Monday, March 31, 2008

Today I was working all day at Weight watchers, so I brought along my trusty bento!

In the lower tier, I had curried couscous on one side, and a sauteed made with sliced onion, bell pepper and edamame. I spiced the sauteed veggies with cumin, salt, pepper and garam masala.

In the top tier, I had cucumber and red bell pepper sticks, steamed lentils (TJ), and 2 boiled eggs, shaped and halved.

It was plenty of food, and very tasty!

I shaped the eggs with my two egg molds I found at Daiso. The star looks more like a flower (I need bigger eggs!) but I like the way it ended up looking. Here's what the eggs looked like before I put them in the bento:

My husband has about the same thing. I perched the lentils on top of the sauteed veggies. I also didn't shape his eggs, he had to leave quick so I didn't bother with it.

I added his trusty baby carrots as usual, but otherwise, he has the same food I had in my own box.

Lunch was successful, I brought along an apple and an orange for snacks during the day and it was plenty of food!

That was a "put together in minutes". We're starting renovations tomorrow, so I don't know how lunches will fit in this mess!!

Happy bento!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Butterflies again!

Yesterday I made some yummy Mediterranean Hummus, and I decided to pre-pack some for the bentos. With hummus comes cut veggies right? Ok, so then we had left over bulgur from last night, but no proteins. Oops!

I had to scramble a little this morning (literally) to make it work, but I did! Here's our bentos for the day:

In my own bento, I have:

Lower tier: Sliced red bell pepper and cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and hummus in my little green kitty container (isn't it cute?).

Top tier: Bulgur mixed with lentils and red kidney beans, and scrambled eggs (bettern' eggs actually) with Indian spices.

When I make cucumber sticks, I peel them in one big peel. Today I decided to wash the peels and cut out butterflies out of it and it turned out to be perfect for cutting shapes! I added butterflies in both tiers of my bento. That's my cutsiness of the day! I used the two butterflies cutters, no dog bone today!

My husband's bento has to be more manly n stuff so I limited my cutsiness there. ;op

On the left: Vegetable sticks with a little container of hummus (isn't that elephant container just cute? I had to sneak some cutsiness in there!), his trusty bag of baby carrots.

On the right: Bulgur with lentils (I skipped the kidney beans for him cause they weren't cooked, and he's not a huge fan of that) and scrambled better n' eggs.

I was afraid it wouldn't be enough proteins for mister 6'2" man, so I rolled up some deli ham and put it on a little sea critter skewer.

There's a bit of spaces in both bentos today. It was my husband's workout morning, so he leaves 30 minutes earlier. That gives me less time to put things together.

I think it'll be fine anyway, but I need to find fillers. Of course he needs a smaller box, but he won't let me buy him one cause this one is "just fine"!

MEN! I want to shop for more stuff, and I can't justify buy ME more... Spoilsport! He he he

Happy Bento everyone!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I made myself a bento today. I skipped yesterday and had some soup instead, but I didn't want to keep skipping it! So here's today's fare:

In the lower tier I have the last of my rice balls (Onigiri) and steamed vegetables with spices.

In the top tier I have a legumes mix (red kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils) with carrots and cucumber. For dessert I added a 1 pts Dark chocolate and raspberry bar (Weight Watchers).

The whole thing was fairly simple. I didn't have much ambition this morning as I know I'm not working this week (spring break).

Tomorrow I shall give the cutsy curse a new installment. I can't keep slipping into laziness like this! ;op

Happy bento everyone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today's leftover n stuff bento

I just finished posting yesterday's bento. If you want to look it up, read my previous post.

Today I'm home. I still made myself a bento since I've decided that I would make one every weekday. See? I'm sticking to it! Here's the whole thing:

In the lower tier, I have steamed broccoli (with various spices) and cut up pepper and cucumber (again spiced). I divided the two with sushi grass but it doesn't show really against the broccoli. I used tiny broccoli florets to decorate the cut up veggies.

In the top tier I have left over potato salad from last night. That one's a favorite from Savoring Summer (Weight Watcher's cookbook). With that I spiced and sautéed shrimps and added them for proteins.

Here's what it looked like all packed up:

It's fairly simple, my husband didn't bring a bento to work today since he's eating out with buddies.

I'm having a vegetables attack these days. Bet the couscous is going to reappear soon. :o)

Happy Bento!

Catching up on my posts

Yesterday was nuts and by the time I got home I was too tired to bother. So here's my bento for yesterday:

I kept it simple since I was in a hurry to go to work.

In the lower tier, I had rice balls, resting on cucumber slices. I also put half rounds of cucumber around them and sprinkled the whole thing with shredded carrots.

