Sunday, November 27, 2011

The post thanksgiving sandwich

My favorite part of thanksgiving is the meal I get to enjoy the next day. Here's my take on this ultimate sandwich.

Layer 1- primer
I lack good bread (due to previous sandwiches) but I still start with gravy and mayo on the bread I have

Layer 2- the meat
Then stack with turkey and stuffing/dressing. My husband's recipe for dressing takes 2 days and it slices so well that you can really stack it.

Layer 3-the middle
No sandwich is complete without cranberry sauce, from a can please.

The finale
Serve with other sides (my were made by my mom and are out of this world!)and enjoy!

Post thanksgiving lunch

A small lunch with some turkey day leftovers. Nothing fancy, but very delicious! Turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce and a small portion of stuffing. Grapes not pictured because I could not make them look cute.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Bentos

Halloween is the funniest time to make bentos! I have not started any of mine yet, but I've got some good ideas to go off of. Here's one from Bento Anarchy that I love!

More to come!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Finally! There's an app for that!

Now that there is a blogger app, I hope it becomes way easier to update posts (please blogger make an iPad version though!)

Anyway, let's catch up with a slacker lunch for a lazy Sunday that is 4 hour body friendly.

Below is a no cook lunch made of edamame, cucumbers, peanut butter and hummus. Throw them on a plate with a good football to enjoy a protein heavy lunch!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Almond Chicken Nuggets

I was positive I had posted this recipe already, but when I went through the blog to find it for myself I couldn't find it! This is a favorite of mine and my husbands. It requires a more work than the store-bought frozen nuggets but they taste SOOOO much better.

Almond Crusted Chicken Nuggets

- chicken, sliced into 1 inch cubes
- almonds
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- olive oil
- salt and pepper

Optional items:
-Balsamic Vinegar
-Plum sauce

1) For the chicken, I prefer using chicken tenders (I find it easier to cut up), but you can certainly use chicken breast. After dicing, place into a plastic bag. Shake it up with olive oil (1/2 teaspoon should do), ginger, garlic, salt and pepper.

2) For the almonds, I buy them whole and grind them up in my coffee bean grinder. You could also smash them yourself with the back of a pan, buy them pre-ground or use walnuts that you smash up. I try to get an even and fine consistency so it can equally cover all the chicken. Throw your smashed up nuts into the plastic bag and shake it!

3) Bring a saucepan to medium to medium high heat, filled with 1/8 inch of oil. We want to almost pan fry the chicken, but we don't want to really fry it. Throw the chicken in the pot (don't do as much as I did though) until the pieces are cooked through.

4) I had lots of nuts get to the bottom of the pan this time, so I tossed on some spinach to serve as a side and pick up the goodies on the bottom of the pan. I hit the spinach with a drizzle of olive oil in the pot and 3 shakes of balsamic vinegar when out of the pot.

5) Serve with a side of plum sauce and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm back! and with tuna cakes!

Maybe it's the new job or a fancy new toy or knowing that AWA is around the corner, either way I'm back and motivated to get going again!

Today I'm showcasing my "Tuna Cakes". Think a poor man's crab cake or the 4-hour body friendly crab cake. I would suggest combing with some green beans and either a small salad or Cole slaw


~canned tuna (I used two cans for six cakes)
~mayonnaise (skip if doing a strict four hour body diet)
~green onion
~seasoning to taste (I use salt, pepper, garlic and light lemon juice)

The directions are simple: make tuna as you normally do to your liking, just make sure to prepare it on the dry side so the tuna can be shaped into balls.

Once formed, crush whole walnuts by placing in a zip lock bag and smashing with a frying pan. You can then gently toss each tuna cake in the walnuts so it is barely covered. And bam!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Makin' (candy) sushi

For valentine's day, my husband and I like to do small, almost gag, fun gifts.This year,  he got me this make your own candy sushi kit! It's not bento or 4 hour diet friendly- it's just fun and I had to share our results.

Where do you find something like this? He saw it in a YouTube video and then found a website, White Rabbit Press, that will find any product in Japan for you from just a picture or video.  If you want to see the full process, then check out this YouTube video. Below is our adventures with it!

We start with the kit and its pieces....

Then we start to mix stuff up!

And we're still mixing

The fun part was making these little balls.

We also had to make and form all the rice!

And volia! Sushi candy!

It tasted yummy (like red and yellow if those were flavors). 

