bento_box: KFC Christmas (KFC Christmas)

We had a movie night last night. We popped the film Loser into the bluray player and dug in to some new ice cream flavor is that we had never cried before.

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Laota tried out the cake boss flavor strawberry shortcake, which I had the night before and will post photos of later, and I got to try second Street Creamery’s sweet ol’ joe, which is just what it sounds like a delicious creamy coffee flavor.

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5 stars to both flavors of ice cream!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

bento_box: KFC Christmas (KFC Christmas)

I meant to post this (or anything at all) a few days ago, but I’ve been swamped at work and haven’t even had time to post bento pics as of late. :/

I’m surfing around at the moment looking at bento odds and ends that are awesome but I can’t afford them, and checking out some recipes online for new ways to dress up somewhat boring dishes. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for glazes and sauces, especially tropical flavors like the ones you find over at Nature Isle (which has a lot of gorgeous vegan and gluten free products, for those of you who prefer vegan or have to put up with Celiac disease) and the nutjob combinations I cook up myself, lol.

I actually have a real thing about BBQ sauce. I doubt anyone who doesn’t work in the food industry is quite as obsessed with it as I am, but that’s because when I can afford meat it’s always the cheapest cuts or ground meat that’s reduced for quick sale because it’s old. Because of this I’ve become a champ at disguising the flavor of old or inexpensive meat with the likes of a delicious BBQ sauce, vegan salad dressings or a great glaze. No one else can seem to tell how truly bad the cut of meat was before I started, either – I don’t know if that’s something to brag about, though!

Of course BBQ sauce is good for more than just meat, just like salad dressings and glazes can be used outside of their conventional dishes. BBQ sauce is great on a baked potato (do not overdo this, a little goes a long way!), on scrambled eggs (once again – go light!), or water it down a little (you can thin it out with rice vinegar if you want to keep a bold taste) and use it as a dipping sauce for a great veggie gyoza.

All in all, a good sauce or dressing is worth it’s weight in gold when you realize how much you can do with it!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

bento_box: KFC Christmas (KFC Christmas)

Oh, silly mother for showing up with stawberries and little, store-bought sponge cakes then forgetting them when she left. A little homemade buttercream, some warmed preserves and I have a feast! A feast of sugar! BWAHAHAHHAAAAH! *coughs* Ahh, ouch!

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bento_box: KFC Christmas (KFC Christmas)

Made my first ever re-fried beans! I basically just decided to try stuff until it worked instead of finding a decent recipe, but it turned out great!

Frijoles Refritos

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We tried something a little different this year. We thought it would be fun to do something that’s done in Japan these days, and that’s Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas!

My sis and I had a rare and welcome Christmas alone, which meant parade and movies, lighting the Christmas tree and playing records – no family drama, how sweet is that? But we didn’t want to have just your ordinary, everyday Christmas dinner. We decided to do it the KFC way, the way so many people celebrate in Japan.

Well, we can’t get to a KFC and we don’t know all the recipes, so we just had to find a recipe for corn salad and sort of wing it then buy the chicken and cake at Hy-Vee – here’s how it’s supposed to look:

Japan KFC Christmas

And here’s what our make-shift Christmas dinner looked like:

Our Version of a Japanese KFC Christmas

Pretty close, huh? Okay, not exactly – but it was fun and tasty!

Our Version of a Japanese KFC Christmas

Our Version of a Japanese KFC Christmas

Our Version of a Japanese KFC Christmas

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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Parkers Hog Roast

How do we not have this in America? That’s all I can think as I poke around this awesome website for a hog roast hire business in the UK called Parkers.

The idea is that you can hire Parkers to come and cater your function or event and, for about the same price as it would cost you to rent a roasting machine, they come in with the machine and hog, roast your dinner for you and serve it so you can think about other things like how to keep Uncle Mike-y away from the liquor cabinet and thus avoid a no-pants, lampshade-hat scenario!

