Friday, December 30, 2011

Italian Herb Popcorn

I made up a new recipe for Italian Herb Popcorn and I used my new Air Popper.
This recipe is a low calories treat that is whole grain, low sodium, and has filling fiber.

Italian Herb Popcorn
Makes 5 '1 Cup' Servings
  • 5 Cups Air Popped Popcorn (White or Yellow)
  • Non Stick Cooking Spray (Or olive oil spray. I used Original Pam cooking spray)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Italian Herb Seasoning (I used McCormick Italian Seasoning)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Garlic Powder (Also McCormick)
  • Optional Parmesan Cheese (I didn't use this, but it would taste good if you like cheese or salt on your popcorn)
1. In a large bowl, put popcorn (minus any un-popped kernels).
2. Spray the popcorn lightly with the cooking spray
3. Sprinkle on 1/2 Tbsp seasoning and 1/2 Tbsp garlic.
4. Shake or stir to combine.
5. Stir the popcorn around until you have the uncovered popcorn at the top of the bowl.
6. Repeat steps 2-5 until the popcorn is covered and there is no seasoning left.
This recipe is great for a movie snack, an afternoon snack, or parties.
Enjoy your Popcorn! 
Other popcorn recipes will be up soon.

Split Pea Soup Bento

Last night I made Split Pea Soup with my new Crock Pot. I used the leftover ham d=from Christmas Dinner. It was DELICIOUS!!! There is none left over because everyone finished it today. Luckily I put aside some for Bento, or else I wouldn't be able to share this bento with you today.
  • Split Pea Soup with Ham
  • Gluten Free Crackers (multi-grain and seed)
  • Clementine
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Triple Berry Breakfast Bento

Strawberries were on sale at the store, and when I checked them out, they were so ripe and smelled heavenly. I already had blueberries from last week, so I decided to have a very Berry Breakfast.
  • Raspberry Yogurt (Light)
  • Blueberries (10)
  • Strawberry (1 cut into a fan)
  • Pineapple (Chunks)
  • Crispy Flax (GF Cereal)
  • Plum Amazins (Diced Dried Prunes)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bento Accessory Tote, Picks, and Pancake Pig

I'm so freaking excited about this. I know I'm silly, but this was such an awesome present to receive. When my friend came over last night she gave me some awesome presents including bento boxes, Picks, A Pig shaped Pancake Pan, and this tote for my Bento accessories.
It's SOOOO AWESOME!!!! But I'll get to that, first I'm going to talk about the Picks.
These are Finger Picks that you wear on your finger and have three prongs to pick up food and appetizers. She thought they would be perfect for bentos, and they are. They are a small size and more convenient and easier to use then chopsticks, and you don't have to worry about getting your hands dirty picking up any wet foods in your bento.
These Picks come in 12 colors, and they are made of a sturdy plastic that is easy to rinse and wipe clean.

Aren't they Pretty? And freaking awesome? I can't wait to try them out. I love that they come in so many colors so I can easily match them to my bentos, or add a little splash of color to an otherwise bland looking bento.
Next is the Piggy Pancake Pan. This is the perfect size for bentos, and can be used to make pancakes or eggs. I'm going to dye some batter pink and make pink pig pancakes.... maybe use mini chocolate chips for the eyes.
Here is the detail of the Piggy Face.  OINK!
And finally, this is the awesome tote that has removable walls so I can make the spaces longer or shorter to accommodate all types of bento accessories.
It's really much bigger then it looks, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fit everything, but I got most of it in. (Only a few things were left out because they were too big like my Quail egg molds. I also keep my Onigiri shaper with my Rice Cooker so that is not in this picture either.
It looks soooo pretty with everything packed inside it.
  • Picks (Leaves, Apple People, Bones, Umbrellas, Rings, Etc.)
  • Sauce Bottles (Pigs, Bottles, Apples, etc.)
  • Sauce Cups (Green, Pink, Blue, Etc.)
  • Egg Molds (Heart, Star, Bunny, Bear)
  • Baran/Dividers (Grass, Animals)
  • Food Cups (Hearts, Stars, Squares, Triangles, Gift Boxes, Half Circles, Etc.)
  • Chopsticks (Metal, Wooden, Plastic, Cases, Etc.)
  • Food Cutters (Letters, Numbers, Animals, Shapes, Etc.)
  • Wiener Shaper (Tulips, Mini Heart, Mini Star)
  • Utensils (Forks, Spoons, Finger Picks, Etc.)
  • Bento Bands (Black, Pink. I have others, but they are on Bento Boxes right now)
All of those accessories fit, but I look forward to getting more accessories and organizing them all again to make them all fit. I love doing that kind of stuff (I'm a little bit Obsessive Compulsive), and it makes me discover accessories that I haven't used in a while.

