Friday, September 28, 2007

Feisty Bento #46: A Package for Me?

What could it be?

A friend of mine works over at Built NY and thought I'd like some new lunch goodies- and boy do I like 'em!  I received an assortment including Meadow the Munchler (top left- the ears are down but it's a bunny-shaped insulated lunch bag), the Rambler, the Gourmet Getaway Tote, and much more.  Thanks again<333

So of course, today I had to use one! 

Today's lunch.  The beauty of this is that the bag is still half empty.  I loveloveLOVE that the material, while stretchy and willing to accomodate bulky or misshapen items, is not so stretchy that when packed with heavy items, the whole thing drags down and looks retarded- it still maintained its shape fairly well and I didn't feel like I was stretching it at the handles or anything. 

**I chose my earrings, then my top, without knowing which lunch bag I was going to use.  I chose these turquoise dangly earrings that I got in Greece and have never worn, then a top that went well with them- also a turquoise blue shade- and when I went to grab a lunch bag, I'd already decided on using one of the Ramblers, whichever one didn't have tags on it, and it happened to be this one.  Which means I look really awesome today- I actually put makeup on, and I'm all matchy-matchy without being all one color since the bag has like, style to it.  GOSH I LOVE THIS BAG

What's inside?

Yup, count 'em- four boxes of food today!  Who's a pig? 

Left box, from top left: smoked mozzarella & salami; baby carrots; edamame (soy beans in the pod); grape tomatoes; pork floss onigiri and the last of the potato salad with scallions
Right box: three slices of takuan (pickled daikon radish) and three NOT GYOZA... they're Chinese dumplings I tried to use the same cooking method as the gyoza but had to make a few changes.  We'll see how these hold up at lunchtime... These are pork, leek and "mushroom added" (that's what the bag said). 

My snack/dessert portion boxes- watermelon and canteloupe.

Didn't use a bento belt because the containers are leak proof and are all stuffed into my beautiful new Built NY Gourmet Getaway lunch bag, along with a standard bottle of Poland Spring water, so if they bounce around it's not a big deal and I doubt they will!  This bag ROCKS!!!

I can't wait to use Meadow the Munchler- it's so adorable!  I love best how Built NY's lunch bags fit right in with the Bento Philosophy- namely, less waste, re-using and leaving a smaller environmental footprint, and food safety, since the bags are meant to keep food hot/cold for hours. 

Happy Bento!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Feisty Bento #45: Quickie Bento

Spinach, canteloupe, tongue, pork floss onigiri, and takuan.  Yummy and quick, since I had the onigiri frozen and ready to go! 


***Tutorial to come... I promise.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Feisty Bento #44: Repeat Bento

More of the same!

Top tier: seafood gyoza (the last of it, actually), edamame, takuan, spinach, and potato salad with scallions. Bottom tier: tongue onigiri (yes, TONGUE! yum yum), roast pork slices next to tongue slices, and canteloupe (doesn't it look like apple? I think it's the lighting).


Happy Bento!

**Tutorial[s] to come... tomorrow most likely as I have lunch plans and will not be posting a bento!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Feisty Bento #43: Crooked Bento

(What's up with my pictures?  I even tried to make it straight but I took like 5 pictures and they're all crooked!  Haha... I haven't been drinking!)

Left tier: roast pork + scallion onigiri surrounded by tongue, steamed spinach
Right tier: seafood gyoza, edamame (soy beans in pods), takuan and potato salad topped with scallions

Argh, I messed up yet again.  When will I get it right?! 

I messed up for a number of reasons; I'd intended to put less edamame in there, just as a boundary/border, and way less potato salad with some spinach also in that tier, then fruit in the other tier.  That didn't work out when I decided to try to cram as much edamame in there as I did- oops.  Should have been more easy with the edamame and less potato salad... sheesh.  Too many carbs! 

(Crooked again!)

So I threw some fruit into a separate box and stuck it in my bag.  It will be a snack though because I will be full after that lunch.

Happy Bento! 

Monday, September 24, 2007

Feisty Bento #42: Super Yum!

Top tier: seafood gyoza with gyoza sauce in my adorable bottle; spinach steamed or par-boiled; takuan/pickled daikon radish; regular potato salad that darn it, I meant to chop some scallions to go on top- that would have been so pretty and much tastier (this is store bought- Waldbaum's- and I wasn't too pleased with the quality).

Bottom tier: five slices each of roast pork (char siu), tongue, and "aromatic beef slices" (if you've ever been to a Cantonese restaurant and read the menu, you know that's what they call it! If not, it usually is served with "jellyfish", pickled carrots/radish, etc.), and three mini-Milano cookies. I thought these were mini mint cookies but I guess I picked up the wrong bag

I've also got, not shown, a sandwich-size box of watermelon and canteloupe. It was supposed to be my breakfast but after my cup of tea, I didn't feel like eating it, so I'll eat that for sweets afterwards (since it's fruit, I don't feel bad about those calories, at all, plus my lunch today is super low-carb, so why not?).

