Sunday, March 31, 2013

Today's Officially Easter + another Snack

 Good Morning! And Happy Easter!! I know I've been saying this for the last three day's but at least I am enjoying the holiday's. Today my mom is flying in to see me and I am super excited, I miss her so much. Since I wasn't able to sleep I had time to throw together another snack for my morning appointments, then I plan on spending Easter with my grandparents so no lunch is needed for today. I must say I am growing fond on these boxes, yesterday I stopped by world market and got two more for 50 cents before I went to Marshals and grabbed yet again another two for 60 cents. The one pictured here with the bunny cutout was one of my items from Marshals, I also grabbed another pack of stickers while they were suppose to be on sale for (1.49) but some how I ended up paying full price of 2.49 for them... I really wish the employees in all stores would label prices properly yesterday I was suppose to buy a toothbrush for my mom for 1.79 but found out when I got home that they charged me nearly $4.00 for it at the grocery store. I guess it was just one of those days, but you don't want to drive back for the extra dollar or cents especially with gas prices these days.

Anyway my snack for today consist of an onigiri shaped like an egg (that ugly green thing in the green egg), it didn't come out like I wanted but I just couldn't get the seaweed to go on smoothly... more practice is defiantly required. To the right of that you will find a small handful of Skittles (orange egg) I was very happy to discover that these are gluten free and I was given a fun sized one as a treat yesterday that I wanted to save for an egg stuffer. Beside that you will find three little strawberries that I placed inside both purple and one pink egg. above that you will find two sandwich cut outs in the shape of a flower with a bunny pick to hold it together, these were placed in the other pink egg. Above that you will find a shiny pink box with a bunny cutout window that I got at Marshals for 60 cents. To the left you will find a whole egg sandwich (my sandwich was too small yesterday that I was starving by lunch)  that was cut into 8 triangles and decorated with more stickers, this obviously wont go inside an egg. The stickers easily come off so I plan on using them in my scrapbook. Finally hiding behind the sandwich I have a 4 oz Juicy Juice (fruit punch) that fit graciously in the box. Unlike by apple juice yesterday this box is rectangular in shape so I had no awkward extra space that you just couldn't fill. I believe I could also get away with a 6 oz juice box, perhaps next time when I go to the store I should get one and try it out *fingers crossed*.

This time I could not get all the snacks to fit in my snack box so I ended up eating the ugly onigiri and the two flower shaped sandwiches on the spot as well as some extra strawberries that I washed (not pictured). Most people snack when they put a lunch together so I have no guilt doing so myself. Anyway that's my snack I hope you enjoyed it. Happy Easter!

For those of you wondering yesterday I tested out the Udi's flax seed gluten free bread and it held up at room temperature very well. The sandwich was of course dry because it only contained cheese so after my first little triangle I ended up eating the cheese slices by itself and smothering the bread with some Jelly that I brought with me. I like this bread because of it's nuttiness taste to it, however I think I prefer this variety toasted alot better then I do cold or at room temperature. I've had the Udi's white bread last week when the store ran out of the flax seed kind and it was less dry then the flax seed variety so it makes a better cold or room temperature sandwich in my opinion then when its toasted (it just lacked the nuttiness that I love with toasted bread.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Snack's in an Easter Chinese Takeout Box

Good Morning everybody, today I will be stuck outside for a few hours which will require a snack and not an actual lunch so today I wanted to share with you the snack I decided to pack my self. I found the Easter themed Chinese takeout box at Marshals where I got my stickers and was really excited to use it. Originally I had planned on using it for a lunch but thought it would make a great snack carrier instead. I find the box so handy and a great size for an adult snack and its cost effective too less then $1.00 a box, however if you shop around I have seen them as little as 30 cents per box for the plain ones online but I didn't mind the extra cents this one costed me.

