Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Foodie Penpals Reveal!

Once upon a time, I was boredly browsing the suggested blogs on the blog reader program that lives on my phone, and I happened across a foodie blog reporting about what their foodie penpal had sent to them. 

My interest was immediately piqued.

Further research led me to the Lean Green Bean, creator of the wonderous foodie penpal program.  For which I signed up.  Because it sounded like a whole lot of fun.

And now I get to tell you what my very first penpal sent to me!

My penpal, Kattreena first emailed me to check on my likes and dislikes.  And if there were certain foods that might cause me death.  (There aren't.)  And then a week or so later, I came home from a long day's work to find this glorious package sitting on my porch!

These vegetable chips were absolutely amazing.  Green been chips!  Who knew?  I took them on my gig with me when I worked a convention in Salt Lake.  I pulled them out and the technician working beside me asked, "Bag of salad?"  To which I cleverly replied, "Yes.  Crunchy salad."  I can be a bit slow on those long days.  Anyway, I offered to share and he told me he was going to stick with his massive Dr. Pepper.

I'd never really tried snack bars such as these before. Unless you count the ones my grandpa used to keep around when I was a kid.  That tasted and felt like stiff, sugary play-dough.  I had slight trepidations when I pulled one out to eat for a breakfast on the run.  And then my perceptions were immediately changed.  It tasted great! It wasn't overpoweringly sweet.  It had a nice crunch.

These guys... oh, these guys.  I absolutely love the taste of black pepper.  I grind it into nearly everything I make.  Usually too much of it.  When I opened this bag, I vowed to not eat them all in one sitting.  ...  I think they made it through two.  They are that good. 

I love a good barbecue sauce.  People lucky enough to eat my pulled pork have also been lucky enough to try my plum barbecue sauce.  So obviously I like my barbecue sauce fruity.  And let me tell you.  I could drink this stuff.

I've been reserving the plum preserves for a special bento that will make an appearance in the near future.  I had a little taste, and they're great.  And also the bottle is a perfect bento size.  I'm thinking salad dressing container.  Or something fun like that.

And Milanos.  Only better.  Crispy cookeis with a gooey chocolate center... it doesn't get much better than that.

Thank you Kattreena for an amazing first penpal experience!

If you want to see what I sent, you can check it out at Slim Pickin's Kitchen.

The Lean Green Bean
Now, don’t you wanna join in the fun?! Here are the Foodie Penpals details:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bentos #130 and #131... a play on a theme...

I've been bentoing for probably three years now.  Maybe a little bit longer.  And since the beginning, I've been coveting the same set of food cutters.

I went on a book buying spree on Amazon for my birthday, amd these randomly popped up.  It's like Amazon knows...

Since the price was right and the shipping was free, I went for it!  The sakura is my favorite, but I love them all.

I was going to be working the warehouse job for a full day and then going to the theater job for another six hours, so I needed two meals. And since I didn't want to cook two completely different meals at once, I used the same basic ingredients in each once.  And since I have awesome new cutters, I used one of them.

Over and over again.

I boiled a pot of noodles and used half of it to make a pasta salad.  It has cucumbers (both on top as the flowers, and on the bottom. As scraps), tomatoes, parmesan, and a quick Italian vinaigrette. The other layer has peach (with a flower) blueberries, a plum half, and canteloupe.

Same pasta, but this time with sharp cheddar, turkey pepperoni, and zucchini.  Same stuff in the other container.

And here they are together.  The matched set.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bentos #128 and #129...

I spent the last week working a conference in Salt Lake.  I enjoy conference type things.  My work is generally easy.  I get paid decently.  And craft services gets involved.  So I get to eat lots of things that I didn't have to get up early and make.  Alas... when this happens, I do not bento.  Which explains my absence last week.

But for this week...

Monday I had Cajun smoked sausage (from the Smoking Apple) and pulled pork with rice (from Charlie Boy's).  I'm not sure that mixing BBQ from two different BBQ joints is right by the gods of BBQ.  But I took my chances.  Because I love them both.  And had leftovers I needed to use up.

