tomorrow i’m going on another hike (same adventure company, different location and different friends). since i’m going as part of a larger group this time, everyone is bringing their own food — no need for a two-person bento, so i made a simpler lunch for just myself. i’ve got some mexican and spanish flavors in this one, and it’s packed in my new mon bento two-tier box. click through for details on my lunch, the wrap recipe, and my product review.
for a first course, i’ve got jalapeno-stuffed olives, juicy cherry tomatoes, steamed asparagus tips, and smoked gouda cubes. this felt very tapas to me! the fresh veggies are certainly TIU-approved, and this small amount of dairy early in the day is also OK.
my second course is a chipotle “chicken” mexi-wrap. i used a “smart and delicious” olive oil wrap, a chipotle-basted and pan-seared quorn “naked cutlet“, some lettuce, my homemade spicy black bean spread, a bit of roasted eggplant, crisp orange bell peppers and shredded red cabbage with thinly-sliced red onion. i just know this is going to be flavorful, and protein-packed to fuel my hike. definitely a TIU-approved creation — the focus is on protein, antioxidant-rich beans, fresh herbs as seasoning, and vitamin-rich veggies; the low-carb tortilla just holds it together. and when a food creation is super-colorful, you just know it’s healthy!
for dessert i have a simple fruit cup (lid not shown), as well as a trail mix i whipped up from puffed kamut, unsalted roasted almonds, some dulce de leche cheerios (surprisingly high in iron!), baked apple chips, and carob chips. both are nice sweet treats for scenic stops along the trail.
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megan’s spicy black bean spread — makes approx. six 1/4-cup servings
- 1 can black beans (i used westbrae natural’s vegetarian organic version)
- 1 fresh jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed if you don’t want it too spicy!
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup kabocha squash
- juice of one fresh lime
- 1 teaspoon black pepper; 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tbsp. white vinegar; 2 tbsp. or more water (as needed to smooth the paste out)
this couldn’t be simpler — just whiz all the ingredients in your food processor (or in batches in a magic bullet). the result is a creamy/smooth, tangy, spicy, DELICIOUS spread that can be used in sandwiches, tacos, or even as a dip.
megan’s special trail mix – makes 4 full zip-loc bag servings
- 2 cups puffed kamut (i used arrowhead mills brand)
- 1.2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds (i used trader joe’s)
- 1.5 cups dulce de leche cheerios
- 5 tbsp. carob chips (i used sunspire’s unsweetened version)
- approx. 2.6 oz baked apple chips (i used bare fruit’s version; this amount is the whole bag)
another easy-peasy assembly — mix all the ingredients together and divide into baggies for the trail!
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now onto the mon bento review… mon bento is a french company who has recently launched e-commerce stateside. i’ve seen their boxes floating around the internet bento community for a while now, and when they contacted me to inquire whether i’d be interested in receiving a free sample to review, i was really excited! the boxes are dishwasher and microwave safe, BPA-free, and definitely “adult” — both in their sleek styling and their proportion (they hold a full adult meal, unlike a number of the cutesy character-themed boxes in my collection, which are really designed for kids’ lunches).
this box is from the original collection, which is advertised as being “waterproof” thanks to the tightly-fitting lids that serve as seals between the different compartments. as you can see from the photo-collage above, there are two compartments for food, and the slightly-domed top lid actually allows for storage of a utensil between itself and the lid of the top food compartment. the lids have vents that can be popped open so that food can be microwaved effectively without losing too much moisture. the colored food compartment also comes with a removable, matching plastic divider so that you can separate (or compact) different food items — i can imagine this coming in handy for “squishing” rice into a perfect half-box-sized block.
i really enjoyed packing in this box — i found it roomy enough that i didn’t have to design my food around the box’s proportions; rather, i just made a standard sized wrap and it fit perfectly into one tier (in the photo the two bias-cut halves are propped up, but when i fit them back together they laid down snugly in the box without poking over its top edge). the other tier was the perfect size for a variety of accompaniments. even though i don’t go on a hike every day, i do eat several small meals over the course of the day (per the tone it up nutrition plan guidelines), and so this box would also allow me to plan for my eating over the course of a normal work day. i am eager to try it in that context, and also to test the “waterproof” seals with something more liquid-y than what i packed here. i’ll update you all when i have feedback on that! in the meantime, i do recommend this as a stylish and practical box for working adults; the different colored boxes from the original series are available on amazon.
hope everyone is having a fun and healthy weekend!
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nutritional info for the bento:
- mexi-wrap, 265 calories (6.1 g. fat [1.0 g. sat, 0.5 g. poly, 3.5 g. mono], 5 mg. cholesterol, 1736 mg. dosium, 284 mg. potassium, 40 g. carbs [18 g. fiber, 7 g. sugar], 23 g. protein, 50% vitamin A, 55% vitamin C, 12% calcium, 15% iron)
- 2 oz. smoked gouda, 180 calories (14 g. fat [10 g. saturated], 30 mg. cholesterol, 800 mg. sodium, 2 g. carbs, 12 g. protein, 8% vitamin A, 40% calcium)
- 5 cherry tomatoes, 15 calories (5 mg. sodium, 5 g. carbs, 15% vitamin A, 20% vitamin C)
- 5 jalapeno-stuffed olives, 50 calories (5 g. fat, 700 mg. sodium, 5 g. carbs, 10% calcium)
- about 3 asparagus spears, 13 calories (2.5 g. carbs [1 g. fiber, 1 g. sugar], 0.5 g. protein, 2.5% vitamin A, 5.5% vitamin C)
- fruit salad, 87 calories (13 mg. sodium, 444 mg. potassium, 21 g. carbs [4 g. fiber, 11 g. sugar], 1.5 g. protein, 155% vitamin C)
- trail mix, 250 calories (11 g. fat [2.4 g. saturated, 0.2 g. poly, 0.2 g. mono], 125 mg. sodium, 73 mg. potassium, 35 g. carbs [7 g. fiber, 18 g. sugar], 7 g. protein, 5% vitamin A, 14% vitamin C, 14% calcium, 31% iron)