Yummy Bento!

Yummy Bento!

It’s been a while and I’ve been slacking. But being snowed in has given me time to make more bento!

Karage chicken: I made karage chicken the night before and made sure to add one extra piece to the recipe so there was some for the bento. I use Runnyrunny999’s recipe from his hiyashi chuka video. It’s my favorite way to make any kind of fried chicken.

White rice: My personal brand of choice for rise is Nishiki. Why? Because it was the first one I tried that wasn’t Uncle Ben’s, I really enjoyed it, and it’s available at several local grocery stores. On top of it is umeboshi furikake (plum seasoning). Furikake is seasoning that can go on top of rice and comes in LOADS of different flavors. You can find some at your regular grocery store, but there will most likely be more variety at the Asian market.

Curry broccoli: Not sure why, but I’ve been on a broccoli kick lately. There are always 2 or more bags of the frozen florets in the freezer at all times. If you plan on eating this bento soon enough where you don’t think they will thaw in time, then toss them in the microwave a bit to give it a head start. Otherwise if this is a bento that will sit for a while, you can probably opt to leave them frozen (it will keep the celery cool!). Sprinkle on your favorite curry powder, maybe some sesame seeds, and you’re set!

Celery: Not much to say here. Just celery hearts out of the bag. I personally prefer the more tender celery hearts. Not nearly as stringy (almost none) than the darker green regular celery. Only catch, it’s more expensive.

Seaweed salad: I can eat this stuff all day and all night long. Any bento can benefit from this. it’s healthy, and requires zero effort. Place it in a cupcake wrapper, small container, or a silicone cup (as shown).

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Crumbs Cupcakes

Crumbs Cupcakes

I visited Crumbs Bake Shop in Burlington, MA to satisfy my sweet tooth. I’ve heard wonderful things about their flavors and wanted to give it a try (also, it was my birthday) 😛

The amount of flavors they have is almost overwhelming (in a good way). The ability to purchase a sample pack (filled with tiny cupcakes, as shown above) is a bonus. They also have LARGE versions of their popular flavors.

The flavors shown above are (in no particular order):
Red velvet, lemon, apple cobbler, dulce de leche, milkshake, birthday cake, vanilla on vanilla sprinkle, carrot cake, chocolate/vanilla/strawberry, banana bread, and I can’t remember the pink one at the top! Oops 😛

Their website is set up nicely and you can even hover over the cupcake pictures to see what it would look like on the inside (most of them have fillings in the middle).

The ONLY downside I would say about this (other than calories) is the price. These are made with quality ingredients and you certainly get what you pay for. For a special occasion, or for treating yourself every now and then, this is a must have.

Nabeyaki Udon

Nabeyaki Udon

Once again at my favorite local Japanese restaurant, Takumi on a cold day. It was REALLY cold outside and the Nabeyaki just called out to me from the menu. I had to stray from the normal Unadon (eel on rice) to get this hearty soup.

My apologies for the cell phone picture. I need a better quality camera to take to restaurants that isn’t my giant Canon.

The broth is a dashi stock, which is a light fish broth made from bonito flakes, konbu (seeweed), soy sauce, and mirin. It is topped with prawn tempura, kamaboko (fish cake), carrots, green onion, soft egg, chicken, shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, and bamboo shoots. This all sits on top of thick and almost chewy udon noodles. And on the side is my personal favorite, shichimi!!! (seven flavor chili pepper). I put this on pretty much everything and go through these bottles faster than any other herb/spice (including salt and pepper).

I wish there was something else in the picture other than the small shichimi bottle for size reference because this kettle of soup is HUGE! I could not finish it (and I was pretty darn hungry). Similar to eating Pho, this warms you up from the inside and made the cold weather almost non-existent.

And for $11.50 with a salad during lunch, you can’t go wrong 🙂

Another H-Mart Haul

Another H-Mart Haul

This is only my second trip to H-Mart and I honestly don’t know why I don’t go there every single week.
Oh wait, probably because I’d gain a ton of weight and have no more money.

This trip was special though. I had one item in mind: a Zojirushi rice cooker! I’ve been wanting one of these (and water boiler, but that’ll have to wait) for literally over 10 years. Why did I wait so long? I received a rice cooker from my mom as a moving gift that did the job. But it was honestly way too big for just the two of us and over its 8 year life span, the rice was starting to burn on the bottom. BONUS, the one in H-Mart was on sale! Cheaper than Amazon!

