Archive for January, 2009

Guest Spot

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I love it when I manage to be entertaining enough to make guest appearances on my friends’ blogs. I know that I should have taken a picture of this myself, but Bree was just so excited about it.

The story goes like this:

I was playing Left 4 Dead with two friends of mine. During the level that takes place in a hospital, we found ourselves holding our own in a supply closet as the zombie hoard rushed at us. In the excitement, I realized that I had molotov cocktail in my inventory. I threw it into the hall at the zombies and got all proud of myself as they burned away. Next thing I know I hear my friend’s voice through the computer, “AHHHHH!!!! I’m on FIRE!” Sure enough, his character ran into the hallway covered in flames. “What are you doing?!” he cried.

Then it dawned on me. Not only was his character on fire, but all of us were. I looked down at my health meter as it began to plummet. Problem was, the whole thing struck me as being really funny. I didn’t even think for a second that the game would be clever enough to realize that the zombies weren’t the only flammable thing in the immediate area. Woops!

Not wanting to cause any hard feelings, I showed up with this when I went to his house the next day: CLICK ME!

Nothing says “I’m sorry” better than chocolate and caramel!

And so it continues…

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

This is the second week of the bento challenge and I’m doing only ok.  Truth is that I have not packed as many bentos as I would like.  Also, the ones that I have been packing aren’t really all that interesting to look at.  Not having my car for quick trips to the grocery store is really starting to take its toll on my pretty lunches.  While I might be a little disappointed, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have anything to offer and share with the class.

Star Salad

This bento is pretty basic except for the star shaped egg fritata.  A long time ago I bought some foil stars to bake cup cakes in.  Result was that I hated them and realized that I didn’t care for cupcakes all that much either.  Go fig.  I think those things have been sitting around for over a year before it finally dawned on me that I could use them to bake savory things just as well as sweets.

As for the new dressing bottle, that is just a plain bottle that I dressed up with my new Tare Panda (or at least I think that is his name) sticker set.  The nice thing is that as that sticker fades from washing or whatever, I have a whole sheet of replacement stickers in the wings.

Oh, and since I haven’t posted in so long, I got a surprise for you all:


Yup, that was my car over a week ago.  It’s still not home yet because I am waiting for them to replace the side skirts that got damaged where those bricks are.  So, does anyone know where I can get some laser cannons so no one will tempted to try this crap again?

Let the Games Begin!

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Today marks the first day of the Just Hungry bento challenge for me.  It also marks the beginning of phase 2 in my South Beach diet plan.  This means that carbs are no longer evil and whole grains are back on the menu.  It also means that I can have brown rice and quinoa again.  For those of you who know my last blog, you might know how I sing hte praises of quinoa.  I love everything about the stuff and can’t get over how well it lends itself to bento making.  Cook some in your rice cooker, add some veggies and seasoning…and you got instant healthy salad.  This time I went the greek route with feta, tomatos, and cucumber.  It’s light and filling and pretty much a no brainer (which at this point is a big plus because my brain is fried trying to take car of all my car stuff…more on that later).

So here is my first bento for the challenge:

Bernard the Wonder Carrot

There was a time when I insisted on putting faces in my bentos regardless of what I was making. I would make creepy face in my lunch than write some little fun fact about it. Well, this is Bernard the Wonder Carrot. Click on the pic for more details.


Saturday, January 10th, 2009

This morning I saw one of the most shocking things in my life.  My boyfriends Aunt came upstairs and told me that “something bad” had happened to my car.  Thinking it had been broken into, I just grabbed some shoes, put a jacket on to cover the fact that I had not bothered to put a bra on yet that morning, and headed outside to see the damage.  There in the driveway was my car, propped up on two thin cement blocks, all four tires missing.   The vandals hadn’t bothered to be careful or neat.  Discarded bolts were thrown around the driveway, and the car had titled forward on the blocks so it was now resting n the front axle.  The back of the car was suspended high in the air making it look like some animal in heat. . . presenting.  There was damage to the sides were the blocks were, bolts stripped in the rush to get the job done, but the door remained locked and the alarm silent.

The police were called, the report made, and sympathies given.  The usual I guess.  Things started pretty routine and I was thankful that things were progressing along.  That is until I called my insurance company.  there was no standrd procedure for this sort of thing.  Yes, the car is un-drivable, but it isn’t totaled.  Basically, you can’t tow a car with no tires.  After almost half an hour on the phone, I was given permission to try to find a company to come out on a Saturday morning (hours before a snow storm  mind you)  and put tires on the car before towing it off.  A this point, I went a little crazy.  The preferred place that the insurance company gave me was closed, and the website that would have provided more information was down.  I considered calling back, but instead more tears came and helplessness set in.

