Monday, April 29, 2013

New Box and Paper Punch

Good morning, today I have to leave super early around 5:45 am so I was up at 4 am once again to create my lunch. I am really excited today because I have some new items that I got to try out. The box was from Amazon for about $15.00 I love that this box is small and has two compartments, which makes it perfect for days like this when you really don't wan't to carry around enough food for 2 meals. Also noted in this picture you will find two Ionic paper punches that I used to cut my nori into 2 flower shapes. The blue whole puncher is a tad bit annoying to use however because the pieces are tiny and I sometimes loose the little dot in the center of the flower and am forced to punch a second one for spare parts.

For lunch today you will find the following...

The Main Compartment contains:

  1. Pulled pork, that was roasted for around 4 hours.
  2. 2 Rice shaped with my flower cookie cutter...sad fact its the only cutter I have right now besides the apple one, but I do have my eye on a set of star shaped ones the next time I go to Michaels Arts and Crafts. On top of the rice you will find the flower shaped Nori that I made with the Ionic paper punchers pictured above. They cost three dollars each at Ross.
  3. Peas, to fill in the space and to meat my desired vegetable intake.
The Cold Compartment contains:
  1. Strawberry and Blackberry fruit salad.
  2. Flan shaped like a flower using the same cutter as the rice.
Well that is my lunch for today, I am still debating between adding some Korean BBQ sauce to serve with the pulled pork or if I should just keep it plain. Anyway until next post, have a great day.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Snack or Side Garden Bento

Good Morning, yesterday I was bored and decided that I wanted to practice my garnishing skills by creating a snack bento that I enjoyed as a side for my beef stew lunch (not shown). Having a light, fresh, and bright sides gave a nice balance to the otherwise heavy and hearty stew.

In my snack box you will find:
  1. One large strawberry rose.
  2. 1 snack sized mandarin orange drained.
  3. 1/3 Blanched carrots in various shapes.
  4. 2 small grape tomatoes. 

I was inspired to create a carrot rose when I was browsing the computer for various garnishes and saw multiple pictures and videos on the carrot rose. The carrot rose appeared to be an easy task to accomplish and I happened to have carrots in my fridge so I thought this would be a great starting point for my list, however I came across a slight complication when I realized that my carrots were too thin, and I cut the slices a tad too thick. This means that my rose had a hard time standing up on its own without falling apart, or without a support (toothpicks, and grape tomatoes). Above the Rose you will find a flower carrot cutout and two leaves, these were inspired by the memory of a flower symbol I saw as a kid, I don't remember what it means but I the visualization remains vivid in my mind. In the end my garnish looked more like a bunny then a flower garden but it was still pretty to look at, and is a great representation of spring.

Another garnish that I wanted to try was the Strawberry rose, this has been on my to do list for a long time but just like most the list I create this rose just became neglected. This was very easy to create, as it took only four slits on the bottom and then four more smaller slits near the the top in between the previous slits. Once the slits are all created I took the pairing knife and carefully pulled the petals so that they would flair a little to give the illusion of a flower in blossom.

Well this is my snack/ side box that I made yesterday, I hope you enjoyed this post.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taco Bar

Good morning! I hope everyone is having a nice day, originally I had planned to make a bento style lunch today to enjoy inside since I haven't packed anything in almost a week, but when I got down stairs my lunch was already ready for me. So instead I will just show my lunch from Monday, which happened to be Earth Day but I forgot.

Monday's lunch was made from the leftover taco ingredients from Sundays taco dinner. I am not a huge fan of eating a taco the proper way where you stuff the shell instead I always turned my tacos into a nacho bar and used a spoon to scoop my ingredients onto the shell, I know its weird and I don't know anybody else who does that but I've been doing it since HS. I basically organized my tray the same way I do my plate but the tray separated the ingredients nicely but my proportion sizes did need a little adjusting. In my case I found that I had way more meat then I needed and not enough vegetables to finish off my little chips. If I were to do this again I probably would either top the meat with the cheese or melt the cheese on to the chips, this way I would have a whole block for both my lettuce and tomatoes, and the limes would be placed where ever there was room (probably with the tomatoes).

