Entries in bento box - deli club (23)


first bento of 2012

Back to work, back to bento. It's strange how much I miss it when I'm on vacation, although I appreciate the break from doing them. I didn't pack one for Tuesday (first day back to work after 17(!) days off) and I really regreted it by the end of the day. I don't know why I'm always so surprised by how much it affects me.

lunch, deli club:

  • molded eggs (which looked better last night)
  • herb roasted turkey slices
  • peas as gap fillers (including underneath the eggs and turkey
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • satsuma

little pink houses for you and me

The Little Green House (Now Yellow) Across The Street, taken November 2003So the douchebag developer across the street has finally begun work. It's been nine years since we first started battling it out with him, and a year since the incident last year following testimony about the final plan that was approved. He's still going to build some craptastic development, but at least it'll be limited to three stories and eight units of craptasticness instead of his original plan of six and sixty-seven, respectively. Small miracles and alla that.

Yesterday's work appeared to be some sort of underground pipe installation. There'll be equipment out all the the time soon, ripping out plants and tearing up ancient concrete sidewalks and generally making life noisy and inconvenient for awhile. The day when they tear down the little old house is nearing quickly, I suppose. I hope I'm not here when they do it.

lunch, deli club:

  • molded eggs
  • corn and peas
  • red grapes
  • cashews, dried cherries, with dried mango as baran

conveniently dependent

Several Michaels crafts stores in our area were recently hit with a massive PIN-stealing scheme, including the store that's just down the road from my office. In the last week, there's been a rash of people reporting fraudulent charges on their bills or being notified by the fraud department of their bank of attempts to charge, including several people in my office. I've certainly visited the same store multiple times in the period mentioned in that article, so I've been monitoring my account closely. But while I was fortunate not to be hit by any illicit charges, I discovered yesterday that my debit card had been cancelled by the card company.

It was done as a preemptive measure across all their accounts that were on the list of compromised cards (which means my card was cancelled but Sal was unaffected), but just the sheer number of accounts involved meant that notifications are taking longer than they would normally.  Which meant that I discovered it when I tried to renew an online account and called the bank.

So grateful that what could've been Very Bad has become nothing more than inconvenient, with minimal hassle on my part. But yesterday was definitely a lesson on just how dependent I am on my debit card. I never carry cash and the couple of credit cards I carry are emergency-only. I don't really purchase much except for semi-regular trips to New Seasons for groceries, but it would be no hardship to curb those until my new card arrives.

Or so I thought. On my way to an appointment yesterday, it suddenly occurred to me I'd have to use my credit card. Annoying, but whatever. But then at the parking meter, I was stymied. I did just happen to have cash (one of the rare times I do) but it was a $20, which the machine wouldn't accept and I didn't have enough in coins for the length of time. Did I really want to put that couple of dollars on my credit card? I didn't really have a choice.

Even Sal had a hard time making the adjustment. Upon my relating the unexpected challenge of being without my debit card until a new one arrives, he suggested just getting cash back the next time I was at the store. "Um...I don't have a debit card...?" I said. "...oh, right," he said.

Funny how incorporated into our lives this convenience has become, that we would be so challenged when it disappears, however briefly. And a good lesson that maybe I need to make it a habit to carry at least a little cash more often.

breakfast, bento colors mini green:

  • oatmeal with maple syrup and raisins
  • blackberries and half a red grape (trying to make a sort of flower), with more grapes underneath
  • mandarin sections
  • molded egg half, with more mandarin sections underneath

lunch, deli club:

  • mini sausages (with carrots underneath)
  • steamed string beans as "grass" and carrot flowers for garnish
  • molded egg half, with more carrot pieces underneath
  • grapes on picks
  • mandarin sections

getting things in order

I've taken next week off from work so today is my last bento for a bit. I'd packed it with the idea that I would try to leave a little early today, and figured a small lunch would be added incentive to do that, but it's now 2 PM and I'm just now getting to eat it, so we see how well my plans tend to work out....

Not going anywhere for vacation or anything, just taking a break that I'm planning to use to spend on some organizational stuff at home. Which probably makes me the boringest person ever, but I'm actually excited about it. I'll put a favorite show in the DVD player to marathon while I sort through papers and shred things and fun stuff like that. It'll feel good to put affairs (back) in order and be checked out of the rat race for a bit.

lunch, deli club:

  • steamed broccoli
  • two very wee creamer potatoes with cheese
  • imitation crab (packed while frozen)
  • orange wedges
  • dark chocolate covered raisins

there was an old woman who swallowed a fly

I was late to work this morning and it's all my mother's fault.

