Sunday, August 22, 2010

August Bento Days (3)

Another Sunday leading to the end of the summer vacation and we are trying to do as much as we can with the kids. I know I have been pretty lazy in the kitchen this summer and was able to make Bento only but nothing else. Perhaps the Autumn crisp and cool air will inspire me to turn on the oven again and bake something nice and sweet. Currently, the weather is still summer hot and I am unwilling to trade my flip flops days with anything more than a microwave re-heat button! But with these past few practices, I think I have improved in my Bento skills and able to introduce more different ingredients and dishes to my kids, which I needed as I will be packing Bento everyday for my daughter once the school term starts. Well of course, once in a while, I will let her have the fun to go queue up in the line with her peers to get her hot lunch. It is very important not to tire myself and bore her as the school days during the cold months of Autumn and Winter seem to be forever!

We went to our local neighborhood park this morning with our good family friends. I am very clueless at times and only realised the existence of my local park this summer when Miss E had her tennis lessons there! I guess I am always too comfortable on where I am and very less an adventurer outside. Time to make a change for myself to go all out and explore! It will be totally ironic if I prepare my kids for the world and all I am doing to myself is getting reclusive!

For today's Picnic, I went easy and packed lighter that needed less cooking. I love okra and trying to convince my kids to eat the slimy greens who so far have been quite willing to eat it. I just boiled it in the microwave together with the broccoli, sliced some cold cucumber slices and skewered up some quail eggs with small black olives for the salad sides. Blueberries and strawberries are still plenty in the market despite the arrival of peaches and figs and small grapes completed the fruits box.

My Marjoram and Oregano successfully sprouted and I am so delighted to have my first herb pot, all green and plenty to be used in my culinary experiment. Both herbs are closely related in all aspects and I planted them in one pot. Because of its pungent lemony and citrusy flavor, a small sprig goes a long way. I dissected some chicken wings into all their 3 parts and marinated them overnight with the herbs, grated garlic, salt, black pepper, cooking oil and honey. The drummets, with wings and tips were then baked for 40 mins in a 375'F oven, uncovered to get the beautiful brown roasted color on the outside and the moist inner part.

For the last tier of the Bento box, I packed some hot dogs and cut them into half to fit in the box nicely. To keep the bread soft and dry, I put some mayo inside the bun before putting in the sausages. The only thing I forgotten about was to pack a separate container of ketchup! The kids and adults loved these mini hot dogs and they were gone in seconds. A very appropriate food item for kids bento too!

Despite the occasional rain drizzle, we enjoyed ourselves! The kids had a great time trying to fish but instead caught more weeds and unidentified objects and playing in the lake. Sometimes, or rather most of the time, a getaway need not be far away as long as you have the right company of people and one or few activities to go along with it. For a period of almost 4 hours, we all had our fill of fun and still have time to go home and spend the Sunday quietly on our comfy sofa. Life is good!

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