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Tiny Track 'n Snack Bento #197

During the month 500+ bloggers around the world will highlight the wonders of a vegan lifestyle.

My posts will mostly focus on being EXTRAveganza, or ‘vegan on the road’. That’ll include bentos (dôh), travel-friendly recipes and examples of how I fared on our recent holiday in France — my first as a vegan. And then there will be some side-trips. ;)

Are you ready? Here we go!

Tiny Track ‘n Snack Bento (#197)

Tiny Track 'n Snack Bento #197

Yesterday I went hiking with a group of friends. A snack I always bring in situations like this, is a small selection of nuts and dried fruit. That’ll keep me on my feet when I my legs get wobbly – which always happens when I get hungry. Not only aren’t we always sure we’ll be able to buy food on the way, as a vegan I prepare myself for the chance that one can only get a cheese sandwich or a piece of apple pie. ;)

Nuts are packed with unsaturated (= good) fats, protein & fibres, which make you feel satisfied quickly — and it’ll last for a while. In my experience some dried fruits have the same effect.

Now if you’re worried about the calorie intake… You shouldn’t! Nuts are really good for you. Unsaturated fats actually help balance your cholesterol and protect against hart disease. Nuts also contain plenty of vitamins & minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, omega-3, calcium, phosphor, vitamins A, B, E and more. And hey, hiking = burning calories anyway!

Of course not all nuts are good for you, just unroasted and unsalted ones like, for example, almonds, walnuts and cashews. Still, sometimes I bring some of the ‘bad’ ones as well. A grrl can have a treat, can’t she? ;) Yesterday there were a few (salted) rosemary-garlic cashews and cocktail nuts in my little box among more healthy goodies like died cranberries, apricot and apple, candied pineapple, walnuts and Brazil nuts.

Oh, and I almost forgot… I also indulged in some chocolate-covered soy beans! :D Got those in France so I’ll tell you more about those later in a post about Les Vacances de Mme Gnoe! ;)

Wandeling Bornia's Baaierd

I hope all this talk didn’t make you go nuts?

On our journey to the Hautes Alpes we had an Asian style lunch along the autoroute. All leftovers, packed by Mr Gnoe.

Bento En Route #194: lunch for two

The second tier from the left was actually more fanciful than it looks now, but we dropped the box when getting it out of the car. We were a bit impatient to have lunch, hence the carelessness. ;)

From left to right

  1. Homemade atjar ketimoen (cucumber pickles) with pickled white onions, gherkins, caperberries and a super chilli from the balcony. A small yellow heirloom tomato.
  2. Tempé goreng and a variation of heirloom tomatoes.
  3. Gado-gado leftovers: salad, cabbage, steamed carrots & green beans, baked tofu, spring onion and pecans for lack of peanut sauce.
  4. Can’t remember exactly what was in this tier but it must have been something like a salad with tofu, cucumber, spring onion and sesame seeds. Dressing in the small container. No need to mention the carrot – that one’s obvious!

Bento En Route #194: cold carrot soup

But that was not all. We had a long way to travel so we’d also made some Thai carrot soup. Contrary to what the thermos says, it was chilled. Yum! In celebration of summer we also had a huge snack box full of fruit: seedless grapes, strawberries and cherries.

Bento En Route #194: summer fruit snack

Of course we brought lots of other provisions -kind of a vegan emergency kit- but our main ‘meals on wheels’ consisted of the above. And then there were foods we bought along the road, but that’s something for another post. VeganMoFo is coming up soon!

What do you bring when you’re travelling?
Do you have any suggestions for our next trip?

Yesterday was Spring Equinox ánd I was going on a hike with my brother, so I couldn’t let the chance pass to make a celebratory bento. Especially since I wanted to do something with quinoa for week 11 in the Vegweb Cooking Challenge 2012.

What I didn’t consider was that I really didn’t have much time to cook… So I just got to make the salad and ended up with a not-so-spectacular, half-a-bento to share with @variomatic. Still, it may not look very festive — we were quite happy with it. And I’m learning to be less of a perfectionist. :)

Spring eQuinoax Bento (20-03-2012)

Contents
South-West American quinoa salad with avocado, sweet potato, orange bell pepper, red onion, cilantro and a lime dressing on a bed of red Batavian lettuce and rocket. Pepitas for topping hiding under two ‘sour key’ candies (zure sleutels). Rosemary crackers on the side.