One of the really great things about this is that, other than it just freeing up your time, your hog is also prepared by professionals who know what they’re doing and roast these hogs for a living. It’s a fabulous concept because it would take you out of the equation, and the possibility of you absolutely ruining your own roast hog by trying to do it yourself if you’re not familiar with these roasting machines. And if you’re hosting a party or event, the last thing you want to do is cook with a contraption you don’t understand – you could end up with a lot of sick guests and a polite decline to your next party invitations! Why not let the professionals do it? You wouldn’t try and fix your car by yourself if you didn’t know how, would you? Well, I wouldn’t but that’s because I know me and I know how much I can fudge up what should be a simple job!

I really wish they’d expand their business with one in the United States. As you probably know, I’m a vintage loving gal and this would make a great centerpiece to an old fashioned tiki party or kitsch luau!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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We did a little heavy lifting yesterday and rewarded ourselves with a visit to Dos Chiquitas Mexican Restaurante in Bethany, Missouri.

The first thing you notice about Dos Chiquitas is the great lighting in the building. Unlike China King, and some other small but great chow stops, Dos Chiquitas has softer, warmer lighting instead of florescent bulbs buzzing two inches from your eyeball for the entire meal. The next thing you notice? The super friendly, even more super attentive staff who make you feel at home from the moment you walk through the doors.

Dos Chiquitas Shredded Chicken Soft Tacos

Then comes the food. Your started off with a basket of light, crispy tortilla chips and a little cup of the best salsa you can imagine. And they keep it coming while you wait for your order.

The menu is full of combos and drinks, and even a burger or two, but what Laota and I got were shredded chicken soft taco combination plates that come with heaping helpings of rice and beans. We couldn’t finish it there, we had to take it home!

The food is fragrant, and packed full of flavor. Like our server (awesome guy, very friendly!) said about other Mexican restaurants in the area, “There’s no flavor, it’s just food.” and I agree with him. The difference between Dos Chiquitas and other places serving Mexican-style or TexMex food is that Dos Chiquitas food is infused with flavors. The chicken was delicious, the tortillas were delicious, the rice is to die for and the beans were a great balance to it all. There was a mild fruity note to the meat, as if it had been cooked with peppers or tomatoes, and the order was on our table in no time.

I can’t gush enough about this place, and I can’t wait to go back! Four out of five stars, would have been five if FoxNews hadn’t been on the televisions lol.

DOS Chiquita’s
(660) 425-4639
Bethany
3507 Bulldog Ave
Bethany, MO 64424

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Poppa’s Family Restaurant is a little lunch and dinner joint out on the highway that’s run by people I’ve known through my mother’s church for something like 17 years, but I haven’t eaten there all that often.

I have to admit that I haven’t had a great experience there in the past, due to the food being over priced and not that great, plus the service was a bit lacking. But tonight they get a good review from me, because it’s hard to screw up a soft taco (lol!) and our waitress was exceedingly nice and friendly.

I got the all you can eat soft tacos and an iced tea, the tacos were good (not great, but good) but the tea was bland and more like water. I like a good, strong iced tea but I wasn’t specific so I can’t imagine why they would know that and can’t dock them points for it.

The tacos came four at a time in a burger basket with lettuce, tomato, cheese and a little cup of salsa. No sour cream and no self service, which was odd, but it didn’t detour the night. Laota got a big chicken baked potato thing, but she started scarfing it before I could get a picture! (BAD Laota!)

The biggest plus was our waitress was the sweetest thing. She was too nice for words and I’m so glad we got her, she made my night! Overall, if I had to rate it tonight it would be 3 out of 5 stars, which isn’t too shabby. All of the other times it would have been two stars max.

Poppa’s Family Restaurant
1204 W US Highway 136
Albany, MO 64402-9100
(660) 726-5577

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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As you may know if you know me personally (since I can’t stop gushing), Laota and I purchased our first Asian Food Grocer package in almost two years this month, and it’s been agony waiting the 6 days for it to get here! We followed it closely on the FedEx tracking website, like children follow the Santa Tracker at Christmas time, and today it finally arrived, as always, packed methodically and undamaged – as is Asian Food Grocer‘s way.

