Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bento with leftovers

I made a quiche for dinner. I used a rice crust, 3 eggs in the filling, chicken breast, skim milk, and broccoli to make this quiche. My healthy version keeps the calories down and hubby prefers the taste of the rice crust to a pastry crust. One pie pan will feed us for more then two meals.

Hubby's bento. Two slices of quiche, carrots, part of a granola bar, chocolate covered plums, strawberries, sunflower seeds under raisins, ranch cup and broccoli.

My bento has a bunny ranch cup, strawberries, part of a granola bar, a few chocolate covered plums, sugar snap peas, carrots, and a slice of quiche.
Did you notice I used plastic grass as barran? I hardly ever use plastic grass because I'm not a fan of disposable items and I have been unable to find the silicone variety. But I did not want the quiche to touch other items. The quiche slices are a little large to stuff into a muffin liner. :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Best cake ever.

I made a boxed cake last night. I used canned frosting on the cake. It is by FAR the tastiest cake I have ever had. And I have NO idea why, i did not do anything different. That is not true the frosting was in the fridge and too thick to spread. I glopped it on the warm cake to melt and spread. It was one ugly cake (I took all 3 Wilton cake classes its been a while since a cake's appearance did not matter) but super delicious.

I forgot to take a picture of this box closed. Its a two tier from *ahem* Lube Sheep. I decided to use this box instead of my big plain one because the plain one is too large with a sandwich. I love my carrot hummus sandwiches! Mmmm.

Top tier has tart strawberries, and the ugly but super yummy cake. Bottom has my usual carrots, sugar snap peas, ranch, and a little cheese.

Loving the plain bento box!

Sorry I've been MIA this week. J and I have been working hard on getting our dossier complete. I did not make a bento in till Friday.
I'm really enjoying using this plain box. It is a deep box which makes it easier to pack. It is easy to customize and the food really stands out. Its also a very LARGE box. I do not pack it full, way too much food for me. I had a carrot hummus sandwich with the bento, and combined there was way too much food. About half the bento was saved for later.

Baby carrots, chocolate covered plums, raisins, oatmeal cookies, sugar snap peas, sharp cheddar and a piggie with ranch.

Only one item in this bento is made specifically for bento. The yellow heart cup. I could have used another green mini muffin liner to keep the bento special item free. But the heart was cute. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Snack Bento

This bento was packed using the plain bento box, the muffin liner from Target, and the adorable easter sauce container. I used products commonly available in the states to show that you can bento without ordering equipment made to bento. How cute is the bunny ranch cup? Seriously.

This was a snack bento, not a lunch one so it is not a very balanced bento. I have to be carefully opening the bunny cup when I set it upright. Ranch explosion!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bento Lunch

J and I had to go out of the area for several hours yesterday. I packed this bento for lunch. Top tier has orzo, carrot, pea, corn salad. It was a pain to eat with the tiny bento forks but still delicious. Bottom tier had chicken tenders, sugar snap peas, carrots, raisins and chocolate covered plums. My bento also has a little bit of cheese.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tonight J and I are going out.

We will be out late. Very late. In pajamas. With our corgi. Where are we going? The drive in! Our local drive in is open March-September. We LOVE it! J takes our upstairs guest bed (twin size)and throws it in the back of the mini van. We make a very comfortable nest of pillows and blankets (we watch with the back of the van open and it gets cold at night) in the back area where the second back seat should be. The dog gets lots of walks and snuggles. In fact when it gets really cold we both try to coax him over onto our side of the van.

How is going to the movies frugal? The drive in costs $8 per person. For TWO movies. Our local theatres cost about $9.50 for ONE movie. At the drive in you can bring food from home. The local theatres do not allow food from home.

Drive in cost:
$8 a ticket x two people = $16
Home popped popcorn = few cents
Treats from dollar store = $4
Water form home = free

So lets say $20.07

Local theatre
$9.50 a ticket x two people $19
Large popcorn $7
Large soda $5

Cost $31
If you factor in the drive in plays two movies and double the local theatre's tickets the cost jumps to$50. J and I are really into movies and we do have ways to keep the local theatre's costs in check but that is another post.

Lets not forget the fun factor here. How much fun is it to be wearing PJ's (okay I wear comfy clothes that still look cute) with a dog, on a bed, outside, watching a movie? Its awesome!

The local theatre doesn't give us the great stories like the drive in does. One time I was able to see people being evicted by the sheriff for sneaking people into the drive in. The little girl I let walk the dog who just loved us and kept jumping in our van (her parents were OK with it, I wouldn't be!) and trying to walk off with our dog. Ew or the time their plumbing system stopped working and they didn't tell anyone. That was gross!

I really love the drive in. Its a frugal way to go to the theatre. Its fun. And its always an adventure.

Yesterday's bento.

I love bento. There is something about having a little of several different foods that is fun to me. Plus the different colors, textures, shapes and tastes. Bento really suits my personality.

Top tier: chocolate coated dried plum pieces, vanilla wafers (generic of course!), and raisins.

Bottom tier: carrots, pretzels, ranch and cheese. Yum!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Easter Egg Bento

I was so excited to use my new egg bento box that I made a bento the same night. :) It has a really fun shape and would be great for tall foods. I had to pack it in layers.

Bottom layer of the bento is a ranch cup, raisins, and chocolate almonds. Top layer has 2 peanut butter jelly dumplings, carrots and pretzels.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

For people who love looking at Bento lunches

You have to check out the Bento Lunches Livejournal page. Its one of the most active bento communities I've found. I enjoy lurking there very much! Its interesting to see people's food choices, and the cute things they do with their food.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bento dinner

I made J a bento dinner since we needed something easy. He has peanut butter, jelly dumplings. Carrots, a cheese bear, ranch (under the bear), sunflower seeds, and raisins.

