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Posted on May 2, 2007 in Bento, Equipment, For Kids, Freezing, Lactose Free, Onigiri or Sushi, Poultry, Rice, Tips, Tofu | 24 comments

Ice blanket and inari sushi lunch

Ice blanket and inari sushi lunch


Morning prep time: 12 minutes. Everything was leftovers today except the fruit and inarizushi stuffed rice pockets. We had rice with dinner last night, so I let it sit in the rice cooker overnight and made the inarizushi pockets fresh this morning (using a refrigerated kit of triangular preseasoned wrappers and flavorings by the Korean Assi brand). It took a little longer than usual but was worth it to see Bug and his American friends tear into them at playgroup today (Bug’s lunch and mine are identical, so no duplicate photo).

  • inarizushi: sushi rice stuffed into seasoned fried tofu (abura-age) — a popular kids’ finger food bento item
  • sauteed onions and yellow/red bell peppers
  • Indian-spiced grilled chicken
  • watermelon and kiwi
  • white grape & cherry juice cut with 75% water

Inari sushi lunch

When I was in Target the other week I picked up a Rubbermaid flexible ice blanket for US$2.50. Essentially a quilt of tiny ice packs, it can be cut apart to produce tiny reusable ice packs for packed lunches, or kept whole to wrap food in a cooler or wrap your arm/leg when hurt. Especially convenient for throwing into tight insulated lunch bags or small spaces; a similar product sells here. I threw a few of the little packs into a new insulated lunch set that holds today’s lunch.

Reusable ice blanket for packed lunches

Inarizushi are ideal for freezing, according to Ohayo Okusan’s book on freezing. Just tightly wrap one or two together in plastic wrap and freeze. When ready to eat, it instructs you to heat them in the microwave (still wrapped in plastic wrap) until warm. If you’re concerned about heating food in plastic wrap, unwrap the frozen inarizushi, place in a small microwave-safe container with a cover, and then microwave. I didn’t wind up freezing any because my family scarfs these down as quickly as I can make them!

Last week I picked up a new Lock & Lock insulated lunch set that’s similar to a non-insulated one I already have. Excellent for packed lunch food safety, it held today’s lunch (click photo for box details). Shout out to Beth for the heads up!

Lock & Lock insulated bento set

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  1. Hey Biggie:

    Did you get the Lock & Lock kit at Target? I keep haunting mine in hopes there is one similar to this — I know there is a two-deck lunch kit that company makes — on the shelves. No such luck.

    Thanks for the tips on inari making. I love ‘em. Never tried making them.


  2. I will run to Target and get the one you introduced in your picture…thanks! I have been looking but those I saw at hardware stores in the city were bulky and heavy -not ideal for kids’ lunch box. This one I could cut out as the way I want!

  3. That’s right, you were looking for small reusable ice packs locally! They worked out great — I recommend them for your kids’ lunches.

  4. No, I got it at a local Asian kitchen & housewares store in San Francisco (Kamei) — I don’t think they’re sold more widely at stores like Target or Walmart. The inari was good — I really like the seasonings in the Korean kit.

  5. Good luck! Let me know if you can’t find it and I’ll see if the store I got mine from has more sets.

  6. You know, I have the Fit & Fresh salad container, as well as their soup & salad container. Dude, whatever you do, DON’T BUY the soup and salad container (red thing that looks like a weird Mr. Bento) — the ice ring on the inside burst open the second I froze it, and others on Amazon report having had the same problem. Unless they fixed the ice ring, it’s a total waste of money despite an ingenious design. The salad container is good, but bulky. I put all of them up in my Amazon store (except the soup/salad container) in the Lunch Container section:

  7. [magpie] Oooo, a store! [/magpie]

  8. Interesting, you have the Gourmac jars on there (I have been soooo redundant, :facepalm:). The manufacturer price is $7.49 (or so) for a set of three sets, as opposed to Amazon’s $9.99/4; I found if you order two sets, you’ll get all the colours!

  9. [perks] Oh yeah? :)

    Y’know, I never even thought about looking at Amazon, once I found the source. My order from them just got here a couple days ago.

