Touch of Nectar











Meatballs are one staple thing I keep in the freezer. I often add shredded zucchini or yellow squash to them in an attempt to healthy them up.

Then I was sent this sample.

Mostly made of soy. One of the suggestions on the label said it could be mixed with ground beef for a healthier burger.  Well now. Ground turkey was on sale this week for buy one get one free and I intended to make meatballs anyway… Perfect.

It certainly doesn’t look like much right out of the package.

I added two pounds of ground turkey and one egg. It made lots of meatballs!  I put 5 packages of 10 each in the freezer. Yay me!

The meatballs turned out very nicely. You can’t tell I added anything to them and they have a nice dense texture.



{December 26, 2011}   Down to the Wire! Last Menu of 2011

Whew!! Project 365 really has been a project! I’ve learned a lot. And we’ve eaten a ton of great food this year. I’m a little tired of my cookbooks though… And there’s a few that are not going to be staying on the shelves.  And I’ve discovered a handful of new books that I’ll be adding to the collection in 2012. Yes, I have a problem. lol. 

I am looking forward to being able to cook whatever I want, without the pressure of having it “count” toward the project.  We’ve found a lot of new favorites. I think about half or more of the recipes that we tried I will be making again.

I did a RIDICULOUS amount of cooking for Christmas… I was at 21 recipes and 9 days to go. Panic!!  Now I’m at 354/365, so 11 to go and 6 days to to it. I can DO IT.  Problem is… I have a refrigerator full of yummy leftovers!

So this week’s menu is things that can be stored for awhile (salad dressings) and some things that can be frozen. AND recipes that use up leftovers in creative ways.  As usual, these are in no particular order.  There’s more than 11 recipes here to finish, but I predict that I will not get to all of them.

There’s a Lichi Martini recipe I want to try and I bought vodka for xmas. I need to find which book it is in. Yum!

Rounding the dinners out are leftover vegetables and crackers with a big variety of dips and cheeses. It will be fun to have “appetizers” before dinner every night.

Mon 26: Shrimp with Green Beans, Tomato and Feta – 365 One Dish

Tue 27: Polish Noodles and Cabbage – Frugal Gourmet Ancient Ancestors
Leftover Prime Rib, SunDried Tomato and Goat Cheese Dressing – 1001 Low Fat

Wed 28: CORN/Leftovers night

Thurs 29: Beef (leftover) with Red Wine Tarragon Sauce – Cooking Light 2003
leftover twice baked potatoes, salad

Fri 30: Parmesan Vinaigrette (salad) – 1001 More Low Fat
Leftovers

Sat 31: Happy New Year!  Cioppino – 1001 More Low Fat
Maple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins – Xmas Kitchen

Sun 1: I ain’t cooking nothin! 

Lunches: Orange Cabbage Salad – Bento Boxes
Crunchy Cabbage and Carrots – Bento Boxes
Orzo with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms – 1001 More Low Fat

Other: Beef and Barley Soup (leftover beef) – 365 One Dish (eat one for lunch, freeze rest)
Carrot Raisin Nut Bread – Xmas Kitchen (freeze in small portions for lunches)
Korean Style Honey Marinade – Xmas Kitchen (freeze)



{November 16, 2011}   Kawaii!

So I bring home this book from the library called Face Food

Just for fun. Just to look at. Just to admire OTHER people’s talents…

And the kidling gets ahold of it. Ut oh.  Now she wants one.

So here it is… My first (slightly sad) attempt at a charaben bento.   In case you can’t tell it is supposed to be a cat.

The bento ingredients themselves are simple. The cat is a cheese sandwich. Goldfish crackers, mini dill pickles, cherry tomatoes and grapes round out the box.



{November 12, 2011}   Marching On

Okay as of this morning Project 365 sits at 297 recipes done. Gonna have to double up quite a bit to finish on time. At least I have the holidays (I host) and Christmas baking coming up. I’ve been working on creative new ideas for bento lunches.  We’ve had enough leftovers lately, so I’ve worked in two leftovers night. I will likely run the bread machine again this week too. Both hubby and the kidling like having bread with dinner.

There are grapes and satsumas in the fridge, so those will be heavily featured in the bentos this week.

Here’s this week’s menu…

Sat 12: Navy Bean Soup with Ham – 1001 Slow Cooker, Mini Corn Muffins with Prosciutto – 365 Appetizers

Sun 13: Chuckwagon Beef and Beans – 365 One Dish

Mon 14: Ravioli in Butter and Sage Sauce – From Asparagus to Zucchini, Pickletini – Food Fest

Tue 15: Leftovers

Wed 16: Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Spinach – Cooking Light 2004

Thurs 17: Knitting group night. Leftovers

Fri 18: Chicken Vegetable Pesto Stir Fry – 365 One Dish, Hasselback Potatoes – 300 Great Potato Recipes

Lunches: I have a variety of chicken salads picked out (using up leftover chicken),  Curried Lemon Mayo – 365 Appetizers (to be served with carrot and celery sticks), Sage Roasted Squash – From Asparagus to Zucchini

Other: Banana Oat Energy Bars – Trail Food (for the kidling’s 2nd breakfasts), Oatmeal Nut Waffles – Food Fest 365, Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cones – Food Fest 365.



