Sunday, August 28, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
My dining area has the morning sun coming straight through the windows, ideal light for pictures! Here's the look of it when I first opened it:
Isn't it just inviting? On there you see only the top tier, at the bottom I have the other half of the meal. Here's both tiers together:
Grain: It's just a plain bulgur with cumin, salt and pepper.
Curry: This is a curry I made with left over masala sauce (from indian take out, shamefully) that I mixed with a little broth. I chopped carrots, cook them up with shallot, and kale, added a can of lentils, and dumped the curry sauce in. I had it as is for dinner. Before putting it in the bento, I added some of that onion chutney they send along with samosas, it's red and super spicy. It gave it a whole new delicious taste.
Side: I have roasted vegetables (salt, pepper, paprika, coriander, a little cumin) left overs from Monday night. After putting them in, I added minced orange zest for the look of it, but it also did wonder for the taste. Delicious!
Dessert: I have pieces of navel oranges. They are in season and I'm absolutely obsessed! I eat 10 lbs/week. Help! So delicious!
The box I'm using is a "donburi" box, made to have the "yummies" up top and the grains in the bottom tier. that way you can carry the two separately, and mix them up just when it's time to eat. I'm using it differently because I tend to eat less grains, and have several dishes in each bento.
It is a plastic box, but a better quality one, I believe it's microwave safe (though I don't microwave my lunches ever) and would go in the top rack of the dishwasher (I wouldn't for ANY of my bentos, but it would survive). I took a picture of the box in my hand to give you an idea of the size of the thing:
I'm in a phase where I want to have less boxes, but better quality ones. I'm tired of cheap plastic and little monkeys, I want my box to be a little less "cutsy" and more elegant if that make sense. I'm not saying there won't be colored shaped eggs anymore, or flower-shaped carrots, the cutsy curse will never really die ;o) Just not the mood I am in these days.
With that in mind, I have started looking at lacquered wooden boxes. They are very pricey, but so beautiful and durable. Of course the one I'm totally drooling over is way out of my price range, but it's absolutely gorgeous. I keep looking at it and telling myself over and over "you can't pay that much for a lunch box, it's ridiculous!" I might convince myself, riiiiiight!
Here's the box:
It's actually a 2 tiers box, the tiers stack up and there's a lid to top it all. Each part is made of a solid piece of wood, no seams at all.
Beautiful right? I love everything, the craftsmanship, the colors, it's perfect! It's being sold here: Bento & Co
If you find it cheaper anywhere else let me know. I'm in LOVE snif...
So that's it for me today, I don't know if I'll make other bentos this week, but the sun is out, and the camera is ready, who knows? ;o)
Happy Bento everybody!!!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Monday, December 14, 2009
Following a expansion of my schedule (oh my... understatement!) lunch has become a challenge. My work has me working at lunchtime which means that I have the choice between lunch at 11, which is too early, or at 3, which is too late!
To fix this, and keep me from eating junk on my way home, I've started packing my lunch again. Slowly but surely my trusty bentos are coming out more and more often.
Here's 2 different days of bento packing:
This is last week sometime. I didn't have much leftovers to work with so I just made it up on the spot.
This is my box, I had chicken breast, which I baked for Thanksgiving, sliced packed and froze in 1 serving package to use in lunches. I wasn't sure if sliced chicken would freeze well. It was fine! I wouldn't leave it forever in there, but it tasted just fine!
Which that I have steamed carrots and peas, rather plain couscous, and steamed lentils (TJ!). A simple but very filling lunch!
My husband's lunch was a little different:
He has the same veggies, but less couscous and chicken, so I added 4 felafel's. I bought those at Costco a while ago and froze them. They keep forever.
Honestly I don't like them much, but my husband seems to love them.
Today was a little more leftovers happy! My husband bought precooked chicken yesterday and we sauteed that with carrots and zucchini sticks. With that I steamed vegetables and made couscous with carrots and onions.
That's what I have in my box here:
On the left there is the chicken with the carrot/zucchini sticks. On the right is the couscous. I covered both tiers with the steamed zucchini rounds and the carrots slices that I cut into flower shapes. Purty ain't it?
The cutsy-curse strikes again! I actually felt pretty good sitting around in Oakland eating my little lunch. It also filled me up so I wasn't tempted by the delicious goodies from the bakery at the Montgomery Bart Station. Hmmmmm
So there, I am still bento-ing. It's not always this pretty, but being so busy does that it's advantages, I HAVE TO organize myself!
Happy Bento everybody!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I’m still around making bentos, though not as often as I would like to. I am also doing simpler lunches mostly made with leftovers rather than taking the time to cook for bento-making. For that reason I rarely bother taking pictures of my lunches, as I don’t think they are “picture worthy”. That goes along with my new phase of “KISS” (keep it simple stupid).
Still the whole goal behind having a lunch blog was to share ideas and encourage people to just make the little extra effort to pack their lunch. It’s not complicated, and it doesn’t take long. Even Leftovers can look pretty!
Yesterday I had good leftovers to work with, and the box ended up looking rather cute, so I decided to share it with you. I used my 3 tier bento. That’s a good one when you have dishes that stand on their own.
In the top tier I have diced pork tenderloin. I bought it at Trader Joes, it came pre-marinated (cracked pepper and garlic) and all you have to do is brown it, and then put it in the over for a bit. Nothing easier and so good!
The yellow container has hummus (also from Trader Joes).
Going clockwise, the tier on the right has cut cucumber and carrots, that simple! I cut them to eat with the hummus the previous night and had leftovers.
Pre-cut veggies can have a little bit of a texture issue, so I rinsed them in cold water and patted them dry before packing them. They were just fine when I ate them!
