Ham & Swiss Bento (125)

Ham and Swiss Sandwich, Pretz, Yogurt, Red Grapes, Pickles, Mini container of cream cheese for pretzels.

I have been running around a lot lately and have been forgetting my health in my rush to do other things. Does this happen to anyone else?

I found myself getting home late afternoon today and realized that I was starving!!! I mean really hungry, not that cutesy Winnie the Pooh grumbly-in-my-tumbly stuff. Then it hit me – I have not eaten yet and it’s 4:00! Bad, bad!!

So I threw together the quickest meal I could come up with that would offer a good amount of protein and headed out the door again.

This lunch is perfect for travel and I’ll be able to eat most of it while driving (not exactly the best habit but necessary today) without compromising safety.

The sandwich is a small french roll with ham, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and mustard. (I took the insides out of the roll to reduce carbs and calories and make room for extra protein.)

Along with the sandwich I put in some pickle slices that ended up half on the sandwich and half as a munchie. I also have red grapes, butter flavored pretzels with cream cheese for dipping and a sweet-creamy Strawberry Shortcake yogurt.

Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Spaghetti with meat sauce (124)

Spaghetti with meat sauce, red grapes, butterscotch drop, sesame crackers, almond cookie, brie wedge.sesame crackers,

One can only eat so much of the big birthday cookie without needing a little something else. (No need to worry I had less then half of a wedge of this gargantuan treat!)The only problem is I have limited items in our freezer and little desire to be in the kitchen since I spent so much time in there over the past three days.

Luckily I did have some pre-cooked meat sauce and spaghetti nests in the freezer. So the entree of today’s bento was born. A nice bowl of spaghetti usually begs for grisini but I’m out of that too so I added some crackers and brie as well as a light, buttery almond cookie from a local French bakery. A handful of red grapes finish out today’s ideal meal nicely and it all took less than ten minutes in the kitchen.

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  
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The big birthday cookie

My daughter’s birthday was last week and I have to say I can’t believe my BABY is seventeen. She is the youngest of our two children and the last one at home and I am already starting to feel the sadness of her leaving the nest as we plan her senior year of high school and talk about college.

As we were preparing for her birthday I asked her what kind of cake she would like and she said that she decided against a cake this year but just wanted a big cookie instead. Really? No cake? Ok. I guess we can make that work. But I’ve never made a big cookie…

Well, Jessica loves chocolate chip cookies so that’s what she picked and on Friday night while she was out with her friends I made a batch of cookie dough, threw it onto a pan, and baked it up.

This is what we ended up with…

The big birthday cookie! (I forgot to take a picture after I wrote 'Happy Birthday Jessica' and added seventeen candles to the top left corner)

It may be hard to tell from the picture but this really is a big cookie. I mean it is BIG! This is a sixteen inch pizza pan and that thing grew to the edge as it baked but oh it was soooo good.

I was worried I may have overcooked it since it came out a bit darker than usual but I wanted to bake it a little longer so we wouldn’t have a doughy center.

It turned out perfect. The center was nice and soft and the edges had just a little firmness but no crunch. Definitely the way we prefer our cookies.

Jessica actually cut it like a pizza so we ended up with giant cookie wedges that could last each person all day. You could also make this for a party and top it with whipped cream or ice cream and sprinkles or chocolate syrup and let the kids go nuts. Healthy? No way! But such a fun treat 🙂

If you feel like doing something different for your kids (or yourself) make your favorite batch of cookie dough and bake it on a nicely buttered pizza pan to make this giant family treat.

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

Tonkatsu & Crab Bento (123)

Top Tier: Spicy crab beggars purse, crab claws, pears drizzled with chocolate. Bottom Tier: Tonkatsu, cabbage, steamed rice, mini container of sweet chili sauce.

Today is a kind of cleanup as far as bento is concerned. I am trying to use up some of the items in the freezer so I took out the last of my egg sheets, imitation crab claws, and boneless pork chops.

The chops were a nice thin cut that lent itself nicely to tonkatsu. Tonkatsu is basically a breaded, fried pork chop which I made by seasoning the chops with salt and pepper, dipping in egg then coating with panko. I fried them in sesame oil till nicely browned and then cooked up some cabbage and rice to go with it.

Finishing out this ideal meal is a beggars purse filled with a spicy crab mixture, a couple of imitation crab claws and some pears drizzled with chocolate sauce. Delicious!!

Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Tofu and Rice (122)

Instant miso soup, tofu fritters with broccoli, carrots, and rice, and a fruit tier with lychee, strawberry, and kiwi.

My schedule seems to be a little off this week. I normally had been posting in the mornings but lately I have been forgetful and/or running behind in the morning so I have been posting late in the day. I will try to be more consistent though right now I’m not sure whether that means early or late postings will become the norm. I will continue to do my best to post each weekday so all of you “lurkers” can still have something to drool over. 😛

Today’s drool is brought to you courtesy of the tofu fritter and miso soup bento.

I love this bento dish because it allows me to make my two-tier bento and still have the bowl lid in which to carry (and later make) an instant soup.

This soup is an instant miso which comes with a flavor packet as well as a seaweed and seasoning packet. I’ve had it a few times and really enjoy the flavor of the broth as well as the convenience.

In the main tier I have some tofu fritters cooked until crispy in a pan with garlic, butter, and pepper. With this I have some steamed broccoli and carrots as well as white rice. All is topped with sesame seeds and bulldog sauce. Yum!!!

For the fruit tier I have a large strawberry as well as a lychee and some kiwi slices.

Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hogie Bento (121)

Blueberries, Strawberries, Carrot Chips, Buffalo/Ranch Doritos, Hogie with Salami, Ham & Provolone.

Oh my goodness! I forgot to publish my post this morning. I’m so sorry.

Well, it’s not too exciting but I did actually prepare a bento so here it is in all it’s yumminess. 😀

Today’s bento is great for another day of running around. This sandwich box holds quite a bit so I was able to get a good size hogie in here as well as some sides to balance out the meal.

The hogie has genoa salami, black forest ham, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pepperoncini, and italian dressing.

To finish out this ideal meal I added some Buffalo/Ranch Doritos which I picked up at the register to use the last of a gift card the other day. (Have you ever had around $1 left on a gift card? I hate that!)

I also added some blueberries, strawberries, and carrots so it didn’t seem like such an unhealthy lunch.

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Crepe Bento (120)

Sweet & Savory Crepes, Cucumbers, Strawberries & Blueberries.

I was a little torn as to what I wanted in today’s lunch so I did what anyone would do…

I opened the refrigerator and stared into the abyss. I then closed the door after finding nothing and repeated this exercise a couple more times.

Now, I’m a mom and I’ve told my children many times that nothing new will appear when doing this but apparently I just didn’t get it today.

Frustrated at my inability to find something wonderful I decided that I would indeed have to cook. Ugh!

Don’t get me wrong – I love to cook. Usually. But it’s miserably hot and I don’t like cooking as much when it’s hot outside. So my goal was to cook something delicious without heating up the house.

This bento is the best of simple stovetop cooking. A couple of eggs, some milk, water, flour, and butter and I have a nice batter for crepes thanks to the genius of Alton Brown. (Recipe here.)

Crepes can take just about anything for a filler so I decided to try two types. A savory and a sweet.

The savory is filled with ham, swiss cheese, and green onions. The sweet has a filling of fresh strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. Yum!!

To finish out today’s ideal meal I did add a few slices of cucumber as well as more berries. A nice way to start off the week without having to heat up the kitchen.

Published in: on June 21, 2010 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chili Cheese Potato (119)

Upper Tier: Red & Green Grapes, Brie Wedge, Crackers, Little Debbie Petite Yellow Cake. Lower Tier: Chili over Baked Potato.

Why when it’s hot outside do I feel like making chili, soups, and stews? I want these during cold weather because they just warm the belly but when it’s hot I don’t want to do anything that requires use of the oven and heats up my nicely air-conditioned home.

There are a few ways to get by during the summer without heating up the kitchen though.

This weekend many people will be celebrating the great american barbecue and letting dad fill up on his share of beer while leaving grill marks on anything that can take the heat.

I love me a good barbecue but besides the grill I do find myself using another great invention a lot during summer. The crockpot.

My crockpot gets plenty of use for soups, chilis, stews and anything else I can get to cook nicely without a great deal of effort or electricity.

Today’s bento features a great crockpot meal. Chilli con carne. This chili is a combination of ground beef, pinto & kidney beans, tomatoes, green chili, and a variety of seasonings.

Chili is something I make a few different ways and I will serve it on rice, spaghetti, potatoes, inside tortillas, or in a bowl with a variety of toppings.

This chili does have a baked potato hiding under it and is topped with cheddar cheese and green onions. Yum!

To complete this ideal meal I have the last of the grapes as well as some crackers and cheese, and a Little Debbie Petite Yellow cake.

A hearty and delicious meal to finish out the week.

Now crack open a beer and get ready to fire up that grill for this Father’s Day weekend. Happy Father’s Day!

Published in: on June 18, 2010 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Breakfast Bento (118)

Upper Tier: English Muffin, Red Grapes. Lower Tier: Hash Browns, Over-hard Eggs, Pork Sausage Links.

Sometimes breakfast just sounds good but that is hardly ever first thing in the morning for me. I know it’s the most important meal of the day and helps maintain a healthy weight. Blah, blah, blah…

Sorry. Minor tangent. I really do try to eat something in the morning but my breakfast usually consists of fruit and/or yogurt and coffee. (Yes, I’ll admit that sometimes it’s just coffee.)

Today I wanted breakfast food so I decided to have it for lunch.

This ideal meal has a small portion of hash browns and sausage, one over-hard egg, half of an english muffin and some red grapes. Still a petite meal but enough to keep me going and it allows me to have these breakfast foods without feeling guilty about the calories and carbs.

I’ve tried other breakfast bentos before and am always happy with them. I think my favorite breakfast items for bento would be fritatta or crepes. What’s your favorite breakfast bento?

Published in: on June 17, 2010 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Meatloaf & Potatoes (117)

Top Tier: Chocolate Pudding, Red Grapes, Vanilla Wafer Cookies, Brie Wedge. Bottom Tier: Meatloaf, Green Beans, Au Gratin Potatoes.

I made a batch of Pastitsio (Greek lasagna) yesterday but since I wasn’t sure of how well it would be received by the family I also made a meatloaf with the remaining ground beef & pork.

I make meatloaf probably every four to six weeks. It’s a favorite with the whole family but I often just make it for sandwiches. This time I made the meatloaf and it went straight to the fridge since the Pastitsio was a hit.

I intended to just slice it up for sandwiches but my husband requested a hot lunch so I made some Au Gratin potatoes and decided it looked good for a bento too.

This bento has the meatloaf and potatoes along with green beans for the main course. To finish off this ideal meal I added a wedge of brie, some red grapes, two vanilla wafer cookies, and some creamy chocolate pudding. Yum!

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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