Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Mini-Burgers

Ok, yesterday I wanted to make mini black bean burgers. So I looked up recipes, but nothing looked like what I wanted. So I started making up stuff.

I didn't want to put in bread crumbs, because they don't fit in my food plan, so somebody suggested to use cornmeal instead. Here's what I did:

Black Bean Mini-Burgers

1 can of black bean, rinsed drained
1/2 carrots grated (very mushy, but that's ok)
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper minced,
1 whole egg lightly beaten
4 tsp (more or less) fine cornmeal
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 Indian red chili powder
Pinch garam masala
Salt, pepper

I mashed the beans with a fork, it makes a coarser texture than processing it. Then I added all the ingredients and mixed until combined. The mixture was pretty wet, but I managed to make 18 tiny patties that I put on a rimmed baking sheet (I covered it with aluminum foil and used cooking spray, less cleaning).

I pre-heated the broiler, sprayed garlic olive oil on the patties and then put them about 4-5 inch under the broiler for 3 minutes. Then I took them out, flipped them gently (use a flat spatula to keep half the patties from staying on the sheet) and cooked them another 3 minutes.

Finally I flipped them again and cooked them about 1 minute. Don't overcook them cause they'll get dry. Keep an eye on them!

It was delicious for dinner, and I'm sure it'll be even better today!

Next time I'll do 20 patties so that they are a little bit smaller. They'll fit better in the bentos!

Here's what they look like (top right corner):

Happy Bento everyone!

Mini-burgers bentos!

Yesterday I made mini-burgers with black beans, we had some for dinner, and the rest went in the bento this morning. Other than that, my bento is very veggies-heavy. I was in a hurry this morning.

Here's my box:

So in the top tier, I have the mini-burgers, and strawberries cut up.

In the lower tier, I have veggies sticks, a little container of Guacamole (Number from TJ), and a little cup of steamed veggies.

The pictures I took of my husband's bento all turned out blurry! Darn it. He has the exact same thing minus the tomatoes, and with a little more steamed veggies.

You know what's funny? Every time I have strawberries on hand, I use my red box! I didn't mean to!

I will post to explain how I made the mini-burgers. They were delicious!

Happy Bento everyone!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bento at the mall

Today I went shopping, and I didn't want to eat at the food court, so I packed a bento. Good thing I did since I was really hungry by the time it got to lunch time. I walked about 4 hours today. I was out for about 6 hours, but counting the lunch break, the stopping to try clothes etc.

Anyway, here's my bento:

In the lower tier I have 2 small onigiri with cucumber slices, red bell pepper sticks and cherry tomatoes. I put a little skewer there to grab the veggies with.

In the top tier, I have a curried chicken, chickpeas and lentils mix, and steamed veggies with spices (snow peas, broccoli and mini pepper rings).

I brought along an orange also!

Here's my husband's box:

He has the exact same thing minus the tomatoes (he doesn't like them). I also added a pack of baby carrots along with his box.

Here's the two closed boxes:

I still made little cloth basket to carry the bentos. Mine was because it was going to be in my purse, so it's an extra layer of "spill proofing" along with the cooler bag it's in.

My husband said tonight that he uses the cloth to bring all of his stuff home (glasses and things). So it's useful as well as cute!

My 6'2" tall husband was satisfied with his lunch, strangely, when I came home at 3:30, I was hungry. I spend all day on my feet walking, so maybe I just burned more than he did sitting at his computer.

It was a good lunch though, and I felt very proud and privileged sitting at the food court with my delicious lunch, watching everybody eating the horrible junk they serve there. AH! I love taking care of me!

Happy Bento everyone!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Double troubles!

Our new bento shopping expedition inspired me to get back to my everyday bento mania! Also, my husband now uses a smaller box, the same as mine, so it's kind of fun to put them together. I'm hoping that it'll be enough food for 6'2" him.

Here's my box today:

In the lower tier I have steamed broccoli and sliced mini bell peppers, Cucumber sticks and strawberries.