On the lower left tier I had my new favorite grain: Quinoa! I can't believe it took me so long to try it, I love that stuff! It's good hot, cold, with veggies, spiced up, bland with a sauce. Awesome!
This time around I sautéed diced vegetables, added chicken broth, quinoa, salt pepper, cumin, cinnamon and oregano (I think) and cooked it until the broth was gone. That easy!
It was a very satisfying lunch, and kept me going for the rest of the day!
Happy Bento everybody!!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Truth be told, I was a little burned out on talking about food. I work for Weight Watchers, I cook for a hobby, I do bentos for the fun of it... food food food! So I got lazy, and a little heavy, and here I am! Back to my bentos. I missed them!
This doesn't mean I didn't do ANY bentos. I did, but generally they weren't very good looking, or I didn't have the camera around, or it was in the living room and I didn't want to walk that far (AH!) you know...
Here's the bento from April 24th. They were my last "custy" bentos made with the leftovers from the Chicken Wrap with Mango, Basil, and Mint that I had made the previous night.
So I had the chicken/mango mixture, with I think brown rice, steamed peas, cut pepper and raisins. Simple, and I remember it being very good as a cold leftover. :o)
My husband had the same thing exactly.
The rest of April and all of May were very sad "bento-wise" so I won't bore you with any of it. Fast forward to this week:
Monday June 8th:
I have discovered that our favorite Indian place, Great India on Geary st at 25th Avenue, not only makes great food and delivers for free, but they also will sell you a full Tandoori chicken for less than 15$! The half is 10$, so for 5 more you get double! AH!
Tandoori chicken is perfect bento fare, so that's what I did. Tandoori chicken with cucumber and tomato salad (also leftovers from Great India). I cut some extra cucumber because I didn't have enough food.
The little bottle has extra dressing from the salad which I didn't need.
I would have done better with some grains to be honest, but there wasn't enough rice left, and I didn't really have time to make anything. I was working in Santa Rosa that day. At 7:45am!
In case you didn't notice, my box is brand new! From Daiso, it's the same as my "basic boxes" but square! I can't wait to play with foods in there. Monday's lunch was more about throwing the food in there, than about making it cute.
Since I was out all day, I also made a snack box:
Blueberries on the left, cantaloupe on the right, and the two little containers have honey. I ended up using only one. It was plenty!
I don't use my snack box very often, but I love it. Isn't it cute? It's very small so it fits pretty much anywhere.
Dan had more to lunch with than I did, and it gave me the occasion to use my other new box. I've been drooling over that set since I first looked at the Lunch In a Box Blog. I couldn't find it anywhere. This weekend we went to Ichiban Kan and there it was! But it was 22$.
I promised myself a while ago that I would not put more than 10$ on a box, and even that would have to be a really special one. I was totally torn, but my enabler husband told me to get it since he could see that I really liked it. So I did!
Here's his Indian Bento:
In the insulated container (middle) he has Chicken Makhni with a "rice lid". I've seen other Bento-makers do that and wanted to give it a try. As you can see, seepage occurred, but I think it still kept the curry from drying up.
In the little containers there is the rest of the Jasmin rice (left) and tandoori chicken (right).
See how it all packs up perfectly? It ends up packing quite a bit of food, but it looks tiny. I love it!
And all closed up and everything, it's very cute, but not "girly" so my husband can use it. Not that it bothers him, happy to say that he's confident enough in his "manhood" to take my custy attack with patience if not enthusiasm.
We didn't have any leftovers, though I did soak some bulgur last night to use today.
Left: I have bulgur (simple with salt and pepper) with tomato-cucumber-lettuce salad, and clover sprouts.
If you made a face reading sprouts here's something to think about: Alfalfa sprouts taste like you're chewing on the lawn. That's the one that turns off most people to sprouts. Clover sprouts are a lot tastier and sweeter. Taste different kind before you write them off!
Right: Steamed lentils (TJ), a boiled egg (showing only the good side of it, I can't cook eggs... how lame) and a mix of strawberries and blueberries.
My husband has the same foods, just a little more of it:
He has bulgur and salad (minus the lettuce and the sprouts, he's not crazy about either) on the left side. On the right he has lentils, an egg, strawberries and blueberries. I added a Mini Babybel cheese as always.
So that's that. I'm excited to be bento-ing again. It doesn't take much really, it's to get started that is the hardest.
Happy Bento Everybody!!!!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I took out all of my boxes and washed every single one of the 15 sets that I use for food. I have a few decorative ones that I don't put food in, those are another story.
After that I had to fit all of it on my little unit. Here's what it looks like:
The unit itself was super cheap at Kmart. The baskets are from Target, about 13 dollars each, which is more than I wanted to pay, but I like them so... there.
I still have my spice boxes for the little stuff. I managed to empty one by reorganizing everything. I'm pretty happy about that because one of the box was bent and difficult to open. Not cool early in the morning.
The purple box is from a pair of flats I bought a few weeks ago. I thought the box was pretty, and it's the perfect size, so there.
I used that box to put the "over flow" of stuff. Extra things that don't fit anywhere else. I overbought a little last year because I didn't have easy access to Ichiban Kan and Daiso. Of course, now it's not a problem anymore! So happy!
The top drawer has the spice boxes with the stuff I use less, my bento cloths, bags and insulated bags.
The middle drawer has the boxes I use the most. Most of them are microwave safe and leak proof (well mostly).
Finally the last drawer has my fuffier, less user-friendly boxes and those I just use less.
Notice that there is space for more in there, not that I WOULD buy more, of course I wouldn't, just that if I came across a very interesting box, I COULD fit it in there if needed. ;op
I'm pretty happy with my storage solution for my bentos. It's a lot of little things, and in a small place, I needed a compact, easy to work with solution. I think I got it.
Now I feel like I'm home... ;o)
Happy Bento Everybody!!