Friday, February 29, 2008

Feisty Bento #125: Truly Southern Bento & Contest Round Up

Top: mac & cheese; pulled pork over crumbled cornbread (to absorb the wonderful juices and um, fat)
Bottom: ribs, meat cut from the bones

I met up with the girls last night for a catch-up dinner, and we had... barbecue.  One of the things I simply adore without reason, but I'm sure no one wants to hear about that - full details and write-up on the restaurant to come on Feisty Foodie - you're all waiting for the CONTEST ROUND UP!!!

So without further adieu, here we go~

Coming from Jessica over at Bento for Vegans, we've got "OH NO!!!" where the big mean banana is trying to eat the little orange segments who are terrified.  For more details, and a delicious sounding recipe for the mushroom sautee you see on the left on the bottom, click on over.  She's hoping for the red apple box...

This "red and green bento" from Ginger & Liana contains, in her words:

in gladware is slowcooker chicken and sausage jambalaya, with kimchee and edamame, grapes and apple rabbits.
Slowcooker Jambala (sorry not exact measurements - we usually cook to whim)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can smashed tomatoes
1 finely minced onion
1 diced green bell pepper
chicken (2-4 breasts)
sausage (4 links cajun seasoned)
Oregano, chili powder or peppers, thyme, and what ever else you want seasoned to taste.
saute chunks of chicken and sausage until there's a good sear. dump all ingredients in slowcooker and set on high for 4 hours. and that's about it.

They're hoping for the green grape box!

Lisa from Lunch Bucket Bento enters her "Phat Lunch" with a recipe for peanut butter stuffed dates!  Sounds pretty yummy, though my peanut allergy might not really agree with that, it does look fantastic!  She wants the PowerPuffGirls bento!

Megan tells us, "This is a photo of a lunch I made for myself. I recently started graduate school and am finding money and time a little tight. Packing (bento-style) lunches is not only nutritious and easy, but also a great way to increase my productivity as I can eat and work in my office at the same time... :P

I've attached the picture. I've creatively titled it "Hungry Grad Student's Lunch" and in it there is sliced kiwi, mango, and shells in an alfredo sauce. For the shells, I mixed together a few tablespoons melted butter, 1 small carton of heavy cream, and a handful of Parmesan cheese. I boiled the pasta and poured the sauce over top. This all went into my Lock & Lock square container with 4 removable trays and my BuiltNY lunch tote."  She hopes for - uh oh, this is our first repeat request ~ the red apple bento! 

Our friend Mer from Playing with my Food obviously knows a thing or two about odds & probability and decided to enter three different bentos to increase her chances!  Here's the first!

and the second

not least of all, but the last, the third.  Each post contains links to her own recipes for at least one component of each bento, and don't they look yum?  Honestly, I aspire to one day make some of the things she does so easily- homemade bread!  Hummus!  My goodness!  If she wins~ she would like the green grape bento... oops, that's another duplicate request- or the banana one! 

Our only overseas entrant, and our only food art entry comes from Laura over at Musings of a Modified Mummy in the UK!  For details, click here!  Who doesn't like SpongeBob SQUAREPANTS!  Who lives in a pineapple under the sea, SpongeBob Squarepants!  Yay!  She would also like the banana bento!  Eek, looks like I didn't pick up enough of the ones everyone wanted...

Jenn - who for some reason thinks this is Not Exactly Bento! - gives us chicken & quinoa (pronounced keen-wah - impress your friends at your next party with your knowledge!) and wishes for the red apple bento.  Ack... lots of requests for those three Putifresh boxes!

Last but definitely not least - in fact, my very first entry! - is Allison from SushiDay.  Quite a bit of her bento comes homemade, and boy does it look delicious.... It's got nearly everything meant to be in a bento!  In any case, for recipes, click on over and see what the sushi of the day is!  She requests the green grape bento as well! 

Ok people, the vote is open!  You can vote for yourself; you can defend why one is better than the other; you can even tell us you want a different box!  I'll tell you this: no one requested the first box that was offered, and someone's going to win it!  Take that how you will!  As always... happy bento!!!

