Friday, April 29, 2016

Lunchopolis #18

Iceberg lettuce/tomato/red onion salad with avocado dressing, spinach and garlic potato thins, a cup of Bac'n Pieces, and applesauce with cranberry relish.

They said you could thin the avocado dressing out with water, but I didn't want to dilute the flavor too much, so this was thick, the consistency of slightly thin guacamole. But it mixed well with the lettuce salad and the Bac'n Pieces, and though it wasn't the prettiest thing once assembled, I really enjoyed it.

Vegan again, two days in a row. What is up with that, huh? Not gluten free today. I can't make everybody happy all the time. If you can have gluten though, these potato thins are really wonderful.

Mini hiatus coming up as I am off on vacation for a bit. Maybe more like a long weekend, really, but if you don't (as I don't) take trips much (anymore), it's kind of a thrill.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #36

Applesauce with cranberry relish (I've opened the jar; you're going to see applesauce for a while), some homemade vinaigrette, a little cup of Bac'n Pieces, carrot "noodles" in cashew butter dressing, and shredded iceberg lettuce topped with red onion.

Continuing in the trying-to-escape-a-rut theme, I bought iceberg lettuce. The irony of this is that iceberg lettuce was the rut growing up. Nearly every night my mother made a salad of big chunks of iceberg lettuce and tomato wedges that she served with our choice of bottled Italian or Thousand Island dressing, neither of which I liked. So I thought, well into my teens, that I just hated salad. And it is still something I haven't fully embraced, despite how much salad you've seen me eat lately.

Later, in graduate school pre-blog, while working on my very first graduate degree not at the school where I ultimately got my Ph.D., an easy, cheap dinner consisted of shredded iceberg lettuce and various toppings, usually including a hard boiled egg for protein, and bottled ranch dressing.

Iceberg lettuce has been absent from my fridge for years. But I'm de-rutting myself, and that doesn't need to mean expensive fare. So I had this old cookbook, Culinary Craft, that had a version of iceberg salad in it, and this is sort of like theirs, substituting the Bac'n Pieces for their almonds and the onion for shredded carrot (because that with this carrot and cashew butter would be redundant). The dressing was strictly according to their recipe. It was lovely. You're going to see more iceberg lettuce in my future, and not just because I still have most of of a head of it.

I bought a spiralizer a while ago and finally got around to spiralizing something. I think I would prefer shredded carrots. Though I followed a recipe here, this dressing was way too salty.

But anyway. Out of the rut. And also, as it happens, vegan--because Bac'n Pieces are, weirdly enough, vegan--and gluten free.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #71

Having concluded that I need to try to get myself out of a rut, I decided to make this very odd looking meal. I had bought some ground pork on sale for 99 cents per pound and needed to find a recipe for it; Going Solo in the Kitchen had this recipe for a Chinese-inspired pork meatballs-and-cabbage dish. They are more like patties than meatballs and this doesn't look like much, I'll grant you, but it was amazing. I had it with rice and a cup of applesauce with cranberry relish added for color.

Cooked cabbage isn't exactly pretty, but I love it in almost every iteration. For some reason, however, I rarely cook cabbage myself--maybe because, cheap though it may be, a whole head of cabbage is a bit much for one person.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Happy Jackson Snack Boxes #7

A bacon/avocado/spinach/cream cheese wrap, grapefruit topped with shredded coconut, and baby carrots. I had to stick the tomato pick in to hold one of the halves of the wrap together.

The grapefruit was a little too tart and even though the coconut was sweetened it didn't really help enough. You've been warned.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Lunchopolis #17

Cheese pizza, applesauce with cinnamon sugar, baby carrots, and celery sticks.

This is nothing exciting, but it did the job!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Temari Rabbit Bento Bowl #10

Leftover pasta turned into pasta salad and applesauce mixed with almond butter and topped with cinnamon sugar.

The pasta was linguine in an arugula-Parmesan cream sauce. To turn it into pasta salad, I mixed in some frozen corn and peas I gave a quick zap in the microwave and topped it off with some more Parmesan. It was one of my better experiments. To ensure I had enough protein, I put the almond butter in the applesauce--and because I happen to find almond butter mixed with applesauce magnificent.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

3-Tier Bottle Bento #26

Potato salad, a stuffed egg, and Amish-style coleslaw.

This potato salad was different than what I usually make--celery, dill pickles, and mayo as the dressing, and that was just about it. But it was real, full-fat mayo, which I almost never have, and somehow it was amazing, probably because real mayo is kind of amazing in and of itself.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #35

Tangerine slices, apple wedges, a cup of almond butter (for dipping), and another new salad from Going Solo in the Kitchen, a brown rice-carrot-zucchini salad.

I thought I needed to try to challenge myself to go with something vegan again because it has been a while. This was really delightful--absolutely no deprivation here! I've finally found a rice salad I really like. This one uses a tahini-based dressing that goes very well with the brown rice. It also features raw zucchini, and I had some baby zucchini I'd bought on clearance that was going south quickly, so the timing was good. I wouldn't hesitate to serve this to guests, vegan or not. It's unusual without being weird. As with other recipes in Going Solo in the Kitchen, I think it makes more than I'd eat in one sitting, but not more than two servings, which is nice. Unlike yesterday's salad, I would go out of my way to have this again. And on top of everything else, it's gluten free. It's a good ace in one's sleeve if one's social circle includes a lot of people with dietary concerns.

I added the almond butter just to be sure of having enough protein, but it's nice to dip apples in almond butter anyway. I don't think there was really much danger of not having enough protein between the tahini and the brown rice, but I'm not exactly all that experienced with vegan cooking.

