Thursday, March 31, 2011

Steak Salad Bento

I made these bento lunches last night, so I wouldn't have to rush to make lunch this morning. Thursdays are such busy days, I do what I can to stay on schedule.
Anyway, Since I made the bentos last night, I didn't have any natural light to take the pictures in, so they don't look as good as I wished. Oh well.
My fiance's Lunch is:
  • Spinach, Cucumber, Cherry Tomato salad
  • Steak
  • Cantaloupe
  • Turkey Rolled up
  • Light Babybel cheese
  • And a container of Light Ranch dressing for the salad
My Bento has the same foods except I have Light Italian Dressing instead of ranch.
Do you like the hearts on the babybel cheese? I've seen a few people on do this with their bentos, so I tried it out. Not bad.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Breakfast Bento

I had some mini Frittata and some mini pancakes in the freezer that I wanted to use up, so I made Breakfast Bentos for today's lunch.

 Oops, I didn't realize some of the cereal jumped out of the cup when I took the picture.
My Bento has:

  • Mini Spinach and Sausage Frittata with Katchup
  • Cherry Tomatos
  • Fruity Cheerios
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mini Blueberry Pancakes with Powder Sugar
My Fiance got a lot of the same things.
  • Mini Spinach and Sausage Frittata
  • Morningstar Breakfast 'Sausage'
  • Cherry Tomatos
  •  A small container of maple syrup
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mini plain Pancakes with powder sugar
That used up the last of the frittata and the last of the pancakes. I need to plan a little better for bentos next week, I have been slacking on bento because I've been so busy and stressed out lately.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Review

I didn't make bento today, so I decided to do a review instead. I bought Spaghetti Squash last week because I have never tried it and I have heard many good things about it. So tonight I decided to make it.
First, is the hard part, Cutting the squash open. It took a lot of muscle to cut this thing in half. After that it is pretty simple to scoop the seeds and pulp out of the center. Just like scooping the seeds out when carving a pumpkin.
I ended up with this.
 I took the two halves and I placed them into a large microwave safe bowl with about 1/4 cup of water. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and cooked it for about 15mins. While this squash was cooking I cut the second squash in half and scooped out the seeds.
Next came the fun part. When the squash was done cooking I took it out of the microwave and popped in the other two halves for 15mins. I took a fork and started scraping the insides out of the cooked squash. It's so cool how the squash shreds into spaghetti like noodles. I was surprised at how much squash I ended up with. Here is a picture of after I scooped both squashes.
It was a lot, but I was pleased with the amount since I have some big eaters in the house. I was glad I didn't cook the third squash I bought though, That would have been too much. I'll save that for another day and make a yummy side dish or something with it.
Alright, now came the cooking. Here is a list of all the ingredients I used.
  • 2 Spaghetti Squash (Cooked and shredded)
  • 1/4 Red Onion, Chopped
  • 1 sm Yellow Pepper, Chopped
  • 1 package Thin n' Trim Chicken Sausage (spinach and red onion), Chopped
  • 2 cups Fresh Spinach
  • Minced Garlic
  • Italian Seasonings
  • Black Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Pam (nonstick spray)
Spray your pan liberally with non stick cooking spray, Saute the onions, peppers, and sausage until cooked through. Add the garlic, Italian seasonings, black pepper, and crushed pepper flakes. Add the squash and stir well to combine. Stir in the spinach and let cook until the spinach leaves are wilted. Serve with a spoon full of Parmesan cheese.
Here is the finished product.

Very tasty, Add as little or as much seasonings as you like. I added more because I thought it was a little bland as I was cooking it. The squash has a bit of a crunch to it still so it's not as pasta textured as I was expecting. But that was a good thing. I liked that the squash flavor still came through in the meal, but I feel that if I added a sauce, the squash flavor would disappear. I'll have to try it that way to see.

I love the Nutrition information for the squash though.
1 cup of the cooked Spaghetti Squash is about:
42 Calories
1% Fat
1% Sodium
3% Total Carbohydrate
9% Dietary Fiber
4g Sugars
1g Protein
3% Vitamin A
3% Calcium
9% Vitamin C
3% Iron

My Bowl consisted of:
186 Calories
19g Carbs
8g Fat
17g Protein
Not bad at all for such a filling meal. I only had one bowl full and I still feel full 1 hr later.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quick Bento Lunches

