Nasty Rice

>> Friday, November 30, 2007

1. chicken and vegetable curry
2. nasty basmati rice
3. pickled mango/lime garnish

About that nasty rice...
This rice was not delicous. It was cheap. And sold at a nearby store. It tasted like mushy little grains of nasty. It's so not worth it.

I like this rice.

And not because it's Kosher.
This rice is delicous. It's also a little bit pricier, and I have to drive further to get it. It so is worth it.


Wingin' It

1. leftover chicken wings
2. tangerine slices
3. vat of ranch dressing
4. carrot and edamame flowers
5. green apple jelly

You know it's time to shop when the only green food you have is frozen soybeans and jelly.


You Say Tomato

>> Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I freakin' love these tomatoes. There. I've said it.

1. sauteed grape tomatoes
2. rice
3. golden kiwi
4. persimmon slices
5. red bean mochi

Quick cooking these little tomatoes really seems to bring out their flavor. I guess the basil and salt help too. Here's the complicated recipe.

Freakin' Delicious Tomatoes

grape tomatoes
chopped basil
olive oil

So heat a little olive oil in a saute pan. Add halved tomatoes. Stir. When the skins start to loosen add basil, salt and pepper. Try not to burn your mouth.


Liberate my Pocky!

>> Tuesday, November 27, 2007

1. BBQ sauced meatballs
2. roasted corn
3. itty bitty banana
4. pudding taste
5. cheese
6. apple slices
7. stick of strawberry Pocky in the lid compartment

Boo told me "roasted corn was everywhere!" when she opened up her lunch today. I thought that the edge of the silicone cup would press against the lid and hold everything in place. Guess I was wrong. More disturbing was that I put the fork in tine sides up and she wasn't able to slide open the compartment to liberate her Pocky. I guess she just ate the corn with her fingers. I got it out for her when I got home. Even let her eat it. I'm nice that way.


Comfort in a Box

Bitter cold blustery day again today. High near 75. I warmed up nicely after lunch. I think it was the soup.

1. grilled cheese sandwich quarters
2. itty bitty banana
3. sour cherry preserves
4. bowl of soup (Tomato and Roasted Pepper from Trader Joe's)


Snow Day!

>> Monday, November 26, 2007

Brrrrrr! With a high of around 65 today and Thanksgiving behind us it's time to break out the long pants and look for some socks.

1. celery
2. sliced apple
3. pound cake
4. pink yogurt
5. peanut butter in the snowman container

About that pink yogurt ... Boo always wants Go-GURT®. I don't buy it. Normally. I tell her it's gross. That it has weird stuff in it that food shouldn't have. She insists it tastes great. Sometimes I cave. I saw some on sale a week or two ago and bought a box. I guess it hasn't been noticed, 'cause it's still in the fridge. I squished one out into the little container but didn't mention it was the exalted Go-GURT®. Tonight Boo says, "that yogurt was kinda weird". Score!


How Nice Brown Rice

I like to eat brown rice, but I don't like to cook brown rice. So I buy it frozen. In little plastic packets. I like it. Don't be hatin'.

1. brown rice (Trader Joe's) with clever tomato heart accent
2. vegetable shumai (Trader Joe's) and crab shumai with little bottle of sauce
3. tangerine
4. salad made of shredded cabbage, tomato, onion and cilantro (taco night leftovers) dressed with lime juice and sesame oil


Grilled Onions

>> Sunday, November 25, 2007

Boy was right. I didn't take any pictures of the Turkey Day Feast. And I regret it. The food was good and plentiful, the company exceptional. I'm thankful.

The Thanksgiving holiday may be over, but the thankfulness and eating of good food continues. I'm especially thankful that He cooked tonight's dinner of carne asada tacos with grilled onions. Boo asked me to post the recipe for the grilled onions. It's a favorite side dish for her, and she's hoping that Grandpa will learn to make it for her :)

Grilled Onions

oil - about a tablespoon

Wash and trim the onions, then put them damp into a microwave safe dish covered with a damp paper towel. Cook on high for 3 minutes. If you are using regular green onions cut the time to about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain the water and pat the onions dry. Drizzle on a little oil (we usually use canola but anything will work) and toss the onions until coated, then salt and pepper with a heavy hand. Grill until nicely charred.

