Sunday, October 28, 2007

Protein-packed lunch

I can pack all the cute lunches I want, but if I want to actually have a shot at losing weight then I need to pay attention to what I eat and how much I eat.

After yet another weekend of eating nonstop, I will try to get my act together and try to make an attempt at eating lighter.

I decided that tomorrow I'd make myself gag down a salad. I baked up the last hunk of lemon-garlic marinated turkey breast and portioned it out into pieces for lunch this week. But to make the salad more palatable for me, I decided to make it full of protein. None of those sissy all veggie salads. Pffft. My salad has hunks of juicy, flavorful turkey and chunks of pepperjack cheese. If I can remember to pack some dressing, even better!

Bento buying binge, part deux

So, I did a little shopping this weekend with a friend of mine. I seriously think I need some help!

I will say that I didn't buy everything I saw that looked cute. I showed SOME restraint.

Let me explain a bit.

We went to that Discover Mills mall way the hell over in Suwanee/Duluth way up on 85. There is a Sanrio store, a Japanese goods store, and this store called Lydia's Artbox. My friend likes Sanrio stuff, like Hello Kitty. I wasn't expecting to buy anything in that store, but then I saw a couple boxes. And the price was right. And that wall was 50% off!! I only bought one box there -- the square, aqua bottomed box with the pink plastic diagonal strip. At the Japanese goods store, I bought a couple bags to take my lunches in and a few boxes to sell on Ebay. I'd already bought one of whatever they had the last time I'd gone there (see previous post). At Lydia's Artbox, I saw a display of "lunche box," but nothing caught my eye, until I happened to glance at the back of the window display. Then I saw the Hello Kitty bento boxes I've seen everyone and their mom posting about that they found at Dollar Tree. I haven't seen any at the ones I've gone to, and I'd pretty much resigned myself to having to get one off Ebay for an exorbitant price. I saw them at the store for 3.99 and was happy with that since I'd be saving on shipping. I also bought a couple extra to sell on Ebay as well.

After lunch, we decided to hit up Morning Glory, which I think is a Korean gift shop with the usual cute stationary, toys, etc. I'd bought a box at one of them before, but I hit the jackpot at this particular location. OMG. I think I really did squeal with delight at the sight of all the cute colorful plastic boxes. But I was good and only allowed myself 2 items: the double tiered blue box in the upper right, and the pink and orange mini side-dish set that came with their own carrying bag.

And then as a bonus, a package I'd been expecting from Ebay was waiting for me. That tiny aqua colored box on the upper left. For some reason, although the seller had posted the measurements, I hadn't expected to be so tiny and deep. I thought it was going to be shallower and bigger. Oh well.

So I think it's safe to say that I can cool it on buying more boxes for a long time. I'll post pics of the rest of my collection soon.

And now for something a little different . . .

Well, it's technically food related, no?

Today at the tender age of 27, I finally carved and gutted my first jack o' lantern.

A friend of mine had a pumpkin-carving party/chili cook-off/"guac"-off this afternoon. I wussed out and didn't make any chili or guacamole, but I did bring a huge ass pumpkin to carve.

I'm sure left to my own devices, I could have come up with a simple yet diabolic looking pumpkin, but since I'd never done this before and wasn't feeling that creative today, I opted for one of the simpler patterns that came with this pumpkin carving kit we had at the party.

It's supposed to be a bat. The pattern was called "Fatty Batty," and looked very cute and not scary at all. I don't know what the hell I did to the pattern, but here it is, my first attempt! We decided to stick flashlights inside to see what our creations would look like lit up from within.

I like it. It's cute in a lopsided, goofy kind of way.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The "can't sleep" bento

What do most people do when they can't sleep? Read, watch tv, close their eyes and hope that sleep doesn't remain elusive for long.

Me? I pack my lunch. And then post about it.

Well, this might be the only time I've done it so far.

I kept seeing all these cute little collapsible sandwich boxes on various bento blogs and was intrigued by them. Intrigued meaning I trolled Ebay until I found one and before I knew it had clicked on "Buy it now!!" Wonder how that happened?

Anyway, I got this over the weekend but just haven't had a chance to pack anything in it yet. It's really neat , the sides collapse down and this bottom part fits neatly into the lid when you're all done with lunch. Maybe if I'm motivated enough I'll post some pics showing how it works.

So today for lunch I've got a rotisserie-style oven roasted chicken sandwich with lettuce, a clementine, and some sugar free double chocolate Jello pudding. I also packed a couple of the chocolate raspberry Milano cookies I found at Kroger this weekend. I noticed the hubby had opened them up and already finished half the bag, so they must be good. :D

As you can see, the box is a pretty decent size. I was able to cut the sandwich in half and fit both halves in easily with room to spare. To keep the sandwich halves packed tighter, I stole a divider from one of my other bento boxes. Gotta love that early morning creativity.

I will say that packing my lunch in this box transformed it from one of those ehhhh sandwich lunches packed in sandwich bags and all tossed in a leftover plastic grocery bag into something far more appealing.

