Friday, September 30, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #47

Scallion pancake and ham wrap (held in place with little veggie picks), blood orange slices, chocolate covered blueberries, and a thrown together salad of arugula, tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion with a homemade vinaigrette.

This represents one of those Friday mornings when I was really too tired to think, and if I didn't have a stocked fridge and lots of experience packing lunch, there is no way I could have done this. Habits can be practiced on autopilot, though. So if you're aiming to pack your lunch every day but think you couldn't, take courage. It gets easier. This is actually, now that I am blogging it, something I see as pretty good in spite of it all. It hits nutritional high points, has good colors, etc. We do what we can and it sometimes even works.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

KOSOX 2-Tier Sushi Box #15

Silver dollar pancakes, maple syrup, a few chunks of blood orange, and a scramble of eggs, tomato, spinach, and mushrooms.

These mushrooms were very brown and made my eggs dingy, but I otherwise had no complaints here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Happy Jackson Snack Boxes #19

Double-fruit glazed tofu (recipe below--you have to try this), tomato-baby corn salad (recipe coming soon, because it appears to have disappeared from the internet), a Korean vegetable bun with some soy sauce and rice vinegar in little bottles, and peach chunks.

This isn't the best I've ever done at presentation, but it was an excellent meal (and also vegan). The tofu recipe was a revelation--so pretty, and so great! I adapted the recipe from Plant Power by Nava Atlas.

Double Fruit-Glazed Tofu
Serves: 3-4

1 tub extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup gingered marmalade (I used a mixed-fruit and ginger marmalade--note you can also use 1/4 cup of regular marmalade or apricot or peach preserves, as Plant Power suggests, plus add 2 teaspoons of fresh, frozen, or jarred ginger)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce, tamari, or hoisin sauce

For toppings:
Thinly sliced scallions
Black sesame seeds (you could use white, but it's not so pretty and doesn't have as much iron)

1. Drain the tofu and blot well with paper towels or a clean dish towel. Cut as you would like; either cut it into 12 squares, or, as I did, into 1-inch cubes.

2. Whisk marmalade, juice, and soy sauce, as well as ginger if you're using it, in a small bowl.

3. Heat a medium skillet and add sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, then arrange tofu in the pan in a single layer. Turn the heat up to medium high. Cook 5 minutes, then flip the tofu. Cook another 5 minutes or until the tofu is well glazed and much of the liquid has been absorbed.

4. When serving or packing, sprinkle the tofu with scallions and black sesame seeds.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lunchopolis #28

A cranberry-almond-spinach salad I found online with my homemade banana bread and Brummel & Brown spread.

This is the salad, which actually looks a lot more appetizing when dressed. And I probably should have made it bigger, but the banana bread is filling enough for that not to be tragic or anything.

It was an interesting combination of protein sources in this lunch: almonds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, walnuts (in the bread), and yogurt (in the spread). Poppy seeds are pretty good for you, but I hardly ever use them. That needs to change! I love them, I just forget they exist.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Lunchopolis #27

There are some new things here! Plus a recipe! But more on that below. So: Multigrain chips, avocado salsa (recipe below), and rancheros-style refried pinto beans. Believe it or not, this hits all the high points nutritionally I usually go for: grains, vegetables, fruit (avocado counts), and protein. (Nobody has paid me for the effusiveness I display below.)

These chips are Utz brand, and I've never tried them before, but they taste really good! They're scoop-style, so they hold a lot of beans and salsa. They also have a bunch of different stuff in them, including the obvious (corn) and not so obvious (flax seeds).

The beans are Goya, and they were amazing. Canned refried beans usually aren't up to muster for me without some serious doctoring, but these are already doctored, I guess, with tomatoes and spices, plus they're vegan. This also makes an amazing bean burrito!

The salsa is homemade, and that's the recipe I'm going to give you. This is adapted from Dip It! by Rick Rodgers. If you're still swimming in CSA tomatoes like me, here's one option for getting through them.

Avocado-Tomato Salsa
Serves: About 2

1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (I used frozen cubes)
1/2 avocado, finely diced

1. Toss the tomato quarters with a bit of salt in a colander. Let drain for the amount of time it takes you to prep all the rest of the ingredients (save the avocado for later, though), about 20 minutes if you're like me and a very meticulous chopper.
2. Finely chop the garlic, then sprinkle with salt and continue to chop and smear the garlic on your cutting board until it forms a paste.
3. Mix all ingredients other than the avocado in a bowl and allow to stand at room temperature for a bit if you're going to serve it right away (maybe 20 minutes). If not, just pop in the fridge until you're ready to add the avocado.
4. Just before serving or packing, stir the avocado into the salsa.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pack-a-Snack #75

Hard boiled egg, scallion pancakes, and a little cup of soy sauce in one of my Happy Jackson snack boxes.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Happy Jackson Snack Boxes #18

Scallion pancakes, three little bottles of soy sauce mixed with rice vinegar, sliced pork loin, cucumber slices, sweet pepper stir fried with ketchup glaze, pineapple chunks, and chocolate covered blueberries.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #86

Baby carrots, avocado hummus with a roasted red pepper garnish, yellow bell pepper strips, cucumber spears, brioche toast, and mashed banana mixed with peanut butter (to spread on the toast).

Brioche is not vegan, but you could easily do this with Melba toast, which is, so I've tagged this vegan. The banana spread works really well, by the way.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #46

Pinwheels of tortilla, hummus, and veggies; pineapple; and arugula salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion and a side of an improvisational homemade lemony dressing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Laptop Lunches #270

Pineapple slices, baby carrots, and my "Starving Student Cuban Black Beans & Rice."

