It’s my anniversary! :)

Wow, how fast this has gone by, posted my first bento post exactly a year ago. Woohoo Happy 1st birthday to my blog, I thought I’d have developed it more by now, but hey life is unexpected! I’m a little sad that this year I don’t have a 4th July Bento to share :(, for the first time in two years I have the day off woohoo, and no plans, double sad. My dad couldn’t be here, so I think we’re going to have a little Skype celebration. Maybe I’ll make a bento at a later date to make up for it. Anywho, I do have one bento to share with you guys, this is one I took to lunch yesterday. I took photos of whilst I was making it, you’ll have to excuse the poor quality, I’ve fallen back into the habit of using my phone as things are very rushed at the moment.

I’m going to work backwards from the finished product. So here is my bento, homemade walnut and brazil nut bread (yes I know, how weird, it was a completely improvised recipe, but turned out rather nicely.) used as sandwich rolls, they contain baby spinach, feta and tomatoes, in the little silicone cup is some kind of lentil (I think it might be soup) dish that my friend made, all I know is I can taste lentils and bacon haha, but whatever is in it, it’s freaking delicious! and then I have carrot sticks! Simple, and quite healthy. It certainly was filling! I was stuffed afterwards and that’s always a nice feeling!

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Here is the inside of my rolls, since you can’t really see the filling very well in the completed bento.

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and finally my bread, you can see the brazil nuts and walnuts in it. It was so nice, crispy crust and soft in the middle with those delicious nutty chunks… it came about because I was about to make muffins, and then remembered I’d sworn off of cake for a month, so I made bread instead! The horrible flash on my phone makes the spinach look all yucky, but I promise it was fine ha ha.

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So that’s it, Happy Independence Day to those celebrating, hope you all have fun today! Looking forward to seeing all the themed bento!

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Charred veggie scramble and salad bento

This was intended to be a tortilla also known as a frittata, however, I accidentally burnt it, on the bottom, and decided in the end I’d just mix it all up so it’d be more of a scramble…really it’s just over cooked lumps of eggs and burnt vegetables haha. Alas, it was edible, and I happen (luckily) to be one of those people who rather enjoy that charcoal taste.

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Left tier contains; Burnt veggie scramble, made with baby new potatoes, courgette (zucchini), mushrooms, tomatoes, onion and eggs. Right tier contains; Spinach salad with red peppers, cucumber and feta.

Now I don’t usually share restaurant outings here, but this was just too good not to share!! I went to dinner the other day with a friend, and we ordered a lot of appetisers and side dishes instead of having a main meal. One of which was yakitori asparagus! Boy oh boy was it amazing, described as marinated in a soy sauce, honey, wasabi, lime and sesame dressing, it did not disappoint! Here’s a picture, I was impressed by the size, and the flavour was just outstanding! I am definitely going to try and recreate these!

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For those interested in the rest, there are sweet potato fries, chicken potstickers (gyoza!) and you can just about see the edge of some coconut shrimp! Have a great week everyone.

Simple, very green chicken salad bento

Simple, very green chicken salad bento

Do you feel, that when you just chuck something like this in and go, that it doesn’t really count as a bento? I do, I don’t feel my “bento’s” really classify as bentos currently. Since staying with my friend ( I’ll be here for a couple more months) bentos have been far and few between, I’m tending just to eat oatmeal at work.

This was an incredibly quick, plain, jam packed salad, however the chicken was so well seasoned that it was incredibly flavourful. You can’t see all of the ingredients unfortunately, but it contained; Lettuce, Cucumber, Green pepper, Tomato and Roast Chicken. This little SpongeBob box has a slightly domed lid, so I could fit in more than I thought!

I promise, more regular, worthy bentos will return!

Quinoa (failed) bento

Recently I’ve been experimenting with quinoa, I use the term experimenting loosely as so far I’ve only made two dishes and they’ve both been similar. I’m finding it to be a pleasant textured, versatile grain. I first made a quinoa salad, (which regrettably I forgot to take a picture of, which is a same because it looked pretty) it contained cherry tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, asparagus, butternut squash and feta cheese. It was utterly delicious and healthy to boot! Huzzah. So imagine my surprise when I made one similar and it tasted vile, I had to chuck it, couldn’t force it down. This one contained; yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, avocado and black eyed peas. I think it was the peas that ruined it, but oh well, you win some and you lose some. I packed the bento without trying my new dish ( learnt my lesson there!), and took it to work today, everything else was fine.

 

 

SAM_0833 Bottom tier (on right): Quinoa Salad

Top tier (on left): Blueberries, sliced strawberries, ham and cheese roll ups and a sauce pot containing simple olive oil dressing for salad.

First time I used that sauce pot, it’s really for a thicker sauce, but it held just fine.

