Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bento #101...

I've spent the last couple of days trying to find time to make a bento.  But things kept coming up.  Like... Monday.  I was going to pop into work for 20 minutes or so and then run to the gym.  Come home.  Shower.  Make a bento.  Make it back to work in time for a meeting.  What actually happened was that I went to work, and my boss caught me (slightly embarrassing considering the workout clothes I was wearing) and decided that we should have a staff meeting.  But we couldn't do it until the Box Office Manager got there.  Which wouldn't be for 40 minutes.  So I had to wait around.  It would have been ok.  Meeting started at 10:00, my other meeting wasn't until 1:00.  Except every single time we went to end the meeting, something else came up.  I was there until 12:30, which gave me barely enough time to book it home, shower, and then book it back to work.  I ended up eating out.

Tuesday I had to pop into work again.  This time at 2:00.  The plan was to leave at 3:00, run some errands, make it home to put together a bento, and be back by 6:30... But.  I didn't get to leave until 4:30.  I was still running errands at 5:30 when I got a call about a meeting at 6:00.  So... I ate leftovers from the day before.

And here.  Finally.  Is the bento I've been trying to make all week.

Please forgive the skuzzy picture... My camera is at work so I can take pictures of cast members who haven't emailed me their headshots yet.

I have an onigiri in a case with a fish full of soy sauce.  (This is my experimental frozen brown rice onigiri.  That I'll probably have to eat with chopsticks because I didn't take time to reform it after I microwaved it.)  The lower right box has four homemade potstickers, separated and surrounded by summer squash slices and topped with carrot flowers.  The other box has a peach, some cucumber slices, some carrot sticks, a mini yellow tomato, and some mini-mini sweet cherry peppers.  The bottle contains dipping sauce for the potstickers.


If you haven't already, check out the All Things for Sale giveaway!  They're giving away at least two bento sets including a box, an insulated lunch bag, and a matching water bottle!  Click here for more information!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The comforts of rice... a bento-ish lunch

I'm writing this as I'm sitting on my living room floor, encompassed by the incredible aroma of cooking rice.  Rice is one of my biggest comfort foods.  My family had rice for dinner three or four times a week when I was a kid.  I have a big family (my parents, me, and six brothers!) and rice is cheap.  There was always a twenty pound bag on the floor beside the microwave stand.  And another two or three in the basement, waiting their turn.

I learned to cook rice on the stove.  I couldn't always time it right, and sometimes I burned it.  But I was a kid.  Give me some credit.  I was probably the most excited person in the house when my mom brought home our first rice cooker.  And when I moved out, a rice cooker was the first appliance I HAD to have.  And I've been using that same cooker for the past six years.  It's also the appliance that I use the most.

I love rice in all its incarnations... plain, with soy sauce, covered in a country gravy, or ground beef gravy, Spanish, spam-fried (the only way I'll eat spam...), risotto, cold and covered in cinnamon sugar and milk (really! It's good!)... The list is really endless.  

Usually the only rice I have in the house is short-grain brown rice.  The flavor is nutty and rich.  And, you know, it's better for you than white rice.  Or something like that.  My goal for this pot is to make onigiri.  I've never made successful onigiri with brown rice.  Oh, this is sticky enough.  I think I'm just not pressing them firmly enough out of fear of making hockey pucks, so they fall apart.  Also... I don't think I've done it with freshly cooked rice.

The pot just clicked.  I'll be right back...


There they are!  I think I did it right.  At least, the one I just ate only started falling apart when I got to the nori.  I seasoned them like I do sushi rice... a splash of rice vinegar, a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt.  I used a mold, but I filled it a little more than I usually do.  Once popped out of the molds, I wrapped the bottoms in a bit of teriyaki flavored nori.  I'll try making one for my lunch tomorrow, and we'll see what we see!

On a related, but not exactly bento note, the rest of my lunch consists of leftover garlic pepper porkloin, steamed carrots and broccoli, a peach (I ate the other half while putting the plate together), and a handful of black grapes.   I've come to realize that I put a fair amount of effort into making my bento lunches colorful and healthy and varied.  And I usually put much less effort into making my meals at home the same.  Usually I would have just eaten a bowl of rice and a peach and been done.  I should likely work on making my at-home meals as good as my packed meals...