***Voting will end in a week!


I wasn't even running late this morning, just my normal down to the minute trek. Well, I managed to take pictures of my bento and leave my camera somewhere in the house. I had no idea it wasn't in my bag until I got to work, and now I am really upset that I can't post pics of my TRULY SOUTHERN BENTO until I get home. Which won't be for hours and hours! The contest round-up will have to be posted at the same time, as my access to Gmail is severely limited at work and I'm just now discovering that people have entered the contest and their emails are being directed to SPAM (which makes it even harder for me to find the entries while at work)! I hope everyone who entered remembered to email me with their entries!!! Hope everyone else is having a happy bento day!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feisty Bento #124: Southern Bento (sort of)

Trader Joe's pulled pork, creamy coleslaw, Korean pickles (takuan aka pickled daikon), navel orange and smoked almonds, and some roasted greens

The pulled pork is indeed very mushy - maybe better on a sandwich roll?  I don't know, but it tastes good, just the texture - and I'm big on texture of food - is just... bleh.  Ah well.

As for the contest, I should remind you all that tomorrow I will be posting up the round-up, but know this, maybe take it as a hint: the definition of "PHAT" is according to me (yay, I get to be the judge of something for once!).  And PHAT, well, to me, my lunch looks PHAT means I WANT TO EAT IT.  As you can see from all of my bento, I've never been much into food art - it's cute, that's great, but I don't want to eat the truly beautiful designs because... well, I don't want to mess them up!  I want stuff that looks delicious!  So.  Yeah.  Hope that helps some of you with "bento block"!

As always~ happy bento!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Feisty Bento #123: Love is all you need

I went over to my BF's place last night and when I got there, he'd made dinner for us!  No, that's not butter or whipped cream, you sick people.  It's ricotta.  And in case you're wondering, it's authentic sauce made by a real Italian (his father, who jarred it for us a while back).  Yummy.  My baby loves me!

Top tier: Trader Joe's pulled pork with BBQ sauce (as the label says); leftover fried mishmash rice
Bottom tier: sliced apples; sliced plums

Look, I put fruit in there!  Aren't you proud?  Don't get me wrong, I love fruit, but I am lazy to the core.  Peeling and slicing fruit is a huge commitment for me!  It means waking up and getting my hands sticky (I HATE sticky).  So I bought those apples sliced already at Trader Joe's for $2.69.  I ate a slice this morning and they seem okay.  I was disappointed to find that it's 20c cheaper in Manhattan - so why am I bothering to buy them in the cheaper borough?!  Oh, I also vastly prefer savory items in general, so eating fruit is usually a snack by itself, not a dessert thing at the end of lunch.  Ah well, we'll see how this works.

As for the pulled pork, I saw this and couldn't resist.  It was only $3.99 for 18 oz.  I was surprised when I opened it to see the color so bland and flat, but it also says "no preservatives or additives" so I assume the additives are what makes it that deep color normally.  I'm also kind of surprised at how mushy the overall texture is, but whatever, it smelled really good and the bite I tried (this is nowhere near the whole container!) was pretty good, a nice kick of mustard in there as well.  I will let you know how it goes! 

As always, my dears, HAPPY BENTO!!!

PS If you're planning on sending something in for the contest, what are you waiting for?!  Go go go! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Feisty Bento #122: Identity Theft?

Left to right: more ground meat/green beans mixture; some random fried rice I found in the fridge

I made no effort with bento today because I am seriously pissed off. My credit card number was somehow stolen while I was in Argentina - just the number, because I have the card - and now begins the frantic attempt at preventing or stopping identity theft. ARGH.

On a happier note, REMINDER: deadline for Does This Make My Bento Look Phat? contest coming up this Friday, so get those entries in!!!

As always... happy bento!

PS The container isn't really a new one - it's Snapware. (Wow. Not my day. I added this long postscript and when I clicked PUBLISH POST, it got eaten. What. the. freak?) Anyway, it's the top box in that link, though that's a ridiculous price; mine came in a boxed set from Bed Bath & Beyond - took it from my mom's box. 20% off coupon makes it really affordable, imitation Lock & Lock even that's easily found. Enjoy!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Feisty Bento #121: Snap back to reality

Left to right: Korean pickled veggies in the star cup - I don't know what they are, but starchy strands?; takuan/pickled daikon; ground beef and green beans mixture; rice with dried egg/sesame seed/seaweed furikake on top

So, I'm back from Argentina!  I will be posting up all of the food pictures and reviews of the great restaurants we went to (quite a lot, actually!), over on Feisty Foodie, so stay tuned!  I'm still trying to settle in and catch up here at work, though, so forgive me for being a little slow with that...

