Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Produce Wash

I have a confession to make. I do not usually wash my produce. Oh, I scrub the dirt off the potatoes before I bake them, and rinse my celery, but most of the rest of it I just chop up and eat. So this is an extremely odd sight for me:

Not sure I'm doing it right, but I looked up this homemade organic fruit and vegetable wash on Videojug:

  • 1 Tb fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tb vinegar
  • 1 cup water
...and now I've got half of my produce (that was all I could get washed before rehearsal) air drying on a towel by my sink.

I guess it looks clean. My friend Debi says it will taste better, so that's gotta be good. But does anyone know, do I put them back in the bags they came in now, or what?

I think I'm just going to go to bed and hope someone answers my question before I have to go to work tomorrow. (Because as colorful as they are, I don't want these food items to become a permanent fixture on my kitchen counter!)

Any help? Thanks!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Baby Shower

On Saturday, I hosted my first-ever baby shower. People came and brought cut little things like this:
Here is the mom-to-be, Juliana, with her pile-o-presents:

She seemed to have a good time opening everything up. And we, in true baby-shower fashion, oooooohed and aaaaaaaaaaaahed at them all. How can you not, really?

But what is all this doing on my food blog, you ask? I give you, the snack table:

(Please pretend that I had remembered to take the plastic wrap off of the goodies before taking this shot. Or better yet, just focus in on the cake.)

Here, I'll make it easy on you:

This is the cake I made for the shower. It was my first time doing a cake with any kind of "filling" other than frosting. I used Pillsbury yellow cake mix, then I leveled the bottom layer by cutting a bit off of it's top. I put strawberry jam in between the two layers, and then I froze it overnight so it would frost easily in the morning. I made up some pink homemade frosting to finish it off.

Everyone said it tasted really good. And I have to agree. It was delicious!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Sunset Bento

Here is a sight you don't see everyday. A bento prepared and photographed as the sun goes down:

This bento was supposed to be my dinner after tap class. But I ended up eating out with my friends instead.

So, I tossed it in the fridge, and will be eating it for lunch today. It contains:

  • a turkey sandwich (1.5 pts)
  • soy crisps (1 pt)
  • 2 little homemade cookies (1 pt)
Happy Bento! (And happy Friday!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fresh Lunch

Today I stayed home from work feeling puny. But that gave me a great opportunity to make myself a delicious salad for lunch. Take a look at this:

This salad was delicious. It was full of:

  • Romain lettuce
  • Iceburg lettuce
  • carrots
  • red peppers
  • cucumber
  • celery &
  • sugar snap peas.
All of that was zero Weight Watchers points. Then I added:
  • 1 Tbsp fat free thousand island dressing (1pt)
  • 3 slices of turkey (0.5 pt)
  • 1 slice of bacon (2 pts)
Pretty huge plate of food for just 3.5 points. :)

And I have tortilla soup in the crock pot for dinner. I can't wait...


Friday, January 15, 2010

Simple Friday Bento

I waited as long as I could this morning to take this picture, hoping for more light. In the end, I just set it up in the window to catch a few rays:

This bento consists of:

  • Turkey sandwich (1.5 WW pts)
  • 8 BBQ Soy Crisps (1 WW pt)
I've crammed an apple (1pt), some dried blueberries (2pts), a Z-Bar (2pts) and my water bottle in my purse as well, so I am all ready for our community outing.

Then it will be a three-day weekend!!

Happy Bento!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Zero Point Soup

Here is the sight that awaited me in the kitchen when I woke up this morning. I only wish I could post the scent instead. Yum!

This pot full of veggies was the backbone of my lunch today. And it cost me absolutely no Weight Watchers points to eat. Now how is that for feeling like you are getting away with something?

I modified the recipe that I found in my booklet from years ago. Here's how I made my version of Zero Point Soup:

  • 2/3 cup sliced carrot
  • 1 small diced onion - sauteed with Pam
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic
  • 3 tsp fat free beef bullion
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 1/2 can green beans
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 tsp corn starch (to help thicken it - you can also use 1 Tbsp tomato paste)
I put all these things in the slow cooker and let it do its thing on low all night while I slept. In the morning - lunch was ready before my feet even hit the floor. :)

Come lunch break, I was not disappointed! It was flavorful and filling. My only complaint is that the recipe only makes enough for four servings. Next time, I am making up a big batch!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Time to Blog?

The last few days it hasn't seemed like I've had much time to sit down, at the computer or elsewhere, my time has been so tight. So blogging hasn't really happened.

Today, before I rush out the door, I thought I would give you a glance at my lunch:

I forgot, while I was packing it to take pictures. So this will have to do. :)

Take my word for it that inside is a salad, apple, and rice with a bit of BBQ sauce on it. Not exactly bento - but I am hoping maybe tomorrow...

