Gotta love bangers and mash (Bento #249)

Whole Foods had bangers on sale yesterday and I couldn’t resist an excuse to eat more Branston Pickle (the dark goopy stuff on the mash). I would probably eat nothing but pickles if I thought I could get away with it, lol. As delicious as bangers and mash are, they don’t lend too much in the way of color. In an attempt to make those 50 shades of brown look more appetizing I sauteed a pan of kale, onions, and garlic just until wilted and still a bit crunchy and added a tomato salad, carrots, cucumber, and strawberries.

Have you guys heard about the TechMunch conferences? Apparently there is one in Tampa this year and I was thinking of buying a ticket. If you’ve been to one, let me know what it was like. And, if you’re going to this one I would love to meet up!

Happy Bento-ing!

Baked coconut chicken and couscous bento (Bento #248)

I really don’t like frying things. Not just for health reasons but I hate the way it makes the house smell. So, when I got a craving for coconut chicken I was curious whether I could get it crispy enough in the oven. Well, it worked! To get it super crispy I cut the chicken into 1/2 inch strips, dredged it in flour, eggs, and a 1/2 panko bread crumbs and 1/2 coconut flakes mixture. Then I baked them at 475F flipping them halfway through. The high heat made them crispy and brown on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. Yum!

The rest of dinner consisted of couscous, steamed broccoli, and toasted chick peas. We ended up eating all of the chick peas but I had enough of the rest to pack for lunch. I rounded out the rest of the bento with kiwi and tomatoes.

Last weekend Hubs and I went to the Morikami Japanese Museum and Gardens for their annual Spring Festival. The gardens are truly beautiful. We enjoyed walking along the paths and experiencing all of the different views.

My photographs don’t do it nearly the justice it deserves. The museum was wonderful as well. We spent quite some time looking at all of the art on display.

Our favorite part of the festival activities were the Ronin Taiko drummers. They were phenomenal. That was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to experience drummers in person. It was amazing! I wish I could go back and see them again.

To be honest, I expected more Japan oriented vendors and food choices. The Japanese food options were pretty standard fare and easily available anywhere (yakitori, teriyaki chicken, miso soup, etc.). I was really hoping to see some hard to find foods like okonomiyaki, taiyaki, mochi, takoyaki, dango, etc. but there wasn’t any. It seemed that most of the vendors weren’t Japanese related unless they were selling bonsai. I did find some beautiful washi paper though! I was also a little surprised to not see a Japanese snacks or bento box vendor. Maybe I should apply for a spot next year!

All in all, it was a beautiful day. We really enjoyed our time there and hope to go back next year.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!

A bit of everything (Bento #247)

Hubs and I went out to dinner last night and I didn’t have any leftovers for today’s lunch. So, I basically packed the fridge, lol. I have a scrambled egg, green beans, cucumber, soy beans, tomatoes, fresh Florida strawberries, ham and muenster cheese rolls, and a veggie burger patty. I really need to get more vegee burgers, they’re so good and perfect for bentos!

Hope you all are having a great week! Time for me to get back to work! :)

Happy Bento-ing!

Rice indulgences bento (Bento #246)

Hubs and I have been trying to cut back on our carb intake lately, but I couldn’t take it anymore! I needed a big bowl of rice! I’m sure my lack of resolve had nothing to do with the awesome new furikake that I found. I got so lucky this weekend when I found a Japanese specialty market! It’s everything I thought it could be, lol! If you’re ever in Tampa check out this shop. It’s called Kotobuki and the woman who runs it is fantastic.

To go along with my new furikake I packed scrambled egg, a giant strawberry, and some leftover beef and broccoli that we had for dinner.

This weekend Hubs and I are heading to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for their Hatsume fair. I can’t wait! I hope they have lots of foods to try! :)

Have a great week!

Happy Bento-ing!

Happy Friday bento! (Bento #245)

This is a super quick bento that I put together for Hubs. It has whole wheat shell pasta with tomato sauce, a cucumber, jicama, and tomato salad, grapefruit, an egg, and a few slices of purple sweet potato.

This has a to be a super short post, so have a great weekend!!!

Happy Bento-ing!

Unbelievable barley bento and scenes from California (Bento #244)

I’m so glad to be home after my San Diego trip. I had a wonderful time, but there’s no place like home. The conference was fantastic! I got to speak with a lot of interesting people. It was actually the best science conference I’ve been to so far. I’m so glad I went!

When walking to the convention center I came across a store that had the perfect souvenir for me... a bento box! Lol! I know, I’m a total nerd. I’ve been wanting a tiffin style bento box for a long time so I was stoked when I found this one.

I packed the top tier with snack foods: cheese rolled with ham, cucumbers, tomatoes, nectarine slices, half of an egg, and some grapes. In other words, pretty normal stuff. But, the bottom tier... oh my, the bottom tier. As per usual, it contains leftovers from dinner. Hubs made some perfectly grilled pork chops. They are amazing! To go along with them I very lightly roasted some asparagus and made a vegetable/barley concoction.

I couldn’t stop eating the barley, it was so good, and simple to put together... While the barley cooked in the rice cooker I sauteed onion, garlic, mushrooms, green beans, carrots, peas, and tomatoes in a pan. After tossing in the cooked barley I seasoned it with a ton of fresh cracked pepper and a handful of fresh chopped basil. Oh my. I think I have a new food obsession, lol!

I won’t bore you with tons of photos from my trip, but here are a couple that I really enjoyed.

On the way to Palm Springs we took a detour to the coast to see some seals! I didn’t really realize how drastically different the coasts of Florida and California are. I’m used to warm water, dolphins, and beaches that slope gently into the sea. The waters off the California coast are cold (58F when we were there!!) and inhabited by the cutest seals! It was also amazing to see how the earth seemed to have broken off leaving cliffs that fell into the sea.

While in Palm Springs we took an aerial tram to the top of a mountain! It was cold and windy but the view was breathtaking.

I hope you all had a wonderful week! I look forward to catching up with you!!

Happy Bento-ing!