We're having a meat week, following up the sausage pasta with ma bo tofu (I adapted Lovelylanvin's recipe), complete with a pair of tofu panda friends. I adapted the traditional recipe quite a bit; in fact it may not resemble actual ma po tofu much anymore. I have to omit all the chili bean sauce because the kids won't tolerate the spice, and I always add greens. Today I chopped half a bag full of baby bok choy, several green onion stalks and cilantro and mixed them in for texture, color and nutrition. Sometimes I use pickled mustard greens as well. Also, there is less sauce in mine, to keep it more bento-friendly. If you wanted to keep the soupiness, it would be better to pack it into a thermal food jar. But for us today, this donburi bowl-type bento box works just fine! Top tier contains all fruit: strawberries, grapes, kiwi, blood orange and little mandarinquat. If you've never seen a mandarinquat before, here's a photo, beside some yuzuquats and a standard satsuma mandarin for size comparison. The hybrid quats taste like kumquats, but slightly different. I think kumquats are the tartest, but it could be just me ^_^
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Daytrippers bento box (from Paperchase), which comes with a separate section for the matching fork and spoon under the cute decorated translucent lid. TinySprite has a variable appetite, which grows when the meal includes her favorites. Like this one -- I know she loves this combo and it will disappear in no time, even without the cute parts. And that's a recipe for a successful bento ^_^
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Heat 1 T oil and 1 T butter in pan.
When hot, fry salmon fillets, skin side down, until crispy, a few minutes. Flip and cook a few minutes more.
Just before removing from pan, turn off heat and drizzle 2 tsp shoyu over fish and into pan.
Shake pan to distribute.
Remove and serve!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Rilakkuma and Kiiroitori Beet Burger Sandwich Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Beet, Bean and Rice Burger
1 cup cooked rice
1 large beet, grated (other recipes say to dice, but I thought grated beet would hold together better)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 squirt Dijon mustard (or to taste)
onion powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Mix rice and beet well, until uniform color. Fork-mash the black beans, and add. Mix well. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. My mixture was pretty sticky and a bit difficult to mix, but the stickier the mix, the better it stays together as a patty.
Taste the mixture and add more spice if you need to. Use an ice cream scoop to portion out the burger mixture, and shape into a ball. Flatten with a flipper and place into a heated, oiled pan on medium high heat. Cook for 2 minutes, or until you see a crust form on the bottom. Mine kept its integrity pretty well, so it was easy to flip over. Cook the other side another 2 minutes or so. Put some grated cheese on top to melt if you like. Toast some mini buns or sandwich thins, and serve with fresh greens, onions and tomato. Delicious!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
If you're not familiar with green drinks, do a google search. You'll find tons of recipes, articles and news tidbits, with lots of celebrity chefs and TV personalities touting them. I'll admit that I first heard of them from my mom, who started drinking them because she saw it on Dr. Oz. Once it registered, I found that many of my own friends are drinking these things too. The nice thing is that you don't need a special juicer or high-powered blender to make them. I only use an ordinary old blender with 2 speeds, and it works fine on the foods I've used so far. Also, you don't have to feel limited to an actual recipe -- use whatever you like! And experiment with flavor combinations. It's a lot of fun! I have a standard true-green drink that I like to make. I happen to like the pure green color, which is why I don't add other colors to this one. I also have a favorite red drink too (I will share this one later). If you mix all kinds of fruit and vegetables, you may end up with a brown drink -- which isn't bad, but it won't have the beautiful vibrant color that you see here. This is my recipe:
Sheri's Green Drink
1C almond milk
handful of spinach (maybe 1/2C packed)
handful of dandelion greens (or any other greens that you prefer, like chard, kale, lettuce, choy)
[blend these ingredients first, to get better liquification]
1 celery stalk
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1 apple, peeled
1 small orange, peeled
1/2 lime, peeled
1 inch ginger, grated
1T wheat germ (or flaxmeal)
Blend the remaining ingredients, in batches, so your blender won't blow its motor. If you have a high-powered blender, then just throw everything in at once.