We got some of our favorites that you can’t buy here, like prepared azuki, five spice powder, spring roll skins, bamboo chopsticks and white peach Yogu Time yogurt soft drinks. But we also got our favorite soup in the world, Noodle King’s Lobster Egg Noodle Soup, which is so addictive we tend to spend way more on it than we should!

Some new-to-us finds were a kind of low salt miso (with no MSG, which will be rectified when I prepare it lol), honey spiced umeboshi pickled plums for our onigiri and mix fruit mochi.

Today was actually the first time I’d ever had mochi and now I’m addicted! You can see some crappy photos below of all the fun things we bought – we’ve purchased through Asian Food Grocer since 2005 or 2006, and can’t say enough good things about them! We’ve never had a lost or misdirected shipment, never had missing goods, never had to pay too-steep shipping (the shipping for everything was about 7 bucks FedEx ground).

Enhanced by Zemanta

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Here’s something I haven’t had in a long, long time that I’d love to get my hands on for pot stickers – goat meat! In fact, I’ve only ever had it once or twice but it was fabulous!

Goat Leg MeatI’m actually reading the recipes on this website, all of which seem a bit on the complicated side (like Jerked Leg of Goat) and wondering if it’s something I could do? Some of the ingredients include ginger and dark brown sugar, it just sounds sweet, tangy and delicious. I’d love to try my hand at this, I wonder if it would be too hard to dress up goat meat for use in a bento box? I said pot stickers earlier, but this jerked leg of goat actually sounds like it would be great with rice if you cut it up into small pieces and filled out an empty niche in your bento box with it.

It would definitely be unique, plus goat is so good for you compared to other meats and is actually very low fat. The problem remains, as always, where do you buy goat meat? You can’t get it out here, though. I live in the middle of hog country and you’re lucky if you can get chicken or beef at a decent price, so until now I thought goat meat was out of the question because it was hard to come by out here. But the website I’m surfing right now, the one I’ve been talking about with all of these amazing goat recipes? It’s for a company called Gedalias that actually sells farm raised goat meat over the internet. It’s not expensive, they have a lot of different cuts including ground if you want to make burgers. It’s such a great idea! It would be a great gift for anyone you know who loves to cook and loves to try new things. If you’ve ordered from them, I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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I’m absolutely crazy about seafood, and I don’t get it that often because it’s very expensive here. But there’s one treat I do get on occasion and that’s Tilapia, a tender and mildly sweet whitefish. It’s decently priced and incredibly tasty, but unfortunately the other treat I need to do any real cooking is time off – a treat which I rarely can afford.

The solution to this was simple, but it took me ages to figure it out – you can make many small fish fillets in the microwave! While I”m not an advocate of cooking just anything in the microwave (unless you know what you’re doing), this is one dish that comes out delicious and piping hot every time! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Tilapia Fillets, 6-8oz each (frozen)
  • Lemon Pepper to taste
  • Accent! to taste. (Yes this IS commercial MSG, but I’m actually a big advocate of MSG awareness and use. If you’d rather not use it, a little salt or soy sauce will do!)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (one tablespoon for each fillet)
  • 2 slices of lemon (one for each fillet)

  • Prep: 1 minute
  • Cook: 4-6 minutes

Place your FROZEN tilapia fillet (one at a time, please) in a microwave safe dish with a cover – I place mine in a bowl and use plastic wrap, but I’m used to doing this and if you don’t watch the fish carefully you could end up with a melted plastic mess!

Liberally season both sides with your Lemon Pepper and Accent! then place a slice of lemon and portion of butter on top of the fillet. Now cover your fillet and place it in the microwave on high for 4-6 minutes (check after 5 minutes). Let stand for a full minute then re-plate. Great with salads, soups or by itself – makes a tasty sandwich, I hear!

We like to have this by itself as a midnight snack at our house, and Laota and I have been talking about having it with some wilted baby spinach and mashed sweet potatoes. If you try this, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Yep, that’s really all there is to this dish. It’s tasty, and pretty – dinner in 5 minutes!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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'Easy' Mooncakes - Not Worth The Effort!

