Halloum, kabocha, mixed grains

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I really enjoy halloumi cheese. It’s one of my favourite things to eat, ever. I put some on top of a layer of mixed quinoa, wild rice, and brown rice, with a little lightly steamed broccoli mixed in. I made some simmered kabocha squash, cooking it in veggie stock, tamari, and mirin. I had one tiny little grape tomato that I thought would do nicely for a garnish, too! I love how bento helps me make odds and ends into a beautiful meal.

Thai-style green curry, roasted veggies

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I know this box is tricky to photo, but it’s leakproof and quite lovely for wetter foods, like this curry, so I keep trying! In the curry (which I made very mild because I fed it to my husband and he doesn’t like too much spice), I have sautéed diced onion, celery, carrot, and baby potatoes in coconut oil until softened. I then threw in some green beans, a can of coconut milk, some veggie stock, and a smallish spoonful of green curry paste. I let it simmer while the baby tomatoes and squash roasted. I added some beans that I’d soaked overnight then cooked in a slow cooker all day. I will have an apple with lunch, and snack will be some raw mixed nuts.

Mild curry and sweet potato dinner bento

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A surprise please-come-work-a-shift today phone call greeted me on my way from a very harrowing (pssh!) morning of yoga and acupuncture – it’s a hard life! So here’s a bento I made so that I can have a healthy dinner during a break from my friend’s husband’s grocery and liquor store that he manages. We’re heading into a long weekend up here in the Great White North, so it’ll be very busy and he needs help. And I could use some extra guilt-free shopping funds for my vacay next week. Win-win, people!

On the one side, there’s a bunch of veggies sautéed in coconut oil, then simmered in coconut milk with some curry powder, lemongrass, and sambal oelek. I was going to put green curry paste in, but it had expired and wasn’t looking happy. Eclectic mix, which I hope will be okay when I come to eat it. I tossed some mixed beans into the curry for protein and fibre. On the other side, I have some sweet potatoes roasted with cumin and sea salt in coconut oil.

Fried rice with smoked tofu

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Smoked tofu has to be my favourite kind of tofu. It’s unlike any other form of delicious soybean goodness. Here’s some ‘fried’ rice (how-to again as it’s been a while):

-sautée some vegetables in a little olive or canola oil until crisp-tender – here I used onion and celery – use what you like and what’s in the fridge. I have about 1/2 cup raw total (it cooks down in volume) for one person.
-season with what you like. Ideas include a dash of toasted sesame oil/ketchup/sriracha/soy or tamari sauce/sambal oelek/minced garlic. I used some sambal oelek and tamari today.
-add in the cooked, cooled rice (about 1/2 cup for one person) and toss around to coat it. Hot fresh rice won’t work as well as cooled. This rice is leftover from last night’s dinner.

This method gives you tasty fried rice flavour without all the grease.

With the fried rice I have some sliced smoked tofu, spinach baran, tomato with some spring onion slices and balsamic vinegar (the really-pricey-but-worth-it syrupy kind), and carrots steamed then tossed with foodie-approved tomato jam for taste, and covered with sesame seeds for visual appeal. They’ll be almost like dessert, so sweet!

Soba noodles, tamagoyaki, sesame spinach

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Today I tried two new recipes from my copy of The Just Bento Cookbook by the wonderful Makiko Itoh of http://www.justbento.com.

First is the Basic Tamagoyaki (p. 19), halved for just two eggs for one serving:

2 eggs
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. mirin
1/8 tsp. salt (I omitted due to the mirin)
1/2 tsp. tamari (recipe calls for soy sauce)
vegetable oil, for frying.

You’re basically making a rolled omelette by adding a little egg, cooking it, rolling it on itself, and repeating for many layers of deliciousness. Other bento bloggers have made tutorials, so I don’t have to! *cue lazy mode me*

I also made the blanched spinach with sesame sauce (p. 36).

3.5oz spinach leaves (this is a TON but it cooks down!)
1 tbsp. tahini
1/2 tsp. white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tbsp. tamari (again recipe calls for soy)
1/2 tsp. white sesame seeds, toasted, for sprinkling on top.

Boil spinach for a minute, then remove quickly and rinse as fast as you can with very cold water. Squeeze as much water out as you can, forming a log. Cut the log into pieces.

Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl, then add the spinach and mix well. Place in cute bento cup, and sprinkle with the second 1/2 tsp. of sesame seeds.

Both are a hit, although I would omit the sugar for the tamagoyaki just using the mirin for sweetness next time.

I also have some soba noodles with dressing made with rice wine vinegar, tamari, agave (couldn’t find the honey), and sesame oil in the panda cup.

Nutritional stats: 491 cals, 91g carb, 21g fat, 26g protein, 3g fibre (thought there’d be more from the spinach).

Snack will be an apple for the morning, and some cookies from the vegan cuts box for the afternoon. With tea.

Monochromatic fried rice and Gardein bento

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I made ‘fried’ rice with carrot, celery, cabbage, and yellow pepper. The colours were exploding in the pan, but once I packed the bento you can hardly tell! I love cashews, so used them to add some crunch to the bento. I have Gardein strips and a mango jelly on the other side of the leaf lettuce baran. Simple lunch for a very busy Friday.

Gardein, egg, rice, veggies

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I don’t like this rice, and I don’t like that my rice cooker went to the big bento box in the sky a couple of weeks ago so I had to cook it on a stove and hope it didn’t boil over. It’s sticky, and just not great. It shall be quite nice tomorrow with the seasoning and tamari fish treatment, though. I have some Gardein with UFC (hehe) sweet chili sauce, half an egg with a dab of chipotle mayo, half a roasted and peeled beet, steamed broccoli tossed with brown sugar mustard (adapted from Just Bento), and grape tomatoes to fill in the gaps.

Morning snack will be a banana, and afternoon snack will be almonds and a small square of dark chocolate.

Gardein, stir-fried vegetables, fruit, rice

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My husband put in a request for stir-fry for dinner. Pretty easy – and easy bentos for tomorrow, too.

I have cooked white rice with some corn and edamame mixed in, and some seasoning blend to add colour. I have some of the veggies stir-fried in black bean sauce, a small portion of Gardein (my go-to quick veggie protein that goes nicely with stir-fry), and a couple of kiwi slices and grapes for dessert. My morning snack will be some raw almonds and a slice of crystallized ginger, and a Luna peanut honey pretzel for afternoon snack.

Tofu, mushrooms, kale, brown rice

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There are a number of tasty treats in here, and I’m excited to eat them tomorrow. I ate them for dinner, and they tasted good then, too! Yay leftovers.

Brown rice, seasoned with a low-salt vegetable stock cube, tofu tossed in cornstarch, stir-fried, then flavoured with tamari and nutritional yeast flakes, crimini mushrooms stir-fried then given a little hoisin sauce love, and kale and cranberry salad with a miso-tofu dressing. Finally, a tomato fills in a gap, and I have some fruit in a cup. It’s kiwi slicing fail. Get a cutter that’s bigger than the seedy section, going into the green, for pretties, otherwise it just falls apart.

Rice and edamame salad, strawberries – allegedly alkalizing bento

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I know this is the same bento box two days in a row, but I can’t help it! All day, tasty circular meals have popped in and out of my head!

In the bottom/larger tier, I have a layer of brown rice, and on top, lightly steamed carrots, edamame, corn, raw grape tomatoes, sesame seeds, enoki mushrooms (have never tried before!), and a couple of pieces of green/spring onions.

In the top/smaller tier, I have the most deelish dressing from Eating the Alkaline Way: Recipes for a Well-Balanced Honestly Healthy Lifestyle by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson. It’s called “My Secret Salad Dressing” but since they published it in a book, it’s no longer a secret, so I can share it here:

1/4 cup evoo
2 tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce if not experimenting with alkaline eating)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (not the $20/bottle syrupy good stuff!)
1 tbsp. agave syrup (this works well with honey and maple syrup too)

Mix. Drizzle over rice salad (or other big tasty green salad). Eat. I also have strawberries and dark chocolate almond spread to dip them in.

tl:dr with regards to alkaline eating: eat plants, and avoid gluten, meat, and cows dairy. Limit eggs and sheep/goat dairy. Although the recipes in the book are amazing, and none have failed me yet, so the book is still well worth reading (and the photography is gorgeous)! I’m still not so sure about maintaining blood pH through diet, but there is a lot to be said about eating foods that won’t contribute to inflammation, as that’s the root cause of so many so-called Western diseases and conditions.