Tag Archives: Broccoli

Heading towards end of May bentos

5 Jun


Thankfully, my girls love their vegetables and fruits. Late spring/summer starts bringing a variety of veggies and fruit that can be enjoyed raw, or with minimal preparation.

Tuesday included a bento packed with:
Grilled chicken (drumstick, de-boned)
Blanched broccoli and asparagus
Cauliflower pickle in lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sesame oil for fragrance
Cucumber slices
Mini multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, nori belt

Wednesday included:
Savory omelette with broccoli and shirasu
Blanched asparagus spears with soy sauce, lemon juice and olive oil drizzle
Raw, red pepper slices – my older one adores these sweet, crunchy, slices. The little one is a bit more cautious, but more often won over by her sister’s enthusiasm, and quick pace of munching through them – the only evidence remaining are her hands and face faintly stained by the pepper juice.
Cauliflower pickles
Mini multi-grain onigiri with okaka center


Thursday was pizza day, due to the shortened week in observance of Memorial Day.


Monday Tuesday – quick and easy

15 May

Mother’s Day (in the US) was this past Sunday, and I had the rare opportunity to have both my mother, and my mother-in-law together, live (not SKYPE-D), this year.

The earlier portion of the day was my mother-in-law’s “day,” and we spent a few hours at the local petting/animal zoo, feeding lambs, llamas, goats, and parakeets. 

The latter portion was spent at my house, where my brother and his family joined in celebrating my mother’s birthday and mother’s day.

We had a lovely evening, barbecuing, chatting, and watching the kids run through the yard, enjoying the visiting uncle/Aunt and cousin, and racing back to Nana and Baba for hugs and kisses.

I benefitted from Mother’s Day dinner – as the leftovers were perfect for bento!

Monday bento included:

Grilled chicken drumstick with poultry seasoning and a sprinkle of lemon juice

Sliced yellow peppers, grape tomatoes and blueberries

Multi-grain onigiri in tawara shape, no filling, sprinkled with black sesame seeds, wrapped in nori


Tuesday, similarly, a quick and easy lunch:

Grilled chicken drumstick (poultry, lemon juice seasoning)

Sliced peppers, cucumbers, blanched asparagus


Multi-grain onigiri with okaka filling with nori belt – a tiny tiny onigiri


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!

Corned beef, and then back to Monday…

19 Mar

The weekend was lovely – especially yesterday, as I watched the girls play in the yard, my beloved labrador, Kiki, running circles around the girls.

We had a belated St. Patrick’s Day dinner at Nana’s – Trader Joe’s uncured corned beef, cabbage and carrots cooked up in beer in a pressure cooker (45 minutes at medium with just the meat, and then another 30 minutes with a cabbage head, quartered, and 6 peeled carrots), accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes and salad. 

Monday monday’s lunch was:

Boiled egg in star shape

Sautéed zucchini slices with a little soy sauce and pepper

Blanched broccoli

Blue berries

Grape tomatoes

Carrot sticks

Oh what a glorious Monday it is!

Good bye dear friends of ichi-kumi

19 Mar

This past Saturday was my older daughter’s last day in her current class, ichi-kumi or class 1.

It was a proud moment to know she… no, we all survived a year of Saturdays that were committed to exposing, maintaining, and furthering her knowledge and experiences to Japanese culture. 

Thank you Papa for watching the little one all those weekends!  And thank you Jiji and Baba for your daily skype sessions, which continue to enhance both girls’ language skills.

I puffed up proudly as my teacher, in parting, told me she was proud to say that my daughter’s growth and improvement was truly impressive. 

Oh, the sweat, tears and lack of sleep paid off!!

I had both girls with me – Papa was busy gallivanting in The Big Easy, so I somehow managed to hobble and cobble together bentos for both girls, snag a parking spot close to the entrance, and corral the girls into the gymnasium to wait for the morning greeting from the head master of the school.

Bento for both included (little one’s onigiri not shown, it traveled in a smaller tupperware):

Boiled egg – heart shape

Turkey meat-ballie – I have a stash of these in the refrigerator and freezer that are pre-cooked.  I’ll often defrost one overnight, and include in a bento box

Boiled cocktail hotdog – the surface is scored, and when these boil up, the cuts spread open, showing the pattern

Multi-grain onigiri with okaka or katsuobushi (shaved, dried, bonito flakes) lightly moistened with soy sauce center

Blanched sugar snap peas and broccoli

Blueberries for my older daughter

The little one was very pleased to have her own bento box.  She pulled up a stool in the kitchen to peek over the counter to see what was included.  When she couldn’t see over the edge of the bento box, she decided to take matters into her own hands – and stood up in her booster seat (anchored securely to a kitchen chair), and declared, “Mama. do NOT want booberries.”

