Friday, September 28, 2012

Vegetable Soup Bento

I'm home from my honeymoon and back to work. I made myself a hearty soup bento to have for lunch at work.
  • Garden Vegetable Soup (In my mini Crock Pot)
  • Crunchmaster Crackers (In the Piggy Container)
  • McIntosh Apple (We picked them on our Honeymoon)
  • Sobe Lifewater (flavored Vitamin beverage with 0 calories)
  • Black Cherry Seltzer
I love this crock pot. I just bring it to work with me and plug it in, and by the time lunch rolls around I have a steaming hot meal waiting for me. The soup was delicious and hearty, but work was busy so I didn't get a chance to finish my crackers until I left.

Trail Mix Bento

I made this healthy Snack Bento while I was on the honeymoon. It was easy to throw together, and it turned out to be really really yummy!
  • Veggie Sticks
  • Corn Nuts (lightly salted)
  • Pistachios (shelled and unsalted)
  • Plum Amazins (diced prunes)
The sweet and chewy plum amazins mixed so well with the slightly salty crunch of the corn nuts, and the pistachios added another depth of flavor and texture. I know it may not be the prettiest trail mix, but it was really good!

Drive-In Movie Snack Bento

This was the healthier snack bento I made on the honeymoon for my wife and I to share.
  • Crunchmaster Crackers
  • Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter
  • Soynuts
  • Freeze-dried Strawberries and Banana
  • Pistachios
  • Kix
This bento was much healthier than the Candy Bento I also made... but it's a lot less colorful.

Drive-In Movie Candy Snack Bento

While my Wife and I were on our honeymoon, we went to a Drive-In movie (my first tim going to a Drive-In) so I packed some snack bentos for us to share.

First up is the super unhealthy Candy Snack Bento
  • Skittles
  • Mini Reese's Pieces
  • 2 Ghirardeli Dark Chocolate Squares
  • 2 Mini Lara Bars (PBJ and Cashew Cookie)
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
  • 2 Sunsweet Ones Prunes
  • Gummy Bears
Now, I know this is a lot... and it's a TON of sugar, but rest assured, we had this candy all week long and we never came close to finishing it all. In fact, we tossed a lot of it by the end of the Honeymoon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Honeymoon Sandwich Bentos

I am back from my honeymoon!... and yes, I love making bento soo much I even brought bento boxes and accessories with me on the honeymoon so I could make a few bentos...

Anyway, my spouse and I went apple picking one day on our honeymoon and I made bentos for us to enjoy while we were out.
This turkey sandwich is what I made my wife.
  • Turkey Sandwich (Gluten Free Bread, Mayo, Spinach, Turkey)
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Guacamole
The PBJ Sandwich is what I made for myself...
  • PBJ Sandwich (Gluten Free Bread, Peanut Butter, Raspberry fruit spread)
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Small Cucumber
  • Salsa
  • Mini Carrot Cake Lara Bar

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dairy Free Caesar Dressing

My fiance has to eat Dairy Free for a while, and one of the things that she missed eating was Caesar salad. I understand how frustrating it is to see something on a menu that you want to eat... but you can't have it. Having a sensitivity to gluten has really changed the way I look at food...
Anyway, we wanted salads for dinner, but my fiance was bummed that she couldn't get a Caesar salad from our favorite takeout place. So I looked online and found a few recipes for dairy free dressing and figured out how to make it.
And luckily the recipe turned out wonderful. My fiance even said it tasted exactly like the regular stuff.
Here is what I came up with!

  • 1 Cup Light Mayo (made with Canola Oil)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Tsp Cracked Pepper
  • Pink Salt to taste (can use Sea Salt if you don't have Pink Salt)

Dairy Free Chicken Caesar Salad
  1. Mince Garlic cloves.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor.
  3. Pulse until well blended.
  4. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 
This recipe makes about 8 (2Tbsp) servings, at under 100 calories per serving.
I washed a small glass jar and filled it with the dressing. Other good container ideas are small empty Salad Dressing bottles, Peanut Butter jars, and Mayo jars. I think this glass jar is from Instant Coffee.
Don't forget to label and date your dressing! I put today's date as well as the expiration date (two weeks from now) so there won't be any guessing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2 Ingredient Banana Pancakes

