Thursday, December 8, 2011

bento #115

Took this one at night, so excuse the color.  Used the night setting on my camera.  Actually, it turned out better (less grainy, anyway!) than the other pictures I've taken lately!  The fact that we haven't seen the sunshine the past eight days doesn't help.. as I take my pictures next to the window with lots of natural light.  I don't remember Indiana winters being this grey before... although it hasn't been much of a winter since it's rained the past three days as well.

I needed a snack bento for all the grading I'll be doing these next two weeks... 7 classes' worth of essays, then final exams (also essays).
- triscuit crackers
- cheese and pepperoni
- blackberries, two olives
- a dark chocolate Hershey's kiss

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

bento #114

A bit of a look-alike from yesterday's bento-- made double onigiri, tamgoyaki, and miso chicken to make a second bento much easier.

I'll just copy and paste the list from yesterday.  :D
- spinach tamagoyaki
- flower-shaped onigiri with cheddar cheese hearts in the center
- half a clementine
- miso chicken (half a thigh)
- lightly steamed broccoli
- blackberries and a red pepper slice for color

I love this one, with all the colors!  Plus, I just love this box.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

bento #113

I think this one looks cute and pretty.  I also like the way the background is reflected on the box.

- bear and flower-shaped onigiri-- with faces!  The flower looks like she's singing  :P
- spinach tamagoyaki
- blackberries
- miso chicken (half a thigh)
- lightly steamed broccoli
- half a clementine

Several halves here... I made two smaller bentos, 300ish calories each, for today and tomorrow.  It's easier to make double of everything (tamagoyaki, miso chicken... the onigiri were in the freezer) and set some aside for later than cook twice.

And, look at all those colors!  White, black, yellow, green, orange, brown... and red for the box.  :D

Monday, December 5, 2011

bento #112

Travel bento!  When I'm heading out, I like to take a bento to eat in the car... instead of stopping for fast food.  I'd also planned to take an apple along but forgot that.  This was when I was heading to MI for Thanksgiving with my family.

- two onigiri (I'd forgotten how much I liked short-grain white rice!)
- a clementine
- teriyaki chicken (once again, looking a tad dark)  ;)
- tamagoyaki (getting better at making these!)
- sauteed zucchini
- oh, and the last four grapes in my refrigerator

Looks a bit pale... I didn't have much choice as far as the lighting was concerned.  I've been having a hard time taking good (clear!) pictures lately even though I'm using the same set-up as I did before.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm back... with a new direction?

Hi!  Is anyone out there in blog land?  I've come back recently from an absence... just got hungry for some cute healthy lunches-- and was craving rice!

While I don't want to change the direction of my blog completely-- I still want to post bentos-- I have been thinking if there's anything else I can add here. 

So, is there anything else you'd like to see?  Any topics, ideas you'd like to hear about?  Highlight recipes that could be used in a bento?

After looking at more bento blogs over the weekend, I've found that more than half don't fit the expression I'm going for.  While I have nothing against sandwiches, most are geared toward children and thus don't contain some of the most important aspects of bento (to me): visually pleasing and healthy.  While shaped sandwiches can be visually different-- and pleasing-- they don't fit into that Japanese aesthetic in the same way.  They also tend to be heavier on fruits vs. vegetables (sometimes those are missing), and can also contain pre-packaged foods that I try to avoid; that's why I'm packing bento in the first place.

I'm not criticizing those who do make bento in the above fashion-- there are legitimate reasons for these differences-- that's just not my bent.

So, is there anyone else out there who creates bentos like mine? 

Friday, December 2, 2011

bento #111

Here we go again... buffalo chicken wings.  When I don't feel like cooking, apparently I only like to eat pizza and chicken wings.

- chicken wings
- toasted garlic bread
- clementine
- celery sticks with ranch dressing in the bear cup

Not at all traditional (or colorful or balanced), but tasty!  It was perfect for the Sunday afternoon when I ate it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

bento # 110

Made a few bentos recently, anyway.  Have been looking back through my bento cookbooks and reading bento blogs again.  I think I was really just hungry for Japanese food!

balsamic sesame chicken (from Just Bento).  I was unsure of cooking times for chicken thighs (not at all like chicken breasts where you cook until firm!), so that's why they look like little chunks of coal.  :D  They still tasted good, and not burnt!
- cucumber slices
- Oh my darlin', oh my darlin', oh my darlin' Clementine (bought the first of these for the season over the weekend!)
- grape skewers
- you'd think it was spring with all these apple bunnies popping up!
- somen noodles cooked with zucchini and soy sauce, with cheddar cheese sakura on top

Very tasty!

