bento love

Variety Bento

autumn is in the air —
i vacillate between
excitement for
mustard yellows & crunchy leaves
and
utter dread for
dreary cold temps.
today marks the first day of school
for most kids in MD,
which means traffic is up,
the campus is packed,
and the kids in my building
aren’t seemingly training for the
gymnastics olympic team at 1pm.

Variety Bento

in favor of transparency here,
i’ve been in a food rut.
i’m not my usual excited self on market day,
most evening dinners have been veggies on toast,
i’m spotty with the breakfast thing
and while i still pack our lunches 4/5 days,
more often than not,
it’s PB&Honey sandwiches
or pasta salad.
just punch me with all this food blogger burnout already.

Variety Bento

enter the bento.
i tinkered with it a little last summer,
then lost interest
and for reasons beyond me
picked up the interest again.
i like the portion control,
and honestly,
how pretty it looks.
if that’ll get me out of my slump,
i’ll take it.

Variety Bento

resources & inspiration: (these are not affiliate or sponsored links)
glass bento containers
sushi maker
bentoparty
shisodelicious

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summer kefir scones – 2 ways

Kefir Scones -

this post was created in partnership with Green Valley Organics.

during the work week
i’m an early bird,
typically up before the alarm dings.
it’s unusual indeed for it to go off,
and when it does happen,
it’s a sign i slept really well,
and the day can be considered a victory
before it even starts.

we attempted to view the eclipse on monday,
there we were,
dw & i with our shoddy recalled goggles
that we purchased weeks ago,
standing under a heavy blanket of grey clouds,
it was like Mordor,
and then right as 2:42pm was imminent
the clouds opened
and we were rained on.
not so victorious,
but hilarious regardless.

summer is winding down,
our zucchini stash is ridiculous
and every time i bite into a peach
i’m reminded that august is going away
and september is right behind it.
i’ve stashed a few peaches
and shredded zucchini in the freezer,
to make some breakfast scones in winter,
when it’s bleak and i require
some kind, any kind, of pick-me-up.
these summer scones:
victory indeed.

this post is sponsored by green valley organics. all thoughts and opinions are my own. the first time i discovered this product, i damn near cried. dairy can be in my diet again without any adverse impact. basically, they’re making my dairy dreams come true. thanks so much for supporting the sponsors that keep morestomachblog up+running, toot-free.

Kefir Scones -

Lemon Zucchini Scones or Peach Lavender Scones
makes 8 each

1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (nix if making peach lavender scones)
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBL butter, cold and cubed
1/2 cup plain, whole milk kefir
3 TBL maple syrup
zest of one lemon (1 TBL dried lavender)
1 cup shredded zucchini, wringed/squeezed dry as much as possible (or cubed peach slices)

preheat the oven to 375°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

pour in the kefir and maple syrup. add in the zucchini and lemon zest. (or peaches and dried lavender)

dump the mixture onto lightly floured counter top. shape into a disk and cut into 8 segments.

transfer to prepared baking sheet. bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

cool on pan for a few minutes and then transfer to wire rack to fully cool.

cover well. i usually keep them in large pyrex container, in the fridge. when i’m ready to eat, i toast them just a smidge in the toaster oven for some added warmth and crunch.

BAM!

Kefir Scones -

4 years ago: vietnamese pickled carrots & daikon
3 years ago: blueberry swirl muffins
2 years ago: summer salsa
1 year ago: homemade chocolate covered popsicles

B.O.T.C.H. Cream Cheese Spread

BOTCH Cream Cheese Spread

this post was created in partnership with Green Valley Organics.

in college i had a secret job.
secret because i wasn’t allowed to work
during the school term,
it was deemed that i was to focus on studying,
#TigerParents
but i deemed that i needed to focus
on how to pay covers into bars/frat parties.
#Priorities
i worked at a bagel shop
right off campus
where i learned the subtle art
of slapping on full fat cream cheese for sorority girls.
#AlphaAlphaKissMyAss
this was in the time before
real dietary restrictions,
like gluten-free or nut allergies for others,
and most notably for me, lactose intolerance.

for a time i didn’t eat bagels,
due to the over-saturation of the stuff,
but also due to not being able to consume it
slathered with full fat cream cheese.
now, both are back in my life.

happy end of july,
hello august,
we are sweaty, but well,
hope you are too, friends.

