Bento Box Ideas For Halloween; Diary of a Concussion


My positive outlook yesterday ran its course and I ended up exhausted, unable to start lunch recipes or decipher the kids’ algebra.  Anya tried to explain her methods to me and I was completely lost.  I cannot believe I am struggling to understand 8th grade math.  I am not ready for my kids to be smarter than I am.  This is very humbling.

Yesterday, I enumerated upon the many ways in which I am making progress in my recovery.  I must qualify that with a limit on the hours I can spend in any kind of activity.  Cleaning exhausts me at between 2-4 hours, though I often push myself and work longer, just very slowly.  By afternoon, my cognitive abilities fade fast, with evening homework being simply out of the question.  Lunch making and blogging take up precious morning time, and I have to wonder if my priorities are in the right place.  My husband is patient with my new hobby, but I need to contribute in other ways as well.

It seems like the overall path for my recovery trajectory is positive, but daily fluctuations feel like a roller coaster.  I think I’m standing by my theory regarding the benefits of meaningful activity and creative expression, especially with regards to mood stability.  I’ve gotten no advice or practical solutions from my doctors about how to manage the quagmire of post-concussive symptoms.  I really hope someone reading this benefits from my explorations and experience and feels less lost in medical uncertainties.

Dealing with doctors when your symptoms vary and you don’t remember half of what you planned to tell them is very challenging.  I waited an hour this month in my neurosurgeon’s office to have him repeat that he had no answers for me.  So much time had passed and my symptoms had changed since our previous encounter that I didn’t trust my recollection of my prognosis and limitations.  I have met my maximum-out-of-pocket, so I can sit in his office as often as I want until the first of the year, but I will come away with little for my effort.

Bento boxes were extra challenging today for different reasons.  We are missing Lunch Blox containers because Anya’s friends have taken items out of her lunch and locker without her permission and not returned the empty vessels.  I hope that is remedied today.  My sheets of nori were nowhere to be found this morning and I had to resort to using seaweed snacks, which are much more difficult to decorate with than the regular sheets.  By the way, seaweed dulls razors extremely quickly.  I am going through my husband’s supply of straight edges like they are water.  I prefer a clean, unused razor every day, though sometimes scissors are workable, depending upon the detail needed.  My kitchen hole punch is also dulled, though I manage to punch holes in nori just fine, it is grape skins that give me the most trouble.  Finally, the Boo-Berry smoothie required multiple adjustments and Connor’s opinions to get to the right taste.  The banana finally made it a recipe worth sharing.

Today’s Halloween bento box contains riceball “Jack” from the Nightmare Before Christmas with organic orange and purple carrots, quickroll dough “bones” (see yesterday’s bento post for recipe) with fresh farmer’s cheese “brains” and coconut “eyeballs” topped with organic strawberry and grape slices with black and green grape eyes.  Our black cat thermoses are filled with Boo-Berry Smoothies.




Anya requested Pretz, so even though it doesn’t relate to Halloween, I sent Hot Chili flavor to round out the menu, soy sauce and a jack-o-lantern clementine.

Rice Balls

(I’m sure I have already posted these instructions, but a refresher is always helpful.) Place 2 cups of rice in rice cooker and fill to #2 level with water.  Cook.  Once rice cooker has changed to warm, remove rice container and allow to cool.  Sprinkle generously with rice vinegar and knead to mix.  Make into three round, firm balls, then flatten slightly to create Jack’s head.  Decorate with nori.

Coconut “Eyeballs”

(This recipe is just Cocoballs without the chocolate-Anya and I prefer it)

7 oz shredded coconut

1 c condensed milk

1 c chopped slivered almonds

1 tsp vanilla

1 pkg vanilla bark

2 Tbsp organic shortening

organic strawberries

black grapes

In medium bowl, combine first four ingredients.  Knead until mixed and then shape into      1 ” balls.  Place on cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour.  Melt vanilla bark and shortening in microwave, starting with 1 minute, then pausing to stir, then repeating in 30 second intervals until smooth.  Do not over-cook.  Spoon melted bark over coconut balls.  Top with thin slices of strawberry “irises” and black grape “pupils”.


Boo-Berry Smoothie

1 c frozen organic blueberries

1/4 c baby kale (garden)

1/4 c organic raspberries

1/4 c organic blackberries/strawberries mixed

1 small banana

1 Tbsp agave

1 c coconut milk

Fill 24 oz Nutri Ninja cup with the above ingredients.  Press Auto IQ extraction and allow to run until blended.  Pour into 3-8oz thermoses.



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