 For my snack today I chose just 1/2 a simple cheese sandwich on Udi's Flax Seed Gluten Free bread. Normally I would never make myself such a plain sandwich but I wanted to test how the breads taste and texture would hold up at room temperature without other items such as tomatoes  peanut butter, or Jelly effecting it the outcome. To make the sandwich even more snack like I cut them into three triangles and added an egg pick to it. To the right of that you will find some yogurt that i put in a shot glass and covered with a mini cupcake liner and rubber band. Since the liner is paper I need to make sure it stays upright so it won't leak, but I did turn it upside down and experienced no leakage so I should be ok. If we continue in a clockwise motion you will find the take out box, this is made of plastic so I should be able to reuse it but its held together by that wire so I have to be careful how I stuff it later. Next we have a four ounce apple juice, I think a small juice box would fit better but this was all I had besides the ensure and water bottle that was way to big to even shut it by its self. Finally we have my two egg stuffers that I placed in a mini cupcake liner. The first was a simple trail mix that I bought which contains peanuts, cranberries, and cashews. The second egg stuffer was my sweet treat of blue and pink melting chocolate pieces. They aren't in any fancy shape but they fit in the egg nicely so I don't mind them one bit, besides they make for a quick packing experience.

 In this picture can see that the snack fit in the box really well except for the slight bulge on the bottom right that was caused by the yogurt and apple juice, once you close the box it will even out. I was even able to include a napkin in the extra space so a whole sandwich instead of a half would have fit nicely. What I like about this snack is that you have a really balanced portion size as well as a variety of textures to fit your pallet preference. Considering my schedule for this week I think I will make more carryout snacks to bring with me instead of whole lunches.

Well here is what the box looks like closed up. I added two extra egg stickers to the top just to make sure it doesn't come undone. I hope you enjoyed this post, Happy Easter!!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Easter Lunch Project 2013

Good morning everyone I hope you are having a wonderful Friday! Guess who found their camera and charged it? I did and its great to have it back, the color is 10 times better and its not as foggy either. This is a simple point and shoot so its not as Fabulous as my dads camera but its been great for 5 years and outlasted the one I bought 2 years ago. To day I will be out all morning so that means another packed Lunch for me YAY! Origionaly I had planned on making this project on Easter Sunday but with the way things are going I may be super busy and unable to do so, but don't worry if I get a chance to make another packed lunch for that day I will be sure to post and make it Really CUTE!... Well within my means that is, after all I have just started the whole packed lunch thing so it will take time to make it perfect. So out of Celebration for the Glorious Holiday here is my Lunch. To start things off let me introduced you to my decked out new Orange Bento Box. This box contains a fork and spoon under the lid for things like yogurt or pasta which I love, especially because I am keen on eating yogurt every day. Any way here you can see I added an Easter Sticker Set that I bought at the arts and crafts store which adds a ton of character to an otherwise boring but convenient box. The foam makes the stickers easier to remove then the regular stickers so I recommend this variety if you plan on   bedazzling any boxes.

This is the Bottom tier to my Lunch inside you will find a medium well NY strip steak that I cooked in the oven because I have no grill or grill pan :( Bummer. Then in the middle I have a spinach and mixed green salad with grape tomatoes and orange bell pepper. On the Left you will find an Italian risotto, most people don't like to make risotto ahead of time because it becomes super thick but there is something about the cold consistency that I love, if you don't like it that way then just substitute it with a pilaf or mashed potatoes to go with the steak.

Since this is a project and one of my cutest lunches so far I wanted to go into more detail about it starting with the salad. Here you see a cute little chick with the pink hat, this is by far my favorite one of the three chicks but it ended up down there because it was the only one short enough to fit but that gave it an extra special backdrop. Now as I said before our greens are spinach and mixed spring greens combo that I got in the grocery store. I then topped it off with 2 ducks and a tulip shaped orange bell pepper that is held up by 6 grape tomatoes. For the eyes I just used a small amount of seaweed.
To the right of the salad you will find the Italian Risotto and the cucumber flower. To make the risotto you will have to sweat the onions until translucent, you can use butter if you want but I prefer the olive oil. Once the onions are translucent then you add the arborio rice and toast it until it starts to make a poping sound that is when you deglaze with wine or chicken stock. Let the liquid reduce down then continue adding stock little at a time, and stir. Add more stock when the pan starts to become dry until the rice is cooked, this allows the starch to develop and create a creamy consistency. Add herbs (preferably fresh but all I had was dry), heavy cream or milk, Parmesan  and butter. As decoration I used a flower cutter to make the cucumber flower then I took the smallest of the three I had and cut little pieces out of the cucumber which I replaced with the orange bell pepper. For the Pink egg pick I used one of the egg stickers and placed a tooth pick on it and some food service wrap for the backing.

