Thursday, January 29, 2009

Feisty Bento #288: Tripleat


I'm not particularly excited about lunch because it's a repeat and yes, I actually am a little tired of eating the same 3 things every day. 


So I stuck some picks in it which you can't really see.

BBQ pork country style ribs, pickled daikon, carrot kinpira, sauteed beansprouts

Happy bento!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Feisty Bento #286 & 287: I don't do sadness


Improving a bit here... even though it snowed overnight and was up a good couple of inches this morning, trudging in the snow was not fun... Ah well!  I managed to clean out half my sink last night (and it was all stuff from the past few days... just NO TIME!) and I just need to put together some extra stuff tonight, should be golden!  I'll get the hang of this.  Just... make the weather be nice, please?!

Left to right: country pork ribs with BBQ sauce on top... carrot kinpira... sauteed bean sprouts. 

Not particularly interesting but delicious and filling nonetheless.  That's what's important right now.


Dinner tonight.  From my freezer stash of recent slow cooker items...

Jar: ribollita
Left cup: sauteed bean sprouts
Right cup: carrot kinpira

Something different and still yummy.  I'm also keen to see if it'll still be at least warm 10-11 hours after I packed it.  Hahahaha.  What do you think?  I'd be really happy if it were!!! 

Happy bento~!!!  (and thanks for dealing with my grumpiness the past few days!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Feisty Bento #284 & 285: Trying Ain't Doing


I got home at a reasonable-ish time last night, a little before 11, and managed to whip up two batches of veggies for the week (for both dinner and bento), bean sprouts and carrot kinpira.  Pleased with myself, I went to sleep and plotted out today's bento... spaghetti in a lunch jar, veggies, and some other stuff.

Well, I woke up a little bit late and then didn't start packing my lunch immediately because I knew it should be quick.  I was heating the spaghetti, went to pre-heat my lunch jar, then opened it up and...

this is gross, ok?

Apparently, the last time I'd used that jar, I didn't wash it, and just put it to the side.  I thought I'd washed it, so I had it on the side for a while, still in the bag, still just sitting there, patiently waiting for me to open it... *grimace* 

So I panicked and threw the spaghetti in this take out container because the other lunch jar (I have two, excluding Mr. Bento, which is too big for everyday use) was in the sink - I know that one is unwashed, because I haven't had any TIME... and I figured at least this way, I can microwave my spaghetti.  But of course, this means no veggies with my lunch... sadface. 

I did make a slightly better dinner bento, which won't be heated because no microwave at school (that I know of... in fact, I don't even know if we have a cafeteria...), but whatever.  I'll have real food.


 Sauteed bean sprouts, carrot kinpira, and BBQ country style pork ribs

I'm exhausted still... and I have a mountain of dishes in the sink that need to be taken care of!!!  Ack!!! 

Happy bento!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feisty Bentos 282 & 283: Slapdash


I'm stressed.  Why am I stressed?  I've been trying to deny that I'm stressed, but the signs are all there, so I guess it's time to 'fess up: I don't have enough time.

Sure, you may think, most people don't have enough time, that doesn't mean it's a big deal.  No, you don't understand.  I don't have enough time to eat if I don't really make an effort to do so.  I don't have enough time to pee.  Or sleep.  Or shower.  (Don't worry, I still do the last 3, because I have at least some concern for my health if I don't.  And how other people will react to me if I stop bathing.) 

So yesterday, a Sunday, I should have had plenty of time to cook some stuff and be able to just whip stuff out of the containers I keep my bento stash in for the week, but alas, t'was not to be.  I won't go into the dirty details of what went down, but suffice it to say, I spent a day cooking and in the end, just felt like a total a-hole.  Which adds to my stress.  You see where this is going?

This morning, no direction, no planning, nothing, led me to be late for work as well.  Planning is REALLY. A. GOOD. IDEA.  I did manage to slap together two bentos though.

Top tier: BBQish country pork ribs
Bottom tier: marinated spicy cuttlefish; pickled daikon; grape tomatoes

Not the greatest or most interesting, but it'll do.  Right?  It'll have to.


