Pasta salad

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Yummy!  Pasta lies on the bottom of this salad, because I was too lazy this morning to make this in a bowl, toss it, and arrange artfully in the bento.  You can see some little bows peeking through… with cucumber, grape tomatoes, yellow pepper, chickpeas, and feta cheese.  I had equal amounts of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar for dressing.  I found a really awesome one from Montana that is so sweet and flavourful I don’t need anything else in the dressing – definitely would need at least some salt and pepper in there had I been using the stuff you get in the supermarket.

Snacks are here too – greek yogurt and an apple.  In BC, we can apply to have fresh fruits and veggies delivered every 2 weeks free of charge to classrooms across our province.  We were treated to the most deliciously juicy pears, so I had one of those too.  Yay for fruit!

This will be the last bento that gets blogged until the new year.  I am taking a course that needs to be completed by the end of the month.  It’s very attainable: two papers, three quizzes, and thankfully no exam to try and schedule over the Christmas break!  However, the time I spend blissfully reading my way through the blogosphere needs to be put on hold for a little while so I can give it to studying.  Take care, and I will see you soon!

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Tamagoyaki, squash, and rice

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Keeping it simple today.  Brown rice (leftover in the fridge) with furikake – one I’ve never tried before, is vegan, smelled quite pleasant in the container, but not so much once on the rice… I shall see how I do with it tomorrow…, a 2-egg rolled omelette, roasted butternut squash with a little pepper, and 3 cherry tomatoes for a pop of colour in the middle.

Snacks – morning: trail mix, afternoon – 2 mandarin oranges.  I can’t get enough of them right now!

Boursin pasta, smoked tofu, and veggies

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I completely forgot I was on a no wheat or dairy cleanse while making dinner, and proceeded to boil a big pot of pasta, thinking dinner tonight, and two future bentos for the hubby and me (youngest won’t eat pasta without a tremendous fight that just is not worth it).  Hehe – can I blame it on only 14 days left of teaching to go?  Or forgetfulness?  Or the gingerbread house decorating going on in the kitchen at the same time as dinner/lunchmaking?

Either way… farfalle pasta, tossed while warm with Boursin cheese so that it melts nicely.  It’s cooled quite a bit in this picture, but will be nice and smoothly creamy once heated tomorrow.  I found some frozen cubed butternut squash, and heated that in the microwave, although it could probably go in frozen, as I plan on reheating this bento tomorrow anyway.  A little smoked tofu and Ketchup peppers, but made with locally-made tomato jam (self-proclaimed adult ketchup) round out the tier.

Quinoa chili and rice

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Yummy, nutritious Quinoa!  Tastes great, versatile, complete protein, what’s not to love?

Here I have quinoa in a big batch of chili that I made in a grand total of about 45 minutes.  I was inspired to make chili as I was in Calgary, AB yesterday, where it was -9’C and foggy and windy.  It was my first dose this season of what winter has in store, and yes, having lived on the Canadian prairies for a couple of years, I know what it can serve up!  -9 is nothing!

  • Sautee 1 large diced onion in 3 tbsp. olive oil and a little salt (helps to draw out the moisture) over medium-low heat until nice and soft – about 8ish mins.
  • Add in 1 diced pepper (colour doesn’t matter – have you noticed how many recipes specify particular colours?  Use what’s lurking in the fridge), and sautee a little more until soft – about 4 mins.
  • Add in 2 cloves of garlic, smooshed, minced, sliced, microplaned, whatever you like to do to it to release flavour.
  • Add in 1 tbsp. cumin, 3 tbsp. chili powder, 1 tbsp. cocoa powder (gives a nice flavour, and no, doesn’t taste sweet and chocolatey) and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Stir around for about 1 minute.
  • Add in 2 cups of water or vegetable stock and simmer for about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  • Add in: 1x28oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain), 1 tsp. oregano, 1 can drained black beans, 1 can drained kidney beans, 1 cup frozen or canned, drained corn kernels, 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, and 1 cup water.  Simmer for 20 minutes or so (once the mixture has come up to a slow boil).

Serve however you like it – some people like cheese, others sour cream, others green onions… whatever works!  This recipe freezes really well, but because of the quinoa, it will absorb water, so just add a little more water when you reheat.

I have a tier of brown rice, and some diced smoked tofu with the chili.  A warm, comforting meal for a damp, cool December.

Vegan chili bento for hubby

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Hubby is not a vegan, or a vegetarian, but he doesn’t like dairy, so if I make him a meatless bento, by default it’s vegan.  Here he has a container of chili, with a lettuce leaf to somewhat contain the sauce, brown rice, veggies, and black olives.  He doesn’t like to heat up bentos (he’s one of those people who can eat leftovers right out of the fridge, too), so he’s quite content to have everything in one layer to ‘graze’ on through his workday.

It’s nice to share the occasional vegan bento for hubby, but I am comfortable in my decision to keep this blog vegetarian, so I don’t feel this desire to blog all 3 lunches for our family every day.  It’s not just me who gets tasty bento lunches ’round here!