Posts tagged bento


It’s been an interesting school year so far.  I’m exhausted and feel like I’m on a roller coaster.  One day is amazing and the next is horrible.  I took Friday off to clear my head and rest my nerves.  I feel way better, so I thought I’d come here to to update.

I’m trying to get back into exercising more frequently.  When I do that I tend to cook more often, or rather plan meals to be cooked.  My husband and I have a sort of unspoken argeement that the person who gets home first makes dinner.  Recently, that has been him, because I’m up to my neck in meetings and paperwork.  When I’m trying a new recipe, though I’m eager to come home and cook. We’ve been eating go-to meals for a few weeks now, waiting for things to settle down- spaghetti, veggie burgers, etc.  This week we bought garlic naan at Trader Joe’s to make with those vacuum sealed Indian curries.  The next day my honey made veggie meatball subs on garlic naan.  The bread was chewy and yummy and delicious! I couldn’t resist taking a bite before getting the camera!

meatballnaanI’ve been yearning for autumn weather for a while now.  It’s hard to be thinking Thanksgiving when it’s mid-80s outside.  I’m not complaining, just wishing for a little cool down.  Since this weekend was forecasted to be cooler (mid 70s), I broke out the crock pot today and made potato soup from The Simple LIttle Vegan Slow Cooker cookbook. I stirred in some colby-jack cheese when I served it (so much for vegan) and had a veggie Italian sausage and green beans with it.

tatersoupFor lunches I’ve been having chickenless nuggets, apple slices and grapes, vegan chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s, pita chips, a hard boiled egg, and string cheese. I don’t eat it all at once. It’s spread through the day- snack, lunch, after school snack.

nuggetbentoI’m still reading the Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.  I’m about half way through and I still love it.  I highly recommend it! I’m also still reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  I haven’t gotten too far in it, because I took a break to read a knitting mystery that I borrowed from a colleague.  That’s right, a knitting mystery. It was simple, and quick, and made me want to knit.  It was particularly interesting or well-written, but it’s the first in the series and I’ve already started the second one, so I guess I got suckered.

knit_160bI’ve also been spending a lot of time playing Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir on my Nintendo DS.  It’s a hidden picture game.  I’m totally addicted. I could play for hours at a time. My honey brought it home for me because I loved Professor Layton and the Curious Village so much.


Today I worked on my holiday cards.  Since we’re looking at moving in a few months, my husband and I are sending homemade Christmas cards out as gifts, rather than getting anyone anything.  Just sending our love through time spent on crafting.  Here are the first four I came up with with a little help from scrapbooking paper, charms from the dollar store, and spray adhesive from the Japanese market.

xmas1xmas2I spent a good part of the morning updating my ravelry account.  I’m not even close to filling out all my projects, WIPS, ideas, and stashes, but I added a few things, including my finished Windy City Scarf! I love finishing knitting projects.  They just go so slow, it feels like a big deal to finish something!

windy1I’ve also made some progress on my shawl. It’s increasing pretty quickly. I’m not sure how long I’ll make it. I bought enough yarn to make it LARGE, maybe it’ll be more of a throw.

knitshawl2I’ve been doing a little crocheting this weekend, as well.  We’re currently obsessing over the TV show Jericho. We’ve had it on DVD for a long time and never watched it.  We started it a few days ago, after finishing Painkiller Jane. So I’ve been trying to crochet during the new box set, but it’s one of the few shows that I’ve seen recently that has kept my attention. 

I haven’t cross-stitched or embroidered in a while, but I never posted my most recent pics of the big cross-stitch project. It’s starting to look really nice, but I’m out of practice with counting my stitches and the last time I sat down to work on it, I made a ton of mistakes.

xstitchI’m still working on my ribbed knitted hat.  I started it over and made the rib smaller. But I think my focus for the next few weeks will be crocheting and making cards.

Next post will be after Thanksgiving, so have a happy holiday. I hope you get to spend time with family and friends and delicious food.



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It’s Elementary

With the weather in LA on the chilly side (by that, I mean in the 70s), my crafting and cooking yearnings are at an all time high. I’ve also started getting into football in preparation for our impending move to a place where football rocks. If you had told me even a few years ago that I would be spending my fall weekends knitting, crocheting, embroidering, and cross stitching while watching football I would have laughed in your face.  And now I think back and wonder what I was doing over the weekends.  My first three years of teaching I taught Saturday school for the extra money. Sundays I must have just watched movies, read, and done my work for my Master’s program. These last two years I’m not sure what I did.  I’m guessing reading and movie watching are about right.

