Tuesday, March 31, 2015

3-Tier Bottle Bento #1

Asian asparagus salad, soy-glazed salmon on a bed of white rice, apple slices, a couple of raspberries stuffed with chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, and blueberries.

I bought this bento box entirely because I wanted it. No other reason than wanting something different. I thought it was cute. It has some things going for it my other boxes don't, including being pretty much totally leak-free and very easy to carry upright, but mostly it was cute and relatively inexpensive.

The recipes were new ones for me. The asparagus salad is simple and really good; you'll see it for several days, though, because I made the full recipe and I am only one person. The salmon was a bit different than what I had wanted (I wanted a thicker glaze), but still tasty.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Tamari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #10

Banana slices, blueberries, kiwi berries, raspberries stuffed with chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, ham and cheese quesadilla wedges, baby carrots, halves of cherry tomato, cucumber slices, and a cup of yogurt ranch dressing.

I've seen people stuffing raspberries with chocolate chips, but I only had chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, so I went with that instead. It was great! I'm not a huge fan of raspberries, but they're pretty and very good for you, so I decided to try getting myself to eat more of them. As I've said many times, the same tricks that get kids to eat new foods get adults to eat new foods. Sometimes you just have to use them on yourself.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #34

Raspberry-chocolate yogurt and white chocolate-caramel pretzels in the two smallest Lunchopolis containers.

I really liked this. It needed some hot tea, but I forgot to bring mine. Why is the only non-caffeinated tea offered in most offices the most vile stuff possible? Just because I can't have caffeine does not mean I A) want to be put to sleep with chamomile or similar (which, by the way, is great at night but awful for afternoon tea) or B) don't like the flavor of actual tea (there is decaf, people!) or C) enjoy all those weirdly artificial fruit flavors.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tamari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #9

Halves of tangerine with a silicone cup of chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds and a white chocolate-caramel pretzel, sautéed spinach and mushrooms, crab shumai, and a few bottles of soy sauce/rice vinegar blend.

I'm not crazy about sautéed spinach on its own--it tastes good but seems to coat my teeth with something I can't get rid of without just wearing it off--but the mushrooms seem to prevent that. I'll have to note that one for later. (It was actually just one of those "this stuff is going bad and I need to use it up" things, but it worked out well.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #17

Blood orange slices, cucumber, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, mini bell pepper rings, some mushroom slices to fill in a gap, ham/veggie cream cheese/tortilla pinwheels, and a cup of Boom Boom sauce.

I did not feel like cooking last night, so this is a prepped-from-what's-on-hand lunch. It worked out fine. What exactly is Boom-Boom sauce? This stuff was left over from an order of onion rings, and I liked it's spiciness, so I kept it for lunch purposes, but I don't quite know what it is.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Laptop Lunches #254

A chile-cheese tamale; leftover vegetarian chili, mixed fruit (mango, kiwi, and starfruit); and silicone cups of sour cream, scallion, and cheddar cheese.

This lunch comes with tragedy. The idea was to top the tamale with chili and heat it up in the microwave, which I did. I have had my Laptop Lunches box for maybe five or so years, and I have microwaved lots of stuff in it (these containers are microwave safe, after all!), without incident. This time, the chili may have stained the blue container.

I hate it when stuff like that happens, but we'll see if it wears off--sometimes that happens, and after airing out a little, it's become less noticeable, I guess through the magic of sunlight or something. That is, after all, how the beet stains gradually fade.

The meal was good, but that will be overshadowed by the scarred lunchbox. And they don't even make this one anymore. This was the original box. Today's version looks quite different; you don't have the little slots in the box to keep your containers in place, etc. I am sure I will get over this travesty, but I'm rather sad for the moment. Does anyone have advice for de-staining plastic? I'm guessing that's just not possible.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Temari Rabbit Bento Bowl #2

Vegetarian chili over rice with cheddar, sour cream, and scallion toppings, and a sliced nectarine.

