Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #53

Fruit salad in one of those Ziploc containers. (Yes, there has been a lot of fruit this week.)
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Skater Lunch Box #12

Mini 4-cheese pierogies, kielbasa sautéed with onions and peppers, a little cup of sour cream, and a cup of fruit salad.

This is a lot like Monday's lunch, only instead of some crazy Italian-American fusion, this is some crazy Polish-American fusion.

And it was delicious.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #50

Slices of homemade mini banana bread loaf (recipe below), a cup of Brummel & Brown, two mellowcreme pumpkins (Halloween is coming!), cucumber slices, snow peas, a cup of yogurt ranch, a berry cup, and a stuffed egg topped with paprika.

Someone who saw me eating this lunch said, "It's pretty, but it doesn't look like you eat enough vegetables." Sigh. I'm going to avoid the rant I initially wrote out and deleted, because you were reading along to find the recipe for banana bread. Let's get to it.

As a single person, I would never have enough extra overripe bananas hanging around for most banana bread recipes. So I have used America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2010 sometimes, because it at least only requires about 1 banana. But as much as I love America's Test Kitchen, sometimes they overthink it, and I just don't always have the energy to take all their steps and wash all their dishes. So this is my version of their scaled-down recipe. It makes 1 standard mini loaf, 12 mini muffins, or two of these mini-mini loaves (which are kind of like jumbo muffins).

Banana Bread
Serves about 2-4

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
About 1 small banana, mashed (I used 3/4 of a large banana; aim for about 1/4 cup of banana but don't stress if it's over or under a little)
1 egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (allow to cool a little so it doesn't scramble the egg)
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking pans with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Stir the wet ingredients together in another bowl until smooth. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. (Don't overmix. It'll be lumpy and you'll see a streak of flour or two.)

Divide the batter among your prepared baking pans/dishes. Tap on the counter to smooth the batter out a little.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes for mini loaves. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then flip out on a wire rack to finish cooling.

I'm not going to say you can't eat it now, because, well, look at it! But it'll slice a little easier if you let it cool all the way.

And with a little Brummel & Brown, with a glass of milk, this is the sort of thing I eat for breakfast, where nobody is around to judge me for the total lack of veggies in a single meal.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #49

Kiwi slices, blackberries, mango chunks, strawberry slices, Calrose rice topped with roasted seaweed, marinated tofu, and carrot-cucumber salad with sesame dressing.

The salad was a beautiful thing that once I tweak a little will be a perfect recipe to share with you. It's a take on Japanese seaweed salad inspired by a British cookbook I have--quite the fusion I have going here.

This lunch, meanwhile, turned out to be one of those accidentally gluten free, vegan meals that was thoroughly enjoyable and hit all the high points easily.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Skater Lunch Box #11

Pumpkin ravioli with my homemade maple cream sauce and a cup of fruit salad.

You know, this picture really does the maple cream sauce more justice than the original photos I took for the recipe entry. Plus, it goes beautifully with the pumpkin ravioli. It's great for pumpkin everything season.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #52

A mini croissant and a cup of marmalade in a small Rubbermaid container.

Have I mentioned how much I love croissants?

Friday, October 23, 2015

3-Tier Bottle Bento #12

Another pre-move lunch you've never seen: mixed red and golden cherries, cucumbers tossed with rice vinegar and sesame seeds, and leftover pasta-turned-peanut noodles.

Pretty good, although the macaroni is a weird choice for peanut noodles.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #48

This was a pre-move lunch I've never shared with you; I took a few days off this week and have some empty spots in the calendar to fill.

Leftover rice with veggies and sausage, cucumber, grape tomatoes, a cup of yogurt ranch, and multicolored grapes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #47

Orzo salad (with peppers, tomatoes, red onion, feta, and spinach), orange slices, and a stuffed egg on a bed of romaine.

When stuffing this egg, for some reason I didn't feel like doing anything fancy--salt, mayo, and a drop of Worcestershire was all I bothered to add. And yet it was lovely. A good lesson for us, perhaps.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lunchopolis #13

A sliced mini croissant, cornichons, green olives stuffed with jalapeno pepper, carrot sticks, Canadian bacon and cheddar on a bed of romaine, apple slices, and mellowcreme pumpkins.