So while I was there, why not stock up on a ton of goodies. 🙂
(not everything is included in the picture)
Fresh fruit and vegetables, candy, snacks, LOTS of bakery items, super delicious lychee juice boxes, Rilakkuma note book and Hello Kitty pen (was going away for training and wanted something fun for note taking), Korean sheet masks, curry, and an adorable stuffed animal.

Not much else to say except if you have an H-Mart anywhere around you then it’s well worth checking out. You could purchase most of these items online but it will cost more (many H-Mart grocery items are cheaper than the regular grocery store) and you’ll most likely have to pay shipping. Also the fresh items are very fresh and you can to choose the exact one you want. Bring some friends and make it a field trip! As I mentioned in a previous entry about this store, there is a decent size food court, which alone is well worth the trip.

“Two” Ingredient Cookies

I’ve been looking for a healthy and filling breakfast for a while. Something that’s not loaded with sodium, carbs, and chemicals.

After seeing Bubz’s Instagram photo of her cookie, I headed over to where she got the idea. I was instantly hooked! A great way to use those bananas that are a bit too brown for straight up eating.

1 banana
1 cup oats

Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes
(15 minutes for a softer cookie, 20 minutes for a crispier edge)

That’s it!

This is titled “TWO” ingredient cookies because the base of it is really just two ingredients: banana and oatmeal. But you can twist this up however you like!

Here is some info based on my own trials with this:

~ These are very bland without any salt. Not terrible though. I would recommend either a pinch of salt or at least some kind of sweetener (raw sugar, for example).

~ Add fruit! Either in the mix or on top after they are cooked. The original recipe showed fresh cranberries. There were none available at the store so I used dry ones. They added a nice tarty-sweetness and some chew.

~ Smash the banana first! It’s much less messier this way. I use a potato masher to smoosh up the banana before adding the oats.

~ I personally use a mix of steel cut oats and old fashioned oats for texture. 1/2 a cup of each.

~ The bigger you make the cookies, the easier they will fall apart. Unless you are using a small banana, try to make at least 3 cookies. I’ve found that they hold together nicely.

Chilly Days Are Better with Pho

Chilly Days Are Better with Pho

One of my all time favorite dishes. It just warms me up from the inside and hits all the things I love: noodles, perfect broth, tons of toppings. It’s never boring. You grab any amount of any topping with each bite. Make it as spicy as you want (or not). As for me…I likey dee spicey!

On the way home from work I pass by Tanh Tanh 3 (they are still working on the site). As I walk to my car from my work’s parking lot I call the restaurant and put in my order to be picked up. Large PH3 (beef noodle soup with well done flank). By the time I get there it’s ready! It’s consistently awesome every time. Everything is packaged separately for you to assemble once you get home. The picture here is in my kitchen with some fried spring rolls in the background (I was hungry!).

I’ve also eaten inside the restaurant and it’s just great. The service is always nice and the food comes out quick and it’s always delicious. No complaints (except maybe their choice in music, but oh well). The decor isn’t anything to write home about but I’d rather it just be clean and have good food (which it does).

If you’re ever in southern New Hampshire I recommend stopping by here for the best Pho that I’ve personally eaten. DISCLAIMER: I haven’t eaten much Pho at other restaurants. My personal sample size is small! 😛

Zero Cooking Quick Bento

Extremely Lazy Bento

And by quick bento, I mean lazy bento. Because I’m lazy! But here I was seriously in a hurry.

Seaweed salad, marinated beets, cherry tomatoes, deli meats, mini peppers, celery.

Seaweed salad: Purchased from the same area that does sushi at the local grocery store. Very cheap, very yummy. My local Asian market also carries this for about the same price.

Beets: These are Love Beets and are one of my new favorites for bento! WARNING: this stuff will stain anything it touches! Open the package carefully and eat with a utensil! I also recommend putting these in their own cup. Here they are in a cupcake liner that has foil on the outside. They come in different flavors and are healthy and delicious. Just wish they were a bit less expensive. I also love putting these on top of salads.

Cherry tomatoes: Finally found a pack of “heirloom” small tomatoes so you get the different colors. These make excellent natural baran (food dividers) for your bento. Also healthy and delicious.

Deli meats: I know deli meat isn’t the healthiest thing, but I was in a huge rush (thus the poorly angled picture) and just wanted something lunch-worthy. Pictured here is ham and turkey.

Mini peppers: You can get bags of these at the local grocery store (saw some at Trader Joe’s too)! Different colored peppers that are not spicy. Think bell pepper but smaller. Same thing here! Place them in your bento whole or cut them up.

Celery: Celery. Yep. That’s about it. I personally prefer paying a bit extra and getting the organic hearts since they aren’t as stringy. But that’s just me.