We like to use the "cebollitas de cambray" type of onion that's available locally at stores catering to the Hispanic market. Apparently the cambray onion is a baby onion with the tops still attached, and not an overgrown scallion. If you can't find these onions just use regular green onions, it'll still be good.


I'm Seeing Spots!

>> Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today's the day! The magic is so close I can smell it! No, wait, that must be my lunch. What's in the little green box, Bob?

1. roasted corn under rice
2. carrot slices
3. ginormous golden raisins
4. half an apple

Actually ended up eating most of it in the car on the way home. Nothing ever really goes as planned I guess.


Counting Down to the Magical Days

>> Monday, November 19, 2007

We leave tomorrow night to go to the grandparent's for Turkey Day. Some of us (the ones who aren't the parents) are -quite- excited. Yep, one more magical day. Then a nice long magical flight, followed by an even more magical middle of the night drive. Then 2 days of feasting and reverse the process. Minus the magic of course :)

Anyway, this is Boo's last little bento until after Thanksgiving break. I think she enjoyed it.

1. meatballs in BBQ sauce
2. tiny potatoes
3. tinier apple
4. persimmon slices
5. custard ball
6. coconut bar cookies sandwiched with Nutella
7. sugar snaps


Round and Round and Round We Go

1. rice balls with world's best furikake
2. little potato
3. littler apple
4. sugar snap peas
5. persimmon slices
6. custard ball (sounds so appetizing, no?)

I know it's kind of mean to proclaim something the "world's best" and then not give any other info. All I can really say is that it came in a pink envelope. And cost more than the other (lesser) furikakes. As soon as I get this whole reading Japanese kanji down I'll post more info. Please, stop holding your breath. It won't help and it makes me nervous.


The Perfect Mac & Cheese?

>> Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another stop on the quest for the perfect Mac & Cheese.

I'm really not a huge macaroni and cheese fan. But he is. So here's the latest rendition:

Perfect Mac & Cheese v.12

1/2 c milk
4 ounces of Velveeta
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Muenster cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
black pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni (boiled and drained)
2 T salted butter (melted)
1 cup bread crumbs

Melt the Velveeta in the milk over medium low heat in a 2 quart saucepan, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth. Add the shredded cheeses about 1/4 of a cup at a time, stirring until smooth between additions. Add the garlic salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Dump the macaroni into the sauce pan and stir to coat. Empty into an 11x7 inch buttered casserole. Mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs using a fork then sprinkle over the macaroni. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

It was pretty good. Some people didn't like the ratio of crumb topping to macaroni, while others of us loved it. All agreed that it was a bit dry. I think we'll try this one again with about 1/4 cup more liquid and 1/2 the breadcrumbs. I'd also brown it a bit more if starving heathens can spare the time.


Mexizona Shrimp Cocktail

>> Saturday, November 17, 2007

A great lunch for hot summer days (or hot mid-November days for us desert dwellers) this fast and easy version uses precooked shrimp so it's perfect for the ceviche squeamish. The single most important thing to know about this recipe is do not overcook the shrimp. If you put the shrimp in a pot of cold water they will probably be done just about the time it starts to boil.

Mexizona Shrimp Cocktail

1 pound of shrimp (barely boiled, peeled and deveined)
1 avocado (peeled and diced)
1 cucumber (peeled, seeded, and diced)
1 small onion (diced)
2-3 jalapenos (seeded and finely diced)
1 quart Extra-spicy Clamato (chilled)
2-3 Mexican limes or 1 Persian lime
1 handful of cilantro chopped

In a big bowl - dump in the shrimp, avocado, cucumber, onion and chilis. Pour in the Clamato and the juice from the limes, then stir in the cilantro. Serve with chips.


A Recurring Theme

>> Friday, November 16, 2007

1. tuna salad roll
2. rice ball
3. pickles on a pick
4. mango jelly
5. sliced apples
6. container of peanut butter

Boo: "I didn't really like the tuna thing."
Me: "At least you had apples and peanut butter."
Boo: "That was peanut butter?!?!?!?"


