Friday, April 29, 2011

Bento Box Friday x 2

I have gotten Samantha hooked on bentos. She loves coming over and will spend quite a while looking at different bentos online that other people have made. Every time she is over here, we spend some time looking at different blogs dedicated to bentos. Mine are normally pretty plain comparatively speaking. She keeps telling me to keep practicing and one day mine can look like some of the ones she has seen. I saw this adorable bento on Happy Little Bento last week and I knew Samantha would love it. I usually make her a sushi roll of some sort when I make her lunch because her mom and sister don't care for it very much. The top tier has the sushi rolls and some extra shrimp along with some ladybugs made with grape tomatoes and nori. he bottom tier is a fruit salad with strawberries, cantaloupe, and pineapple and some extra tomatoes, cucumbers and mushrooms. She also had some dip for her vegetables.

My nephew Jacob loves wraps, especially mine for some reason. I am not sure why he thinks mine are so special, they are pretty basic, but that is what he always requests when I bring him lunch. This one is a whole wheat tortilla with a little cream cheese, some spinach and turkey. I added some carrots and cucumber slices. The top tier is the same fruit salad that is in Samantha's along with some celery stuffed with homemade peanut butter.

Speaking of bento sites I regularly read, Adventures in Bentomaking, is sponsoring a contest to win a rice cooker. As we have been eating healthier and I have been cooking from scratch more and more, rice has been making more of an appearance on my menus. I have been looking at rice cookers for a while and would love the chance to win one. If you would too, go and check out the review of the one she did!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday's Bento

I don't always pack a lunch for myself to take to work since I only work half a day, but I was going to be working late today so I packed myself a bento to take with me. One tied holds mixed greens and chicken strips and the top one has a fruit salad of cantaloupe, fresh pineapple and strawberries; on the other side of the divider is some white cheddar cheese, the crackers to eat with the cheese is in a separate bag. After the first bento I made I learned that crackers get very soggy in with the other foods! I am going to try and eat lunch with Samantha tomorrow so I will probably have another bento to show. I found a cute idea that I am going to try and recreate for hers. I don't do cute unless I am making bentos for Samantha.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fresh Ingredients

It's been a couple of months since I started paying more attention to the food that I put into my body and trying to eliminate most of the processed food from my diet. Eating out is not happening as often either. I have enjoyed cooking and did cook most nights. We still ate out 2-3 times a week though. Now, we might eat one lunch out every other week or so and maybe one dinner in that same time period. Those nights I would cook, I would alternate between cooking something from scratch and boxed or packaged meals. Now nothing really comes from a box and I am making leftovers or freezing things for those times when I need a convenience meal.

One thing I have noticed is that I almost never cook a meal with out using my cutting board. Almost every night I see this gorgeous array of natural colors. I have also started using some ingredients that I have never used before like the fennel in the picture above. I have used fennel seed lots of time but I have never used a fresh bulb of fennel. Another thing I have been learning to cook is lamb and those veggies about went into the lamb stew I made last week.

Weight update: last week I lost 1.8 pounds which officially puts me over 25 lbs lost and well on my way to 30!

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Foods

One thing I am loving about my new way of eating is discovering new foods or at least new ways of using those foods. I love marinated artichokes, but I have always bought them in those little glass jars and I have never had or cooked a fresh artichoke. A couple of friends and I were shopping at Whole Foods on Monday and they were working on the artichoke display. The gentleman that was working there was kind enough to tell me how to cook them so I grabbed a couple. Wow, those were really good! On Tuesdays, Samantha comes over after her dance class and eats dinner with me. She loves to try new foods and likes to eat here because, according to her, "the food here is more exciting". She had eaten one once before but she had to share it. I told her I made her one that was just for her. that was one happy girl! She ate the entire thing. they were pretty good. I made a dipping sauce with some lite mayo, some dill and some cracked pepper. Pretty tasty!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday, Monday

Interesting week this week. I didn't lose any weight, in fact I gained a little over a pound. I know I stayed pretty on track with me eating and I did exercise. Maybe it is hormonal or water retention or something, who knows. I have noticed a pattern so far with m weight loss. I have two good weeks of loss, one of no loss and one of a very small loss. Since my goal is to become a healthier person I am choosing to look at the positive changes I have noticed over the past couple of weeks. My clothes are starting to get a little baggier and I am able to wear some shirts that I haven't been able to wear for a while. I can tell that I am stronger when I walk/job. I am able to stay on the treadmill longer and I am walking at a faster pace. Even though the scale didn't go in the right direction I know that I am still making progress.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Homemade Crackers