See, I spent the weekend writing -- with middling success -- while Sal brewed another batch of beer. He's supposed to be posting about these ventures in chemistry here, and in fact has a page set aside on this website for that purpose, but has as yet to actually do it. We'll see if me guilting him publicly will move him to do it.

Anywhoodle, I did, as I say, spend time writing but was hampered to some degree by a new Scrabble-type game on my phone thanks to my mother, damn her, who talked me into giving it a try.  "We can play against each other!" she said with glee. And since I don't get to see as much of my mother as I would like, I figured it would be fun to share this enjoyable little diversion with her throughout my day.

Of course, I don't have many games installed on my phone for a reason. I know full well how easy it is to get sucked in, and I try to be oh-so-careful about squandering my precious free time. I only recently broke my hour-per-day Angry Birds habit -- and that only because I conquered all the levels and got three stars on everything and unlocked all the golden eggs, for both the regular Angry Birds AND the Angry Birds Seasons (including, yes, the Valentine's Day levels), although we're of course not counting the recent addition of the "Ham 'Em High" level, which I conquered but haven't mastered AND ANYWAY my point is! I did not need this distraction.

But this was my mother! How could I deny my mother? And anyway, it would require little from me: I could submit a word when I had a quick moment, between phone calls, or waiting for the microwave to defrost something, whatever. Perfect!

Well. We've had an epic game going since Friday, and are down to the last three tiles of the entire game, each of us with three left. I'm leading by over 100 points, thanks largely to a 45 point word score off of one of her higher scoring words late in the game. And thanks to that I'm now addicted, playing another board with her while we wrap this one up (and maybe possibly several other boards against random other players, as well) and really, my mother is responsible for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, here. I AM NORMALLY VERY RESPONSIBLE OKAY.

So this time suck I did not need, as I say, and it's the primary reason I still have three baskets of unfolded laundry. NOT because I opted to watch three episodes of Princess Tutu Friday night when I could've been folding laundry, nor because I spent Saturday morning searching for old An Evening at the Improv segments on YouTube. And it was also not because I spent a few hours minutes browsing Tumblr for new and pretty campaign pics for the Fandom Cage Matches, and especially especially not pics of my beloved Leslie Knope who understands my deepest truuuuuuuths. I also did not browse for new bento boxes as a reward for my promotion, nor did I start a new bookmarks folder of creative space decorating and organizing idea. I totally did not do any of those things. You can't prove anything.

Nope, it was all because I whittled away the time playing a not-Scrabble Scrabble game with my mom on my Droid and so my clothes did not get folded and my socks did not get mated which is why I had to dig for a replacement pair of socks at the last minute this morning because I stepped into a pile of cat vomit in the kitchen because our linoleum is the exact camoflaged pattern for cat vomit, and that is why it's my mother's fault that I was late to work today.

lunch, pink natural lunch:

  • rice pilaf with broccoli and onion
  • wilted spinach and bacon salad
  • Braeburn apple slices

dinner @ Prompt, deli club:

  • ham & smoked gouda skewers
  • Braeburn apple slices
  • dried cherries and yogurt-covered raisins

a vp, a chef, and a maestro walk into a bar...

Guess who now has something in common with Joe Biden?! Thanks to a promotion a few days ago, I am now the Vice President of Internal Operations, which means that I'll basically be doing what I've been doing for awhile, but with a more impressive business card.  My mom will be thrilled that I (sort of) share a title with Joe Biden, since she loves him. Of course, that also means that I have something in common with Dan Quayle, but I suppose the laws of physics dictate that the universe must remain in balance.

It's also meant being addressed as "Madam Vice President" by Sal every chance he gets. "What would you like for dinner, Madam Vice President?" "I do believe it's raining outside, Madam Vice President." "Be careful not to step in the cat barf, Madam Vice President." I suppose it's payback for when I learned his students call him "Chef" in the same way you would call someone "Doctor", as in: "Chef said the chocolate has to be tempered first" or "I remember Chef's lecture on the importance of oven spring in bread baking". I teased him about being in that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine is dating a symphony conductor who insists on being called "Maestro" by everyone. (Even though he's never asked his students to call him that, they just do.) So I...may have had the mockery coming....

lunch, deli club:

  • baked potato with strips of smoked gouda, with steamed broccoli as gap fillers
  • more broccoli and a lone spicy meatball
  • mandarin halves with blueberries as gap fillers

it's the simple things

In talking to Cat last night, we were discussing cake, and the craving thereof. (Cat, if you didn't know, is an amazing cook and baker, and her cakes are widely requested by anyone who's been lucky enough to enjoy a bite of one.) We talked about how even though we love the most fancy and deliciously concocted cakes (or any pastries, really), sometimes, the simplest desserts are the only thing that will satiate that craving.

