My goal is to run 1,000 miles in 2010. See how far along I am:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 17-20, 2009

January 17, 2009
The Self: Cranky, gross night at work. Mreh!
The Daily: I started knitting a sock.

January 18, 2009
The self: In a daze on the couch. I did data entry at work all day. Surprisingly exhausting.
The Daily: Gave up on the sock, started a new hat for the beginning of school.

January 19, 2009
The Self: My Mother in Law at Dinner.
The Daily: Butter at dinner. I like this plate.
January 20, 2009
The Self: Getting Ready for Eric's Wake. Today is a day of mourning.
The daily: Inauguration day Coffee sleeve from Starbucks. Today is a day of change and celebration.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fridays Bento

    Today's Bento:
-Vegetable Gyoza (frozen from Trader Joe's)
- Cherry tomato/ Mixed Vegetable Gratin
-Tamago (yucky tamago today)
-Shrimp/Furikake fritters
- Grapes for filler

The Verdict:
Not bad but i've had better. I like the gratin again. I think I will use less mayo and cheese in the future (I'm trying to be healthier!) There was also a teeny hole in the cupcake liner that I had the gratin in and it leaked on to my gyoza. Gyoza were good as usual. The shrimp fritters were really good, I just wish I had soaked the shrimp in lemon before I cooked them, they tasted a bit fishy. Todays tamago was no good. It looked so nice but it tasted soggy. Not sure why, as there was nothing wet in that part of the bento. Grapes are always good. I think I did not enjoy my bento so much today, because I didnt really want to eat at the time, and was not in the mood to eat anything in it. They forced me to take my dinner break. Its good when they do that at work, as I frequently forget.

Goals For the next week:
-Keep up the cooking in the morning
-Keep up the mise en place
-Plan for the week, I do the "What can I make?" The night before while I prep for the next day.
-Track the calories for each bento
-NOT blow the whole day of eating (mostly) well when I get home at night. I usually get home from work around 9pm and have a habit of eating dinner or a larger meal then. If I need to eat I will eat fruit or yogurt which I will have on hand for this (and bentos)

January 16, 2009

January 16, 2009
The Self: I'm the lotto bitch in the hospital. Here's me with the scratch offs. 
Today was a big winner day. Lucky Them. Also my sweater was trying to choke me all day. I was grateful
for changing when I got home.

The Daily: My Tamago that I made this am for lunch. I was very proud of it's nice roll. Too bad it tasted like crap. The one I made yesterday looked like crap but was tasty. I think I might buy pre-made tamago at Mitsuwa next week. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Week 1 Bentos (so far)

I was Monday and Tuesday this week, so I didnt make Bentos for those days. (Although I would have been better off doing that.) I made bento for today and for tomorrow. I tried something new though. Normally when school is in session I would make bentos at night for DH and I. However at work I have no microwave access (I do at school) so after my bento sits in the fridge over night its still too chilly when I eat lunch. Since I dont have to be in work till lunchtime I've been prepping my bento at night and finishing it off cooking wise in the am. Today was the first day I did that. (And of course I woke up to a few inches of snow this summer which cut into to my am bento cooking time!) But it worked well and tested much better then super cold bento. 

So for todays bento I made a mini vegetable gratin, tamagoyaki, teriyaki shrimp and rice.
This way was easier. Last night I marinated the shrimp, prepared the gratin in the cup and that was it. So this morning all I did was put the gratin in the toaster oven, while that was baking  I fried the leftover rice I had, and cooked the shrimp in the same pan (I did the rice first since it takes longer to cool) After the shrimp and I rice I made the Tamagoyaki. 

This is the vegetable gratin, all ready to go for tomorrow and be cooked in the toaster. The gratin was so good today I decided to make it again tomorrow! Yum!

I also cooked up some really easy shrimp furikake fritters too. Keeping frozen uncooked shrimp in the freezer is a good idea, they defrost very quickly and work for proteins. 
I've been following (trying) the bento challenge at Just Bento. This is week 1. More about getting started and into the swing of making bentos for lunch everyday. This is my week to get back on track, with making lunches and not eating so much crap. (again trying) I linked all the recipes I used from Maki at Just Bento, go visit!

January 14 & 15, 2009

January 14, 2009
The self: Doing some paperwork, at work. 
The daily: My iced tea I made. In my reusable Starbucks cup.
January 15,2009
The self: Some webkins and myself.

The Daily: My tamagoyaki pan

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Donation No.1 of 2009!

