Thursday, December 18, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Michelle and I both did pretty well I think. Though, my tri-corn hat was a touch too "Colonial America" until I added the grey plume later in the day. That fixed it, but I didn't get another picture. Michelle made my doublet (I did some ironing and assisting), and I made the pants. This is the first dress that Michelle ever wore to a ren faire also. She bought it, but has made everything else she has worn since. Remember I said we'd talk about her cool self taught sewing skills? These are those! :)Aaron is working it William Wallace style, while Michele and Kristin are both a little more British Isley...I don't think that's a word. Anyway, Aaron constructed all of these costumes. Well done there! :)
So there you go. Food, Shopping, Festivity, and Festoonery, all in one day! And a good time was had by all! Michelle and I might even be going back again this season. We're thinking about heading back for the Harvest weekend! You're all welcome to join us!
Talk to you soon! HUZZAH!
See what I mean? Wouldn't you love to tuck into something this awesome? Let's begin our tour!
First, we have the main dish. Top and Center. This is a bulgar salad with tomato, blanched broccoli florets, chopped parsley, shredded carrot, garbanzo beans and Italian dressing. We garnished the tier with parsley. It turned out very good. I know because I ended up stirring it all together and may or may not have stolen a taste! We bought fresh parsley and ended up with way more than was required by our cooking, and so you're going to see sprigs of if everywhere as garnish. :)
On the right, you will see Michelle's favorite yogurt. Plain yogurt mixed with strawberry preserves, which a touch of honey on the top, as well as another piece of parsley. I think the parsley looks great on all of the various things, don't you?
On the left, another common building block of Michelle's lunches, a quarter cup of mixed nuts!
In the center, it a little something I whipped up with some extra garbanzos from the bulgar salad. This is a homemade hummus containing the beans, a little salt, olive oil and a toasted garlic clove, as well as, you guessed it, chopped parsley! In the tier with the hummus are broken pieces of Wasa brand whole grain crackers.
Finally, in the bottom tier, we have a pair of unique little muffins that Michelle found a recipe for online. These are Indian influenced pumpkin muffins, containing cooked pumpkin (as you might've guessed) and garam masala, which is a spice blend containing many different things. I've linked to the wikipedia entry, which has some good information about it. We were quite amazed to find it among the spices at Wal-Mart. New to us! :) Between the muffins are a few Concord grapes and another tiny bit of parsley. We still have WAY too much parsley left. Might have to start eating it for breakfast or something.
This bento turned out to be a big one. You might notice that we had to borrow a container from Michelle's yellow bento set to finish packing it up. She is concerned about being able to finish everything, but her photography class starts tomorrow and dinner might end up being late, so it's good to be prepared with extra lunch! :)
I hope we have enticed you with another delectable tour of flavor and style! Buon Appetito Michelle!! Let us know how everything tastes!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Ok, this is a good one. On the top left is a really nice little assortment! A few Hapi brand Mixed Party crackers, and three Parmesan cheese crisps we made. Just grated cheese on a cookie sheet in little circles with a little oregano tossed on top. The definition is a little tough to pick out, but they're round, just take my word for it. I got to sample one and they're quite tasty!
On the bottom, you'll see some mixed nuts. These are Kroger brand, because we forgot to pick up the ones at Walmart. Did you really need to know that? Maybe not, but now you do know in any case, and knowing is half the battle!
On the right is some vanilla yogurt with strawberry preserves blended in, and some honey over the top. Michelle is a huge fan of yogurt as you may have already been able to deduce from past Bento posts. We couldn't think of anything to top it with this time. Any suggestions for next time?
I saved the middle left tier for last. The pièce de résistance! Here we have a pair of hand rolled rice balls, edged in toasted sesame seed, and seasoned with a nice rice vinegar and soy sauce dressing. On top, an arrangement of avocado wedges, Alaskan smoked salmon, and a garnish of fresh ginger. I think this is our most complex entree to date, and let me tell you, the house smells wonderful! Smoked salmon, ginger and Parmesan cheese is wafting throughout the place and it is glorious! :)
Once again, I will not be eating a lunch that I think will be delicious! Maybe Michelle will pop in to tell us how it was in the comment section! Till next time!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Alright, now the usual rundown! On the left is the main compartment, which contains four pieces of Cream Cheese Roll from Kroger's. Imitation crab, cream cheese and avocado wrapped in rice and seaweed. Also with the cream cheese roll is a small bottle of soy sauce and a little pickled ginger. Above it is Balsamic Sesame Chicken. Chicken breast, marinated in Balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, rolled in sesame seeds and fried with cooking spray to brown the seeds. The chicken is garnished with a small sprig of mint.
On the top right, is another three bean salad like the last one we made, except it contains white kidney, dark kidney, and black beans. Again, with a fat free Italian dressing, and also garnished with mint.
