Wednesday, November 14, 2012

bento #149

 Bento with leftovers from my Japanese meal on Sunday!  I do love the shape of this two-tier bento; it has polka dots on the lid, and chopsticks built in as well.

- a few slices of teriyaki chicken breast
- red pepper and bean sprout saute
- daikon radish with pickled ginger
- grape skewers and a mushroom
- bok choy, sauteed with chili sesame oil
- rice, soy sauce in the piggie

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

bento #148

Chicken katsu bento!  I hadn't made this in a while... very similar to the schnitzel-type chicken I eat in Slovakia.

- chicken cutlet fried in panko (bulldog sauce in the yellow bear)
- brown rice sprinkled with salmon furikake
- roasted kabocha squash (with sesame chili oil)
- hot dog octopus
- grape skewers (aren't the picks adorable?)
- a few peas, a cherry tomato, and a mango candy

Monday, November 12, 2012

store-bought bento!

I forgot to report that last week I had my first store-bought bento!  I was shopping at One World Market in Indianapolis, and they have a grocery section and a dine-in section (the employees greet you when you walk in the door, just like at Japanese restaurants, so I've read).  I had to run after I shopped, so grabbed a bento on my way out.

I got a kara-age chicken bento: half of it was filled with rice sprinkled with black sesame, one corner with kara-age, one corner with potato salad.  There was a slice of tamagoyaki (much sweeter than what I make, but I liked it that way), a slice of crab, and a few of cucumber and takuan and (one of the reasons I bought the bento was because I wanted to try that before I bought a big piece).  It was delicious, better than I was expecting: good flavoring with the kara-age and crispy breading, slightly-sweet and stringy potato salad, and fresh rice. 

If I'd had my camera with me, I'd have taken a picture, but I didn't, unfortunately.  You can find a picture of the same bento here, though, along with other pictures of the place!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Japanese lunch tomorrow

I'm super excited about the lunch I'm making tomorrow.  I invited my friend Jean over as she's adventurous about eating (I took her a few slices of lotus root the other day and she popped a big chunk in her mouth... I would've taken a timid bite) and she always enjoys my cooking.

My menu:
- teriyaki chicken with a shiitake mushroom on the side (I'll cut an x/cross out of the middle to make it fancy)
- rice, with a sprinkle of black sesame
- miso soup (going to skip the tofu) and put it green onions and enoki mushrooms
- sweet pepper and bean sprout stir-fry, with salt and pepper
- bok choy stir-fried in chili sesame oil
- pickle plate: takuan, pickled cabbage, and ginger (not sure if I should include this because I don't know what it "goes" with)

served with green tea

- hanami dango for dessert (I know it's not spring, but I liked the way they looked.  I put some jello powder in the pink one instead of food coloring).  I made an experiment batch today and they were sooo good!

I concentrated a lot on the menu so that it would have umami, salty, sweet, sour, and bitter flavors, and as many colors as possible.

Okay, so maybe it's not traditionally Japanese, but for me, it's pretty good.  Any comments/criticisms?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

bento #147

More tofu... trying to use it up.

- tofu covered with flour and furikake and pan-fried
- okra and a cherry tomato
- kabocha squash roasted with sesame chili oil
- grapes and a cocktail sausage
- brown rice with a piggy face

Remind me not to take plain rice again-- without soy sauce or some furikake to spice it up!  I don't really like brown rice as it is (just eat it because it's healthy)... I ended up eating it with bites of the tofu and okra.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

bento #146

I'm using a new bento box today-- it's actually a set of three I got from Bento & Co, three nesting Totoro boxes (he's on the lid), but I just used the largest at 400 ml.  This one is much deeper than I'm used to for a bento, so I had a hard time filling it properly.

Left to right:
- chicken katsu and fried tofu
- kambocha squash, roasted with chili sesame oil
- two hot dog flowers, slightly brown
- one cherry tomato and a few pea pods
- grape skewer and a few slices of lotus root

I bought the lotus root last weekend-- when I heard it was similar to water chestnut I didn't think I'd like it, but it's okay.  I simmered it with some water and sugar, but not enough to make it sweet.  I think I'll like it cooked with soy sauce, but I wanted it white for the bento.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

bento #145

Super excited because I'm going to a football game today!  Penn State vs. Purdue, and I'm rooting for PSU-- my dad went to school there.  Have all my PSU gear ready to wear as it looks like it will be cold.

I packed a few snack bentos for along the way.  I'm leaving early so I can go to an Asian grocery and get some bento food.  :)  The larger bento is for my... second lunch?  Well, to eat at some time during the day.  I'll put the smaller one into my pocket to take to the game.

- hard boiled eggs, fish and bear
- babybell cheese
- cocktail sausages (they're shaped like fish in the yellow one, but it's difficult to tell
- pickles and grapes in the yellow bento

We are!