This recipe makes about 4 cups. I drink about 2 and a half cups at midday, and save the rest in the fridge to share with my kids later. It tastes.. well, green, but with a sharp, tangy, fresh bite. If you prefer it sweeter, you can add fruit. Even a couple of strawberries will sweeten it up quite a bit, but then the color will change. I really like it to stay greeeeeen. And it might be too soon to tell, but my usual winter allergies seem to be less pronounced. This drink will give you energy, fortify you for the day ahead, fill you up, and make you invincible! Okay, I made up that last part. Maybe.
Friday, January 20, 2012
The thermal jar contains the eggplant stew, and the side box contains a selection of colorful fruit: grapes, strawberry, cara cara orange, and Okinawan sweet potato stars. I topped them off with a cheese dragon cutout, using my ultimate elaborate dragon cutter.
see that one here. The dragon is playing with a red ball on a stick. I think it represents the sun. Welcome Year of the Dragon; I hope it's an auspicious one for all!
Eggplant Okra Curry Stew
2 large eggplants
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
14 oz can chopped tomatoes (if you like it extra tomato-ey, you can add another can)
water or broth as desired
1/2 bunch kale, torn into pieces.
1/2 pound okra, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices, angled
1 Tbs chopped cilantro (or more, if you like it, like me)
Preheat oven to 400F, wrap the eggplants in foil and bake for 1 hour, until soft.
Cut each eggplant in half and scoop out the soft flesh into a bowl. Mash.
Heat 2 Tbs oil in a wok and saute the scallions and garlic for a few minutes.
Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt and cook 3-4 minutes.
Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes.
Add the mashed eggplant, kale and cilantro. At this point you may need to add water or broth to make it saucier. I think I added about a 1/2 cup. If you like it soupier you can add more.
Bring to a boil and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Add okra, stir well to mix, reduce heat, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Remove cover, turn up the heat and cook another 5-10 minutes, until the okra is tender but not too soft.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Added to Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Garbanzo Bean (Chickpea) Rice Burgers (adapted from Whole Living recipe)
2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas
1 cup cooked brown rice (I used 2 cups to make it even stickier, and mine was a mix of white, brown and and millet)
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I used cilantro because I love this herb)
Salt and pepper (I used cumin too, because I like this spice)
1 large egg, whisked
2 tablespoons olive oil
Mash chickpeas and brown rice until thick paste forms. Stir in shallot, garlic, and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper and cumin. Stir in egg. Form into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Black Bean Hominy Chili
(adapted from Pam Anderson's recipe)Ingredients:
1 quart good quality vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite-diced tomatoes
1 generous Tb. vegetable oil
1 medium-large onion, cut into medium dice
1 bell pepper, cut into medium dice
1 carrot, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 bunch kale, stem removed and leaves torn into small pieces
3 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. each ground cumin and oregano
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) drained black beans
2 cans (15.5 ounces each) drained hominy (I substituted kidney beans; you can use any beans)
1 cup lentils
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
1/4 of chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers; sauté until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin and oregano: sauté until fragrant, a minute or so. Add beans and hominy along with broth and tomatoes. Add the rest of the vegetables and lentils. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender and flavors have blended, about 40 minutes. Stir in garlic, chocolate and cilantro; simmer a couple of minutes to blend flavors. Turn off heat and let stand a few minutes if there's time. Adjust seasonings and serve.
Added to Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Sistema box to house the ever-popular calzone bento today. I asked the kiddos whether they preferred pizza or calzones and they chose calzones. Go figure. While they aren't much to look at (at least mine aren't), they are pretty colorful and exciting inside. I used red pepper, eggplant, grated zucchini, grated kabocha, arugula and cheese. TinySprite watched me make them, and handled the dough a bit. Since they're kind of hard to close (what with all the fillings), I did most of the manipulation. She watched me adding the grated veggies and was fooled when I put in the grated kabocha, since it looks exactly like CHEDDAR. Hehehahaha! This is really the best box to hold a calzone, because it stays separate from the rest of the stuff and doesn't really need to be immobile. Well, except for the Okinawan sweet potato bunnies, which will likely fall off. The rest of the colorful sides include: orange wedges, cherries, strawberry, grape tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers. So fresh, it could almost be a spring bento!
Added to What's For Lunch.
Added to What's For Lunch.