Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jazz Brunch: Lobster Pseudo-Benedict

What do you mean you don't understand the title?  I don't see how I can make it any clearer...

Ok, breakfast today was an interesting concoction.  Honey Wheat bagels (toasted) with Prosciutto, Poached egg, leftover Lobster, and leftover Garlic Cream Sauce

It was pretty much amazing.  Very rich, and very filling.  And it seemed like a rather New Orleans-y dish, so we turned on the Jazz playlist on Dante's iPod.  It was a very relaxing Brunch.  :-)

Bento #12

Ok, so to follow up my "Wow, Poot's Bento is AWESOME, I need to step it up a notch!"  I made super-boring bentos on Friday! (I was in a hurry and running late for class...)

Both bentos: PB&J, Leftover Roasted Sweet Potato, Salad (mine has tomatoes)

Very exciting, no?  It was tasty tho. :-)  That's what matters in the end.

On to post about today's breakfast!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lobster Rolls with Roasted Sweet Potato Covered in Almond Cream Sauce


Okay then!  So I decided I want to try my hand at making lobster rolls the other day.  It's certainly not something I'd want to do all that often.  I misread the label stating 10.99 ea for 10.99/lb  ...Hey, it can happen to the best of us lol.  Anyways, Rowan made the side dish, which was amazing.  I don't exactly know what all went into it, so she can make any additional updates if she deems it necessary.  As for the lobster rolls, this dish used up 5 split lobster tails, some diced green onion, light mayo, garlic and onion powder, and salt and pepper.  The rolls themselves were just sub buns that were buttered and toasted prior to plating.  On the bottom of that mass of lobster is some fresh mozzarella and prosciutto.  These aren't traditional ingredients for lobster rolls, but I just wanted to add some jazz.  What else is there to say?  I chunked up the lobster meat and threw all the ingredients into a bowl and mixed them up.  It's lobster, so lobster should always be the star of the show.  Unfortunately, the lobster used in the rolls was from Honduras.  This means that the lobster came from warm water, ergo the quality of the lobster was lower than if it had come from cold water.  Either way, it made a tasty sandwich which went beautifully with Rowan's sweet potato.  The dish was very filling. - Dante

Bentos #10/11- Tortellini with Garlic Cream Sauce

Tuesday's dinner was pretty darn good if I do say so myself.  I bought prepackaged (I know, Chicken and Prosciutto Tortellini and made a Garlic Cream sauce to go on it.  I modified this recipe from  Basically, I used fat-free half and half, added Parmesan cheese, added some orange pepper when sauteeing the garlic, and added spinach and chopped prosciutto in the last step.  Then took sub rolls and sprayed them with some Olivio, added garlic salt, Italian seasoning, Parmesan, and Mozzarella and popped em in the toaster oven for a few minutes. 

See?  Tasty...
And, as is the theme around here, tonight's dinner becomes tomorrow's bentos (which I think is a very good thing.  I'm already noticing we throw away less food this way!)

My bento: Actually not as much leftovers as Dante's.  I have: Tortellini in the red silicone cup at the end (those things are so gosh darn handy!!), Colby Jack Cheese, Ranch dressing, Whole Grain bread, and salad (spinach, romaine, and grape tomatoes).


Dante's bento: Leftover Tortellini and Garlic Bread, apples, and Cheddar Babybel.  (The apples don't look quite so nifty since they're in a plastic bag, but I packed these the night before.)

And since I didn't make bentos today (it was early, I was tired, and our boxes were dirty!), I think that catches me up!  woo hoo!!

Happy Bento-ing!


Bento #9- Fishy Business

Monday night's dinner was pan-seared tilapia with rice and asparagus.  Guess what Tuesday's bento was...

Did you guess?  It was pan-seared tilapia with rice and asparagus!  And apples and graham crackers.  Still beige.  I like beige foods apparently.  Need to get more colorful.

Dante's bento

My bento

Since they're EXACTLY the same today, I didn't bother labeling them separately.  Deal with it.  :-p lol.  

And since I have more to post, I'm going to leave this one at that and move on. 


Have you seen the following
Bento Accessories?  

Last seen April 16th, late evening.
If you know there whereabouts of these items,
please let us know! 