Friday, November 2, 2012

bento #144

Why yes, this does look very similar to yesterday's bento: made them at the same time.

Those dumplings really aren't pretty, take up a lot of room, and are kind of difficult to work around!

- pork gyoza with dipping sauce in the blue strawberry container
- chicken kara-age
- grape skewer, cherry tomato, and a few peas cut in half

Thursday, November 1, 2012

bento #143

I found my paper backgrounds!  Although I thought later that this color didn't go so well with this bento-- at least it matches the brown in the gyoza, lol.

- a few gyoza with dipping sauce in the yellow bear  (the dumplings have some sort of ground pork filling-- leftover Chinese takeout)
- spinach with sesame seeds
- chicken kara-age
- a grape skewer and cherry tomato

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

bento #142

I'm having fun with bento lately.  It's fun to plan them in my head, to think about what food I have on hand I should use up, etc.

- leftover Chinese pork noodles with hard boiled egg chicks and a few carrot flowers- pineapple, grapes, stir-fried spinach, and cherry tomatoes

I saw an adorable chicks on spaghetti bento and decided to do one of my own.  Just don't click on this link before you look at mine because then  you won't think mine is as cute anymore.  ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

bento #141

I can't find all the paper backgrounds I used before!  They were just sheets of scrapbook paper, but they're hiding somewhere.  I'll search tonight.  So today, I used a bag I got in a trade.

A "Chinese takeout leftover" bento.

- rice, sweet and sour chicken
- the sidecar has pineapple, grapes, peas, and a cherry tomato.

My bentos always look better after I've gone grocery shopping-- more colorful as I have more fruit and vegetables on hand!  Every bento will probably have the same fruit/veg for the next week, though-- I live alone, so I can't buy large quantities or many different vegetables because they won't get eaten.

I forgot the chicken would be orange, so shouldn't have used that box!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

101 Kinds of Japanese Food

I found a website, Japan Talk, this morning, and thought I'd share this link with you.  The website has so many interesting articles-- I wish there was a place to comment on them because I'm sure the comments would be just as enlightening.

101 Kinds of Japanese Food will be useful to the bento lover or anyone interested in Japanese food!

Friday, October 26, 2012

bento #140

I had this bento yesterday while grading.  I don't like to stop for food while working-- takes too much time-- so had made this up the day before out of leftovers from Thursday's bento.

I put the plastic wrap over the onigiri so I could heat it later and the rice wouldn't dry out.
- onigiri with salmon furikake
- orange pepper and grapes
- miso chicken on skewers
- cherry tomatoes

I've had to take pictures at night lately, so they don't turn out as well as I'd like.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

bento #139

Two bentos in two days!  Don't get used to it.  :)

In contrast to yesterday, this is one of the largest bentos I have.  One thing I like about pink boxes is that I really don't eat pink food, so the food is never the same color as the box.
- miso chicken
- pickles (the middle one has a weird-looking face) on a skewer
- onigiri
- broccoli, pepper, and cherry tomatoes
- grapes for dessert!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

bento #138

I've made a few bentos in the past few months, just didn't post them.  I always pack a lunch on Wednesdays-- sometimes a few-- but they haven't been pretty enough to share, mostly just leftovers with a salad.  I have a large two-tier bento that works well for that.

I'll have some soup in a thermos first, then this bento, which includes
- chicken rolled with nori
- broccoli, grapes, cherry tomatoes, and some orange pepper
- two flower-shaped onigiri

This is one of my favorite bentos because it's a cute bear, but it's so small that I don't use it often.  With the soup and considering I'll eat again four hours later, it should be a great size.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

bento #137

I think this one looks cute and well-arranged, if a bit bright.

- hard-boiled egg
- cucumber slices
- chicken thighs marinated in soy sauce before I cooked them
- flower onigiri
- cherry tomatoes and orange pepper slices

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

bento #136

Two last left-over kebabs.  If I need bento two days in a row, I'll often cook a bit extra for the next day.

- chicken thigh and pepper kebab
- hog dogs
- carrot sticks and asparagus
- one onigiri

Bento with asparagus in them make me think of spring!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

bento #135

I decided to try something a little different this time: kebabs!  Since so many of my bentos feature chicken thighs, I wanted to shake things up a bit.

- chicken kebabs with peppers
- a few carrots, asparagus, and a hot dog flower
- two onigiri (wrapped in plastic so they won't dry out since I freeze some ahead of time)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

bento #134

A little snack bento...

- Chicken "nuggets"-- chicken pieces coated with breadcrumbs, parmesan, and parsley
- baby carrots, red peppers, and asparagus

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

bento #133

This was one of those days where I took leftovers to school for dinner.

- salad with red peppers; dressing on the side but not in the picture
- ww couscous with chicken; I cooked it with chicken broth, various spices, olives, onions, and peppers.  It was very good!
- a clementine

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

bento #132

Quick bento... I had some salmon patties left-over.