Monday, November 21, 2011

bento #109

I don't have a picture for this bento... my camera needed new batteries over the weekend.  I've been taking too many pictures, I guess!

Anyway, it contained:
- leftover miso pork
- leftover rice with furikake
- tamagoyaki (they looked much better than my last attempt!)
- green pepper strips
- apple slices

I ate part of it on my way to my friend's play.  I'd brought the bento into school with me, thinking it would get to room temperature, but the rice was still cold and a bit hard (yuck!) after an hour and a half, so ate that when I got home that night.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

bento # 108

Can you tell I'm a bit out of practice?  :)  Oh well, at least it tasted good, and that's the important thing!

We have:
- miso pork (from Just Bento)
- pepper slices
- a tamagoyaki that was really more like scrambled eggs...
- rice with salmon furikake
- grape skewers
- apple bunny
- one carrot, steamed.  I put it in with the rice to cook and it turned out great, although a bit soft.  I'll put it in later next time.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

bento #107

An interesting mixture of East and West.

- leftover chicken hot wings
- celery and ranch dressing
- rice sprinkled with furikake
- grape "people"

I've been getting my bento books back out and browsing bento websites, and I realized what I had in my freezer would make a good bento.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


So, here's what I'm thinking.  I have to take meals two times a week next semester, so I'll probably pack bentos for Monday and Wednesday.  Stay tuned!

Now that summer's over, though, I won't have all the fresh veg available.  :(

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Yes, that's right, I'm currently obsessed with Lego.  Yes, the little plastic bricks that children play with-- except there's a whole group of AFOL (adult fans of Lego) I recently found.  They build amazing projects... check out the work of Nathan Sawaya.  Or look at some of these Lego buildings in a flickr group.

Nothing I make is that complicated, of course, as I mostly take the few sets I have and use those pieces to build something else.  Take the log cabin... I re-built it into something I call a log cottage:

and, from the back... a bed upstairs and a sink and eat-in-counter.  You have to use the fireplace out front if you want to cook.  ;)

It was a fun challenge because I could use only the pieces from that set (which is why there's a green stripe on the loft floor), and I like what I created!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

what have I been up to lately?

Well, as far as food goes, not packing bento.  I'm sure I'll get back into it when the school year starts again.  However, for work (teaching online), I'm doing a 6-week fruit and vegetable challenge, where the goal is to eat 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables every day.  As I was pretty much doing that already, except for the odd day, I figured I might as well sign up.  Our real goal is 20 points a week... well, the first week I had 30 points, and last week I had 40.  Fresh veg at farmer's markets and from friends' gardens helps!  As does the fact that peaches and cherries are in season.

A few examples: the other day I made lecho for lunch.  I used a whole tomato, half an onion, and a small green pepper.  3 servings of veg, easy.  (What is lecho?  Hungarian recipe...take a chopped onion and green pepper, saute, chop the tomato and add, cook until soft.  Scramble one egg and add to the mixture; cook until egg is set.  Serve with bread or toast). A fruit smoothie has a banana, half-cup of strawberries, and 6 oz. of juice.  Another 3 servings.  So, they add up quickly.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my newest obsession.  :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

bento #106, Breakfast bento

Breakfast bento!  I can't remember how I was numbering them, so I'll just lump them in with the rest of the bentos.

- mini bagel with a Morningstar sausage patty
- raspberry yogurt
- half a peach

Great breakfast, and just under 300 calories!  A nice bit of protein, too, which is what I need in the morning.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

bento #105

Another vegetarian meal.  It seems I eat a lot of carbs, which isn't normal for me at all.  People think it's odd that I don't usually have bread in the house (maybe some in the freezer).

- roasted vegetable penne.  Didn't turn out quite like I'd planned, but it tasted okay.  I tried to make flowers on top with the zucchini and carrots... almost.
- cucumber slices and one strawberry

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

bento #104

Monday's bento... not vegetarian  ;)  But, I had picnic leftovers (from my birthday) to use up!