 Since my new year resolution this year was to donate blood and components as much as I am allowed I though I would write about two firsts for the year. Today was my 1st donation of the year, and also my first platelet donation.
 Platelet donation is great because they are able to take several 1000 times more platelets out of your blood then they would be able to get from just a single pint donation. The platelets are then used for cancer patients, accident victims, and bone marrow transplant patients to name a few. The amount I donated today is enough for two transfusions.  
  The whole process takes about two and half hours, which is a bit long but not bad it all!
The quick version of it is:
You do the mini physical/screening.
The put one needle in one arm where the blood will be taken from, and a second needle in the other arm where it will be returned to you. You blood is taken out run through a centrifuge filter machine, separating out the platelets and the plasma and returning the rest in the other arm! 
So for a bit less than two hours this is what you are doing. They have little TVs to watch which is very cool, and they gave me some nice blankets to snuggle in. (When your blood comes back in it is cooler than your body temperature so you get a bit chilly during the process. I took a nap for a bit of the time and talked to the phlebotomists who were working. 

I am going to document the process more next week when I go to do my next donation and will take some photos.  More then!

January 12 & 13, 2009

January 12, 2009
Self Portrait: At a 7-11 ATM with Wifey
The Daily: A cute scarf and Bracelet I got at Old Navy with Kate. That bracelet was originaly $12.99. I paid $1.99!

January 13, 2009
Self Portrait: Today should be called the 8:15 project, I fell asleep on the couch and my alarm was supposed to go off at 7pm. Buuut I didnt go off at all. So here is what I was doing at 7pm (re-created of course)

The Daily: Some yummy yarn I picked up today with Jess after donating platelets today!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold Indian Rice Salad

My mother in law is a great cook. Such an inspiration to my culinary adventures. This is a salad that I am addicted to and I can always count on this to be at any BBQ or summer party she is at. A very easy recipe which can also be made in a rice cooker streamline things, has a great combination of spices that are center stage in this salad. It is my all time favorite!

Cold Indian Rice Salad

1 cup brown rice
1 tsp. curry powder
2 whole cinn sticks, broken3 or 4 whole cardamom pods, slightly crushed
2 cups chicken broth (or H2O)
2 TBSP oil
1/2 C raisins
1/2 Cup chopped almonds=toasted is best
1 10 oz. pkg froz peas
1 Cup mayo mixed w/1 or 2 tsp. curry powder (I go for the 2)

A neat trick: To make life easier in hunting down the cardom pods, I take a needle and double thread and sew them together into a ring. I like to make two of them each with half the pods.
Simmer rice & spices in broth w/oil till broth is absorbed, covered, approx 40 min. (I do this in my rice maker, Again use the approriate amount of liquid according to your rice maker.)

Cool and remove cinn sticks & pods (if you can fine them!-I usually end up dumping in big bowl to cool better and search for pods &  sticks.)

When cool, add thawed peas, raisins, & almonds

Mix in mayo mixed w/curry powder. Chill & enjoy!

Wild Rice Salad

 This is one of my other favorite bring a dish dishes. A few summers ago I was introduced to this salad by our friend Meg in Boston who was super sensitive to my new celiac needs at the time. I have fond memories of sitting on her deck inebriated, freshly engaged, with a bottle of Sailor Jerry rum, DH, and our friend Mike raving about this salad, eating about my 10th serving. It was just that good. 
I also find that with this salad there is a lot of winging it to be had. I really just use this as a guide, no apples use a pear, no walnuts (not a fan) pecans work well. I really do use whatever. I also keep a jar with the "scrap" rice in it for this. You know, when you have that little amount left and dont want to cook it, it goes in the "scrap rice jar". Also this makes great leftovers and is good hot or cold. You really cannot go wrong with it. 

Wild Rice Salad with Apples and Walnuts

1 c wild rice
2 c water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 c coarsely chopped walnuts
1 celery rib
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 c raisins
1 medium red apple (not Delicious), cored and diced
grated rind of 1 lemon

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (Sometimes I use the bottled juice if I have lemons, and leave out the zest)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 c olive oil

Put the wild rice in a strainer and rinse under cold water. Place it in a medium saucepan along with the water, oil and salt. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook 50 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all the water has been absorbed. (When wild rice is done, it has a tender yet nubby texture.)

Meanwhile, combine the walnuts, celery, scallions, raisins, apple and lemon rind in a large bowl. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil and shake vigorously. Pour half of this dressing on the apple mixture and toss well.
When the rice is done, let it cool until just warm. Combine with the fruit mixture and pour on the remaining dressing. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.