Here is what I included in my taco bar:

  1.  Mexican Shredded Cheese... maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons?
  2.  1/2 a lime sliced, I added the sliced lime because I used the other half to make guacamole.
  3. 2 Crispy corn tortillas broken into chips... I know I am weird.
  4. 4 small grape tomatoes small diced. I ended up using dicing 2 more to finish off the meat and chips.
  5. Shredded lettuce... I think its about 3 tablespoons as well, I had it packed pretty tight, but I ran out quick and didn't cut extra.
  6. Trio of Sauces: 2 tablespoons each of Homemade Guacamole, Salsa, and Sour Cream
  7. 1/2-2/3 Taco Meat

To make the Guacamole You need:
1/2 Lime
2 Avocado
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 small garlic clove minced
1/2 minced Jalapeno (optional)
2 Tablespoons Cilantro minced.

  1. In a medium bowl mash the Avocados with a fork, once all the chunks are gone.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and half the Cilantro.  Mix until well combined.
  3. Check the seasonings, adjust if needed. (If more garlic is desired either chop another clove or use a pinch of garlic powder)
  4. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with the remaining cilantro. 

Well that is my post for today! I've got some new items today that I can't wait to share with you tomorrow  but until then have a great day!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why I did this at 3 am I do not know?

 Good afternoon everybody! Funny thing happened this morning at 3 am I was feeling hungry and thirsty so I go down stairs to grab some cold water and maybe a snack, when I get to the fridge I saw a bowl of Jasmine rice just calling my name. Now you probably think I decided to eat the rice at 3 am but instead I grabbed the nori and some scissors and created a little boy rice ball. This took me only 2 minuets and for being half asleep I think I did a good job especially because this is my first time. Anyway once he was made I wrapped him up and stuck him in the fridge completely forgetting I was hungry. Anyway since he was already made I decided to stick him in my lunch for today, I am not going anywhere so I brought out my little sectioned tray that most people buy cheaply for their kids. These can be purchased at any grocery store for about a dollar a piece. When I bring my tray out I am usually trying to proportion what I am eating in this case my veggies. I look forward to the day I am allowed to eat as much vegetables as I want, this day should come very soon but until then I have to be careful. Anyway here is my lunch for today!

For my lunch I have:

  1. 1 Little boy Onigiri that I made at 3 am... Simple but proud of myself, I guess getting up at 4 am to get ready for culinary school has it's uses!
  2. 1/3 cup Vegetable Stir fry
  3. 1 thin long pork chop that I dredged in gluten free flour and adobe seasoning before frying. Once it was cooked I sprinkled it with salt and added some lemon juice to it. Although the flavor was good I felt as if the gluten free flour made the pork feel grainy, in fact you can kinda see it in the picture but at least it taste good so I can temporarily overlook the flaw in my brand of flour.
  4. 1 egg that I cut in half and sprinkled with salt.
  5. 1 slice Cassava dessert, it was the last slice in my fridge so I thought I would add it to my lunch.
  6. 1 plum that I sliced and garnished with a lemon twist.
  7. 1 Snow pea and carrot garnish that I used to fill in the space and add a pop of color to the lunch.
As you can tell pork is my favorite protein with shrimp being a close second, I guess its the Filipino in me and my love for bread and pasta comes from my dads European side, but until I am off gluten I will just embrace my Asian side 100% and stick to the rice.

About garnishes, according to the teachers I love the pretty things in a kitchen, and they are right I much prefer a pretty platter then one that looks commercially made.  To make this carrot and snow pea garnish I quickly microwaved 5 small snap peas in water for about 30 seconds until tender but still crisp. Then I made 6 carrot flowers that I cut out using a small cookie cutter. Once the peas are tender fan it out and place 2 of the flowers (the other 4 went in a side salad for later) under the snow peas for a simple and beautiful garnish.