I forgot who made the suggestion (possibly my incredible friend who literally jumped out of bed to come and make sure I was ok, while simultaneously offering to take me to buy all four tires and put them on with the help of another friend) but I decided to call the dealership where I bought the car.  The man at the service center was shocked.  While this has been known to happen to other Hondas (most notably the Civic), he had never heard of this happening to a Fit.  Guess those alloy wheels are just too tempting, no matter how tiny they are.  I asked if they had four tires that I could buy, and he immediately went to work helping me.  It turned out that since they had heard of this thing before, he was going to call a tow company himself for me.  The towing company would pick up the tires from Honda first and then come to my house.

All went according to plan and now my car is safe and snuggly locked away in a body shop.  On Monday I will have to start making plans and dealing with the insurance company again.  But for now, I can try to relax and put things in perspective.  While it’s hard not to look out the window as people drive by and think to myself “Oh aren’t you people all special.  With your fancy cars.  With WHEELS!”  I suppose I should be thankful.  So many people offered to help me today that I was almost overwhelmed. Yes things really could have been a lot worse. And I am really lucky.  I am grateful for the help, support, and the well wishes.  It’s gonna take some time, a lot of paperwork, and another 5 headaches or so, but my car will be fixed and back on the road soon.  Only this time, it’ll have locking lug nuts.  So there!

Why Bento?

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

In my last journal, I never took the time to fully explain my blog’s mission or “bento philosophy.” I make my bentos for several reasons, the foremost being portion control and visual appeal. When I actually take the time to think about what I am putting into my body, I find that the prettiness of bentos make otherwise “boring healthy meals” a lot more fun to eat. For some of us, presentation can make all the difference. Another bonus is that since the size of the box restricts how much food you can put in it, a well packed box actually looks like you are getting a lot more food than you really are. You don’t need to feel bad about packing it up because there is only so much that is going to fit in there anyway. Just make sure that you don’t buy a bento box that is too big.

Another aspect of my bento making practices is that I make Western-style bentos. I do love Japanese and other Asian foods and will from time to time experiment with Japanese recipes, but since my background is Italian-American, be prepared for a lot of what I like to call “Bento Italiano.” I find that when I am in a rush, I will often stick to what I know and can get easily, so unfortunately that can sometimes limit how “authentic” my bentos can be. The nice thing is that I have yet to see anyone out there who feels that making Japanese bentos is the only way to go. I’ve found that bento is more about healthful eating, fun, creativity, and even love. You don’t need onigiri to have those things. :)

Okay, so before this lecture gets out of hand, I do want to explain one more thing about my bentos this week. . .they don’t have any carbs. In order to lose some of my holiday weight, I have decided to try The South Beach Diet. Right now I am in the second week of phase one, and will be entering Phase 2 just as the Just Bento Challenge begins. I really can’t tell you how much I miss carbs, but at least the bentos are keeping me on track.

Here are my first 2 carb free bentos for this week. The first one was eaten today (Jan 5th) and the second is for tomorrow.

Jan 5th Bento

Jan 6th Bento

Bento resolutions!

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Every new year starts off with resolutions that are rarely seen to their end.  Everyone is guilty of it, especially me….so much so that I stopped making resolutions as soon as we stopped writing them on pieces on construction paper for the bulletin board in grade school.  It’s not that I’m lazy, but the truth is that you often feel like you need to pledge something really big this time of year.  This often results in biting off more than you can chew.  Thanks to my bento-guru over at Just Bento, I now have a challenge that while still full of challenge-y goodness, will not kick my sorry ass to the curb. Starting January 13th, I will try harder than ever to make a bento lunch each work day. These bentos will stay within a healthy calorie range and focus on saving money where I can. All progress for this challenge will be posted both ere and over at the Just Bento Flickr Group.

Here is just a sample of one of my past bentos that I did back when I was more conscious about what was going into my body:

note: click on the pic for more details on bento contents.


It’s time to get back on track, and get creative. 5 weeks of bangin’ bentos, here I come!

My Fraggle Rocks

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

I just discovered this morning that my former blog over at journalspace is no more. Victim of accidental disaster or premeditated revenge, I suppose there is no point in whining about it. The new year is starting off with a new blog, a new goal, and hopefully new motivation to make the information on here actually be of interest to somebody.

First an introduction. 28 yr old female, answers to the name Valerie (or often Smal/Smalerie, a nickname that I don’t think will ever go away). Things that don’t make me that much of an individual include my love of cute things (especially if they have soft fuzzy ears), a love to cook, and an inclination towards geekdom. Things that do make me stand-out: well, I’m the only me, so let’s just start with that.

I hope that in time this new blog will focus on a few things. I constantly strive to learn new things and have new experiences, whether it be weight loss through bento lunches or historical reenactment. This blog will hopefully grow along with me as I get a better idea of how to organize myself in this new space. But we need to start somewhere, so here it goes. Let’s toast to Smal beginnings.