In the top tier I had a hard boiled egg that I tried to shape in my new molds, but my eggs were too small! Too funny, my star became a flower. With that I mixed steamed broccoli and carrots with lentils.

Would you look at this? My new little "bento fork" fits between the lid of the top tier and the lid of the whole thing!

My husband had about the same thing in his bento. He had only 2 rice balls, but they are much bigger than my cutsy ones. I added little skewers with cucumber and rolled up ham to make sure he wouldn't go hungry! Of course he also had his trusty little pack of baby carrots.

So that was lunch yesterday. I was also working early evening, and by the time I got home I was starved (and cranky!). I need to better plan for those long days so I don't go overly hungry.

Lunch was still good, the mix of steamed veggies and steamed lentils was very good!

Happy Bento!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Simple things

Today I kept things simple. I didn't have much time to work with, but then I had some good stuff at hand, so I made it up as I went. Here's my bento:

In the smaller lower tier (on the right), I have left over roasted chicken, that I sprinkled with minced red bell pepper and cucumber for a bit of color. With that I have a mix of steamed lentils and chickpeas, again with pepper and cucumber mixed in.

In the top tier (on the left), I have steamed broccoli and carrots on a bed of lettuce, sprinkled with red pepper and cucumber bits. For the fun of it, I made 2 skewers with cucumber and carrot pieces. I had planned to put them over the chicken, for decoration, but it didn't fit in my box.

My husband has about the same thing, just presented differently. On the right side, you can see the chicken on top, and lentils on the bottom (he's not a fan of canned chickpeas unless they are in a recipe). I didn't think he liked lentils like that, but he's planning on heating them up and pouring them over the steamed veggies. Good idea!

On the left side he has steamed veggie, and his faithful pack of baby carrots. Again I sprinkled red bell pepper and cucumber bits over the veggies and chicken to make it look "happier".

It was one of those morning when I "don't wanna" and still it turned out pretty nice. Everything is either pre-cooked (like the roasted chicken from Raly's, or the steamed lentils from Trader Joes), canned (chickpeas) or quickly steamed in my handy microwave steamer (veggies). Isn't that a hoot? Talk about speed cooking!

I eat my bento fare cold, my husband warms it up, and it works both ways. It works for us!

Happy bento!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Cutsiness never ends!

Today I was teaching, I knew it last night so I started ahead. I steamed some veggies so that I wouldn't have to do it in the morning.

I used my good ol' yellow box as usual. The little fork is new, I got it at Daiso yesterday. The coolest thing is that it fits between the top lid (yellow) and the lid of the top tier (black), that way it literally disappears.

Here's the whole thing:

In the smaller lower tier (on the right below), I have 3 onigiri (a heart, a star and a bear) resting on a bed of lettuce. I lined each sides with cucumber slices and sprinkled minced red pepper for a dash of color.

In the bigger top tier (on the left below), I had steamed broccoli and carrots, sprinkled with minced red pepper for color. For proteins I cut strips of Canadian bacon and rolled them. Each little animal or sea critter skewers (that's the new ones I bought yesterday!) has one piece of red pepper, 2 rolls of Canadian bacon, and a piece of red bell pepper at the end. I used sushi grass to divide the steamed veggies and the skewers.

Here's a better view of my little picks/skewers:

Once closed, I put my box in my new little cooler bag. It's just the right size to put my box and a little ice pack.

Once it was all neatly packed, I used my bento cloth to make a little cloth basket. The idea is to be able to pack a fruit and my little napkin container without having to fit them in the cooler bag. Here's my wonderful husband showing off my little cloth basket. As I said, the cutsiness never ends!

There you have it, it's today's bento. I'm starting to feel pretty darned confident with this. I need to cook ahead, since I'm out of everything, but I've got to the point where I can throw a bento together in very little time and still have it look like something. I'm all happy!

Happy Bento everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shopping expedition at Daiso

Today was adventure day! We took off for San Francisco for some much needed "escape from cow country". We like living in Sonoma County, but San Francisco still feels like home, and we need to hit the pavement every once in a while.

Anyway, all that to say that we decided to drive through San Francisco to hit the Serramonte Center south of San Francisco. There I visited Daiso, the $1.50 Japanese store. I was in bento heaven, they had everything. I had to really force myself to think about what I will REALLY use because I would have bought the place down. I think I demonstrated a lot of self control, I spent only $21!

Here's all my goodies put together:

So in the picture below there is:
* 4 little condiment bowls (top left corner)
* A little fork that fits with my favorite yellow bento (top right corner)
* 2 egg molds (middle left)
* New bento belts (middle right)
* A little napkin container with a little washing cloth (bottom left corner)
* Plastic-paper cups that are big enough to put curry in, and water safe since they are plastic coated.

