Daily Prompt: Vegetal

Vegetal

modernmet.com/profiles/blogs/masako-chi-koko-japanese-food-cookies

These amazing cookies were posted on my Facebook page and I wanted to share them.  Actually, I wanted to make some today, but the challenge was a little more daunting than what I was up for.  Still, the next time I am plagued by such dark feelings, I will pull upon this cookie inspiration to get me centered.  Protests continue in Denver tonight.  There is no satisfaction in being on the right side of such a cause, but I am observing how friends can be effective in this fight without drowning in darkness.  I remain teachable.

 

Advertisements

Denmark or Bust?

Vegetal

My husband says I need to water the kale and cover it as it gets cooler if I want to enjoy it through the winter but my stomach hurts too much to talk about kale or lunches or much of anything. I have been pushed too far.   I try to remain unaffected by politics, but I am not sleeping well.  I am finding myself unable to make excuses and feign tolerance for behaviors driven by the worst possible propensities in our culture.  The wool has been pulled from my eyes and I am struggling to bite my tongue.  I am not proud of my country.  My children can’t hear more excuses for behavior that can’t be excused.  A rich and powerful contingent that manipulates and deceives the poor and uneducated into voting against their interests is destroying our planet in the interest of lining their already fat pocketbooks and it is just business as usual.  I pity those who don’t know any better as they will suffer for their err.  I am afraid to put to words what I feel for those who know better, but vote for yet another tax break while tomorrow is not assured. I am speaking to no one, because I am afraid of what I will say.  Is this hate?  I am unfamiliar with it, but can I feel less for those who gamble with my children’s future?   Maybe my husband is right and our new president’s unpredictable nature will yield some surprise wins, but I am not soothed.  That this could happen at all, especially under the hand of the electoral college, had robbed me of faith.  Capitalism without restraint is a monster and we are rewarding sin and corruption with power. I can’t even say the word this political situation brings to mind, it sounds too dramatic and religious, but I feel it in my stomach.  Connor votes that we take up residence in Denmark, but my husband says we stay and fight.  As a mother, I suppose I have no choice.

fullsizerender-4

Today’s bento boxes contain Bacon-Apple-Cheese sandwiches and deep fried plantains.  The boys took the rest of the Hawaiian Smoothie recipe in their thermos and Anya had Matcha Love and hopefully will return home with her missing lunch box items today.img_1226

Ingredients:  Sandwiches contain crisp bacon, Jarlsberg cheese and sliced poached Jazz apples on raisin bread, served with carrot flowers; deep-fried plantains; Cheesy Crab-Bites (see “Focus and Bento” for recipe; Deep-Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli (see Bento Love” for recipe).

img_1227

I packed lunch with a fresh red plum and Yogurt-Papaya Coy Candy (see recipe “Under the Sea Bento Boxes”)

Deep Fried Plantains

3 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced

Oil to fill deep fryer

Fresh garlic salt

Heat oil and fry in small batches, 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.  Salt immediately upon removal from oil.  Warn your kids, these are not sweet!  Expect them to taste like a potato, not a banana.

img_1207

Hawaiian Smoothies left over from yesterday, see “Focus and Bento” for recipe.

fullsizerender-1

Anya’s Matcha as she is without a thermos again.

Denmark or bust?

Vegetal

My husband says I need to water the kale and cover it as it gets cooler if I want to enjoy it through the winter but my stomach hurts too much to talk about kale or lunches or much of anything. I have been pushed too far.   I try to remain unaffected by politics, but I am not sleeping well.  I am finding myself unable to make excuses and feign tolerance for behaviors driven by the worst possible propensities in our culture.  The wool has been pulled from my eyes and I am struggling to bite my tongue.  I am not proud of my country.  My children can’t hear more excuses for behavior that can’t be excused.  A rich and powerful contingent that manipulates and deceives the poor and uneducated into voting against their interests is destroying our planet in the interest of lining their already fat pocketbooks and it is just business as usual.  I pity those who don’t know any better as they will suffer for their err.  I am afraid to put to words what I feel for those who know better, yet vote for yet another tax break while tomorrow is not assured. I am speaking to no one, because I am afraid of what I will say.  Is this hate?  I am unfamiliar with it, but can I feel less for those who gamble with my children’s future?   Maybe my husband is right and our new president’s unpredictable nature will yield some surprise wins, but I am not soothed.  That this could happen at all, especially under the hand of the electoral college, had robbed me of faith.  Capitalism without restraint is a monster and we are rewarding sin and corruption with power. I can’t even say the word this political situation brings to mind, it sounds true dramatic and religious, but I feel it in my stomach.  Connor votes that we take up residence in Denmark, but my husband says we stay and fight.  As a mother, I suppose I have no choice.