Happy BENTO!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Feisty Bento #120: Vertical Limits

I tilted the picture because people were actually complaining about my lunches all being horizontal.  Okay!  I aim to please!  :)

From the top: mac & cheese; green beans with almond slivers (not quite almondine...); salmon (yes, salmon!) filet cut in half and stacked.

So here's the story: I bought a meal from some place, couldn't finish it, and it ended up here.  The End.  Not a great story, eh?

Well, kiddies!  I'm off to Argentina tomorrow and won't be back till the 23rd.  I'll return with a bento probably on the 25th - I say probably because I'll have all Sunday to recover, but who knows how that'll go?  We'll see.

In the meantime, as always, happy BENTO!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Feisty Bento 119: Mish Mash Bento

From left to right: vegetarian duck, cut up to eat more easily; roast pork (char siu) stacked up; rice mixed with tamago furikake quickly formed into balls/onigiri; Chinese cabbage with steak strips

Yummm... I scarfed this down today.

Happy bento!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Feisty Bento #118: Crunchy Takuan

Top tier: roast pork; takuan (pickled daikon); Chinese cabbage, beef, onions, peppers
Bottom tier: white rice with two kinds of furikake sprinkled on top (tamago furikake and rice ball furikake)

Speaking of takuan, this stuff is really good in sandwiches.  I said it: two slices of white toast, a schmear of mayo, two slices of lean ham, and a layer of takuan spread across like pickles!  Its sweet and sour crunch really adds another dimension to the sandwich, and since they don't go bad that quickly, it's easy to keep a jar in your fridge for just such a purpose, instead of getting tomatoes, lettuce, etc. etc. etc.  Yum.  And you all know how much I love sandwiches... and how much I pride myself on my own

Happy Bento!!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Feisty Bento #117: Thai for Two

Top containers: left peanut sauce, right a vinegary cucumber/red onion/chili pepper salad
Bento, left to right: satay beef cut up and removed from the stick to fit in the box; baby carrots for color and veggies; drunken Thai noodles with beef and chilis

True and funny, ironic, sad story: so there's this Thai restaurant in the middle of Queens (my county, a suburbish/part of NYC) that everyone raves about.  BEST Thai food in the city is the claim and declaration by many, many, many critics; even actual Thai people say it's the closest you can get to actual Thai food like you'd have in Thailand.  The people who own it and work there are actually Thai.  It's supposed to be fantastic, not that expensive, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.  Obviously I want to go there.  I've wanted to go there since I first heard of it years ago but it's never the right time.  It's not near where I hang out at all, and just lots of small extenuating circumstances lead to not going over the past few years. 

Yesterday, Cookie - whom you all should know by now from Cookie Bento! fame - and I am going to take a minute to gush here, over the wonderful people that surround me in my life and how lucky I am for all that I have and have had and will have - truly fortunate and blessed am I, there is no doubt - well, she came over to help me scrub down my entire apartment.  True, we didn't finish, but my kitchen is gleaming and my bathroom is well on its way to sparkling as well.  How much better can you get than a friend who's willing to scrub doody for you?  Really?  (I'm sorry, I know this is a food blog, but really.  It once was food!)  So awesome and amazing and I'm just touched that there are people out there who are just that good deep down in their hearts; after recent events I was beginning to doubt that there are really just that many good people out there and without even thinking, she showed me that there definitely are.  Once again, Cookie, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.  (I know you're reading!) 

That's not the funny/ironic/sad part though.  Of course we got hungry at some point and decided to head out to grab some stuff and grab food as well.  Imagine my surprise when she announced we were going... yup, you guessed it, to the Thai place I have been dying to go to!  I was super excited to be heading there, and really ecstatic to be trying authentic Thai food for the very first time! 

...but.  My camera had died just that morning and I hadn't had time to charge it.  It was so dead that it wasn't just flashing the angry red battery light at me; I would turn it on and it would turn itself right back off in protest, "BATTERY NEEDS CHARGING" was the message.  LOVELY.  I was so mad, so disappointed, so upset that I couldn't take pictures!  But the decision was made that I would just have to go back again to try more stuff and take some pictures!  I'm totally down with that!

