Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bento (59) - Peek-A-Boo Chickies

I am still terrible at making riceballs. Getting the size right is a little tricky - and these actually looked much better at lunch - after they had been "squished" into the proper size/shape by my bento box. LOL! I dyed the rice yellow with food coloring and used carrot for the beaks and nori punch-outs for the eyes. The chickies are sitting on evil potatos (hashbrowns, sour cream, cheese, and butter, topped with crumbled cereal flakes) with a cheese star hiding the place where chickie, potato, and kale meet. The bottom level is imitation crab/avacado salad and strawberries.

And T.'s bento . . . almost identical . . . and sadly - left on the entertainment center to be discovered when I came home . . . uneatean and *sob* spoiled. (WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE BOYS?! NO BENTO FOR THEM!!)

And last (but not least!) Goose's bento! I didn't have time to stick veggies around the chickies, so I fell like his is a little "unfinished" - but at least a large portion of it was eaten!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bento (58) - The Non-Bento

This is what happens when I don't bento, and the bento-guilt attacks me right before lunch.

The best part is trying to explain to co-workers why I haven't lost my mind. The cute little PB&J sandwich is one of the Jams sandwiches I bought at Sams. I was running late for work and decided maybe I should taste test the sandwich have been inflicting on Goose (especially since he complains they are terrible). Verdict - sort of squishy due to too much jelly, but the bread was NOT soggy - and it was pretty darn tasty! The green half-circles are kiwi, the red are strawberry, and the green triangles in the strawberry ring are avacado. The red liquid is red wine vinegar with a healthy dose of salt. Stir together until salt melts and dip avacado. MMMMmmmmmMMMMM.

As a follow up to my prior post - my little black fuzzy did not take to treatment and had to be put down. The hard part of being a pet owner is realizing when you have to let go ::sniffle::. Things will be back to normal (or what passes for normal at my house) shortly - but we will miss you Little Owl. I'm taking the pre-emptive route and telling folks up front so they don't inquire how treatment is going. Thank you to all who have been so supportive!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bento (57) - Notes on Gnocchi

I had never made gnocchi before. Quite yummy really. (For those who don't know, gnocchi is sort of like pasta - only made out of potatoes - and it looks like giant albino rolly-poly/potato/pill bugs). I must admit it was better warm - it turned a little chewy in the bentos - but still made for an excellent lunch!

The red stuff is store bought marinara sauce, the green is peas, and the white rolly-poly's are the gnocchi. To the right, I have imitation crabmeat/pepperjack cheese salad, strawberries, and kiwi. YUM!

Goose was thrilled with the green giraffe food pick (and it was long enough he could use it as a fork and I don't have to worry about him choking on it). Of course, he forgot about his bento and had a school lunch ::sniffle sniffle:: - so this beautiful bento had to be thrown away . . . uneaten ::SOB::. (Don't worry, I rescued the giraffe.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bento (56) - My Excuse for Not Bentoing

Sorry for the decrease in bento posts - just when I thought I had everything under control and was ready to get back on my 3 times a week (or more!) bento kick - my neko-chan (cat) turned up very ill. It's a repeat of some mysterious illness she had last year around the same time - and the treatment involves stuffing pills down her twice a day and catching her THREE TIMES A DAY to give her 1 and 1/2 eyedroppers full of antibiotics (yes - this means you must catch kitty (who is already pissed about the pill), squirt antibiotics in her mouth, let her go for a refill, and then try to re-catch a kitty who is totally pissed that you just stuffed an eyedropper down her mouth). The antibiotics have to be given every eight hours . . . which means there is a 1:00 a.m. dose. YAWN! (::rocking:: Only nine more days. Only nine more days.)

And yes, the vet has officially confirmed my kitty has marshmallows for brains. I think the technical term was "slightly neurological" - but they mean the same thing.

Drama aside - I attempted a few new recipes out of my Asian cookbook - including a bean sprout salad. I dutifully bought my 4 cups of bean sprouts, I put them in my collander and rinsed them with cold water, and then I read the recipe. Step 1 - remove heads and tails. SAY WHAT?! There's 2,000 friggin' bean sprouts in there!!! (Have I mentioned I'm stubborn? Occasionally I get a wild hare to do the recipe exactly as they say - so I can tell the difference if I change things later.) Prep time 10 minutes my butt. An hour later, I finished deheading and detailing my sprouts. But look at my salad! Look at it! BEAUTIFUL.

I then paired it with the tofu chowder I made the night before (yes - the one that chased me out of the kitchen with oil/rice wine fireworks) and cooked some of my premium rice (thank you Bob!) and topped it with beef in sweet soy broth. Not the best presentation ever . . . but I'm not arguing with the flavor!

All right - onwards to the bentos. Sometime this week - before the blurry 1 a.m. kitty dosing began . . . I created the following bentos out of the leftovers from my nummy asian dinner.

T.'s bento is fairly-self evident (green and yellow are peas and corn). Mine had a soy bunny sitting on edamame . . . a very pissed off soy bunny . . . . I think it's channeling my cat. The pink heart is a commercial jelly.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bento (55) - Gyoza Bunny!

After a week of vacation and another week of rather intimidating weather (a high of 7!?) I was finally able to make it to Pacific Mercantile and restock my quail egg supply. Hooray for soy bunnies! One mouthful of nommy goodness reminded me why these are my favorite bento treat! As usual, T.'s bento was made post haste - so no soy bunny for him! Instead, we have a bed of edamame, mandarin/blueberry salad (the age of the blueberries was questionable - and then I decided not to question it as long as no one was white and fuzzy). In the bottom layer is rice, gyoza, and a container with dumpling sauce.

