Friday, January 29, 2010


It was hard to get a clear photo this morning. I stepped outside into single digit temps in my pajamas as usual, but had trouble keeping steady in the cold wind!

I don't care about football one bit, but I don't want to deprive Ryan...not that he likes football much either! But he does enjoy most other sports...
Ryan's lunch: Saints vs. Colts rice balls; grapes; blanched spinach; vegetable gyoza; meatless meatballs.

I got a quick hike in before more snow arrived though...

A view down to our neighborhood area.
Mud crystals!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"G" that looks good

Seventh letter of the alphabet...
Ryan's "G" lunch: green beans; garbanzo beans, black olives & greens w/garlic vinaigrette; graham crackers; grapes.

Some of Nate the Great's creations...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"F"-ortless alphabet lunch

I knew right away what I'd make for "F" day strangely enough...I'd been craving fajita pitas myself...and I often eat bento prep leftovers for breakfast!
Ryan's "F" lunch: a
forelle pear on the side;
mini fajita pitas; french
fries (w/ketchup); a
Turkish fig.

I don't always get to
eat the leftovers
however...the boys
are often grabbing
some as a snack as
they're getting ready
to leave for school.
Ryan's newest idea to
earn money is to make
and sell paper snowflakes.
He's selling them for 10
cents each, or 20 cents
"delivered". Shipping is
free on orders of 5 or
more. LOL.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"E"at your lunch!

Eager for the next alphabet bento?
Ryan's "E" lunch: edamame in an endive boat; "egg"roll; english muffin pizza; breaded eggplant sticks (w/ketchup).

I realized yesterday that I posted my 100th and 101st recipes! Hooray!! I think another giveaway is on the horizon to celebrate...I'll see what I can find!

Really, I'm still stuck on the "D" lunch from yesterday as it was so Delicious. The dirty rice was sooo tasty and the "drumsticks" were awesome considering I made them from scratch. The leftovers went fast...

Monday, January 25, 2010

"D" Day

Here we go with a D-licious, D-lectable, D-lightful "D" bento...
Ryan's "D" lunch: Tofurky deli slices w/dill dip (and a duck pick); dried dates; seitan drumstick; vegetable dumpling; dirty rice.

Actually I had trouble
coming up with D foods
that weren't either fake
meats or D-esserts (figures).
I couldn't find any vegan
donuts anymore, and I
guess I could have made
oatmeal date cookies or
date bread. But here's what
I did make...

I had some fresh dill,
so I made a dip and
spread it on the Tofurky
deli slices with lettuce
and rolled them up. (And
then I ate the rest with
some baby carrots.)

This was a good amount for 1-2 people for a snack, or as a spread for a couple of sandwiches. You can easily triple the recipe for a picnic or party though!

Dill Dip

1/3 cup sour creme (I use Tofutti non-hydrogenated)
1/3 cup mayo (I use Veganaise High Omega-3)
1/2 tsp. minced dried onion
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 heaping T. chopped fresh dill

Mix everything together, allow to sit for a few minutes so flavours meld. Yum.

Ryan has been to New
Orleans twice, and eaten
at the Old Dog New Trick
cafe which unfortunately
closed after hurricane
Katrina. So I thought some
dirty rice was in order...

Dirty Rice

1 medium onion (or 2 small onions, I used 1 purple and 1 white)
1 clove garlic
1 stalk celery
1/2 cup bell pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 T. margarine
1 Tofurky sausage
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 cup rice
1 3/4 cups water or vegetable broth

Chop up the onion, garlic,
celery & bell pepper. Heat
olive oil and margarine in a
medium pot over medium
heat. Slice the sausage
lengthwise, then into slices.
Add sausage to vegetables.
Stir. Sprinkle on chili
powder, paprika & soy
sauce. When vegetables begin to get tender, and the rice. Stir.
Heat the water or broth (I nuked the water & 1/2 a bouillon cube for 1 minute). Add to pot, stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Leave for 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat and serve, or for a bento, remove a serving to a plate and place in the freezer for 5 minutes to bring down to room temperature quickly.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

if only...

If only winter were really over! But no, it's still January. It's our winter farm share that is over. I picked up our last share yesterday. Nothing more until June!

