For my entrée, I have some spelt egg noodles, cooked spinach (boiled in the pasta water for one minute, then drained with the pasta), and some goat cheese melted onto the pasta. It’s topped with black pepper! I tried a bite of this to see how it would go, and wow, tomorrow’s lunch is going to be good.
For sides, I have half a tomato roasted in a little olive oil and sprinkled with Italian seasoning then placed into a food cup so the juices are contained. I have about some raw beet, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced, placed into the food cup, and given a little love with olive oil and apple cider vinegar before sprinkling with a tiny bit of feta. On top are three very cute and interesting-tasting pickles. They’re mild, but peppery.
I followed about 3/4 of this tutorial/recipe on putting together a bento box from Vegetarian Times: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/stir-fried-tofu-bento-box-with-sesame-soba-noodles-and-ginger-carrot-broccoli/
I didn’t make the ginger-carrot broccoli on account of not having either carrots or broccoli on hand. I did have some washed and spun red lettuce and some bell pepper so I made a tiny salad out of that instead. I really struggle with going out and buying new ingredients when I have perfectly good ones kicking around in the fridge just waiting to be eaten! Syrupy balsamic vinegar is in the bottle to dress the salad.
I also improvised with the shelled edamame – I just tossed them in some chili-garlic paste instead of having them flavoured with the carrot and broccoli. Lazy!
Morning snack will be a Greek yogurt and afternoon snack will be a granola bar – one with chocolate chips in it, akin to what we feed children. Long day tomorrow!
Do the mushrooms look familiar? They should; they’re the last of the container I roasted yesterday. I tossed them with jarred marinara sauce over pasta for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. I sprinkled some cheese over for funsies, too.
My side dishes are a hard-boiled egg (easy to do in a rice cooker… put them in your steamer rack with about 1 cup water underneath, place the cover on, and steam for 21 minutes – no cracked shells!) with some yellow pepper and baby cucumber strips.
For those who are curious, here are some stats on the nutritional value of the bento: 436 cals, 67g carbohydrates (haha, all that pasta), 11g fat, 23g protein, 211g sodium.
My new bento box came! Sometimes waiting for things to arrive from eBay or other retailers is just painful. I’m worse than a kid at Christmas. It has an insulated bento bag with handle, which was a handy selling feature for me. I ordered one in red for the hubs too. Colour coding when you have two people who eat different things is important with bento. That being said, his bento’s vegan tomorrow because I was too lazy to bake chicken or make him meatballs and he’s not home tonight to do so for himself.
In the main/undivided tier is spaghetti with marinara sauce and sundried tomato vegan sausage. I like to cut it in sections prior to panfrying in a dry non-stick pan, so it gets crispy. Yummy. In the divided tier, I have some raw carrot and celery pieces, gouda cheese, almonds, and apple slices to snack on while I write report cards tomorrow afternoon (database software permitting, of course).
This being the first time I’ve used the bento, I’m curious. It seems a lot bigger than my other ones, even though each tier is 350mL. Let’s see how ridiculously full/well-fueled for report cards I am tomorrow!
Spaghetti with home-made tomato sauce and some pine nuts on top. Tasty sides are a clementine and about 1/2 an apple dipped in lemon water to prevent browning. I love that one piece of apple has a bruise that I didn’t notice when preparing the bento, but it lit up in a circle when the flash hit it!
Snack is banana bread – easy to make if your children are like mine and let bananas go spotty with the intent of reminding me we have spotty bananas and can I make banana bread please?
~Mash 2 bananas with the paddle attachment of the kitchenaid (or a fork in a medium bowl).
~Add in 1/4 c oil/ 1/4 c milk of choice/ 1 t vanilla/ 1/3 cup sugar and mix until combined.
~Add in 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour / 1 1/2 t baking powder / 1/4 t baking soda / 1/2 t cinnamon / 1/4 t salt – more mixing until combined.
~Place in greased loaf pan and bake at 375′ for around 50 mins until done.
This pasta is adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It’s tasty. In a nutshell…
~cook 2 cups pasta shapes according to package directions.
~meanwhile sauté a medium sliced onion in 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (my pan got a bit hot and it browned 😦 ) until softened. Add in a large pinch of dried chili flakes, and a decent sprinkling of dried sage. Add in 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 19oz can, drained and rinsed), turn off the heat and warm through.
~Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, and stir in the chickpea mixture.
This recipe would be even more delicious had I been able to use fresh sage sizzled in extra virgin olive oil at the end of cooking as per the original recipe, and had I used the full amount of olive oil the recipe called for. The dish looks pasty and pale in the photo – too much natural daylight? Very very yummy though.
Tasty sides are some carrot and cucumber sticks. Snack is a baby orange, and the makings of a Larabar – almonds, chocolate chips, and dried dates.
I know the sauce on the green beans isn’t looking too appetizing. Once heated in the microwave, it will be smooth and delicious again. It’s a couple of big handfuls of green beans, steamed, a container of mushrooms, sliced and sautéed, a dash of cream, seasoning, and a handful of cheese. Simple, but tasty. But not so pretty once cooled.
Tomorrow’s bento contains pasta, with a simple sauce made from:
~ 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
~ 3 jarred roasted peppers, roughly diced
~ 1/2 tsp each Italian herb blend (look for one with no sugar or salt) and crushed chilis,
cooked, uncovered, over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
Then, if you desire, whirl around your immersion blender to smooth it out a little. Throw in:
~ 2 big handfuls of spinach (chopped, or whole, up to you)
and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach is wilted.
I put a tiny orange in the bento too, separated by a food cup, for a sweet treat. Snack is 0% Greek yogurt with a blueberry-pomegranate syrup thing to pour on top.
I love pasta and cheese from a box. There, I said it. And I put some into a bento to enjoy for tomorrow’s lunch before piling the rest onto my plate for dinner (you can see moisture droplets on the side of the bento… this is a no-no if your box is travelling as moisture leads to food spoilage; being that I’m at home tomorrow, I’m okay to put hot food into the box and then the fridge). It’s still Spring Break, but tomorrow is the day I get caught up on all the things I said I’d get done before I go back to school on Tuesday. A bento will be nice as I won’t be tempted to try a new recipe and mess up the kitchen for the bazillionth time in the 10 days I’ve been home over the break.
I am fortunate enough to be able to buy food and household goods in bulk. Many people in North America simply do not have the cashflow to be able to do so, so I am very thankful to be able to use my Costco membership to save money in the long run. I usually donate some of the canned tomatoes, juice boxes, pasta sauce, granola bars, bags of pasta within the giant bags, a bag of crackers within the giant box etc. to the food bank. I shudder to think how close many of us are to needing a little help. I bought a 12-pack of mac and cheese, and while I plan on giving most of them to the food bank, had to sneak one in for dinner. Hubs has a meeting tonight, so he’d already had dinner by the time I got home – so I could eat something cheesy without him pulling faces around me or it.
For the green beans, I sautéed them in a little olive oil, adding splashes of water to help them steam and soften, for about 6 minutes. I then added about a tablespoon of tomato paste and a dash of sriracha for some heat to counterbalance the creaminess of the shells and cheese. If the tomato paste isn’t loosening up, add another splash of water. I threw some pine nuts in for crunch, flavour, and because I have a giant-sized bag of them that hubs has not discovered yet.
Another bad iPhone picture. Hubs is running for a spot on the municipal village council, so he’s away quite a bit talking to people and learning more about issues that he will face if elected. I managed to take a picture of this bento on his phone, but not get around to uploading it until today. Still, it’s a post. Posting makes me happy.
In this bento are frozen ravioli, cooked in marinara sauce at 375′ in a covered dish until nice and soft. I also have lightly steamed cauliflower in a cheese sauce covered with panko which then got baked in a separate dish.
I know I said my next bento would contain sautéed spinach, but I just can’t do it. I need a break (will still be throwing it into a smoothie for breakfast tomorrow though, because I can’t really tell it’s there in that regard).
Being that I was playing super mommy and going to a PAC meeting at my son’s school this evening, I had very little kitchen time, so I whipped out some Gardein. This time it’s beefless tips, and they’re so close to being meaty but so not at the same time. It’s a little strange, but they’re quick to make (and still pretty tasty)! I also cooked some pearl couscous in vegetable broth according to package directions. For real cooking, rather than assembling, I roasted some pieces of Kabocha squash and cherry tomatoes on their vine (don’t they look cute?). I added a touch of maple syrup to the squash and some chia seeds for a bit of visual interest. Some pickled beets and a hot pepper complete the bento.
Snack – Clif bar.