In any case, the above were the leftovers from the delicious meal.  Except the carrots which I added myself.  I'm not naming the restaurant to see if any NYC-dwellers can guess which restaurant I'm talking about- it's really hard not to know, but we'll see. 

As always- happy bento!!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Feisty Bento #116: Lovely Bento

Left: rice with tamago furkake
Right: kickin' chicken

The box is pretty deep, so it's not as little food as you may think...

Happy Bento everyone!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Feisty Bento #115: Lunar New Year & BEST. Boyfriend. EVER.

Hands down I have the greatest boyfriend ever.  You can try to tell me yours is better or even that you're better as a boyfriend, but I seriously doubt any of you have as great a boyfriend as I do.  It's pretty much indisputable- unless your boyfriend recently gave you or one of your family members one of his kidneys, my boyfriend is simply the best ever.  (I'm sure he would do that, too, just that the occasion thankfully hasn't arisen.) 

Just one small thing in a world of why he is fantastic: about a month ago, he went on a business trip to HQ out in San Jose.  I was meant to go with him, but as it fell the week before I wanted to move, I had to decline, even though I wound up taking the week after his trip off, and not moving.  I was extremely disappointed because I adore San Francisco, and the last time I'd gone I bought so much bento gear, and I have loved SF since the first time I went, back in 99.  If I couldn't live in NYC anymore for some bizarro reason, I'd live in SF happily.  I even actually am fairly comfortable driving- the first time I drove there, I drove from San Jose to Sausalito to San Jose to San Francisco and all around basically- alone.  The last time I went, I had FeistyMom with me, but I drove from SF to Sonoma Valley to Serramonte to ... well, all around the bento gear route comfortably with only minor snafus. 

But enough about my love of SF.  The day before he left, I jokingly suggested that I was going to hand him a list of bento gear along with a list of addresses for him to hunt down what I was currently searching for, but changed my mind when I realized he would be really busy with, well, business, and plus what if he bought the wrong thing?  I know myself and know that though it wouldn't exactly be his fault, I'd still be unhappy/upset (not at him, just overall) so I scrapped the idea and told him to forget it.  I thought he was relieved, even though I explained to him that I can't find over 90% of the stuff that's available in SF, and then showed him some items that can be found here for $6 a piece but that I bought in SF for $1.50 a piece. 

When he got back, he surprised me with the above bento set!  I was really surprised because this item was on my Amazon wishlist (which he is forbidden from viewing because he should know me better than to require looking at my list!)  While you naysayers may say- and it's true, as the links show- that this item is widely available and doesn't require traveling to SF to buy, that's so not the point.  The point is that not only did he think about me, go out of his way to purchase something for a hobby I have that he doesn't understand in the slightest, and manage to pick something I've had my eye on for a while!  How awesome is that? 

But enough of my gushing because I'm sure you're all more interested in what's inside my lunch.  Fine. 

Let it be said, though, that I adore my boyfriend, who is the most amazing boyfriend.  EVER.  In the history of the world.

Top left: vegetarian duck
Top right: grape tomatoes, 2 pieces of crispy skin pork cut into smaller bite size pieces
Lunch jar: rice with fish, tomato sauce, bell peppers, and mozzarella cheese

Today is the Lunar New Year, which means last night was meant to be a huge feast.  I'll be posting more details about my dinner last night on Feisty Foodie, but the rice is from that meal.  The vegetarian duck, which I've mentioned before, was bought from Kam Man in Chinatown; it's only one piece because their pieces are huge and appear to be filled with something besides just shiitake mushrooms.  I'm a bit nervous because it didn't look as good as the last kind... I'm going to have to hunt down the kind my mom bought and eat that one!

Before I sign off with my normal "Happy Bento" I want to leave you with a gift.  I thought of this in my half asleep daze this morning, and it is sung to the tune of "My Humps" which I think is by Black Eyed Peas or maybe just Fergie. 

"My bento, my bento, my lovely yummy bento!"

That's all I have so far, but if you have any lyrics you'd like to add, feel free to comment with them!

As always... HAPPY BENTO and to all my readers everywhere, any ethnicity, HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Feisty Bento #114: New Gear!