fullsizerender-4

Today’s bento boxes contain Bacon-Apple-Cheese sandwiches and deep fried plantains.  The boys took the rest of the Hawaiian Smoothie recipe in their thermos and Anya had Matcha Love and hopefully will return home with her missing lunch box items today.img_1226

Ingredients:  Sandwiches contain crisp bacon, Jarlsberg cheese and sliced poached Jazz apples on raisin bread, served with carrot flowers; deep-fried plantains; Cheesy Crab-Bites (see “Focus and Bento” for recipe; Deep-Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli (see Bento Love” for recipe).

img_1227

I packed lunch with a fresh red plum and Yogurt-Papaya Coy Candy (see recipe “Under the Sea Bento Boxes”)

 

Deep Fried Plantains

3 ripe plantains, peeled and sliced

Oil to fill deep fryer

Fresh garlic salt

Heat oil and fry in small batches, 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.  Salt immediately upon removal from oil.  Warn your kids, these are not sweet!  Expect them to taste like a potato, not a banana.

img_1207

Hawaiian Smoothies left over from yesterday, see “Focus and Bento” for recipe.

fullsizerender-1

Anya’s Matcha as she is without a thermos again.

Daily Prompt: Primp

Primp

via Daily Prompt: Smoke

We sit down to eat together as a family and no one mentions the smoke. It simply isn’t a priority.  Our new normal takes no notice of hazy dining, but it is proof of lowered expectations.  Before the accident, this situation would’ve been unacceptable.  Complaints would have been voiced and the situation resolved.  Post-accident, we avoid drawing attention to my limitations and quietly trust that one day I will be well enough to remedy the situation.  The problem isn’t a new one.  The door locking mechanism on the stove hasn’t worked in years, thus preventing use of the self-clean program and a simple solution to the smoke.  What is required now, and used to be expected, is oven cleaner and gloves and lots of bending and straining of the neck, which now proves impossible.  To passerby, a simple solution might be for my husband to take over the job.  What they couldn’t know is that he has taken over everything I used to do, and has no time to take a breath.  It just isn’t a priority.  Friends ask if we will still be hosting Thanksgiving.  Of course, I say, nothing has changed.  My husband has always cooked the turkey, so what  will be different?  Except that the turkey will cook for hours.  The house will fill with smoke.  I imagine which guests will ignore it and which will pass judgement, this evidence of my failings.  Compounded by the shrieking of smoke alarms placed in close proximity to each other.  Fear of fire used to keep me awake at night.  Now I don’t remember to be afraid.   Smoke is no longer indicative of danger in our house, it is a mark by which to measure  progress.  What is the prognosis for a smoke-free holiday?  Is a smoky house conducive to a healing brain?  More questions my neurosurgeon can’t answer; Indoor Air Quality As Measure of Post-Concussive Resolution ?  As Mark of Mended Fractures?

Focus and Bento

Primp

I no longer primp or take care with my appearance.  My being has become utilitarian.  When nostalgia reminds me to spend time on impressions I seek out my daughter and she shows me how to look nice.  When did her opinion become authoritative?  It wasn’t that long ago that I picked out all of her clothes and approved hairstyles.  (Yes, I did approve the shaved head, she  was beautiful)  I’ve passed the baton, but maybe in haste.  One must practice self-love to teach.

img_1198

Today’s bento boxes contain Red Velvet Zucchini Waffles, Peanut Butter-Bacon-Banana Pinwheels and Cheesy Crab Bites. As I am still using up papaya, today’s smoothie is Tropical.

img_1204img_1205

Ingredients:  Red Velvet Zucchini Waffle recipe with persimmons and purple carrots; Peanut Butter-Bacon-Banana Wrap recipe; Cheesy Crab Bites recipe; Yogurt Papaya Coy Candy (see “Under the Sea Bento Box”) and fresh red plum.

img_1206At the last minute, I decided to throw in some pretzel rolls.