I'm Joking.... although it is true.  Anyway, I gave these bento accessories to Mom and Poot for their bentos, but they have since gone missing in the hussle and bussle.  So, hopefully they'll be found soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to show off their groovy awesomeness.  :-)

Bento #8- Bread, Cheese, and Veggies

Ok, go me for being FIVE days behind on posting.  Woo hoo!  (I've been busy!  Honest!)

To be completely honest, I didn't even MAKE a bento today.  I know.  Sad.  But I got up early and we didn't have much in the way of handy leftovers.  So I got chips from the vending machine and reminded myself WHY I should be packing bentos...

So going all the way back to Monday, we have: 

My bento: Sliced french roll, Mini Cheddar Babybel, Salad with Garlic and Salt, Florida's Naturals Sour fruit snacks (SOOOO good!)

Dante's bento: Much the same.  French roll, Babybel, but with Green Giant Garden Vegetable Medley (Potatoes, Red Pepper, and Peas in sauce- Delicious, cheap, and easy!) on the bottom tier.

At this point, I'm so far behind, I don't think it would make sense to put all of them in one post, so I'm going to break them up into multiple posts and make it look like I'm not such a slacker. ;-)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pizza for bruch! (And Bento #7)

Breakfast of champions, right?  Yeah, had BBQ Chicken Pizza for brunch today.  it was tasty!

Anyway, got a bit behind on the blog posts at the end of this week, so time to catch up!


Dante's Bento:  Ritz, "Savory Rice Thins", Tofuna (More on this below!), Rice, Garbanzo Beans, Dante's Homemade Enchilada Sauce.

Mine: Same thing!

Overall, not the most colorful bentos, and I didn't finish mine, but they were (mostly) pretty tasty! Gotta say, I am NOT a fan of the rice crackers.  They have a really funky lingering aftertaste.  And I used too much enchilada sauce on my beans and rice, so that was a bit spicy for me, but very good, especially with some mozzarella cheese I happened to have in the fridge at work.

Now on to the star of these bentos, TOFUNA!!  Yes, sounds weird, yes, sort of a cult classic around here (ie- has a few very devoted fans and everyone else goes 'ewww!' without trying it), but delicious nonetheless.  Tofuna is a modification of a recipe Mom found in a cookbook.  I don't know what book or what the actual recipe was called, but I don't really follow it anyway.  My general recipe is something along the lines of:

  • 2 cans chunk light tuna in water 
  • 1/2 pack lite tofu cut into small pieces
  • Splash lemon juice (a Tablespoon or two- this is a "to taste" recipe!)
  • Couple tablespoons Miracle Whip Lite
  • Diced red/orange peppers
  • Sliced green onion (Make sure to wash all produce!!)
  • Garlic Salt (Or salt and garlic powder)
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Mozzarella cheese
Basically just whatever you've got around that looks good!  Mix it all up and serve on crackers or cut a pepper (red, orange, etc) in half, scoop out the seeds, fill with tofuna, top with a sprinkle of cheese, and pop in the oven for a few minutes.  Delicious.  And to all of you who go "Ewww, Tofu!!", you can't even taste it.  It just tastes like tuna.  :-p  So there.

Friday was the first day since I got my bentos that I haven't packed one for lunch!  It was kinda weird.  But I had Subway leftovers to use up.  So, had half a Turkey sub on Honey Oat.  Mmmmmm.  And some Red Vines, which are great in a gross waxy sort of way.  You know you know what I mean...

Otherwise, not much to report on the food front.  Cookies and pizza for dinner last night after going to the store to get fish and asparagus to cook up with my leftover rice.  Oops.  lol.  BUT.... Check out this handsome fella I came across while sampling the children's pond for larval mosquitoes with one of my coworkers!

 Isn't he adorable?!?  I love his curly little tail feathers!  He was super brave.  We were standing at the edges of the little pond in our Children's Garden, checking for baby mosquitoes, and he just swam right over to see what we were doing.  Then climbed out and started walking over!  He was literally two feet or less away.  It was awesome.  

Anywho... I think that's about it.  Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode...


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bentos #5 and 6: Eggs and chaos tots!

