Entries in bento box - pink strawberry sidecar (12)


and now you'll have that song in your head all day

So if you missed my squeeing yesterday, the new Tired Pony CD is now my favorite thing in the wide world. This morning when I first got in the car and the radio came on, I actually got impatient with whatever was playing because it wasn't Tired Pony, as one does. I might -- might -- have a tendency to be all OMG I LOVE THIS THE MOSTEST OF ALL THE THINGS when I have a new shiny thing. It does not, however, make me any less right.

I took a couple of days off so it's back to work after 4 days out of the office. Well 5, actually, since I worked from home Wednesday. My time off was to take some time for writing stuff, which has now morphed into a marathon of cutting 50,000 words from my word count. So check that out if you're interested. Meanwhile, Sal brewed yet another batch of beer this weekend, so we can now say we have 99 bottles of beer on the wall. I really need to get him to update the brewing section of this site so you can read all about his adventures in homemade alcohol...

Anyway, as I say, back to work today. I may have a new bento convert, so I should've actually gone to some effort with lunch today, but eh, I'm lazy. I now have two coworkers who are part of my daily lunch unveiling. It's like an art exhibit opening at a gallery! Hmm, perhaps I should start cultivating a bohemian lifestyle and a predilection for wearing household items as strange hats.

lunch, Ms. Bento:

  • fajitas -- strip steak, green peppers, torpedo onions, saucy deliciousness
  • flour tortilla, sharp cheddar
  • coffee cake (which has a delicious mix of spices and a layer of pears) made by Sally
  • Reliance grapes

Also, RIP: my pink strawberry sidecar, which broke when Sal accidentally dumped over one of my bento organizer bins. :(


i'll point in the direction you sing to me

I could swear the weather man said yesterday was going to be in the 80s. Which means he basically lied or doesn't know jack (or I'm mistaken, as vanishing a possibility as that is), because yesterday? Was hot. Not surface of the sun hot, but when you're expecting 80s and you get mid 90s, that's not good times, y'all.

Which means the dinner I'd planned to make for myself had to be scrapped because I have no desire to eat anything when it's hot, let alone cook anything. Which meant no leftovers, and thus, today's lunch of randomness. Like that's anything new.

breakfast, pink strawberry sidecar:

  • half a Granny Smith apple
  • blueberries
  • blackberries
  • slice of (homemade by me!) zucchini bread

lunch, blue bunny & moons:

  • ham rolls
  • cucumber slivers
  • smoked gouda
  • cheese crackers (Annie's organic bunny crackers ftw!)
  • the other half of the Granny Smith apple, sliced
  • another slice of (homemade by me!) zucchini bread
  • blueberries
  • dark chocolate covered raisins

Needs some more veggies and a carb/starch, but oh well.

I've been on the hunt for a CD by a short-lived band called Blue Merle, and didn't want to have to resort to Amazon* if I could help it. Stopped by Everyday Music downtown last night, but they didn't have it, and it showed as backordered (read: unavailable for order) on their computer. The guy offered to call their other stores and thankfully, the store on Sandy had it (and put it on hold for me), but I wasn't in the mood to slog through rush hour traffic down Burnside to the east side and through all that construction where they're diverting Sandy onto Couch.

*(No iTunes, either, unless I'm desperate and/or lazy. I HATE that they make it difficult or impossible to burn (some? most? all?) songs as MP3s on a disc (vs. being able to make a regular audio CD...so nice of them to "allow" us dirty peasants to start doing that finally) so I don't buy much music on iTunes, unless I'm sure I won't want to make a big mix MP3 CD with it. I'm a slave to all things tech and electronic as much as the the next geek girl, but don't fuck with my music, for that way lies badness.)

So I texted Sally to see if he wanted to head over there with me after he got home from work. And this is reason #65,782 that Portland is awesome, because Everyday Music is not only open, y'know, every day, but they are also, ALSO open until midnight every day. We've taken advantage of this very feature many times in the past, and I was quite pleased to be able to last night, because I really wanted that CD nowish. I know! What is up with me and this instant gratification thing? It's like I'm five years old.

