Monday, August 31, 2009

Background story: fast food addiction

When J and I first started dating we would eat every single meal at a restaurant. EVERY SINGLE MEAL. We both gained a ton of weight. Eventually we slowed down, and after awhile when money was tight stopped eating out. A few years ago money quit being so tight and we started eating out more, but at fast food restaurants. There is a lot of reasons why, some are even valid. But we kept getting bigger. (mine is partially due to medical problems, I can't blame bad eating habits for everything) When we started using the envelope budgeting system we tried to cut it down by budgeting $20 for fast food. Even so we probably ate fast food 3-4 times a week. The funny thing is I try and cook healthy at home and am always trying new foods and healthy ways to cook. But in the car? Calories on wheels! It was ridiculous and i couldn't seem to stop it. Ever since I started using bento boxes I have a solution. Bento is a fun way to pack food, and its working for us.

A few weeks ago I told my dad we'd only had fast food once the past week, and he looked at me amazed. That is how bad our habit was! We've cut back so much on the greasy burgers going into our mouth it is wonderful! However we slipped. Sunday's schedule was all funky from J's shift and we found ourselves in McDonald's for breakfast/lunch. It made BOTH of our stomachs angry. I think we were just used to what fast food tasted like. Cause its not good folks! Its almost like our bodies have detoxed from all that junk and they couldn't handle it this time.

We will still need on the go meals, but i hope they come from my kitchen not a drive through. As a compromise I've let up on myself when it comes to the meals. Not everything has to come from scratch, its ok to have a few convenience items on hand. Mainly pot stickers, lumpia and the occasional chicken nugget. I hope this continues to work for us. I've always said I don't want my children eating the way we do. Why is it all right for us then?

Boring Tiffin lunch

This morning I took a few minutes to try and convince J (who has the duty of waking his wifey) that it really wasn't time to get up. He'd be fine letting me sleep but I've asked him to make sure I get up, because I really do hate morning. But it was time to get up and make a boring lunch!
At least its boring to me, to J its a very very good lunch. He bought 1/2 pound of garlic bologna for his lunches. BLECH! He thinks its delicious and its only $5 a pound, but yuck. The bread is the softest and fluffiest wheat I've ever seen. And it was a markdown! J's lunch is a garlic bologna, provolone sandwich. I slid some goldfish down next to the sandwich. J loves goldfish. Then he has broccoli and carrots with ranch. Bottom tier is apple sauce, grapes, and kiwi. See what I mean? Boring! But to hubby this is one gooooood lunch.
I made myself a small sidecar of fruit but I have not photographed it yet. I'll have a HONEY TURKEY sandwich and some veggies for my lunch. I'll try to remember to photograph it later.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tiffin for husband

J has to work a terrible shift today. All night long, on a Saturday! Our schedule is all out of whack. (I try and move my schedule around to be with J, MAN am I tired!) Even though I fed him dinner about 7 pm he wanted a bunch of food to help keep him going. Normally his lunches sit in the car for a few hours before going into the fridge. I use the bento boxes most often because they fit into our insulated bags. But J likes the tiffin, and since his lunch is going right into the fridge it works fine. Plus it holds a ton of food.
Top left bowl carrots, ranch and bbq chicken. Top right peach slices, grapes and apple sauce. Bottom is Yogurt with blackberry sauce and honey, mini babybel cheese, fortune cookie, and sunflower seeds topped with chocolate chips and napkin.
I ran into a problem when I tried to pack it all up. I had put the yogurt in the bottom bowl, and the container was too large to allow everything to pack like its supposed to. I had to re-arrange everything so that the yogurt was on the top tier. The lid is domed just enough to allow everything to close.

I love the little fork and spoon sets we bought from Dasio. Four sets to a pack, and they fit nicely in bentos and tiffins! Cute cute cute!

