Daring Baker #3 - Julia's French Bread

>> Friday, February 29, 2008

Yeah. French bread. Julia style.

Real purty, ain't it? Now go over to the breadchickif you wanna check out the recipe. It's okay, I can wait.

Okay, now go over the Daring Bakers blogroll and look at all the purty and not so purty loaves. Laugh at the funny ones, cry with the sad ones, make fun of the dumb ones. Whatever you do - do NOT mention that your local Vietnamese bakery sells not one but two perfect baguettes for a buck and change. A Daring Baker that has just spent 14 hours waiting for a loaf of bread to bake only to have to wait 2 more hours to taste it can not be held accountable for what might result. A Daring Baker would of course probably say that it's not about the end result. That it's about the process. That it's about going outside of one's comfort zone and doing what seems undoable. I wouldn't know. I am NOT a Daring Baker. I am a Daring Faker. I didn't make the bread. Didn't even try. I just ran out of month. But oh I do admire those that did. Congratulations to all of you!

Stock photo of french bread from freephoto.com.


My Phat Lunch

>> Thursday, February 28, 2008

1. peanut butter stuffed dates
2. pistachios, dried pineapple, dried papaya
3. tomatoes
4. carrots
5. green onion
6. roasted red pepper hummous
7. pita chips

Okay ya'll. (that's the southerner in me coming out) Ya'll gotta get some dates and some peanut butter and put them together cause this is the -best- thing I've eaten all month. And I ate a lot this month! I'm going to pretend that I invented this combination - but probably I didn't - and probably everyone else in the western hemisphere has eaten peanut butter stuffed dates so many times the mere mention of it incites a yawn. But I don't want to hear about that, so please, indulge me.

Peanut Butter Stuffed Dates

peanut butter

Cut a slit in the top of date and mush out the pit. Replace the pit with a glob of peanut butter. You know that old baby spoon you've hung on to since Daddy Bush was in the White House? Perfect tool for this. Repeat until you think you have enough and then make 3 more. Eat. Come back here and thank me.

This is my entry for Yvo's "Does this make my lunch look phat?" contest.


Bento Lunches for a Boy and a Boo

>> Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I made a couple of fast and easy bento lunches for Boy and Boo - and then I went back to bed :)

1. chunks of sausages and cheese
2. crostini
3. banana muffin
4. grapes
5. orange slices

1. chunks of sausages and cheese
2. banana chips
3. banana muffin
4. grapes
5. orange slices
6. rice balls

Aren't those oranges gorgeous? I actually bought them only because they were smaller than the MONSTER sized navels on display - it wasn't until I cut into one that I noticed the little ID sticker and realized we had gourmet citrus on our hands! Oh, just 69 cents a pound too. Don't hate me.

In honor of our "found treasure" I made a salad based on a recipe from Pinch my Salt made of these oranges with jicama and cilantro dressed with a vingrette made from their juice and served it with grilled tuna for dinner last night. It was fantastic! I did have to add a bit of vinegar to the dressing though, probably because of the low acidity of these oranges.


Some People Hope for Rain

>> Tuesday, February 26, 2008

1. rice balls
2. grapes
3. cheese
4. crostini
5. orange slices
6. grape tomatoes
7. banana muffin

Some people in my house act they've got a disease and the only cure is to eat more bananas. Needless to say we rarely have any left at the end of the week to make muffins, but sometimes the gods smile and someone gets a little backed up and lays of the nanas long enough for the rest of us to have a delicious snack. I love this recipe 'cause it's easy and I'm lazy. Oh, and it tastes really good. I think it might be even better with butter instead of oil. If anyone tries it let me know!

Easy Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups of flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Mix all the wet stuff together then add the baking soda, baking powder and the salt and stir it up pretty good. Mix in the flour just until it all looks wet but still lumpy. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. The tops will feel moist when they're done but if you touch them it won't leave a dent. Channel your inner food stylist and decorate with a banana chip. Or not.


Double Dog Dare You to Say Something About my Hello Kitty Bento

>> Monday, February 25, 2008

Another day, another lunch, another really bad photo. Boy assured me it tasted better than it looked. He also mentioned that he was in a really pissy mood so no one dared comment on his Hello Kitty Bento. Hey, at least it was blue. I guess I really should put some effort into finding some more boy-appropriate containers for him.

1. cocktail sausages wrapped in strips of whole wheat bread with mustard
2. cookies
3. cheese
4. banana chips
5. honey roasted almonds


Apples and Onigiri

>> Friday, February 22, 2008

1. onigiri
2. apple
3. peanut butter
4. soy pig
5. fudge marshmallow
6. heart shaped donut bites

A regular lunch for a boy. The lid of the box presses against the top of the blue pick to hold the donut bites in place. The apple was cut with a slicer/corer, rubbed with a little lime juice and reassembled in the silicon cup.