Deconstructed Tuna Salad Roll. Not Recommended.

1. rice ball with the best furikake ever
2. tuna salad roll
3. sliced apple
4. red carrot sticks
5. White Rabbit candy

So the tuna salad roll wasn't that great. Okay, it was kinda bad. I don't recommend it. It consisted of canned tuna, mayo, carrot and dill pickles. I think it was the cheap canned tuna that killed it. I'd be willing to try it again with a better quality tuna, but I'm in no real hurry to do so.


Sandwiches and Eggs: Deviled. Not Molded.

>> Thursday, November 15, 2007

Basically the same for all of us today. The sandwiches were delicious, but probably a little too big. Boo wished that hers had more ham.

1. croissant sandwiches with cream cheese, roasted red peppers and alfalfa sprouts, Boy's with peppered ham, Boo's with cream cheese and ham only
2. deviled egg with tomatoes for me
3. golden kiwi for Boy and Boo
4. apple rubbed with lime for me

I attempted the infamous egg molds. It didn't go so well. Apparently one should use "extra large" eggs and that isn't the same as "jumbo" eggs. Jumbo eggs are way too big and squish out the edges of the molds. I also noticed that the yolks were forced all the way to one side, which is not conducive to deviled egg making. Luckily, I had boiled extras.

Quick and Dirty Deviled Eggs

4 hard boiled eggs
1 T mayo
1 t mustard
1 shake hot sauce
salt and pepper

Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and put the yolks in a bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth. Add in the mayonnaise and mustard and a good shake of hot sauce. We like Louisiana brand for stuff like this. Stir in a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper. Stuff the stuffing back in the eggs and eat.


Peanut Sauce Lovin'

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2007

1. mini spring rolls with bean thread noodles, mint, roasted red pepper strips and sliced grilled pork
2. roasted baby sweet potatos
3. pomegranate arils
4. container of peanut sauce
5. little chocolate candy bite
6. gold kiwi
7. Zen Trail Mix (Target)

Peanut Sauce Love

1/4 c peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
2 T hoisin sauce
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t Viatnamese fish sauce
1/4 t sesame oil

Stir it all together and add water (about 2 T) until you get the consistency you're looking for. I like to put a little glob of chili garlic paste right on top before I start dippin', but you could stir some in if you don't want to be just. like. me.


Porky Little Sandwiches

1. 2-bite sandwiches made with sliced grilled pork
2. sliced golden kiwi
3. little bottle of BBQ sauce
4. fruit jelly
5. celery sticks
6. container of peanut butter
7. baked baby sweet potato, peeled and sliced


Goma Shio Mr. Roboto

>> Tuesday, November 13, 2007

1. rice with Goma Shio
2. edamame
3. container of gyoza dipping sauce
4. egg custard ball
5. bite sized kusa mochi
6. mini pork bun, vegetable shumai, crab shumai

Gomo Shio is a great option for you fish-haters that aren't sure about the whole furikake thing. You know who you are. It's simply a mix of black sesame seeds and coarse rice. Heck, you could even make your own!

Goma Shio

5 parts sesame seeds (black is prettier)
1 part salt (use either kosher salt or coarse sea salt if you have it)
Adjust the proportions to suit your own taste.

Toast in a dry pan stirring constantly over medium heat until you can smell the sesame seeds. Remove from heat, cool, pack in an airtight container and sprinkle with abandon.

Often Goma Shio is ground together and then used, but I like the look of the whole seeds. Plus I'm kind of lazy.


It's Like Macaroni. With Cheese.

Boo can be kinda weird about foods she doesn't recognize and sometimes doesn't even try them if I'm not there to remind her that if it smells good it probably tastes good (nevermind the fact that I've never -ever- tried to poison her). There were a couple of unfamiliar things in her lunch today so I tried to forewarn her.