The last component of this tier is the steak that I cooked in the oven for 15 minuets at 350 degrees. This steak was marinaded in a small amount of mojo sauce before being placed in a baking pan with onions and the marinade  I then baked it for 15 minuets and let it sit while I finished off the risotto. If a darker color is desired you can either sear it on a hot pan or on the grill before cooking it in the oven. As decoration I added some mini cucumber flowers and topped it off with 2 egg shaped picks made the same way as the pink one above.

For Desert I have apple and Mango Kabobs as well as "Blue" White Chocolate roses. I decided to prop them up so that they would look a little more dimensional but with the extra space they still slid down a lot. I probably should have added an extra Kabob to fill in the gap but I ran out of fruit. :( to make these I used a whole apple and a whole Philipino Mango which were very small, all the scraps I had left over I got to eat for breakfast YUM.

My apple bunnies and Blue Roses were easy to make, all I did to the apple was cut a V shaped line then carefully peeled away the excess skin with a knife. Then I peeled back it ears partially so that they can stay up slightly. With the roses all I did was buy some candy melts and melted it in the microwave for 1 min with 20 second intervals and filled up a chocolate mold. You could also melt white chocolate and tint it with food coloring if desired.

With the Kabobs I couldn't make up my mind on how to do it t first I tried to drizzle it with the remainder of chocolate but the first attempt was too clumpy and the second attempt was too thin so I just skipped it with the kabobs and ate my failure for breakfast. The apples were simply cut rustically with a knife, I did that because uniform cubes would have been plain boring. As for the little ducks I just used a cookie cutter on the mango half then I used the hedge hog method to remove the pieces. Very easy!! My kabob sticks are actually drink stirrers, I have a green butterfly  pink pineapple, blue flamingo, and yellow orb; because the mango and apples are not too delicate I was easily able to push the stirrers through even though it has a round edge instead of a pick. To make sure the ducks don't fall apart make sure you make them a little bit thick or they will break in half. I placed them on the top because they are very moist and like to slip down the plastic while the apples hold them up very well.

Here are 5 reasons I love Easter and my lunch:
1. Easter is the first day of Spring for me, its the day I celebrate the beauty of the season as well as my Catholic heritage.
2. Easter is full of bright and beautiful pastel colors like my little blue roses. Seeing as I am a bright color loving person it fits my personality very well.
3. Easter celebrates a lot of cute little critters ie: Ducks, Bunny's, Chicks, and Lamb.
4. The food during this time taste clean and not to heavy which is great for the early afternoon brunch's.
5. The fifth reason which is the most important is that Easter gives you another excuse to be with family and friends... but mainly family for me, I can celebrate friendship any other weekend.

Well that is my lunch I hope you enjoyed my project and HAPPY EASTER!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Back Up Lunch

Good Morning... well afternoon almost! This morning I got up late it was already 5 am before I got up out of bed and I had to be ready by 6. Unfortunately this meant making/ eating breakfast, cooking/ packing my lunch, and taking a shower all in an hour. So the first thing that I decided to do was to take a shower and prepare my lunch for today. I originally wanted to have a chicken Parmesan (baked and un-breaded is my favorite way to eat it), however when I went to open the jar of tomato sauce I found my self unable to muscle it open so that plan was scratched. Instead I diced up the chicken and made both a fried rice and pasta salad drizzled with olive oil and seasoning instead of a vinaigrette. Once those were made I realized that I don't have enough protein on my plate so I quickly made a pork burger to go with it. By the way Pork is my favorite meat and I will usually consume it for lunch when I am not devouring seafood, and I will eat chicken or beef for dinner. Once I had my proteins and carbs done I was seriously low on time so I quickly heated up some Lotus root and tossed a few carrots and tomatoes in there as well. For desert I grabbed the diced pears in the fridge, drained it, and sprinkled some cinnamon for an extra layer of flavor. Usually I cut up fresh fruit because I think they taste better but with my time dwindling down I took the short cut, but hey that is why they are there in the first place. Now I am left with some extra space in my upper tier which I quickly filled with my strawberry yogurt. All in all this is a pretty decent lunch that will keep me filled all day especially with the addition of Quinoa macaroni noodles.

