Showing posts from October, 2009

Bento Tips: Plastic Bag Alternatives

Let me first begin with, we've been under a Winter Weather Advisory for a couple of days now! We were hit with a whopper of a storm (close to 2 feet so far), so the forecasters were actually right on the money. To top off all the snowy excitement school has been cancelled for TWO days in a row. Wow! 
I wanted to share a product i've been using for a few years now, they are a great alternative to plastic lunch bags. Yes, I know using a bento means not having to use plastic bags, but sometimes we do use bags for my daughter's snack at school. These wax bags by Natural Value are $2.99 for a box of 60 at Whole Foods. Or you can find them online here. My daughter is able to put these bags in the compost bins that they have through out her school. 
We love them and hope you will too!

Vlog From The Snowy Trenches of The Colorado October Blizzard...

Disclaimer... Before you watch this vlog, I warn you, I am not wearing any makeup. I just shoveled about 500lbs of snow from my sidewalk, walkway, driveway, and neighbor's sidewalk. But really, we all know I'm not all smoke and mirrors around here anyway, so I thought why the heck not. So enjoy it, the plain old ordinary me (with 3 zits on my chin). Oh and Milo, the black lab does make an appearance!

Kids Need A Dad, Not A Buddy

Dear Part Time Father at Blockbuster,
I couldn't help but notice how desperately you were in trying to convince your young son to rent No Country For Old Men. I've actually watched this movie and I was appalled to be witnessing your very un-fatherly actions. I was looking for Once when I overheard this conversation. The boy, must have been 10 years old, maybe 12. I was a fifth grade teacher, so the boy easily looked like he could have been a student of mine. He definitely was not in high school. 
Father: Just read the back, this is what I want to see.
Son: But dad, I'm not into it.
Father: You don't know what you are missing. Come on, just read it.
Son: Takes dvd case reluctantly. Glances over the back. This looks dumb. Your lame dad.
Father: Guess I'll watch it on Monday when you go back to your mom's.
Son: So now you are going to be all pissed off at me you're an ass. What a great weekend.
(me, wow...calling his dad an ass, although he has a point!)
Father: Just g…

Adult Bento: Leftovers Never Looked So Good!

One night I ventured out with some girlfriends to a local favorite Indian Restaurant. Now when I go out for Indian food, I like to sample a variety. Although I have to admit, I could be quite content with a plate of Saag Paneer (spinach, spices, and homemade cheese), a basket of garlic naan all to myself, and a pot of chai. I'm easy to please. 
On this particular night, I ordered a chicken sampler plate. A sampler at the Jewel of India is a ton of food. If you look closely in the photo you will see there was no left over Saag to send in for lunch with my husband. But how lucky is my husband to have such a wonderful lunch?
My husband's bento was purchased in Japan. It's stainless steel, stackable with two compartments, the top has a moveable divider in it as well. Only downfall of stainless is that it can't be thrown into a microwave to heat it up. The option is to eat it as is or to place the contents to be heated up on a plate and then warmed. If you are looking for a …

Bento Tips: Quick & Easy Fruit Leather Decorations!

Part of the love for bento is the use of decorative foods to give whimsy to the whole lunch experience. While my knowledge of turning food into art is a work in progress, I have one fall back technique that I absolutely adore. All you need is a few cookie cutters, I use mini cookie cutters for this technique, and a piece of fruit leather. This will also work with some vegetables, cheese, lunch meat, or any food that you think would easily be cut by a cookie cutter.

I recently purchased a tin of small alphabet cookie cutters. The letters allow me to spell out things and personalize lunch in a special way. I also own mini farm animals, basic shapes, and seasonal mini cookie cutters. To be quite honest I think the heart may have shown up from the playdough toys, so be creative! Use what's on hand. 
I also use a wooden spoon and a bamboo skewer to create the shapes. You'll find pressing through fruit leather needs a bit of pressure, if you just simply lay the spoon down and then pre…

Hot Bento: ABC Soup, Quesadilla, And Veges. The Beauty of Before and After...

Maybe someday I'll click back on this post and laugh. Why? Because photographing food is tough work. Let me throw in the added stress of a morning commute, getting breakfast ready, bento being packed, my daughter dressed, making myself look presentable even though I don't step out of the car, her hair and teeth brushed (oh wait mine, too). And me, I'm worrying about photos of the process, in focus looking halfway decent photos. Three of our cameras this morning had batteries that were about to die or that needed charging. THREE. 
With that said, I hope you enjoy and maybe even get a chuckle out of these photos because it's so obvious they aren't staged or created simply for the beauty of them. Hopefully if you look beyond the crumbs, you'll see the love I have for packing a bento. With time, I also hope that my photography and bento packing become more seamless. 
I know you are screaming at the computer screen right now, why don't you just pack them at night?…

Tomorrow is THE Day, 3 Weeks Later...

