Adding LIFE to your years and years to your life!
I'm not sure what's come over me - I must be being affected by the general 'back to school' vibes in the air, despite the fact that we don't go to school. Got obsessed today with the idea of doing raw food bento box meals. I've been looking at 'pack a healthy lunch' websites, books and bento box systems online for major chunks of the night and day.
There are some cool bento box photo streams and blogs out there, but haven't found too many examples of exclusively raw ones so I'm going to try challenging myself to do that. I'm always doing a lot of packing of food because we spend most days out of the house, especially in the summer. I've been really drained and exhausted lately trying to balance some work things and have gotten utterly uninspiring around meals, so I thought this might revivify my raw food passion. On a quest (as always) to make food for my daughter that includes more fruits and veggies, and expand the range of what she will ingest. I'm hoping attractive presentation in the form of cute bento boxes will encourage this.
A while ago I bought one of the laptop lunch bento boxes, and really liked it. Lost some of the parts so was planning to go buy a new set and replacements. Unfortunately they've changed the way they sell them, and don't include cutlery, water bottle or bag with ice pack sleeve in the basic set anymore and the sizing has changed a bit so the new isn't compatible with the old. I could order exactly what I want online - individual parts of the old set, extras and a deluxe version of the new system, but since I'm in Canada it's a hassle to order from the US. I can just walk down the street and purchase the new basic set tomorrow, so that seems easier, cheaper and quicker. I will just use desert size cutlery. I miss the bpa-free water bottle because it was the perfect size for a child, and so light. Neither of us likes to drink out of the now-popular metal bottles. I pay so much to have spring water in glass delivered to our house, that I can't abide it tasting like metal when I drink it.
Right now for meals to go we use some tupperware, and glass bottles for water. I often carry mason jars of smoothie or soup with me, fruit and avocados, and have bags of stuff like goji berries. I carry a swiss army knife and a to-go ware set of bamboo cutlery. I really need to stop carrying so much because I'm also usually toting swim gear, extra changes of clothes and jackets, an umbrella, homeopathic and first aid stuff, supplements, a notebook, wallet, phone, camera, a copy of Rise Up Singing and my ukelele....lol. I used to carry more things like a duckie blanket to sit on, but I've pared down.
Hopefully I'll be able to get to posting some photos of my bento box combos. I keep meaning to take photos of our garden this year. It's turning out pretty well and I am grateful. Red and swiss chard, several kinds of lettuce, oregano, tomatoes, carrots, green onions, basil. The strawberries and spinach didn't make it. But there are loads of blackberries this year. My breakfast a couple of times this week was a huge bowl of blackberries and two cups of decaffeinated chai.
I'm having one of those 'children get older' moments as I think of the garden because compared to past years, at 7 yrs old now she is suddenly much more capable. This year, she helped with with sheet mulching. Later we put some shredded newspaper on top. This mulching has really helped cut down on how labour-intensive the whole endeavor is and I will always do it this way from now on. I hardly had to water but when it got too hot and wilty, I was generally able to get her to water the garden by herself.
She has come up with a super-clever way of picking blackberries, which is she uses something she calls a 'testing stick'. It's a little thin stick with a y shape at the end. She strokes the berries that look ripe and holds her hand below and if they are ready they just fall into her hand. The stick helps her reach ones that are a bit out of her range and lets her know from how squishy they are, how close to being ripe they are. With this method she gets the really sweet ones because she is not forcing ones that are almost but not quite ready, which I often do without meaning to when picking by hand.
Right now we are reading a lot about trees and tree identification. It's so funny to me that she begs me to read these tree identification books before bed. I'm learning all these things I didn't know and seeing the trees around me in a new light (reading about the tupelo tree, I remembered that Van Morisson song Tupelo Honey). It's kind of a continuation of the thread we were on about foraging. This year we expanded into eating a lot of mulberries, saskatoonberries and serviceberries that we found around town. I cannot believe how many people do not bother to pick the fruit on the trees they have. Even cherries! I keep wishing that they would at least put some upside down umbrellas underneath the trees to catch the ones that fall.
Which reminds me of a little note-to-self: pick blackberry leaves, dandelion, lamb's quarters and purslane to dehydrate and powder. Also plant some new seedlings of things that overwinter well: kale, maybe more chard, and broccoli.
Trying to figure out how else I can make the winter easier for myself...maybe I will try and dehydrate some apples and other fruits although I can't say I'm that into dried fruit. Canning obviously is out and I don't have space to freeze stuff really. Anyone have some suggestions or want to share if they are doing any winter prepping?