New Bento Boxes

I got some Awesome Bento Boxes from my friend last night. I couldn't believe how cute they were, and I was so excited I was bouncing up and down while opening the wrapping paper. lol
First up is the Hamburger Bento called 'Delicious Burger! 100% Pure Beef'. lol Great name.
This Bento is 2 Tiers with tight locking clips that secure the tiers together, and a cute Double Stacked Hamburger design. It's the perfect size for a Hamburger and a side salad.
  • Bottom Tier 270 ml
  • Lid with Fork
  • Top Tier 230 ml
  • Cover with Locking Side Clips
  • The Top Tier fits inside the Bottom Tier for easy Storage 
Next up is the super cute Skull Bento Box
Hehehe, it's so cute!
This is a One Tier Bento with a liquid tight fitting lid also using side clips to keep the lid on.
  • This Bento is 500 ml
  • Removable Half Circle Cup 130 ml (I believe. Everything was in Japanese)
  • Also came with a Sticker Name Tag

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Bento Goodies

I got two super cute bento boxes for Christmas. My fiance gave me 2 really cute snack bento cups. One is a Piggy and One is a Black Cat. My Favorites!!!
 Anyway, these super cute bento cups are small (about 1/2 cup). That's perfect for a small dessert or side of apple sauce with a bigger bento. Or I could pack a single serving of nuts or dry fruit for a quick snack/pick me up.... or if I'm being naughty or it's a special occasion, I could pack some chocolate or candy.
The lids are very tight fitting, and waterproof... I could even pack some dip or sauce that would go well with a bigger bento. It would be so cute to pack some dipping sauce in one of these bentos to go along with some crudites or yogurt for fresh fruit to dip into it. Yum!

New Cooking Goodies

I got some cool cooking gadgets for Christmas this year, and I'm going to post about them here because I'll be making bentos and posting recipies using them in the future. First off I got a Popcorn Popper from my mom. I've wanted an air popper for a long time now because I want to cut out the unneeded oil and salt and enjoy a low calorie, whole grain snack. Plus, you can make so many different flavors instead of just the regular butter microwave stuff.
Here it is in the box. My mom had one when I was very young, and I have wanted one ever since.
It's very simple. Add the popcorn kernels to the popper, plug it in and the popcorn pops and falls into the waiting bowl... no burnt popcorn, no un-popped kernels and no added oil or salt (Unless you add it yourself.)
It's 3 parts, the Base the cover and the measuring cup. All pieces wipe clean, and the measuring cup doubles as a butter melter if you want. If you melt butter then you'll have to wash the measuring cup, but otherwise it wipes clean as well.