This time, I forgot that I usually dump the beans out and swish the water around in the can to get all the bean juice out. And I think it might have worked out better this way!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #85

The interminable roasted veggie/eggplant spread, kiwi, blueberries, brioche toast, smoked trout, and some cream cheese mixed with red onion and chives.

The chives in my window are sickly, somehow. A lot of the leaves turn yellow or brown and shrivel up, but they don't seem to need water. They also seem to be able to continue to live and produce new leaves, so I won't worry. And I'll put them in my cream cheese.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pack-a-Snack #74

Potato salad in my little fish cup. This is the same potato salad you saw a few days ago, but you can get a better view of the different colors of potato here.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Lunchopolis #26

Fruit salad made from bananas, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries,and oranges; crackers; an improvisational tomato salad; cheddar-jalapeno peanuts; and caramel-coconut macaroons.

This was, of course, more CSA tomato.

I knew this was a lower calorie lunch than usual, so the fruit salad was pretty big. I had a hard time actually eating all this, but I wasn't overly full afterward.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Happy Jackson Snack Boxes #17

Some crackers called "Sunflower crackers" that have nothing to do with sunflowers at all (no seeds, no oil) that I picked up at the Korean market, more of the roasted vegetable spread (mostly eggplant) from the CSA share, avocado with CSA tomatoes, blueberries with chunks of peaches, and (for protein) caramel-coconut macaroons and chocolate covered almonds.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Insulated Jar & Sides #18

Avocado and (CSA) tomatoes, vegan baked beans, and potato salad made from (CSA) white and red potatoes, (kitchen window) chives, hard boiled eggs, and mayo seasoned with salt and pepper.

The red potatoes from the CSA were oddly pink inside. You can't see it much from this photo, but it was a little weird!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Temari Rabbit 2-Tier Bento #84

Blueberries, roasted vegetable spread, sesame Melba toast, and stuffed eggs.

The CSA share was heavy on eggplant this time (which is my last time to pick up for this year, and frankly, I'm relieved!), so I went digging around and found this recipe in Healthy Cooking for Two or Just You. It's really very good! You just have to eat a lot of it for it to be remotely filling.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Insulated Jar & Sides #17

Croutons, homemade cream of tomato soup (recipe below), cucumber slices, and ranch for dipping (in the chick).

Tired of tomatoes in raw form, I decided to make soup. I didn't have enough other stuff to make more than two servings, which I had for dinner last night and then today for lunch. The recipe is adapted from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It looks a little weird, but it was really very nice, especially with the croutons.

Cream of Tomato Soup
Serves: 2

1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
A 1-inch thick slice of onion, rubbed with ground cloves (trust me on this)
1 sprig of parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
A pinch of baking soda (again, trust me on this)
1 tablespoon butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Pour the milk into a pot. Stir in bread crumbs. Add onion rubbed with cloves, parsley, bay leaf, and sugar. Simmer gently over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and take out and discard the onion and the bay leaf. Add tomatoes and baking soda. Simmer gently over medium heat for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Return to heat and add butter and salt and pepper to taste. Heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the soup is hot.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Temari Rabbit Bento Bowl #15

Corn and tomato salad, orange slices, and chocolate covered almonds (primarily for protein). This could easily be vegan, though I don't know if my particular chocolate covered almonds were, so it is tagged vegan.

Still not up to 100% and still facing an overwhelming number of tomatoes from my co-worker's CSA share she gave me again while she was on vacation, I made this simple salad after reading a bunch of recipes online that all called for fresh corn, which I did not have. So here we are. It most resembles this recipe. It was easy to put together with what I had on hand, and not too overwhelming.

Corn and Tomato Salad
Serves 1

3/4 cup frozen corn
1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced roma tomatoes (or use grape or cherry tomatoes)
1 scallion, sliced thin
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
5-7 basil leaves, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
A splash of white wine vinegar
A drizzle of olive oil

Defrost the corn in the microwave. This will take roughly a minute, but you'll want to stir it a few times during cooking to avoid getting the corn too hot in one place.

Mix vegetables and basil with salt and pepper. Add a splash of white wine vinegar and drizzle some olive oil over it.

That's it. If you only have one kind of onion, that's fine, too; I did what I could with what I had on hand.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Insulated Jar & Sides #16

Caramel coconut macaroons, a cherry smoothie, and mixed green and red tomatoes (again, just a green variety of tomato, not underripe tomatoes).

I woke up this morning not sure if I was able to eat anything without throwing up, and thus the liquid lunch with optimistic sides. I ended up eating the whole thing, if not enjoying it much. (And yes, tomatoes on an uneasy stomach is not a logical choice.)

I chose to go to work anyway because I was interviewing someone for a job, but otherwise, I think I would have stayed home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lunchopolis #25

Orange slices, mixed tomatoes, cucumber slices, a toasted whole grain bagel, and the last of some pumpkin butter I found hiding in the fridge mixed with cream cheese for spreading.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lunchbots Quad #3

Photography wasn't going my way this morning.

Mango chunks, strips of red and green tomato (it's a variety of tomato that ripens green, not underripe tomatoes), herb and garlic water crackers, and smoked salmon pinwheels (see my previous post for the recipe).

Friday, September 2, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

ECO Lunchbox Three-in-One #45

Spinach/strawberry/almond salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette (would have been better with blue cheese or feta or something but I didn't have that), cream cheese topped with capers and red onion, smoked salmon, and a mini toasted bagel.

I was recently diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency. Rephrase that: a severe Vitamin D deficiency. This is is what comes of northern living, I suppose. I have been reading about dietary sources of Vitamin D lately. A weekly serving of oily fish (like salmon or tuna) is recommended. (Don't worry; I'm also taking supplements and trying to get more sun.) So I bought the smoked salmon, even though it is pricey. I sort of love the stuff, and I don't want soft bones.