{November 8, 2011}   Bad News, Good News, Good News

Okay, first the bad news… Our house got broken into on Friday. They literally kicked in the door. So hard that they broke the pin on the deadbolt. Scary stuff.

The good news is… our neighbors saw them, called the coppers and got a license plate number. They not only caught the bad guys, we got almost all of our stuff back the same day! And we have a new door now. I’m a little sad that our front door is no longer going to be purple.

So that is why I haven’t been blogging the last few days. I’ve been dealing with all that stuff. Weee…

But onto my other good news… I have lots of bentos to share!

I roasted some delicata squash last week. My favorite! I’ll blog about that later today if I get a chance.

This bento uses some fridge and freezer stash… boiled quails eggs, salad, edamame, cheese sticks, turkey meatballs, pickled green beans, mushrooms, carrots and squash. I forgot dressing for the salad! Bah!

And hers. Quails eggs, cheese, deli turkey, Halloween candy, pretzels and mango.

Another for me. Pickled green beans, roast beef, cheese, edamame, squash, stir fried bok choy and carrots, mushrooms.

Hers. Bagel with peanut butter and jelly, mango, grapes, pretzels and edamame.



{November 4, 2011}   Bento from the Freezer Stash

This is what the kidling’s lunchbox looks like most days. (the bento box would have a lid on it)

Today’s bento lunch: bagel with strawberry cream cheese, fresh mangos, grapes, quails eggs, snow peas and goldfish crackers.

And mine is dinner leftovers and freezer stock.

Carrots and snow peas (there is green goddess dressing at work), pickled onions and green beans, cheese.

Turkey meatballs (from the freezer – perfectly thawed at lunchtime), edamame, cucumber salad and stir fried carrots and broccoli.



{November 2, 2011}   Summer is Over

I’m using up the very last of the summer fruit now…  I always miss the variety of fruit I can get in the summertime. This year was not a very good year for us weatherwise, so while we got strawberries (barely), I missed out on blueberries and raspberries. Very soon it will be on to bananas, apples, pears and oranges for bento fruit. Thankfully satsumas are beginning to make an appearance in the grocery stores. Persimmons too, but I have no idea how to choose a perfect persimmon. Any suggestions?

The kidling got mango in her box today. These were not pretty and did not ripen well (on the windowsill like I always d0). I doubt that I will be buying more.

Also in her box is a mini bagel with strawberry cream cheese, grapes, quails egg, cheese and dry roasted peanuts. Needs something green, don’t you think?

And my “bento” today, if you want to call it that was another emergency bento. I did chores this morning like a good girl instead of messing with my lunch. It was still delicious though. I loves me a noodle bowl. Especially on a cold rainy day like today. Yeah, welcome to Seattle.

I put the carrots and dried shiitakes in with the noodles and water when I heated them up in the microwave. This works perfectly. After the soup was hot, I added everything else. Not the prettiest lunch, but it was very satisfying.



{November 2, 2011}   Almost Bento Twins

Both mine and the kidling’s bentos are similar today. First hers…

Cheddar and roast beef wraps, grapes, cereal bar and banana. The only thing that came back was the grapes (which are getting a bit wilty anyway)

And mine…

Orange slices, dried plums, olives, quail eggs, cheese and cucumber kabobs, carrot slices, snow peas and roast beef wraps with provolone cheese.  I ate everything except the olives.



{October 31, 2011}   Happy Halloween Bentos

First hers

Is it just me or does her pumpkin look like he’s saying “how YOU doin’?” LOL. That’s what I get for rushing. I obviously need some smaller cutters too. I found some (but didn’t buy them) this weekend… they are made for cutting tiny shapes out of clay. Perfect! Soon. Very soon.

In the box is roast beef sandwiches (under the pumpkin made of cheese), black olives, quails eggs, dried mangos, half a banana and some carrot slices.

And mine…

I tried to keep it pretty simple.

In the upper box is pickled green beans, shiitake mushrooms and roast beef sandwiches. That white thing was supposed to look like a ghost. There are some black olives and dried mangos hidden underneath everything too.

In the lower box is orange slices, plums, cheese and veggies. I have a little container of Green Goddess dressing to dip those in.



{October 28, 2011}   Halloween-ish Bentos

First the kidlings. She is using my new box, the little thief!  She requested “kabobs” today, so there are sausage and cheese kabobs, carrot slices and quails eggs. The owl and pumpkin picks are cupcake picks that I found when buying halloween decorations this year. They are paper, so won’t last long, but they were cheap, and it keeps the munchkin happy.

On the right is a peanut butter and jelly bagel, grapes and dried mango.

I was trying to do two things with my lunch today… The first was to try and use up what is in the fridge. The second was that I wanted it to look “autumnal” or something.

I think I got the colors right, but it could use some cute picks like the kid has in hers.

On the left is diced tomatoes, black olives and pork fried rice (dinner leftovers)

On the right is krab sticks, carrot slices, one dried prune, mushrooms, simmer kabocha squash, pickled green beans and onions.



et cetera