In the top tier, I have left over chicken with pepper and onion, 2 small onigiri, and cucumbers pieces.

I put my box in a little cooler bag and wrapped it up in one of my new little bento cloths!

Here's my husband's box!

He has pretty much the same thing, he has more steamed vegetables, and I cut a big triangle onigiri in 2 (they don't fit in my small boxes!). I didn't give him cucumber sticks but I added a little pack of baby carrots and a banana to his lunch.

I packed the box in a little cooler bag, and then packed everything in my larger bento cloth.

The chicken will have to be warmed up. I don't think it'd be very good cold. I don't usually pack foods that need to be warmed up for myself, but I knew I was going to be home, so...

That's our bento adventure for today. I'm very happy that my husband is into this along with me. He's very enthusiastic and it makes it all the more fun to play with!

Happy Bento Everyone!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Breakfast Bento

Every Sunday I work a meeting and I weigh-in with my coworkers before I do. I don't want to eat breakfast before I weight in, so I bring breakfast along. Usually I bring hot cereals in my trusty thermos jar, but today I didn't feel like it so I made a bento. Actually, to be honest, my husband pretty much made it!

He boiled eggs for me while I was getting ready, and washed and cut strawberries. I cut the eggs in halves (cause I think it's pretty!) and added some left over couscous. Et Voila! Breakfast bento.

It was actually the first breakfast bento that didn't leave me hungry and low energy! Also, I love to have strawberries in a bento, it's cute, it's fresh, and it's sweet. I think it's the best way to end a bento meal! :o)

Happy Bento everyone!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

So many things!

Whew! Lots to talk about today!

First I want to catch up with myself, with all the home painting-renovating-cleaning-reorganizing, I haven't had time for much bento-ing. I did make myself a bento Friday though, so here it is:

In the top tier, I have left over roasted chicken cooked with lentils, chickpeas, in a Dijon mustard-broth mix. With that I have steamed vegetables.

In the lower tier I have herbed couscous with cut strawberries for dessert. I added a few flowers here and there to make if cure, though I think the foods themselves were pretty custy!

Ok, now that I'm all caught up, I went bento shopping today again. I know, I know, the last thing I need is more stuff, but we needed to get out of here, and well... I couldn't resist!

First we went to Daiso in Daly City. Here's the stuff I got there:

That's most of it up here, with the mini Ice-packs bags and everything.

Yeah, I got 2 new boxes. It different version of my favorite yellow one. I got the boxes, the chopstick cases and the forks that match. To be fair, I was agonizing over which one to choose, and my husband decided he wanted one. So there, the red is mine, and the blue is his!

These are little mustard containers with a little spoon to spread it and everything! I think it's perfect for my hummus!

My round Onigiri molds. I tried to make round Onigiri by hand, I do not have the dexterity for it. So there, there's nothing wrong with cheating a little!

On my way out of the store, I came across those cute little "bento cloth". They didn't have a red one, but I bought those two. That way my yellow box and my blue one have a matching cloth. I'm going way beyond sanity I think, but hey, I got all this stuff I've shown so far for $20!

Then we went to Japantown and it was CROWDED! We first went to Sanko, but it was crowded and the bento section was taken over by two very rude Chinese ladies who were NOT going to let ANYBODY close to the bento stuff. I gave up, the staff were overwhelmed so I thought it wasn't worth getting in troubles for.

So we left and went to my favorite spot, Ichiban Kan!

They hardly had ANYTHING. Not even the usual cheapos bentos they always have. I did find the one tier bento I wanted (for breakfast and snacks), and some cool silicon cups, but that's about it. Here's the whole thing:

The little pink round containers and the blue ones, are actually cosmetic containers. They have a little "spreader" that came with each pack of 3. I'm intending to use them as spread containers. Like I don't have enough already... but they were cute!

When I came home, I started thinking that my silicon cups I had wouldn't work for the new bentos. I always used them for my husband's box, but now he'll be using one like mine. Now what?