Although we enjoyed the salad during our break, I was a little disappointed by it: it tasted a bit dull even though I had added African Peper Mix to spice it up. It was okay, just nothing special — and I like my foods to be exactly that! ;P

I have some other interesting quinoa salad recipes up my sleeve, so let’s wait what those shall bring.

Today was definitely a feast of new beginnings. It marked my brother’s AMAZING accomplishment of loosing 50 kilos in 14 months. It was the first time in about 7 months that we took up another stage in our Groene Hartpad hiking project. And I hadn’t made a bento in two weeks. ;) YAY for spring! :)

Bento no.149 was quickly put together for a hike in the northern Dutch province Fryslân, on our way to a family photo shoot in occasion of my mother-in-law’s upcoming birthday. We got going pretty late so we only had time for the 7.5 kilometer walk in Spanga and not 19, nor 11.

I’m combining this post with my weekly logging of our CSA vegetables since I got to use several of the greens in our lunch! As you will be able to check out for yourself down below. :)

Spanga Bento, 13-08-2011

Both containers carry blue potato salad (Eliza potatoes, apples, red onion, gherkins and a raspberry dressing) on lettuce, corn on the cob and parsley. Mr Gnoe’s tier also has a non-vegan vodka candy. Oh – and he had to drive! ;) A cup of golden mandarin green tea accompanied this yummyness.

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 32, 2011

Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 32, 2011

  • Lettuce
  • Fennel
  • Corn
  • Red onions
  • Blue Elize potatoes
  • Collina apples

As you can see the only thing that didn’t make it into Spanga Bento is fennel!

- – -

Long-time-(n)o-bento #145, 20-07-2011

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last made a bento… But yay, Gnoe’s back on track!

Bento #145 was my five o’clock ‘snack’ on stage 8 of the Groene Hartpad I’m hiking with @variomatic. We had to walk 21 kilometres from Woerden to IJsselstein, starting around lunchtime — and there wouldn’t be any dinner until we had walked each and everyone of those miles! We defied rain and thunder and had a great day. :)

So, what vegan goodies did I bring?

First tier
@Petra_Utrecht’s lemony couscous salad, grilled veggies (yellow paprika, fennel, courgette, red onion), garlic olive, raspberries from the balcony, radicchio leaf and romaine lettuce.

Second tier
Spicy roasted chickpeas, gherkin, dried apricots, mushrooms & leek in Bulldog tonkatsu sauce, half a tomato, orange-teriyaki tofu with extra sauce (should have added sesame seeds as topping but alas, I forgot).

Round container
Melonhomegrown organic strawberry.

And here’s what I had on the side.

Bento #145 snacks (20-07-2011)

Apple juice, almond cookies and forest fruit Evergreen.

It all came along in my kawaii *** new *** thermal bento bag!

Thermal bento bag

Betuwewandeling

I couldn’t wait to use my new, super tiny bento so on Saturday I filled it up with snacks for our hike with @Petra_Utrecht and R. in the Betuwe; a district famous for its fruit production, surrounding the Linge stream, that is very popular at this time of year because of the blossoms. Last week I went to explore another part of the area with the Wandelgrrls.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to eat the ‘ieniemienie snack bento’ till we were home, so Petra & R. never even saw it! :(
‘Ienieniemie’ is Dutch slang for Súper Tiny ;)

Ieniemienie Bento, 24-04-2011

Contents: fresh date, dried fruits (cranberries & apricot) and cinnamon coated almonds. The nuts were store-bought (organic) and not really cheap, so I may try my hand at making them myself, tweaking the recipe of sweet ‘n spicy nuts I’ve posted before.

Every once in a while when we go hiking, we get to see something marvellous. This time it was an occupied stork’s nest, with adult & baby! You’ll have to look closely, but the picture is proof!

Stork & baby @ Betuwewandeling

Have you been going out, enjoying the wonderful spring weather?

Betuwewandeling

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

Today is the 10-week anniversary of Gnoe going ExtraVeganza! It has been going well and I feel really good about it all; I finally have some peace of mind. Of course it’s not all easy (like spontaneously eating out), but I expect most hurdles will get easier in time. Although I’m not sure yet what to do about Easter… :\

We’ve got nothing special planned for today — in fact there’s usually something easy for dinner on Thursday and tonight it’s falafel. Yum!

Hiking Bento (#138)

Even before I started my ExtraVeganza! pilot project at the end of January I had already taken on the challenge of veganizing my bentos. Resulting in a 100% plant-based bento year!