BOTCH Cream Cheese Spread

this post is sponsored by green valley organics. all thoughts and opinions are my own. the first time i discovered this product, i damn near cried. dairy can be in my diet again without any adverse impact. basically, they’re making my dairy dreams come true. thanks so much for supporting the sponsors that keep morestomachblog up+running, toot-free.

B.O.T.C.H Cream Cheese Spread
*note: this cream cheese is softer than that of regular cream cheese. if you’re using a regular cream cheese, leave container out for 15-20 min to soften a bit.
**note: this was a super popular flavored cream cheese at the shop, but the original recipe uses fresh tomatoes, dried chives and red or white onions. due to the wetter consistency of this product, i went dry with the tomatoes and made sure the chives and spring onion were wiped dry after washing.

1 container of green valley organic lactose-free cream cheese
1/3 cup of crumbled bacon
1/4 cup fine chopped spring onion
1/3 cup rough chopped dried sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil!)
1/4 fresh chives, finely chopped

in a stand mixer whip/cream the cream cheese a bit, not too much, it is soft already but you want it pliable enough to take on the added ingredients.

add all the ingredients in the bowl and mix it real quick, just enough to combine everything together.

transfer mixture to a container with a lid.

fridge, covered, to firm up.

spread on your favorite bagel or toast.

if you’re feeling fancy, it makes a great sub for mayo in a generic BLT sandwich.

BAM!

BOTCH Cream Cheese Spread

4 years ago: green tomato & mint chutney
3 years ago: homemade thai iced tea
2 years ago: not a damn thing
1 year ago: chilled somen noodles with cold mushroom broth

blueberry almond blondies

Blueberry Almond Blondies

i think it’s common knowledge,
i don’t know,
that blondies are brownies?
but without the chocolate.
i never understood that,
because without chocolate
what’s the point?

it’s mid-july,
my hair is in a ponytail
we survived our week with the nephews
(i’m officially the shortest Wilson now…)
and, somehow, i find myself
ridiculously entangled in a Korean Skincare Routine.
most of the things i do is for the laughs,
and this right here is garnering a shit ton of that,
especially since i’ve been video-ing the washing my face endeavors.

in other news,
we watched The Big Sick, which made me laugh-cry-cringe-roll-my-eyes
we’re watching Big Brother, and stupidly i’m hooked
we’re also watching A Place to Call Home and the Doctor Blake Mysteries,
both on PBS (the latter on netflix, too!)
we watched hasan minhaj’s homecoming king, that was sad and entertaining and mainly funny
being from baltimore, of course we watched the Keepers, which is a tragic and frustrating watch.
last, i’ve been listening to a silly lil podcast that usually has me howling: Potterotica. yeah. no words.

to answer my question above,
the point is,
i had all the ingredients,
plus blueberries
and i thought it was high time i tried blondies.
and now i get the point.

Blueberry Almond Blondies

blueberry almond blondies
adapted from dolly+oatmeal and tending the table

*note: the original recipe calls for arrowroot powder, which i don’t have and i didn’t want to add yet another random ingredient into the cupboard. thankfully cornstarch makes a great sub. also, it calls for an ass amount of sugar and since i seem to measure things with my ass, and not wanting to add more inches to said ass, i cut the sugar amount by alot (i don’t know what the math equation is, just know i cut it back). it’s still plenty sweet.

1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
handful of fresh frozen blueberries
sliced almonds, toasted, for garnish

preheat oven to 350°F. grease 8×8″ square baking pan, set aside.

in a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar and salt, mix with whisk or fork.

one by one by, add in the liquid ingredients: eggs, olive oil and extracts.

still till combined, it will be thick. don’t be alarmed.

pour batter into prepared pan, and spread evenly to all corners.

bake for 14 minutes.

remove and strew berries around, try to not be like me, and spread out the berries evenly.

bake for another 15 minutes, until the edges get browned and looks crispy.

cool and remove from pan, scatter the toasted sliced almonds, cut into squares, or tear off chunks and eat by handful, whatever, i’m not judging you.

BAM!

