Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bridie and Champ Bentos

We love Forfar Bridies. Love!!! So here are more yummy bentos with bridies and champ. Forfar bridies are scottish pastries, in our case filled with vegetarian beef alternative. Champ is an Irish dish. The traditional version is mashed potatoes with green onions. My family's favorite is a version of Champ that includes green peas as well, though I use sauteed yellow onion instead of green onion because my husband doesn't like green onions very much. In addition to the bridies and champ we had oranges, red grapes, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. My daughter had baby tomatoes and a container of HP sauce as well. (My husband and I had the bottle of HP sauce...) The green onion 'brushes' were easy to make but I was rushed for time and didn't let them curl enough.

LCE # 33

From left to right: red grapes and half of a navel orange, rice hearts with green peas and carrot, marinated & stir fried tofu cubes on skewers with carrots and peas, baby tomatoes.

The orange was first cut in half and then I just cut the pieces of peel away where I wanted them not to be. (if that made any sense at all...). The large rice heart was made by packing the rice tightly into the giant heart cookie cutter, then I used a smaller heart cookie cutter to cut the inside heart out and deposit it to the left. The hole in the large heart was then filled with green peas, very easy and quick!

The huge pink cookie cutter was a great help for my toddler when she ate the rice. She didn't have to chase the rice around on the tray with the fork :) We bought it in a huge plastic bucket of 100 cookie cutters at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Udon Bentos

On our last stop in at the local asian grocery I picked up some Udon noodles. They have been sitting in my cupboard for probably 3 months. I have many recipes for udon noodles, but I never have the ingredients all at the same time to make any of them (and I forget about them when I'm making the grocery list). So I finally decided to make something up and we were all pleasantly surprised by how yummy they were!

We all had the same things, but the shapes of our onigiri were different :)
Udon noodles with carrot ribbons, green onions, baby tomatoes and black sesame seeds. Plain mini onigiri. Baked tofu and green peas to be eaten with delicious Tonkatsu sauce (not shown because I forgot to put it in the pictures).

I cooked the udon according to the package, then fried them for 2 minutes in sesame oil, simmered them in vegetable stock for 5 mins, added soy sauce and a tiny bit of rice vinegar, some garlic pwd and ginger. Simmered for 5 more minutes. Yum!!

Kind of Freaky LCE #32

While I was making this I thought it would be cute. Once it was done I realized how incredibly freaky it looks. Oh well. :)
Red Seedless grapes, Broccoli mac 'n cheese, Morningstar Farms Chik Nugget creatures with pink faces and ketchup bellies holding ketchup balloons. Round onigiri with black sesame seeds.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

MomoCon Bentos

Bentos for a wonderful excursion into the world of MomoCon anime convention in Atlanta. Like a crazy woman I decided to try out very complicated bentos in traditional obento style where one tier is rice and picture, the other tier is a mix of small bites that are elegantly presented. I'm not so sure that I did a good job, but they tasted great! For inspiration I looked at and got tons of great ideas there, then tried to execute them in my own style. :)

My daughter's bento was Totoro and soot sprites to match her Mei costume.
Picture tier: morningstar farms chik tender tree with broccoli leaves, soy bologna totoro with sugar dot eyes and nori details, nori sprites with sugar dot eyes, thai sticky sweet rice.

Vegetable tier: broccoli, morningstar farms chik nuggets, lemon wedge, heart shaped mini-onigiri, black olives, carrot acorns, baby tomatoes, mini tater tots, apple bunny, eggless omelette, skewers of corn and green peas.

My bento was supposed to have elegant flowers...but looks really funky, lol.

Picture tier: carrot sun, corn & pea flower, baby tomato flower, pineapple flower, carrot flower, green onion stems and leaves on thai sticky rice.

Vegetable tier: Mini flower onigiri center with broccoli, morningstar farms chik nuggets, lemon wedge, carrot flowers, apple leaf, mini tater tots, red seedless grapes, eggless omelette, skewers of corn and peas.

My husband's bento had two pictures because I couldn't make up my mind between the two of them. Top: bamboo, Bottom: kitty!

Top tier: thai sticky rice with green onion bamboo, mini star onigiri, apple leaf, walnuts, eggless omelette, mini tater tot, black olive, carrot star, baby tomato, broccoli, morningstar farm chik nugget.

Bottom tier: Fried rice kitty onigiri with green onion whiskers, black olive eyes, carrot ears and nose and claws. Broccoli, walnuts, chik nuggets, lemon wedge, eggless omelette, baby tomato, mini tater tot, corn and pea skewer.

Snack bento for later in the afternoon. Babybel cheese bear made with an egg mold, pretzels, fruit chips, apple bunny, red grapes, two baby tomatoes.

The fruit chips were Flat Earth Baked Fruit Crisps, Wild Berry Patch flavor. And they are one of the most delicious things that I have eaten in a long time. We kept seeing them in the store and wondering about trying for a few weeks then last week in a moment of weakness I grabbed them. They are fabulous, wonderful, incredible! You must try them. You must!!!