The BBQ was accompanied by steamed zucchini, plums, cucumber, raspberries, and a babybell cheese.

Today I had more smoked sausage, this time with baked beans (and a grape tomato flower to dress it up a bit) and more zucchini.  I also had a dish of plums, blackberries, blueberries, canteloupe and cucumber that I ate as a snack during rehearsal tonight.  I forgot my little salt shaker, but cucumber is fairly tasty when dipped in melon juice.  Who knew?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bentos #126 and #127...

I noticed something the other day.  Something that amuses me greatly.

I was looking in the mirror, and I stretched.  And I realized that I had a strange lump on my right arm.  Just below the shoulder.  And it was only visible when I moved my arm a certain way.

I spent about 90 seconds being kind of concerned.

And then I realized...

It's a tricep.

Just one.

There isn't a matching one on my other arm.

I've got to stop favoring my right arm in the warehouse...


These bentos were brought to you by... my pantry.  Months ago I bought a small bag of quinoa.  Just out of curiousity.  Obviously I wasn't curious enough... it's just been sitting there ever since.  I finally cooked it last week.  I've discovered that I love the texture.  It reminds me of the roe one gets on sushi.  Less 'poppy' and more chewy.  And fun to eat.

I mixed it up with sauteed zucchini and sweet peppers and then threw on a vinegrette made with garlic red wine vinegar, garlic flavored olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of mustard.  I topped the salad with fresh tomatoes.  It was tasty!

Also, it could be eaten cold, which fit the bill for my gig last weekend.  I was loading in a show in a convention center and had no access to a microwave.

Aside from the salad, this guy has grapes, strawberries, nectarine chunks, and coconut pudding.

And this one has grapes, strawberries, plum halves, and coconut pudding... just to change it up.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bento #125... And also other things.

Oh. My. Gosh. I have been so sick the past few days.  How can it be 100 degree outside and I have a cold?  And not just any cold, but one of those keeps you up at night knocks you on your butt can't function kind of colds.  I'm usually fine with colds. I work through them. Clean things around the house.  And I haven't been able to get out of bed today.  So much for a productive day at home.
I'm upset about it for more than one reason... But mostly because I can't go play with my new toy...
It's an '84 Honda Magna v65. For those who care. I got a killer deal on it. And it came with a parts bike. It needs minimal work.  But since about the time I was getting it loaded in a truck Monday was also the time this cold started punching me in the face... It's just been sitting there. Waiting for some love.  Maybe tomorrow Magna. Maybe tomorrow.
Anyway, I did have a lunch packed on Monday.  It's another of my pantry lunches... Or my not allowed to buy anything else until I use up what I already have lunches...
It has whole wheat gnocchi tossed with fake butter and rosemary, Greek chicken sausage with onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes, fresh green beans, grapes, and strawberries. I was in a rush, so there's nothing particularly cute, but it was tasty.
Now I just need to get functional again so I can pack more lunches, fix my new motorcycle, and get that giveaway going...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bento #124 - Just a snack

Today I'm working.  It's currently 2:00 pm.  I've been here since 7:00 am.  I will be here until 11:00 pm.  At least.

Crazy.  I know.

I actually really enjoy long work days.  Think about it.  You work 5 days a week to get in your 40 hours.  You have your two day weekends.  And you cherish them.

I can work for three days, get 5 hours of overtime, and have 4 days with which to do whatever I please.  I'll grant you... I usually just go work somewhere else.  But when I'm not having a workaholic week, I go camping.  Or.  I do absolutely nothing.  All of these are options that please me.

Anywho.  Today's client happens to be providing meals, so I brought a breakfast/snack bento.

I packed it in a cute tupperware container that I usually use for soup.  

I started by filling it halfway with grapes.  I really needed to use up the bag to make room for today's basket...

I used a colorful napkin to separate the grapes from the top layer...

And packed a bag of goldfish crackers, three grape tomatoes, two dark chocolate Reese's cups, and a babybel cheese.  Can you guess what I'm doing at work today?  That's right.  A pageant.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bento #123 ... And giveaway winner announced!

