons of ideas there. See some samples here or here

Making the menu is one thing, sticking to it is another. I shop at different places so sometimes this store won't have what I'm looking for. Other times, Julian would ask his Mama Baby to make him snacks from my stash or drink all our Dutchmill in one go. Or I would just completely forget what I'm supposed to be making for a particular day. Last is if Julian makes certain requests so the menu gets jumbled up several times in a week.

Oh don't get me started on the tools like lunchboxes, cutters, molds, assorted picks, and utensils. I now have a big box of bento tools, which I'm proud to say I'm able to really use when preparing Julian's baon. For several weeks, we've settled with placing items in separate containers but I'm slowly becoming more brave in using one box with dividers and placing smaller containers inside. There have been hits and misses but it's still fun to collect bento stuff. I'll share my stash next time.

Anyway, here are some of what we've done so far if you're interested:
Grilled cheese hotdog sandwich and chips + apples Grilled cheese hotdog sandwich and chips + apples 
Fried chicken with mushroom gravy + apples + Stick-OFried chicken with mushroom gravy + apples + Stick-O
Creamy tomato pasta + Garlic cheese bread + Revel BarCreamy tomato pasta + Garlic cheese bread + Revel Bar
IMG_20160808_071333Tocilog + donut + apples IMG_20160816_055845Homemade cheeseburger + potato chips + apples IMG_20160811_064148Creamy ham carbonara + chicken nuggests + apples
IMG_20160906_061129Creamy sausage pasta + apples + Kitkat + yogurt drink IMG_20160908_072952Mini pancakes with maple syrup + Cheesedogs + apples IMG_20160909_093358Egg salad sandwich + chicken popcorn + apples 

It takes me about 30 to 60 minutes every morning to prep, cook, and assemble. I know I could make them ahead but I'm still not so sold on the idea of preparing everything on weekends

I still sometimes pack too much but Julian has no problem eating all of them. The number one critic said he loves all his baon. They're pretty and delicious he said. He'd tell me his favorites and make requests ("Momsh 2 cups of rice with the chicken okay?"). Aside from his usual compliments like, "This is excellent!" or "You're the best chef!", he'd tell me how his classmates would comment on his baon and how envious they are ("Julian sana may mommy akong katulad mo"). Fills my heart to the brim with pride and happiness! Sarap  maging nanay ng batang to. 

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