My lunch for today looks a little blurry, my apologies... I really need to start using my proper camera.

On top Box:
Chicken fried rice
Carrots and tomatoes
Simple Pork Burger- ground pork, S&P, and Adobo seasoning
Lotus Root Marinaded in garlic, soy sauce, lemon juice
Chicken Quinoa Macaroni Salad dressed with EVOO

Bottom Box:
Strawberry Yogurt
Diced Pears with Cinnamon

I hope you enjoy my Lunch for today, hopefully Friday I will plan my lunch better so it isn't so bland in color but trust me the flavor is there. I also can't wait to work on my Easter project that I guarantee will have more color, like a blue chocolate rose! Can't wait... Happy Wednesday!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Panda and the Sea

Good Afternoon Everybody! Origionally I wasn't going to post but I woke up feeling better and decided that I was bored so I wanted to try a few items that I have bought and never used before.

The first one is a butter mold. This butter as you can tell is in the shape of a shell. This was made from  a shell shaped silicone mold that cost me only 59 cents and allowed me to make 4 shell shaped pieces of butter. All you have to do is let the butter sit at room temperature till soft enough to work with then just evenly spread on top of the mold and refrigerate till you are ready to use it.

The second item I bought was a panda onigiri press and nori cutter. Isn't it cute. This item that I purchased for $14.00 was way too adorable to pass up. If I didn't like rice so much I probably would have bought it anyway... besides every girl needs at least one cute thing in their kitchen. Anyway this press was really easy to use but a tad bit hard to explain when you forget to take a picture of the actual product. Yeah sorry about that but you live and learn, next time I make Mr. Panda here I promise he will be given the explanation he deserves.

Anyway here is my lunch for today! It seems like only a small amount of food but it was actually a lot and hard to finish, plus only 3 hours prior to that I had a steak and egg sandwich for breakfast so I wasn't too hungry.

5 Carrots with a brown sugar soy glaze topped with 1 shell shaped butter.
2 small slices of squash cut into thirds steamed and glazed with the brown sugar soy glaze as well.
2 lotus root slices steamed and lightly coated in gluten free soy sauce.
1/4 lb BBQ (my own GF sauce) ground pork.
3 ginger shrimp
1 panda onigiri.

What I really liked about this lunch was that it was really easy to make and only required 1 small pan and one small pot to cook the rice so it wasn't too messy to make. I started off by preparing the rice before I ground the meat in the pan. Once the meat was done I steamed my vegetables until tender, then I drizzled them with soy sauce and removed the lotus root. Once that was removed I proceeded to make my glaze and dress the rice. Once everything was enough to handle I assembled the components into the cute plate you see before you.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Macaroni To GO!

Good Morning, today I have a tad bit of the cold so I plan on staying in bed and finishing my leftovers but when I woke up my throat hurt a bit so I decided I wanted to try Annie's Gluten Free Microwaveable Macaroni and Cheese. I found these at the health food store yesterday and to tell you the truth I never even knew they existed. Every time I passed their food in the isles of different grocery chains I always said I wish they had these in Gluten free in case I ever wanted to go on a gluten detox for 2 months (Which I contemplated a lot before I found out 2 weeks ago that I actually can't have gluten)... regardless I was very pleased when I found them.

When I made the macaroni I pretty much followed the directions it said to microwave the macaroni with 3/4 cup of water for 3 1/2 minuets then stir in the cheese sauce and let it sit for one minuet. If desired add 1 tablespoon each of milk and butter while adding the cheese sauce. Well I didn't have milk so I just added the butter. A little note before I forget, as you can see my little casserole thing is REALLY (1/3 cup or so) little probably enough for 1 egg, after I filled it I still had about 1/2 my macaroni left in another bowl.