She mentioned yellow cake with chocolate frosting and I might have pierced her ear drum when I squealed into the phone, "OMGMETOOTHATISMYFAVORITECOMBINATION". Seriously. when my birthday rolled around every year and I got to pick what cake I wanted for my day, it was always a yellow cake with a chocolate frosting that my mom made on the stove -- she poured it on while still kind of warm so it was almost like a glaze, and then when it cooled, it had a kind of hard shell.

And so now I've had that damn cake in my brain all day and am going to have to make it this weekend. This is not the biggest tragedy ever.

lunch, deli club:

  • wraps -- cream cheese, herb roasted turkey breast, and pickle in a sun dried tomato tortilla
  • molded egg with peas as gap fillers
  • unpeeled satsuma with yogurt covered raisins as gap fillers

experimenting with color design in lunch

Decided to try a little something different today. Instead of a range of color, I thought it might be kind of cool to pick a design palette. Because a meal is just like decorating a room.

It was kind of cool to do, and pretty in a way, but as I look at it to eat I just keep thinking, "Needs green."

lunch, deli club:

  • 2 (badly) molded eggs (with a small container of sea salt on the side)
  • carrot chunks
  • red d'anjou pear
  • satsuma
  • cashews

I didn't have a bento yesterday. But! Thanks to Guy, I did not go without a delicious, homemade lunch! Grabbed one of my pasties from the freezer and a gravy packet on my way out the door in the morning, enjoyed a delicious -- and wow, very filling! -- lunch in the afternoon. And it was quite the talk of the lunchroom. There may have been drooling.


from a distance, we look like paragons of efficiency

Smaug and Hobbes, being their usual productive selves, which is to say IN ABSOLUTELY NO WAY WHATSOEVERProductive weekend, I'm happy to report. Which is a relief because I feel like there's a countdown clock hanging just over my shoulder -- as previously mentioned, I'm taking off the second half of December to coincide with Sal's winter break from school but there is much to be done in the next week and a half. Nonetheless, I feel like a kid looking forward to Christmas, or perhaps the way I did in college: excited to have a breather from the stress and homework and tests, but a shitload of difficult finals to get through first.

It started off on the right foot: not with work, but with fun. Friday, I met up with my friend Kim for coffee (well, hot chocolate, actually) and we spent a few hours catching up and trading info on cool creative things, tools, and new places to spend way more money than we should shop for all the things that make an artist's heart go pitter pat. So it's thanks to her that I was feeling energized enough to focus on website updates when I got home.

So I've completed a few more updates on the guest room and library projects from a few years ago. We're getting into the exciting stuff now, like neato decorative window films and painting the walls at last:

Library, Part 4: Fixing the Window & Wall

Guest & Creative Room, Part 4: Fixing the Windows & Ceiling

Guest & Creative Room, Part 5: Painting the Room

Note that the text is not the same for these posts, nor will they be from here on out.

I hope to have the painting in the library posted tonight; that was a far more dramatic change. It was fun to look through the pictures for these phases of the projects and remember all the little snags and interruptions we had to overcome, but to look at them knowing about the end result and how much we love the outcome. Or to relive the sense of accomplishment when we'd successfully completed a particularly challenging part (wall patch ftw!). One of the reasons I've been documenting all our home improvement (mis)adventures is to be able to go back and see how far we've come and to remember what it took to get to this point. As I've gone back through these pictures to get caught up on these two projects, but with a few years' distance, I'm reminded of all the hard work that went into them and each time I go into those rooms now, I have a renewed sense of pride in them. Also, how thankful I am that we got rid of that heinous pink.

Saturday, we got the paint for the creative room and I did the preliminary work on the aforementioned sooper sekrit project in preparation for (probably) painting this coming weekend. Sal had to do the transfer to secondary fermentation of his latest batch of beer (brewed last weekend). He also fixed the dripping faucets in the kitchen and bathroom, the broken handle on the toilet, and put in much-easier-to-use faucet handles in the utility sink in the basement. His trip to Home Depot for the hardware also included the purchase of nine(!) smoke/fire detectors and two carbon monoxide detectors so that we don't literally die in a fire. So yay, no house-induced death for us!

AND! We spent Saturday evening going through several boxes of papers and mementos that had accumulated in the eave closets, the product of needing to clean in a hurry -- for company, more often than not -- and throwing stuff we didn't have time for into a box "to go through later". Well "later" came Saturday night since I had to drag out some mementos boxes anyway to put away the things from the guest room that had been on display and stored in my old desk. We're not done, but we put a respectable dent in it.