- salmon patties, and one tiny one
- grapes, green beans, hot dog, yellow peppers
- carrot sticks, a hard-boiled egg, and tamagoyaki

Thursday, April 26, 2012

bento #131

Salmon patty bento

- tamagoyaki and a few hot dog flowers
- salmon patties
- grapes
- carrot sticks, green beans, and yellow peppers.

Guess I should have gotten a red pepper instead.  ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

bento #130

Breakfast bento!

- sausage balls
- hard-boiled egg heart
- grapes

I was traveling and wanted a quick breakfast for the road, but also one that was easy to eat in the car!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

bento #129

I think this one was for the game convention as well.  I made up the hot dog flowers, tamagoyaki, and green beans ahead of time to use for a few days.

- grapes, green beans
- rice (kept in plastic wrap so it wouldn't dry out)
- chicken kara-age
- tamagoyaki
- yellow peppers and carrots

All the colors... but red!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

bento #128

I get the feeling that I took this one to my board game convention sometime in March.  This is a fairly substantial box, so I tend to use it for larger meals and not when I'm just on-the-go.

- pork katsu with a hot dog flower; tonkatsu sauce in the piggy
- mushrooms and carrot sticks
- tamagoyaki with parsley
- one onigiri
- green beans and grapes

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

bento #127

This one's fairly basic, but with an added cute element.

- onigiri with a winking nori face
- miso chicken thigh
- one hot dog flower
- green beans, carrots, and a bunch of grapes

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

bento #126

So, I'm back to present a few bentos I've made in the past month!

This one's just more of a "leftover lunch," as I tend to do on Wednesdays.

This was delicious... chicken stir fried with bok choy and onions.  It was a "well, let's see what's leftover in my refrigerator" kind of meal.  I also added a hardboiled egg on the side, with salt and pepper in the chick, and an orange.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I've been making bento, just haven't been posting them.  I hadn't realized it had been over a month since my last update, though!

I've also been focusing a bit on other hobbies: namely, backpacking, hiking, and LEGO.  Okay, I haven't backpacked yet, but in a few weeks I'll take my first trip, a Beginning Backpackers group trip.  On the weekends and whenever I have time, I hike.  I did my first 20-miler the other day!

The problem with bento is that I want to buy new accessories... picks are my greatest love, sigh.  Must. hold. strong.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

bento #125

Ahh I'm in love with this breakfast bento.  Pretty basic, but so cute!

- hardboiled egg.  If I had taken off the mouth, might have looked like the star in Mario!
- protein pancakes with peanut butter
- strawberry

This bento has 258 calories.  It was my first time trying the protein pancakes; I made some the night before and ate them with a touch of butter and maple syrup, and I like!  They're a bit moister than traditional pancakes, and although they taste more like oat pancakes, have a similar texture to traditional ones.  Try them out!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

bento #124

Pretty basic, nothing too interesting.  However, I'm in love with my bento for tomorrow!

- six turkey meatballs
- baby carrots, asparagus, and a strawberry.

This bento only has 156 calories, but it's really more like one of my mini-meals/snack than a whole meal. I've joined Calorie Camp on Calorie Count so have been logging calories.  Feel free to look me up-- I'm slovakiasteph!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

bento #123

Bento from my Sunday afternoon walk... hiked 10 miles and ate this before I headed to evening church. 

- salmon cakes (salmon, 1 egg, breadcrumbs, dill, and pepper)
- strawberries
- asparagus
- baby carrots and a mushroom

The salmon cakes look a bit boring, but I think the color in the bottom tier makes up for it.  :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Need to get more vegetables in your diet?

I don't consider myself an expert by any means, but I am happy with the way I'm able to incorporate vegetables in my meals easily and thought I'd share a few tips.

1: When you make a meal, ask "how can I put veg in here?"  Try not to cook anything/make a meal WITHOUT vegetables in the main dish!  I made taco meat the other day... cut up peppers and onions to add to the meat.  Not only does it stretch it, but I got a serving of veg, too!

2: If you're still a little hungry after your meal, fill it with veg.  The fiber and water fill me up, and I feel full without eating many more calories.  I'll often make a quick salad after (or before) my main meal.

3: Aim for one cooked and one raw veg per lunch and dinner for some variety.  The other day I made chicken paprikas and put green peppers, mushrooms, and onion in the sauce (even though the original recipe doesn't call for veg) then thought "now, what vegetable should I have?"  :)  I was thinking raw vegetable, so had some sliced cucumber.

4: You can't eat them if they're not around.  Keep a variety in the refrigerator.

5: But, don't waste them!  If you're not using them, plan how you will and make a menu that has not only a main dish but the sides/veg as well.