So this week my beloved made dinner every night. As much as I love cooking and baking, I will NEVER complain about coming home to a cooked meal! So last night I made a version of the Quick Pierogi Bake from Vegetarian Times. I changed it up and it ended up as sauteed onions and veggie sausage over potato and cheese pierogis, covered in soy bacon and cheese.  I know I know.. how many breakfast (fake) meats can one meal include? I had mine with pureed squash.  It turned out really delicious, though the house still smells like onion and bacon. Here’s a picture. Why is it that the ugliest looking foods are the most scrumptious?

This week for lunches I made tofu, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese sandwiches, veggie crackers, mini pickles (they’re so sweet, like a dessert!) and sweet green grapes. Mmmmm.

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is wander around the Japanese market and find fun new Japanese snacks.  Last week is was Crunky brand candy.  I found a Crunky bar and Crunky Balls.  Really, life is good.









I worked on my cross-stitch project a little this week, but didn’t make too much progress.  It’s slow going. I know I need to set a little time aside for it each day, and that I’ll see progress soon, but I’m so caught up with my yarn crafts, especially those projects that are for others (those that you won’t get to see for a few months because some of those others read this blog), that I keep choosing knitting and crochet over cross-stitch. On Thursday I went craft book shopping and picked up a bunch of knitting and crocheting books.  As you know from previous entries, I love the Stitch and Bitch Happy Hooker book.  So my first purchase when I learned to knit was the original Stitch and Bitch book.  I started the Windy City Scarf yesterday.  

The scarf has a little keyhole in it to wrap the other end through so it doesn’t blow away in the windy Chicago weather.  To see a finished example here’s one on a blog I like.

One thing I’ve discovered this week that doubles my crafting pleasure is Librivox.  It’s an archive of audio books of public domain material.  I’m able to catch up on my classic literature while I’m knitting. Some of the readers are awful and some are great, so it’s hit or miss.  I’m currently listening to the Hounds of Baskerville by Sir Author Conan Doyle.  I’ve actually never read any Sherlock Holmes mysteries, so I’m thrilled to be able to listen to them while I’m working on other things! I highly recommend checking this site out.  You can get the files as mp3s or it links you to subscribe in iTunes to a chapter a day.  If you’re interested, you can also volunteer to be a reader.

Oh, and go Dodgers!

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Baby, Baby, Baby

This week has been particularly rough, which had led me to come home and take solace in my projects. I know they’re children who are still learning and trying to find themselves.  But does that have to include violence? But this conversation is for my other blog.

My coworker had her baby yesterday, so her blanket isn’t quite finished, but it’s coming along nicely, considering I began just last weekend.  This photo shows it at about 18×18 in. I’ll do three more rounds of the pink, 5 more of the white and a border of pink.  It should end up about 35×35 total. I think it’s really beautiful and it’s so simple.  You make your favorite crochet square and then double crochet around and put 5 DC in each corner, which adds 4 stitches to each side per round. SO easy!

And here’s my latest cross-stitch.  I had to put it aside most of the week to make some progress on the baby blanket. I also forgot to take multiple photos, so this is after maybe 2 nights work.

I did make macaroons, as I said in the last post.  I’m using the word “macaroons” lightly here, because they’re not so traditional.  I found a recipe online that was so much simpler than all the others- none of this beating eggs until they’re stiff and sifting things in gradually.  The recipe I found was 1 bag sweetened coconut, 1 can sweetened condensed milks, 1 tablespoon vanilla.  drop on greased pan and bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  They started burning on the bottom, so I reduced cooking time.  I also added mini chocolate chips.  So not so much macaroons as sticky coconut and chocolate bites.

And lastly, the bento of the week. Olive bread, brie, peanut butter mochi in the big section, green beans, radishes, dried mushrooms, on top, and greek yogurt with honey and strawberries in the bottom section. Letting the honey sit on the yogurt all day until lunch makes it really yummy and the strawberries get really juicy, which mixes in. Yum!

Oh! and a macaroon.

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Back to Basics

For the past week or so I’ve been swept up in this insane cross stitch project. I’d come home everyday and cross stitch for 2-3 hours every night in anticipation of making some major progress.  I guess I underestimated how quickly counted cross stitch goes, because it feels like I’ve barely made any progress.  Here is the next installment of pictures.