On September 30, I felt like I had hit rock bottom. Emotionally I was drained, my house was beyond a wreck. Dishes, laundry, toys, shoes, mail, artwork were better known as piles upon piles. All those items have a home, but there was no follow through from anyone in my household to get those items in their appropriate place. For me, how my home is kept is a direct correlation to how I feel and boy was I in a slump. 
I wrote this post about changing my ways starting October 1st. 
Over the course of the past three weeks, I have changed my ways. Dishes are done after meals, counters are wiped. Toys are in their cute baskets or bins. I've rearranged the living room furniture, which always makes me feel accomplished. Laundry is put away. Coats, bags, and shoes are stowed away in the entryway closet when we return home, not just dumped in the middle of the floor. Hello, we are so lucky to have an entry way closet! But there is still work to do. My office/playroom is still a disaster, but …

Panda Bento: Turkey Sandwich, Mandarin Oranges, Tortilla Chips

In August, I walked into Peppercorn in Boulder and happened upon bento lunch boxes! Jackpot. I snatched up this adorable Panda Bento for Sj. It contains two compartments both the same size and stackable, the lower compartment nestles into the top one, and the top compartment comes with a separate sealing lid before putting Panda's cute face on top! The Hello Kitty Bento, is a snack bento picked up at a Japanese gift shop in Vancouver, BC.

For lunch, I packed your basic Diestel all natural herbed turkey breast with Cabot vintage cheddar on Rudi's organic 7 grain bread. Usually I cut out the bread with cute cookie cutter shapes, but I guess I wasn't in the mood this morning. Sj always likes mustard, whereas GL prefers mayo. Whatever you do, don't confuse the two! For the upper compartment I used silicone cupcake baking-cups which are awesome because they are pliable and they are re-usable to hold and separate the mandarin oranges, tortilla chips, and a little dessert! Th…

Welcome A New Adventure... Bento Lunch Making!

For a couple of years now, I've been dabbling in Bento Lunch making, after J returned home from Japan with a bento lunch box for Sj. Now I'm packing a daily bento. So what else is there to do? 
Blog about it. 
Please welcome Colorado Bento! It's going to be a journey into all things American Bento. What's even better, I have Jen as my partner in crime so I'm not going this alone. 
Join us and learn about Bento lunch making!
My previous bento lunch posts.

Why Bento?

A couple of years ago my husband traveled to Japan for a film shoot. One of the gifts he returned with was a bento box for our daughter. I had heard of bentos before, but wasn't really familiar with them. In Japan bentos are used as lunch boxes. If you do enough hunting around the web, you'll find amazing bento creations. Once bentos become a part of your life, you'll want to make beautiful lunches. 
Beautiful lunches? Yes. Beautiful lunches. 
With the arrival of our first bento, in the photo my initial reaction was, but it's so small!?! Is it a snack bento? No it wasn't a snack bento, after using it a few times I was actually amazed at how much food a bento can hold. Packing a bento lunch is truly going against the grain of how I was raised. Everyday in my lunch box, my mother would pack a sandwich in aluminum foil, small bags of things in ziploc plastic bags, or fill a thermos with soup. 
But with a bento, the possibilities are endless. You see a bento is a containe…

Thanks Twitter, I Get It, I'm Just IttyBitty...

I've never quite felt so miniscule in the world of blogging until I became a member of Twitter. Daily I take in the 140 characters or less of others that are off at conferences, off being wooed by huge corporations, and maybe even being featured on television. Then there's an entire faction of bloggers that are their own biggest cheerleaders. Constantly they are linking back to their posts, they are heard. They roar. They thrive on the comments, the traffic, they ask to be Stumbled. It's all about the numbers. They are sharing searches and stats in 140 or less.
And me, I read the tweets. I sometimes click through, but generally I fade into the background. Occasionally I'll link to a post of my own, but it depends on my mood. October 8th was the last time I linked back to my blog, which was about 125 tweets ago. So I can honestly say a couple times a month I am my own cheerleader. I never really could relate to the pompoms and little skirts, the constant smile, perfect …

Where Colorado Locals Go: Craving a Philly Cheese Steak? Olde Philly Towne

The first time I saw Olde Philly Towne from the outside, of course I quickly passed judgement. It sits in a strip mall, in between a scuba shop and the DMV. Close by are K-Mart and Hobby Lobby. While I don't assume a restaurant has to be in a free standing space to produce good food, of course the strip mall thing initially was a turn off. 
But that changed quickly. 
I grew up in Upstate New York, so sometimes I just have a craving for a cheese steak. Luckily I found Olde Philly Towne close by to feed that craving. Olde Philly Towne is always bustling with customers, which is a good sign. Yes, expect a wait. They offer a variety of "steaks", as well as cold sandwiches, and charburgers. But I'll be the first to admit, after having one of their Cheese Steaks I haven't even entertained the other items on their menu. 
Top of the of the Steaks menu is a Philly Grand Slam, thinly sliced rib-eye steak, grilled onions, mushrooms, peppers (hot, mild, or mixed), melted cheese…

Soaking up the sun, my world is still, but the clouds are in motion...

