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!


The Menu this Week. March 19-25 2011

It’s official! I am ¼ of the way through Project 365. I have made 92 recipes. Only 273 left to go! I am about 2 weeks ahead of schedule, but I’m anticipating a lot of days in April and later this summer when I will not be cooking at all.

Dinners this week are mostly from the pantry. Pretty much the only things I need from the store this week is a pound of hamburger and a large package of chicken.

As usual, these are most likely not in the order that I will make them. I’ve been trying to get the husband and kidling to eat more fruits and vegetables so I will also serve melon, grapes, pineapple and/or oranges with dinner. And bread. Always with the bread.

SatCanton Chicken and Rice  from 1001 Low Fat

Sun – Chicken Stew with Parsley Dumplings (my own stew from the freezer) from 1001 Low Fat

Mon – Pork Schnitzel from Rachael Ray’s 365 No Repeats and Rice Pilaf with Shallots and Parmesan from Cooking Light 2004

TuesPasta Shells with Tuscan Tuna from Cooking Light 2004

Wed – Beef and Been Burritos from 1001 Low Fat and Zucchini with Oregano and Sun dried tomatoes from Asparagus to Zucchini and Herbed Polenta from 1001 More Low Fat

Thurs – Knit night. Hubby and kidling to eat leftovers or order pizza.

Fri – Fettuccini with Chicken Piccata from 1001 More Low Fat

Breakfasts – Almond Pancakes from Beyond the Moon and Muffins (undecided. Strawberry?)

Lunches – (also doubles as side dishes) Potato Salad with Parsley and Chives from Cooking Light 2004, Macaroni Salad from 1001 More Low Fat, Armenian Bean Salad from Asparagus to Zucchini and Egg Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes from Beyond the Moon.

Dessert – Double Crust Blueberry Pie from 1001 Low Fat (made with home-canned blueberries)

{March 15, 2011}  

Not too shabby for just cleaning out the fridge!

On the left is leftover pork piccata, spinach, green beans and asparagus, grape tomatoes and the chickpea-barley-artichoke salad.

On the right is apricots, grapes and girlscout shortbread cookies.

{March 10, 2011}  

My friend’s son brought me this awesome new bento box back from his recent visit to Japan. A first I thought it was going to be too big for me… But then I found this awesome white bean Nicoise salad recipe I wanted to try.

The bento is perfect for this sort of thing! I put the spinach in the lower box and the beans (with tuna, parsley and lemon) and the olives, green beans and tomatoes in upper box. The upper box has a nicely sealing lid. Everything stayed right where it should and lunch was DELICIOUS!

{January 5, 2010}   Another Sushi Bento

Another Sushi Bento

Originally uploaded by dicentragirl

It’s time to go grocery shopping! This was pulled together with what I had in the fridge.

Left-to-right: More of the daikon pickles, pickled ginger, tomago, cucumber-wasabi rolls, spam-avocado maki rolls.

There is soy sauce in my desk at work. Fruit! We’re out of fruit! I must remedy that stat!

{January 4, 2010}   Quick Bento

Quick Bento

Originally uploaded by dicentragirl

This took about 8 minutes, start to finish.

Rice with teriyaki furikake. This would have been a vegetarian bento, but there is fish in the furikake.

On the right: squash balls, quails eggs, carrots, heirloom cherry tomatoes, snow peas and quick daikon pickle.

{December 31, 2009}   Pretty Bento

Pretty Bento

Originally uploaded by dicentragirl

No theme today, just pulling out whatever is in the fridge. It’s pretty though, isn’t it? And vegetarian!

That’s one of my New Years resolutions. Eat more vegetarian and vegan meals. Lunch is the perfect opportunity since I don’t have to share… bring on the quinoa! The chickpeas! The tofu! And mushrooms. Lots and lots of mushrooms… Nom! But I digress… Back to the box.

On the left: raspberries, baked savory tofu, heirloom cherry tomatoes, quails eggs and squash balls (based on this recipe)

On the right: yellow bell pepper and rice squares

I also have some banana yogurt and sliced kiwi for breakfast.

And since so many people have asked how long it takes to put my bento lunches together, I timed myself this morning. This box took 16 minutes, which includes getting everything out of the fridge, slicing veggies, packing the lunch, putting everything away and cleaning up.

{December 28, 2009}   New Box Bento

New Box Bento

Originally uploaded by dicentragirl

Oh yes. Another box. I still haven’t shown you the other two I bought for myself for giftmas!

I was at H-mart yesterday, partially for entertainment and partially to actually do some grocery shopping, when I spotted this box in with the kitchen supplies. It is one I have seen HapaBento use. I admire her greatly. Her bentos are always gorgeous and tasty-looking. The box was only $5ish so I snagged it! The H-mart by me is pretty well stocked with bento supplies right now! Yay!

They had some really pretty family/picnic sized ones… I promised the kidling we’d come back and get one of those for this summer. It would be really fun to take a bento to the beach. We do a lot of picnics at the beach in the summer anyway.

The individual containers don’t have lids, but they are fairly deep (2 inches?). There is a lid that snaps tight over the whole box. And I like the colors of the individual containers. The lid and sides are clear plastic.

I didn’t intentionally do a vegan bento, but I’m pleased it turned out that way. In today’s box:

Red container – mushrooms stir fried in sesame oil.
Yellow – onigiri with sesame-salt furikake and snow peas
Purple – heirloom cherry tomatoes, onigiri
Green – baked savory-flavor tofu, steamed bok choy

I also stuck in a jelly candy and a couple of containers of soy sauce. I am going to be eating a ton of those jellys. I bought a HUGE variety container of them (for just under $3). The lichi flavor is especially yummy.

Other stuff I managed to find at H-mart:
lots of veggies, tofu skins for inarizushi, two kinds of kimchi, seaweed salad, hijiki, fish balls, furikake, canned pork curry (it was good!) chopsticks and a bunch of various dim-sum to stock my freezer with.

I took a lot of time shopping (like over 2 hours) and it was sample day, so the kid stayed happy too. I’m am very pleased with myself that I am beginning to recognize some of these “strange” ingredients and know how to prepare them. The kid did want me to buy chicken feet. I had to say no to that one…

Finally! I’m back to my blog and back bento-ing! It has been too long. I spent the last couple of days looking at all of the fabulous bentos on Flickr.

Got inspired.

 The back contains miso chicken, lentil-tomato-basil salad abd applesauce. The front contains rice pilaf and veggies. More lentil salad under the rice.The flowers are made of purple potato and japanese yam. Pomegranite centers. Fun! I think the dragonfly needs a head though, don’t you?

{September 22, 2009}   Bento #58 – Uninspired Leftovers

Oh well. At least it is kind of pretty. I like all the colors. Today is the first day of fall – all that orange/green wasn’t intentionally a theme, but I like it.

On the left: carrot and cucumber slices, Green Goddess dressing. Teriyaki chicken thigh, mung bean sprouts.

On the right (snack/breakfast): white peach, grapes, grape gummy candy, cheese stick, boiled egg, tomatoes from my neighbor’s garden

et cetera