Thursday, July 29, 2010

A bento backlog. After two days.

How? How can I have a backlog in two days? Well... I've been working 12-14 hour days, so I have lunch bentos, a snack bento, and dinner bentos to share with you. Let's get started, shall we?


I did something a little unorthodox here. Those familiar with these cute little two tier boxes know that they are not 'tight'. And you shouldn't pack liquid in them. Ever. But I don't really have any cute and little tight boxes. So I used it anyway.

I thieved a divider from another of my boxes to partition off the soup side of the top. Of course, the divider doesn't actually fit. It's just kind of wedged in there, a half inch from the bottom of the box. So I lined the soup side with plastic wrap and filled it up. The other side I stuffed full of broccoli and cauliflower. And a few little carrot flowers for cuteness' sake.

The bottom of the box holds sweet mini peppers and cucumber sticks, with a little mayo case full of a yummy pepper dill dip I made.

Anywho. The plastic wrap solution worked really well. I wrapped it up around the lid of the box before closing it. And... no leaks! I'm pretty sure this only works when you really pay attention to keeping your box right side up during transport. But it does work. Also. I have no issues with microwaving in plastic wrap. Those of with issues... I suppose this won't work for you.


My snack on Tuesday was packed in an awesome little box I got on ebay. It's a box from the 1950's that was completely unused when I got it. It still has the manufacturer sticker on the lid. And it came with a little cup that fits inside. So I filled the cup with jerky and the rest of the box with plum slices.

7/27/10 - Snack

Dinner was a nutrisystem pizza. I decided it would be better if I just made it at work, so I left it in it's package. I didn't take a pic of it. It wasn't cute.

7/27/10 - Dinner

In the box to go with the pizza, I packed canadian bacon pieces, spinach, and a little bit more ff cheddar cheese for toppings. It turned out really yummy. I packed a loverly little romaine salad with sweet peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers in the top tier, and filled out the bottom tier with whole peppers, pistachios, and a little lime guy full of ff italian dressing. The little lime guy came from the Dollar Store with seven other fruits, full of icky, powdery candy. I made the guys at work eat it all so I could take the containers. They're perfect for salad dressing.

Wednesday lunch was really simple. A cup of beans and ham soup. That I didn't have time to repack in a cute container. And a munchie veggie tray kind of thing with cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and a case of ff ranch dressing.


And. My favorite filler protein, tamagoyaki. Heart-shaped tamagoyaki. With a bunny pick. Because I was eating a whole lot of rabbit food for lunch.


Dinner was almost a tragedy. I've discovered that nutrisystem sweet and sour chicken is mostly inedible. But I packed it anyway. I have issues with wasting food. Even if it's not very good. Or appetizing looking.


I packed it with cauliflower and broccoli, with zucchini flowers on top. And I ate all of it. And I have another package. I'll probably eat that one, too. The side dish was lovely though... I diced a couple of zucchinis and stir-fried them with onions and peppers. When they were about cooked, I added a dash of ponzu and liquid aminos. And then I topped it with sweet pepper flowers. So it matched the other tier. And, of course, there are pistachios. I love pistachios. And there are only four calories in each kernel. Four! That's it!

I expect I will be straying from the diet thing over the next three days. FYI. It's my birthday tomorrow. There will be cake. And Tucanos. And probably more cake after that. And ice cream. But I will try to have everything in moderation. And we'll see if I've lost anything on Sunday.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Really? Another one?

I have yet to get in the habit of naming my bento lunches. Mostly, I don't want to get attached to something I'm just going to be eating. And I'm not so good at coming up with the clever names. So I just call them what they are. Lunch for Monday. Snack for Monday. Etc. It's boring. But at least I know when I ate the bento.

And this. This is lunch for Monday. Notice the quality of the picture. Maybe not top quality. But SO much better than what I've been putting you through. But more on that later.


I've decided that tomorrow is the day that I start my Nutrisystem. Tomorrow is as good a day as any, right? From what I've been reading, some of the food is just gross. To some people. So to combat this, instead of taking the package to work and crossing my fingers, I'm going to make it at home. So I can try it. And decide if it's worth eating. And pack it into cute little boxes that make it really not feel like diet food.

The above red beans and rice are totally worth eating. It doesn't really look like diet food, does it? You'll notice the complete lack of fruit in my lunch. That's something I'll have to get used to. For lunch, you're supposed to add two veggies and a dairy or protein to your nutrisystem entree. Fruit is for breakfast, snack, and dinner. Luckily. I do like my veggies. A lot. So I've added green beans, carrot shreds (which really don't count for anything but color), and roasted zucchini. The red case has ff sour cream to top the rice with.