Check out this baby:

To you it probably looks like a plain old boring muffin pan. But to me? Thrilling! I've been looking for a mini muffin pan at all the thrift stores (nada) discount stores (Nope) and regular stores we visit (yes). The cheapest price I'd found was $5. I don't want to pay $5. I want to pay less! Sure it was annoying waiting for the pan. I wanted mini muffins and I wanted them now! (insert screaming 2 year old voice) But I decided I was going to wait in till I found a good deal. Mini muffin pan is NOT a need, its a want. Finally i ran across this shiny little pan at our local thrift store for .45 cents! You may be thinking 'big deal its only $5, get a grip' Sure its $5 this time, but next time it could be $20. Or $50. The point is not only did it not harm me to wait till I found a very good deal, I had the thrill of the find as well. When I found this pan I quietly squealed and went scooting over to hubby to wave it in his face. Would you do that in Walmart? I hope not! lol.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Picnic Bento style

Good food all ready to go!

Today hubby was able to leave work early, after having a long week. We decided to take a picnic, and the corgi to our favorite park. I spent a bit more time making food for this meal then I would at 5 am when I normally make lunch. (I'm a zombie at 5 am) If I wanted these things in our normal lunches they would be made in advance!

J has garlic parmesan pasta salad, carrots, sunflower seeds, hamburger with provolone, cucumber, and grapes. The yellow dip container holds bbq sauce. My bento (in blue) holds 3 pot stickers, pasta salad, carrots, and swiss cheese cut outs. Below I have cucumber, grapes and a few generic nilla wafers. In the green and yellow container we have chocolate covered strawberries, grapes and ranch for the veggies. The chocolate covered strawberries look a little odd because I tried melting chocolate chips at first. They turned into one big glump. Instead of washing out the bowl I just added my melting chips to the bowl. Easier and still yummy.

J was eyeballing the chocolate strawberries when we went to the fair. Five chocolate covered strawberries would have cost us $5! PLEASE! He could not bring himself to buy them. I used the last of our strawberries and melting chips I already had. Far less then $5, and was hubby any less pleased? Nope! I made the pasta salad and the chocolate berries right before we left. J said the salad (butter, cheese, pepper, and garlic) didn't have enough flavor. Mhhm. I'll coat it in garlic next time! :)

Pretty soothing park, crazy corgi and yummy food. That is what I call a good time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Is it me?

Or does this guy look like an alien about to eat me with his big yellow tongue?

My bento

This is yesterday's lunch. I didn't make lunch today, and I forgot to photograph dh's from the day before! I imagine I will forget to photograph J's on a regular basis. I'll try not to but I don't function well at 5 am! In fact I plan the lunches the night before, list and all. WAY too much food. I packed a smaller bento to go with the sandwich this time. Because my blue box was too much food. Apparently I need to go smaller still! The sandwich is stuffed with hummus and cucumber. Grapes between the slices. The top bento tier had grapes, strawberries, and blackberries. Bottom tier has carrots, ranch, swiss and generic ritz. Maybe I'll keep my eye for a sandwich box. . . ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today's bentos

J asked for a snack today, he was going to use his lunch money today. Normally his lunches go into the work fridge after a few hours. I use an ice pack and insulated bag to keep them cold. But this snack would be sitting in his car all day. No chicken, cheese or hamburger! I packed sunflower seeds topped with chocolate chips, peanuts, strawberries, carrots and grapes.
My lunch:

J's snack was prepared the night before so i could sleep in. I made my lunch right before I ate it. WAY too much food! Hummus cucumber sandwich with swiss cheese bunny and flowers. Strawberries cradling blackberries. Carrots, cucumber, and ranch. Generic Nilla cookies, cheese wheel, and chocolate covered gummie bears.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More blackberries

Last night J and I took 15 minutes to pick blackberries. We picked 1 pound 6 ounces. We could have picked plenty more but I just wanted enough for several days lunches. J is now dying to know what the blackberries sell for in store. :) So far we've picked 3 pounds, 11 ounces of free berries. J used to have large gardens as a kid. He says blackberries are the easiest harvest he's done. I might look into a little freezer jam. I use a decent amount of preserves during the year as cake filling.