Here's the second bento, for dinner.  Not well planned at all either, but at least it's mostly different from the one before.

Black bean & balsamic vinegar dip in the mini cup; Mandarin oranges; one pita cut up into 8ths; grape tomatoes; pistachio & pepper dip.

Why do I need a second bento/bento for dinner?  Well, you may recall me mentioning that I was going back to school.  Tonight marks the first class, and it's probably a good idea that I don't pass out from hunger.  I haven't met my professor yet, so I'm not sure his/her policy on eating in class, but I chose all non-crunchy foods so I don't disturb people in class.  I tried to pick non-smelly foods, and I think I succeeded, so we'll see.  Honestly, class is 8:15 pm - 10:00 pm, so I doubt it'll be a full class anyway, but again... we'll see.

Do I sound grumpy?  Probably because I am, just a tad bit.  There's a lot going on at work and I've been unable to concentrate because they're doing construction on my floor as well.  Joy.

But you know, still, always: happy bento!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Feisty Bento #281: The End


Last night's dinner, more of the same, see the rice this time :)


Today's lunch, again more of the same, finishing up the veggies before they go bad (woohoo! I never do that! I mean I'm never able to!). 

Top tier: last of the rice with red steak/onions/sauce
Bottom tier: last of the bean sprouts, last of the cabbage, pickled daikon, marinated cuttlefish

So happy with lunch today.  Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Happy bento!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Feisty Bento #280: Dinner for lunch or lunch for dinner?


That was part of my dinner last night... and basically what I had for dinner last night is what I have for bento today! 
From the top/left: sauteed cabbage; marinated cuttlefish (spicy); sauteed mungbean sprouts; picked daikon; spicy chicken; Woorijip gimbap
Not pictured: bowl of rice mixed with red steak and onions, sauce



Left cup: spicy marinated cuttlefish; pickled daikon; sauteed cabbage; mungbean sprouts
Right cup: spicy chicken; gimbap; takuan
Jar: rice mixed with steak, onions, sauce

It's not like it's hard to smush that stuff in there, but it's fiddly and I lose patience with my less-than-excellent chopsticks skills.  (Despite growing up in an Asian household, my parents found it incredibly frustrating to make me use chopsticks properly for two reasons: I am left handed, so they had to constantly think how to reverse the instructions, and because I simply refused, preferring forks and spoons.)  So my chopstick skills to this day are laughable; most anyone I know has a better grasp than I, including every single non-Asian friend I have that I have eaten at an Asian restaurant with. 

So the rice?  It's not a new thing - I've posted about this restaurant leftover before - but I made my life even easier than frying it last night.  I just made fresh rice (in my rice cooker), and when the rice was almost but not quite cooked all the way, I dumped in the cut up steak.  When the rice was finished, I stirred it all around, adding the onions and sauce from the carton, and let it sit for a few minutes to warm through (while I prepped my side dishes in the first pic), and voila, delicious and filling dinner! 

... and delicious, filling leftovers for lunch today :)

Happy bento~!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Feisty Bento #279: Seven Different Kinds of Food!


Breakfast this morning... I've been making myself a breakfast sandwich, wrapping it in tinfoil, then eating them at work.  Partially because I don't want to eat and then get on the bus (after the infamous incident of '95 where I um... on a rude passenger on the subway... more on that later, after the food), but partially because this brand of sliced American cheese sucks and doesn't melt.  Well, today was the first time it melted all the way, but probably because after I sealed it in the tinfoil, I plopped it into my insulated lunch bag for transportation with my bento, so maybe that's why.  I'm a big Kraft singles girl (individually wrapped slices of American cheese are great to have in the fridge because they take ages to go bad - I've actually never seen any go bad, and I keep them forEver - and because they're handy for a quick grilled cheese sandwich), but these were purchased by someone else and given to me at the end of, um, a ski trip last February... we didn't use all of it for our burgers.  To be honest, though, the expiration date still hasn't passed, so I don't feel too crazy for keeping the cheese.  Oh, the brand is Borden - I'm going to stick with Kraft from now on, because it melts up much more easily.  Yums.