Despite our weekend of industry (or perhaps because of it), the house looks like a wreck, but I should have time this weekend to instill some order. Nothing too catastrophic, thankfully. I do have to wrap up my website clients for the month (statistics analysis, final report, and invoicing), and I expect I'll be working some late nights right up until vacation starts in order to get the end-of-year programming done on the billing program, but at this point, I'm not in freakout mode. The fact that I'm still thinking I can fit in housework in the evenings indicates that I'm in not-yet-overwhelmed-but-possibly-a-tad-optimistic mode. Don't try this at home, kids.

And just to round out the list of accomplishments for the weekend, I got a breakfast AND lunch packed for today. I've been away from bento for a couple of weeks and I'm feeling it. There was the week of the holiday, of course, and I worked from home in the days leading up to it so no bento. Last week was occupied by visits from Corporate (the COO on Tuesday and one of the members of the Corporate IT Team at another division on Thursday) so I either was too busy in preparation to even get a drink of water (Monday) or joining them for lunch (Tuesday and Thursday). So again, no bento.

It's a testament to how little I go out for lunch, how infrequently I eat at chain restaurants, and how accustomed I am to my bentos that I didn't feel well at all last week. The restaurants were decent as chain restaurants go, but nothing about the meal felt good. Way too much food (I ended up leaving most of it on the plate, unfortunately, and I absolutely hate waste), much too heavy (even though I ordered a salad!), and the fruit and veggies didn't have as much flavor as I'm used to. Yes, I fear the worst has happened: I've become a food snob. :) I think in the future when I inevitably have to go for these Corporate lunches, I'll plan to pack a bento anyway to eat before/after and just order a small side of something for lunch.

Anyway, it's a relief to be back to a bento schedule. As I was packing today's, I initially felt a little rusty, like I was getting back on a bike after being away for awhile. Once I was done, I felt the familiar sense of comfort and assurance that I have something to eat tomorrow that I know will be good for me, that won't make me feel like chugging a bottle of Pepto afterward, and that gives me enough energy to get through the day. I know I go on and on about the wonders of bento and the difference it's made to my well-being, but I just can't overstate it enough.

breakfast, cute animals sidecar:

  • satsuma mandarin
  • red grapes
  • plain yogurt with a dollop of marionberry preserves


lunch, deli club:

  • chicken that Sal made for dinner Sunday -- he tucked slices of lemon under the skin and roasted it
  • roasted potates (olive oil, salt, pepper)
  • kiwi slices and red grapes
  • satsuma mandarin and the last of the dark chocolate covered raisins

Oh how I love the satsumas. Sal came home from the grocery store Saturday night bearing an entire box of them for me. I'll probably give myself a rash of canker sores from eating as many as I possibly can while they're in season, but it'll be worth it.


point me at lost islands*

We're starting another project soon, so I'm all atwitter. Relative to our past projects, it's a small and quick one for us, involving little home improvement (a bit of painting, but not even full-on painting walls or ceiling) and a bunch of purchases in a range from small to biggish. I'm being all mysterious but only because I am such a dork about the big reveal.

Anyway, we're still in the preliminary stages, planning to tackle it over the course of a few days during our winter vacation. I'm so excited! I've actually been thinking about and planning this project for a while (and hence, collecting a few things for it that I've set aside), and then a variety of things coalesced today and bam! I knew that yep, time to start. Woe betide Sal if he were to ever disagree once I reach that event horizon from "thinking about a project" to "okay, so let's get started".

Very excited. I've been ready to get going on this for some time, and because this particular project represents a metaphorical transition (that I'll explain at a later time), being ready to start is representative of more than just being ready to do some painting and decorating. I know none of this makes any sense and I'm talking all around it and being all vague and mysterious, but I wanted to just say, you know, something kinda cool is about to happen and you heard it here first.

lunch, deli club:

  • hazelnut-crusted chicken breast
  • baked potato with butter and sour cream
  • green and royal burgundy string beans
  • rainbow carrots

snack, pink natural lunch:

  • banana that's just a tad on the green side
  • Gala apple
  • green grapes


*yep, still obsessed with that Tired Pony album


i am the heart that you call home

The Decemberists, "The Engine Driver"This Saturday was the Decemberists concert at Pioneer Courthouse Square we've been looking forward to for months. And it was everything that is awesome about The Decemberists, Portland, September, and people in general.