I shaped most of the rest of the rice into onigiri (some flavored and some not).  They'll be a great addition to my freezer stash!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bentos #99 and #100!

Blogging during rehearsals again...  I usually am not here during stage combat rehearsals, but this one was rather unplanned, so I don't have anyone here to cover it.  That's ok.  I got some things done.  And now I can do this.

I threw this one together in a hurry.  It has roasted sweet corn and red peppers with sliced garlic pepper pork tenderloin, black grapes, and three quarters of a peach.  The rest is from my garden; 3 tiny strawberries, mini-mini sweet cherry peppers, a few small tomatoes, and three green beans.

I had intended to do something a bit more exciting for my 100th bento.  But then I forgot all about it.

The left layer has a pasta salad made with tri-color rotini, turkey pepperoni, tomato, cucumber, parmesan cheese, and carrot flowers.  The dressing is a blend of red wine garlic vinegar, italian seasoning, and EVOO.

The thing holding the hummus on the right layer is a cucumber!  My lemon cucumber plant is going bucking nuts.  Which is nice.  So.  I chopped one in half, hollowed it out, and filled it with hummus.  It's surrounded by carrot sticks.  There is also a pluot and a handful of grapes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bento #98...

So.  We're rehearsing '3 Musketeers.'  I've told you this.  It's great fun.  The sword fights look pretty brutal.  The actors are all great.  Whatever.  The past week we've been rehearsing at my old high school.  Because we hired my old drama teacher as the costumer.  And since there's been a dinner theatre onstage at the Covey, we needed a place.  And by rehearsing at the high school, the costumer gets to pull whoever she needs for fittings.  It works out well.

My ASM, who actually graduated from the same high school just this summer, realized this week where he knew my name from.  It's on a 2x4 in the booth.  I think we used to prop up the projector with this 2x4.  Anyway.  It says, "Wise man say: Never wrestle with Pam, she will kick you in the face.  Among other things."

That's probably true.


Check it out!  Not only is it a single layer (which you don't see very often), it's not meant to be microwaved at all (which you see even less)!  There hasn't been an accessible microwave at the high school.  So I had to move outside my comfort zone...

It contains... a hard boiled egg, a few slices of black-pepper beef, a handful of mini potatoes, cucumber slices (in the back), 3 cute little tomatoes out of my garden, a mini-mini sweet pepper (also out of my garden), grapes, a silicone cup of pluot chunks, and a strawberry.  Also from my garden.

The director has gotten into the habit of stopping rehearsal when I pull out my dinners, because she wants to see.  And who can blame her?  They're adorable!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bento #97... and I join a gym

I was doing SO good with my running.  3 or 4 times a week even.  Although I never did get past week 7 of the Couch 2 5k program.  Mostly because when I run for longer than 20 minutes, I get really light headed.  I'm sure it has something to do with eating correctly before I go running.  Which I'll be researching.

In the past three weeks, I have run 3 times.  I think that's sad.  But I know why.  It's really hot outside.  And I'm not actually capable of getting up before or even with the sun.  And running in the heat really contributes to the light-headedness.  So it's not that I don't want to run... it's that I'm not making it possible for me to run.

Which is why I joined a gym.  No sun.  Controlled temp.  Cardio cinema...  Also they were having a membership sale.

We'll see how it goes.  While I did mostly join for the cardio equipment, I'm thinking I might as well take advantage of the weights and junk, too.  So I'm trying to find a book that will walk me through routines.  Because I'm much to cheap to hire a personal trainer.


This is my very first round bento box.  Thanks to Lia Chen over to  I won a contest!  Which happens very rarely.  I'll be putting together a better bento to show off the box and the cute picks I got with it.  I was just running behind yesterday.  I'm not sure how.  I had 3 hours to get ready for work...

The top layer contains a hard boiled egg, black grapes, a strawberry, and lemon cucumber slices from my garden.  I may have let the lemon cucumber get too mature.  It's very tough around the outside edges.  I love the taste though... Cucumbery, but slightly sweet.