This is the first time I've ever roasted zucchini. It didn't sound that difficult. So I decided to make some for my lunch tomorrow and for a snack today. I didn't realize how much it would cook down though. I didn't get my snack. I'll live. Maybe.

Roasted Zucchini (and other veggies, I guess)

Zucchini (or whatever)
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil PAM

A. Preheat your toaster oven to 425 degrees.

B. Slice, dice, quarter, destroy the vegetables however you please. Spray sheet pan with PAM. Arrange on a sheet pan.

C. Spray veggies with PAM. Sprinkle on the herbs and spices of your choosing. The salt, pepper, and garlic powder are what I used today. I think the possibilities are endless. But I'm not going to hold your hand for that.

D. Put the whole lot in the oven. Leave it there until it's done as much as you like it. I left mine in for an hour and fifteen minutes. But the recipes I've seen have varied anywhere from twenty five minutes to an hour and a half.

E. Remove from oven. Maybe salt them a little bit more. Let them cool and toss them in your lunch. Or eat them. Both are acceptable choices.

And now. A snack. Because apparently I have to eat those. I'm not really complaining. I do like food.


That right there happens to be cottage cheese and a chopped nectarine. A dairy and a fruit. Every day. Right around three o'clock. I'm not so sure I can keep that schedule. But I'm gonna try.

Anywho. The camera.

One day I was wandering around Walmart at 2:00 in the morning, like ya do, when I passed by the electronics section. Where there was a clearance case. Now... I'd given up on being able to afford the camera I really wanted ages ago. Someday I'll have a full-time job with money to spare, but until then I may as well still be a broke college student. Without the college.

This clearance case caught my eye because there were a few cameras sitting there in ziploc bags. Which I found highly amusing. And then I noticed the prices on the ziplocs. They were fairly low. Decent prices for the cameras. But then I spied a sticker claiming that they were 50% off of the marked price. This required further investigation. And I found a Casio EX-Z80. Marked at $48. which meant... $24 to me. For a nearly brand new camera. That the photo department was just too lazy to go in back and find the box for.

Well. I bought it. Sure. It isn't the camera I'm still drooling over. But it takes better pictures than my phone does. And a step up is a step up, right? I ended up spending another $10 on three batteries for it and $10 for two chargers. So in all, I got a $44 camera with two spare batteries and a spare charger. That's kind of a hard deal to beat. And it should last until independent wealth strikes me.

I do LOVE a good deal.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mini Cookies for One: First attempt.

So. It's just me. I have no significant other at the moment. So I don't bake very often. Because I would just end up eating everything I baked. Unless I took it to work. But I didn't work today. So I used one of those recipe size converters to take a big chocolate chip cookie recipe down to 2 servings or so.

No. I'm not posting the recipe yet. Resizing a recipe that dramatically seems to do things to it. Not horrible things, but it could be better. And it will be. I insist. Any recipe for cookies that only dirties a cereal bowl and two measuring spoons deserves another chance. And besides. They're perfect for bento.

Mini cookies for one

Aren't they cute? That's all the recipe made. They didn't rise at all. Or get less shiny. So really they just look like balls of dough on the plate. But I did cook them. Promise. And they were yummy. I think they need a rising agent. I was out of baking soda so I used a pinch of powder. And maybe less flour. Ideas?

Now I have guilt...

Ok. I know. It has been forever. I just have not been in the habit of taking pictures of my food. Even though I have a new camera. Which I'll tell you about later. I've also not really been in the bento habit. And I really need to be. Especially now.

Anyway. The reason I have guilt is that I suddenly have like 230 views on my blog. Which. For a blog with only nine or so posts, seems like a lot. Which. Means that there are people out there who want to know what I have to say, and I haven't been saying anything. I'm a horrible person!

And I will try to remedy this.

This is what has been going on in my life lately...

*My landlord has had to file for bankruptcy. I'm losing my $200/month apartment, so my living expenses are about to go up about $300/month. I won't be able to afford to eat out anymore. Actually, I may not be able to eat anymore. I must look into the hobo job of selling plasma. And let my boss know that I'll soon be looking for another job if that doesn't work out...

*I'm apartment hunting. Directly related to the first point. And I have to find a place I can afford that has space for my truck, my many motorcycles, my '49 Dodge Coronet, and will let me keep my cute, toilet-trained cat. I refuse to be one of those people who moves and then puts their animals up on craigslist. "It was good while it lasted, but bye now!" Asshats. I'll give up a couple of motorcycles before I'll give up my cat. Besides. I've put so much time into toilet-training her now, I have to keep her.

*I've been working massive amounts. More now that it has become part of my work duties to stage manage the first main-stage production that the CCA has ever done. I'm enjoying myself immensely. But. My weekly work schedule has gone out of control. And we haven't even started rehearsals yet.

