Monday, January 25, 2010

Bento Meals: 1/25/10

Today was "The Biggest Loser Club's" third meeting (and my first attendance... I'm so bad). Since starting, I've lost 3 lbs without really trying. *insert evil laugh here*

Mainly, I've been writing down my meals daily on a private setting in my personal blog, eating at three to five meals a day (I tended to skip meals), not eating out, and cutting certain items out of my diet (sodas and such). Making my bento lunches have been helping me to at least eat my meals. A friend asked me why I joined the BLC given that I eat pretty darned healthy, and well... there's always room for improvement and I really did want to cut down on certain bad habits and strengthen some good ones too. Needless to say... after tracking my food, I do eat a well balanced diet! Much better than the girls who came to the meeting with just leafy salads and too much dressing... I kid you not... I couldn't believe some of the info and such that was being shared there and how none of it seemed helpful (been there, done that, got the postcards). Now on to the bentos...


1 cup unseasoned sticky rice
1/4 cup steamed carrot strands
4 stalks steamed aspargus, cut into pieces
1/4 cup tamago (sweet omlette)
1 tsp gochujan (korean red pepper paste)
sprinkling of nori pieces

Snack: (Which I didn't get around to eating... so maybe tomorrow)

3 Tbsps homemade hummus
2 celery stalks, cut into pieces
2 cheddar mini-quiche men

And as a treat...

The kimbap rolls we had for dinner last night. The leftover ingredients became my lunch for today. Yum!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ddukbokki (korean spicy rice cake stirfry)

This dish is incredibly easy, inexpensive, and delicious. It is a family favorite in my household and with the addition of extra veggies and the tofu, it becomes a healthy, complete meal on it's own! There's usually enough leftover a second set of meals (or our bento lunches!).
If you are new to this dish, be sure to taste your dish, with clean utensils, as you cook it so you can adjust the seasoning or cooking times, if necessary, and check the veggie consistencies.

Ddukbokki (korean spicy rice cake stirfry)
1 lb pkg of cylindrical rice cakes (dduk), thaw if frozen
Vegetables, cut to bite sized pieces (sliced or diced)*
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsps Korean red pepper paste
½ tsp Korean red chili pepper powder (optional)
2 Tbsps sugar
2 Tbsps sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
1 pkg extra firm tofu, drained, lightly pressed, and either cut into cubes or crumbled
Olive oil or vegetable oil

Cut the dduk (rice cakes into bite sized pieces), between 1 to 2 inches. Boil water in a medium sauce pot and cook until they are soft and chewy, about 5 minutes. Drain and rince in cold water. (If you forget to cut the rice cakes before boiling, don't worry. You can cut them after... which is something I end up doing more often than not.)

In a small to medium bowl, mix soy sauce, red pepper paste, red pepper powder (if using), sugar, sesame oil and garlic. This sauce will have the consisency of cocktail sauce. Depending on how much veggies you put in the dish, you may need to make a second batch.

Stir fry the vegetables in a large wok (or frying pan) with a small amount of the cooking oil until the veggies are a consistency you prefer. If using harder vegetables like carrots, you may want to start them first and then add the faster cooking vegetables as the harder ones soften.

Add the sauce, tofu, and the dduk to the vegetables and stirfry, coating and heating everything evenly. Transfer to a serving dish and top with toasted sesame seeds, if desired. Serve with rice.

*Veggies that I typically use are sliced carrots, onions, green onions, and rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. I plan to use spinach some time soon as well. :-)
**You may add a crushed beef bouillon cube to the sauce, if you want. This adds a deeper roundness, but is not necessary.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bento Meals: 1/20/10

My belly was *very* content today!

Breakfast Bento

Cheddar/Mozzarella mini quiche-men
Golubsky (russian stuffed cabbage leaves) topped with tomato sauce
Horseradish potato hash

Lunch Bento

Ddukbokki w/ crumbled tofu, flower shaped carrots, onions, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, and black sesame seeds
White rice with toasted sesame seeds

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I've Been Negligent!

I've been packing my lunches diligently, but haven't been taking photos as much as I could or should. What can I say? I have so many time constraints of late that unless the bento is especially pretty, I don't take the photos. I'm not talking about just charaben (or the cute bentos with characters, flowers, and animals), but just generally photo worthy bentos. I'm sure I have a few I took pictures of, and will have to post them soon. Normally, I just scoop a bunch of leftovers into my containers in the morning and run out the door, or I pack it the night before and toss it in the fridge. Ah, such is the life of a mommy, wife, and full time employee! No complaints here, since I am very satisfied with both. :-)

I have been looking at wonderful ideas for cute bentos and nummy recipes. I would claim that it's for my son, who does get an occasional one for his trips to Grammies and such, but it's also for me because attractive food just seems to taste better. At the very least, it makes a tiny piece of me smile.

So... some examples of cute foods from various websites, and at least one interesting blog entry regarding bentos.

From Just Bento

These are corn muffins with tiger faces. (entry here)
I can see it working with little quiches too!

"What is a bento anyway, redux: It's not just about cute charaben" from Just Bento . This blog entry gives an idea of the realities behind bentos in Japan, especially the charaben.

From Martha Stewart

Peppermint Meringues with Chocolate Filling (recipe here)

By jokergirl on the livejournal Bento Lunches community.