Entries in bento box - origami squares (7)


airplane bento

Today's airplane bento lunch, for the Salt Lake City to St. Louis leg of my trip. My seatmate had his window closed so it doesn't look so great, but it held up nicely in my carry-on after being tossed and tumbled and jostled about from house to car to airport to security to plane to another airport to another plane. Not too shabby.

(I know I've been lax about posting bento pics for awhile. I have been both packing and taking pics of them, just haven't gotten around to uploading. Someday.)


give us this day, our daily bread

We returned Sunday from a 4 day trip to northern Washington, where Sal attended a work-related conference and I tagged along, because hey, why not. More specificially, he attended Kneading Conference West, the purpose of which is "to inspire and educate novice and professional bakers, grain growers, millers, wheat breeders, wood-fired oven enthusiasts, food entrepreneurs, food writers, and anyone who loves to eat hand-crafted breads."

So basically, three straight days of talking about bread, literally morning, noon, and night, and Sal could not have been happier if he had been baked right into a loaf of artisan bread. He was so gleeful at the end of every day that he probably could've powered the entire city of Las Vegas with his excitement. And now there is talk of milling our own flour and (finally) building that earth oven we've been talking about for years.

While he spent his days at the conference, I spent my days writing and exploring the area around Mount Vernon. The last time we were there was with the Albino and Mr. T for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, (hence the picture up top). Even without the fields of rainbow flowers, the area is actually quite lovely and the little downtown area is also very charming. On one of my driveabouts, I ended at Bay View State Park, and another, discovered a really great park on a hillside overlooking the valley and enjoyed a wee picnic of cheeses and crackers while reading a book. Not quite the excitement of a conference about bread and baking, perhaps, but a lovely few days of R&R. I can do with a little less excitement at the moment, anyway.

Super behind on bento postings, but here are the last few. The rest are on the daily bento page, as always. (I just realized that I've had pretty much the same lunch for the last several meals. Hmmm, perhaps time to change things up.

9/6 lunch, Lunchbot Duo

  • herb roasted turkey breast
  • steamed broccoli
  • Jazz apple slices
  • cucumber slices
  • carrot sticks
  • strawberry
  • sunflower seeds

9/6 snacks, Lunchbot Pico

  • Jazz apple slices, cashews (morning snack)
  • hardboiled egg, carrot sticks, cucumber slices (afternoon snack)

9/10 lunch, pink Natural Lunch

  • herb roasted turkey breast
  • steamed broccoli
  • carrot sticks
  • pear slices

9/18 lunch, origami squares

  • herb roasted turkey breast
  • steamed broccoli
  • carrot sticks
  • Honeycrisp apple slices
  • dried cherries

this is like the great lentil miasma of aught three

You have to really enjoy drinking tea to order it in two pound batches. The school recently chose a new local organic tea supplier, and Sal had the opportunity to buy from their ginormous selection. The only catch was that they sell it in two pound batches, so whatever we picked had to be something we'd really want to drink. A lot.

Since Sal was opting for a black tea, I decided to choose an herbal. Apple-cinnamon tea sweetened with a bit of honey is one of my favoritest things in the fall and winter (second only to orange-spice tea), which means I go through it like crazy, so that seemed like the logical choice for ordering two pounds. While we waited for the order to arrive, I entertained lovely-cozy apple-cinnamon tinged fantasies of curling up in the library with a book, of our quiet Saturday mornings with the NPR lineup in the background and rainy gray outside the window, of day-long writing binges fueled soley by cup after cup of hot tea and a plate of something freshly baked by Sal.

Be careful what you wish for.

Because despite being double-bagged in heavyweight plastic, it turns out that two pounds of apple-cinnamon tea smells strong enough to give you a headache if you're within ten feet of it, and will probably knock you out cold after more than fifteen minutes of exposure. I had to shut it up in the kitchen cupboard before bed the night Sal brought it home to get a relief from the intensity.

Or so I thought. I woke up that morning -- UPSTAIRS AND ON THE OPPOSITE END OF THE HOUSE -- to that smell, and not in a good, "oh, what a lovely, cozy way to wake up" kind of way but more like a "ye gods and little fishes the smell is so strong that it's moved past any semblance of apple or cinnamon and moved into cologne of Hades territory". Down the stairs, the smell intensified. Open the door to the side of the house where the kitchen is, and it was like being punched in the face by a meth-addled Johnny Appleseed.

It was The Lentil Incident all over again.

When I got home from work that night, the smell had taken on a physical presence, infusing every room in the house. Opening all the windows couldn't air it out fast enough and the only way to get relief was to take the tea out of the cupboard (still in its double bags!) and set it out on the porch until we could transfer it to a more impenetrable container. Just the sight of the bag through the back door window gave me a headache.