I'm already looking forward to getting another kit!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Two lunch double punch

While cleaning up some files, I cam across some lunches I never posted from the pre-4hour days. The nice thing about these lunches is that they can *easily* become 4-hour body diet friendly by changing the side items.

Lunch 1 - Turkey Kielbasa Salad

 The salad on your right is slices of Turkey Kielbasa with spinach and cheese. I would suggest adding in some green peppers if you have them. On your left is a tasty blend of grapes, walnuts and raspberries in greek yogurt. If you wanted to make this 4hour body friendly, remove the cheese from the salad and substitute with some diced pepper (red would look hot but green is more my speed) and maybe add some broccoli. For the snack, remove the fruit, add some beans but keep the walnuts in limited number.

Want to make it cute? Use a cookie cutter for the turkey to make it flowers, cars or stars.

 Lunch 2 - Beef Salad
 Clearly I was on a salad kick. Once again, the salad with its beef, spinach and almonds is still 4hour body friendly, though I would suggest adding something in to make it more interesting. The snack isn't too bad either. The picture shows grapes, celery and (my fav) non-fat greek yogurt. The only thing I would remove is the grapes!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Link day!

I want to get back into the bento mix (and I have a few lunches to share down the road!) but before I make my sad little attempts, I wanted to share the sites that inspire me with you. Let your eyes enjoy these cute sites!

Bento Anarchy -
The original inspiration. The person who runs this blog hosts a panel every year at AWA. I attended her panel the past two years and it's great every time! Not to mention, these are the cutest and most beautiful lunches you will ever see. I bet everyone kid in her daughter's class is jealous.

Just Bento -
These bentos are more adult than Bento Anarchy, but equally beautiful. I also want to get my hands on their book.

Bento Box! -
Don't know anything about bentos? Start here. It tells you everything you need to know. (And I totally remember that episode of Sailor Moon the images on that website come from.)

All Things for Sale -
This is where I like to shop for supplies as they are both cute and affordable.

Work Lunch Boxes -
And other sites like this...they sell easy bento boxes because it's already divided. Separate compartments also make it easy to clean in your dishware- a top priority for me. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mediterranean Platter

Food items: Salami Sandwich using Pita bread & humus, olives, pickles, pita slices, humus,
Tools: fish and car cheese cutter, multiple silicone cups
Time spent: way too much time, but totally delicious
Notes:  This took longer to make because I wanted to cut out cars in salami and fish in cheese (I like to play with my food!). Saw a Mediterranean plate lunch in Women's Health and wanted to make a bento version of it. I think I should have made one more salami sandwich because I devoured my snack - greek yogurt- shortly after lunch.

The Reverse Taco

This meal came out of me wanting some tacos but making it happen without carbs. I felt that using lettuce again was a cop-out, so I came up with this! Why call it reverse tacos? The name came into my head while I was shopping. You could stretch things and say it's reverse because the meat is bread instead of inside of it

Reverse Tacos
serves 2
Turkey Kielbasa (I used half of one Kielbasa, sliced into 4 pieces)
1 Avocado, sliced
Cheese (cheat item! I used Port Salut because it was leftover from another meal we made)
Beans on the side (the chef suggests pinto but somebody in the house already ate them all)

Okay, it's real simple. I split open the turkey with three slices so I could fit as much in there as possible.
Then I placed the cheese in one opening, avocado in the other and salsa in the middle. Top with a drop of non-fat greek yogurt for looks if you don't mind a second cheat. Done!

I served this with a side of northern beans I seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic. I had plenty of left over avocado so I sliced up what was left and served that too! You don't need very much of the filler items because of the meat.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The best "diet" chili you'll ever have

Drumroll please! Today I present the best diet food you can have on the 4-hour diet. Heck, I should call it the "Ricky's Chili Diet" because that's what I like to eat! It's yummy and good for you. Best of all, no cheating required to make it awesome. Let's go!

- ground turkey meat, 99% fat free
- Red Kidney Beans
- 1 can of diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Green bell pepper, chopped
- Cumin, 1 1/2 tablespoon
- Garlic, 1 tsp
- chili power, 1 1/2 tablespoon
-Cayenne Pepper, to taste (1/2 tsp to start)
-Paprika, 1 tsp
-Olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

First, we chop! Dice that onion and pepper before tossing it in a large pot with some olive oil that's been chilling on medium heat. In a separate pan, start to brown the turkey, also with the help of some olive oil in the pan.

Now, enter the can opener! After the onion and peppers get a bit soft, add in the can of tomatoes with all the juices. Then, drain the kidney beans before adding them in the vegetable pot as well. By now, that turkey should be nice and, white. If so, add that into the pot as well.

