Monday, September 22, 2008

Bento 7

I adore autumn and today is the very first day,

so I took the time to make this adorable lunch.

This is for my film class tonight, after last week and the Bicycle Thief, I think I need a treat, so here it is, Autumn-themed Bento. Something to keep me sane while trying to read subtitles and take notes at the same time, don't get me wrong, I love films. Especially ones with Jimmy Stewart, Paul Newman or Steve McQueen, but unfortuantly we never watch those classics, only critically acclaimed films. Yuck, what do the critics know anyway? Anyway, sometimes the best way to get through class is to just agree. Your grades are almost always better, teachers, instructors and professors alike have bias, so you use it. It is a terrible thing to admit to, but sometimes, when you know you can't win with your opionon, use theirs. This must be why I like science better than the liberal arts something about 2+2=4 is undeniable. Anyway, enought rant, onto the Bento. (I think I will come back and edit this some more, but alas, I have homework to start)

Alright, in the Top Corner we have a festive whole wheat tortilla with cheese layers shaped in with a delightful pumpkin cookie cutter. Surrounding the jack-o-lantern are cheese and spinach corn on the cob. All I did was cut marble cheese into oval shapes and cut small leaves of spinach and applied them. They look adorable, I just love them, so cute.

Inbetween the football pick and the pumpkin are bologna stars (hard to see them really), and over in the far corner we have a mini-corn muffin rapped in a fall liner.

Below all of that is a bundle of tiny julianed carrots wrapped in chives. I was going for a bail of straw look. hehe. Oh, well it's not perfect.

The round autumn flower is made of five pickle slices and a fancy cut radish in a re-usable mini-muffin liner. As a space filler we have 2 narrow slices of grapefruit, conviently orange.

In the far left corner we have a small cookie, which is iced in colours that have nothing to do with autumn, but I wanted something sweet, under that we have a wildberry muffin top.

As fillers in this bento we have grape tomatoes, jelly beans and a carrot jack-o-lantern, all I didd was score the carrot and smear cheese into it. Strange I know.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bento 6

Best Photo Yet, and Best Bento Yet.

I love this Bento, it was fantastic and was a delicious break to Enviromental Science. Even though we were only their for maybe an hour on Thursday, the tedium of the course was killing me. I feel as though I am the only one with common sense in the course, then again, I am obsessed about Bento, so what do I know. This Bento got me through the day. Here we go...

This photo is fantastic, the quality is great, I took it just before sundown, the light was great.

Anyway, In the Top Corner we have sliced apples. I corner an apple, sliced it into little slivers and arranged it to look like half an apple. The 'seeds' are dried cranberries. TIP: A little lemon juice on fresh cut fruit keeps everything looking fresh, no brown apples for me.

Below this we have leftover lemon couscous topped with a fancy cut raddish abd chives. Just a little fancy feast for my eyes. I had a busy week, and I took the time out from studying Biology and cleaning my room to produce this little treat.

In the top corner we have a carrot bundle. I feel the size is distorted, those little sticks are truly tiny, about 5-7 cm long and maybe a few mm in width. What can I say, everything tastes better tiny. A bound them with a long chive. The carrots rest on a bed of olives and nestled between are a tiny fork and spoon.

In the Bottom Corner we have home-grown lettuce with tiny tomatoes on a sword skewer (which I got at the Bins and Bins) for a splash of colour.

Alright, the middle, the bottom object is home-made seafood shells. A fantastic concoction of crab, shrimp and imitations lobster (flavoured pollak) with a blend of spinach and riccotta. It is simple and delicious and freezes fantasticly, it's better cold then warm. Ontop we have a tiny poorly iced cookie, see the post previous for info. To put the bento to scale, that cookie is about the size of a nickel.

P.S. For an Enviromental Science Lunch, me the skeptic had the most economical, and proabably most enviromentally friendly lunch their. ie. I saw a mountain of Tim Hortons Cups, Chip bags and cookie wrappers. Just an ironic little note wanted to add.

Girl Guide Have Nothing On Me

Alright, I will admit it, I love cookies. I love everything about them, their sugary taste, their portability and most of all the smell. These are tiny, itty bitty Butterfly Cookies, took me all of, half an hour to make. And everyone had the time, I made them Monday, before class and after work, okay maybe not EVERYONE has the time, cooking is a way to relax for me, so maybe no one has the time. If you don't, just buy pretty cookies or bake with a few friends and divide the goods afterwords.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Okay, I cut the recipie in half and then cut them into uber tiny shapes so they cooked supper fast, plus, I didn't refrigerate, who has time? Still I had so much leftover dough it is still in my fridge. I then iced this and froze them in a cottage cheese container, look out for them in my Bento's!

Bento 5

Alright, my Week was awful, I missed 2 labs, count them, 2. How did that happen? Something slipped my mind and I decided to sleep all Tuesday, oh well, I can't cry over spilt milk, however I can about spilt water.. But I did have this delicious lunch, represented by the terrible photo below, to sooth my nerves.
It isn't one of my better bento's, it's kinda washed out, and well my water bottle leaked all over my biology notes and this bento, so it was a little more fluid then I intended when I went to eat it.