*I figured out that A) by only working 30 hours a week I will run out of my 1530 part time hour allotment at some point in November. B) by working my usual 38 hour average, I will run out sometime in October. C) I won't be able to afford to live on 30 hours a week soon anyway. So therefore D) I'm going to have a hoard money and freelance for three months. Or get a seasonal retail job. Ew.

*I've been asked to be a guest blogger on a very well known blog. And I don't even keep up with my own blogs! I've decided that I will accept. But not for another month. Because that way I can beef up my blog and then shamelessly promote it. Right now, I'm not so sure it's interesting enough to pimp out to the homemaking masses.

*I just purchased about 17 Bento Boxes. Because I'm a dork. I don't need 17 new boxes. I already have about 20. But when has new inventory, you have to take advantage of it fast. So that's what I did. Yes. It did involve $60 that I should have been hoarding. But you remember that piggy bank I've got? While most of the money in it has absolutely nothing to do with my goal of putting aside money every time I bento-ed, there is enough change in there to cover this impulse purchase. I really wish fitjp had an affiliate program. I'd be rolling in (more) bento boxes by now.

*My weight has not been under control. At all. Because I haven't been eating carefully. So that's my fault. However. A sweet lady off craigslist decided to get rid of her nutrisystem because she'd "rather eat pizza and ice cream than get skinny". My mom has been doing nutrisystem with great success this summer. And I only need to lose 30-40 lbs. I discovered that one could find nutrisystem on craigslist for about 1/3 of the price of actually signing up for the program. I'll try using the free stuff for a few weeks to decide if the expense is worth it. I also think it will lend itself well to bentoing. Because you have to pack along all your veggie side dish goodness.

*I want to start the Couch to 5k program. Not only to lose weight, but because when the zombie apocalypse happens I want to be able to outrun you. Because as with bears, you don't have to be the fastest, you just have to be faster than the other person. (OK. So I don't believe in zombies. But it does sound like some good motivation to exercise, does it not?)

*My finger is healed up. There's just a scar now. It itches sometimes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Geometry Bento! Ok... That might be a stretch...

I took the motorcycle out today for a real-ish ride. I say ish because I don't think I should go too far before I rebuild the starter clutch, lube the shifter linkage, and bleed the clutch master cylinder. And maybe I'll do the same for the brakes. It was rather chilly. I mean sure. It was around 50 degrees today, which is nice and perfectly ride-able. But. Someone at work made off with my motorcycle/work gloves. So was making do with a pair of fingerless gloves I usually reserve for summer riding.

Next paycheck. Gloves. Saddlebags. Windshield. I hope it's a big one. The check. Not the windshield.

So. The geometry bento. Kind of. Mostly I put it together and then decided it could maybe be math related.


The top layer has a baked red potato topped with salt, pepper, and sharp cheddar triangle cutouts and turkey lil smokies, which I have decided look like pi. Also there are mixed veggies. The bottom has a container of cottage cheese, two mini sweet peppers, an aussie cookie, a clementine orange, macadamia nuts, and a mint.

Really I have BSed the math thing. I didn't mean for the smokies to look like pi. But I figured that matched with the triangle cheeses and the round bits in the bottom... Ok. Not so much.

Here's a picture of this box all closed up. It's one of my favorites.

Skull Box

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jurassic Park, The Bento!

The quick update. I exercised yesterday. I'll do it again today. If I do eat out, It has to be a salad. And the reward is that I don't feel ill after eating a load of fried food.

And I've decided that every time I make a bento and actually eat it instead of going out, I'll be putting aside $5 for a bento purchase of my choice. Which means I need six more bentos before I can buy the newest box I have my eye on. Motivation is a wonderful thing.

Ok. A cute bento.

No really. I did something besides shove food into a box. And I'm quite proud of myself. I did, however, learn the value of planning these things out. Mostly I got up this morning and was watching tv when I glanced over at my videos and saw the Jurassic Park logo. Click! Bento. Two hours later. I was going to run errands this morning. That didn't happen.

clementine,orange,carrot,mini sweet pepper,macadamia,nuts,mint,egg,provolone,nori,mixed veggies,brown rice

I made the logo out of nori and a slice of provolone. The red bit was colored using a food marker. It took me a while to figure out how best to transfer the image to the nori. And then I realized I had a roll of tracing paper in my art bag. So I traced the dinosaur and cut it out. I cut the nori using a really sharp steak knife like it was an exacto. It was not comfortable. I think I'll be buying a real exacto knife before I do something like this again.

A closeup. I realized just now that I didn't put the logo on there straight. The bushes should be at the bottom.

