Saturday, June 30, 2012

A three hour tour!

The weather started getting rough,
The tiny ship was tossed,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The minnow would be lost, the minnow would be lost!

I know, I know! I'm sorry, it's in your head now as well. But Boyfriend and I are taking a three hour car ride to my sister's house in New Jersey for my eldest nephew's graduation from middle school. I remember changing that kid's diapers, now he has a smart phone and a deep voice! What happened?!

Anyway, since it's impossible to get Boyfriend to eat breakfast, I decided to make a bento we could nom on the way over to my sister's house.

Top bento: Boyfriend gets potatoes, tamagoyaki, a muffin and some strawberries (he doesn't like grapes, pffft)
Bottom bento: Granola bar, tamagoyaki, potatoes, grapes, strawberries and a muffin

My muffins came out differently this time. I didn't have any regular milk on hand, so I used almond milk. They came out much denser and richer (not a bad thing!) but I think next time I'll use 3/4c almond milk and 1/4c water.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Bento Lunch

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Affording the movies

So some of you may know that I'm currently on medical leave from my job, which leaves me at home and usually very rarely able to afford to go out unless it's free.

My local movie theater has $5 Tuesdays, and I love going to the movies for so cheap. It's not buying the tickets that bothers me, it's the damn snacks! I love movie theater popcorn. It's like crack to me. I need it. But it's so darn expensive that I just can't justify buying it.

This Tuesday my friends and I did a double feature of Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (ridiculous movie, wasn't supposed to be funny but it was hilarious) and Brave (touching, adorable, Pixar nailed the mother-daughter relationship). I needed food in that time!

It's a good thing that bag that a sewed for myself can easily pack all this stuff! I popped low-calorie popcorn at home and added sea salt, had a container of kiwi, grapes and strawberries and a small bag of low-calorie nuts. I ended up just eating one bag of the popcorn but both of the alternates. So delicious! I also snuck in a can of Pepsi and a bottled water. No one batted an eye. I'm a ninja!

It's been a weird week so I'm in a bit of a cooking rut. Sorry! Hopefully things will pick up again soon.

Take care!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rainy, rainy day!

Well! It's been a bit whacky here in the Northeast. Today I woke up, thought about going to the pool because it was already hot, but knew it was going to rain. And boy, did it rain!

The rain made it's own pool at our complex!

Makeshift bird bath!

Where's all the seed? What's this nonsense?
Alright, enough with bird photos.

I had a bit of a whacky night in the kitchen, honestly! I decided to make these potato cakes earlier in the week since our potato supply needs to be used up. I had looked at a few different recipes, and came up with one that worked for me.
And, surprisingly, I was in the mood for a "meat and potatoes" meal. As many of you already know I rarely eat red meat so this came as a surprise! So I grabbed a can of green beans, the potatoes, and made myself a delicious meal!

Potato Cakes
4-6 baby red potatoes, mashed (Already cooked them with skins on, added 2tbsp butter, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic salt and almond milk, mashed em up and let them cool)
1/2 C Italian bread crumbs
1/2 C Chipotle panko bread crumbs
1/4 C chicken broth
2 tbsp chopped onions
Salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste
2tbsp oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together and form them into patties. Fry them until golden brown and let them cool on a cooling rack placed over paper towels.
Add brown gravy to make them even more delicious!
Makes about 8-9 patties
When flipping them over, pat them lightly back into shape by poking them with your spatula.

Honestly, I was so sad when I made my first batch. I used WAY too much oil and they fell apart in the pan. So I decided, eh, whatever I'll just try it again. I loathe making such stupid kitchen mistakes. But sometimes, all you can do is throw it in the disposal, wipe your hands on your apron and go again.

And they came out DELICIOUS!

See the mini bell peppers at the top? ANOTHER kitchen mistake! I have an electric stove, and ended up heating up my cast iron griddle instead of the pot I needed for the gravy and figured hell, if it's already hot I might as well throw something on it.
Protip: I love the sound the seeds make as they pop inside the peppers! It makes me smile for some reason.