Blueberry Almond Blondies

4 years ago: chocolate wonderfuls
3 years ago: blueberry clafoutis
2 years ago: strawberry + kefir popsicles
1 year ago: chicken enchilada bake

cháo cá kho

Chao Ca Kho

today marks 3 years since
my beloved gpa passed away.
we are currently in CA,
in celebration of his life,
visiting gma,
and taking a much needed breather.

today’s recipe is one of my childhood faves,
which i have gone & bastardized.
normally it’s eaten with rice,
but gpa would make it with
rice porridge
and we’d have it for breakfast.
gpa always ate it with chopsticks,
which is weird,
this is stew-soup-porridge,
but the man was deft with them sticks.
he is dearly missed.

Chao Ca Kho

cháo cá kho
cháo amount makes 4 small servings, or 2 hefty servings (which is the norm)
cá kho amount makes 6 servings

*note: in feb, dw & i visited charleston, sc, and one of the places we dined at, Xiao Bao Biscuit had a special: fishball congee that was fresh and completely different from any congee experience i’ve ever had, at home or at a restaurant. i only like vietnamese style congee, which is called chao, every other version is not good to me, no offense to all other congees out there. their version, the balls were deep fried and proportion of balls to congee is the exact opposite of what i’m used to. chao is supposed be a quick filling and warming meal, bland with a few bites of salty. their version tipped it to the opposite side of the scale and my version attempts to even it out. the presentation is a little on the precious side for me, but it was a special occasion.

*note: the consistency of this chao is on the thick side, which is my preference, almost to the point where you could stick your chopsticks upright in the bowl and it won’t topple (don’t do that though, especially in japan).

Chao Ca Kho

fishballs
1 1/2 lb catfish filets, skinned and de-boned
knob of ginger, skinned and thin sliced
2 garlic cloves
2 scallions, rough chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
fresh cracked black pepper
oil, for frying

in a food processor add all the ingredients except the filets. pulse until all the ingredients are rough chopped and mixed together. with a spatula, push down the mixture and clean the sides of the bowl.

chop the fish filets into bite sizes and add to the processor. pulse until all the ingredients are chopped and mixed through. you don’t want it to be mush but you do want it to get incorporated.

using a tablespoon or if you’re fancy, a ice cream scooper, scoop up about 1.5 tablespoons worth into your hand and roll it around until it’s ball. place on plate or parchment lined cookie sheet. do this for the entire mixture.

in a pan, heat up a splash of oil. fry the balls until they’re all browned on the outside. don’t worry if they’re not fully cooked on the inside (though they probably are). set on paper towel lined plate and set aside.

braising/caramel sauce
1 generous tsp sugar
1/2 cup – 1 cup coconut juice (water if you end up sipping all the coconut juice waiting for the sugar to caramelize)(no judgement)
half onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
a knob of ginger, thin sliced
1-2 TBL fish sauce

you’re working simultaneously here:
in a pot heat up some oil. saute the onions until they are richly browned, add in the garlic and ginger, all the while stirring to prevent burning.

meanwhile, in a small sauce pan heat up the sugar. it’s going to melt, it’s going to harden and you might smell some burning. don’t freak out like dw did, add the liquid (coconut juice or water) and mix it all together and the liquid starts to simmer. at that point, add it to the pot of onions/garlic/ginger.

mix it all through and then carefully, nestle the fried fishballs into the pot. allow the pot to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. turn the balls to allow for even coatage, add more liquid if the pots gets too dry.

while that’s doing its thing, make the chao.

cháo
1/2 cup rice, rinsed and drained (any kind, whatever your preference)
3 cup water

in a medium pot, add the water and rinsed rice. heat on high until boiling, stir, and then lower heat to medium low, until just a simmer. semi-cover and ignore for 20 minutes. check on it, stir and check consistency. you’re aiming for a thick porridge, if you prefer looser, add more water. take off heat. as it cools, it will thicken, just add water to loosen.

toppings/garnishes
pickled red onions (paper thin sliced red onions in a sweetened vinegar mix)
fried onions
fried garlic
green scallions
sliced red chilis

to assemble
in a bowl add the chao then top with fishballs. drizzle with the caramel/braising sauce. add the garnishments to your heart’s content.

BAM!

Chao Ca Kho

previous gpa posts:
citrus curd mille feuilles
salt & pepper shrimp
guinea hen liver pate