3/10/2010 closeup

The logo is sitting atop a bed of brown rice surrounded by mixed veggies. I was going to put the hard-boiled eggs up there with it, but then realized that I'd be microwaving the rice. And microwaving the eggs would be a bad idea. Sure. I could have taken them out before microwaving. But I like having my layers separate. Cold food and hot food. It makes my life easier.

Those cute dinosaur eggs were colored with food markers as well. I tried to do them like my mom used to... crack them all over and put them in egg dye. But it didn't work out. You need to get through that little membrane that covers the egg so it will actually color. And I didn't. But the food marker worked.

The eggs are being propped up with a couple of sliced mini sweet peppers. And the orange one you see is stuffed with cream cheese. Then there are the always familiar carrots and clementine orange, with all the little spaces filled with macadamia nuts. And a mint. Because no one likes egg breath.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I bento. But not very often.

I ripped the brake release handle right out of my truck a few days ago. It was very 'Princess Diaries'. Except I wasn't rolling backwards down a hill. I was quite worried for a little while. I didn't think I could park the truck without automatically hitting the brake. I don't think I can buy the part anymore, and I never have time to get to the Pick-a-Part. So I improvised. I wired a nice purple ribbon onto the lever that the handle is supposed to attach to. I'm not sure it will pass inspection like that, but I kind of want to try.

I haven't been bentoing as often as I should. It's so much easier to run across to the grocery store and buy a tv dinner. I'm really trying to get into the habit though. I might start putting the money I save from bento into my piggy bank. And I'll use it to buy more bento stuff that I don't need.

Anywho. Two bentos. A snack and a full meal.


The left container has carrots, clementine oranges, kiwi, and a small container of cottage cheese. The right contains a pasta salad made with whole wheat rotini, grape tomatoes, mini sweet peppers, Parmesan, pastrami, and a reduced fat Caesar dressing. I threw in another small bottle of it to freshen it up before I ate it.

It did have a funny aftertaste that I've noticed I get a lot with my pasta salads. Maybe because I pre-sauce it? I dunno. Next time I'll try just packing the bottle of dressing.

3/5/2010 snack

Yes. That is a mini sweet pepper stuffed with another mini sweet pepper. If I had been feeling more ambitious, I would have cut shapes out of the yellow one so the red one would show through. But it was nearly midnight. I didn't care much.

It also has a hard-boiled egg kind of shaped like a bunny, macadamia nuts, clementine orange segments, and a lovely thing called an aussie bite. It came from Costco. And it's an oatmeal cookie on crack. I recommend it.

I, of course, cannot eat a hard-boiled egg without salt. And maybe pepper. I found the perfect bento salt and pepper shaker. In the camping supplies at the grocery store. See?

Salt and Pepper shaker

If you're wondering why I still have the cruddy pictures, I did finally decide on the camera I want. And it won't be released for another few weeks. It's the fujifilm f80exr. I think it'll be great, not only for bento pics, but for lighting pics at work.

Also. I haven't lost any weight over the last month. Likely because I haven't been bentoing. I've got to get to it though. I'm going to be getting riding leathers this spring and I want to get them at least a size smaller than I am now. Dear elliptical in the corner. I'm gonna start using you more than once a week.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Yet another awful bento picture

For those who worry, my finger is doing much better. The cut on my knuckle is pretty much healed, so it looks like I have two stitches for no good reason. The cut on my finger... Kinda gross still, but healing. I get the stitches out on Friday. I put pictures up. They're at the bottom. So... If you don't want to see gory-ish pictures of my hand, don't scroll all the way to the bottom.

I haven't had much occasion to make bentos lately. I've been working evenings and I try to eat before I get to work. But I worked all day today, and I needed lunch.


Feb 8, 2010

Top layer is short grain brown rice, which I loves, and a fish full of liquid aminos. I sliced a whole summer squash and steamed it with salt and pepper. And the cute little wieners on top are turkey 'lil smokies. I'm quite a fan, as they have 2/3 less fat than the regular ones. Therefore, my ban on the 'lil smokies brand has been lifted.

Bottom layer contains tamagoyaki. Tamagoyaki is quickly becoming one of my favorite snacks. I add a bit of salt and pepper. That's pretty much it. I've also got a clementine orange and a mandarin orange, a mint, a cup of cottage cheese, and macadamia nuts.

And now... for those of you who like this kind of thing... a gory picture.

I'm warning you...

Don't scroll down if you have a weak stomach...

I mean... it's not that horrible...

But I won't be held responsible if you can't handle it... :)

Stiches 1

Ok... Maybe one more...

Stiches 2

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2 bentos. But mostly me slicing my finger open.