Edit: Walmart sells 6 ounces of blackberries for $2.99. We picked a total of 48 ounces of blackberries. Our 48 ounces of blackberries would have cost $23.92. Ours were completely free, we did not tend them, water them, or plant them. They are not even on our property!

New man sized bento box.

Hubby's bento on Friday. He had hot dogs and mac & cheese in a microwave safe container. I packed way too much food! It was his first lunch in the new 'Hard road' box and I wasn't sure how much food he would need.

Carrots, broccoli, raspberries, ranch, banana, provolone animals, ants on a log, mango, sunflower seeds and yogurt almonds as gap fillers.

Tip: Banana made the cheese in both our bentos (no photo of mine) taste like banana. Banana flavored cheese is not delicious. From now on our bananas will go in separate fruit boxes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My bento starter kits

My starter kits!
I've looked at a lot of online bento stores. They have a lot of cute boxes, cute accessories, but few kits. I figured I might try selling a 'ready to bento' kit that would allow people to start with the most basic stuff right off the bat! I've posted them on the local craigslist to see if there is any local interest. There might also be a few people at J's work who would like one. If they don't sell locally, I'll use E-bay but they will have to be more expensive because of all the fees. It would be SO awesome if there was a local market! How fun it would be to have one of my hobbies earn a small profit. I had a blast picking out the items and matching accessories to boxes.
Deli Style set priced it at $15. I have the 3 tier box myself.

Race car set also priced at $15, I love that the 3 tier stacks compactly for storage.

Lovely set priced at $20. We have the 3 tier box. J uses it and he loves the tight lids.

Dasio buys for us.

That big bag of goods, and only 4 items were for us! I'd seen the penguin belts previously and had to have them. I love penguins! Very useful, we had just 3 belts before. J picked up the fork/spoon sets. Be still my heart, hubby is grabbing bento stuff he wants! *sigh* The monkey mayo cups are just too cute, the banana is a spreader. The last item makes small rice squares. I like rice, J doesn't. I bought that set for me. When J was looking at the set he said he would like small squares of rice, so long as he has soy sauce. I can do that! Total was about $6.50
Bento total $166.50

Bento starter kits!

Check out the dasio haul! Most of this was made into bento starter kits, but a few of them were for us!

For sale, bento kits.

I bought a bunch of bento supplies from Dasio, I plan to try to sell them. I'd love it if my hobby could become a small moneymaker as well. I'm thinking a bento 'kit' would be best, helpful to a newer and a lot of fun. I'm going to try posting on craigslist first, no eBay fees! But before I create the kits maybe I'll have to show you guys what I've bought.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Here's the box goodies!

New Bento supplies!!!

I was SO excited to open it i barely let hubs talk when he came home. I even let him use one of his knifes to open it! I was not looking for more bento boxes when I ran across BentoCrazy's site. When I saw the skull and cross bone bento I went running across the house for J. Its HARD to find manly bento boxes. Its only 500ml, won't work for a full meal. However his Hard road bento is 900ml. I could not resist buying the manly boxes, they are so hard to find and normally pretty expensive! I LOVE my cheshire cat bento box, we have 5 cats so its perfect. The 3 tier bento I thought was cute, I love that color blue. I took the opportunity to buy a 'wiener shaper' penguin style!

The seller included a cute gift of a piggie sauce bottle, a pick, small fork and several pieces of food divider. The gift was just as exciting as the boxes!

When J found the seller's name on the box, Bento crazy he laughs and says 'what an appropriate name.' Mhhhm, don't know what you mean dear.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Homemade crockpot yogurt, big success!