1. shrimp
2. mochi (just like the pink things that you like, yes, the ones that have the sweet strawberry stuff in the middle)
3. custard balls(it has yellow stuff in the middle just like coconut pie filling without the coconut)
4. mini pork bun, veggie shumai, crab shumai (taste like potstickers, you like those don't you?)
5. left over mac and cheese with carrot hearts
6. little bottle of gyoza sauce (it's that yummy brown sauce that we eat with potstickers)
7. container of cocktail sauce

Guess what she didn't eat. Go on, guess. Nu-uh. Macaroni and cheese.


Veteran's Day Snack

>> Monday, November 12, 2007

Today was a goinlateleaveearly day to keep me from feeling so bitter that I wasn't actually off. For that reason (the short day - not the bitter part) I just packed a little snacky lunch today.

1. white bean hummus from Trader Joe's (really good but not as good as the Mediterranean kind)
2. yellow bell pepper
3. celery
4. carrots
5. grape tomatoes

Was really tempted to make a hummus lid out of the pepper top again - but I don't wanna be a One Trick Pony.


Where to Find Bento Boxes and Supplies in the Phoenix Area

>> Sunday, November 11, 2007

If there's a one-stop bento shopping mecca in Phoenix, I haven't found it. None of these stores are really worth a special trip -just- for bento stuff but all are worth visiting if you're in the area. Or if you take a day off work and drive all over the valley with your oldest and bestest friend. But that would be silly.

Asiana Market
4410 West Union Hills Drive
(623) 780-1234
Large nice Asian supermarket. Small selection of boxes, Clickety-Click, Putifresh, Comment Vas-Tu? (flat folding sandwich boxes too), and Feel at Ease single and double tier boxes. Also chopsticks, matching forks, etc. and a large selection of kitchen wares like onigiri molds.

Asiana Market
1116 S Dobson Rd
(480) 833-3077
Unlike the Union Hills location this store has primarily Korean foods. They carry Vive and Lock N Lock boxes and have a small selection of kitchenware.

527 W McDowell Rd
Lots of kitchen ware like onigiri molds, sushi molds, sushi mats, graters, slicers etc. Complete line of Country Bear bento boxes, cups, bags, chopsticks etc. Random Hello Kitty bento items and more untilitarian Lock n Lock type boxes. You really never know what you'll find here.

Dollar Tree
all over
Several styles of Hello Kitty bento boxes in blue, green and pink. These are likely seasonal but some stores still have large stocks.

Fujiya Market
1335 West University
Very clean, bright, neatly organized store. Lots of packaged foods/snacks as well as refridgerated and frozen items. Fujiya Market also sells premade bento meals. They have several sizes of the Vive boxes, tiny sauce bottles, sushi grass, inexpensive metal cutters.

House of Rice Store
3221 N Hayden Rd
(480) 947-6698
Probably equal parts groceries and knick-knacks. They have the ubiquitous fish and pig soy bottles, pricey metal cutters, and cute chopsticks.

LeeLee Market
1901 W Warner Rd
(480) 899-2887
Asian food megastore. Has Comment Vous bento boxes and Lock N Lock but not a lot of specific bento items.

Morning Glory
2055 N Dobson Rd
(480) 726-2383
Tiny store packed to the rafters with cute. Probably not worth a trip on it's own, but it is in the same shopping center as LeeLee. They do have a few Sanrio character boxes and chopsticks.

New Tokyo Food Market
3435 W Northern Ave
(602) 841-0255
Another very nice store, similar to Fujiya Market (above). A few cute items like monkey chopsticks in a plastic case, but not much else.

5000 S Arizona Mills Cir
(480) 755-9020
Sanrio character boxes, bags, chopsticks, cups, thermos containers. They always have clearance items in the back of the store.


Indian Tater Tots

>> Saturday, November 10, 2007

We don't bento on weekends. But we do eat. Lots. Here's an example...

Potato Tikki

1 clove fresh garlic (smashed with salt)
1 tiny bit of ginger
1/2 t. Garam Masala
1/2 t. mild curry paste (loosened in 1 T. hot water)
small jalapeno (tiny diced)
6 small Yukon Gold potatoes (shredded)
vegetable oil for frying

Peel and boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, drain. When cool grate them into a boil. Add in the garlic, ginger, peppers and spices. Form by hand into little logs (think long tater tots) and brown (in batches) in a small amount of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with mango chutney. Or ketchup.

