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If you’ve never encountered the art of Bento Boxes, you really must take a quick peek over here at Anna the Red’s amazing art. Her “My Neighbor Totoro”-inspired series is the best. I’ve loved that movie since I first saw it in Japanese at a friend’s house around 1989 or so. Our VHS copy is among those few that remain since converting most of our other movies to DVD.

One of my favorite Anna the Red creations.

So I’ve decided that this is the next food project I want to tackle… And I’ve made a few tentative forays so far. A few nights ago, I designed little pictures on my boys plates for dinner and, between the two of them, they ate every crumb on both plates. (Sure, there was a little food-swapping going on, but hey, whatever!)

I didn’t get any pictures of those two plates, but I did another for my little guy this evening and, while it certainly wasn’t any kind of proper Bento, I really liked the way it looked.

Hummus, Goldfish, Cheese, Blueberries and Edamame - Yum!

He gobbled up the crackers, hummus, cheese and blueberries but made a face at the edamame (though he did try it twice and didn’t throw any on the floor – yay!).

Inspired by my meager “success”, I decided I could do a little box of tuna-egg salad for my lunch for tomorrow. Here’s what was born:

My very first Bento - A Baby Bento, if you will.

This feels like the beginning of a very enjoyable creative endeavor… As if I needed another hobby! However, this one, at least, did not require any investment in special equipment. Thankfully. Certainly, I could have spent oodles and oodles on the amazing variety of beautiful Bento boxes and assorted paraphernalia. But my collection of plastic storage boxes is epic (thanks, in part, to my dear spouse who’s probably the most prolific lunch-packer I’ve ever known… Save maybe my mom…) so I’ll be using those for now and getting crazy creative later.

Wish me luck!!

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Have window sill, can grow.

This could possibly be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. No, really. I think it might even beat out the time when I was 18 and talked two elderly, retired gentlemen I’d never met before to motor me around Lake Lanier (in North Georgia) to find some friends who were out on a sailboat I’d never seen before and that had no working radio on board.

I. Am. Growing. Something. Edible.

Beans + Water + Time = Sprouts

Purposely. For the very first time. Ever.

They were shrivelled before they went into the cold water. I promise.

So, yeah, you can get technical with me if you really must and point out that I’m only sprouting them, not actually growing them into full and proper plants that will produce more of the same.

Bah, I say – These suckers are G-R-O-W-I-N-G!

Look at these lovely little sprouts!

Admittedly, I’m a little nervous about actually eating them once they’re grown. Especially since I missed a rinse cycle this morning. The instructions for sprouting all have a ring of absolute authority to them and I have no previous experience, even as a bystander, so I’m wary. I’ve rinsed them well to try and get the slightly slippery feeling mostly gone. There’s also a portion of the batch that’s grown more than the rest so I’ve separated them out. The “less grown” have gone back into my sprouting jar and the “more grown” (I’m tempted to call them “horny”) are in the process of drying out so I can seal them and refrigerate them until tomorrow.

It's horny... Like a unicorn!

Upcoming: Sprouted Raw Almond Hummus – Because I’m soaking some almonds now, too. Wheee!

While some situations require an immediate reversal of paradigm, many of us who try to drastically alter our world end up circling right back around to the beginning.  That often leaves us feeling disappointed, depressed or angry.  This is common in the world of “dieting” – the ubiquitous yo-yo cycle that jerks us up then throws us down.

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Healthful choices are easiest to incorporate when they don’t take us too far from our comfort zone.  When they are easy try in the first place, they are also easier to maintain.  And maintaining our health is exactly what has brought most of us to the point of making different choices in the first place!

As a lifelong picky eater, I only started making small changes in my mid-twenties.  Now, as I enter my mid-thirties, I often still take things slow.  Here are some of my suggestions for anyone making that first foray…

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Mountain Rose Herbs

Mountain Rose Herbs
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