Oh, the sandwich is a toasted English muffin...
I melted butter in a small heavy bottomed skillet, then added some diced red onions I had hanging out, then 10 washed grape tomatoes, letting them heat until they burst into deliciousness, added one beaten egg with a dash of salt and some hot sauce, scrambled it all together, then added fresh cilantro (YES SKIPPYMOM I STILL HAVE, and there's another bunch in the fridge that hasn't even been touched yet!... told you, I have issues with fresh herbs!)... then topped my toasted English muffin with a slice of cheese and the hot eggs.  Yummers!

Now, here's a silly question about English muffins I actually asked a few days ago in a private conversation, but Laura brought my attention to it again:
Why are they called English muffins?  What makes them English, exactly?  Wouldn't an English muffin be a scone?  (Though she mentioned crumpets, I don't really know what that is or anything.) 


Again, 7 different kinds of [food] (I wrote veggies yesterday, but two of the 7 were not veggies, lol)! 

Top left, going down: pickled daikon; marinated spicy cuttlefish; sauteed cabbage
Next to that: a line of sauteed mungbean sprouts
Next to that: spicy chicken
Next to that: 3 pieces of Woorijip gimbap, and a broccoli floret

Seven different kinds of food!  Hehe yes I'm a dork.  And yes, it's from "You, Me & Dupree" although I don't think that movie's target audience is teenage boys, it's a romantic comedy!  My favorite fluff movie style, hehe, it was on TBS this past weekend :)

Nom nom nom... happy bento!!!

Oops, forgot the story I alluded to earlier; it goes like this, and it's a FeistyFamily favorite: I used to commute to high school, about an hour and a half each way.  One day, my lovely father decided I should be eating breakfast, since I was a growing child in his eyes and it was good for concentration or something like that.  He made me a delicious breakfast of bacon, sunny side up eggs, and toast or maybe hash browns, I don't remember, but this was basically my favorite breakfast at the time.  So I devoured it and got on the subway.  Now this heavy meal is fine and dandy on a weekend morning, afterwhich you just laze about and watch Saturday morning cartoons or do chores even, but something gurgled in my stomach as I boarded the 2nd train at my transfer point.  I began feeling sick and the train was especially crowded - more so than usual - this morning, so I finally asked the man seated in front of me, a businessman in a business suit no doubt on his way to Wall Street, which was the stop after mine, if he would mind giving me his seat for a stop because I felt sick.  He laughed in my face and said no.  I don't recall why I didn't ask someone else, or why no one else offered because at this point, I turned a bright shade of green (I'm assuming) and proceeded to throw up on this businessman.

Normally the story would end here, and it does except he started screaming at me (do you blame him?) and my stop came so I got off the train, and he was yelling for me to pay for his dry cleaning, which I couldn't afford anyway.  Oops :X

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Feisty Bento #278: 7 Kinds of Smoke... errr, veggies

I had a long weekend (Monday off for MLK day) and my brain is mush, but here's some random blather.


What is this cake box doing on my messy dining table on a Friday night when it's just me and a DVD (and the snuggle buddy of a lifetime, my baby, my dog)?


Easy there, I didn't go nuts and decide to eat a whole cake.  It's my dinner - a tostada salad from a local place I've always just walked by.  Check it out!  Loaded up with "Tex-Mex Chili" they called it, cheese, pickled jalapenos (which I'm discovering I can eat when mixed into other stuff, with a light kick, yum!), tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole... a bit pricy at $8.25 (for the bowl plus a side of guacamole) but pretty tasty.  The shell was a little greasy, but it's deep fried, what do you expect.  And it wasn't fresh fried, because it took about 5 minutes from time of order to receiving my order.  Not bad, I'd order again from this place, but not this because the oil was a bit too much.


Breakfast Saturday morning... the one on the left with the sunny side up egg is mine, right is the BF's with his scrambled egg.  TOASTED English muffin ;) I wrapped these up in tinfoil and then we headed out, I wish I could tell you to do something more interesting than what we did, but... just to watch our newest baby (another puppy)... and then off to a bday dinner for my brother.

