The Perfect Bento Box

Our kitchen is like a circus right now.  I’m learning how to Instant Pot, and all my Instant Pot paraphernalia is everywhere, and my daughter has decided to do the Whole 30 plan on her own, so all her Whole 30 stuff is also everywhere.  And then there’s our combined bento box stuff, and that’s what I’m writing about here.  We’re trying to do more meal prep on the weekends for  (opens in a new win upcoming weekday lunches, and are always searching for recipes/ideas/things to make all that easier.  A few weeks ago we discovered these bento box lunch kits on Amazon, and I have to say they’re just the best.  I’ve used little containers in the past, but they’re either not dishwasher safe, not stackable, or not easy to fit into a cooler.  This little system has it all–lots of compartments, it’s freezer/microwave/dishwasher safe, stackable, BPA-free, and they come with their own insulated cooler.  And they even have a spoon and chopsticks!  I know, nothing earth-shattering, but they have made my life easier, so I thought I’d share.

And these are a trusty fall-back, just no dedicated cooler.  I still like all the separate compartments, though.  I hate it when my lunch becomes an unintended casserole.




Do you bento?  What do you like to pack for lunch?




you really need a steamer, you do


I am generally not into gimmicks or props or fads, especially when it comes to dieting or exercise.  I prefer bodyweight exercise to machines.  I like good old-fashioned free weights instead of kettlebells.  And I really don’t think costly Vitamix or Ninja mixers, or, don’tevengetmestarted, juicers, are the key to good health.

That being said, may I please suggest one kitchen item that I find absolutely indispensable in my sometimes-successful strategy for healthy living?

An electric steamer.

They’re inexpensive, easy to use, and make life so, so much easier.  I had one that finally gave up its ghost after 19 years, and I just got another one that will hopefully last another 19 years.  Put in the eggs, set for 22 minutes, walk away…boiled eggs for the week.  Dump in a few big bunches of broccoli…or carrots…or green beans…walk away…delicious veggies for days.  I can steam veggies on bottom, fish fillets on top–dinner in like 20 minutes or less.  You can steam shrimp, chicken breasts, even hot dogs/kielbasa.  You can steam hot dogs on the bottom, buns on top…or kielbasa on the bottom, cabbage on top…or chicken cutlets on the bottom, tortillas on top.

You get the picture.

And steamed foods just taste good, because they get to keep their juice, instead of the juices getting boiled away.  And that makes it more nutritious, too.

Just an all-around handy thing to have on hand.  If you don’t already have one, think about getting one this year.  Definitely worth it.

gearing up

Oh, you guys, you guys….

I’m getting really excited about this upcoming study.  These words:

Just because a woman finally fits into her skinny jeans doesn’t mean she’s won her battle with food. Too often, women overlook the spiritual component to their physical struggle with healthy eating. Made to Crave taps into the desires God gave you to consume food without letting food consume you!

Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn’t a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting spiritual satisfaction. If you are struggling with unhealthy eating habits, you can break the “I’ll start again Monday” cycle, and start feeling good about yourself today. Learn to stop beating yourself up over the numbers on the scale. Discover that your weight loss struggle isn’t a curse but rather a blessing in the making, and replace justifications that lead to diet failure with empowering go-to scripts that lead to victory. You can reach your healthy weight goal – and grow closer to God in the process. This is not a how-to book. This is not the latest and greatest dieting plan. This book is the necessary companion for you to use alongside whatever healthy lifestyle plan you choose. This is a book and Bible study to help you find the “want to” in making healthy lifestyle choices.

I just love this so much.  Until this starts in mid-January, I’ll be praying that God will use this to speak to me and so may other women in my community.  Will you pray with me?

Thanksgiving Ramblings

Do you eat wheat?

Almost a year ago, on a whim,  I decided to quit eating wheat.  I was tired of feeling tired, and I thought Why not? Maybe it will help.  It did.  I’ve gone from taking iron supplements every day to never taking iron supplements (with the exception of a few days this past summer–that old familiar heartbeat-in-my-ears-low-bp-fast-pulse-ugh).  I don’t know why this is.  And I don’t feel like dissecting it.  Does white flour impede iron absorption?  Was I not eating enough of other things because I was filling my belly with flour?  Do I have an intolerance to wheat?  I don’t know.  All I know is that, for me, no wheat = so, so, so much better feeling.  And I don’t really miss it, not much at least.  I miss pumpernickel bread.  I miss The Donut Friar.  It’s OK, though; I have a brilliant strategy for that one.  I’m just never going to go to Gatlinburg ever again.  See?

Holiday get-togethers can be awkward, though.  Mac & cheese, stuffing, gravy, rolls, pie, cake, breaded anything…can’t, won’t, not worth it.  And I’ve decided that instead of developing a permanent pastime of watching people eat whilst I fidget with my hands, I’m going to attempt a new strategy of preparing stuff I can eat and trying to peddle it.  It might be an epic fail.

But the fam is getting homemade sweet potato chips, turkey biryani, horseradish deviled eggs, and cardamom pear crisp.

And the mac & cheese with the bacon for the freckly blue-eyed guy.  Sigh.  I think I have a quarter cup of flour in the house.  Somewhere.

And that will be Thanksgiving.

I’m looking forward to Christmas at my parents, though!!  My mom makes breakfast!  She makes me as many sunny-side-up eggs as I want, and I sit and eat my delicious plate of runny yellow goo and I’m so deliriously happy.  Those eggs are like the best part of Christmas for me.  I like the dark, joyful, desolate ride home after Christmas Eve worship, and then that plate of goo the next morning.

And then I’ll start thinking of Passover…quail, herbs, honey, oh my goodness…now that will be a wonderful meal, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Happy Thanksgiving.  E-mail me if you’re going to be alone and sad, and I’ll see what I can do about that.

My husband’s going to be not happy that I just wrote that.


Unlike the last few posts, this one is not inspired by a girl named Sherry.

Just kidding. It is.

How Sherry makes oatmeal:


If you’re on-the-go, maybe try this:

Instead of using a stove-top kettle, heat your water in an electric one while you’re brushing your teeth or yelling at  politely asking your kids to get in the car.


Pour your ingredients into one of these clippy-lid mugs, put the lid on, and take it to work.  If you have a fairly short commute, it should be cooked and nicely warm by the time you get there.


Those wee soup mugs are nice for other things, too.  I can fit an actual can of soup in one with the lid on, tote it about, open the can at lunch, pour it into the mug and heat it in the microwave.  Or put two eggs in it, break the eggs into it at lunch, scramble them, and heat them in the microwave.  (Have you ever done this? If not, just scramble the eggs with a fork, and then heat them in 15 second increments, stopping to break them up a bit with the fork, until done to your liking. Salt/pepper to taste, and sprinkle in some cheese or bacon crumbles or Parmesan or feta or salsa, or whatever.)

So that’s that.

A Great Place To Start

A few years ago (2? 3? cannot remember), my friend Amber told me about eMeals.  I am pretty sure that I’m the last person on Earth to have heard of it–and that’s quite normal for me.  I’m a girl who can spend an hour at a time reading (and chuckling at, it’s so delightful!) my Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, or hours rereading The Count of Monte Cristo.  And with, like, maybe two exceptions, I cannot focus on a television.  At all.  So, yeah, I’m always the last to hear about cool stuff. Continue reading