I’ve been experimenting with my camera, I quite like this shot! Maybe a photography course would come in handy!
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Zucchini muffins and a little bit of Spain

Another day off yesterday, ( I know, I’m lucky to get so many) and once again finding myself with a fridge and pantry full of food that is edging dangerously close to their expiry dates. So I decided to have yet another day of cooking, only much simpler this time, all easy basic dishes, more like antipasto actually, but yummy nonetheless. To start off with I tried to make a tian…emphasis on the word tried! I’d never made one before, but it’s so simple it’s almost impossible to mess up….well me being me, I forgot to put the onion in..woops. From the recipes I looked at, mine isn’t a traditional summer vegetable tian, because it has oyster mushrooms in it (with aubergine/eggplant, courgette/zucchini and piccolo tomatoes)…I only had a few left, and couldn’t be bothered to incorporate them into another dish, so in they went. I made two, this one is a tad sparse looking, plus you can see where I pinched a bit out of the corner to try, haha, it’s simple, letting the natural flavours of the vegetables speak for themselves, but I like it. It’s definitely something I would do again.

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This dish (if I can really call it that, it’s so beyond basic!) came from a little tapas recipe book my friend bought me before I went to Spain, and as I recently recieved some chorizo from Spain (Thanks Daddy!) I thought I’d give this one a whirl. Chorizo and chickpeas.

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It said to eat hot, or at room temperature with crusty bread. I actually had mine cold out of the fridge and it was wonderful! Rich in flavour, as expected of a good quality chorizo! The peppers and chickpeas added wonderful texture to the dish, makes for a nice simple meal with some salad on hot days like this!

Last but most definitely not the least are these wholewheat zucchini (courgette) and carrot muffins. As per Vegan Food Addict’s recipe. Here is the link : http://veganfoodaddict.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/whole-wheat-carrot-zucchini-muffins/

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I didn’t have any almond milk on hand, so I subsituted with regular skim milk. I realised after I’d baked them that I actually had some almond essence I could have added in, but never mind, I can try that next time! Because there most definitely will be a next time. My Dad is always going on about zucchini bread, so when I saw this recipe I decided to try it, it’s something that has always interested me. Why, oh why did I not try it before! They’re amazing! Not only were they incredibly easy to make, but they’re so flavourful and so unbelievably moist! I gave some to a friend and she agrees! I’m also very pleased to say, having just had one with my breakfast, they are still just as moist as they were fresh out of the oven! Yay. Thanks to Vegan Food Addict for posting the wonderful recipe, this is officially a new favourite of mine!

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I also made a sort of potato salad, no picture though. It was simply new potatoes seasoned with smoked paprika and cooked in the leftover juices from the chorizo with onion and garlic, very simple, but satisfying.

No bento for yesterday, nor one for today. However, today is the day that my items from Bento&Co get redelivered!! Woop woop! I’m very excited and am sat waiting (not so patiently), for them to arrive. So there will be plenty of bentos for the remainder of the week and next week too, featuring my new tools. I’ll be sure to share my order with you when it gets here!

Have a happy day everyone! Yay! 🙂

Simple chicken bento

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This was yesterday’s work bento. I actually really like this one, despite how simple it is….the brightness of the tomatoes seems to spread across the entire bento and makes up for the lack of colour elsewhere, but I think the main reason I love this one so much is because it contains my very first checkered apple! I finally decided to give it a go, and I think for the first time it came out alright actually. What do you think? Next time, I think I’ll try and make the squares smaller though. Here’s a closeup.

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So this oh so simple bento contains my paprika seasoned oven baked chicken on a bed of watercress and baby spinach, boiled broccoli and sauteed piccolo tomatoes, and raw carrot pieces to fill up the gaps.  I forgot to pack the balsamic vinegar, woops. The little disposable tupperware ( I have yet to invest in a snack box) has my checkered apple, grapes, picota cherries and 3/4 of a clementine. I also packed a small wholewheat roll to go with this lunch. It was incredibly filling, and for the first time in forever I wasn’t ravenous and practically lunging for the fridge when I arrived home from work.

I missed my Bento&Co order today :(, since I live so so far away from the post office and I don’t fancy walking for a couple of hours to pick it up, I’m having it redelivered on tuesday, when I know I’ll be here…having to wait two more days for it is torture though. I want my goodies now!! I think everybody is impatient when it comes to recieving a package they were really looking forward to!!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend guys. 🙂

A whole lot of cooking.