I chuckled. 

The little one’s palate seems to take after mine – at the age of 3, she shares the same love of spicy and salty things, and comes with her mouth open when I’m eating kimchi, or doesn’t balk when I add a tiny orange dot of sriracha sauce in her lentil soup.  Not to mention, I myself am very picky with my fruit selections, and unless I am in the mood, I would rather eat my body weight in vegetables than fruit. 

Meanwhile, my older one declares everything TOO spicy, but will scarf down HER body weight in fruit.  Oh.  Except she has an aversion to anything white – cheese, yogurt, butter, cream cheese… except for vanilla ice cream.

To my oldest daughter – Hurray for graduating from the first pre-K class in Japanese school!  Good bye, ichi-kumi friends, thank you for the memories!

A very tortoise-like weekend

12 Mar

I spent the weekend hobbling about, trying to avoid putting too much pressure on my foot, while trying to maintain sanity and my normal schedule.

School, lessons, chores… I somehow managed without asking too much help from people – but it was overall, an exhausting experience.  So exhausting, the girls, cats and I collapsed in a heap on my bed on Sunday afternoon to enjoy a mid-afternoon snooze in a sun-spot.  Perhaps I’m normally zipping around like a hare, but these past weeks, I’ve been lumbering like a tortoise.

Monday bento included:

Baked turkey meatball – ground turkey, minced celery, carrots, ginger, scallion, steel-cut oats mixed well and baked in a 350 degree oven for an hour

Whole wheat pasta tossed with sliced pre-cooked pork sausage, beet greens, broccoli, mushrooms and marinara sauce… similar to last week’s linguine recipe

Blanched broccoli

Sliced turnips and celery “pickle”

Grape tomatoes


The warmer weather is reminding me the garden needs to be cleaned and prepared…  Thanks T for the reminder!

Getting back on track! Cheers and Takk!

13 Oct

The past week entailed an incredibly productive, short, and well traveled set of days starting off with a red-eye flight out of New York’s JFK airport to my mother-in-law’s native England, a whirlwind set of meetings in London followed by slightly slower paced, but equally productive days in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Despite the limited time and exposure to Iceland (aside from the gorgeous, picturesque… almost idyllic view of the ocean framed by the mountains from the conference room windows) – I fell in love with the Icelandic culture which reminded me, interestingly, of the Japanese culture.  Perhaps it comes from the “island” mentality, surrounded by ocean, while living in harmony with the active rockings and rollings of the earth – whether it be earthquake or volcano.  The people I met in Iceland had a familiar, calm and reserved demeanor – they were social and gregarious, yet, they carried themselves in a way conducive to living in a tight-knit society, bound and isolated by the ocean, limited by the harsh natural limitations brought forth by volcanic and glacial activity.  There was incredible beauty to be found amongst the barren lava fields, covered by yellowish moss which glowed an eerie gray at night, along the asphalt strip from Kevlavik airport to Reykjavik.  I’m sure more to follow as my memory makes additional connections on my meal mullings…

A message to the lovely folks we met – Þakka þér fyrir íslensku minningar! (Thank you for the Icelandic memories… and thank YOU, Google Translator!)

Papa managed a week with the girls – of course, several meals and bento boxes were packed well in advance of my trip.  I laughingly told me colleague as we headed out to London that I had been cooking as though it was Thanksgiving.

This was a short week – there was no school on Monday, and Tuesday was a day at home due to the older one recovering from a bout with Coxsackie virus, while I prayed the little one escaped without catching it.

Wednesday lunch was:

Vegetable spirals in marinara and basil sauce

Sliced red peppers – Makinajian Farm has home-grown peppers in a variety of colors

Roasted chicken drumstick – seasoned with salt, pepper, drop of soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice and roasted in the oven for 30 minutes (20 minutes with cover, 10 without) at 325 degrees

Blanched broccoli and asparagus spears, carrot sticks

Today’s was a similar menu – except we have:

Roasted chicken drumette and wing – soy sauce, rice vinegar, a pinky nail sized amount of grated fresh ginger, pepper as seasoning, roasted in the oven at 325 for 30 minutes, garnished with blanched broccoli

Spiral vegetable pasta with marinara/basil sauce

Blanched asparagus and pepper slivers

Carrot sticks

A separate container of red grapes

I realized the two days’ menus were identical… Hopefully I’ll be back on track for next week for more variation.

It’s great to be home again…