The tea o'doom has since been divided amongst sturdy, sealed containers and no longer threatens nostrils within a one mile vicinty. Dividing it into smaller quanities seems to have cut its potency to more tolerable levels, eliciting something akin to the lovely-cozy apple-cinnamon fantasies I'd originally entertained. Cranked up to 11, but at least that's still within human survival limits.

The irony in all this? Sal's been so stuffed up with hayfever that he can't smell any of it.

lunch, Origami Squares

  • teryaki chicken meatballs
  • green beans and caramelized onions (both from the garden, woot woot!)
  • cucumbers
  • carrots
  • cubed egg (as in, an egg molded into the shape of a cube, because my husband is delightful and sweet and got me an egg cuber for an anniversary present; he also got me "All the President's Men for an anniversary present, but that has nothing to do with bento, so)

lunch (last Thursday), Fit 'n Fresh

  • red leaf lettuce green beans, sunflower seeds
  • carrots, cucumbers, fresh peas
  • tomatoes (from the garden!)
  • boiled egg
  • Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Bento: ranch dressing to top what became a hella big salad

proof that it takes very little to turn things around

Yesterday I was having...well, not a bad day, exactly, but a pretty intense one. Many things going on at work that needed close attention and I had (stupidly) scheduled 3 appointments for the day, two of which were in quick succession. Those latter two were late in the day, the second one ending just before I would need to leave for Nerd Game Night, which was a bit of a drive and would be at a house I hadn't been to before. And somehow in between all of that and before leaving for game night, I needed to stop at the store for chips and salsa (game night is a snack potluck), get the cats fed (incuding enough time for Smaug to rinky dink around while eating, because she's a true diva), change my clothes, pack today's bento, and have some dinner.

The grocery store was such a zoo that there were even lines at the self-checkout. I get up to the checkout and realize I've forgotten my purse, which has both my debit card and my reusable grocery bag.  Great, just great, I thought. This is the Universe telling me that today is not my day. It's time to go home, change into my jammies, crawl under the covers, and wait for tomorrow.

And then I remembered that I just randomly happened to have a few dollars in my pocket that might, just might be enough for my items. Which was kind of miraculous beause I never have cash. Not only was my cash juuuuuust enough to cover my purchases, the total came to an even dollar amount, one of the items on my list of "Things That give Me A Cheap Little Thrill". I love it when totals come to whole dollar amounts! It's like the Universe coming into balance, double underlined, with a red check mark.

So I headed to game night feeling a little less frazzled and played Fortune and Glory for 4.37 hours and then Forbidden Island and geeked out on LOTR and the adorableness of cats and everything turned out all right in the end.

lunch, origami squares:

  • sausages
  • molded egg
  • roasted root veggies (with more under everything else) - parsnips and chiogga beets roasted with some onion, garlic, dill, and a little olive oil and salt and pepper
  • steamed broccoli
  • Golden Nugget tangerines
  • sunflower seeds

the meaning of community

I joined some neighbors last night for the bi-weekly neighborhood Game Night that started up recently. It was a great way to get to know everyone better and try out some new games.

We played Settlers of Catan, which was way, way fun. It seemed a little daunting at first, but was easy enough to pick up.  But still challenging (in a good way) to master, requiring strategy and adaptation. The best kind of game, really, because it keeps you coming back for more.

These are the kinds of things that make our neighborhood so amazing and special, and we feel tremendously fortunate that we landed where we did. I had such a great time and I'm looking forward to the next one. So much, in fact, that I volunteered to host the next one....

lunch, origami squares:

  • salmon cake
  • wee baked potato
  • carrot sticks (more under the salmon and potato)
  • cucumber slices (more under the fruit and raisins)
  • cherries and blueberries
  • dark chocolate covered raisins

and day was breaking, a panoply of song


Hahahaha guess what we just saw them again. Yes, it has been three months. Yes, we are becoming whatever the Decemberists version of Dead Heads are, or like those people who follow Phish all over the country (Phish Phans?). Other people aspire to elected office, or getting a Ph.D. We have achieved three Decemberists concerts in nine months. Our parents are so proud.

Rodrigo y Gabriela tearing the hell out of those guitarsIt wasn't intentional, mind. February's concert at the Schnitz was so freaking fabulous that we were satiated for a good long time. And we had already been quite content after the September concert at Pioneer Courthouse Square. But then I found out that they'd be at the Memorial Weekend concert series in Bend, AND. AND. It was really the AND that was the clincher. AND...Rodrigo y Gabriela would be opening for them.

I just. You guys. The laws of physics, you can't escape them. You just have to resign yourself to the laws of physics. That's why they're, you know, laws.

Okay, see here's the thing. Way back in prehistory, like, four or five years ago, The Decemberists were on this tour called "The Long and Short Of It" Tour. In which they would play two nights of concerts at each venue, one night of some of their long songs, and the one night of their short songs. But in one venue on that tour, they would actually play three nights, and that third night would be songs that ticketholders for that show had requested. And that special venue was, as you have probably guessed, dear reader, the Portland venue.


