Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Renaissance Festival Snack Bentos

Left to right: Lovely, delicious strawberries, corn chex cereal with sugar sprinkles, grapes, Hello Kitty collectible candy, cinnamon graham crackers.

Left to right: Black olives on skewers, snap pea snacks, tiny japanese cake, baby tomatoes, 1 slice of cucumber, pretzels.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bentos of Miscellany

Top tier: Heart shaped potato pancake, steamed broccoli, babybel cheese, mixed dried fruit.

Bottom tier: Broccoli mac'n'cheese, more potato pancakes, baby tomatoes, veggie greek meatball, carrot hearts.
Top tier: Heart shaped potato pancake, mozzarella string cheese, mixed dried fruit, korean cookies.
Bottom tier: More potato pancakes on the bottom, baby tomatoes, veggie greek meatball, steamed broccoli, broccoli mac'n'cheese in a lettuce 'cup'.

Top tier: Heart shaped potato pancake, halved baby tomatoes, broccoli mac'n'cheese, steamed broccoli.
Bottom tier: Kissing turtles (greek meatball halves, carrot legs, mozzarella heads, sugardot eyes), carrot hearts, mixed dried fruit, steamed broccoli.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Recipe - Spanikopitakias & Keftethes (Spinach triangles and Greek meatballs)

Spanikopitakia (Spinach & feta triangles)

1 pkg froz. Spinach
1 onion, chopped
1 TB olive oil
1/2 TB parsley
1 Ts dill
1 goodly shake of nutmeg
½ cup ricotta
1 cup feta
¼ cup parmesan, grated
1 serv. of tofu egg-replacement, recipe below (or 2 eggs)
1/2 box of fillo sheets
1 stick butter (melted)

1. Thaw spinach, let cool, squeeze out most of the liquid. Fry onion in the olive oil until lightly browned.

2. Mix together spinach, onion, herbs, cheeses and egg-replacement (or eggs if preferred). Stir.

3. Roll out and cut fillo sheets in half longways.

4. One at a time, brush sheets lightly with melted butter. Place a generous dollop of spinach mix and fold into a triangle. ( I do this with the flag fold method. )

5. At this point you can freeze the triangles if you like. They freeze excellently! I place them in a large tupperware container, seperating the layers with wax paper.

6. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place ¼ pat of butter on top of each triangle. Cook 20 minutes if frozen, 15 minutes if fresh. Check after about 10 minutes to see if the corners are getting too browned.

7. For miniature triangles, cut fillo sheets into thirds longways instead of halves.

Keftethes (Originally this recipe was for meat patties, I transformed them into meatballs)

1 pkg morningstar farms crumbles
1 serving of tofu egg-replacement, recipe below (Or 2 eggs)
¼ cup bread crumbs
2 slices slightly stale bread, crumbled
1 onion, chopped really small
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB parsley
1 Ts cilantro
1 Ts paprika
1 Ts cumin
2 TB parmesan cheese

1. Mix egg replacement (or eggs) with crumbled bread, onion, juice, cheese and seasonings. Let sit 10 minutes.

2. Cook MF crumbles with 1 TB olive oil & ½ TB soy sauce.

3. Add cooled crumbles to mixture along with ¼ cup bread crumbs.

4. Form into balls, roll in more bread crumbs.

5. At this point you can freeze the meatballs if you like, just like the spanikopitakias they freeze really well! I will place a batch in a tupperware container with enough room between each to not have any touching so that they won't stick together. Once they are well frozen I combine them into a large freezer bag to save space.

6. Shallow fry meatballs in butter until browned. You can put the frozen meatballs directly into the frying pan from the freezer. If frozen, place in 325 degree oven for 10 minutes, or microwave for 2 minutes. If fresh, microwave for one minute after frying in butter.

Tofu Egg Replacement

2 Heaping TB of silken tofu
3 TB water
3 TB all-purpose flour

Mix all ingredients together until mostly creamy. This amount will replace 2 eggs in the recipes above. For added stiffness 1 TB soy flour can be added. For a more liquid solution just add more water.

Carrot Coin Bentos

Top tiers: Korean cookie (yum!! I love these things, they taste like poori soaked in honey), vegetarian eggroll, corn croquettes, baby tomatoes, mixed salted nuts (except for my daughter's), container of tonkatsu sauce.
Bottom tiers: Thai sticky rice, baked tofu slabs with tonkatsu decorations which came out much better in my imagination, steamed broccoli and a carrot coin.

Hello Kitty Snack

A fun and happy-making snack for my toddler to have at a fancy restaurant where we weren't sure how she would like the food :D
Grapes & blueberries, pretzels, Cheetah Chomps cereal with sugar dots in a Hello Kitty tin that actually fits inside the tiny Totoro bento!

