The Vegan (out of necessity) Bento

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I ran out of money and subsequently regular food for this bento. Thus I had to excavate through the freezer to find some edible protein. I found some Gardein chick’n strips that I bought MONTHS ago at Kroger at a decent discount that I threw in the freezer for just such occasion. I threw some Trader Joe’s Eggplant Punjab on top to give it more flavor and it turned out to be tastier than I expected. I don’t think I will repeat it but it was enjoyable out of necessity.

Above it is some polenta that I pan fried and seasoned with salt and pepper. To the left is some mango I cut up while frying the polenta, nearly torching my apartment to the ground. It was all smoke and no flames, but enough to make me panic and double check the burners and even the oven (which I didn’t use at all).

And, of course, there are green beans that I sautéed in coconut oil with rosemary seasoning below the mango. They are my go-to vegetable choice!

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Rachel’s Guest Post

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I received this photo from my friend Rachel and was so proud of her for using her bento box that I said I would use it as a guest post! Incidentally, we bought our bento boxes together a little under a year ago or so, thus I am pleased to see hers getting more use.

Her bento consists of chickpeas (with nothin’–just plain ol’ chickpeas), a cut up Boca burger, fresh romaine, and tomato. Not pictured are pears and peaches. And this bento is only 6 WW points!

Congratulations, Rachel, on making the cut for leemakeslunch! Not that I was scrambling through entries:) And keep up the healthy eating habits!

Veganized Bento II: The Reckoning

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I made another veganized bento. Everything is the same except for my addition of frozen sweet potatoes and maple almond butter. Holy cow, the combination of those two is absolutely delicious. It was like eating a nice healthy dessert. I ate this after exerting myself on the elliptical and doing an ab workout on a completely empty stomach. I ate in the student center amidst all the other students, all using shiny new tablets they probably got for Christmas. I personally began to feel smug, but not for my technological superiority; I felt smug because the guy next to me was eating the saddest sandwich I had ever seen out of a brown plastic bag. So what you have a swanky new tablet! I cooked my lunch! You can’t cook kale with a tablet!

Veganized bento!

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This past week, I went a little overboard on my grocery budget. I made too much money over the holidays and since I work at a grocery store and rarely venture into other retail establishments, I spent most of my extra income on food. My freezer was bulging with all sorts of frozen vegetables and something needed to be done. I pulled out the butternut squash I had frozen last month and whipped up the Garam Masala butternut squash. I also had a bag of frozen kale. There’s only one reliable kale recipe I’ve made and it’s Garlicky Kale and Mushrooms from vegan queen Isa Chandra Moscowitz’s Appetite for Reduction. I bought the cookbook during my roughly 5-minute long vegan phase where I would do really well for breakfast and lunch, feel great about my accomplishments and then reward myself with chicken. I now use the recipes for my vegetable sides and they are just so darn tasty!

I then made another salad with the other half of my avocado, cut strawberries, power greens, broccoli slaw, and a kitty head cup of balsamic glaze. Let me tell you that avocado, strawberries, and balsamic are an absolutely killer combination. Try it!

Isa Chandra Moscowitz’s Garlicky Kale and Mushrooms
1 tsp olive oil (I used a hot pepper olive oil)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. Kale, coarse stems removed, leaves sliced or torn into pieces (I just thawed and strained the frozen kale)
Several pinches of ground black pepper

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the oil for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn it. Spray it with a little nonstick cooking spray if needed. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle on the salt. Let them cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the moisture has released and the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the kale and pepper, and use tongs to sauté for about 10 more minutes. Add splashes of water if the pan seems dry. The kale should be tender and cooked down pretty well. Serve immediately.

The other recipes in her book that I want to try are grilled portobellos, ginger mashed sweet potatoes and apples, lettuce wraps with hoisin-mustard tofu, and buffalo tempeh. In the meantime, I found a non-vegan breakfast adaptation of this kale recipe that looks phenomenal as well!