Friday, July 8, 2011

Bento Catch Up

Pancake Face for Pancake Sunday

Time has been short of late.  My husband and I are trying out some changes to our family's life.  One change is that our weekly menus are following a theme per day:  Pancake Sunday, Meatless Monday, Yummy Tummy Tuesday, Wokking Wednesday, Tex-Mex Thursday, Pizza Friday, and Grammie's Saturday.  Pizza Friday is actually going to become something else though.

We've also been buying produce, meat, eggs, and some dairy at local farms and local farmers markets.  We buy certain essentials at the grocery store, but our trips there are far fewer and much more controlled.  We are also eating healthier and adding more beans to our diets to compensate for the proteins we used to get from meat.  (We've reduced our meat consumption by well over 50%, and we weren't even eating much meat before!)  Last week, we only bought a small pack of ground beef from the local dairy farm and 2 chicken leg quarters from a poultry farmer at the farmers market and that did us well in the way of animal protein for our week's menu!

Another change is that my mother and I have started a Health and Fitness blog together in an attempt to live healthier lives.  This has benefited us in many ways and is actually part of what finally got me to stop thinking about buying local food, and actually start doing it!  My mother has had amazing results with her own endeavors and I'm excessively proud of her!
So here's a post to "Catch Up" on the bentos I've made and ate (that I actually took pictures of).

Peanut noodles w/ peas and sesame seeds
Sweet-n-spicy cabbage w/ cherry tomatoes
Mango pieces w/ blueberries
String cheese

Peanut noodles w/ peas and sesame seeds
Sweet-n-spicy cabbage
Hard boiled egg w/ salt and pepper
Mango slices

Lentils and rice (w/ veggies) topped with
corn-black bean salsa and chipotle sourcream
An orange
Sour lime pickles, celery and radish slices
White rice w/ garlic scapes, Furikake on the side
"Cherry" made of pickled beets and celery
Pickled beets (snack) and peach

Close up of the pickled "Cherry" bento.

Dill pickle, pickled kielbasa sausages, cherry tomatoes
Stir fried veggie rice w/ seasoned spinach
Four pickled beets

1 stuffed tomato (cut in half, filled w/ GF bread bits,
shredded sharp cheddar, 1 diced smoked lit'l sausage)

2 smoked lit'l sausages, cut into hearts
Carrot sticks w/ bacon-ranch dressing
2 aburaage (fried tofu skins) filled w/ leftover veggie
stir fried rice (carrots, celery, onion, fresh garlic
from the farmers market, seasoned spinach)
1 sour garlic pickle
Kale chips

2 small baked potatoes w/ butter, salt, pepper
Leftover spaghetti
Zucchini sticks
Baechu Kimchi

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bento Lunch: 6/16/11

Yesterday's bento was very tasty.  I didn't eat the fruit for my snack, but did eat the yogurt.  I loved how the salad stuffed raw peppers turned out and will be doing that again.  I was able to eat them with my hands with no mess, which is always an added bonus on busy days.  Even the smoked sausage filled mushrooms were good too, but really, the peppers were fantastic.

Lunch Bento:
4 mushroom caps w/ 1 Hillshire Farms Lit'l Smokies beef sausage (cut into 4 pieces, inserted into mushroom caps)
3 Hillshire Farms Lit'l Smokies beef sausages (uncut)
1 salad stuffed green pepper (cut in half and stuffed with leftover salad mixed with grated sharp cheddar and bacon-ranch dressing)
3/4 tomato cut into wedges

Packed Snacks:
Cantaloupe pieces w/ blueberries
Greek Yogurt - Mango or Cherry

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bento Meals: 5/6/11

As my previous post mentioned, I am trying to rekindle my interest in eating by cooking foods I tended to enjoy making (and consuming) at my previous apartment.  So... without further ado...

