Maintaining family life and work life balance in America is doable. Notice that I did not say it is easy. It is possible but it takes a great deal of cooperation from everyone in the family.
Honestly, for Moms like me who work full time, it is a struggle! It is even harder with little kids. Everyday Moms think of what food to make for the kids. Imagine three meals a day! Most parents rely on the schools to provide healthy and nutritious lunch for the kids. At least that is what most parents think.
The U.S. public school lunch has been scrutinized. I am not sure when it started but it seems like it has been trending on social media. Kids posting photos of their lunch trays and some even have lunch comparisons from all over the world. Based on majority of the posts I have seen, it seems like the U.S. has been left behind in terms of nutrition.
Kids at different age group have specific nutritional needs. Our teen is currently homeschooled but she used to be in our local school district. She is not a picky eater but I made lunch for her daily except on some occasions when I did not have time and energy to do it. I just wanted to make sure thay she eats a well-balanced diet that is sufficient for her developmental needs.
For her lunchbox, I used to make her “charaben” like this “torikatsu” which is one of her favorites.
Chicken breast or chicken tenders
For the tempura batter:
Egg for coating
Panko batter mix
Panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying the tempura
For the chicken marinade:
Green leafy veggies or spring mix
Yellow, orange and red sweet bell peppers
Bento veggie cutters or small metal cookie cutters.
Scissors for cutting the seaweed wraps
1. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Keeping it in the refrigerator overnight would be optimal.
2. Beat the egg/s (amount will depend on how much chicken you are going to make). Dip the chicken in the egg.
3. Coat the chicken with panko batter powder. Roll the coated chicken in the panko bread crumbs.
4. When ready to cook, pour the cooking oil in the pan. Make sure the temperature is perfect for deep frying before putting the chicken.
5. Cook the chicken until it is golden brown. Remove excess oil by putting the fried chicken strips on top of a paper towel. Let it stand until the temperature feels fine to touch.
6. Assemble the green leafy veggies in a rectangular glass container or your chosen lunch box.
7. Use bento veggie cutter to shape the bell peppers. I actually used small cookie cutters for this bento. This is also the part where I usually let my kids help.
8. When the chicken is cool enough not to cook the leafy greens. Put the chicken on top of the greens.
9. Make two small steamed rice balls and one large rice ball for the bear face. Cut up some seaweed wraps to use for the ears, eyes and nose.
10. Put everything in the lunchbox. Make the bear by using the large rice ball for the face and the two small rice balls for the ears. Place the cut seaweed wrap on top of the rice balls to complete the face of the bear. Be creative. You can modify the bear’s look.
11. Add the steamed corn on the side of the bear or however you want to make your bento look.
12. Add all the especially shaped colored bell peppers for an appetizing bento.
ENJOY YOUR TORIKATSU CHARABEN!
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