Hot Dog Curry

>> Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yes. I did say hot dog curry. Smoked sausages to be more precise. Crazy, I know.

1. S&B Golden Curry with vegetables and sausages
2. rice
3. tomatoes
4. honey roasted almonds
5. dried apricots on a pick


Peanut Butter & Banana Gyoza Sandwiches

>> Monday, February 18, 2008

I thought this turned out to be a nice little lunch using an idea I totally stole from flickr user snappinesswho makes cute bento lunches for her daughter. Around here you can never have too many ways to pack a peanut butter sandwich, and these are practically mess free - bonus!

1. dumpling shaped sandwiches
2. kiwi
3. heart shapes cut from part of a doughnut
4. bite of chocolate

I made the sandwiches filled with a mixture of peanut butter, banana, and a bit of honey using a gyoza press. I bought a set of three different sized ones at a local 99cent store a while ago but this is the first time I've used them. I won't mention how many "practice sandwiches" I made before I realized I was over-stuffing them!


Valentine's Day of Doom

>> Sunday, February 17, 2008

Okay - it wasn't that bad, we did get brownies with pink frosting. But I seem to have lost the ability to take a decent photograph, and that's makin' me pretty freakin' cranky.

If you squint you can kinda see what we had for lunch.

1. baked potato (salted and peppered)
2. heart-shaped containers of butter and sour cream
3. little tomatoes
4. brownie

1. shrimp
2. cocktail sauce
3. chili lime toasted corn
4. cheese
5. brownie

1. shrimp
2. cocktail sauce
3. chili lime toasted corn
4. steak bits on picks
5. brownie

The picks are strategically placed to keep the brownie from getting stuck to the lid and also to keep the steak out of the frosting. I normally don't get too concerned about "food safety" with our lunches but with these I took the added precaution of adding a layer of frozen reusable ice cubes on top of the shrimp right before they head out the door.


Empty Fridge Lunch

>> Saturday, February 16, 2008

1. rice
2. tomatoes
3. kiwi
4. Koala cookies

I love my rice cooker. I have no explanation for my resistance. It all seems so silly now. It's just so little and cute and red. And it cooks rice. Craziness.


Breakfast for Lunch and Snack for Breakfast

>> Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1. granola
2. blueberries
3. yogurt
4. cheese
5. pepper strips
6. roasted peas

The bottom tier was supposed to be an afternoon snack. But I was hungry.


Is it Bad When the Cookie is Bigger than the Lunch?

1. pasta salad
2. cheese
3. bagel chips
4. blueberries (under the cookie)
5. pink cookie with sprinkles

Well is it?


Mam-ma Rice

>> Friday, February 8, 2008

1. basmati rice with raisins, butter, sugar and a little milk
2. almonds
3. banana

I was probably close to 16 years old when I found out that rice wasn't just a breakfast food that my Mam-ma made. It seemed like she boiled it for 3 or 4 hours but I was probably just impatient - then she'd let me add all the butter and sugar that I wanted. Because that's what grandma's do.


Wholesome Fudge Filled Marshmallows

>> Thursday, February 7, 2008

I started buying granola from the bulk bins at the market. It is -so- much cheaper - keeps me from cringing if someone (not naming names here) doesn't finish a whole serving - but ... well, surely I'm not the only one a little creeped out by bulk bins? I mean it's fine for something that you can wash or cook, like lentils. But cereal? I just know it's crawling with germs - not that I'm letting it stop me. Heck, I even decided against keeping my own secret stash of prepackaged stuff in the back of the cabinet. See? I can get past this!

1. whole milk vanilla yogurt
2. granola
3. half a banana
4. few cherries
5. Hello Kitty fudge-filled marshmallow

Margot from Coffee and Vanilla is hosting a round-up this month of healthy packed lunches - this is my entry.

About drinks ... we do. Drink that it is. It's just not worth noting for the most part. I take a water bottle. Everyday. Boo usually takes a juice box or a non-dairy chocolate "milk" box that I keep in the freezer, but sometimes she takes a water bottle or buys a drink at school. Rarely I make her a smoothie. I'm not thrilled with the drink boxes but it seems to work pretty well. Keeping them frozen ensures they're still chilled for lunchtime and helps cool the lunch itself. Most importantly though it also keeps little piglets from drinking up a week's worth of pricey but portable juice boxes while ignoring the half-gallon in the fridge!