This is an amazing recipe I found online for pancakes made with only 2 ingredients Bananas and Eggs. That means it's Grain Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, and Super Healthy (low calorie as well!).
...What? Pancakes made from Bananas and Eggs? That's just crazy...
Believe me, I thought of a Banana Omelet... and that is not something that sounds good to me, but I tried them and they were very yummy.
But there is a trick to making them come out like pancakes instead of a lump of mush... You HAVE to be patient and cook them slowly. (I wasn't patient enough and I turned the heat a little too high... the result was slightly burnt pancakes... but after the first one burnt I turned down the heat...)
Also Blending the banana and egg is very important as well.
  • 1 Small Banana
  • 1/4 Cup Egg Beaters  (or one whole egg. I used egg beaters to make it cholesterol free and lower calorie)
  • Optional Toppings: Peanut Butter, Sunflower Butter, Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Sauce, Fresh Berries, Fruit Spreads/Jams, Powdered Sugar, Maple Syrup, Honey, Whipped Cream, Etc.
  1. In a bowl, mash the banana well with a fork (or you could use a high powered blender or food processor.
  2. Add egg and beat until homogenous.
  3. Heat frying pan on medium low heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. When pan is hot enough, add a large spoonful of the batter into the pan and let it cook until you see bubbles coming up through the center and the edges are cooked.
  5. Carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side. (Do not rush it or it'll burn or become a pile of goo.)
  6. Serve pancakes with whatever topping you like. I had mine with a Tbsp of crunchy peanut butter.
This recipe makes one serving of about 4-5 small pancakes. It's easier and better to make small pancakes with this batter. The calories per recipe (without optional toppings) are about 120 calories (made with egg beaters) or 162 calories (made with a large egg).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found a recipe for low calorie healthy cookies and I couldn't wait to try them out. I did change the original recipe a little bit (Original Recipe found on this blog) because I can't follow recipes exactly, I always have to change something...
 These Cookies are Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, and Super Low Calorie. And if you leave the chocolate out of them, they are only 6 calories each!
 And they are really quick and simple to make.
 MMM, Want one?
 Mini Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Stevia
  • 1/8 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 Pieces (17g) Simply Lite Dark Chocolate Bar (Chopped)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a bowl, mix coconut flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. Add in applesauce and stir. 
  4. Add in almond milk, one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. 
  5. Stir in chocolate chunks. 
  6. Drop dough by tsp onto a parchment lined baking sheet, making 12 even cookies.  
  7. Shape the dough into cookies and  bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Let cool on the baking sheet for before serving.


Without the chocolate the cookies are 6 calories each, with the chocolate the cookies are about 12 calories each.
Even if you eat the whole batch of cookies with the chocolate chunks you are eating less then 150 calories. My fiance and I shared them and each had 6 cookies.

The size of the cookies are perfect for packing one or two into a bento as a nice treat/dessert.

Mini Crockpot

As some of you know already, my work does not have a microwave, so if I need to bring in lunch, I have to pack things that can be eaten cold. I don't know about you, but after a while I get sick of eating cold sandwiches and salads and I just crave a warm homemade meal.
Well this past weekend my mom bought me this portable mini crockpot that is can be plugged in anywhere, and I can pack food in, bring to work, and plug it in, and by the time lunch rolls around I have a hot delicious meal waiting for me. It's wonderful!
 It's so cute and little, yet it's large enough to pack a substantial meal, and possibly large enough to pack enough food for me and my fiance to share... especially if I also pack snacks or pack soup and two sandwiches.
 The cord wraps around the base and clips into place, and there is a sturdy handle so it is very convenient to cary to/from work as well as easy to put away in the kitchen cabinets.
 The inner container is removable for easy cleaning, and you can pack leftovers in the container in the refridgerator overnight, then in the morning pop it into the mini crockpot and be on your way.
The first meal I packed in my mini crockpot was leftovers from a dinner my mom made when I was visiting her house. Brown Rice and a Black Bean Chili made with tomatoes, black beans, Green Pepper, Onions, and lots of yummy spices.
I packed the leftovers the night before and placed it in the refrigerator. Then when I got up in the morning I placed the inner container into the crockpot and brought it to work with me. I plugged it in and by the time lunch rolled around the chili was steaming and ready to eat.
I love this crockpot, and I plan on using it a lot during the fall and winter. I also plan on bringing it on the honeymoon with me next week. What a great way to save money and eat healthy homemade meals on the honeymoon without having to do much cooking. :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

5 Easy Apple Snacks

It's the season of Apples once again, and I have been craving apples so much I couldn't wait to pick them myself... so I had to buy a bag of apples at the grocery store to hold myself over until I could get to an apple orchard.

