Behind the Bento

Glorious

Oh, Bento. I love you already. I do wish you were insulated, but I’ll get over it. Way over it.

Thanks for holding enough food to feed me for 12 hours. I know it’s not easy.

Layer 1 - snack

Layer 2 - lunch

Layer 3 - pre-dinner snack

I had a massive salad with a little (er, LOT) of everything. And oh yes, you saw correctly. My salad dressing is in a mini Patron bottle.

Obviously

I ate the peaches, pistachios, dried cranberries and little cinnamon stars throughout the afternoon. Finally, during a break in my late class, I inhaled a sweet potato with peanut butter (but skipped the dried bananas because they’re kind of uuuugly) and then learned about the wonders of foodservice. Ohhh, the wonders…

Vivo Bento

Cutie

Hooray! My Vivo bento box arrived yesterday and I can’t wait to reveal its inner workings… at lunch.

Until then, marvel at its gorgeous colors, sturdy clasp and functional design.

I love it

I bought this little guy after discussing packed lunches and realizing I hate my current lunch container because I can’t separate the hot and cold items for heating or cooling. Bothersome. It also isn’t big enough to hold the amount of food I need to get through 12 hours of mayhem on Tuesdays, which would be today.

Last night I was up until 2am and then up again at 6:30am. At least I now know all there is to know about energy systems. Yaaaawn. Sports nutrition is too technical for me. Foodservice is frustrating. Here’s hoping I actually enjoy something in this degree.

I will. I will. Until then… I will focus on how good my lunch is going to be. Wait until you see what I’m using as a salad dressing holder…

Aarti Party: Week 2

Ugly duckling salad & "I ain't chicken" tofu

Aarti’s week two episode was just as engaging, educational and enjoyable as the first. I was a little bummed to see she was making chicken (on the bone… with the skin), but then I realized that I love nothing more than vegetarianizing a recipe and that what I really want to learn is how to use the spices/techniques, not necessarily the precise ingredients.

So I forged onward with my (unannounced) decision to make all of Aarti’s recipes (well, the meals anyway – desserts are weekend endeavors for me).

First up is her Ugly Ducking Salad, so named because of the inclusion of celery root, a rather ugly but surprisingly tasty little hunk of brown dirt. Unfortunately, my grocery store didn’t have celery root so I went with another unfortunate brown root vegetable: jicama. The ugly root is served over spinach and topped with apples and a lovely pistachio dressing. I also added some of my crazy pink and white beets to make it snazzy.

After that, we have her “I ain’t chicken” chicken. First of all, I wish Food Network stars weren’t forced to come up with stupid names for their dishes. If I were naming it, it’d be cardamom ginger orange chicken. Second of all, I don’t have a show soooo… Call me.

Clearly I wasn’t about to use chicken or shove butter under its skin and massage it in like she did on the show. So instead I just made her mix with olive oil instead of butter and used it as a marinade for tofu. [Important side note: Stew got me a tofu press for the blog's one-year anniversary and it has changed the way tofu tastes to me... for the better. Seriously. If you don't have one... WORTH IT.]

While roasting away in a 500-degree oven, the tofu’s olive oil dripped down and proceeded to smoke like crazy. I smoked out the entire house.

I wish you could see it

Our unwise idea to remedy the problem was to set the oven to self clean mode to get it taken care of. This resulted only in flames shooting up from the bottom of the oven. We left it at that. I’m not entirely sure what to do next… Ideas?

Aside from the near fiasco, this meal was delicious. The flavors in the tofu were pretty subtle, but this probably has something to with the fact that it’s tofu and olive oil and not chicken and butter. I’ll take the tofu.

Are you an Aarti fan yet? Get on it. I love her.

Week 1: Sloppy Bombay Joes

Vegetables are Cool

Cooooool

You know how adults and government-funded initiatives try to teach kids things by telling them they’re “cool”, but the kids don’t really listen because the adults themselves aren’t all that cool?

Well. I don’t consider myself an adult yet (sorry, parents), so if I can convince just one kid (or adult) out there that eating vegetables is cool because I’m (perhaps) cool, I’d be pretty pleased with myself.

I mean, look at that salad. That’s like the JayZ of salads up there. Pink and white pinwheel vegetables?? I don’t even know what that thing IS but I ate it. Because it’s cool.

Cool.

Also in my salad: chickpeas, tempeh, nuts and seeds, corn (off the cob), salsa, spinach.

Vegetables are cool because they take energy from the sun like some kind of superhero and make food with it and grow into crazy things like whatever it is I just ate. (Seriously though, what is it?) And then those crazy things do crazy awesome things inside our bodies and make us strong and healthy (also like superheroes). It’s all just… cool.

Eat ya vegetabowls!

Uncle Sam Review

Uncle Sam snack

It is snack central over here today. I ate a light lunch because I went to a 2pm hot yoga class and didn’t want my meal to move upward through my esophagus during downward dog. You know how it is. Anyway, that led to an outrageously early dinner at 4:45 so now here I sit with a box of Uncle Sam that I received from Annelies at Attune Foods. (How Attune probiotic chocolate bars and this century-old cereal operate under the same company, I still do not understand.)

Anyway, she sent me this guy and asked me to share what I think…

The verdict...?

I like it. But that’s kind of a loaded statement. Perhaps I should begin by saying I like really bland, plain, “healthy” cereals. You know, the kind people call cardboard… or rabbit food. Yeeeeah, that kind. I like that.

Uncle Sam is right along those lines.

Here’s what I like about it:

  • High fiber – 10 grams of fiber (2 soluble, 8 insoluble) will keep you full for a while
  • Low sodium, sugar, bad things – Not much sodium to speak of and less than 1g of sugar is OK with me
  • Substantial serving size – No half-cup (or 1/4 if you’re talking granola) “servings” here. You get 3/4 cup for just under 200 calories
  • B vitamins! – It’s fortified with half your RDA for B1, B2 and B3 (thiamin, niacin and riboflavin)
  • It’s old – And therefore wise. Like your grandpa… who probably eats it.

Here’s what I don’t like about it:

  • Wheat – I started limiting my intake when we realized Stew had gluten/wheat issues and I noticed I felt a million times better. Now when I eat wheat, my skin gets weird and my tummy says, “No!”
  • Whole flax seeds? - Flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (important!), but the human body has a hard time digesting them in their whole form and you’re likely to lose those precious nutrients if you consume them this way. Flax is best ground for easier digestion.
  • Taste – I don’t dislike the taste. It just needs a little somethin-somethin… like a handful of blueberries, perhaps, or sliced peaches.

Have you tried this cereal? (I bet your grandpa has.) What’s your favorite kind? I’m more into oats or quinoa in the AM, myself…