Makes 12.


Pasta and Hummus

>> Friday, November 9, 2007

Dinner was way too late last night - at least there were leftovers! The italian chicken sausage was from Trader Joe's - it was okay - but not pork - enough said.

1. leftover pasta with chicken sausage and vegetables
2. hummus with a pepper lid
3. pretzels
4. grape tomatoes
5. baby carrots

The pepper top was leftover from making the pasta for dinner. I thought it was rather clever of me to use it as a lid. Of course I am easily amused.


Dino Nuggets and Pasta Salad

1. dinosuar shaped chicken nuggets
2. pasta salad
3. container of ranch
4. grapes on a pick
5. 3 teeny apples
6. strawberry mochi
7. Babybel cheese

Check out my super complex pasta salad recipe here.


TGFPS (Thank God for Pasta Salad)

When Boy came home today, "I really enjoyed the pasta salad." Guess you had to be there.

1. dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets
2. lone tomato
3. crostini with goat cheese
4. pasta salad
5. grapes a on a pick
6. strawberry
7. container of ranch
8. tiny pear

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a great way to use leftover pasta. We're all mayonaisse freaks so I don't even fancy up the dressing - just drained and cooled leftover pasta with some chopped vegetables (carrot and celery this time) enough mayonaisse to make it shiny and salt and pepper to taste.


Rice. Mostly.

>> Thursday, November 8, 2007

All in all a rather uninspired lunch. I had high hopes for delicious leftovers but we ate like pigs and then there were none.

1. rice with furikake
2. meatballs
3. carrots
4. chocolate rum cake with strawberry

He did some work for someone that gifted us with the chocolate rum cake. Normally her cakes are super delicious but this one sorta missed the mark - still cake for lunch is better than no cake for lunch.


Philafornia Onigiri

Boy can't enough of that krab/cream cheese combo.

1. onigiri stuffed with krab/cream cheese/scallions
2. containers of soy, wasabi and pickled ginger
3. mini egg rolls (Costco)
4. container of sweet chili sauce
5. chocolate rum cake with strawberry

Boy had a yogurt smoothie too, but forgot it in the fridge. So I drank it. Bad Boy.


FIsh. Egg Rolls. Cake.

The Boo wanted fish. And eggrolls. And cake. Soooooo...

1. fish (tilapia filet - pan seared)
2. egg rolls (Costco)
3. cake (chocolate rum - sounds better than it is)
4. container of sweet chili sauce
5. worlds tiniest apple
6. yogurt smoothie (not pictured)


Curried Root Vegetables

>> Wednesday, November 7, 2007

1. chicken vindaloo
2. my favorite basmati ricewith tomato and cilantro garnish
3. curried vegetables *
4. strawberry mochi (I always call these mochi, anyone know the real name?)
5. frozen fruit chunks

* This was delicious. The sweet potato/ghee/spices made a wonderful sweet and mild curry sauce that went great with the vegetables and rice. The chicken vindaloo was extraneous.

Root Vegetable Curry

4 baby White Rose potatoes
2 small turnips
1 small sweet potato
1 big yellow carrot
1 T salt
1 T ghee
1 T Shan Vegetable Curry Mix
1/4 t turmeric

Peel and dice the sweet potato and turnips (microwave for a few minutes first and it's much easier to handle) and put them in a 2 quart saucepan. Cover with water by about 2 inches and add the salt. Cook on high heat for about 5 minutes then throw in the washed and quartered potatoes. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes then add the carrot (peeled and sliced). Continue cooking until the turnips are soft. Turn off the heat and carefully drain the water - the sweet potato will be mostly mush at this point - and add the ghee and the powdered curry spice mix and stir to combine. Put a lid on and leave it to finish with residual heat. I only used a tablespoon of the spice mix because I didn't want the curry flavor to overwhelm the taste of the vegetables. The turmeric was just for color.

Makes 4 servings.


Meatball Mania

1. meatballs with 1 grape tomato
(and a Country Bear pick - what on earth was I thinking? Might as well sent him with a Hello Kitty bento too!)
2. hummus
3. matchstick veggies
4. naan
5. mango jelly
6. tiny pudding cup

I didn't cover the hummus thinking that the edges of the cup would press against the lid and keep everything in place. I hope I was right.