- chicken salad sandwiches
- pepper and cucumber salad
- strawberries

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

bento #103

So, starting last Tuesday, I was supposed to go vegetarian for two weeks (because I've been eating too much junk lately!).  Except that I ate chicken on Friday and Saturday and Monday.... oh well.  Let's just say mostly vegetarian.  ;)

- corn-stuffed cheesy peppers (corn, cheese, garlic, and poblano peppers inside a green pepper)
- carrot slaw (with raisins and walnuts)
- half a mini bagel, buttered and sprinkled with garlic salt
- strawberries

Monday, July 11, 2011

bento #102

A pretty simple bento today... I took it to the park to eat after hiking on Sunday.

- beef patties
- baby carrots, corn, and asparagus
- strawberrries

Friday, July 8, 2011

bento #101

Today is my birthday!  Happy birthday to myself!  I made pancakes for breakfast... out of cake mix... per this month's EveryDay with Rachael Ray.

If you're thinking that this bento looks like yesterday's, well... that means you're observant.  ;)
- wheat noodles with stir-fried veg
- a few chunks of chicken (cooked with ketchup, soy sauce, and red wine vinegar)
- corn, cherry tomatoes, and peas
- and, a bunch of grapes

If you're thinking that looks like yesterday's description, correct again!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

bento #100

Wow, I can't believe I'm here!  Bento #100! And it only took me what, six months?  :D

That's okay, I'm just happy to have reached that number... it seems like many bento blogs don't make it too far out of the starting gate.  And since I'm known as someone who starts things but never finishes, that's pretty good for me.

So, what do we have?
- wheat noodles with stir-fried veg
- a few chunks of chicken (cooked with ketchup, soy sauce, and red wine vinegar)
- corn, cherry tomatoes, and green pepper
- and, a bunch of grapes

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

bento #99

Well, since today is a month since I've been gone, I thought I'd post a bento photo!

- egg salad sandwich
- strawberries
- asparagus
- half an ear of corn

It took me a while to figure out how to cut the corn... I was hacking away at it, rather dangerously, with various knives.  Then I realized my serrated bread knife would probably work... and it did!  I knew there had to be some way to cut corn because you always see it one-inch or so slices in various bento books!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

hiking in Michigan

I never did write about my hiking trip in Michigan.  My sister Diana and I took a two-day trip (that was all she had off from work) and went up to Mesick/Wellston, MI.

We didn't have a shuttle, so did things creatively.  First, we drove up to Seaton Lake Campground and set up our tent, then 10 miles south to the Red Bridge and left our car there.

So, Day 1, we hiked on the North Country Scenic Trail, from Red Bridge to the Little Mac Suspension Bridge, the second longest suspension bridge in MI (any guesses as to the longest one?)  :).  We'd done this section last year at Memorial Day (except that we went up to Hodenpyl Dam instead of the Little Mac) so were familiar with it... except that I didn't remember the long climb at the beginning that left me a bit winded... probably because we walked the opposite direction last year.  ;)

We left our car at 4:45ish and pulled into camp around 9, so it took us around 4.15 hours to hike 12 miles (or so... calculating mileage is difficult).  We just had a basic map, but I was unsure of the last part of the hike where I didn't have a map (leading up to the Little Mac).  At one point we were unsure of the trail... had seen some teal diamonds but the information I had said to follow grey markers.  We ended up by the dam, I pulled out my mini compass someone had given me years ago, we followed a dirt road, and eventually found what we hoped was the path... and it did lead to the campsite!

Seaton Creek Campground was great... HUGE campsites, jack pine all over the place, and a pretty nice pit toilet.  Our neighbors (the only other people in the campsite) had a generator, though, and we could see flickering lights throughout the night.  Generator, really?  Why did you choose a primitive campsite, then?

Day 2: headed back to the car.  This time we walked the Manistee River Trail, which follows the Manistee River pretty closely.  Last year we'd canoed the same section of river, so I've been up and down it four times... Diana thinks she's done it at least six.  Diana's favorite phrase: "we can rest when we get to the next bench."  Except this isn't a state park with benches on the trail! 

This was a pretty trail... the river views were very nice, but I still prefer the hardwood growth of the NCSC to the MRT.  Plus, I wasn't feeling well the second day, so it took us a long time (almost five hours) to hike the 10.5 miles.  The only people we saw on the trail was a couple backpacking... and Diana thinks it's the same couple we saw the night before.  :)  Supposedly teh MRT had mile markers, but we only saw two.