Monday, April 18, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #34


Green bean-red pepper-potato salad, applesauce, stuffed eggs (with Parmesan cheese in the mix), and mini stroopwafels.

I tried a new recipe here, the green bean-red pepper-potato salad from Going Solo in the Kitchen. It makes a lot more than a single serving in my opinion, and I had more than twice as much as you see here, but that's fine because it keeps well in the fridge. It was fine; not something I'd go out of my way to have again but I would definitely make again if things lined up the way they did this time, which was that I had found the green beans, pepper, and red-skinned potatoes all on sale and bought them without a plan, then discovered the recipe that put them all together.

I added Parmesan to the egg because I thought maybe I should have a little more protein and my other meals have been light on dairy lately. But whatever reason, you should try this sometime--it was really quite nice. (Unsurprising, given the success of Caesar salad stuffed eggs.)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Pack-a-Snack #69

Stuffed egg (paprika mix) with chickpea crackers in my smallest Lunchopolis containers.

Friday, April 15, 2016

3-Tier Bottle Bento #25

Pinwheels made from tortillas, olive and red pepper cream cheese spread, and spinach; homemade Amish-style coleslaw, and all the ingredients for Strawberry Field Salad except the greens.

(You have to improvise sometimes.)

I don't know, in general, how I feel about coleslaw. I go back and forth about raw cabbage. This is a good compromise, because the cabbage is slightly cooked (just enough to wilt a bit). And hey, I didn't have to go to the store.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

KOSOX 2-Tier Sushi Box #9

Arugula with some Romano cheese and a cup of homemade lemony dressing and leftover linguine and meatballs.

No fruit today, except the lemon juice in the dressing. I guess that counts as a bit of vitamin C but maybe not much else. Oh, well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #33

More of the best salad I know (Strawberry Field Salad, sesame vinaigrette in the cup with a lid--see Monday's post for more information on that), potato crackers, and a stuffed egg.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ToGoWare 2-Tier Tiffin #5

Lemon vinaigrette (for the salad), squares of cheddar and swiss, garlic-herb potato crisps, and apple-kale salad.

Too much salad lately in general, and too much especially when it came to this kale salad. I could barely get it down, even though the idea seemed really nice. It just seemed really bitter.

The potato crisps, on the other hand, were a lovely change of pace.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Lunchopolis #16

Something called "Strawberry Field Salad" from the Dinner Doctor cookbook, dark chocolate, and pinwheels of olive-red pepper cream cheese spread/spinach/arugula/tortillas.

This salad is the best salad I know. I actually happened to find it online via Google Books, so here you go! I've often made it when I'm asked to bring something to a dinner party, and it's a huge hit. It's the main reason I keep pecans on hand. I'm not generally a salad person (though lately I seem to be turning into one, mysteriously), but even so I'd happily eat this salad as dinner with some crusty bread and some brie and nothing else. Plus, it's easy.

Friday, April 8, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #32

Arugula salad with lemon balsamic dressing (recipe here, although I used Meyer lemons and thus the zest was quite orange), mixed citrus fruit with shredded coconut, and vegetable fritatta squares.

This salad was fine; a little fussy, though, with the lemon zest. I'd just go with a bit of lemon juice in the dressing if I made it again.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Happy Jackson Snack Boxes #5

Strawberries macerated with sugar; a mixture of chocolate chips, orange-flavored white chocolate chips, and shredded coconut; a chocolate flavored granola bar; plain yogurt; and cucumber slices.

This particular yogurt was edging toward its toss-out date, so it was slightly too tart; otherwise the mission of flavoring my own yogurt worked pretty well. I dumped the strawberries and the coconut mixture into the yogurt and ate it with the granola bar dipped in. The cucumbers were just an appetizer.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

3-Tier Bottle Bento #24


Chickpea crackers, strawberries, and cottage cheese with slices of cherry tomato and Persian cucumber.

I made the mistake of buying large curd cottage cheese. It's just not the same (well...obviously, I guess) and it didn't go so well with this treatment as small curd. So live and learn.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Insulated Jar & Sides #8

Kiwi, improvisational cream of vegetable soup, and croutons (for the soup).

The soup was loosely based on potato soup but I had other stuff to throw in--mushrooms, broccoli, and cauliflower--which I added some scallion to as a garnish and for some more flavor sauteed with the mushrooms. I may be half-crazy to make soup in the morning but it's really not that big of a deal when most of the vegetables are cooked already and I'm just tossing stuff in a pot to simmer while I get ready. My only real mistake was trying to put cheese in the soup. (I did, but it kind of sank to the bottom and I couldn't get it to blend well with the cream).

I just wish this jar would keep my food a little warmer. It wasn't cold, and it wasn't lukewarm, but it wasn't really hot, either, even though I gave it the boiling water treatment in the morning. Oh, well. I still have plans to get a better insulated jar sometime, though.

Monday, April 4, 2016

3-Tier Bottle Bento #23

An apple halved to fit in the container, a stuffed egg on a bed of potato salad, and cucumber salad made with basil vinaigrette

Don't know why I keep doing so much gluten free, dairy free vegetarian lately. It's not fully intentional.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Pack-a-Snack #68

Chickpea crackers and homemade cheese spread in one of my Happy Jackson containers.

Friday, April 1, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #31

This is really a terrible photo (sorry), but: Avocado stuffed with cherry tomatoes, brioche toast, whipped orange yogurt topped with mini marshmallows, and mango sticks.

This was me in an extreme hurry; the lunch worked but I had some trouble getting the lids on because the tomatoes came up too high, so I ended up dumping them in another container.