I have been making little snacks and desserts with apples, and I thought I'd share these 5 easy snacks made with apples early on in the season so that you can make them all Autumn long! Great for adults and children and a wonderful after school snack! In fact, you could have these as Breakfasts, Snacks, or Dessert!

All of these snacks are Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan, Low Calorie, and Healthy! Can easily be made Nut Free.

1. PB&G Apple Sandwiches
 Peanut Butter & Granola Apple Sandwiches. (Can be made nut free by using Sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter)
What you need:
  • 1 Sm-Med Apple
  • 1 Tbsp All Natural Peanut Butter (No sugar added/Sub with sunflower butter if allergic to nuts)
  • 1/4 Cup Enjoy Life Granola (I used the Cranapple Granola) 
What to do:
Slice the apple into 4-6 rounds. Remove the seeds and stem.
Spread the Peanut Butter onto half of the slices, and top with granola.
Place other half of apple slices on top to make little sandwiches.
Serve right away.

2. Cinnamon Cream Cheese Apples
These Cinnamon Cream Cheese Apples were made dairy free by using Tofutti Cream Cheese. Regular cream cheese would work just as well if you do not have a problem with dairy.
What you need:
  • 1 Sm-Med Apple
  • 2-3 Tsp Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Raisins (I used a mix of Raisins and Golden Raisins)
  • 1 Packet Stevia (Optional. I omitted)
What to do:
Slice the apple into 4-6 rounds. Remove the seeds and stem.
In a small bowl mix cinnamon and cream cheese until well combined. If you want the mixture sweeter you can stir in the optional Stevia. (I omitted this step because I thought it was sweet enough.)
Spread cream cheese mixture evenly onto apple slices then top with raisins or other dried fruit.
Serve right away.

3. Microwave Baked Apple
A super simple Baked Apple made in the microwave in minutes!
What you Need:
  • 1 Sm-Med Apple
  • 1 Packet Stevia
  • 1/4-1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Dash Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Tsp Water
  • Dash Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Prune (or other dried fruit of choice)
What to do:
Remove core from apple and place apple into a small bowl.
Sprinkle Stevia, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the hole of the apple where the core was.
Stuff the hole with a prune or other dried fruit.
Sprinkle a dash of vanilla and some water over the apple, then cover the whole bowl with plastic wrap.
Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until apple is soft.
This can be eaten right away while it's warm, or can be packed in a container and eaten cool at lunch. This also makes a great dessert when covered with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

4. Cinnamon Apple Sauce
This apple sauce is sooo easy and quick to make, you'll wonder why you ever spent hours making apple sauce the old way. (That is, if you've ever made homemade applesauce...)
What you need:
  • 1 Sm-Med Apple
  • 1/4-1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Water
What to do:
Cut apple into slices and discard seeds and stem.
Place apple slices into a bowl and sprinkle the cinnamon and water over the top.
Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until soft.
If you left the slices large enough the skin will be easy to remove/pick out of the apple.
Mash the apple with a fork and serve warm. This can also be saved in the refrigerator and served cold, or packed in a container for lunch.

5. Cheesy Apple Slices
If you've never had apples and cheese together, you don't know what you are missing out on. This is a variation of an old sandwich my mom used to make for me all the time.
To make this vegan I used Vegan cheese shreds, but if you don't have a problem with dairy, then you can use whatever kind of cheese you'd like. I suggest making it with a Sharp Cheddar, or a Mild American cheese.
What you need:
  • 1 Sm-Med Apple
  • 1 Slice Cheese or 1/4 Cup Shredded Cheese
What to do:
Slice apple into medium/thick rounds. Remove seeds and stem.
Microwave Directions:
Top apple with pieces of cheese and microwave until cheese has melted.
Toaster Oven Directions:
Place apple slices on a toaster oven pan or a piece of aluminum foil.
Top apple with pieces of cheese and put in toaster oven toast cycle until cheese has melted.
Oven Directions: (Best if making more then one serving.)
Place apple slices on a cookie sheet.
Top apple with pieces of cheese and put under the broiler until cheese has melted and slightly browned.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bento Full of Cubes

My fiance started working part time at the frozen yogurt store I work at, so since today was our first day working together I made her a bento lunch to bring.
I made a simple PBJ sandwich and cut it into cubes using my new FunBites cube iT! cutter.
I also cut a peach with the Funbites, then I asked my fiance to choose an animal for the food picks and she said dog and cat. So here it is.
  • White Peach Cubes
  • PBJ Cubes (Udi's Fiber/Flax Bread, Teddie Natural Peanut Butter, Polaner Grape All Fruit Spread)
  • Nuts (100 calorie pack Almonds and Walnuts)
I love the cool tiedie look of the PBJ sandwich cubes.