I also got a Crock Pot (Slow Cooker). My fiance gave me the Crock Pot because I have been talking about it, and wanting one for a while now. I am going to make split pea soup tomorrow for dinner, so you may see leftover split pea soup in a bento soon.
It's so exciting. It's going to be so wonderful making easy meals that are filling at ready to eat whenever I come home.
  • 6-quart round slow cooker with white finish
  • Stoneware crock features rinse-clean, stick-resistant coating
  • 3 heat settings: low and high for cooking, warm for serving
  • Glass lid for viewing; crock and lid are dishwasher-safe
  • Measures 10 by 12 inches
  • Recipes Included

Kitty Toy Sushi Bento

My fiance and I bought the cutedst toy for your kitten. We gave it to him for Christmas, and he loves it! It's a Sushi Kitty Toy that I couldn't help but fall in love with at the store because it looks like a sushi bento box complete with chopsticks.
In this bento there is everything you need for a sushi dinner:
  • 2 Maki Rolls
  • Salmon Sahimi
  • Shrimp Sahimi
  • Wasabi
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Chopsticks (Not pictured)
The Sushi/Sashimi are actually toys that Velcro onto the chopstick wand. So you can play with your kitty cat for hours. The wasabi/ginger do not connect to the wand with velcro, so the kitty can play with that on his/her own.
Each toy is soft and features a crinkly interior so the kitty will have so much fun pouncing and chewing on the cute crinkly toy.
In this picture you can see the Chopsticks... it's actually a wand that you screw together so you can tease and play with your kitten.

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday!

Ham Bento

I made these Bentos with leftovers from our Holiday meal. I made dinner for the family, and I packed some leftovers specially for bento.
This is my bento lunch:
  • Sweet Potato (Baked with skin)
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Brussels Sprouts (with Butter)
  • Ham (Spiral Sliced with the Glaze)
  • Mustard
 Here is my fiance's Bento:
  • Brussels Sprouts (with Butter)
  • Broccoli (with Cheese Sauce)
  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes (Mashed Potatos, Light Sour Cream, Fat Free Cheddar and Colby Cheese, Chopped Bacon)
  • Ham (Spiral Sliced with Glaze)
Well there you have it. You may have noticed that the bentos are slightly different, that's because I really didn't want to eat that much dairy, so all I had was butter on my Brussels sprouts, and that was it. I also made myself a plain sweet potato and sugar snap peas instead of having the mashed potatoes and the broccoli with cheese.
So besides the sodium in the ham, I did pretty well on my Holiday dinner.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Peppermint Bark

Here is my Recipe for Peppermint Bark. It's super easy and fun. It's a great idea to make with kids or as a holiday present for friends, family, or to bring as a dessert to office gatherings and holiday parties.
And remember, the better the ingredients the better the finished product will be. If you really want it to be a hit, use really good chocolate instead of the 'no-name brand' chocolate chips.
Peppermint Bark
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dark (or Semi-sweet) Chocolate Chips
  • 1 1/2 Cups White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tsp Pure Peppermint Extract
  • 1/2-3/4 Cups Crushed Candy Canes (or Peppermint Candies)
*Line a brownie pan with aluminum foil. Try to keep the foil as flat as possible, or use parchment paper if you have it.
*Put the Dark (or Semi-sweet) chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and melt it for approximately 2 mins stirring every 10-15seconds. Make sure not to burn the chocolate.
*Pour the Melted Chocolate into the pan and spread evenly. Refrigerate the pan for about 15-30 minutes, or until it is hardened.
 *Place the White Chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and mix the Peppermint extract into it.
*Melt the chocolate in the microwave for approximately 2 mins stirring every 10-15 seconds.
*Pour the White Chocolate over the hardened Dark Chocolate and spread evenly.
 *Sprinkle the Crushed Candy Canes over the top of the still melted White Chocolate, and press down gently so they stick.
 *Let the Peppermint Bark harden in the refrigerator. When it has hardened, take the bark out of the pan and break it into chunks and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to be served.

Here is how I crushed the peppermints... First I placed the candy canes into a sealed plastic baggie.
Next I placed that plastic bag into another bag.
 Next take a rolling pin or a bottle and crush the peppermints (I used an empty glass bottle that was sitting on the counter).
Pour the peppermints into a measuring cup to measure the amount you need.

