Chicken & Rice Bento (93)

Rosemary Chicken over Rice Pilaf, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Carrots, Cheese Crisps, Red Grapes.

Have you ever had a little section of your bento that just needed something? The back right corner of this bento was empty which is not far from the condition of my refrigerator and pantry since we have been trying to clear everything in preparation for our move.

I was fortunate to have a couple of small blocks of cheese though there was enough soft food in this bento already. Time to get creative and bring back an old standby from my Atkins days. Cheese crisps!

Those of you who have been on a low-carb diet know that bread, crackers, etc are not allowed. The way around this is to make yourself some cheese crisps. Simply made and crisp like a cracker this fits the bill when you need a low-carb snack. It also fills that little corner of the bento nicely. 🙂

In addition to this crisp snack, I have rosemary chicken over rice pilaf, a blend of carrots, cauliflower, and green beans, and some red grapes to finish out today’s ideal meal.

If you’d like to try some cheese crisps please check the recipe section for instructions.

By the way – we’re moving tomorrow! Have a great weekend and I’ll let you know how everything went next week.

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lasagna Lunchbox (92)

Meat Lasagna, Brussel Sprouts, Red Grapes & Kiwi Flowers, Breadsticks, Chocorooms.

I’ve been prepping for our move this week and find myself exhausted and very sore.

I don’t want to say “I forgot” that I’m still recovering from surgery but I really thought I was doing better. My pain level has been 1-2 (you know that great 1-10 scale they use) and my energy level has been increasing daily.

Well a couple of days packing (no moving boxes, I promise) prove that it doesn’t take much to overdo it. I’m now back in bed and feeling pretty worthless other than letting everyone know what’s on the schedule for the day and trying to ensure they get it done. Thank goodness I have plenty of supervisory experience! 🙂

The move will go great with the help of my son and his wife and the packing will be finished by Friday.

The least I can do to support these efforts is make sure everyone is eating well. And I can do this without a great deal of work by using another make-ahead meal from the freezer.

Today’s contribution is a meat lasagna, along with brussel sprouts, and breadsticks. To round out this ideal meal I’ve added some red grapes and kiwi as well as chocorooms for dessert.

Two more days till we move…

Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Omurice (91)

Omurice on a baguette half, red grapes, kiwi butterflies, red velvet cake, chive and onion cream cheese, black & green olives, cornichon.

The other night I made sesame chicken and fried rice for dinner. The family managed to eat all of the chicken but there’s still quite a bit of rice left so I decided to put more in today’s bento via a new treat – the omurice!

Since discovering bento I have tried a variety of recipes and items that I have seen in other bentos. The omurice is one of those items though I took some liberty by using leftovers rather than making fresh chicken fried rice for the omelette filling.

The omurice has a sriracha lattice and is on top of half a baguette. Also included in today’s ideal meal is some chive and onion cream cheese for the baguette, black and green olives, a cornichon, red grapes, kiwi butterflies and half of a Little Debbie Petite Red Velvet cake.

Three days till we move. I’m getting excited!

Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sesame Chicken (90)

Top Tier: Crackers, Brie Wedge, Red Grapes. Bottom Tier: Sesame Chicken, Chicken Fried Rice, Crab Puff.

Since we are moving, I’m trying to clear out some freezer items so we don’t have so much to take. One freezer staple is my daughter’s favorite; crab puffs.

My daughter loves these so much she will sometimes go to an Asian restaurant and order just crab puffs. Since they are so easy to make we (yes, I make her help) occasionally make a batch of them and keep them in the freezer for her to cook whenever she’s in the mood.

Though the crab puffs weren’t the main course of last night’s dinner, she thought they were and helped clear quite a few!

I managed to sneak one for today’s bento and put that with some leftover sesame chicken and chicken fried rice. To finish today’s ideal meal I have added crackers, cheese, and grapes. Delicious!

Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Crispy Tofu & Veggies (89)

Top Tier: Kiwi, Red Grapes, & Mini Babybel Cheese. Bottom Tier: Crispy Garlic Tofu, Sauteed Carrot, Onion & Zucchini on a Bed of Steamed Rice.

As of last Friday I was a little sad about our family’s possible move. We had the moving company in Friday to give us an estimate, held a garage sale on Saturday, and went to the new place to decide how we would decorate, paint, etc. All of this really helped me feel good about everything and we are officially moving to our new condo this weekend! 🙂

We did have a busy weekend in preparation for the move and every day this week I have tasks scheduled so I definitely want to keep up my energy with use of healthy bento lunches.

Today’s bento is crispy tofu with carrots, red onion, and zucchini sauteed in garlic and butter. This is served over a bed of steamed rice to make up the lower tier.

To finish off this ideal meal I have added some fresh red grapes, kiwi fruit, and cheese.

Five days till we move!

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  

Shrimp Alfredo Pasta (88) & The Move

Our family has been debating downsizing our home for the past few weeks. This is partly a financial matter but also a matter of convenience and transportation during our daughter’s senior year of high school in 2010-11.

My vehicle was totaled a few months ago (my daughter and the people in the other vehicle are fine but my Durango is gone) and then I was laid off of work just as our lease for our current house was in it’s last month.

My husband and I talked many times about how everything happens for a reason. We don’t really need this big house anymore since our son moved out and we’d save about $500 a month by moving between rent and utilities. That is huge when you’re looking for work and the max unemployment pay in Arizona is about 30% of my lost income.

