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Vegan MoFo button 2013
One of my reasons for joining VeganMoFo is that I seem to have lost my appetite for cooking and blogging. VeganMoFo combines the two and may be just the thing to get my mojo back!

The same goes for bentoing… Might this bento be a whole new beginning and not just the start of a new week???

Meatless Monday VeganMoFo Bento #210

A Meatless Monday VeganMoFo Bento” — now THAT’s a mouthful!
And a tasty one as well haha (yup, bad joke). A lunch that I happily dug into during my break.

Meatless Monday VeganMoFo Bento, 02-09-2013

Carbs tier
Pasta salad (chilli pasta with sundried tomatoes, spring onion, black kalamata olives, parsley and a pesto vinaigrette) on iceberg lettuce.

Veggie tier
Corn cob (freezer stash), cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and radish to dip with houmous.

On the side
Houmous in the small container, carrots and two sandwiches with apple butter that are not shown in this picture because they were not in the box but in snacktaxi baggies.

Local & organic: corn, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, parsley
Organic: cucumber, olives, sundried tomatoes, pasta, apple butter, ingredients vinaigrette

What did YOU have for lunch on this VeganMoFo Meatless Monday? Have you ever made a bento?

Banner Vegan Month of Food 2013

VeganMoFo brings you a Month of Vegan Food. Bloggers all around the world share their favourite recipes, mouthwatering food pics, quick cooking tips, nutritional info and anything else food related to show that vegan living is awesome. It’s the best choice for animals (dûh), our planet and people! Check out the blogroll and drool… Or better yet: join us!

The little monkey in my brain is saying that this is bento number 210 because there’s been a sloppy no.209 a while back. But I can’t find any pictures of it (looked everywhere!), so we’re back to the old saying: “No photo? No o-bento!”

Ergo: meet today’s office lunch — my easy summer meal bento!

Easy Summer Meal Bento #209

Right tier
Leftover gado-gado with tofu, bawang goreng and pickled white onions.

Left tier
Emping, summer fruit harvested on my own balcony: strawberries and raspberries. Fresh basil for colour.

On the side
Leftover pickled salad (not shown) and an apple.

Shabby seems to be my new style.. :\ That’s because I’ve been lacking inspiration to make bentos. Not only that; I rarely feel like doing anything food-related lately. Uhm except eating of course. O_o I hope it’s just a phase that will pass soon!

This office lunch bento no. 208 is in African-Eastern style. I used leftovers from dinner I made following recipes from the Cookbook Challenge #1. Remember I said there were a few more recipes I wanted to try from the Modern Moroccan cookbook? Well, this box contains creamy couscous, agave-roasted courgette and home-made harissa. All delicious. :) Especially the couscous was surprisingly good.

Moroccan Bento (tier 1), 28-03-2013

The other tier is more… fusion. It holds some gherkin and pickled onions, mixed green salad with lemon olives, grapes, pecans, garden cress, fennel and spring onion. There’s onion bhajee with tamarind sauce in the paper cup (Indian takeaway) and a small piece of veggie dog with tomato ketchup.

Some more seedless grapes on the side.

Moroccan Bento (tier 2), 28-03-2013

I haven’t gotten around to blogging much (I’m  spending more time away from the computer these days), and I actually had this lunch on the 28th of March. So far, the first bento of April has still to come. :(

We’re eagerly awaiting spring here so we can celebrate o-hanami in the Japanese cherry blossom garden with our traditional picnic — that should make up for a lot of bentos in one go! ;)

Have you made any bentos lately?

The Ballad of Narayama film posterOn Wednesday I made my first bento in almost two months… I had a movie date in Amsterdam with my friend Loes. We went to a special viewing of the classic 1983 Palm d’Or winner The Ballad of Narayama (Narayama bushikô), a film by Shohei Imamura. Last week was the Dutch première -yes, after 30 years!- and there are only a handful of screenings.

The film tells the story of Orin, a 69 year old woman in a rural hamlet of late-1900s Japan. It’s tradition, or rather law, that inhabitants reaching the age of 70 go to the top of the mountain (Narayama) to commit obasute: death by starvation, to limit the amount of mouths to feed. The eldest son is supposed to carry his mother on his back to her resting place. But Orin is still very strong and healthy…

The Ballad of Narayama is an unusual movie: at the same time pretty much “in your face” as well as burlesque — the latter possibly to soften the hardships of life that are shown. But it’s also something I’ve come across before in Japanese cinema. Isn’t the sometimes caricatural play not reminiscent of kyōgen theatre and kabuki? Anyway, I enjoyed myself regardless of the slow pace. The many images of nature are gorgeous and it’s interesting to witness how life in a poor Japanese country village may have been in another age. I was touched by the way Orin’s son was torn between his unwillingness to let his mom go, and not wanting to shame her by refusing to go along. His difficult journey into the mountains felt like a period of mourning and Orin’s first-born carrying her to her death mirrored the process of her giving birth to him. The cycle of life.