There was one point that had a great view-- a big beech tree had fallen directly across the trail, and it was impossible to walk past it without stopping to sit.  When you looked out over the river, you could see a bit of a field/peninsula, with smallish whispy trees that had fallen into the water, all the same direction, at the edge.  Beyond that were hills... it looked like a smaller version of pictures I've seen of Montana.

Overall, it was a great hike!  Diana is the perfect hiking companion because we have similar paces (except up hills, when I slow waaayyy down and she powers up).

Monday, June 27, 2011

yo, still around

Looks like I'm on a month-long sabbatical or so.  Between graduations, weddings... it's a busy summer.  What can I say, my family's growing up!

Went camping last week... hiked 38 miles.  I went to McCormick's Creek State Park, Shakamak SP, Cataract Falls, and Cagle Mill SRA.  I camped at McCormick's Creek and they have some nice trails (although no warnings about fording creeks on the map).  At one point, I was trying to pick my way across a creek but got stuck in the middle.  I didn't want to just push through and get my shoes wet, so I went back.  Then, a guy with a one-year-old (or so) baby on his back comes bounding along and crosses within 10 seconds.  He got his shoes wet.  :)

Shakamak SP was nice-- they have a 4-mile trail that goes all the way around the lake (um, Shakamak Lake).  It's a great trail that follows the shoreline pretty closely and is mostly wooded.  I saw 3+ pileated woodpeckers, all in one area... couldn't tell how many there were because they kept flying about.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I'm still here...

just gone a lot.  ;)

I had planned to post bentos this week, but this week is my week off (once I get my grades submitted today), and I'm planning to camp... even though the weather is planning to rain and storm.  Lots of plans... we'll see what happens.

I do have a few bentos I can post.  However, I'll also be m.i.a. for a while next week...should I just take a month-long vacation, or post sporadically?  I suppose this is what summer does to a bento blog.

Monday, June 6, 2011

bento #98

Just a heads-up... I won't be posting bento the rest of this week and most of next week.  I have family stuff (graduations, birthdays) so won't need to pack lunch, and the week after, I'll be helping at my church's girls camp and eating there (because I'm helping with the cooking!).

I'll still be around, just won't have bentos to post.

Behold, a brilliantly beautiful bento!  Oh, wait...
- Grilled cheese sandwich
- baby carrots
- pickles (an American school lunch "vegetable")

Actually, this reminded me of a school lunch.  I think it was the pickles.

Friday, June 3, 2011

bento #97

Breakfast bento!  Mostly white... maybe I should have chosen a different color of box.

- toast points
- hardboiled egg
- strawberries... with a little sugar.  ;)  I'm loving strawberries this year!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

bento #96

Ya know, I was going to write a post last night, but I was too tired to get the camera and download pictures.  Either that or too lazy... I'm guessing the latter is true.  ;)

So, what do we have here... I like this bento because it's microwaveable, so nice if I want to warm up something.
- leftover Chinese... garlic chicken and rice
- corn
- baby carrots
- strawberries

I like the yellow-orange-red progression here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

bento #95

Yay, snack bento!  Quite a bit of food can be packed into these little containers.

- three hamburger patties
- one banana muffin
- mango
- green pepper and a few grapes

Overall, it looks rather cluttered... not sure how that happened!   This was a snack for after hiking and before evening church.

Friday, May 27, 2011

bento #94

The other day I made a bento (not this one), thought it looked like a lot of food... too much for me to eat in one meal, and then promptly sat down and ate it all!  Guess I was hungry!  I eat several times a day, and the less I interact with people, the less hungry I am, so I haven't been eating much lately.

- bologna and cheese sandwiches
- cabbage slaw
- cucumbers
- apple slices

I like all the colors in this one.  Pink, red, purple, green, yellow...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

bento #93

Good thing I had this bento ready from yesterday because today I ate toast.  Toast and tea... two strawberries for lunch (they were on sale again this week!  yay!)... and ice cream for dinner.  I'll probably have more toast again for dinner tonight.  Yes, I normally eat more than toast.