I did not take pictures during dinner, and though I did take more pictures of food throughout the weekend, those will have to wait.  Sorry!


Today's bento actually features - gasp! - 7 items.  The bottom tier is smushed together but... yeah.

Top tier: rice mixed with tamago furikake; "salt & pepper" pork chops leftover from Saturday night's dinner
Bottom tier: Napa cabbage sauteed with water, a bit of olive oil and scallions; roasted butternut squash with garlic, maple syrup and pancetta; sauteed Romaine lettuce; broccoli florets flash cooked; sauteed mungbean sprouts

I crammed that all in there and it was delicious.

Happiest of bentos!!!

PS If you get the reference in the title, we probably watch the same kinds of movies, lol.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Feisty Bento #277: Soup for me

Dinner last night, which doesn't look that appetizing, and to be honest, wasn't.  I mean it was okay and all but it could have been so much better.  Bah.  I also discovered I'm not a big fan of "French cut green beans" so I'm going to stop buying them.  Haha.  That's good though!  That I figured that out, anyway.

NONfrozen cup of Mandarin oranges - DOLE BRAND, so if you buy the DOLE BRAND... don't freeze them!  I didn't eat this though, but you'll see why in a minute.

In the silicone cup, sauteed Romaine lettuce (looking a little sad but this is quite delicious, I assure you), grape tomatoes, and a scone with strawberry preserves (I cut it in half, swiped some preserves on, then closed it back up - not a good idea as when I tried to pry it apart, it wouldn't let the preserves come off evenly the way I'd spread it, so one side had them all and the other none; I had to eat it like a sandwich, which I don't like!). 

I didn't eat the Mandarin oranges for two reasons:

This is what the TV said this morning (our local channel that 1- is only on cable [ie, not sattellite, and actually, only on TIME WARNER CABLE, not any other cable company] and 2- deals specifically with the 5 boroughs of NYC, not Long Island, not New Jersey, nowheres but NYCs, youse got it?).  Ummm.... yeah, which led to the second reason:

Yeah, I got down to the cafeteria (where I eat my bento every day) and noticed they had New England clam chowder on the menu, so I snagged a cup.  I was too full after eating everything but the oranges so I didn't eat them.  Sigh.  The soup wasn't even that good, although at $2.28 (they raised the prices slightly), it wasn't that expensive at least.  Bad for my waistline I bet though!  Good in this frigid weather though.  Sadface.

And because I can, I'm going to post a picture of my breakfast.

Sunny side up (perfectly cooked! without any sort of tomfoolery!) on an English muffin, cooked in butter and topped with cilantro (sorry SkippyMom -  bought two bunches cuz it was 2/$1, and I always wind up wasting some fresh herbs when I buy them, so I've been just throwing it in/on everything; I even mixed it into a container of crushed pineapple I was eating and it was surprisingly delicious! - if you like that verdant flavor of cilantro).  My one regret is - um, it turns out English muffins are MEANT to be toasted, because if you don't, they're soft and taste like uncooked flour and gross.  Otherwise, delicious. 

Ok everyone, stay warm and have an excellent long weekend (long for me anyways, I have MLK Day off) - HAPPY BENTO~!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Feisty Bento #276: More Mess

In the cup: sour cream topped with lots of fresh cilantro, for mixing into the jar
Jar:  chili topped with shredded cheese (recipe to come, it's a new version of my previous chili recipes)
Frozen individual portion of Mandarin oranges - I have to check on the brand for these, but it's 80 calories a cup, not sure if that includes if you drink the juice - ummm, who said I do that?!  :P

Okay.  I am not having good luck with the lunch jars lately.  The frozen cup of Mandarin oranges - I froze it because I wanted to keep my sour cream cold, right?  But when I took everything out to have lunch, the plastic part of its cup had broken, I guess during the freezing process, and it leaked juice all over my thermal insulated lunch bag!  WRAGH!!!  Since it's just juice, luckily,that'll rinse right out, but still, I was NOT happy!