Yesterday’s was a box of four o’clock goodies that I ate on stage 6 of the Groene Hartpad with @variomatic, a 12 km hike from Nieuwkoop to Slikkendam. We wanted to walk on a bit longer but then we would have had to continue for another 10 kilometres and that really was too much… The weather was absolutely awesome so we had a great day out! Let’s get that summer going! ;)

Hiking Bento, 06-04-2011

Left tier

  • Braised eggplant
  • Nasi goreng (fried rice)
  • ‘Facon Bacon’ strips (tempeh)
  • Endive, radish, cucumber and wasabi sesame details

Right tier

  • BBQ-style mushrooms (cremini and portobello)
  • Stir-fried spinach & leek with sesame seeds
  • Radish divider and cucumber flower

Side container

  • Dried fruit (cranberries & apricots)
  • Nuts (cashews, walnuts, peanuts & pecans)

Bento Lunch button

I had some leftover mushroom risotto and inspired by Uniflame‘s recent risotto ball bentos I decided to make my own vegan version.

Risotto is sticky in itself so it doesn’t really need any egg or cheese. Still, since I have an open package of soy mozzarella — which tastes like nothing and I certainly won’t buy it again — I grated some and added it to the cold rice mixture along with a handful of bread-crumbs. I rolled 12 small balls, covered them with more bread-crumbs and put ‘em in the fridge to rest a little. Then I baked the round ‘croquettes’ in a skillet with sunflower oil.

Preparing the risotto balls didn’t take a lot of time, but the baking did! :( Next time I’ll try either frying or oven-baking.

Risotto ball Bento #133, 17-02-2011

Next to the risotto balls there’s radishes on a skewer, a basil flower and chilli bean-rice mix topped with parsley on a bed of red-leaf lettuce.

The other tier holds mustard dip for the risotto balls (a simple mixture of mustard & veganaise; recipe will be up on Saturday), small caper, leek sprouts, a few slices of shiitake mushroom, cherry tomatoes with fresh basil, salted pecans, dried apricots and… NO cookies! The small flowers are toasted tortillas to eat with the chilli, made according to the recipe I’ve posted in the summer, except that I used a cookie cutter for a nice spring-inspired shape. And I left them in the oven a bit too long…

A perfect bento to take along a hike on a perfect springtime day!

I walked the ANWB Aetsveld Route in Weesp polders. It was not as good as I had hoped; although it was supposed to run through diked marshes, most of the track went over asphalt. The view on the Vecht river was nice, but the traffic noise kept distracting me and made it hard to clear my head for the first 2/3 of the hike. But I’m not complaining! The weather was awesome, sunny all afternoon. And I saw a tiny, pure white baby goat, it must have been born just before! It still trembled on its little leggs and part of the navel cord was hanging from its belly. I stood and watched for ages — it felt like such a present to get! :))

Autumn Bento (#119)

On Tuesday I took this wholesome fall bento to work (#119).

Autumn Bento (#119), 26-10-2010

Top tier
Eggplant-lentil salad on Romaine leaf, apple slices and sesame dressing for dip. Flower made of farmer’s cheese.

Lower tier
Celery stalk salad with walnuts & cheese on a bed of curly red leaf lettuce, garden cress, endive roll filled with couscous, goat’s cheese, pesto genovese and pine-nuts – and another ‘cheesy’ decoration.

About 8 ww propoints. All ingredients are organic except for the nuts & oil I used, most of the veggies are local too (cress homegrown).

If you’ve seen my menu plan for the week, you’ll notice this lunch consists of several leftovers: aubergine-lentil salad, Japanese sesame dressing and an endive roll. I had also kept a little aside of yesterday’s lunch: the celery salad. So you see? Making a bento doesn’t have to be time-consuming! Just think ahead and use what you’ve already made.

The kimono box containing this lunch is one of my favourite bentos. But one thing bugged me: it’s smaller than other boxes and I didn’t have a bag that fitted. Yes, past tense — because now I do :) And I made it myself! Cute, isn’t it?

Bento #119 snug in its new bag

Faithful readers might remember my previous bento post was about #116, the award-winning Tsukimono Bento. So what happened? Am I lousy at counting, or keeping track? (Computer says…) Nooo, I’m just way behind on (b)logging. And I bet you won’t mind if I just put numbers 117 and 118 up here too?!

Noriless Noriben (#118)

It will not come as a surprise to you that whenever I’m watching Japanese films, I’m on the lookout for bentos. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the marvelous lunches in Megane, a film about a stressed woman taking a holiday on a very relaxing Japanese island.