So I had to work 15 hours yesterday. I went to work at 6:30 in the morning. And I was tired, dang it. I had slept all of about three hours because I was coming down with a cold and my nose was burning with chemical nastiness because of an epic cleaning job I had to pull on Sunday night. ...So very tired. I pulled out my knife. My very, very sharp knife. And was cutting a piece of gaffer's tape. And the knife slipped. And there was suddenly a large amount of blood dripping from my finger. I managed to put pressure on it while still holding the knife. I was quite happy with myself. At least later. When I could think about it.

So I got to the sink, closed and put the (bloody) knife in my pocket, and turned on the water. And it so happened that there was a hose attached to the faucet. Which was curled around the bottom of the sink and then pointed straight up. For about three seconds there was a brilliant fountain of water arching up and over the 400 amp company switch. I slapped it off and grabbed the first absorbent thing I could find by the sink. It was a sketchy looking napkin, but I was dripping. And desperate.

About the time I got the napkin clamped over my finger, the guys came around the corner to investigate the water. And they found me. Bleeding profusely. Grinning at them. And asking if they had any idea where the first aid kit had gone. And they didn't. This big blue first aid kit had disappeared into thin air. So we had to bring Dan into it. We would have had to eventually. Dan is my boss. And also my best friend. Who seems to get quite upset when one of his friends is injured. He wanted to pull back the cut to see if it had gone to the bone. And he put his hand over my eyes so I couldn't see. Cuz he cares.

He dragged me to the laundry room to get some rags, as the napkin was quite red by this time. And he asked for my knife. Which was in my back pocket. I couldn't really let go of my finger... The whole bleeding thing... So I told him that if he wanted it, he'd have to get it himself. Oh. The look on his face. One of the guys happened by in their search for the first aid kit and pulled out one of theirs. I never did find out what happened to the strip Dan cut off the towel he had. I ended up with the rest of the towel somehow.

Someone showed up with the first aid kit from the boardroom. I was ordered to the office with my hand above my head while they decided how to wrap it up. On went one gauze strip... and then they pulled out the iodine and alcohol pads. I was so very thankful when they decided not to use them. Dan put on another strip of gauze and then started wrapping it in medical tape. It took all of about a minute to bleed through. Dan decided we were going to the workmed. Which was likely a very good idea. Dan made me keep my hand above my head the entire time.

So. Dan's boss met us at the workmed. He had the paperwork all ready to go when we showed up. He cracked to Dan that he could fill it out as my husband. Again. The look. He mumbled something about his wife. One of the nurses ended up filling it out while another one took the crap homemade bandage off my hand and washed the cut. And the doctor came in and stitched me up. Ten stitches. Not bad. I got a tetanus shot, a breathalizer test, and a drug test. Cuz that's what they do at the workmed.

I got Dan a coke while I was in there. Cuz he had to sit in the waiting room worrying for an hour. He told me I could take the rest of the day off. But we had left a sound guy in charge of designing lights while we were gone. And really. It didn't hurt. And I was the only one not freaking out through the whole thing. Also, I quite enjoyed the sympathy from the multitude of choreographers.

Anywho. I had prepared for the extra long day. I had a lunch bento and a dinner bento. Neither of which I ended up eating. The lunch bento was an experiment with some Philidelphia artichoke and spinach cream cheese. I made wraps with that, a leftover chicken tender, and whole wheat tortillas. I brought a Slimfast bar just in case they were gross. (Which they were.) The bottom tier of the box had a clementine orange, grapes, kiwi, tomatoes and carrots.

Dinner was leftover pecan-crusted pork tenderloin with rice and green beans. And again. The fruits and veggies, same as the other meal.

Also. I'm consistently down to 179. I'm pretty darn happy about that. Sure. It's one pound. But every little bit helps, right? I've got my elliptical set up in the living room, looking toward the tv. I just work out while I watch a show. It seems to be working out well.

I've about got my camera picked out. I thought you should know. Salvation is near. It will either be the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX580, the Samsung TL320, or the Fugifilm FinePix F200EXR. All of them are equipped with manual aperature and shutter settings. Which will make the camera good for stage pictures and food pictures.

And it obviously got later and later as I was writing this. And therefore, less and less interesting.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Flower Onigiri Bento... also a snack

Drew came over today. It was good times. Too darn cold to play motorcycles so we sat in my living room and played Simpson's Road Rage. And then we went outside and talked about what we'd be doing if it weren't cold outside. I have a 1996 Kawasaki Ninja that needs a few more tweaks before it is ready to sell, and a 1972 Honda CB450 that I'm going to be restoring. I've also got to rebuild my '82 Magna's starter. Drew has to do a bottom end rebuild of the engine in an 80's Yamaha XS850. But 30 degrees is much too cold to be hanging out in my shop. I'll be adding a heater in the near future.