Sal picked up the new Mumford & Sons while we were there, and we had a nice drive home listening to new music with the windows rolled down, cruising through our nighttime city.

I've been all over the place with music lately, which is generally an indication of my mood. So I guess that means I've got a lot knocking around in my noggin of late. Broken Bells, Fleet Foxes, Aimee Mann (of course), Cat Power, Mirah, Blue Foundation, Bon Iver (I can't imagine ever tiring of them) and then randomly, early No Doubt and Journey(!) and Nirvana. Wtf, brain?

Oh, and I'm obsessed with that new Brandon Flowers single, "Crossfire". (And revisiting The Killers because of it, along with Pet Shop Boys, because holy crap, do they sound like each other.)

Weirdly, though, I haven't been in the mood for The Decemberists lately, which has me a bit freaked out, frankly. (Though I expect my burning love will be reignited after the concert in a couple of weeks.) I mean, The Decemberists are my constant! What happens if I get caught between time dimensions and my nose starts bleeding and then the smoke monster comes for me? What then?


back to work

The sucky thing about vacation is the part where it's over and you have to go back to being all responsible and stuff. That part blows.

I was actually back to work yesterday, but it was a work-from-home day, so no bento. It seems rather strange to have gone two weeks without making one (I didn't really, but more about that soon in another post). Plus, it's hot, which means I don't have a lot of energy for either making dinner/lunch or for eating, so I'm keeping it simple.

Breakfast, pink strawberry sidecar:

  • homemade blueberry muffins (yes, made with fresh berries! that I made!)
  • cherries

Lunch, pink natural lunch:

  • red oak lettuce
  • "sneak preview" carrots from this week's share (as in: not quite ready yet, but they pulled a few to get us excited for the carrots in the upcoming weeks)
  • broccoli -- can you tell it's my favorite veggie?
  • sugar snaps
  • molded egg
  • sweet vinaigrette underneath the broccoli to make it all kind of a salad thing (see? the heat makes me even lazier than usual!)

Everything in this box except for the vinaigrette is from this week's share.

Lunch/snack, cute animals sidecar:

  • cherries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries (sadly, not Oregon!strawberries)
  • blueberries

Everything in this box is from this week's organics bin. If you're thinking to yourself, "Wow, that's a lot of produce", YES THAT IS A LOT OF PRODUCE YOU SHOULD COME VISIT SO WE CAN PAWN IT OFF ON YOU.

And in the Portland Is Eternally Awesome Department, Reason #65,172:

Portland Officially has the Greatest Hold Music in the World


get me off this crazy train of crazy craziness

Otherwise titled: "Welcome to My Life". Long, busy days, more work to be done than hours in the day to do it, and somehow I am still expected to be a responsible adult in the midst of it all -- vet appointment, tires replaced (F U DOUCHEBAG DEVELOPER I KNOW IT WAS YOU), website clients updated, grocery delivery to schedule, calls/emails to return (PLEASE DON'T STOP BEING MY FRIEND IF YOU'RE ONE OF THE PEOPLE I OWE THESE TO, K?), and a to do list to complete for top secret reasons (all shall be revealed next week...how's that for building suspense?). Oh and also? Our phones have simultaneously decided to go to shit, because we are cursed. (Epic post coming about the phone situation and all the ways in which we are Technology's bitch. But I digress.)

Wow, I sure am a fan of the parenthetical, aren't I?

Ahem. Anyway, could've saved you all of that by linking to this incredibly brilliant comic at Hyperbole and a Half, since it is basically the inside of my brain in electronic ink and pretty much everyone in my online circle has decided that lo, it is our manifesto. So from now on when I say, "YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT IT IS A DAY WHERE I HAVE TO CLEAN ALL THE THINGS I NEED PITY AND CHOCOLATE", you will understand my meaning.