One reason I don't pack sandwiches much, aside from them being passe for a lunch packing blog (and not packing sandwiches is my "thing" in what has become a kind of crowded blogging world) is that they don't taste so good unless you eat them right when they're made. So problem solved here: just bring the stuff and assemble the sandwich later.

This is remarkably similar to yesterday's lunch and yet not quite the same. You don't always have to reinvent the wheel for variety. But I do love that my Lunchopolis set is getting a workout again!

This post is shared on:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Monday, October 19, 2015

Lunchopolis #12

A mini croissant, a cup of lemon-grapefruit marmalade, a mini wheel of brie, a raid-the-fridge salad (romaine, cucumber, and two colors of bell pepper), a cup of yogurt ranch, apple slices, and mellowcreme pumpkins.

Trader Joe's sells this croissant dough. I think I over-proofed the mini croissants, because they seemed a bit large. I also accidentally proofed them all upside down. But forget all that--they were glorious, and I'll have another tomorrow in a different lunch combo.

I love mellowcreme pumpkins. These came from my local Amish market, which seems a bit weird. But I've learned not to question the Amish market too much. Halloween season sort of kicks off Pumpkin Everything season, which is kind of silly but also fun. However, I'm partial to the classics. As horrible as those little sugar bombs would be for you if you ate them all the time, there's something about October that demands mellowcreme pumpkins.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #51

Pita crackers, mini Triscuits, and hummus topped with pepperoni in a leftover pasta sauce container.

I thought I had more pita crackers when I started packing this, but it turns out I only had three, so I supplemented with mini Triscuits. Whatever works.

Friday, October 16, 2015

3-Tier Bottle Bento #11

Cucumber salad, baby carrots, a multigrain tortilla/peanut butter/apple wrap, and strawberry yogurt topped with mini chocolate chips and shredded coconut.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #40

Cucumber salad (from Fannie Farmer Cookbook), some chocolate candies (for color, mostly), mini Triscuits, a stuffed egg, a blueberry blintz, and sour cream.

We're deep into week two of not grocery shopping, so things are getting a tiny bit weird, but this was actually a pretty nice, balanced lunch of sorts.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #46

A cup of Brummel & Brown, halved red grapes, crunchy green beans, mango cubes, red bell pepper strips, sesame melba toast, and smoked trout.

I am using the brand name for Brummel & Brown not because anybody paid me, but because I love it so much. It's better than butter in my opinion. It's easier to spread and has a slight tang to it, and goes very well with smoked trout on some kind of toast. I just didn't have quite enough of it for this meal; my last slice of melba toast was dry.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sakua 3-Tier Bento #39

Halved black grapes, mango chunks, apple chunks, snow peas, hummus, baby carrots, and leftover pasta...stuff.

The pasta consisted of a bunch of stuff in my fridge tossed together. It turned out to be a very mediocre hot dish, but as a cold pasta salad it was pretty great. Does this ever happen to you?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #38

Mango sticks, blackberries, sautéed mushrooms, roasted grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, sesame melba toast, and herbed brie spread.

This was one of my most delightful lunches in a long time--the toppings all went perfectly with the melba toast and brie. It was like the most sophisticated Lunchables ever.

This post is shared on:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #50

Mini Triscuits and herbed brie spread in my smallest Lunchopolis container.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Recipe: Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Because I had the day off, I have no packed lunch to show you. Instead, I have a simple recipe that will prevent you from having to throw away your wrinkly grape tomatoes. (Wrinkly grape tomatoes are a serious problem around here.) Wrinkly tomatoes are no fun to eat raw, but roasted is another story. (You could also do this with cherry tomatoes, and I did--I had a few wrinkling up next to my grape tomatoes.)

Start by halving your grape tomatoes and putting them onto a shallow pan lined with aluminum foil. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top, then sprinkle with kosher salt.

Roast in your toaster oven for about half an hour, or until they look slightly charred. (We're going slight here, not blackened.)

They have an unfortunate way of steaming up my camera lens, but you get the idea.

They are now ready to serve, or you can store them in the fridge or freezer for later applications. It's a very intense tomato flavor, which would be good with pasta or rice, or, as I did for my evening snack, like this:

Warm, on Melba toast with a soft cheese spread.