My daughter fell asleep in the car during the afternoon school pickup jaunt. The last few times I tried to move her from the car, she woke up, so instead when I arrived home I let her sleep. It was a beautiful afternoon, I opened the car window and took a moment to soak in the sun on my front porch. I decided to write with pen and paper, to me it's funny how my voice sounds different when I write it down first. You decide. 
There's a pink hula hoop weathered by the sun, laying randomly on the ground under a tree. A hose snakes away from the house, through the flowerbed, and coils around in just the perfect place to trip over as you enter my house. I've been meaning to move that hose, at least it was disconnected from the spigot before it burst some pipes during our cold snap last week. 
I have yet to trim back my irises that really need to be divided up. Their growth is strangling them, they need more space. Although some of the remaining foliage is green, they sit limp and …

Dusting Off Landscape With Red Cloud and Some Inspiration...

Have you ever played the question game where you write down three things about yourself, two that are true and one that is false? The object is to write down things that are true about yourself that others wouldn't believe. Well one of my favorite lines that I always used to trick others was, "I've had a painting displayed in a museum in New York". Yes, that's mine. It's a watercolor collage, brilliantly entitled (ha,ha) "Landscape with Red Cloud". The year was 1991 and I submitted a portfolio to the New York State Scholastic Art Awards. From my portfolio a sculpture and a painting were selected for regional display at the New York State Museum in Albany. My painting was actually awarded a gold key, which is the highest level of achievement at the regional level. It was then sent off to New York City (where I never saw it displayed) for national adjudication! Woah, big time. Well my painting wasn't selected for a National Medal, but the gold ke…

I'm Not A Hoarder, But...

It's funny, for years I was an Oprah regular. I'd look forward to new seasons, new shows, and rarely miss a show. But nowadays I'm busy from 4-5pm or distracted or Oprah just doesn't have on what I am needing in my life (Whitney Houston, for reals?). Yesterday, like many of you, I made a point to tune into to Stephanie Nielson aka Nie Nie Dialogues. I'm so glad I did, what an amazing, inspirational woman. Then I caught a glimpse of the preview of today's show about hoarding and decided to tune in.

I'm not going to give you a full run down of the episode, but it was about extreme hoarders. Oprah delved into the psychological battle that is hoarding and how it presents itself in people. Watching the show, I felt like I could relate. Although, I wouldn't consider myself to be a hoarder, I do find much pleasure in getting rid of things especially rotting food, thank goodness. But my office/playroom right now is out of control unorganized and my problem, pu…

Sitting On Chris Martin's Lap and No Photo To Prove It, Damn it.

I always feel out of place when roaming the streets of a foreign city. My girls were running up ahead of J and I, as we strolled down a cobblestone sidewalk. Of course the foreign city had cobblestone walks, crooked iron fences at the entryway to homes right off the path, and wet grey architecture stole the view. Maybe there was an occasional tree swaying in the breeze. It was cloudy, but not raining. I can't quite remember what I was wearing that day I was strolling in London with my family. Oddly enough I wasn't caught up one bit in the nuances of my new bangs or how my ass looked in my jeans. All those silly things I would have normally stressed over considering the company I was about to join. 
My daughters ran up the staircase first. There was an iron gate that we slipped through that opened into a gorgeous courtyard. The foliage was so lush I felt like we stepped out of London and into Tuscany. There were mosaics built into the grounds, stepping stones covered in moss, a …

Where Have I Been? The iPhone Trail Part2

(simply click to enlarge)
I was surprised to see my First edition of Where Have I Been? was in August! I think uploading my iPhone photos once a month and taking a look at them as a collective is fun to do. Obviously I took way more then 28 photos, but these are the ones that made the cut this round.

Instead of list them by row, I'm going to start at the top and just talk about them!

After my post on Wednesday, I wanted to start anew and one of the things I had to do for that to happen was to throw away the remnants of a birthday cake. Our sock puppets turned out to be much more of a family fun activity than I anticipated, we even made a make shift puppet show. Maybe next round i'll share a photo that looks like a little inappropriate puppet action. A late night self portrait. Oh one of my favorites, a delivery of cupcakes from 90210, Sprinkles Bakery.

On 9/11, I took my girls to a local memorial, I feel lucky to have a place to gather and help educate the girls. My little helper,…