Making Bento for my Son/息子の弁当作り

Japanese Food

More than one month has passed since I started making bento for my son on weekdays (and sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays as well).
I had planned how to make bento for him well in advance.  From two questionnaire surveys on bento I found on the Internet, I learned that most people spend up to twenty minutes (about 30% of the respondents) and up to thirty minutes (about 30%) in the morning making bento that have three or four okazu in them.
After much thought, I decided to make a bento that contains four or five okazu within ten minutes.  To that end, I have to make preparations in advance.
Four okazu are almost fixed:  Boiled broccoli, atsuyaki tamago (Japanese-style thick rolled omelet), spinach goma ae (dressed with sesame seeds), and cherry tomatoes (all of which are his favorites).
I kept this tray, which came with store-bought frozen food.

I bought a set of four silicone cups at a 100-yen shop (shown on the left).  Shown on the right are packs of large and small aluminum cups that I usually use.

This is the way I use the tray together with aluminum cups.

I store atsuyaki tamago in the partial freezing compartment of the fridge.

I make small hamburgers in the toaster oven.

I put some in each aluminum cup and store in the freezer.

I also store chicken karaage and deep-fried meat balls in the same way.
I boil broccoli in a pot for 2 min. and store in the freezer.
My job in the morning is to assemble them together in the bento box, except cherry tomatoes, which I previously put in a separate container and store in the fridge. 

I usually sprinkle something on the rice, such as goma shio (salt and sesame seeds).
I place the lid diagonally on top of the bento box to keep out dust while cooling the rice.  I make it a point to cook rice every morning.

Then I wrap the bento box in a bandana.

Shown on the right is my son’s portable thermos bottle.
I make it a point to make barley tea the night before, by boiling water.

All my family hate the off-flavor of barley tea made with cold water.
As you can see from the photos below, all of my son’s bento look almost the same.

I don’t thaw store-bought frozen foods in a microwave unless otherwise specified on the package.  I usually don’t thaw home-made frozen foods, either.

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