Title roll Ballad of NarayamaThe title of the film refers to a song about Orin’s life stage made up by her grandson in the beginning of the story (wintertime), recurring several times until The End, on the threshold of another winter.

Contemplating this I seem to have a theme going in my life at the moment. My current book is Wild by Cheryl Strayed, relating of her experiences hiking the Pacific Trail Crest (PCT) in her early twenties, a few years after her mother died. I’m totally absorbed in the story and can’t wait to read on.

But first it’s time to get back to the subject of this post. I was travelling to the cinema at dinner time so I’d eaten a hearty lunch earlier that day and made myself a simple dinner bento to have on the train.

Ballad of Narayama Bento (06-03-2013)

From top to bottom

  • Aubergine caviar with corn kernels, Italian crackers and walnut spread.
  • Lemon macadamia cupcake with lemon frosting (recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), more crackers, dried apricot and baby fig.
  • Cucumber salad with mini plum tomatoes, olives, radishes, chives, a cheezy dressing (recipe from Bryanna Clarke) and hemp seeds sprinkled over.

It was GOOOOD! I hope to have more bentos and nights like this. :)

Submitted to What’s for Lunch Wednesday #145 and Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking.

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logoThis Weekend Cooking post is a hotchpot of food-related topics that have been left stewing the past weeks. I’m focussing on bentos and swaps.

Bentos

Bento making has gotten a bit neglected lately; the following, hastily filled boxes are the only lunches I have to share.

Buckwheat Pancake Bento #205

Buckwheat Pancake Bento #205

Rabbit food:

  • buckwheat pancakes from Vega Dutchie (which I found too gritty, even more when eaten cold like this)
  • cranberries
  • Lithuanian dried plum “cake”
  • treacle for pancakes in the small container
  • cucumber
  • corncob
  • carrot-cabbage salad with walnuts


MiL Bento #206

MiL Bento #206

The brown rice with ratatouille in the round blue thermos is a leftover from dinner at my mother-in-law’s the night before. The small lock & lock box contains red cabbage coleslaw with apple, raisins and an orange dressing. Two sandwiches in the butterfly bag and clementines for dessert.

Swap-botting

I’ve recently discovered swap-bot. What I don’t like about that other random mail-exchange ‘program’ Postcrossing is that I often put a lot of thought in what I write on a card, but get the shortest messages in return. Also, although I receive awesome postcards every once in a while, many people send free ad cards or touristy multi-views, both of which don’t interest me. On Swap-bot on the other hand there’s themes you can choose — and people that really like to write! A trip down memory lane as I was a fervent penpal when I was young. So thanks to Uniflame for reacquainting me with S-B! :)

Now what does this have to do with food? I hear you think. Well, the first two swaps I joined are food ‘n drink-centered.

Tea For You And Tea For Me, What’s Your Resolution?

Tea for You and Tea for Me, What's Your Resolution? swap

For the easy Tea For You And Tea For Me, What’s Your Resolution? trade we had to send three bags of tea to our partner plus a note revealing our resolutions for 2013. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I have things that I’d like to achieve this year concerning my health. So I shared those.

Tea for You and Tea for Me, What's Your Resolution? swap

Now the assignment may originally have been quick and easy, it wasn’t as simple as it seemed… My partner Barsook likes green teas — how was I supposed to choose only three??? So I sent her a whole bunch. :)

Tea for You and Tea for Me, What's Your Resolution? swap

Myself, I was pampered with five teas in a lovely decorated envelope: pure rooibos red tea, earthy vanilla scented rooibos, Tulsi sweet rose, apricot vanilla crème and jasmine green. But I won’t tell what JessicaLynn1978‘s resolution is!

Tea for You and Tea for Me, What's Your Resolution? swap

Lovely Vegan Dinner Recipe Swap

Recipe cards seem to be common in the States, but not here in Holland. I very much like the concept though! So I joined the Lovely Vegan Dinner Recipe Swap in which I had to share a virtual meal via recipes for a starter, main course and dessert. All animal-free. Luckily it was okay to make your own recipe cards as long as they had the standard format of approximately A5. So these are the ones I made for lob.

Recipe cards for Vegan Dinner Recipe swap

The recipes that travelled on these are:

Vegan Dinner Recipe swap

Now I got the most AWESOME package from long-time veggie Seaglass! She put a lot of effort in making my parcel extra special — she’s the sweetest!