And when I checked the Camera Japan festival schedule this month, I almost passed out when my eye fell on a movie called Noriben – the Recipe of Fortune (Nonchan Noriben)… A whole feature film about bento!

Komaki has a seemingly impossible task ahead. She has just separated from her husband, moved back to her parents’ house and she wants to rebuild a meaningful life. For a 31 year-old mother, this is easier said than done. She has to deal with the expectations of her mother, an ex-husband who hunts her down and her lack of education. There seems to be one opportunity that can save her: Japanense bento, or lunchboxes. Follow Komaki through this struggle and let her teach you how to make a perfectly balanced lunch from rice and leftovers, looking like the Italian national flag!

You can view a trailer of Nonchan Noriben at the official website.

This typical (?) Japanese comedy was fun to watch. It inspired me, but unfortunately I didn’t really get any new ideas out of it. The few animations of bento composition went way too quick for me! LOL. Thankfully Maki, the Big Onigiri, takes us through them step-by-step on JustBento.

Of course I couldn’t go to a movie like this without bringing a bento of my own! Especially since we were meeting up with MaaikeB & family, who’d probably expect me to ;) Here’s my four o’clock bento for five.

Noriless Noriben (#118), 16-10-2010

Round bento box

  • usagi ringo (apple bunnies)
  • mini cream cheeses: herbs, walnut & pepper
  • fresh walnuts
  • curly red leaf lettuce

Oblong bento (from top to bottom)

  • green tea mochi, baby figgs & cranberries
  • kisir (Turkish bulghur salad; a favourite) with cilantro & caper on a bed of lettuce
  • tzatziki & cucumber

On the side

  • Japanese ‘WANT’ rice crackers (up front)
  • SkyFlakes toast & spring onion rice cracker toast

When you click on the picture you’ll jump to Flickr where you can view bento#118 together with Maaike’s GORGEOUS bento box filled with her DELICIOUS home-made carrot cake. *craves*

The five of us had a great day out, also watching a documentary about foreigners (Western people) in Tokyo, They Call Us Aliens, and wrapping it up with a Japanese teppanyaki dinner.

Amelisweerd Hike Bento (#117)

The last bento I want to share came along on a walk in Amelisweerd woods at the end of September. I hadn’t gone on a hike for a long time — let alone solo — so it felt really good to finally do so again. And of course I had to treat myself to a nice, simple bento :)

Amelisweerd Hike Bento (#117), 29-09-2010

Top tier

  • salad of lettuce, tomato, fresh basil and crumbled feta cheese.

Lower tier

  • ‘apple of my eye’
  • dried apricots
  • pesto dressing for salad
  • sweet ‘n spicy nuts

On the side (in the SnackTaxi bag)

  • ‘orange sammies'; sandwiches with orange coloured spreads: organic cheese with pumpkin & pumpkin seeds and Tartex veggie spread.

Submitting this post to Midnight Maniac’s Meatless Mondays {no.4} & Shannon’s What’s for Lunch Wednesday (week 22).

Meatless Monday button Bento Lunch

Bento #104, 02-06-2010

Left & right tier: asparagus on a bed of lettuce, boiled egg with cilantro and wasabi sesame, salt.
Middle tier: inarizushi, spicy Tao Kae Noi (crispy seaweed) and soy sauce.
On the side: milk chocolate with hazelnut.
Drinks (not shown): light Orangina with pulp, tab water.

Bento #104 came along on the 3rd stage of our long term hike through the green heart of Holland (Groene Hartpad).

Wlfr and I walked for 14 km from Zoetermeer to Hazerswoude. To get there we took autobus 206 along the N206, on Tuesday (0)206… We noticed this when we were still in the bus and we were ‘kind of’ relieved to ascertain that it was 13:36 and not 12:06 or 2:06. Not that we are superstitious or anything… ;) It just was REALLY weird. At first I even thought that the day’s bento for 2 (!) was #103… (you can do the math yourself). Fortunately I was mistaken; Betuwe Bento was my 103rd. Phew!

I was surprised to hear wlfr remark that the eggs looked so ‘even’, because I had been experimenting with a new way of boiling eggs. I guess it had passed the test! Freezing tofu puffs hadn’t though; that was no success and I won’t be doing it again.

Along the road in Zoetermeer

Anyway, we had great day with amazing weather and the hike was fabulous. Part of it had seemed monotonous looking at the map in advance, but it turned out to be a wonderful ‘mini survival track’ in a water bird reserve. And we wouldn’t let one killer curlew scare us away ;)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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