Under that is Michelle's favorite yogurt, inspired by Gina's yummy yogurt recipe on thedailyplate.com. It's plain yogurt with honey. We ran out of the usual cranberries, so they aren't in there. There's a swizzle of honey on top, and again with the mint! Gee whiz! Actually, I might explain that the mint has been in the fridge for a couple of weeks and if we don't use it, it's going to be all wilty and brown, so, I'm using all I can.
The bottom right is the small lid space, which normally would hold some mixed nuts or something, but this time, we picked up some mixed rice crackers from Kroger and used them instead. A pleasant and colorful snack. Except the seaweed ones. They're just a little strange. :)
There you go! Another interesting and tasty looking lunch from Michelle's Bento Box. Fortunately, this time, there is chicken and bean salad left over, so I may get to have some!
Till next time! Thanks for reading!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
So, now that I've impressed upon you the seriousness of this trail, (Except for the part where there's a sign that warns you that bears are active in the area, and the fact that you are indeed stepping over numerous piles of bear scat to remind you and praying that you don't see a class ring or something in one of them) Let me mention a couple of really neat things about it. First, the trail to Ramsay Cascades winds through some old growth forest. Some truly enormous trees. Now, they aren't the redwoods, but they are the biggest trees I've ever seen. Michelle and I took a quick break at this one...
This angle actually makes it appear a little smaller than it is, but you get the idea. Very big trees. And as tall as you'd imagine a trunk of this size to be.
Then there's Ramsay Cascades itself. The tallest falls in the Smoky Mountains at around 100 feet. Check it out:It was quite a sight. Michelle and I both took our shoes off and waded at the foot of the falls a little bit. The water was ICE cold. No joke, it made my feet hurt it was so cold. I don't know how there wasn't ice somewhere. Anyway, we spent a little time at the Cascades, had something to eat and relaxed then started the trek back down. A tough hike all in all, but very rewarding, and an excellent test of both our mettle, and our equipment. :)
So, what would you do if you had just hiked the roughest 8 miles of your life, and were now sitting at the family vacation home in the Smokies, looking at dailyplate.com and realizing that you now have more than 3000 calories to consume? That's right. You plan dinner!
Michelle and I went down to Maryville and tried a little place that Dad and Donita have been watching from afar and wondering about. It's called the Lemongrass. It's a Thai menu, and there's a sushi bar. So, in the interest of informing Dad and Donita, and the rest of my vast readership, here's how it went:
The restaurant is smallish, but in a cozy way. Well lit and comfortable. There were quite a few people there, but we didn't feel crowded out or anything. The service was excellent. It's the kind of place where they place your napkin in your lap for you and all that jazz, and the staff was very attentive and interactive. Our waiter was quite smooth and did a great job. (He kept the meal moving, but you didn't feel like he was standing there waiting to take your plates from you.) :)
So, we tried it all. We ordered some sushi. A shrimp tempura roll which was absolutely awesome, and a salmon roll. It too was very good. The nori (dried seaweed used to roll everything up) was very mild, which is usually my trouble with sushi. The seaweed overpowers the fish and other things. The flavors were all present and nothing overpowered.
As for entrees, Michelle had a Red Curry Chicken, and I had Cashew Chicken. I got to sample Michelle's which was very tasty, and mine too was excellent. I ate the whole thing and it wasn't a small plate. :) Again, the flavors were complex, all present, and very well blended. I sound like one of those judges on Iron Chef. Allez! Cuisine!
One of the best surprises about the place was the dessert menu. The desserts are actually unique! I was expecting, "Ok, cheesecake, some pie, vanilla ice cream, oooh...look at this Triple Chocolate Thunder Blunder Mega Bang Death Mountain!!"
Michelle had a slice of fresh mango with rice pudding, which I sampled, and which was pleasant and light. I had banana pieces, wrapped in rice paper and deep fried, drizzled in honey and sesame seeds, with a scoop of the ubiquitous vanilla ice cream. A really great, and unusual dessert experience.
The whole trip to Lemongrass was well worth it. It's priced pretty comfortably. Two people can eat there for somewhere between 30-50 dollars depending on what you order and whether you do the whole thing or just have entrees. A 4 star experience to be sure!
Alright, I'll wind it down now. I'd say if you've read this far you deserve to be finished! Thanks for reading, and I'll talk to you next time!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
So, you might be wondering with intense curiosity, just exactly what we have here. The top tier is a three bean salad, made from black, kidney and great northern beans, and a fat free Italian dressing, garnished with fresh mint. To the right are a couple of lemonhead candies. Actually, a lemonhead and a cherryhead.
The bottom tier contains chicken nuggets that Michelle found a recipe for on justbento.com. These nuggets are seasoned with salt and pepper, rolled in corn starch and fried in olive oil cooking spray. Then, we dashed them with a little soy sauce and some lemon juice. They're paired with fresh sliced cherry tomatoes and mint leaves.
Next to that is 1/4 cup of mixed nuts.
