Ground Pork and Quinoa Bento

Ground Pork and Quinoa Bento

left: multi colored quinoa, fried pork with ginger, garlic, and scallions.
right: salad, cream cheese and scallion stuffed mini bell pepper, rainer cherry, celery, avocado.

Diet time. Since I transferred to a new position at work, my schedule has been way different from what I am used to and haven’t been making many bento. Here’s to many more! This bento box is one of my newer ones and I love it for a nice portion control bento. It’s not too tiny, yet not massive like my other one.

Multi-colored quinoa: straight from Trader Joe’s, I’m getting more and more hooked on this grain. Really enjoying the texture and potential to flavor it however you want, similar to white rice. Going to try to use this or brown rice instead of white as much as possible.

Pan fried ground pork: remember this bowl of deliciousness? The pork was so good and I had some left over that I decided to have it on its own. You can find the recipe for that dish (or just the pork, if you choose) here on Cooking With Dog’s channel. The only difference between this and the original recipe is I added some of hot chili oil. The colors between the quinoa and pork were too monotone for my liking so I added some chopped scallions and a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi.

Salad: romaine lettuce, cucumber, and carrots. My lazy butt buys the pre-shredded carrots. Any way I can save time I go for it. Plus when kept in an air tight container they seem to last longer than a whole carrot (which tends to get bendy after a while. To get the flower shape on the cucumbers, I used something similar to a julienne peeler but with a wave pattern. Picked it up at the local Asian grocery store for about $5 or $6. Just peel the cucumber with the fancy peeler then slice like you normally would. I have a small bottle of peanut dressing that will be going with this.

Stuffed bell pepper: this is a small bell pepper stuffed with about 1/2 a teaspoon of low fat cream cheese (it’s not completely full). It looked like it could use some more color so I added chopped scallions on top. Going to make a blog post about how I always have scallions on hand. Stay tuned!

Rainer cherry: I’m all out of cherry tomatoes! NOOOOO!!! This little thing will be a sweet treat though. Love when these are in season and wish I could fit a ton more into this bento.

Celery: nothing fancy. Just one stick of celery for health, fill up space, and to act as a baran to keep the avocado in place.

Avocado: thinly sliced avocado with a bit of lime juice to keep it from turning brown.


Lunch was so good I’m having it again for dinner: Tantanmen

Lunch was so good I'm having it again for dinner: Tantanmen

Saw this on Cooking With Dog about a month ago and it hit all my happy points: noodles, seasoned pork, spicy. It didn’t seem insanely difficult to prepare (brown pork, add garlic and ginger, seasonings, boil noodles, mix broth, chop veggies, assemble, consume.

Searching for the ingredients the first time around at the local grocery store proved to be a flop. They only had organic super tiny baby bok choy for $6! Literally, the entire thing fit in the palm of my hand. Also, I could not find sesame paste, bean paste, or hot chili oil. *sigh*

Take two, this morning at the LARGER and still somewhat local grocery store. They had it all except for the sesame paste. Hey, I have sesame seeds and olive oil. How hard can it be? What you see in the broth is the result: lumps. It’s not super creamy smooth but it tasted damn good. I actually took a rolling pin and a small glass bowl (great for friction, right? Yea, no. Yes, I could have used food processor…if I wanted to make a LOT of paste. No clue how long it would last and didn’t want to waste anything. But at the very least, it’s doable like this.

For the ramen noodles, I really wanted fresh ones (as the recipe suggests). The only fresh noodles that were available were Chinese stir fry noodles (in the produce section by the wonton wrappers). They are a little bit chewier than ramen but they seemed to work really well.

Why didn’t I go to the Asian market where I could easily find all this stuff? Because it wasn’t open 😦

I didn’t add any twists to CWD’s recipe (other than hand smashing the sesame seeds with some olive oil). You can find all details here.

But seriously though, I’m about to make and eat this again.

FFXIV: Realm Reborn – Final Beta Test Next Week!

FFXIV: Realm Reborn - Final Beta Test Next Week!

Complied by one of Resonate’s healers, TiddlyWinks, here is a compiled set of information taken from the Live Letter:

Open Beta (16th for p3 testing) 17th-19th
Early Access 24th – Launch
Level cap for Beta – lvl 20

Arcanist Info:
Both jobs will share same Stat allocation, MND – SCH, INT – SMN
There is an Item to reroll those stats however for switching.

Summoner pets:
Ifirit – Close Range Dps
Garuda – Long range dps
Titan – Tank pet

Ether Flow used to cast certain damage spells

Scholar Info:
Difference between WHM is mostly Buffing
Two Fairies – Cast times are long so you can not simply resummon them –
Buffing fairy
Healing fairy
(Fairies can be used as targets for AE healing providing you can move them where ever you want)

Ether Flow used to: Restore MP, Cast heals instantly and for specific heals/buffs

Out of Game Services:
Gamecards in store are announced.
Paid World transfers: available 2-3 weeks into Launch

Smartphone App: Libra Eorzea
Able to look up character, make gear comparisons, linked to lodestone, won’t have any dungeon strategies and will closely mod player made strategies posted on the lodestone.
Android version available 3 weeks after launch

In game Announcements:
Barbershop: You will be able to change Hair Style/color, Eye color, Face Marks, Face Paint/Color, and facial hair. This feature is due for Patch 2.1

Seasonal Events:
It will take up to 1 week to obtain the gear that they provide.
Summer event will required Farming Fire resist Gear
Winter Event has Snowmen Costumes.

End Game Announcements:
(Harder versions of all End Game Content Just announced as well)
End game will have 8 mans like Bahamut that will require teamwork and splitting into 2 separate groups in order to complete separate objectives to finish the dungeon starting about half way through.