You'll probably be seeing these roasted tomatoes in some of my lunches soon. This time I had enough wrinkly tomatoes that I didn't just eat them all right after I roasted them.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #20

A striped salad (romaine topped with red bell pepper, hard boiled egg, carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, and (believe it or not!) Canadian bacon), mango sticks, blackberries, and yogurt ranch and croutons for the salad.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #37

Baby carrots, grape tomatoes, hummus, yellow bell pepper strips, cucumbers, a hard boiled egg, blackberries, pita crackers, and herbed brie spread.

This post is shared on:

Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #36

Fruit salad (blackberries, strawberries, apples, grapes), snow peas, grape tomatoes, carrot hummus, cornichons wrapped in ham, and pasta salad.

The pasta salad is from the deli across the street from my new apartment. I love that place, though it is rather pricey. Nearly everything they make is really exceptional. I won't even try to figure out what's in the pasta salad. It seems to have carrots and olives and some sort of mayo-based dressing, but beyond that--and there definitely is a beyond that--I couldn't possibly say. It is probably not worth what I paid for it, ingredient-wise, but I enjoyed it, and maybe that's what matters.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #45

This is a story of two meals. Dinner:

Polenta topped with sautéed spinach and mushrooms and blackened catfish filet.

Here is the thing about polenta. It is cheap, and requires few skills. I mean, cheap. You could make polenta for literal pennies per serving. And it's really yummy. A nice comfort food.

But if you make your own polenta (which, I do, generally, because how could I justify the markup!?), it is also really boring. One must stand at a stove stirring the cornmeal mush for half an hour. So you have to have a really, really good radio show going. Or make it with a friend. (It's probably better with a friend, but I had the radio.) So. Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me it is.

If you make your own polenta--if you've gone to all the trouble--you should at least have the decency to put the leftovers spread relatively thinly in a shallow dish to cool, so you can have polenta squares the next day. Which I did. And that almost made up for that half hour of stirring.

This brings us to lunch: Some pumpkin tea cookies, strawberries, quartered grapes, orange chunks, blackberries, leftover polenta squares, leftover sautéed spinach and mushrooms, and leftover blackened catfish filet.

It's a nice change of pace from other grains one might eat. But be prepared: A half hour of stirring is longer than it seems it will be when you read the recipe!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Pack-a-Snack #49

A bag of decaf Lady Grey tea (underneath so you don't really see it), white and dark chocolate-covered toffee pieces, and a little cup of milk mixed with maple sugar (for the tea), all in one of the small containers in my Lunchopolis set.

For some reason offices that provide tea rarely provide decaf tea other than herbal (and they tend toward the kind of herbal tea that makes a person want to sleep) and almost never have any sort of creamer, so sometimes I have to take matters into my own hands. I also figured if I was going to bring the milk I might as well bring my sweetener of choice, which lately is maple sugar. (Also from April's trip to Vermont--I apparently take forever to get through sweet stuff.) It worked out pretty well.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sakura 3-Tier Bento #35

Cucumber slices, grape tomatoes, carrot hummus, a mini fruit salad (oranges, kiwi, apples), a hard boiled egg (halved), a cheese blintz, and homemade raspberry sauce.

The raspberry sauce was because the remainder of my raspberries were going mushy, and needed cooking up. It turned out very well! It complimented the cheese blintz wonderfully. This recipe is a little tart, so feel free to add more sugar if you want a really sweet sauce.

Raspberry Sauce for One
Serves: 1

Roughly 1/4 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon sugar
Dash lemon juice
Pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring, until raspberries break down. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing down on the pulp to release the liquid. Stir in cornstarch. Return to saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. The sauce should thicken nicely; if not, cook, stirring, until desired thickness.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #44

Kiwi slices, baby carrots, raspberries stuffed with white chocolate, cornichons wrapped in ham, brioche toast, pumpkin butter mixed with mascarpone cheese, and Honeycrisp apple slices.

There was something very soothing about opening this lunch box to see all the pretty colors and everything so neatly packed. People ask why I bother and I think that's probably why. It's part of taking care of me--a reminder from the morning that someone values me (me!) even on days things don't go according to plan.