So I had the day off today, and with my food supplies at a seriously all time low, I hauled my currently lazy self, down to the supermarket and topped everything up…I went a wee bit overboard though, I actually whimpered when the lady at the checkout gave me the final figure. After bringing my bounty home, I proceeded my usual regime of cook as much as you can before dinner and freeze it all for future use! I prefer doing this, as on days that I’m rushed, all I have to do is pop something in the microwave and I’m good to go, no faffing about what to take for lunch or having to cook dinner after a long day of work, it’s so easy. So i’m going to share with you, all the things I made today. I apologise now for the poor quality of the photos, but I can’t recall for the life of me where on earth I put my camera. So I had to make do with my phone. Image

A super healthy bolognase! Recipe from an old issue of Shape magazine, 1 or 2 years old actually! Now I very rarely eat beef anyway…I live in a no beef household (long story), so anytime we have ragu or bolognase it’s made with pork, this version however is made with lean turkey mince. It’s choc full of veggies and flavour! I used spaghetti as you traditionally would instead of the penne the recipe calls for. I also omitted a tsp of red pepper flakes, I’m not good with too much heat, so I only had 1 tsp, which was more than enough for me, I could definitely feel the spiciness! I had this for lunch and it’s utterly delicious, very happy with how it turned out!

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These I actually made yesterday. I’m calling them my “anything goes” quiches. I made three, and they have borlotti beans, tomatoes, onions and tinned salmon in them. They’re made entirely with milk (and eggs obviously) instead of cream, and no cheese. The pastry is homemade olive oil pastry. It was my first time making olive oil pastry, and although I was a little concerned about how flaky it seemed, it turned out very well. If you’re a big lover of olive oil, then I seriously suggest you give this a go. I found the recipe here: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2009/05/easy_olive_oil_tart_crust.php

The only thing I did differently was I used mixed herbs. I think next time I’ll omit the salt though.

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Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Why has she uploaded this, it’s just plain ol’ chicken with tomatoes and broccoli, how boring!’ Wrong!! Well, not wrong, it is just chicken with tomatoes and broccoli, however it is far from boring. This is another very old Shape recipe. I’d tried it back then and loved it, and promptly lost the recipe. Doh…but I found it again, it’s so simple but imparts a huge burst of flavour! You drizzle it with balsamic vinegar, but I haven’t done that as they went into the freezer anyway, I can do that part when I eat them! The tomatoes have become so soft in the cooking the they go all squishy in your mouth and it’s like fresh tomato sauce, but better! Chicken is baked, seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika.

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Turkey meatballs with creamy lemon pasta. Recipe adapted from a Waitrose recipe card. I am an official hoarder of those things! I have tons! The recipe called for linguine, but I used wholewheat fusili instead, and it also calls for creme fraiche, but I used non fat greek yogurt. Other than that, it’s all the same, quick and easy to make, smelt good but I didn’t sample this one, so who knows, it could be awful. haha.

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Mid way through cooking the pork and cashew nut stirfry! This smelt good, and the little nibble I had seemed very promising. I stuck some long grain brown rice in the rice cooker to go with this. This was from an old edition of Olive magazine.

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Shrimp ratatouille!! This recipe is from Fitness magazine. It is yum! Yes, I snuck a mouthfull, ssh. It was pretty low matinence cooking wise too, just chuck it all in, simmer and done, well more or less. I love watching the prawns change from grey to pink, am I the only one?? I found some super big, juicy ones too, so they should be very succulent in this dish. I set aside a bowl for dinner tomorrow, the rest I froze. It looks a little over liquidy in the bowl, but that’s probably because I tipped in the watery remains of the sauce that was at the bottom of the pan, no sense in letting all that flavour go to waste!!

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Wholewheat loaf and rolls, woopsie, you can see my slipper clad foot. Ha ha sorry. My bread never ever looks pretty, and doesn’t help that this loaf rose so much it kind of spilled out of the tin, so I smooshed it back in…however, it always tastes lovely! Crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside. I love homemade bread!! I can’t remember the last time I had white bread and the last time I had store bought was when I was trying some rye bread, to which I have some bizarre intolerance to, so that was short lived, but other than that, the last time for store bought was about 2 1/2 months ago!

Most of these will be making bento appearances soon! I did make one for lunch tomorrow, but there was absolutely no way I was taking a picture, I don’t think I can even call it a bento really…all I did was put half a quiche in there, a roll sliced in half, and stuffed it full of grapes…shame on me. So here as the final pic is another old bento!

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Chicken Karage, Italian cured meats, tomato slices, Thai black glutinous rice sprinkled with sea salt and sesame seeds. I remember it being quite yummy, except for the tomatoes, they were rather sour, a bit past it I think.

The self imposed no buying bento equipment ban was lifted for the 10% off at Bento&Co. I bought some lovely new goodies, I got an email this morning saying they were shipped, can’t wait for them to arrive!!! I was having issues with my basket though, items kept mysteriously removing themselves, so it wasn’t until I read the email today, I realised I didn’t purchase one item I’d wanted, I was sure it was in the basket…oh well, I’ll have to wait for another time…the ban is back on, because now I’m broke. Ha ha.

Done rambling. Have a good evening everyone!