Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Beet Kohlrabi Latkes Bento

Kohlrabi: never heard of it? Me neither, but I saw other people buying it at the market so I thought, why not? Latkes I've never made either, but it seemed pretty straightforward. The recipe called for coarsely grated kohlrabi, beet, and onion mixed with a beaten egg and 2 tablespoons of flour, to be formed into round shapes and fried 4-6 minutes on each side. I added grated zucchini and some cheese, because that's how I roll. I had to squeeze quite a bit of liquid from the ingredients before forming the patties, which ended up holding together very loosely. I'm not sure if that's the way regular potato latkes look or not. I was kind of expecting a more "burger-y" type of patty, similar to the beet patties I made here. The recipe also recommended serving with a horseradish sauce, which sounds great, but I had mine with chimichurri (this stuff is very versatile!). I sprinkled some green onion on TinySprite's two patties, which I packed into the divided container along with a homegrown mesclun microgreens salad topped with shaved iberico and yellow tomatoes, some marinated mini peppers, and a selection of white peach, blueberries and a super ripe dark orange apricot.

Seeing as tomorrow is the last day of school, I made shoyu hot dogs (by request) for the kids to share at their snack party. Can't believe the year is all over and we have the long hot summer ahead of us at last! I don't know who is more excited: me or them! Counting down the hours starting now...
Added to What's For Lunch.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Portobello Ecolunchbox Bento

Welcome back from a long Memorial Day weekend! Since we did a lot of grilling over the weekend, I decided to have a meatless Tuesday bento today. I broiled portobello mushrooms with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then garnished with green onion, cilantro, and various other herbs from the garden. I personally had mine with chimichurri, with which I am currently obsessed. It's a very intense and aromatic dressing/sauce, and I use garlic and sherry vinegar to give it even more bite. I like it with meat, pork, even just with bread or pasta, like pesto. MisterMan has sliced portobellos with savoy cabbage - carrot - daikon - sesame slaw, watermelon, corn, peapods, tomatoes, Okinawan sweet potato, blueberries and apricot. All packed in the 3-in-1 Ecolunchbox set. Super refreshing to kick off this brand-new SHORT week. The last week of school for us!
Added to What's For Lunch.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chimichurri Pork LunchBots Bento

I packed TinySprite's bento with pan-fried peppery thin cut pork chops on shredded cabbage, topped with a chimichurri sauce (parsley, cilantro, shallot, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, pepper, sherry vinegar). This version is a bit on the spicy side, so there's just a very little bit for flavor. She also gets sesame-marinated mini bell peppers, pickled cucumbers, carrots and daikon. The last section of the very practical LunchBots Trio holds strawberry, a quartered donut peach, and cherries. And that's it for the week!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chicken and Broccoli with Beet Slaw Bento

I haven't posted a MisterMan bento for awhile, so here's today's: Vietnamese soy chicken with steamed broccoli, a raw beet-carrot-onion-daikon vinegary slaw, and a selection of fruit (peach, strawberries, blueberries). It does look a bit ordinary, doesn't it? Actually, I haven't been posting his bento because he's been making his own, by himself, a couple of times a week. He decides what and how much he wants, and he likes to show me the finished result. I've taken phone shots of his creations, and I really should post them for posterity. Maybe I'll show you a few of his bento sometime!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Salmon, Tomato Relish, and Slaw Bento

Today I made TinySprite a compartmentalized bento, so I could give her a little bit of several different things. I find that she's more likely to finish everything if there isn't too much of it. She gets a piece of king salmon, pan-fried in olive oil, pepper, and parsley, served beside a red cabbage/savoy cabbage/carrot/onion slaw. Since she loves pasta, I also gave her some tricolor rotini topped with cherry tomato/shallot/garlic "relish" and shaved parmesan. I squeezed some cherries, blueberries and a halved strawberry in the rest of the sections, along with a couple of pickled cucumbers. The four dividers keep everything separate, and since there's no sauce in this bento either, there shouldn't be any crossover leakage. Hope she enjoys this one!
Added to What's For Lunch.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lil' Sandwich Rollups EcoLunchBox Bento