 I made the chili with Neat, which I had found on clearance at Target. It was actually pretty good! Let me know if you want my recipe.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Tamari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #8

Beef shumai, a couple of bottles of soy sauce/rice vinegar blend, some cucumbers tossed in the remainder of said blend with some sesame seeds mixed in, and blood orange slices.

I didn't realize this was a blood orange until I sliced it open. That one was quite the surprise!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #33

I was having an interesting morning the day I packed this one. I wanted a breakfast sandwich but I didn't have the appetite for a whole one. So I made a pretty big one, cut it in half, and packed one half as a snack in my medium-sized Lunchopolis container.

The original breakfast sandwich had high fiber whole grain white toast, a bit of mayo, swiss cheese, ham, a fried egg, tomato slices, and mashed avocado. The egg turned out not to be fried the way I liked, so I took it out of the snack half. You may still see traces of egg yolk, though. This worked pretty well as a snack. The toast wasn't crisp by the time I ate it, but it wasn't soggy, either.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #7

A Babybel cheese wheel, mango chunks, kiwi slices, plantain chips in the silicone cup, a panda cup of chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, a Swedish chocolate from lytkabento, some gummy bears to fill holes, wedges of paratha filled with peas, and Moroccan carrot salad (from the same batch as a few days ago).

This was not a successful lunch. I bought the paratha from my Asian grocery shopping excursion. Paratha is an Indian bread, often filled with various things. The filling here is spiced peas. I had forgotten that if you buy Indian food meant for Indians, you end up with more spice. This was too spicy to eat, especially alongside my slightly too spicy (though there is no comparison) carrot salad. Fortunately, there were some cookies in the break room, so I more or less ended up eating fruit, cheese, plantain chips, candy, and a chocolate chip cookie.

Not every day can be all that healthy, I suppose. I think it probably evens out in terms of overall habit.

I'd already tried the Geisha chocolate. You can read about my first reaction here. Although I do like sweet things, it often takes me quite a while to get through candy; she sent this to me a long time ago, but it was still really lovely. About this time of year, when I was little, this would be when my mother found the mostly-uneaten bag of Halloween candy in my closet and throw it out. But most candy does last a while, so I think I'm safe still eating these.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #6

Nectarine slices, blackberries, a hard boiled egg, brioche toast, and avocado chunks topped with halves of grape tomato.

I was not supposed to pack lunch today. I was supposed to have lunch with a friend who texted at 7:00AM to cancel. As such, I had to grab whatever I could in approximately 5 minutes. This isn't bad for a 5-minute lunch, but it helps that I already had some things ready (the egg was boiled and waiting to peel, and the nectarine was already sliced). To eat this, I mashed the avocado chunks onto the toast and topped them with tomato halves.

You do what you can sometimes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Laptop Lunches #253

Mango sticks, sesame crackers wrapped in nori, Moroccan carrot salad, coconut yogurt with chocolate bits, and a hard boiled egg nestled in with some grape tomatoes.

I used multi-colored carrots in the salad, which is actually a pretty simple recipe. I want to modify it some, though, as it is kind of spicy for my taste.

This lunch wasn't very cohesive, but it got the job done.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #16

Nectarine slices, kiwi slices, a S'mores chocolate, gummy bears, cherry tomatoes, edamame in a silicone clover, cucumber slices, baby carrots, a clover cup with yogurt-ranch dressing, and tuna cakes on a bed of spinach.

This is my nod to St. Patrick's Day--subtle, and thus work appropriate. Each tier has some green in it--actually a couple of different greens (kiwi/gummy bear/edamame/cucumber/clover cup/spinach/parsley in the tuna cakes)--and I have a few clovers.

The tuna cakes were made of leftover mashed potatoes and a can of tuna, with some seasonings and an egg to hold them together. They turned out really well. You can make such things to fit any container you like, which is one reason I like to make patties of various things (although come to think of it I haven't done this in quite some time).