But first -- today's bento, using a box I haven't broken out in awhile.

lunch, deli club:

  • herb roasted chicken
  • pan sauce Sally made last night from pan drippings (pork chops for dinner), onions, and basil
  • baked potato with sour cream and butter
  • cucumbers and cherry and lemon drop tomatoes (from our garden)
  • Gala apple slices and red grapes

Except for the tomatoes, the veggies are all from our share, the fruit from our bin delivery. This has been a terrible year for the garden, and everyone we talk to says the same. Seeds from last year's end-of-year tomatoes that got composted got spread into our garden as a result, and they completely took over both beds, strangling what few things were able to make it through the months of cold and rain we had in May and June and into July. But of course we had hardly any hot weather this summer, so we have two beds chock full of insane tomato plants absolutely covered with green tomatoes. (And the majority are cherry and lemon drop tomatoes, so they're far too small to justify the time of making green tomato relish.) Sigh. The vagaries of nature, I suppose.

So anyway, the concert! Was awesome! And I still love The Decemberists the mostest! Like of all the things in all the world!

Pioneer Courthouse Square on a perfect September daySaturday was actually part of MusicFest NW, which is 200 bands at 20 venues in 5 days. The Decemberists played at Pioneer Courthouse Square, known locally as "Portland's living room" because it's smack in the middle of downtown and there are always events and rallys and concerts and activities going on there. The weather was absolutely spectacular -- clear and warm -- and just being there, in the center of our city on a gorgous September evening with our favorite music right there, live...well.

Weinland, who were awesomeThey had three bands opening for them, starting at 4 PM with Weinland, who were fabulous. Blue Giant followed, who we liked but didn't love, and then Laura Veirs with Hall of Flame. They were okay, too, but totally the wrong vibe right before The Decemberists. Which, I get why she got that billing because of her collaboration with them on Hazards of Love, but it was music better suited to a coffeehouse than pumping up the crowd before the main act at an outdoor venue.

another side of Pioneer Square, the view directly behind where we were sittingWe opted to sit on the bricks toward the back of the square (one side of the square is an amphitheater-style series of sloping walkways and steps) rather than stand on the square closer to the stage. Not so great for being close to the band and hard on the keisters after 6 hours, but our ears and our feet thanked us for choosing that option. We were at just the right range to see everything on stage and enjoy the music without hurting our ears or needing ear plugs.

taking the stage with "The Infanta"By the time The Decemberists came on stage (7:30), our butts were sore and Laura Veirs had sucked our will to live right out of us, but as soon as they came on, it was totally worth it. Colin Meloy was adorable and hilarious as usual and they sounded terrific. They launched right into "The Infanta", followed by "Billy Liar", so things were hopping in short order.  The set list:

The Infanta
Billy Liar
Yankee Bayonet (w/ Laura Veirs)
Rise to Me (new song off their upcoming album)
Down By the Water (new song off their upcoming album)
The Engine Driver* (and yes, I flipped out, and got a vid, and multiple pictures)
O Valencia!
16 Military Wives
The Rake's Song
Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
The Island

June Hymn (new song off their upcoming album)
Sons and Daughters

closing out the show with "Sons and Daughters'That last was such a fitting tribute for the day that it was, and I appreciated that instead of some kind of long monologue about 9/11 or choosing to cover something as a commemoration -- neither of which is their style -- they opted instead to simply acknowledge the day and that there's nothing that can be said, really, and then play the song that has so much to say about events that define us and generational grief, asking us to join in as harmony with "here all the bombs fade away".

I took a million gajillion pictures and several short vids, so be thankful I didn't post them all. (I would've liked to take advantage of my Droid's capability to do long vids and shoot at least a few minutes of a song or something, but they had security people roaming all the damn time, so I couldn't do more than 10 or 15 seconds at a go. But I did get them singing my two favorite lines from "The Engine Driver", so...score.)

*from "The Engine Driver", for readers who aren't familiar with The Decemberists**:

I am a writer, a writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home




remember lunchables? 

Did anyone ever eat them? They first came out when I was in high school and I remember my mom got them for us a few times when we had a field trip and refused to cart along the Big Bag O'Doom. I confess that I used to love them, mainly because cheese and crackers are one of my favoritest things to eat pretty much any time or day. Sure, the stuff in Lunchables is highly processed and chock full of sodium and absolutely nothing about them is natural or healthy, but...eh. I particularly loved the one that had a squeezy thing of "herb sauce". No idea what so-called herbs were in the so-called sauce, but I'm certain a key ingredient was crack because I would squeeze out every last absolute molecule of it.