Even though my kids usually eat the "dinner leftovers" type of bento quite often, they are just like all other kids and love the bitesize sandwich rollups too (maybe even more). My kindergartner always prefers to eat with her fingers so a bento like this is a hit with her. Since there isn't anything saucy to drip out, a bento like this is ideal for the EcoLunchBox Solo Cube. I secure it with an elastic band and it's good to go. Besides the whole wheat spinach brie and turkey rollups (I flattened the bread with a rolling pin first), I packed a cabbage onion tomato slaw, a cup of juicy cantaloupe, a strawberry, and some blueberries. This will just about satisfy her appetite, I think!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Herby Chicken Lunchbots Bento

Here's the last bento for the week: and it's good old chicken and rice. I loved this combo when I was a kid, and my kids kind of do too, minus the rice. Sigh. But I find that they will grudgingly eat rice with furikake (and also in hot dog maki, fried rice, sticky rice, or jook), so I put a cup of it in here. This rice is black rice and pearl barley. I disguised it as a cupcake with a tomato "cherry". The chicken is just garlicky herbes de provence olive oil chicken, oven baked. I made more kale chips tonight, which didn't survive for bento extras. The rest of the LunchBot Trio holds a variety of pickled stuff, carrots, cherries, strawberry and baby peach. Oh, and a broccoli tree. Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fish Sticks Lunchbots Bento

Remember those perfectly rectangular fish sticks from elementary school? Do they still serve those? I've never made them at home, but I saw this oven-baked version of fish sticks and decided to try. I used cod which I cut into strips, coated with egg and seasoned panko, sprayed with oil and baked in a 425F oven until golden. I also baked some diced purple potatoes under the rack of fish at the same time, and we also had kale chips (which we ate for dinner; no leftovers). I packed the LunchBot Quad with vinegary cabbage carrot onion daikon slaw on the side, and a selection of springtime fruit: cherry tomatoes, cherries, apricot and strawberry.
Added to What's For Lunch.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Starry Penne with Meat Sauce Bento

MisterMan gets carrot penne with meat sauce topped with fresh grated parmesan and stars. The top tier has an assortment of strawberries, white peaches, steamed Okinawan sweet potato sticks, and homegrown arugula salad with shaved Iberico and walnuts. So excited that my arugula is growing so vigorously; I love this peppery green! I'm going to try to make fans of my kids as well, by the end of the summer. That's my goal. ^__^

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cheesy Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese Bento

I made up this meal. TinySprite has been asking for mac and cheese for a long time, so I figured it was time to make a batch. I noticed a recipe for cauliflower "mac" and cheese (in which the cauliflower replaces the pasta), and combined it with another recipe I saw which incorporated butternut squash puree into the cheese mixture. I also added onion and minced broccoli, as I have been known to do, and came up with this. I've noticed cauliflower used as a gluten substitute before, and I even used it to make a gluten-free pizza dough (here), so I guess it's probably nothing new. But it's kind of a nice change from macaroni elbow pasta. I packed it into the Hello Kitty thermal food jar, and decorated the top with a red bell pepper "flower". The side box holds pickled cucumbers, broccoli, tomato, carrot, pickled onions, and a sweet white nectarine.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mama Loves Her Bunnies Bento

It's Mother's Day this Sunday, so I'm sending my kids to school with a reminder of how much I love them. I can still give them both a big squeeze just like this, which I love to do! Even though they are 9 and 6, and growing bigger every day, I'm going to keep squeezing them. Every chance I get. I made TinySprite a calzone with spinach, mushroom and cheese, her favorite. A little broccoli and pea pods fill in the spaces, along with the usual pickled onions, strawberries, carrots and nectarines. How will you celebrate the mothers in your life? Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I Love Watermelon (Radish)! Bento

