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Archive for September, 2011

I have the best in-laws on the planet because when they returned from their latest trip, this is what they brought me:

Jewelry and Scotch

I asked my mother-in-law for a handsome Scottish man with a brogue and a kilt, but I do not think Gerard Butler would have fit in their luggage.  My parents are on a trip to the Greek isles at this moment and I have to say, the bar is pretty high. I suggested they bring us a bottle of Ouzo.

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Bentos!

I know it is Monday and this is not a recipe, but it is food related, so I am pleading artistic license.

Two things recently led me to change the way I pack Gideon’s lunch and how I prepare my own lunch for the day.

A couple weeks ago, I stopped midway through my afternoon and I realized my food intake since breakfast had been a peanut butter and jelly sandwich plus the crusts from Gideon’s pb and j. As a nursing mom, and a mom trying to loose my baby weight in a healthy way, not having time to eat more than pb and js and crusts is not wonderful. I needed a way to have a real lunch.

I went to Gideon’s meet the teacher before his school started and one of the things they stressed is that the kids be able to open all of their lunch containers themselves. We are very big into trash free lunches so I have a lot of small containers that I pack things into.  After some experimentation, I realized, Gideon was not able to open most of the small containers I was planning on sending to school with him.

I was looking around for alternatives to packing our lunches and I found bentos. Bentos are meals packed in a small box and are Japanese in origin. The food packed into the bento should be healthy, not fatty or too carb heavy. The boxes for the bentos are very small.

The size I bought for Gideon and I are 600ml. They are just small Sterilite plastic containers with locking lids. Your bento box should have the same number of ml as calories per meal you are supposed to eat. The box is packed very tightly. I also bought some regular and mini-muffin silicone cups to use as separators.

Here are some bentos I have made:

These bentos contain half a turkey sandwich, strawberries, pineapple, cucumbers, and a pickle. The one on the right is Gideon’s and his only has one cucumber. I pack mine a little tighter and fit a few more things into it. In this first photo, I had not found the silicone baking cups and I used foil baking cups as dividers.

This was a bento for me, though Gideon has gotten very similar ones. It has half a bagel with cream cheese, strawberries, cucumbers, a hard boiled egg, and green olives. When I pack an egg for Gideon, I quarter and salt it, which makes it easier for him to eat. In the picture above, you can see the red silicone baking cups.

One more example. My bento is on the left: half a bagel with cream cheese, clementine quarters, grapes, a hard boiled egg shaped like a car, and olives. Gideon’s, on the right, had less oranges and a pickle and cranberry coffee cake instead of the bagel. I wold not normally send something so desert-like but I was feeling generous and he really liked that cake. His egg is shaped like a fish. He informed me after this day that he preferred the quartered eggs to the shaped ones. The shaped eggs are cute, but you have to peel them while they are still hot and it is more work.

Overall, the bentos have been great. Gideon almost always eats all of his lunch, even the bread crusts. He likes that I put a couple olives and pickles in his lunch. That kid would live on those two things if we would let him. I eat lunches filled with healthy fruits and veggies and no longer find myself eating only a sandwich as I try to wrangle two toddlers through lunch time.

One of the benefits of the bento is that the food is usually finger food, so I can eat it in stages if I have to snatch bites between diaper changes and feeding the bairns.

There are a ton of bento websites, but here are the two that helped me get started:

Just Bento

Lunch in a Box

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Recipe: Easy Key Lime Pie

This is a ridiculously easy pie recipe that is tangy and perfect. The recipe calls for a 6 oz can of frozen limeade, which my grocery store does not sell, so I bought the standard 12 oz can and tried to double the recipe. My Kitchenaid was unable to properly whip the doubled liquid, so I would recommend whipping in two batches if you are going to double the recipe.

Easy Key Lime Pie

originally from Real Simple , June 2008

  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 6 oz can frozen limeade
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 6 oz graham cracker pie crust

Place the condensed milk, limeade, and heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat until fluffy, medium peaks form. The consistency will not change that much once the pie is refrigerated, so whip it until it is the consistency you want. Softer peaks for a softer pie and firmer peaks for a firmer pie.

Pour the filling into the pie crust.

Refrigerate for 4 hours ro overnight, until the pie is set.

Voila! Serve with whipped cream and coffee for true decadence.

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I can’t tell you what happened at the Bachelor party, but I’ll show you.  We wanted to make sure to kill as many brain cells as possible for Y’s bachelor party so we headed to high altitude where we would get less oxygen.  A bunch of the guys flew on over to Colorado and met for some general naughtiness.  Good stories, none bad (except the 3 hour delayed flight, boo!), but my man card prevents me from divulging any of them.  Regardless, here is one of the many amusing pictures from the river portion of our adventure.

Rafting (or is it swimming?) in Idaho Springs, CO

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