Hope you had an awesome 4th of July holiday!

I'll be upfront with you.  I chickened out on the 10k.

Don't  judge.

I've been doing an intervals program in which I run for three minutes and walk for one.  Which is fabulous.  I managed to go 6.5 miles last Saturday.  Which, I know, is more than 10 kilometers.  But I couldn't actually function for the rest of the day.

It was sad.

That wasn't what did me though.  What did it was a friend who has run this particular 10k before.  Who informed me that running intervals with 5600 people was a recipe for death.  And I could just picture the pile ups I would cause when I slowed down for a walk.  And someone running behind me... didn't stop running.

See?  Death.

I am, however, signing up to do a 10k on July 24th.  For those not familiar with Utah history, that's the anniversary of the day the pioneers made it to Salt Lake Valley.  And it's Utah's smaller version of the 4th of July.  Complete with festivals, barbecues, and races.  Smaller races.  In which my intervals are less likely to kill people following me.


Anywho. Giveaway winner!

I made a list of all the entries, numbered them, and used to pick the winner!  And since I was posting this from my phone, since I still don't have internet at home, I couldn't take an official screenshot.  But I have a winner anyway.

And the winner is...


Please send me your address at and I'll get your prize right out to you!

Don't fret if you didn't win... I'll be putting up another giveaway on Monday!  I owe you one more from before my hiatus. :)

And now... Bento!

I have this horrible habit of buying awesome food at the store.  Food that sounds amazing.  Food that I want to eat right then.

And then I take it home and put it in my pantry.  And forget about it.

I like to call it food storage.  But.  I know better.

I've decided that it is time to use it up.  My goal is to not buy food (besides my ever present Bountiful Baskets) for a month.  My exception to this is greek yogurt.  Because I need it for my morning smoothies.  However.  I don't need proteins... my freezer is full.  I don't need carbs... between the grains in my pantry and the potatoes from my baskets, I'm set.  I don't need junk food... because I don't need junk food, really...

This is a 'pantry bento'.  It consists of whole wheat gnocchi and zucchini tossed with olive oil and onion and herb Mrs. Dash, spaghetti squash, and turkey lil smokies.  The other layer has grapes, a babybel, grape tomatoes, and two really fun things... The white squares are coconut pudding. Its more jello-y than pudding-y. And it tastes amazing.  The little teeny melon balls are Pepino melon.  Aren't they cute?  I bought some bento tools online, and one of them was a teeny tiny melon baller. I paid way too much for the melon, and... I like the taste, but not enough to buy another one. It tastes of cucumber and honeydew. And it needs salt. :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bento #122 -

don't forget to enter the Lock'n'Lock giveaway! You have until Wednesday to enter.
Thursday this past week was the first day I didn't work in the entire month of June. Plus the week before that.  What is that... 35 days straight? Its a good thing I don't have much of a life outside of work.
Anywho, I decided to go camping. I left Wednesday after work. Strawberry reservoir is the place I went last year about this time. Its close, about an hour away, and the fishing is supposedly good. I wouldn't know. I have yet to catch anything.

Dinner that night was cooked in tinfoil in the campfire.  In one packet I had onions and mushrooms wrapped up with a marinated chicken breast.  I also did a packet of potatoes, and one of apple slices and brown sugar.

I came to the sad realization while I was eating an amazingly tender, flavorful bite of chicken topped with a bit of sharp cheddar that I hadn't cooked anything so tasty in more than a month. I'm not sure I've even turned my stove on in that time, besides to steam a couple of zucchini. Everything else had been microwave food or takeout.

I resolved to cook real food at home this weekend. 

Which I just barely did.

And it was tasty.

And I put the leftovers in a bento.

I sauteed Greek chicken sausage with mushrooms, onions, and halved baby heirloom tomatoes and served it over spaghetti squash with feta.  The sausage provided plenty of flavor to the dish. I didn't even salt or pepper it.

My other box has grapes, cherries, grape tomatoes, and two dark chocolate Reese's cups.