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.