Also: thanks for all the tips about the other lunch bag!  I wound up soaking it with some dishwashing soap and then rinsing it off, letting it dry.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do this right away since I had to rush out to take care of a semi-emergency the other night, so I don't think all of the oils came out.  Thankfully, the bag is a dark maroon, so I guess it won't look too bad with a stain... I'll let you know how it looks once it's fully dry (it wasn't dry yet when I last checked).  Boo. 

Sorry for not updating - I actually was out sick the past two days, had some... issues.  Blegh.  I'm back now... and it's snowing!!!

This was the view while I waited for the bus this morning.  BLEGH.  Perfect day to stay in, I tell you!

The view from my bus (of another bus) so you can see how much snow it was.  Sigh.  The downside of living in NYC.


Monday, January 12, 2009


Oh man, right after I basically wrote a love letter to my lunch jar set, I went to eat my lunch and... I've done this before, but usually it's not a big deal at all (probably because it's usually me trying to pack as much rice as possible in there on top of the curry), but I must have overfilled it just slightly with the wet ribollita... and the damn thing leaked a bit all over the inside of my insulated bag!  Worse, it's oily, so I don't know how to wash it (any suggestions?  I'm pretty sure the Japanese tag inside says no machine washing...)... and it even managed to seep through a bit into my tote bag!  Luckily, it's a freebie tote bag that I lug around since it's ginormous and fits everything I need on workdays, but still! 

I emphasize this is my fault, but let this be a warning to you all: really, do not overfill these jars!!!  You will regret it!  Just pack it accordingly and you'll be fine - grrr on me!

Feisty Bento #275: Lots and lots and lots

Ok, to make up for my lack of real posts lately... sort of... I'm going to post a couple of big things.  Hehe! 

So as you may or may not know, I have a dog whom I adore and cherish and she is my baby forever and ever.  Her name is Keywee (pronounced kiwi - I could bore you with the story of why it's spelled that way, but you might realize just how incredibly vain I really am then, hah).  Since I adopted her almost 7 years ago now, I have not eaten kiwis at all.  It wasn't a conscious decision on my part - and I didn't eat many before then anyway - but in the past 2-3 years, I've noticed that the sight of them on a cake or anywhere makes me cringe.  Thankfully, they're not too common in the things I eat, but that's just an odd thing about me.  Why does any of this matter? 

... meet Sandwich.

Yes, darlings, meet the latest addition to our family.  Sandwich aka Sammy... a French bulldog + Beagle mix.  Isn't he ADORABLE?!  I will have better pictures of him eventually, but for now, this will have to do - he was pooped out from his exciting day! 

Will I stop eating sandwiches?

NOT BLOODY LIKELY.  Hahahaha.  I love sandwiches!  I may stop calling them "sammies" though ;) 

Today's bento:

Jar: ribollita - made with Italian sausage instead of bacon
Side cup: grape tomatoes

I also have an individual cup of Mandarin oranges on the side for dessert.  I would have put some more crushed pineapple, except I discovered the little cups on the side of this aren't quite leakproof when I last put crushed pineapple in there - the juice leaked out a bit and got all over the inside of my insulated lunchbag.  Boo. 

So LitVit asked me recently about lunch jars aside from Mr. Bento.  The above lunch jar set is this one, which I spoke briefly about in that post.  Over a year later, here are my thoughts on this jar...

I love this set because it's perfect for packing soups, stews, curries, whatever that you want to keep warm.  I run my hot water tap for a minute or so, then fill this and set it aside while I prepare everything else.  Things stay hot in it, especially if they're very hot when I pack it.  Once or twice, they've actually remained hot enough to almost burn my lips when I first open it, and they stay warm throughout my lunch.  I did notice, however, that the more liquid an item is, the hotter it stays - for example, I've packed regular rice (mixed with other stuff) in it before, and it did not stay hot.  It was warm, sure, but not hot-hot like a stew would be, and like how I expect my lunch today to remain. 

I also love this set because it's metal - which means it is super easy to clean (in my opinion - I obviously hand wash my bento items because I have no dishwasher, and they are mostly plastic, but I really do dislike washing plastic items because once oily, they are a PAIN to clean properly, and sometimes they stain).