(So... in case anyone's confused by the numbering, if I pack the same thing for Dante and I, I call it one bento.  If I pack different things, I count it as two.)

So today was bento #5 and the end of a FULL WEEK OF BENTO AWESOMENESS!!!

Dante's bento: Top Layer: Hard boiled egg and egg salad sandwich on Pepperidge Farm Italian bread, which fit amazingly well in his box.  I was very surprised!  Bottom layer: Apple slices, tomato slices, tater tots, and ketchup.  If you look closely, you can see one of the carrot sauce bottles hiding in the bottom of the box.  It's actually full of salt, for sprinkling on the tomato and egg!  Dante said it worked very well, so score one for the creative repurposing!!  Woo hoo!

My bento: (I had an epiphany!  Just because the boxes CAME all blue/red doesn't mean they have to STAY that way!  I mean... they're the same size/shape, so I can mix and match!!) Tater tots, with a super-cute blue flower cup of pickles and tomatoes to use to make chaos tots (I picked up ketchup and mustard packets at the little cafe downstairs from my office).  The cheese for the tots is in the bottom layer, along with some salad, again with garlic powder and sea salt.  Slightly more colorful today, which is good!

We also did some experimenting this morning, since I worked a later shift today.  We made oat-nigiri (onigiri made with oatmeal instead of rice!  Idea courtesy of One More Bento Fan's Flickr page).  Basically, cooked oatmeal with a little less water than normal to make it super-sticky, draped a piece of plastic wrap over my pancake puff pan, put a spoonful of oatmeal in it and squished it into a cup-shape with wet fingers, put fillings in the well (PBJ, dried cranberries and pecans, apples pecans and brown sugar, and maple/brown sugar), put a bit more oatmeal on top, then used the plastic wrap to squish all the oatmeal into a solid blob and do some rough shaping and stuck them in the fridge.  Then, in an attempt to reduce the sticky texture, we fried them lightly in a skillet to give them just a bit of a crust.  Consensus was, though, that the texture was still less than ideal and maybe next time we'd try deep-frying them, donut hole style (Dante's suggestion).  And IMPORTANT NOTE: two of these is PLENTY.  Oh my goodness are they filling.  Neither one of us wanted to move after eating them.  I took a picture, but it seems to have been corrupted on my camera, so no pics of the oatnigiri.  Bummer.   

Anywho... Happy bento!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sushi- Spicy Tuna Roll

I am very American when it comes to eating Sushi.  I can't stand when it just consists of a piece of raw fish draped over a rice ball with wasabi in the middle.  Yuck.  I like my sushi spicy and delicious.  I'm not willing to say that my first attempt at Spicy Tuna rolls was delicious, but it was pretty freakin' good.  ("I don't know if it's worth 5 dollars, but it's pretty frickin' good")  Making sushi is really annoying, however.  You have to cook the rice and then add rice vinegar and sugar.  You then have to cool it (not too much), and then you have to spread it out on seaweed with other ingredients and roll it up ( I had to get Rowan to do it).  You then have to cut  it into pieces without damaging the shape of the roll. I topped the pieces with sesame seeds. Is it worth it?  Yes, and I hope as I get better at seasoning the fish meat with spices it will be more so.


Brisket Enchiladas and Flank Tacos!

So I'm a little late in getting this post up.  Anyway, I decided to make enchiladas and flank tacos last week.  The recipe is a variation on something I saw Guy F. do on Food Network.  I didn't really remember what kind of beef he used for the enchiladas, though. I decided to make it up.  Given that enchiladas are pretty "melty" anyway, I decided that brisket would be a good choice to use in the dish. 

The brisket meat was cooked in the slow cooker on "low" for 10 hours.  In the slow cooker I also placed  lime juice, diced onion, diced green peppers, liquid smoke, some butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder....

NOW... the brisket meat went into tortillas with a handful of shredded Mexican cheese.  The tortillas were rolled burrito-style and placed side by side in an oven-safe dish.  The tortillas were topped with a sauce that I made. 