The other issue is that I use a lot of paper cups and I don't like that much. It's wasting paper, and I don't want to keep doing that. My silicon cups are too high for my little Sheep Lube bentos. So I cut them!

I shorten most of them, and with some of the excess I made dividers!

No more waste! It was a long successful day. I'm getting back into bento-ing tomorrow. Time to stop messing around and get myself back on track. Enough is enough!

Happy Bento everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Laptop Trauma

Monday morning I overturned an entire glass of water with Weight Watchers Mix-in into my laptop computer.

Because of this I have been unable to post on my blogs, or send my group emails all week. I got my laptop back today and will resume my happy activities tomorrow.

I hope nobody got offended or confused by this. I promise to post as soon as I can tomorrow!

Be good n stuff!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Back on Track!

This is yesterday's post. While trying to post this, I spilled an entire glass of water with "mix-in" in my laptop. My laptop is up and running, but Ill have it cleaned today. Hopefully it'll stop adding "g"s every where.

After a week of eating way too much subway, and way too few healthy lunches (and dinner) we decided to get back on the "wagon" (I hate that expression!). So yesterday I cooked an Indian spiced, ground turkey chili, keeping in mind that we needed lunches today. I also made a couscous, and steamed veggies. All I had to do this morning is to put things together!

Here's my box:

As I said, I have an Indian spiced Turkey chili, with curried couscous in my upper tier. In the lower tier, I have spiced steamed veggies, and strawberries.

My husband has the exact same thing in his box, just a little more of everything. I also added a Peanut Butter bliss bar for snack later.

Here's our two boxes ready to go!

It was a very satisfying lunch, I ate it cold and it was just fine. Its funny how you get used to having a packed lunch ready to go. I missed it so much last week!

Happy Bento every one!

Friday, April 11, 2008

No more Subway Sammiches!

Still painting the house! I'm trying to put the bedroom back together while the painting is going on downstairs. I decided to make a bento today. I'm tired of Subway sammiches! So I kept it simple, but I had to have something that taste like something.

Here's my box for today:

I put in 3 small onigiri, a star, a heart and a bear. Under them and around them I put cucumber. It was moving around so I put two red bell pepper "beams" to hold it all together. It also add a nice red touch doesn't it?

In the top tier I put in steamed broccoli and red bell peppers, mixed with lentils. I wanted some salty proteins, so I made Canadian bacon little skewers. I had a cutsy minute, so I used my vegetables skewers I got at Sanko.

I had that bento along with an orange. I'm happy, satisfied, and it was real food!

I also made a box for my husband, I think he was happy with it.

He has the steamed broccoli and red bell peppers. I put the lentils aside, I think he prefers it that way. I took out a big onigiri for him. For his skewers, I used deli turkey and deli ham, one thin slice of each on each skewers. He has a little bottle of Italian dressing to add to his veggies (see between the onigiri and the steamed veggies, there's a little red cap sticking out!)

We're finally settled down and finding ourselves. It's been a trying 2 weeks, but we're happy with the results!

Happy Bento!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Trying my Broiled Onigiri Finally!

Today I started the day without a bento, and then decided to make one. I'm home, and living in boxes, so I'm not overly motivated (only 3 days of painting left though, then we're ALL DONE!).

Here's my bento today. There isn't any real proteins, I'll make up for it tonight.. didn't have anything on hand, not even eggs, so I just decided to forget it for lunch.

In the lower tier I have 3 Broiled Onigiri (first time I thaw any out, we'll see!!!) on a bed of lettuce.

In the top tier, I have sliced cucumber, carrot sticks, and steamed broccoli and red bell pepper.

It's a little diet-y, but that wasn't the plan, I just don't feel hungry smelling the latex paint and all that (thanks the Lady it's not oil paint!).

We'll see how that works, I have a lot of physical work today... oh well, I'm home, so if I get hungry I'll eat!

Happy Bento everyone!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Speedy Bento!

