couscous

Couscous and simmered portabello mushrooms (Bento #339)

4_23_13


Have you seen Ochikeron’s videos on Youtube? She’s amazing! Everything she makes looks so delicious and yesterday I saw one on simmered mushrooms and bonito chunks. I only had baby portabellos but I decided to simmer them using her method and they are wonderful.

In the bento: couscous, simmered mushrooms, orange slices, home grown green beans, carrots, celery, and daikon radish flowers.

Happy Bento-ing!

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Ginger beef with brussels sprouts (Bento #260)



Who doesn’t love ginger? Freshly cut ginger always smells so fresh, crisp, and clean. I’m half tempted to rub it behind my ears. ^_^ But, for as wonderful as it smells, it can get a bit overpowering when you use too much. This ginger beef had just the right amount of ginger flavor but without too much of the ‘heat’ that fresh ginger gives. The trick is cutting the ginger in large chunks and cooking it in the pan with everything else. Then, just before serving, pull the ginger pieces out of the pan. If it isn’t quite enough flavor, do what I did, and put those cooked juicy ginger chunks through a garlic press to extract the juice. It’s like liquid gold.

Hubs is still on his “I don’t like rice” kick. *sigh* So I paired the ginger beef with wild mushroom couscous. But please, don’t let anybody know it came from a box. Haha! For lunch, I added blueberries, a plum tomato, and marinated mozzarella.

I’m so impressed with how well the Happy Birthday giveaway is going! If you haven’t entered yet, you still have 5 more days to do so! Here is the giveaway link. I’m raffling off 2 bento starter kits! Oooh it’s so exciting!

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend. Do you have any special plans?

Happy Bento-ing!

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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!
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Truly simple grilled chicken bento (Bento #217)



Can you tell I need to do some grocery shopping? My bento stash is running so dry that I resorted to adding a mini Hershey bar to fill up space in this bento! I am usually against adding dessert or candy because I eat too much of it as it is. ^_^ But, since this bento is for Hubs it’ll be fine. Tee-hee-hee.

The top half contains some unbelievable juicy grilled chicken, wild mushroom couscous, and sauteed carrots. The bottom half has a radish, Babybel cheese, a campari tomato, edamame, green olives, and of course the Hershey bar.

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! We spend ours at my parents’ house passing out candy and glow bracelets. This year we passed out a ton of glow bracelets! They are always a big hit with the kids. We saw some fantastic costumes, ate way too much food, and had a great time hanging out with all of the friends and family that came.

Happy Bento-ing!
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First radish flower (Bento #211)



Sheri at Happy Little Bento had a bento the other day with the prettiest little radish flower. I’ve been meaning to make one for the longest time but never seemed to remember to buy radishes, lol! Then when I did buy radishes I would forget to make them into flowers. Sometimes my brain just doesn’t want to work. I promise that when you look at it straight on it looks prettier, lol!

Along with the radish I have a mini-Babybel cheese with a funny star cut out of the wax, steamed cabbage seasoned with a little chicken bouillon, half of an egg, cucumber slices, grilled chicken, and a little bit of mushroom couscous.

Added to What’s for Lunch Wednesday!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Exploring India (Bento #203)



I’ve cooked a ton of Chinese and Japanese inspired foods and I’m pretty familiar with most of the ingredients and techniques. I decided it was time to expand my culinary adventures and try out making some Indian dishes.

I blame it all on Natakiya from Bento Anarchy! She makes some of the most delicious looking curry. I was always intimidated and didn’t know where to even begin with curry but she kindly posted her instructions for us and I’ve managed to make some pretty decent curry, if I do say so myself. ;)

I’m still not to the point where I want to attempt making any Indian inspired sauces on my own. I like to get very familiar with the taste “as it should be” before I go changing things and attempting my own version. For dinner last night, and today’s bento, I made a dish using a jar of Calcutta Masala. Oooooohhhhh myyyyyyyy! It was delicious!

I sauteed chicken pieces, onions, and carrots until they were about 3/4 of the way done. Then I threw in zucchini, and roughly chopped cauliflower. I meant to add chickpeas but totally forgot them at the last minute (they’re still sitting on the counter, lol). I tossed everything around a bit then poured the jar of masala on top and let it all simmer until cooked but with the vegees still a little crunchy. We ate it with a side of cous-cous and it was wonderful.

I don’t know what my next India inspired adventure will be but I’m looking forward to it! What are your favorite Indian dishes? Any suggestions for must-try foods?

Happy Bento-ing!
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Blah dinner means blah lunch (Bento #165)



I was not in the mood to cook dinner last night. Nothing sounded good, I haven’t been to the grocery store since last weekend so it was slim pickins, I wasn’t inspired, and I just didn’t feel like cooking. I should know better by now and not attempt to cook under those dire circumstances but I did it anyway.

I ended up making some baked lemon-pepper chicken, couscous, and zucchini fritters. The chicken was really tender but just didn’t taste very good. The fritters were bland, cakey, and horribly boring. The couscous was a boxed flavored mix that I tried for the first time, and guess what, it was kind of nasty.

*sigh*

The moral of this story... Takeout!

For lunch I packed the blah dinner with some green olives, fruit, nuts, a Babybel cheese, and some tomatoes. I suspect Hubs will bring home a box full of blah dinner but missing all the other stuff, lol.

Here’s to hoping for some good cooking ahead!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Miso tuna patties (Bento #118)



Mmmm mmmm mmmm! These tuna patties were awesome! We ate most of them for dinner but I was able to stash a few away for today’s bento.

Along with the tuna patties, I’m sending hubs to work with couscous, mushrooms, seaweed salad, carrots, and some spicy ginger bok choy.

Miso Tuna Patties

Ingredients:
3 cans of tuna, drained
3 eggs
2 heaping teaspoons of miso paste
1/4 cup chopped onion
Italian style bread crumbs
fresh cracked pepper

1) Mix everything except the breadcrumbs together very well.
2) Add the breadcrumbs while mixing just until it comes together enough to form into patties.
3) Form the patties and coat the outside in breadcrumbs before frying.

Because of the miso paste I didn’t have to add any salt. They were so simple but so flavorful!

Happy Bento-ing!
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Sesame ginger chicken (Bento #115)



Last night for dinner I made some sesame ginger chicken for the first time without using a pre-made sauce. I actually like my version better ^_^ and it doesn’t have any hugh fructose corn syrup, lol!

I marinated chicken strips in soy sauce, water, worcestershire, sesame seeds, sesame oil, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, and a ton of grated ginger. To cook, I took the chicken out of the marinade and browned it in a little bit of oil. When the chicken was done, I took it out of the pan and cooked the marinade with a spoonful of corn starch. When I was sure all of the chicken germs were cooked and the marinade got nice and thick I added the chicken back in.

The sauce got nice and thick and coated the chicken really well. No more pre-made sesame ginger sauces for me! Yay!

For the bento I also used some of the leftover whole grain couscous from dinner. Everything else I just pulled from the fridge: snow peas, carrots, blueberries, seaweed salad, and some large chunks of tomato-basil feta. Hubs also requested some crackers for the feta and some blue cheese dressing for the carrots.

Happy Bento-ing!
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