Well, we found a two-bedroom townhome that has energy efficient appliances and windows and is about 500 square feet smaller. It is in a more central location which would allow for public transit until I can replace my car and it’s good for my husband and me when our daughter finishes school and decides to move out. (Please stay through college little-one.) Our daughter won’t be able to take the bus to school since it’s about 25 miles from the new place so we’re stuck trying to figure out how to get her home but we have until August to determine that.

The last few weeks have been so trying with the financial side of this really pushing the move. Now our current landlord does the walk-through here and offers to drop our rent $200/month if we’d like to stay another year! I don’t want to move but that’s still not the same as we’d save by moving.

Arrrgh! Too hard to decide. I want to stay. This is our home. We’ll have to sell half of what we own to move since there’s no room for our bigger furniture and much of my kitchen stuff. The new place is upstairs with no balcony, no pantry, no storage, and our dog, Lindsey, would have a big adjustment not being able to go out on her own. Plus…I don’t want to sell my stuff. Is that crazy? I’ve grown attached to that Nesco roaster I use two or three times a year, and that big turkey platter that we used for all our Thanksgiving dinners. No room to store it so it would go out to the garage sale as would our dining room set which is too big for the new place. 😦

I can’t believe I’m sad over having to sell my stuff. It’s replaceable right? An extra $300 a month is too much to pay (especially while unemployed) just to keep my stuff.

What does this have to do with today’s bento? Nothing. But, I feel the need to vent so thanks for listening.

Now to the bento! Today’s ideal meal is a freezer cleaner. Basically if we do move we need to reduce our stash so I used some frozen peas, shrimp, and stored alfredo sauce to make a nice pasta dish. I’ve also added some cheese and crackers, grapes, a hard-candy, and banana pudding with a shortbread cookie (the cookie was eaten right after I snapped the photo). 😀

Lower Tier (shown on top): Peas, Shrimp, Bowties with peas and red pepper in alfredo sauce. Upper Tier (shown on bottom): Crackers, Cheese, Butterscotch Drop, Grape Skewer, Banana Pudding with Shortbread Cookie.

The moving company is coming to check out our stuff today to give us an estimate. I can still change my mind though…

Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pulled Pork Sandwich (87)

Pulled Pork Sandwich, Pepper Jack Cheese Wedge, Butterfly Crackers, Red Grape Skewer, Chocolate Wafer Cookie.

Are you back to see what day two of the pork recipes was?

Day one of the big pork roast was a pork carnitas and today; day two, is pulled pork.

The pork was about half of the pork shoulder I shredded after slow cooking it the other day. To the meat I added a simple barbecue sauce with cayenne, red pepper, and tabasco to give it heat.

Today’s ideal meal is a sandwich featuring this BBQ pork, some cheese and crackers, red grapes, and a chocolate wafer cookie.

Mmm-mm. Good barbecue!

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Carnitas & Rice (86)

Top Tier: Kiwi, Red Grapes, Babybel Cheese. Bottom Tier: Carnitas and Shredded Cheddar over Cilantro-Lime Rice.

I got a great deal on a pork shoulder roast so cooked that in the slow cooker the other night and shredded all the meat. The roast was so big that I was able to make two full dinners with it plus plenty of leftovers.

The first meal I made with the pork was carnitas. Carnitas is a Mexican dish which is basically roasted shredded pork. It is frequently used in tacos or burritos.

My carnitas was made by combining onion, garlic, pepper, cumin, cilantro, and lime juice with the pork and some of the juice from the slow-cooker. This is cooked stovetop until the flavors combine and the meat is to your liking. (I like it just cooked through but some like it a little more crisp.)

The carnitas in today’s bento is served over cilantro-lime rice rather than in tortillas. This ideal meal also has a tier of fruit and cheese and I added some chips and salsa at mealtime though that was an after-thought and is not in the photo.

Come back tomorrow to see what I did with the rest of the pork…

Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Salami & Pepperoni Fritatta (85)

Salami & Pepperoni Fritatta, Cucumber, Purple Cabbage, Carrots, Kiwi, Mini Babybel Cheese, Small bottle of sriracha.

I had been eating eggs pretty much daily until my surgery and then for some reason I stopped. Nothing related to the surgery. I mean just because I no longer have need for my reproductive organs doesn’t mean I need to lose respect for the chickens who still have theirs!

I decided to make a fritatta to show my appreciation for those chickens and have featured a piece of it in today’s bento.

There isn’t much fritatta friendly meat in the fridge so I used some sliced genoa salami and sandwich pepperoni. Combined with farmer’s cheese, red peppers, and green onions it is so good!

If you’ve never made a fritatta take a look at the recipes page and adapt to what you have in your refrigerator. You can’t go wrong!

To round out today’s ideal meal I have a bed of purple cabbage, carrot, and cucumber slices as well as a babybel cheese and kiwi fruit. I’ve also added a small bottle of sriracha (I’m addicted to sriracha and eggs) as well as a little ranch dressing hidden under the cabbage.

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Spicy Mackeral (84)

Bottom Tier: Onigiri, Spicy Mackeral, Roasted Vegetables. Top Tier: Banana Crumb Muffin, Peach Yogurt.

Today will be a very busy day for me as our family has found a new home and we must make all the preparations to move in two weeks. I’ll be working on the transfer of all utilities, etc today. 😛

Since I’ve got a busy day I want to ensure I have a good lunch to keep me going and this ideal meal is just the thing.

This bento is packed with protein in the yogurt and the mackeral. In addition I’ve got a beautiful roasted vegetable mixture of eggplant, zucchini, carrot, onion, and lotus root as well as an onigiri. To finish off I added most of a banana crumb muffin (couldn’t quite make the whole thing fit) which is homemade with applesauce and bananas. Yum!

Have a healthy, happy day!

Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment