A Bento Christmas Story

Today’s bento box is full of hidden vegetables.  Voila, my Tofu-Kale Vegetarian Egg Rolls and Secret Vegetable Fried Rice.  My husband splurged on a crate of pomegranates at Costco, so we will be eating seeds all week and for snacks I have made Just Chex Mix and Extra Chocolate Muddy Buddies. I have also made a Cranberry Surprise Smoothie. Both the egg rolls and fried rice are full of vegetables, but they remain hidden.  The egg roll wrap obviously hides its healthy contents, but the fried rice is almost magical in its ability to camouflage the nourishment it offers.  One by one as I stir-fried vegetables into the rice, the colors and textures of lovely vegetables became one with the rice/oil mixture and only specks of color remained to prove their state.  Now, if this recipe were for adults or just Anya and not the boys, I would cook less and show off the beautiful variety this dish renders.  Connor and Finn actually do like everything in this production, but given the opportunity they will argue the opposite.  This fried rice boasts more vitamins than most and the boys will eat it without disparaging zucchini, win-win!  I left out my usual dessert fare for a Chinese menu, my homemade, hilarious fortune cookies only because I just made a huge batch or gingerbread and strawberry-marshmallow fudge and the bakers rack is loaded with Christmas baking the kids and I produced last weekend with Grandma Ben and Aunt Mary.  We have a Christmas Eve tradition of dining at Twin Dragon with a mandatory order of duck and a viewing of “A Christmas Story” and I was thinking I should make a batch of holiday inspired fortune cookies to consume while we watch the movie.  These fortune cookies are delicious, not stale restaurant quality specimens.  I do use a machine because I have it, but following my recipe and using a makeshift cookie folder of cardboard or the like would work just as well.


Five Spice garlic soy

wait on chopsticks growing cold

No MSG here?


Only Anya and Connor are going to school today. Finn has a terrible strep and the medication is not working and the pharmacist says it is not the best choice for this illness so I am very frustrated.  I am trusting that the doctor will call in a prescription for penicillin this morning and that Finn will be back in school tomorrow.  He has missed too much school and we have been made aware of some extreme and bizarre policies at our current location regarding excused absences that have put a big cloud over our holidays.  I am trusting that reason and a more personal approach will prevail here as well and Finn will have his needs considered and this issue will be dropped. I miss our old school more than ever.


Kale-Tofu Egg Rolls


1 pkg egg roll wraps

1 bunch fresh Kale, shredded

2 c shredded organic tri-color carrots

1 c fresh bean sprouts

1 small onion, chopped

4 bulbs garlic, pressed

1/2 c frozen spinach

2-12 oz pkgs firm tofu

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp garlic powder

4 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp sriracha

fresh ground garlic salt and pepper

peanut oil to fill fryer

Add sesame oil to skillet and crumble drained tofu into pan stirring often on medium high heat.  Cook until browned slightly and set aside.  Saute onion and garlic in coconut oil until onions are translucent and brown on edges.  Add bean sprouts, carrots, kale and spinach, stir-frying on medium high heat until flavors are well-blended.  Add tofu and mix well.  Sprinkle garlic powder over mixture, followed by soy sauce and sriracha, taste and adjust as desired.  Generously salt and pepper.  Fill fryer with oil and allow to heat while wrapping egg rolls.  To wrap, wet perimeter of wrap and fill with 3 Tbsp filling. Fold two corners toward center, sealing on sides to prevent leakage.  Take one of remaining corners and fold over roll, wrapping as if a burrito. Repeat, filling all wraps (should have minimal left over filling). Deep-fry, one at a time until dough bubbles and browns. Remove from oil and set on paper towel.  Repeat until all egg rolls are fried. To serve, slice at a diagonal down the middle of each roll, producing two 1/2 rolls.




Vegetable Fried Rice


3 cups uncooked Jasmine rice

3 Tbsp + coconut oil

2 Tbsp garlic butter

2 small onions, chopped

1 1/2 c shredded carrots

2 small zucchini, shredded

1/2 cup shredded kale

1/2  frozen chopped spinach

1 orange pepper, chopped

3 eggs

4 bulbs garlic

1 tsp garlic powder

soy sauce to taste

sriracha to taste

fresh ground garlic salt and pepper

Place rice and water to level in rice cooker and cook.  Set aside.  In wok, heat 2 Tbsp of oil and add onions and pressed garlic.  With heat medium high, stir-fry,  adding carrots and zucchini once onions are transparent.  Continue to cook, adding shredded kale, spinach and pepper, still stirring.  Add garlic-butter mixture and saute.  Generously salt and pepper vegetables. Add remaining oil, then rice, breaking apart clumps and mixing with vegetables.  Stir-fry, mixing well and adding additional oil as needed.  Break three eggs into center of wok and scramble, distributing through rice mixture. Sprinkle 1 tsp garlic powder over rice, then generously apply soy sauce, stirring and tasting and adding more if needed.  Add a conservative shake of sriracha, mixing well and tasting again to gauge heat. Continue to cook until flavors are blended and rice is coated with oil.


Just Chex Mix


3 cups each, corn, what and rice Chex.

6 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder


In small bowl, microwave butter until melted and stir in seasonings.  Set aside. Mix all Chex cereals in large microwave safe bowl and pour butter mixture over, mixing until all cereal is coated.  Microwave on high for 6 minutes, stirring every 2.  Spread on paper towels until cool and dry.  Store in airtight bag or container.


Extra Chocolate Muddy Buddies


1 box Chocolate Chex

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 extra large or two large baggies


In microwaveable bowl, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter on high for 1 minute. Stir.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until when mixture is stirred it remains smooth.  Stir in vanilla and pour over cereal.  Mix well to coat evenly.Pour into extra large or two large baggies.  Add powdered sugar to either one or split between two and shake until cereal is completely coated.  Store in cool dry place.


Cranberry Surprise Smoothie

1/4 c fresh cranberries

1 banana

1/2 c fresh strawberries

1/2 c fresh blueberries

1 c coconut water

1/8 c kale

1/4 c applesauce

2 Tbsp Agave

Place all ingredients in 24 oz Nutri Ninja cup and blend.  Makes 3 servings.






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