Happy Bento!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Feisty Bento #41: Lots of Green

Edamame, seaweed salad, dow-mew sauteed with garlic, seafood gyoza with gyoza sauce in the cute lil bottle; pork floss or bacon onigiri, grape tomatoes, takuan/pickled daikon radish, and canteloupe.  So yum!

To clarify the confusion about my veggies, I have no clue what they are.  I thought they were "hollow veggies" but when I ate them the first day (Tuesday) they clearly weren't.  So that night I was talking to my mom who said it's dow-mew, which I can't translate, even though a bunch of you have given me definitions.  They're clearly not sprouts or beans of any kind, despite "dow" sounding similar (but not the same) as the word for bean.  (This is a downtone and yes, I'm talking strictly about Cantonese here.)  *shrug*  I don't really care, they taste good, I like veggies, so that's all that matters to me. 

As always, HAPPY BENTO!!!  No bento tomorrow- it's my once-a-week freebie, plus I will be out-of-state.  Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Feisty Bento #40: Someone loves me!

Awww.... You know how I said no one ever cooks for me?  Seriously.  No one EVER cooks for me.  This special heart-shaped meatloaf brought to me by... Elaine!!!  She brought it over last night with just the words, "This is for your bento," and I was so dazed (from being tired, having gone to the hospital and then gone home to crash and then that horrible loss by the Mets AGAIN to the Nationals, and the surprise) and caught off guard, I kind of mumbled "Thank you!" and didn't really effectively show how grateful/happy I was.  My bad.  IT'S SO CUTE... I LOVE it!!!  Thank you!!!!!

Alongside is just some more 'dou-mew' (bean-???) sauteed with garlic and canteloupe.  I've been craving canteloupe and though she won't cook for me anymore, my mother did cut up canteloupe for me.  Yay!!! 

Happy Bento!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Feisty Bento #39: Mish-mash Leftovers

What a crap picture.  It doesn't capture just how random my bento is, and how poorly I planned out the colors.  You see, I had my bento all planned out and then my lovely brother brought over some leftovers from a yummy Chinese restaurant so I had to adjust to include some of them. 

Top box: hollow veggies with garlic; takuan/pickled radish; seaweed salad; two seafood gyoza
Bottom box: bear-shaped pork floss onigiri with bear-shaped salami on top; seaweed wrapped bacon onigiri; grape tomatoes; cut up pork chop.

Happy Bento!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Feisty Bento #38: Pork Floss Onigiri

Bacon or pork floss onigiri (I forgot to label them on Saturday when I made a huge batch of onigiri, so I don't know what they are), grape tomatoes to prevent shifting in transit;
seafood gyoza (Aijinomoto brand- I couldn't find the regular kind and whatever, let's try it with shrimp; still can't find the bags so I bought a tray of 10 for $2.45 at Sunrise Mart; they're $3.50 for a bag of 36 when you can find them, grrr, and if you can believe it, it was cheaper at Sunrise Mart than in Chinatown!) with gyoza sauce in that adorable little container; hummus for the grape tomatoes, seaweed salad, and takuan/pickled radish.

Oh, exciting news!  I was wandering around Chinatown and found a whole bunch of bento stuff!  Well, not that much, but enough that I picked up some stuff and am putting it on eBay later today.  I had to change my username from its previous incarnation, but now it's FeistyFoodie and it shall be forever.  Bento supplies!!!  If you're interested.  If you have any requests, just let me know- I am not going to list items such as grass dividers or onigiri molds and whatnot, but I do have those at my disposal to pick up!  (I seem to be selling cheaper than anyone else; everyone seems to package stuff and I'm just selling one item at a time so it's much more affordable.  AND I'm in the US 48, so it's even cheaper...)

As always, happy bento!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Feisty Bento #37: Bento for my Brother

This is a bento- in a blue box similar to the pink one I have with a bunny, except this one has a small boy on the outside poking a, um, pile of poop- that I made for my brother for work on Saturday.
Grape tomatoes, FRESH onigiri with bacon in one, and in the other, this dried, shredded pork that looks like carpet fuzz- think it might be a Taiwanese thing, or not, because it's called "Formosa Brand Dried Pork"- (well, okay, maybe NOT then?) that you can find in Chinese sticky rice "sticks" that hold a deep fried dough stick and the dried pork thing- anyways, I thought, it's good in Chinese sticky rice "sticks", why not in onigiri- and it IS good in onigiri, it's dry enough to pack in there and it's salty enough to have a good flavor against the rice!, takuan/pickled radish, and some "choi"/veggies I found in the fridge.  My brother is too lucky! except he said, "I'm not bringing this to work!  WTH!" and it's like, dude, I found the least-girly box I have and used it.  Hmph.  He took it anyway.  AND HE ATE IT AND HE LIKED IT CUZ THAT'S HOW I DO.  Oh, I had no seaweed for the onigiri so I picked some up later that day.

