Edamame, carrot kinpira, brown rice, broccoli

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For a change, I actually have a Japanese-inspired bento. I was planning on making a tamagoyaki/rolled omelette, but found that I used the last of the eggs in cupcakes this week. It’s okay, because it’s good to focus on plant-based lunches, and I often have edamame in the freezer.

I have brown rice and broccoli left over from tonight’s dinner, and I prepared the carrot kinpira and steamed edamame for the bento. The carrot kinpira is pretty easy (adapted from the Just Bento cookbook in that I didn’t actually measure anything but I followed the ingredient list and procedure):

~heat oil over medium-high heat
~add very thinly sliced veggies, and sauté briefly
~add some veggie stock and a dash of soy sauce/tamari to cover the veggies
~simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has gone
~cool, and place into bento

Chickie holds a good pinch of Thai ginger lemongrass salt to sprinkle over the edamame just prior to eating.

Leftover fun time!

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I’m back in the classroom teaching Grade 9 English, in addition to case management and functional academics for students with special needs. As I distributed worksheets for students with examples to work on, I mentioned we’d have some grammar fun time to start the block. One of my students said, “Ms. M, you always try and make it sound more fun that it’s going to be. I never know if it is actually going to be fun or not”. Oops – they’re on to me!

So I’m tricking myself into using up leftovers and calling it fun time. We Canadians have Thanksgiving this weekend, and I’m hosting I-don’t-quite-know-how-many people for a foodfest (I think 10 total, not sure, could be up to 16?). Fridge space will be at a premium once I’ve done the grocery shop for it, so I’m trying to eat what we have, whether or not it’s calling my name.

I have a layer of brown rice and black beans, under roasted sweet potato fries that I diced, steamed cauliflower florets, and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. I have safflower oil and balsamic reduction in the container for dressing. I’ll likely toss everything together before pouring over the dressing, but I like seeing the different foods on top of the rice layer here.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You know you want a chocolate snackbox – one commenter mentioned how she’d like to trick her hubs into eating carrot sticks in the chocolate box – genius!

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.

Aloo gobi, chana masala, basmati rice

002I can’t get enough Indian food at the moment. There’s something about Autumn coming, and wanting spicy comforting goodness!

I made Aloo gobi, under the alias of “Promila Kapoor’s Punjabi-Style Cauliflower and Potatoes with Ginger” in my very favourite Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. I made a few substitutions in parentheses.

Peanut or canola oil for shallow frying (safflower)
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into thick fries (sweet potatoes)
1 3/4 lb cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
3/4 to 1 tsp. salt (1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
2-3 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (forgot to pick this up at the store today)

-heat oil in frying pan over medium heat, shallow fry the potatoes for around 10 mins (if making this again, I would probably parboil them a bit first – a few of the ‘fries’ are a little undercooked)
-remove the potato, and shallow fry the cauliflower for 3-4 mins
-remove the cauliflower, and adjust the oil level in the pan to 2 tbsp.
-cook the ginger for about 10 seconds
-return the potatoes and cauliflower to the pot, add the spices and 3 tbsp. water. Cover the pot, simmer gently for 4 minutes, serve.

I added some leftover chana masala (curried chickpeas, but I just improvised that recipe, so probably shouldn’t share it here until I’ve measured things and made it easier to follow) and some turmeric-coloured rice. The octopus spork belongs with an octopus-themed bento box which I can’t find. Either my hubs left it at work or my son put it away somewhere it doesn’t belong. I wanted to use that box, too!

No-green-food-in-my-house bento

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I’m a bit giddy with anticipation right now. Next week, I get to go to Vancouver for a Social Justice committee working session. I get to do more Ally work, and connect with some wonderful friends. Just to add to the awesome, my husband will also be there for a conference. The dates overlap and while we’ll both be too busy to spend much time together, we’ll at least see each other for a few minutes each morning and evening. I’m hoping for one date night dinner out, but that might be a little too lofty a goal.

Being that we’ll all be out of the house for at least part of next week, I’m determined to eat the food we have in the fridge before we leave. I took some leftover brown rice, cooked lentils, and tomato sauce (all in the fridge), and combined them into a saucy, tasty dish. I put some carrot stars over to decorate and pretend that I really do know how to make bento lunches. I managed to get three apples off my tree before the wasps decided “all your apple are belong to us” and started buzzing menacingly around me forcing me to retreat inside (it’s a really bad year for them, or would that be a great year?). Having an apple to eat with lunch is therefore quite a victory! I sliced up a lemon to put in my water bottle that I forgot at work. I love flavouring water with lemon slices, and it’s so alkalizing and cleansing.

Rice, roasted veggies, curried chickpeas

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Not sure if this qualifies as a bento. I feel it’s more just food put into the box. I’ve been having a very good but busy startup to the school year, and I don’t have a lot of energy or creativity left over to give to food. I have made lunches, they’ve just felt a bit pathetic and not worthy of being uploaded. The other day I had a pbj on gluten free French bread, cucumber slices, and a pear. In a bento, but not cute. Today I had avocado on gf sprouted grain bread with some edamame. Again, not cute. Today’s bento isn’t cute, but I feel I’m letting vegan mofo down, so here we go.

Under everything is a layer of brown rice, then a layer of roasted green beans and red peppers, then some leftover curried chickpeas on top. To give it some colour, I hacked away at a spring/green onion. Will taste good, just doesn’t look cute!

Rice and beans, veggies, fruit

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I made some black beans with a chipotle sauce for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow, but it was very, very hot! Hotter than I thought it was going to be. I mixed it with rice to tone it down a bit, and that didn’t quite work. I’m hoping that the fresh diced baby cukes and yellow pepper help balance it out further. It’s going to be quite the thermogenic lunch.

My son ate 4 apples that I bought today, so I scavenged in the freezer for some frozen berries, and am throwing those in. They’ll be defrosted by lunchtime, but will be a nice sweet treat.

Snacks? None – my son ate all the fruit again! I’ll pick some more up tomorrow, and I am planning on getting a big grocery shop done on the weekend, anyway…