I've been very busy and stressed out lately, and I was only going to make a quick lunch for me and my fiance, but I missed making bentos, and I figured I might as well make quick bento lunches today so I could at least post something.
For my fiance I used the leftover Chicken Caesar Salad.
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Cantaloupe Cubes
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
I felt like having a simple sandwich today so here is my bento...
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter and Fluff on Whole Wheat Deli Flat Bread
  • Grapes
  • Broccoli and Cherry Tomato
  • Apple Sauce with three Annie's Chocolate Bunny Grahams
  • Cantaloupe Cubes
  • Strawberries
So there you have it. My fiance only got a little because before I could start making lunch she had two pieces of leftover pizza from last night.
Yesterday we had a fun day. We went to see Avenue Q with a friend of ours. It's such a good show, very funny.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tofu Stir Fry Bento and Tofu Noodle Review

I had leftover Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry from Monday Night, And I also had a bag of Tofu Shirataki Noodles That I've been wanting to try, so today I made Tofu Packed Bento Lunches for me and my fiance.
These Bentos are completely vegetarian, but they are packed full of filling yummy foods. When I opened the bag of noodles though, I had to hold my breath. They are stinky stinky stinky, but the bag says to drain and rinse them well before heating in the microwave for 1 min then drying with a paper towel. This get's rid of most of the smell. But I was a little scared to try them after smelling that. I tried a noodle plain and it was bland and chewy, but not bad. Not bad at all considering there are two servings in the bag and each serving is only 20 calories.
First is my bento, using one of my new Natural Lunch bento boxes.
  • Tofu Shirataki Noodles
  • Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry
  • Bean Sprouts and Toasted Sesame seeds on top
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Grape Tomatos
  • Broccoli
  • 1 little piece of Spinach Tamagoyaki
My Fiance got the same exact thing as me, packed in another one of my new Natural Lunch Bento Boxes.

I do recommend the noodles, but I also recommend not smelling them until after you rinse and warm them if at all possible.
I found them at Whole Foods Market, but I have also seen them at Hmart and other Asian Grocery Stores. They are in the refrigerated aisle, usually with the tofu.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vegetarian Udon Soup

It's a cloudy and chilly March day, and I had all the ingredients I needed so Today I made Udon!
I found an Udon recipe a few weeks ago on the Whole Foods Market website at and I decided to try it because it sounded a lot simplier then other recipes I looked at.
I look the recipe and Changed it a bit though, using Vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and I added mushrooms. And I didn't have any hot sesame oil so I infused some of my sesame oil with crushed pepper flakes. I also did not use any salt in the making of this soup. The broth had salt in it, so I didn't need to add any more.

  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 cups Water
  • 9oz Udon Noodles
  • ?oz diced firm Tofu
  • 1/2 cup sliced Mushrooms
  • 4 handfuls Fresh Spinach
  • Sliced Green onions
  • 'Hot' Sesame oil
  • Toasted Sesame seeds (for decoration)


 While the soup was simmering I set the table. I didn't want to serve this soup in our boring everyday bowls, so I dug through my closet and found my pretty Asian bowls, Spoons, and Bamboo mats. I know they aren't the right bowls or spoons for this soup, but it was all I had.
Here is a close up of the pretty decorative picture on the inside.
 Then my fiance and I sat down to enjoy a warm and filling lunch together. It was soooo good. This soup definitely had Umami! If you've never heard of the work Umami it means 'pleasant savory taste' and is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
Another bowl please!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Protein and Bento

I tend to not get enough protein in my diet, but protein is really important when you are weight training, so I did my best to get as much protein as I could today.

So I'm going to start off with my Breakfast:
Yogurt Parfait
  • 1 Container Yoplait Light Very Vanilla Yogurt
  • 3 Large Sliced Strawberries
  • 1/4 Cup Fiber One Honey Clusters Cereal
167 Calories
34g Carbs
0g Fat
7g Protein
So you may not think this is a whole lot of protein, but for me this is a lot more protein then I usually get in the morning. Plus, It was so delicious I plan on eating it again. YUM!

You should see these crazy Strawberries! They were mutants, Delicious mutants, and one looked vaguely like a heart when I sliced it open.

Next came the Bento Boxes
First is my Fiance's bento
  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Hard Boiled Egg on a nest of Sprouts
  • Ham and Colby Rolls
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Strawberries and Cantaloupe
And My Bento. I tried to get as much protein in as I could.
  • Grilled Chicken Salad with Light Italian dressing
  • Ham Rolls
  • Mini Babybel Light
  • Hard Boiled Egg on a nest of Sprouts
  • Strawberries and Cantaloupe
278 Calories
11g Carbs
9g Fat
15g Protein

Then for dinner I had homemade Vegetable Stir Fry with Tofu and Sliced Steak, and My workout snack was a Smoothie with more yogurt. So I hope I did alright with my protein today. I got 64g of Protein today, and I usually get an average of 35g Protein. I would really like to try using a protein powder, but I want it to be all natural, so when I researched it I found that Hemp powder is probably my best bet.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is here!