Nonetheless, I soldier on. Including lunch, because I have reached a point with bento now where I am no longer able to function without it. Which is probably a good thing, even if it sounds like a bad thing, because it is a sign that I am actually eating on a regular basis and my body is no longer "what is this foreign concept of meals of which you speak?" every time I have lunch at the office. So...yay?


  • shrimp sauteed in butter, garlic, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper
  • bok choy sauteed in a bit of sesame oil and sea salt
  • molded egg, woot woot!
  • Rainier cherries
  • green grapes
  • Oregon! strawberries
  • blueberries
  • dark chocolate (I was scrounging in my bento cupboard and came across a few pieces of Valrhona 70% dark chocolate that'd somehow been overlooked -- I KNOW RIGHT -- and I may have possibly done the Snoopy Happy Dance in my kitchen)

I think I've mentioned our CSA share includes a half dozen fresh eggs every week, so I have been gobbling up yummy hard-boiled eggs that have pretty mottled shells. Some of them even a have pretty pale blue shelss! But they've been too small for the egg molds, so I haven't bothered shaping them. But then this week's had a ginormous one in there, bigger even than the jumbos at New Seasons. (It was seriously so big that I could hardly clip the mold shut. I even had difficulty getting it out later.) So obviously I had to mold it!


site news, artwork, and a strawberry theme

Still working on adding things, so keep checking back. We hope to have Sal's beer making adventures up soon, and then I'd like to tackle updating about the house projects we've completed in the four years since the old site was last updated. Including! Pictures from converting the spare room into a library! And of course we're blogging here on the main page regularly. With non-bento posts, even!

Speaking of bento madness, I've just completed an additional page of the site called, funnily enough, Bento Madness. (You can find it in the Smorgasbord dropdown menu.) The new page explains a basic overview of what bento is, how I got started doing it, my own personal bento philosophy, and rules I've made for myself in packing them, as well as two photo galleries that can be viewed as slide shows.  So if you're one of the people new to my obsession with all things bento, perhaps that will make Teh Crazy a little bit clearer.

The first photo gallery contains all of my bento pics since bento 2.0 baby! began, and will include new pics as they're posted. It's interesting to see the evolution of my lunches since my revitalized interest began...well, interesting to me, anyway. (Note that the gallery is actually split into two pages, so they're viewed in two separate slide shows.) The second gallery includes pictures of each of the boxes I use and a short description of each, including its volume. It can also be viewed as a slide show.



  • stir fry -- onions, scallions, lemongrass, turnips, chicken, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, kale, bok choy, sesame seeds, peanuts, and secret sauce, with more peanuts for garnish
  • jasmine rice
  • Oregon strawberries! in one half because I just can't get enough, orange creme cheesecake made by Sally in the other half...a bit on the decadent side, but on Mondays, you're allowed a bit of decadence

The weather is beautiful today so I made it a priority to get out of the office for lunch and eat at my little hidden park nearby. Haven't done that in far too long; time to get back in the habit. My day is always better for it.

Another thing I haven't done in awhile: my little notes in my lunch. The quote in my lunch today:

Each life converges to some centre
Expressed or still.

This is the first line from the poem Part One: Life -- LXI by Emily Dickenson. I incorporated this line into a piece of artwork for my office as a gigantic reminder to myself every day I'm there of where my real center lies. (More pics of that artwork to come...I'm thinking it's time for another photo gallery that groups our various creative endeavors in one place.)



We switched our organics bin to fruit only for the summer now that the CSA has started, so there's a ton of yummy fruit to eat up, hence the all-fruit breakfast today. And tonight is the trip to the CSA, which I can tell already is going to be a high point in my week this summer.

pink strawberry sidecar (breakfast):

  • strawberries
  • Rainier cherries
  • blueberries





black strawberry box (lunch):

  • grilled Thai peanut chicken (leftover from the skewers we did Saturday night)
  • vinegar and dill potato salad
  • Rainier cherries & blueberries
  • celery sticks
  • mango
  • honey peanut butter for dipping
  • dark chocolate and yogurt covered raisins

spring is in the air...

Busy weekend. I got no writing done this weekend, unfortunately (and synopsis still isn't done...) but I/we did get other things done. Did some housecleaning -- well, straightening, really...we're so far behind that we have to clean before we can clean! -- and the house looks marginally less like a sty than it did. The weather was just beautiful and we were able to open up all the windows throughout the house to really give it a good airing. Still have mountains of laundry to fold and put away and the floors all need to be swept and vacuumed (and if I were really going to do things right, I'd dust, but HAHAHAHAHAHA); perhaps I can tackle those this week. Oh, and I had to get all my monthly reports to my website clients and then everything invoiced, but that's all done at last.

Also got the soil in the garden beds worked and the compost from our compost bin amended into the soil, so they'll be ready for the starts we started earlier this spring. The starts trays are all out there now to acclimate to being outside and then we can go ahead and plant. Can't wait to get that garden going!

And because it was so nice out, we grilled! Well, Sal grilled, so today's lunch comes courtesy of last night's yummy leftovers.

pink strawberry sidecar (for breakfast):

  • a-little-less-than-half an English muffin with strawberry preserves
  • honey & nuts granola
  • Greek yogurt with a dollop of strawberry preserves in the mini sidecar

black strawberry box:

  • grilled chicken skewers marinated in a Thai peanut sauce
  • jasmine rice (made in a beef broth, which is why it's brown)
  • steamed broccoli
  • fresh mango slices
  • dark chocolate covered raisins
  • dried cherries as gap fillers

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.


Busy week ahead

It's going to be a full week here at Hall House, as I'll be in the office through Wednesday and then scrambling to make up for lost time on the Project From Hell Thursday and Friday so I can hopefully wrap that damn thing up in the next couple of weeks. Which means maybe not quite so much prettiness as, say, Friday's (which the more I look at, the more those carrots look like kazoos...hee), but at least I'll be eating well despite the craziness.


  • strawberry yogurt
  • Pink Lady apple slices
  • kishu mandarins


  • homemade spaghetti pasta with a yummy marinara thanks to Sal
  • salad with red leaf lettuce, red onion, celery, the last of the rainbow carrots (hopefully more in today's delivery!), and grape tomatoes with vinaigrette on the side
  • whole wheat naan strips with two kishus in the side container and macadamia nuts underneath/around as gap filler
  • almond crunch Pocky


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. ;)


Back to work

Just kind of threw things together since we got home late and I didn't have a lot of energy after unpacking and whatnot. Thank goodness we came home to a clean house! I love that, and we usually try to leave the house all nice and tidy when we leave, but aren't always able to. I'm so glad we were this time, though.


Breakfast, using my new 320 mL box:

  • Greek yogurt in one of my new silicone cups
  • a few mandarin segments (sadly, not the kishus, which met their end -- deliciously -- in Seattle)
  • the ubiquitous Sauvie Island blueberries (for the yogurt)
  • one of my new little spoons -- the handle has a turtle on it :)
  • see my pretty purple napkin napkin/furoshiki in the background?


Lunch, using Ms. Bento:

  • the last of the crockpot chicken soup sauce thing from the week before last
  • cut pieces of whole wheat naan, the last bit of Cotswold cheese, and a few straggler baby carrots that were lurking in the crisper
  • first half: two of the little blueberry mini muffins I made last week with a few sesame sticks as gap fillers; second half: more mandarin segments
  • background: my new pretty green drink bottle!

Not very pretty compared to some previous lunches, but still very welcome on a day when I really needed it -- in the midst of dealing with having our webhost account hacked by some miscreants in Romania, our entire server, network, and phone system went down thanks to the electricians in the office next to ours accidentally shutting off our circuit. (Yeah, I don't even.) Oy vey, this day is not my best day ever.