Happy Bento!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Feisty Bento #36: High Protein Bento

Chicken cutlet hero with whole grain mustard, lettuce, cucumbers, cut into easy to eat finger sandwiches so they'd fit and so I can eat it more easily later.  Leftovers from someone's lunch (still tired, I raided the fridge, sue me) (um... in my HOUSE... not random strangers/at work, haha).  Yummm.

The box on the right side contains hummus (for dipping my sandwich in if it's too dry- which it looks like it might be, and for my grape tomatoes), grape tomatoes, and cut up grilled chicken tossed quickly with peanut sauce.  I don't know.  Super high protein lunch today?

I know this isn't a new box nor new bento supplies, but I haven't been able to spend any time at home to organize my new supplies for easy access, easy reaching and easy inventory (my current priority is that I haven't been able to spend any time at home to get a good night's sleep, actually), plus I have to wash all of it before I can organize it... I know, anal retentive but a girl's gotta get some sleep...

Happy Bento! 

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Feisty Bento #35: Bleary Bento

I've been too tired lately to do anything in the mornings but blearily open my eyes and since I haven't been home to cook or make anything, I've wound up just digging around in the fridge for whatever I can find and slapping stuff together.  So today's bento includes a turkey sandwich with hummus as the spread (adds protein) on whole grain bread, some more of the sundried tomato orzo salad with feta, Romaine lettuce with grape tomatoes, and finally, taking my cue from Biggie at Lunch in a Box (and adding even more protein), some salami curls with Laughing Cow Light Swiss cubes smeared into them.  I thought that's what she'd done, but either way, these were pretty tasty.

The belt was purchased separately from the box, but I AM selling these boxes on eBay.  Good, cheap starter bento with a steam vent and very deep, perfect for sandwiches and fluffier foods.  I'll post up the link later, after I post more of the boxes on eBay... in case you're interested!

Happy Bento!!! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Feisty Bento #34: Slapdash Fried Rice Bento

I'm kind of amazed; so I guess it does get quicker as you get more used to doing it? Or perhaps it's cooler so the food cools more quickly. Or maybe because I simply didn't use that much food today. I don't know, what I do know is that I woke up 40 minutes later than usual and still managed to get into work on time. I'm suffering from jet lag which is extremely unusual for me- I've stayed 10 days in a city 5 time zones away from mine, but been fine when I got back, I just never switched. Three time zones away for less than four days, and I'm all conked out? That isn't like me at all. Very odd.

In any case, I managed to slap this together fairly quickly, using a box I found at a nearby store (and am now selling various styles of on eBay) for very cheap. It has a hole for venting steam, and it came with a spoon as well! My one point of dislike is that it's a bit deeper than I'd like for most bento items, but I can either layer or just fill it up less, as I did today (it's over 700 ml, using the water method described on Lunch in a Box).

Since the box latch isn't all that secure, and I don't have a kinchaku/bag/wrap that I think matches (or fits it, honestly, since I only have the very few items I do), I used the bento belt I picked up from Daiso in Serramonte a few days ago. I also used a pink silicon cupcake cup to hold the slightly wet bean sprouts, but the green veggies I left in the container with nothing separating them from the roasted beef fried rice- slightly spicy but not so much so. All leftovers from takeout or Mom's cooking. Delicious; can't wait for lunch!

Happy Bento!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bento Supplies (Bay Area Shopping Trip)

from top left: egg molds, fish & car, star & heart; food cups- triangles, squares, and animal head shapes; compacted sandwich case; Lock & Lock lunch set
Second Row: baked/poached egg molds- can't read the instructions, so will be attempting to use these soon; food cutters in animal head shapes; onigiri molds in the shape of bear, heart, star; mini boxes for dips/sauces; two tier bunny bento; onigiri bento with bear face
Third Row: bento belt with bunny; two small side dishes; cream pots that I will be using for sauces; 500 ml bento with ice pack in lid for keeping food cool/cold
Fourth Row: plastic dividers with flowers; furikake stencils; chopsticks and fork in case, next to two chopstick cases- the maroon ones match the two tier bunny bento; small foil cups
Fifth row: plastic dividers with fruit/vegetables; furikake/cheese sprinkle bottles; cream tubes that I'm not sure what I shall fill them with yet; sauce bottles in cute shapes (soy sauce bottles, carrots, hearts, letters, bears, flowers; corner foil cups; silicon "cupcake" liners

I just came back from San Francisco (for a wedding, not only a bento-shopping trip, haha)- look at all that loot!  Thanks to Biggie over at Lunch in a Box's shopping guide- I printed this out and programmed the GPS with each address, clutching the printed guide in my sweaty little hand as I cruised the aisles of each store.  The guide was extremely helpful when I'd look through all the bento section, and then think, that's it?  But referring to the handy little guide, I discovered hidden treasures and scoured the stores. 

