Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New Look!

Well dear readers, here you have it! Willow's Home finally got it's very own look!

I have wanted to give Willow's Lifestyle and Willow's Bento Box a look that is my own ever since I started them, but I needed help.

It took some nagging, but Mister Willow (actually my husband Dan Ross) finally decided today that he would sit down and do it. The spice background and the spice lettering are made from a photo I took and that Dan transformed into lettering and background.

There will be other upgrades and creations as time goes by, but the basis of what I want my blogs to look like is there. Finally!

A great huge loving thank you to Dan for taking the time to do it (and putting up with me in the process ;op).

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ending the week well

Thursday I had the day to myself along with Grace (my dog). I decided that it was more than time to get outside and play together. We both needed it.

I was going eat at a cafe somewhere, but realized that I had plenty of leftovers to work with, so I made a bento out of odds and ends I had in the fridge.

Here's my box:

Grains: I had cinnamon scented couscous.

Vegetables: I had steamed broccoli stem, and precooked edamame (Trader Joes). I added steamed lentils (Trader Joes) to that.

Proteins: I had the rest (finally) of the pork roast. It was delicious, but I was getting very sick of it!

Others: I cut up a pineapple Wednesday to put in the chicken salsa dish and had leftovers. I put those in as a "side dish/dessert".

I went to a Weight Watchers meeting, and then to the dog park. I ate my bento there, and had a few dogs roaming around me. Apparently, there were volunteers to help me out with my pork if needed. ;op

Today (friday) I made Sushi Bowls for dinner (see my Lifestyle blog for details) and with the leftover rice I made Broiled Onigiris:

Those are now in the freezer ready for a coming bento! I hadn't made those in a while, and they are goooood!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Don't tell me I have an hour!

This morning I'm not working, again. Kinda depressing, but it gives me time to do useful things, like... well, useful things!

I didn't have anything prepared really for the bentos, just leftover pork roast. As I made a comment about "Gee, i need some time this morning" my husband said "Well, I'm not leaving for another hour".

Oh yeah? Cutsiness attack! I took out some vegetable cutters and had some fun:

Grains: I have about 1/2 cup of the quick couscous I made with chicken broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cinnamon. I love Couscous for those "I got nothing" mornings because it's so fast. I added a cut out red bell pepper flower to make it look cute.

Proteins: I made little sticks with 2oz of the never ending pork roast. It is delicious! I had sushi last night so I'm not tired of this pork yet.

Vegetables: I have steamed broccoli. I put some mirin in the water, we'll see how it goes. I had orange blossom water in the water last time, but my husband thought it was a little too strong (I love it so there!).

I also have red pepper and cucumber salad. I cut flowers out of red bell pepper and out of cucumber, and diced the "leftovers" to make the main salad. I covered it with the flowers. Cute huh?

My husband has the same foods, but a little more. The only difference is that I added a leaf of lettuce under his pork sticks to make it look better.

He has twice as much couscous, and about 3.5 oz of pork. He has a little less vegetable though so I added a little bag of baby carrot and a banana to his lunch.

I used a bento cloth to hold everything together. The cooler bag with the bento is in there as well as the banana and the baby carrot bag.

There you have it, another day of bento!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Loving Leftovers!

Today is another leftovers day. As I explained in my Lifestyle Blog, I'm trying very hard to simplify my life by cooking once for 2+ meals. So far, it's pretty darned tasty!

Here's today's boxes:

Grains: I have leftover Chicken-Sausage-Rice casserole. It will need to be reheated, which is not usual for me since I like to pack cold lunches, but I knew I was not teaching today so it's ok. ;op

The grain is Trader Joes frozen brown rice. The whole process from the pouch to the casserole is explained in my Lifestyle Blog.

Proteins: I have the chicken and sausage in the Rice casserole, I also added a little be of edamame and steamed lentils. Both sold fully prepared at Trader Joes.

Vegetables: I have steamed broccoli, lettuce and baby carrots.

I'm having a blueberries-apple butter phase. What can I say, it's delicious! The apple butter is in the little yellow bear container.