The relative junkiness of Lunchables aside, however, my love for them is also proof once again that my love of all things bento-like has been years in the making. So consider today's lunch a healthier, organic, homemade Lunchable. :)

Deli Club box:

  • onion sesame crackers cut in half
  • cojack and swiss cheese slices
  • rolls of oven-roasted turkey breast and black forest ham on picks
  • sweet pickles
  • dark chocolate and yogurt raisins

I had little time or ingredients to work with last night, but I made up for it by packing a heartier breakfast than usual -- Cream of Wheat! So hearty, in fact, that I'm not so sure I'll be able to finish this lunch.


juggling with one hand tied behind my back

So. Today is the culmination of a very stressful and jam-packed week, and is the last day that I'll be in the office before next week's vacation. Which would be a busy, hectic day anyway, but in addition to it being billing week (and all that entails), and a pile of things that I have to get done somehow before I go, I also have two(!) presentations today. I just finished the first one (and kicked ass, if I may say so) and the other will be right after lunch, which meant I had to pack something to eat that could be scarfed down quickly in between AND that could keep me going long enough to get done everything I need to before I leave today. Oh, and I had to do it with the very, very last of anything edible in the house (no time to go to the store), so...considering what I had to work with, this is actually one of my more impressive lunches.

Using my "Deli Club" box today, which has been a bit neglected with the addition of all the new boxes to the mix.

  • smoked sausages and molded egg with peas underneath and broccoli as gap fillers
  • peas and carrot sticks
  • dried mango and dried cherries, with a wee dark chocolate bar from Equal Exchange that was included in our organics bin awhile back

The Oregon Coast awaits me in just about 36 hours, and I've already planned that when I get home tonight, I'll run a bath, use one of my bath bombs I got for my birthday, and enjoy a Velvet Painting cupcake from Cupcake Jones as a reward for getting through this day/week. I figure with all that to look forward to, it'll be juuuuuuust the incentive I need to accomplish the impossible at work today.


Passing another test

Aaaaaand now I know why so many bento people have multiple bento boxes. (No not just because they are obsessed.)

Today I had our company shareholders' meeting first thing (hellooooo 2 hours of my morning that I couldn't afford to lose) and then a meeting immediately afterward with the corporate executive guys (long story), and I have about 7 days of calculations and programming to get done by the end of the day Friday. In other words, no time, and I'd be eating late, on the run, and bleh.

To make things just a tad more challenging, I worked until 8 last night (on said calculations/programming from hell) then finally forced myself to just call it a day because it was a very rare evening when Sal happened to be home during the early evening hours and I didn't want to waste any of our together time. Especially since I had to go to bed a little earlier than usual to get up earlier than usual because of the aforementioned shareholders' meeting. Oh, and we wanted to watch the season finale of Leverage, so by the time it was all said and done, I had about 10 minutes before the episode started to throw together a lunch. It would have to be small, because I wouldn't have a lot of time to eat. Which is just as well, since both my Laptop Lunch box and my Ms. Bento haven't been washed yet. (So unlike me -- I wash them when I get home at night, but that's been the kind of whacked out crazy time it's been this week...oy vey if you saw my kitchen right now....)

Which left my small box, which I adore, but it's not quite big enough for a day like today. But it's what I have. The ones I ordered should be here in a few weeks, so I'll have a few more choices in the future. Not that I'm complaining, because YAY, good lunch, and DOUBLE YAY that I'm eating lunch at all -- I can't tell you how many days exactly like this when I wouldn't have eaten anything, and wow, so, so bad for me. IN CONCLUSION. Lunch is our friend.

  • trying a little twist on a lettuce wrap -- this is kind of a deconstructed taco, with taco meat, sour cream, and cheese in a leaf of romaine, cut in half; I was worried the lettuce would be all limp and wimpy and gross, but it was fine
  • carrot sticks, not even cut into shapes which is a real shame because the carrots in this bin were thick enough to make some nice shapes, but that just goes to show how much time I didn't have :(
  • Braeburn apple slices

So not the most exciting lunch ever, but it'll do. Better than the alternatives, at any rate. Yet another way in which bento 2.0 baby! has had the intended positive effect.


The healing power of bento

Today is a "Get Well Bento", because poor Sal is very sick with a bad head and chest cold.  He called in to work sick, in fact, an occurrence so rare that the number of times he's taken a sick day could be counted on two hands for the entire almost-20 years that we've been together. This is his very first bento, which I would've liked to make cuter/prettier/whatever, but the poor guy was getting hungry upstairs waiting, and I'm in the midst of work, and so.

  • carrot and celery sticks (with carrot shapes throughout)
  • chicken basil sausage (lost in the dark shadows underneath the carrot shapes, unfortunately), molded egg, mozzarella pearls
  • Marcott tangerine section and a small container of macadamia nuts and dried cranberries

This box went along with a bowl of chicken noodle soup, crackers, a teensy container of peanut M&Ms, and the rest of the tangerine.