So. I made a cute bento. Ish. My color choices weren't the best. Brown rice happens to be the same color as an 'ivory' bento box, which also happens to be the same color as chicken breast. However. I made the effort. Give me a little bit of credit.


The bottom layer begins with a bed of spinach, topped with two flower shaped onigiri. One of them is kinda squished. Because I attempted to stamp it with a flower. And it didn't take. I used a small cutter to make the spinach flowers. I think they're adorable. But that's just me. And then I tucked pieces of leftover chicken around the onigiri.

The other layer has carrots, tomatoes, corn, a clementine orange, grapes, macadamia nuts, and cottage cheese. Oh. And the liquid aminos for the onigiri. If you don't know, liquid aminos is kind of like soy sauce. But with less sodium. I used aluminum food cups for the corn and the cottage cheese, and I made them square by wrapping them around the bottom of a square rice mold.

Jan 25 snack

The box has two snacks in it... the slimfast bar. Which is a chocolatey vanilla blitz bar. Which has to be the tastiest sweet treat I've had in a long time. And the other is a clementine, grapes and a few macadamias.

Dear Pants. I have won.


You know how much it bites when your favorite pants are too darn tight? And your stomach does that muffin top thing over the waistband? And then you just can't wear them because it's too depressing?

I had that. A cute pair of size 12 Hydraulic jeans. That made my butt look so darn cute. Which is an important trait in a pair of jeans.

And this morning, in a hurry and not paying attention, I pulled out the first pair of pants my hand touched and I put them on. And then realized that they fit me perfectly again! Yay! *does the happy jeans dance* I'm pretty sure I haven't worn these jeans since October, so the nine pounds actually did make a difference. :)

If I had a camera, I would take a picture for you all. Even if the camera does add ten pounds. At least it doesn't add the muffin top.

On a related note. I have decided to buy a camera with my tax refund. It won't be a brilliant camera, as I have many other things to buy with the refund as well. I'm thinking that an Olympus FE-46 might do the trick. It has a cuisine setting. And it comes with a box of Crayola crayons. How can I go wrong? So readers, give me two or three weeks, and I'll be able to post some half decent bento pictures. And jeans pictures. And maybe a picture of my elliptical machine, my entire bento collection, and my cat.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A picture of a bento... and an elliptical machine

No, really! I remembered.



The top layer obviously has green beans in it. I dumped them in right out of the bag from the freezer. Because I see no point in cooking them and then letting them sit for four hours before I cook them again. The noodley bits are not spaghetti. They are an egg noodle that I found at Sunflower Market. They come in little nest shaped rounds that I can cook in the microwave. So. Great bento fodder. The bottle has a yummy sauce I found over at I don't have permission to reprint it, so you'll just have to go over there. And then I put in some leftover chicken I had cooked in the crockpot.

(I love crockpot chicken. Sometimes I get the ones that are already marinated and just toss them in with a cup of water. No thawing. No cutting up onions or potatoes or measuring spices. Just a frozen bird in a crock. And six hours later... juicy deliciousness.)

The bottom contains heart-shaped kiwi slices, a clementine orange, a couple of baby carrots, grape tomatoes, cottage cheese, and a mint. Also, note the heart pick I threw in the kiwi for cuteness' sake. I really am trying to use all of this bento stuff I have lying around my kitchen.

I didn't actually end up eating this one for lunch. I was gonna. I had good intentions. The guys wanted to go out. And they were going to go to a fast food place, so I could bring my lunch. And then they went to the Village Idiot. And bought me a lunch to make up for not being able to bring in mine. So I ate it for dinner. And it was good. Although I will have to be more careful when I pack cottage cheese in the future. It did slop about a little bit in all the carrying back and forth I did today.

On another note... I participated in the Haiti fundraiser being sponsored over at aibento. And. They pulled my name out of the bento box as one of the grab bag winners! I never win these things. Except this time. I'm pretty darn excited, considering that I had to place myself on a bento buying ban for the next month. It's possible the $85 over the past month has been a little extreme considering my current financial circumstances... So. I'm happy I was able to help Haiti in some small way, and happy to be receiving bento goodies in this, my time of bento famine.

And on another nother note... I bought an elliptical machine today. I really haven't figured out how I'm going to make it fit in my living room. But I'm happy with the purchase. I paid $40 for it. And the thirty seconds I spent trying it out were enough to convince me that my thighs and calves would thank me eventually. I'd forgotten how well the elliptical works everything. I don't work tomorrow, so I'll spend some time figuring out the living room configuration. Maybe now I won't feel like the hour I spend watching NCIS isn't such a waste. :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I love ebay...