“Easy” moon cakes, not exactly what I’d call a moon cake but then again I had an idiot hoovering around me while I was trying to cook, lol. The recipe isn’t the one I normally use, but we have nil in the kitchen and I didn’t want to let the festival go by again without something to celebrate with – I really should have, lol! Tasty, like sweet bisquick biscuts with boysenberry preserves (Knott’s, naturally). good for a tea, but not a true moon cake.

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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Shrimp Souper Meal

From a few days ago, a giant shrimp flavored ramen soup cup called Souper Meal, which I’ve never had before the Dollar General opened. Very tastey! It’s got a ‘flavor enhancer’ which tastes like olive oil and garlic, and really does a number on the broth. Good buy for 99 cents!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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Tomato Basil Noodles

One of my very favorite instant noodle dishes and this is the first time I’ve had it! It’s got a great, tangy sauce tomato sauce. I can’t tell if it’s got peppers, but it had a very mild kick. I love tomato pasta dishes, I’m a big marinara fan, but this was almost a salad-style pasta. I’m thinking of trying it as a cold dish next time I get a package of it, since it’s been so hot here lately. :D

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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Mega Noodle Haul

Teriyaki NoodlesTeriyaki NoodlesMega Noodle HaulMega Noodle HaulMega Noodle HaulMega Noodle Haul

I’m still lacking in all things food, but they just opened a Dollar General store about three miles away (the third store in town – yes, really) and they’ve got 99 cent noodle cups and noodle bowls! So all of our money went to some delicious instant food – first being Simply Asia’s Teriyaki Noodles which take about 2 minutes to cook and are delicious!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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Well, tomorrow is Schwan’s day and Laota and I are planning on ice cream! If we each choose one flavor, I know mine will be Confetti Cake because it’s my favorite, but if we each choose two for the week then I think I may try the Praline because I’ve been eyeing it forever and ever.

Last time my second choice was Maple Nut, which was excellent. It’s not too sweet, it’s even sort of mellow sweetness for ice cream, and it’s got a great maple ice cream taste with salty pieces of walnut in it – very nice!

We’re also going to try out that beef-flavored dog ice cream on our cat if the Schwan guy says she can have eat it without any problems.

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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So, I hate Missouri. I’ve lived here awhile and I’m still not used to it – the insane weather, the mega swarms of insects, and worst of all, there’s nothing to do so I end up working 24/7. What I wouldn’t give to go back to Southern California, even just for a few days. I miss the laid back atmosphere of Anaheim and Oceanside, the ocean, the theme parks and the restaurants in San Diego.

There are no restaurants out here, for the most part, that you can be seated in and have a four star meal. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one in the county, and there are definately none in town. I’m tired of fast food or no food, and I wish there were a way to find great dining out here, sort of like the service they’ve got set up over at CafeSanDiego.com. They’ve got a website set up to help you find great San Diego dining, on which you can find great places to eat via their search function, on which you can narrow your search for a restaurant on search terms as specific as neighborhood, cuisine and even atmosphere.

The nice part about this San Diego dining guide is that you can search for coupons if you’re broke like I am, and because of that I thoroughly plan to use the site once I’m in a position to go back to California, since Laota and I have already planned to move out there as soon as we’re financially capable of doing so, and using coupons for, say, African cuisine would be a great way to celebrate us being back in our home state!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

Try A Dish

Jan. 16th, 2008 10:17 am
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Try A Dish will be a feature here that is updated every so often when I dare to try a food I’ve never had before. I love trying new things, especially when they end up tasting good, lol. I’m going to be reviewing each food I try, I’ll put up both it’s good points and bad points and give it a “Bento Rating” to let you know weither or not it should be included in your bento box based on taste and bento-ability like could it spill? Does it pose a leak hazard? Does it smell to high heaven? Will it ruin the bento’s color? I hope to update this very soon. :D

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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