HOWEVER, the largest downside I've found to this set is its size.  At 560 ml total, it's respectable for a woman my age, height, and weight, and perhaps not bad for losing weight, but the main jar is only 240 ml, which means you aren't getting a ton of stew or soup or whatever it is you'd like to pack, and in fact, the bulk of your meal is really coming from the side cups (160 ml each x2 = 320).  As I'm trying to lose weight, this isn't necessarily a huge deal, and for me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, hands down. 

Having said that, there are also several alternatives if you want larger bento jars - the JAR portion itself, not just the entire capacity.  You may have noticed that I do have another bento lunch jar (again, besides Mr. Bento).  The jar of this one clocks in at approximately 290 ml, with the side cups coming in at 165 ml and 200 ml.  (Since the Zojirushi website uses ounces, the conversions might be slightly off, give or take .5 ml.)  So the total is approximately 655 ml, again with the side cups bearing the most of the food, and that's a bit more than I might want to eat on any given day.  I occasionally pack this accordingly - using only one cup, or packing something that's light on calories, high on nutrition, etc. 

One other major problem with this set that I've found is that with the exception of last week's pasta, I've had general issues with keeping things warm in this jar.  Interestingly, that pasta was not liquidy at all... but the set itself is very different from the other one.  It's larger not just in capacity, but in size - the jar is a metal exterior shell that I pre-heat with hot tap water, and then has plastic insert that you place inside the empty metal shell with the actual food in it.  This goes to my dislike of plastics because they stain, and a lot of the soups, stews, curries I make are tomato based or - well, curry! which is also staining.  So far, I haven't had any issues because I wipe the jar out when I'm done eating, but I could see this being an issue with other people.  Or not.  Depends on how anal retentive you are, I suppose.  So I can't really recommend this set based on my own experiences with the heat retention so far.  I do admit that since I first began using it, when I reach for a lunch jar, I always reach for the smaller red set first.  Not just because of its physical size, but because of my past history with it, the weight of the Zojirushi set (which is quite heavy), and the amount of food it holds (too much).  I tend to only take this one out when the other one is dirty, so perhaps my limited experience with it has also tainted my view of it - maybe it holds heat just fine, just that I did it wrong the first few times and it's actually a great set.  I mean, it is a great set, just that I mis-used it initially.  I don't know. 

So, let's say you really want to pack almost entirely soup/stew/curry and just a little of a side dish.  My brother actually has a solution for that sort of lunch (scroll down past the first bunch, that's just a review on the entire thing, till you get to where it says "Modded Mr. Bento") - without requiring you to buy a new lunch jar whatsoever.  He has had excellent results with using a quart container - one of those cheapy plastic numbers you get at Chinese takeout all the time - slipped inside Mr. Bento with hot food.  He says that the Mr. Bento keeps that hot as well!  How awesome is that?!  That totally makes the Mr. Bento worth the $40 USD or so that it costs, right?  I mean, personally, that's still too much food for me, but my brother is a big guy, and you don't have to fill it all the way to the top, right?  ;)  This also works for my problem with plastic - if it stains or is just too greasy to wash properly - just throw it away!  (Well, in light of our environment, I hope you use it a few times first, but you know.) 

I hope this helps LitVit and anyone who was thinking about lunch jars, pros, cons, etc.  These are just some of my thoughts on the containers I've had experience with - I've actually only used my Mr. Bento once because it is way too large for me to comfortably eat in one sitting, but I did find that my food stayed warm with it and if you pack half of it with snacks - or perhaps pack two meals in it - it's not that bad. 