Berry-riffic bento

I need to get my crockpot back in gear to have more meal type of things in the evenings for dinner and leftovers the next day. I'm doing okay on lunches, but I'm just in the mood lately for more complex things than a smorgasbord for lunch. Nothing too complex, of course -- this is still me we're talking about, lazy as all get out ;) -- but something that involves soup or casseroles or some such.


  • raspberry yogurt with blueberries for garnish
  • kishus and a sliced strawberry
  • little pink spoon has an octopus on the handle, isn't that adorable?


  • chicken basil sausage; molded eggs (THAT NEVER GETS OLD) with peas under and around as gap fillers
  • mozz pearls on the pick, purple rainbow carrot sticks
  • sliced strawberry and dark chocolate covered raisins in the side container
  • matching fork to the spoon from breakfast, because I'm OCD like that

Today's quote:

"If the path is beautiful, let us not ask where it leads." – Anatole France

So glad yesterday is over

Last night was one of those times when I had low energy and low morale (SO GLAD YESTERDAY IS OVER OMG), and everything I put my hand to seemed to end in fiasco. Among other things, I discovered that I don't like buckwheat honey (which I mixed with the last of the peanut butter to use with celery before tasting it), the potato I made for dinner was rotted in the center and though I managed to salvage some of it, there was only a smidge of sour cream and butter to go with it, so it ended up being a pretty blah supper, the Fuji apple I started to cut for today's lunch turned out to be mealy, and the Cara Cara orange I peeled had a rind thicker than the earth's crust and so much pith that I gave up peeling it about halfway through. I was so disheartened that I just kind of stood with the fridge door open (which always makes me feel guilty) staring dumbly at the odds and ends on the shelves and trying to figure out what to pack for lunch.

Because our corporate IT guy is coming today (whom I've never met) to review our systems, I knew I wouldn't have time for anything that required taking a length of time and sitting down to eat, that I had to be able to pick at it as I can find a minute here or there. At one point, the thought crossed my mind: well, I could just run and get something, it's not that big of a deal if I don't bring my lunch, and I could just skip breakfast altogether since I won't really have time for that, either. There's a Whole Foods close to the office, so I could get something healthy for lunch at least, even though I try not to shop at Whole Foods if I can help it.

Or, just as likely, I would end up not eating at all. Which I know isn't good, but happens all too often when I don't bring in a lunch. I don't have the time, I don't make the time, or the day just flies by and it's one of many where it gets to be six or seven o'clock and I haven't had anything to drink, haven't been to the bathroom, haven't eaten anything. (Welcome to my job. I suspect many of you can relate.)

So glad I didn't listen to that voice. I felt better once it was done, knowing that I was taking the time for myself, that I wasn't going to spend some outrageous sum for lunch that would end up in the pocket of some cracked out global warming denier anti-HCR nutjob, or end up not eating at all. The whole point of bento 2.0 baby! is that I'm making the time for myself, no matter how crazed the day is going to be, and maintaining a boundary that's been crossed too often and too far. Though this may not be the most glamorous breakfast and lunch ever, it'll get me through the day and I won't feel like crap at the end of it. (Well, not from food, anyway.) And despite not really being motivated or inspired, even odds and ends can become a decent little lunch on a day when I really need to give myself a little TLC.


  • stawberry yogurt
  • kishus
  • granola


  • EGGS! Finally got the extra large eggs so the molds came out really cool this time and decided to use both the heart and star. Also: grape tomatoes and red leaf lettuce*
  • smoked turkey bites, strips of whole wheat naan, and snap peas for baran
  • kishus with cut-up celery as gap filler

*I see a lot of bento pics using lettuce leaves to line the boxes, which makes for a really nice presentation. But I always wonder whether they ever actually eat the lettuce, or if it's just for show. I suspect the latter in most cases. That just seems like such a waste for me, so I don't use things that I won't be eating as part of my lunch. In this case, I thought it would make a handy little envelope for the turkey bites, since there are just three small strips of naan to eat with them.


Portioning & calories

Today's breakfast and lunch are pretty healthy, through no real design of my own. Out of curiosity, I thought I'd figure out how many calories they ended up totaling, and it came out to about 150 for breakfast and 475 for lunch. That seems about right -- the breakfast box isn't full with granola, but if I'd put it closer to capacity, it would've probably worked out to be approximately the same as the 320 mL volume of the box, which of course is how it's supposed to work (# mL ≈ # calories, if it's packed appropriately). The lunch box is 500 mL, and I don't really have a starch/carb in there today. I don't believe in obsessing about every little calorie, but it's good to know that I've got a pretty good feel for the appropriate portions.