Remember my friend Cookie... who just went to Thailand?  Well, when she got back, not only did she bring lots of bento goodies for herself, but she brought me stuff, too!!!  Thanks Cookie!!!  This box along with a few other items (that I've yet to photograph and show you guys!) came special to me at work.  Awww!  And seriously, aside from my initial bento purchases, this is probably the soonest I've received a bento item and then used it- I got it on Friday and used it on Tuesday.  Wow.  (For some reason, I tend to hold off on or not find a lunch suited to my newest bento for a while...) 

I really like this box because it's different yet similar to all the other boxes I have.  Similar in size- though it's definitely the smallest box I have, clocking in at 450, I am hoping to lose weight more quickly than I have been, so it works out great; but different because it's much deeper since it's only one tier.  I love it!  Evidenced by my using it again today.

Left to right: roasted pine nut hummus that I forgot to sprinkle parsley on top to spice up the color scheme there; celery sticks (in layers, some you can't see!); baby carrots; grape tomatoes; heart shaped sandwiches with ham, pepper, and garlic & herb cheese spread.  Yummy!!!

Also "new" to be used today, a kinchaku that my darling friend Lilly sent me from LA.  She sent it a while back, along with a bag of - GASP - saffron that I've yet to use (I blame it all on my current status of in transition).  Thanks so much Lilly, you're a total doll<333

The kinchaku came pre-folded, sort of- it's sewn so that I just slip the bag in and then tie the top ears/flaps together, so no need for me to stand there in the morning, trying to figure out how the heck to fold a proper kinchaku.  It's pink and covered in adorable little kitties, I LOVE IT!!!  It's slightly more visually interesting than the drawstring bags I have.  Whee!!! 

As always, happy bento!  And for those Asian readers I have, happy lunar new year's eve, go out and feast big time!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Feisty Bento #113: Deep Bento

From left to right: deviled egg yolks (hard boiled egg yolks mixed with Thousand Island dressing, celery, relish); baby carrots; celery sticks; potato salad; marinated squid; roasted chicken

This box is very deep- almost as tall as my regular red tier one is when it's stacked!  It measures in at 450 ml which is great because I've been pigging out lately and um, have gained a few pounds back-oops, need to cut back on food intake to lose it all again.  Hehe.  But yeah, so it's not as little food as you might think it is!

I'll be posting more pics and an in-depth look at the box and what "came with it" soon- I was just rushed and in a hurry this morning so I ran out the door after stuffing the box.  I've been staying up late, cleaning my apartment and trying to move and get things done, and this past weekend I took a big group trip out to snowboard in the Poconos, so my schedule is all off kilter. 

This box came as a surprise to me~ but more details on that probably tomorrow. 

Happy Bento!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Cookie Bento #1: Lock & Lock insulated set

Okay, so there are no cookies in it, and technically it's not her first bento.  But that's what we're calling it because it is certainly the first bento of hers that is being posted here- or anywhere! 

Cookie recently went to Thailand, where there was a ton of Lock & Lock stuff, including this nifty insulated bento set.  Look familiar?  The components inside are the same as their other lunch sets, at 350 ml each, but the bag is different!  Very cute.  It includes a pocket inside for napkins or utensils, or perhaps an ice pack...

Contents: the pretty colored things are some sort of dessert/sweet with coconut, supposedly chewy (I declined a taste since I'm allergic to coconut).
Top tier: sauteed artichoke hearts with carrots.
Bottom tier: gooseberries; tofu cream cheese; wheat thins
Bottle: apple juice

I don't understand it, either- she didn't finish anything and then said she was full!  Craziness, I'd scarf that down in two seconds!  You may notice: Cookie is a vegetarian.  Bento seems to be a great option for vegetarians who are tired of eating "vegetarian" dishes that are never quite really vegetarian...

As always, happy bento, and hopefully we'll see some more bento action from Cookie soon!!!

Feisty Bento #112: Time for Thai

Left tier: more of the same from yesterday; glass noodles with Shiitake mushrooms; sauteed greens; bean sprouts
Right tier: takeout pad thai leftovers with a lemon wedge for squeezin' and squirtin' and some green onions sprinkled over the top

Yum, can't wait for lunch!  I'm in a great mood today, I'm not even sure why because it's not like the stress is really done with, but still.  Fantastic!!! 

Happy Bento everyone and have a great weekend!!!