Wrapped up

This is generally how I wrap up all of our bentos for the road! My husband's is the green kitty one at back left - the bag came with his bento which was awesome. Mine is wrapped in a plaid cloth napkin and knotted on top. My daughter's is in a japanese hand bag (my aunt's family gave it to us last year, I wish I knew where to get more!). It came with a horrible bright red cord that I didn't like so I made a new Kumihimo cord to match the bag.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More Bentos with Bridies

Top tier: Mashed potatoes with Mrs. Dash star garnish, mystery cake (yum!), roasted garlic hummus & carrot flower.

Bottom tier: Smiley face vegetarian Forfar Bridie, baby tomatoes, carrot sticks for the hummus, elephant container of HP sauce for the bridie.

Toddler bento: Roasted garlic hummus, miniature bridies, baby tomatoes, mystery cake, mashed potatoes with Mrs. Dash smiley face garnish, carrot sticks.

Top tier: Mashed potatoes with Mrs. Dash maple leaf garnish, mystery maple leaf cake, roasted garlic hummus.
Bottom tier: Smiley face vegetarian bridie, carrot sticks, baby tomatoes, bear container of HP sauce.
And if you're interested in the non-veggie recipe it can be found here:

Toddler Snack Bento

A simple snack bento for a jaunt in the park and around the lake and through the zoo and back again. Snap pea snacks, baby tomatoes (on skewers for easy toddler eating), pizza snack chips, Cheetah Chomps cereal with blueberries, a shiny sticker just for fun.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Recipe - Sweet Love Broccoli

I was trying to make Thai Firecracker Broccoli, but I didn't have all the ingredients. So some experimentation happened and this is the result. Very sweet with a good tang at the end. My entire family likes it and I'm keeping the recipe! It had to be renamed, though and Sweet Love was what came to mind, corny as it may be.

Sweet Love Sauce: (more sweet than hot)
½ cup water
1 cup sugar
½ cup rice vinegar
1 TB garlic pwd
1 ts salt
1 TB chili oil
1 ts cayenne pwd (more if you like things hot)

1. Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes.
2. Add chili oil & cayenne to mixture, cook 2 mins, pour into container to keep refrigerated.

Sweet Love Broccoli:
1 large head of broccoli, already steamed
6-8 TB of Sweet Love sauce
½ cup vegetable broth
2 TB oil

1. Heat oil in skillet. Add broccoli and cook for a few minutes until it begins to wilt.
2. Add vegetable broth and simmer for several minutes on high.
3. Pour pre-made SL sauce over the broccoli and continue to cook on high for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Drain if necessary and eat either hot or cold.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Dinner Bentos

Top tier: Miniature corn croquettes, veggie egg roll, happy onigiri, blueberries & cantaloupe skewers, veggie heart chips.

Bottom tier: Star shaped fairy bread, strawberry sticker, baby tomato, snap pea snacks, "Sweet Love" broccoli.

Top tier: Miniature corn croquettes, veggie egg roll, baby tomatoes, plain onigiri with black sesame seeds, snap pea snacks, Sahale Sing Buri nut mix, blueberry and cantaloupe skewers.

Bottom tier: Kitty onigiri with broccoli nose & sugar dot eyes, baby tomatoes, "Sweet Love" broccoli, tiny plain onigiri, Pizza Snacks.

Top tier: Two plain onigiri with black sesame seeds, Terra Exotic chips, baby tomatoes & miniature corn croquettes.

Bottom tier: Veggie egg roll, "Sweet Love" Broccoli, blueberry & cantaloupe skewers, walnuts.

The chips and pizza snacks didn't turn out well in the bentos, I'm sorry to say. They became all soggy and ick, perhaps because I was in a hurry and put the lids on before everything cooled off.

Once again, my husband's onigiri sport black sesame seeds which are my favorite choice for quick decoration. The corn croquettes were awesome! I used silken tofu instead of egg in the batter and they are sooo yummy. Silken tofu rocks!!! (recipe to follow at some point)

The "Sweet Love" broccoli was supposed to be Thai Firecracker broccoli, but I didn't have exactly the right ingredients and decided to experiment. It came out very good but incredibly sweet with a tangy bite, more like Sweet & sour sauce my husband claims.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Favorite things

Here are some links to some of my all-time favorite foods for bentos. Small bites that go a long way:

Broccoli Bites: These things show up in at least 50% of my bentos...

Mixed nuts to die for: A new find that is incredibly addictive...

Alphabet fries: The coolest thing ever!!

I would post pictures of these items and not just the urls...but I didn't think of it in time!