Anyway, boyfriend had to work tonight so I decided to throw together a bento for him!
He has: Carrot sticks, wheat thins, pepperoni, potato cakes, green beans, kiwi and strawberry.
These potato cakes are so delicious I might be going from referring him as Boyfriend to Husband. He'd marry me for these cakes. And now ladies, you too can make your man want to marry you with potatoes!

After all these kitchen mishaps and very silly wedding thoughts I wanted to treat myself. I've found that I'm in love with Pinkberry - but am poor on a budget, so I had to make do with what was at home!

Raspberry sorbet with kiwi chunks, chocolate chips and whipped cream! YUM!

I hope your evening wasn't rained out and that delicious food came from your kitchen!
Take care!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Breakfast is the best time of the day

It's no secret: I love breakfast. Any meal that I can sit around in my pajamas and cook is a great meal to me. There are so many different great breakfast recipes  out there that there's a plethora to choose from - it's almost overwhelming!

But the other day I was sitting around in my PJs watching TV when I saw Melissa d'Arabian make a Dutch Baby and it looked delicious.I figured it's an easy enough recipe that I couldn't really mess it up, even if I was half awake.

So to cut the story short, it's over 100 degrees outside and where am I? In the kitchen. Oy vey.

The Dutch Baby was easy as heck to make, and I followed the recipe to the T. Then I added some caramelized bananas on top and it was heaven on a plate.

Caramelizing bananas are easy by the way:
1. Let 1 tbsp of unsalted butter melt in a pan
2. Slice bananas lengthwise then across
3. Cover them in brown sugar. I didn't go bananas overboard on the sugar because I didn't want it to taste like sugar and butter. I like bananas.
4. Place them in the pan and let them brown. Patience is a virtue with this. If you've ever had to caramelize onions you know it can take a while. Just let them groove. It'll all work out in the end.
5. Take them out and put them on a plate and top everything with them. I mean everything. French toast, ice cream (make a little breakfast sundae? Yes please!)

So that was my breakfast/lunch, and it was incredibly easy and done within 45 minutes. That gave me plenty of time to wake up a little bit and plan for my day while breakfast baked/sizzled away.

If you live in the northeast, what are your plans to beat the heat? I plan to be at the pool most of the day under a very protective layer of sunscreen. I'm painfully Irish so it's SPF 5000 for me.

Posted on:Bento Lunch

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cinnamon Apple Oaty Bake

I'll be the first to say it: I'm not a baker. I'd much rather be throwing random ingredients into a pan and figure it out as I go along. There's just so much planning and thinking with baking.

But then I thought, well why can't I just throw together what I have? It wasn't baking itself that was holding back my creativity, is was my own mental block with baking!

And so I decided that I wanted to have something oaty with cinnamon. And why not apples? And crap, I bought this soy flour and can't find the recipe I wanted to use, so I'll just throw that in there too! And a little bit later, with some common sense guidelines to ingredients, I came out with my Cinnamon Apple Oaty Bake.

And oh my goodness is this delicious.

My favourite way that I've discovered I like this is warm with some of your preference of jelly. I had some pomegrante raspberry jam that I put over the top. Oh em gee!

Cinnamon Apple Oaty Bake
1/2 Apple, peeled & sliced (I used fuji, but granny smith would hold up well)
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp soy flour
2/3 cup milk (fat free)
2 tbsp & 2 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt

Makes 4 muffin cups

1. Preheat your oven to 290 degrees F.
2. Put four muffin wrappers in your muffin tin
3. Combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
4. Disperse "batter" between four cups evenly.
5. Bake at 290F for 25 minutes, until browned on top
6. Let cool and eat or serve warm with jelly!

I hope you can experiment with this and come up with fun varients. Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Strawberry Festival

Over the weekend I had the fun opportunity to go to the Strawberry Festival they hold here in my town. They had 150 crafters, including: jam makers, jewelry makers, wood cutters and stone masons! It was really awesome and I had a great time.

