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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Greek Bento (116)

Greek Salad, Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna), Green Grapes, Crackers, Pepperjack Cheese Wedge.


Do you ever find yourself needing to the grocery store so much that it prompts new recipes? Today I really needed to go to the store. I’m running out of pretty much everything. Produce, dairy, meat. You name it and we need it.

Well, unfortunately I had no car and the hundred degree temperatures don’t encourage me to go outside to walk anywhere. But I still had to cook dinner.

Hmmmm. Well I have some ground beef and ground pork. Maybe I could make lasagna. No tomatoes? Really? Hmmm. Guess I’ll make a white lasagna. Greek lasagna? That sounds interesting. I’ll give it a shot.

A few substitutions were needed since the recipe called for ground lamb, oregano, white cheddar, and more parmesan than I had in the fridge. I used a blend of ground beef & ground pork, fresh basil, and white american & feta cheeses. Overall though this recipe was a success!

My husband was quite pleased with the bechamel sauce and the feta and white american cheese melted beautifully and gave a nice complement to the hint of cinnamon in the meat sauce.

Today’s ideal meal includes a sliver of this greek lasagna along with a simple greek salad of greens, black olives, red onions, and feta. Rounding out this meal are some huge seedless green grapes, and crackers and cheese.

Now I guess I’ll need to talk my husband out of the car so I can do some grocery shopping for tomorrow’s meal prep.

Published in: on June 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Linguini with Vodka Sauce (95)

Top Tier: Chamomile Teabag, Custard Cake, Tea & Honey Hard Candies, Pepperjack Cheese Wedge, Red Grapes. Bottom Tier: Linguini with Hot Italian Sausage and Vodka Sauce, Broccoli.


My daughter is a pasta fiend so when I ask her what she wants to eat it often involves pasta. She requested spaghetti and meatballs today but I had neither spaghetti nor any of my normally made-ahead frozen meatballs. Guess I’ll have to get some more made over the weekend!

Since I couldn’t fill her request I adjusted slightly and made linguini with vodka sauce. She likes it plain but for the rest of us some hot italian sausage was a good compliment.

The linguini is accompanied by steamed broccoli and I added red grapes, pepperjack cheese, a custard filled cake, chamomile teabag, and some tea and honey flavored hard candies to finish out this ideal meal.

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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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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Mostaccioli with Meat Sauce (81)

Mostaccioli with Ground Beef & Spicy Marinara, Blueberry Yogurt, Cabbage, Carrot & Tomato Salad.


Today has been a lazy day. So much so that I forgot to make my bento until it was time for lunch. Oops!

This ideal meal consists of mostaccioli made with a simple marinara of fresh tomato, basil, red pepper and a little crushed red pepper to spice it up a bit and ground beef for protein. To this I added a simple salad of green & red cabbage, carrots, tomato, and ranch dressing and finished off with a blueberry greek yogurt.

The greek yogurt is so good I may have to use this for my lunch again tomorrow. Maybe with some fresh fruit and granola. Hmmm.

Guess we’ll see what I come up with for that tomorrow…

Published in: on April 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pasta Salad (66)

Bunny Pasta Salad, Mango Chunks, Pepperoncini, Cherry Pepper, Olives, Babybel Cheese.


This bento features an item from this month’s bento swap – Bunny shaped pasta! It is so cute and my daughter wanted it as soon as we opened the box. I made her some bunny mac & cheese for dinner and saved some cooked pasta for this little salad.

The salad is made with bunny pasta, pepperoni, mozzarella, olives, pepperoncini, sun dried tomato, red pepper, and italian dressing.

To complete this ideal meal I’ve added more olives and peppers as well as a babybel cheese and some mango chunks. A nice light meal for my daughter to enjoy after school.

My surgery is scheduled on Wednesday and I will be in the hospital through Friday or Saturday so this will be my last bento for the week.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I’ll talk to you all again next week!

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Shrimp Alfredo Pasta (63)

Top Tier: Flower Gummi, Apples, Orange Ginger Chew, Grisini, Brie Wedge. Bottom Tier: Shrimp Alfredo Pasta with Broccoli, Carrots, and Yellow Peppers.


Today’s bento features a bow-tie pasta alfredo with shrimp, broccoli, carrots, and yellow peppers.

The pasta is combined with some grisini, a brie wedge, orange ginger chew, apple slices, and a flower gummi treat to complete today’s ideal meal.

I’ve decided to spend the weekend preparing meals that my family can pop in the oven or crockpot while I recover from next week’s surgery.

I haven’t done this kind of “batch cooking” for about a year but should be able to put together at least two weeks worth of meals in two days. Think easy, freezable meals like lasagna, enchiladas, chili, stew, etc. Exhausting, but totally worth it!

Wish me luck and have a great weekend! 🙂

Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 6:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pork Chop & Pasta (53)


I found the sweetest little petit fours when at the market the other day. My daughter got a cat and a frog and I got a fish and a pig. The little cakes kept getting moved around in the fridge so I placed mine into a smaller container in hopes that they would better survive. That did not work. When removing the lid to choose my cake today I found that the snout of my little piggie remained on the inside of the lid. 😦 Fortunately it still tasted fine and the fish made it into today’s bento.

Today’s bento also has some pork chop which was cooked with herbs de provence and a little vermicelli with a butter-herb sauce. To finish off this ideal meal I added some red grapes and a bit more protein with a baby bel cheese hiding under the fish. Yum!

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Egg, Cheese, & Spaghetti Casserole (51)

Today’s bento features one of my new mini casserole dishes. I found these great individual casseroles last week while at Cost Plus and have been dying to use them.

The family wanted spaghetti and meatballs for dinner so it was the perfect time for me to try a mini casserole recipe.

This meal combined leftover spaghetti noodles with eggs, parmesan cheese, garlic, onion, and parsley.

It was a light fluffy combination of flavors that baked up so nicely that I had to show the casserole itself.

This ideal meal was finished off with a caesar salad and red grapes. Delicious!

Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Black Pepper Salmon (43)

Clockwise from Bottom Left: Black Pepper Salmon, Yellow Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Blood Oranges, Cherry Peppers & Spicy Olives, Southwestern Pasta Salad.


Convenience has been a high-priority this week and this bento is yet another example of what can be done in a short amount of time.

On a quick trip to the market I found some beautifully seasoned salmon and picked up a couple of pieces. Today’s bento features a cracked black pepper salmon as well as a southwestern pasta salad and some salad bar olives and peppers from the same trip. I love Sunflower Market!

All of these market finds combined with some fresh fruit and veggies to make today’s ideal meal.

Published in: on February 19, 2010 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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