Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Leftover Lunch Bento's to the second power

So this is yesterday's lunch bento. Its leftover carrots and potato's, corn on the cob, and roast sirloin. With grapes and a candy. The corn didn't quite fit but i was able to force the lid on inspite of that. For tomorrows lunch I made something very similar. Except decided to cut the corn off the cob and save myself some trouble.

Has corn formerly known on the cob, carrots, grapes, roast beef, and some tasty Monet crackers to eat with the beef. Yes I know I lack variety, but remember for every four days I'm eating this that's four days I'm not living off of ramen noodles like I'm used to. Makes me feel almost rich to be eating real vegi's and meat and not stuff from a can.

Bento Holiday

So this last week I was very blessed to have my family come and visit me. This consists of my mom, my brother, and my two younger sisters. We are a crazy wacky family that have tons of fun together and no matter how many miles separates us are very close to one another in spirit.
This incredible gift was given by my Ex-Step Father who wanted us to be able to be together for the holidays. They all came in on last Wednesday evening. There flights so spread out i spent almost the entire night at the airport. Knowing they wouldn't be getting in till 11pm I figured they would be very hungry. So I made all of of them and my friend who we were giving a ride dinner bentos. To my large surprise the bentos were a humongous hit with all of them. They were all hungry, and thought they were cute. I even brought some juice boxes to quench their thirst. They ate them in the car on the drive home (i live a ways from the airport). My mom and sisters liked theirs so much they decided they wanted to start making bentos too. Which since I let them keep each bento I gave them they now have a head start. We spent part of the weekend looking for different cute things to use as accessories for our bentos. Which my loving Uncle Car (he's like my personal daddy long legs) donated some funds to help us get some cute bento accessories.

The bentos have home made mini potato bread pizzas (yes from the daring bakers challenge and they were a hit.) A babel cheese, some gapes, edamame, a fortune cookie and some poky sticks. All topped with little individual juice boxes.
So here are the accessories. I got cute little Christmas fork and spoon that match my hello kitty bento. One has snowmen on them and the other has reindeer. A little baby washcloth to wipe up after myself, a cute hippopotamus container for apples sauce, cottage cheese, or whatever I want to put in it. Three oven safe, dishwasher safe, and microwave safe silicone cups. Perfect for putting things in or baking individual bento sized servings. Also some mini metal cookie cutters for cutting small shaped vegi's or cookies. I chose the angel (because I am angel) and the teddy bear( I love teddies). Some Christmas sauce containers. Ok they are actually gum containers that were the perfect size and lids to be sauce containers. I really like the Christmas tree ones, and my sister Kayla picked out the snowmen ones. Under it all is a brown and gold cloth place mat that me and my mom are going to sew into a home made bento bag over the holidays. We got all of these for each of us, but I only have pictures of mine. There was monkey containers for Kayla, and Tigers with Hippo's for my Mom and Sister Seanna.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Daring Bakers November Challenge

Can we say Noobs ARE US

So this is my first challenge as a daring baker, and yes challenge it was.
We were given the recipe for a wonderful homemade potato bread.

We all had to follow the same recipe, and the only changes you could make was how you shaped your bread, and seasoned it.
All seasonings had to be savory, no dessert.
I decided to make one loaf, a foccaccia loaf, and some mini pizzas.
I used Yukon Gold potato's and boiled them the night before to save on time.

The dough was incredibly sticky. Much more then I expected and I had lots of problems kneading it. The real disaster came though when I put it in my large mixing bowl to rise. Me thinking oh the heat from the oven will help the yeast rise better sat the bowl on top of the stove above the oven.
Yes this is the part where you all yell at the screen "no don't do that" or "what in the world were you thinking"
Apparently I wasn't thinking very well, because my plastic bowl melted. It cooked the bottom of the dough rising in the bowl, and I almost set my kitchen on fire.
So i cut off the bottom of the dough that had cooked, and put the rest back into the steel bowl it originally was mixed in.

It looked like disaster though had been averted and I continued on in spite of the melted plastic smoke in my kitchen. Above is the mini pizza's. I managed to burn the cheese on them, and peeled it off. Luckily the bread part was fine, so i just seasoned it and used them in bento's i made for my family that was coming to visit for Thanksgiving.

This is the wonderfully incredibly sticky potato dough i like the potato mushed chunks in it.

My Foccaccia bread was drizzled with an egg wash and Hazelnut oil. (I wanted to try something different) I put dried rosemary, ground salt, and Fresh chopped garlic on it. It turned out beautiful smelled good, and no one in my family would eat it. Most of it got thrown away.

My potato loaf was a bit overcooked on the top. It also didn't rise as much as I had hoped but over all was pretty good.

Oh my poor sweet potato bread.
I was very excited about this challenge and felt like it was definitely a growing experience. I'm pretty sure though I will never ever make this recipe for potato bread again.
Which is kind of sad since I'm a very strong lover of potatoes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Berry Delicious Pie

Berries are my favorite fruits!!!!

So this is one delicious and a bit tart pie. Its a berry cream pie with a little bit of a cream cheese mixture on the bottom. The original recipe was created by a co-worker of mine, and his had strawberries. I have a friend who is allergic to strawberries so instead I used blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. One crust was a graham cracker and then another (that my friends already ate at our D&D game) had oreo crust.

I put it together when I had my pumpkin pie in the oven baking. Its a very quick and easy pie to put together. I did it under thirty minutes.

Here is the Recipe for what my co-worker named:
Evil Evil Evil Pie!!!

1 large ready-to-use graham cracker pie crust (the small ones won't hold it all...Keebler makes a larger one)

1 cube (is that a cup?) cream cheese (I know...you can already tell this is going to be good...)