Dinner:  Bibimbap
Poached egg
Seasoned gochujang
Aehobak Namul (recipe: Click Here)
Seasoned ground beef (leftover bland burrito meat w/ bulgogi flavoring added... turned out very well)
Seasoned and sauted veggies (separately: carrots, onions, cucumbers)
White rice 

Bento:  Bibimbap Lunch
Leftover seasoned beef
Leftover Aehobak Namul
Leftover seasoned gochujang
Shredded cabbage and carrots
White rice

Bento:  Cucumber NaengGuk Breakfast
For base cucumber naengguk recipe:  Click Here

Bento Meals: 5/5/11

It's been a while, yet again, since I've posted my bento meals here.  Many apologies.  We moved in March, so a lot was and still is packed in boxes.  We had to find our cameras and are still missing the wires for one of them (our better one, at the time).  I did take a few pictures of meals over the past month or two, both bento meals and cute foods.  I hope to share them soon.

However, I finally broke down and bought a nice DSL camera.  I'm totally and completely in love with it!  Finally, I can start getting the types of photos I want!  I tend to have a strong love for macro images, so it's nice hanging a camera that can really handle them to the level I desire.

Anyways, here are the first bento images I took with this camera.  It was a rush job, just before work, taking just enough time to wipe down the counter.  :-p

Banana LaYogurt
2 gluten free burrito halves (my son's leftovers)
Layered - refried beans, burrito meat, raw onion bits, mexican cheese blend, sour cream, and "sweet & hot" peppers

Hummus (Tribe 40 Spice)
Celery sticks
"Baby" carrots

I'm really trying to get back into bentoing, if for no other reason than to make sure I eat enough at work.  Since my move, I would grab a cup of coffee and maybe a string cheese.  I may or may not take a lunch, and if I took one, I may not eat one.  I did grab some hummus and a bag of 'baby' carrots to be my lunch for a week, but that didn't settle well for every day as it hurt my stomach.  I also had packets of oatmeal that I also picked up.  Some days, I would just have tiny pickles with GF crackers and peanut butter.  These aren't the worst things to eat, but definitely not the best especially when it was all I'd have for a full day at the office.  Combine that with several cups of coffee... just not good.  Usually, I'd end up noshing on anything I could the moment I'd get home, my husband making me a pre-dinner omlette a number of times because he's sweet and loving.

Today's full meal plans (yes, I'm counting the yogurt as a full breakfast!) was one of the few I've had at the office for about 2 months!  And it's actually pretty nice.  Granted, there's an awful lot of protein, but that's fine.

I do want to lose weight, but not by starving my body.  Nutrition is very important right now because I'm nursing my daughter and she's just barely starting on pureed foods, so most of her nutrition is coming from me.  I hope that a number of my physical ailments will subside by doing this (like the migraines and nausea) while also helping with my grumpiness and melancholy.  What is sad, though, is that I've lost interest in food in general.  To alleviate this, I am trying to really start cooking again.  I haven't done more than just roasting and such since the move... so I bought supplies to start making simple Korean banchans (side dishes) and I'll go from there.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bento Meals: 2/3/11

Another semi-quick bento, containing two meals.

Top Tier (lunch)
Shrimp and broccoli cheesy rice
Smoked cheddar weiners
Sugar snap peas

Bottom Tier (breakfast)
Bacon-tomato-cheese omlette
Garlic pan-fried potatoes

Snack - String cheese and an orange

All were tasty, especially the breakfast tier.  Will be making the omlette and potatoes again.  :-)
The orange was the only survivor in this meal, having been brought home unconsumed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bento Meals: 2/1/2011

Last night, my husband and I tried a new version of a chicken dish my mother has cooked a few times for Sunday dinner.  The recipe is called Brown-Sugar BBQ Chicken, and it is delicious.  Even my youngest niece and I tried it and loved it, though we were both avoiding chicken at the time.

My idea was to cut the chicken into nuggets, cover them in batter, and fry them.  Then we would combine the nuggets with the sauce.  Though my husband used a different batter than I intended, the recipe turned out well.  Very tasty!  We had it with sautéed french green beans and homemade french fries.  Delicious!