We've gone so far over our food budget its ridiculous. I'm trying to use up the things we have around here rather then buy a bunch more food. (we are going to the farmers market today) Our fridge held the last small container of yogurt, should we buy more? Its on sale 6 ounces for .59 cents. Seems pretty cheap right? I spent $1.50 on half a gallon of milk. That is 64 ounces. Using A Year of Crockpotting's recipe I made yogurt right in the crockpot. My homemade yogurt cost 2 cents an ounce. I used our last container or yogurt (flavored) as the starter, 2% milk, and 1 tablespoon of bulk gelatin when I added the starter. The Gelatin really helps thicken the yogurt, its like yoplait's thick and creamy kind. Now we have half a gallon of unflavored yogurt. Did i mention we hate plain yogurt?

I took all the blackberries we had left from this picking, and ran them through the food processor. After grinding them into a pulpy syrup I ran the syrup through a strainer. After being free of blackberry seeds I added sugar in till the syrup tasted sweet. I'm hoping my blackberry syrup will flavor the yogurt. I have heard of adding jam and preserves to flavor the yogurt, probably try that as well.

Cost of homemade yogurt: Free blackberries, few pennies for the sugar, Milk $1.50, few pennies for electricity, few pennies for bulk gelatin.
Sorry I can't be precise but I dont keep the prices of my bulk items.

I can tell you that half a gallon of the sale priced yogurt would cost $6.29. BIG difference. Not to mention the waste from 10/11 small plastic containers. The only trash generated with my version was the milk jug.

I've got mail!!!

I'm SO excited! Our first ever order from BentoCrazy is here! It was innocently sitting outside the door this morning when the dogs and i went out. I did not expect the order till next week, talk about fast shipping! BentoCrazy has a lot of cool things I can not find at Dasio and she's located in the USA. As badly as I want to rip this box into shreds, I'm not going to open it. I'll wait into J comes home. He loves good mail even more then I do, and he will really love whats inside the box!

My bento

Yummy convenient meal all ready to go for dinner!

I do not eat many egg dishes. I do not mind eggs in a recipe, or in a scramble. But hard boiled eggs, or egg salad? Nope. Because of that I wasn't going to make my bento when I made J's tiffin. But it seemed silly to be prepping his and not make mine. My sandwich is not pictured. I had wheat bread, hummus, and sliced cucumber. Yummy!

My top tier has sliced cheese, carrots, and thin cucumber. I forgot to add the ranch. Bottom holds kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, and mango.

This bento literally took 6 minutes, and most of that was slicing kiwi and cheese. The mango was already sliced, as was the cucumber. Had i not made a bento of healthy food I probably would have grazed all night long on junk food, or had a meal made entirely of crackers and sliced cheese.

Hubby's tiffin.

J had to work a weird schedule today, he was gone for lunch and dinner. He needed a lot of food. In fact he normally has a snack, dinner, and another snack during the time he is working tonight. And he skipped lunch today!We are out of chicken, and I'm trying to resist buying deli turkey. To prepare for lunches this week, yesterday I boiled a bunch of eggs for breakfast, molded eggs, and egg salad. I dont eat hardboiled eggs. :)
His bottom bowl holds 2 egg sandwich salads, cheese slices, and cheese flowers. The upper right bowl has cucumber, broccoli, carrots, ranch, and powdered drink mix. The left tin has peanuts, and yogurt almonds. The star inside the bowl holds blackberries, raspberries, and kiwi.
I sent the powdered Gatorade with J hoping he would avoid the soda machine but he snagged change from the jar before walking out. Bummer!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Daily bento


Hubby's bento on the right top tier has mango (found in fridge, yum!) blackberries, and melon.
Next he has carrots, ranch, and broccoli. Below that he has chicken, gyoza, lumpia, and cheese.
Then coconut bread, and a small container of trail mix.

My bento has mango covered with blackberries in the top tier. Below that is cheddar, carrots and chicken. Not pictured is my lumpia and gyoza. I stuck mine in the toaster oven to heat before heating. J had his cold even though it went in the microwave safe container. And i gave him my chicken when he got home, too full!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Daily bento

I'm under a direct allergy assault right now and far too miserable to think or be interesting. Therefore, here's my bento.