Happy First Day of Spring!

Today (in the northern hemisphere) is Ostara, also known as the Vernal Equinox or the Spring Equinox, meaning the first day of spring. This is a time where I like to celebrate the arrival of spring, when light and darkness are in balance but the light is growing stronger. You may have noticed the days getting longer and the snow is almost all gone (again, this is for those of you living in the northern hemisphere). Today the daylight hours and the dark hours are balanced, but tomorrow daylight will be a tiny bit longer then the night and it will continue to grow for a while.

Here is a fun activity to try today. You may remember doing this in science class in school or for fun as a kid.
Standing an Egg on it's End.

Things you need:
  • A raw egg (chicken eggs from the store are the easiest to get)
  • A flat surface, preferably the floor (so if your egg rolls away it won't fall off a table and smash)
  • Patience and Practise
Take your raw egg and try to balance it upright on the flat surface. This will probably take a few tries before you're able to get it standing. Some people can't get it to stand because their hands shake too much and they knock over the egg, but this is a fun activity to try anyway.

Now, you may be thinking 'this is just a myth' and you'd be right, it is possible to balance an egg on it's end all year round. The legend of standing a raw egg on it's end on the Spring Equinox came from the Chinese. They believed that the sun's position between the north and south poles of the earth at this time of the year would apply special gravitational forces, and that in turn would help the egg stand on end.
This is a cool way to teach kids about the balances of nature at this time of the year.

 Have a Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rainbow Snack Bento

So Yesterday I made the Rainbow St. Paddy's Day Bento Lunches, But today I have a snack bento to show you. Thursdays are my busy day's so when I do have a chance to make bento it's usually only a snack.
Of Course it's all packed in my Green Bento Box
  • Red Strawberries
  • Orange Cantaloupe Cubes
  • Yellow Pineapple Chunks
  • Green Lime Jello Cubes
  • Blue Blueberries
  • Purple Grapes
This bento was made for me and my fiance to share as a snack. We also had the leftover Corned Beef, Red Potatoes and Carrots and Sauteed Cabbage that I made yesterday. It was the best Corned Beef Dinner I have ever eaten. SOOOO GOOD!!!
Who else like's to eat Corned Beef with mustard? I love it that way, but I've seen a few people raise eyebrows at me for eating it that way. I also put Ketchup on my Scrambled Eggs (A lot of people think that's crazy!).

Anyway. I hope Everyone had a
Happy St. Paddy's Day!!!
and I hope you all wore some green! If not, I wore enough for everyone. lol
Green From Head to Toe 
(Even my toenails were painted green, and I later put on my Green Sweatshirt)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patty's Rainbow Bentos

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, and Today I'm making a boiled dinner, and I also made St. Patrick's day themed bento lunches. I'm really happy with how they came out, and I'm happy that My fiance took the pictures for me so they aren't as blurry as when I take them. lol
Oh! It's also my and my fiance's 5 year 6 month anniversary today! :)

I'm very Proud of how well my fiance's bento came out. Very colorful and yummy.
  • Mini Meatloaf with  Shamrock Picks
  • Garden Pasta in the colors of the Irish Flag
  • Tomatoes
  • Baby Carrots
  • Yellow Pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Blue Dyed Egg
  • Purple Cabbage and Purple Cauliflower
  • Pot of gold (Hummus) with coins (carrots)
  • The green container has light ranch dressing, and there are extra carrots and celery as fillers
This is pictured with my new pair of chopsticks in their case. I love them so much.

And here is my yummy bento lunch
  • Mini Meatloaf with Shamrock picks
  • Irish Flag Garden Pasta
  • Red Tomatoes
  • Orange Baby Carrots
  • Yellow Pepper
  • Green Cuncumber
  • Blue Dyed Egg
  • Purple Cabbage and Purple Caluiflower
  • Not pictured is my light Italian dressing
Also pictured with my new chopsticks. I really really love them! I wish I bought two sets instead of one.
 So Pretty and Yummy!

Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tamagoyaki Bentos

Yesterday I made mixed vegetable tamagoyaki and it was so yummy I decided to make that my main dish in today's bento.
Sorry for the bad quality pictures
I wanted Mixed Vegetables again, but this time I used a little ham as well.
  • Mixed Vegetable and Ham Tamagoyaki
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • PBJ on half a whole wheat deli flat (with red raspberry preserves)
  • Light Babybel cut into little pieces
  • All natural Apple sauce with craisins and sliced almonds
My Fiance's bento is a little different
  • Ham and Provolone cheese Tamagoyaki
  • Fresh Spinach
  • PBJ on half a whole wheat deli flat (No sugar no salt Peanut butter and Grape jelly)
  • All natural apple sauce
  • Colby cheese cut up
  • Craisins
So I know today's bento lunches aren't very pretty or well put together. I was a little rushed in making them, and they weren't well thought out in the first place. Oh, and I'm still not used to packing lunches in my new bento boxes. I'll just have to keep trying.
Wish I had a better camera too. One that took pictures that didn't come out blurry so often.

Thanks for reading my quick update, and please stay tuned. I'll have some St. Patrick's Day stuff coming up soon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Potsticker Bentos

I got to use my new Bento Boxes Today!
 Here is my fiance's Bento Lunch

  • 3 Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers
  • Mixed Vegetable Tamagoyaki
  • Bed of Fresh Spinach
  • Edamame
  • Strawberries
  • Apple rabbits
  • Roast Beef/Ham/Colby Cheese rolls
Here's my Bento Lunch

  • 3 Chicken and Vegetable Potstickers
  • Mixed Vegetable Tamagoyaki
  • Bed of Fresh Spinach
  • Apple Rabbits
  • Strawberry
  • Edamame
  • Turkey rolls
  • Light Babybel
I originally planned on making octodogs and Turkey and rice, but the mini cocktail franks and the ground turkey went bad. But I think this meal was even better then what I had planned. Very Yummy!
Here's a close up of the Tamagoyaki with peas, carrots, and corn.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Bento Boxes!!!

My Friend went to Japan a while ago, and she brought me back some bento boxes. 'Why am I just writing about them now?' you ask? Well, because she had them buried in her luggage for a while, and we never really got a chance to hang out until this weekend. So now I have lots of shiny new bento boxes to play with, and you get to see the pictures.
These are my three new Natural Lunch Bento Boxes.
  • The Pink one is a two tier koban (traditional Japanese coin shaped) bento box. The capacity for the top is 200ml and the bottom is 290ml.
  • The Tan/Beige box is also two tiered. The capacity of the top is 320ml and the bottom is 180ml.
  • The Green bento box is one tier. The capacity is 480ml.
Here are what they look like open.
  • The pink box has a tight fitting white lid to help make it liquid tight.
  • The Tan/Beige box has an inner lid with a space to put a pair of chopsticks or utensils, as well as a smaller lid for the bottom tier. It is not liquid tight but stays on well.
  • The green box has side clips to keep the lid tightly secure.
Next is the cute lunch bag.
 The bag is a Tan/Beige insulated and zippered lunch bag great for keeping food hot or cold. It has a phrase on it in French. 
"Qu'est-ce que vous achetez aujourd'hui? 
Mettez une chose favorite dans ce sac. 
C'est un sac tres commode."
Roughly translated to:
"What do you buy today? 
Put a favorite thing in this bag.  
This is a very convenient bag." 

 This is the cute napkin that came in the bag.

She also gave me these really pretty black lace fingerless gloves. She said something about them being bicycle gloves. I love them, and I can't wait to find an excuse to wear them out.
Black, fingerless, elbow length, lace gloves.

And now I have a bento to share with you. One of my friends was bringing me and my fiance to see Burn the Floor (an awesome ballroom dancing show). So since we would be out of the house most of the day I decided to make a quick lunch bento to bring along so I didn't have to spend a lot of money (or hurt my stomach) on junk food while we were out.
  • Hummus with black pepper in the green square cup.
  • Whole wheat sandwich thin cut into quarters.
  • Mini babybel light cheese.
  • One slice of turkey, rolled and sliced into three.
  • Cucumber sticks.
  • Baby Carrots.
  • Strawberries.
  • Fresh Spinach acting as a food baran to keep the bread separate from the 'wet' foods.
  • All natural apple sauce in a separate cup.
This was a yummy bento, and not bad looking for a quick throw together lunch. And perfect for before the show. Burn the Floor was an amazing show. I had sooo much fun, and I'm very grateful that I got to go see it. The music was wonderful, and the costumes were beautiful as well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Movie Theater Snack Bento

Sorry for the bad quality picture. I don't like using flash, but it's just too cloudy today to use natural light.

Anyway, Tonight my friend is bringing me and a few others out to see Red Riding Hood in theaters. She has movie passes, so she invited us along since she knew we wanted to see it.
And instead of spending a lot of money on High Calorie greasy Movie Theater snacks, I'm going to sneak in a snack bento. I usually sneak in snacks, but this is the first time I brought a snack bento.
I wanted it to be pretty healthy, but it turned out not as great as I was planning. lol. Oh well. At least it's much better then the 100 calorie popcorn at the theater. YUCK!