Today I didn't wanna... Not that I have that much to do anyway... I just didn't wanna. ;op

I looked into the fridge and found what I could use for minimum effort. Here's what I came up with:

My box:

In the lower tier, I have a couscous salad, with chickpeas, lentils, shredded carrots, and steamed broccoli (leftovers from yesterday).

In the top tier, I have steamed broccoli, and carrots and celery sticks. I also have two little container, one has Mediterranean Hummus, and the other has whole grain Dijon mustard. I wanted to put in taste without putting in the effort.

My husband has the same thing, with a little deli ham added for proteins (I know, there's plenty in the chickpeas and in the lentils, but... he's a guy):

I didn't have time to steam broccoli for him, so I gave him more veggie sticks, a little more hummus (in the clear container). On the left he has the couscous salad, and the deli ham on my cutsy skewers. I added a mini-bar for dessert since we didn't have any baby carrots to put in there.

I forgot about the Onigiri I made this week... DUH.

Our bentos are pretty simple, I went from the cutsy curse, to the lazy curse. I'll pick it up next week. I promise a super cutsy one Monday!

Happy Bento everybody!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bento and Onigiri

Today I stayed home. I have people working in here and I need to keep an eye on dog and cat, not to mention my stuff! I still made a bento for myself. Also, since I was getting bored, I decided to try something new: Broiled Onigiri. They are made, broiled, cooled and in the freezer!

Here's my bento today:

I had left over vegetarian "chili". I made that up yesterday thinking that it would keep us from hitting the restaurant (I work Tuesday evening). Good thing I did cause I ended up working later than I had planned and everything went crazy from there.

In the lower tier I have a simple salad made of lettuce, shredded carrots, minced celery and cilantro.

In the top tier, I have my vegetarian chili, and steamed broccoli (with salt pepper and garam masala).

I like steamed broccoli, it taste great and it's easy and quick to do!

My husband has basically the same thing: vegetarian chili, steamed broccoli, extra lentils (he likes to mix them with the broccoli), his trusty carrots (last pack!), and celery sticks (to beat the munchies!).

As I said, I got bored today and decided to try to make Broiled Onigiri. I got the idea in Let's Cook Japanese Food, by Amy Kaneko. Here they are coming out of the oven:

They are very easy to make really! Here's what I did:

Broiled Onigiri

1- I made short grain brown rice in the rice cooker. Just rice and water, as recommended in the manual of my cooker.

2- I put the rice is a glass bowl, and I added a little rice vinegar to it (not in the direction, but I felt like it). In another bowl I put water and salt and mixed to disolve the salt.

3- Making sure my hands were wet with salted water, I made the rice balls with molds that I bought at Ichiban Kan. You could very easily shape them by hands (it's just less cutsy shapes). As I took them out of the molds, I patted each rice ball very gently with my salty wet hands to give them extra saltiness.

4- I put the rice balls on a rimmed baking sheet that I had covered with aluminum foil (don't like cleaning much) and sprayed lightly with cooking spray. I broiled the Onigiri about 5 inch from the heat until very lightly brown (about 2-3 minutes), then I turned them, and did the same thing with the other side.

5- Then I brushed soy sauce on the top of the Onigiri and broiled them some more until well browned (but not burned!). I did the same with the other side.

6- After done, I put the Onigiri in a large pasta bowl and covered with a wet paper towel to cool, about 20-30 minutes.

7- I put them back on a baking sheet, with plastic wrap to cut down on cleaning, and put the whole thing in the freezer for 15 minutes.

8- Finally I wrapped each Onigiri individually and put them in a ziploc bag in the freezer. I used Biggie's trick of using a straw to suck out the air of the Ziploc bag, it works just fine!

Here they are ready to eat:

The original recipe was with white rice, but it didn't fit with my food plan. These were yummy (what? OF COURSE I tasted it, what are you thinking?) and hopefully will freeze very well.

So there, that's my Bento adventure of the day! I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Happy Bento everyone!