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Monday, March 16, 2015

ToGoWare 2-Tier Tiffin #2

Spinach, strawberry, and chicken salad with sesame seeds and a bit of a homemade honey sesame vinaigrette; a peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie; garlic peas; scallion soda crackers; and slices of smoked gouda.

I almost never use this tiffin because it is so enormous. It is good for very little. But today I wanted this salad, and it's so light I need to eat a lot of it. If I were more of a bulky salad person, you'd see more of this tiffin. But I'm still glad I have it--at this point I have a suitable lunch container for almost anything I want to pack! (See, there is a point to this collection.) Tiffins are most popular in India.

In case you're wondering, yes, I also have a lunch box suitable for the more typical packed lunch of my middle-America childhood--a sandwich with a piece of fruit or a cupcake or something--but of course I pretty well never pack that, either.

The salad was really very good! And the soda crackers, which were one of the things I bought at the Asian market, were nice, too--envision oniony saltines.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #32

A packet of garlic peas, carrot sticks, edamame hummus, and rice crackers, all in the medium sized container in my Lunchopolis set. I like all these things, so I can tell you they're enjoyable, but I didn't actually get a chance to eat this one, unfortunately.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #5

Mango sticks, blackberries, strawberry slices, kiwi slices, a few slices of scallion and mushroom tamagoyaki, a soy sauce bottle, a couple of maple sausage patties, and wedges of scallion pancake.

I'm running really low on veggies. I did have some here but the mushrooms and scallions are much less than I'd normally eat. I think we'll call this some sort of breakfast for lunch, though. For some reason people tend not to have veggies for breakfast much. The sesame pancake was very heavy--I took a whole one and I think that may be too much sesame pancake for one meal. But nonetheless, this did seem to work out well, and I'm really getting the knack of tamagoyaki.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #15

Fruit salad (a mélange of white nectarine, strawberry chunks, and blackberries--if you've been reading along you may be noticing a theme here), tortilla/cream cheese/bacon/avocado/tomato pinwheels, and carrot slaw.

It's been a long time since I had carrot slaw. I really love it, so I should probably make it more often. Someday you'll have the recipe.

The pinwheels worked really well, too!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #4

Baby carrots, garlic peas, blackberries, strawberry slices, a fried egg cut in half, a bottle of soy sauce, a Chinese chives pocket, a few sugar snap peas, and a couple of mini sweet peppers.

I still don't quite know what a Chinese chives pocket is. They came from Taiwan; they seem like giant dumplings; you pan fry them; they are filled with something very green and onion-y. That's all I know.

Garlic peas, however, are like wasabi peas, only garlic instead, and they are lovely.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Laptop Lunches #252

Blackberries, white nectarine slices, strawberries, a mini goat cheese medallion, mini multigrain crackers, snow peas, baby carrots, a little silicone clover with edamame hummus, grape tomatoes, and black bean crisps.
This needed something else. I'm not sure what. (Maybe chocolate?)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #3

Baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery sticks, a silicone rectangular cup with Ädelost (soft Swedish blue cheese), gingerbread, a packet of peanut cakes, blackberries, and strawberry chunks.

The cheese and gingerbread are from lyktabento. She said they were meant to be eaten together. I was somewhat baffled, and it took guts to give that one a try, but it actually turned out to be really good! It was a strong flavor, and I couldn't eat all that I'd packed, but I enjoyed it and finished the rest later. I wondered if the gingerbread wouldn't be like other gingerbread I'd eaten, and so would not be like putting cheese on a cookie, but it was rather like putting cheese on a cookie. I decided that if cheesecake can have a graham cracker crust (and what is a graham cracker if not a cookie pretending to be a cracker?) it made at least some sense.

If I'd had a hard boiled egg or something I would have thrown that in, but instead I put in the packet of peanut cakes I bought from the Asian market over the weekend. (I went a little crazy there; you'll see kind of a lot of new Asian things from me for a while.) If you open the packets they crumble, so I just left them as is, but they're pretty nice--just peanuts mashed with a little sugar, so kind of like very dry peanut butter.