In this next picture there is the two packs of little picks/skewers. One pack (on the left) is animals, and the other pack (to the right) is sea life. They are super cute aren't they?

Finally I bought two little cooler bags that are just big enough to put my bentos themselves. The idea is to use those to keep the food fresh, and put the whole thing in a bag (or a cloth basket I made, see previous post) along with the other things I need to carry.

So there! They had my bento I bought at Sugar charm, with all the accessories. For less than I paid for the box itself, I could have had the whole thing :o/

Oh well, live and learn, I'm gonna stop by Daiso and Ichiban Kan every now and then, I am not ordering online anymore. I can even stop by Sanko if I need to get expensive stuff.

I have everything I need now, and then some. Other than the bunny shaped egg mold, I think I'm done spending on bento stuff.

Yeah right! hehehehe

Happy bento everybody! Have fun with cutsiness!

Yesterday's Dinner bento

Yesterday I made myself a bento for dinner. I was working a meeting after a Dr. appointment and I knew I would get too hungry before it's finally dinner time.

I had made myself a vegetarian curry with butternut squash for lunch, and packed that up alone with baby carrots and cucumber sticks. To give some taste to the veggies, I filled a small sauce bottle with balsamic dressing. Here's what it ended up looking like:

I had some time and I decided to play with my bento cloth to figure out the best way to use it. This is my favorite way so far! It's like a little basket, look:

So that's my bento adventure yesterday. I'll be posting in a minute about my shopping expedition today at Daiso. I've found bento heaven, should have gone there before shopping online!!

Happy Bento!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Long day and a party!

Yesterday, Sunday, I was working my regular meeting in the morning and after that we had a staff meeting all afternoon. I weigh-in on Sundays so usually I don't eat breakfast, but I bring my coffee and a fruit to keep me until lunch. Or I'll bring a breakfast bento.

Yesterday I realized at the last second that I needed lunch! I threw together left overs and legumes I had on hand.

In one tier, I have couscous mixed with the tomato-less salsa I bought at Trader Joes. It's made with corn and it pretty spicy. Very good mixed with grains. I had a few pepper butterflies left so I put them on. Can't waste art!

In the other tier I have a mix of whatever I had in the fridge: carrots, lentils, chickpeas and Canadian bacon. It was great because it really stayed with me. I had a few cuties during the afternoon and that was plenty of enough for me.

Now today is St-Patrick! Let me say right off that I'm absolutely not Irish, neither is my husband. Who cares, a party is a party right?

Here's my very first "St-Patrick bento":

In the top tier (left) I have hard boiled eggs that I shaped with my little egg molds and colored with food coloring*. I think you can click on the picture to see it full size. I need to figure out a better way to peel hot eggs, but otherwise it was fun! With that I have the rest of my couscous/corn salsa mix.

In the lower tier (right) I have cucumber, carrot, and green pepper skewers. I got those little St-Pat skewers at a craft store, aren't they just cute? I also got those paper cup the eggs are in at the same place. I added a sauce bottle (with the red cap) with balsamic dressing to give taste to my veggies. The skewers are resting on a leaf of lettuce because it needed more green! hehehe

*To color the eggs: Cook, peel and put in molds as usual. Let sit for 10 minutes in cold water. Remove from molds and put in a bowl (glass doesn't stain!) with water and oh.. 20 drops of food coloring or so, depending on how dark you want the color. I let mine sit for 10 minutes. I removed from the colored water and "sponged" with a paper towel. Et Voila!

I even kept a skewer to decorate my box once closed:

My husband has the same foods, I added a little pack of baby carrots for snack. He also has a little sauce bottle (blue cap) but his has Italian dressing.

So there, have a great St-Patrick day everybody, if you're Irish... celebrate safely... ;op

Happy Bento everyone!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

3 Cutsy bentos today!

Today I was teaching, I knew lunch was late at the school so I also brought along a snack bento. Here's all of our bentos of the day put together:

My snack bento was pretty simple. I used my husband slim black bento (1 tier) and I put pineapple chunks and a little container of FF plain yogurt mixed with a little bit of honey.

It was a satisfying snack. Next time I'll have a little less pineapple and a little more yogurt though.

My lunch bento was very yummy:

In my lower tier (bottom of the picture) I had scrambled eggs (2 eggs 2 whites for both bentos) with diced Canadian bacon. I sauteed the Canadian bacon before I put in the eggs so it gave it a smoky flavor.

In the upper tier (top of the picture) I had curried couscous to which I added raisins and diced red bell peppers. With that I had butternut squash sticks that I sauteed in a pan with cooking spray and Indian spices.

