Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bento---one of the best asian creations EVER!

I am so excited about my new bento! I have been wanting one for quite awhile. I really wanted one that was insulated, but while out shopping with my mom a few weeks ago at Meijer, I spotted this one! It is from the Katie Brown collection in their home good department. If you aren't familiar with what a bento is (besides being one of the best things ever) it is also a stackable lunchbox often used in Asian countries.

It is absolutely great for picnics/potlucks as well. I really love the size of this one. I used it today for a work potluck and it was wonderful. There are three of us in the office that do a potluck each week and each time, we do a different cuisine. We started with just a general potluck, then we did Mexican, French, German and this week was Greek. We all agreed that Greece must be revisited. One of the other girls brought in Mousaka which I had never had before and it was phennomenal. It's similar to a Eggplant Lasagna but quite labor intensive, so we were very grateful that she made it! Another girl brought in dessert; Cheese Baklava...and that was also delicious! I got the easy dish this week (lucky me) and made homemade hummus, brought in cut vegetables, pita chips and made a Greek Chickpea Salad.

See pics below of my wonderful new item.

Also, I must mention that this bento was RIDICULOUSLY affordable. Bento's usually are in the range of $75.00-$125.00 and this one was only $19.99 (not sure why, but the website says $24.99)! How great is that? But as I said before, it is not an insulated one. But I had a great idea---filling a freezer bag with ice and putting it in the middle compartment...that would keep the top and bottom cold I'm sure. I may test that out sometime. If I do, I will let you know how it goes.

My new bento!

Pita Chips.

Carrots, celery and homemade Garlic Hummus.

Greek Chickpea Salad

All the compartments!

more of my continued update...

Hope you enjoyed the pics from my previous post. It really was a great first family vacation. I have a few food and cooking related items to be expecting them! I will start with the first one below. I have been trying to add more to the variety of foods that I offer Jude since I usually pack one of three things for his last night I made some delicious homemade Apple Muffins from a recipe I found at, my all time favorite recipe site! Here are the ingredients to make a dozen of delicious muffins!

(2) cup of flour
(3) tsp. baking powder
(1/2) tsp. salt
(1) tsp. cinnamon
(1/2) cup white sugar
(1/3) cup vegetable oil
(3/4) cup apple juice
(1) egg
(1) cup apples (peeled, cored and finely chopped)

This recipes starts with preheating the oven to 400 degrees and spraying or lining the muffin tins. I did half and half; sprayed (6) for myself and Clint to share and lined (6) in fun liners for Jude.

Next, gather your ingredients.

Here's what I used. (I used Fuji apples---bc I love the sweetness).

Next, you combine all the dry ingredients. (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt).

I added a little more cinnamon--since I love it and so does Jude.

Mix these ingredients well.

Then, in a seperate bowl combine the apple juice, oil and egg and mix.

You then add the dry mixture to the wet mixture all at once.

(I moved the wet ingredients to a larger mixing bowl so that I could do this step..I thought that I would have to add the wet to dry).

At this point, the mixture looks like creamy, beautiful peanut butter but smelled of cinnamon.

Next, you add the finely chopped cup of apples.

Now, after the addition of the apples, it looked like peanut butter still--but the chunky version.

Scoop the mixture into the tins til they are 2/3 full.

Now is the waiting process. Luckily it only takes 18-22 minutes to bake.

I always take the middle road, so I did 20 minutes.

If only you could smell these babies!

And they were just as yummy as they smell!

We all loved these. I gave Clint the idea to drizzle some warm applesauce on top...and he loved it!

Jude only left crumbs.

Please, forgive me!

Okay, so you don't have to tell me. I have been a terrible blogger. It's been six weeks since my last post and my only excuse is that I have been terribly busy. I do promise though, to be better! So let's see where I left off. I know that I was looking for inspiration for my living room project....but I still have not made up my mind. I have been collecting ideas from different blogs that I love and follow, so hopefully I will soon make a decision on what road to take. I must mention though that Clint and I have tentatively decided that we will stay in our current home. I think it would be too sad for us to leave our wonderful yard. Out love for our yard is being intensified as the trees and flowers are starting to bloom.

Since I last posted, we took a family vacation to Orlando, Florida. The resort we stayed at was actually in Clermont and was called Summer's Bay Resort. (our condo is pictured below).

The weather was better than we could have asked for; in the 80's and sunny every single day. The drive was long and grueling but went better than expected. Jude fussed for the first 1.5-2 hours and then was an angel the remaining 18 hours. I knew he couldn't wait to just get out of the car. When we took our bags up to our condo and set Jude down---to our amazement, he started walking for the first time! It was like he was trying to tell us that we were not going to trap him any longer, especially in that car! While there, we did a lot of hanging out by the pool, playing in the sand on the beach, we took a trip to the zoo, went to Downtown Disney and to Magic Kingdom. I think he had a great time. Will he likely remember any of it? No, not a chance. But it was worth it to see his face light up with excitement with each new thing he experienced.
Here are a few pics from our trip!
This is at Cracker Barrel after having breakfast following our long drive.
Enjoying a snack (strawberries-yum) at the pool.
Poolside family photo.
Jude's first experience with sand. I think he was confused.
Nap by the pool. He sure knows how to vacation!
At the Central Florida Zoo...completely mesmerized by the amphibians!
Taking a train ride at the zoo-he loved this!
The zoo had a fantastic splash park!
Clint captured this picture of Jude and myself. I was impressed!
This was Jude's favorite part of the entire zoo!
On the ferry at Downtown Disney--he was making eyes with an older woman.
We had to take a picture with this dog made out of legos. It looks just like our beagle, Roxy!
Our family in front of the castle!
Jude especially loved Pinnochio. I hope this isn't a clue as to the company he will later keep.
On the Dumbo ride.
His first official meeting with the man himself.

After a very long day--the little guy is tuckered out!