 

Red Velvet Zucchini Waffles

2 c flour

1/4 c sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 c buttermilk

1/3 c butter

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

red food coloring (a lot)

3/4 c shredded zucchini

Mix first four ingredients in a large bowl.  Separately, combine next five ingredients and beat together.  Add wet mixture to dry and stir until smooth and even-colored.  Fold in zucchini.  Heat and oil waffle iron and cook until edges of waffles begin to brown.

 

Peanut Butter-Bacon-Banana Pinwheel

3 slices crispy bacon, crumbled

1/2 c natural peanut butter

3 small bananas

lemon juice

small whole wheat tortillas

Spread peanut butter evenly over three whole wheat tortillas, covering completely.  Sprinkle with bacon pieces.  Slice banana and arrange on tortilla.  Roll and slice.  Brush bananas exposed to air with lemon juice to prevent browning.

 

Cheesy Crab Bites

1 can lump crab meat

1 c cream cheese softened

1 c sharp cheddar cheese

1 box Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Safflower or peanut oil to fill deep fryer

Heat oil.  Combine first four ingredients and mix well.  Form into 1 ” balls.  Fry in small batches until golden brown.  Makes 30 bites.

img_1207

Tropical Smoothie

1 c papaya

1 banana

1/2 c fresh honeydew (garden)

3/4 c coconut milk

3/4 c pineapple juice

1 Tbsp agave

Place all ingredients in 24 oz Nutri Ninja cup and blend for 30 seconds.  Anya is still missing her thermos so I will fill the boys’ cats and save half for tomorrow.fullsizerender-1

Anya is still missing her thermos, so she will have Matcha Love again.

 

Bento Love

Second Thoughts

I haven’t had a chance to post this morning’s bento boxes until just now.  No time to write.  Family isn’t treating each other well.  I was so looking forward to this point in the day and now my efforts seem like a waste.  My heart isn’t in this post.

My husband asked me the day after our nuptials if I had experienced second thoughts prior to taking our vows.  I assume he asked this based on my late entrance the big day and epic flakiness throughout preparation and proceedings.  He imagined my flawed performance to be symptomatic of an underlying doubt.  My father had similarly misinterpreted the chaos about my person and sought to reassure me, saying that he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me and applauding my choice.  It may be true that I had some misgivings about having such a big wedding and that the realization that I had not delegated enough had hit hard, but the men in my life couldn’t have been more wrong about my conviction.  The many unimportant details of a wedding had left me frazzled and my tardiness was the result of a surety that I was simply not beautiful enough in that moment for such an important day.  When my father and step-father were sent by my desperate maid-of -honor to save me from impending collapse, I refused to be handled.  Shaking off this unnecessary attention, I commanded silence and through tears and laughter spoke three simple words; ” I’m just happy…”  Wedding day psychosis, maybe, but never second thoughts.

fullsizerender-2-2

Today’s bento boxes contained Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels, Deep fried Butternut Squash Ravioli, Marmalade Baby Carrots and Irish Soda Bread.  Anya misplaced her thermos at school, so I sent leftover No Waste Smoothies with the boys and a Matcha Love drink for Anya.

fullsizerender-3img_1195-2

Ingredients:  Bacon Cheddar Pinwheel recipe with sweet baby peppers and black olives; Deep Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli recipe; Marmalade Baby Carrots recipe; Irish Soda Bread (see “A Dose of Totoro”); fresh red plum and strawberry pocky.

 

Bacon Cheddar Pinwheel.

5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1 c softened cream cheese

1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

3 flour tortillas

Combine cheeses and fold in bacon.  Spread, covering all of three tortillas, completely.  Roll tortilla and slice, creating pinwheels.

 

Deep Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli

1 lb butternut squash ravioli (Costco)

Enough safflower or peanut oil to fill deep fryer.

Heat oil and fry ravioli in small batches until pasta begins to bubble and brown.  Careful not to overcook as color of pasta is already golden.

 

Marmalade Baby Carrots

1 c orange marmalade

1/4 c water

1 1/2 c baby carrots.

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.  Simmer carrots until slightly tender.

 

img_1173

No Waste Smoothie (see “Under the Sea Bento Box” posted yesterday for recipe.)

fullsizerender-1

Matcha Love sent with Anya as her thermos is missing.

Daily Prompt: Second Thoughts

 

 

Second Thoughts

I haven’t had a chance to post this morning’s bento boxes until just now.  No time to write.  Family isn’t treating each other well.  I was so looking forward to this point in the day and now my efforts seem like a waste.  My heart isn’t in this post.

My husband asked me the day after our nuptials if I had experienced second thoughts prior to taking our vows.  I assume he asked this based on my late entrance the big day and epic flakiness throughout preparation and proceedings.  He imagined my flawed performance to be symptomatic of an underlying doubt.  My father had similarly misinterpreted the chaos about my person and sought to reassure me, saying that he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me and applauding my choice.  It may be true that I had some misgivings about having such a big wedding and that the realization that I had not delegated enough had hit hard, but the men in my life couldn’t have been more wrong about my conviction.  The many unimportant details of a wedding had left me frazzled and my tardiness was the result of a surety that I was simply not beautiful enough in that moment for such an important day.  When my father and step-father were sent by my desperate maid-of -honor to save me from impending collapse, I refused to be handled.  Shaking off this unnecessary attention, I commanded silence and through tears and laughter spoke three simple words; ” I’m just happy…”  Wedding day psychosis, maybe, but never second thoughts.

fullsizerender-2-2

Today’s bento boxes contained Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels, Deep fried Butternut Squash Ravioli, Marmalade Baby Carrots and Irish Soda Bread.  Anya misplaced her thermos at school, so I sent leftover No Waste Smoothies with the boys and a Matcha Love drink for Anya.

fullsizerender-3img_1195-2

Ingredients:  Bacon Cheddar Pinwheel recipe with sweet baby peppers and black olives; Deep Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli recipe; Marmalade Baby Carrots recipe; Irish Soda Bread (see “A Dose of Totoro”); fresh red plum and strawberry pocky.

 

Bacon Cheddar Pinwheel.

5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1 c softened cream cheese

1/2 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

3 flour tortillas

Combine cheeses and fold in bacon.  Spread, covering all of three tortillas, completely.  Roll tortilla and slice, creating pinwheels.

 

Deep Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli

1 lb butternut squash ravioli (Costco)

Enough safflower or peanut oil to fill deep fryer.

Heat oil and fry ravioli in small batches until pasta begins to bubble and brown.  Careful not to overcook as color of pasta is already golden.

 

Marmalade Baby Carrots

1 c orange marmalade

1/4 c water

1 1/2 c baby carrots.

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.  Simmer carrots until slightly tender.

 

img_1173

No Waste Smoothie (see “Under the Sea Bento Box” posted yesterday for recipe.)

fullsizerender-1

Matcha Love sent with Anya as her thermos is missing.

Under the Sea Bento Boxes

Irksome

Time-challenged for the foreseeable future and not quite on top of my game,  I am attempting to combine bento boxes with the daily prompt once again.  I must admit that I found my first attempt (and failure) at homemade ravioli yesterday to be irksome.  I wanted to deep fry ravioli to accompany today’s waffles, and at Sprouts Anya and I decided it would be best to make our own.  I admit to having some reservations as I was not feeling quite up to speed.  I found myself inexplicably between moods and energy levels.  It was kind of hard to diagnose my symptoms (too many options) and hard to admit defeat, but yesterday I simply was not in a place where I could whip up homemade ravioli with no experience or instructions.  A good idea or novel concept and an old stand-by recipe to get me started is my usual M.O. with bento box creations and I have to be firing on all cylinders to push through.  I gave up without too much of a struggle or monumental waste and my pivot resulted in homemade egg noodle spaghetti with pesto.  I think I am lucky to have managed the lunch I did with how out of sync I was with my capabilities yesterday.  Rising early enough to finish details and make waffles this morning was challenging as well.  I still feel I could go back to sleep, and morning is usually my best time.  No untapped reserves of energy left, I guess.  I was actually still making smoothies when my husband needed to make his own breakfast this morning which is a situation I avoid to keep the morning routine running smooth.  I am very proud that my kids went to school with a bento box lunch that wasn’t comprised of processed foods from Costco today (well, I did include Goldfish… ), but I am thinking that I should have back up just in case I have a morning where I can’t manage as well.  A stash of easy stand-byes could save the day in a pinch.  Much worse to suffer hot lunch than a less than stellar bento box from home.  And I haven’t given up on my menu for this week…maybe we will fry homemade ravioli another time, or maybe we will find an organic option at Costco.  Progress not perfection.