Good Day Sunshine

Meatballs are always a hit. I buy frozen mini "party" meatballs at Trader Joe's so they're super easy to prepare too! Since they are fully cooked I suppose you could just stick them in there frozen, but I think it's better to heat 'em and smash 'em a little in some paper towel so you can get the extra out.

1. naan
2. matchstick veggies (yellow carrot, baby carrots, asparagus and celery)
3. tiny pudding cup
4. meatballs
5. hummus

She didn't eat the yellow carrots or the celery because she "didn't know what they were". How can this be my child?


Trying My Hand at Hand Rolls

>> Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Okay, so hand rolls are harder than they look. Especially little tiny ones.

1. mini hand rolls with yellow carrots, crab and avocado
2. tangerine wedges
3. strawberries
4. soy fish

I bought some itty-bitty nori sheets a while ago (because they were really cheap) but I'm not really sure what they are intended for. Thought little hand rolls would be cute, and I think they would be, but I'd probably want different nori. This stuff is seasoned, and a little sticky, and very crispy. All and all pretty hard to work with, though I think it might work well for onigiri.


Confetti Rice Maki Roll

I mixed in some leftover colored rice from this that I mixed in with the sushi rice - made the roll very festive!

1. krab and carrot maki roll
2. tangerine wedges
3. strawberries
4. one tiny pudding cup
5. Rollos!

Freeze leftover rice in a zipbag with all the air squished out. Use within a couple of weeks. I don't think that it tastes as good as fresh but isn't noticable when mixed in with something else.


Spicy Calidelphia Roll

1. maki roll by request with krab, avacodo, yellow carrot, cream cheese and spicy mayo
2. containers of soy and wasabi
3. tangerine sections with a strawberry
4. mango jelly x 2
5. little box of Sour Nerds

I realized after the lid went on that this wasn't packed tightly enough so I added...

6. white grapes


Waffle House

>> Monday, November 5, 2007

This is a story of a poor little breakfast bento that was left behind, and a poor little girl that ate it after school. Well, not really. But she did forget it. Again. And I ate the marshmallow. 'Cause I'm the mom. And that'll show her.

1. waffle sticks
2. little container of syrup (not in the picture)
3. apple slices
4. peanut butter
5. Hello Kitty Chocolate Marsmallow


Under the Wire for NaBloPoMo

>> Sunday, November 4, 2007

When I signed up to NaBloPoMo I promised the whole. wide. world. to post every single day. Even weekends. Even Sundays. Even when I've nothing to say. Like now.

Tomorrow though. Tomorrow there will be plenty to say! There'll be Boo's lunch to post. And, as if that weren't enough...tomorrow, on a work day, I am going to call in sick and go shopping and out to lunch with my oldest bestest friend. And that makes me happier than a ... well, something really happy.


Food! Food! It's All About Food!

>> Saturday, November 3, 2007

Look over to the right and down a bit and you'll see I've joined The Foodie Blogroll. I've magnanimously put aside my inherent distaste for the term "foodie" in order to enjoy the privilege of being in the company of so many talented uhm... food people. If you have a food related blog and want to join, click here.


Spicy Turbot Roll

>> Friday, November 2, 2007

Somewhat of an experimental roll today. Boy had an end piece and pronounced it "spicy" and "delicious" so hopes are high!

1. spicy turbot roll
2. tiny bell pepper
3. grape tomatoes
4. soy bottle
5. tangerine wedges

Spicy Mayo Sauce
1 T mayo
1/4 t Sriracha

Mix together and use!

This makes the right amount for one maki roll.

It's fun to use the Japanese Kewpie brand mayonnaise,not to mention it's convenient squirt bottle packaging, but regular mayo will work too. Just don't use Miracle Whip type products. If you don't have Sriracha there's probably no hope for you, but Sambal Oelekwould be an okay (if slightly less smooth) alternative. I suppose you could use also try Tabasco with maybe a bit of sugar added to sweeten it up.



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