*The Peppermint Bark needs to stay in the refrigerator because the chocolate has not been tempered, so the chocolate will start to melt if left in a warm room for too long.*

Hanukkah Bento

Since Hanukkah just started I decided to make a Star of David in my breakfast bento today to honnor all my Jewish friends and blog readers.
Because I don't have any Hanukkah cookie cutters I free-handed the Star of David... so I apologize if it looks a bit wobbly.
  • Blackberry Light Yogurt (I didn't have any blue yogurt so this was the next best thing)
  • Crispy Flax (Gluten Free Cereal used to make the star)
  • Golden Raisins
  • Plum Amazins (Diced Prunes)
  • Rice Chex (Gluten Free Cereal)
  • Pineapple (If I had thought about this sooner I could have cut the pineapple into little gold coins)
So there you have it. A super yummy breakfast bento honoring Hanukkah.
You know, even though my family is not Jewish we had a Menorah when I was in high school, and we celebrated by eating traditional foods and learning more about Judaism. I love that my mom brought me and my siblings up to be open minded and curious about other people and their religions and traditions.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Starry Yogurt Bento

Not only is yogurt the star of this breakfast bento, but there is also a big star on my yogurt.
  • Yoplait Light Blueberry Yogurt
  • Crunchy Flax (GF Cereal)
  • Rice Chex (GF Cereal)
  • Plum Amazins (Diced Prunes)
  • Pineapple Chunks
I like how the purple color of the yogurt looks like a night sky and then a bright star made up of lots of tiny stars is shining through the night sky.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Tree Snack Bento

This bento is more like a dessert then a snack with how sweet it turned out to be. But either way, here is my cute Christmas Tree Bento.
  • Fluffernutter Sandwich 'Tree' (Udi's Gluten Free Bread, Teddie Natural Chunky Peanut butter with Flaxseed, Fluff died green, Christmas Sprinkles)
  • Mini Candy Canes
To all the Vegetarians... Marshmallow Fluff does not contain gelatin. If you miss out on having S'mores, Rice Crispy Treats or other marshmallow-y treats try it with fluff!
    To make the green fluff spread:
    • Take 1 Tbsp marshmallow fluff and put it into a microwave safe bowl. Add a few drops of green food coloring (the more you add the darker it will be). Stir the food coloring into the fluff the best that you can. 
    • Microwave the fluff for about 10 seconds. Take it out and stir. The fluff should be smooth and easier to work with. If you want your fluff a darker green you can add more food coloring in now.
    • Spread fluff over the tree shaped peanut butter sandwich. 
    • Smooth with a knife then add sprinkles as decorations. If you work fast enough the sprinkles will stick to the fluff before it hardens. When the fluff is completely cool it is almost like a glaze and the sprinkles will stay on (and it will be less messy to eat then if you didn't melt your fluff). If you wait too long the sprinkles won't stick to the fluff and they will fall right off.
    I did the same thing in my birthday bento Here.

    Happy Holidays Everyone!

    Yogurt Breakfast Bento

    It has been months since I had yogurt. I don't know why I stopped eating it. I must have eaten it so much in the summer that I was just burned out on yogurt. Anyway, I had a coupon for 10 yogurts, so I went to the store and got a bunch of the gluten free flavors.
    I even made myself a pretty breakfast bento like I used to in the summer.
    • Pineapple (Large Chunks)
    • Rice Chex (GF Cereal)
    • Crunchy Flax (GF Cereal)
    • Plum Amazins (Chopped Prunes)
    • Red Raspberry Yogurt (Light and GF)
    Here's how it looks without the heart cookie cutter. I always take two pictures, one with the cookie cutter and one without because I never know how the picture will turn out once I take the cookie cutter out. It looks pretty good this time, the cereal stayed in place nicely... but I prefer the picture with the cookie cutter in it because it adds a splash of red to the bento and it looks more like a heart.
    A close up of the decorative yogurt. If you pack a bento like this, make sure to eat it right away or not put cereal into your yogurt until you are ready to eat. The cereal will get soggy otherwise. If you want to decorate your yogurt without making soggy cereal, dried or fresh fruit is a great way to be decorative and add more nutrients without soggy cereal or granola.