One day I'll be able to find a nori punch for faces. But in till then all i can do is eyes! :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Target bento finds: Easter gear

After I saw this post on Easter stuff for bento, I couldn't wait to get to Target. J had the Clone Troopers snack box in our cart so fast I hadn't even seen him pick it up! He was so excited! I wanted the transformers treat boxes, I love Transformers. We bought the big egg to use as a bento box. And the small M&M tin to hold Almonds.

Equipment cost:
Big Wonka egg $3.29
Star wars cups $2.29
Transformers cups $2.29
M&M tin $1.99

The plastic egg is another bento box (and a fun one!) that is readily available in the States. I've seen this egg is every Easter section I've checked. I'm not sure if the snack boxes will be used in bentos (maybe the tiffin? It is large) or I'll use them alone. We'll see! Everyone can bento, even if they do not have access to a Japanese store.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Walmart bento find: Easter

After our success at Target, i took a detour through our Super Walmart's Easter section. I had picked up one box of pretty eggs decorated like flowers. J found this set, and i couldn't swap them fast enough. The animal eggs are SO cute! The pack comes with 16 animals, 4 different animals, 4 different colors. It cost $5.

A better view with each animal standing up. I can't wait to use these, so cute!

Bento lunch

I pulled out some leftover homemade pizza for J's lunch. I did not want him to eat just pizza so i threw a plate together for him.

J's plate has bbq chicken pizza, pretzels, grapes, carrots and ranch.

My bento had sugar snap peas, carrots, pretzels, cheese, grapes and ranch.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Today's bento lunch

This bento box is fun. I love the shape.

Inside the bento top level we have hummus carrot sandwiches shaped like bears, carrots, and sugar snap peas.
Second level has sugar snap peas (under the grapes) ranch in the cup, grapes, and chocolate covered almonds.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Homemade popsicles

I'm still sick with a cold. I've had this cold for a week now. My throat is quite sore. I thought about buying some popsicles but then i remembered our popsicle mold. I've tried several molds and this one is the best so far. The ones I bought from the dollar store never worked well. I can not remember where we found this one but i think it was between $2-$4.

We used lemon aid mix for the first batch. J followed the mix's ratio of powder to water. Those popsicles were not very flavorful. They still felt good on my throat. This time i took my Mango drink mix, bottled lemon juice, and far less water then the recipe asks for. This made the drink super concentrated. So much so that it would taste terrible to drink. But it made delicious popsicles.

I'm going to keep playing around with the mold to see what makes yummy popsicles. I have fun playing mix master, and i enjoy the finished product. Not to mention its a great way to use up groceries. Like a lemon aid mix purchased in bulk that is only halfway used up. . .

Bento packed without special bento equipment.

I wanted to make a bento without using any special bento equipment. Using items available at common stores. I used the $2 box bought at Grocery Outlet. I used one of the muffin liners from this post, they sell in a 6 pack for $1 at Target. I also used a mini muffin liner I'd purchased in a pack of 12 for $3 at World Market. The cookie cutter come from the thrift store and it cost .45 cents. Total equipment cost $6.45 (although this is slightly misleading because I only used 2 muffin liners not all 18)

This bento has sugar snap peas, carrots, hummus carrot sandwich, grapes, cheese and ranch.
If i was packing this bento to travel, I would not put the ranch in a muffin liner. I do have dip cups that were not purchased in a specialty store, but they are huge.

Everything used here sells in common stores. It is possible to make fun bento lunches without buying special bento equipment. But I like the special stuff.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Snack bento

Last night I craved some crunch. Instead of heading for the popcorn (air popped but butter coated, yum) I thought a veggie snack might be a better idea. And of course, an opportunity to use my bento supplies! I picked the sandwich box because it has nice sides. And because I never get to use it. My wheat bread is too large for the box. I wish I had put the lid on the dip container, its one of my favorites.

Because we ate this at home I did not have to worry about packing everything in and closing the lid. My husband was happy to help eat the snack. :)

Are you excited???

As hubby and i go through the process to adopt from Africa we get asked that question a lot. And frankly, no I'm not. Because its going to be SUCH a long process (18 months). Not to mention the roller coaster of foster care and all the heart break involved there. I can't afford to get excited! I cope by focusing on the tasks we need to complete. If i focus on the baby, and how amazing the experience is going to be its far too rough on my heart! Please if you know someone who has suffered through infertility, failed adoption opportunities, and is now adopting again don't be surprised if they are not jumping with joy. They are probably afraid to get excited.

On the logistics side of it we are waiting on our dossier. We were able to pay off $3,000 of our $17,000 debt!! Slowly but surely the process moves forward.

Monday, March 1, 2010

How do you bento without a special bento box?

You don't have to have fancy equipment to bento. I like the pretty boxes, picks, and cups. But they are not strictly necessary. Some people do not have access to a Japanese store. Or find the prices on ebay or an import store unappealing. That does not mean you can not bento. I found this box at grocery outlet. (they have some good deals if you know your prices, but don't assume everything is a good deal)

The box is made by Farberware. Sized 820ml. Microwave/freezer safe. With tight fitting lids. (I have not yet done the water test to check just how tight) All for $2. If you wanted to make your bento a little cuter you could use the muffin cups from this post. They came from target and cost just $1. Or you could use the silicone bake ware as food cups, and the dip cups from this Dollar Tree post. Adding another $1-$2 onto the box's $2 price. I've seen cute food picks at Joann fabric (in the Wilton aisle) and at World Market. Having access to a speciality store is not necessary to bento. But they sure are fun!