Alright, In the Top Corner, we have a very tasty, very salty Pepper Salade. It's just cut up peppers, onion, feta cheese, and olives tossed in a zippy bag with some vinegar, olive oil and feta brine. Simple. Just marinate in the fridsge, the longer the better.

That washed out white object, um, leftover spunge(sp?) cake, to say the cake became the lifesaver of my lunch is an understatement. You see, the lock and lock lid of my container came loose or maybe in my post-sleep delerium I forgot to seal it tight, well anyway, water poured into this lunch and while the cake was unedible, it took one for the team.

To finish this bento I added a line of tiny tomatoes to act as stabilizers for the rest of the food, (if building were made of interchangeble foods, I could be an engineer, lucky for everyone, their not.) Anyway, I had a few minutes to spare for this one, so I skewerd a few with frozen mini-meatballs and cheese. Oh, that blob in the corner, meatloaf. And to add insult to bento injury, I forgot a spoon.

So, while my classes were missed and my notes stained, and still managed to pull through with an average meal and average day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Bento Beginnings

I’m a University Student who packs a lunch. What’s important to a Student? Eating, Drinking and having fun, and maybe studying. Well, for this Student, it’s all those things and well, lunch. Lunch is my world. Nothing makes me happier than a fantastic little lunch on a stress filled day. Hopefully, my Bento Blog will keep me sane from mid-terms to midnights, term-papers to hangovers. I want most of all, Taste, but also nutrition and speed: I want to eat nutritious food, but spending a lot of time on every meal isn’t feasible. I strive to achieve balance between the two — losing this battle would either have me waking up hours before everyone else to cook lunch, or reaching for a Fast-food alternative at the cost to my wallet and taste-buds (the face of the enemy, pictured above).

Spending an hour preparing a weekday lunch is only going to happen if it’s a special occasion like a birthday or holiday — I spend my morning getting myself out the door on time. I am a full-time student and have a part-time job, at one of those horrible fast-food joints and can’t afford to break the bank on horribly made food (trust me, I know) Although, fancy lunches made with expensive specialty foods would be fantastic, I know my limits; both fiscally and artistically. I would be a wreck only a few weeks in, for me it’s got to be sustainable over the long run, which is why I make Canadian-speed Bentos.

How did I even get to this place? I packed a crap-lunch for years, made up of pre-packaged, high-sugar no taste items into a brown bag. It was horrible. I felt awful after eating, so I starting making changes. I began to bring more vegetables, and meats to ease the stomach rumbles that high-sugar foods often leave you with. I even found myself searching online for easy recipes, and like an answered prayer, I found Bento.

With the help of Biggie, the Bento-master of speedy meals, I was saved. Her website helped me find the solutions to may problems. I even named this blog in homage to her site. With the help of Bento makers united online I was able to find the balance between eating right and eating fast. It was called Bento.

Here’s a Quote from her Manifesto for Bento making that sums up my morning ritual.

So now I’m learning to think on my feet when I look at the refrigerator in
the morning. Where I used to see either uninspiring food or time-consuming
meals, I can now see quick lunches taking shape. I have fast lunch items in the
freezer and fridge, and speedy prep techniques at my fingertips.

Well, that's Bento, how I found it. Next Post, Bento, the definitions and traditions.

Bento 4

Film Food 2

Well, this delicious little dish was for my second film class. Now, I took film for another elective credit and while it was a popular first year choice, I guess everyone thought it would be an instant A course, the second-year has all of 11 People in it. Oh, well, It's still an interesting course, and we discuss things a bit more. Anyway, on to the Bento.

Alright, in the Top Corner in the Square Cup, we have Beef and Seaseme Stir-Fry. Overall, a tasty dish warm, but cold, um, it was just a bit, well soggy. I think it put a damper on the class. We watched The Bicycle Theif, this dish, distracted me from the film. And let's be honest, both were a bit soggy, if you catch my Bento drift.

So beside that we have homemade cookies shaped like butterflies. More on that later.

Okay, I am a terrible photographer, that white-washed object is ricotta and pasta in a mini-cupcake wrap. Now that was delicious. Creamy and Cool, Yum.

For veggies, we have thin juliane carrots and onion dip and a Radish. For fruits, green grapes, they were bitter.

And the show-stopper, my apple cobbler. Fantastic. I think it was the only thing that got me through the Prof's incesent lecturing about directors I've never heard of. It was FanFilmTastic.

I think I should introduce what Bento is. See the next Post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bento 3

Food and Film, I'll Pass on the Popcorn.

Letter to the Bento Editor: Don't Take Photo's on Floral Tablecloths.

Alright it was my Mother's Birthday on Tuesday and I made these Monday Afternoon.

Looks like alot of food, but, 2 of them are mine, for my 4 hour film class and the other is for my mother, a little Birthday Bento for her breakfast the next day, as she will be eating potlock birthday meals all without any further ado...

