Tag Archives: Beets

Back into the swing of things!

8 Sep


Second day of school rolled around, and H provided me with a wish list of bento items.

By request, Thursday’s lunch included:

Roasted beets in star shapes

Soba salad, tossed with a sesame/soy sauce/rice vinegar dressing, topped with blanched and shelled edamame

Marinated cauliflower – I cut up a raw cauliflower into manageable florettes, and tossed with a soy sauce/lemon juice and minced ginger marinade. The raw cauliflower retains its crunch, while absorbing the marinade – a hit at our house

Grilled chicken wingette and drumette – of course from our favorite poultry farm

A side of black seedless grapes

The soba salad was a hit, and I got a thumbs-up.

Pizza lunch on Friday!


First Day, back to school!

5 Sep

The summer came, and left. Fortunate or unfortunate… Work kept me incredibly busy, not a moment to relax and to enjoy the warm sun…

Today was H’s first day of Kindergarten. I included her favorites for her back to school lunch:

Sautéed, scored, mini dogs
Edamame, blanched
Roasted beets in heart shapes
Savory tamagoyaki with shirasu center
Whole wheat spirals with a turkey-tomato-olive tapenade sauce
Black seedless grapes

H enjoyed this summer, attending summer camp – her school rents the campus during the non- summer months. She slipped right onto the bus, and came home, excitedly telling me about her new pencil case.

Can’t believe how quickly time flies….!

The little one starts pre-K at the same campus next Monday. It will be double time for mama, come the 10th!

I hope to gradually catch up with my summer entries… Although one look at my wild, weedful vegetable garden makes me think otherwise…


Wrapping up the week

15 May

Thursday bento included:

Roasted drumette and wingette

Roasted beets in heart shapes

Blanched asparagus spears

Cucumber slices


Vegetable spirals in Trader Joe’s marinara sauce, with thinly sliced (pre-cooked) TJ’s sweet sausage


This bento was actually for Japanese school.  It included:

Roasted  beet hearts

Grape tomatoes

Blanched asparagus pieces with tossed with a little katsuobushi and soy sauce

Rolled Omelette with shirasu (boiled baby sardines)

Multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, wrapped in nori

I had actually made four similar bentos – one for my little one, who had a quality “papa” day at home, one for Baba and one for myself – as we had a class-outing to the local park with her grade, and we spent a nice afternoon outdoors.


Catching my breath after a wedding, birthday parties and a shower, Oh my!

30 Apr

I always prided myself on being able to tap into what seems to be an endless source of energy…

However, the event-packed three days of April 20th through the 22nd truly tested the extent of this source, and also reminded me, proper time management and creativity can ensure a pretty varied lunch week.

Monday lunch included:
Baked turkey-arugula-vegetable meatballs, including ground turkey mixed with minced onion, celery, carrots, as well as well blanched arugula, water squeezed out, and chopped finely.
Seaweed salad – pre-packaged, and found at Makinajian Farm. Thinly sliced kombu, seasoned with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds and vinegar.
Roasted beets, heart shapes
Vegetable spirals with baked chicken sausage pieces, mixed with marinara sauce

Tuesday lunch included:
Vegetable pasta spirals with baked chicken sausage pieces in marinara sauce
Baked chicken drumstick
Roasted beets in star shapes
Carrot sticks

Wednesday lunch included:
Blanched asparagus spears, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
Seaweed salad
Baked turkey-arugula-vegetable meatballs
Cauliflower pickled in soy sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice and minced ginger

Thursday lunch included:
vegetable spirals in marinara sauce
Turkey-arugula-vegetable meatball
Pickled, sliced turnip
Roasted beets in star shapes
Sliced cucumbers

Friday was pizza day!!

Friday night, Baba arrived to stay with my family for the weekend. She shadowed me all day on Saturday, and spent some quality time with the little one as my older one attended school.

I packed both girls a bento box – the adults had onigiri for lunch.

The girls’ bento included:
Baked turkey meatballs
Boiled Trader Joe’s cocktail pups with patterns
Blanched asparagus spears
Cucumber slices
Roasted beet slices in star shapes
Multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, wrapped iwth a strip of nori

Actually, the adult onigiri had umeboshi, or pickled plum center.  The girls tried a small taste, and the older one’s mouth puckered up very quickly – while the little one’s eyes grew wide.

I laughed – I always loved having umeboshi with a cup of green tea after a meal with my parents.  My maternal grandmother would send over packages of home-made umeboshi that she salted and dried at home…   The salty, sour pickles have a faint undercurrent of floral/fruity flavor.  It brings me back to an unforgettable summer I spent in my mother’s hometown of Gifu City, playing with the neighborhood girls I had met at the local elementary school I had enrolled for the summer.  We sucked on umeboshi, carefully licking away every morsel from the pit in the middle, and telling each other stories how one must never bite or swallow the ume pit, lest we anger the umeboshi spirit.

The  wildest things 8-year olds come up with!

New Year, New Grade, New Challenge…

9 Apr

The past Saturday was the first day of the new school year. 

Japanese school runs year-round, from April to April, with a few weeks off for summer, winter, and spring break. 

A slight trepidation as we met our new teacher, as well as the new classmates (and parents…).