Remember that a woman needs 5 servings a day and a man needs 6... that's more than a serving of green beans at dinner.  ;)

I hope this will help someone... does anyone else have tips to share?  Please do!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

workout DVDs

I've been trying to get healthier lately.  This involves eating less processed foods and exercising more (I wouldn't mind losing 8 or so pounds).  My diet already consisted mostly of protein and vegetables with some whole grain on the side, so that was pretty good.  I've switched from dairy milk to coconut (to avoid growth hormones) and also to organic yogurt.  Haven't figured out what to do about cheese.  After that, I'll move on to meat, but I really can't afford to go all-organic.  I can't wait for summer so I can get my veg from the farmer's stand a mile away.

Also, I thought I'd share my thoughts on a few workout videos.  I'm a big fan of Jillian Michaels and although I usually am not interested in celebrities and what they have to say, I trust Michaels' perspective and even listen to her podcast every week.  Two years ago I bought my first workout DVD.

30 Day Shred, as my first attempt at any kind of workout, was very difficult for me, even at Level 1.  I have very little upper body strength.  When I revisited the DVD last week, I found the moves not quite as difficult but still can't get through any upper body work completely and with gusto-- especially push-ups!  Still, it's a good workout.

I also bought Cardio Kickbox at the same time but never popped it in until last week.  Apparently I'm a big fan of cardio and can get through that more easily than any kind of strength move.  The video is FAST, though, and I sometimes have a difficult time catching my breath, keeping up, and keeping my balance with the pace.  I feel warmed up about 30 seconds in (and I keep my house at 60 degrees!) and have usually started sweating after a few minutes.  But, it's fun, and the 20 minutes passes quickly.

Then today, I tried Ripped in 30.  I prefer this to 30DS as I can complete most of the moves.  :D  Staying in plank for 30 seconds left me shaking, though; I have to remember to breathe.  :)  Once again, the 2 minutes of cardio are my favorite part of this.  Once I get used to the moves, this will probably become a favorite.

I'm not the type of person to go to the gym, so staying at home and working out is great for me.  20 minutes leaves me feeling like I've accomplished something but I'm not too tired for the rest of my day.  I do hike as well, anywhere from 3-10 mile stretches, and typically hike about 8 miles a week.  Once spring comes I can get my bike out as well.

Hope this is helpful and perhaps convinces my readers to give it a try!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

bento #122

This is probably the most boring bento I've ever posted.  :D  At least there are three different kinds of foods!

- broccoli, raw.  I'm actually starting to like raw broccoli
- chicken marinated in coconut milk, cilantro, and ginger: sprinkled with sesame seeds
- clementine, peeled so I could eat it in the car

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

bento #121

This looks remarkably similar to the lunch I posted yesterday, except these were eaten a week apart.  :)  A bit behind in posting.

- boneless skinless chicken thigh marinated in coconut milk, ginger, and cilantro
- whole wheat spaghetti noodles with asparagus and orange pepper (mixed with soy sauce and mirin)
- broccoli lining the side
- two clementines

I'm trying to eat healthier these days: more whole foods and less processed foods.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

bento #120

I keep using the same containers, mostly because they're larger than my others.

- Chicken, bok choy, carrot, and red pepper stir-fry over brown rice
- two clementines

A snack in the onigiri container: greek yogurt and granola in the two tiers

Friday, February 10, 2012

bento #119

Well, my bentos these days mostly consist of the same thing.  A chicken thigh cooked some-way-or-another and whatever fruits or vegetables I have in my refrigerator.

- hb egg
- broccoli, raw (and I actually ate it!  It wasn't too bad)
- clementine
- chicken teriyaki (finally less burnt)
- baby carrots
- some red pepper for garnish

I really need to find more color to add!  Orange seems to be a dominant theme these days.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

bento #118

On Thursdays I have a busy day... sometimes visiting with a friend, therapy appointment, quick hike, teaching... so I need some sustenance.

- cucumber slices
- chicken thigh marinated in soy sauce; sprinkled with sesame seeds.  tasty!
- yellow pepper pieces
- one pickle, chunked
- clementine

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

bento #117

I made some vegetable curry and took the leftovers to work.  It was very spicy, so spicy I couldn't finish it all, even though I was hungry.  Didn't think I put more curry paste in than usual, but I guess I did!

- back tier: curry with carrot, yellow and green pepper, and onion over rice
- front tier: cucumber, hb egg, penguin with salt and pepper, clementine

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

bento #116

I found this picture from last week that I never posted.  I pack lunches on Wednesdays, but they're not exactly bento-type, more like leftovers.  And Thursdays I sometimes take a bento or lunch... this was mine from Thursday.

- my teriyaki chicken somehow always gets burned... need to turn down the heat!
- baby carrots
- clementine
- cucumber slices and a red pepper slice

Mostly orange, I guess!  I like those flower picks.