Orange Is the New Bento

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Today’s unconventional breakfast is a new favorite combination, resurrecting my taste for sardines. I used to love them when I was a kid and then my affinity for them tapered off. I think the smell of someone always eating them in the breakroom at work was apparently off-putting enough that I couldn’t stomach them for a while. I have since rekindled my love for this quick and inexpensive protein resource and have been eating them frequently as if to make up for lost time. The ones I used in this bento are in harissa, adding a bit of a spicy kick. They don’t seem to have a very fragrant odor, nor are they overpoweringly salty as some can be. I toasted some fresh Ciabatta bread (although you can use whatever crusty bread with which your fancy is tickled) and spread on some homemade mayonnaise and Provencal mustard (again, whatever Dijon mustard you prefer will surely render delicious results). I added thinly sliced yellow onion, the sardines, and a pinch of black pepper.

The other compartment has my staple sweet potatoes with maple almond butter and Minneola slices. Also known as a tangelo, this hybrid of a tangerine and a grapefruit looks like a friendly orange grenade and it can sometimes seem oddly hollow. They are easy to peel and don’t really contain any seeds, so it’s good for a quick snack. And it tastes so much better than grapefruit does. I keep trying to make myself like grapefruit, but thankfully minneolas make me feel like less of a masochist.

The Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit Bento

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I have a lot of new foods and favorites to share with everyone after my reemergence from the retail holiday season hiatus!

For today’s bento, I sliced up half a piping-hot baked sweet potato and crumbled some honey goat cheese on top, along with a small handful of honey roasted sliced almonds. Recommended by one of my supervisors, this is now one of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes! The goat cheese’s tang is enhanced by the sweetness of both the potato and the honey, making for a decadent and relatively healthy breakfast (depending on your personal affinity for honey goat cheese). Beneath the potato is a sliced opal apple. Not super exciting, but it’s my favorite kind of apple now. It’s like a Fuji apple but on the sweeter side.

Now, I love it when I’m scouring the Internet for recipes and stumble across one that happens to require ingredients that I actually have. Especially ones that desperately need to be eaten! Last night I rushed to the kitchen to make Michelle Tam’s Mango + Avocado Salsa and then tossed it with fresh baby spinach and cherry tomatoes. It was so tasty and refreshing that I packed it in today’s bento for breakfast!

Here is the recipe for those who wish not to open a new tab:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced ripe mango (about 2 mangoes– I used Ataufo mangoes [also known as honey mangoes])
  • ½ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup diced Hass avocado (1 medium avocado)
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • big pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Juice from 1 lime

And just mix it all together!