When I look at them all together I can see the progress, but it doesn’t seem like much considering how much time I spend working on it.  

With my frustration at how slow the cross stitch was going, I turned back to my old friend crochet- my baby step into the world of yarn and needle crafts. I finally finished the blue baby blanket.  It was the first blanket I started over a year ago.  In between starting it and finishing it yesterday I have completed many other crochet projects, but the blue baby blanket was always on my mind. Here’s what it looked like when I first began this blog:

And here it is today.

And here’s the hat to match. I love these little newborn hats!

Once I wash them, they’ll both be on their way to Stitches From the Heart.

My next project is a baby blanket for a friend at work.  She’s due in about two weeks, and I’m hoping to have the blanket done before the baby arrives.  She’s knows it’s a girl, so I’m going pink and white.  I’m also trying out a new pattern and moving away from the shell pattern. Hopefully I’ll get started on it this weekend and do a little each day.  Tomorrow I’m baking macaroons for my husband’s employees, so you might be treated to a picture of macaroons and baby blankets!

This week’s school bento was a veggie BLT (veggie bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, toasted wheat bread), grapes, plum, pita chips, and vegan chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joes.

So, until tomorrow, perhaps.

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Wow.  This past week flew by. School’s back in session, which means the from scratch, home-cooked meals have been put on hiatus until I can resume a relatively livable schedule. Luckily, there is salad, eggs, and bread.  We’ve eaten any combinations of those three things everyday now for over a week. My coffee consumption has double- one in the morning, one in the afternoon- to get me through the days.  School is great, though.  The kids are fantastic, my room looks great, I like my schedule. I’m just trying to remember how to live as a working woman, rather then a relaxed vacationing woman. Here’s a lunch I packed of olive bread, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and fruit- again salad and bread.

One thing I haven’t given up is my crafting.  I spend a little time each night, after dinner either cross-stitching or crocheting.  I’m in the middle of two crochet projects.  That blue baby blanket is just about finished. It’s my goal for today. I also bought a very complicated counted cross-stitch project.  I’ve been taking progressive pictures of it.  I won’t tell you what it is, or post a picture of the packaging just yet, so you can follow along with my progressing.  I’m working only in one general area of the canvas right now, so one of the shapes is starting to flesh out. I’m loving this project.  I find is insanely relaxing and meditative to read from key and count where things go.  It’s like a logic puzzle- like sudoku, only at the end you get a pretty picture!

I’ve been awful about keeping up with my reading.  I missed my last book club meeting because we flew back from vacation that day;  but I did finish the book, Any Human Heart by William Boyd.  I loved it.  It’s written as the journals of writer Logan Mountstuart and follows him from his last years in his English high school to his death. The details and humor were captivating.

I’m about 200 pages away from finishing Middlesex. Still loving it!

I made some banana bread last night.  Our bananas were turning black, so I thought I’d remedy that.  We didn’t have any eggs though (because we’d already eaten through 8 this week) so I googled “eggless banana bread.”  I came up with this recipe from Baking Bits. It’s easy and the bread turned out pretty good. I like my regular go-to recipe a little better, but this wasn’t bad for when there are no eggs in the house.

It’s likely I won’t update again until next weekend- my husband is out of town and I’m trying to make evening plans so that I don’t end up at school until 8 or 9 every night. So, have a great week!

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To Do

With only about 6 weeks left of summer vacation, and one of those spent in Wisconsin and one spent at school for training and one spent here with my mom, my summer of crafting is slowly coming to an end.  Here’s what I’d like to get done, book and crochet-wise.


Finish Book Thief– Only 200 more pages.(Done! 7/28 )

Finish Uglies– Only 100 more pages (will read on the bus today)(Done! 7/25)

Finish Malinche– Just started, but only 190 page book (Done! 8/9)

Finish Omnivore’s Dilemma and What Einstein Told his Cook 2 (Done! 7/25).

Start and finish: Middlesex, Taxonomy of Barnacles (Done! 8/10 ), Native Son, and Julie and Julia (Done! 8/11). (And whatever the August book club selection is.)


Finish blue baby blanket

Finish student mesh scarf

Start and finish Galaxy Top t-shirt

Start and finish new tweed purse

Restart and finish bolero in my size

Start the top that’s in my head and possibly write the pattern as I go.

