Touch of Nectar

{September 1, 2011}   12 Minute Bento – Step by Step

Yeah, yeah. It’s been awhile. I know.

 I am getting very excited because the kidling starts “real” school in about a week and she’s decided that she wants me to make her a bento for lunch each day too. So now I’m all inspired and I decided to take photos and time myself while making today’s bento.

Get out the food.

Get out the tools

Make onigiri. I used a pouch of salmon to stuff them this time. 1/2 a pouch for 2 fairly large rice balls.

Add stuff. Here I’m filling in with cherry tomatoes and a cucumber salad. The salad is tucked into a silicone lined paper cup. There’s a bit of fried, seasoned tofu tucked in the box too. I also topped the rice with a vegetable furikake (seaweed sprinkles). We’re half done! 7 minutes on the clock…  Yes those are picked onions (delicious!) but they didn’t make it into today’s box. Back into the fridge they went.

The rest of the bento.  More fried tofu and a silicone cup to hold a wet salad.

And finish it off.  Beet and orange salad. Pickled daikon and carrot. And I tucked a couple more cherry tomatoes in there too.

I’m having a cut up peach for dessert. Not sure if this counts as a bento, but it IS in a bento box. 🙂    12 minutes start to finish. Another minute or so to put everything away. Easy peasy!


Restocking the freezer this week.  Some doubling up on recipes throughout the week.   Ground turkey is on sale at Safeway for buy one get one free, so I’ll be making a HUGE batch of meatballs to freeze. I also want to restock my freezer with roasted red bell pepper and tomato soup.  I might throw some beans in the crockpot for some sort of freezable stew later this week too. I bought a giant package of chicken breasts, so those will go in the freezer in at least 3 different marinades. (to be determined)

As of today, I am at 99/365 recipes. As always, these are in no particular order.  (Already changing the menu since I forgot a few things at the store last night…)

Sat 26 Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir Fry – Cooking Light 04
Steamed rice, dumplings (freezer)

Sun 27 – Mini Meatloaves – Cooking Light 2004 (make double) and Twice Baked Potatoes (make at least double. hubby loves these)

Mon 28 Pork Chili with Greens – 1001 Slow Cooker  and Sweet Corn Cheddar Pancakes From Asparagus to Zucchini

Tue 29Sage Stuffed Chicken Breasts – George Foreman Green Beans (wondering if this would freeze well?)

Wed 30 – CORN/Leftovers night (might change since I won’t be around this weekend to cook)

Thur 31 Pork and Fennel Ragu – Cooking Light 2004 Rice, Bread, Salad

Fri 1 – Off to Canada! I’m teaching a 4 hour backcountry cooking class. So not ready! Hubby and kidling to eat leftovers or eat pizza.

BreakfastsStrawberry Cinnamon Muffins – Cooking Light 2005 and Ginger Dessert Waffles – Spices of the World

LunchesGreen Apple Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette – Cooking Light 2004 and  Tarragon Tuna Salad – Spices of the World and and Potato Salad with Parsley and Chives – Cooking Light 2004 (for hubby. Didn’t get made from previous menu) Slaw of some sort? I have green cabbage to use up.

Dessert Applesauce Cake Spices of the World (made with home canned applesauce) I also picked up an angelfood cake at the store – to be served topped with Cool Whip and home-canned berries.

Last weekend I met a friend over at our property in eastern Washington to harvest blue elderberries and rose hips. More on the berries later.

Here’s the rose hip haul:

And hear they are all cleaned up. We got about 10 cups worth of hips. The jelly recipe called for 8 cups so I’m letting the rest of the hips dry for teas.

I made jelly using this recipe: Rose Hip Jelly

This was my first attempt at jelly making so it was a bit of an adventure. I skipped putting the butter in.

First you boil the hips

When they were softened, I took my stick blender to them (I don’t have a food processor). This might have been overkill.

Then I set the mashed hips to drain on cheesecloth.

Here’s where I think I took a slightly wrong turn. The hips weren’t draining, too thick, so I poured boiling water over them to get out all the juices. I squeezed the cheesecloth too. This worked, but I forgot to measure the liquid when I was done. Oops!

Boil the liquid and add sugar and pectin

Then skim off the foam

And into the jars it went.

Processed in a boiling water bath

And we have jelly… or not.

Pretty isn’t it?

Only… It didn’t look like the jelly had set up. I had jar after jar of rose hip syrup! Yummy, but not what I was going after. I knew that jelly could be re-processed, so I did a bit of googling… And found this recipe for fixing jams and jellys.

Ahhh… I think there’s part of the problem! There’s no lemon juice in the original recipe. No acid. So the jelly has now been reprocessed (except for 4 jars – those can just be syrup) and it looks thicker. Now it’s a waiting game. It can take weeks for jelly to fully set up. I’m so impatient!!

{September 21, 2009}   Jam, Jam and More Jam… Whew!

I decided, after picking an abnoxious amount of blackberries and having been gifted an entire tree’s worth of pears, that I would like to learn hot to make jam this year. My friend, Sarah, promised to teach me. Yes, I know. Jam making is not difficult. But it is more fun with company. Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas?

First up – Blueberry! I think we were a little short on berries, so Sarah tossed in some of her hand-picked wild ones. YUM!

Next – Blackberry!

Then Sarah loaned me her canning kit so I could do pear jam yesterday. I really wanted to do a pear-amaretto jam, but I couldn’t find a recipe and I’m not brave enough to start experimenting yet…

Had to go buy more jars, sugar and pectin, but I think I did alright. Just plain pear. How do I get the chunks to not float?

And the final result… Almost 3 dozen jars of jam. Anyone want some jam?!

I told hubby last night that I’d like to learn how to do pickles next. Specifically green beans. Really spicy ones to stick in a bloody mary. Mmmm…

et cetera