  • Greek yogurt with 3 blueberries
  • granola with raisins to mix in


  • mozzarella pearls and grape tomatoes on picks, with cubes of smoked turkey* underneath
  • rainbow carrot slices and sticks -- that's the last purple carrot from the bin, which are my favorite because of the purple & green color when you cut them...maybe Monday's delivery will have more
  • kishus and edamame, which I just tried for the first time last night

*The students in the culinary classes went through the cured meats section recently and one of Sal's students gave him a smoked turkey breast. Yet another nice perk of his job. ;)


This is getting ridiculous

This madness has got to stop. I'm now taking requests in my bento! (see egg below, done at a friend's request) Though I'm pleased -- in that "yay, I'm not alone here in this dark place!" kind of way -- that another friend is now contemplating purchasing her first bento box thanks to this illness of mine. Save yourselves, you guys, srsly. The infection is spreading.

clockwise from bottom right:

  • egg "flower" -- a purple dyed, star-molded egg cut in half -- with celery sticks underneath and rainbow carrot shapes for garnish; didn't come out nearly as pretty as the one the other day that inspired me to do this (the yolk isn't centered and was cooked just a bit longer than it should've been so it's not that pretty orange yellow, the egg came out a little lopsided from the mold so when I cut it in half, you couldn't really make out the flower shape, and I didn't dye them long enough to get a pretty rim of purple on the edge)...oh well
  • blueberry mini-muffin I made last night and two(!) kishu mandarins; my little salt container was tucked in underneath the muffin
  • the last of the smoked salmon cakes, with a celery stick, more rainbow carrot shapes, and two halves of a fresh mozzarella pearl

A closeup of the egg, though as I said, the color isn't very apparent here.

Here's a bowl of the kishu mandarins, a bag of which Sal bought me yesterday morning. Some of them are no bigger than a quarter! I think they may be my new favorite thing.


I win

Oh man. I win the  Clean-Out-The-Fridge-Concoction Olympics today.

Well last night I was in an experimenting mood, so I thawed out some smoked salmon (salmon we smoked ourselves awhile back) and read through the crabcake recipe in The Joy of Cooking. It called for some things we didn't have, and I didn't feel like going to the store, so I improvised. Significantly. Obviously, the salmon for the crab. It called for scallions, and I had neither scallions nor green onions. But there was a lovely leek in our bin delivery yesterday so I chopped up some of that instead. I needed breadcrumbs...out of Panko and didn't want to use any of our lovely flavored crackers if I didn't have to, since there's lots of cheese to eat up still. Scrounging in the fridge yielded the last three slices of 9-grain bread that were starting to go stale, so I toasted them and grated them into a bowl. No dill or similar herb, so I left that out. Recipe called for dijon, which I don't like (though mixed in things, it's usually fine) and mayo, which we don't have on hand because Sal just makes aioli when we need it and I didn't feel like making any. But I figured the smoked flavor of the fish was going to be pretty strong, so it was probably best to keep the flavors simple anyway. (Translation: too lazy to go to the store, so let's see what happens.) Mixed in some egg and breadcrumbs, added some sea salt and black pepper, made little bento-sized patties pressed in breadcrumbs, and fried them in a bit of butter and olive oil.

And I have decided that I am a genius. :)

  • The aforementioned experimental smoked salmon cakes. Pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself.
  • celery sticks
  • purple (though it's hard to tell in the pic) dyed molded egg -- I did a heart one, too, but because these eggs aren't big enough to fill the molds, it's harder to tell it's a heart so I'll put in tomorrow's if Sal doesn't eat it first.
  • Peas for gap filler, steamed using my new microwave mini steamer. I think I steamed them a bit long, but oh well. Also: peas on a pick. Heh.
  • Jazz apple slices
  • carrot shapes for garnish

Here's a closeup of the egg, though it's still hard to see the color.

Also, the mystery of my descent into bento madness (not really a mystery, I know) has been solved! I've been emailing my mom pics of them (trying to convert her) and in response to the pics from last week when I embraced the dark side and got more gear, whilst bemoaning my further addiction, she wrote this yesterday:

I'm not sure if you can be saved!!!! I am not sure that what you need to be saved from is really all that dire!!!! I am pretty sure that even if we could save you that you would NOT stay on the wagon. You see, I was around when you caught "bento-itis" when you were five. I think it has been latent all this time, poking its organized, meticulous little head out only occasionally to let you know it was still there. If you search your memory you will recall that you had an "attraction" for cutsey little containers and you filled them with cutsey "little" things of all kinds and sorts. Some that got moldy eventually!!!

So I was apparently born with this affliction and was doomed from the start.