Other Crafts:

Try embroidery project- maybe just a cross stitch sampler. (Done! 8/08 )

Make cards with new templates

Make a necklace

Sew napkins and fix my pink halter top in WI with sewing machine.

I don’t have many cooking goals, since I cook to feed myself and my hubby and not to get fancy in the kitchen. I’m planning on making some peanut butter cookies next week- a treat for Chris since he’s had a rough week. I’d also like to make waffles.  We have a waffle iron, but I’ve never used it.  We also have one of those old school sandwich makers that makes the sandwiches into little stuffed pockets. I wouldn’t mind pulling that out for a few more tofurkey melts.

This was Tuesday night dinner- Tofu fillets with olive from Vegetarian Times. The trick is freezing the tofu (makes it meaty and chewy- it will turn brownish, but that’s normal). You slice a brick of firm tofu into rectangular pieces and freeze (I put them in for about 2 hours). In a pan, saute half a small onion and add pepper and salt.  Put onion on a paper-towel lined plate and put paprika and dried mustard on it. Then add a little oil to the pan and cook the tofu slices for 10 minutes, flipping once half way. Place them on the onion plate and put the onion back in the pan with chopped olives and dry cooking wine. It all cooks until the liquid evaporates and then you spread it over the tofu slices.  We had ours with the rest of the green salad from Monday.


Yesterday I went into school all day to finish setting up my classrooms and doing a little planning.  So I packed my pink bento box with food for the day- I had a Veggie dog in wheat bread, cracked pepper and olive oil Triscuits (delicious flavor!), a watermelon pluot (my new favorite fruit), some blackberries, pumpkin seeds, and a cheesecake square (which got me a marriage proposal when I shared the squares at work). It was a lot of food, but perfect for snacking throughout the day.

For dinner last night I roasted the rest of the potatoes from last week and made bird’s nests (another Vegetarian Times recipe- there’s even a picture-looks way better than mine, you know food stylists!).  Here you roll out bread, slice off the crust and put it in ramekins.  In a bowl you mix chopped mushrooms and green onions and I added some left over olives, with salt, pepper, and tarragon ( I used oregano). Fill in the nests with the mushroom mix. Crack an egg over each ramekin, sprinkle with cheese and paprika and salt and pepper. Cook on bottom rack at 325 for 30 minutes.

We’re definitely breakfast for dinner people.

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So much

I have so much to share with you today, so I’ll get down to it.

I finished the pink baby blanket for Stitches from the Heart last night while watching the All Star game with my love. I printed out quick directions for a baby hat and booties, which I’m thinking of making tonight to donate all the items together this weekend. Here’s the blanket!

 Pink camo for baby! I’m thrilled to have finished this one.  The blue one is slightly bigger, and since it’s so easy to carry around, I think I’ll bring that one to WI in August to finish. I’ll post the hat and booties when I finish.

Speaking of finishing. I finished Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee. I started it yesterday on the bus and finished it today. It’s a quick read, one you don’t want to put down.  It’s no wonder it won the Nobel Prize.  It’s a gripping look at the complexities of race relations in post-apartheid South Africa, as well as stunning literary critiques and views of nature.  I feel bad for making light of this book when I previously wrote about my intention to read it.

As for what to read now, I think I’ll try Agatha Christie.  I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read any of her books. Hubby was bowled over that such an avid reader would have missed out, so he brought me home And Then There Were None (formerly Ten Little Indians, not PC enough?) because they were giving it away with a video game at his work.  It sounds good and looks like a quick read- probably get it mostly done on the bus tomorrow.

Yes, this post will have it all- dinners and lunches, too!

Yesterday’s bento was a tofurkey and cheese sandwich on a multi-grain english muffin (at work I popped it in the toaster over and made a heavenly tofurkey melt), crackers, raspberries, and a trailmix/chips ahoy candy mix.

Today’s linch was tofurkey and cheese slices wrapped around half an avocado, crackers, humongous strawberries, and trail mix and chips ahoy.

Dinner last night was veggie burgers ( I topped mine with cheese, mayo, ketchup, relish, and avocado) and roasted potatoes (drizzle in oil, add salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary, cover with foil and bake on 375 for 32 minutes- shaking the pan a few times during roasting). My taters are smiling at YOU!

Tonight I’m trying something new, that I mish-mashed from a different recipe and some husbandly input. And we’re opening our last bottle of Artiste wine.  Good thing mom and I headed up to wine country in two weeks!

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