A lovely revision of last night's dinner: Rosemary bread from TJ's (obtained yesterday's bike riding-errand adventure of 8 miles!), homemade rosemary-white bean spread, thinly sliced cucumbers, a few thin slices of red bell pepper, lettuce and champagne mustard (the last two are from yesterday's Farmer's Market adventure) plus a handful of honey roasted peanuts (also from TJ's). 

I took a couple bites before I realized that it was a rather pretty sandwich and would be a good chance to showcase one of my birthday plates.  Shown above is the "salad plate" although we generally use the similarly shaped wide and shallow bowl for salads, there is also a matching dinner plate and cute non-hulking but big mugs.  I finally have matching dishes.  I also got a serving set (platter, vegetable bowl, sugar, creamer and s&c saucer) in the same shape with fun polka dots and stripes in bright pastels.  I am still ridiculously happy to have pretty matching dishes, and while I love fun patterns, the food generally looks much prettier against that lovely white.

Oh yes, the rosemary-white bean spread.  It was mentioned repeatedly on a message board I participate in.  I never noticed a recipe but someone probably mentioned it at some point.  Just in case I did a quick epicurious search and then did what I planned to do all along (though I might try the version with cumin and coriander sometime soon).  Just to warn you this is a rather garlicy rosemary white bean spread so you might consider less garlic if you are planning on taking this to work.

Food processor + one can white cannellini beans + one garlic clove smooshed + a few tablespoons of olive oil + the leaves from one sprig of rosemary, roughly chopped + a pinch of kosher salt=rosemary white bean spread.

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July 2, 2007. Tags: , . Thoughts. 1 comment.

Remember the lunch series?

So do I.  My situation changed, I no longer have a microwave to reheat stuff, so my current lunch mindset is in the process of changing.  I'm still trying to do leftovers when possible, but now I have to think, "will this reheat nicely on the stove or in the oven?"  And I know this just doesn't work for most people.

But I bring you fun links.  I recently found Vegan Lunchbox, and check out the Flickr tag, Mr. Bento.  I also became slightly obsessed with Bento TV today (thank you Vegan Lunchbox), it is relatively new, so don't go watching everything at once.  I know there must be more lunch blogs out there, but I haven't gone on a search, I like finding my blogs gradually (otherwise I end up with way too much in my bloglines account I don't actually read).

Me, I'm eating a lot of soup (thank goodness for the boxed soup goodness that is TJ soup).  And a couple days ago I made some very good and quick hacked Thai stir-fried rice.  I looked at the recipe from Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet and simpliefied it (actually it didn't look all that difficult, I think I just cut out the meat).  Nonstick pan, oil, garlic (lots, 2 cloves for my cup of rice), rice, green onion, bit of fresh basil and fish sauce.  It was a very good accompaniment to my leftover chicken larb.

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October 17, 2006. Tags: . Cooking, former Vox Blog. Leave a comment.

Today’s lunch: Delicious Delicious Apples

When I was around 7 my elementary school had an activity day for the kids and their parents.  I don't remember a lot about it (was it a regular event, was it first or second grade?) but I do remember the building it was in, a rarely used building on the edge of the school grounds, with rumors of the area being haunted.  We made ono ono apples (this translates to delicious delicious apples).  With the help of our parents we sliced the apple (probably with one of those push-down corer-slicer thingies) and then spread peanut butter on the apple slices with a butter knife.  Then we got to eat them.  Clearly with today's awareness of peanut allergies this activity wouldn't fly with a group of kids now.

I forgot about this for many years because I didn't care very much for apples.  Then I found the granny smith apple, then the fuji and gala apple, then the braeburn apple.  And since we've moved to appleland I have discovered the honeycrisp apple, one bite and I think this apple took the seat of most beloved apple in my mouth.  I like tart, crispy apples;  none of the meal too sweet lack of flavor that red delicious apples have (which, if I believe the hearsay, and I do, were breed for size and looks).  If you do not like tart apples I think gala's are the least tart of all my favorites (braeburns and honeycrisp should be okay too, though remember I adore tart so my tart scale might be skewed).

Ono Ono Apples make a great component of a packed lunch (or breakfast).  I wish I could remember what else I pack when I have ono ono apples (which I treat as my main course).  It is simple.  Pack an apple (I like to wrap it in a papertowel and make sure it won't get bruised during traveltime) and through a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter in a small tuppeware-like container.  Add a cheapy paring knife (plastic handle, rounded tip) and your good.  At lunch time I take a slice of apple, spread some peanut butter on the flesh and eat.  Repeat.