Vegetable Stir Fry are one of the easiest things to make in small or large amounts, In my case I made enough for 3 sides or 2 entrees. Here is what you need:

  • 2 Garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon each Soy Sauce, Mirin, and Saki
  • 1 carrot Julianne
  • 2 green onions cut on a bias
  • 5 mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, mine were big so I cut it in half.
  1. Heat a little bit of oil or butter in a medium skillet and add the garlic and ginger until it becomes fragrant and has a lightly toasted color.
  2. Add the mushrooms and carrots until they become tender, once the mushrooms start to brown season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
  3. Once the carrots become tender add the rest of the ingredients and cover until the snow peas are soft but still slightly crisp.
  4. Check the seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed if not remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. 
Well that is my lunch, I hope you enjoyed it! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Magnesium Rich

Good morning, yesterday I packed a magnesium rich meal for lunch but I was just too busy to post it until this morning.  I really need to get a smaller box because these boxes hold way too much food for me, instead I ended up having a lunch and 3 snacks but I had breakfast really early and dinner late so the constant snacking was important, it was just a pain to drag out and put back together. A less complex box would have been better. Anyway before I go into details about my lunch I wanted to talk about my little shaker I used as a sauce container. Originally I thought it would be a good sauce vessel because it held my ketchup really well, but as far as my soy sauce goes it did not hold up instead I found a puddle of soy sauce in my that my peas and rice were happy to soaked up.

In the main compartment of my lunch you will find:
  1. Pork Tocino sprinkled with sesame seed. The pork itself isn't high in magnesium but the sesame seeds are with 1 oz providing you with 101 mg of magnesium. To make the meat higher in magnesium switch the pork for white meat chicken which will provide you with 7.6 mg magnesium for every 1 oz. To make the Tocino I used a seasoning mix I got at the Asian grocery store but I plan on making my own next time to avoid the citric acids.
  2. 1/3 cup White Rice is also a good source of magnesium, for every 1/2 cup you receive 9.3 mg of magnesium. To go with the rice I added soy sauce in a container.
  3. 1/4 cup of Peas contain 16.2 mg of magnesium, because the soy sauce is high in salt and the tocino is high in sugar I just left these peas unseasoned but you can add salt and butter if you wish.
  4. Tomatoes: 1 medium tomato contains 13.5 mg of magnesium but these were grape tomatoes so I probably got about 5 or 6 mg instead. 
Inside the cold compartment you will find:
  1. 1 slice Cassava Desert: This desert is very sweet so I probably should not have eaten it with the tocino and apricots but it taste good and will give me a lot of calories which at the moment I want so its fine, plus I didn't eat it until 3 hours after I finished the food in the main compartment. I am not sure the exact amount of magnesium in the cassava root but I read that it contains alot of copper, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B. They are also high in calories so if you are on a diet avoid it.
  2. 1 medium Banana contains 33 mg of magnesium as well as 422 mg of Potassium, although they are one of my least favorite fruits they are high in the nutrients I am constantly deficient in so I consume 1 or 2 a day on average. 
  3. 2 tablespoons Sunflower Seeds: these are one of the highest sources of magnesium about 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds will contain 128 mg of Magnesium. All the moisture in my lunch made mine soggy :( so next time I will have to place it in a container to prevent that from happening, instead I blended it up with my banana, apricot, and an ensure to make a high calorie nutrient rich  snack when I got home.
  4. 6 halves canned apricots gave me 16 mg of magnesium. Periodically throughout the day I just randomly munched on them as well as adding them to my shake. 
  5. The Parsley and babybel cheese were in case I wanted them to go with my entree but in the end I didn't use them so the cheese went back in the fridge and I tossed the small amount of parsley.
Anyway that was my lunch yesterday, all I am missing here is an over easy egg to eat with my rice but I forgot to make it. I know my food for yesterday was a lot but barely anything was wasted with the long day I had. I hope you enjoyed the post, I have a new box coming in the mail soon and I can't wait to use it but until then it will just be my not so little green and orange boxes. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Shrimp Toast and Shrimp Patties

Good afternoon! Today I am having a great day, the weather outside is so beautiful and cooling that it brings happiness when you go for a walk. This says a lot for the weather especially because I hate to go for a walk with nowhere to go. Anyway for lunch today I finished off my shrimp paste and made a shrimp toast for breakfast along with two eggs and sausages, this was a perfect way to start my morning and very energizing. I have been meaning to post the picture of my lunch yesterday but with some computer problems I wasn't able to load the pictures until today but I must say it is very appetizing.

For lunch yesterday I had the following:
1/4 cup sauteed mushroom and eggplant.
1/4 cup green beans.
1 Jar sunflower seeds (I munched on all day)
2 Shrimp patties
1 Shrimp Toast cut into 2 triangles.
1/2 cup rice
1/4 lemon
Parsley for garnish.