The pickup included: spinach, mixed baby greens, kale, mixed braising greens, leeks, onions, garlic, shallots, beets, potatoes, celeriac, purple-topped turnips, carrots, parsnips, parsley root, and lots of popping corn!

I have a few leftovers from last month that needed using up...1 more head of cabbage, and some salad turnips. And I was in the mood for ramen noodles. Time to combine them all...

Cabbage Ramen

1 package ramen noodles
1/2 cup chopped green
1 white turnip, sliced
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. white miso
2 T. soy sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper

Chinese food sometimes utilizes water chestnuts, but Japanese cuisine often includes the smaller radish-like white turnips. I'm actually not fond of raw radishes or turnips. But cooked or salted or pickled...yum! In case you can't find any salad turnips, you can just leave them out.

Begin by heating water
in a small pot.
Cut off 2-3 big slices of
cabbage, then cut it up
Thinly slice the salad
In a tiny bowl, mix the
grated ginger, miso, soy
sauce & cayenne pepper.
When water comes to a boil, add the cabbage, turnip & ramen. Cook for 3-4 minutes. When noodles begin to soften, stir.
Drain most of the cooking liquid and toss with the sauce.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pasta Quattro

Winter is when we eat the most pasta. Probably too much! But here are a few tasty dishes we enjoy again and again...

Pasta w/Squash & Sage

1 T. olive oil
1 T. margarine
8-10 medium mushrooms
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
4-5 dried sage leaves,
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 kosher salt

squash sauce:
2 cups steamed squash
1/2 cup water or veg broth
1 T. olive oil
2 T. margarine
1/2 a bouillon cube
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar

Pasta or ravioli of your

This is a delicious way to
use fresh or frozen squash.
Steamed butternut squash
is fantastic for this dish!

First, peel, cube & steam
the squash. Or use frozen
thawed squash.

Next, wash the mushrooms.
Slice fairly thin. Heat olive oil & margarine over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Stir occasionally. After about 2-3 minutes, add the garlic and sage. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so, allowing enough space in between mushrooms for any liquid to evaporate. As mushrooms begin to brown and dry out, add cayenne pepper and lemon juice. You want the mushrooms brown, but not burned. Remove from heat and sprinkle with kosher salt. Set aside.

Start the pasta cooking while you prepare the squash sauce. Puree the squash in a food processor with 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth. You may add a bit more water if necessary to process. Heat olive oil & margarine over medium-low heat. Add the 1/2 bouillon cube and mash with fork and stir briskly to dissolve (do not allow to burn). Add squash puree. Stir. Add salt and sugar. Stir and heat through.

Drain pasta. Toss with a little margarine or olive oil. Pour squash sauce over pasta. Top with sage mushrooms.

Tomato Bac-un Pasta

1/2 box of pasta
1/2 package Smart Bacon
1 T. olive oil
1 T. margarine
2 cups chopped, peeled
tomatoes, drained
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Here is a super quick dinner fix.
While pasta is cooking, peel apart half a package of Lightlife Smart Bacon strips. Slice or tear into bite-sized pieces. Heat olive oil & margarine over medium-low heat. Add Smart Bacon. Cook 2-3 minutes, flipping over pieces until lightly browned and slightly crisp. Add tomatoes (canned diced tomatoes or whole peeled tomato work well here, and I save the liquid for soups). Add a sprinkle of salt and a touch of cayenne pepper. Stir and heat through. Toss with drained hot pasta.

Ratatouille Couscous

2 T. olive oil
1 eggplant, peeled, sliced
1 T. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 zucchini or summer
squash, halved & sliced
1 onion, quartered &
8-10 mushrooms,
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 jar pasta sauce
1 box couscous (cooked according to directions)

This dish is pretty easy, but the vegetables do take a bit of time to cook properly.

Peel an eggplant, slice, and cut into strips. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add eggplant and salt, stir, and cover. Halve and slice a zucchini. Add one tablespoon of water to eggplant, stir again, cover. Quarter and slice a medium yellow or white onion. Add zucchini & onion to pot, stir, cover. Quarter the mushrooms, add to pot, cover. Chop a bell pepper into bite-sized chunks. Add bell pepper and 1/2 a jar of your favourite (or homemade) pasta sauce, cover. Cook for 5 minutes, stir, cover. Check every few minutes until vegetables are tender.
Once everything is in the pot, cook couscous in a separate small covered pot (takes only 5 minutes). Fluff couscous. Serve couscous and ladle ratatouille sauce over the top.