Vegan Dinner Recipe Swap package from seaglass

There’s recipes for:

  • vegan ‘blue cheese’ dressing
  • potato, sorrel & watercress soup
  • quinoa salad with tofu
  • tofu with snow peas and lemon lime vinaigrette
  • spicy polenta with chili paste
  • Lisa’s vegan zucchini carrot muffins
  • chocolate upside down pudding cake

I have no idea where to start! :D I guess it won’t be the soup though since I have to find out first where to get sorrel (zuring). Any ideas, Dutchies? Should I just go and pick some in the fields? I’m a little afraid of catching tetanus from dog or fox pee… :\

Seaglass also included some empty recipe cards for me to use and a load mouthwatering vegan candy bars — those are hard to get over here! And a packet of California powdered chili for me to compare to its Dutch counterpart: American recipes containing chili somehow always get too hot; even though I can usually handle heat.

I LOVE the paper Lisa (Seaglass) wrote her letter on: it has a heron! So cute!

That’s it for me now. Do you have some foodie news to share for Weekend Cooking?


A quick share of my most recent bento. It contained leftovers from our “yogi dinner” the previous night: recipes from the cookbook Yogifood1 by Jet Eikelboom and Seth Jansen.

Yogi lentil salad with hazelnuts, parsley, red cabbage, corn lettuce and a maple-balsamic dressing, mini plum tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, and more tomato with almond butter dip from my Lithuanian Foodie Penpal, yogi potato mash with thyme and a sea-buckthorn candy from my visit to Vlieland.

On the side: 2 clementines, santana apple and 3 sandwiches (apple-pear butter & houmous).

Local/CSA: corn lettuce, cabbage, carrot, potato, thyme, apple.

Office lunch on Thursday 13-12-2012.

Vita Bento #203

On Thursday I enjoyed an office lunch with several of the Lithuanian goodies I got from my November Foodie Penpal Vita.

The box up front contains both the kūčiukai and cookie rings (yay, cookies to add carbs to my bento ;) a freeze dried strawberry and candied radishes.

The middle ‘meat & veg’ tier holds some onion-leek-garlic-pepper (yellow & green) stir-fry, slices of Healthy Planet “chicken” fillet, a fresh radish, mini Brussels’ sprouts and a skewer of sliced raja potato and gherkin, all on a bed of corn salad. I also brought a small container of tomato ketchup for the faux meat but forgot to include it in the picture.

Dessert comes last of course: apple & clementine.

I didn’t mean to cross the bento-200 line so silently… Alas, I lacked the time to post numbers 200-202 but plan to make up for that later this month!

- – - – -

Join us with a food related post in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!

Weekend Cooking @ Beth Fish Reads

I had planned a nice bento in orange colours last week, but unfortunately I had to skip it. But here’s a green one today instead!

Greenish Bento, 24-10-2012

First tier
Pasta salad with avocado sauce, peas, corn & sun-dried tomatoes, escarole and tiny tomato from the balcony.

Second tier
Pecans for the salad, courgette fritter, cucumber to dip in spicy houmous, and (Gnoe getting frivolous here ;) gherkin hearts.

On the side
Gingerbread with soy margarine & agave syrup and fruit salad for dessert: apple, satsuma and mango in a lemon-ginger dressing with cinnamon.

I’ve been looking for a good pasta salad recipe and now I’ve found it! I use Chloe Coscarelli’s avocado-pesto sauce, either leftovers of dinner like today, or made afresh. The sun-dried tomatoes are a must but for the rest it’s just what I have at hand. Made it with young broad beans once — ‘t was great!

Bento submitted to What’s for Lunch Wednesday on Bentolunch.net

Don’t you think today’s office lunch looks really cheerful?! :D

Flowery Fall Bento #197

First tier
Red Batavia lettuce, French onion, cucumber and radish flowers finished off with African Peper Mix, salt, yuzu powder and nori cutting. Nooo, I did not do that by hand. ;) Oven-roasted butternut squash with coriander seeds in the cup, and a tiny tomato from the balcony.

Second tier
Seitan stroganoff and minty leek bulgur with a fresh mint blossom.

Third tier
The fruit tier: kiwi, red grapefruit, orange and home-grown yellow raspberries with a bundle of mint.

On the side
Dressing for the raw vegetables and more proteins: a soy caramel dessert.

A little of the fresh mint went into the bulgur, the rest I used for a cup of herbal tea. :)

This bento mostly consists of leftovers: the seitan, grains and pumpkin were all on the menu the past few days. The citrus wedges I put aside yesterday when I was having a bowl of fruit. So you see: it really doesn’t have to be a lot of work!

Now, maybe you’re wondering what happens to the cut-off pieces of crudités — I know I used to when I was a beginning bentoïst! But there are several solutions.

  • In this case they’re hidden beneath the flowers. :)
  • You can snack on them while compiling your bento.
  • They can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated until evening or the next day, when you can throw them in a salad, soup, tofu scramble, stew or whatever.

Maybe you have an even better idea? Whatever you do: wasting them is not an option. ;)

ExtraVeganza logo, © variomatic

Have you heard of VeganMoFo yet?
It’s October turned into a vegan treasure box!

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

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