This is my Backwards Breakfast Bento. Film class is late at night, so I need serious morning fuel to keep me from nodding out during the silent films. It kept me awake, much to my dislike.
Left to right, and well the bottom picture is just a better photo, so the food is listed in that order.
Leftover Bacon, mini-pancakes from my freezer stash. The last of a stale box of cornpops. A mini-corn muffin also from my freezer. In the food dye bottle, maple syrup. Yum. 3 Delicious peanut butter banana rolls (a single drop of lemon juice kept them nice looking hours later). A cheese butterfly. Concord Grapes on sword skewers and last but not least a small cup of yoghurt for grape dipping.Overall, it was a delicious meal, and I even got a commment on it by a girl of the same name as me, that I sat next to.

This is my mother's mini-breakfast Bento, so she kepts up the energy to open all those gifts.

Top to bottom, left to right. mini-cornmuffin. bacon, choco-stuffed mini-pancakes. A serving of yoghurt. A spoon. Skewer grapes and grapefruit slices. Happy Birthday!
Oh, almost forgot, my in-movie snack.

This photo is of poor quality. Sorry. But this was the tasty snack for film, we have sliced grapefruit and cornchips with a side of salsa (the salsa looks terrible in this photo) and my pride, the mini tabasco bottle which I ordered from the Tabasco company, I recieved a pack of 4 for about 3 dollars, yum. They are so cute.

Bento 2

Bio Bento. Simply Skewers.
A Terrible Photo, but A Delicious Bento.

Alright, I am a second year student, in a first year course, just another hurtle in Changing Your Major. Anyway, I wanted something easy to eat from little food picks, in this case those fancy plastic swords you get with certain drinks. I was revolted by the bus etiquette at the Terminal the day before. Eww, Nothing makes those hunger pangs near noon a little less aggrivating then people spitting, picking their nose and worse of all, blowing snot and mucus all over the bus floor. Makes you want lunch, doesn't it?
So, after washing my hands after arriving at the university, then again at break I dove right in to my little skewerd lunch.

Here it is.

Top Left: A mini-cornmuffin, straight from my freezer stash. Grape tomatoe's from the garden. A sword-skewer of tomatoe, cheese and crab meat. The little skewers forced my friends to grumble as they shared a bag of dry Mr. Noodles. Maybe, I'll bring a Group Bento next week...
Top Right: Carrot sticks, cucumber butterflies and a sword-skewer with feta stuffed olive and crab meat. (After eating it, I realize I didn't stuff enough feta in it... )
Bottom Left: Leftover jalepeno (sp?) chicken breasts...fantastic. You have no idea, I wish I remembered what I made these with. With soccer ball corn pick for a fork.
Bottom Right: Concoard Grapes with skewer. Overall, a delicious lunch, that I ate in Bio. It was so dreary and rainy that day, I loved it!
The quality of this photo is terrible, my apologies.

Bento 1

Haggis, Corn, Fajita's and Grapes...Oh, My!

So, I am backtracking, I finally got this page up and running so it's catch up time. This was my First Day of Class, Keep It Simple Stupid Bento. I am starting my Second Year at Nipissing in the Enviromental Geography Department, and I needed something to nosh on during those long 3 hour lectures. Best of all, we pushed on that day and we neglected to break for longer than 5 minutes in the middle, so I sat smuggly with my Bento while others suffered with expensive vending machine 'food'. Life and Lunch can be so Cruel.

Okay, lets go!

Top Left: Part of a Cob of Corn (it's hidden under the carrots) , surrounded by Carrots, a Tomatoe Centre and 4 Cucumber Butterflies. I have been eating cucumber like it's going out of fashion, fresh from my garden, an absolute delight.

Top Right: On the bottom is a Cheese circle in red wax, and on top is delicious leftover Haggis, yes, I like Haggis. Yes, I know what it's made of, I made it. One part, sheeps' stomach, one part heat, one part liver, and a whole lot of barley and spice to make it go down easier. Wonderfully delicious (and disgusting for those not of the Scottish persuasion) Haggis. I removed the casings, for ease of consumption and so not everyone around me stares in utter disgust while I enjoy it's deliciousness.

Bottom Left: 5 Mini-star fajitas. Made with cheese, olive, hot peppers and an adorable star cookie cutter. I made a bunch for the freezer. Yum.

Bottom Right: Concord Canadian Grapes (fresh is best, only get these for a few weeks a year here...) and whole olives. It's almostan International Bento. Best of all it's tasty.

Hello Lunch Bloggers

I am loving the idea of Blogging about my daily lunch and all the affairs that go along with having such a simple thing as Lunch at Nipissing University. How can any one blog about something as potentially boring as Lunch? Well, I don't just pack your average PB&J, or spend my hard earned dollars at the Caf. I pack a Bento. Take one small container, a diverse variety of fruits and vegetable cut into tiny bite-size shapes, meaty stir-fries and delicate deserts and you have a Bento. It is In otherwords, a Japanese-inspired lunch.

Alright, let's discuss the dirty details. Where did I get this ludicris idea to make intricate little foods in a cute container? Well, the internet, after mindlessly browsing Wikipedia, these things come up and voila! Bento was thrust into my life. I save money by cooking in bulk and packing healthy meals that add variety to a well, often long and tideous day in class. Lunch has never been beter.

Well, more on this later.