My husband has exactly the same foods, so I won't bother to repeat myself. His portions are bigger because, as stated many times, he's 6'2", he needs food!

I tried to play with colors a little more today to have the boxes more visually interesting. Of course that rice casserole is not pretty, I noticed, but it's good!

Happy Bento Everybody!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Breakfast Bento and a New Start!

I started 2009 running backward due to a flu that hit me between the eyes on the way home from my vacation. I'm feeling better now, and am ready to get going.

So, today was weigh-in day (down 2.8 lbs YAY!) and my first breakfast bento:

Proteins: Last night my husband hard boiled 2 eggs (well 3, but one exploded Woah!). This morning I removed the yolks (to cut down on fat and calories) and chopped the whites. I salted and peppered, et voila! Proteins for few calories!

Fruits: I washed about 3/4 cups of blueberries.

Other: In the little yellow container I have apple butter that we bought at Costco. It's 60 calories for 1 Tablespoon, but a little goes a long way. It's delicious!

My breakfast is lacking in grains, but I had enough to last me until noon. I was working my Sunday meeting today so I didn't have time to get hungry.

It was actually a simple but very satisfying breakfast.

Happy Bento Everybody!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Quick Leftovers Bento

Today I made a box only for myself. I had leftovers to work with and it was really a "throw it in the box lunch.

Here's what it looked like:

Grains: I have Bulgar with minced vegetables. I minced the vegetable in the chopper, sauteed them, added Indian spices, a little broth and threw the mix in pre-soaked Bulgar. It was delicious!

Proteins: I have leftover roasted chicken (from the deli) mixed with cilantro.

Vegetables: I have steamed broccoli and red bell pepper strip with cilantro.

Others: I added a clementine for dessert.

It was very simple, and I was surprised by how delicious it all was. The combination of taste and texture was perfect. The Bulgar recipe in particular will be made again!

Happy Bento Everybody!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 is There!!

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!

I was all excited to start 2009 after a difficult year in 2008, but I've got a bad case of the flu, so I'm "crawling" into 2009 rather than jumping in. Still, I had to get my Bento-ing going and get myself on track!

One of my goal is to simplify things for 2009. I get grand ideas and expand them until there is no way I can get it all done. That is not working for me. I have a full very challenging year ahead of me (but exciting!!!) so I need to keep things simple.

So, hopefully, I'll be able to bring in simpler, easy to make bentos, that can be done quickly. Don't worry though, the cutsiness isn't dead! It will come around when I have more time (and more energy).

I also plan on weekend cook off in which I will cook for the week, for both lunch and dinners, so that would be cool "Make ahead posts".

So, after all this blah blah blah, here's today's fare:

Grains: I have the Weight Watchers Side "Zesty Spanish Brown Rice" that I cooked following package directions and then threw over sauteed vegetables. We had leftovers from last night.

Proteins: I have Trader Joes steamed lentils. They are sold precooked, so you just open the pack and dump them in. I really like the taste of them!

Vegetables: I have cut up carrots, red bell peppers, and cucumbers. It's very simple, I like raw vegetables by themselves without dressing.

Others: I'm going to have a small flavored non-fat Greek yogurt (from Trader Joes) with that and most probably a clementine.

Note: I loaded my box with raw veggies because they don't have weird taste when I'm sick.

My husband's box is a little different:

Grains: He has the leftover rice I have.

Proteins: He has lentils also, but I added 4 falafel (bought at Costco and frozen).

Vegetables: He has red bell peppers and cucumber pieces.

Others: I gave him a clementine, but also 2 pieces of Toblerone Chocolate. I thought the two would go well together!

Note: My husband is 6'2" so he needs a lot more calories than I do. He is also taking along foods for the whole day so I added a banana and a whole grain crisp snack (new at Weight Watchers, they are delicious!) so that he has other snacks than the junk from Costco at work.

So that's our lunches for today. I'm thinking that describing the foods by "kind of food" rather than by "top tier, bottom tier" would be less confusing. Let me know what you think!

Happy Bento Everybody!