The right amount of peanut butter might take a few tries.  I tend to be generous with my peanut butter, TheHusband tends to take very small amount with his apple.

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September 28, 2006. Tags: . Cooking, former Vox Blog. Leave a comment.

Vending machine 1, Me 0

So I totally flopped on packing my lunch today.  I woke up in a hurry, wasn't overly hungry, nothing sounded good so I grabbed some cut-up cantaloupe, a serving of cinnamon applesauce and a fork.  I thought, well I have that trail mix that has been sitting in my bag forever (sounds appetizing already) and the string cheese I didn't eat yesterday.

It turns out that by lunch time I didn't want cantaloupe or applesauce.  So today for lunch I ate:

  • 1 string cheese
  • 1 bag chili-cheese Frito's
  • 1 piece cake (courtesy of the cake party at work)

Bad me.  I should have grabbed one of my frozen TJ rice bowls.  I buy the Lemongrass and chicken, Chicken vindaloo, Kung Pao chicken, and Thai Red Curry with shrimp rice bowls as well as a noodle bowl involving sesame and ginger…I found the teriyaki bowls to be way too sweet for my taste, the Massaman curry was too hot and a spinach with tandoori chicken unmemorable.  Typically I avoid frozen meals with rice, I don't end up liking the texture (growing up eating long grain brown rice might have something to do with that hang-up).  If I buy frozen meals at the grocery store I get Healthy Choice (Flavor Adventures line have proven decent) looking for pasta, meat cut in small chunks and avoiding cheese and anything involving side dishes (or dessert).  Lean Cuisine has a some decent meals as well, but some are barely 200 calories and if I am grabbing a frozen meal I don't want to worry about a snack as well (same goes for Weight Watchers Smart Ones).  I avoid Marie Calendar meals because if I am going to eat something with that much fat (the Alfredo is supposed to be good) give me cream, butter and Parmesan cheese not a frozen version.

A couple people have asked for my lunch ideas.  I promise I will share them soon and I hope others will share their lunch ideas too.

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August 11, 2006. Tags: . former Vox Blog, Thoughts. 2 comments.

Packing a lunch

I've brought my lunch with me almost exclusively since kindergarten (there was that brief affair with the ala cart section of my 7th grade cafeteria, but must I tell you about the time I consumed large amounts of super pretzels, red baron mini-pizzas and various frozen treats?).  I was always the kid who got weird looks about my lunch, even after I started packing it myself (plain rice cakes with peanut butter and honey; left-over veggie quiche; kiwi fruit; slivered almonds, dates) and sometimes I envied the kids with baggies of cookies and chips.  Occasionally I still get weird looks (but I also get compliments on how good my lunch smells).

Tonight for my lunch, err dinner (since I had to work late), I brought leftover brown rice (I find that brown rice reheats very nicely in the microwave) with nori goma furikake (seaweed, sesame seed, rice cake and msg), frozen peas, a mozzarella cheese stick and strawberries.  It was nice, it felt healthy.  Packing lunches has become so much easier and harder as an adult.  Easier because I have access to a refrigerator, freezer and microwave and this opens up possibilities like tonight's meal that I didn't have as a kid.  Harder because I am no longer happy eating the same sandwich (cheese, lettuce and cucumber on whole wheat with spicy mustard) with carrot sticks everyday. 

I have found it is helpful to have a bit of "school lunch" mindset when packing my lunch, having things like string cheese, fruit cups (applesauce or mandarin oranges), dried fruit, nuts (sometimes in the guise of trail-mix)and snacky crackers (white cheddar cheese-its, goldfish!) in the pantry can make lunches easier to pack.  And sometimes a PB&J just hits the spot. 

Venturing out of the school mindset I also think frozen fruits and veggies help-out.  Those bags of mixed frozen fruit translate nicely into individual servings of partially frozen fruit salad (blah if totally thawed).  Frozen veggies translate into easy rice plus veggies meals ('steam' some frozen stir-fry veggies, shake with some sauce*, dump on top of reheated rice) or simple like my rice and peas tonight.  And those "baby" carrots steam decently in the microwave as well.

I really need to compile a list of my lunch ideas (that was my intention here, but this post got too long).  I also will bring leftovers (like coconut curry) and store-bought frozen meals for lunch, but that will be another post some other day.

*sauce= 2 parts water, 1 part soy sauce, dash of garlic-chili sauce (or toasted sesame oil) and maybe some grated ginger if I prepare this the night before

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August 10, 2006. Tags: , . Cooking, Thoughts. 3 comments.