Third, we season! Add in your seasoning, please adjust the hotter spices like chili powder and cayenne to your heat preference.

Let it cook now for as long as you want. It could be 5 minutes or 5 hours. We normally have it sitting between 5 minutes to an hour. But when it's time to eat...

It's delicious!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Diet Friendly "To go" lunches

Lately I've been horrible at packing a lunch for work but luckily I work near a lot of restaurants so I can find a quick fix that follows all the rules. Here are my go-to lunches in hopes that they help you!

Whole Foods
Hello Salad and hot bar! Typically I have to stay near the salad bar to follow the rules, but I have been known to pull some veggies from the hot bar to mix into my salad. My key ingredients here are greens, great northern beans or edamame, tuna or chicken from the salad bar (because there is nothing else on it), and those cucumbers and red onions tossed in vinegar. If they have asparagus, I'll toss that in too.

Mexican fast food is a must on the 4 hour diet. My treat here - a taco salad served in a bowl, not a shell, pinto beans, everything that comes on it with the one exception of taking out the sour cream and adding in guac instead. To prevent cheating, request to NOT have chips.

You may have to be a bit crafty here. Pick up a salad from the produce section or buy a bag of mixed greens. I then get a packet of single serving tuna and a can of beans that I can add into the salad. Want to get a bit more crazy? Add in some raw veggies by getting a bag of the stir-fry mix or a similar mix from the produce section. For dressing, either buy a bottle to keep in the office or snag a single serving packet by the pre-made lunches (fat-free Italian may be your best bet). 

I'm definitely bending the rules while I here, but it's hard to get everyone to eat at Moe's for all of our lunches. I try to keep in the guidelines by ordering a 3 tender basket, grilled, tossed in a mild buffalo sauce. For a side I go with baked beans (high in sugar, but it's a bean!) or cole slaw. Get a water or unsweet tea for your drink.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lettuce Wraps - 2x receipe bonus!

I love wraps and carbs. I wanted to find a way to still make "sandwiches" but not cheat and it hit me - lettuce wraps! Get ready to see a lot of these now that I know. Here's two to start you out

Mexican wraps (you shouldn't be surprised at this point)


Bibb Lettuce or Boston lettuce (Romaine can also do, it's just falls apart a bit more)
Beans (pinto or black bean)
Chili Pepper seasoning
Lime juice
Adobo Seasoning
Personal Cheat item: greek yogurt 

I mixed the guac and salsa together on a 2 salsa to 1 guac ratio; not necessary but it made for one less bowl. To season the chicken, I put it in a plastic bag with the seasonings above, around a teaspoon of each, and some lime juice then shake it up! If you want more of a kick, add some hot sauce to the bag.

I like to stack everything, including the beans, on a lettuce leaf and enjoy. Remember those personal cheats we talked about? In this recipe I choose to have a bit of greek yogurt on the top. Also makes it look pretty.

Bonus Recipe - Caesar wraps!
Similar principle here, but here are the ingredients

Northern Beans
Bibb Lettuce
Olives if you've got them (I didn't)
Abs Diet Caesar Dressing (see below)
Personal Cheat: a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese 

To make the dressing - combine olive oil (1 tablespoon), anchovy paste, 1/2 a clove minced garlic, and a shake or two of salt and pepper. Shake it up and then either pour over or season the chicken with it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From a diet to a lifestyle

After following this diet for a month I was very pleased with my results. However I was facing some problems. For one, I don't really enjoy the taste of beans. Can't explain it - I'm just not a big fan. I also don't really like eggs unless you add so much cheese and/or sour cream in them they stop being healthy. While this had been a breeze for my husband, I find myself forcing my way through. 

But I wanted to continue on! So from here on out you'll still have a great recipe that will follow the rules but you may notice a side note where I took a personal cheat. Most likely, it will be me adding a spoonful of greek yogurt (an excellent substitute for sour cream!) or a pinch of cheese. Nothing big, just enough to keep me going.

If you're on track - stay strong! If you're like me and need to learn how to shift this from a diet to a lifestyle change, I hope these small cheats help. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mexi night!