The sauce consisted of diced onions, diced green peppers, three ancient sweet peppers, one anaheim pepper, two cubanelle peppers, garlic powder, chili powder, chipotle powder, and a can of fire-roasted tomatoes.  These were sauteed for about an hour with vegetable oil so that everything could cook down.  After an hour they were put into a blender and... well... made into sauce.  I strained the sauce and then poured it over the tortillas.  The tortillas were then topped with more Mexican cheese, and this was the result....

I put the pan into the oven and cooked it at 325 F until the cheese was melted and the dish was hot.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the tacos.  I bought flank steak and marinated it overnight.  The marinade consisted of lime juice, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, chives, and a little bit of oil.  I baked the steak in the oven and then cut it up into little pieces like so...

After I did that, I simply added the meat to taco shells and added cheese and lettuce.  I personally put siracha sauce on mine, but that's obviously not something that everyone is going to want to do.  I just happen to like spicy food! 

:-)  Anyways... here is a picture of the final dinner plate with both dishes on it...

A final word of warning... this dinner is extremely filling.  My stomach has been referred to as a "bottomless pit," and I passed out about an hour after finishing dinner.  I think it was worth it, though.  Enjoy!


Bentos #3 and 4: Mexican, Pancake Puffs, and Breakfast!

Ok, so I missed a day... oops!  That didn't take long.  oh well.  Just means I have two sets to post today!

So for Monday's lunch, we had some of the leftover Mexican that Dante cooked on Thursday, and let me tell you... it was DELICIOUS!! 

Dante's box Monday had cooked yellow peppers with homemade enchilada sauce and cheese and some marinaded flank steak on plastic picks. In the bottom layer, are "pancake puffs" (Made in a Pancake Puff Pan) which are heart smart bisquick batter with bits of meat cooked into the middle.  The back row has leftover brisket and the front row (the ones with stars on thars... henceforth these are totally called Sneetches!) have cooked seasoned hamburger left from Chaos Tots.  The red cup has Sweet Baby Ray's.

A quick silverware shot to show of Dante's new utensils.  World Market, oh yeah!

My box: Top layer- Sneetches and Sweet Baby Ray's (I do actually have 2 Hamburger Sneetches, but they don't have stars on thars.  Poor guys.).  Bottom layer- Salad with sea salt and garlic powder, and a small red cup of brisket, which was REALLY GOOD on top of the salad, and a small cup of Malted Milk eggs (in my bird box... he he he!).  Then there's the box lid and one of my new sets of silverware. Aren't they cute?!

Today's "Breakfast in a box" lunch bento.  (Dante didn't get a bento today.  Poor Dante!  His lunch must have been so boring...) Part of a peanut butter and banana sandwich, mini pancakes, a silicone turtle with Vanilla Yogurt, and frozen triple berry mix.  (Note: the turtle really should have gone in the top tier.  He's a tad too tall for the bottom.  Got a little squished.)

Boiling up some eggs for tomorrow's bentos right now, and getting ready to do some more bento-themed crafty time, with Dante this time!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Update!

Ok, so all sorts of goings-on around here this weekend.  Most notably, Chloe came to visit!  YAY!

Part of the excitement with Chloe's visit was giving her her bento boxes and then going on a bento shopping adventure!  We made out like bandits.  :-D  (Most of) my/Dante's scores are in the following pic (Click for a bigger view):

From left: pirate cupcake set (cups and picks), plain red silicone bake cups, blue flower silicone cups, green turtle silicone cups, two kinds of flowery paper cupcake cups, three awesomely cute sets of small easter eggs that are that much *gesture* too tall for the boxes (curses!  Foiled again.), carrot powdered candies to be emptied and repurposed for sauce, zoo-shaped pasta, chopsticks, plastic picks/mini forks, bamboo mini-forks, and awesome mini silverware from World Market, all arranged on some bandanas... I mean... furoshiki? lol.  Ok, so either to be used as furoshiki or sewn into bags.  We'll see how coordinated/ambitious I'm feeling. 

After shopping, we also had to have some crafty-time to make bento accesories from some of the supplies we got.  So, some cutting, sewing, gluing, and tying later, here are a couple of our awesome pieces:

Chloe's awesome bento set- bag, chopsticks/silverware cone, and band.
More pics on her deviantArt page here: Chloe-alexandre on dA

My furoshiki-wrapped box.  Yes, that's tie-dye and smilies.  :-D  
(blurry- darn it.  Need better lighting around here)

My bento corset.  he he he.  I was playing with my eyelet setter and ribbon and... 
well... one thing led to another and you can see the results.