Did you notice the cutsiness? There are butterflies on my food! I made those cute butterflies using mini cookie-cutters to cut them out of red bell pepper! I did that last night and tried out only the red bell pepper because it was late and I was tired, but it works!

Here's my cutters, I used the butterflies for my own bento and the dog bones for my husband's!

Here's my husband's box with the dog bones resting on his own food. He has the same stuff I do, and the pineapple chunks are in there with the rest of his meal. I added a little bag of baby carrots for snack and because I stole his banana this morning (it was the last one!).

Next time I'll make more butternut squash sticks. I didn't think my husband was going to want any. I had to share them with him. It was very good though, and pretty too!

The Cutsy curse has taken me over, I'm loving it!

Happy Bento everybody!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mine, mine, mine!!!

My husband is having lunch out with friends so I made only one bento today. Since I was working for myself and myself alone, I decided to go seafood!

So in the lower tier (on top of the picture below) I have steamed shrimps (see below for my steaming method) seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin and hot chili powder. I also put Garam Masala in the water I used to steam the shrimps. I have also baby carrots. I sprinkled cilantro over the whole thing for color and because I luuuv cilantro.

In the top tier (bottom of the picture) I have leftover tabbouleh, and left over black bean and mango salsa. I used sushi grass to divide the two.

My shrimps were still kinda frozen and I tried to steam them in my little microwave steamer (in the picture below). It didn't work all that well. I'll have to try again with shrimps that are completely thawed out. I finally nuked them a minute to finish the cooking. Hope they aren't too rubbery.

So there, That's my bento of the day. It looks delicious, hopefully it will be.

Happy Bento!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cutsy Curse #2

Today I'm trying out a new bento. It's made easier by the fact that it's the same size as my other Lube Sheep one, but it's still a different one. If anyone hasn't noticed yet, I love yellow. So there!

Here's what my new box look with the new bag and everything! Isn't it cute? I bought the same set for a friend in a different color. I got this at Ichiban Kan in San Francisco, the whole thing (box, bag, chopstick, case and belt) for less than 5$!

Today I have leftovers again. In the top tier (on the bottom in the picture) I have a Curried Chicken-lentil burger patty (from the Short Cut Cookbook by Weight Watchers, p. 45) cut in chunks. With that I have a Black bean and mango salsa (from The Ultimate Flex and Core Cookbook, by Weight Watchers, p. 185).

In the lower tier (top of the picture) I have a simple salad made with lettuce, steamed lentils (from Trader Joes), chickpeas, red bell pepper and cucumber.

To indulge my cutsy attack, I've put sushi grass all around the top tier so that it makes a contrast between the yellow-ish, curried patties and the yellow box. I also added a green flower just for the fun of it. I also added an orange flower in the bottom tier.

Here's my box closed with it's thingies:

My husband has basically the same thing in his box. I added a little bag of baby carrots to have as a snack. It's funny how he made the comment this morning that he had a lot of food this time. It's mostly vegetables, but I guess he's getting used to smaller portions. That's a good thing!

I'm really getting in the grove of making bentos in the morning, it's getting easier as I go. I'm still focusing on making the meals as healthy as I can, but also, I'm enjoying the "cutsy curse" a lot !

Happy Bento everyone!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Cutsy Curse!

Yesterday I made sushi again, and it was good! I made extra rice to make rice balls. I'm still learning how to really prepare the rice well, it turned a little more mushy this time. I'll get it right!

I decided to go the cutsy way. I made 4 bigger triangle ones (cause my husband like those) and the rest I made smaller ones. I have heart shape, bear shape, and star shape. Here's the first plate of them cooling:

Here's the second plate with all cutsy ones:

So today in my bento I used some rice balls, of course, and I played around with whatever I had in my fridge. Here's what my bento looked like:

So, in the bottom tier, I had 3 cutsy rice balls (one of each shape) over lettuce.

In the top tier, I made a roll with a low carb tortilla, canadian bacon, and mashed avocado with a little lime juice. I cut it, kind of like a sushi roll, and used my new cutsy picks I got at Sanko (a freaking fortune!). I added sliced cucumber and red bell pepper pieces.

In my husband's bento I put 1 triangular rice ball, 1 oyaki, a little container of guacamole, cucumber and red bell pepper sticks and a ham wrap that I cut in big pieces so it would fit in the box. I held his rolls with my sea critters picks.

So that's today's bentos. I'm in a cutsy attack, so I'll be thinking up tomorrow's fare today! I frozen a bunch of rice balls, so that's one easy quick thing to throw in. I'm running out of oyakis though. Oops.

Happy Bento!