I picked up some strawberry jam that goes amazingly on my Cinnamon Oat Bake that I'll be posting later this week. I love good food!

I leave you with some photos from the day, mostly involving animals!

Friday, June 15, 2012

My first "couple" bento...

...and it's kind of a work on progress, like all relationships! (*Sips tea and nods wisely*) LOL!
I've never worked with molding rice before, so it didn't work out perfectly. But that's okay, because it's a learning experience for me.

Boyfriend will be home later tonight, and I'd like to eat dinner with him!
From top left: grapes with a "flower pot", strawberry, Cinnamon Oat Apple Bake (will post that in a later post), stuffed pepper, kiwi butterflies, asparagus, onion dip, crackers, hard boiled egg, cucumber, and rice bunnies on "carrot grass." Look, I tried.

Mine was similar - grapes, strawberry, Cinnamon Apple Oat Bake, stuffed pepper, kiwi butterflies, asparagus, crackers and pepperoni, hard boiled egg, cucumber and rice bunnies on Ninjin Shirishiri (Borrowed from soul soup soap)

All in all it was fun to put together. Now that my stomach is pretty much fixed I anticipate this being a great dinner tonight!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More food for others!

Hi bentoers!

I'm posting another bento that was meant for me but went to Boyfriend. I'm still pretty ill and not able to eat normal food yet. I had blood work and an abdominal x-ray today - waiting for the results maybe tomorrow. Please wish me luck, I'd like to get over these stomach issues.

Anywho, onto the food!

It's a pretty straightforward bento. Top tier cucumber slices, hard boiled egg, stuffed pepper, charred pepper slices, tamagoyaki and rice.
Bottom tier has strawberries, kiwi, fried tofu, almonds, grapes and a sauce fish for the tofu.

Boyfriend had never eaten kiwi with the skin before, but the skin is the healthiest part of it! 

It took me forever to find cute cat fabric at the store to make that pillow. Cat haters.
And now it's 1am, and I'm following my cat's example.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Late night dinner bento

Boyfriend works second shift, so he's at work from about 5pm to 11:30 or 12 at night. Sometimes later. So when he gets home it helps to have food that's easy to reheat or easily cooked.

Enter girlfriend with too much free time! I make him bentos when I can so that he can enjoy a healthy meal at home instead of stopping at McD's. Of course it doesn't stop him during the day but a girl can only do what she can.

From top left: strawberries, grapes, watermelon, bacon tamagoyaki, cucumber, stuffed bell pepper, hard boiled egg, asparagus on top of more charred bell pepper and rice.

Boyfriend loved the stuffed bell pepper. They're so cute and bento sized and stuffing them are totally easy!

i hope everyone has a great day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Headache Bento

I've finally got a good freezer-to-bento flow going on, and just in time. I've been struck with the Migrane from Hell - and unfortunately I took it out on my poor lunch for today. At least one was made!

Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Top left are some strawberries and grapes. Bento contains rice, asparagus, stuffed zucchini, cucumbers, bell pepper, almonds, fried tofu and a soy sauce fish.

It was a great lunch and VERY filling! I needed it for all the time I was spending at work.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saturday Dinner

I confess: I love veggies. All kinds of veggies. They're my favorite thing to eat and I can't get enough of them. I purchased my first cast iron grill pan last night, and decided to make grilled stuffed zucchini. I haven't eaten too much zucchini in my life, but this tasted amazing. I threw together stuffing, zucchini bits, apple chicken sausage, onion, garlic and tomato and stuffed it into zucchini. Threw them into the oven in a water bath for about 35 minutes and BAM, instant dinner.

They were delicious! Boyfriend isn't a big fan of zucchini, but he loved the stuffing for this. We'll have to try it with other stuffable veggies too!
Mine is cheese-free, since I dislike cheese unless it's with pasta sauce. Sometimes.

Boyfriend had cheese on his, though.
I'd serve them with a side of rice next time. We are going to tweak a few things about them and then I'll post a recipe for them soon! I really did enjoy them and had two myself.