The other layer has a stuffed sunburst squash.  I'll be honest... it was kind of a fail.  No recipe for you.  I ended up dumping out the filling and just eating the squash.  Someday I'll learn... Start with a recipe and then tweak. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bento #96... Lazy Bento

I've been... down... recently.  It happens, I guess.  The problem is, when I do occasionally get like this, I have very little motivation to do much of anything.  Like eat.  Hence the lack of bentos recently.  I DO eat.  I just end up with a bunch of kids meals from fast food places because it's that or nothing.  And the toys make me happy.

Once upon a time, Del Taco had little plastic hamsters in wrestler masks.  I forget what they were called.  But there were six of them.  One of which was a hamster in a black mask with a glow-in-the-dark skull.  Del Taco toys come in black bags so you can't see what they are.  You know what that meant?  I, and the entire crew at work, ended up eating Del Taco kids meals every day for about four weeks.  We gave up eventually.  And then my boss' kids wanted Del Taco and randomly ended up with the elusive black mask hamster... I might have to find one on ebay or at the Saver's if I really want one... And I might...

Anyway.  Here is proof that things are looking up.  A bento!

I tossed a slice of lasagna leftover from Fazoli's (lovely, lovely Fazoli's...) and a bunch of sauteed asparagus.  The other layer has a Persian cucumber, 5 bitty strawberries from my garden, and a small slice of cheesecake (leftover from my birthday).

I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I agreed to take 5 big slices of cheesecake home with me... Now I'm going to have to eat it all.  And lack of motivation means I've gone running once this week... ;)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bento #95... I did go camping

And it was interesting.  At least I think so.

This is the first time I've ever been camping on my own, so I was a bit nervous.  I'll admit that.  When I got to the lake, it was drizzly and overcast.  Check-in wasn't until 2:00, so I found a little turn-off that looked over the lake and spent a couple of hours reading a book.  At 2:00 I went to the campsite, paid my fee, and started settling into my spot.  I made lunch first.  Chicken, noodles, and zucchini.  I got my tent up, and then it started pouring.  Buckets.  I got soaked.  And I discovered that neither my tent or my umbrella are waterproof.  Great.

As soon as the torrential downpour turned to just a drizzle, I decided I should move to another campspot.  One where my truck would be parked much closer to my firepit.  Just in case the weather stayed gross.  It didn't, of course.  I could have stayed where I was and been just fine.  But that's what I get for being careful.

I spent a few hours just walking around by the lake and sitting at the dock.  I met a guy who invited me back to his firepit for beers, but... I'm kind of like a good little Mormon girl.  He offered me marshmallows instead. When I got back to camp, I got really tied up reading a book though.  I didn't even build a fire.  Or eat dinner.  Somewhere around 11:00 I realized that A) I was hungry and B) it was late.  I munched some fruit from my ice chest and went to bed.

It was at some point in the middle of the night that I realized... even though it wasn't raining, it still would have been nice to waterproof the tent.  The condensation on the outside was seeping through where my sleeping bag was touching... My socks were wet.

I did make myself a decent breakfast.  I boiled a potato (that was supposed to have been baked in the fire the night before) and then poached an egg.  And had hot chocolate.  Really good hot chocolate.  I make my own mix that is sugar-free, fat-free, and really good and creamy.  And then I added a caramel-vanilla marshmallow to it.

After I cleaned and packed up my camp, I went fishing.  Kind of.  I baited the hook twice.  But I was reading, and couldn't be bothered with actually putting effort into the fishing thing.  I spent hours out there, and baked my shoulders to red crispy bits.  Even though I really was using sunscreen.  I promise...


This bento contains lemon-pepper chicken (that I cooked while I was camping), green beans, lots of tomatoes from my plants, plum slices, peach slices, a bit of mango, and a cantaloupe ball.

The green beans were steamed in my microwave steamer and then tossed into a saute pan with some garlic and hoisin sauce.  They turned out really good!


And now... Two of my favorite camping pictures...

I did not use the zoom with this picture at all...  I saw this gal near camp, started snapping pictures, and she walked right up to me.  I could have touched her.  But there was this nagging voice that said touching wild animals would get me killed.  Even if it was just a little deer...

The area around Strawberry Reservoir is covered with these little neon orange flowers....