The best part?  Though there are at least 34 (I've counted twice, but it still seems wrong!) items there, the total cost was only $60.  I've currently got "on order" from eBay two simple lunch jar bentos (which I could unfortunately not find in SF- the one I wanted, that is, this one) for $60.  So, uh, can we just say I am in love with the stores around SF?  I didn't even hit them all.  I only went to:

Kukje off the 280 (picked up the top right Lock & Lock bento set- exploded view here- for $12.99 + tx - if anyone has an unused, brand new blue one and wants to trade, please let me know!  I haven't used this, though it was not wrapped in plastic wrap when I bought it, it was the last one.)
Daiso also off the 101 or 280- very close to Kukje- umm... a lot of the other stuff...
Ichiban Kan - everything else.

I also stopped by Soto, Moritaya (SO EXPENSIVE?!?!?!?!) and Daishoku all in Japantown near Ichiban Kan but did not purchase anything.

*squee*  Can't wait to use it all!!!

As always, happy bento!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Feisty Bento #33: Airplane Bento

I got this idea from Biggie over at Lunch in a Box, so thank you!!!  While you're there, check out her great links for shopping in the Bay Area, or her speed tips, her wonderful ideas and everything.  She was basically the final push for me to get into bento- I'd seen Cooking Cute before and wanted to get into it, but I was too "Eh, I'm not going to spend that much time making things that pretty..."  Biggie's site really encouraged me that it can look nice/cute, taste yummy and still be done quickly- it's not all about making literal art with pictures and stuff in your food.  It's also about eating balanced and healthy and making the most out of your space

My mother and I were due for a trip out to San Francisco for my cousin's wedding, and naturally I thought "Ew, paying through the nose for airplane food.  I'll pass.  What to bring..."  Sandwiches were the obvious choice, as they are easy to make, easy to keep and relatively versatile.  Last time we took a trip together- in May- I'd packed two sandwiches in regular sandwich bags, and my mother had turned up her nose at both my whole grain bread and my turkey!  So the above airplane bento is mine- honey turkey, tomato and Romaine lettuce (to keep the tomato away from the bread, to prevent sogging) with mayo on 12 grain bread; grape tomatoes for stability and snacking; baby carrots, and a tin foile cupcake liner filled with sun dried tomato+feta cheese orzo.  Yum. 

My mom's bento contained peanut butter&jelly on potato bread, supported on either side by spicy beef jerky strips to keep the sandwich in place; blackberries and grape tomatoes for snacking- though you can't see it, there's a Romaine lettuce leaf barrier to prevent the blackberries from staining the bread- and some cooked bean sprouts with peppers.  Next to that is a cup of the same orzo salad I had, except she didn't like it because of the cheese so I wound up eating that.

Also, since I was up and about at 5 am anyway to make our bentos and still make our flight at 8:45 am out of JFK Airport, I made a bento for the lovely person who woke up super early to drive us to the airport- my boyfriend.  He likes his sandwiches fairly plain, so he received two salami sandwiches on potato bread- crustless, actually all of the sandwiches were crustless to make them an easier to fit shape- with nothing, grape tomatoes to keep them stable, pistachios and more of the same orzo salad, which he didn't eat.  I must note here that I knew there was no way in hell he'd bring cute little cut out sandwiches to work, and besides which, none of it would fill him up if I made tiny sandwiches, so instead I simply pressed my cutters into the bread to make the impressions of hearts all over.  I just forgot to take a picture of it. 

As always- happy bento!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Feisty Bento #32: BBQ Chicken & Orzo

Roasted BBQ chicken (my brother kindly ate half of what I'd made for lunch, so this is much diminished- I like high protein lunches!), orzo with sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese and scallions; Mom's version of na mool, watermelon.

I must be getting faster at packing lunches- this only took me 15 minutes, even with deboning/cutting the chicken up into easy to eat pieces, after heating it. 

I will be posting the recipe for the orzo on Feisty Foodie, so stay tuned!!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Feisty Bento #31: 5 Minute Bento

tuna+masago onigiri; blackberries; grape tomatoes; watermelon

After a long weekend spent away from my home, I woke up this morning and realized I had no idea what was in the fridge.  I scrambled and realized thankfully I had a frozen homemade onigiri left, so I quickly heated that up and just added the rest.  I know, it's not enough food, and I'm going to be mad/upset/grumpy later, but I was pleased that something worked out anyway.  It's nice to know that I was able to relax all weekend and this morning still be able to pull something out for lunch!

Happy Bento!!!