  • 10 Grapes
  • Strawberry
  • 100 Calorie pretzels
  • Annie's Citrus Bunny Fruit Snacks
  • Stick of Sugar Free Mint Chocolate Chip Gum
  • 1/4 Cup Raisinets
  • Not Pictured (Mandarin Orange Seltzer)
I'm so excited to eat my bento, and to watch the movie with my friends. It's going to be a good night!

Fruit and Nut Clusters

I woke up this morning with a recipe idea. I had this all natural peanut butter with no sugar and no salt added, and I just didn't like the bland taste of it, so I had been thinking of making something with it.
Well I woke up bright and early and grabbed my notebook and pen from my nightstand and wrote out an entire recipe with things I had on hand.
Let me tell you, I have pretty good handwriting for first thing in the morning, just woke up and still laying in bed.

Here is the recipe.
  • 5 Tbsp All Natural Peanut Butter (No sugar, no salt)
  • 5 Tbsp Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup (or 100 calorie snack bag) Craisins
  • 1/2 Cup (Or 100 calorie snack bag) Crushed Pretzels
  • 2 tsp Milled Flax Seed
  • 2 tsp Powdered Sugar
  1. Mix together the dry ingredients Pretzels, Craisins, Almonds, and Flax. Set aside.
  2. Melt Chocolate and Peanut Butter together in microwave safe bowl. Stir in Powdered sugar until smooth. Make sure not to burn the chocolate!
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and stir well until fully coated and mixed.
  4. Place 1/2 Tbsps of mixture onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
  5. Place cookie sheet into refrigerator until clusters are hardened.
So, when I fully woke up I tried out my recipe.
Here are the dry ingredients, all mixed together. Craisins, Crushed Pretzels, Slivered Almonds, and Milled Flax Seed.
Now I'm getting ready to melt the Chocolate and Peanut Butter. After it melted enough I added the Powdered Sugar and mixed before melting it in the microwave for a few more seconds.
At first, I used a whole tablespoon full of the mixture, but when I realized how big they were I cut them all in half.
Like this...

These are the finished product...
I figured out the calorie content of each of the clusters. It will make 16 Clusters at about 77 calories each.

Well, I just HAD to taste test them so here are my thoughts:
These are pretty good, but I thought they could be a bit sweeter. I loved the texture though. The crunch of the pretzels and almonds, the chewiness of the craisins, and the creaminess of the chocolate and peanut butter really meshed well. The salt on the pretzels helped deepen the flavor as well.
The next time I make these I will used sweetened peanut butter and just not add the powdered sugar. (Save a little on the calories and it would taste better).
If you want it even sweeter you can use sweetened peanut butter AND milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

Hope you all enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bento Accessories

I was going through my bento boxes and accessories and organizing them, So I thought I'd take some pictures to show everyone what I have in my collection so far.
First comes my Bento Cookbooks, All of them were gifts except for Bento Love. I bought that because I thought my fiance would like a lot of the food inside.
  • Yum-Yum Bento Box 
  • Bento Love
  • The Manga Cookbook
  • Kawaii Bento Boxes

Next comes my Bento Boxes.

                                                        The Sleeping Beauty Side Car. My first real bento box was a gift from one of my friends.
                                                        The Leaflet Tight Box is one I bought for myself to use. I like the size.
                                                        This Box I bought for my fiance. It's a lot larger so it can hold a satisfying meal, but lately I think it's a bit too big and I want to find a smaller box.
The Nesting Boxes are my newest set. A gift from my brother.

Now comes my accessories.
A collection of cups, mostly silicone and cupcake papers.
Molds, Onigiri molds. The Bunny and Bear egg molds were a gift from my brother, and the Star and Heart egg molds were a gift from my fiance for Valentine's day.
Small collection of cookie cutters. Shamrock, Pig, Dog, Sheep, and small hearts and flowers.
Chopsticks. The Metal ones were a gift from my best friend when he went to South Korea. The First and Aecond set are my fiance's and my primary set. The black and red sets are out backups. And the Shamrock set with case is brand new.
Sauce Cups and Bottles. I love the little cups, and the White Flower, Star, and Heart are scoops.
And Finally my Picks. I wish I had better picks, I'd use them more often if I had the cute ones. The Shamrocks and the Bunnies are new finds.

You can expect to see all the green and Shamrocks in my St. Patrick's Day Bentos. Green is one of my favorite colors, so I am getting really excited for it.