Oh, I almost forgot - I put a drop of honey on a square of cling wrap and pressed it onto the cut edge of the bananas. I forgot to ask Boo if her banana stayed nice, but I know my half was fine. Of course I'm not the one that just can't eat around the brown bit on the end!


Fox Castle Et

>> Wednesday, February 6, 2008

1. beans with some stuff in them
2. orange slices
3. cherries

See those beans in the green bowl? I made those weekend before last, like the 27th. I called them cassoulet. Admittedly I've never had cassoulet - and apparently I've never seen a recipe for it either, cause the very same freakin' day somebody calling herself Heather (of all things) posted this.

I had no clue. Seriously no idea. Hard to believe I actually live in a major metropolitan area with access to several libraries AND cable tv. I mean obviously I knew something called cassoulet existed and that it had beans and pork in it. And that's pretty much where it ended.

I have to say though, for what it's worth, this stuff was pretty good. And it didn't take 3 days or involve trying to find a big ol' sheet of porkskin. Maybe Heather will send me leftovers?


Hold the Ranch

>> Tuesday, February 5, 2008

1. leftover chicken strips
2. roasted peas
3. cherries
4. orange slices
5. side of ranch

Me - "why didn't you eat the ranch?"

Boo - "I couldn't figure out how to get it open without looking at it."

Me - "..." - dumb stare

Boo - "well, you aren't supposed to be eating in the library."

Me - "..." - dumb stare

Sometimes with Boo, it's better to not ask.


Second Rate Mac Salad Lunch

>> Monday, February 4, 2008

Boo loves macaroni salad. I made this one quickly out of a few bites of left-over pasta that I squirreled away in the fridge with a little mayo, salt and pepper, and chopped scallion. I'm afraid that it might not have been quite up to Boo's standards because she later questioned me about the availability of green bell peppers (I never buy them so she thought they must be expensive) and then requested a list of ingredients the next time I go shopping. I think I'm about to get some schoolin' on mac salad makin'!

1. macaroni salad
2. cherries
3. grapes
4. bagel chips
5. roasted red pepper hummus

A while back I posted a recipe for making hummus in a blender. Meanwhile I did finally get a food processor and assumed that it would be the superior tool for hummus making but surprisingly I found I prefer the texture of the blender hummus. Go figure! The processor hummus lacked the lightness of the blender hummus and even though I processed it far longer it seemed to retain some grittiness. Admittedly this is a one time experiment so far - so it could in fact just be the beans I used or some other variable. I'll report back :)


Celebrity Chef Leftover Bento

>> Saturday, February 2, 2008

1. goulash
2. rice
3. cherries
4. rice pudding

These were the leftovers from 2 different meals featuring recipes by 2 diffent Food Network celebrity chefs. Neither of which are cocktails.

First the goulash. I made it from Jamie Oliver's recipe with very little deviation. A slightly smaller hunk of bone-in meat is really the only thing that immediately comes to mind. Oh, a bigger can of tomatoes, fire roasted, because that was what I had. It was truly excellent, a definite make-again.

Tyler Florence's rice pudding recipe was eh. I added cardamom, and that helped a bit. I just didn't care for the texture that much. I think I prefer rice pudding made with a calrose type rice rather than aborio.


The Never-ending Story of Ham

This my friends is the reason why you really shouldn't buy a ham for a family of four. We had ham. We had ham sandwiches. We had ham and beans. We had faux-cassoulet. We had a whole freakin' weeks worth of lunches. Even for swine lovers such as our family it was a bit much.

1. ham
2. pea salad
3. pretzel bites
4. container of mustard
5. marshmallow

1. ham
2. pea salad
3. pretzel bites
4. tomatoes
5. cheese wedge

1. ham rolled up with cream cheese
2. apples
3. wasabi peas
4. peanut butter
5. pink heart cookies

1. ham rolled up with cream cheese
2. apples
3. peanut butter
4. pickles
5. chips
6. pink heart cookies


Bunch of Bites of Leftovers in a Bento Box Lunch

>> Friday, February 1, 2008

1. roasted sweet potato
2. mixed salad greens
3. ham
4. blueberries
5. tomatoes
6. carrots
7. paremesan cheese slivers
8. bottle of vinaigrette wrapped in a basil leaf
9. cilantro

Kitchen Sink Deconstructed Salad Bento? Stone Salad Bento? Smorgasbord of Love Bento? I tried really hard to come up with a catchy lunch title that means "bunch of bites of leftovers in a bento box" and then I got bored. And what the hell's up with spellcheck? I'm almost certain I've misspelled the word that means a dressing of oil and vinegar. You know, 'cause I always do.



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