- chicken lo mein
- asparagus (I always think of Veggie Tales when I eat asparagus... this doesn't happen with any other vegetable)
- one strawberry

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

bento #92

Getting closer to #100!  I ordered Chinese food the other day... I had two solid days of grading ahead of me, knew I wouldn't feel like cooking, so went ahead and splurged.  Thus, I'm eating Chinese leftovers for several days.  :)

- garlic chicken with broccoli; rice
- strawberries and a mini banana

Turns out I didn't like the mini bananas very much.  They get mushy quicker and more easily than normal bananas, and I'm not a mushed banana fan.

This is also a camouflage bento; green veg in the green container, red veg in the orange container.  Can you find the broccoli and strawberries?  :D

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

bento #91

We can call this "red and yellow bento."  With a bit of green.

- fried chicken legs
- potato salad
- asparagus spears
- corn relish (corn, red pepper, Italian dressing)
- strawberry, cut in half
- mini banana... very bento friendly!

I made it as a picnic lunch for Sunday... just didn't post it till now.  I ate it after I was done hiking, so just at the potato salad, corn relish, strawberry, and a few asparagus spears.  Then my sister called, and I didn't have time to eat the rest before I left for church.  Well, I wasn't that hungry anyway as I'd just hiked 8 miles in 80-degree weather.

Friday, May 20, 2011

bento #89

Obligatory trying-to-be-witty introduction.

Barely descriptive list of food in bento (corned beef patties, veg).

Trying-to-be- interesting conclusion.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

bento #88

It seemed like not too long ago, I was quickly on my way to bento #100... wasn't that several weeks ago I was at #75?  I guess I've been moving more slowly these days.

Another breakfast bento... love these
- the right half has a layer of grits you can't see... with ham and green pepper cooked in them, sprinkled with a bit of cheese
- fried egg on top
- broccoli (raw!  I actually ate it!  I figured since I ate it at my friend's house in a salad the other day, I should be able to eat it here.  Of course, I did use it to scrape up the leftover grits bits
- red pepper and some grapes

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

bento #87

Hmm, I just realized I didn't post yesterday.  I typically write up my posts at night, but I'm not on much of a schedule these days to help me remember when to do things, and I was busy grading last night anyway.  I'm sure ya'll were just sick to death with worry, wondering where I was.  :D

- pork, cabbage, carrot, mushroom, and onion stir-fry.. with a bit of broccoli for color
- one white and one brown rice onigiri.  I like this method: a tasty one and a healthy one.  Guess which I eat first.  ;)
- some mango in the cup, and a few grapes

I do love that stir-fry!  Wishing I still had leftovers... although there's still pork in the freezer and the veg in the fridge!

Monday, May 16, 2011

breakfast bento ideas

I'm still collecting/on the lookout for ideas for breakfast bento, so if anyone has anyone, pipe in!

tamagoyaki, of course
breakfast rolls... with spring or egg roll wrapping (not sure if I could do nori in the morning)
yogurt and granola

Sausage and rice
Croissant and jam
Hard-boiled egg
Sausage bun/roll
Scotch egg
Whole wheat muffin
Baked custard

I'm a bit stumped, obviously!  I actually had a few more ideas, but then I forgot to save my original "bento ideas" file before I re-installed the operating system on my computer... whoops.

Friday, May 13, 2011

bento #86

Well, it seems Blogger completely deleted the post that was supposed to appear today.  That's too bad because it was funny and I actually said something interesting.  It's going to be impossible for me to recreate, of course.  ;)

- pork stir-fry, using the recipe here.  It put in cabbage, onion, carrot, and mushrooms.
- coleslaw
- one brown rice and one white onigiri
- broccoli
- mango and grapes

It seems I don't notice the gaps when I'm packing the food... it all looks pretty solid.  It's only when I'm editing the photos (and usually after I've eaten the food) that I see the bits of lunch box staring out rather obviously.

bento #85

Hmm... this looks surprisingly like yesterday's bento.  Sometimes it's just easier to make up a big batch and eat it several times in a row (for me, often within the same day).

- more ww noodles in soy sauce sauce.  :D
- a hot dog crab and octopus
- broccoli, grapes, and baby carrots

Very suspiciously like yesterday's bento, in fact.  I didn't even change up the order of the vegetables-- or the veg that was included!  At least there's some color on the right side of the bento!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

bento #84

Finally, a new bento with new bento food.  I made this Sunday to take hiking, but hadn't uploaded my recent photos yet.

