Food / Japanese / Poultry / Vegetables/Meatless

Bento with poached chicken and scallion-ginger sauce

Exercising requires effort. Effort that I really couldn’t muster because I can think of excuses all day, er’ryday.

“It’s too late.”

“I’m too tired from work, I need to rest!”

“Oh well, I have an event to go to so I’ll just get it done tomorrow.”

“I don’t want to pay for a gym membership… I’ll just exercise at home. Tomorrow.”

But I couldn’t keep it up anymore. I’m turning 26 in a few months and I feel like all those times that I made excuses for doing things “later,” are finally catching up. Later is coming — later is here!

So now every other morning, even when I hate the world, I roll out of bed and crawl to my closet to put on my workout clothes and run.

Coal Creek Trail in Colorado

Coal Creek Trail in Colorado

There are days I really, really, don’t want to do it, especially running in Los Angeles. I don’t get the same beautiful trail I was greeted with when I visited my family last week. I get cars. And buildings.

On those days that its especially hard, even when I remind myself this is to help myself not look so…round, I stay in bed. I try not to let it happen more than once a week. Not because I feel less energetic or guilty, but because my self esteem just takes a nose dive when I don’t run. After a morning run, I’m so proud of myself for getting out of bed that I feel like a superstar and it influences my food choices during the day. I eat healthier, not because it’s healthy but because I don’t want to feel the pain I felt when running… I like to think of it as motivation.

One of the best meals I made is a poached chicken bento. Sound boring? It’s poached chicken with Momofuku’s scallion-ginger sauce.

I love green onions and when I make a batch of the scallion-ginger sauce, I stock my fridge up with anything I can eat with it. I love it with soba noodles but my favorite way is with poached chicken and rice.

A healthy lunch packed full of fiber

A healthy lunch packed full of fiber and protein

This is also the cutest bento I’ve made to date. They’ve never looked this nice again.

Brown rice with steamed broccoli and poached chicken breast (to be eaten with Momofuku's scallion-ginger sauce omg).

Brown rice with steamed broccoli and poached chicken breast (to be eaten with Momofuku’s scallion-ginger sauce omg).

Tier One — Half a cup of brown rice, steamed broccoli, and poached chicken. There was some space in between the broccoli trees so I squeezed in some little grape tomatoes! It added a nice pop of color :)

I poach my chicken with Just Bento’s method. It’s very easy and requires little to no attention because a timer will just alert you! Just plop in the frozen/fresh chicken breast, bring the water to boil, and turn off. Let the chicken rest in the hot water for around 15 minutes (20 if it’s super thick) and bam! Moist, poached chicken for the week.

More poached chicken, grape tomatoes, gobo kinpira, and steamed broccoli with a sesame seed dressing

More poached chicken, grape tomatoes, gobo kinpira, and steamed broccoli with a sesame seed dressing

Tier Two — Kinpira gobo, broccoli with gomaae sauce, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and more poached chicken

I found some gobo at the Asian store so I was very excited to try it out! I made a classic gobo kinpira for a fiber-licious side dish and while I’m pretty positive I didn’t cook it all the way, the crunch it provided was addicting (and spicy, too many red pepper flakes but I regret nothing!).

This set included steamed broccoli was tossed in gomaae, a Japanese sesame dressing. I used the recipe on Bebe Loves Okazu and since it made more than one serving, it was great being able to just steam whatever vegetables I had in the morning and tossing it in the sauce (like cauliflower and carrots). The cucumber and grape tomatoes were bento fillers but were also very refreshing.

Since I prepared and planned out the sets of recipes I wanted to try out, I had cute, healthy bento lunches for the whole week.

…I have never been that prepared again.

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