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Posted on Sep 22, 2007 in Bento, Dumplings or Buns, Eggs, For Kids, Salad, Vegetarian | 10 comments

Cheater’s tamagoyaki lunches

Cheater’s tamagoyaki lunches


I finally broke out a picnic bento set and got practice making diabetic-friendly food with these lunches. I packed for four this past Tuesday as my in-laws were here visiting, and they joined us for Japanese playgroup. Also, I can’t say that I’m much of an Emeril Lagasse TV fan, but his creamed spinach recipe is excellent and my preschooler devours it like there’s no tomorrow — it’s up there with tamales and tofu in Bug’s list of favorite foods. The thickener proportions are off, though; it’s too thick as written. I use the normal roux proportion of equal parts butter and flour, and so changed the recipe to 4Tb of flour, 1.5 cups milk or more, plus Tabasco and Cajun spice to taste. I’ve mixed leftover creamed spinach with egg the following day and made it into spinach scrambled egg purses.

Egg & spinach lunch

Contents of my lunch: Slices of cheater’s dashimaki tamago omelette (made in a round frying pan without creating layers: full tutorial here), fresh pineapple, blueberries, raspberry, steamed Chinese green onion bun, and Cajun creamed spinach. My mother-in-law’s lunch is identical to this one, so no separate photo.

Morning prep time: 17 minutes, mostly to make the 8-egg tamagoyaki for all four lunches. The tamagoyaki rests for 10 minutes on the counter, though, so during this inactive cook time I was able to pack the rest of the lunch using leftover creamed spinach, pre-cut pineapple from breakfast, and pre-packaged green onion buns that I briefly heated in my microwave mini steamer. Lock & Lock insulated picnic set

Lock & Lock insulated picnic set (exploded view)Packing: I packed all three adult lunches in a multi-person picnic set from Lock & Lock in an insulated case. I used the set’s removable food cups to pack the creamed spinach, and silicone baking cups for the fruit and Chinese bun. (Confession: the bun didn’t actually require a baking cup, I just liked the shot of color it gave.) I then stuffed frozen ice packs (cut from a flexible ice blanket) into the sides and top to keep everything cool for best packed lunch food safety. Each large square container is 870ml (click photos for larger views).

Egg & spinach lunch for diabetic

My father-in-law’s lunch: This is the diabetic version of my lunch, with leftover salad and a tiny container of low-carb, low-fat ranch dressing replacing the steamed bun. The salad dressing is by Eating Right (distributed by Lucerne Foods, I picked it up at Safeway), and I can’t tell much difference between it and regular ranch dressing.

Egg & spinach lunch for preschooler

Preschooler’s lunch: Packed in one 350ml tier of a Lock & Lock lunch set, Bug’s lunch is the same as ours, with a little plastic Anpanman food divider keeping the egg from touching the fruit. Everything got wolfed down except the steamed bun, which was sub-par as it hardened up after steaming/packing. They were much better right out of the steamer.


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  1. How great to see a diabetic bento! As you may know I make my bentos low carb and all sugar free, even though I’m not a diabetic. I love all the colours of these bentos, and I love the curly look of those onion buns :-)

  2. @1 from amvn: Making the diabetic lunch felt as if I as making an Atkins diet lunch — it was interesting to get in that mindset again.

  3. Even if you aren’t a diabetic, I think it’s really good for your health. My mother had just found out she is diabetic and although that should be a warning sign for my daughter and I, I haven’t been doing much about it.. I really should do something about preventing it…

    Woooow.. that steamed twisty green onion bun looks really good! By any chance would you share the recipe?

  4. @3 from FUYU: The green onion bun was so difficult — take it out of the package from the supermarket, and steam. ;-) It was the Yummy brand; I got it at Ocean View Supermarket in South San Francisco.

  5. LOL!! I had no idea!!

  6. They sell frozen wonderful creamed spinach here, frozen in briquettes so you can use as much as your meal requires. There’s also a fresh version available. A perfect addition to many meals.
    Are those buns chinese? You wrote about a chinese steamed bun in a past post. I’d have to travel to get them since I live in a smaller town with a tiny thai/vietnamese market. Do you think you could make them on your own or too much hassle?

  7. I’m so happy I found your site- I’ve been having a great time packing lunches for my husband. Hmmm- so actually he’s really happy I found your site too. At any rate, thanks for the inspiration.

  8. @6 from Jessica: These are in fact the Chinese buns, evidently they’re called hua juan. I’m not sure how to make them from scratch, but hopefully the name will help you in locating a good recipe. Good luck!

  9. @7 from Alissa: Thanks for the encouragement, Alissa! I’m so pleased to have helped make a potentially tedious chore into something enjoyable.

  10. @8, Biggie. Great, thanks for the name!
    Will try to make some at a later date :).
    The recipes I have found so far seems pretty simple. It is like baking bread pretty much, only you steam them rather than bake in the oven.