- whole-wheat pasta (it always looks so brown! the soy sauce doesn't help!) with a sauce made of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, a little sriacha, sugar, garlic, ginger, and some egg scrambled in.  It tasted good but was a bit salty, as you can imagine!
- a hot dog crab and blackberry starfish
- grapes, broccoli, and baby carrots

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'm a hike-a-holic,

as will be evidenced by my weekend.

Friday: 11.5 miles
Saturday: 1.5 miles
Sunday: 7 miles
Monday: 8 miles
Today: rest  ;)

My feet have held up remarkably well... only lost part of a toenail (not the dead black way), have two blisters on the same toe (underneath!), and have a bruise on the top of my foot... not sure about that one.  I'm going hiking tomorrow as well, probably with an umbrella!

I'm finding hiking easier than it was last year, although that's probably because it hasn't been above 72 degrees yet.  Hiking in 85 degree weather is much different!  And, I should add, these are flat Midwest trails, nothing exciting, rugged, or steep.  Just a few casual hills.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Veg, the best part of bento

I realized the other day that I never finished posting these lists.

I have two lists of veg, cooked and uncooked, and try to include one from each list:

Cooked veg comes first because I like those the best:

Blanched spinach w/ ss and sesame
Veg w/ soboro
Orange juice carrots
Miso marinated asparagus
Spring greens namul
Hot and sweet peppers
Sautéed mushrooms
Stir-fried snow peas
Cooked cabbage and red cabbage
Bok choy
Stir fried green beans
Carrot kinpira

Poppyseed green pea burgers
Maple red peppers
Mushrooms & bean sprouts
Sautéed bean sprouts

And raw veg: 
Cherry tomatoes
Baby carrots
Cucumber salad
Carrot sesame salad
Green salad
Refrigerator pickles

This is where it gets difficult since I don't really like raw vegetables... as evidenced by the short list.  ;)  Still, I tend to pack raw veg most often because it's easier and I don't have to cook anything!

Friday, May 6, 2011

books... hiking... and the AT

A Walk in the Woods is the one that started it all.   I read this and thought "I really want to read more about the Appalachian Trail."  So, I did.  Oh, and I also read almost all of Bryson's other books, too!

I read:

A Walk for Sunshine, Jeff Alt
A Woman's Journey, Cindy Ross (very light, not many details, with her illustrations)
Barefoot Sisters: Southbound, Lucy and Susan Letcher (started this last week! and have the sequel, too.  I think this is the only SOBO book I read, and it's messed up my internal map a bit. I feel like they're doing everything backward!)
Bearfoot: A Northbounder E-mails from the Appalachian Trail, Patrick Pittard (very good... a slightly different corporate-lived perspective)
Blind Courage, Bill Irwin (yes, a blind man walks the Appalachian Trail.  If you only read one book, I'd recommend this one)
In Beauty May She Walk, Leslie Mass (LOVED this!  she hiked the AT at age 60! I believe this is the first book I read after Walk in the Woods)
Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail, Roland Mueser (still reading)
On the Beaten Path by Robert Aldin Ruben
Walking Home: A Woman's Pilgrimage on the AT, Kelly Winters (I have to admit, I like books by women hikers the best)
Walking the Appalachian Trail, Larry Luxenberg

Books I still want to read: too many to list, but I have at least a dozen on my wishlist!
Oh, I also read a few trail journals during the summer.  That means, in the past year, I've read at least FIFTEEN accounts of hiking the AT.  It doesn't get repetitive, either!

Then, I decided to start reading about another trail, the Pacific Crest Trail.

A Blistered Kind of Love, Angela and Duffy Ballard
The Cactus Eaters, Dan White
Journey on the Crest, Cindy Ross  (I also have her CDT book)

Other trails:
Crossing Arizona, Chris Townsend (Arizona Trail... very good!)
The Man Who Walked Through Time, Colin Fletcher (walks the floor of the Grand Canyon...still reading)
Where the Waters Divide, Karen Berger (Continental Divide Trail)

There might be a book or two that I've missed (no, I'm not kidding!).  A few of them are on loan to my friend and sister.

The exciting thing is that new books have been published since I was looking these up last summer, so I have about two dozen new books to read!  :)

bento #83

It looks like a snack... no, it's not a lot of food.  I haven't felt like eating lately.  Or cooking, for that matter.  Do you know how difficult it is to write a bento blog when I don't cook?  I had a stash of older bento photos I've been interspersing on days I don't cook.