img_1179

Today’s bento box has these adorable fish waffles made from bacon and cheddar.  I had leftover starfruit which now look like starfish!  I admit, I am just now realizing all the potential my pesto spaghetti and apple-onion relish had to be sea creatures, but my delay worked against the creative mind this cycle.  Use your imagination, I’m sure my kids will!fullsizerender

img_1183

Ingredients:  Bacon and cheddar waffles with starfruit and purple carrot hearts; homemade egg noodle spaghetti and pesto (see “Halloween Bento Boxes” for egg noodle recipe and simply use spaghetti attachment rather than fettuccine and “One Monster After Another” for pesto recipe); Apple and Onion Relish (see “Relish as Inspiration” post-I substituted Jazz apples for Granny Smith as it is what we had on hand and sacrificed color perhaps, but Anya says not taste); whole grain Goldfish crackers and Yogurt-Papaya Coy Candy.

 

Bacon and Cheddar Waffles

I needed an easy week, especially after my ravioli fiasco, so I simply used Krusteaz Waffle Mix, enough to make 2 c of batter and added 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese and a couple pieces of crisp, crumbled bacon.  My waffle iron heats directly on the burner and I keep it sprayed with non-stick canola oil and cook “fish” two a a time.  My fish waffle maker is an old Amazon find.

 

Yogurt-Papaya Coy Candy

1 1/2 c yogurt chips

1/4  c chopped dried papaya

1 Tbsp organic vegetable shortening

Melt yogurt chips with shortening in microwave, cooking in 30 second intervals and stirring in between until smooth.  Sir in papaya.  Fill coy fish mold with yogurt mix and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Makes 7 fish.  (Once again, mold is an old Amazon find.  It caught my eye after Connor had spent the day gardening at my favorite property and had admired the coy pond)

 

img_1173

No-Waste Smoothie (or another Almost Compost)

1 c black grapes

1/4 c white grapes

1/2 c fresh papaya

1/2 c fresh honeydew (garden)

1 medium banana

1 Tbsp agave

1/2 c pineapple juice

1/2 c coconut water

Place ingredients in 24 oz Nutri Ninja cup and press Pro Extraction.  Allow to blend for 1 minute to emulsify grape skins and serve.

Relish as Inspiration

Relish

I didn’t relish the thought of another week of lunches yesterday.  We have been sick, I am still tired,  there are other priorities.  When my husband inquired about a Costco list, I drew a blank.  Thinking hurts.

I thought the solution was a no-frills bento week and tried to drum up ideas, but nothing came.  And every avenue I explored told me that maybe I should try a little harder.  Wasn’t there an important point to all of this?

Then, I turned on the computer.  Inspiration.  This one recipe led to a week’s worth of fun foods with a bacon theme, fish waffles and with any luck, a healthy sweet alternative to all this left-0ver Halloween candy.

I won’t be posting a picture of this until later today, as I need to go to Sprouts for a few items, but it is definitely going in tomorrow’s lunch.  My outlook has improved and creative juices are starting to flow.  This won’t be a chore after all, I will relish the experience.

Apple-Onion Relish

3 Granny Smith Apples, cored and shredded

1 small red onion, peeled and shredded

a few baby carrots shredded

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp fish sauce

1/4 c lime juice

2 Tbsp agave

1 Tbsp soy sauce

4 garlic cloves, pressed

1/2 tsp chili flakes

Combine all ingredients and serve.

Anya and I created this dish when my husband was out of town to imitate something I had enjoyed at a Thai restaurant and we marveled at our success.  The lime will keep the apple from browning in the bento box so it will travel well and taste amazing!