And if you want a lot of in depth examination into heat retention, Biggie has a great post about that specifically, but also lots of information about lunch jars in general over her entire site

--- What, you thought I was done rambling on here?  I've got one more.  It's not a big thing to me, but while I was doing it this past weekend, I thought, "Oh hey, maybe people will be interested in this."  Sometimes I find myself casually mentioning something I do to make my life easier, and the response is usually at least one person will be surprised and happy that I shared... so I thought I'd do that here.  Maybe you all already know it and I'm building this up.  Maybe it won't help any of you.  BUT IF IT HELPS JUST ONE PERSON, I'll be happy I shared :)

As you probably know, freezing food is a really big help.  And I've mentioned that I have not mastered the art of cooking for one - I grew up in a family of 5, and cooked for 5 people always with the intention of having a little bit leftover (my family is big on excess - which you know, if you read Feisty Foodie at all, we do our meals up big time - I mean, I grew up being taught-by-example that it is ALWAYS better to have leftovers than to run out of food).  SO, as such, I've been freezing a lot of food lately instead of cooking something and eating it for two weeks straight.  Not that I would mind, but this helps me also on weeks when I'm just not feeling the cooking thing, I'll still have something to eat for dinner or lunch, right? 

I've frozen Japanese curry with great success before, so I've been thinking of what other kinds of stews/soups/curries that might hold up well to freezing.  So I froze some leftover beef stew in individual sandwich bags/serving sizes, and some of that creamy chicken stew, and I made a ton of that ribollita above so I'll be freezing the leftovers of that as well.  What's my point, you ask? 

It's not that easy ladling these liquidy items into sandwich bags without getting it everywhere.  The first few times I tried, I got curry all over the outside of the bags, the part where you "zip" the bag, the part where you open the bag... it was a mess.  I was pretty pissed (even though I realized later that once you freeze it, it'll peel off so no curry will be wasted, hehe).  I really hate getting my hands messy when I'm doing something that, by all accounts, shouldn't be messy!  And I really hate getting the outside of containers dirty because it gets everything else dirty too (I do wipe them because I'm very anal retentive about that). 

So I figured out one day that instead of holding the bag with one hand and trying to fling stew into it with the other... I could just hang the bag inside my mug and it would keep it open for me!  Easy, pour one two three and then zip, it's all clean and can just be popped in the freezer straightaway!  NICE! 

I literally just open the bag, push my hand in to open it up, then push it into the mug, push down the top of the bag so it doesn't get in the way of the ladle, and then I take it out, push excess air out and freeze. 

Maybe it's not a stroke of genius for you, but it's made my life so much easier since then; now the bags stay clean on the outside, and stew/soup/curry only goes on the inside of the bag where it belongs! 

Alright, I've probably rambled on enough here, so I'll let you go.  Oh what a coincidence, it's now lunchtime ;)


Friday, January 9, 2009

Feisty Bento #274: Duck, duck, duck...

Wow.  Doesn't that look more like the kind of thing I'd post over at Feisty Foodie?  Maybe I should - no, I will - save the rest of the photos then.  I have a lot.  But it's not really anything new - this is basically the same way I make duck in general (with a few recipe tweaks so I could render as much duck fat as possible... to reserve... and cook with... because, who, me?  Make "dieting resolutions" for the new year?  You've got the wrong girl!). 

That was dinner last night. 

So today's bento:

LEFTOVER DUCK!  Hehehe.  And risotto but that wasn't so interesting.  Anyways.  Ahem.

Top tier: red cabbage layered with crushed pineapple on top
Bottom tier: duck slices; risotto

So the top tier.  I had crushed pineapple hanging out in the fridge, and I still have shredded (raw) red cabbage.  I decided to just throw those two together and see if they mellowed by lunchtime - red cabbage raw can be a bit much to eat plain, and I didn't want to add mayo to it to lower the health factor.  And omg! this was really good.  The cabbage retained its crunch, but sweetened a bit from the pineapple juice and acidity leaking into it, and the pineapple was deliciously sweet.  Win! 

As for the duck & risotto - well, this is actually the first time I've packed anything for lunch the night before.  I knew the risotto probably wouldn't be that great come lunchtime, and it was only alright, but whatever.  I loved my lunch today!!! 

Happy bento!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Feisty Bento #273: Winter Wonderland

So I decided on a total whim to try adding crushed pineapple - that's what's in the cup - to the beef stew.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly the oomph I was looking for... but then I gave up, and ladled out the rest of the stew into sandwich bags for freezing and eating at a later date.  Maybe it's just me.  I'm sure it tastes good, just not as good as I'd like.  Ah well!  Can't always hit a homerun! 