LCE #31

This was a very simple, easy to make lunch, but just a little bit of cuteness goes a long way! From left to right: a scattering of blueberries with a daikon flower on top, vegetarian vegetable soup, grilled tulip sandwich with soy bologna, cheese, & dark mustard with pickle leaves, gold fish and more pickles.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Burrito Bentos

We all had pretty much the same things:
2 mini black bean burritos with tofu 'sour cream', shredded cheddar & pineapple salsa rice inside.
A side of pineapple salsa rice (it was very sweet!), corn, baby tomatoes and broccoli
Ginko leaf out of eggless omelette (tofu omelette) and pico de gallo (onion, g. pepper, tomato, lime juice, cilantro & parsley).
It was my very first time making burritos. I was pretty nervous and thought they might be horrible and soggy by the time we ate them, but they were perfect! And the sweetness of the rice was pretty awesome, giving a very distinctive flavor. A-chan scarfed down both of her burritos!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Recipe - Vegetarian chili & green bean bundles

Chili ingredients:
1 pkg Morningstar farms crumbles
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 pkg chili seasoning kit
1 TB olive oil
2 ts soy sauce
garlic pwd
cumin pwd
paprika pwd

1. Sautee onion in a pan until lightly browned. remove. Add crumbles, olive oil and soy sauce to pan and cook until thawed.

2. Add tomato sauce and 1/2 can water, 1/4 seasoning kit, garlic, cumin, paprika to taste.

3. Drain a bit of liquid off beans then add beans and remaining liquid to crumbles mixture. Simmer on medium for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often.

4. Add sauteed onion and 1/4 seasoning kit, more garlic, salt, etc. to taste. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.

5. Add 1/2 corn flour from seasoning kit. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Green Bean Bundles:
1 handful fresh green beans, snapped and washed.
4-6 carrot rounds
3 TB butter
dried tarragon
garlic pwd

1. Take slices of fresh carrot (as large at the top as you can), use a miniature circle or flower shaped cookie cutter to remove the center. (I use a flower shape because it holds the beans better).

2. Boil beans for 10 minutes, adding carrot rounds in the last 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

3. Gather up the beans by twos and slide them into the carrot centers. Place bundles in glass pan.

4. Melt butter and mix in tarragon and garlic to taste. Pour or spoon evenly over bean bundles.

5. Place in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.

How I like Tomato Soup

With enough salt and pepper and cayenne powder on top to form this beautiful coating :)

2 rices bentos

Left tier: Stirfry tofu flowers with carrot centers, peas, sesame carrots.
Right tier: Fried rice, white rice, green peas.
Left tier: Fried rice and white rice, peas, carrots with tofu flower centers.
Right tier: Green bean stands, stirfry tofu squares with angle cut green bean slices, peas and sesame carrots.

Left tier: Fried rice road, white rice, soy bologna and cheese car with sugar dot lights, pickle wheels, soy bologna letters.
Right tier: Stirfry tofu hearts, peas and sesame carrots.

Chili bentos

Top tier: Vegetarian chili, carrot and daikon flower, cayenne powder in the center.
Botton tier: 4 mini cornbread muffins, blueberries, green bean bundle with carrot wrapper, corn.
Top tier: Mini cornbread muffins, green bean bundles and corn.
Bottom tier: Vegetarian chili, daikon and carrot flower.

Bowl: Vegetable Barley soup leftover from The Grit restaurant. Shredded cheese added.
Large section: Soy hotdog flowers, vegetarian chili, carrot flowers, green bean bundle, mini cornbread muffins.
Small section: Dried mango rolls with yellow animal picks, blueberries.

Lunch Cuteness Experiment #30

The ribbon was a very successful experiment with 'fruit by the foot'. This time A-chan decided to try some of it and within minutes it was devoured.
Left to right: Blueberries and grapes, tomato soup, spaghetti noodle flower with carrot flower center and parmesan cheese, pickles and babybel cheese triangles.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Downtown Excursion Bentos

We were going downtown for the early afternoon and hoped to eat lunch in a garden on campus but we never made it that far. These bentos got eaten at home at the dining room table instead. They still tasted great, but I'm hoping to have outdoor bentos sometime soon!
Ingredients: Fried rice round onigiri with corn center, broccoli bite, black olive, baby grapes, babybel cheese round, soy-bologna and cheese swirls with cute animal picks, teriyaki yakisoba, apple bunnies, baby tomatoes, mayo dip.
I wasn't sure how the fried rice would do for making onigiri and they didn't hold together as well as I would have liked but they were extremely tasty!

Friday, March 2, 2007

3 color bento

I've seen a lot of bentos on flickr and such that have these 3 color partitions that hide rice underneath. They always look lovely so I decided to try it for A-chan's lunch today. It was amazing how sweet the corn tasted with the rice!

Oval bento: baby grapes, baby tomatoes, pretzels, cheese flowers
Rectangle bento: Rice on the bottom covered by sesame carrots, green peas and buttered corn with black olive decoration.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Lots of broccoli!

Left tier: Morningstar Farms Broccoli Bites, green beans, lentil pate (made by a friend!), baby tomatoes, steamed broccoli, jasmine rice.

Right tier: Somen noodle stirfry with onion, yellow pepper, red pepper, green pepper and broccoli.
Top tier: A soy chip, broccoli bites, steamed broccoli, jasmine rice with baby tomatoes and green bean decorations.
Bottom tier: somen noodle stirfry with broccoli and 3 peppers.

Top tier: Soy chip and broccoli bite, green beans, broccoli and baby tomatoes, somen noodle stirfry.
Bottom tier: jasmine rice with swirl of hot and spicy sauce, lentil pate and broccoli.
The lentil pate was made by a friend of ours. It is vegetarian and very yummy! It works really well in bentos which was a pleasant discovery :)