Tag Archives: Turkey

Comfort is a bowl away

16 Oct

After watching a mouth-watering episode of their favorite cartoon, Anpanman featuring a character flying in a ramen-bowl, the girls asked in unison, “We want men-men!”

Didn’t have ramen, but a bowl of udon in soup, topped with turkey soboro, blanched hakusai or Napa cabbage, sugar snap peas, blanched carrots, narutomaki and cooked egg will just have to do!!

A weekend classic for the girls of the household…

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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
Blueberries

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
Blueberries

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
Blueberries
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!

Post spring break 2012

30 Apr

My daughter’s spring break zipped past, and unfortunately, my work schedule did not allow me the luxury to take the much-needed and desired time to slow down and to catch up with her.

I managed to take a very quick day off on Friday, and we (the girls and I) enjoyed a day without rushing about. We also had a “special lunch” at Takumi restaurant, where the daily specials included Ten-don (Steamed rice topped with tempura, battered and deep-fried vegetables, seafood and meat) with a side of hot soba in soup, as well as a ramen special.

Saturday’s bento included:

Baked turkey hambagu, a.k.a. small, individual portioned meat loaf topped with a sweet savory sauce of ketchup + Bulldog sauce + HP sauce (2 tbs each, mixed well).  I include vegetables, such as onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic, which are minced in a food processor, and mixed well (by hand) into a pound of ground turkey.  I take palmfuls of this meat mixture, and mold them into small meat “loaf” rolls, and bake in a 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes, covered for 20 minutes and uncovered for the last 10.  I baste them with the aforementioned sauce, reserving a tiny bit to add a fresh coat at the very end.  If the meat mixture is too runny from the vegetables, I will sometimes adjust with a handful of steel-cut oatmeal, cooked multi-grain rice, or whole wheat bread crumbs.

Sliced red peppers

Carrot sticks

Onigiri with okaka center

The rest of the week steamed ahead.

Monday included:

Broccoli tempura

Boiled Trader Joe’s cocktail pups, scored

Carrot sticks

Sliced red pepper

Grapes

Tuesday was a similar lunch day with:

Trader Joe’s cocktail pups

Red pepper slices and carrots

Blanched watercress, liquid squeezed out well, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, tossed and flavored well with soy sauce, rice vinegar and katsuobushi  or shaved bonito flakes

Multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, with a nori belt

Wednesday morning, I realized I had forgotten my daughter’s lunchbox at daycare – hence the random tupperware made do.

Whole wheat ziti with marinara sauce and sautéed onions

Celery and carrot sticks

Blanched watercress and shirasu omelette

1/2 of a honey tangerine which my daughters have both fallen in love with.  I found them in a bin at Makinajian Farm, where the label listed it as “Mic’s favorite!”  If the co-owner loves them, they must be good.

Thursday lunch included:

Blanched watercress, liquid well squeezed out, seasoned with okaka.  I try to make sure to drain any extra liquid to try to minimize the potential for messes.

Carrot sticks

Strawberries

Multi-grain onigiri with okaka center, nori wrap.

Friday was pizza lunch!!

April Monday!

2 Apr

Today’s bento included a lot of finger foods –

Carrot sticks

Cucumber sticks

Blueberries

Trader Joe’s Cocktail pups, the surfaces scored with a paring knife, and boiled to create a pattern

Multi-grain rice topped with turkey soboro 

Marinated turnip and celery slices in ponzu and sesame oil

Hoping the podiatrist’s prediction of only another three weeks is true – until I can return to my Tigger-esque (a la Winne the Pooh) ways.

 

A summery March Tuesday

13 Mar

Hard to stomach the fact there was no significant snowfall this winter, and that I am seeing various flowers sprouting.  What happened to winter??

Today’s lunch included:

Sauteed zucchini slices in canola oil, sprinkled with a little salt and black pepper

Roasted beet hearts

Whole wheat penne pasta with sausage, beet greens, mushrooms and broccoli in marinara sauce

Baked turkey meatballs with grape tomatoes

My injured “paw” or as my parents lovingly nicknamed my feet “webbed feet” (similar to a duck) throbs as the day progresses.  My parents ask, worried over skype – “How’s your webbed foot today?”

“It has a headache…” I reply.

Can’t wait until I’m up to full speed, zipping about again. 

 

 

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

Blueberries

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

A very un-wintery break from all things routine

27 Feb

The nudges were subtle, but definitely, there.

“R- chan, you’ve been very busy?”

“The last time I saw something was … February 2nd?  I do read your blog without being prompted, you know…”

My father, ever the supporter, was dropping hints.

Then, a dear friend of mine who sends me cyber-encouragement through her site visits (the counts keep me going) noted the last entry… and I finally gathered my wits together to try to play catch up.

Work was indeed, hectic for the past few weeks.  Several business meetings in various local areas sapped my energy, as well as my creativity, and I found my bentos were starting to fall into a routine.  I realized I started depending on my husband, mother-in-law, and daycare provider – but truly, there were certain limitations such as meeting times, train schedules and closing hours to be carefully planned around.

Of course, the girls didn’t go hungry.

I was pleasantly to discover, my daughters loved the zucchini slices that were sautéed in canola or olive oil until the edges were barely translucent, and then tossed with soy sauce and lemon juice.  Chicken wings, drumsticks and turkey meatballs were staples – but the occasional mini-hot dog was also a big hit.  Sugar snap peas were available again – and these made great additions to the bentos when quickly blanched after being rinsed and de-stringed.  Broccoli, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices, carrot and celery sticks were staples – as they were quick, healthy, and added crunchy texture to lunch.  The rice cooker was my best friend – and between onigiri, and steamed multi-grain rice topped with either sesame seeds or gomashio, I had the carbohydrates covered.

Blackberries and blueberries were also available, as well as the smaller sized Fuji apples I was able to buy in bags at Trader Joe’s. 

I then realized, I was so busy, I hadn’t stopped at the Japanese store in weeks… and realized I NEEDED to stop by when I had run out of soy sauce.  I cannot function without soy sauce!

I made a quick stop at the store, and picked up quail eggs, ginger, daikon, and frozen udon noodles.  I realized afterward, it is amaebi, or sweet shrimp season, and had neglected to pick up a pack of these delicious seasonal treasures of the ocean.  They are a bit of an acquired taste – both in texture, as well as in preparation.  The shrimp are eaten raw, and similar to eating crawfish, you twist the heads off, peel the delicate shells off, which easily peel off, and pop the tails into your mouth.  They are creamy and delicious – similar to the texture of scallop sashimi.

I can attest – you either love them or hate them – I fall into the “love” team, while my husband definitely falls into the latter due to the texture.

I’ll have to go back this week and hope the season isn’t over…

Needless to say.  Back to trying to step back into the bento blogging routine!