Jar: beef stew
Cup: crushed pineapple
Not shown: a pudding cup I had as dessert.

You like the background?  My sister gave me a bunch of nifty kitchen items for Christmas, including this trivet/cutting board/decorative piece.  (I normally don't liken trivet to cutting board, but the package it came in said it could be used as both!)  It's tempered glass and so far, it's taken up a permanent spot betweeen my bamboo chopping block (on which I do not chop; I put other, smaller cutting boards on top of it to prep veggies or meats) and the stove.  Cute, right?  Also pretty fitting as it's meant to snow between 4 and 7 inches tomorrow.  Are you reading???  Unless you're in a colder climate than me, stop complaining about the weather!!!  *shakes fist*

Happy bento!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Feisty Bento #272: New Stew

Jar: beef stew (recipe to come; needs a little tweak)
Cup: broccoli stem and shredded carrot kinpira - the last of it, unfortunately :(

This first attempt at stew (I've made beef stew before... it's hard to explain... whatever!) needs a little tweak.  I want a slight sour tang to it, since the flavor is smooth and rich.  I'll have to taste it more when I get home tonight to really play with the flavors.  Maybe it just needs more pepper?  But when I eat it, I just want it to have a slight sourness to it that is missing.  Hmm.

Happy bento!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Feisty Bento #271: Delicious Leftovers

Jar: leftover pasta from dinner last night (review to come on FF)
Cup: Broccoli stem & shredded carrot kinpira - yum yum!!!

It's delicious~!!!

Happy bento!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Feisty Bento #270: It's a secret

So, I said that wasn't the last of it, but this is, I promise.  My Friday night - a cold Stewart's Birch Beer (zOMG, delicious, dare I say - better than their root beer?!), the last of the pulled pork, sauced with my spicy BBQ sauce, the last of the flash cooked broccoli, and... well, boxed mac & cheese.  There are all these boxes hanging out, getting in the way - purchased for my non-cooking boyfriend, who actually prefers this to real mac & cheese - so I made it really quickly.  I didn't have all the ingredients on hand for the real deal, anyway, so this came to be a really quick meal... I overstuffed myself on everything and enjoyed a quiet night on the couch with my bestest cuddle buddy in the whole world, Keywee.  Mmm.

The rest of the weekend, spent cleaning, cooking up a storm, just relaxing... so I won't share pictures until those recipes are up on Feisty Foodie ;)

Today's bento:

The unfortunate thing about bento'ing (and making lots of food with lots of leftovers all the time) and posting immediately... while posting on a delayed schedule on Feisty Foodie... is that a lot of times, I don't want to tell you all the details of what's in something until I've posted about it over there.  Sigh.  That makes it really hard to post my lunches here as quickly as I like to! 

So... here we go:

Left cup: it's a secret, but if you don't know what that is, there may be something else for you to read elsewhere, lol
Right cup: shredded carrot & broccoli stem kinpira (love this, easy to make, slight heat at the end, and great way to use up the broccoli stem that I didn't use already...)
Jar: it's a secret

Yup, that's my secret lunch.  Hahahaha.  Sorry!

Happy bento!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Feisty Bento #269: When Leftovers Go Bad

Like I said... I have no qualms eating leftovers.  Except in this case...

Top tier: roasted butternut squash; sauteed spinach
Bottom tier: plain pulled pork; flash cooked broccoli

Yeah, so I was eating this, when the butternut squash, I decided, smelled a little sour.  Not a lot, you see, but just a touch.  I mean, it was a week old at that point, so it wasn't too surprising, right?  The spinach, being in such close quarters, I decided to throw away as well.  Sure, it almost pained me to waste food, except I knew I'd be in greater pain if I ate it, so I left it at 3 bites (before I decided I wasn't imagining the sour smell).  I ate some Raisinets to make up for the empty stomach feeling.  The other tier was fine, but it was also the last of everything... sort of.  :)

Sorry, I know I'm posting this late, but happy bento~!!!