Top tier cream cheese cucumber salad (found out its better warm!) sliced carrots, and chicken. bottom blackberries, strawberries and mango. Dh's bento was made the night before so I could sleep in and I forgot to get a photo of it!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Free fruit

I'm out of bento fruit, I think we have melon left. Bleh! Tomorrow we're running errands since the new ad comes out Tuesdays. Should i run to the store tonight? Nope, I have other plans. Its blackberry season. Blackberry bushes are very, very invasive weeds around here. They are everywhere and a major pain to deal with. Luckily they also produce a most delicious fruit. J and I walked to the land across from us to pick the berries. We ended up picking 2 pounds 5 ounces of free berries in a half hour. Yum!

Could not help myself!

I caved. I'm weak. I couldn't resist any longer. Yes. I bought more bento supplies. ONLINE no less! I had resisted more pretties since august 8th. Yesterday, the 16th, I caved. Folded like a cheap deck of cards! What did I buy? I'm not telling you. I'll show you, when they arrive. I will tell you I spent $60 on 5 items. Bringing my bento total to $160!

I'm SO excited about the new stuff!

Friday's bento

Hubby's bento is on the left in blue and green Mine is pink and yellow.

His green fruit box holds strawberries, blueberries, and melon strips. Above that is goldfish, peanuts, teddy grams, and crackers. Above that is chicken, broccoli, cucumber strips, cheddar cubes, and provolone hearts. Next container has carrots, broccoli, ranch, and a provolone hand.
My lunch has carrots and cucumber in the yellow box. Pink top tier holds blueberries, and melon. I forgot how much I dislike melon! The next tier holds chicken and cheese cubes.
Close up of cheese cut outs.

The hand cutter comes with the cheese heart already built in. It will probably be featured often here it fits a piece of provolone well and I like the image. Kind of like a symbol of my love, and energy by creating the bento. :)

How to stuff a kong ball

Why use a kong ball? Because dogs like to chew, and bored dogs will find their own form of entertainment. Rarely something you approve of! I buy boxes of dog treats for $2 a package or less. I'll spend more if I let my cheap supply run out. Extreme busy bones, and other packaged easily digestible bones run about $1 each, $2 a pack after sale and coupon. The big ones last our 80 pound lab mix 10 minutes. That is $1 for 10 minutes of peace. I can stuff a kong ball for way less and get the same 10 minutes of peace. We use brand name Kong balls because they last and stuff well, I have purchased the cheaper versions and I don't like them. Big dog has the XL dog, the corgi has a large. Our dogs do not chew the balls themselves, they've had them for 2 years.

How to stuff a Kong
Step one: Kick the big dog out of the kitchen because he whines and stands on his back legs when he sees the kong balls. (he can stand and walk exceptionally well on his back legs, he's a circus dog I swear)
Step two: Assemble supplies and tell big dog to shush whining does not make it go faster! :) Supplies needed: 2 balls, peanut butter, and treats.

Step three: Smear empty kong ball with peanut butter. Really spread it around inside but not on too thickly. You want them to lick all over the kong to get every glob of peanut butter up.

Step four: Pick out dog treats and snap in half the ones for little dog's kong. His kong is not stuffed as hard as big boys because he gives up if its too difficult.

Step five: stuff little dog's kong full but not packed. Smear the big hole with peanut butter, then place a treat in the center of the peanut butter.

Step six: PACK the big dog's kong full. Not so full that the treats won't wiggle, but packed enough to keep the treats firm. Smear the end of his in peanut butter and place in his treat.

Step seven: Separate the dogs to prevent fighting over the balls. Give to happy wiggly dogs.

Little dog took 13 minutes to un-stuff his. Big boy took 17 minutes to finish his.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Daily lunch bento

Yesterday's lunches all ready to go.