Lemon Spinach Pasta

1/2 box pasta
1 tsp. salt
8 oz. frozen leaf spinach
2 T. margarine
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. capers, drained
plenty of fresh black

Another easy peasy pasta dish for when you're in a hurry or don't feel like doing much cooking...

Cook 1/2 a box of pasta with 1 teaspoon salt added to the cooking water.
3 minutes before pasta is done (we like our pasta well-cooked, usually 12-14 minutes for standard shaped dry pasta, so around 10 minutes) add frozen spinach to pot and return to a boil. Drain. Toss with margarine. Add lemon juice, capers, & black pepper. Toss. Top with extra black pepper.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fly away friday

I'm taking fridays off from alphabet bentos. By the end of the week I need groceries and it would likely be impossible to complete a one-letter lunch.

In lieu of AJ and I visiting the Mary Had A Little Lamb schoolhouse last weekend, here is a little lamb for both boys, inspired by Anna the Red.

Ryan's lunch: green leaf lettuce; rice ball w/Tofurky face & nori eye; cucumber flowers; Tofurky flower; purple grapes; steamed broccoli; bell pepper strips; blueberry soy yogurt on the side.

AJ and Dada also needed lunches. AJ is going on his first business trip to Atlanta for the weekend.

AJ's lunch (in a disposable recycled container): cucumber flowers; green leaf lettuce; Tofurky flower; rice ball w/Tofurky face & nori eyes; purple grapes; yellow bell pepper star; gherkin pickle; rice ball w/goma shio; tofu hot dog segment w/edamame; mini banana muffin; steamed broccoli.

Husband's lunch (in disposable recycled container): green leaf lettuce; rice triangle w/nori; bell pepper strips; salted radish slices; cucumber slices; Tofurky flower; rice ball w/goma shio; steamed broccoli; mini banana muffin; purple grapes; clementine on the side.

Of course I also had to pack AJ's suitcase full of food for the weekend. Atlants isn't exactly a mecca for vegan cuisine...
Travel food: pear cups; Rice Dream drink boxes; juice boxes; mini Luna bars & 1 full-size Luna bar; chocolate chip animal cookies; fruit twist; raisin & peanut mix; dried vegetable chips; mini bagels; berry applesauce; 2 Dum Dum lollipops; Corn Nuts; container of peanut butter.

Maia tried to pack Dada's
suitcase full of toys. And
she wouldn't stay out of
the little suitcase, sitting
there shuffling (and ruining)
a few of Dada's extra Magic
cards. Wouldn't the baggage
handlers be surprised to
find this little stowaway?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Let's "C" what's for lunch!

Today's lunch brought to you by the letter "C"...
Ryan's "C" lunch: Thermos of chili (w/chartreuse spork); cantaloupe chunks (w/carrot pick); chik'n salad w/celery (w/chick pick); carrots; crackers & creme cheez; cucumber slices.
And a winter hike with Ryan, across the marsh bridge...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What could lunch "B" today?

Second letter of the alphabet...B!

Ryan's "B" lunch: bean & rice burrito; banana slices, blueberries & black raspberries; broccoli; mini banana muffin; caramel nut brownie mini Luna bar.

Ryan figured out he could hang Bakugan balls from the bells on our wizard hat. LOL

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"A" lunch

River over at The Crafty Kook has a new idea, or a sort of challenge, called Eating Around the World.

Well, I don't think I'm
up for the moment
...though it sounds like a
lot of fun. Instead, I'm
going to warp her idea
into some bento fodder
for lunches. I'm going to
attempt to make a bento
for each letter of the

"A" lunch for Ryan: avocado half; dried apricots; apple slices; asparagus & sliced almond fried rice.

Speaking of A's, AJ & I visited the Wayside Inn over the weekend. It is the oldest operating inn in the United States, open since 1716.

AJ was impressed by the
schoolhouse that served
16 kids in grades 1-6, quite
different from the 600 kids
in AJ's school! Among the
children who attended the
Redstone School was Mary,
of Mary Had A Little Lamb
fame. The school was moved
from Sterling to Sudbury for preservation by Henry Ford.