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Grocery Day Bento

Well, I am running low on veggies, and that's a fact. I didn't want to make myself a sandwich with no lettuce on it... so I packed a hot bento. But it is sadly lacking in color, I'm afraid:

The lighting is also terrible. I am looking forward to Daylight Savings Time already.

The hodge-podge of leftovers are:

  • White rice
  • Shake-n-bake chicken tender
  • Carrots
  • Canned Asian veggie mix
I will not be buying the veggie mix again, incidentally. There were celery pieces in it that had turned completely to mush. Yuck! I will make my own next time.

Have a good Monday... I'm off for a jog!

Happy Bento!

Friday, January 8, 2010

3.5 Bento

Did anyone else have the misfortune to get on the scale after the holidays? I knew I'd been eating a bunch of junk, but it is always a shame to find that those foods have "gone to waist," if you know what I mean.

So I decided I would "hit the reset" button, so to speak, on my eating habits by counting Weight Watcher points for a couple weeks. Always a good idea to remind oneself what a serving looks like, and so on.

So here is my 3.5 point bento (according to the old Weight Watchers plan from about 5 years ago which is the one I am familiar with, since I used it to help me lose 30 pounds):

The bread is Sara Lee Delightful. It is remarkable in that you can have two slices of bread for one point. Yay! Inside is 3 deli slices of ham (for half a point), some lettuce, and low-cal no-fat condiments.

The Z-Bar, surprisingly, is only 2 points. The carrots, according to the package, have few enough calories that I can have two carrots for zero points. Any more than that, and I would have to start counting them, though.

Happy Bento!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Break From Soup

Lately, I have been taking a small container of homemade soup for most lunches. Chicken noodle, vegetable beef, potato, "tortilla"... and it has all been very tasty. But it hasn't lent itself to much bento blogging.

But yesterday, I took a break from soup and made myself a little bento:

It has simply,

  • Rice
  • BBQ Beef Little Smokies
  • parsley
  • margarine & sugar (on the "sweet rice")
Happy bento!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meatloaf Balls

When I called my grandma on Christmas evening, and told her what I'd served my family for dinner (beef brisket and pulled pork, incidentally) she asked me,

"And how did you know how to cook all that?"

The picture below, tells the story:

Forget cookbooks, folks! I copy step-by-step what other food bloggers do, and feast on the delicious results. You can, too. For beautiful step-by-step instructions on this meatball recipe - go to BBQ Meatballs: Comfort Food to the Max at The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

For those of you who have never read Ree Drummond's blog... it has been nice having you as readers. Please stop back by out of pity once in a while. ;) Seriously, this gal is my blogging idol. She is witty, and her pictures are to die for. Not only that, but the recipes are SO tasty. I'm not sure why you're still reading - go take a look!

Meanwhile, I will amuse myself with a quick blow-by-blow of the meatballs mentioned previously.

Chop the onion up really small. You don't want them to be in recognizable chunks.

Add it to the ground beef and oatmeal. The amounts are specified here in the official printable recipe.

Stir it up.

And then she has this great idea for how to simply form your meatballs into, well, balls.

Use your cookie dough scoop:

You plop out the ball into your hand, squish it just a bit, and - ta-da! - you'll have uniformly shaped meatballs.

I'm noticing in this close up that I put pepper and salt in them too. Another good reason to check out the recipe.

Can you tell I was pretty stoked about those perfectly shaped meat spheres? I took a picture of them from every angle. This next shot may have been after I cooled them in the freezer for five minutes, but I'm not sure.

Next we're going to "dredge" them in flour. Have fun!

About this time the battery went out on my new camera.

If this happens to you, just switch to the old camera, and keep cooking. Wait, you're probably not taking snapshots every three minutes, are you? In that case, just think how much sooner you will be enjoying these meatballs!

Now they are all covered with flour, and ready to brown. Notice the oil they are sitting in? This picture was taken when they were already on the stove.

Brown all the sides.

And then place them in an oven-safe dish.

Make up some sauce for them

like so
and spread it all over them. Then they go in the oven, until, "your house smells so good you want to marry it." About 45 minutes.

This picture was taken after I had already eaten about three meatballs.

And so was this one.

They were so good I just couldn't wait!

My husband didn't think much of them because they taste like little meatloaves. And, apparently, meatloaf isn't his favorite thing. But you should have seen him dig into those real mashed potatoes.

I think my resolution for the new year (from a food stand-point anyway) is that instant mashed potatoes (like Minute rice) is to be reserved only for emergencies.

Despite my husband's take-it-or-leave-it ambivalence towards these BBQy treats - I thought they were delicious! I happily ate left-overs day after day until they were gone. I'm saving the recipe to make up again just for myself, and maybe to serve at parties.