- three mini hamburger patties with some tonkatsu in the orange tulip
- rice flowers
- asparagus
- grapes

Overall, a green and dark bento.  :)  I should have added a few baby carrots or something... but there wasn't room!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Newest Obsession: long-distance hiking

Since the original title of this blog is Newest Obsession, I thought I'd tell you about one of my newest.

Okay, it's a bit of a repeat from last year, just picking up on an interest that was in hibernation over the winter.  Last year I read many books on the Appalachian Trail-- and hiking in general.  If I can find my reading list, I'll post it here.

I've been researching that again.  While a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail isn't possible for me right now, I realized today that I can thru-hike another trail.  Now I have to find someone with whom to hike!

The trail I really want to hike:  Metacomet Monadnock Trail, 110 miles through Massachusetts and a bit of New Hampshire.  It goes around and up Mount Holyoke (the history of Mt. Holyoke Female Seminary is another long-standing obsession of mine), so that makes me veeerrry interested.

Now, I haven't actually done any long-distance hiking.  I did a few 10 and 11-mile hikes last summer: 10.5 miles on the North Country Trail in Michigan with my sister, 11.5 hike at Clifty Falls (all the trails except one), and a 13-mile hike at Mounds State Park.  All of these were completed within four hours, so I was only out an afternoon, really.

Long-distance hiking gives a completely different feeling from regular hiking... that's fun and all, but you don't get that "high" you get from finishing a long hike.

bento #82

Snack bento... a small one, but this was all I had time to eat.  I like to take snacks for my four-hour class.

- corned beef and potato patties.  No, I didn't cook my corned beef on St. Patrick's Day... long after.  But, I chopped up the beef and mashed it with the potato and carrots I'd cooked.  Pretty good!  I got this idea from Yum-Yum Bento.
- cucumber and carrot slices

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

bento #81

Time for leftover pizza!

- pizza... I love thin-crust pizza leftover, whether cold or warm
- two kinds of cabbage: coleslaw and red cabbage slaw
- a few asparagus spears tucked in the back
- blackberries
- a tomato and a few snap peas

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

bento #80

Not sure what's up with rather unappetizing photos lately... I had intended to make this an English breakfast fry-up bento... but then forgot to fry the eggs.  :)  Oh well, everything else is similar.

- scrambled eggs with cheese (they got a little brown because I'd already fried the ham in the same pan)
- sauteed mushroom
- cherry tomatoes
- toast
- pan-fried ham

I also couldn't get the lighting correct with this one.  Bah, food photography.

Monday, May 2, 2011

bento #79

 A rather brown-looking bento...

- a bear face made from breaded fish filets (there are two, stacked) and mini burger patties.  I was supposed to use meatballs but... didn't.
- fried cabbage... cooked in butter.  Fish and halushky (fried cabbage and noodles) was a common dinner when I was growing up... I just leave out the noodles now.
- with blackberries, peas, a cherry tomato
- and tartar sauce in the orange cup

Friday, April 29, 2011

bento #78

Another snack bento... maybe I should start a "snack bento Friday" or something.  Speaking of snacks, there's a bento group on Flickr for that (of course)!

- a few veggie dumplings
- meatballs with tonkatsu sauce
- broccoli and green pepper
- apple slice

Thursday, April 28, 2011

bento #77

Taco rice bento!  I think there's a similar idea in Just Bento... but I don't remember for sure where I saw this.

From left to right:
- corn chips
- lettuce
-taco meat
- rice
- a few cherry tomatoes and an apple

I wasn't sure how this would taste, but I liked it!  I'm not always sure about rice with various foods as I barely like rice, but everything tasted great.  I'm sure the corn chips helped.  ;)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

bento #76

More leftover Chinese... I have a weakness for it... it's the cheapest takeaway and gives me several meals.  It's almost as cheap as going to the grocery store.

- pork stir fry... I know it looks disgusting and brown.  It is... brown, but not disgusting!
- with some rice on the side
- blackberries, cherry tomato
- red cabbage slaw
- a few orange slices

Whoops... where's the green?  You'd think that would be easy enough to incorporate!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

bento #75

How I love this heart-shaped bento box.  <3  However, the highlight of this post is the chopstick rest.  It's Jiji, the precocious cat from Kiki's Delivery Service!  I got it in a One Tiny Thing Miyazaki swap on Craftster... and actually, they're a set of four.

