I thought I would deviate from my usual format (wait, do I really have a format??) and show you some of the lunches I've brought to work--I love my Mr. Bento set, which is a thermos jar with several little containers inside so you can bring multiple dishes with you! Which means that I can sit there at my desk with my multi-course lunch instead of paying the $10 for a crappy sandwich. Plus it's a great way to use up leftovers and somehow they seem more appealing when served in a series of little round containers. There are some great bento groups on Flickr which are wonderful places to get inspiration: this one is Mr. Bento specific and this one is mostly more traditional bento boxes, including some really amazing kyaraben (character bento). Me, I am not so creative and the best I can do is to carve a face on my clementines. Hah!
This is one of my earlier efforts, and by effort, I mean that it consisted entirely of leftovers from a middle eastern restaurant in my old neighborhood. Man, I miss that place.
Then I started getting somewhat fancier and actually made the things I was bringing for lunch, like these mini calzones and salad. When I first started putting these lunches together, I had a hard time coming up with enough food/variety to fill up all 4 containers, because I was thinking of it as a lunchbox. Eventually I realized I could pack lunch, breakfast, AND snacks and now I actually kind of enjoy the whole planning ahead aspect of putting these lunches together. It's a nice little treat in the middle of the day.
This is one of my favorites--claypot rice! I am lazy and make my claypot rice in my rice cooker (as I don't own a claypot yet) which is great because it's easy to plan ahead and have leftovers to pack for lunch.
I do tend to pack mostly Asian foods for lunch, and I'd say this is a fairly typical breakdown: rice, a stir fry (eggplant and chicken in this case), fruit as dessert, and either a soup or another vegetable.
But heck, you can pack whatever you can think of! In this case, I brought pierogies, tomato sauce for the pierogies, some really good looking fruit (man, now I'm making myself hungry again), and some cheese for a snack.
And this is what I had for lunch yesterday: rice, chili shrimp, roasted broccoli, carrot-ginger soup, and fruit. I think you'll agree that this beats the pants off of fast food or a deli sandwich (not that I don't like sandwiches, but the delis by me are both expensive and slightly frightening).
Maybe one of these days I'll develop the imagination and steady hands necessary for kyaraben--in the meantime, check out Soul Soup Soap, Happy Little Bento, BentoBird, and Bentolicious for some super cute and tasty looking lunches! Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!