Notes: I usually use 1/2 wild rice and 1/2 Brown rice. (you can use anything really) I also usually do this in the rice maker. When I do it in the rice maker I put the water (use and amount according to your rice maker!!) oil, rice and salt in the rice maker. I despise baby sitting rice on the stove and Love my rice maker deeply! I reccommend that you get/use one! I also vary this recipe according to what I have on hand (fruit, nuts and dried fruit wise) , really anything goes. I always make this salad in a double batch for parties and BBQ's and everyone loves it!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

January 8-11, 2009

January 8, 2009
Self Portrait: With a paper Sakura I made. I want spring to be here so bad.

The Daily Photo: Our cool new electric toothbrush. Best thing ever.

January 9, 2009
Self Portrait: Stockroom (as usuall)

The daily photo: Kate's Dog, Booming Molly wearing my scarf.
January 10, 2009
Self Portriat: Waiting for my car to warm up. I got to leave work an hour early because it snowed.
The daily: After the longest day ever all I wanted to do was lay in bed and knit.
Januaary 11, 2009
Self Portrait: Doing a scratch off lotto ticket at work. I didnt win. 
The Daily:  A rum and Ginger, and Wii. Well deserved after a long week!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to Bentos

I'm getting myself back into making bentos for lunch. Maki at Just bento is doing a 5 week bento challange. Im getting back into the bento swing a bit early, It starts on the 13th so there is still time to get involved. When I do my bentos they are not anything fancy. Im blogging it for the challenge (not required though!) You really can do anything. Im going to be working longer days for the next week straight and Im usually there for lunch and dinner, so I need to bring a bit more with my so Im not tempted to give in to all that candy. (Bad News!!)
I stopped at Trader Joe's on my way home today to pick up some things. I tried this fresh Low fat ranch dressing in their produce section. Get it! It's yummy! 30 calories for 2 tablespoons makes it a nice choice. These  wraps are good too, with 5 grams of fiber they keep you fuller longer.
In The top tier of the bento is mesclun salad, with baby tomatoes, feta, and a Hello Kitty Egg that  I made in my HK egg mold. (Ill post about that another day!) 
The bottom tier has Almond butter and strawberries.
There is also a string cheese, the yummy dressing is in those cute little apple shaped sauce containers! They each hold 1 teaspoon.

Here is my bento .....
...packed in my cute Hello Kitty insulated bag. I also put the tuna wrap and  dressing containers in there. I put everything in this bag and then put it in the fridge, that way the bag starts out a bit colder. My lunch stays nice in this bag. If it was summer I would throw my HK ice pack in there too.
As a side for the Almond butter I packed a few Wasa crackers, some small multi seed crackers from TJ's and some TJ's brand french onion sun chips. I always like chips, and Ive been buying overpriced mini bags from the cafeteria at work.  $1.99 is waaaay too much!

I got this sandwich container at Stop and shop for $3.99 since I frequently bring a PB&J sandwich on really long days, and it frequently (I mean always) gets squashed in my bag I thought this could nicely replace all the foil. Im not sure where else you can buy them online but this link has a where to buy look up. It's also eco friendly and has no creepy chemicals (well I'm sure it some but no lead, PVC, bisphenol-a)
Works nice for keeping crackers, crackers and not crumbs in my bag!
So go make your self a Bento!

January 7, 2009

The Self Portrait: The face of someone who "wasn't even supposed to be here today."

The Daily Photo: My sweet little Kapibara San Bento. I love my Kappies!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6, 2009

The Daily Photo:  The cafeteria at work. I like the way the lights reflect off the tables. It reminds me of Disco.

Monday, January 5, 2009

January 5, 2009

January 5, 2009
Self Portrait: In our living room eating wonton soup, watching Seinfeld, snuggling with my HK Blanket. 

Daily Photo: My Cable knit mug from Starbucks, filled with Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The 7pm Self Portrait Project, The first 3 days.

I've started some new projects for the year. Two photo projects to be precise.
The first (and main one) is the 7p.m. Self Portrait project. Matt and I will be taking our self portraits on a daily basis at 7p.m. To see how we change for the year, get creative with shots in the same locations where we tend to usually be at the same time daily. I'll be posting them on here along with a daily picture. The daily photo project
is to document the little things over the year. Things I would probably forget about in a year that may not be so important, but at the time s
eem to be. These two projects will also get me back into taking photos which I seem to have been neglecting for the past year. Plus why not?
So here are the first three days:

January 2, 2009
Self Portrait: In the stockroom work

The daily photo:
Pints of Guinness with Kate at the Penny.

January 4, 2009
Self Portrait in the stockroom

The daily photo
A box of good from knit; A christmas gift from my mom

January 5, 2009
Self portrait in the Doorway of our bathroom
The daily Photo:
My garden wish list from burpee