So, today's lunch bento is made up of the following:

Bottom Tier
Brown-sugar BBQ chicken nuggets
Sautéed french green beans

Top Tier
Onigiri rolls, the rice mixed with furikake
Cherry tomatoes
Sugar snap peas, cut in half

 As for my breakfast bento, I made mushroom mini quiches.  I had the idea when I woke up.  We had a bunch of mushrooms I wanted to use up, but also wanted to make stuffed mushrooms.  This fullfilled both needs, in a way.

I removed the stems from the mushrooms and gently scraped out the ribs and placed the caps on a tinfoil lined cookie pan.  Then I placed a small piece of cooked bacon in each mushroom, followed by some shredded Monterey Pepper Jack cheese.  My husband mixed an egg with a little whole milk, and I spooned this mixture into each mushroom cap, making sure to only fill the caps 1/2 to 1/3 full.

I then put the cookie sheet (with the mushroom caps) into my toaster oven, preheated to 400 degrees.  I baked them until they were done, checking every 5 to 10 minutes.

They turned otu great and my husband also enjoyed them.  Not sure how my son liked them, as I had to leave for work before he woke up.  I definitely plan to make these again, with different variations.

Bento Breakfast: 1/31/2011

Well, this lunch was not terribly impressive, but was a quick throw together yesterday morning with my son clinging to me, and my husband trying to settle my daughter.

I made a quick Kimbap using leftovers.  They were sautéed collard greens cooked with bacon, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and butter.

Even though it was a rush job, the kimbap was tasty and filling.  I guess that's all you can ask for sometimes.

Breakfast Fun: 1/30/2011

I've tried encouraging my son to try different types of food, especially vegetables, while also teaching him that even though he may not like certain items in one form, he may like them in another (like he may not like steamed carrots, but he may like diced carrots in his stir fries).  I'm happy to see that he's been more receptive of late.  I am also trying to make some of his meals cute, especially with food items he may be hesitant about or may have tried once and wasn't willing to try again.  I'm actually impressed by how many things he has been willing to try and even likes (more often than not, anyways).  The breakfasts below were inspired by my efforts.

This is the breakfast I made for my son.  The star flower was actually inspired by the Sunflower Egg idea I found on Cute Food For Kids.  I used small smoked cheddar weiners and a fried egg star mold for the flower, ketchup for the stem, and a sugar snap pea (lightly sautéed and cut diagonally) for the leaves.

He wasn't sure how to eat it, but seemed to like how it looked.  When my husband cut it up for him, he gobbled it down.  He tried the sugar snap pea, and left only some of the tougher fibers (which he has trouble with for some fruits and vegetables).  All in all, a pretty good success.
My husband and I had an omlette seascape.  I made basic omlettes with american cheese, sliced mushrooms, and minced garlic inside, topped with a small home-grown scallion.  Sliced sugar snap peas, sautéed in in the oils from cooking the weiners, were the sea plants and some mushroom slices (also cooked in the meat oils) were subterrainean rocks.  Each plate had one octopus  made from smoked cheddar weiners with sour cream eyes.  All our meals were delicious, and my son ate some of our mushroom omlettes.

By the way, the bananas a the top of the page were decorated using a tooth pick and a fork tong.  All you do is lightly draw your design on using a tooth pick (or fork tong, or whatever else you think may work), and the drawing will show up within a few minutes.  The messages on the above bananas were a day or two old.  :-)

Finally back!

It's been a while since I last posted here.  I can't believe 3 months have already gone by!

The last part of my pregnancy was difficult, but the delivery was surprisingly easy.  My daughter is beautiful, though she brought a lot of changes with her, as every new child does.  My son adjusted to her and accepted her pretty quickly.  He's great with her and I hope this is a sign of how things will be between them.

I returned to work a couple weeks ago, and am slowly readjusting to the schedule.  I'm also slowly getting back into putting together bentos.

So... today I hope to post the bentos and fun foods I've made thus far this week.  Each will have it's own entry, most likely, so bear with me.  I'm still trying to get this blog's new settings.