My dad said that I should start writing out my recipe in a proper format instead of just listing ingredients, so next time I post something I will try to remember to write them out in proper recipe format. Truth is I don't follow recipes or measure ingredients so this will be new to me. Instead I like to go based on instincts and taste. Lately I learned no recipe is original instead you should always taste your food and make things your own.

In case you are wondering how I make the shrimp paste it has the following:
1/2 lb Shrimp that has been de-veined and peeled
1/4 minced Jalapeno (I made meatloaf the day before so I decided to keep just a tad for the paste.)
2 small garlic cloves
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon onion
Salt and Pepper to taste
For extra flavor I added a dash of saki and rice wine vinegar.

Puree all the ingredients in a food processes until it forms a smooth paste, some people add a little cornstarch if it becomes too moist. Spread a thin layer of mixture on a piece of lightly toasted bread then sprinkle some sesame seed on top of it. For an even layer I placed the sesame seed in a small dish and pressed it on the bread. Then you can finish toasting it in the oven or you can shallow fry the toast shrimp side down until the shrimp is cooked and toast is crunchy. Serve with a sweet chili sauce or eat it plain like I did.

Well that was my lunch for yesterday, I didn't pack or cook anything interesting for lunch or dinner today instead I am enjoying all my wonderful leftovers. Have a wonderful and bright day!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just another Thursday!

 Good afternoon everybody, today I had a big breakfast and late snack of Organic Sunflower seed's and Mediterranean lemon yogurt so I didn't get around to eating lunch till 2 in the afternoon, I know its late but I still wanted to eat so I optioned for a light lunch today instead of the double layers I usually consume. Although my lunch was simple and looks like a leftover lunch it wasn't. Originally I planned on making it for dinner yesterday but I still had leftover chicken I needed to finish first. This lunch was exciting to make for two reasons: 1) I always wanted to make a mini meatloaf. 2) I got to use my new mini shaker. I really don't know what it is suppose to be used for but it had a little plastic divider inside so I could add mustard and ketchup in the same container. Anyway back to lunch!

For lunch today I had:
1 banana
1 package Gluten free macaroni, this was my last package so I will have to pick more up on Monday.
1/4 cup of canned green beans.
1 of 8 mini meatloaf's
1 container of Ketchup.

For the meatloaf I lined 8 of the 12 slots in the cupcake tin with a plain paper liner, the foil ones probably would have given the edge a little bit more color but I wanted to save those for something else. After I lined the cupcake tin I preheated the oven to 375 degrees F and started making the mixture. Inside the mixture you will find 2 pieces of gluten free bread (I toasted them and crushed to make homemade bread crumbs.), Worcestershire sauce, 1.2 lbs of ground beef, mushroom, garlic, onion, 1/2 jalapeno  green onion, S&P, fresh Parsley, Paprika, garlic herb seasoning, tomato basil seasoning, pizza sauce (normally I use ketchup or tomato sauce but I need to finish my jar so in it went... I think it taste better anyway!), and one egg. Be careful not to over mix the meat, instead I mixed the egg, pizza sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings together first, then I added my vegetables and bread crumbs together and mixed till they all well combined. I then added the meat into the mixture until it the mixture was evenly combined and let it sit while the oven finished reheating. Once the oven timer went off I added the mixture into the tins and baked it until the temperature reached at least 155 degrees F, but I took it out at 190 degrees which is a little over done but you can't be too careful with ground meat. If you don't have a thermometer you can just tell by the color and the the meat should be firm.

Once the meat cools I peeled off the paper liners and wrapped them in food service wrap before putting them in the fridge or freezer. Normally I like to add ketchup to the top of my meatloaf's but since I planned of freezing them I just decided to put the sauce on the side. By leaving it plain the individual meatloaf's are easy to wrap with little to no mess an allows you to have various sauces whenever you are ready to use them. My personal favorite is a Roasted Red Pepper sauce (Basil, garlic, onion, red pepper, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper) that I make. Anyway that is my lunch I hope you enjoyed it! I do have plans to try a healthier version of a Chinese appetizer that I wan't to pack. What is it? I can't tell you but I hope it won't disappoint. Anyway Good Night!