On the food front, Dante made an AWESOME dinner on Friday, but I believe that will be post separately in the near future, so I'll leave it at "It was AMAZING."  Same on the sushi he made Saturday.  In other food news, We had Chaos tots for dinner on Friday, which... if you haven't had them, are fan-freaking-tastic.  Seriously.  They're a take on the Denny's "Taking Back Bacon Burger Fries", which were only on the menu for a short while.  Basically, Tater tots with cooked burger, cheddar, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, and mustard on top (See below), and boy are they delicious.

Our other noteworthy foodie delight this weekend was this beauty: BAC-BLT: Brisket  American (cheese) Cheddar Bacon Lettuce and Tomato.  VERY good.  The brisket was marinated Mexican-style (more on that later!) and the meats and cheeses were grilled on the bread panini-style (on a George Foreman Grill), then the veggies were added after it came off the Foreman.

And finally, super-exciting:  Mom got herself a blog too!!  Go give her some stalker-love at Bento Boxes and Other Distractions.

With that, I think it's time for bed.  Good night, and happy cooking!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bento #2- More Fried Rice and Shrimp

Day two of Bento-making!  YAY!  Used our second set of boxes today.

The contents of today's bentos look awfully familiar, but they were delicious yesterday, so... if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  (Plus we have leftovers to use up!)

Dante's bento: Fried rice, shrimp, sweet and sour/soy sauce, and mixed fruit with an umbrella pick. 

And a blurry pic of mine (oops!).  Again, same basic thing, but no shrimp, and with frozen veggies instead.  (Pardon the craft supplies in the background...)  Important note: be careful when taking bands off bento boxes, or you may end up with fruit in your lap........

Mr. Dante is cooking up an AWESOME smelling beef dish in the crock pot today, so that will probably be featured in our next bentos.  I can't wait!

I think Dante and I are going to go scouting for bento accessories tonight, which should be fun.  Course, we have to be a bit creative about it, since there aren't ANY bento supplies stores around here.  Not even World Market or the local Asian Grocery (Ok, they do have a COUPLE bento boxes, but they're Mr. Bento = $$).  But I think we're both plenty creative.  ;-) We're also planning another bento adventure for this weekend when Chloe's here.  Yay!

Still haven't taken pics of all the boxes, but I will.  Promise!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bento #1- Fried Rice and Potstickers!

Ok, so I'm super excited about starting making bentos.  Ridiculously so.  And I've got Dante, my best bud (Chloe),  and my mother into it now too!  Go me!  And I just made my first real bentos today!  (Ok, I did play around with them a little bit one other time, but I'm still calling this my official first bento.)

We just got our bento boxes yesterday, which was AWESOME.  (I'll post pics of the boxes later, don't have photos of those just yet.)  So I HAD to use them for lunch today, even though I was having a really late lunch (evening class) and Dante was going to be home for lunch...

So these were my less-than-beautiful, but terribly exciting bentos today:

This is Dante's box, which is plain black at the moment, but hopefully will be customized soon (yay!).  Top layer had fried rice and homemade potstickers, with a soy sauce fishy and half a dozen shrimp.  Bottom layer had a baked wonton cup with a sprinkling of sugar and frozen triple berry mix, with frozen stir fry veggies and a container of sweet and sour sauce (Yes, Mr. Dante had a heart-shaped container that said hugs.  That's what I've got right now! lol).

This is my pretty blue box.  It has dragonflies on the top.  :-)  Same basic menu as Dante's box, but sans shrimp (not a big crustacean fan).  It's sad what a geeky pleasure I got out of eating my bento lunch this evening.  *Big grin*

Bought two boxes for Chloe as a gift (shhh!) too, so the plan is this weekend when she comes to visit (yay!), we'll go scouting for accessories.  I know there are a couple stores around here that have a pretty wide variety of chopsticks and we'll be hitting World Market I think looking for small silverware to go with.

Looking forward to many more Bentos!!  YAY!