My New Year's resolution had nothing to do with my weight. That goal was there before. My resolution was to eat breakfast every day. Which will be a switch to the never eating breakfast thing. The easy solution? Slimfast.

My first purchase was for 100 Slimfast meal bars. This would have cost me $100 at Walmart. On ebay? $45. I think I got a good deal. I'm undecided as to how much I like them, but they are a good solution for me when I'm rolling out of bed and out the door.

Second was a Tupperware mini QuickShake. It's lime green, which I don't necessarily approve of. But they didn't come in black. And the only other choice was pink. So green it was. It's the perfect size for a Slimfast shake. Most of the diet shake containers I found before this one were at least twice the size needed. I hasn't come yet. For some reason it's in California right now. I'm betting that some lowly data entry clerk for the postal service put in the zip as 94606 instead of 84606, so now I have to wait for them to figure that one out and get it back to Utah for me.

Third purchase is a gorgeous little bento box from the 1950's. That's never been used. Ever. I did the math using the measurements from the listing. I think the box is only a 300 ml. Which makes it about half the size I need. However. When paired with a bowl of soup or a meal bar, I think it will be perfect.

I weighed in at 184 this morning. However, yesterday morning I was only at 180. I refuse to believe that I gained four pounds in one day. Especially considering how healthy I ate yesterday. The way my weight fluctuates really annoys me. But I'm still hovering right around the 180 mark, so that's what we're going with.

If I remember right, my next goal is 171. If I behave myself, I could have it in a month, I think. I may also have to clean the living room up a bit so I can work out with Tony Horton. The Tony Horton workouts are some of the most enjoyable I've ever done. He manages to do them without being so happy you know it's fake. And he's snarky. I do enjoy a snarky workout video.

I'm trying to decide if I have room in my living room for an elliptical or an exercise bike. I don't always feel that I have the energy to bounce and move all over the room with Tony, but I could do cardio for an hour while I watch NCIS. Or something. Whatever is on. I have a Tony Little Gazelle. It's too big to leave out all the time. And I don't think I get a very good workout off of it. It feels like a beginner's cardio machine. And I don't like it.

Maybe I'll splurge when I get my tax return and get a small elliptical...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bento in a hurry...

I slept in today. This isn't really a surprise, considering I stayed up until 2:00 this morning playing Mario on the Wii. I have to tell you. I love the new Mario. They took all the best stuff from the old Marios and put them into one game. It's great!

Anywho. I ended up having exactly five minutes in which to pack my bento. So I reached for the old standby. A can of Progresso. I finally found a 2 cup microwavable container that was just a little bit more than 2 cups. There's just enough head room for the whole can of soup. And they are just Western Family wannabes.

I used one of my gothic skull bentos to pack a few carrots, a clementine orange, a couple of grape tomatoes, and a cupcake liner of cottage cheese. I also made a couple of mini sandwiches using cocktail sourdough bread and cream cheese. However. The bread made me gag. So I tossed them. I had such high hopes for those sandwiches. Cocktail bread is so cute and little that it just seems to be made for bento. Maybe I'll try some pumpernickel or rye. Or maybe the secret is in toasting the bread. I'll try some things. And let you know.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Orange Ginger

I got pulled over tonight. And I know exactly why, even though the officer didn't say it. Sometimes my truck doesn't like going into second gear. So I pulled out of the parking lot at work, tried to throw it into second, and started jerking like an epileptic having a seizure. It took me a second to actually get it in. And there happened to be a Sheriff coming the opposite direction who passed me, slowed down, and then turned around.

He didn't pull me over right away. Maybe because after the initial rough start I drove like a saint. Or because he was still trying to figure out if I was drunk. He pulled me over a mile later. I was expecting it, so I smoothly pulled off the road, thanking my stars that is was the front right blinker that was out and not the rear.

I had my license ready for him. But. I had pulled everything out of the glove box the weekend before in search of an elusive fuse panel that didn't actually exist. I had no idea where my registration was. He told me to keep looking and he'd just find me by my license plate number. I found it a second later in my book bag.

He came back, gave me my license, told me to have a good night, and made to walk away. I showed him my registration so he couldn't site me for not having it in the truck. He didn't actually seem to care. And then, almost as an afterthought, he told me my plate lights were out.

That actually kind of annoys me. I thought I had fixed them last weekend.

Tonight's dinner bento was brought to you by the Dollar-Tree. Once upon a time, just after the freezers were installed along the back wall, the Dollar-Tree had individually wrapped, sauced tilapia and salmon fillets. My favorite was the orange ginger tilapia. And I stocked up. It still amuses me that they have a freezer section, but it is also a brilliant place to find bags of frozen fruit for smoothies. And unhealthy microwavable goodness. But alas, the fish has gone away. And I only have three fillets left.