What can I say, I'm just a sucker for cute packaging.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shrimp and noodles

This was one of those "toss-together" dinners I do during the week.

I'd had this package of Indonesian sambal sauce from Harry's or World Market that I'd been wanting to use for a while. I also had some rice noodles, frozen shrimp, and angel hair shredded cabbage and broccoli slaw.

Soooo . . . I sauteed the veggies and shrimp in some oil, added the sauce packet (it contained dried shrimp paste, and I wasn't expecting the smell). In the meantime I had soaked the rice noodles in hot water for about 30 minutes.

After the shrimp and veggies were done, I took them from the pan and then sauteed the rice noodles, added ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, and some oyster sauce. Then I dumped the shrimp and veggies back in, added some lime juice and chili paste, and prayed that it would taste good. It did. I had 2 heaping bowls and the hubby had a huge heaping plate. And there was actually enough for my lunch tomorrow!

Oh yes, before I forget. I heated up some Van's shrimp egg rolls in the toaster oven to go along with dinner. I don't usually like egg rolls, but these are good. And not too bad in the calorie department.

So anyway, it seems that dinner was a success. Unless I can find that sauce pack again, I doubt I can recreate it exactly. But that's usually what happens with the "toss-together" dinners.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Garlicky Goodness

I'm still at it!

I was lazy and packed it in my green Putifresh container instead of having to decide which new bento to use this time.

Left tier contains grapes, strawberries, and a clementine.

Right tier contains leftovers from tonight's dinner: wilted garlicky spinach and cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic mashed potatoes (from a mix, shhhhh!), and some lemon garlic marinated turkey breast I found at the grocery store and grilled on our Calphalon grill pan. That thing is getting some serious use.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Purple what??

Purple cauliflower, my friends.

I saw it at Kroger last weekend and was so intrigued by it. I usually buy frozen cauliflower because I can't be bothered to actually wash and cut the fresh stuff, but this deserved a try.

Too bad I was too scared of it until today!

This is one of the Putifresh bento boxes I bought during my binge last weekend. At least I'm using it!

The left container has brown rice and some carne asada chicken from Trader Joe's that I grilled up tonight. I poshed it up a bit by sprinkling some parsley flakes on top. Mom would be proud. :D

The right container is a melange of colorful veggies. Carrot slices, grape tomatoes, edamame, and some steamed purple cauliflower. Looking forward to the looks at lunch tomorrow.

Let's play catch-up

I got really caught up with work last week, since it was right before the October 15th deadline. A mini-tax season, if you will.

I didn't pack lunch a lot last week because I was coming home late and I was too lazy in the mornings.

This is the only one I managed to at the beginning of the week. Look how colorful it is!

Left container has edamame, mini beef tacos from Trader Joe's, meatless chicken nuggets from Trader Joe's, and a very anemic-looking vegetable croquette I got at H-mart last weekend. The right container has mandarin oranges and fresh strawberries. God those were some yummy oranges.

Confession time. What I didn't say was that last weekend I descended into yet another level of bento mania. While browsing through yet some more pics of other people's lunches, someone mentioned having gone to the Japan Fest in Atlanta a couple weekends ago and then scoring some bento boxes at a nearby mall. So I got the bright idea (obsessive thought) of heading out there last Sunday. And since I was going to be all the way out there I'd hit up H-mart and Trader Joe's, neither of which is near little old Smyrna, where I live.

I definitely hit the jackpot last weekend. I was in Discover Mills and found a Sanrio store and then 2 other stores selling Japanese goods. The second store is where I scored three 2-tier Putifresh bento boxes, a 1-tier Putifresh box, some food picks, a couple little Buddha figurines for the hubby and me, and some Almond-crunch Pocky. I asked the cashier if they had more boxes, he said they get shipments once in a while. Yayayayy!! Then he asked if they were for my kids. Ummmm. I don't have kids, but I was dressed a bit frumpy, so I will forgive him. :P

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

New box!

At last, my two boxes from Japan have arrived!

I love the blue color of this one -- it really seems to make the food pop.

On our left is rice sprinkled with green onions and a grape tomato for color. I guess it's a fake umeboshi. :)

On our right we have some leftover Asian-glazed salmon (for lack of a better description), steamed French-cut green beans, and my first attempt at a Japanese rolled omelet! It was pretty fun to make, although I think next time I'll make it more flavorful. I just don't like bland-tasting food.

Cool Bento Art

This past weekend the hubby and I attended the Japan Fest in Duluth, GA. I kinda wish we'd gotten there a bit earlier, since it was packed! I'd heard there was a huge bento display there, so after we'd wandered around the stalls, we decided to go exploring.

Here's the display -- we couldn't get all of the chopsticks at the bottom. I believe this was all made out of recycled material.

You can tell that I've gotten obsessed when I can identify some of the items at first glimpse -- 2 onigiri, sliced apple, dumplings, tomato, carrots, broccoli, rolled omelet.