Also another exciting thing about yesterday was finally finishing my painting project. I've been painting the landing pad/fish tank holder for a week now (Time constraints and other things kept getting in the way) but it's finally finished!

Finally. It's inside now, with an empty fish tank on top of it.
Do you see the tail of my lawn flamingo on the right side there? The guy who does the yardwork for my condo complex hit my flamingo with his weed whacker :/ He tried to put my poor flamingo back but he didn't do a great job. I'm going to get a little fence and put it around my flamingo to avoid further animal cruelty.

What are you doing for the rest of the weekend? I'm doing laundry and house cleaning. Joy! And of course packing bento tonight :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

1000 pageviews - and a Relay lunch!

Good morning!
First I wanted to share two bits of awesome news! I've reached 1000 pageviews and I launched a Facebook page for the newfound foodie! I'm really excited about both and want to thank everyone for finding my little blog worth reading. ^^

Second, a lunch of course! Tonight is the South Windsor/Rockville Relay for Life at the high school. I'll be part of Team Bank of America so if anyone is in the area please stop by the event and show your support for cancer survivors and their caretakers, and purchase a Luminaria for those who have fought hard but passed on from cancer.

So today is a very long day at work and a very long night at the Relay, so I packed a yummy lunch. Honestly I debated just going to McD's but I knew that wouldn't keep me filled very long.

What a huge difference natural light makes!
Top left are saltine crackers, granola bar and pomegrante fruit spread. Top right are some apples, strawberries and kiwi. Bottom is a salad with carrots, chicken and toasted pecans.
I flippin love pecans.

So easy to quickly throw this together this morning and it makes me hungry just to look at it!

I hope everyone has a great day and a great weekend! :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Double Whammy!

So Boyfriend made the mistake of liking the bento I put together for him, so now he's subjected to bento when I make too much food! Bwahaha!
In all honesty he really appreciates it since he works so late and is tired when he get home from a hard day at work. So I'm thrilled to make food for him!

The other day we went to Chili's and got some yummy lunch. I got a spicy chicken and sausage soup and a BLT (Without the T or the mayo, please!). The entire left half of the lunch box is what's left of the sammich. Right side has rie, strawberries, tamagoyaki and octodogs.

Boyfriend got a much bigger bento because I kind of went overboard. There's rice, tuna cakes, strawberries, apple slices, octodogs, ham and salami rolls, tamagoyaki and half a meatball. Phew, what was I thinking?! Trying to clear out the fridge. Sorry, Boyfriend!

Both of these pictures were made in the terrible light of my dining room but on crocheted potholders made by Boyfriend's grandma! She's so sweet. She also gave us a plant and I've been shooing the cats away from it at least five times a day. Oh cats.
I was also excited to use some of my new picks from my last post! Yay crafts!

I hope everyone's week is going well.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DIY Bento Picks!

Happy Tuesday!
A while ago I read a post on Simply Cute about making your own bento picks.

I have a bunch of them already, but I always am looking for new crafy things to do since I do spend a considerable amount of time alone. Boyfriend works nights at the airport so I do like things to do aside from bug, and getting bugged by, the cats.

Enter DIY Bento Picks! I took a trip to Joanne Fabrics with Boyfriend and bought what I needed. To snap the comb pieces I had to let Boyfriend do it since I'm a bit of a weakling in that area. But I was able to use my new glue gun and button tops to make some cute picks!

Sorry about the quality of the pictures, my condo is always dark and shadowy. And it's been cloudy and gross outside so no outdoor pictures either. (The fabric I shot these on is a grab from the discount fabic remnants at Joanne - I always grab the colorful and exciting ones!)
Adorable pets - there's even a goldfish!

I loooove the "Bee Happy" one - so adorable!

Punk rawk! I hate that this picture came out so dark. These picks were my favorite ones.
Aside from the picks I've been repainting a piece of furniture in my living room. It's a small chest that we use as a landing pad for our stuff when we walk in the door, and it stores all our laundry stuff and pots and pans. I'm repurposing it! It'll be a mail station / fish tank holder!