Here are the top 5 reasons I like this Macaroni:
1. I love food that can be taken on the go! With Annie's Macaroni you can just staple the two packets (noodle & cheese sauce) together and keep it in your bag to reheat in the office, school, friends house or anywhere you find a microwave. I may even buy a bag of these to keep at my grandparents house so that I have a snack if I get hungry when I visit them.
2.. Annie's products are organic with no preservatives, making them a healthier alternative to regular macaroni and cheese which jam packed full of chemicals YUM!
3. The price wasn't too bad, I paid $6.00 (pack of 5) for this. Basically this cost only a dollar more then the regular microwavable macaroni (pack of 6) that college students stock in their dorms. What I am trying to say is that it is an affordable alternative organic option for broke college student's as long as you don't scarf down the entire box all in one sitting, and way cheaper then buying those 1.50 snacks from the schools vending machine that does absolutely nothing for you. 
4. Simplicity, I really did not have to work at cooking this meal, it only took me about 10 seconds of prep (measure, pour, stir, go) and another 30 seconds to finish it off (add butter, stir, pour, stir,transfer, cut sprinkle) 15 seconds if you didn't add the butter or the green onions like I did As you can see I had no clumping.
5. This is probably one of the biggest reasons I like it: It taste GREAT! My parents know I hate gluten free pasta it just does not taste right in my opinion and the texture is SO WRONG!!! So I am really happy to know I can still enjoy some type of pasta in my diet.

Here are the only two cons I can find... which aren't really that bad depending on perspective:
1. It doesn't have much vitamins, then again what macaroni and cheese does? So my recommendation is to eat this as a side or a snack and not a meal. When I ate this I had 2 eggs and 1/2 a grapefruit (not shown) along with it.
2. Sodium Content is also a little high at 540 mg (23% of a 2000 calorie diet) so if you are on a low sodium diet be careful where you want to spend it but for me I love and need more sodium in my diet so I will welcome it with open arms.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Yum, I love Brunch

Good Morning! So I guess I should start about why I am writing this blog, so here are my top 5 reasons I am decided to do so.
1. I love Food especially food that I can take to go.
2. My family always want's to see what it is that I am eating and I don't really wan't to crowed their e-mails with the constant images of food. Here they can look at the pictures then can express their opinions about them later when we talk on the phone.
3. I have to go Gluten Free for a while but hopefully not for the rest of my life :( For me this is not a fad but feels like a punishment, when people take the food I love away I turn into the Grinch and find ways to sneak it when nobody is looking. Unfortunately if I cheat on this one then it could have major repercussions.
4. I love to play with my food and put my own twist on things, I am in culinary school so experimenting with new flavors is a must.
5. Well, I always wanted to have a food related blog but I am a tad bit lazy so I doubt I will keep it going but you never know, besides the only people who will probably read this is me and maybe a sibling or two.

So now that that is out of the way lets move on to what I packed for my lunch today :)
Thanks  dad for pointing this out but I took this photo at 430 in the morning on my phone. My camera is unfortunately still packed away so the lighting is very bad my apologies. It wasn't white at all I guess the light just bleached the color out of my egg.
Inside the left box I have:
3 Crab and Rice stuffed Inarizushi
1 Spinach Omelet cut into 3 pieces.
1 Parsley, garlic, onion, and lemon stuffed chicken thigh that I de-boned myself (Thank you Meat cutting) and cut into 4 pieces.

Inside the right box I have:
Corn, tomato, and Orange Bell pepper salsa.
2 Ebi Rolls, with this I quickly marinated the shrimp in the same liquid that the inarizushi was in. This is not traditional but since I don't have a little piggy or fish to put my gluten free soy sauce in I decided it was better to give it as much flavor as I possibly could before I assembled it.
Last but not least the apples, I think my teachers would cringe at the bad knife cuts on these apples but since it was just for me I didn't really want to make perfect macedoine, instead I went for a rustic look.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and have a great day.