Saturday’s lunch, in honor of the new year+spring+Easter  holiday season, I included:

Boiled egg in bunny shape

Multi-grain onigiri with furikake seasoning, okaka filling, wrapped with a strip of nori

Pickled turnip slices (soy sauce, rice vinegar, drop of mirin, a pinch of salt)

Blanched broccoli 


Roasted beets in heart shapes

I am co-class mother for the year – my skills at janken, or rather, the lack of rock-paper-scissors skills resulted in my assignment of this position.

Amongst other responsibilities, the co-class mother must send out a weekly mailing (in Japanese) to the other parents.  I must say, my biggest concern is not the time commitment – but rather, how my Japanese email skills will hold up to the scrutinizing eyes of the other moms – whom are mostly native Japanese speakers…

Let the challenge begin!

Salmon patty Wednesday

4 Apr

I have a fond recollection of my mother making salmon croquettes – golden, crunchy, savory patties, served with a side of shredded raw cabbage and a dash of Bulldog Worcestershire sauce

I remember her lining the plates, assembly line across the counter, and watch as she would arrange the potato patties, flecks of pink mixed into the potato-white in an orderly row.  She would then place them in a plate of flour, an egg wash, and then into a plate of panko, which she would make at home – stale bread in the gigantic blender that came out only on special occasion.  

I recall the rich, oily scent of the patties deep-frying in a wok, the patties deepening with color until each one was a beautiful honey brown.  My mother would pick them up, carefully, with long, bamboo cooking chopsticks, let the oil drain well, and place them on paper bags that were folded, lined with paper towels.

However, the best memory of her making the croquettes, is when my mother was flaking the canned salmon, and I would hover around the kitchen table, waiting for her to fish out the bones – crunchy and salty, and oh – so special because there was only just enough for a small taste in each can.

I bring this memory up because I decided to make salmon patties last night – and I was flaking up the contents of a can of salmon.  (Two actually, one smaller one from Wild planet foods, the other, a regular sized Trader Joe’s can).  I fished out the bones, and offered them to my kids.  The little one wasn’t sure – but the older one popped them in her mouth, chewed carefully and said, “It’s good!”  Upon hearing her sister, the little one popped her bit into her mouth, nodded and said, “Fish!”

Into the flaked salmon went two ribs of minced celery, a 1/2 cup of steamed multi-grain rice, 2 beaten eggs, and a drizzle of olive oil.  I mixed everything together with my hands until well incorporated, heated up my trusty cast-iron pan over medium heat, a drizzle of canola oil, and gently laid down the patties.

I let the patties brown until a crisp crust formed, then gently flipped them over. 

When both sides were well-browned (and easily removable from the pan), I laid them out on paper towels to drain.

Today’s bento included:

Salmon patties!

Roasted beets, cut into heart shapes


Raw cabbage, cut into bite sized pieces, marinated in soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil and grated ginger over night.

Multi-grain onigiri – (white and brown rice, millet, barley, quinoa and wheat berries, steamed) with a store-bought seasoned konbu (kelp) center, wrapped in nori

Both girls each tried a small patty for breakfast.  My older one was convinced at the first bite – the little one watched her older sister’s reaction, before taking nibbles of her patty.  These nibbles quickly turned into “lion bites” as she realized how good they taste!

First quarter wrap up…

2 Apr

It’s hard to believe April has swept in so quickly.  The first quarter of the year, over, and we embark on the climb to the mid-year point.

In the past few weeks, I’ve found myself in an interesting position.

Normally, I’m manuevering through all my obstacles on my own – but these days, I’m hobbling from place to place, the rhythmical “tap tap” of the cane giving away my presence.  I waddle, crab-like, through the house, whether it be carrying armloads of laundry (we are going through our night training stage) 0r trying to convince the girls it’s ABSOLUTELY bedtime.

Some days are overwhelming – the thought of visiting a client in New York City almost had me in tears when I thought of the distance and stairs I would have to climb at the local train station, as well as at my destination.  My weekend shopping routine is hampered with the thought of how and where I’m going to manage everything with a bum foot.  A co-worker left me a bunch of flowering branches and a note, telling me to hang in there.

Perhaps it’s the part where I have to ask for help – when I’m used to being able to do things on my own, at my own pace, with my own ability.

Either way, I can’t wait until I’m zipping about again!

A catch up session of last week’s bento…

Monday, I sent my daughter into school with Matzo ball soup in chicken stock and vegetables (carrots, celery, zucchini, onion and broccoli).  I picked up a love for this very comforting food during my early adulthood – I had a few years of close exposure to traditional Jewish comfort food.  I was introduced to matzo ball soup, kasha varnishkas, kugel,whitefish salad – and I especially loved when my roommate’s mother sent her back to college with these goodies after the holidays.

To this day, I reach out to my girlfriend to find out which brand of matzo meal I should use – she prefers Streit’s and Croyden House.  I know she chuckles, knowing I often “Japan-ize” the soup, adding soy sauce, ginger and scallions…

Needless to say, my daughter both love “ballie soup” and enjoy having it often.

The rest of the week included:

Tuesday, I cheated, and sent in left over take-out, which was katsudon, which is fried chicken cutlet, cooked with dashi and egg, atop steamed rice. 

Wednesday included:

Whole wheat penne pasta with marinara sauce

Baked chicken leg

Roasted beets in star shapes

Turnip and celery, marinated in soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil

Thursday included:

Baked chicken wing and drumette

Blanched broccoli and sugar snap peas

Roasted beet heart

Multi-grain onigiri with okaka filling, wrapped with nori

Friday – was pizza day!