Chick’n stirfry and brown rice

Ahh, trick-or-treaters!  They’re so awesome.  I had a stream of ghosts, superheroes, witches, cowgirls, and monsters to the door this year.  My inner feminist is very happy that the children of my small town are eschewing princess alter-egos!

The bento was easy as I was hungry but needed to make something that allowed me to hop back and forth between the kitchen and the front door.  Sprouted grain brown rice, with a sriracha heart, because it’s been far too long since I’ve indulged – crazy!  I also have chick’n in a mandarin orange sauce with sliced orange pepper (there is the beginning of space in the fridge now, finally…) and a few pieces of green/spring onion.

Chocolate banana bread for morning snack, and an apple for afternoon snack.  Yummers!

Foodie penpal reveal: October 2012

Who doesn’t want to receive something this pretty in the mail?  Yay for foodie penpals, an idea conceived and managed by the lovely LeanGreenBean.  If you’re in the US, Canada, or the UK, you can sign up, go shopping, and see what tasty treats you’re sent.  It’s so fun!

This month’s batch of foodie glee comes courtesy of Susan from Susonia, who lives on the other side of my very awesome province.  Her food photography is inspiring – please go over there and check out her lovely website.

OK, what have I been snacking on?  I cannot tell you how happy foodie penpals makes me.  Each month, I get to try foods I’ve never seen before.  It’s awesome!
 Excuse the blurries on the canning labels.  The one on the left reads ‘pearl sugar’, which came all the way from Sweden, and will be used on pies!  The other reads ‘rosemary salt’, smells heavenly, and will make roast potatoes taste divine.

The first thing that got devoured was the strawberry Ritter sport.  Thankfully, I got in a couple of squares before my son and his best friend found it.  They were very appreciative of a snack, too!  And my son says it’s wonderful that my foodie penpal sent me such a delicious treat.  He gets the joy of foodie penpals… yay!

I am a big fan of Emergen-C, and other similar brands of vitamins in tasty drink form, so to get a couple of those to boost my dodgy immune system was lovely.  I haven’t tried cranberry pomegrate, so that will be awesome.

I love that the granola and tiny blackcap raspberry jam came from a farmers market in Vancouver, one of my most favourite cities in the world (and where I’m flying to next month – can’t wait!).  The granola got snacked on through a very nice evening with Season 2 of the Walking Dead, but I haven’t started on the jam – trying to pace myself here.  Who doesn’t love real jam?

The treat that most intrigues me is the dipped, solar-dried banana.  You can’t really tell by the picture, but it’s tiny compared to the size of a fresh banana!  This was a really tasty Friday afternoon snack.  I have never seen one of these before, so it was a very welcome surprise.

Thank you again to Susan, who took the time to find me tasty treats and surprised me with goodies I’ve never seen before.  And thank you to Lindsay for organizing foodie penpals month after month.  It must be like herding cats, so it’s appreciated.

Baked perogies and banana bread

On the deal-with-food-everywhere theme in my house, I baked some perogies in tomato sauce with shredded cheese, had those for dinner, then put the leftovers in the bento.  I made chocolate banana bread, using up frozen overripe bananas, and put a small piece of that in the bento.  I only had a little room left in the bento after that, so I put some kiwi fruit slices in there.  No cooked veggies in the fridge, or they’d have gone in with the perogies.

Mini cottage cheese and spinach pie with veggies

This looks a lot more organized in real life.  It looks very chaotic in the photo.

One mini pie from the weekend, with yellow pepper, mini cucumber, a babybel, a mini orange, and a couple of dried figs – yay for miniature food.  I love that this uses up odds and ends from around the kitchen, and still manages to be delicious and full of nutrients.

Aren’t the little matryoshka picks adorable?  I was inspired to buy them and share them with a best friend who treated herself to a matryoshka bento.  They’re so cheerful!

Cookbook challenge: cottage cheese and spinach gratin with jujjed up version too!

One more week of the cookbook challege – yes, another gratin, but honestly if you saw the inside of my fridge this morning, you’d get why.  It is so full it’s not even funny anymore.  I had eggs, spinach, and cottage cheese all having a party in there, which are the all-star cast of this dish!  I also had some filo in the freezer, and a jar of tomato jam that called to me as I visited a deli I don’t often get to frequent.  It all works out that I get to make a recipe, and create space in the fridge (not to mention save a bit more money with not having to go shopping for ingredients).  So, the game plan, as outlined in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison:

This was easy enough to do.  I didn’t have two bunches of spinach, but I did have a box of prewashed baby spinach, so I gave that a rough chop before wilting.  Other than that, I followed the procedure as intended, with the following delicious-looking results:

My oven’s only a few years old, but you can see how it’s starting to develop its own quirky little hot spots with how the dish browned.  Making this gratin put me into full-on Mad Men mode: for some reason, this felt very similar to retro creamed spinach.  I would like to hope I’m a better mother than Betty Draper though!  I was inspired by…

This is amazing, and don’t worry, fellow veg*ns, despite being suggested as an accompaniment to meat, meat, and more meat, this is full of vegetarian umami goodness!  And made (almost) locally; how perfect!  I prebaked some filo layers, spread a little of this in each mini pie, placed gratin mixture on top, baked, et…

Voila!  Individual gratin cups with tomato jam hiding underneath the gratin to provide a burst of flavour.  So tasty.  These mini pies would be perfect in a bento.  However, my son has medical appointments tomorrow, so I will be treating him to fast food ickiness once they’re all over.  No bento for me tomorrow, but I’m sure later on in the week, you’ll be seeing a bit of gratin or a gratin cup in one.

Thanks again to Uniflame of She Likes Bento for hosting the challenge.  It’s proving to be a very tasty one.

Cupcake Friday!

Coconut cupcake with coconut icing and shredded coconut on top.  These were requested by my most favourite speech-language pathologist in the whole wide world (check out that articulation challenge, see what I managed to do there?) for a big meeting she scheduled that day.  Turns out she planned to have the meeting on her birthday, and managed to persuade me to make her favourite flavour of cuppies without knowing!  Genius.

Cupcake On!

Pink tofu stew, quinoa, and squash

Bentoing is too easy.  I had leftover tofu and veggie stew, quinoa, and squash in the fridge.  Here they are in a bento that took me longer to wash the bento than assemble the next day’s goodies.

The pink stew looks sweet, but definitely tastes savoury.  I know it looks like there’s only one cube of tofu in the sauce – I promise you there is more food in there.  The colour comes from a beet that was staring me down in the fridge for a while.  One little beet made a whole pot of stew bright pink 🙂  The quinoa and squash have already put in appearances this week, but here they are again because they’re tasty.  I gave the squash a couple of grinds from the black salt mill for a sweet-salty side dish.

No bento tomorrow, as I’ll be at a conference and they’ll feed me lunch.  I will however, schedule a Cupcake Friday! because the internet needs more cupcakes.