I Like my dragonfly box because its large, and easier for me to pack just one box. Its not as cute as I'd like, that is why I hate buying online. Very rarely purchase items online. I need to see them, touch them, check their quality. Usually when I purchase something online its something I've seen in person and can get online for a better price. Or its flea medicine, can't beat the price online!

Back to lunch. My bento (dark blue) had BBQ chicken, my first onigiri (did not stay together because my rice had cooled down, but i tried filling it with chicken) and cheddar cheese. Bottom tier holds blueberries and strawberries. The purple cup has hummus, which was eaten with carrots. J's (light blue) has chicken, cheddar, and a heart shaped egg. Below has sunflower seeds, 2 cookies, mango and his salt. Green box has strawberries and mango. Blue box below has broccoli, carrots and hummus. J reported not liking hummus with broccoli, instead he requests ranch for his vegetables. And apparently has decided to try and cut out sweets. That is quite odd, he's never tried that before so we will see!

I am going back to bed!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quicky bento

Yesterday I was not feeling well in the morning. I didn't make my bento, and I didn't get a picture of hubby's bento. I made mine later right before I ate it, and it took me all of 5 minutes. I washed the strawberries when we got home from the store. Sliced the cucumber before hand, chicken was already cooked. The only thing I had to do was stuff the bento, and cut the cheddar. The side container holds wheat things, above that is a dish of hummus. I LOVE hummus, and i'm learning to like it with the carrots.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review and Bento food shopping.

The other day while in Tj Maxx i found a really cool vegetable slicer for $9. Tj Maxx only had bright green but for $9, I'll deal. I figured it would really speed up my bento packing. But they had a huge line and I didn't want to wait so i left. That was a week ago. I still wanted it, so on the way to Costco J and i stopped and picked it up. I sliced cucumber with it last night. I do not like how thin it makes the slices, really thin. If i use the hand guard it won't slice both ways. I DO like how quickly the cucumber was sliced. I cut down the entire cucumber in just a few minutes. It will work great for lunch in a box's cucumber salad. I like the slicer, it will make life easier but its not amazing.

When we went to Costco we looked for more dried ravioli, but they didn't have any. I'm way bummed, next time its in I'm coming home with two bags! Since we were there anyways hubby and i looked for easy bento food. We bought a 5 lb bag of mini carrots for $4.79. Two pounds of mini peppers for $3.99 to make this. I'm not a huge fan of peppers but the cheese stuffed ones look very yummy. We also bought 30 oz hummus for $4.85. Hummus is expensive and my homemade stuff never tastes right. Non-bento items were purchased too but the best deal was 2 pounds of deli provolone for $6.69!

Yesterday's bentos

Bentos all packed up and ready to devour!
J has the blue bowls, mine is the pink and yellow. The top container holds 2 pigs in a blanket with ketchup. That container is microwave safe. The next container holds strawberries and blueberries with a food pick. The next tier is the ravioli, and cheese. Bottom container holds broccoli and ranch. My lunch has strawberries and blueberries in the top tier. Next one holds ravioli (love that stuff) and the my french container holds carrots, ranch dip, a cookie, and mango. It was delicious.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Easy and fast lunches.

Yesterday J and I purchased 2 bags of chicken breasts. Each bag holds 4 pounds of chicken and was on sale for $1.69 a pound. The most I pay for chicken breasts is $1.99 lb, $1.69 lb is an awesome price and I wish our freezers weren't so full. One bag of chicken was stuffed into the already jammed chest freezer. The second was split into 3 portions and is soaking in 3 different marinades. One is Herbs de Provence with balsamic vinegar, our favorite. The second was supposed to be lemon chicken but we forgot to buy lemon. I squeezed a fresh orange instead. For the third flavor J wanted something with honey. I took our very delicious blackberry honey, mustard, and mustard seed and made it into an emulsion. Hopefully it tastes as good on chicken as it did in the taste test. While we were in Safeway we purchased a thick steak from the reduced section. It went into a marinade as well, sprinkled with Safeway roast seasoning. Yum!