Thanks again, lytkabento!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #31

Peanut butter and jelly pinwheels (on the tiny bread I had to buy since my regular stuff was sold out) and garlic plantain chips.

Respectable, but I'm not a big fan of the pinwheels.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Temari Rabbit Bento Bowl #1

When I ordered the Temari Rabbit bento box, I also ordered the matching bowl. I figured it was time to have something I could carry soup in.

This soup is a hodgepodge of leftover veggies, chicken broth, frozen meatballs, and leftover rice. It tasted good, but I made the mistake I always make, and put in too much rice. By the time I ate it, it wasn't soup anymore so much as very wet rice. Oh, well. It tasted good.

The top tier (the red one) has sautéed apple slices with cinnamon sugar on them. I thought that I should have my fruit hot to try to keep everything else hot; as it was by the time I ate it, it was definitely warmer than room temperature but not quite as warm as I might have liked. The bag doesn't insulate as well as I hoped.

A good lunch overall, though.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #14

Nectarine slices, green and red grapes, chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds in the silicone cup, a bottle of soy sauce, broccoli salad, sushi rice topped with crumbled wasabi-flavored nori snacks, tamagoyaki with green onions, and a couple of pork shumai turned sideways to fit into the box.

If you've visited many bento blogs--real ones, where people do really fancy food, like dosirakbento or Bento Days--you will have seen many slices of tamagoyaki (rolled Japanese omelet) before. Although that isn't my usual style (and I think if I were going for that sort of style, I would have failed here), I did have an epiphany after watching the tutorial video Japanese Cooking 101 made: I have a small, square cast iron skillet! Maybe I could make this thing! And wouldn't you know it--I can and it's pretty easy and it tastes amazing at room temperature. It's like a whole world of new possibilities opened at once. I think this is much easier to deal with than the French-style omelets of the Western world.

I modified this recipe for the broccoli salad. I left out the raisins (the one dried fruit I will not eat) and sunflower kernels, and cut it down to size to fit my one-person household. I know it may look odd to serve this salad with Japanese food, but the flavors actually complemented each other really, really well. Most of it had a slightly sweet, savory thing going on anyway. I really liked this recipe, primarily because I don't care for raw broccoli, and this is slightly cooked broccoli.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #2

Brioche toast, quince paste slices, a sliced wedge of manchego cheese, some green grapes, Waldorf salad, and olive tapenade stuffed eggs nestled in with grape tomatoes.

This was a little messy to eat--the quince paste was hard to spread on the brioche and I ended up with lots of crumbs in my lap--but I really liked it anyway. Crumbs are easy enough to brush away.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Laptop Lunches #251

Cucumber spears, strips of bell pepper, edamame hummus, baby carrots, chunks of cantaloupe, leftover goat cheese-tomato macaroni, and grape and kiwi halves.

The macaroni was one of those "there is this stuff in my kitchen going bad so what if I put it all together with some noodles" meals. But it was lovely!

I feel sorry for people who don't cook. They'll never get happy surprises like that one.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #1

I'm amazed at how a new lunchbox inspires new possibilities. Or maybe that's just my excuse of the day. Anyway, I bought this one recently and had to try it out as soon as possible. (Yes, I bought it; I am not the sort that companies randomly send lunch boxes to in the mail. But one can dream!) I know the title doesn't make a whole lot of sense without seeing the actual box, but the lid is covered with rabbits and temari (Japanese decorative balls).

Yellow tomatoes stuffed with turkey salad and nestled in with red grape tomatoes; brioche toast; baby carrots and half moons of Persian cucumber; garlic plantain chips; halves of red grapes (halved so they fit into the box better); a tiny cup of yogurt-ranch dressing, and dried mango-oat pieces.

This box fit the brioche toast perfectly, which was the main reason I chose it. But I also love all the little nooks and crannies you can make with the removable dividers!