And in the new orange bunny box *cough cough* yes - I said NEW (it was the last litte bunny box there on the shelf . . . no one else was buying it - so I had too! HAD TOO!) my bento - complete with soy bunny, cherry tomato, and kale accents. It just goes to show how much of a difference an extra few minutes spent playing with accents can make!

Goose had a chicken nugget bento instead of gyoza. He likes gyoza - but I wasn't sure how he felt about cold gyoza. He did do a happy dance at the return of the soy bunny (that's my boy!) - proving that we are, in fact, related.

I was also adventurous at dinner and made my first ever batch of tofu chowder. It turned out surprisingly well - and Goose ate a good portion of it - tofu and all!! I did have to temporarily retreat when I overheated the oil and added a tablespoon of rice wine - and the "sizzle" was more aptly described as firework explosios of hot oil and rice wine! HAH! Luckily I had already prepared the next step (4 cups of chicken broth), and was able to make a duck and run pour into the stockpot withou suffering any undue scarring.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bento (54) - BBQ Chicken Pockets

Today's bentos were supposed to be pocket sandwiches - but due to a shortage of usable french bread (isn't it amazing how fast bread matures into crouton-material?) - T. got pocket sandwiches, Goose got open-face sandwiches, and I got the "naked" version! LOL!

Top tray is avacado coated in lemon juice and topped with cheddar jack stars, a commercial jelly, and blueberry/mandarin oranges salad. Bottom level was BBQ potato chips and the sandwich. Fluffy green is kale. Lighter green is butter lettuce.

And the bread gets smaller:

And disappears! LOL!

A frantic search of the fridge revealed kiwis (I had kiwis? When in the heck did I buy those?!) . . . and . . . of course . . . the dreaded pint of cottage cheese, which I made more appetizing by sticking a cheddar jack star on top. All in all . . . this bento actually ended up being VERY tasty.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bento (53) - Fun with Tupperware

More proof that you don't need a bento box to make a cute bento.

The white stuff is cottage cheese topped with blueberries . . . I misread a recipe that called for CREAM cheese - and now I have a whole pint of cottage cheese to dispose of. Hopefully Goose will like it so I don't have to consume the whole thing myself. Or maybe I should make lasagna . . . hmmmmmmm. At any rate - to the right is crock-pot BBQ chicken (place chicken breasts in crockpot - pour BBQ sauce and a cup or two of water in - cook for 8-12 hours) - YUMMY! I put fresh BBQ in the kiwi holder for dipping purposes. The left is avacado topped with the rest of the Korean BBQ roll steak, and the middle was filled with peas and corn for my veggie quota. I took this picture right before I ate it at work - and the veggies had time to defrost >.< I know my veggies usually look a little less than vibrant since they're still frozen solid when I take my pictures in the morning! Front is wild rice (NOT BURNED - I swear!)

T. had a very similar bento, thrown together much more hastily.

I topped his BBQ chicken with some fresh BBQ sauce instead of putting it in the container and gave him the rest of the pineapple/apple salad (versus the cottage cheese in mine). His orange puppy food picks didn't contrast as sharply as I wanted - but the green giraffes were a bit too awkward! Note the frozen veggies, still nested in their ice crystals :P With a little more time, I think I would have taken out one of the puppies and stuck a pink bear pick in his pineapple salad - and then made a pea/corn flower on top of the BBQ blob. But since I didn't have time - I'll just have to imagine it that way . . . or learn to use Photoshop :P :P :P

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bento (52) - A Little Bit of Everything in the Fridge

So Monday's bento was a bunch of leftovers from the weekend and my vacation week. Goose got pasta (three cheese toretllini) with spaghetti sauce and cheddar jack star, PB&J rolls with sugar snap peas, and pineapple/apple salad with cheddar jack star (I have to make it back to Pacific mercantile to restock on quail eggs for my usual cute accents! I'm going through quail egg withdrawal!).

My bento was essentially the same, but I added steak (leftover from the Korean lettuce rolls) and avacado to mine. Mmmmmmm. And running the steak under water washed off most of the charcoal flavor. YAY! The red are cherry tomatoes - not quail eggs :) :) :) - for once.

And in other important news . . . my new dayplanner came in from J-List. It was just so cute, I had to share! KAWAII >.< It's absolutely perfect for what I was looking for. I tore open the package and danced around the livingroom for a while before I ran for the camera. Wheee!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bento (51) - Weekend PB&J

A rare weekend bento has been sighted! I had the bento urge on Saturday and created the following lunch for my child . . . it is PB&J rolled sandwiches, cottage cheese topped with blueberries, and half a boiled egg with sugar snap pea dividers, blueberries, and a slice of apple for a little red color. The sandwiches are separated by sugar snap peas and corn - which works because the sandwiches are wrapped in a thin layer of saran wrap, which keeps the frozen corn from making the sandwiches soggy and generally unappetizing. YUM!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Bento (50) - Korean BBQ Lettuce Wraps

The Korean BBQ lettuce wraps were met with mixed results. The first batch for T.'s lunch went well, but when I tried to make the second batch, the juices from the first had scorched into a thin coating of charcoal on the pan. Being in a hurry (I know - I know - my bento-conscience should have been saying ::warning - warning - a bento violation is imminent. Possible destruction of nommy goodness is approaching::). Despite it all - I put the second batch of steak in the same pan -and the juices immediately liquified the charcoal layer - so mybatch was coated in sludge and had a distinct charcoal-grilled flavor (some people LOVE this flavor - I despise it).

However, the butter lettuce/meat combo was delicious - and I will definitely try this recipe again! The rice was leftover Uncle Ben's wild rice (no, I didn't burn the rice too :P :P :P) and the dish to the lower right was filled with pineapple/apple salad mixed with yogurt and cream cheese. Upper right is an egg fishie swimming through a field of green-beans . . . the angled beans almost give it motion, don't they? I may have to play with that down the road!