- leftover lo chicken mein
- red cabbage salad
- carrot sticks and a cherry tomato

Rather boring looking overall, but at least I got in a few colors.  And a cute chopstick rest.  ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter bento

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!    Kristus z mŕtvych vstal! Skutočne z mŕtvych vstal!

Since I knew I'd be out to church on Easter, I packed a picnic bento to eat afterward.  It was supposed to rain... but didn't... and the weather was mild.

Not at all my typical food!
- fried chicken... frozen, from a box.  :)  Much better than anything I could make myself.
- deviled egg and asparagus spears
- ambrosia/5 cup salad (pineapple, mandarin orange, mini marshmallows, coconut, and I used yogurt instead of sour cream for the base.
- coleslaw with a cherry tomato and sugar peas
- dessert tray: strawberry cake, blackberries, and sixlets.

I also had a thermos of sweet tea... this bento has MUCH more sugar than I normally eat.  In a day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

bento #73

Wanted to try out another layout from Yum-Yum Bento.  I thought I'd like Just Bento better, but YYB is more visually appealing-- and more fun to look at!

- macaroni and cheese with peas... mouse face made from turkey lunch meat.  When I was putting it together, I thought "it looks like a bear.  no, a cat.  I guess it could be a mouse."  :P
- with a cherry tomato flower garnish
- red cabbage slaw
- carrot "flowers"... these didn't work so well
- hot dog flowers. 

Must have hot dogs with macaroni and cheese!  Can't get much healthier!  ;)  Some of them did get a bit too browned, but I tried to cut the ends into fun flower shapes... you just can't see it very well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

bento #72

I have a few bentos that I made a while back and never posted... now, looking back through them, I'm thinking "I hope I remember what I put in them!"

- tuna patties
- red onion and parsley salad... it was just okay, but added nice color!
- some leftover asparagus
- cherry tomatoes
- cucumber slices
- orange slices

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

bento #71

Getting closer to 100!  Will be there soon... probably about a month!  Yay!

I still have a few snack bentos to post... Occasionally when I was working my evening job, I'd pack a snack bento and a normal one for lunch.  Actually, the snacks were more like my dinner.

- dumplings, with soy sauce in the fish
- a few meatballs
- green pepper, broccoli, and an apple slice

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

bento #70

I don't know about you, but the part of bento blogs I like best is the pictures, not the text.  Okay, I do skim the text, but there are only a few I read thoroughly.  I want the creativity the picture offers... and speaking of pictures...

- yes, more fish.  And tartar sauce
- asparagus spears
- half an orange.  Almost done with the big bag of oranges I bought... um... a long time ago!

Monday, April 18, 2011

bento #69

A picnic bento!  Okay, it doesn't look any different from my other bentos... but I did eat it outside.  We had a few nice, very warm days last week, and I thought some sunshine would be good for me.  I had originally planned to grade journals, but once I finished eating, I had to hike... I was at the park, after all!  Did a little over three miles.

- breaded fish with tartar sauce (in the green bird)
- also, a few apple slices
- rice ball.  I like cold onigiri... if it's white rice!  (I used a wrap that one of my swap partners sent me).
- red cabbage slaw.  Takes a long time to work through a whole head of cabbage, but I'm not tired of the slaw yet, so I keep making more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

bento #68

Snack bento!  Still working in the evenings.

- dumplings with a few meatballs, and soy sauce to sprinkle on top
- green pepper
- mango... it was a different type of mango, and I didn't like it very much.  Too sour.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

bento #67

I probably shouldn't be writing these posts at midnight because then all I can think to say is "look!  bento!  Aren't you proud of me?"  :D

- roast pork slices in the back
- rice... with kamaboko and hot dog mushrooms.  Turns out I don't like kamaboko... the taste is fine, but the texture is WEIRD!
- red cabbage slaw
- half an orange
- asparagus and cherry tomatoes

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

bento #66... more breakfast

Wanted to try a breakfast omelette... from Yum Yum Bento.

- cheese omelette.  The little cheese egg half on top got a bit melty.  ;)  But he's still cute.
- a few sausage links
- orange half
- tomato and cucumber salad.