Mechanics added:
Dps locks
Gear Checks
Split damage sharing

Crystal Tower:
24 man Alliance content – Will use Duty Finder
Not due till 2.1 – approx 3-4 weeks after launch

Primal fights:
On the Hard difficulty primal fights will included an extra randomized mechanics added each time you fight them.
Map awareness needed as well
Moogle Primal fight due in 2.1
Whispering is locked in dungeons and raids.
Unicorn mount announced

Regarding loot system:
No Restrictions so far on any type of loot.

Concept art for Fans, beds, and Fountains outside of the house including versions for Free companies as well.

Ether wheels can be purchased and placed in FC housing to provide buffs to Members as well as a permanent EXP bonus for every member of the FC

Darklight Gear set announced for other classes in addition to the original one.
Token System for “trying” against primal gear that will be close in stats of that.

Addon tools will be released 6 months after launch

PVP official release 2.1:
You can access it from Molabe dock

It will be 4v4, 8v8, and joined through Duty Finder, You can also make premade groups.

Welcome back campaign – 1.0 members till Sept 9 play free

Veteran rewards:
30 day – Wind up Cursor (Minion), Phail of Fantasia ( Character Remake)
60 Days – Cascadier Uniform Vouncher, Black Chocobo Chick (Minion)
90 Days- Beady Eyes (Minion) Voidal Resonator (Mount)

My First Skoshbox!

My First Skoshbox!

I subscribe to Sharla in Japan on YouTube and she had this video talking about Skoshbox and showed its products for that month. I immediately signed up and voila! Got my first package at the beginning of August. Here is their page describing each item that was in this month’s box.

The subscription is $15 US dollars per month and you can cancel whenever you want. Ew, sounded like a commercial there for a second. But really, it’s super simple. I even emailed them with a question and they responded quickly and were super friendly!

My favorite item from this box was the Mini Salad. I don’t know why but it was just so different and delicious! It was salty and sweet and wish I had 50 more to eat! The Cheese Kibun were delicious as well. Heck, there wasn’t a single item in here I wouldn’t eat again.

Inside is a card with the name and description of each product. I really liked this because if there was something I must have full size I could easily order it online or hunt it down at the local Asian market.

It was packaged nicely with tissue paper and everything was laid out neatly (not just thrown in there). There were more snacks than I was initially expecting, making for a fun Japanese candy and snack adventure!

Personally, I think this is an awesome idea and really wish I had thought it up myself. Sometimes the snacks at the Asian market can be a bit expensive and only come in large bags. I love trying new things but honestly do not want to invest in something that I am completely unsure of. This is a great way to sample several different things and most of these items were not even available at the local market.

September can’t get here fast enough 🙂

New Ingredients Bento: Part 2

New Ingredients Bento: Part 2

left: avocado, cherry tomatoes, beets, cucumber, bell pepper, swiss chard with sesame oil and seeds.
right: rice, pan seared tofu with soy sauce and sriracha, panko shrimp, kabocha (buttercup squash) simmered in dashi stock

After receiving the Just Bento cookbook as a gift, I went through the pages for inspiration then set out food shopping. The first bento that was a result of this new discovery was delicious and satisfying. I happened to have some leftovers from that bento so this one didn’t take long at all.

As with most of my bento meals, I do not eat this entire thing in one sitting. Throughout the long work day there is a snack/lunch side and a dinner side. In this case the left container in this picture was a few snacks and the right was dinner. I did not finish everything on the right. The rice was very filling along with the squash. Will be packing this in a smaller box from now on.

Fresh, raw veggies: Cherry tomatoes (a huge staple for all my bentos), small cucumber (these are Persian cucumbers from Trader Joe’s), red bell pepper, sliced avocado (with salt and pepper). Ok, so avocado is a fruit. I personally love these cucumbers because they are small, mostly seedless, and you can eat the skin.

Marinated beets: These came pre-packaged like this in the produce section of the regular grocery store. They are tangy and if you like a strong vinegar taste, you will like these. This one is the balsamic flavor, but there were other flavors available.

Swiss chard: This one is a recipe from Just Bento and is a healthy addition to your bento. You can use MANY different kinds of greens for this recipe. Just pick what you like: spinach, swiss chard, arugula (which has a nice peppery flavor), bok choy, dandelion greens, pea shoots, and more! This counted as my salad for this bento (I try to have one in every meal).

Rice with umeboshi furikake: Furikake (seasoning) comes in many many different flavors. I just happened to have this one on hand because I used up the rest of my absolutely favorite, which has small rice crackers, seaweed, and salt. This one is still delicious and has a sour plum taste. I can’t eat plain rice anymore. Still trying to find more uses for furikake. It comes in either individual packets or glass jars and have seen some flavors at the regular grocery store. For more of a selection you should definitely check out your local asian market or order it online. Combining flavors can be fun too!

Pan fried tofu: I just threw some slices into a pan with sesame oil and chopped scallions, sprinkled on some shichimi togarashi (spicy powder mix), then topped with sriracha (spicy sauce). It’s healthy, flavorful, and a nice filler for bento. I personally love tofu in bento because you can do so much with it and slice to fit any empty space.

Kabocha: Recently introduced to this Japanese pumpkin, or buttercup squash and was surprised to find it in the local grocery store. You can slice it up and freeze it, according to Just Bento’s site. I used her recipe too. Cooking With Dog used this in her recipe as well. Would like to try it sometime (this recipe uses honey instead of dashi).

Panko shrimp: Saw this recipe in Just Bento’s cookbook (could not find it on the site). Bought a bag of large frozen shrimp, thawed them out, peeled, salt and pepper, coated in corn starch, then egg, then panko bread crumbs and fried in a pan with vegetable oil. Crispy and somewhat healthy. Wish I could make these in advance without the coating becoming soggy.