Guacamole Bento

I love Guacamole, and I recently got my fiance to try it. and now my fiance loves guacamole too.
I made this bento to bring to work today, and I used my last single serving pack of guacamole.... good thing we are grocery shopping tomorrow! lol
I know this is another simple bento... but I am getting married in a week and a half, so it's amazing I have had the time/energy to make bentos at all. lol
This picture was taken with my New Camera!
  • Blue Corn Chips (Gluten Free and Delicious!)
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Baby Carrots
  • Wholly Guacamole (100 calorie Pack)
  • Chunky Salsa (Mild because I like to taste the vegetables in the salsa more than the burn.)
Wow, doesn't the picture look sooo much better (sharper/clearer details) than my other bento pictures? This camera is great! :)

New Camera!!!

Hi Everyone, I wanted to let you all know why I haven't been posting much lately... I've been super busy these past few weeks because I'm Getting Married!!!!
My fiance and I are getting married September 16th 2012, and these past few weeks I've been busy getting things done. And the next week and a half are going to be even more packed, so I might not be able to post many blogs. Also The week after the wedding I will be away on the Honeymoon, so I won't be posting much then either. But I am planning on bringing some bento accessories with me so I can make a few bentos. We'll see.

Anyway, the other reason I am writing this blog is because I finally got a new camera!!! That's right, My fiance bought me a camera as a wedding present! So when I am able to make bentos regularly again, I will be able to take better pictures of them! YAY!!! No more blurry pictures. And no more taking multiple pictures all over the kitchen in order to get one that is decent enough to blog about.

 WoooHoooo!!! Not only did she get me a camera, but it was a whole bundle that came with a bunch of awesome stuff.
 Here is my new camera. The box said Red... but I think it looks pink. Oh well, The color is not what I need it for anyway, I need it to take sharp/detailed pictures that I can use on my blogs. :)
 The bundle package came with an 8GB memory card... my old camera only had a 2GB memory card and I never filled it in one day because I always uploaded the pictures the same day I took them. I can't imagine taking that many pictures...
 Here is the nice padded carrying case with an extra front pocket for extra memory cards (though I won't be needing one with the massive 8GB memory card it came with), or an extra battery.
 This is the battery charger that plugs into the wall. The battery is in my camera. These are super useful. If only it came with an extra battery, then I could have one charged battery in my phone, and the other battery charging and ready for me to use when the first one dies.
 And the super cute Mini Tripod that will make it soooo much easier to take steady pictures of my bentos, as well as make it easy to take self portraits using the self timer.
And last but not least, the USB cord. I hardly use these because I can just plug the memory card into my laptop and upload the pictures that way.

So there you have it, a whole camera bundle for the price of just the camera.
I am sooo excited, and I can't wait to take pictures at the wedding, and the Honeymoon. I will be sure to post pictures when I can.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Turkey Mushroom Meatballs/Bento

My fiance has been cooking a lot more lately, (and it's such a big help because I have been so busy with work and wedding) and tonight she made healthy meatballs for dinner.
She has not been eating dairy lately so we got some vegan cheese to try out. And it is sooo good. (We both agree it's better then real cheese!)
Anyway, I made a dinner bento with the Meatballs, some Tomato Sauce, and Zucchini Noodles!
I am so proud of my fiance I told her I'd blog about her meatballs and share the recipe she used.
So here it is!

Turkey Mushroom Meatballs (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Low Fat)
  • 1 package 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey
  • 2 med-large Portabella Mushroom Caps (Chopped)
  • 1/3 Cup Egg Beaters
  • 1/4 Cup Gluten Free Oatmeal (Chopped/Pulverized)
  • up to 1/4 Cup Vegan Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Herbs
  • 2 tsp Ground Pepper
  • Pinch Celery Salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mince garlic cloves. Remove and discard gills from mushroom caps then chop mushrooms. Chop oats in a blender or food processor.
3. In large bowl mix meat, egg beaters, oats, seasonings, mushrooms, and cheese.
4. Form into small meatballs and place on greased cookie sheets. (Made about 40 small meatballs)
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serve Meatballs with sauce and noodles of your choice. My fiance had hers with Whole Wheat Pasta, Vegan Cheese and Non-Dairy Butter, while I had mine with Zucchini Noodles, and Tomato Basil Sauce.