3-4 Tbsp lemon juice

4 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 baskets of fresh strawberries, cleaned and chunked (sliced at random angles so it's chunkier rather than evenly/thinly sliced...keeps them from getting soft and soggy)

1 pint heavy whipping cream

6 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla


This is so easy... In a bowl, use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese with lemon juice and 4Tbsp granulated sugar until smooth and creamy. Spread mixture evenly on pie crust (it's cool because this also keeps the crust from falling apart so much when you serve the pie). Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream with the 6 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla until it forms peaks. Mix the strawberries into the cream. Spoon this mixture into the pie crust.

EAT IT NOW!!! Okay, it's probably better to resist for a couple of hours and chill it and it will stay together better, but you could eat it now if you just can't wait! I saved a piece of this for a couple of days and it was still amazing. It didn't get all soggy and gooey.

Here is the Recipe for the Pumpkin Pie I posted for Apples & Thyme:



  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (210c)
  2. Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl; stir in pumpkin and sugar spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  3. Pour into the unbaked pie shell.
  4. Bake at 425°F (210c) for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F (180c) 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center come out clean. Cool on wire rack 2 hours.
  5. Let cool and serve.
  6. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Notes and tips

Before you bake. Make the batter ahead, if you wish, but pour it into the pie shell just before baking to keep the crust crisp.

During baking. The baking instructions start with a high oven temperature, then direct you to reduce the heat partway through baking. This is an important step which allows the crust time to crisp.

Is it done? Insert a knife near the center of the pie to test for doneness, as the center will still cook after you take the pie out of the oven.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Apples & Thyme

Love one pie at a time.

My mother has always been the woman in my family that I am the closest to. She was taught to cook by my great grandmother Martha Rose a stout swedish farm wife. She then taught me, and someday I hope to spend as much fun times in the kitchen with my daughters and sons as I did with my mom teaching them. We were always poor and never had much for fresh ingredients but no matter what we had my mom used her creative flair to come up with something delicious. The reason I chose pumpkin pie for my apples and thyme entry is because when I think of my mom and cooking the story of the first time she made pumpkin pie for us always comes to mind.

It was when I was quite young. We lived in the ghetto on the slightly better side of the street in a cramped little apartment that it wasn't too rare to see a roach or too. Sometimes there were break ins or we could hear gun shots down the streets. She worked two full time jobs as a single mother raising two girls and a brand new baby boy. Some of my fondest and happiest memories come from that pit hole. One weekend she decided she was going to make us a real pumpkin pie from a fresh pumpkin. None of that canned pumpkin mix. Me and my sister were really excited waiting all day and the house smelled so good with the spices and pumpkin scent.
When My mom brought it out of the oven the thing that smelled like heaven looked like the most disgusting thing I'd ever seen. The pie for some reason came out a weird gray color. It had no orange in it at all. It looks a bit gelatinous. My mom both laughing and a bit disappointed was teasing us that we should try it. Although looked ready to throw it out. Me and my younger sister discussed and decided because I'm the oldest I would be the one to brave the pie so that moms work didn't go for nothing. There I was ready to try and grin and tell my mom her disgusting pie was really great. Pinched my nose (as a kid didn't realize that would probably be rude) and bottoms up took a huge bite. Much to my complete surprise it was the tastiest pie I'd ever had at the time. Once my sister saw how much I liked it we all dug in. There was no left overs for that pie. It was one of those lessons of don't judge a book by its cover. Since then My mom has grown and learned to make awesome pumpkin pies (that aren't gray) as well as many other things that we adore. So this my very first pumpkin pie made by myself I dedicate to you. It's not gray nor as tasty as yours that time, but it was great fun making it. I love you.

Check out Apples & Thyme

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dinner Pasta Bento

This week has been an emotional one. I found out my great aunt Mary passed away. Then I found out another friend of mine has been sentenced to 2nd degree murder, and today I found out that my family companies plane crashed killing the pilot and two of our co-owners. The tragedy of it hits me so hard. I will post more later after I've calmed down and organized my thoughts. On top of all that had a friend call me crying because she is in a bad situation, and my older sister let me know she is pregnant again. The last one at least was some good news to go with all the bad.

Here is my dinner bento for tonight.

bottom layer is garlic sourdough bread, some marshmallows and a strawberry candy.

the bottom layer is some alfredo sea shell pasta. I added cut up sausage, and some frozen vegis to it. I also added generous amounts of oregano and parsley while cooking and a pinch of black pepper. I really like black pepper and eat it on anything that is not a dessert.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Potstickers & Edamame Bentos

So I find that I like making my weeks lunch bentos all at the same time. I'm kind of lazy and I know that if I don't do them at once I will not do them later, and end up spending money to go out to eat. So last night I made bento lunches for today, tomorrow, and Thursday.

The bottom layer for todays lunch was a mini croissant with delicious Marionberry jam on it. I have never seen a Marionberry, but man it was very tasty jam. The flavor isn't as strong as a blackberry jam, and didn't have as many little seeds either. In a home made foil cup I have some mandarin oranges with cinnamon sugar and nutmeg sprinkled on top. For dessert a little strawberry hard candy.

In my top layer I had some chicken potstickers, and edamame. The potstickers i get in a huge bag at costco for like ten bucks. They are great when you don't want to make something from scratch. The edamame I got in a frozen package at walmart for four bucks. I love edamame and its nice to be able to choose how much salt goes on them. In the restaurants it seems like they either don't salt them at all or drown them in salt.

Wednesdays Lunch is more potstickers, edamame and oranges. I actually wrapped some more of the croissants with jam in plastic wrap and will bring them for a breakfast.

Thursday's lunch is the same as Wednesday. I will probably make a dinner bento for tomorrow nights weekly "anime night" this evening. I'm thinking I'm probably going to make some pasta.