Today J will grill all the chicken, and the steak for our dinner. Some of the cooked chicken will go into the freezer but the rest will be used for lunches all week. Having cooked chicken makes packing lunches very fast and easy. I can pack it as is or put the pieces in wraps and salads. Not to mention $1.69 lb is far cheaper then the $7-$8 we pay for honey turkey from the deli! Half an hour of preparing marinades and meat yesterday will yield today's dinner and more then a week's work of lunches.

Review: Topsy Turvy tomato planter

My mom and I each bought one of these last year, I believe mine was $20. Hubby and I planted it with already spouting plants. Strawberries, chives, lettuce, and a tomato plant. We have grown exactly one strawberry (TINY) and two tomatoes. I doubt its the location, it gets a good bit of sun. My mom's planter has not fared any better. Her tomato plant always breaks in half. Once the two tomatoes are done ripening, I'm using it for flowers. Hopefully next year we can do our proper container garden.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My bento for today.

J once again chose not to wake me this morning! I'm getting frustrated here, I want to send my new stuff to work with him! Its sweet that he wants me to sleep, but he's keeping me from my bento obsession. As I mentioned before my lunch choices were a bit limited. Not able to avoid the grocery store any longer. (what is it with shopping carts that make people act crazy? Its not the Indy 500 people!)
This box is a bit to small, about 400 ml. The upper right tier has chicken breast pieces with herb de provence seasoning. It also holds ravioli and cheese flowers. The bottom tier has mango, orange and the last 2 cookies. Had to fill it right? :)

Getting ready for a week of lunches.

Yesterday I realized we were pretty much out of food for bentos. I sauteed two chicken breasts, one for dinner and one for bento. While that was cooking I boiled the last of our dry ravioli from Costco. I tossed the hot ravioli with a little butter, and Parmesan cheese. Delicious cold! Instead of draining the water in a strainer I scooped the pasta out and left the water to reuse for potatoes. Once the potatoes were cooked I tossed them with more Parmesan (hubs eats anything with cheese) basil, oregano, and a little pepper. Once the water had cooled it went to my lavender, starch for the plant! We are still out of fresh vegetables and easily packed fruit. Off to the grocery store!

Daiso buys

Saturday's purchases are the main reason i would like to be done buying bento items for awhile. J and I went into a Dasio store. In Daiso almost everything is $1.50. Two of the items purchased were $3 but everything else was $1.50. I had hopped for a bigger selection of bento supplies but they did have a bunch of things I wanted. The only things we could not find were silicone dividers and folding chop sticks.

The blue bento box on the left was $3, and the pink one beside it was $3. The blue box is a 3 tier, with chopsticks in the first tier. It needs a belt to keep it closed. The pink box is also a 3 tier but it snaps closed. The pink box in front of that is a 3 tier, and it needs a belt as well. The small green box, and the blue oval box (my favorite, its in french!) both snap snugly shut. Next to the green box is 2 boiled egg molds, they came in a pack. I was hoping for the set with a car mold but was quite pleased to find any! In front of those is the pink star rice mold, and the blue heart rice mold. In front of those is a very cute set of picks with an animal theme. To the right is a chopstick holder that matches my first bento box. Next to that is a set of 6 plastic food cups, one is hiding. Below there is a bunch of sauce containers. My dad liked them for backpacking and I was happy to share with him. One package is way more then we need!