I forgot to take a picture of this one. Still got to get into that habit, I guess. Also I need a new camera. There are some photography snobs out there right now thanking their lucky stars that I forgot to take the picture with my blackberry. I am working on it. I promise. Maybe next paycheck I'll be able to afford a 10MP point and shoot. That is my minimum requirement for a camera this time around. My last one was a 7MP and cost me twice as much as the new one will.

I already had the brown rice made and in the bento box from yesterday. The fish is really easy to prepare. Two steps: Boil some water. Put the bagged fish in the water. Four or five minutes later, you have a perfectly cooked piece of fish. I dumped the fish and all it's saucy accompaniment over the rice in the top layer of my bento. And then I tucked some carrot bits in around the edges.

In the bottom layer, I had carrots, celery, cucumber, and a clementine orange. I just grouped each food together. One of the guys at work laughed at me for my cute meal. Although it wasn't that cute. Just because I had the orange, green, orange, green thing going on...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Starting Again

Once upon a time I started two blogs. Actually four. But only two matter in this story. One was a weight loss blog. It had a rather clever title; "Weighting Still". Also I started a blog for bentos. I don't remember what it was called. I posted maybe four times in the bento blog and a dozen in "Weighting Still". Today I decided to combine them into one blog. Because they were both kind of about food. And because it's easier to try to post in one blog every day than it is in two. (I know. I still have three. I'm trying to let the other two of them go. I get attached.)

Way back in October, I bought a scale. Because I noticed that my favorite jeans which come from Maurice's and which I always buy in a size 12 were getting a little bit difficult to wear. I was quite saddened to discover that I weighed in at about 189. Nearly 15 pounds above my usual weight. The one on my driver's license. That was actually correct when I put it on there.

I spent a month working out, and lost a few. And then I went on furlough from my job and lost 10. I decided that was because of the lack of fast food in my diet. I went back to work and gained two or three.

I've been hovering right around 180 for the past month or so. It's been as high as 184 and as low as 177. So. I'm giving myself a solid nine pounds of weight loss. Not too bad considering I stopped trying. And it was the holidays. And. Maybe it's time to start trying again. I'm eating a slimfast meal bar as I type.

One of the biggest issues is that when I'm at work, we eat out. I used to pack lunches and if they guys were going to a fast food place, or the mall food court, I'd just take it with me. But they frequently go to sit-down places. With waitresses and junk. And I would feel like a dork taking a lunch in. So I'd leave it in the fridge and go with them. Which means I was wasting money. Lots of money. And most likely eating unhealthy foods. I don't have much willpower when it comes to restaurants. There may be a salad on the menu, but dang it all, I'll get the meat and potatoes every time.

I am trying to get better about the packed lunch thing again. It takes a little more time on my part because I can't bring myself to pack a sandwich and a bag of carrot sticks. How boring! I've become rather addicted to Japanese bento boxes. They are simply small containers into which you shove a whole lot of food. And then you make it look cute. ...I don't quite have the hang of the second part. But I'm good at shoving the food in.

This was last night's dinner bento. Yes. That is a goth kind of box. My boss told the new mayor I was gothic. I'm not. I'm a technician. Technicians wear black. I realize I'm not helping the issue when using lunch boxes that look like this one. But it's awesome. So I don't care. ...Much.

Jan 15

Also I know the picture bites. My nice-ish digital point and shoot crapped out on me. So this picture is brought to you by my blackberry.

The top layer is mixed vegetables and brown rice with furikake on top. (Furikake is a topping made of nori, salt, pepper, mustard powder, sesame seeds, and a bunch of other things in dozens of combinations. It took me a long time to find one that I like that doesn't taste like fish. Ew.)

The bottom consists of carrots, cucumber, clementine orange segments, and tamagoyaki. Which is basically a rolled omelet eaten cold. Because rewarming egg is a bad idea. It's yummy.

And you'll notice the three little hearts cut out of tomato. Aside from the shaped boiled eggs I've done in the past, these are my first attempt at cuteness. Also these were my lesson that microwaving tomato bits is icky.

It doesn't look like a whole lot of food. But it is. I promise. Someday I'll take pictures of what it looks like shoved in the box, and what it looks like on a plate. I had to do that with my first bento boxes because I didn't believe there was enough food in there to fill me up. I would pack extra things outside the box and was always surprised when I couldn't finish them.

Ta da! New blog. First post. I'll work on getting the important stuff from the weighting still blog. Like my weight loss goals. And the rewards I get when I meet them. And maybe a picture or two from the bento blog. Why not.