Well obviously, we had to go to this thing. And it was dicey, because you had to buy tickets for each show separately and those shows sold out in minutes. But because my concert ticket fu is second to none, I snagged us tickets for all. three. nights. And yea, there was much rejoicing.

the railroad bridget that goes over the 300 foot chasm at Peter Skene Ogden State ParkBut the Universe had not finished smiling good fortune upon us. A week later, I found out about a Rodrigo y Gabriela concert that would actually be about three weeks before that, and despite the fact that we had used up our entire concert budget for the year on the Decemberists' tickets, this was another concert that could not be passed up. I mean, have you seen that thing Gabriela does for percussion on guitar? Again, concert ticket fu, and I emerged victorious with tickets, and holy crap, we were mighty chuffed about these concerts to look forward to.

About a month later, the Decemberists tour was cancelled due to serious illness. And lest we try to take comfort in the other concert, the Rodrigo y Gabriela dates for Portland were cancelled due to illness. Pride goeth before the fall and all that crap.

So you see now why we had to go to this thing? Even though it meant traveling on a holiday weekend, something we try to avoid? And it would be at an outdoor venue in Bend, Oregon in late May, which would be the opposite of going south of hell in August? And that this May in particular was likely to be freaking freezing thanks to the bizarro world weather we've been having all winter/spring? DO YOU SEE HOW THE LAWS OF PHYSICS ARE IMMUTABLE AND UNFORGIVING?

sitting at the park, eating our breakfast and watching the ducks and geeseSo to Bend we did go. And it was goddamn fucking cold as hell, and they confiscated our camp chairs for being too tall so we had to sit on the cold ground without a blanket or anything, and there was a wind blowing, and NONE OF THAT MATTERED BECAUSE IT WAS GODDAMN FUCKING PERFECT OKAY. Rodrigo y Gabriela were mindblowingly amazing and they tore that place up with nothing but two acoustic guitars, and then The Decemberists came out except it wasn't Colin it was Rainn Wilson pretending to be Colin and then they busted out into "The Infanta" and they finished with "The Mariner's Revenge" in the first encore again and then did Sal's favorite "June Hymn" for the second encoure and srsly? OMG SRSLY I LOVE THEM FOREVER AND EVER THE END.

the Deschutes River @ Drake ParkWe also managed to finally hit Deschutes Brewery for lunch prior to the concert, despite a one hour wait, so we can finally say we've been there. (Good burgers, though it was all a bit overhyped, imo.) And while we waited, we stumbled on a nifty geeky used book store with a special love for geeky collectible toys and action figures and a whole comics section and a very nice selection of fantasy for being such a tiny store. And for breakfast before leaving town, we hit up a wee coffee shop hidden in an alley that roasts its own coffee, thanks to a tip from our neighbors. And we picked a lovely park in the Old Bend neighborhood to sit and eat our breakfast, right there next to the Deschutes River.

But I'll have more pictures about that tomorrow.

lunch, origami squares:

  • crab
  • sushi rice
  • peas
  • corn
  • cherries
  • mango

new bento gear!

YOU GUYS I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP. This is getting ridiculous.

So, three new boxes (oh, and a new set of short flower picks!):

  • The Bento Colors box, in purple, which I have been lusting after for...well, more than a year. More than two years, actually. At last it is mine and I am victorious!
  • A Bento Colors Mini, in lime green, because.
  • The third is a new line, but it was so ingenious that I just had to have it. It's an origami bento (the "squares" design), the idea being that it folds into a bento box, and obviously can be folded flat for storage. I KNOW RIGHT. It was pretty much a law of gravitational physics that I needed to have that box. It even comes complete with little foldable dividers and baran! So cute! My thought is that it would be especially handy for trips since it's lightweight and can be stored without fuss. And it's not paper/cardboard, it's plastic so it's reusable.

Anyway, this was Thursday's lunch, which I didn't have a chance to post, packed in the Bento Colors purple.

  • 4-color raddiatore (tomato, carrot, spinach, regular) tossed with a bit of oil, herbs, and salt
  • molded egg, cut in halves
  • carrots and sauteed asparagus spears
  • Pink Lady apple and kiwi slices, with a small cup of dark chocolate covered raisins to inaugurate the new box properly

Today's is back to an old standby, Ms. Bento, thanks to delicious soup leftovers courtesy of Chef Salvatore:

  •  broccoli cheese soup
  • 4-color raddiatore (see above)
  • carrots, steamed asparagus
  • a few bits of pepperoni from a stop we made at Dick's Brewing on our trip last week
  • cherries
  • cinnamon apple sauce

The bento presentation for my coworkers is this Thursday. I finished the Powerpoint presentation over the weekend, which includes two separate photo slideshows, and there will also be a two page handout. Which...okay, that sounds totally dorkalicious when I put it in writing. BUT IT WON'T BE LAME I SWEAR. No really, it'll be cool and awesome. There's even a color-coded cha-

Wait, where are you going...?