I keep looking for ways to replace a lot of the processed foods that we eat around the house. My Dad and I were talking a while back about a restaurant that we used to eat at that would serve fresh crackers as an appetizer while you were waiting on your food. Ever since that conversation, I have been thinking about how delicious they were. I had some free time one afternoon last week and decided to look for a recipe. I found several but this one for whole wheat crackers seemed to the be easiest. You can season them however you want, to keep them simple I just sprinkled some sea salt on top. How were they? In a word, DELICIOUS! I was impressed and so was Kip. We ended up eating them with some hummus that I had made earlier. These will definitely be made again in my house! They weren't that hard to make and the seasoning possibilities are endless. I am imagining these with some rosemary seasoning with fresh tomato soup, or some caraway and an Indian inspired dish. You were supposed to cut them into squares before baking but I left them whole and broke them apart after they were done because that is the way that I remember that restaurant serving them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I hit a milestone this week in my weight loss. I finally hit the 25 lb mark. I am 25 lbs lighter than I was three and a half months ago. I feel better. I have more energy. I am very proud of myself and feel like I have really accomplished something. In the past when I get to this point, I have tended to slack up some and try and rationalize bad choices because "I've worked so hard and I deserve a reward". Anyone else done this? And then my treats start becoming bad habits and then I start gaining again. I have decided that this time will be different. Since my goal is to be healthy not just lose weight, I really don't have any foods that I have decided are off limits. I do try and look at everything as a choice.

I have worked very hard and I do deserve something. I deserve to live a healthy life. I am worth the trouble and the extra time that it takes to make sure I always have healthy food choices available. That is what I deserve.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


If you live anywhere within the vicinity of my house this morning, you probably heard some happy yelps. I had a bit of extra time so I decided to see how much longer it would be before I could slip into the next smaller size of jeans. You know the ones that haven't been work in almost two years because I "outgrew" them. First test was passed when I could pull them all the way up. Second test was when I went to see how close I could come to getting them buttoned and they buttoned with no effort!!! Third test was passes when I tried to inhale and I could breath normally!!! I wore the jeans all day to work and some shopping. I am a happy girl today. Getting in those jeans this morning was the incentive I needed to push my walking workout to the next time goal. Yea me!!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kale Chips

I joined a local CSA this year and I noticed that one of the crops that I will be receiving a share of is kale. I don't think I have ever eaten kale and I know I have never cooked with it so I have been looking for different ways of preparing it. I have been seeing lots of references to kale chips on several blogs lately so I decided to give them a whirl. They are super easy to make and kale is supposed to be really good for you. Mine are sprinkled with a little sea salt and garlic powder. I have to say they are pretty interesting. They were pretty good and since salty, crunchy things are usually my snack of choice, I think these will work for me. Samantha was here last night and she really liked them. She started eating the kale as soon as I washed it and wasn't sure she liked it or not but she ate a ton of the chips. I thought it was pretty funny she finished eating all the chips in her bowl except two. When her mom got her to pick her up she brought the chips out and gave one to her mom to try and ate the last one herself. Since I have been eliminating processed food so has enjoyed seeing what healthy snacks I can come up with. I have a little gadget that makes potato chips in the microwave and she really loves those.

I lost .6 lbs this week. Not as good a number as I would like to have seen, but it was still some weight loss so I am happy with that.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bento Box Friday

When Samantha was over here the other night, she reminded me that I haven't brought her a Bento Box lunch in a couple of weeks and could I bring one soon. I was off today so I decided to have lunch with her at school. For lunch we had: (top tier) grilled salmon, asparagus, rice balls and a heart shaped hard boiled egg. (Bottom tier) was strawberries, grapes and blueberries, some carrot sticks, zucchini sticks, broccoli and mushrooms with some spicy ranch dressing to dip the vegetables in. Mine was pretty much the same but I had regular rice, not rice balls with happy faces. I included the egg because I just recently got the molds for that. We also had another container that had some sliced oranges. Another bento lunch that earned me two thumbs up!

I am linking this to the "What's For Lunch Wednesday". Lots of great ideas for you to check out!

Once when I was making salmon for dinner Samantha asked what was for dinner and I told her "salmon". She said "Oooh, goodie! That's my favorite kind of chicken!" I always think of that when I serve her salmon too. And I guess this was the first time she had asparagus, her mom asked her what she ate for dinner and she thought about it for a few seconds and then said "Ms. Gina gave me hibiscus and it was good". I always remember that with a smile.