That's my lunch! Small, simple and healthy. By appearances it'll be very satisfying. Finally I get to eat something rather than watch Michelle carry things off and wish I could have it. I might comment this post after I taste everything and let you know how it was. I hope you're all enjoying reading about my lunch. :) Talk to you soon!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
I was intrigued by the gum because it had an odd name. Not to say that most snacks and gum don't have odd names to us in Japan, but this one just caught my eye. Here's a picture:
The gum itself, as you might have guessed, is black as well as the wrapper. Anyway, it's a really strong "Altoid-like" flavor, and quite refreshing. It also makes an excellent cat repellent. Merlin hates mint, and this makes him run like there's no tomorrow. I'd love to know what the Kanji on the wrapper says. Also, here's a youtube link to a commercial for the gum in Japan:
I guess the gum is considered masculine, as well as capable of waking you up...kind of like...a girl dressed in silver, shooting you with a huge ray gun or something. Ah, Japanese TV. :)
So anyway, that's the gum. Moving on to what you really came here for, the new Bentos. First, I'll show you mine, mainly because there's less to say and because I can't get a really good picture of it. I'll try again, but for the moment, it's just not working. Maybe I'll try a lighter background. A couple of pictures:
So, as you can see, my box is black and grey and though I don't have a size comparison for you, it's a little larger in capacity than either of Michelle's. I haven't gotten to use it yet, but we're planning on a picnic at Central Park or something sometime soon. The box says "Liberty" on the lids, which is the particular model name.
And now, Michelle's more interesting box. More interesting because I have better pictures, and an actual lunch that she's taking to work tomorrow. Pics:
Here we are. I like this box a lot because it's a little more squared than her other one, and that presents some new options for packing. I also like the triangular Onigiri (remember that means rice balls) box. It's designed to hold two convenience store onigiri. They're available in Japan like burritos and nachos here. We're going to have to make our own for it, but the box is cool. I like the color as well.
As for the lunch we kind of tossed together tonight...
Obviously a banana. The top tier is a turkey and tomato sandwich on whole grain bread, wrapped in cellophane and decorated with dragonfly and flower stickers. In the bottom is yogurt, honey and dried cranberries. That's a little recipe we picked up from Gina's daily plate diary. Very tasty. I think it's listed as yummy yogurt on the diary. So, credit to Gina for the idea. It's decorated by a swirl of honey and a dusting of red sugar. The silicone souffle cup has a 1/4 cup of mixed nuts. Again, I'd love to have this tomorrow, but It's probably a clif bar for me. :)
So there you go! A Bento update as promised! I'll try to get a better picture of mine as well as the first lunch I pack in it. Comments and Questions are of course welcome! Thanks a lot for reading and see you again soon!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
The top tier contains a mix of nectarine, mandarin orange and sliced Kiwi fruit.
Below that is a cabbage salad with balsamic vinegar, garlic and dried cranberries. I fixed this one. It smells like it'll be fantastic!
The bottom tier is most interesting. We have three rice balls (Onigiri), on the left is sweetened egg, in the middle is Umeboshi (Japanese Pickled Plum), and on the right, wrapped in plastic is Shrimp, soy sauce, sake, ginger and a little sugar. It smells like the shrimp from the Hibachi grill. I'll bet it's going to taste awesome. I made myself an egg onigiri for a snack tomorrow. Also in the bottom tier is a small sweet potato cake we picked up from the Asian market in Charleston.
On the right is the lid of the Bento box which contains some mixed nuts, which we are now crazy about thanks to Gina's well timed bowl of them the last time we were up there.
I wish I was eating this lunch tomorrow, but I'll probably have a yogurt bar or something boring. :) Anyway, just thought I'd let you see what we made! Talk to you soon!
It has a face carved into it and a bone Celtic Triquetra on the strap. Also her initials and a reference to Proverbs 10:10-14. The surprise went well and she loved it. I found out at the same time that I'm getting one too, but I don't have a picture just yet, because it's not quite ready.
In other news, Michelle and I ran in the park Sunday evening and we pulled off an 8:56 minute mile! That's a new personal best over my previous 9:09! I could've gone further, except we had just eaten and a full stomach is not conducive to endurance while running. Also, I think I have broken my plateau at 198. I am now 197 and still continuing my quest for smaller pants! :)
A little news on the FBC Praise band! We have guitar, vocals, keys, bass and drums lined up and played together for the first time as a group at the 5:30 service at church. I think things went very well! It's a lot of fun to be playing in a band regularly again. I'm enjoying the bass a lot and even though I'm going to have to work up to being good at it, I think it'll be a great time!
Let me see, the last thing I think I have for now is that I ordered a Bento box! If you aren't familiar with Bento, it's a traditional lunch box in Japan. I got one for Michelle this past Christmas and she's been having a lot of fun packing lunches in it. I'll put a picture of my box up here when I get it. Here's Michelle's box:
She has another one in yellow on order as well. Anyway, you can see that the box is way cooler than a typical brown bag. The lunches themselves are works of art! children in Japan take the most fun lunches ever to school! Go to Flickr sometime and search for Bento. Or just on Yahoo or something. you'll find hundreds of pictures! Here's an example.
Ok, so I think that's enough for now. I'll update again soon, once we have our new boxes and everything!