    The lids are translucent, white, red, green (sort of an odd, wishy-washy not-quite-opaque green), navy and plastic-silver. They came shrinkwrapped on a little cardboard tray that fit 6 exactly, so I suspect they might be packaged that way at the factory.

  10. Any idea if the lock & lock set is available by mail/internet order to the UK? I’ve been hoping one would pop up on ebay but so far nothing, and I’d kill for one… such a smart way to transport lunch (beats my carrier bag any day of the week) :)

  11. I’ve never seen these anywhere online, sorry. Just sent you e-mail off board.

  12. I’m glad you brought it up on you great site, Biggie. I like them also for certain things. I mentioned it on a different Bento group about a month ago in a ice/gel packs discussion there. I bought mine at REI but have heard Costco sells them and have seen another brand in local drugstore. I only bought one sheet which I cut in half. It doesn’t keep frozen as long as the hard sided blue ice does but is adequate for many things. I use in combo with the hard sided often.

  13. I only really need one sheet too — Target had the one big sheet that I could then cut some off of and still have a pretty good sized sheet left. Good tips about getting them from REI, Costco and drugstores — thanks!

    Which bento group, BTW? Something other than Flickr or LJ’s bentolunch?

  14. Hi! I found your page off of cookingcute’s. She’s been down for a while, so I’ve been looking for bento inspiration elsewhere. I found it! I love that yours is much more everyday, since I make my husband’s lunch everyday and he doesn’t do “cute” like my daughter. I love the lock and lock lunch set, and I’ve seen you’ve helped some others get one. Any chance for me? I’d love two! felixandme at cox dot net! I have a LJ, but can’t remember it! Do you get profit when we order from amazon through your site? I’m eyeing that toddler lunch set! Thanks so much.

  15. I hear you on the “cute” aspect — my husband is allergic to cute too. In Japan, most of the men get regular-looking bentos from their wives anyway, not cute ones — that’s seen as being more for children’s bentos.

    I’ll stop by the Asian store and see if I can get any more of the Lock & Lock sets — all the ones I initially picked up are now spoken for. I do get a few cents on the dollar for Amazon purchases made through my store (or even on other Amazon purchases if you follow my links to get to Amazon) — thanks for supporting Lunch in a Box!! (commerce stuff over now!)

  16. Argh!!! The loss of fancy French butter is just insult to injury! Oh well, at least the Rubbermaid one is only like $2.50 at Target. Good tip on avoiding the Thermos ice mat, too — thanks.

  17. Do you know if there is any way to get the Lock & Lock set shown here internationally? I have been looking for it like mad and I can’t find it!

  18. @24 from Elena: Reader Jakkerak found a site in Australia that ships them internationally:

  19. OMG, this is AWSOME!!! Thanks a lot, I’m right there buying one!

    Btw, love love love this site, Biggie. I am learning a lot from it, and I am already doing quite a few things that I have read here and I have to say, it’s really saving time in the morning! I couldn’t be happier, since my lunches are getting better and healthier. Thanks!

  20. Here is another bento website, I can’t remember if you already knew about it, called All My Bento Are Belong To Me

    In this post they also show the Lock and Lock lunch set impossible to find! I will persevere.

  21. @27 from Yvette: Ah yes, Yvo from All My Bento Are Belong to Me is a regular reader and commenter here — I try to pop in and check out her blog regularly. Good luck finding the Lock & Lock sets!

  22. Hey, I’ve visited your site occasionally and I also just happen to read Yvo’s xanga (occasionally view her bento site), too. I checked the link posted by 27and this was posted:

    Silly me forgot to take pictures of the entire set- the lids are orange, and there’s an included matching drink container! Pictures of the same set with details can be found here - the set cost me $13 at the store. I’ve managed to find a person who will ship them to me for $23 from Hawaii- she also has larger blue ones, same set up, same price. Let me know if you want her contact info, I know I just bought the last one, but she gets them in occasionally…

  23. @29 from Laura: Thanks for the excerpt from Yvo’s blog about the Lock & Lock bento sets, Laura!

  24. If people are still interested in the lock & lock lunch sets we need to e-mail the company to have them available for sale on their website

    Contact information is
    Just scroll down to usa and send an email.