You can't see the burger in the photo, but I tried a new meatless recipe. It consists of about a cup of roasted sweet potato, a cup of brown rice / barley, and a cup or two of black beans, processed along with sauteed onions, garlic, cumin, and Worchestershire sauce to taste. The patties stuck together pretty well, which often is not the case (in my experience) with bean burgers. I melted cheese and served with tomato slices next to a side of cabbage / onion / carrot slaw tossed with vinegar, shoyu and a bit of superfine sugar. The last section of the LunchBots Trio contains the miniature spring selection of fruit at my farmers market: strawberries, apricot and nectarine. We have watermelon too, but the cheddar bear is actually enjoying a slice of watermelon radish. Those are good too, even if they're not quite as sweet!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rubber Ducky Curry Bento

Rubber Ducky Curry Bento by sherimiya ♥
Rubber Ducky Curry Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Packing some curry today (see the recipe I used here). I made it a lot more "soupy" than the recipe calls for, because I like it that way. TinySprite's Hello Kitty thermal food jar is topped with a handcut yellow capsicum "rubber ducky" taking a swim. The side box holds: a perfectly sweet and unblemished organic (tiny) apricot, sliced nectarines, baby strawberries, a steamed Okinawan sweet potato, and some pickled stuff. The weather's been cooling down a bit (a bit; down to the upper 60s), so this warm bento should be welcome!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Angel Hair Mushroom Saute Bento

This one involved cooking, but only very minimally, which made it an easy Monday meal. I sauteed a variety of mushrooms (crimini, beech and enoki) in butter and some olive oil until softened, along with minced shallot and garlic. Salt and peppered to taste, parsleyed, and grated some aged manchego into the pan with the heat turned off. Tossed the cooked angel hair into the pan with the mushroom sauce, and it was done. And the kids gobbled it up! I packed some for MisterMan's bento, topped with some dark-skinned purple sweet potato which I found locally. He also gets the first baby nectarines I've seen at the market this year, baby strawberries, and fresh pickled cukes, kumquats, and watermelon radish. Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Children's Day (こどもの日 Kodomo no Hi) Fish Slaw Bento

Happy Children's Day! Okay, it's not until the 5th of May, but since that falls on a Sunday, we'll be celebrating it today. I made kind of a deconstructed fish taco (but without the tortilla), which kind of falls in with Cinco de Mayo too. Yay! I pan-fried snapper and served it with a fresh cold cabbage slaw which was tossed with shredded carrots, onions, cucumbers, and rice vinegar with a sprinkling of sugar. I also made a tomato cara cara orange salsa. A cup of mango completes the tropical feel. Along the pickled red onion there are some cucumber koi nobori (carp) to go with the cheese nori boy with his Okinawan sweet potato hat. A couple of big strawberries fill out the box. I know it's "Children's Day", but when I was a kid we called it Boy's Day (and there's a Girls' Day to balance in March), and so this one is for my MisterMan. Hope he likes it!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May the 4th Lentil Sausage Bento

I know it's not May the 4th yet, but since it falls on Saturday this year, I'm sending MisterMan to school with his Star Wars bento today. I tried a new lentil potato sausage chard "salad", which can be served hot or cold. If you want to serve it cold, you can toss with balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar. I cooked French lentils with diced purple potatoes, then added pan-fried chicken artichoke sausage, mushrooms, onion, garlic and celery. I tossed in shredded chard at the end just to wilt it a little. If you omit the sausage, it could be a vegetarian option. I thought it was pretty good, and refreshing on this hot day. The top tier holds a big strawberry, carrots, fancy-cut radish, broccoli, and pickled turnips and kumquats. Do you see the Star Wars reference? It's very simple, but I hope he gets it. Light sabers were cut from red sweet pepper and cucumber. Happy May the 4th (a few days early)!

P.S. You can see the other Star Wars bento I have made in the past here.