Mexican food has been my savior on this diet! Also helps that I live in a very hispanic part of town so I have lots of ingredients that I can take advantage of, though I often don't. I've already posted about Fiesta Bowl in a previous post, but here's some more variations on a theme. My husband and I like different ingredients but have similar results:

Serena's Bowl

Salsa, chicken, green peppers, plenty of corn, pinto beans

 Ricky's Bowl

Salsa, chicken, green peppers, corn, black beans, chipotle peppers

Friday, March 4, 2011

Keepin' in simple - beans and franks

Some days, you just got to keep it simple. There's nothing fancy about this meal  - I just combine 1/4 to a 1/2 can of beans (depending on my level of hunger) with some Turkey Kielbasa. I love it because it's fast and simple, all you have to do is heat it up.

I guess you could make it fancy with some kale chips with some garlic sprinkled on the it. You could also make the beans delicious (and a bit bad for you) by sprinkling them with a bit of bouillon cube and olive oil. 

Simple or complex, I hope you enjoy!

Diet update

Really it's a moment to brag but I'm really happy about this! I'm a pretty fit person to start, or so I like to think so. I work out 3 to 4 days a week, I have a job that keeps me pretty active and I hike on the weekends. It has been a struggle for me to break my weight loss plateau without a "starve myself" diet plan (which, btw, I suck at because I love food).

I followed the 4 hour Body diet plan for the month of February as true as possible. I may have had a cookie here and missed a breakfast there, but I was 95% true to the plan. My husband joined me, which made cooking a heck of a lot easier and was a great support to lean on.

My results? I'm 5 lbs lighter and have lost 2 1/2 inches on my hips and 2 inches off my waist. I get consistent results (1 pound a week and about 1/2 an inch a week) without suffering. It's easy not to cheat when you know you have a whole day of cheating coming up. If I stay on track, I'll hit my "I'll never reach it" goal weight right in time to slip into a bathing suit.

It's not blockbuster results, but it's results that keep me happy, motivated and on track. I hope you're having the same!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Italian dinner remixed

After I posted that first Italian 4 hour body recipe I ended up cooking in the following week but changed things up a bit. I like this version way better!

Italian Sausage Bowl
serves 2
-- Turkey Sausage (or Kielbasa, which ever one is on sale that week)

-- 2 to 3 large garlic cloves
-- olive oil 
-- 1 can of diced tomatoes, preferably the italian style ones
-- 1 beef bouillon cube
-- italian seasoning (either premixed or your own combination from the pantry)
-- Cannelloni Beans

Start by preheating a large pan (or pot!) and add in oil olive (I circle the pan twice very fast with the oil).
- Add in two cloves of garlic, minced
- Give the garlic 1 minute or so to "flavor" the oil, then add in the whole can of diced tomatoes, liquid as well
- Bring the liquid up to a simmer before adding in the cube of Bouillon and your seasoning
- Let your pan continue to simmer for around 5 minutes before adding in the turkey sausage and beans. I used only 1/2 a turkey sausage, sliced very thin and half a cans of bean in this one
- The meal can sit on the stove top for up to another 30 minutes - but let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Then all that's left is to serve and enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fiesta bowl!!

Maybe I'm just getting excited about Puppy bowl on Sunday or maybe i'm just feeling festive. Either way, got a great meal that is great to make for dinner and have the next day for lunch.

-ground turkey
-1 bag of frozen chopped peppers and onions
-1 can of chipotle peppers in sauce

-Cayenne pepper
-salt and pepper
-lime juice

What to do:
- Brown the ground turkey in a pan
- At the same time, start to boil some water. When it hits a boil, drop the bag of frozen veggies
-After the meat has browned, add in your seasonings. I eyeball this part, but if that scares you or if you don't want to think, just use a packet of taco seasoning.
-Combine the veggies with the meat and throw in a can of pinto beans now too.
-Top it off with those chipotle peppers, chopped and with the sauce (I only used 1/2 a can)
-drop some salsa on top and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Well what do you know? A few months after AWA and I'm not making as many bentos. I still believe the lunches I serve are pretty and delicious - they just don't have animals made of cheese anymore.

I'm not giving up though! I will continue to blog about meals I make and take the meaning of my title to mean any meal that is pretty looking, delicious tasting, and easy for making!

Recently, I started the 4 hour body diet and dragged my husband along for the ride. I have not found many recipes for this diet online, so I though I would share mine in this blog.

4 Hour Body Diet Recipes

Italian Style

-- Chicken
-- Cannelloni Beans - 1/2 a can
-- Artichoke hearts quarters - 1/2 a can
-- bruschetta (find a chunky version!) - no more than 1/4 cup
-- 1 garlic clove, minced or garlic powder

chopped up the chicken and mix it with everything else! Just that easy! For two people, double everything.