You see, we bought this fish tank on Black Friday last year. It was a $35 purchase and has the tank and all the accessores and some coupons for free fish. We haven't set it up since we ended up getting Azura and now Kumari. But I want fish damn it!

I'll make sure to post a picture of the new fish tank / mail storage place once I get it finished. It's taking FOREVER! I've got the drawer and doors painted, and now I'm waiting for the primer for the main piece to dry so that I can paint it a nice gray. I'm so excited! There was something therapudic about sitting outside and painting this thing in the cool New England air with my shoes off and the cats being nosy and meowing at me painting.

Hope the rest of everyone's week is great!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A bento for another

So I am still suffering from post-tooth extracted misery. I didn't even eat the bento I posted yesterday because my tooth hurt too badly to go to work today.

So...I made a bento for Boyfriend! It's tamagoyaki, rice, sugar snap peas on the top. Bottom is salad, strawberries, carrots, potatoes, broccoli and tuna cakes (His fave!).

I added a few octodogs after I took the photo since I kinda wanted to show off my bento skills to bf :D

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bento: First shot at tamagoyaki is a success!

So after seeing bento blogger after bento blogger make tamagoyaki and making up every excuse in the book to NOT make it, I finally braved the pan and made tamagoyaki. Let me just tell you, it wasn't as difficult as it looks! I encourage anyone who wants to try to give it a shot. I made simple tamagoyaki this time, just with some salami in it.

Tomorrow's lunch is simple and was easy to make.
Top tier is leftover bean balls with egg noodles and some snap peas.
Bottom tier is tamagoyaki with carrot flowers, octotogs, sauteed potato, more peas, kiwi and wafers for my afternoon tea at work.

I saved the leftover tamagoyaki for tomorrow and I'm glad to bring out this old bento box! I haven't used it in a long time so it felt good to have a real box again. It fits so much more food than you'd think!

I also have a small container of strawberries on the side.

This weekend has been crazy. On Saturday I had a tooth extracted and am having a hard time sticking to gentle foods. Most of my food for tomorrow can be eaten on one side of my mouth easily so that's a-ok for me!

I hope everyone has a nice week!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dinner with Boyfriend

So I've mentioned before that I adore having sit down dinners with Boyfriend. Tonight I thought I'd be nomming on Jell-O and ice cream since I had a tooth taken out today. However, I figured I could just not use that side of my mouth, and we decided to cook!

Boyfriend made his delicious meatballs, and I tried a variant on a Bean Ball recipie that I have to adjust and work on before I post. But then we made mashed potatoes and delicious gravy and we had ourselves a meal!

My bean balls with mashed potatoes and gravy. So. Delicious. The gravy was amazing. You could put that stuff on lead and I'd eat it.

How Boyfriend arranged his meatballs it looks like he's giving me a gravy :P

Dinner was nice and my tooth doesn't hurt like heck. Woo hoo! Hope your Saturday evenings turn out just as nicely.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bento: Taking It Easy

Good morning!
I cheated with lunch today, as I'm feeling pretty lazy this morning. My breakfast was even mostly pre-made: yogurt, oj, oatmeal and a cinnemon muffin.

I made muffins yesterday so they're showing up everywhere. I brought a few to share with co-workers so at least I can share the delicious wealth with others.

Cheater, cheater (pecan) eater.
I had a coupon for Tyson's Ready to Grill chicken, so I purchased some to have to throw into stuff right from the freezer, to the skillet, to my belly. I ate one before I tossed it on my salad and they're A+. Then I toasted some pecans and sliced fruit and wham-o, cheater lunch.

Lunch is a simple toasted pecan with chicken salad, Special K bar, Granola bar, cinnemon muffin and grapes and strawberries. I need to use up my strawberries FAST since they're going to be going bad.

I'm really excited because the weekend of the 16th South Windsor has a strawberry festival! I hope to take lots of pictures and post them here.

Anyway, happy bentoing!