Dasio is a fun store, I really enjoyed my time there. Defiantly a regular stop when we are in the area from now on. I think the total was around $23. (I tried to remember to put the receipt aside so i could be exact but those things melt into nothing around here!) I spent my personal money because I feel guilty about how much I've spent on bento items. The blog is keeping me accountable! But since it was for bento items I'm including it, bringing the total to $99.14. Amazing! Almost everything I'm pleased with. Only a few things were a let down. The two large animal bowls, the blue cups, and the jelly bean dip containers. About $5 worth of stuff. Our two original 'bento boxes' probably wont be used often, but they still function fine as tupperware. Honestly I'm quite pleased with my purchases, just amazed at how much I've managed to spend.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Another Dollar Tree stop

On Thursday I made a quick stop at Dollar tree. I *should* be done for awhile as I now have tons of stuff! I went in for a purpose this time, the silicone half moon fit so perfectly into J's tiffin I wanted another. This dollar tree had a star shape as well, which fits in the middle portioning off the side of the tiffin. Pretty neat. The small tupperware is for dip, hubs requested a wider dip container for broccoli. I didn't think about how hard it would be to get a big piece of broccoli in the tiny dip containers! The dish cloths will be J's lunch napkins (when his hot wheels wash cloth is dirty lol) they are far smaller then our table napkins.
The blue box holds the bento boxes, and the clear containers behind hold the accessories. Notice how empty the blue box is? It did not stay that way for long! Of course I do not have the receipt so I'll say $4.40 from dollar tree. That plus the last dollar tree purchase and the previous total makes everything $76.14. Not a frugal amount for sure, but i comfort myself with the fact that we would have spent tons more money on fast food, and meals out. I'm building up my collection, sort of like an investment. Of course this only works out if I STOP buying so much stuff!!!!

Snack Bentos

Friday I sent J to work with a snack instead of a full lunch. He was getting off early and I had the tiffin ready at home. Quick tip, a tiffin is not a good box for the car. Too hard to hold the bowls, jiggle everything and feed the driver. Next time I'll pack the big Tupperware box. I forgot to take a photo of that lunch so instead here are some snack photos.
J's work snack:

Bob holds a pig in a blanket, (gross but hubby wanted it) cheese triangles, sunflower seeds, dip for the carrots. Lion holds cherries and carrots. The snack container holds crackers. They made fun of him at work for the lion containers like we knew they would. J could care less, he thinks its funny. About half of this was eaten, the rest went into our tiffin lunch. All 3 containers came from the dollar store. I used the bob the builder box so J could reheat the hot dog at work.

J's snack from a few days ago:

Bob has triscuits, cherries, munster, and dried mango

My snack:

Strawberry shortcake has cheddar, mango, grapes and generic ritz.

I can not believe how much fruit and vegetables we're consuming. Even when we use our juicer everyday we dont go through this much fruit. Mmm fresh juice sounds good too.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yesterday's lunches

When I made dinner the night before I cooked extra pot stickers for lunch the next day. I enjoyed mine cold, but J wants to be able to reheat his next time. His lunch was pretty large this time.

Left bowl holds pot stickers, broccoli, kiwi, and ranch for the broccoli. Left tin has cherries, and a little cake made from the top of a round cake, filled with frosting. The top tin has half a banana. half a PB &J, cucumber slices, peanuts, and yogurt almonds.

My lunch:
I used the strawberry shortcake box because I wasn't sure the bento would be enough food. I probably would have been fine with just the bento, but wasn't stuffed with the total lunch.

Top box holds pot stickers, kiwi, and a grape to stabilize. Bottom holds banana, grapes, and cucumber with ranch to dip. Strawberry holds half a PB & J, grapes, and my cake treat.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quick lunch yesterday

Yesterday J decided to use his lunch money, he wanted me to sleep in. I threw my leftover salmon wrap filling from the day before in the strawberry shortcake bento bowl. The rice stayed nice and moist in the fridge, probably from the sesame sauce. I had cut the cucumber up the day before. While pulling a knife out of the drawer I noticed the apple slicer. I figured I'd try it on the cucumber and see what it did. I like the cute little design. The hard skin did a good job of holding the pieces together while making it easier to pull apart. I'll defiantly use that trick again. The lunch was too small, half of a 550 ml container and i found myself snacking later but it was tasty.